Friday, May 6, 2016

Food Friday - Breakfast, Lunch or Dessert!

From: Tracey G.

I'll admit it, I'd rather drink my breakfast in the form of coffee, rather than eat it in form of food. I've never been one to eat breakfast, it's always the last thing I want to do when I get up. And honestly, it still takes a backseat to my first cup of coffee, I can't jump out of bed and eat. And I've never been one for "traditional" breakfast foods AT breakfast, give me cold pizza over a bowl of cereal any day! But, if there is one thing I've always liked and that would be the warm cereal varieties. I love Cream of Wheat, that was my first love. Then when oatmeal went "instant" with yummy flavors (the fruit and cream varieties!) that one became acceptable as well.

Now that I'm trying to eat mindfully, breakfast at a some point is a must. And for me it needs to be super easy and quick or I'll skip it and drink more coffee. Lately I've been seriously enjoying the little instant oatmeal cups - they have such lovely varieties for a fairly reasonable cost, and they are so fast a simple to make. But then I remembered the recipe in my favorite-make-it-homemade-cookbook, The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila for homemade instant oatmeal! I was intrigued! I went to Pinterest (I've come to love that site!) to see if there were other recipes for it as well, and I found a few that also sounded pretty good and very very close in method/ingredients etc. So, I pulled from a couple recipes and adapted the one from my cookbook - and was super pleased with the results and how easily it came together. Was not time consuming whatsoever. Actually, chopping the almonds I toasted so they could be added to my portions if I so choose, took the longest I think! Now, you can of course mix all of your add-ins right into the base mix, but since Harry doesn't care for nuts in his oatmeal, I left the base as is and we can add in the extras at the time of making it. You're only limited to your imagination - I always have dried berry mix on hand, dried cranberries, raisins (even though I don't like them in anything other than Raisin Bran cereal, Harry and Jeremy do) and generally an assorted variety of frozen fruit in the freezer to choose from.

A lot of recipes use powdered milk in the mix, but I read somewhere that supposedly that can cause mold to grow over time, so I followed the suggestion of using powdered non-dairy coffee creamer. I chose to use Coffee Mate Fat Free French Vanilla. When I was actually adding it in though, I discovered that it might be a bit too overpowering, so I went half regular powdered non-dairy creamer (Coffee Mate brand) and half of the Fat Free French Vanilla. I think that worked out just right!

As usual, this recipe of course can be modified to your tastes. Leave out the cinnamon or add more if you want. You can use just the 1/2 cup of brown sugar as I did or more - one recipe gave a span of 1-2 cups for the amount. I discovered the 1/2 cup was just right - and wouldn't be too sweet if I wanted to add a little extra brown sugar or maple syrup on the finished product before I eat it.

There are also many possibilities for packaging - I have it in a screw-top canister, but it can also be portioned out into snack-sized bags for individual packets or even put into a canning jar with a lid for travel or even the hot coffee cups with lids you can buy in the grocery store. There are so many possibilities, I know I will likely get portioning some out into the snack-sized bags so that it's easy for Harry to fix himself a bowl when he wants.
I am having so much fun finding recipes to help me stay on track of mindful eating - and oatmeal is a super source of all kinds of goodness!

I chose to use Quick Oats - the 1 Minute variety, for speed's sake and easy preparation in the microwave. The original recipe from the book (and some I ran across out there) use the regular old-fashioned oats. You could prepare them with boiling water poured over and then cover the bowl. If using the regular old-fashioned, I believe it's a sit time of 5 minutes while covered. If you chose to prepare the quick oats this way, of course sit time would be less. You could microwave prepare the regular old-fashioned oats too, just again, adjusting the time accordingly.

And now, on to the recipe...

Homemade Instant Oatmeal

Makes 16 half cup servings

8 cups of quick-cooking oatmeal (the 1 minute variety is what I used)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup fat-free French Vanilla powdered coffee creamer
1/4 regular powdered coffee creamer
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
Add-ins of choice - dried cranberries, raisins, toasted nuts etc.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Spread oats on cookie sheets and bake for about 20 minutes. Cool slightly then, in a blender or food processor, blend 4 cups of the oats, brown sugar and salt until powdered. In a large bowl combined the rest of the oats, the blended oat-mixture and the coffee creamers. Stir well to combine. Store in a covered container for 4 weeks, in the fridge in a covered container 3 months or in the freezer for 6 months.

To prepare: Combine 1/2 cup of the oatmeal mixture and add-ins of choice if desired and 3/4 to 1 cup water and microwave 1-2 minutes or as long as necessary to desired doneness, stir and serve with  toppings of choice.

Nutritional Information for 1/2 cup of dry mix, prepared with water, with no additions (courtesy of plugging in my ingredients in the SparkPeople Recipes app):

Calories 194, Total Fat 3.4g (saturated fat .9g, polyunsaturated fat 1g, monounsaturated fat 1g) Cholesterol 0g, Sodium 151mg, Potassium 26mg, Total Carbohydrates 39.3g, Dietary Fiber 4.2g, Sugars 11.3g, Protein 5g. 

from Kris B.

Before you continue reading, there are a few things you must know.
  • Breakfast is my favorite meal
  • I love peanut butter.
  • My idea of diet food probably differs from that of most.

Now we can continue..

One thing I know about myself is that if I am going to be successful with losing weight, it has to be done somewhat on my terms.  What that means is that I need to control my caloric intake by adjusting my portion size rather than depriving myself of certain foods.  All in all, I am a healthy eater in terms of the types of food that I like and enjoy eating; I just tend to eat more than I should for a serving.  That said, I also don’t want to be overly hungry.  That will lead me to failure as well.

The SparkPeople app is more bound by routine than I am.  Every day by 12:30 it is probing me as to why I have not logged my lunch.  Simple answer.  I have not had lunch yet.  If I have a designated lunchtime, it is not until 1:30 in the afternoon.  Several of those days, breakfast happens at 6:15 am.  That makes for a long haul to lunch.  Therefore, I need to eat a breakfast that will carry me through that seven hour stretch.  That means that my breakfast generally needs to be a high protein meal and is therefore a higher calorie meal.  Enter the Peanut Butter French Toast.

This recipe came into being from the fact that I could not decide what I wanted for breakfast.  Oatmeal?  An egg sandwich?  Toast with peanut butter?  Because I could not make up my mind, I had a little bit of everything.  Oat bread spread with peanut butter, topped with bananas, and dipped in a French toast egg batter and cooked on a griddle.  With a bit of sweetness from powdered sugar and a little light butter for cooking, this recipe totals 397 calories.  Based on my schedule and eating patterns, that works for me.

1 egg  (78 calories)
1 TBS light almond milk  (3 calories)
1 1/2 tsp powdered sugar, divided  (15 calories)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 slices Orowheat Healthful steel cut oat and honey bread  (160 calories)
1 TBS Jif creamy peanut butter  (95 calories)
1/2 banana  (55 calories)
1 tsp Land o Lakes light butter  (17 calories)

In a bowl big enough to dip the bread, beat the egg.  Add the almond milk,  1 tsp powdered sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla.  Beat until thoroughly combined.

Divide the peanut butter and spread half on each slice of bread.  Then layer one side of the bread with banana cut into slices 1/2” thick.  Top with the other slice making a peanut butter and banana sandwich.  You could stop here and life would still be good!  lol.

Dip the sandwich into the egg mixture making sure to cover both sides.

Over medium high heat, melt the butter in an appropriately sized skillet for your sandwich.  Place sandwich in skillet until the bottom is  golden brown and slightly crispy.  Turn and repeat for the other side.

Remove from heat.  Slice in half and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 tsp of powdered sugar over the top.  Serve immediately.

Half a serving of this makes a nice dessert or snack as well!

There are many ways that the calorie count of this recipe could easily be reduced.  
  • Use egg substitute instead of a real egg.
  • Skip the powdered sugar.  (But why?  It adds much more than 15 calories of goodness to the taste)
  • Use a light or low calorie bread.  There are some brands available that have only 40 calories per slice.)
  • Use a whipped peanut butter.  
  • Skip the butter.  You can spray your pan with a non-stick cookie spray and that will keep your French toast from sticking.  The butter, however, does help it to crisp and brown with the desired golden color.

Calories 398, Total Fat 17g (saturated fat 2.9g, polyunsaturated fat 1g, monounsaturated fat 1.9g) Cholesterol 192.6mg, Sodium 499.2mg, Potassium 215.7mg, Total Carbohydrates 50.3g, Dietary Fiber 10.1g, Sugars 14.9g, Protein 20.3g. 

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