Thursday, June 15, 2017

Blueberry Banana Overnight Oats


Blueberry Banana Overnight Oats

Do I lose a little credibility when I describe every new thing I try with remarks such as... "this recipe is GREAT!" and "this is my new FAVORITE thing to eat!"?!?  I say those things too much I think.

But I think these Blueberry Banana Overnight Oats are GREAT and they are my NEW favorite thing to eat.  I think this recipe would be fine without the blueberries but I happened to have a LOT of blueberries at home this week because I bought a big container of blueberries at Sam's Club.  I tried a few bites of the oats without blueberries and I kind of think these oats taste a little like banana pudding.  You know... the kind with vanilla wafers and bananas layered in vanilla pudding!?!  Maybe that's a stretch, but I really like this recipe.  I used to think of myself as a morning person, but sometimes I am not wanting to cook first thing in the morning especially before I've had some coffee.  So I think it's really nice to just reach in the fridge and grab a pre-made breakfast.  Plus, it's been really hot in Southern Colorado this past week, so a cold breakfast is nice and refreshing.



Blueberry Banana Overnight Oats (makes 2 servings)
Measurements in ( ) reflect 21 Day Fix containers

1/2 cup of rolled oats (1 yellow container)
3/4 cup plain yogurt [I used Fage 2% strained Greek yogurt] (1 red container)
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or milk of your preference (1 red container)
2 tablespoons chia seeds (1 orange container)
1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup (I used just 1 tablespoon but add more to make it sweeter if you like)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 banana sliced (this is a great recipe for very ripe bananas since they are so sweet)
about 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

In a medium sized bowl, combine the oats, yogurt, milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir well to combine.

Layer and divide the ingredients into two glass jars or plastic storage containers.  Place about 1/4 of the yogurt mixture into the bottom of one jar and then place about 1/4 of the yogurt mixture into the bottom of the second jar.  Put half the sliced banana into one jar and half the sliced banana into the second jar.  Top the banana slices with the remaining yogurt mixture (covering the banana slices with the yogurt will help prevent browning).  Top each with about 1/4 cup fresh blueberries. Cover jars with lids and refrigerate overnight.  I used stem-less wine glasses for my overnight oats. I top each with some plastic wrap and a rubber band since the glasses don't have lids.  Eat cold and best if eaten within 3 to 4 days.




Tuesday, June 13, 2017

W.I.A.Y. (What I Ate Yesterday)


I decided to make this past Sunday my W.I.A.Y. post day.  I indulged a bit too much over Friday and Saturday so I figured Sunday was a good day to get back on track.  Let's just say there was a little too much pizza and other restaurant meals going down for a few days before Sunday.  I did not plan for it, but it turns out Sunday was meat-free and gluten-free. I felt so much better after eating more carefully all day on Sunday.  I went for two walks, did a new workout, and drank lots of water.  It was a good day.

Breakfast (above)... Banana Chocolate Chip Overnight Oats (the recipe can be found HERE).  This was good.  I used 1 tablespoon of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips in each serving. Next time I'll use a little less.  



Lunch:  Another KALE salad.  Kale, carrots, celery, grape tomatoes, and a NEW salad dressing. This is Maple Dijon Vinaigrette.  Super easy to shake together and I usually have all the ingredients on hand.  The Maple Dijon Vinaigrette recipe can be found HERE.


An apple for snack time.


In the evening, I was chopping up some fruit and vegetables and I noticed how colorful things were looking and I snapped this photo. They say it's good to "eat the rainbow".

For dinner, I had scrambled eggs with broccoli, grape tomatoes, and feta cheese with blueberries on the side.


Before bedtime... I had some roasted, salted almonds and a glass of wine.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Banana Chocolate Chip Overnight Oats



Banana Chocolate Chip Overnight Oats with Chia

Sometimes a girl needs a little chocolate, am I right?  I was doing a little food prep on Saturday and I realized I had just enough Greek yogurt left to make up two kinds of overnight oats.  I made up some Strawberry Chia Overnight Oats (recipe link HERE) and decided that I wanted to also make up some Banana Chocolate Chip Overnight Oats. I looked around on the internet and reviewed a few recipes and none of them had just the right proportions I was looking for, so I decided to wing it and they turned out great.  One thing I can tell you about this recipe is that if you use thick, strained Greek yogurt, this dish will be a bit tart.  If you find the tart taste of Greek yogurt to be off-putting, then you can just use plain, unstrained yogurt.  If you use unstrained, non-Greek yogurt, you might want to use slightly less milk in your preparation (since Greek yogurt is very thick and unstrained yogurt has a thinner, more liquid consistency).  It took me awhile to get accustomed to the tart taste of Greek yogurt, but I've grown to really love it and I especially like the thick and creamy texture it has.  I use Chobani Greek yogurt with 2% milkfat.

Banana Chocolate Chip Overnight Oats (makes 2 servings)
Measurements in ( ) reflect 21 Day Fix containers

1/2 cup of rolled oats (1 yellow container)
3/4 cup plain yogurt (1 red container)
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or milk of your preference (1 red container)
2 tablespoons chia seeds (1 orange container)
1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup (I used just 1 tablespoon but add more to make it sweeter if you like)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 banana sliced
1 to 2 tablespoons mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a medium sized bowl, combine the oats, yogurt, milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir well to combine.

Layer and divide the ingredients into two glass jars or plastic storage containers.  Place about 1/4 of the yogurt mixture into the bottom of one jar and then place about 1/4 of the yogurt mixture into the bottom of the second jar.  Put half the sliced banana into one jar and half the sliced banana into the second jar.  Sprinkle up to 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips into each jar.  Top the banana slices and chocolate chips with the remaining yogurt mixture (covering the banana slices with the yogurt will help prevent browning).  Cover jars with lids and refrigerate overnight.  Eat cold and best if eaten within 3 to 4 days.



Sunday, June 11, 2017

Maple Dijon Vinaigrette


Maple Dijon Salad Dressing


I tried a new salad dressing this week during my Saturday meal prep session. It was so easy and I like the taste very much.  You could make this dressing in a jar with a tight fitting lid (ie. a Mason jar) or in a bowl with a whisk, but I used a container I had on hand for making Good Seasonings Italian Dressing. I just shook the ingredients together in the jar.  This recipe comes from a website called My Kitchen Addiction (www.mykitchenaddiction.com).  I just made 1/2 a recipe to make sure I like the dressing and it was just the right amount for four salads (about 8 tablespoons total).  In my salad, I have kale, carrot, celery, a hard boiled egg, and... as you can see... a gob of grape tomatoes. I bought a big tub of grape tomatoes at Sam's Club.  As a result, I will be having gobs of grape tomatoes on EVERYTHING for the next few days!

In the photo above, you can see three little shot glasses containing the vinaigrette all lined up.  I found these little plastic shot glasses at my local liquor shop.  They are perfect for portioning out my salad dressing when I make up a few salads at a time.  And, as you can see in the photos above, the shot glasses fit perfectly in my plastic storage tubs I use for keeping my salads fresh.

MAPLE DIJON VINAIGRETTE
From www.mykitchenaddiction.com

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a jar or container with a tight fitting lid and shake well until all ingredients are well combined.



My Saturday meal prep (photo above) entailed no cooking whatsoever except for boiling a few hard boiled eggs. We are in a heat wave in Southern Colorado and using the oven just seems like a bad idea. 



Wednesday, June 7, 2017

W.I.A.Y. (What I Ate Yesterday)


Breakfast:  Applesauce, cottage cheese, cinnamon, and my favorite home made granola (granola recipe can be found HERE).

Today marks one year since I started a program called "21 Day Fix".  This time last year, I was nearly 160 pounds and I was barely fitting into my size 12 clothes.  I was suffering from plantar fasciitis, a bone spur on the bottom of my foot, and bursitis in my hip (all on my left side), all probably the result from a motorcycle accident in May 2007.  I had told myself I was going to get into the best shape of my life in retirement, but I was just not getting it done on my own.  Over Memorial Day weekend a year ago, I stumbled into Angela, a lady I met at work before I retired in October 2015, and we became Facebook friends.  I learned Angela was a "Beachbody Coach" and, through her, I purchased the 21 Day Fix Program. 

The rest is history. I've lost about 30-35 pounds and I am keeping it off.  It sounds rather cliche, but "I have changed my lifestyle."  I have struggled with "yo-yo" weight loss and gain my entire adult life.  I first understood I was overweight when I was about 7 or 8 years old and I am almost 49 years old now.  But this "yo-yo" business is behind me now. The 21 Day Fix Program has worked for me. I finally feel I have a "formula" or a "road map" for exactly what I need to do to keep at a healthy weight. 

Today, I weighed in at 128 pounds.  I've gotten as low as 124 pounds in the past few months and I've decided my goal is just to stay under 130 pounds.  My weight fluctuates up and down a few pounds here and there and I am okay with that.  That's just the way it is. To keep myself at a healthy weight, I am eating clean probably 90 percent of the time and I am physically active.  Many weeks, now that the weather is nice, I am walking as much as 50 miles.  I am riding my bike outdoors, too.  In the cooler months, I am following work out DVD's.  I need to add the workout DVD's back into my summer routine; I am a work in progress and I am learning how to find balance and how to MAINTAIN my weight loss, now that the LOSING part is over.  The maintaining part is where I have failed over and over through the years. 

One of the things I enjoy doing about one time each week is to challenge myself to take a photo of everything I ate during the day. That's what I am doing in this post.  I often like to do this on Monday since sometimes I indulge a bit over the weekend.  Taking a photo and sharing what I ate in a day causes me to really think and be accountable about what I am consuming that particular day.  So this post is what I ate yesterday... Tuesday.  Breakfast is noted above. I love this combination and it's quick and easy to throw together in the morning.

Below... I made a smoothie after walking the dogs... unsweetened almond milk, a few strawberries, some ice, and a "smoothie packet" from my freezer (a Ziploc baggie with 1/2 a banana, sliced & a handful of fresh spinach).  This was not my best smoothie.  It needed vanilla or honey or both... and I added so much ice that it tasted watery.  Oh well!


Below... I went to the knit shop in the afternoon and grabbed a salad from my fridge on my way out the door.  This is a new salad I tried this week. It's an Arugula Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes.  The dressing is made from yogurt, honey, Dijon mustard, and turmeric.  The salad also has dried cranberries (low sugar Craisins), and toasted almonds.  A very unusual, but very good salad.  The recipe link is HERE



Dinner... we ate out.


I feel a little weird snapping photos at restaurants so I found these photos on the internet.  We ate out at Quincy's Steakhouse in Florence, Colorado. There are five Quincy's locations in the state of Colorado (Leadville, Salida, Florence, Monte Vista, and Buena Vista).  This is an unusual restaurant.  Sunday through Thursday, they serve filet mignon.  Friday and Saturday, they serve prime rib.  The only choice you have is the size of your meat portion (6 oz., 8 oz., etc.) and how well or "done" you would like it to be cooked (rare, medium rare, etc.).  Each meal comes with a wedge salad with a yummy dressing (I think it's a Dijon-Ranch sort of thing), a nice slice of French bread, and a baked potato (with butter and sour cream if you like). You can also have horseradish on the side.  With the menu being so limited, they are able to provide a nice steak dinner at a very low price and the service is rather quick. They are only open for dinner.  My steak dinner with all the fixin's was $9.95.  Such a deal and a tasty treat!  Below is a not-so-great photo of a wedge salad which I snatched from the internet and then there is a nice photo of the steak dinner from Quincy's website (see website HERE).



I enjoyed my steak and baked potato. Ron ate my bread and I had a bite of the cheese cake he ordered.  I had a nice glass of red wine with my steak dinner.


And... before bed, I had some roasted almonds and another glass of wine.  

I hope you enjoy my WIAY posts. They are kind of odd, but I hope you find some tasty and healthy recipe inspiration here on my cooking and baking blog. 

Here's to your health!




Strawberry Kale Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette


Strawberry Kale Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Awhile back, I posted about a Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe I had tried. I just ran out and need to make more. I enjoyed this dressing on many salads. I found it to be especially great in this combination (see photo above):

  • kale
  • strawberries
  • feta cheese
  • toasted sliced almonds
  • hard boiled egg
  • balsamic vinaigrette (the recipe link is HERE)
I continue to make and eat kale salads.  They are my favorite thing to eat right now; I have even been having them for breakfast.  Here are my favorite combinations (they are also pictured below):

  • turkey bacon
  • hardboiled egg
  • grape tomatoes
  • balsamic vinaigrette

  • hard boiled egg
  • strawberries
  • toasted almonds
  • balsamic vinaigrette

  • Craisins
  • hard boiled egg
  • walnuts
  • 1/2 gala apple, chopped (I add it just before eating)
  • balsamic vinaigrette


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Arugula Salad with Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Honey Turmeric Yogurt Dressing


Arugula Salad with Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Honey Turmeric Yogurt Dressing



Holy yum!  This salad is good.  Let me start by saying that this is the most unusual salad I've ever had and it is great. This recipe is from "Ambitious Kitchen" (www.ambitiouskitchen.com).  I find a lot of great recipes on this website. 

I did not really change anything in this recipe (imagine that!) except I used dried cranberries (low sugar Craisins) in place of dried cherries. I also portioned out my sweet potatoes a little differently since I follow a pretty low carb diet.  I got about 5 servings of sweet potatoes out of this recipe (I used 2 large sweet potatoes).  I doubled the dressing ingredients since I knew I was making 4 salads instead of 2 salads.  I love how easy this salad is.  I bought pre-washed baby arugula; I love starting with pre-washed greens!  NEXT TIME I make this salad, I will omit the garlic from the sweet potatoes.  I found the garlic aroma to be very strong while baking and also when eating the cold leftovers.  Next time, I think I just add a little salt, pepper, and paprika to the sweet potatoes before roasting them in the oven.


Arugula Salad with Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Honey Turmeric Yogurt Dressing
Recipe source:  www.ambitiouskitchen.com

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch thick wedges
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For the dressing:
  • 1/4 cup nonfat greek yogurt (I used 2% greek yogurt)
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • For the topping:
  • 2-3 cups fresh arugula (I used a 5 ounce package of baby arugulas)
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries II used low sugar Craisins)
  • 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds

  • Preheat 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Add sweet potato wedges to the pan and drizzle with olive oil. Add minced garlic, salt and pepper and toss well to combine. Bake wedges for 20-30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until tender and golden.
  • While the potatoes are roasting, you can make the dressing: In a small bowl whisk together yogurt, dijon, honey and turmeric. Thin the dressing out with a few teaspoons of water so that you are able to drizzle it over the salad. Place in fridge until ready to use.
  • Once the sweet potato wedges are done baking, remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Add fresh arugula on top, along with cherries and almonds, then drizzle with dressing and serve immediately. Serves 2 (I made 4 servings) and makes a wonderful lunch or appetizer. Also great when served cold!
http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2017/05/roasted-sweet-potato-arugula-salad/