Grape-Nuts has been around forever, for almost 120 years! I’ve been eating it for decades and my parents grew up with it too – probably because their own moms and dads knew it was a great way to start the day.
While snacking on Post® Grape-Nuts right out of the box or pouring it in a bowl and covering with milk is hearty, filling and exactly the way my mother served it to me (with raisins on top as a bonus), sometimes a girl wants a little more decadent flavor in her day – like, errr, chocolate-covered cherries. Nothing wrong with that, even if being mindful of New Year’s resolutions. I’m sharing right here and now that my New Year’s resolution is to start each day with a delicious, chocolate-inspired breakfast and thanks to my nutrient-dense recipe for Overnight Chocolate Cherry Breakfast Pudding, I’m prepared for sweet success!
The care and feeding of house guests over the holidays can be stressful. As a clutter bug and mama of three messy boys, I can almost guarantee that you’ll never see the disaster that lies outside the frames of my blog and Instagram photos. But my in-person family and friends will, err, notice, so I’ll usually cancel a run or trip to the gym to get the house tidy — and that can feel like quite a workout in itself! And, while I love to cook, I’m used to feeding 4 or 5 at a time– not 15 people plus! Cooking bacon or sausage for an army in the morning is one of my pet peeves. It’s messy, time-consuming and I’m usually stuck in the kitchen and missing out on all the Christmas morning fun around the tree! To solve this breakfast prep problem, I came up with Sheet Pan Maple Beef Sausage – I was super excited to share it with my breakfast-obsessed friends at BeefLovingTexan.com It’s basically one HUGE sausage patty cooked all at once in the oven – no flipping, splattering or batch cooking. Plus, my always-starving teen boys and teen nephews can’t come by to “sample” it all away before serving time! When ready to serve, simply slice into bars or wedges, it couldn’t be any easier!
Everyone who eats my sheet pan sausage always raves and mentions how much better homemade sausage tastes – they are always pleasantly surprise to discover it’s made with lean beef – not fattier pork. The secret to making lean ground beef taste like breakfast sausage is all in the spices and flavorings. This beef sausage uses ingredients like paprika, cayenne and real maple syrup for a mildly spicy-sweet flavor.
So, should you feel guilty about indulging in this sausage for a holiday brunch or even “brinner”? NO! There are 24 servings per batch, with each piece containing approximately 100 calories and 12 grams of protein. In addition to protein, lean beef is also a great source of iron, zinc and other essential nutrients. For optimal protein intake (25 – 30 grams per meal) have a couple slices, or pair a slice with an egg scramble.
Prefer a breakfast sandwich? After sausage is cooked, use a biscuit cutter to make a round shape and use a halved buttermilk biscuit to bookend! The leftover bits from cutting circles can be crumbled up to use in soups, quesadillas, salads and more.
Do you have a traditional dish for breakfast or brunch? Are you a sausage or bacon person? Are you tidy or messy, a hoarder or minimalist when it comes to keeping house? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer
Sheet Pan Maple Beef Sausage
Feed your hungry holiday crowd a special breakfast or brunch -- this easy beef sausage bakes in the oven and is low mess, low stress and very delicious!
Place ground beef in large bowl and gently work in syrup with hands. In small bowl, toss together onion, garlic, sage, thyme, syrup, brown sugar, paprika, allspice, cayenne, salt and pepper. Sprinkle over beef and work spices in with hands, taking care not to over handle beef (creates toughness).
Line rimmed baking sheet (approx. size 13” x 18”) with foil and gently press in meat mixture to reach corner to corner, maintaining an even thickness.
Place pan on center rack of oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160F degrees with instant-read meat thermometer.
Carefully remove pan and drain off any excess liquid. Let rest for 5 minutes.
For wedges, cut into 12 equal-sized rectangles (3 columns, 4 rows) and then cut each rectangle on the diagonal. Or, use biscuit cutter to make rounds and then crumble up remnants for use later.or wedges, cut into 12 equal-sized rectangles (3 columns, 4 rows) and then cut each rectangle on the diagonal. Or, use biscuit cutter to make rounds and then crumble up remnants for use later.
Weekends are for waffles, especially around the holiday season! I “leggo” the typical waffle a long time ago, they are so carb heavy and the straight-up sugariness would always leave me with the hangries an hour or two later. But, not so with my Almond Protein Waffles with Dark Cherry Syrup when I pump up my waffles with a little protein powder, almonds and a little Greek yogurt on top, I get a morning meal that makes me feel fuller longer.
I’ve used a gluten-free flour blend to keep it friendly for those with intolerances and it’s also dairy-free if you choose not to dollop with Greek yogurt at the end. Depending on what type of preserves you choose at the store, the recipe can also be refined sugar free.
Feel free to make a double batch, let cool, and then stick in the freezer for a quick and easy breakfast later – they are so good sandwiched with nut butter in the middle (and convenient for car munching)!
My old-school, weary waffle maker is on it’s last legs and I’ve asked Santa to take me to the next-level of waffle making with the Smart Slice Waffle Iron from Breville. It has “Waffle IQ” — I need those smarts!
Also, please take a look-see at these other healthy waffle recipes that will start your morning off most magnificently – I have a sweet and a savory option for you! Why not make some for your holiday guests?!
Place gluten-free flour blend, protein powder, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl and whisk to combine.
In smaller bowl, whisk together legs, vanilla extract, butter and milk until frothy.
Stir wet mixture into dry mixture until combined; okay if a few lumps.
Using a 1/2-cup measuring cup, scoop mixture onto waffle maker. Spread evenly and close. Let cook for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.
To make syrup, add frozen cherries to medium sauce pot and pour in juice. Stir in cherry preserves and real maple syrup; bring to light boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat and let simmer until thickened and syrupy, approximately 20 minutes.
To serve, pour syrup over waffles and top with a dollop of greek yogurt and toasted almonds.
The holiday season is imminent and busy shoppers are filling their baskets with hams, birds and beef roasts to deck out dinner table. But, let’s not talk turkey, let’s talk eggs! With Thanksgiving, Christmas and all the other equally celebratory winter holidays that people hold near and dear, many of us will find ourselves hosting guests. And, in my experience, guests are always ready to eat from sun up to sun down. I’m happy to all my ravenous revelers, in fact I love cooking for company — I just don”t like to feel rushed in the morning.
My easy Artichoke and Blue Cheese Egg Bake comes to the rescue on so many levels – it’s simple to make, can be prepped the night before and kept in the fridge until next morning, can be make in individual servings or in one big family-style pan, and . . .most, it just tastes delicious!
Artichoke and Blue Cheese Egg Bake makes is a beautiful recipe for brunch or breakfast. Lovely for holiday entertaining.
Who wants a bland, boring breakfast when the flavors of blue cheese and artichokes are ready to add extra AMAZING to the day?! Also, there are tomatoes and a ton of spinach in this recipe, so it’s also kinda like eating a salad for breafast or brunch. This statement makes even more sense when I tell you that blue cheese dressing is one of the secret ingredients!
I actually posted this egg recipe in January 2104 after developing for Litehouse Foods using their award-wining Simply Artisan Reserve Blue Cheese Crumbles and OPA Blue Cheese Dressing (made with Greek yogurt). Because it has been so popular, I decided to refresh the photos — oh, and also it will be featured in an upcoming 2017 food calendar! Ooh, I wonder if it will be the centerfold — keep you posted!
This is the perfect breakfast to power up for all that upcoming Black Friday shopping or as a simple, light dinner when you come home from the shop-a-thon and need quality protein and healthy veggies for recovery.
What do you like to serve holiday house guests for breakfast? Are you running in a Turkey Trot this week? What has your best shopping deal been so far (I know it’s early) — please share in the comments, XOXO – Jennifer
Artichoke Blue Cheese Baked Eggs
Wake up to bold and beautiful baked eggs featuring artichokes, blue cheese, spinach and tomatoes. Easy to prep night before and then just stick in the oven.
Lightly spray 4 ramekins or small gratin dishes with baking spray. Coarsely chop spinach and divide evenly among dishes.
Drizzle even portions of blue cheese salad dressing over spinach and sprinkle with red onion.
Slice grape tomatoes in half and drain liquid from jar of artichoke hearts. Place tomatoes and artichokes around perimeter of dishes.
Gently crack 2 eggs over top of spinach mixture, taking care not to break yolk. Repeat for remaining 3 personal-sized baking dishes. Sprinkle tops with chives. This may also be made in a 8” to 9” round baking dish with all the ingredients for “family style.”
Place dishes on a rimmed baking sheet and place on center rack of oven. Back for approximately 20 minutes or until egg whites have set and yolk has achieved desired level of doneness.
Remove from oven and sprinkle tops with an even portion of blue cheese crumbles. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.
Pumpkin fans, you’re going to love these waffles a latte! They are crispy on the outside, soft and delicious on the inside with the comforting flavors of pumpkin, fall spices and coffee. Yup, coffee for that little extra morning kick — nothing like keeping the love for PSL strong! Gluten-free Pumpkin Spice Latte Waffles are a must-make for your next weekend brunch – heck, even throw a scoop of coffee ice cream on top for an amazing autumn-inspired dessert!
Made with gluten-free ingredients, nutrient-rich pumpkin, and coconut oil and coconut sugar (low glycemic impact), my waffles are so much healthier than those frozen store purchased alternatives – and really not that hard to prep. My recipe makes 12 huge, 4-square waffles (so 48 individual waffles), that can be stored in the freezer and popped in the toaster oven on those crazy mornings.
Mix together flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl.
In a second bowl, add eggs, sugar, pumpkin, coffee, milk, coconut oil and vanilla; beat well.
Gently fold in the flour-spice mixture to the moist mixture.
Cook according to your waffle iron directions, until a deep golden brown and crispy on the outside.
Serve with honey butter, maple syrup or your favorite toppings.
* You can make your own oat flour by putting old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats in a food processor or blender and pulsing until they are finely ground. Oats are gluten-free by nature, by if you have an allergy, make sure that you are buying certified gluten free oats that have been processed in a gluten-free facility.
Thank you Florastor® Daily Probiotics for sponsoring this post. Visit your local retailer to pick up your bottle of Florastor®Daily Probiotics to complement your active lifestyle
!Have you ever become all-out sick, or at a minimum felt like crap on a crumby cracker, a few days after finishing a physically or mentally intense event like a marathon or Ironman, huge work deadline or even hosting a mother-in-law (not mine, of course)? Falling under the weather after the black cloud of stress has lifted isn’t a coincidence; it’s an all-to-real occurrence that is referred to as the “Let Down Effect.”
Various studies have correlated the dissipation or “let down” of real or perceived stress with an increase in common colds, illnesses, flare-ups of chronic conditions like asthma, migraines, tummy trouble and other medical ailments. By now, you’ve heard that chronic stress can make you sick and eventually even kill you, but many are surprised to learn that getting sick after a high-stress event (and while perhaps feeling quite relaxed about life) is all too common. This “Let Down Effect’ happens, in simple terms, due to the weakened state our bodies are left in left in after “things get better” – we use a lot of energy and resources to function in high alert mode without a break
When stressed, physically or mentally, increased levels of cortisol, adrenaline and other hormones put your body in fight-or-flight mode and mask the perception of pain. We are cleverly designed like this to safely and quickly extract ourselves during the threat of danger, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, the immune system can be compromised, especially after prolonged periods of stress, and latent or chronic conditions can flare up.
In addition to these tolls of physical stress, the let down from emotional stress can cause many of the same problems. For example, dopamine (the pleasure and reward hormone) levels can drop, initiating possibly addictive behaviors like over eating, drinking and substance abuse as a person tries to subconsciously find relief.
So, how do you prevent or at least lessen your chances of falling victim to the “Let Down Effect”?
Sleep Well: Sleep deprivation compromises the immune system, so don’t pull all-nighters thinking you’ll come out ahead. Instead, do the best you can to get 7 to 8 hours a night by staying away from large late evening meals (including alcohol and caffeine), avoiding the blue light emitted from screens several hours before bed, taking a warm bath and using a diffuser to mist essential oils like lavender and chamomile.
Exercise Regularly: Moderate-intensity exercise done on a regular basis can keep your body from downshifting too quickly after a high stress event. If you don’t have time for an official jog or workout, try to include at least some extra walking or other movements in your day.
Decompress Frequently: If life is throwing too much your way, schedule non-negotiable “breaks” to relax whether it’s a 10 minute morning meditation, an entire hour devoted to yoga or even just 1 of minute of positive visualization every couple hours.
Nourish Your Immune System: Try vitamin C rich foods like oranges and grapefruit, vitamin E rich foods like sunflower seeds or spinach, zinc rich foods like beef and egg yolks. Probiotics can also help strengthen your digestive balance and support a healthy immune system.
So, speaking of nourishing the body to help allay stress and prevent illness, I’m sharing a couple things I’ve been doing lately to stay as well as I can. You may have read my post last month about a Sleep and Stress test I took recently – it revealed that my cortisol and cortisone levels are highly elevated throughout the entire day without ever falling to normal as they should. This is likely a result of everyday work/family stress magnified by my running and obstacle course training, and chronic lack of sleep — I’m working hard to resolve it.
So, one of the things I started doing was taking Florastor® Daily Probiotics in the morning and evening with my meals – it’s the best-selling probiotic worldwide and backed by 60 years of use and research. So far, I’ve been really happy with how this easy-to-take capsule is bringing my digestion into balance and helping me better maintain my immune function. Florastor® is the only probiotic brand with Saccharomyces boulardii lyo CNCM I-745 which helps restore your natural flora. Florastor® helps my body break down carbs and fiber and naturally absorb water and nutrients from the foods I eat, these are good things for me as I fluctuate from being bloated to dehydrate when under stress. I also appreciate that this product is vegetarian, gluten-free, contains non-GMO ingredients and can be stored at room temperature. While, thankfully, I rarely have taken antibiotics, Florastor® Daily Probiotics can help those that need to be on this medication maintain a healthy flora balance.
I also wanted to share this quick and easy breakfast recipe that is high in zinc – 60 Second 2-Egg & Beef Omelet. Yay, beef and whole eggs are both great sources of zinc, an essential mineral that keeps the immune system strong, helps heal wounds, and supports normal growth. My recipe is also high in protein, and you know I’m a stickler for getting approximately 25g of protein at breakfast – the eggs and beef are very satisfying for only 220 calories and keep me from tanking mid-morning. Plus, this microwave mug recipe takes less than 1 minute to prepare and around 60 seconds to cook, so there’s absolutely no stress in making breakfast on even the most frantic mornings!
Have you ever become sick after a period of physical or emotional stress? What do you do to boost your immunity or bounce back from a “tough time” healthy? Please share your comments and tips below – XOXO, Jennifer
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
60-Second 2-Egg & Beef Mug Omelet
Got a minute? Then you've got a healthy, balanced breakfast packed with protein thanks to this super speedy egg recipe that cooks up in 60 seconds.
I must say, I slayed yesterday’s tempo run and I think it was the dragon fruit smoothie I made for my afternoon snack. Just like the perfect run, where speed comes without too much suffering, can be elusive . . . so is the dragon fruit. You don’t see this beautiful tropical fruit very often, mainstream markets don’t usually carry them – so if you ever do see one, snatch it up! The Dragon Fruit, also known as a Pitaya, Strawberry Pear or Mood Flower, is the unusually striking fruit of a cactus – don’t worry, there are no thorns or stickers on it! There are different varieties – pink or yellow exterior and white or magenta interiors speckled with tiny edible seeds. Despite their showy appearance, the taste is quite mild, similar to a kiwi – I have found the yellow variety to be the sweetest.
Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit: First of all, like most fruits, dragon fruit is hydrating and provides healthy complex carbohydrates to fuel to body and brain. Dragon fruit is also surprisingly high in phytonutrients. Rich with beneficial antioxidants, this pretty (and pretty powerful fruit) a serving contains 10% Daily Value of vitamin C, polyunsaturated (good) fatty acids, a bit of protein, carotene, and several B vitamins that are essential for the optimal metabolism of carbohydrates.
I recently came into a huge windfall of dragon fruit from Frieda’s Produce, so I ate all I could simple by slicing open and digging out the flesh with a spoon! I’ve also sliced the fruit and put on my salads, in my yogurt and used in salsas. They keep for about a week in the fridge (wrap in plastic wrap to extend the life) and can also be cut up or pureed to freeze. Later this week, before I go into freezer storage mode, I’ll be making Dragon Fruit Chia Jam. Stay tuned for that!
Today, I’m sharing that smoothie I hinted at, the one that made me run fast – haha! My recipe for a Dragon Fruit Coconut Smoothie Bowl is a nourishing sweet treat that is a quick fix for breakfast, a pre or post workout snack or healthy dessert. It was almost too pretty to eat. Almost. If you can’t find the fruit fresh, I’ve noticed that many upscale grocery stores sell it in the frozen fruit section.
Dragon Fruit Coconut Smoothie Bowl
1 cup dragon fruit flesh (fresh or frozen)
12 ounces almondmilk/coconutmilk (the carton kind from refrigerated section like Blue Diamond)
1 tablespoon cacao nibs (I like the ones from NOW Foods)
Additional dragon fruit for garnish
To prepare, add dragon fruit, unsweetened coconut milk, and protein powder to blender. Process until smooth. Pulse in enough ice until desired consistency achieved. Pour into bowl (or tall glass) and top with shredded coconut, cacao nibs and additional dragon fruit if desired. Serves 1
Today I’m sharing a mouthwatering and marvelously moist (apologies haters of that word) cake that’s approved (by me) to eat along with your cuppa Joe at breakfast . . . or at lunch or dinner, for that matter. It’s a Plantain Lentil Coffee Cake! No, I’m not pulling your LEGume, but I did use legumes (that is, lentils from Farmer Direct Co-op) to keep my quick-to-fix cake tantalizing tender as well as boost up the nutrition.
This yummy, quick-to-fix cake is a healthy solution for those sweet breakfast or snack cravings. Free of high-gylcemic sugars and overly-refined flours and grains, this recipe relies on the wholesome goodness from plantains, lentils and a gluten-free baking mix. I used a one-to-one measure sugar replacement to keep the calories and carb count down – my go-to is Ellyndale Naturals™ Sugarless Sugar™ from NOW Foods. But, you can also swap in a different sweetener, like coconut sugar, if you prefer.
I use Farmer Direct Co-op as my source lentils, these little green gems are organic, non GMO and fair trade. In the past, I had a hard time thinking of uses for lentils past soups or stews . . . or keeping a jar of cooked lentils in the fridge to sprinkle on my salads. But then I had a light bulb moment –why not use pureed lentils (or beans) in recipes for baked goods to add moistness with less oil – plus more fiber and protein!
I knew my kids would be suspicious if I told them we were eating a cake made of plantains and lentils – so I didn’t say a word. When they gobbled it up and asked for more “banana bread,” I knew this recipe was a winner! While I have cooked it in a 10” pie dish, it also bakes up well in an 8” x 8” brownie pan or as 12 standard-sized muffins.
When it comes to being organic, farmer-owned and fair-deal, Farmer Direct Co-op is 100-percent all of the above and more. Their mission is to promote their co-op farmer’s organic products while building and promoting a healthy environment and socially just food system. When you purchase from Farmer Direct Co-op, you’re buying more than a pea, a lentil or a bean . . you’re buying into part of an evolution of eating aimed at truly nourishing the mind, body and soul.
Head on over to Farmer Direct Co-op to learn more about their awesome company and products like 1lb. shelf bags of Pinto Beans, French Green Lentils, Split Green Peas, Regular Rolled Oats and Quick Rolled Oats. STOCK UP YOUR PANTRY! They also have a nice collection of healthy recipes on their blog made with whole foods.