Tag Archives: Recipes

A toast to toast: 3 of my favorite ways to eat toast

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“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

winnie & piglet

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”

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Many of us get into a routine of eating the same things over and over again. At times this can be good – like when we are pinched for time and need a go-to no-fail meal. I know I certainly could do for some more routine in my eating regimen. But I, like Pooh, get quite excited by meals, especially breakfasts. So that means I like to switch things up every now and again.

Recently toast has been a quick, easy, and economical breakfast for me. And, not to mention tasty, nutritious, and hunger-satisfying.  The trick to make toast a fulfilling meal is by adding an ingredient that brings fat and protein to the table. Without fat and protein in the meal, toast is just carbs and sugar, which we know will not suffice for the ol’ body, mind, and spirit.

Here are 3 of my favorite ways to enjoy toast.

The-Laughing-Cow-Cheese-Spread1)  Toast + Laughing Cow Original Swiss Cheese (1 wedge) + whatever jelly/jam I’m digging at the moment (could be pepper jelly, apricot, ligonberry, the list goes on). I was introduced to this cheese from my dear friend Irene. I like the taste, the ease of the spread, and the portion controllable packages. The cheese adds protein and fat to the meal, which is great, and who doesn’t like cheese?
butter-coconut-crunchy

2) Toast + Earth Balance Crunchy Coconut and Peanut Spread + fruit slices (apple/banana). I was given a taste test of this delightful spread when I was walking in the Linden Hills Co-op on a yoga teacher training Sunday afternoon. Since my first bite I have not found a happier, nutty spread. In addition to putting it on toast I like to eat it as a snack with fruit or veggies. This spread adds balance with its healthy fats and protein. If I feel like spoiling myself, I admit I do sometimes add a little Nutella or some dark chocolate chips to the mix. Obviously, this would not be the healthiest version, but it is definitely a good option if you are in the treating yourself kind of mood 🙂 

3) Toast + Salmon Spread + Egg (hard-boiled, sliced). I came up with this creation a few days ago. I had to pick up my husband from the airport last Tuesday, so I figured I’d make a pit stop at my favorite co-op, Mississippi Market. While there, I decided to try out their smoked salmon spread. We always keep hard-boiled eggs on hand for quick and easy snacks, so come the next morning, I decided to slice one up and put it on top of the salmon spread to see how it tasted. Turns out it’s my favorite new way to eat toast. YUM!

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Honorable mention: It would be unfair for me to go without mentioning avocado in this post. Toast1/2 of an avocado + seasonings (a little sea salt, thyme, pepper) – or an egg if I’m really hungry, is another way I like to enjoy toast.  Because I do normally like to add a fried egg (because I am normally hungry), I would not consider this as quick of a breakfast option, but it is quite delicious!

* * *

What do you eat for breakfast? What’s your go-to meal? How do you like to eat toast?

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Cauliflower Rice

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If you are friends with me on Facebook you may have seen me mention that my husband and I were considering a reopening of our old cooking blog. However, with a little more thought, we decided that now is not the time. 2014 is sounding like a good year to readdress the possibility. For the time being, I plan to share our cooking experiments on Mandala Reflections 🙂

Truthfully, a lot has been cooking around here, both figuratively and literally. More to come on the figuratively. Today I want to mention something that is cooking literally at our home – Cauliflower Rice. Have you heard of it before? It’s sort of like it sounds, cauliflower that is ground up in a way that resembles rice. For health nuts it serves as a substitute for rice.  However, don’t be fooled – it is not an exact substitute for rice. It only mimics rice in that it acts as a filler and absorbs sauces and flavors well.  If you plan to test it out a prerequisite to enjoying cauliflower rice is liking cauliflower in general. Maybe that’s a no-brainer, but I just want to put it out there, so nobody is surprised.

Below is the basic recipe Jay came up with:

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized cauliflower
  • 1/4 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced 
  • 1 TSBP cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • sea salt + any other spices/sauces to taste
  • + shrimp, chicken, veggies, tofu, cheese, etc. (basically whatever you like to eat with rice)

Directions:

1) Chop cauliflower into florets.

2) Place florets into food processor or super nice blender, grind up to small rice-sized pieces.

3) In a large saucepan on medium heat, add a TSBP of your favorite cooking oil (we use coconut oil), then add garlic and onions,  and let them sweat until the onions become translucent (about 3 min).

4) Add cauliflower rice to large saucepan, stir to combine and heat.

5) Add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 chicken stock to the mix, cover, stir occasionally.

6) Remove from heat once cauliflower absorbs the liquid and reaches a tenderness you enjoy (it’s like pasta – you can make it as soft or al dente as you like).

7) Add whatever it is you like to eat with rice to the mix and you’re good to go!

Here is our first rendition:

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You may be wondering to yourself, why the heck one would want to replace rice? I know where you’re coming from as rice is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. The reason why our family decided to try it had a lot to do with our wish to reduce and regulate sugar in our diet. We heard of cauliflower rice as an alternative to the carb- and sugar- loaded white rice. So one night Jay made a cajun-y shrimp dish with this healthy substitute (pictured above). Our only complaint was that it needed some salt. Other than that, we both enjoyed the dish, and we even shared it with a friend who liked it enough to ask us for the recipe.

That means we are three for three on likes. What’s your take on it? Have a go-to recipe or method? There are many variations. I encourage you to find a recipe that intrigues you and report back if you’re in the sharing mood!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!

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If you grew up in the 90s chances are you or a friend of yours had a chia pet – you know,  those terracotta figurines that grew sprouts on their bodies (with your special tending) to represent “hair/fur.”

Check out the commercial below if you aren’t sure what I’m talking about or if you just want to hear the ch-ch-ch-chia song (because you are feeling nostalgic or weird or both).

Well this post isn’t really so much about chia pets, but I wanted to give the proper shout out to when I was first introduced to chia back when I was a kid. Chia pets were apparently a big deal to me as I recall receiving many as gifts, even one when I went away to college – my friend Beth gave me one in the shape of a professor’s head. The natural choice for a going away present, right? Love it.

Chia professor

Fast forward 10 years later, and my relationship to chia seeds has changed a lot. Nowadays, I use chia seeds as a health supplement. I put them in my baked goods, smoothies, and lately I’ve been enjoying Chia Fresca, a lemony drink. I like it as a quick way to get the benefits of chia in my diet and to also get a boost of energy. It’s a win-win and a nice change-up from wintry foods and drinks.

My standard recipe includes:

  •  2 cups of lemon/fruit/veggie water (regular mason jar with a cap so you can shake it up)
  • juice of a whole lime/lemon/grapefruit
  • 1.5 TBSPs of chia seeds (to soak in water for at least 10 minutes)
  • 5 drops of Sweet Leaf (liquid stevia)’s Sweet Drops Sweetener in the Lemon Drop flavor
chiafresca-ohsheglows

Photo credit courtesy of ohsheglows.com

Fun facts about chia:

  • Chia seeds are hydrophilic, meaning they love water/liquids and can absorb up to 12 times their body weight in water.
  • Records indicate chia seeds were used as a food source as far back as 3500 B.C.
  • They come from the plant Salvia hispanica from Central and South America.
  • Aztecs used it for joint pain and sore skin.
  • At one point Mayans used it as a currency.
  • Can be used as an egg substitute: Add 2 TBSP water to 1 TBSP chia seeds to form a gel.
  • They are gluten and grain-free!

Health benefits:

  • Chia seeds are 30% fat and have more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other plant food, including flax seeds.
  • They are made of about 20% protein – that is more protein dense than tofu, whey protein, or eggs.
  • They are also high in fiber and calcium – 100 grams of chia seeds provide over 60% of your daily calcium requirement.
  • They are high in antioxidants.

Brand of chia I use: My favorite brand of chia seeds are Spectrum Chia Seeds, although to be quite frank, those are the only kind of chia seeds I have tried. So you chia veterans out there speak up and share your favorites! Some people do not believe that all chia seeds are made the same, so be sure you talk to someone you trust about the quality of the seeds you buy. Make it work for you. 

How to use chia:

Chia can be put into almost anything so be creative and try some of your favorite recipes with the seeds. For best results, use them in gel or liquid form as they are more easily absorbed in the body that way. However, you can still use them as dry ingredients (like granola bars) and still reap benefits.

WARNING: To be technical, the chia seeds used in the chia pet are not the same as the chia seeds alternative health people RAVE about. They are in the same plant family but that’s it. I repeat, do not go into your closet, dig up your unopened chia pet and try to eat the seeds 😉 If you want to check them out, go to a health foods store or coop or maybe even your local grocer. Call ahead to see if they have any in stock. I guarantee you will be much happier with your results 🙂