Chocolate-Banana Overnight Oats

First off, I’m super excited this morning because I found a way to make nice little graphics for the blog! I found Canva this morning and it is so easy to use! I’m sure normal people don’t get distracted from making breakfast by figuring out how to make pictures of food look pretty, but that’s ok. I know this graphic isn’t super fancy, but I’m pumped to be able to play around with Canva and create graphics for each post. Leave a comment here or on Facebook and let me know what you think!

The last week, I’ve been on a theme with breakfasty recipes, so I figured I’d finish that off this week before next week’s Local Food Week. These oats are awesome because they take five minutes of prep the night (or day) before and then you have breakfast ready to go in the morning! I made these last Saturday morning before going to work at a wedding and when I woke up late the next morning for a staff meeting, it was so handy to have breakfast already set! I ate mine cold, but you could heat them up if you want. Since we are moving into summer, it’s always nice to have a recipe that doesn’t actually involve any cooking or heat.

This recipe makes one serving.

Chocolate-Banana vernight Oats!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 medium ripe banana
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  1. In a jar, or another container that will be airtight, mash the banana and peanut butter together using a fork. Add the oats and mash to combine.
  2. Add the milk and to remove any clumps or chunks.
  3. Stir in the chia seeds, cocoa powder, and vanilla.
  4. Seal the jar or container and place in the fridge for at least 8 hours. Overnight oats can be left in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  5. Grab a spoon in the morning and chow down!

Fried Egg and Spinach Wrap

Since I’ve been on a theme lately with breakfasty-type foods that can (and should) be eaten for all meals, this wrap will fit in quite nicely. Pretty much, it consists of strange things in the fridge that needed to be used up. It’s the wrap equivalent of this salad. I know that since it’s the beginning of summer, everyone’s looking for more ways to include fresh veggies in their meals. Spinach should be starting to be in season in Ontario, depending on where you are, so this is also a great way to incorporate local produce! Fyi, next week is Local Food Week so this would be an awesome way to celebrate! This wrap is vegetarian, and could be made gluten free by using a gluten-free tortilla.

As always, if you like what I’m doing, you can like me on Facebook and I’d love if you shared this blog around!

This recipe makes one wrap.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large flour tortilla (ideally whole wheat, but I only had white on hand)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup spinach, with the stems removed
  • 1/3 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 tbsp light goat cheese
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp capers, roughly chopped
  1. Spread the cheese in the middle of the tortilla. Top with the onion, capers, spinach, and tomatoes.
  2. Fry your egg however you would like it (I just quickly scrambled the yolk halfway through and cooked it thoroughly but you could leave it runny).
  3. Top the wrap with the egg and roll up like a burrito.

Green Tea Smoothie Bowl

After making my last smoothie bowl, I was really excited about the combinations of smoothies and toppings you could make. With smoothies alone, the possibilities are endless but being able to top them and make awesome little breakfast sundaes is just so much fun. This smoothie uses green tea instead of milk, to the creaminess comes from the yogurt and frozen banana. This makes a great breakfast as we head into summer because it’s nice and cool and doesn’t involve heating up the house at all. To make cold green tea ahead of time, place two green tea bags in a large, heat proof pitcher. Add 1L (4 cups) of boiling water and let cool almost to room temperature. Add 1L of cold water and top with ice, and place in the fridge. Let it steep for several hours, or overnight if you like stronger tea. As always, if you like what I’m doing, share it around! This recipe makes one smoothie bowl. 100_2791 Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana, peeled, broken into 2-3 pieces
  • 1/4 cup strawberries (frozen, thawed, fresh, whatever you’ve got)
  • 1/4 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1/3 cup fresh spinach, stems removed
  • 3/4 cup cold green tea
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp walnut pieces
  1. In a blender, combine the banana, strawberries, yogurt, spinach, and tea.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into a medium-sized cereal bowl and top with chia seeds and walnuts.

Spicy Chicken-Veggie Stir Fry

Stir-fry is probably one of the easiest and most versatile things to make. You can use fresh veggies, frozen veggies, leftover veggies, and whatever kind of meat or tofu you have kicking around. But so often perfectly lovely stir-fries get smothered to death by sticky red bottled sauces full of sugar. This stir-fry does not use any teriyaki sauce or honey garlic sauce. It does, however, use honey and garlic, so the flavour is there, it’s just less sticky. I’ve been making carrot ribbons with a vegetable peeler in a few dishes lately and the texture you can get with it is awesome. The carrots cook up much faster this way. You could also try the carrot ribbons in a salad to mix things up!

As we move into summer, I’m hoping to be doing more no-heat recipes, or recipes using the BBQ, so stay tuned for those. I already have plans for foil-wrapped asparagus, done on the grill, as well as a grilled watermelon salad, so keep checking back!

This recipe makes 4 servings.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large chicken breast
  • 1 head broccoli (roughly 2-3 cups when chopped, stems and florets together)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Once it’s heated through, add the garlic and cook until garlic is soft and smells great.
  2. Cut the chicken into small, bite-sized pieces and add to the skillet. Stir as needed to cook thoroughly.
  3. Cut the entire head of broccoli (stem included) into bite-sized pieces. Once the chicken is no longer pink, add the broccoli to the skillet and let cook for 5-10 minutes, or until it is tender. This will depend on how thick the pieces are.
  4. Grate the carrots into ribbons using a vegetable peeler. Add to the skillet and stir to combine veggies and chicken. Let cook for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the honey and soy sauce to the skillet and stir to coat everything. Add the chili powder, powdered ginger, and cumin and stir thoroughly again.
  6. Serve with rice or rice noodles!

Spinach-Apple Omelette

Nobody panic, but I’m going to put fruit in an omelette. I know this sounds a little out of the box, but for the past couple years, I’ve been making omelettes as a catch-all for whatever odds and ends were left on my shelf in the fridge and no matter what, they end up at least edible. But this one is more than edible, it is actually really really good. In case you haven’t noticed from this frittata, this bowl of barley, or this egg bake, I’m a big fan of eggs, since they’re a relatively cheap protein and because they can go with anything! Adding spinach to your omelette  also increases the amount of protein and iron you’re going to get with your breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Omelettes are a multi-purpose dish. I took a Sensory Evaluation of Food course last semester and our prof kept asking who would have specific foods at different times of day. I was that one weirdo who would have any type of food for any meal. Eggs for dinner? Done. Fried rice for breakfast? Sure! The point is, eat whatever you want at whatever time you want to eat it.

For the apples, pick a medium-sweet variety. McIntosh works well. Anything too sour won’t taste right with the eggs and spinach. The apples also need to be sliced really thinly so they soften up in the pan.

This recipe makes one omelette.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 small-to-medium apple
  • 1 tsp butter or margarine
  • 1 cup shredded fresh spinach
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp skim milk
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Cut the apple into eighths and discard the core. Slice these eighths very thinly (short ways, not long strips)
  2. In a medium frying pan, heat the butter on medium heat. Add the apple pieces and cook until they start to turn translucent and are softening, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the spinach and cook until spinach wilts.
  4. Meanwhile, crack and beat the eggs in a small bowl with the milk.
  5. Once the spinach has wilted, make sure the spinach and apples are distributed evenly throughout the frying pan. Pour the egg mixture over top of the apples and spinach.
  6. Let the eggs set. Gently pull the omelette away from the edge of the pan during cooking to let un-cooked egg cook.
  7. Once the eggs have almost completely set, spread the shredded cheese over the entire omelette.
  8. Once the eggs are cooked and the cheese is melted, use a large flipper to gently fold the omelette in half. Then gently slide the omelette out of the pan and onto a plate. If it ends up being a big mess, that’s ok, it will taste amazing just the same.

Veggie Rotini in Rose Sauce

After being a student for the last four years, pasta has been a huge staple in my life, and I know I’m not alone here. If you don’t believe me, I know that there were nights in the last two years where every single one of my roommates cooked pasta. While pasta might get a bad rap because of it’s carb content and starch, whole wheat pasta will give you more fibre than white pasta, and contains protein, iron, and magnesium. Since a Food Guide serving of cooked pasta is only half a cup, it’s really easy to go overboard. With this recipe, we’ll be bulking up regular whole wheat pasta with carrots and broccoli so that you get a nice big serving of vegetables in with your comfort food. For the canned crushed tomatoes, choose a can that is just tomatoes with nothing else added. For the alfredo sauce, try to look for low-sodium version without too much fat.

This recipe makes 4 servings

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dry whole wheat rotini pasta
  • 2.5 cups of broccoli (florets and stems) roughly chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large carrot, peeled
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomaroes
  • 1 cup alfredo sauce
  • 1 tsp dried onion
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • dash each of salt and pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add chopped broccoli to the pot. Cook for another 2-4 minutes, or until broccoli is slightly tender and pasta is cooked al dente. Drain pasta and broccoli.
  3. Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Add minced garlic to the pan and cook until fragrant.
  4. Use a vegetable peeler to create long, thin strips of carrot. Add these to the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the carrots start to get soft.
  5. Add the crushed tomatoes, alfredo sauce, dried onion, paprika, and basil.
  6. Once the sauce and carrots are heated through, add the pasta and broccoli to the skillet. Stir to combine so everything is evenly coated in sauce.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Blueberry-Blackberry Smoothie Bowl

If you spend any time on Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest and like as many food-related pages as I do, I’m sure you’ve seen smoothie bowls floating around. I was kinda confused by them until I made my own. I like that smoothies are portable and easy to carry around but for a bowl of smoothie, you actually have to sit down and eat. However, eating a smoothie topped with all kinds of goodies is pretty much the breakfast equivalent of eating a sundae. Maybe instead of a smoothie bowl, we should call them breakfast sundaes. I’ve come up with a few other combinations for these that I want to try so stay tuned!

This recipe makes one large smoothie bowl.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 banana (I use frozen for a thicker smoothie and to use up bananas, but fresh works too!)
  • 1/4 cup blueberry-blackberry probiotic yogurt
  • 3/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2/3 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup fresh blackberries
  • 2 tbsp whole unsalted almonds
  • 1 tbsp unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries
  1. Break the banana into 2 or 3 pieces and place in the blender. Add the yogurt, frozen blueberries, and skim milk.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour the smoothie into a medium-sized cereal bowl. Use a rubber spatula to get all the good stuff from the sides and bottom of the blender.
  4. Top your bowl with the fresh blackberries, almonds, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries.

Spicy Roast Squash

Ok, I swear this will be the last wintery recipe before spring! Roast squash is great though, because you can make one big pan of it and then eat it combined with a bunch of stuff for the next day or so. It’s an easy veggie to up your fruit and vegetable intake and goes with almost any type of protein or carbs.

Also, I’m working on improving my food photography skills. I’ve had a couple great people I’ve been able to ask questions to and then did a bunch of Google searches and I think it’s getting better! I’m amazed by the number of resources that are out there about food blogging and photography! Food Bloggers of Canada especially has so many ideas and articles written by people who know there stuff that have definitely helped me out! Now if anyone knows of any free Photoshop-esque programs that would let me edit and add text to my pictures, give me a shout!

This recipe makes 6 1-cup servings.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash (should yield 6 cups when peeled and diced)
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • pinch of salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Peel and dice the squash. Make sure to scrape out all the gunk and seeds from the inside. Diced pieces should be bite sized.
  3. Place the diced squash in a large bowl. Add the chili powder, thyme, cumin, and salt. Toss to coat evenly.
  4. Put the squash on a non-stick baking sheet (or a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray).
  5. Bake squash for 25 minutes or until the squash is soft and can be easily pierced by a fork.

Garlic Herb Chicken Thighs

So first, off, I would like to thank all the lovely people who have managed to give my Facebook page 110 likes! Considering the day I made the page, I was terrified of what everyone would have to say, I’ve received such awesome feedback and constructive ideas to improve. And now there are people who like the page who I don’t actually even know personally! That completely made my day!

And now on to some chicken thighs.

Buying chicken is always a dilemma for me. I know that boneless, skinless chicken breasts are the leanest. But they’re expensive! At No Frills, sometimes you can find big bags of chicken breasts for $10, but otherwise it gets a little ridiculous. On the other hand, quarter chickens (skin and bones included), breasts with the bones still in, and chicken thighs are less expensive. But these tend to be higher in fat, since they have the skin attached, and thighs just tend to be a fattier cut of meat. So I just try to alternate and hope that they balance each other out. Chicken thighs are super easy to bake in the oven, but tend to get really greasy. Make sure you’re using a RIMMED baking sheet. Otherwise the grease will come out and end up all over the oven and create lots of smoke. Trust me, I’ve been there. I’ve had to improve my vertical jump to reach a smoke detector.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 kg chicken thighs (6-8 thighs)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried or fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried or fresh sage
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Lay the thighs out on a RIMMED baking sheet.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, parsley, thyme, and sage. Stir until everything is mixed completely.
  4. Top each thigh with the garlic-herb mixture evenly.
  5. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the chicken juices run clear.