Tag Archives: Breakfast

I’m Dealing With Some Stuff

Readers, I am quickly learning the value of a good schedule. When the quarter ended, I had three weeks before my new job started. Three weeks when my daily life looked a bit like this:

8:30AM–Wake up. Sort of
9:00AM–Realize that I had not actually woken up. Panic and start yelling at Mike to get out of bed and get ready for work.
9:15AM–Make Olive and Mike some breakfast.
9:20AM–Convince Olive that YES, her hair does need brushing.
9:30AM–Realize I have not packed Mike a lunch. Panic and promise myself to pack his lunch tonight before bed. (I won’t remember).
9:40AM–Throw Mike out of the house with a baggie of veggies, a piece of fruit, and a leftover I’m pretty sure he’s only been eating the past few days to make me happy. Kiss him goodbye and thank my lucky stars he’s polite enough to at least try to eat it.
9:45AM–Realize that he’s probably been getting subway every day, since the leftover comes back mostly untouched. Become filled with rage. Resolve to punish Mike for this later (I won’t remember).
10 AM–Eat WHATEVER I WANT FOR BREAKFAST. Usually this is a delicious fruit and veggie filled smoothie I made during my panic to get Mike out of the house, with a piece of toast. I then savor at least one cup of coffee.
10:30-11:30AM–unspecified internet time. I tell Olive I’m doing important work. Important work often includes reddit. Hey, I gotta keep the routine.
11:30-12:30PM–Gardening/miscellaneous chores/whatever I feel like doing. Sometimes that means laundry, cleaning the bedrooms, or weeding. Sometimes it means Olive and I get fancy and have a tea party, leaving the dusting for another, unspecified occasion. Sometimes this means I take a shower and think about things I could potentially do. Sometimes I have another coffee and doodle for a little while. It’s a very productive time.
12:30-1:00PM–COOK AND EAT WHATEVER I WANT FOR LUNCH. Remember I am lazy and opt for PB&J again. Yum.
1:00–3:15PM–Remember that I’m an adult and am supposed to do things. Freak out, clean the kitchen, clean myself if I haven’t already, and try really, really hard to remember if there was something I was supposed to do. I completely forget until Mike gets home.
3:15PM–Mike gets home and I remember that I was supposed to go to the grocery store. Hey Mike, wanna go to the grocery store?
3:15-5:00PM–Miscellaneous Mike’s home stuff.
5:00-6:00PM–Dinnertime stuff. We eat whatever I want to cook. It is glorious.
6:00-8:00PM–More miscellaneous stuff. We often sit around talking about what we want to do. This sucks up most of the actual free time. Usually, we let Olive play outside for a bit or run errands. What am I saying? Usually, I forgot that I Was supposed to do something, uproot everyone from what they were doing, and go do the other thing instead. This is also a very important part of the routine.
8:00-8:30PM–Olive’s bedtime. This often involves stories, songs, and pleas for more goodnight kisses. I can not stress the importance of routine enough, people.
8:30-10:00PM–I drive to the gym and get in a decent workout. Sometimes. Other times this part of my day involves me bargaining with myself to go tomorrow instead. This time can also be facebook time, movie time, or eating vegan ice cream from the pint time. It’s pretty versatile.
10:30PM–I start to get sleepy.
11:00PM–Convince myself that I’m not tired. Whine to Mike that I still have to do the dishes. Do the dishes with Mike, and then whine that I’m tired some more.
11:30PM–Tearfully apologize to Mike for whining so much.
11:35PM–Wait, wasn’t I mad at Mike about something earlier?
11:45PM–Pass out, if I haven’t already. Remember as I’m falling asleep that I had intended to read/sew/write a letter/call someone. Tell myself I’ll do it tomorrow.

Repeat.

Readers, I was bored. Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored. That’s why I had scheduled so much “miscellaneous” time. I mean, I could have come up with something constructive to do, and eventually I tried to a little bit, but when you’re broke, burnt out from school, and completely unfocused, it’s nearly impossible.

Anyway, a few weeks of this went by and before I knew it, I was employed again, and my schedule starting looking like this:

6:00-6:30AM–Hit snooze button every ten minutes. Bargain with alarm clock to turn back time a little. I know it can do it and is just keeping the technology from me. Please?
6:30AM–Give up on the alarm clock. Wake up, get dressed, and pack gym bag.
7:30AM–Commute to gym.
8:15-9:30AM–Gym/shower/get dressed for the day.
10:00AM-4:00PM–SPREADSHEETS.
4:00PM-5:00PM–Commute home.
5:00-6:00PM–Hug family, cook dinner, thank god I am not staring at a computer screen.
6:00-6:30PM–Eat dinner, tell Olive that yes, she does need Mike’s help brushing her hair tomorrow morning, and no, I don’t think I’ll be able to teach him french braids.
6:30-8:30PM–Family time. This still occasionally involves panicked errands. Old habits are hard to break.
8:30-9:00PM–Olive’s bedtime routine. It hasn’t actually changed, it’s just a bit later.
9:00-10:00PM–Dishes and lunch packing for tomorrow. This includes me, Mike, and three days a week, Olive. Yes, I do pack them little notes. I have yet to find a note in my lunch bag, though. I resolve to give Mike what for about that later (I won’t remember).
10:00PM–Insist that I’m totally down for watching a movie or playing a game with Mike, as soon as I’m done with my blog/reddit/facebook/stalking Edward Norton.
10:30PM–“Actually, can we watch it upstairs, instead? I’m kind of tired.”
11:00PM–“No…no…I’m…I’m awake. I swear.”
11:05PM–/transmission

Now, you may have noticed that a large chunk of my day once devoted to panicking, using the internet, and whining, are gone. They are now completely devoted to spreadsheets. So. Many. Spreadsheets. This has caused me to organize things a little better in order to manage things, and to appreciate my evenings with my family. As a result, I go to the gym before they’re even out of bed (the lazy jerks) and eat my breakfast afterwards. This means that my delicious breakfast smoothie and toast are a no-go. The smoothie doesn’t pack well guys; please accept this as a fact and do not go through the process of learning this heartbreaking lesson for yourself.

I had a few go to foods initially. Sometimes this would be a cup of cheerios, some nuts, and a piece of fruit. A few times I packed a peanut butter sandwich with fruit. These are all fine and dandy, but lets face it, when you’re used to waking up and having your only dietary limit being what’s in your kitchen, they’re just plain boring. I needed something awesome and quick that would pack well and give me the nutrients I needed after a really hard workout.

Yogurt Oats
1 cup plain non dairy yogurt (omnivores and lacto–ovos, get what ever you’d like, but please check the ingredient list for gross stuff.)
1 cup of fruit (Any and all are fine.)
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
A handful of nuts (optional)
maple syrup, honey, or jam to taste

Ok guys, do you have a thermos? No? Go get a small one, they’re $2 at Walmart or target and infinitely useful. Mine even has it’s own little spoon hidden under the cap. So convenient! Anyway, to pack this, you’ll need a thermos, and I recommend putting it in your freezer for about ten minutes beforehand to get it cold.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Please pretend that the froggy ice pack you see in my freezer is Olive’s and not mine. Or accept that adorable cartoon frogs are a very adult way to keep your lunch cold. Whichever.

To sweeten the plain yogurt, I usually use about a teaspoon of maple syrup. I was in the mood for berries this time though, so I added a tablespoon of my favorite jam.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Add the yogurt.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Yeah, you could buy flavored yogurt, but the big tub is cheaper, and do you really want to commit to one flavor for an entire week? I don’t. Besides, I like being able to control the amount of sugar and omit sweeteners. Aspartame for breakfast? Or ever? No thank you!

Add the fruit, oats, and nuts if you want them. I lift weights at the gym, so I like to get a teensy bit of extra protein. Besides, I’m also a big fan of healthy fats, and it’s not like I can get to a fridge to spread avocado on a piece of toast anymore.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

You can’t see it, but I added both berries, and a banana. Mix and match whatever you want. I have my suspicions that raisins and apples would be pretty awesome in this, too.

Mix it up, and let it hang out for a little while. If you’re making this at home, just put your bowl in the fridge and eat it an hour or two later. If you’re on the go, keep it in your thermos, and when you get to eat it after your workout, it will be delicious!

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Letting the oats soak in the yogurt makes them very chewy. Some of you may have had muesli the traditional way by soaking it in milk overnight. This is kind of like that, but with yogurt and less nuts. It’s porridgy, and really filling.

Now, I’m not saying it’s best to eat your breakfast at your desk. I love sitting down with my family for as many meals as possible, including lunch and breakfast. Still, if I worked out at night, Mike wouldn’t see me, and if I worked out in the evening, Olive would start to miss me. This way, I get my day off to a great start and they get more time with me. If you have to pack your breakfast, this is an awesome way to get something that is tasty and healthy without spending your hard earned paycheck on something sub par. Everyone wins!

Plus, now I don’t have to deal with those two monsters in the morning. Of course, that has nothing to do with why I leave the house so early.

…I lied, it’s a huge a perk.

I mean it. They’re horrible. Remember the three bears?

Still, they’re my bears. And those bears are far, far away.

Eat something good today, readers!

Advertisements

Money Saving Monday–Stay AWAY From the McDonalds Breakfast Menu!!!

Don’t do it readers! I mean it, stop, just stop! Back out of the drive-thru, go home, and eat a real breakfast. I’m not even kidding, stay away from there.

I have a myriad of reasons to tell you not to pick up breakfast on the way to work–donuts, hash browns, breakfast sandwiches and overpriced, overheated coffee (serious McDonalds, my tongue is on FIRE) being among them. Mostly, though? I want you to eat something better and save yourself a couple of bucks.

Fast food restaurants have these clever things called value menus, or dollar menus. Aren’t they smart? They make a semi addictive substance for you at a bargain in the hopes that you’ll buy more of it. If cigarette companies were allowed to do this without being taxed to high heaven, I would probably still be smoking. What you’re getting at your local McD’s though, is tax free…”food.” You can buy as much as you want, they can pocket the entire profit, and you get to feel sick and lethargic all day.

Hooray!

Guys, I have something better and quicker for you, so long as you’re willing to do a little preparation earlier in the week.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

I did not invent the tofu frittata. This is a thing vegetarian and vegan cooks have always made, and you can probably find other recipes for it all over the internet. I’m going to go ahead and tell you that this one is my favorite.

Why? Well, first off, you can pronounce all the ingredients. Go ahead, see what’s in a sausage biscuit with “cheese.” I’ll wait.

Disgusted? you ought to be.

Second, while I’m not a huge proponent of calorie counting, they are a whopping 48 calories a pop. Eat two. Seriously, you should probably eat two with some fruit and a piece of toast (mine was devoured while these were cooking). Besides, what these guys lack in calories, they make up in everything else. These are protein-alicious, so they will keep you full longer, and just one has 29% of your daily vitamin C, 16% vitamin A, 7% of your iron, and is a good source of apparently everything. Try using a nutritional analyzer on this recipe and you will be amazed. Eat two. Heck, eat three. You’re doing nothing but good.

Finally, these guys are pretty cheap in the long run. Sure, they require some fresh veggies, but buying good veggies this time of year is a snap. Give me a month and I’ll have most of the vegetable components coming straight from my garden. Plus, it contains my good friend tofu, which I’m sure you remember from this post. Some people will undoubtedly tell me that while tofu is cheap (less than three dollars for this particular block and cheaper at some stores), you can sometimes get eggs for less than a dollar. While I would love to explain that those eggs are probably gross (they are), instead, I’m going to counter practically: Yes, a dozen eggs may be cheaper than a block of tofu. However, to make the same amount of frittatas you will probably need the entire dozen, possibly more. If you’re trying to cut out the cholesterol by using egg whites, it will end up costing you even more. And if you’re using quality eggs that you know the source of? Trust me. It’s not cheap.

Besides, these keep you from making that dreaded stop through the drive-thru, which is rife with impulse buys and super hot, overpriced coffee (please, McD’s, just a couple ice cubes or something next time?).

Make these. They’ll keep in the fridge for a few days, are good cold or heated up, are good smooshed between toast, and are healthy. Enjoy!

Tofu Frittatas
Makes 12
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 Zucchini
1 Bell Pepper
1 BIG Handful of Spinach (or 1-2 cups)
1 14 oz block of soft tofu
1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast (don’t remember this ingredient? Read this.)
2 tbs Unsweetened Almond Milk
2 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Chilli Powder
1-2 tsp Braggs or Soy Sauce
1 dash liquid smoke
pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Chop the veggies while you wait.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Throw everything but the spinach in with the oil and saute till soft.

While those are sauteing, remove the tofu from its packaging and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. That’s right, no pressing required! Then crumble it into a bowl.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Using an electric hand mixer, blend the tofu with the spices, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, liquid smoke, and almond milk until smooth…ish. It won’t be perfect, and that doesn’t matter.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

At this point, the veggies should be soft, so throw the spinach in with them and saute until wilted. This shouldn’t take more than a minute or two.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Then add the veggies to the tofu mixture and mix by hand until everything is combined fairly evenly. I forgot to take a picture of it, but it’s not exactly rocket science, so you should have a handle on it. 🙂

Pour these into a very lightly greased muffin pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until they are set and the tops are a golden brown.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Let these cool before you remove them. They are hot and a bit crumbly initially. That’s what makes them so wonderful though. They taste quite a bit like scrambled eggs and are easy enough to make a sandwich out of. They have some moisture, which is necessary because dry, crumbly tofu is…well, gross. All in all, these are pretty awesome.

They keep well in the fridge, and just pop them in the microwave the next day, slap them on some toast, and you’re ready for a health filled, wonderful day.

Besides, how many times have I told you to eat your veggies for breakfast? (Answer: Once, actually.) With these, you will be a crunchy rock star, and your greased out, sugared up coworkers/classmates/children will be jealous of your increased productivity. Yay!

Happy Monday, readers!

Eat More Veggies, and Start With Breakfast

Readers, today I incited a teensy, weensy bit of controversy on another food blogger’s comment list. It seems that while we both agree that everyone needs to eat more vegetables, some key differences–health vs. weight focus, whether or not it’s ok to cater to someone with a low carb diet, etc –occurred. She handled my comment very diplomatically, and the only person who flamed me for my criticism was a complete and utter moron who apparently couldn’t bother reading what I actually said. As far as controversy went, this was pretty tame.

I’m not one to let internet mayhem (or morons) get me down, so I’m going to focus on the one thing I and every other health blogger believes–vegetables are wonderful! They are full of vitamins and other nutrients, including beautiful, beautiful fiber, one of the keys to staying full after a meal. Vegetables are incredibly nutrient dense and are rock stars of the food world.

The problem? While it’s easy to munch on some carrots and celery for lunch and a big ol’ plate of roasted broccoli for dinner, breakfast, a time when you could use that filling fiber and wonderful vitamins the most, is typically pretty light on the vegetables. Yes, most people have a bit of fruit for breakfast–a wonderful habit to be in because fruit is also a rock star in the food world–but vegetables are kind of a no go for most folks.

I have two go to solutions for this problem, depending entirely on whether or not Olive is home. The first is to shovel some leafy greens into my smoothies. A cup of kale or spinach will blend into a smoothie beautifully and is entirely tasteless. Olive will guzzle them down with the fervor of a child who doesn’t know icky green vegetables are in her strawberry banana beverage. She gets to have what she refers to as a “Breakfast Milkshake” and I get to pump her full of health food. So much win!

The second solution involves savory flavors and goes well with toast, nuts or veggie sausage, and a piece of fruit. It’s delicious, good to have while you’re sipping your coffee, and makes just enough for two. Which is why I never, ever make it when Olive is home.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Just for Grownups Sweet Potato Home Fries
1 sweet potato
1 tbs canola oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp red pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Dice the sweet potato into bite sized pieces. Make sure you use a very sharp knife, or else this will be an incredibly painful and annoying experience.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Put the pieces into a medium sized bowl and drizzle with the oil and spices. Toss the sweet potatoes until evenly coated. You should use your hands.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

It will be moderately gross.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Add the potatoes to a medium sized skillet and fry over a medium high heat.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Fry until they are tender on the inside, but somewhat crispy on the outside. They will be perfect.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Pour yourself a cup of coffee, get yourself a handful of almonds and some blackberries (they’re in season right now!), and sit down with someone you love for a peaceful, enjoyable breakfast.

If you have to you can double the recipe and share it with your kids, but I’m not going to force you. As if they would appreciate it. If they had their way you’d throw some poptarts in the toaster, turn on cartoons, and leave them alone for a few hours. I think you’d be better off saving this for yourself.

Enjoy!

I Bring You Muffins

Readers, if there is one single food that I screw up every time I try to “create” it’s bread. Don’t get me wrong, I do ok sometimes, but a good portion of the time I screw up proportions and get a dense, chewy, gluten-y mess. I wouldn’t feed this to my dogs. (I did however, let Mike eat them. His standards are lower than theirs, go figure.) This is because I didn’t fully understand the science of breads and cakes. I got that you needed leavening, and I understood that you shouldn’t over mix your batter, but I had for so long been trying to completely cut out the fat to make you a healthier, vegan baked good for your consumption.

Guys, that was a mistake, I’m so, so, sorry.

Some of you are probably alarmed because I just used the “f” word (Fat! Gasp!) but you just can’t have a proper baked good without it. Same goes for some form of sugar. The key with muffins is to not let them turn into cupcakes by raising those proportions beyond reasonable measure.

I did some research, some experimenting, and some soul searching, and when I came down from the mountain, I arrived with these:

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Cinnamon Raisin Muffins
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup canola oil (or other liquid fat. Melted Earth Balance works fine)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

First things first, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl.

The next step I’m going to hold your hand for, because I hadn’t been doing it, and I totally should have. Instead of simply adding all the wet together, add the canola oil and apple sauce to a small bowl.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Now whisk the crap out of it till it’s emulsified. It will look like this.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

The applesauce adds some extra moisture, but mostly it’s necessary to act as an egg. In most recipes, the egg evenly distributes fat, but for a vegan baked good pureed fruit works just fine. You just need to whisk it together first. After that just stir in the almond milk.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Lovely. After that, it’s simple. Add the wet ingredients to the dry bowl and stir JUST to combine. See if you can do it in under 15 strokes. The batter will be lumpy, oh yes, but so long as there aren’t massive pockets of dry ingredients, you should be good. Gently fold in the raisins. Easy.

Now just pour that goodness into some muffin cups. Go ahead, fill them up. Big muffins taste better. 🙂

**With any muffin recipe I feature you can just easily make a loaf of bread. Just pour the batter into a bread pan instead and increase the cooking time. I’d say 30-40 minutes should take care of it. I just really, really like the convenience of not having to portion them out, so I don’t make much bread.**

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Bake for 20 minutes and tada!

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Muffins! How easy was that?

The correct answer is “super duper.” I would also accept “redonkulously.”

You know what else? They’re really good, contain very little fat and sugar (especially compared to that monster you’ve been buying from Starbucks. Gee whiz! That thing’s awful!), are scrumptious, four year old approved (Olive has been begging for more since she took her first sample taste this morning), and perfectly acceptable as a breakfast, snack, or even part of lunch (I totally ate one for lunch). You really can’t buy a more nutritious muffin, and you shouldn’t anyway because it tastes better fresh. Also, this recipe is really adaptable–expect new and interesting ingredient combinations here in the future…and in my kitchen (Mike, Olive, I hope you’re hungry and don’t mind eating muffins three times a day for the next few months).

The best part, though? Learning how to make muffins taught me how to make cupcakes.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

To be continued…

Stop Hitting the Bars!–or–How I Managed to Not Spend My Life Savings on Larabars

Readers, I can’t STAND the idea that any of us–me, you, your Aunt Ethel–ANYONE can purchase health. It’s disgusting how much some people charge for things that are supposed to improve your quality of life, appearance, weight, IQ, alertness, butt, whatever. Case in point, here is a blender you may have heard about–the Vitamix. Can you believe it’s only $450? It comes with a cookbook, but if you already have a Vitamix you can get the cookbook for the low, low price of $50! What a steal!

For the price of $450, you get…a blender! And to think I spent a measly $30 on mine!

Sure, it’s a really, really nice blender. Hell, from what I understand you can make your own peanut butter in it and that’s sort of cool, but at the end of the day, it’s a blender. Nothing more, nothing less. A blender.

Their marketing campaigns, like many other products meant to improve your health somehow, makes it sound like you NEED the Vitamix for optimum health, because if we make the same smoothie in different blenders mine will have less healthfulness to it. Sorry, I’m not buying it (literally), because if there is a difference, it is minimal.

Sometimes, a product really is different! For instance, there is a big, big difference between this: Quaker Chewy Granola Bars and these: Larabars, Kind Bars.

Not only do the last two have ingredients that you’ve likely heard of, they both contain considerably less sugar, and considerably more nutrition. In fact, Larabars are really just fruit and nuts mashed together. What a great product!

That’s why it’s so sad that as nutritionally amazing as this snack is, it’s so expensive. The cheapest I’ve ever seen it is $1 a bar, and that’s when it’s on SALE. I’ve seen these, and bars like these, sell for $2.50 a bar before.

Guys, I don’t think we have to be in the elite to be healthy. I don’t even think we need to be in the upper middle class. I sincerely believe that even working and lower class people have the ability to be healthy, with a little know how and willingness to try new things.

Which is why I made you this recipe, and I’m giving it to you for free. Because damn it, you deserve to eat something good today.

Easy, Healthy, Sugar Free Granola Bars
2 cups raisins
1 1/3 cups raw almonds
2 cups oats (yes, quick oats will work, but none of those flavored packet pieces of crap)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Soak the raisins in a bowl filled with warm water for fifteen minutes.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Drain the raisins and set them aside.

Now, if you’re lucky to have a food processor, the next few steps are much easier. You’ll just throw all that crap into a food processor and let it go. If you have that luxury, meet me a few steps down, when we start to shape the bars.

Unfortunately, if you’ll remember, my food processor died, so I had to go through a few extra steps. The good news is, I now know what will and will not fly when you’re using a blender, so I’ve saved you some frustration.

Wish I could have had those ten minutes back, though.

First, pulse the almonds in a blender until they look about like this:

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Pour into a bowl and set aside.

Next, if you have big, fluffy, not crappy instant oatmeal, pulse that up a little bit. Don’t make oat flour! Just make the flakes a bit smaller.

Pour into the bowl with the almonds.

Finally, throw the raisins into the blender. Pulse them until what you’re looking at looks…well…unappetizing. It will look a bit like a paste. Raisin puree, I suppose.

Whatever you do, DO NOT try to blend all those ingredients together, or your blender will be ANGRY with you!

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
See that? That’s a stopped up blender. Don’t DO that.

If you do the blender stuff they way I told you, that whole process will only take you about five minutes. If you do it like I did it you will become frustrated and ANGRY and it will take about fifteen minutes.

Next, mush all that stuff together with the cinnamon and nutmeg. I found it was best to use my hands.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Pat them into bar shapes. I made ten bars, but you can make little mini bars, if you prefer eating lots of smaller snacks. They should be about this thick:

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Place them on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Bake for fifteen or twenty minutes until golden brown. MAKE SURE YOU LET THEM COOL BEFORE EATING THEM!!!!

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Tuck these into your bookbag for a snack on the bus or at school, or enjoy one with a cup of coffee and some fruit in the morning. Either way, you’ll be saying “STUFF IT!” to all the people trying to separate you from your money, and an even bigger “STUFF IT!” to all the people trying to feed you refined carbs and extra sugar!

Feel free to stir in chocolate chips, whole raisins, or anything else you think tastes good in a granola bar. Seriously, these are DELICIOUS and really easy to personalize. I like peanut butter on top of mine!

I hope you love these and soon have a baggie with one in it on your commute. Enjoy! 🙂

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Money Saving Monday, The Doldrums

Readers, I am at a crossroads. Last week was by far the most successful week this blog has had, apparently people really dig gluten free, Weight Watcher’s recipes, and I am so grateful. Today, though? Today, I have no gluten free, points calculated, recipes to give you. Oh, I have tasty recipes, mind you, and you’ll be getting them, eventually, but for now I am bored and wondering how to keep your attention.

Should I do a little dance? Should I tell you about the awful runs I went on last week? Should I tell you about my stance on weight loss specific diets?

No, those suck. How about a cheap blueberry syrup recipe that you can use to hold on to your ridiculously expensive maple syrup a little longer?

Today, readers, is my first day of Spring Quarter and I am finally back to full time status. In fact, I am typing this during a break between classes (get used to these weird mid day posts, they’re probably going to happen twice a week). As you can imagine, this has caused me quite a bit of anxiety so when a tiny voice this morning suggested we have pancakes for breakfast I was all over that idea.

Oh god, they were good and I wish that I had come up with the pancake recipe so I could share it to you, but it actually came from one of my favorite cookbooks: The Student’s Go Vegan Cookbook. I did, however, get a bit creative with the syrup.

Guys, I love maple syrup and it is by far the BEST way to top pancakes and waffles (and if you’re buying that “pancake syrup” crap I’m going to find you and smack you. Hard. That stuff is HORRIBLE. Go ahead, look at the ingredients. It’s disgusting. Don’t eat it.), but maple syrup is expensive. I try to use it to sweeten things in my household but I’ve found myself using raw honey when I can, since it’s so much cheaper but is also less nutritionally void than table sugar. You can use honey on pancakes too, but that would only have solved one of my pancake problems.

I like to have a little protein for breakfast. Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not a “YOU MUST EAT ALL THE PROTEIN, FOREVER!” kind of vegetarian, but I like to have a little in the morning to keep me full. Usually I have some peanut butter, or a handful of raw nuts, but I wasn’t in the mood for either today.

**Just so you guys know, peanut butter is also excellent on top of a pancake, especially as a midday snack!**

I got a little bold, and made this syrup.

Blueberry Protein Syrup
1 C. frozen blueberries (buy these if you can’t afford fresh, they work GREAT for things like this!)
1/4 cup raw nuts (any variety. I used walnuts because I had them)
1/2 cup water
Sugar to taste (a teaspoon should probably do you)

Put all of that stuff inside a saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Transfer that stuff to a blender and blend till smooth. Put it back into the saucepan to keep warm until it’s time to drizzle over pancakes.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Look how pretty that is! So purple! It gave me the pep and sunshine I needed and I managed to get to my bus like a champ!

You may find you need to add more water to bring it to your desired consistency, and that’s fine. Also, if you don’t want to use any sugar or other sweetener, I’ve found throwing half of a really, really, really ripe banana into the blender usually does the trick.

Nuts aren’t cheap either, so I can understand why some of you are balking at the addition of nuts, but trust me, in the end this is MUCH cheaper than a bottle of maple syrup and so much better for you than “pancake syrup” that you’ll be thanking me for days.

Is it as good as maple syrup? Of course not! But it’s pretty damn tasty. Plus, it’s purple.

How do you economically and healthfully top a pancake?

Ashley Week Part Four–You Deserve a Damn Cookie

Ashley is a trooper, guys. I’m not even kidding. During this week one of the worst things that possibly could have happened, happened, and she is taking it so much better than I would. I had a couple ideas in the old noggin for what her grand finale would be, but since she’s had two dinners and breakfast already, it’s time we tackle snack time, and not just any snack time, stressful snack time.

See, the problem with stress eating is that it’s the only time where you aren’t completely satisfied eating a piece of fresh fruit. You want something rich and comforting. Back in the day, I would de-stress with food like macaroni and cheese, or an entire batch of chocolate chip cookies. I’ve since found a nutritious alternative to the mac n’ cheese dilemma (not my recipe, sadly) but cookies, well, I’ve always just sort of let them be cookies.

But what if I told you that I found a way to turn a cookie into the nutritional equivalent of a high quality energy bar (think larabar) instead of a sugar laden sweet fest?

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

“Withcraft!” screamed my readers.

Seriously though, if you guys make any of my recipes, make these. They’re delicious, amazing, and so good for you it’s downright stupid, and all of the ingredients are recognizable. This is also probably the simplest recipe in the history of cookies. Enjoy!

Energy Cookies
Makes 24 cookies
1 1/4 cup raw almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbs maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

First things first, we’re going to make us some almond flour. I want to tell you guys that I just magically know how to do this, but that would be a total lie. I learned about a week ago from this lady’s cookie recipe. Essentially, you just pop the almonds into a blender or food processor and pulse it until you have a fine meal. With luck, it should look like this:

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Add the rest of the dry ingredients and stir to mix. In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. Add the wet to the dry and stir to combine. Fold in the chocolate chips and raisins.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Drop by the spoonful onto an ungreased baking sheet.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Bake for ten minutes, or until somewhat firm.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Eaaaaaat!

Guys, these are AMAZING. They melt in your mouth and taste so decadent. My theory is the fat in the almonds replace the need for oils for flavor. Either way, they taste buttery, though they have no butter, and sweet, though they have almost no sweetener. You can feel free to omit either the chocolate chips (to have a more “oatmeal raisin” type cookie) or the raisins (to eat chocolate chip cookies!) but I really, really love the fruit and nut taste these cookies have.

My family LOVES them, and I’m glad because they taste like a cookie, but are essentially a handful of nuts and raisins mashed together. I win!

Prep and Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Points Plus Value: 2 (per cookie)

Ashley, come over and I will bake you a double batch of these for the week. You can eat a few in place of breakfast bars in the morning, or just have one or two as an afternoon snack. They are oh so good they will halt your sweet tooth and bring instant comfort.

Eat a damn cookie, guys. You deserve it.