Greetings from snowy New York! I’m currently caught in my first real blizzard, and instead of running around the city grabbing supplies and food like other New Yorkers, I’m sitting calmly by my large window mesmerized by the snow falling down. I’m not sure what the normal protocols are for this kind of weather, but I’m certainly not doing what I am supposed to. I did, however, just throw a batch of my favorite granola in the oven to have something to munch on while I watch the snow. And granola will be the perfect snack if we lose power, right??
My roommates are well-aware of my insane granola addiction. I’ve pretty much been making a batch weekly, trying various combinations and eating it any time of day, including occasionally for dinner when I’m being extremely lazy. I think this recipe remains my favorite, with its strong vanilla and cinnamon flavors. It’s not overbearingly sweet, but just enough to get you hooked. To be completely honest I usually make it with dried cherries instead of cranberries, but given the weather I’m not about to venture outside just for dried cherries! Cranberries will have to do since that’s what I had in my pantry :).
Stay warm everyone on the East Coast, and good luck weathering the storm!
Cranberry Vanilla Granola
2 Heaping cups oats
1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
3 Tbsp Canola Oil
1/4 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
Pinch of salt
1/3 Cup Dried Cranberries
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl except for the cranberries or other dried fruit. Place evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring granola every 15 minutes.
Avocado toast is hands-down my new favorite breakfast food. I’ve seen it popping up on more and more brunch menus in New York, which makes me really happy now that I can get it while eating out and not just homemade. But I really think my homemade recipe beats most restaurants. I add a lot of fresh lemon and pepper flakes to make it tangy and spicy, just the way I like it. My other signature feature is adding fresh avocado slices on top of the smash mixture- you can never have enough avocado, right?
While I was home in California for Christmas break I stopped by my local market one morning and picked up a fresh loaf of whole grain fitness bread, micro greens and some ripe avocados. I went out to the backyard and picked a fresh lemon to mix into the avocado smash. I made avocado toast with poached eggs for my whole family, and they are it up. I love that this meal makes a pretty healthy breakfast but also leaves you feeling full and satisfied.
Avocado Toast with Poached Eggs
2 Slices Whole Grain Bread (I used a fitness loaf)
1 Tsp White Vinegar
1 Handful Micro greens
2 Ripe Avocados
1/2 Tsp Olive Oil
1 Tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
Pinch of Salt
1/2 Tsp Pepper Flakes
Avocado Smash: Place 1 1/2 avocados into a bowl. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper flakes into the bowl. Mash lightly, making sure to leave large chunks in the mixture.
Poached Eggs: Boil a small pot of water and add 1 Tsp white vinegar. Crack an egg into a small bowl. Create a swirling motion in the pot of water, and slowly dip the small bowl with the egg into the boiling water, letting it slip into the water egg white first. Cook for 3 minutes and remove the egg with a strainer spoon.
Assembly: Place half a handful of micro greens onto each slice of bread. Smash half the avocado mixture onto the toast. Slice the remaining half avocado, and place the slices on top of the mash. Slowly place a poached egg onto each toast.
Oatmeal is my perfect five-minute breakfast. Recently, work has picked up, meaning more morning meetings and the occasional late night. And if you are like me (read: I like my zzz’s), this instant breakfast grain is a godsend when i’m rushing out the door in the mornings. And what’s better is that I don’t think I’ll ever tire of oatmeal since it’s so versatile in terms of flavor. If I don’t feel like oatmeals with bananas and drizzled in honey, I just switch it up with some seasonal berries or cinnamon, and so on. Needless to say, I don’t think oatmeal will make it’s way out of my breakfast rotation any time soon.
This recipe takes all the goodness of your five-minute breakfast and makes it even shorter and tastier. Packaged in a bake-ahead container, this recipe is more of a “guideline.” You can really add whatever fruits and flavors you wish. I found these beautiful blackberries and blueberries at the local market, so I decided to bake a those into my oatmeal. And boy, let me tell you … delicious.
Baked Oatmeal (adapted from Epicurious)
2 Cups of Oatmeal
1/3 Cup of Sugar (optional)
1 Tsp. of Baking Powder
1 1/2 Tsp of Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp. of Salt
2 Cups of Almond Milk
2 Tsp. of Vanilla
2 Ripe Bananas
1 6Oz Box of Blueberries
1 6Oz Box of Blackberries
In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (oatmeal, sugar if desired, baking powder, cinnamon and salt) and set aside. In another bowl, whisk egg until fully beaten. Add almond milk and vanilla and set aside.
Grease the bottom and sides of an 8 inch pan. Cover the bottom with slices of banana. Layer half of the blueberries and blackberries on top. Then, carefully cover the bananas and berries with the dry oatmeal mixture, covering fully. Slowly drizzle the ingredients from the liquid bowl over the oatmeal mixture, ensuring that the mixture seeps through all the fruit layers. Top with remaining berries. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-45 minutes or until the top begins to brown.
Being home for Christmas break, I couldn’t get enough of the fresh California produce. I forgot how lucky we were to have fairly good quality fruit all year round, which I don’t get to the same extent in New York. My sister and I went to downtown Palo Alto for a morning yoga class, and decided to try the new Acai Bowl joint, Bare Bowls, to top off a healthy day. Bare Bowls was fantastic and very refreshing, but man was it over-priced, as all Palo Alto spots tend to be. My sister and I decided to make our own Acai bowls the next day for breakfast!
I definitely took advantage of the fact that my parents own a Vitamix, which makes Acai bowls, or VERY thick smoothies, much easier to make. An Acai bowl is basically a smoothie so thick you have to eat it with a spoon, with acai, other fruit and typically some kind of nut butter. Acai bowls are then topped with more fresh fruit, granola, nuts, coconut shavings and any other topping of choice. We didn’t have acai berries, but used acai juice and added bananas, strawberries, blackberries and peanut butter to make the base. We topped it off with banana slices and granola for a refreshing, hearty breakfast. Overall I was pleased with the results, and even more thrilled we were able to eat outside.
4 Tbsp Acai Juice
1 Heaping Tbsp Peanut or Almond Butter
8 Ice Cubes
Toppings: Banana slices, granola, other fruit
Mix all ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth. (Note: the base of the acai bowl should be very thick. Some normal blenders, including my own, will not work well with such little liquid. I was fortunate enough to use my parents’ Vitamix while I was home which worked great. Feel free to add more acai juice in order to property blend). Top with banana slices, granola and other toppings of choice.
Greetings from sunny Los Angeles and Happy Thanksgiving Week! I was fortunate enough to get to spend a long weekend in LA before heading to northern California for Thanksgiving with my family, and I can’t get enough of it. I left a frigid 30 degrees New York City for sunshine, kale, beach and 80 degree weather for a few days and it feels fantastic! Not only was I reunited with my blog partner, but we got to see UCLA kill USC at the Rose Bowl! In honor of being in LA for the weekend, I took a staple Thanksgiving ingredient, sweet potatoes, and made a typically LA muffin: gluten-free and no refined sugar. Oh LA, you care about trendy healthy foods way more than NYC.
While gluten-free and healthy, these muffins actually taste fantastic, and they make a great start to your morning as you are running out the door. The sweet potato and greek yogurt keep them exceptionally moist, and the almond meal base gives them a delicious nutty flavor. Most importantly, these muffins are a great easy fix to your problem of having way to many leftover sweet potatoes after Thanksgiving dinner. So fear not; when life gives your sweet potatoes, make gluten-free muffins.
Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Muffins
1 Large Sweet Potato
2 Cups Almond Meal (I crushed whole almonds in a food processor until meal consistency)
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/4 Cup Non-fat Greek Yogurt
1/4 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake sweet potato on a baking sheet for about 40 minutes. Take sweet potato out of the oven and remove the skin. Mash the sweet potato until no lumps remain. In a large bowl, combine almond meal, baking soda and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs. Add sweet potato, greek yogurt, maple syrup and vegetable oil. Whisk until smooth. Stir wet ingredients into the almond meal mixture. Batter should be fairly thick. Spoon batter into a greased muffin tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.