Category Archives: Nuts

New Tricks

Scones!

Hi, Sweeties! This week has been so busy. I’m so glad the weekend is almost here! I’ve had basically the same thing for breakfast and lunch day after day, but I’m not complaining! Luckily, I’ve had a new breakfast up my sleeve (or… actually… in the freezer), and it has been getting me off to a good start in the mornings. What is your ideal breakfast for a busy day?

I’ve always loved the overly sugary and often frosted scones for sale at local coffee shops, but I’ve learned that they make a better dessert than meal. The hit of sugar gives me energy for a little while, but they aren’t very good when it comes to staying power. If I have one for breakfast, I’ll be hungry again in no time. I saw a scone recipe in a Prevention newsletter a few weeks ago that looked as if it might be a bit different. Whole wheat flour, a wealth of nuts, no sweetener aside from what is found in the protein rich vanilla yogurt, and a smattering of dried fruit makes for a delicious, but not too sweet, breakfast treat!!

Eight Meals in a Pan

The link to the original recipe can be found here.

I changed it a bit by using:

  • Regular whole wheat flour instead of whole wheat pastry flour for a nuttier and chewier texture
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. of canola oil instead of 2 Tbsp.
  • Lemon zest in place of orange zest 
  • Dried cherries instead of dried cranberries (b/c that was what I had in the pantry)

I like to have one of these scones with a big pile of fruit and my morning coffee.

BrekkieThe scones are yummy, and, thanks to the healthy fats and protein, they keep me full until lunch time!! I will be making these again, and, undoubtedly, experimenting with variations. I had a few fresh ones, but I froze most of the batch. I had my first scone from the freezer this morning. I zapped it for about 20 seconds, and that was long enough to thaw it out and warm it up just a bit. Tasty– and quicker than my bowl of oats!

I’m so sad that the summer peaches are almost gone. If the farmer I spoke with at the farmer’s market last week was right, I may not have any more of these little gems until next season:

Peachy KeenI’ve been stocking up each Saturday, and then using the paper bag trick to ripen a few at a time. I was spoiled by the peaches from Swihart Orchard, near my hometown, as a kid, and I never find peaches at the grocery store that are worthy of my spoiled taste buds. The peaches from the farmer’s market have been amazing, and I’m going to miss them so much!  🙂

Speaking of the farmer’s market, I happened to catch this fuzzy little guy frolicking among the blooms on Saturday:

BuzzzzzzzzzzI love blogging because I always seem to have my camera when I need it! 🙂

In other news, I tried a “new to me” product this week, and I’m a big fan! I’m sure many of you already keep these in your freezer, but, for those of you just starting to explore the realm of frozen veggie burgers, I thought I’d tell you about these:

Spicy!I always keep a variety of soy and veggie burgers in my freezer. While I like most of them just fine, there are only a few that I really get very excited about. These spicy black bean burgers are on that list! I had them crumbled on top of my lunchtime salads this week with lettuce, tomatoes, fresh corn, reduced fat Mexican cheese blend, fat free Greek yogurt and salsa.

EnsaladaYUM! Seriously, I even love the way these burgers smell while they are cooking. The only problem is the fact that I’ve eaten them all. I need to buy more!!

The other fun thing I’ve had this week is the result of a little griddler experiment. I was cooking a pork tenderloin on the griddler, and I wondered what would happen if I tossed some thinly sliced potato on with the pork.

Griddler Me ThisI’ve never tried to grill potatoes, and I wasn’t sure what would happen. I love making fries in the oven, but sometimes I just hate the time it takes to heat the oven to temperature. I would also hate to heat the whole oven to cook one little potato. If this worked… oh my! I’d have a whole new quick method for making something fry like! My fingers were crossed!!!

I sprayed the thin potato slices on both sides with cooking spray, and then sprinkled them with a little bit of salt. The end result:

YES!! Griddler Fries!Yes!!! We have griddler fries!! They were crispy on the outside, and nicely cooked in the center. A few of the thinner pieces got super crispy and tasted like potato chips. I’m so happy I tried this, and I’ll be making more… and more… and more… of them in the future! They went well with my sauteed swiss chard and pork tenderloin. Don’t be fooled by the photo, however. I did decide to have some ketchup with my fries. What could be better?

What’s your favorite way to eat a potato?

P.S. Mara is having an insanely awesome and cheesy giveaway. You should definitely check it out!!

Christina is also having a celebratory giveaway (Congrats, Christina!!) and you should check it out too!!

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Filed under Baking, cooking, diet, Farmer's Market, Food, Greek Yogurt, Nuts, Recipes, Uncategorized, Weight Loss Success Story

What? No Nut Butter?

That’s right. I had a day without any peanut, cashew or almond butter. I didn’t do it on purpose. I swear! That doesn’t mean there were no nuts. I saw several while riding the metro. *Ba dump bump* Ha! Oh, Sweetie Pie. What can I say? It’s been a long day. At least it started out with a tasty bowl:

BananabowlerrifficThere’s a smushed up banana in the bowl along with some oat bran and some five grain cereal. I topped it with a bit of honey and some of these:
Daily CrunchI bought these awhile back, and they are yummy. The problem is, it is 150 calories for the few little bites you see in that bowl. Hmph. My solution? I run it through my nut chopper and put 1/2 or 1/3 of a serving on my morning bowl. You’ll see some later in this post in another bowl too. On their own, it takes about three bites, and they’re gone. Chopping them up makes them go a bit farther, and they taste really good mixed in with the other things!

I didn’t add protein powder to my bowl this morning, and I got hungry earlier than usual. I really do need a good amount of protein in the morning if I’m going to make it to lunch. I had a little yogurt and some Fiber One about two hours before lunch. I like the Yokids. It isn’t too sweet, the serving is small, and it’s kind of perfect for a small snack with a calcium punch at only 80 calories. Plus, I can pretend I’m a kid. 🙂

Yoooooo Kids!!I also broke out the piece of a Theo’s orange and dark chocolate bar that I had tucked into the lunch bag, and I sort of nibbled on it throughout the morning. 

ChockieDark chocolate is SO satisfying!

When lunchtime came around, I was very excited about my eats! I had a serving of the Springtime Market Potato Salad that I whipped up on Sunday, a hard boiled egg with some natural sea salt that a friend shared with me, and an Arnold’s sandwich thin topped with the rest of my container of Tribe chipotle hummus and some radishes and green onions from the market. My lunch was so fresh and springy. It made me happy. 🙂 

Lunchy LunchSpeaking of happy… I had this after lunch:

Cookie LoveAs you can see, I cut it in half. This little cookie is a prime example of why it’s important to read nutritional information carefully. The cookie is two servings, although, you might think it was only one if you weren’t reading closely. It’s kind of high in calories, so I planned on having half. It was incredibly tasty, so I decided to skip one of my planned snacks and have the whole thing. Some times you just need the whole cookie!!! 🙂 I like the whole graininess of Cookiehead’s cookies. This one also had various seeds and nuts with some very yummy chunks of chocolate. It was gooooood, and well worth the calorie splurge.

Since my lunch was a bit light on the protein, I made sure that a couple of my afternoon snacks were a bit higher in protein. This edamame gave me a little boost:

EdamameI followed it up with this pretty little apple. This would have been a usual place to insert peanut butter into the afternoon, but that was part of the cookie trade-off. This apple was crisp and sweet all on its own. Can you believe that it’s May already? Do you have anything special planned for the summer months? Vacation? Personal challenges? Lounging by the pool?

Pretty Little LadyAnother protein rich snack I had this afternoon was a bowl of Greek yogurt topped with some honey pomegranate jelly and some more crushed up Goji snacks. This combo was great! I had forgotten how much I love cashews. 

Greek yogurt!I still can’t believe I didn’t have any peanut butter on vanilla wafers, my apple, a newton crisp, a date, my finger… You get the point! My eats were a little different, and I like that! It’s so important to avoid the food rut for both my own eating enjoyment and for the purpose of including a lot of variety in my diet. Today was a good day for that!

When I got home, I made a huge salad with lettuce, radishes, tomatoes and green onions from Saturday’s farmer’s market trip. Look at the purple radishes. What fun!! I also topped it with some goat cheese, a chopped up chicken mushroom asiago sausage from Trader Joe’s, salt, pepper and a bit of balsamic vinegar. Yum!

Big SaladFor dessert, I had the bowl I’d been looking forward to all day. LaLoo’s Strawberry Darling goat’s milk ice cream. I really love this stuff. I put some chopped almonds on the top for a little crunch. Just look at all of the balsamic swirl in the bowl. Mmmm….

Strawberry Darlin'Finally, I finished off the day with a little bowlful of one of my favorite snack combinations: Galaxy Vanilla Almond Munch Granola and Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips. This is a perfect snack for a nibbler like me!

Galactic SnacktasticI worked out with my trainer tonight and followed the strength training up with cardio for a total calorie blast of 600 calories. I’m making the most of my workout routine this week in anticipation of next week’s vacation. I’m hoping to try a few new exercise classes for fun on the ship, but I’ll have to see what my choices are after I get there. I’m kind of hoping for Zumba. I’ve heard great things about it, and I’ve wanted to give it a try. Do you zumba?

I had a productive day at work today, and I’ve started a list of things to pack. I’m just so ready to go! I haven’t really taken any time off since the Christmas holidays, and I’m really looking forward to it. I guess it’s kind of like my very own spring break. I don’t think you are ever to old for spring break!

So now I need to take my clean sheets out of the dryer, put them on the bed, and crawl under the covers. I hope you are having a great week. We are already up to Wednesday, and my week sort of seems to be flying by. Time does fly when you are having fun… or when you are just really busy!!

Ciao for now, bloggies and have a happy humpday!

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Filed under Asparagus, Bananas, cooking, diet, Farmer's Market, Fitness, Food, Greek Yogurt, Nuts, Salad, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers

Monday Nutty Monday

I’m so amused by my freezer clean out project! Sometimes I think I come up with my favorite ideas when I’m working with what I have on hand. This evening’s quick project is an example of that. I’m a bit nutty, and that is definitely reflected in my freezer. Here are a few of the nuts that were partying in the chiller:

A Nutty CrowdI always keep a variety of nuts in the freezer. Since I love to bake, they are definitely go to items for me, and the varieties that got used up immediately went on the grocery list to be replaced. I do think it’s useful to clean out the old and get new, fresh ones every once in awhile. I had some raw almonds that I bought once when I made skillet roasted almonds– tapas style. I also had some slivered almonds that I bought when making one of my favorite holiday cookies. I’ve been eating walnuts, a few at a time, from the big bag for ages now. I always keep pine nuts in case I need to make pesto or want to toss them on some pasta. Finally, my parents have some amazing pecan trees in their yard in Arkansas, and they keep me well supplied with pecans. My poor dad picks them out of their shells during the winter. I guess it keeps him out of trouble? 🙂 I’ll have to double check with my mother on that one. It’s certainly much appreciated, and I don’t think that their flavor can be beat!

All these little bags were certainly adding to the clutter in my freezer door, so I decided to make some nut butter a la Heather to use up the rest of the almonds and walnuts. I invited a few of the other freezer nuts to the food processor party for a bit of variety, so there are some pine nuts and pecans in the mix too. I also had about 1/4 cup of dried mixed berries that have been around for awhile, and I thought they would make a good sweetener. The freezer clean out is having a positive influence on my pantry too!

I toasted up the nuts and tossed them in the food processor along with the dried berries. A few minutes later, I had “Spring Cleaning Berry Nut Butter.” 

Spring Cleaning Berry Nut ButterI plugged all of the quantities into a recipe calculator so that I can keep track of the number of calories based on the number of grams I eat. Of course, I had to try some on a graham cracker. 🙂

Nutty SnackThe verdict? YUM! I thought the pine nuts might be an odd addition, but I kind of like that little contrast of flavor. I was surprised that it really comes through despite the stronger flavors in the mix, like the walnuts. This butter is toasty and good, with a little berry sweetness. As a bonus, the freezer door looks a little bit less crazy. 

I also remembered today that I had forgotten to tell you about the bee pollen tea I bought at the farmer’s market on Saturday, and I wanted to give you the scoop.

Honey LoveHere’s the write-up from the back of the label:

“Historically, pollen is called “The World’s First Health Food” because of its healing powers. Pollen contains nearly every known nutrient required for a balanced human diet. In a random sampling of pollen, 25 minerals and 18 vitamins are found. It lacks only roughage and water for complete and balanced nutrition. Bee pollen provides an energy boost whenever you need it, in addition, regular use helps to desensitize allergic reactions to pollen.”

I don’t think I’m going to replace my diet with bee pollen and roughage anytime soon, but I think that I will be enjoying this tea from time to time. In addition to the claims above, I can add that a cup of this tea has a delicate and slightly nutty flavor that I really enjoyed. Mine came mixed with lemon balm, so there is a bit of lemony flavor, but the package also suggests brewing a bag of this tea along with whatever your favorite tea might be. I might try that, but I liked it on its own. It reminds me of the honey vanilla chamomile tea that I often enjoy from Celestial Seasonings. It is kind of funny that the bright yellow pollen in this bag makes me think of all of the pollen coated windshields I’ve seen around here lately. That’s a strange thought to have while sipping your tea. 🙂 

cuppaI’ve seen pollen for sale in a grain type form, for stirring into yogurt and that sort of thing. Have you ever tried bee pollen, and, if so, how did you eat it? I’m very curious about it, and, since I know that the Bee’s ‘n Blossoms people will be frequenting my farmer’s market, I may be tempted to buy some pollen and give it a spin. 

I’m going to finish my tea now and head off to bed. I hope it won’t give me too much of an “energy boost” or I may be in trouble! It’s been Monday all day long. I’m glad that it will be Tuesday when I wake up tomorrow. I hope your week got off to a good start! Ciao for now!! 🙂

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Filed under cooking, diet, Farmer's Market, Fitness, Food, Nuts, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story