Not So Special- K Chocolatey Delight.

Ladies … and maybe Gents –

Raise your hand if you have fallen victim to the advertising schemes of Special K’s weight loss challenge. 

I will do the grade school hand raise … the low one, where you are hoping the teaching sees your hand for participation purposes,  but you are also hoping it is not high enough for her to pick you because you really don’t know what’s going on. 

I gave it a day and a half before I threw in the towel. But this isn’t a post about how you should not do the Special K challenge – if by some miracle it works for you – please tell me about it. 

A few years ago a I promised myself to give up as much white processed sugary items as possible. That meant almost every cereal I used to think was healthy, to include the Special Ks and Shredded Wheats of the world. Instead – my only pantry choices are those cereals with low sugars, and only evaporated organic cane sugar. Less processed – much better choice. 

So today – I show you my version of Special K’s Chocolatey Delight cereal. On top of adding a few more calories to an otherwise low calorie cereal – from 120 cals in 3/4 cup of Real K to about 260ish in 2 cups of my K – I always make sure I pack my cereal bowl full of protein and fiber. (the only way cereal will ever fill you up …)

1 cup of Arrowhead Mills Puffed Kamut (favorite cereal grain … pretty much ever)

1 Cup of Trader Joe’s High Fiber O’s

1 tbs Enjoy Life Mega Semi-Sweet Chunks (dairy,nut, and soy free)

1 cup Almond Breeze unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Packing almost 10 grams of protein, enough fiber to make you go poop  WOW (9 grams) and chock full of whole grains, it’s okay to not count the calories and substitute this option for your mornings. If a few more calories mean that I am taking better care of my body, then that’s okay with me. 

You know what else you’re avoiding? Partially hydrogenated Palm Oil and High Fructose Cornsyrup … and a bunch more ingredients that I can’t pronounce. See if you can read them in the Nutrition Facts.

And also, if you haven’t jumped on the almond milk bandwagon, get on it. I am about to start a pledge for all Starbucks/coffee shops to carry it because it not only tastes wonderful, but it has 50% more calcium than real milk, no hormones, and 1 cup is 40 calories. Sorry Moo Cows!

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Baby Cinnamon Raisin Scones.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, although I rarely ever eat it. Well not in the functional sense of the word. At work, my breakfast might consist of  the end of a seeded baguette with butter, some apple chunks if I am lucky enough to remember to grab my apple as I leave the house before the birds chirp, or… I sure do love my quick cook irish oats from Trader Joes, swimming in boiling water at the bottom of a coffee cup as I run around without any way to stop time (jokes). Portable, and healthy, that is usually how my breakfast manifests itself. 

But on the mornings when I find that I somehow can enjoy a bit of r&r, I go all out in the kitchen. Inspired by many a fabulous brunch I have enjoyed a la spoiled child at the Ritz, or by each menu I have consumed as I sit in one of the breakfast heavens that are scattered throughout the suburbs and the city, I try to blow my own mind and start my mornings just as they should be started, filled with love. 

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Strawberry Crumbley Parfait.

For those of you that have sworn of dessert for lent, I give you your oasis…

Just think of this as breakfast (and eat it after dinner!).

In true “Spring Cleaning, Clean Eating” fashion, these past few weeks have involved a lot of research through all my healthy lifestyle books scattered around my room. One of my favorites go-to reads is “The Probiotics Revolution” by Gary B. Huffnagle, Ph.D. He provides quality insight into how consuming a certain balance of probiotics and prebiotics can help your body manage any issue from allergies to immune system disorders, or even just plain old eczema.

Today I am not eating to solve any ailment, thank goodness, but I am eating to take care of myself.

Amongst advice and information are scattered recipes. Crafted by the Dr. is the ultimate recipe for a complete, yet indulgent, way to enjoy the beautiful fresh fruits and berries that are slowly trickling into the produce department. He calls it Fresh Fruit Crunch.

I prefer to think of it as the Strawberry Crumbley Parfait.

Print and Dig In!

 

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Eat Local: DiBruno Bros.

Welcome to the final day in February! I’m not counting down or anything (wink wink!) but there are a lot of exciting spring time happenings that become all that much closer with the arrival of the month of March. One of those things?

The debut of DiBruno Bros in the Ardmore Farmer’s Market.

 

Photo from lefthandbrewing.blogspot.com

 

If you haven’t caught on yet, I get really excited when a part of Philadelphia moves into my hood. I know the city is just a 20 minute drive away, but very rarely is it ever that easy to make a quick trip in and out, except maybe for a cheesesteak run at 2 am!

DiBruno Brothers will certainly be welcomed with open arms when they turn on their cash registers next month. There is no doubt that their new Ardmore location will not hold the same market style ambiance that the original Chestnut Street location is known for, but still what a great addition to the area, bringing along cooking demonstrations, specialty items, and of course, the cheese! It will be all right there,  just a hop skip and a jump down Lancaster Avenue. Speaking of the cheese which they are wildly famous for, I can’t forget to mention, hand pulled mozzarella on site at Ardmore Fridays and Saturdays?? You know there will be a Caprese salad on my table at least one weekend a month!

So, Main Line Mamas, prepare your cheese boards.

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Where there is no Sunday Brunch….

There is a breakfast fit for a champion…..

Sunday morning is a great time to celebrate your week, whether it was the best 6 days of your life, or whether they were 6 days you prefer to never think about again.

No matter what kind of week I have, Sunday can only begin in one way, with a special breakfast. Every other day I succumb to egg whites and oatmeal, so Sunday always brings some kind of sweet treat.

Today I wanted to go to Standard Tap in Philly for brunch, but with a change in plans, it was breakfast in the big kitchen…

This Sunday’s treat was quick, healthy, and completely satisfying.

Start with any type of frozen whole grain waffles… Van’s makes a bunch of awesome options like this “lite” variety which are my favorite.

I try to keep all my breakfasts full of whole grains since they are amazing for your body, so these waffles are always a nice option. With a hint of cinnamon baked in they are so light and fluffy and taste practically home made!

Topping off this morning’s plate came a dollop of protein from an all natural unsweetened peanut butter, add a small cup of maple syrup, and of course a healthy serving of fresh fruit that I just bought from the produce market! A complete, treat!

Now all that I have left to say is, Good Morning!

Mexican Scrambled Egg Whites.

After a night of culinary debauchery, it is only right to wake up in the morning and apologize to your body with a little detox.

They say the best way to cure a hangover is to keep drinking….. well the best way to cure a night of eating too much, is to keep eating, but eat healthy!

Spending time with one of my very good friends last night she gave me the great idea to change up  my usual egg white omelete and throw a little something different into the mix…  

Mexican Scrambled Egg Whites

3 egg whites

2 teaspoons water (or orange juice)

1 heaping tablespoon of salsa

1 handful of spinach

Dash of salt

Get your eggs seperated and in a small bowl. Add the water, or if you like orange juice, a little taste of that, and whisk them for a minute or so! That extra liquid will make for fluffier eggs…

Next, saute your spinach so that it is wilted… You can do that in a pan with a coating of olive oil spray if you wish. I think any spray like that is an awesome healthy alternative to getting your veggies properly cooked. Then get your eggs into the  mix and scramble them up!

Top it off with a heaping serving of salsa …

One of my favorite brands… find it at Whole Foods.
…and you have an awesome breakfast ready for you! Well balanced, full of protein and nutrients, and of course a serving of vegetables to start the day.

If you want, put a dash of salt over top and toast yourself a piece of healthy whole grain bread to eat it with. Perfect way to get over the pasta and meat binge from the night before…

My favorite whole grain bread! High fiber, low calories, full of grains

Sunday Brunch: To Die for Buttermilk Waffles

 

Good Morning!

 

Aren’t they beautiful?

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals to prepare. What’s not to love about the only meal in the day when sugar can be the centerpiece? There are endless options when creating a breakfast menu, and when breakfast becomes brunch, and you really start involving every taste bud and every food group, I’m a goner….

My greatest inspiration for creative brunch comes from a local small time diner in the Philadelphia suburbs called, “Classic Diner”. It’s name describes its appearance, classic and simple, but it’s menu is not only well thought out, but one of a kind!

 

Located in Malvern, PA.

 

With their generous portions, and great staff, each weekend breakfast stop, or mid-week lunch meeting, has left me satiated and smiling! My personal breakfast favorite is their peanut butter banana french toast with star anise infused honey…. Look at me, risking my health again for another amazing delicacy. Peanut butter stomach ache or not, it is really one of the most flavorful and well made takes on french toast I have ever had. Not to mention, the potatoes that share the plate. It isn’t enough to describe them, but with each meal comes thick chunks of red skin-on potatoes, seasoned and salted just enough to make them melt in your mouth! If you live in the area and haven’t given the Classic Diner your business, you are more than missing out! Like any restaurant where the food is worth eating, a table doesn’t come without a wait, but they also have a walk up bar in case you want a small bite and a coffee! It will become a favorite the minute you walk inside.

My inspirations grow more and more each day, but there is really something so special to me about seeing small businesses grow into such successful enterprises! I only hope that at some point in my lifetime I could be a part of something that grows to be such a staple in a community…

Maybe one day I will be serving my own faithful customers these to die for buttermilk waffles?

I have been updating my photos page and recently I added a couple of pictures from the brunch my Dad and I prepared for my family on Christmas morning.

 

Waffles, Farmer's Market Bacon, Potatoes.

 

 

These golden gorgeous waffles were definitely one of the family favorites. So loved, that they became one of Dad’s desserts for about a week after…. waffles and ice cream smells floating throughout my house every night for a week…. difficult to pass up? Yes.

The recipe is an adaptation of a Gourmet Magazine recipe for waffles topped with glazed bananas.

To Die for Buttermilk Waffles

Recipe makes 12 waffles

Before starting, melt the stick of butter, and let it cool to room temperature

  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 3 heaping tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2-1 cup skim milk
  • 1 stick melted butter (room temperature)
  • 2 large eggs

1.  In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

2. In a smaller bowl, using a whisk, combine the buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter … if you didn’t get a chance to melt it in advance, take it out of the microwave and submerge that bowl in a bowl with cold water while you whisk the butter for a few minutes can bring it down to room temperature …

3. Slowly pour the wet ingredients in to the dry ingredients and combine with a whisk or spatula. Do NOT overmix, if there are lumps it’s okay.

4. This is where the skim milk comes into play, in order to loosen up the batter a little bit, at your discretion, whisk in anywhere from a 1/2 cup of skim milk to a whole cup. You don’t want the batter to be too loose, but the extra milk does add some great flavor and really makes the batter a more usable consistency.

At this point it comes down to the way your waffle iron works. Probably about half a cup of batter will do the trick to fill up each well. I like to smooth out my batter… apparently so does my dad –

This will prevent any overflow...

 

 

If your iron alerts you when it’s done, pay attention, if it isn’t a reliable non-stick surface, you can use a brush or a soaked paper towel with tongs to coat the surface with some vegetable oil, but either way once you can pull your iron apart, you will know the waffles are done by their golden brown complexion.

These waffles can be served hot or cold. If you want to keep them warm before serving they can sit in a 250 degree oven! If you want to store them, a well closed Ziploc bag and a refrigerator will do the trick for a few days!

Now you have a recipe with very few steps that will leave you wanting to double it, or triple it, and scarf them all down! The buttermilk coupled with the healthy serving of butter makes the texture delectable, with a crisp outside and a velvety inside… And please, for their sake, don’t do them disservice by using cheap syrup! Heat up some maple syrup in the microwave till it is just warmed and enjoy a light sprinkle over each waffle. These guys are sweet enough so that syrup should come second, if it all! I love to put fresh strawberries or blueberries on top of my waffle before I let the syrup make itself known. That will keep the waffle from getting too soggy, and it also is one of the greatest flavor combinations.

Each Sunday I will feature a recipe to help you expand your breakfast or brunch menu. Start off your day right by focusing on making you, your family, and your friends something they will remember for the rest of the day! These waffles will certainly be that something, if not the only thing they remember!