Yummiest Homemade Granola

Now that I can actually eat breakfast at home, instead of bringing something quick and easy to eat to school, I decided it was time to make a batch of granola.  This recipe is from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (I’ve probably mentioned this cookbook before cause its great!) and I love it.  Its easy to make and it tastes delicious, not to mention it makes the kitchen smell yummy while its baking!

Classic Granola

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped coarse
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup vegetable/canola oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (the real stuff!)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • If desired (I left these out) – 1 cup raisins

Pre-heat oven to 325.  Mix oats, walnuts, coconut, almonds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds in a bowl.

In a small saucepan heat oil, maple syrup, and honey until warm, then pour over oats mixture.  Toss/stir to coat. Spread granola evenly over a large rimmed baking sheet.  Bake, stirring every 5 minutes, until the granola is a light golden brown (about 15 minutes).

Remove and stir in raisins if desired.  Let granola cool to room temperature, then loosen with a spatula and store in airtight container.  It can last about a week… if you don’t eat it all before then!!

I made the granola yesterday evening and enjoyed it for breakfast this morning.  My favorite way to eat this granola is over a bowl of vanilla yogurt and fruit.  Today’s fruit choices: strawberries and blueberries.  So delicious!

I put this breakfast on the “Eating for Two” list because it packs in a lot of good nutrients to start the day…

  • Yogurt: protein and calcium
  • Strawberries: multiple vitamins including vitamin C, folate, and some fiber
  • Blueberries: antioxidants, multiple vitamins including vitamin C, and some fiber
  • Oats: iron
  • Seeds/nuts: vegetable protein, some folate, and omega-3

Can’t complain when healthy also means delicious!

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Breakfast for Dinner

When the Hubby isn’t home for dinner, I tend to take a sort of lazy route and not cook all that much for myself.  Pre-pregnancy my dinner might consist of a bowl of cereal.  Now that doesn’t fill me up quite enough, but I do tend to stick with the breakfast food trend.  I love breakfast foods and it seems like a treat to me in some strange way to eat breakfast for dinner!  Plus, it usually takes less time and results in less dishes, always a bonus!

Last night I made an omelet in a variety that I’ve never tried before.  (Actually Steve is usually the omelet maker around here, his turn out way prettier than mine) My omelet was Greek-style and turned out delicious, if not quite as picture perfect as Steve’s!  Plus, it has some great nutritional stuff for mom-to-be and the little babe which is an even bigger bonus to the deliciousness factor.  I therefore dubbed it the “Eating for Two Greek Omelet” (see original post about this saying if you’re interested)

Disclaimer:  Before I share the recipe I should state the following.  I know that pregnant women are warned not to eat soft cheeses and I know that feta cheese is a soft cheese… but its tough to go Greek without feta.  When buying the feta I was extra careful to check and make sure it is pasteurized.  So yes, I am pregnant and yes, I ate feta.   I’m not saying you should go ignore all warnings and guidelines about food (certainly not endorsing risky decisions like sushi or downright dumb decisions like alcohol) but I think some common sense goes a long way too.  Okay, that being said… see below!

Eating For Two Greek Omelet

  • 3/4 – 1 cup chopped spinach (I used frozen, thawed and heated in microwave)
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup pasteurized feta
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Canola oil (I used spray)

Beat eggs in small bowl.  Add salt and pepper to eggs – I used 2 small cranks on both the salt and pepper grinder.  Heat small frying pan on stove.  Spray with canola oil.  Turn heat to medium and add eggs.  Allow eggs to cook until sides are bubbling and majority of the “liquid” egg portion is cooked. I found it helped to scrap a spatula along the sides then tilt the pan to allow excess egg to fill in the sides and cook there.

Along one edge of the eggs, add spinach, tomatoes, and feta.

With a spatula, turn other side of eggs to cover the fillings, no need to flip.  Allow omelet to continue to cook until eggs are thoroughly done and filling is heated/cheese is melting slightly.  I thought it really hit the spot!

So why is this a good “eating for two” meal?

Well, the eggs give 2 full servings of protein, a key “ingredient” (like my play on words there?) for helping baby grow and generally building and repairing body tissue.  Plus its a more filling and long lasting source of energy which is good.

Tomatoes are a winner in the vitamin C category, good for helping form healthy bones, teeth, and gums, as well as keeping your immune system up and running.  Vitamin C also helps the body use iron… coming soon!

Spinach is a super food of sorts, packing in three key nutrients at once – vitamin A, iron, and folic acid.  Vitamin A helps develop the baby’s eyes, skin, hair, skeleton, and glands.  Plus it helps keep mom-to-be’s skin, hair, and vision healthy.  Iron is essential because of the increased volume of blood you’re pumping through your system.  Many pregnant women can be at risk for anemia so consistent iron intake is key.  And folic acid is the oh-so-commonly talked about B vitamin that helps prevent spinal and brain defects as baby grows.  Three cheers for spinach!

The cheese adds in some calcium, a bone builder, and using canola oil in place of butter is a good choice as it one of the “healthy fats”.

So there you have it… delicious and nutritious!  My apologies if I slipped into teacher mode there a bit with my nutrition facts breakdown!  I do love biology/nutrition stuff, and I have just finished off another full week of school, so I can’t quite help myself!  Haha!

Happy Friday… hope you enjoy the weekend, whatever it may bring!  I know my weekend will bring lots of grading of lab reports.  Only one week left of teaching and I want everything to be in order when the other teacher returns.  Maybe my weekend will also include round two of this omelet… but actually for breakfast instead of dinner this time!

 

Eating Lunch in my Pajamas

… is what I’m doing right now!  I am  thoroughly enjoying my February break, and a day in my pajamas at home is certainly a nice treat.  But don’t worry, I’m not quite as lazy as my wardrobe choice may lead you to believe.  This break has actually been incredibly productive… running errands, doing some major clean-out of the guest room/future nursery (thanks Mom for the help!!) and catching up on the around-the-house to do list.  I appreciate the break from my normal schedule, but I am even more thankful for the chance to get a lot of these miscellaneous but oh-so-important things taken care of!

Lunch today is left overs from last night, a yummy pasta bake recipe I thought I’d share.  Super easy, delicious, and makes for a quick re-heat (perfect for a home in your pajamas type of day, hehe!).  I skipped the meat and loaded up on veggies with this one since that’s the food group I’m trying to be conscious of eating more of lately!  So here it is…

Very Veggie Pasta Bake

  • 1 box whole wheat rotini pasta
  • 1 jar pasta sauce (I used a garden veggie one in sticking with the theme)
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (you could use garlic powder instead if needed)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • mozzarella cheese (shredded or a block, I ended up using a little of both)
  • parmesan cheese

Prepare pasta as directed on box.  While pasta is cooking, pre-heat oven to 350.  Chop up all veggies into small pieces.  Saute onion and garlic in a little olive oil to start, then add pepper and zucchini.  When veggies have started to soften, stir in can of tomatoes and pasta sauce.  Leave on medium to cook/heat through.  When pasta is finished, drain and pour into a large casserole dish.  Add sauce to pasta and stir until evenly mixed.  Top with both cheeses (you can stir a little in first to make it extra cheesy if you want!) and bake uncovered until cheese is melted on top.

Mmmmm… pasta and cheese have been a couple of my favorite foods during this pregnancy and I like this method of increasing my veggie intake!  If you can’t go without meat, keep the veggies and just add a little ground beef as well when preparing the sauce.  Enjoy!

Okay, well I’m off to continue the organizing/cleaning mission… pajamas and all!

Eating for Two

I always thought this saying was a little weird.  I mean yes, when you’re pregnant there is another person growing inside you, but that person is still pretty tiny (especially at the beginning!) and certainly doesn’t need the same quantity of food as you.  Meaning, pregnancy doesn’t equal a free pass to automatically double the portions of everything you eat.  Although I’ll be honest and admit that I’ve tended towards doing just that with pasta lately because pasta tastes oh so good!

I do think this saying can actually be a good guideline though, if you take it as looking more at the quality as opposed to the quantity of food you’re eating.

I’ve always been a pretty healthy eater, but I’m trying to be extra aware of eating the right kinds of foods now that there is another person partaking of my nutritional choices!  That’s my version of eating for two… being accountable for the health of not only myself but also the little one that is growing like crazy right now.  I’m not doing this because I’m concerned about gaining weight or anything, but because I want to give this baby as healthy of a start as possible… and hopefully keep myself feeling good too!

Being a biologist, and having an interest in nutrition, I think its kind of fun to find foods and recipes that are both tasty (cause I certainly have some foods that sound tastier than others right now!) and healthy… packing in the vitamins and nutrients that baby and I will both benefit from.  Since I already enjoy sharing recipes on this blog, I figured I could start throwing in some of the “eating for two” recipes that I’ve tried/will try.

This Saturday I woke up thinking pancakes sounded like a delicious way to start the weekend.  I haven’t made them in quite a while, and had found a new recipe I wanted to test out.  I’ve upped my yogurt intake lately (yay for calcium, protein, and all those good bacteria!) and have become a fan of Chobani.  I don’t usually give a plug for a specific brand, but I do like the fact that this yogurt has more protein and no artificial sugars.  It is on the expensive side, but the 32oz tub is more cost effective than individual servings, so my go to weekday breakfast now is a few scoops of vanilla with fruit.  It was on this yogurt container that I found the pancake recipe to try.

I thought they turned out delicious.  I’m sure dousing them with maple syrup isn’t the healthiest choice but I can’t resist my pure maple syrup… yummm!  Otherwise, the recipe seems pretty healthy to me.  And although the batter was thicker than what I usually make, I liked the consistency of the pancakes when they were done.

Vanilla Yogurt Pancakes

  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla yogurt (I obviously used the Chobani but I’m sure it would work with others)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk

Combine dry ingredients.  Whisk wet ingredients and pour into dry, stirring until just combined.  Scoop batter (1/4 cup scoop made a good pancake size for me) onto skillet.  Flip when bubbles appear and cook until golden brown.  Pour on the maple syrup… oops… I added that last part!  Haha!

Enjoy!