Tag Archives: breakfast

Breakfast Smoothies for Busy Days

Image by MSPhotographic
Image by MSPhotographic

Consider breakfast smoothies for busy days when life takes over and there is simply no time to cook. Being rushed is not an excuse to let anyone go without a nutritious start to the day.

I have included some tips and a number of recipes for those incredibly busy days. The recipes can also be used for picky eaters or family members who insist they do not like breakfast.

When you need something easy and quick, breakfast smoothies are a great choice. If you have not tried this popular option, now is the time to do so. They are extremely tasty and loaded with nutrition when made from scratch.

One breakfast option is an “instant breakfast” mix, but I do not recommended them – too many additives and too much sugar!  On the other hand, when creating your own smoothies, you know exactly what is going into them. They are typically loaded with fresh or frozen fruits and other natural ingredients such as honey, and yogurt.

The bare essentials for a fruit smoothie are fruit (fresh or frozen), ice, a little sweetener (honey is best), and some type of liquid (milk, almond milk, coconut water, water). Of course, you can branch out from there.

Basic Guidelines

  • Start with a clean blender.
  • Cut up the fruit the night before.
  • Freeze some of the fruit to limit the amount of ice you need.
  • Include green, leafy or other vegetables and carrots for added nutrients.
  • Measure out the liquid you will use and place it in a specific container in the refrigerator.

The more you can prepare the night before, the quicker it will be to make your smoothie in the morning. As you know, when time is at a premium, every minute you save counts.

The liquid you use is entirely up to you – it is a personal preference. Some people like to use regular milk (my choice). Others prefer rice milk, coconut milk (or water), or almond milk. You can also use kefir whey, fruit juice, vegetable juice, or water. NOTE: Each one adds a specific flavor and consistency. 

Below are some recipes for you to try – plus you can be as inventive as you wish.  ENJOY!

Protein Shake

  • 1¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup uncooked oatmeal
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • Dash of salt
  • Small handful of ice

Place all ingredients in the blender except for the ice cubes. Cover and then blend for one minute on medium. Add the ice cubes, cover and then blend for another minute on high.

FRUIT SMOOTHIES

Strawberry-Apricot Smoothie

  • 1 fresh apricot, medium ripe
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1ripe banana, sliced and frozen
  • 1/3 cup cold unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons local honey
  • Ice, enough for desired consistency

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth (serves one).

Apricot-Pineapple-Strawberry Smoothie

  • 1 cup apricots, washed, pitted and cut in quarters
  • ½ cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • ½ cup fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • ½ cup coconut water or unsweetened almond milk
  • Local honey to taste
  • Ice, enough for desired consistency

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth (serves two).

Cherry-Strawberry Smoothie

  • 1 ripe banana, sliced and frozen
  • ¾ cup fresh or frozen red cherries, pitted
  • ¾ cup fresh or frozen strawberries
  • ½ fresh orange, pitted and cut into chunks
  • Local honey to taste
  • ½ tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
  • ½ cup coconut water, unsweetened almond milk, or water
  • Ice, enough for desired consistency

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth (serves two).

COMBO SMOOTHIES

Banana-Honey Smoothie

  • 1 ripe banana, sliced and frozen
  • 6 oz plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ almond milk or regular milk
  • 2 vanilla wafers
  • ¾ tablespoon local honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Large handful of ice

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth (serves one).

Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie

  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 ripe banana, sliced
  • 5 almonds
  • 6 oz plain Greek yogurt
  • ¾ cup milk or almond milk
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon grated ginger (optional)
  • Large handful of ice

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth (serves one).

Chocolate-Strawberry Smoothie

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 6 oz plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup milk or almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 2-3 teaspoons local honey

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth (serves one).

Creamy Strawberry-Banana Smoothie

  • ½ cup milk or almond milk, more as needed to reach desired consistency
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 oz plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 ripe banana, sliced and frozen
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger (optional)
  • Local honey to taste

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth (serves one).

Orange Julius Smoothie

  • Juice of three ripe oranges
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 tablespoons unrefined sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Large handful of ice.

Blend ingredients at high speed until the mixture is frothy. Serve immediately (serves one).

Creamsicle Smoothie

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ripe bananas, peeled, sliced, and frozen (overnight)
  • 1 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 orange, peeled and cut into chunks
  • ¾ cup almond milk (or regular milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin slices
  • Ice (optional, but nice if you like to thicker)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Slice and freeze the bananas overnight.
  2. Make the freshly-squeezed juice first.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a blender.
  4. Blend until well combined and smooth (serves two).

NOTE: If you want a true Creamsicle flavor – omit the carrot.

Low-Calorie Energy Booster

  • 1 banana, sliced and frozen
  • 1 large tablespoon pure almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • Local honey, to taste
  • 12 ounces of pure, unsweetened coconut water
  • Ice – to desired consistency

Blend all ingredients together until smooth (serves one).

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

I just found this recipe on Pinterest and couldn’t resist it – looks so good and goes with the season (Autumn) and would probably be good anytime of the day.  Hope you enjoy it. Found it on LemonTreeDwelling.com.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 c. vanilla yogurt (not plain)
  • 2 oz. frozen pumpkin puree (or 2 pumpkin puree “ice cubes”)
  • 1/2 frozen banana, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1-2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (I used homemade – recipe below)
  • 1 cinnamon stick for garnish

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pre-freeze pumpkin puree by dividing 1 (15 oz.) can into an ice cube tray and freezing. (You will have enough to fill more than one tray.)
  2. Combine all ingredients (except cinnamon stick) in blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into glass; garnish with a cinnamon stick.Makes 1 smoothie

Pumpkin Pie Spice (from Allrecipes.com)
4 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
4 tsp. ground nutmeg
4 tsp. ground ginger
3 tsp. ground allspice

Closing Thoughts

These breakfast smoothies are nutritious alternatives for your family when there is so little time in the morning. They taste great and are good for you. Be aware that your family may enjoy them so much, they may become a habit. The good news is – they can make them for themselves. All you have to do is have the ingredients available.

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Breakfast for Picky Eaters

You have probably heard all your life that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – and I heartily agree.  This is true for everyone and especially for children.  Unfortunately, there are some people who simply do not like breakfast foods, which I personally do not understand, but nevertheless, it is true.  If you or someone in your family happens to be one of that group, you may have to be innovative and creative to find alternatives for those picky eaters.

You can start with the following and create your own from there . . .

Image by: Tomasz Stasiuk
Image by: Tomasz Stasiuk

Banana or Pumpkin Bread – Bake several loaves, slice and freeze in small plastic freezer bags. It is unusual for anyone to turn down a slice or two of homemade banana or pumpkin bread. For an extra nutritional bump, add nuts (walnuts or pecans are perfect).  Serve a couple of warm slices with a little butter and a glass of cold milk or freshly-squeezed orange juice and you have a nutritious, delicious breakfast.

Green Smoothies – Initially your picky eaters may hesitate because of the color, but they can be tasty and provide a healthy, nutritious breakfast. They can be made with frozen pineapple and banana slices, apples, oranges, dates, pitted cherries, strawberries, almonds plus plenty of baby spinach or kale for the green ingredients. Try various combinations until you find the ones you like best. You can also add ice to make them slushier – or plain Greek yogurt  or almond milk to make them creamier.  If you need sweetener, add a little local honey or Stevia, but go easy.  A dash of salt also enhances the flavor.

Almond Buter Trader JoesAlmond Butter Sandwiches – Most picky eaters will eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when all else fails.  I would recommend switching it up with almond butter, which is a little healthier choice – cashew butter can also be a nice change.  Whichever you choose be sure you purchase brands that are pure nut butters – nuts and salt ONLY, nothing more.  Make the sandwiches with hearty whole-grain bread and go very light on the jelly (and always use fruit-only jelly) or use local honey instead.

Omelets – Rather than plain old scrambled eggs, make them interesting by creating omelets. Add sautéed vegetables (onions, green pepper and mushrooms) along with plenty of your child’s favorite cheese.

Bagels – This is one that I learned to love when I lived in New York City. Now they are available everywhere, but some are better than others. The best ones I have found are Bruegger’s Bagels and Safeway Grocery Stores (which are actually pretty good).  If you have not tried them, you are in for a treat. They can be served plain or toasted; spread with butter and a little fruit-only jam, cream cheese, or nut butter.  They also make tasty sandwiches. Try them soon.

Image by: bodrumsurf
Image by: bodrumsurf

Fruit and Cheese – This is a great option for family member who shy away from breakfast.  Most people like at least one type of cheese, which is a good source of protein. Serve favorite cheese slices, whole grain crackers, and sliced fresh fruit – apples, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, or grapes. A dish of cottage cheese with sliced fruit is also good. This may not be a traditional breakfast, but it works well.

Fruit and YogurtI am NOT talking about prepared, sweetened yogurt with fruit at the bottom!  Use only plain Greek yogurt, with sliced strawberries, blueberries or cantaloupe – drizzled with a little local honey. YUM!  You can also top with a tablespoon or two of fresh homemade granola (the boxed version has too many additives and too much refined sugar).

Deviled Eggs – These can be made the night before and served with a slice of whole wheat toast – quick and easy.

Overnight Oatmeal This is a great choice because it is a healthy base to which you can add ingredients that fit your picky eater’s palate. Also, it is very convenient because you make it the night before, put it in the fridge, and serve with the additional preferred ingredients.

Muffin Fritatas – I just found this recipe and it is great – high-protein, low-carb and tasty. This site has other excellent egg recipes you may want to try for healthy, delicious breakfast alternatives.  There is another site for Egg Muffin Recipes that you should check out as well.

As a parent you want your family to be healthy and happy. If some of them fall into the picky eater category, you may be concerned that they are not getting the nutrients they need – and rightfully so; but insisting they eat foods they do not like is probably not a very successful or pleasant experience.

Offer healthy foods that they prefer, even though they may not be traditional breakfast foods, which could include nuts, avocado slices, apples, cheese, fruits of all kinds, whole-grain or protein pancakes, hard boiled eggs or hearty healthy muffins.

Eat and enjoy healthy foods!

Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee

Cold Brewed Iced Coffee
Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee
Image by Molly

 Cold-brewed iced coffee makes preparation of that pleasurable morning cup of coffee a breeze

 I have always loved the smell of freshly ground coffee and the tantalizing aroma as it brews in the early morning. To start my day there is nothing quite as comforting as a steaming hot cup of coffee on a cold winter morning; but, in Arizona hot coffee doesn’t have quite the same appeal on a summer morning after walking my dog, Chloe. A tall glass of iced coffee is just what I need. Cool, creamy and delicious. There is no reason to spend $4.00+ at the local coffee house, or to buy those nasty pre made cans or cartons of iced coffee (filled with additives). All you have to do is make a batch of cold brew coffee tonight (enough to last for several days) and be ready to enjoy your special cup tomorrow morning – and several mornings after that. One batch lasts five or six days, depending on how much I drink each morning.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups freshly ground coffee (coarse ground works best – regular or decaf)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place the coffee in a large bowl with a pouring spout. Add the water and strain thoroughly until coffee is well-mixed (no lumps).
  2. Cover and let it “brew” at room temperature 8-12 hours.
  3. Next morning – strain the coffee through a sieve lined with a paper coffee filter. This takes some time since you will have to pour a little at a time until all the coffee is filtered.
  4. Toss the grounds and pour the filtered coffee into a large container with a screw-on cap and refrigerate.
  5. Your coffee is now ready to pour over ice, add your preferred ingredients, and enjoy!

 I prefer the following combination for a delicious morning treat

Fill a tall glass with ice cubes and add the following:

  • 1 to 1½ cup of cold-brewed coffee
  • 1/3 cup almond and/or coconut milk (Try Califia Farms™ Pure Coconut/Almond Milk Blend)
  • (OR – Make your own [highlight]almond milk[/highlight] – see post)
  • 1-2 tablespoons half-and-half (optional – I happen to like cream)
  • 1 packet Stevia (natural sweetener)
  •  1-2 tablespoons Hershey’s™ Chocolate Syrup (optional – sometimes I use it, sometimes I don’t)

Make your first batch today and start experimenting. Find the perfect combinations that suit your particular taste. ENJOY! 

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Sweet Pastry Decadence – Breakfast or Dessert

Pillsbury sweet pastry imagePillsbury Crescent Rolls with Cream Cheese, Cinnamon, Sugar

Sweet pastry decadence – at its best!  I couldn’t resist this one. It is so quick, easy, and yummy! I have categorized it as breakfast – and dessert. It is great for either one.

The recipes I post are primarily about cooking from scratch, using healthy ingredients to help you feed your families well.  When I saw this recipe from the Pincookie.com, it was too tempting to resist.  I am offering it as a wonderful choice for that occasional lapse in healthy eating.  Just don’t make it a habit :-)!

Ingredients

  • 2 cans Pillsbury Butter Crescent Rolls
  • 2 (8oz) packages cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup butter (melted)
  • Cinnamon & sugar (I used about 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tbs cinnamon)

Directions

Unroll and spread 1 can crescent rolls on bottom of un-greased pan.

Combine softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla.

Spread mixture over crescent rolls.

Unroll and spread remaining can of crescent rolls over mixture.

Spread melted butter over the top and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

ENJOY every mouth-watering bite!

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Read more http://www.pincookie.com/pillsbury-crescent-rolls-cream-cheese-cinnamon-sugar/

Hearty Healthy Muffins

Hearty Healthy Muffins for Breakfast

Hearty healthy muffins are perfect for grab and go when there is no time for a full breakfast, or to eat as a pick-me-up when you hit the late afternoon energy dip. This recipe is quick and easy to prepare and very tasty. They freeze very well, warm them up for 60 sections straight from the freezer and enjoy. 

[typography font=”Myriad Pro” size=”20″ size_format=”px” color=”#ad0232″]Ingredients[/typography]

  • 1¼  cups whole wheat flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fat-free vanilla yogurt (Greek yogurt is best)
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ cups walnuts or pecans
  • ½ cup applesauce (fresh or bottled)
  • ½ cup raisins or dried cherries
  • ½ cup finely grated carrots

[typography font=”Myriad Pro” size=”20″ size_format=”px” color=”#ad0232″]Directions[/typography]

  1. Preheat the oven to 400º F.
  2. Prepare the muffin tin by spraying each well evenly with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt – set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, cream together the yogurt, brown sugar, egg, oil, and vanilla – mix with electric hand-held mixer until smooth.
  5. Using a wooden spoon, stir the yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients – mix just until blended – lumps are OK.
  6. Fold in the nuts, applesauce, raisin (or cherries) and carrots.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes – test by inserting a toothpick in the center of the muffin (should come out clean).
  8. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes – then remove from the pan to cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. Keep in a sealed plastic bag or container. Freeze some to keep them fresh – unless they disappear too quickly to save.

Yield: 12 muffins (242 calories per muffin)

[typography font=”Myriad Prol” size=”20″ size_format=”px” color=”#ad0232″]Recipe Tip[/typography]

For a slightly different flavor substitute mashed ripe bananas for the applesauce. For a slightly different texture substitute drained can pineapple for the applesauce.

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