Kabocha Apple Breakfast Bowl

Squashes make great bowls.

 

Ohhhh… wouldn’t a cereal bowl of squash be cool?!

I make batches and batches of squash each week.  Usually kabocha.  It’s a problem.  Or it would be if it wasn’t also healthy.  I’m not orange yet!

Kabocha

 

I roasted the above at the beginning of the week so I could use it for a quick, homemade breakfast.  All I needed to do was put the kabocha in the over under broiler while I whipped up the eggs, apples, and peanut sauce.  All of these things are delicious, but maybe a little strange to eat together and for breakfast.  Or maybe not.  The moral of the story is that it’s really good!

The best thing about this creation is that It can all be done simultaneously, so even notoriously late to work people (not that I know anything about that) can have a fancy start to the day!

Kabocha Apple Breakfast Bowl

The apples and cinnamon made it feel like pie, but the peanut butter made it divine.  The only way this could have been better is if I’d had bacon.

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Kabocha Apple Breakfast Bowl

Kabocha Apple Breakfast Bowl

  • Chunk of kabocha (or other squash), pre-roasted
  • Eggs
  • Cinnamon
  • Apple, dices
  • Peanut flour sauce (or nut butter)

 

Place kabocha in the over to re-heat and crisp up.

Sauté apples in a small plan.  When softened, remove from pan and set aside.

Scramble eggs (or egg whites) with cinnamon and 2-3 drops of stevia, if desired.  When almost done, add apples.

Remove squash from oven.  Top with egg-apple mixture and peanut sauce (or nut butter).

Enjoy! 

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How have you enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family stare with strange but good creations this week? The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends! Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

Sprint 2 the Table

 

 

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)



***

Annnnnd I’m in Colorado!  Wheeee!

Do you pre-make food for the week?

Do  you eat the same thing for breakfast everyday or shake it up?

 

Strange But Cheesey

What do you call cheese that isn’t yours?

 

Nach-yo cheese!

Today’s post isn’t about nacho cheese.  It’s about cream cheese.  However, if you know me you know that I love that joke.  Any excuse to share. :)

We do have cheese today!  Greek yogurt cream cheese.  I buy mine from a local company called Atlanta Farm Fresh, but I’ve started seeing it from larger brands.

Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese

 

I’m not a big cream cheese fan, but I love the texture and the taste of the yogurt-based version.  It’s less thick and rich – normally not a positive to me, but it always bothered me that cream cheese sort of sticks to your mouth.

I’ve been on a role using it for sweet and savory breakfasts, and for dessert.  It may have resulted in some strange spreads, but they were good!  Below are a few ways I’ve used it this week.

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PrOATein Pancakes with Maple-Cinnamon Cream Cheese

PrOATein Pancakes with Maple-Cinnamon Cream Cheese

  • PrOATein Pancake
  • 2 T cream cheese
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp butter extract (optional, but not really)

 

Prepare pancakes according to instructions.  Meanwhile, mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl.

Plate pancakes and slather with creamy, maple deliciousness.

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In the Atlanta, we don’t have a lot of lox and it’s hard to find a good bagel.  This is my Southern version of a New York classic breakfast.

Southern Breakfast Salmon

Southern Breakfast Salmon

  • 1 tortilla, toasted and sliced
  • Salmon
  • 2 T cream cheese
  • 1 T finely chopped parsley
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste

 

Slice and toast tortilla and remove pre-baked salmon (mine was done with lemon and dill) from the fridge.

Mix together cream cheese, parsley, and red pepper flakes.  Spread onto tortilla slices.  Top with salmon and more red pepper flakes, if desired.

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Zucchini Batter with Butterscotch Cream Cheese Protein Spread

Zucchini Batter with Butterscotch Cream Cheese Protein Spread

  • Zucchini Batter Protein Bowl
  • 1 T cream cheese
  • 1 T vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 tsp butterscotch extract
  • Water, to thin
  • Optional cherry on top

 

 Prepare zucchini bread batter and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients.  Add water (or milk) slowly to reach desired consistency.

Spread atop the batter and top as desired.

 

I could have stopped there with the cherry a chocolate drizzle.  But why?

Zucchini Batter with Butterscotch Cream Cheese Protein Spread

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How have you enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family stare with strange but good creations this week? The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends! Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

Sprint 2 the Table

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)


***

It's Friday and I have no plans for the weekend other than then gym tomorrow.  I am elated.

Do you like cream cheese?  Have you tried the Greek yogurt version?

What is your favorite dessert bowl topping?  I'm all about the popcorn crunch! 

 

Merry Monday

Christmas ends so quickly!

 

So does the dessert.

I took a nice, long blog break last week to enjoy the time with my family.  It was great to take some rest… but I was excited to come back and share, and to read everyone else’s recaps!  Is anyone else still full? ;)

Our Christmas Eve was a little different this year – we went out to dinner!  That was fun, but the best part was our tradition of sharing dessert and drinks at home with some family friends.  I make something different every year.  This year was chocolate-hazelnut martinis and an amazing Sweet & Salty Chocolate Guinness Pie topped with marshmallow meringue.

Sweet & Salty Chocolate Guinness Pie

 

I followed this recipe, with a few adjustments.  I halved everything to make just 1 pie.  Instead of graham crackers I mixed pretzels with ginger snaps in the crust.  I also made a simpler meringue.  Rather than doing it over heat, beat the egg whites into a fluff and slowly added sugar to keep it light. Then, I melted the marshmallows in the microwave before adding them in.  I skipped the Guinness reduction and in favor of bourbon extract.

That meringue was insanely good… I must say this is one of the best desserts to date!

 

Christmas morning was a sure sign we are all grown up – after a late night, we slept until 9am and no one touched a present until almost 10:30!  This is unheard of in my family.

It gave me time to take some pictures of my favorite ornaments.  The one on the bottom right was my great grandmother’s!

Christmas ornaments

 

French press coffee in hand and fire built, we dug into the bounty.  Even Honey (the dog) waited patiently for her turn to explore her stocking.

Mom out did herself, as always.  We are lucky girls!  I got a ton of clothes, a pizza stone, new towels (my only request – another sure sign of being an adult!), some cool glass bottles, make-up, chocolates… and bacon duct tape.  Wouldn’t it be awesome if it was scratch ‘n sniff tape?!

Presents

 

Brunch is the big-deal meal in my family.  So is taking pictures of everything we eat.

Mom staged a shot of the sparkling wine and ambrosia:

 

One of our most-loved traditions is the champagne brunch.  I brought a bottle of sparkling from my Napa trip – a Schramsberg Brut Rosé.

It went well with our smorgasbord.  We had ambrosia, Italian sausage and cabbage saute, local bacon, toast, scrambled eggs, mâché (greens), and mushrooms (so good sautéed in bacon remnants and fresh rosemary).

Christmas champagne brunch

 

Then we lounged.  We Skyped my other sister in Portland.  I napped.  I never nap… bacon and sparkling are to blame!  ;)

But we aren’t total lushes couch potatoes.  A few hours later we took Honey for a 3 mile walk by the river.  It’s pretty close to where my dad is buried, so we made a pit stop to say hi.  Honey jumped right up on the bench there to say hi.  It was really sweet.  And really cold… we hauled it back home for hot tea and to begin dinner.

Honey

 

Dinner was another tradition – my friend Ben and his partner came over.  Ben makes the best chocolate-coated toffee I have ever had, and every year he comes over for a meal and to deliver a bag of crack toffee.  We snacked on a cheese plate, enjoyed some wine, and prepared dinner.

Mom helped me to roast my first whole chicken.  It turned out really well!  We ate that with a spaghetti squash and bacon creation and a salad.  And more wine.  (Read: we slept in again.)

Christmas Dinner

This marvelous Christmas deserves a link up over at Katie’s MIMM!

***

I’m prepping for a NYE pairing dinner I’m co-hosting… and then I must admit I’m excited to get back on the clean eating train.

What is the big holiday meal in your family?

What was the best gift Santa brought you this year?

 

Portland is Delicious

Portland, it’s a good think you’re tasty.

 

And sunny.  Yes, I said sunny.

A belly full of warm food and a sunny, blue sky is the only way I survived this arctic weekend.  My little sister, Alli, moved to Portland a few years ago and I hadn’t had the occasion to visit.  Apparently they hit record lows the couple of days I finally decided to pop in.  It was so cold my teeth hurt.

This was my view coming in:

Portland snow

 

The snow did melt, and the sun came out to stay!  The first order of business was to eat.  Alli collected me from the airport and we went right to Tasty ‘n Sons where we ordered everything item of #yolkporn we could find…. 

Read More »

Kentucky Muscle Weekend

Body building has no finish line.

 

This is both inspiring and frustrating.

You work every day – like all goals in life – to be better than you were the day before.  This past weekend’s competition, Kentucky Muscle, was the biggest one I’ve ever done.  I didn’t place in the Top 5 (I came in 6th)… and while I knew I probably wouldn’t it was still a little disappointing.

Not going to lie… the “trophy” was a sword, and that just made me want to place more.  Who doesn’t want a sword to display at home?!

Kentucky Muscle pre-show

 

What I am proud of is how I’ve progressed since my last show.  This time around I had made gains and, more importantly, I felt better than I ever had before.  This morning of the show I felt centered, confident, and ready to get one stage with my best package yet.

On stage, I wasn’t as uncomfortable as I’d been in the past.  My posing still isn’t the best, but it’s better.  I am confident enough to walk out with a smile, know I’m not going to fall over in my stripper heels, and look directly at each and every judge while I move through each pose (that part is maybe the hardest!).

Kentucky Muscle

 

Back stage was also fun.  I met some new friends and had time to hang out with my House of Payne teammates.  It’s a crowded space, but everyone made the best of it; I’m continually amazed by how kind other competitors are.  I bummed rice cakes (which I’d forgotten) and goofed off with the girls in my class as we lined up to get on stage.  I almost had them convinced to enter the stage doing the “walk like an egyptian” dance. ;)

You may recognize my partner-in-crime, Lisa, from my last show and birthday trip to Napa.  Hannah, the blonde in the picture below, won overall Physique!

Backstage at Kentucky Muscle

 

The best part is always the meal afterwards.  We didn’t finish until almost midnight, but that didn’t stop our group from heading to a local late-night pizza spot.  See the pizza on the top right below?  I ate the entire thing.  With a Kentucky bourbon barrel beer.  And a peanut butter Oreo (which are fantastic, btw).

My trainer and I stopped at a local brunch sport, Toast, on the way out of town for one final indulgence before I got back on the wagon foe next weekend’s show.  We split some #yolkporn served on toasted brioche with harissa hot sauce and bacon, and a fantastically decadent bread pudding pancake served with a blend of warm rum raisin syrup and Irish crème sauce.  Sugar coma heaven.

pizza and brunch

 

Last, but certainly not least, I was especially excited to see Brittany!  She lives nearby and came to hang out between after pre-judging and for the night show.  Seeing one of my favorite Blends made the waiting game so much easier.  She is hilarious and kept my trainer and I laughing the entire time.

Thank you, Brittany!!!  I can’t tell you how much seeing a familiar face helps!

Me and Brittany

 

I’ll do a longer recap after next week’s Colorado show.  I spent the few hours after I got home grocery shopping and meal prepping to make it through a crazy week of work, workouts, and travel.  Lisa and I are headed to compete with the lovely Heather in her bikini debut at the end of the week!

I hope you all have a marvelous start to the week!

MMIM

***

That’s the short and sweet recap… I’m about to fall asleep.  Thank you all so much for the tweets, texts, comments on last week’s posts (I swear I’ll catch up one day), Facebook, and Instagram.  It meant the world!

Do you view your goals as a progression, or is there a finish line?

What would be your “treat” food of choice after something like this?  Heather just texted me with an amazing food idea for next weekend… woo hoo!

 

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Pie Eggs

This is the fall of orange.

 

My least favorite color to wear, but one of the most delicious.

Unbelievably, my palms aren’t orange.  My whole body will be orange in 3 weeks.  It’s almost competition time!  Food wise, I can’t get enough pumpkin, winter squashes, sweet potatoes, and carrots (many of you understand my addiction).  I eat one of those at almost every meal!  Including breakfast.

The orange pumpkin pie filling mix above was added to eggs.  I mixed together pumpkin puree with spices… and then decided it was missing something.  It tasted too traditional.*

Peanut butter flour!!!

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Pie Eggs

*If you’re into traditional, you can leave the PB out.

Since PB & Peggs is taken, I thought calling it pie was appropriate.  It tasted like pie.  Breakfast pie.

It also earned me some fun looks when I walked into my gym eating it Saturday morning (please note the environmentally friendly mug).  Marvelous, no?

Recipe at the bottom of this post.

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Which brings me to more marvelous – I am working on getting my personal training certification!  Even better, I am doing it though Lee Haney’s IAFS program.  I got to spend 8 hours at the gym learning from him on Saturday.

In case you don’t know Lee Haney, he’s an 8x Mr. Olympia.  This man is legit.  I love his real approach and emphasis on fueling with natural, whole foods.

Lee Haney and me

 

In case the scramble wasn’t enough pumpkin for you, check out the Peanut Butter Pumpkin Pancakes my #strangebutgood partner in crime, Heather, posted this weekend.

I made them Sunday morning.  My modifications: reduced oats and peanut flour to 2T each, increased egg whites to 1/4 C, and used cottage cheese instead of yogurt.  For syrup, I mixed sugar-free syrup, pumpkin, and cinnamon.

This weekend of pumpkin was beyond marvelous.

MMIM

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Peanut Butter Pumpkin Pie Eggs

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Pie Eggs with Pear

  • 1/4 C pumpkin puree
  • 1 T peanut flour (or peanut butter)
  • 1 T unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • Pinch of cloves
  • 4-5 drops liquid stevia
  • 1/2 C egg whites
  • 1/2 large Asian pear, diced

 

In a small bowl, combine first 7 ingredients.

Scramble the eggs until almost done.  Stir in the pumpkin mix and pear, cooking ~1 min to warm through.

Transfer to plate and tops as desired (I used additional pear and almonds).  Enjoy! 

***

I feel like I went 100 miles an hour all weekend, but in a good way.  It’s fun to look up and realize you’re exactly where you want to be.

Are you orange-obsessed?  What’s is your favorite orange food?

What was marvelous about your weekend?

 

Strange But Good: Beefy Oatmeal with Blackberry Salsa

Where’s the Beef?

 

It’s a legit breakfast food.

This sounds strange… but it isn’t SO odd.  Many people have eaten savory oats.  Oats are just another carb.  We make lots of savory carb-y things.  Why not add beef?  And while we’re at it, eat it for breakfast!  This is what happens when you’re out of eggs.

Side note: This recipe could VERY easily be made vegan by using TVP in place of the beef.

Beefy Oats

 

The salsa is the most awesome, lazy recipe ever.  Mash up blackberries and stir in jarred salsa (extra hot).  Done.*

*That’s not totally true.  I added a drop of lemon stevia because my berries sucked and weren’t sweet at all.

 

So hear me out.  Yummy beef.  Chewy oats laced with rich flavors of cumin and smoky paprika.  A little sweet ‘n spicy to top it off.  That sounds more good than strange!

Aftermath

Warning: It will look like you slayed something when you stir it up to eat.

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Beefy Oatmeal with Blackberry Salsa

Beefy Oatmeal with Blackberry Salsa

  • 1/2 oatmeal, cooked
  • 3 oz lean ground beef, cooked
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of smoked paprika
  • 1/4 C blackberries (or other berries)
  • 2 T salsa

 

Cook oatmeal, stirring in precooked ground beef* and spices just before done.

Meanwhile, mash up berries in a small bowl and stir in salsa.

Pour oats into a bowl and top with salsa.  Be amazed.

*My beef was pre-cooked with a Mexican spice blend.  If yours is plain, you may want to add more spices on this recipe.

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How have you enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family stare with strange but good creations this week? The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends! Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

Sprint 2 the Table

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)


***

I’m posting a cookie recipe next week… my co-worker who isn’t a healthy food person said “these are actually good!”  I’m calling it a win. 

Have you had savory oats?  Do you like them?  Do you think I’m nuts?

What is your favorite oatmeal add-in?  Don’t say nut butter.  We all know that’s good. ;)

 

Strange But Good: Cinnamon Toasted Quinoa and PB Eggs

Start your day out toasted.

 

I crack myself up.

When I prep food I usually end up double-cooking it.  You get the groundwork done during your Sunday meal prep, but to keep it tasting fresh and crispy I pop it back in the oven before you eat.  Oven, not microwave.

Double-roasted is my favorite way to eat kabocha, and yesterday morning I did that with my quinoa.  Strange to do with stuff you already cooked, but oh-so-good.

Toasted Quinoa ingredients

Can you believe how cheap that giant thing of cinnamon was?! Love my farmer’s market.

 

This is really a non-recipe.  There are no measurements, only flavors you should adjust to your liking.  3 simple ingredients: my new English toffee liquid stevia from iHerb (you can use any sweetener), cinnamon, and ginger.

 

Basically, it tasted like cinnamon toast.  Much healthier than the butter-slathered stuff mom made us.  Add to that some bananas brushed with coconut oil and thrown under the broiler with the quinoa and you’ll wonder who put the dessert on your breakfast plate! 

Cinnamon Toasted Quinoa, Caramelized Banana and PB Eggs with Raspberries

 

The quinoa was prepped on Sunday (after I burned the beans), making it quick and easy to grab from the fridge to make this.  When you toast already-cooked quinoa, it becomes crunchy and granola-like.  The added texture was amazing on top of my PB eggs!

How do you make PB eggs?  I’ve posted them a lot in all my “Jegg” creations (there’s even a
vegan tofu version
)
, but here’s the run down.

Peanut Butter Eggs

  • Mix peanut flour, cinnamon, butter extract, and a teeny bit of liquid stevia with enough water to make it a runny PB consistency
  • Prepare egg whites in a small pot until almost cooked
  • Stir in peanut flour and allow to cook the rest of the way (~30 secs)

 

PSA: It’s also awesome on top of a protein-rich bowl Chocolate Zucchini Bread Batter (this recipe, but with chocolate protein powder).

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Cinnamon Toasted Quinoa with Caramelized Banana and PB Eggs

Cinnamon Toasted Quinoa

  • Quinoa, cooked
  • Liquid stevia (I used toffee)
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger

 

Toss together all ingredients and spread evenly on a piece of non-stick foil

Place in over under the broiler until crisp.  Watch closely – it’s easy to burn on broil!

Remove from oven, top your eggs (or yogurt, salad, etc).

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How have you enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family stare with strange but good creations this week? The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends! Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

Sprint 2 the Table

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)

***

There aren’t many (any?) things I say this about, but caramelized bananas could honestly replace dessert.

Quinoa for breakfast: yay or nay? Yay!

Have you ever tried peanut butter eggs?  How about just sweet eggs?

 

Fluffy Cauliflower Protein Pancakes

Cauliflower is surprisingly versatile.

 

Or maybe I’m surprisingly strange?

Either way, these are good.  Cauliflower may seem like a strange thing to make pancakes with, but it’s one of those veggies (like spinach) that doesn’t have a strong taste.

Fluffy Cauliflower Protein Pancakes 2

 

I had to do a few trials, but persistence paid off.  My first trials were without the oats, but it does need that addition to thicken properly.

What results in a super-fluffy pancake hiding a little extra veggie punch that NO ONE will ever guess is in there.  I added a quick blackberry syrup and decorated with some toasted sunflower seeds, which added a nice crunch to every bite.

Fluffy Cauliflower Protein Pancakes 1

A couple of tips:

  • Cut the cauliflower into small pieces to so that they will blend smoothly
  • Make sure to grease the pan well to make flipping easier
  • Don’t touch the pancakes until they are ready to flip.  If you mess with them, it will take away from the fluff factor.

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Fluffy Cauliflower Protein Pancakes

Fluffy Cauliflower Protein Pancakes

For the Pancakes:

  • 2 T oatmeal
  • 100g (~1/3 C) cauliflower
  • 1/4 C egg whites
  • 1 T (1/2 scoop) vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp no sodium baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp butter extract (optional)
  • 5-6 drops liquid stevia

 

For the Blackberry Syrup:

  • 1/4 C blackberries, mashed
  • 1 tsp sugar-free syrup

 

In a blender (I used a Magic Bullet), pulse the oats into a flour.  Place in mixing bowl.

Place cauliflower in the blender cup with egg whites and mix until smooth.  

Add oats back in, along with the remaining ingredients.  Blend until combined.

Cook in a well-greased skillet (I used PAM).

Meanwhile, mix together syrup ingredients in a small bowl.  Place in the microwave for ~10 seconds to warm and “melt” the berries.

Plate the ‘cakes and drizzle with syrup.  I also added sunflower seeds as a crunchy garnish.

Serves 1.

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How have you enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family stare with strange but good creations this week? The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends! Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

Sprint 2 the Table

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)

***

This week has certainly been strange… it’s so cool in Atlanta it feels like October!  Normally this would be awesome, but I’m crossing my finger for a little warmth because I’m supposed to try paddle boarding for the first time this weekend!

What is your favorite way to sneak in extra veggies?

Do you like to make pancake breakfasts?  Or are you an oat/egg/yogurt/other person?