Sunday Pancakes

Our breakfast routine during the week is pretty boring- oatmeal for the boys and a fruit topped yogurt bowl for me. It never changes… except on Sundays (and of course special occasions like birthdays and Christmas) when we have pancakes.  Quentin loves them! These healthy pancakes, although a treat, are super healthy and packed with whole grain fiber and heart healthy extra virgin olive oil. We love to add blueberries or bananas to the batter while its cooking and serve with a dollop of greek yogurt and maple syrup.

1½ cups whole wheat flour (or a mix of whole wheat and another whole grain flour)

¼ cup of all purpose white flour

¼ cup sugar

2¼ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2 cups almond milk

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup olive oil, plus some for frying

In a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Beat the eggs with the almond milk and olive oil and vanilla. Combine the dry and the wet ingredients, being careful not to over mix. Heat some oil in a skillet over medium heat. Spoon 1/3 cup of batter into the skillet and flip pancakes after bubbles rise to surface and bottoms brown, (about 2 to 4 minutes).  Cook until second side is golden brown. Transfer pancakes to ovenproof plate in a 200-degree oven while remaining batches are cooking.

Easy Roasted Tomato and Cashew Soup

Today’s frigid temperatures left me craving a warm and comforting tomato soup. If you can’t find good tomatoes this time of year, you can certainly substitute with canned whole tomatoes.  

This soup is not just comforting, but also a nutritional powerhouse! Tomatoes are one of the major sources of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of cancer and heart disease.  They are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin K.  Studies show that cutting and heating tomatoes opens up the cell wall of the fruit, which allows greater access to the health benefits of lycopene. 

I love this recipe because it uses cashews instead of cream to thicken the soup.  Fresh basil and dried oregano is added at the end as the perfect complement to the tomatoes.

1 red onion, roughly chopped

5 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

1 cup of unsalted cashews

10-15 medium sized beefsteak tomatoes, sliced into ½ inch rounds

½ cup of basil leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the cashews in 1½ cups of water overnight.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Place the tomatoes, onions and garlic cloves in a large pan and drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until golden.

Place cashews and soaking liquid in a blender and puree. Add the roasted tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil and tomato paste. Add salt and pepper to taste. If soup is too thick, add water to thin out.

Ratatouille

Every August I travel to my family’s vacation home in Maine. I’ve been doing this my whole life and now I’m continuing the tradition with Quentin. One of my favorite memories of Maine was my grandmother’s amazing cooking.  She worked hard all afternoon to create wonderful dinners that would bring the family together.  In the mornings, we would go to the local farmer and choose the seasonal vegetables and fruits and even sometimes pick our own.

This summer in Maine was an amazing blend of swimming, nature walks, and farm to table cooking. One of my all-time favorite end of summer meals is Ratatouille. I have put my own spin on the French classic, and making it extra special was using my grandmother’s well-seasoned “pie in the face” clay pot. Sadly, the clay pot broke but the Ratatouille came out great!

Ratatouille

1lb eggplant

1 lb zucchini

1 tsp of salt (or to taste)

1-2 cups of diced onion (1 large onion)

1 green pepper diced

1 lb of tomatoes, seeded and diced

¼ cup of basil

¼ tsp dried thyme

¼ tsp balsamic vinegar (optional)

Heat the oven to 400. Peel the eggplant and slice into 1/4″ round disks. Brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until golden brown (about 20 minutes).

In a large deep skillet or casserole pot, sauté the onion in olive oil for a few minutes. Add the garlic and peppers and salt and pepper.  Next add the zucchini and cook until golden.

When onion mixture is done, add the cooked eggplant (roughly chopped) and the tomatoes.

Cover the casserole dish and cook for 15 –20 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally.  Add the basil and thyme. If the ratatouille is a bit acidic from the tomatoes, you can add a splash of balsamic vinegar to round out the flavors.

Top with fresh basil and toasted almonds or pumpkin seeds.

Vegan Peanut Butter Cacao Bites

Vegan Peanut Butter Cacao Bites

Last weekend was our annual friends summer trip upstate. The perfect snack to bring to the house for both hungry kids and sleep deprived parents was my energizing Peanut Butter Cacao Bites.  These are the perfect snack as they are vegan, gluten free and have no added sugar!  I use organic peanut butter with no added sugar or oil.

Not only are these snacks healthy and energizing but they remind me of peanut butter cups, a favorite guilty indulgence from childhood.

1 cup pitted dates

2 TBS peanut butter

½ cup raw cocoa beans or nibs

¼ cup of gluten free oats

½ tsp of vanilla

¼ cup toasted pecans

¼ cup tsp of water or more if mixture is too dry

¼ cup of toasted coconut (toast in skillet for 1 minute or until golden brown)

In a high-powered food processor, chop the nuts and cacao beans into a fine meal. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the toasted coconut. If mixture is too dry, continue adding water until a sticky dough is formed. Chill the dough in the refrigerator until firm (about 20 minutes) then scoop the dough by the tablespoon onto a plate and roll between your hands into a ball. Sprinkle toasted coconut on the balls and enjoy!

Leek and Carrot Stew

One of my favorite go to healthy weeknight dinners is Leek and Carrot Stew. This is a variation of a dish called Zeytinyagli Pirasa that is popular in Turkish cuisine. Leeks are incredibly nutritious and are packed with a prebiotic fiber which supports the good bacteria in your gut. Leeks also have flavonoids and high amounts of Vitamin K. This dinner is great served with a Bulgur pilaf or rice.

1 TBS of olive oil

1 large leek, washed well and cut into ¼ inch half moons

5 carrots, chopped into ¼ inch half moons

1 15 oz can of chickpeas

¼ cup of fresh dill

1 cup of water

1 tsp of salt

Dash of pepper

In a large pot, saute the leeks in the olive oil for 5 minutes on medium heat. Chop the carrots and add them to the leeks and continue to cook for 10 minutes or until the leeks start to get slightly golden. Next add 1 cup of water, salt, pepper, dill and chickpeas. Cover the pot and lower the heat to a simmer for 20 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Turkish (ish) Red Lentil Soup

Growing up, I never heard of red lentil soup. It wasn’t until I met some Turkish friends in college that I discovered the delight of this comforting and healthy soup.   Although this recipe is simple and requires only a few ingredients, it is actually one of my favorites and a staple in our house.  Lentils are an excellent source of protein, folate and fiber.  Herbs, especially oregano, not only add a delectable favor but are also a powerful source of antioxidants.

I call this Turkish (ish) since I omit the traditional element of spicy pepper, something I’ve never developed the tolerance for.  For those of you who love some heat, add a healthy dose of hot pepper at the end- it’s good for you!

1 medium onion

2 carrots

1 ½ tsp of salt (add more to taste at the end)

1 tbs of tomato paste

1 tsp of cumin

1 tsp of dried oregano

1 tsp of dried mint

1 cup of red lentils

6 cups of water

Chop the onion and carrots into ½ inch or smaller pieces.  In a large soup pot, sauté the onion in olive oil for about 5-10 minutes over medium heat until its starts to turn golden and translucent.  Add the carrots and the salt and cumin and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.  Mix in the tomato paste and stir.  Wash the lentils and add them to the pot along with the water.  When the soup comes to a boil, lower the heat and cover for 25 minutes.  Blend with an immersion blender or conventional blender and adjust salt to taste.  Sprinkle the oregano and mint after blended and stir.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Serves:  6

 

Banana Blackberry Breakfast Bowl

This weekend, was the launch of Lily Skillet, at the Crossroads Organic farm on Long Island. Armed with my grandmother’s vintage cast iron skillet as a display and 100 bags of healthy handmade Apricot Sesame Fennel granola, we took the farmers’ market by storm and were a great success! The one question that everyone asked was “what do I do with the granola”? Therefore, I’m starting off today with one of my favorite ways to use Lily Skillet granola, Blackberry Banana Breakfast Bowl.

I love starting my day with this breakfast bowl and actually started making it when I was pregnant with my son to satisfy my cravings for protein and healthy fat. I use unsweetened non-fat Greek yogurt but you can substitute with coconut, nut-milk or another non-dairy yogurt if you prefer.  Bananas are a great way to naturally sweeten this dish and also add fiber and potassium to your diet. Almond butter and chia seeds add healthy fat and omega 3 acids. I’m currently obsessed with bee pollen.  Noted for its amazing health benefits, bee pollen contains 22 amino acids, enzymes, coenzymes, B vitamins, fatty acids, minerals, not to mention its effects on relieving allergies relating to spores and pollen. What a superfood!

Last but certainly not least, I sprinkle some Apricot Sesame Fennel Granola from LilySkillet.com, grab my americano and start my day.

Banana Blackberry Breakfast Bowl

1 cup of plain non-fat yogurt

1 banana

1 heaping teaspoon of almond butter

Dash of cinnamon

½ tsp of chia seeds

½ tsp of bee pollen

 

Mix together the yogurt, banana, almond butter, cinnamon, chia and bee pollen in a blender.

Top with ¼ cup of blackberries and Apricot Sesame Fennel Granola and enjoy!

 

Serves 1

Prep time: 10 minutes