Blueberry, Cranberry, and Walnut Breakfast Cookies

Blueberry, Cranberry, and Walnut Breakfast Cookies 1

My dear friend Donna is here with me this week learning the ropes of my job, as she will be covering my maternity leave.

The in-patient.

The out-patient.

The kitchen.

The chaos.

Blueberry, Cranberry, and Walnut Breakfast Cookies 2

“I really understand why you love your job, Nicole.” she said to me on our way home last night.

I feel blessed to have a job that is incredibly challenging, rewarding, diverse, fulfilling, creative, robust, and active. No two days are alike and if anyone were to ever be bored in my job…well, then, they’re not really working.

A lot of people have shared with me that they don’t think I’ll want to go back to work after Shea’s birth, and that could be true…but we’ll see. I do have every intention of going back to work and that’s because I truly do love what I do. Plus it has been a hugely successful year for me professionally, and for that I am very proud.

I am finally Board Certified in Advanced Diabetes Management. I also passed the Certified Dietary Manager exam. My department satisfaction scores are excellent. The diabetes education program has grown leaps and bounds in the past year. And all along the way, it’s been FUN.

Blueberry, Cranberry, and Walnut Breakfast Cookies 3

In the kitchen we continue to serve up new and old healthy favorites, encouraging healthy eating one lunch meal at a time. Yesterday was one of my personal favorites with the Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Creamy Poppyseed Dressing. Mmmm! It’s always fun to try new things…and to run a kitchen that has the ability and priority to truly drive change in an organization. It’s beyond rewarding to see.

We’ve also turned employees on to healthy breakfasts, particularly breakfasts of the grab-and-go variety. Among the favorites are breakfast cookies and we continue to alter the recipes to create breakfast cookies that are more loved than the last. Seeing as we live in the middle of the blueberry capital, these blueberry breakfast cookies became quite the hit this summer. As we slowly ease into fall, we’ll begin whipping out the apples again, however…no doubt about that.

And the pumpkin. Duh.

Blueberry, Cranberry, and Walnut Breakfast Cookies 4

Blueberry, Cranberry, and Walnut Breakfast Cookies
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour or white wheat flour
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1½ cups unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, applesauce, oil, and eggs.
  3. Mix wet ingredients into the dry; stir to combine. Fold in the walnuts, blueberries, and dried cranberries. Scoop approximately ⅓ cup of dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Press dough of each cookie down slightly with the palm of the hand to create approx. 4-inch diameter cookies.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until slightly golden. Let set on baking sheet a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Giant Whole Wheat Apple-Oat Breakfast Cookies, originally by Food.com
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 breakfast cookie Calories: 230 Fat: 9.3 Carbohydrates: 33.1 Sugar: 12.6 Sodium: 234 Fiber: 4.3 Protein: 5.1 Cholesterol: 23

 I am whipped after only Monday. Baaaah!!! No rest to be had before motherhood begins :)

Be well,

 sig4

Chicken Caesar Burger + Weekly Menu

Chicken Caesar Burger 1

The vibe at home is weird. It’s a 3 day weekend and we have…nothing to do (no internet, either…x2 days already!). Yesterday wasn’t beach weather so it was this odd day of nothingness. I am experiencing a lot of swelling and my OB’s orders were “to do less”…so I’m trying to oblige. But I find that when I’m in a complete and total relaxation mode, all I want to do is doze off. And even a pregnant woman can only sleep so much!

On the floor cuddling with Lily. After a shower as I just happen to fall into bed. On the couch. On the porch. In the hammock as I try to plow though a great but REALLY long book. Sleep, sleep, sleep. Not even the U.S. Open is holding my attention and that’s saying something. I love watching tennis!

Chicken Caesar Burger 2

We have continued to chip away at all of the baby STUFF assembly. We’ve never purchased so many D batteries before. Everything that moves or soothes a baby requires batteries, it seems. And neither of us quite have the knack for assembly – swings, pack-n-plays, strollers…why doesn’t anything come assembled!? I’d sure pay an up-charge for that luxury!

And let me just say how grateful I am to have the nursery complete. With an 8 month belly in front of me (hopefully this link to one of my maternity photos works!), any type of movement is…a chore. I huff and puff from just living. And while no woman would change creating life…creating life is not easy!

Chicken Caesar Burger 3

I digress.

What have we been eating? Simple stuff. Stuff that requires minimal effort and even less dishes.

For such requests, Pinterest is a saving grace. Finding quick meals is not only great for I-need-off-my-feet times of desperation, but also times of oh-my-gosh-I-have-a-newborn, as well. I mean, I’m assuming…rather safely assuming, I’m sure. Plus, Labor Day weekend is a time to cram in all of the grilling and to continue doing so until the elements demand otherwise. Less dishes, remember!

Chicken Caesar Burger 4

Chicken Caesar Burger
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 2 (4 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ¼ tsp salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • 2 whole wheat hamburger buns
  • 3 Tbsp light prepared Caesar dressing
Instructions
  1. Preheat grill to 400 F.
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Grill chicken 4-5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Top each piece of grilled chicken with 1 ounce of sliced mozzarella and 1½ tablespoons Caesar dressing.
  3. Assemble sandwiches with the prepared chicken, lettuce, and tomato. Serve immediately.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Food, Faith, Fitness
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 prepared sandwich/burger Calories: 382 Fat: 12.0 Carbohydrates: 29.0 Sugar: 3.5 Sodium: 677 Fiber: 6.5 Protein: 39.5 Cholesterol: 75

Weekly Menu: August 31st – September 4th

Time to get ready for the beach :-D

Be well,

sig4

Fruit, Chicken, and Quinoa Salad with Citrus Poppy Seed Dressing

Fruit, Chicken, and Quinoa Salad 1

It’s weird to be thinking about upcoming events…and needing a babysitter. It’s bizarre to think that in a few weeks, I’m going to be a MOM. Pinch me!!

It’s beyond my comprehension as to why Mr. Prevention agreed to go to Babies R Us with me last weekend to return a few things and finish gathering must-have items off our registry. I know the rainy weather was the only reason he was agreeable, but he was quickly regretting his decision when the shopping trip turned into a Babies R Us excursion that absorbed the ENTIRE afternoon. Hey, at least we saved over $200 with my amazing couponing skills!

Fruit, Chicken, and Quinoa Salad 2

I knew I had lost him by the first aisle. Go figure, breast milk storage bags and slow flow vs. medium flow bottle nipples didn’t hold his attention…not even for a second. I figured the experience would improve when we got around to the strollers, but he just plopped down on the display shelving and price compared on Amazon and other online retailers, inquiring over and over again, “Well, why do you want this one instead of this one?”

Duuuuuuuuuuude. I listen to other women and have done exhausting amounts of research on…all things baby.

He should really learn to pick his battles.

Fruit, Chicken, and Quinoa Salad 3

When I whipped up this Fruit, Chicken, and Quinoa Salad with Citrus Poppy Seed Dressing on Tuesday night, I informed him that “it would probably be a good pizza night” for him. I know he’s not a quinoa lover and would give the side-eye to this meal. It’s his loss if he’d rather have a frozen pizza, and I wasn’t going to try to convince him otherwise.

When he helped himself to a serving, he said it was almost sweet enough to be dessert (thank you, summer produce!) and he piled away a huge helping of the dish…never resorting to pizza for dinner. I didn’t hear a peep about pizza – just that he enjoyed this recipe. It was also enjoyed by my diabetes cooking club and last week, in the cafeteria at work. Yeeep, it’s a winner!

Fruit, Chicken, and Quinoa Salad 4

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Fruit, Chicken, and Quinoa Salad with Citrus Poppy Seed Dressing
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 (about 1⅔ cups each)
 
Ingredients
Salad:
  • 1 cup quinoa (uncooked), rinsed and drained + 1⅓ cups water
  • 1 quart strawberries, quartered
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1½ lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and sliced
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • ½ cup (2 oz) feta, crumbled
Dressing:
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, add quinoa and water and cook on high. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover. Let cook for 15 minutes; remove from heat and keep covered for 5+ minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool completely. Note: you can do this step 1-2 days in advance.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Once the quinoa is cooled, toss it with the citrus poppy seed dressing in a large bowl. Add the fruit, cooked chicken, and walnuts; toss well. Serve chilled or at room temperature with about 1 tablespoon of feta crumbled over the top of each serving.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Krafted Koch
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1⅔ cups Calories: 474 Fat: 21.8 Carbohydrates: 44.4 Sugar: 23.1 Sodium: 284 Fiber: 6.0 Protein: 26.8 Cholesterol: 41

 We’re having maternity photos taken tonight – I’m excited! I have just a few photos of myself pregnant, and I’m glad I’ll have something more to remember my pregnancy by :)

Be well,

sig4

Blueberry Arugula Salad with Brown Rice + Weekly Menu

Blueberry Arugula Salad with Brown Rice 1

My heart is completely and totally torn right now. Do I want summer to continue…or am I ready for fall?

I can’t enjoy the jet ski that Mr. Prevention purchased so timely (NOT!) a few weeks ago. Pregnancy aside, the weather so far this weekend has been sauna-like…sans the sun. What the heck, weekend? Let’s keep the temps, shed some of the humidity, and puhhhlease, take the mosquitoes with you. My toes are begging you as they are littered with swollen, itchy skeeter bites and this 2 showers-a-day business really wears a woman out, let me tell ya.

Blueberry Arugula Salad with Brown Rice 2

This summer just seemed to FLY by. Next weekend is LABOR DAY, people. How did this happen?!

…How did I survive summer without melting into a puddle? I’ll never know, but there were a few close calls.

Thanks to the intolerable weather yesterday, we spent about 4 hours in Babies R Us. Sadly, that is no exaggeration. Mr. Prevention had gone back and forth on whether or not he was going to tag along and within an hour he was sorely regretting his decision. That said, I am feeling pretty prepared for baby Shea (and super impressed by my couponing skills). Not really prepared, because how you can you ever been 100% ready for a newborn, especially as a first time mom…but at least we have all the essentials. Now it not only looks like a pink bomb went off in the house, but there’s pack-n-plays and swings occupying what used to be nice, empty space that kept our home seeming fairly clutter-free.

That’s all in the past, I imagine.

Blueberry Arugula Salad with Brown Rice 3

So with summer coming to a bittersweet end, it’s time to enjoy what summer has to offer. Like blueberries and local greens. In a really unique salad, that is, without a doubt, a little far-fetched…but soooo delicious (500 farmers market-goers tested and approved!).

Because next weekend starts college football. And my chili contest. And a 3 day weekend (!). And September…as in, the month before my due date making me very, very pregnant, very, very anxious to meet our little girl, and at the same time, very, very sad to see another Michigan summer come to an end. We tolerate the winters to savor the summer, guys. That’s no lie. So for a few most days, I’m soaking up summer.

Blueberry Arugula Salad with Brown Rice 4

Blueberry Arugula Salad with Brown Rice
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
Salad:
  • 5 oz fresh arugula
  • ½ cup brown rice, prepared according to package directions and cooled
  • ¾ cup fresh blueberries
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chiffonade
  • 1 oz (about ¼ cup) blue cheese
  • 1 oz (about ¼ cup) slivered almonds, toasted
Dressing:
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar (I used a blueberry balsamic)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the arugula, cooked brown rice, blueberries, and basil; toss well.
  2. Meanwhile, combine all dressing ingredients in a food blender, food prep, or cylindrical container to puree with an immersion blender; blend until smooth.
Notes
Dressing recipe makes 1 cup of dressing which will dress this salad x4 (1/4 cup per 5 ounces of arugula, basically). The nutrition information reflects the recipe's actual use, which is ¼ of the dressing recipe.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 salad (1/2 salad recipe, ⅛ dressing recipe) Calories: 423 Fat: 20.5 Carbohydrates: 37.5 Sugar: 7.0 Sodium: 416 Fiber: 7.5 Protein: 10.5 Cholesterol: 13

I have a ton of tomatoes and basil, hence the pizza. I have lots of blueberries and grilled chicken from the freezer, hence the fruit & quinoa salad, as well as the blueberry pizza (have the goat cheese that needs to be used up, too!), flank steak in the freezer that is nearing the end of its freezer life expectancy, and 2 dozen farm fresh eggs that will be made into chilaquiles (along with homemade salsa using home grown tomatoes and jalapenos!). I’m a woman on a mission this week!

Weekly Menu: August 24th – 28th

 Be well,

sig4

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes + Weekly Menu

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes 1

This weekend is the National Blueberry Festival weekend in our neck of the woods. P.S. I so want this t-shirt. 5K/10K yesterday, blueberry pie eating contest…the list goes on and on. All weekend, all blueberries.

On my way to and from work, I pass all the vacationers (and locals) picking blueberries. Blueberries so big you can see them on the bushes 100 feet away in your car as you pass by at 60 mph. If I weren’t wearing heels, it would be my before and after work routine to stop and pick.

Co-workers have acres and acres of berries and will often invite us over to pick…for free. Deliciousness and antioxidants are abundant in southwest Michigan come August, there’s no doubt about it.

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes 2

I haven’t actually picked blueberries yet this season, but I’m hoping to very soon.

A few weeks ago, I picked up a 5 lb box at the farmer’s market in South Haven and those were gone in a week. Then, our friend Kylie visited and brought the BIGGEST (and oh so sweet!) blueberries when she came – another 5 lbs gone…in less than a week. And on my way home from work on Friday, I swung by one of the farms for a 5 lb box, minutes after the field workers had returned for the day with flats full of the delicious berries.

Should I gush a little more by sharing that 5 lbs of blueberries runs anywhere between $10 and $14? Heaven!

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes 3

Needless to say, there’s been a lot of berry-eating going on. Raw, baking, freezing, smoothies…you name it.

And nope, I’m not sick of blueberries…at all, whatsoever.

This morning I’m going to make a version of these Giant Whole Wheat Apple-Oat Breakfast Cookies with blueberries and cranberries, but last week was these Lemon Blueberry Pancakes. Not only are lemon and blueberry a flavor pair that tops all flavor pairings, but they’re quick and easy to make, use every day ingredients, and a serving of 3 ‘cakes comes in under 300 calories. Oh yes, please!

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes 4

Lemon Blueberry Pancakes
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 (3 pancakes each)
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or white wheat flour
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1⅓ cup fresh blueberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat an electric griddle or skillet over medium heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the flours, baking powder, sugar, lemon zest, and salt. In a second bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, milk, and lemon juice.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a spatula until nearly combined; fold in blueberries.
  4. Drop batter on hot griddle by the ¼ cup, spreading to create a 4-inch diameter pancake. Cook 2-3 minutes or until bubbles rise to the surface and the pancakes are slightly golden; flip and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately.
Notes
Recipe from P.S. Heart, and originally Pastry Affair
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 3 panckes Calories: 297 Fat: 9.5 Carbohydrates: 47.3 Sugar: 93. Sodium: 702 Fiber: 6.0 Protein: 6.5 Cholesterol: 46

Weekly Menu: August 10th – August 14th

Someone will be happy to find out it that it’s another beach day today! Thank you, weekend, for being perfect! #worththewait

Be well,

sig4