Cinnamon Whole Grain Power Pancakes

Cinnamon Whole Grain Power Pancakes 1

My favorite breakfasts are carb-oooo-liiiiiicious.

DONUTS!! My #1 most favorite.

Waffles!

Cereal!

Fruit!

Muffins!

Cinnamon rolls! French toast! Biscuits! Granola! Smoothies!

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Protein is the forgotten element of so many breakfast meals and it’s a shame as protein provides both balance and satiety. Yet, proteins tend to be less convenient to eat on-the-go, cost more, and may even be high in saturated fat (mmm….sausage!).

I’ve started challenging my patients to get in 20+ grams of protein at each meal. This thought process not only de-emphasizes carbohydrates some, but it also forces some thought to go into meals. And balance. It’s all about balance. The challenge has been well-accepted and while not simple to do for most people, it’s a simple and straight-forward way to create a more wholesome breakfast.

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I’ve made Protein Pancakes before and I sincerely adore them. I mean, hello? Throw everything in the blender and we’re off. That’s my kind of pancake prep. This recipe is much the same but with additional whole grain from wheat flour. The result is a cross-breed of pancakes and French toast (thanks to the egg and protein)…but I mean that in the best, most delicious way possible.

I ended up doubling the recipe from the original, because, well…I really like breakfast, pancakes, and nearly 3x the amount of protein from my traditional carb-heavy, protein-deficient flapjack stack. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Whole Grain Power Pancakes 4

Cinnamon Whole Grain Power Pancakes
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 30 pancakes (10 servings, 3 pancakes each)
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
  • 4 whole eggs + 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or white wheat flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat a griddle to medium high heat.
  2. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for 30 seconds, until smooth.
  3. Pour approximately ¼ cup pancake batter onto the hot griddle and cook for about 3 minutes or until bubbles form on top. Flip pancake and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter.
Notes
Recipe from Pinch of Yum

Pancake batter can be stored in the fridge for 1-2 days.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 3 pancakes Calories: 166 Fat: 4.1 Carbohydrates: 21.8 Sugar: 5.1 Sodium: 185 Fiber: 2.6 Protein: 10.9 Cholesterol: 74

 I’m slowing down this week and my body is thanking me. I have to get this baby girl to full-term…which is FRIDAY (whaaa!?). I am getting so, so anxious to meet her!!

P.S. If I go on a posting hiatus for a bit, it’s probably because I had a baby and you can find my updates on Instagram ;)

Be well,

sig4

5th Annual Chili Contest: Entry #1 – Texas-Style Chili

Texas-Style Chili 1

It’s only appropriate to post the first of this year’s annual chili contest on the day Mr. Prevention and I (I look puffy and pregnant!) had the pleasuring of attending a football game at our beloved alma mater, the University of Illinois.

Not only did we attend, but we won (!!) — something the Illini tend to do verrrrry inconsistently.

And not only a win, but a beautiful day on campus….even if it did require a 2 mile round-trip waddle to and from the car — no small feat for a woman closing in on 30 days from go time.

Texas-Style Chili 2

When a song would come on between plays, Mr. Prevention and I would reminisce. Some of the songs were game day classics. Some were played on rotation at our favorite campus bar hangouts. And Get Low was a song that I vividly remember being way too popular my freshmen year of college…

Mr. Prevention then lovingly referenced for me that that was 11 years ago and I was suddenly very thankful that we weren’t sitting in the drunken student section of the stadium.

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With the perfect weather and the win, there were plenty of tailgates to walk through on our way back to the car. There were smells of fireworks, beer, charcoal, and chili in the air. I mean, what’s more football Saturday perfect than that? I’m sure loyal tailgaters are just like me in that they can enjoy chili each and every weekend (beer, too…duh). There’s so many ways to make chili and this first entry was unique…and spicy!

Meat lovers and heat lovers, this one is for you! The 3/4 CUP of chili powder is not a typo and if you dare, go for the entire 2 teaspoons of cayenne…I double dog dare you ;) Kidding. It will be spicy, very spicy, but good. Very good. This thick, hearty chili was great and I enjoyed it most over a blank canvas baked potato. This year’s contest is off to a great start!

Texas-Style Chili 4

Texas-Style Chili
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 (1 heaping cup per serving)
 
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs ground sirloin
  • 2 lbs stew beef cut into ½ inch cubes
  • ¾ cup chili powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dehydrated onions
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper (I used 1½)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cans (15 oz) tomato sauce
  • 3 cups water
  • ⅛ cup masa
Instructions
  1. Brown ground beef and stew meat in a large skillet; drain any drippings. Transfer beef to a large pot and stir in all ingredients except the masa. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for 1½ to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. Combine masa and ¼ cup water and stir into chili. Simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite chili toppings.
Notes
Recipe submitted by Kristie B.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: heaping cup Calories: 467 Fat: 23.8 Carbohydrates: 14.5 Sugar: 4.9 Sodium: 860 Fiber: 6.9 Protein: 48.1 Cholesterol: 135

No weekly menu because my good friend and replacement for my maternity leave, Donna, will be with me all week at home and work, learning the ropes. It’s exciting stuff and making it sure seem real that I’m going to be off work for 12 weeks as a new mama coming up very quickly here!

Be well,

sig4

Spicy Pickled Cucumbers and Peppers

Spicy Pickled Cucumbers and Peppers 1

They always say you want what you can’t have, right?

Well, I’d kill for a cold IPA in this muggy August weather. And sushi? Oh lord, does some sushi sound phenomenal right about now. And don’t get me started on luncheon meat. I never had any desire to touch the stuff before pregnancy and now, I wish it were a staple in my diet. You know, without it being heated and all that jazz…but I make it work. Turkey sandwiches have been my one and only true pregnancy craving, after all.

Spicy Pickled Cucumbers and Peppers 2

But who wants just a plain’ol sandwich? Not I. And of course I try to stay away from too much of the “good” stuff — cheese, mayonnaise…you know what I mean. I try to pile my sandwiches high with lots of good-for-you stuff like veggies that provide not only texture and nutrition, but big flavor. Even bigger flavor when you think outside the box and can incorporate something garlicy, spicy, or pickled.

NOW we’re talkin’.

Pickles are a great option, but I wanted to take things further…

Spicy Pickled Cucumbers and Peppers 3

…and appease that spicy-lovin’ husband of mine…along with using up some of the MANY jalapenos and banana peppers our garden is turning out now that summer is actually…well, summer.

I used a basic refrigerator pickling concoction of salt, sugar, and vinegar but added to it McCormick Whole Peppercorns, McCormick Crushed Red Pepper, and McCormick Minced Onion. I was also happy with the variety of the cucumber and pepper combo — something mild, medium, and hot to balance the other ingredients out perfectly. Now, I just need to make more to last through the winter and to keep my sandwiches from being anything but boring.

Spicy Pickled Cucumbers and Peppers 4

Spicy Pickled Cucumbers and Peppers
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1½ Tbsp kosher salt
  • ½ Tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • ½ Tbsp dried minced onion
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1½ cups white vinegar
  • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 jalapenos, thinly sliced
  • 6 banana peppers, thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. In a wide mouth one quart mason jar with lid, combine the sugar, salt, peppercorns, minced onion, crushed red pepper, garlic, and vinegar; shake vigorously for 30-45 seconds or until sugar and salt are well-dissolved.
  2. Add the cucumber, jalapeno, and banana pepper slices to the jar and top off with water that fills the jar nearly full to the brim. Fasten the lid and gently shake the jar to mix contents. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 days and up to 6 months before consuming.
Notes
Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post as a contribution to the 2014 McCormick Health & Wellness Blogger Program. All opinions are my own.

If you’re new to pickling, rest assured that unlike canning, it’s incredibly simple and can incorporate ingredients you already have on hand – everything from spices to fruit to herbs. Get creative – there’s no right or wrong! McCormick has some great quick pickling recipes to try. Of special interest to me are the Easy Kimchi Slaw and the Asian-Style Pickled Vegetables, which show off the versatility of pickling, going beyond toppers and venturing into slaws and salads. Yum!

And, now I want pickled anything for breakfast ;)

Be well,

sig4

Braised Balsamic Chicken

Braised Balsamic Chicken 1

My co-worker in the kitchen hates chicken. She’s a big meat-eater, but chicken is just not her preferred protein. It’s a little ironic because there’s not a day that goes by that we’re not grilling and serving chicken – it is overwhelmingly the protein of choice in our hospital cafeteria. Of course, this suits me just fine as I, too, love chicken.

Putting her personal preferences aside, the woman can scour the internet for the next best chicken recipe like no one else. Every time, it’s a home run.

Braised Balsamic Chicken 2

I, too, got lucky myself when I made this Fruit and Quinoa Salad with Citrus Poppy Seed Dressing for my diabetes cooking club yesterday (I made some changes to the recipe, but I’m going to be posting it soon – so yum!). I just happened to stumble upon it on the beloved Pinterest.

You see, the cooking kitchen at the hospital is in our wellness center/gym. So wouldn’t you know my cutie-pa-tootie trainer is loitering outside the class, hoping and waiting for leftovers. Along with the facility maintenance man…they’ve got it marked on their calendar that the second Wednesday of every month is cooking day.

And there’s usually leftovers. Lucky guys.

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I digress. Chicken. We were talking about chicken. This chicken dish – Braised Balsamic Chicken.

It’s one of those recipes that you consider the ingredient list and its simplicity and wonder what kind of magic it can produce. Or lack thereof. I had my doubts. But we served it at a provider function and they all wanted the recipe. Administration was swinging by the kitchen the next day to pay us compliments on the meal…always a good thing.

So, we served it in the cafe with the same results. I think we emailed out the recipe to at least a dozen employees. So, to say this meal is well-loved may be quite the understatement. Enjoy!

Braised Balsamic Chicken 4

Braised Balsamic Chicken
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Simple ingredients...big flavors! Plus, it's ready in under 30 minutes!
Ingredients
  • 4 (4 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
Instructions
  1. Season chicken with garlic salt and pepper.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; once hot, add chicken breasts and cook until slightly golden brown on each side, about 6 minutes, flipping halfway through. Add onion; cook and stir until onion is browned, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Pour diced tomatoes and balsamic vinegar over chicken; season with basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme; combine well in the skillet. Simmer until chicken is cooked through and onions are very tender, about 10 additional minutes. Serve immediately.
Notes
Recipe slightly adapted from All Recipes
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4 oz chicken Calories: 250 Fat: 7.6 Carbohydrates: 14.0 Sugar: 9.0 Sodium: 308 Fiber: 2.8 Protein: 27.3 Cholesterol: 55

Baby Shea’s nursery is complete after the final touch…I’m going to do a post on the room soon :) We’re ready for our shower this weekend and then we simply wait :-D

But for now, an OB appointment and then work ;)

Be well,

sig4

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry 1

I’m soon-to-be 32 weeks pregnant and starting to feel every bit of it.

My stomach capacity is lessened due to the size of baby. I’ve been making my dinner plate, only to share half of it with Mr. Prevention. I wish it were more often that my eyes are bigger than my stomach, but that certainly seems to be the case as of late.

So it probably goes without saying that I’m out of breath nearly all of the time…or so it seems, and the back pain is still very much so present. I told my trainer today that I was ditching him next Monday in lieu of a massage. He didn’t even give me a hard time about it, either. A mama-to-be has NEEDS.

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry 2

Speaking of needs, I continue to read about the importance of exercise in pregnancy. Exercise has many benefits, of course, but aiding in a successful delivery tops the list of perks for me…especially after attending our first child-birthing class last week. Tonight, the couples will be split up so the ladies learn all about breastfeeding and the guys are united with new dads to go through a “Daddy Bootcamp”. It should be interesting…

I digress. I’ve been keeping up with workouts quite well. A lot of core and strength workouts with my trainer, along with elliptical and biking for cardio. Walking continues to be the one workout that causes the most strain on my lower back and the less I can walk, the better I feel. Sadly.

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Along with walking, we can add standing to the list of activities that wear on my back throughout the day. My job has me up and down all day long, which has been helpful in keeping me moving, but without excess. But by the end of the day, I’m ready to be a couch potato. Literally.

Dinner has to be quick and easy. HAS TO BE. Otherwise, take-out is sounding better and better all the time (and why I continue to crave lunch meat, I’ll never know…all I wanted yesterday was a Beach Club from Jimmy Johns and I probably haven’t had one of those since college).

Quick and easy dinners are something like this Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry — one pot meal that’s ready in 30 minutes or less. Yes…please! Of course the flavor was great, too…and healthy to boot.

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry 4

Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken Stir-Fry
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 (not including rice)
 
A new take on classic stir-fry...plus, a meal ready in minutes!
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • ½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 4 tsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • ½ tsp hot sauce
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp canola oil, divided
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
  • 1 lb asparagus, woody ends trimmed and stalks cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 small yellow squash or zucchini, sliced
  • Hot cooked rice, optional
Instructions
  1. In small bowl, whisk to combine the cornstarch, chicken broth, peanut butter, lime juice, dijon mustard, honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, hot sauce, and cayenne pepper.
  2. In a large, nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and stir-fry for 5-7 minutes or until chicken is cooked through; remove chicken and keep warm.
  3. In the same skillet, heat remaining teaspoon of oil. Once hot, add the asparagus and cook 3-4 minutes. Next, add the bell pepper and cook 2-3 minutes before adding the squash/zucchini. Cook vegetables until crisp-tender. Return chicken to pan and stir sauce; toss vegetables and chicken with sauce to coat; cook 2-3 minutes or until thickened. Serve over rice, if desired.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ¼ recipe Calories: 308 Fat: 11.5 Carbohydrates: 18.0 Sugar: 8.8 Sodium: 351 Fiber: 4.3 Protein: 32.8 Cholesterol: 55

 Busy day…busy WEEK. But can’t wait for our baby shower on Saturday! :-D

Be well,

sig4