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Posts Tagged ‘Dried Cranberries’

This morning I had a big ol’ bowl of overnight oats. It has been WAY too hot to make hot oatmeal but cereal and smoothies NEVER fill me like a hearty bowl of loaded oats. I added 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk, cinnamon and vanilla extract to my bowl and let it sit overnight. In the morning I stirred in 1/2 cup of Chobani plain Greek yogurt and topped the mixture with 1 sliced banana, roasted almonds, dried cranberries, cinnamon and honey. I typically add the milk and yogurt together overnight, but find that this can result in a bowl that is too thick or even chalky. The method I used today left me with a smooth, creamy and cool bowl of oatmeal full of intense vanilla flavor.

(Side Note: I miss chia seeds :(. I ran out a while ago and they can be expensive, so I decided not to buy them until I finish the flax I have on hand…not the same my friends, not the same. I might give in and buy more soon.)

I wasn’t sure how to prepare my overnight oats because every “recipe” I have seen for this version of oatmeal is slightly different. This got me thinking, there are SO many ways to make a hearty oatmeal breakfast. I have prepared oats in more ways than I can even think of:


Cookie Form:Baked in the oven:In nearly empty jars:Loaded with fresh fruit:Loaded with dried fruit:With Chocolate:And even raw:

Oatty-goodness,

Nora

1) What is your favorite way to prepare oatmeal?

2) What is your favorite breakfast when the weather is warm?


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I love to cook but at the end of a long day I want a meal that is easy to put together. When I am pressed for time I often resort to throwing whatever vegetables, proteins and grains I have on hand into a bowl and call it a ‘big salad’. These dinners are okay once in a while, but they are boring and not something I consider a “real meal”. I have had a few of these throw together dinners this week and decided it was time to reconnect with my inner chef and get in the kitchen.

For dinner tonight I made Pan-seared Tilapia in a Lemon-Dill Butter Sauce and  Crunchy Broccoli Salad with Orange-Curry Yogurt Dressing.

When pan-searing, it is important to have everything together before you cook the protein: “mise en place”. Before heating the pan for my fish I assembled the broccoli salad, prepared the fish and set out the lemon-dill butter and herbed olive oil for the finishing sauce.

For crunchy broccoli salad I combined about 3 TBS- 1/4 cup of plain low fat yogurt, the juice and a few segments of 1/4 of a navel orange, curry and cinnamon to taste. I added a large bunch of chopped broccoli, celery, dried cranberries and roasted almonds to the the sauce and placed the mixture in the fridge to chill while I cooked the Tilapia.

To prepare the Tilapia, I lightly dusted both sides of the fish with a pan-searing flour and cracked black pepper. I added about 1-2 tsp of olive oil to a sautee pan over a medium heat until a faint smoke appeared around the edges of the pan (You want to maintain a light smoke around the edges of the pan. If it becomes too smokey, adjust heat!). I placed the Tilapia in the pan for about 3-4 minutes per side until it was slightly golden and crispy. When the fish was finished I turned the heat off and added 1 tsp of an herbed oil and 1 tps of a lemon-dill finishing butter to deglaze the pan and create a butter sauce to spoon over the fish. This method generates a moist fish with tons of flavor!

It was a simple, elegant and refreshing dinner to have at the end of a long (and hot!) day. It was exactly what I was craving. Speaking of cravings, on the way back from my from my work trip we stopped off for soft serve!! Ice cream is my all time favorite food, and in the summer my ice cream of choice is soft serve chocolate-vanilla twist. Naturally, I always have to add rainbow sprinkles to make it a true summer treat! I was a very happy girl. Loving Summer,

Nora

What are your favorite Summer foods?

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In honor of the Ginger Snap Lara Bar I tried over the weekend, I added a new addition to my oats today: ground cloves. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the warm flavor, and knew it would be a nice addition in my morning oats. Cloves remind me of the winter holiday season where items like dried fruit, nuts and spices are staples in every meal and dessert. I wanted something hearty, creamy, dynamic and sweet to start my day so I decided to make Banana Fruit Cake Oats: 1/3 cup almond milk, 1/3 cup water, 1 sliced banana, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla extract, 1/8 tsp ground cloves, 1/4 cup rolled oats, 2 TBS oat bran, 1/2 TBS chia seeds, 1 chopped Medjool date, 1 chopped apricot, 1/2 TBS dried cherries, 1/2 TBS dried cranberries, 1/2 TBS raisins and 1 TBS natural almond butter. I added the milk, water, spices and 1/2 of the banana (reserve other half for top) into a small sauce pan until it starts to boil. I reduced the heat and added the oat bran, oats and chia seeds for about 8 minutes and topped with the dried fruit, banana slices and almond butter. Oat bran is a new product for me. A few weeks ago I was adding about 2 TBS of instant oats (an attempt to get rid of them) to my rolled oats and noticed that they added a lot more volume and creaminess to my bowls. I wanted to find a product that would give this same feel, and the fine grind of oat bran did the trick! This was delicious and SO filling. I had  small apple mid-morning but this held me over for hours!

For lunch I was oddly craving hummus and carrots. I made a big spinach salad using: spinach, 1 large grated carrot, 2 inch piece of an English cucumber, 1/2 Roma tomato, 1 stalk of celery, 3 white button mushrooms sliced, clover sprouts, hummus, goat cheese and hot sauce. I really like the addition of hummus to big salads, and always put ~2 TBS right on top of the clover sprouts to spread it around. It is such a delicious combination. On the side I had a handful (plus a few pre-photo!) of Food Should Taste Good The Works! Chips. I’m not really a big chip person, but I do like blue tortilla chips and fancy chips from time to time. This company makes so many “different” chips including sweet potato and chocolate! I saw that The Works was a mixture of caraway and poppy seeds, minced garlic and onion and HAD to pick them up. I love the flavors of caraway and poppy and haven’t had them in a long time. These chips were a bit salty but paired nicely with the hummus and hot sauce. After lunch I needed something sweet to cleanse my palate and had 1 sliced kiwi, 2 sliced frozen strawberries and Chobani Greek Yogurt; light and refreshing.

I just found out that I won’t be able to attend the Passover dinner with my friend tonight. I’m a little bummed because I was looking forward to experience her religion and see the traditions, but I received an exciting little something-something in the mail today that might make an appearance around dinner time!

Creative Thoughts,

Nora

If you are an oatmeal person: what types of oats do you use and what are essential ingredients in the base of your oats?

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Growing up we always had a special breakfast on Sunday mornings. My dad was the breakfast chef in our house, and would make amazing omelets, Strawberry Belgian Waffles or French Toast after church every Sunday. This is a tradition that I have carried with me into my adult years, and I try to make it a point to take a little extra time to make something out of the ordinary on Sunday mornings. I will never be able to make an omelet or waffle quite like my dad’s so I always try to put my own twist on things. I purchased a jar of natural chunky apple sauce yesterday, and had dreams of making a baked apple dish for breakfast. When it comes to cooking, my imagination always runs wild. I have so many ideas of dishes I want to create and components that go into a dish…there are seriously not enough meals in a day to keep my imagination at bay. After yesterdays complex bowl of oats, I decided to keep it simple and made: Cinnamon Baked Apple Oats with Almonds and Cranberries.

In the mix: in a bowl combine 1/2 cup natural chunky applesauce, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup rolled oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, pure vanilla extract chopped almonds (~1.5 TBS saving some for top), and dried cranberries (~1.5 TBS saving a few for the top). Pour mixture into a greased oven safe bowl, top with 1/2 small Gala apple (and snack on the rest while baking!) sliced, reserved dried cranberries and almonds. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool and top with Greek yogurt and honey!

I had this decadent bowl with a little Decaf Newmann’s Organic’s Coffee. What a cozy way to start a Sunday: warm, full, and reminiscent of memories from home.

Happy Sunday,

Nora

Does your family have traditions surrounding food?

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