Peanut Butter & Banana Stuffed French Toast

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It’s been raining for days. Seriously, days. All this week we’ve seen clouds up leading up to what is expected to be a sunny weekend. If I lived closer to the beach, I’d be worried.

But instead of worrying, I’d much rather cook, be it breakfast for dinner. But really, who is going to ridicule me for having brinner (that’s code for breakfast for dinner) if I make French toast? Something I haven’t had in a really long time. Frankly, I’m not much for maple syrup, so I mostly steer clear from pancakes, waffles, and anything that might be covered in maple syrup. Shocker! I know. Being as I was raised in Vermont within smelling distance of the farms. I will eat it, just not in high volume.

So having some maple syrup on hand, a craving for bananas and peanut butter, and a kitchen that was calling for breakfast past 6 p.m., I made an executive decision. I was making stuffed French toast. Peanut butter and banana stuffed French toast to be exact.

After wrangling the pan down from our hanging rack, this is how it went down:

Gather (for a single serving):
1 tablespoon of butter
2 slices of whole wheat toast (not thick bread)
1 heaping tablespoon of creamy peanut butter
Half of a banana
1 egg
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Grade A Vermont maple syrup

Heat a medium-sized skillet on medium heat. Add butter. While butter is melting, beat egg, cinnamon, and vanilla extract in a bowl. Dredge one side of a piece of bread with egg wash. Place bread egg wash side down in the pan. On the second piece of bread, spread peanut butter and top with slices of banana (1/4 inch to half inch slices work well). Place that piece of bread peanut butter-side down on top of the bread already in the pan, making a sandwich. Take the rest of the egg wash and evenly spread it over the top of the “sandwich.” It’s okay if the egg wash gets into the pan, you can cut off the cooked egg later.

Cook for about 4 minutes or until first side is toasted. Flip sandwich and press down on the sandwich with your flipper. This will keep the pieces together and help heat the center a bit. (I promise, this works.) Cook other side until golden brown, or for about another 3 minutes.

Remove from pan. Slice in half, drizzle on maple syrup, and enjoy!

If anyone makes it, let me know what you think of if you have other stuffed French toast ideas. I think I’m going to make this a regular thing. Bring on the brinner!

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Avocado Fries

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A stop at the soon-to-be-closing local creperie and a scan of Pinterest led us two ladies to create what we believe is a fabulous idea in the world of it-appears-fried-but-is-baked goodness. Don’t get me wrong, avocado fries are a fabulous idea, but when you’re craving French fries, well, I suppose it’s the next best thing.

It was also way easier than I thought it would be.

Gather:
1 ripe avocado
1 egg
1 cup of flour
1 cup of Italian seasoning bread crumbs
1 teaspoon of cayenne powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder

Preheat the oven to 350 F. In one bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with cayenne, garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder. In another bowl, place flour. In a third bowl, crack the egg and beat it. Slice ripe avocado into eight to ten slices. Dredge each piece in flour, then the egg wash, then the breadcrumbs.

Place pieces on a wire rack that is set on a cookie sheet. It will keep the breadcrumbs from getting all over the stove and allow the avocado to bake. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Serve and enjoy.

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Banana Breakfast Wrap

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No eggs in the fridge; grab a banana and peanut butter.

That was the theme of today. Make something quick, protein packed and full of vitamins. Okay, well it has potassium. . . and chocolate. Chocolate for breakfast, I can’t say no. It was also only four ingredients, and no cooking required at all. It also particularly works well for on the go eating when heading to the gym.

Need:
1 flour tortilla
1/2 banana
1 tablespoon low fat peanut butter
chocolate chips, sprinkle

Microwave flour tortilla for 20 seconds to soften it. Spread peanut butter onto tortilla, top with sliced banana, sprinkle with chocolate chips, and roll. Eat and enjoy.

First Hike of 2013

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The weather was beautiful, the dog was excited to go, and we were ready to scale the mountain. Nothing better than the first hike of the season.

One of my best ladies and I took the pup out this weekend to get some fresh air, and I’m so glad we did. Not only did we figure out that we need to do more fun outdoor activities this summer, but I realized I need to work on myself a bit more. It was exhausting getting to the top of Mount Major. Gotta love the view though, it was well worth sweating the whole way up and down the trails.

We took a harder trail, both of us scaling up on our hands and knees at one point to get up the rocks. The dog, on the other hand, was like a flash of lightning flying up the trail. I swear, she is part mountain lion or something. She’s so speedy.

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We’ve also decided we’re going to do some research to hike some more this summer. So if anyone has any suggestions for NH area mountains to scale, let me know!

Black Bean and Tomato Lunch

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It’s simple math, really. A low bank account, a healthy diet, and a sale on black beans results in a quick lunch with a lot of fiber. I also ended up with a pretty full belly with just one can of black beans (315 calories). Threw in some spices, a tomato, and a splash of shredded cheese and you’ve got yourself a lunch. It also inspired another dish with avocado, but I’ll save that for another day.

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Need:
1 16-oz can of low sodium black beans
1 Roma tomato
A sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons of chili powder
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
2 teaspoons of cumin
2 teaspoons of cayenne
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water

In a saucepan on medium heat, warm extra virgin olive oil. Drain and rinse black beans, add to pan. Cook for 5 five minutes, add water and spices. Cook down until water has been soaked up by the beans and beans are thoroughly heated.

Take off the heat. Top with shredded cheese and a diced Roma tomato.

I refrigerated it at this point so I could take it to work, but you can eat it heated right after cooking. Enjoy.

I’m not a machine, I crave too

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I’m proud of my progress so far this year. I’ve lost a significant amount of weight, especially for my height. A grand total of 20 pounds (give or take the day) since the beginning of the year. I’m only 5’4″.

I need to keep telling myself that this is an accomplishment, because not everyone has been supportive. In every life situation, there will be haters. Don’t let them get you down. For the most part, people have been really great, but there are a few that have made me feel like my progress has been not a great accomplishment. The reason I say this is that it takes a lot to not only start a journey like this, but to continue it through the doubt. There will be moments when weight won’t come off, when people are jealous and make you feel down, and then there will be times that you gain back the weight. It’s ok. It’s part of the process.

And I don’t want anyone to think that I’m always eating healthy and I’m a machine. I do my best, but I’m not perfect. I’m human like everyone else. It’s the small choices that make a difference, though.

Like when I craved a cookie the other night. It’s 140 calories for a Soft Bake Milk Chocolate Cookie from Pepperidge Farm. That’s a lot of calories for one cookie, but I wanted it. I’m not going to deny myself some sugar, but in the process, I’m going to try to add a healthy choice in the mix. Instead of having two cookies, which totally could have happened, I forced myself to eat some broccoli to fill my stomach and halt any additional cravings. Broccoli is low in calories, filling, and full of vitamins.

See, I need sugar just as much as the next person. Those cravings can’t be hidden forever, but they can be dwindled. I’ve been a savory eater my entire life, but sometimes I want some chocolate. I just don’t want to over do it. So the next time you’re craving a box of Thin Mints, take a moment to think about it. How about just one cookie to quell that cravings, and then eat something nutritious to supplement more of those cookies?

First 5K of the Summer

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First 5K of the summer down! At least two more to go, and more pending if I get my act together.

You see, a few months ago one of my friends said we should do a 5K together, specifically, the one for the local children’s museum. Of course, I said yes. For many reasons. One because I think it’s smart to support your local organizations, two because I have already one 5K under my belt from last year, and three because it’s a positive step toward my 365 miles in 2013 year goal. It’s an easy 3 miles in one day.

So I signed up.

And we practiced the race path a few times. A rough uphill start, a loop through a mini development, and a really quick downhill slope at the end. It was rough the first few times. We pushed ourselves to make it through. We were down to only taking two mini walking breaks.

Then came race day. We were ready for that hill. . . we stood at the finish line with our bibs neatly pinned to our shirts . . . the race started and . . . and . . .

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. . . we went an entirely different way toward what we thought was the loop. Learning curve: check with the race organizers to see what way is the right way. We were only off on the first part, to be fair. And it was a difference of a lesser incline to start. Actually not bad.

And! We did a 33:14 time with a less than 11 minute pace! Shaved off three minutes from the first 5K I ever did. So excited. We celebrated with Bloody Marys. Well deserved I like to think.

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Two more 5Ks signed up for and I’m ready to shave more time off them!