Friday, 09 December 2011 14:18

Oatmeal Apple Pancakes

Oatmeal Pancakes

During the holiday season I make an extra effort to make sure that my family starts their day with a healthy breakfast.   Why? Well, despite our effort to be healthy in our home, treats and goodies during this season tend to end up on our plate. Therefore, I want to make sure that their first meal of the day is super nutritious.

My oatmeal apple spice pancakes have become a favorite recipe in our home during the holidays.  I just love the way the aroma from this super easy and delicious recipe fill up the house on cold mornings.   I make them with a kamut pancake mix because the flour contains a very high amount of whole grain per serving.  It’s a also a great source of fiber and provides such a hearty texture to the recipe. Any instant oatmeal works well, so feel free to get creative! Sometimes I will buy the flavored apple spice oatmeal and it works so well in this recipe. If you don't typically buy apple pie spice, you may substitute a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg.

This is what you will need:

1/2 cup of kamut pancake mix

1/2 cup of instant oatmeal

1 teaspoon of apple pie spice

1 tablespoon of honey

1 tablespoon of canola oil

1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce

1 cup of low-fat milk

 

First, place the dry ingredients (pancake mix, oatmeal, and apple pie spice) together in a bowl and mix well.

Oatmeal apple pancakes

 

Add milk and applesauce and mix well.

Oatmeal Pancakes

 

Add they honey and mix well.  It's at this point when I decide whether to add more milk.   The mixture should be pretty close to what your usual pancake mix looks like, but it will look grainer due to the kamut and oatmeal.  For thinner pancakes you may want to add about 1/4 cup of milk.

Oatmeal pancakes

 

Pour batter onto a lightly oiled griddle or pan, about 1/3 cup per pancake.  Turn when bubbles form on surface and the edges begin to dry. Since the recipe calls for a whole grain and oatmeal, the pancakes will have a heartier, denser texture.

Oatmeal pancakes

 

Top off these delicious pancakes with just a bit of real maple syrup (real maple syrup lacks the high fructose corn syrup, which is not good for you) and banana slices.....and for added calcium have a glass of cold milk with them - just perfect!

To learn more about milk as part of a healthy lifestyle Link to The Master of the Glass Half Full on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

Disclosure: This is part of a sponsored campaign with the California Milk Processor’s Board and Latina Mom Bloggers.

Published in Healthy & Green Living
Friday, 11 February 2011 04:46

Healthy Valentine's Day Treats

Healthy Heart Shaped Pancakes

Yes, chocolate and Valentine’s Day go hand in hand, but try some healthier alternatives that are sure to be big hits this holiday.

My kids love to “help” in the kitchen – the following Valentine’s Day themed recipes are very simple to follow and allow for the younger “helpers” to foster their love of cooking and baking.  It’s great for children to see that healthier and tasty alternatives are always available, so below are a few simple Valentine’s Day themed recipes that they will enjoy making – and sharing!

Heart Shaped Pancakes

Start with a wholegrain or buckwheat pancake mix.  Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter when the pancakes are cooked.  For an extra Valentine's Day touch, add some red food coloring to the batter.  Top your “sweet” pancakes with strawberries.

Great Pumpkin Cookies

This delicious and good for you cookie recipe was developed by our healthy food guru Kristine Lopez.   Incorporating oats into the recipe is the secret!   For that special Valentine’s Day touch, add a little red food coloring to your favorite cream cheese frosting and top your cookies with just a small amount.  For the recipe click here.

Fruit Parfait

Very Berry Parfait

This is one of our favorite recipes because it’s so good for you and tasty.  The layers of red and blue berries alternating with a delicious whipped cream and low-fat pudding mix are irresistible!   Follow the simple recipe here.

Fruit Kabobs

Start with a variety of red fruits such as raspberries, red seedless grapes, cherries, watermelon pieces and cut strawberries.  Load them onto red or pick plastic skewers and top or serve with low-fat vanilla or strawberry yogurt, pink cream cheese, or dark chocolate if you like.

Heart Shaped Quiches

Take your favorite quiche recipe and make individual quiches with disposable heart-shaped baking cups (Reynolds make them).  The baking cups can also be used to make heart shaped muffins – just top those with a little pink cream cheese for a sweet morning treat!

Heart shaped eggs

Heart Shaped Eggs

Cook your eggs sunny side up using a light olive oil cooking spray.  Once cooked, use a heart shaped cookie cutter to give your eggs a themed holiday shape.  Place the heart shaped egg over a piece of whole grain toast for a complete breakfast.

Tortilla Roll-Ups

Spread plain cream cheese evenly onto 1 whole-wheat tortilla. 
 Place a spoonful of strawberry jam onto the tortilla and spread it evenly on top of the cream cheese.  Roll up the tortilla and slice into 1 inch thick pieces.

Other suggestions:

  • Mini multigrain or whole grain bagels with pink cream cheese
  • Sliced fruit with chocolate fondue or strawberry yogurt
  • Strawberries and low-fat whipped cream
  • Healthy muffins with pink cream cheese and sprinkles
  • Sliced apples with heart shaped cheese
  • Jell-o Jigglers cut into heart shapes
  • Strawberry or berry smoothies
  • Heart shaped sandwiches – surprise your child with one of these in their lunchbox!

Tips:

  • Consider inviting family members to sample your kid’s treats – they will love them!
  • Let children plan the meals they want to prepare, just give yourself (ideally) about a week to plan so you can gather all the ingredients.
  • Remember that kids may not have money to buy gifts, but making Valentine’s Day treats with their own hands can be a great lesson in giving and sharing!
Published in Healthy & Green Living
Saturday, 11 December 2010 02:17

The Holiday Races

The Holiday RacesTip of the Week

The Holiday season – oh the turkey, the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, the ham, the cookies, and the apple pie.

Maybe the tamales, pozole y pan dulce too!   Along with all the delicious treats come a lot of local communities’ Holiday races: 1K, 5K or 10K…everyone can become the town’s favorite athlete.

Usually, such races are a lot of fun, and they are a great opportunity to promote healthy choices and overall wellness to all the members of the community. These events are rarely intimidating and you can often spot Grandmas and grandkids, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, moms and dads pushing a stroller, and even the usually moody family teenagers all striving to cross the finish line…yes, the family that runs together stays together.

Holiday RacesHowever, in order to get the full benefit from such friendly competitions, a little bit of preparation is necessary. Do not attempt to run a distance that you are not familiar with, “cold turkey.”  We have put together an easy to follow running training plan to help you compete in your first 5K. Compare notes with your training regimen so far, adjust your last week of workouts, and keep it in mind for your next race.

5k Training Schedule

Week 1

Day 1 — Begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 5 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 5 intervals of 5 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 2 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 5 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 5 intervals of 5 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 3 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 5 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 6 intervals of 5 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 4 — 30 minutes of biking, swimming, fast walking, followed by 3 sets of 30 alternating lunges and 3 sets of 20 squats

Day 5 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 7 intervals of 5 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 6 rest

Day 7 45 minute walk

Week 2

Day 1 begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 7 intervals of  5 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 2 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 7 intervals of 5 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 3 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 8 intervals of 5 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 4 — 45 minutes of biking, swimming, fast walking, followed by 3 sets of 30 alternating lunges and 3 sets of 30 squats

Day 5 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 7 intervals of 5 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 6 — Rest

Day 7 — 45 minute walk

Week 3

Day 1 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 9 intervals of  4 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 2 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 10 intervals of 4 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk 

Day 3 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 11 intervals of 4 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 4 — 45 minutes of biking, swimming, fast walking, followed by 3 sets of 40 alternating lunges and 3 sets of 30 squats

Day 5 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 11 intervals of 3 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 6 — Rest

Day 7 — 45 minute walk

Week 4

Day 1 begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 12 intervals of  3 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 2 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 13 intervals of 3 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk 

Day 3 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 14 intervals of 2 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 4 — 45 minutes of biking, swimming, fast walking, followed by 3 sets of 40 alternating lunges, 3 sets of 40 squats, and 20 push-ups

Day 5 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 15 intervals of 2 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 6 — Rest

Day 7 — 45 minute walk

Week 5

Day 1 begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 16 intervals of  2 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk  , followed by a 10 minutes run-only

Day 2 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 18 intervals of 1 minute run alternating with 1 minute walk, followed by a 10 minutes run-only

Day 3 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 20 intervals of 1 minute run alternating with 1 minute walk, followed by a 12 minutes run-only

Day 4 — 45 minutes of biking, swimming, fast walking, followed by 3 sets of 50 alternating lunges, 3 sets of 50 squats, and 20 push-ups

Day 5 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 20 intervals of 1 minute run alternating with 1 minute walk, followed by a 12 minutes run-only

Day 6 — Rest

Day 7 — 45 minute walk

Week 6

Day 1 begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 22 intervals of  1 minute run alternating with 1 minute walk  , followed by a 10 minutes run-only

Day 2 begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 23 intervals of 1 minute run alternating with 1 minute walk, followed by a 10 minutes run-only

Day 3 begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 24 intervals of 1 minute run alternating with 1 minute walk, followed by a 12 minutes run-only

Day 445 minutes of biking, swimming, fast walking, followed by 3 sets of 50 alternating lunges, 3 sets of 50 squats, and 20 push-ups

Day 5begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 25 intervals of 1 minute run alternating with 1 minute walk, followed by a 5 minutes run-only

Day 6 Rest

Day 7 45 minute walk

Week 7

Day 1warm-up for 10 minutes lightly jogging then run for 26 minutes

Day 2warm-up for 10 minutes lightly jogging then run for 28 minutes

Day 3warm-up for 10 minutes lightly jogging then run for 30 minutes

Day 445 minutes of biking, swimming, fast walking, followed by 3 sets of 50 alternating lunges, 3 sets of 50 squats, and 20 push-ups

Day 5warm-up for 10 minutes lightly jogging then run for 30 minutes

Day 6 — Rest

Day 745 minute walk

Week 8

Since your first 5K is going to be this week your training will be a slightly lighter not to over-fatigue your body. It is important that you eat a diet rich in complex carbohydrates, drink plenty of water, get 7/8 hrs of sleep per night and get to your race well rested and properly nourished.

The Holiday RacesDay 1 begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up run-only for 25 minutes

Day 2 40 minutes of biking, swimming, or fast walking

Day 3begin by warming up, lightly jogging for about 10 minutes, then continue running for 30 minutes

Day 4 — day before the race… Rest

Day 5 — Race Day…compete and Have Fun!

Published in Tip of the Week
Monday, 20 January 2014 23:30

Realistic Go-To Meals for Busy People

Realistic Go-To Meals for Busy PeopleTip of the Week

You just dropped the little one off at school, your husband’s car broke, so you just dropped him off too. The to do list begins:  grocery store, home to unload the groceries, clean house, back to school to pick the little one up, help with homework, get dinner, bath time, and so on.  Did I for get to mention work in the midst of the chaos that you call your day?  That’s life for most of us.

How can we simplify our over-scheduled and crazy day to day lives? Well, it’s hard!  In most American homes, both parents work, leaving less time to do the day to day activities of keeping your house and family in order.  In general, we spend less time together as a family. 

In my house, one of the most important parts of our insanely crazy days is dinner time. It is one of the few times we re-connect as a family.  When you start to break down communication as a family, you start to run into problems.  We need to check in once in a while and take inventory of how our kids’ and spouses lives are, and you’re your own.  When you slow down to talk about your day or week, it’s easier to stay connected.

So, “how,” you may ask, “do I get dinner on the table after my crazy day and still have time to re-connect?”
I realize that getting dinner on the table is itself a task at times.  This does not mean you should be calling the nearest pizza place or stopping at the golden arches on your way home.  You – yes you – can make a relatively healthy, easy meal in a short amount of time.  Here are a few things I make when times are crunched, but I want to have something kind of healthy to offer the family:

Bean and cheese quesadillas with fruit on the side

Take 2 tortillas (whole wheat (for finer) if your family will have it.  Spread one side with a low fat refried bean (black or pinto work well).  Sprinkle cheese and put the other tortilla on top.  In a frying pan on medium heat – no oil or butter needed – put your quesadilla down, flip it till the tortilla is brown and everything is meted and warmed.  Serve with a side of fruit and salsa.  Voila…dinner in 5 minutes!

This works because the many households have cheese, tortillas and canned beans on hand.  The beans offer a ton of fiber and protein which means your meal will be more filling.  The cheese is just plain good, but it offers a bit of calcium.  The fruit and salsa round the meal off.

Mini Turkey Meatloaves

Take ½ pound of lean ground turkey.  Add a liberal amount of steak seasoning (I use Montreal Steak Seasoning – probably around 2 tablespoons) and Worcestershire sauce (about 1 tablespoon).  Add ¼ c dried breadcrumbs and one whisked up egg.  Combine it together with your hands and divide it into 3 or 4.  Free form it into mini loaves.  Place on a greased cookie sheet.  Top with a mixture of ketchup and BBQ sauce (just combine equal parts), and bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.  Serve with a side of steamed veggies and bread or rice.

This works because ground turkey is typically lean, but a great source of protein.  The flavor comes from the ingredients you add, not the meat.  Rounding it off with a yummy veggie and starch such as bread or rice makes it a meal.  My kids love the meatloaves because I make them just their size.  I like them because I can whip them together in no time, and give the kids a bath while they are baking!

My Favorite Chicken Marinade

I usually throw in a handful of fresh thyme leaves, fresh sage leaves, juice of 1 lemon and its’ lemon zest, salt, pepper, and olive oil (enough for how much chicken you are using).  Salt and pepper each side of your chicken, and place it in this marinade for 15-30 minutes and thrown on the grill, or in a baking dish and bake off.  You can also make the marinade, add the chicken and throw it in the freezer to use later.  Just thaw out and use accordingly.

Other Tips:

  • On days you have a tiny bit of extra time, make meals that you can freeze.  Just be sure to prepare them properly and seal them up good to prevent contamination in your freezer, and so your food doesn’t get freezer burned.
  • Good Frozen Dinner Meals:  mini meatloaves (see recipe above), lasagna (pick your favorite recipe and make 2!), pasta sauce, etc.  All these meals can usually be taken out in the morning and thrown into the oven when you get home.  When it comes to the meatloaves, you are better off thawing them in the fridge.
  • Good Frozen Breakfast Meals:  pancakes and waffles (when I make these for the kids on the weekend, I double or triple the batch and reheat them from the freezer in the microwave)

I hope this gets you started. Just remember that sitting down for dinner as a family to re-connect does not mean you have to be a stop at the drive through.  With a few ingredients from your pantry and a little creativity, you can whip up easy go to meals in a pinch.  Enjoy and slow down!

Published in Tip of the Week