Monthly Archives: February 2016

Single Serving Protein Packed Pancake

As a women in the natural resources field I have always felt very passionate about being strong, both mentally and physically. In 2011 I took my passion to another level; I competed in a figure competition (and took first place in my class)!  Truth be told, this had been a bucket list item of mine since I was a child when my mom brought me to my first bodybuilding competition in Colorado Springs. In the year preceding the competition I declared myself as my own personal trainer and nutritionist.  I trained hard, held myself accountable and spent a lot of time behind the computer researching various lifting and meal plans.  About those meal plans:much of what the popular trainers recommend for muscle building wasn’t what I considered healthy, it just didn’t fit with what I wanted to be putting in my body.  I saw lots of artificial sweeteners, refined protein bars,  protein powders with extensive ingredient lists and conventional meats (and lots of them).  I ended up making my own versions of many of the foods I was “supposed” to be eating.  While I was happy to go back to my regular eating regime when the competition was over (so was my husband) the recipe I am sharing here is one that has stuck around.

Check!

Check!

I love this recipe because I love pancakes (I don’t think many people know this) but I don’t love the way the white refined flour and sugary syrup makes me feel.  This recipe, is packed with healthy protein (coconut flour and peanut butter), fiber (coconut flour and psyllium husk), antioxidants (berries) and nutrients like potassium (banana).  I will let you in on another secret: I love eating, I love eating a lot of food!  Just wait until you see the plate size pancake that this recipe makes, it’s sure to satisfy you!  FYI- I eat on small plates, it tricks my mind into thinking I’m eating more!

If I have time during the week I will make this, but mostly this is a good weekend breakfast.

Powerful ingredients!

Powerful ingredients!

Ingredients (serves one):

Pancake:

1 tbsp organic coconut flour

1 tbsp ground psyllium seed husk (you can find in the natural foods section)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup unsweetened cashew milk (any milk will do-I’ve used them all!)

1 organic free range egg + 1 egg white (the extra yolk goes to the pups)

1/2 tsp coconut oil

Topping (play with this, top these with whatever you want, just make sure it is healthy!)

1/4 cup blueberries (optional)

1/2 banana (optional)

1 tbsp organic peanut butter (optional)

a drizzle of real maple syrup (optional)

Method:

Whisk with fork until all lumps are gone.

Whisk with fork until all lumps are gone.

Pancake:  Toss all pancake ingredients into a small bowl and whisk (excluding coconut oil).  Drop oil in non-stick pan and heat.  Once the oil is melted spread it around to cover the surface.  Drop the pancake mixture in and spread it out to form a large round cake.  Cook on medium until the sides start to firm up (much like a regular pancake).  Flip- carefully, if it looks too wet let it cook on the first side awhile longer.  Let it cook approximately five more minutes, it should feel slightly firm to the touch).

Make sure you have a dog or two to share the second yolk with!

Make sure you have a dog or two to share the second yolk with!

Topping:  Mash banana and peanut butter together and spread on pancake.  Just to let you in on a secret- this is extra good if your banana is frozen: just let is thaw enough to mash with a fork.  Top with blueberries and a drizzle of maple syrup. Power on!

Optional toppings

Optional toppings

Coconut flour is a grain free flour made from the meat of the coconut.  You can find it at your local food coop, in the natural foods section of the grocery store or online.  If you are interested in learning more about cooking with coconut flour and the benefits check out this blog: The Nourished Kitchen.

 

Kale Squash Gratin

This is the ultimate winter comfort food that is perfect for a weekend with friends!  We recently made this on our annual cross country ski weekend.  It went great with grilled venison kabobs and  it reheated beautifully for with breakfast the next morning.  Last weekend I got together for a girls dinner with my mom and sister and made it again – it was a hit!

I developed this recipe after seeing a picture of a kale squash gratin that made me crave the hearty nourishing combo.  I didn’t make the recipe because it called for ingredients that I don’t like to have in my daily diet.  But – it was such a strong craving that it resulted in dreams and internet searches for a healthy version that didn’t rely on large doses of high fat dairy products to deliver savory satisfaction.  I found I could get away with a mere sprinkling of cheese and achieve a lovely richness – which split between 8 – 10 servings is no more than a flair in your diet.

I really prefer butternut squash for this recipe – I’m sure others would work well.  The shape of butternut lends itself particularly well to peeling with a carrot peeler.  Normally I am with Annie – I don’t bother peeling my squash because I want the extra nutrients and fiber and I like the crisp texture it offers, especially combined with the creamy sweetness of the interior.  For this dish peeling really is necessary because the squash is covered with the kale mixture – the skin would not attain the crispy tender state – it would stay tough and chewy in the moist baking environment – just this once – peel it(:

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and sliced into 1/4″ slices (squash is on the clean 15 list – so I don’t fork over the extra dollars to get organic – especially if I’m peeling it)

1 large or 2 small bunches organic kale (I prefer lacinato dinosaur kale) (kale is on the dirty dozen, consider paying the extra for organic here)

1 medium onion (I prefer yellow for this recipe)  (onions are another clean 15 veggie – I save money wherever I can and buy the conventionally raised)

2-3 cloves garlic, pressed (about 2 teaspoons or more if you want)

1 Tblspn EVOO

2 oz Guyere cheese or other high quality cheese of choice, grated (that is all it takes to give this dish just enough richness to taste divine!)

Method:

Strip leaves off stem of kale. Set leaves aside and cut stems into 1” long pieces.  Preheat large diameter (12” works well) sauté pan over medium high heat. Add a drizzle of EVOO. Heat until just beginning to smoke. Add kale stem and onions. Sprinkle with a bit of salt (this helps to release some of the moisture so there is less scorching and better carmelization.)

Saute kale stem, and onion until soft and beginning to blacken before adding garlic and kale leaves

Saute kale stem, and onion until soft and beginning to blacken before adding garlic and kale leaves

Cook, stirring often for about 5 minutes or until veggies have some good browning action going on. Remove pan from heat. Clear veggies from the center out to the edges of the pan. Add about ½ tsp more EVOO to the center of the pan. Then add your garlic – this will smell great. Stir and cook for just 30 seconds. Then quickly add the chopped kale leaves. Use a lid that is slightly smaller then the diameter of the sauté pan and press the whole works down.
After adding kale leaves, press down firmly with lid slightly smaller than the diameter of the sauce pan you are using.  I sometimes add a couple tablespoons of water here to help initiate the stem.  Depending on how hot and dry your pan it – and it does vary – you may or may not need it.  A good gauge is whether or not the garlic sticks to the bottom – if it does and is threatening to burn – add the water.

After adding kale leaves, press down firmly with lid slightly smaller than the diameter of the sauce pan you are using.

After adding kale leaves, press down firmly with lid slightly smaller than the diameter of the saute pan you are using.

Return pan to the heat and continue pressing down for about 30 seconds. Lift lid, stir the mixture and press with lids again for another 30 seconds. Stir again and cook for 2-3 minutes uncovered, until all the moisture has cooked away.  Set this mixture aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rub a 9″ X 13″ rectangular baking dish with EVOO.

Slice peeled butternut 1/4" thick, layer 1/2 in the bottom of oiled pan.

Slice peeled butternut 1/4″ thick, layer 1/2 in the bottom of oiled pan.

Layer 1/2 of squash evenly over the bottom of the dish.

Top with 1/2 of kale mixture and sprinkle with 1/2 of grated cheese.

Cover first layer of quash with 1/2 of kale, then sprinkle with 1/2 of cheese

Cover first layer of quash with 1/2 of kale, then sprinkle with 1/2 of cheese

Repeat the layering process.

Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for an hour or until squash is fork tender.

Uncover and continue baking for 10 minutes or until top layer of kale is crispy.

Ready to dive into a nutritious comfort food!

Ready to dive into a nutritious comfort food!