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Apple Pie Oatmeal

21 Sep

You guys, I am so confused over here. Yesterday it felt like a summer day in South Florida. Hot, muggy, on and off rain. Today, I woke up and it was 60 degrees, overcast, and crisp fall air.

Not only is my wardrobe confused, think about what’s going on in my kitchen!

Yesterday I was all about wanting a refreshing salad, finishing off the rest of my tasty watermelon, and avoiding turning on the oven.

I woke up today ready for soups, slow cookers, and comfort food.


Luckily, this Apple Pie Oatmeal can be whipped up on the spot when the weather decides to act like fall. It screams fall. It’s full of warm spices and made with seasonal (or what should be) ingredients.


I don’t know about you but the rest of my Sunday going to consist of warm oatmeal, hot coffee, food network, and smoky chicken tostadas cooking away in the slow cooker.


Apple Pie Oatmeal

Serves 1

Note: I used Earth Balance which makes this dish vegan. Other vegan substitutes that could work here are coconut oil and trans-fat free margarine. If you’re in a pinch and don’t  have any lifestyle choices that prevent it, feel free to use a small amount of butter. I also used Macintosh apples because they are tart and perfect for cooking/baking with. Any apple you have on hand will work but the flavors might be slightly different. 

1 teaspoon Earth Balance

1/2 apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 teaspoon pure maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

1 tablespoon walnuts, chopped, plus more for garnish if desired

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup apple cider

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

1. Melt Earth Balance in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add apples, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and walnuts. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until apple is softened and walnuts are lightly toasted. Add oats and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until oats are lightly toasted.

2. Add apple cider, water, and flaxseed. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer until oats are softened and at your desired consistency, approximately 5 to 8 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on the oats you use.



Raspberry Pecan Oatmeal

8 Mar

Favorite thing #4: Breakfast


I never used to be a breakfast person. It was torture when my mom would make me eat something before leaving for school in the morning. Once I learned the importance of breakfast and started eating it regularly, I started to wake up hungry.

Eating within the first hour of waking up helps jump start your day. It revs up your metabolism, increases productivity, and keeps you more satisfied during the day.

My breakfast of choice is oatmeal. It’s the perfect canvas to create a delicious breakfast packed with nutrition. I go back and forth between steel cut oats and old-fashioned rolled oats. Depends on my mood. My go to combo is unsweetened vanilla almond milk, flaxseed meal, cinnamon, and a drizzle of agave nectar.

Every now and then, usually on the weekends, I change it up. My  latest creation was a perfect combo.


I used my roasted pecan butter.

This combo is guaranteed to get your day off to a great start. The fiber, healthy fats, and protein found in this meal keep you satisfied through the morning.

Raspberry Pecan Oatmeal

Makes 1 bowl

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal

1/4 cup raspberries

1 tablespoon roasted pecan butter

1 teaspoon agave nectar

Dash of cinnamon

1. Combine oats, milk, and flaxseed meal. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed and oatmeal is creamy.

2. Top with raspberries, pecan butter, agave nectar, and cinnamon. Sit back, relax, and fuel your day 🙂

Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes

24 Jan

Lets face it…this winter has been brutal. Well, maybe not if you live in a place like Miami, Florida. But for just about everyone else, it’s been cold, dark, and snowy. And then just when you think it’s let up, it snows some more. Do yourself a favor this weekend and warm up these delicious whole wheat pancakes.


They have everything you could want in a pancake.


They are light and fluffy with a hint of sweetness.


And the best part? They are made with whole wheat flour for an added fiber boost.






I enjoyed mine with warm diced apples while my hubby opted for chocolate chips.

Stay warm!

Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes

Makes 12 pancakes

3/4 cup nonfat mik

2 tablespoons vinegar (I’ve used regular vinegar and apple cider vinegar with good results)

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

1. Preheat a griddle to medium high heat. Combine milk and vinegar in a medium bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Add melted butter, egg and vanilla. Whisk to combine.

2. In a separate medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk together to combine.

3. Add milk mixture to flour mixture and mix just until combined. There will be lumps in the batter.

4. Lightly spray griddle with cooking spray. Pour batter using a 1/4 cup measure onto griddle. Flip pancakes when edges are firm and the center begins to bubble. Continue to cook until lightly browned. To keep warm, place pancakes on a cooling rack fitted on a baking sheet. Place baking sheet in a 200 degree oven.

Warm Diced Apples

1 tablespoon butter

1 apple, peeled and diced (I used granny smith)

1 teaspoon sugar

Dash of cinnamon

1. Melt butter in a small nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Toss apples with cinnamon and sugar. Cook apples in skillet until softened.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

9 Nov



Meet oatmeal


And create the most delicious and somewhat nutritious breakfast ever had.


This is the perfect use for leftover pie that you have after Thanksgiving. As Americans, we have officially entered the eating frenzy.  Starting on October 31st and sometimes lasting all the way until February 14th (think more chocolate, another fancy dinner). I am a firm believer in enjoying the moment and embracing each holiday and the food that comes with it. I am not, however, a firm believer in indulging day after day with the excuse of “it’s the holidays”. So, what to do when you have all those yummy leftovers, especially pumpkin pie.

If you really think about it, pumpkin pie is a healthier dessert option on Turkey Day. Pumpkin is loaded with nutrients (think vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber) and is pretty low in calories. It’s the sugar, egg, and high fat dairy that we add to it and the buttery crust that we put it in that turn it into a splurge.

With a few tweaks, your pumpkin pie can turn into a healthy and delicious breakfast. Start with a lower fat pumpkin pie recipe (recipe coming soon), scrape out the filling and add it to a steaming hot bowl of oatmeal made with unsweetened almond milk, throw in a heaping tablespoon of flaxseed meal, and sprinkle with a few chopped pecans, and sit back and “indulge” in a healthy breakfast as you rehash the events from the wonderful meal the night before with your family.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Makes 1 serving

1/2 cup rolled oats (quick cooking or old-fashioned)

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal

1 slice pumpkin pie, filling only

1 teaspoon chopped pecans

Combine the flaxseed, oats, and almond milk. Microwave on high for 3-5 minutes until cooked. Add pumpkin pie filling, sprinkle with chopped pecans, pour a cup of coffee, and enjoy 🙂

Old Fashioned Coffee Crumb Cake

23 Jul

My philosophy in life is balance (hence the name of my blog). My go-to breakfast is my healthy Greek Yogurt Breakfast. It is an uber-healthy combination of protein and fiber that keeps me full and energized for hours.

But there are occasional mornings when I’m in the mood for something different; something totally naughty to dig into with a piping hot cup of coffee in the early hours of the morning.


For those days, I enjoy this coffee crumb cake from America’s Test Kitchen.

It is perfection.

Pair it with some fresh berries, make healthy choices the rest of the day, and enjoy the delicious moment as the coffee washes down the sweet buttery cake…guilt free.

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Old-Fashioned Coffee Crumb Cake

From: Baking Illustrated

1 tablespoon dry bread crumbs

2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (7 7/8 ounces) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup buttermilk or low fat (not nonfat) plain yogurt, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped fine

1/2 cup packed (3 1/2 ounces) dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease the bottom and lightly grease the sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with bread crumbs, then shake lightly to coat. Tap out excess crumbs.

2. Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl until blended. Add the butter and cut in with the whisk until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Remove 1 cups of the flour mixture to a separate bowl and set aside.

3. Whisk the baking powder and baking soda into the flour mixture remaining in the mixing bowl. Add the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla; whisk vigorously until the batter is thick, smooth, fluffy , and frosting-like, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

4. Add the nuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon to the reserved crumbs of flour, sugar, and butter; toss with a fork or your hands until blended. Sprinkle the crumbs over the batter, pressing lightly so that they adhere. Bake the cake until the center is firm and a cake tester comes out clean, 50-55 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack; remove the sides of the pan. Let the cake cool completely, about 2 hours, before serving. When completely cooled, the cake can be slid off the bottom onto a serving plate.

Miracle Greek Yogurt Breakfast

17 Jul

Remember that really busy summer I mentioned in an earlier post?

It’s still going on.

I finally had a free weekend and had all these ideas for posts that I was planning to put up and then, sadly, didn’t get around to it. Before the craziness begins again this weekend, I wanted to let you in on a little secret…

I have discovered a miracle.

It comes in the form of a breakfast.


The kind of breakfast that leaves you full for hours with energy to plow through your morning to-do list barely realizing that noon is quickly approaching and you lunch eagerly awaits you. I actually forgot to eat lunch one day. That never happens.

I kid you not when I say that I am always ready to eat and constantly thinking about my next meal or snack. I power up in the morning with a yummy green smoothie. When I get to work I dive into breakfast and about an hour later, my stomach and mind would wander to what I can eat next. My miracle breakfast concoction makes me forget about lunch…seriously.

It is LOADED with nutrition. The Greek yogurt has tons of protein to keep you satisfied, calcium to promote bone health, and probiotics for a healthy gut. The oatmeal has filling fiber and B vitamins while the berries are loaded with antioxidants. The yogurt is naturally sweetened with dried fruit and berries leaving you with a breakfast containing ZERO added sugar. Want to know the best part? It’s DELICIOUS!

Miracle Greek Yogurt Breakfast

Makes 1 serving

1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt

1/2 cup uncooked oats

1 tablespoon raisins

Dash of cinnamon

1 cup fresh assorted berries

In a bowl combine yogurt, oats, raisins and cinnamon. Top with berries. Enjoy and don’t think about your next meal for hours…

Vegetable Ham Breakfast Casserole

25 Jun

Are you looking for the perfect way to impress overnight guests? Friends? Your hubby? I’ve got just the thing for you…


I introduce to you the Vegetable Ham Breakfast Casserole.

This is a twist on the typical sausage and cheese casserole…while that version tastes ok, it is pretty sad looking on a breakfast buffet and hardly leaves you feeling satisfied and energized after. This revamped version is filled with veggies so you can fit a serving in before your day even starts. The fat is decreased (big time) by using low-fat cheese, skim milk, and lean ham instead of sausage.

IMG_1813 IMG_1816


And I haven’t even told you the best part yet…

You make it the night before! That means you wake up to a house full of guests, pop the casserole in the oven while everyone is still sleeping and they wake up thinking you spent the morning slaving away on their delicious breakfast. You can appear all cool, calm, and relaxed as you sip your coffee and read the paper while the casserole bakes away because the work was done the night before 🙂

Vegetable Ham Breakfast Casserole

Makes 12 servings

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 cup ham chopped (about 6 oz)
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
4 sourdough English muffins, split in half
2 cups low-fat shredded cheese, divided (I use Colby jack or cheddar)
8 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups skim milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1. If baking the same day: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Steam asparagus until tender but crisp, about 8 minutes.
3. In bottom of 9 x 13 inch pan, place English muffin halves, split side up.  Top with 1 cup of cheese, asparagus, ham, and pepper. In separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper. Pour mixture over mixture in pan. If baking the next day: cover casserole dish and place in the refrigerator.
4. Bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes. Top with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake 5-7 minutes until cheese is melted. Cut into squares and enjoy.
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