My Top Ten

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Protein Power

This blog topic will be about protein, and the word is at the top of my list these days. The average person should consume around 35 grams of protein per day, which is very easy to accomplish. However; when you're pregnant, you should consume at the minimum 80 grams of protein per day. Ideally a pregnant woman's protein intake should be more like 100 grams per day. This is a daunting task and one I am rising up to meet, daily. Don't just immediately go to: oh that's easy, protein bars and whey protein shakes, waa-laa. Right, and how many protein bars and protein shakes can you choke down for 9 months straight without completely losing it? I am still scarred from my first pregnancy. I did what every pregnant and working woman in America does, and that is exactly the protein bars and whey protein shakes regimen. Yuck. So, so, so very over that. I want food. Real food. I am the type of pregnant woman who needs food, and needs it RIGHT NOW. The goal is to incorporate protein into nearly everything I am consuming and it's keeping me on my toes. I feel like I am eating all the time, and it's only just begun. My staples are eggs, meat, nuts, soy, peanut butter, legumes and my prize ultra protein - raw bee pollen (CAUTION: run in the other direction if you are allergic to bees). Not to mention all of the yogurt and cheese, which I quite enjoy. Ok, and ice cream.

Anyhow, I am not normally a big "milk" drinker, but I have been drinking a soymilk concoction to aid in protein intake. This "milk" has 19 grams of protein. I sip on this concoction all afternoon with interimtent nut (walnuts are bad to the bone) & seed snacking along with the standard breakfast, lunch, and dinner fare. Anyhow, if you are feeling like you want to step into protein world, give it a try:

Lish's Protein Milk or "Milks" in Bodhi's words
(and, yes, Bodhi likes the milks too!)

1 cup unsweetened soymilk
1/2 banana
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
2 Tablespoons Cacao nibs or Dagoba Cacao powder (sold at Whole Foods)
2 Tablespoons flax meal
1 Tablespoon agave (or less, it's not bad without actually or omit if you use vanilla soy)
1/2 c ice

Blend until smooth and enjoy.

You may argue that this isn't much different from a protein shake, but I'd like to point out that it's made with real whole foods, and not from a powdered base. At least, I feel better about it ;)

I will be experimenting with quinoa flour, as quinoa is a complete protein grain. I'll let you know what I come up with, probably some quinoa protein muffins. Stay tuned.....

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A healthier banana bread.....

Here you have it, my version of banana bread. It's just as yummy, and has a few healthful ingredients which are not called for in traditional banana bread recipes.

On stovetop:
Slowly melt 1/2 c (one stick) butter
You can use medium heat, just be careful to watch it closely. Do not let it reach a boil, just barely melted is perfect. You can microwave the butter to melt it, but it's detrimental nutritionally. Microwaving anything is detrimental nutritionally, but that's a blog post for another day......

Mash 3 well-ripened bananas in a bowl and add:
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 c sugar
1/3 c molasses
1 egg; beaten
the melted butter

Sift together in bowl:
1 1/4 c flour
1/4 c flax meal
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

Mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients, then add in 1 c chopped walnuts.

Bake @ 350 degrees for approximately 40 minutes or until center is baked through.

Variation ideas:
1 banana & 5 oz. frozen peaches; thawed, mashed
1 banana & 2 overly-ripe pears; peeled, chopped, mashed

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Weekender

Sometimes in our home we enjoy eating 'breakfast for dinner' and this Frittata was one such craving, genius on my husband's part. I affectionately refer to it as the Weekender because it's easy to throw together, it's the kind of food that you want to keep eating over & over, and it's hearty.

I also promised to give credit where credit is due, and it was my husband's idea to crisp up the cheese on top of the frittata via the broiler after it baked on the stove top, and it made this frittata perfect; seriously, perfect. Good job lovey.

You do need one nicely sized sautee pan that is both oven & stove top safe. In my dreams, I use Le Creuset, in reality; Emeril's tri-ply stainless from Bed, Bath & Beyond is a decent compromise. But one fine day, I'll have glorious pictures of my fanciful, color-coated Le Creuset cookware to share with all of you.

the Weekender Frittata:

Over medium heat:
Sautee a 1/2 lb ground or *link breakfast sausage

While sausage is cooking:
peel and cube one nice sized potato (i used new potato).
finely chop 1/4 c red onion
chop 1/2 of a red bell pepper (1/3 c or so)
Shred 1/2 c sharp cheddar cheese for use later.

Remove sausage from pan to random bowl for holding and immediately add the potato & onion to the hot pan. Pour in just a bit of water, maybe 2 tablespoons to accelerate softening the potatoes. Cook the potato & onion for about 15 minutes, stirring often and scraping up the sausage "yummies" from the bottom of the pan.
Pre-heat your broiler to "hi" or 500 degrees.

Mix with bulbous whisk:
6 eggs
1/2 c half & half
2 tsp basil
salt & pepper (i always do this on the fly, use your judgment)

Once potatoes haved cooked 15 minutes:
Add sausage back to pan, gently mix into potato mixture.
Add the chopped bell pepper; incorporate.
Add the egg mixture to cover evenly as it will start to set right away.

Cook the frittata for about 3-4 minutes, until the eggs are firmly set around the edge of the pan. Move the frittata from the stove top to the pipping hot broiler and let it cook for 4+ more minutes. Add the cheese to the top of the frittata once the top is set and no longer jiggly, and let the broiler bake the cheese until it's a deep golden brown and nicely crisped, about 5 more minutes per my broiler.

*If you use link sausages, once cooled; chop them into bite sized pieces before adding them back to cook your frittata.