GOOD MORNING! or afternoon for you east coasters. Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow so I wanted to feature one of my favorite breakfast dishes…… egg whites & sausage with guac.
Let’s start with the ingredients:
The veggie sausage:
Plate & chow down: garnish with some sliced tomatoes, freshly ground black pepper, and your favorite hot sauce.
I also wanted to point out that I typically use a 7” salad plate for my meals, so that you’re aware of the portion sizes. Have a safe & amazing weekend everyone!
This classic, all time favorite is something most of us grew up with. Mostly in the form of PB&J sammys, but these days it’s part of my diet almost on a daily basis, usually as a snack and sometimes right out of the jar to tie me over until the next meal.
But have you ever tried homemade peanut butter? I’ll warn you, once you do, you won’t be able to go back to store brought brands. It’s just not the same. But with only 15 minutes of your time, why would you settle for the hydrogenated oil-packed stuff? Albeit at least the “natural” brands these days are a better option if you still opt for the store bought, but it’s still not as healthy or tasty.
Before we get started on the “how to”, I want to give you some insight into what hydrogenated oils are. Very simply, it’s liquid oil that has been converted to solid fat. Partially hydrogenated oils are unsaturated fats that have been converted into saturated trans fats. Fully hydrogenated oils don’t contain the trans fats but are still solid fats nonetheless. Why use hydrogenated oils at all? In the case of peanut butter, it’s to keep the actual peanut oil from separating. Of course, this is entirely unnecessary and easily solved with a quick stir of the jar.
To touch upon trans fats for those who are unfamiliar, it’s an unhealthy form of fat that raises your bad (LDL) cholesterol and lowers your good (HDL) cholesterol. Some will the say the amount of trans fat is so minimal it’s irrelevant, but is it really? Perhaps if you only consume the 2 Tbsp serving size occasionally. For an avid peanut butter enthusiast such as myself….. I prefer the good stuff.
So let’s get on with it!
Prep: Pick up a bag of raw unsalted, shelled & skinned peanuts. A 1lb (16oz) bag will make about 8oz of peanut butter. I’ve found the best places to find this are indian or asian grocery stores.
Step 1: Heat the over 350º. Spread the peanuts in a baking tray. Throw it in the oven for 10 minutes, tossing them once half way through. This is what you’ll end up with…
If you prefer your peanut butter to really have a roasted flavor, add an additional 3-5 minutes. Note that the peanuts will continue to brown slightly as they cool.
Step 2: Toss the nuts into a food processor. Only fill it up 1/2 way to allow enough space for the peanuts to do their thing. If you have the option, use the blunt end of your blade, pulse at low speed. You’ll see the nut dust start to clump together. Be sure to scrape the sides down occasionally. This will eventually clump up so much it’ll be like ball of dough but just keep scraping and going….
Until you end up with this….
That my friends, is it!
Oh, and the snack I mentioned earlier…. a banana sliced, drizzled with honey, 1 Tbsp of freshly made peanut butter, and a 1/2 glass of cold low fat organic milk.
It’s time for another recipe! One of my simple faves, and takes under 15 minutes to make.
Get the pasta boiling, and in the meantime let’s get started on chicken tenders. The tenders take about 10 minutes to make, and if you’re really in a hurry, you can throw a few into the microwave to defrost first but I avoid nuking my food as much as possible.
Chicken Tenders: heat up some EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) in a nonstick pan and throw the tenders in. I cover it off with a lid to kind of steam them soft at the same time. Keep an eye on them and just toss them around from time to time so it they don’t brown too much.
Zucchini: if you’re comfortable running a few pans at the same time, I suggest you start on the zucchini as well as that will take some time to steam. If you’re not, then leave this until the chicken is done, cause the zucchini will get cold very quickly. Get a fresh pan going on low heat and throw in a pat of butter. I used one pat for one zucchini which makes the amount pictured above. The amount does reduce once cooked to keep that mind. Skin and dice up the zucchini, the smaller the pieces, the faster it’ll cook. Once the butter is melted, throw the zucchini in, coat it in the butter, and cover it with a lid. Keep a close eye on it and toss it frequently cause you don’t want these to get too mushy. Think “al dente”.
Back to the pasta: By now, your pasta should be done. Drain and throw the sauce, and chicken tenders in. Bring the heat to medium and let that simmer while the zucchini finishes cooking.
Throw it on a plate, top the zucchini off with freshly ground black pepper and you’re all set!
Those of you who know me, are probably wondering why there’s chicken on this vegetarian’s plate. Relax. It’s not really chicken.
Those of you who are vegan or vegetarian know how difficult it can be to incorporate protein into meals for a balanced diet. And perhaps some of you carnivores are looking for a healthy alternative. Toss together this easy salad and let me know your thoughts.
There’s 11 grams of protein in one chik’n cutlet, plus a few more grams from the nuts. Go easy on the dressing and you’ve got a decent salad.
Recognize this seal?
You should. It just might become your new best friend.
These days, the term “organic” is widely used, along with “natural”, “free-range”, “cage-free”, “grass-fed”, along with a slew of others. Although these all hold some value, how can you cut through the clutter and know where to put your hard earned cash? You look for your new best friend.
Products with the USDA seal of approval are inspected to fall under their standards, and do not contain unapproved pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, irradiation, genetic engineering, or sewage sludge. I mean c’mon….sewage sludge! That’s worse than the spray that occurs when flushing down last night’s dinner with the toilet lid open. Those of you interested in learning more about the USDA standards can check this out…http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/NOPConsumers
Now, I know buying organic isn’t always the most pocket-friendly, but this is what we put in our mouths, what we fuel our bodies with, and what ultimately determines our health. And we all know the impact health can have to ourselves, our families, friends, not to mention……once again, your wallet!
So this weekend, when you’re in the produce section of the supermarket, look for organics when buying thin-skinned fruits and veggies like apples, strawberries, leafy greens, grapes, and even potatoes. The thick-skinned items such as bananas, onions, avocados, and kiwis, are the kind of items that are less inclined to hold pesticides and such, so if you can’t buy all organic, you now know what to look for.