Tag Archives: breakfast

Cinnamon grain-free granola or breakfast cereal

grain-free sugar-free paleo granola

I’ve been making this easy grain-free granola for ages! These days, I’m enjoying it as a low-carb substitute for breakfast cereal. Having it on hand makes it possible again to have a breakfast that’s as simple as pouring two things into a bowl!

It also makes a yummy whole-food snack: perfect for times when I want something portable, crunchy and munchy. (Hello, road trips and movie theaters!) And happily, this recipe also satisfies the requirements for whole food, real food, sugar-free, low-carb, and Paleo diets. Maybe also keto: see notes at the end.

It comes together quickly, and is made on the stove-top, so you don’t even need to heat the oven!

A few things about the ingredients…

The coconut used is large flake and unsweetened. For the best deal, look for it where bulk foods are sold.

grain-free granola, use large-flake coconut

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Sliced almonds will give a more delicate, crispy crunch than slivered — which will be better for cereal. But if slivered is all you’ve got, or you’re just making this for a snack, slivered almonds are fine.

sliced and slivered almonds

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stevia extract

 

 

Stevia extracts vary in sweetness. This is the brand and flavor I use.

 

Feel free to experiment with other brands and flavors, but just remember that it may need adjusting. If you’re unsure, try making a one-third batch first, to zone in on the perfect sweetener level for your taste.

 

Ready for the recipe?

 


Grain-free, sugar-free granola or breakfast cereal

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1.5 Tblsp coconut oil

6 drops liquid stevia extract, plain or flavored*

1.5 cups large, unsweetened, dried coconut flakes

optional: additional 1 teasp coconut oil

1 cup each:

  • sliced (or slivered) almonds
  • large pecan pieces (or small pecans)
  • large English walnut pieces

1/2 to 1 teasp cinnamon

optional: dash salt

*The sweetness level of this recipe as written is slightly sweet to someone who’s used to a sugar-free, sweetener-free life. If your taste runs sweeter, you may want to use more. If you’re unsure, try making a one-third batch first, to zone in on the perfect sweetener level for your taste.

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DIRECTIONS:

For a full batch, your skillet / frying pan should have a 9″ (23 cm) diameter bottom, at least. Larger is fine.

Place pan over medium-low heat. Add the 1.5 tablespoon of coconut oil and the stevia drops. Stir them together, then add the coconut flakes. Turn them over several times — gently, so as not to break too many flakes — so that the oil coats the flakes on both sides.

Then let it sit, but stay near, watching for it to begin turning brown on the bottom. (The first picture below shows it as it begins browning.) As it does, gently turn large spoonfuls over every few/several minutes till many of the pieces are lightly toasted; some will still be mostly white. (Second image below.)

coconut in two stages of toasting, for granola

If the bottom of the pan looks dry at this point,  add another teaspoon of coconut oil.

Add the almonds, pecans, and walnuts, and continue to stir for two or three minutes. Remove from the heat, and add the cinnamon and salt. Stir gently to distribute the cinnamon.

grain-free sugar-free granola, cooling in the pan

You may let it cool in the pan, stirring occasionally. This will probably be 30 minutes, at least. (I sometimes let it sit for several hours as I do other stuff around the house, just stirring it whenever I swing through the kitchen.)

When completely cooled, transfer to an airtight container. Keeps at room temp for a week or more.

For cereal, just top it with your favorite milk. I like coconut.  🙂

grain-free sugar-free granola or breakfast cereal

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Some questions you may have:

Is there a printable? – Sure: here ya go! Grain-free sugar-free granola/cereal recipe.

Can I add other ingredients, like flax seed, chia seed, or hemp hearts? – I wouldn’t add them to the mix, because this isn’t a sticky granola, and they’re so much smaller they’re going to sift quickly to the bottom of the container. But you could certainly sprinkle them on just before eating.

Wow! Isn’t this really high calorie? – Yep. Sure is. I don’t count calories. I find that when I eat all whole foods and keep carbs in check (oh, and address my emotional eating), my daily intake tends to correct itself without any counting.

Is it keto? – It’s certainly low carb, high fat. I haven’t run the macros, but I think you might need to add more coconut oil to make it high enough fat for serious keto. (I don’t have any experience with a keto calculator, but here’s wholesomeyum’s recommendation.)

How much is a serving? – That’s entirely up to you, but I’ll warn you: because it’s so low in carbs (carbs make you hungry) and high in fat (fat makes you full), you’re going to want a lot less of this than you would of cereal. And while I don’t count calories, they do count to some extent, and nuts can quickly get you outside of healthy bounds. To keep snack servings in check, you might want to portion it out into snack baggies or other small containers. I just put a small amount in a very small bowl at home, or in baggies when I’m out.

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grain-free sugar-free granola or cereal

Crustless make-ahead quiche – grain-free

make-ahead quiche - grain-free, gluten-free, paleo, whole30

This crustless quiche makes an easy primal/low-carb/gluten-free breakfast! It’s also a great way to use up leftover cooked meats and vegetables. And sneak some veggies into your diet. (It’s Paleo except for the sour cream/yogurt.)

It also reheats beautifully. One thing I don’t like about a lot of make-ahead-and-reheat egg dishes is they get kind of tough in the microwave. Not so with this recipe!

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20-day diet prep plan: Day 12 – No-brainer breakfast options

9 easy no-brainer breakfast options with protein

hash with chicken apple sausage

I hope you enjoyed experimenting with the hash method and the soup method yesterday! If you ran out of time (or energy), feel free to continue the experiment today.

I also encourage you to spend some time today doing some thinking and research — and maybe also, possibly some more cooking — in order to figure out what your breakfast plan is.

Breakfast is so important! One successful Paleoite says:

Ever since I started taking breakfast seriously, I have really grown to enjoy it and it’s now my favorite meal. I try to set myself up for success by eating the most nutritious meal first thing in the morning. Since I started eating this way, I’ve found that I have more energy during the day and I’m less hungry for snacks, and sometimes even have to remind myself to eat lunch (coming from someone who used to suffer from chronic hunger, this is huge!).

I think that sums it up well. Starting off with a nutritious, filling breakfast sets you up for food success the rest of the day. Your blood sugar rises slowly and ebbs slowly over the next three to four hours, carrying you through to lunch.

In contrast, starting out with a small, carb-filled breakfast, your blood sugar first spikes — which feels good, because you get energy — but then it bottoms out, leaving you foggy and hangry, and reaching for more sugar or carbs, so your day ends up looking like this:

cravings all day long

If you’re doing the 21 Day Sugar Detox or a Whole30, protein at breakfast is going to be part of the plan. Also, for those who are trying The Sugar Addict’s Total Recovery Program, Step 1 is eat breakfast every morning, making sure it has protein in it. So this is a good idea for everyone!

If you’re like me, though, you need breakfast to be a no-brainer! So that’s why you need to plan ahead of time and figure out what your no-brainer breakfast will be. If you wait to figure this out on Jan. 1, you’ll shoot yourself in the food right at the start!

Experiment with breakfast and find one to three you can live with for a month. One is sufficient if you’re the type of person who is content to eat the same thing for breakfast every day. Find more if you want more variety.

It should contain a protein (eggs, meat, or protein-y broth), some healthy fat (butter, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil), and veggies and/or fruit. Use fruit sparingly. Some 100% whole-grain bread is fine, too, if you’re not cutting out grains. Keep it as sugar-free as possible, too.

No-brainer breakfast options

paleo breakfast options - protein smootie

Protein shakes

I’m not a huge fan of protein powder as an everyday ongoing habit, because I don’t consider it real food. But if a protein smoothie is all you can manage at this point, by all means, do that! Progress, not perfection, is what we’re after. (Just make sure it’s sugar and sweetener free.) Use banana slices or apple juice for sweetening. Don’t go too crazy on the fruit. A small amount of vanilla or almond extract can add to the sweetness, too.

Here are some recipes:

Strawberry Banana Protein Shake – protein comes from protein powder

Paleo Breakfast Smoothie – here’s one where the protein comes from whole eggs

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paleo breakfast options - makeahead

 

Traditional breakfast proteins

Try fried, scrambled, or hard-boiled eggs. Bacon and sausage are fine if they’re nitrate free, with minimal sugar. (Though I recommend using bacon as a condiment, not a main protein source day-in and day-out.) Good smoked salmon can be a delicious breakfast option, too, if you can get some!

But if cooking up a couple eggs in the morning is not enough no-brainer for you, here are some make-ahead breakfast options:

Bacon deviled eggs – these are delish, and you can make them as hot or as mild as you want. (And they are mustard-free, for you mustard haters.)

Easy breakfast casserole – make one big batch to last you days!

Slow-cooker breakfast meatloaf – basically, sausage by another name.

Sausage-egg cups – there are a million recipes like this; experiment to find your favorite combo of veggies and meat.

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Paleo cream of pumpkin soup with cinnamon, ginger + turmeric

Nontraditional breakfasts

I’ve come to love clear broth as a breakfast option, especially when my guts are not happy. Use homemade bone broth if you’ve got it! If you’re buying ready-made broth, get it from a carton, not a can. And buy the best you can afford. Check the labels, and get the one with the most protein.

Also, you can always heat up last night’s leftovers, if you like! Have a favorite (healthy) food you love so much you want to marry it? Have it for breakfast! Why not?

Cream of pumpkin soup – I love to make this creamy soup ahead of time, then heat it up and add some diced ham or already-cooked sausage. Diced bacon is a yummy topper, too!

My “get well soon” soup recipe – super simple!

My hash method – a great way to use up leftover veggies and meats

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So there you have several possibilities. Pick one or two and experiment with them this week. Breakfast really can make or break how your eating goes for the rest of the day!

The assignments for the next couple days will be short and sweet, then we’ll take off the 23rd, 24th, and 25th. Take time to enjoy your loved ones while you have them near!

9 easy no-brainer breakfast options with protein

Breakfast on vacation: 7 tips for starting the day out right.

breakfast on vacation; eggs benedict

Also about: places to eat in Seattle.

We just got back from a five-day visit to Seattle. Our motto and mission on vacation always has been: “Go places and eat things!”

We succeeded.

If you’ve read my blog for long, you know I believe in eating healthy most of the time, but making allowances for the occasional bending of the rules. For me, vacation definitely falls under the rule-bending side of things, but I don’t want to completely throw all rules out the window, every meal. One of my main strategies is to start the day off with a decent breakfast. In other words, some protein and healthy fats, some fruit and/or vegetables, with a minimum of carbs and sweets.

It would be easy to rationalize cinnamon rolls and french toast for breakfast every morning — after all, it’s vacation, right? But I know that starting the day out that way will make me hungry (and probably cranky) by mid-morning, and set me up for bad decisions all day long. So here’s my advice for starting the day out right on vacation.

7 tips for eating a healthy breakfast on vacation

1. Eat well before you leave home. On our day of departure, I allowed myself enough time to get up and have my normal, healthy breakfast. For me, this is two eggs with sweet potato hash. Because I always have onions and already-cooked-sweet potato diced and ready to go in the fridge, this is quick and easy to throw together. (I didn’t actually bother with sausage and avocado the day we left. This is an old pic. #latergram)

breakfast on vacation - eggs + hash

 

2. Be prepared with healthy snacks. Before we left, I stocked up on my favorite version of trail mix: mixed nuts and diced prunes. Laugh if you want, but prunes are some of the lowest glycemic dried fruits — and that extra fiber can’t hurt when you’re traveling!

Oh, and by the way: most of these shots are not going to be beautiful. Part of keeping vacation relaxing for me means I don’t work too hard to get a perfect shot; one or two shots as-is. Case in point…

breakfast on vacation - snacks for the plane

This turned out to be my lunch on our flight there and my dinner on our flight home, so I’m glad I came prepared!

3. If possible, stay in a place with a kitchen. And 4. Eat what’s fresh and local. We found a great apartment on airbnb that was 9 minutes from the main attractions, at less than half what a cheap hotel room would have cost! On top of the great price, we had a fridge, microwave, stove and dishwasher. Enough equipment to have some eggs and fresh local fruit some mornings…

breakfast on vacation; eggs + fruit

 

Other mornings it was eggs and this amazing local yogurt…

breakfast on vacation; eggs + yogurt

If you’re ever in Seattle, track down some Ellenos Greek yogurt! It’s the mildest, creamiest yogurt I’ve ever had! My favorite flavor was marionberry, but the plain sweetened with honey was great, too. (This is not a sponsored post. I just truly love this stuff!)

ellenos yogurt

 

5. If you can’t get a kitchen, try for a mini fridge and microwave. Then pick up some pho the night before. Our first night in Seattle, we went to Ba Bar, where they have phenomenal Vietnamese pho (pronounced “fuh”), a bone broth featuring various ingredients; mine had ramen noodles, duck confit, mushrooms, and lemongrass. The broth and ramen noodles were so delicious, I ordered extra to take “home,” and had this for breakfast the next couple days. (This photo is terrible, but the breakfast was not!) On the side, I had peaches and strawberries with a drizzle of cream. So, slight bending of Paleo rules – noodles, cream – but still a whole-foods, low-carb, no-sugar breakfast. And quite delightful! I did not feel one bit deprived.

seattle-brkfst-pho-fruit

If you can’t find pho, egg-drop soup would probably work well, too.

6. When you’re in a pinch, just make the best choices you can. One day, we were stuck with nothing in the fridge and no ride for a couple hours, so we walked to the nearest place — which happened to be a Starbucks. (No surprise, in Seattle!) This is the best I could do there: a low-glycemic KIND bar, and water. Not a great breakfast, either from a health or satisfaction standpoint, but it was enough to get me by till we could get something more substantial.

breakfast on vacation; KIND bar

7. Bend rules: sometimes a little, sometimes a little more! One of the days, we ended up having “second breakfast” at a place called Oddfellows. While there were lots of bready things on the menu — even gluten-free biscuits — avocado toast sounded delicious to me. It came on whole-wheat bread, sprinkled with pepitas and sprouts, and shaved radish. I removed the latter (not a radish fan), then cut up the bacon I ordered on the side, and added that on top. Yum!

breakfast on vacation; avocado toast

Our last day, we ate at Glo’s Cafe; a very small mom-and-pop diner type place. One of my MOST favorite things to order for breakfast is eggs benedict, not just because I love it, but also it’s something I never make myself. The white bread English muffins that come standard with bennies are definitely not Paleo. I’ve tried benedict without any bread at all, but then so much of that yummalicious yolk-and-hollandaise sauce goes to waste on the plate! So my compromise is to order it on whole wheat toast — which works out quite nicely. I also order a side of avocado to healthy it up a bit. Glo’s has really good eggs benny, and it comes with a heap o’ hash browns…

places to eat in Seattle; Glo's Cafe

 

I’m not the huge hash brown fiend my husband is, but I do enjoy them if they’re crispy. So bending the rules a little more, I enjoy the crispy bits, and leave the rest behind.

places to eat in Seattle; Glo's Cafe

This was a fully satisfying, delicious, treat of a breakfast, but still with no guilt.

Some other places to eat in Seattle

Just to be real, I DO bend the rules more during the rest of the day on vacation! On this trip, I enjoyed street tacos at Tacos Chukis, creme brullee at Ray’s Boathouse, Molly Moon’s ice cream, and more!

My husband really enjoyed the coffee and quiet at Storyville Coffee. I may have had a sip or two. Cream and sugar included.

places to eat in Seattle: storyville coffee

Although it wasn’t a meal, my favorite food discovery was the Quintessential Gourmet tasting room, where you could taste wines, hard ciders, olive oils, and — the thing that made me giddy — almost 20 different flavors of balsamic vinegar! Strawberry, blueberry, espresso, chocolate, cranberry-pear. Mix them with orange-infused or lavender-infused olive oil, or any of the several other flavors. Oh, we had fun, and walked out with a ridiculous amount of small bottles!

places to eat in Seattle: vinegar tasting room

My favorite meal of the week, though, was a picnic we enjoyed at Gas Works Park, feasting on smoked salmon that tasted like bacon (from Pure Food Fish Market), nothin’-paleo-about-it pastries from Peroshky Peroshky, and drippy-ripe slices of nectarine dipped in my aforementioned new love, Ellenos! (All of which we discovered on the Seattle Bites Food Tour — also highly recommended!)

seattle picnic

I do confess to pigging out on the yogurt. It was our last night, and we couldn’t take it on the plane!

So I did not live a regimented life while we were there. But I just find that making the effort to start the day with some good protein and minimal sugar keeps my energy and mood up all day long. And who wants to spend vacay tired and cranky?!

How do you bend the rules on vacation?

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Eggs on avocado toast – easy, clean-eating breakfast or lunch!

eggs-avocado-bacon-toast-550x380
The moment I saw the photo on Pinterest of Simple Poached Egg and Avocado Toast at Pinch of Yum, I was hungry for this combo! But I thought it would be even better with a sprinkling of crispy bacon on top. Especially since I had some already-cooked bacon in the fridge. (Because of this: the best and easiest way to cook bacon.)
Better with bacon? Yep: I was right! The contrast of crispy whole-wheat toast, creamy mashed avocado, warm/runny egg yolk and crunchy bacon = heaven!
Poached eggs are a little challenging; her method makes them a bit simpler, but you could also just fry your eggs. My avocado was a bit too firm, so I added a bit of mayo to it. And then a dash of garlic salt, just cuz. Sprinkled on some fresh ground black pepper and a wee bit of thyme — totally optional, but pretty!
Now I wish I were going to be home for lunch tomorrow, because I am already hungry for it again!
Diet-friendly? Almost paleo (full-on paleo if you skip the bread); gluten free if you use gluten free bread for the toast; clean eating if the bacon passes muster; South Beach / low carb for maintenance level.

Cornmeal-flaxseed pancakes with maple berry sauce

gluten-free-flaxseed-pancakes-w-berry-sauce-600x346

Quick to whip up, wheat-free, gluten-free, sugar-free — and still delicious! I’ve been making these for months, but just now got around to posting them. I’m trying life wheat-free for a while, and these are a great substitute for traditional wheat flour pancakes.

This recipe came about when I tried this recipe for Blueberry Flax Microwave Muffines via Spark People, I loved the ease, nutrition, and flavor of the original recipe, but the grainy texture just didn’t seem right for a muffin.

So that actually became my inspiration. It reminded me of the texture of cornbread, and I LOVE cornbread! It’s one of the things I missed the most when I went low-carb. When my kids were little (before I went low-carb), we would sometimes have cornmeal pancakes for dinner. Just swap out cornmeal for half the flour, and you’ve got a pancake with a texture somewhere between pancakes and cornbread. Soaked in melted butter and maple syrup; mmm…! Replacing some of the maple syrup with berries adds vitamins and fiber; a small nudge toward healthier fare.

But back to these wheat-free pancakes… Another drawback was that putting frozen blueberries in the muffins made them pretty ugly. Trust me: they looked NOTHING like the picture! Also, egg in the microwave has a super-fine line between undercooked and rubbery.

So to solve all these shortcomings but keep them quick and easy, I…

  • Replaced half the flaxmeal with corn meal
  • Turned them into pancakes, made stove-top
  • Took the blueberries out of the mix and served them on top as a sauce/syrup (I use whatever berries I have on hand: raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or a mix.)

Result? Quick, easy, tasty breakfast!

IMPORTANT NOTE: The dry ingredient amounts below make a batch of dry mix, which you then use a little at a time to make 1 or 2 servings. The mix is enough to make four single batches.

Cornmeal-flax pancakes with maple berry sauce

Dry mix:
1/2 c. flaxseed, freshly ground
1/4 c. + 2 T. cornmeal (gluten-free, if necessary)
2 tsp. baking soda
4 pinches salt
Combine and store in airtight container, at room temp or in fridge. Makes four single batches.

Single batch:
1 egg
1 T. coconut milk (or other milk of your choice)
3.5 T.  dry mix (recipe above)
1-2 T. butter

Whisk the egg and the coconut milk, then whisk in the dry mixture. Stir till well combined.

Cook as you would pancakes. Heat a non-stick frying pan. (You know it’s the right temp when splattered droplets of water immediately skittle across the surface.) Melt the butter in the pan; pour the excess into a small bowl and set aside for later.

Pour batter into the pan to make one large, two medium, or three small pancakes. It starts out pretty runny; you may need to nudge the edges in a little with your spatula, especially on the smaller cakes.

When the edges look puffy and dry-ish, and bubbles coming to the surface slow down in frequency, flip them over and cook a little less time on the second side. They should be just slightly golden-brown on both sides.

Use the leftover melted butter and brush or spread it on both sides of the finished pancakes, then plate them and pour on the berry syrup. Syrup recipe below.

Makes three mini pancakes, two medium, or one large.

Maple-berry syrup 

4 single-batch servings

1-1/3  c. fresh or frozen berries
2-1/2  to  3 T. real maple syrup

Combine and heat briefly in microwave or on stovetop.
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Nutrition info, via myfitnesspal. Serving equals one whole single batch:

Nutrition Facts
Servings 1.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 397
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 28 g 43 %
Saturated Fat 15 g 73 %
Monounsaturated Fat 6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 240 mg 80 %
Sodium 730 mg 30 %
Potassium 221 mg 6 %
Total Carbohydrate 31 g 10 %
Dietary Fiber 8 g 31 %
Sugars 10 g
Protein 8 g 16 %
Vitamin A 13 %
Vitamin C 18 %
Calcium 9 %
Iron 17 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Bread pudding: the ultimate Christmas dessert!

Challah-Bread-Pudding-520x400
photo by The Shiksa in the Kitchen

So, I’m fixing dinner, Christmas Eve night, and my husband says, “What are we having for dessert?” Oh my gosh — dessert?! How on earth did I forget dessert? (I’ll tell you how: I was thinking of the waffles and cinnamon rolls we were going to be having for brunch the next day!)

Then my brilliant husband goes on to say, “How about bread pudding?”

Now, if you’re  not a bread pudding fan, let me tell you — neither was I, until a couple years ago when we ordered lemon bread pudding at Carrabba’s. I love anything lemon, but I’m telling you, this was heaven on a plate! Warm, sweet but with a little lemon tang, and custard-y… yum!

So a more traditional bread pudding — simply flavored with vanilla, cinnamon, and for those who like them, raisins — seems like the perfect Christmas dessert.

And it was!

It’s quick and easy to throw together, and uses ingredients you probably already have on hand. We used this bread pudding recipe from All Recipes, and topped it with the Kahlua cream sauce recipe from The Shiksa in the Kitchen. (A plain vanilla cream sauce would be good, too. Orange or maple might be nice for a breakfast/brunch version.)

With these slight changes:
– Used a demi-loaf of French bread; fresh, not day-old.
– Used a 9×9″ pan (rather than 8×8″)
– Used brown sugar, not white.
– Left out the raisins.
– Added a little fresh-grated nutmeg with the cinnamon.
– Skipped the melted butter, but drizzled a little heavy cream over it (after pouring on the egg mixture, but before baking’ I didn’t measure, but probably about 3 Tablespoons.)
– Sprinkled some pecans on top. (Next time I’ll use more and mix ’em in.)
– Baked for 35 minutes.

Mmmm… Imagine the warm, sweet aroma of vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg, with a texture I can only describe as a tender, custardy cake. If this isn’t Christmas on a plate, I don’t know what is! But it would be just as good at any autumn or winter dinner — or brunch!

I might just make it again for New Year’s Eve!