The Ultimate Recovery Smoothie

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #KashiPlantPower #GOTOGETHER #CollectiveBias

The ultimate recovery smoothie is packed with ingredients to boost recovery after a hard workout, along with Kashi's new plant powered shake! 

Remember when I ran a half marathon earlier this year and was all like, "it's one and done! I just want to prove that I can do it!" Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, I've signed up for another half marathon this fall.

This time I'm running the Greenville Spinx Run Fest in October along with a group of girlfriends. My husband, who is the kinda guy who can just run 13.1 miles with no training whatsoever (ugh, I hate him) may or may not be joining. It's Halloween weekend so he really wants to dress as a T-Rex and have me dress as Laura Dern from Jurassic Park. I am all over this idea.

So my official training started this week and with that means paying a little bit more attention to how I'm feeding myself. That was one of the big lessons for me last time I trained. Even though I knew all about sports nutrition, experiencing for myself what running felt like after not fueling myself adequately drove the point home!

This time I'm training during these insanely hot South Carolina days, so I know ice cold smoothies are going to play a vital role! When I got the opportunity to partner with Kashi to highlight their new Kashi® GOLEAN™ Plant Powered Shakes, I knew I wanted to show you how to make my ultimate recovery smoothie.

So what makes this smoothie special?

Kashi GOLEAN Plant Powered Shake in Dark Cocoa // After a strenuous run, it's important to get a nice dose of protein to switch the catabolic hormones (break down muscle) to anabolic hormones (build muscle). Kashi's brand new shake contains 21 grams of plant powered protein from dried peas, sprouted beans, flax and hemp - all natural and good for you ingredients. It's gluten free, vegan and contains 1 billion CFU of probiotics to support gut health. Like Kashi Organic Breakfast Superblends (another one of their new products) both are convenient for an on-the-go lifestyle - both can be simply mixed with water or your choice of dairy to make an easy protein shake, or blend into your favorite smoothie recipe. It's available at Target.com.

I chose dark cocoa because not only does it taste like a chocolate milkshake, but chocolate also contains antioxidants that help reduce post workout soreness! Chocolate is also great for preworkout snacking as it contains antioxidants called epicatechins that improve blood flow to muscles, improving endurance. 

Tart Cherry Juice // The sour taste of tart cherry juice is an indication of high levels of anthocyanins, an antioxidant that helps reduce post workout pain and soreness. Look for pure tart cherry juice in the drink aisle along with the other juices bottled in glass jars.

Medjool Dates // With their sweet, caramel like taste, dates are one of my favorite ways to sweeten foods.Dates are mineral rich which helps replace what was lost in sweat. They also provide a concentrated source of natural sugars, which your body needs after a workout to restore glycogen stores.

Banana // Potassium!! A ton of it is lost in sweat when you're running outside. Bananas are a concentrated source of potassium, as well as natural sugars to boost glycogen stores.

Spirulina // I call spirulina nature's multi-vitamin. Spirulina is an algae that's commonly used as a supplement because of it's nutrient density. It contains more nutrients, and a wider variety of nutrients than just about any food out there. If you use a small amount, you won't taste it, so start with 1/4 of a teaspoon.

Coconut Water // Often called "nature's sports drink" because of the sodium and potassium it contains, I love the light and refreshing flavor it adds to this smoothie.

If you'd like to try Kashi's new GOLEAN Plant Powered Shake or their Organic Breakfast Superblends, enjoy $10 off using the discount code: TGTKASHI.

Connect with Kashi:

Ultimate Recovery Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen banana, cut into chunks

  • 1 scoop Kashi GOLEAN Plant Powered Shake in Chocolate Vinyasa

  • 2 dates, pitted

  • 2/3 cup coconut water

  • 1/3 cup tart cherry juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon spirulina

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients together in a blender and blend until pureed. Serve immediately.

Breakfast Enchiladas with Sweet Potatoes and Eggs

Better than breakfast tacos? These breakfast enchiladas are stuffed with sweet potatoes, black beans, scrambled eggs and topped with spicy salsa verde and feta! 

Forget breakfast tacos. Let's make breakfast enchiladas a thing.

I mean, tacos and enchiladas are basically the same thing - tortillas stuffed with lots of yummy things. But these breakfast enchiladas have one significant advantage over breakfast tacos. Make-aheadability. While these are fabulous fresh out of the oven (and also make a mean breakfast for dinner), they are simple to reheat and eat all week.

So guys, let's lead a charge to make breakfast enchiladas the new breakfast casserole. Personally, I plan to do my part by making these for all the Clemson tailgates for noon games come fall.

These make a super filling breakfast, packed with protein and high fiber carbs. Enjoy one with a side of fruit salad or two to last till dinner!

Breakfast Enchiladas with Sweet Potatoes, Black Beans and Eggs

Makes 12 enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 sweet potatoes, chopped in 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 6 eggs, beaten.
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 12-ounce jar salsa verde
  • 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • Optional for serving: hot sauce, chopped fresh cilantro, avocado, sour cream/plain yogurt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large sided skillet. Add sweet potatoes and saute until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add onion and garlic, season with salt, pepper and chili powder. Saute until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Scrape potato mixture into a large bowl. Stir in black beans. Wipe skillet clean and add teaspoon of olive oil on medium heat. Pour in beaten egg and scramble. When eggs are fully cooked and scrambled, stir into potato mixture.
  4. Pour 1/2 cup salsa verde into the bottom of a large baking sheet. Take about 1/2 cup filling and wrap up with a corn tortilla. Place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Pour remaining salsa verde over the top. Sprinkle with feta. Place in the oven and bake 20 minutes. Serve as desired.

More savory make ahead breakfasts: 

Shredded Sweet Potatoes with Eggs, Fresh Salsa and Chimichurri
Shredded Sweet Potatoes with Eggs, Fresh Salsa and Chimichurri
Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
Kale, Mushroom and Blue Cheese Quiche
Kale, Mushroom and Blue Cheese Quiche

Peach Buttermilk Chai Smoothie

This peach buttermilk chai smoothie is packed with probiotics from buttermilk and antioxidants from chai tea! 

Yay for smoothie weather! Time to share my latest smoothie obsession - this peach smoothie spiked with chai tea!

While it feels like peach weather, it's not quite peach season, so we'll have to rely on frozen peaches to make this bad boy. I'm such a huge fan of frozen peaches. I absolutely adore fresh peaches, especially living in South Carolina, aka the real peach state. But I really think someone put a curse on me when it comes to peaches. I'll get the freshest, most beautiful peaches from the farmers market and they'll go from perfect to moldy, mushy mess in 24 hours at our house. Drives me absolutely nuts! I get a case of seasonal binge eating disorder every time I see peaches at the farmers market in my attempt to eat them all before they go bad!

The peach chai combination might sound a bit odd, but peaches have a similar flavor profile to mango, a fruit commonly used in Indian cuisine and a natural pairing with chai spices. This recipe was inspired by one from Root to Leaf, one of my favorite seasonal cookbooks.

Peach Buttermilk Chai Smoothie

Serves 1 

If you'd like to add some protein to your smoothie, I prefer Kura for grassfed whey protein or Vega for vegan protein.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen peaches
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)
  • 1 bag chai tea

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until pureed. Serve immediately.

More recipes for smoothie season:

Turmeric Smoothie with Mango
Turmeric Smoothie with Mango
Red Velvet Smoothie
Red Velvet Smoothie
Classic Green Smoothie
Classic Green Smoothie

Savory Oatmeal with Sautéed Mushrooms, Arugula and Fried Egg

Hopping on the savory oatmeal trend with this bowl of oats topped with sauteed mushrooms, arugula and a fried egg! 

While talking breakfast with one of my clients a few months back, she mentioned that she ate her oatmeal with a pat of butter and a drizzle of sriracha. Lightbulbs went off and I suddenly realized savory oatmeal was the one thing that was missing from my life.

I adore oats for breakfast, hence the multiple incarnations on this blog. It's filling, tasty and nutritious. But in the morning, I tend to gravitate towards savory over sweet.

Apparently my client is a trendsetter because all of a sudden, my inbox was inundated with recipes for savory oatmeal! And now I'm hopping on the savory oatmeal bandwagon with this version topped with sautéed mushrooms, olive oil drizzled oatmeal and fried egg!

Consider this a canvas for all your savory desires! Try these other savory oatmeal toppings:

ASIAN // Scallions + soy sauce + sriracha + egg fried in sesame oil + sesame seeds

SIMPLE // Sharp cheddar + olive oil + sea salt and cracked black pepper + toasted almonds

GREEN // Sliced avocado + sauteed kale or spinach + olive oil + lemon juice + salt and freshly cracked black pepper + chia seeds

CARNIVOROUS // Spicy chicken sausage + peppers + onions

FALL // Sauteed mushrooms + caramelized onions + goat cheese

SPRING // Roasted asparagus + oven roasted tomatoes + poached egg + dill


Savory Oatmeal with Sautéed Mushrooms, Arugula and Fried Egg

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 cup water
  • 2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers

Toppings:

  • 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
  • Olive oil
  • Arugula
  • Eggs
  • Nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese
  • Flaky salt (or truffle salt) and cracked black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Bring water and almond milk to a boil on medium-high heat in a medium pot. Stir in oats and reduce to a simmer. Cook about 10 minutes until oats are tender and oatmeal is thickened. Season with a pinch of salt and stir in bell peppers.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a teaspoon or two of olive oil in a large skillet. Add mushrooms, a pinch of salt and black pepper and saute until liquids are released and absorbed, about 8 minutes total. Set aside until ready to use.
  3. Heat a little more olive oil in a skillet and fry eggs as desired.
  4. Divide oatmeal between bowls. Top with a sprinkle of nutrition yeast, sauteed mushrooms, fried egg, a handful of arugula. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

For those who aren't quite ready to hop on the savory oatmeal bandwagon:

Chai Oatmeal with Sauteed Pears
Chai Oatmeal with Sauteed Pears
Healthy Fruit and Cream Oatmeal
Healthy Fruit and Cream Oatmeal
Coconut Steel Cut Oats with Dark Chocolate and Almonds
Coconut Steel Cut Oats with Dark Chocolate and Almonds

Yogurt Cups with Balsamic Macerated Strawberries and Toasted Almonds

These easy yogurt cups with balsamic macerated strawberries make a delicious probiotic rich snack or breakfast! 

Yogurt Cups with Balsamic Macerated Strawberries and Toasted Almonds

Happy Monday! Popping in with another Food Rx post for Healthy Aperture and I'm SO excited about this one, especially because we just got a huge bucket of fresh strawberries from my friend this weekend via her grandparents. There is something so special about fresh, seasonal strawberries!

I made these cups with the first of the seasons strawberries and they were so perfect as a quick, grab and go breakfast. Grab the recipe over on Healthy Aperture to make them yourself!

Vegetarian Brown Rice Congee with Tempeh

For a unique breakfast, try this vegetarian brown rice congee with tempeh, a healthy take on a traditional Asian breakfast. 

First of all, thank you all so very much for all the incredibly kind feedback on yesterdays post on dieting and feminism. Seriously, some of your comments and emails brought me to tears! It was a post very much written from the heart - I actually stayed up till midnight writing it! I was really worried in my sleep deprived state I wouldn't be able to make the statement I was trying to make, so I was happy to hear so many of y'all connected.

Now, on to todays post!

Growing up in Atlanta, one of my favorite weekend treats was going to Canton House on Buford Highway for dim sum. Having moved from New York City, with Chinatown and its plethora of authentic Chinese food, I was so happy to find a place that sold things other than sesame chicken and lo mein. I'd guess we went there twice a month growing up and I still go almost every time I'm back in Atlanta!

Have you ever been to dim sum? It's kind of like Chinese tapas, but instead of ordering off a menu, small plates of food are carted around the restaurant and you simply point at what looks good to order. It's perfect for someone like me who can't make a decision to save her life when faced with a menu. Also, endless dumplings.

Heaven.

There were a few dishes we always ordered. Steamed pork buns for my brother. Rolled rice noodles for me. And always a bowl of congee to share.

Congee is a type of rice porridge served for breakfast in many Asian countries. It's made with rice simmered until it's broken down and soup-like, flavored with just a little bit of pork or chicken and topped with all sorts of yummy things, like green onions and fried shallots. So basic, yet so delicious. My mouth is literally watering right now.

When we went to Vietnam, I was SO excited when I found congee at our hotel breakfast buffet. Like, I flipped out to Scott and basically forced him to get a giant bowl with me. I was heartbroken when I had a bite and realized it was super bland and not at all the congee of my youth. Have you ever had a bite of your favorite hamburger from your favorite childhood restaurant, only to realize they changed the recipe? That was how heartbroken I felt. Literally, every single hotel we stayed at had the same bland congee.

Since then, I've been craving some congee. (P.S. Columbia friends, favorite Chinese restaurant recs? I've found great Korean and Vietnamese, but nothing but Panda Express-style Chinese.). So, I decided to whip some up myself.

This recipe isn't exactly authentic because, you know, I'm white, but it's still packed with flavor and I think, pretty close in flavor profile to the original. Don't skip on the toppings! They pack in the flavor and make a pretty dish!

Vegetarian Brown Rice Congee with Tempeh

Serves 6

Ingredients

Congee:

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bag baby spinach, roughly chopped

Tempeh: 

  • 1 tablespoon seasme oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces tempeh, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

Fried Shallots:

  • 3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced into rings
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

For serving:

  • Tempeh
  • Fried shallots
  • Sliced green onion
  • Soft or hard boiled egg
  • Sesame oil
  • Sesame seeds, toasted
  • Red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Bring brown rice, ginger, garlic and water to a boil in a large pot. Add salt. Reduce heat to maintain at a steady simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, about 1 and a half hours, until it has a thick, soup-like consistency and the rice is broken down. Add more water if it's starting to look too thick. Stir in spinach and let wilt.
  2. While congee is cooking, make the tempeh. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and onions and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add tempeh and cook until browned and tender,about 5 minutes. When cooked through, stir in 2 tablespoons of soy sauce to season. Once soy sauce has evaporated, about 1 minute, turn off heat and set aside in a bowl until ready to use.
  3. To make the shallots, toss shallot rings and cornstarch together in a bowl. Heat oil on medium high heat in a small skillet. Add the shallots and fry until golden and tender, flipping halfway, about 2 minutes per side Remove immediately to paper towel lined plate.
  4. Serve congee garnished with tempeh, fried shallots, green onion, a drizzle of sesame oil, egg and red pepper flakes.

Classic Multigrain Buttermilk Pancakes

There's nothing better than pancakes done right. This recipe for classic multigrain buttermilk pancakes is sure to become your weekend go to!

To conclude National Breakfast Week, the holiday I made up as an excuse to share a weeks worth of breakfast recipes, I bring you these classic multigrain buttermilk pancakes.

In my almost three years (!!!) blogging here at Avocado, I've shared a few unique spins on pancakes - chickpea pancakes, paleo pancakes, cottage cheese spiked pancakes, savory pancakes and even pancake muffins. Phew! But let's get real here. There's nothing better than a a classic pancake done right.

These multigrain pancakes are my go to pancake recipe. They're adapted from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day (<--- affiliate link), one of my absolute favorite cookbooks. I've made them with all sorts of flour mixes, usually starting with a base of whole wheat or spelt then mixing in whatever I have on hand - rye, buckwheat, oat, brown rice, and even almond meal. It especially like the rye and buckwheat additions, which lend an earthy flavor that goes well with tangy buttermilk. This recipe makes the most perfectly dense and hearty, yet still fluffy pancakes. Even better, they hold up really well in the refrigerator without getting flat and squat.

Now, let's talk pancake toppings, because I think that's where you can have some fun with this recipe. I love pure maple syrup, but I find the combination of flour and a sugary topping just makes me want to fall asleep. My go to pancake topping is a quick sauce made from frozen fruit chia seeds and a little citrus juice to brighten the flavor. It's incredibly easy and once you've made it, you'll find a million ways to enjoy it (on yogurt, toast, oatmeal...shall I go on?). There's no real recipe. I just simmer a bag of frozen fruit, usually berries, with a little citrus juice until the juices are releases. Then I stir in a tablespoon-ish of chia seeds and let it sit about 10 minutes to 'gel'.

Here's some more pancake topping inspiration:

  • Try maple cashew cream or honeyed cashew cream for healthy fats and just a hint of sweetness.
  • A dollop of Greek yogurt and in season fresh berries will always do the trick
  • Have you ever made curd? I love to enjoy leftover meyer lemon-thyme curd from this recipe over pancakes.
  • Nut butter mixed with applesauce with cinnamon is a classic! Try one of my homemade nut butters. The macadamia coconut is the BEST.
  • A dollop of ricotta cheese and a drizzle of honey. Even better with fresh strawberries.
  • Go savory with a fried egg, avocado and goat cheese. Bonus points for sriracha!

Be sure to save this recipe for the weekend! I always whip it out when I have extra buttermilk on hand, since they only sell buttermilk in much larger amounts than I need!

Classic Multigrain Buttermilk Pancakes

Makes 12

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil, plus a little more for the skillet

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk and eggs. Pour wet into dry and whisk until just combined. Stir in coconut oil and whisk again until combined.
  2. Rub a skillet or griddle with coconut oil. Place on medium-high heat. To test to make sure it's hot enough. flick with a drop of water and if it sputters and 'dances' on the surface before evaporating, it's hot enough.
  3. Using a 1/4 cup measure, pour the batter onto the surface and cook until the bottoms are set and the top is starting to bubble a bit. Carefully flip with a spatula and cook about 1 minute until pancakes are cooked through. Remove pancakes to a plate and repeat with remaining batter. Enjoy pancakes hot, topped as desired.

Pancake recipes from the archives: 

Multigrain Pancake Muffins
Multigrain Pancake Muffins
Chickpea Pancake with Avocado, Fried Egg and Arugula
Chickpea Pancake with Avocado, Fried Egg and Arugula
Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes with Maple Cashew Cream
Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes with Maple Cashew Cream

The Creamiest Vanilla Chia Smoothie Bowl + A Giveaway!

Learn my trick for making the creamiest vanilla chia smoothie bowl with a protein boost from Kura smoothie powder! Don't forget to enter the giveaway for 3 bags of Kura AND a new blender! 

This post was sponsored by Kura Nutrition. I was provided with products and compensated for my time. Thanks for supporting the quality brands I love that make this blog possible! 

Eat less. Move more.

If you've ever dieted, it's a phrase you're familiar with. Heck, if you've ever opened a magazine, been to a doctors office, accidentally clicked on one of those spammy dieting articles, or stumbled across literally any government sponsored health promotion material, you've heard the saying.

And if we're being honest, it's a mantra I definitely spouted. It makes me cringe to think about it, but yes, there was a time I thought weight loss was as simple as eat less and move more.

Since then, I've been enlightened. Enlightened with both experience, and with plenty of new research showing weight is much more complex than a mathematical equation.

Eat less, move more is what I would consider a half truth. Calories are a measure of the energy in food. That goes for any food, not just chips, pizza, and double chocolate chunk ice cream. Extra calories we eat that aren't used for energy are stored as fat. One way to utilize more calories is to exercise more.

Knowing that, one might deduce that to lose weight, they must eat less and move more. And if one wants to loose a lot a of weight or lose weight quickly, they might eat a lot less and move a lot more.

This is why so many people turn to deprivation to lose weight. It's why you see 1200 calorie diets advertised on the cover of magazines. It's why people spend hours of their week pounding away on an elliptical. It's why I just saw an acquaintance post on facebook how disappointed she was in 'only' losing half a pound after practically starving herself doing one of those 3 day fix things. It's why hunger is considered a sign that you're 'doing things right.

That's the problem with simplifying weight control as eat less, move more - deprivation is the obvious conclusion. But it doesn't work. If we were machines rather than complex living creatures, sure, we could plug in the weight we want to be, when we want to be there and arrive at our destination. However we are humans, and it's a bit more complicated.

We know deprivation works for rapid, short term weight loss, but it backfires in the long run. Here's why. When you lose weight, your body responds by lowering its metabolic rate to fit your smaller size. When weight loss is rapid, metabolism drops at a faster rate than expected. To continue losing weight, you would have to eat less and less. To maintain, you could never go "off" your diet, even for short periods. With a lowered metabolic rate, it would  trigger weight regain, much more so than if you had lost the weight using slower, more sustainable changes.

There are so many other factors that impact weight besides the usual diet and exercise. Stress doesn't only trigger weight gain by causing you to run into the arms of Ben & Jerry - increases in stress hormones like cortisol trigger fat storage. Recent research is showing the role gut bacteria plays in weight. Then there's sleep. Did you know just 30 minutes less sleep than what you need can affect weight?

I can't tell you how many men and women I've worked with through the years who have whittled down what they eat to practically nothing, pound away at the gym, and still not lose weight.

As a final nail in the deprivation coffin, know that approximately 95% of people who lose weight through drastic measures will regain the weight they lost. And then some.

So we can all agree now - deprivation is the literal worst. And there's know way to know what your healthy weight is, which is opposite of what we're told. We don't have control over our weight, despite what diet culture tells us, but we do have control over behaviors. So let's start engaging in health promoting ones and let our body settle where it's supposed to. 

  1. Nourish your body - Focus on nourishment, not deprivation. When you focus on filling up on nutrient-dense whole foods, you automatically crowd out rich, sugary or processed foods. Plus, whole foods are naturally more filling, so you'll feel satisfied too.
  2. Feed your gut - Give your gut it's favorite food - fiber! That means lots of fruit, vegetables, and beans. Replenish your gut bacteria with fermented food and/or probiotics.
  3. Eat less added sugar - Enjoy sugar in things that are really delicious, like an extra gooey and chocolatey brownie. Avoid added sugar coming from foods hidden sources, like snack foods, dressings and protein shakes.
  4. Build muscle - Cardio burns calories, but it also makes you pretty hungry. That right, you're not the only one craving an entire pizza after a long run. Muscle tissue is more metabolically active, meaning it burns more calories at rest.

Kura Nutrition, the makers of the tastiest smoothie protein powder I've ever tried, covers all four of those bases. It's made with 14 grams of grassfed dairy protein from happy cows, which is packed with the amino acid leucine, the rock star of muscle growth. One serving contains 4 billion CFU (colony forming units) of probiotics as well as prebiotics to feed their growth. Kura contains 26 vitamins and minerals and provides a nice little dose of omega 3 fats on top of what naturally occurs in grassfed dairy. Best of all, it's made with no added sugar, just the hint of sweetness from the naturally occurring sugars in dairy!

What I appreciate most about Kura is that the company is committed to the same principles of nourishment over deprivation that I talk about all the time over here on Avocado. So why not start your day by nourishing your body with this extra creamy smoothie bowl, made with Kura's vanilla protein smoothie powder. Guys, I'm not kidding when I tell you it's the best smoothie bowl I've ever made! The trick is using an easy, overnight chia pudding instead of milk, which gives it a thick, pudding-like consistency. It's basically socially acceptable breakfast ice cream!

Don't miss your chance to try Kura at home! Enter the giveaway below for a chance to win 3 bags of Kura plus a new blender!

*CLOSED*

Vanilla Chia Smoothie Bowl

Serves 1

The trick to making the worlds creamiest smoothie bowl is blending in chia seeds soaked in plant milk. I made a big batch and scooped out 1/2 cup of chia pudding as needed. Also delish with chocolate and berry Kura protein smoothie powder too!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened plant milk
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 frozen banana, in chunks
  • 1 packet or scoop Kura vanilla protein smoothie powder
  • Toppings: freeze dried fruit, cocoa powder, shredded coconut, nut butter

Instructions

  1. The night before, mix chia seeds and plant milk in a small bowl. Let sit, covered, in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. The next morning, when ready to eat, blend chia mixture, banana and Kura protein powder in a food processor until creamy. Serve with optional toppings, or as I like to call them, sprinkles!

Baked French Toast with Mango Coconut Sauce and Almonds

Enjoy French toast every day of the week with this easy baked french toast, served with a no added sugar mango coconut chia sauce!

Happy National Breakfast Week!

Kidding! I made that up. Although sources (i.e. google) tells me National School Breakfast Week is next month. This week may not be an official holiday, but rather accidentally, I have three easy, whole food breakfast recipes scheduled for the blog. So national holiday or not, that's what I'll be celebrating this week on AADN!

Luckily, with Recipe Redux falling on today, they were totally on board with my self-declared holiday. This months' theme is Break out of Breakfast Boredom - show us the healthy way to wake up your breakfast...or wake up just for breakfast!

As I confessed to my lovely friend Alexis over at Hummusapien last week for her blogger's breakfast roundup, I am absolutely NOT a morning person. Sometimes I set my snooze alarm for another two minutes because I really need to get up and go to work, but I really don't want to get out of bed. In those drowsy, still half asleep moments, two minutes really is life or death. I feel like I'm probably not alone in this boat.

Almost everything I eat for breakfast is something I can reheat and eat or make in less than 2 minutes. With that, it's easy to fall into a routine. Smoothie. Overnight oats. Something eggy. Repeat.

French toast is something I would never make on a weekday, because let's face it, it takes much longer than 2 minutes. If only there was a way I could make it in advance...

Oh hey, there is! This baked french toast essentially makes a french toast casserole, which you can slice up and eat during the week. And actually, the prep work for the casserole itself takes only 15-20 minutes, so this is definitely a batch cooking friendly recipe. I used sprouted grain bread, which is my personal favorite for both taste and nutrition. But feel free to use any type you enjoy or have on hand. For a treat, this would be incredible with challah or brioche.

The mango coconut sauce was one that I came up with on a whim from some ingredients I already had on hand - the rest of a can of coconut milk after making a curry, frozen fruit (always a staple) and chia seeds. If you haven't already noticed, fruit sauces made from frozen fruit and chia seeds are one of my breakfast go tos (see here and here and check back on Friday for more evidence)

For more inspiration to break out of the breakfast boredom, check out the other creations from my fellow Recipe Reduxers below. Eating a nourishing breakfast is such an important way to start your day on the right foot. It gives you the energy you need to make the most of your day, boosts your metabolism, nourishes your brain and sets the tone for making more nutritious choices the rest of the day. If you're stuck in a breakfast rut, it's really easy to turn to fast food or sugary (and not at all filling) cereal, or just skip the meal entirely!

Do you ever find yourself stuck in a breakfast rut? What are your favorite ways to switch up breakfast? 

Baked French Toast with Mango Coconut Sauce and Almonds

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups milk or unsweetened plant milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 12 slices sprouted grain bread
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar, optional for topping

Mango Coconut Chia Sauce: 

  • 2 cups frozen mango
  • 1 1/2 cups canned coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
  • 1 tablespoons chia seeds

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, vanilla and honey.
  2. Spray a large casserole dish with oil or rub with coconut oil/butter. Spread bread evenly in layers in the baking dish. I cut the bread in half to prevent too much overlapping. As you're layering the bread, sprinkle about 1/3 cup of the almonds between bread layers. Pour the egg mixture over the bread and let sit at room temperature 30 minutes.
  3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sprinkle the top of the french toast with turbinado sugar, if using. Place casserole in the oven and bake 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
  4. While casserole is baking, heat mango, coconut milk and lime/lemon juice in a medium pot on medium heat. When mango is no longer frozen and mixture is simmering, turn off heat and blend until pureed with an immersion blender. Stir in chia seeds and let sit 5 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle casserole with remaining almonds and serve with mango-coconut sauce.

Eggs in a Nest

Eggs in a nest, a dish of brown rice sautéed with vegetables and eggs baked in, is SO simple, you won't believe how tasty it is! Meet your new favorite weeknight dinner! 

Every year for Valentine's Day, I give my husband a very special and thoughtful gift - the gift of not having to bother getting me any gifts.

Yep, I'm one of those people who thinks Valentine's Day is kind of silly. I'm not vehemently anti-Valentine's Day, I just rather not get a box of chalky tasting chocolates or go out to dinner at 8:45 because that's the only time we could get a reservation. I much prefer a cozy meal at home with the hubs, my pups and Netflix.

I used to prepare a special meal for Valentine's day. When we first moved into our house (we closed on it a few weeks earlier) I prepared a beef roast with this Madeira wine and tomato jam with crispy potatoes and this super fancy French bistro salad. The meal was pretty incredible, but I think we ate at 10 pm because it took so long and I had to work late that day. So basically my Valentine's Day was spent running around the kitchen as a harried, frazzled mess. Braving the crowds on Valentine's Day was starting to make a lot more sense.

A couple years ago, I gave Scott an even better present for Valentine's Day - food poisoning. I thought I pulled off this incredible meal of mussels in dijon cream sauce with pommes frites (you know, the really thin, crispy kind) followed by the most incredible chili chocolate brownies studded with caramel. It wasn't until the next day when we both didn't feel so hot that I realized we had food poisoning from the mussels.

No more fancy Valentine's Day meals for us.

I now like to keep things simple, making something with sentimental value rather than flare. Things like this egg in a nest, which I used to make all the time when we were semi-long distance dating. As basic as this recipe is, just pan fried veggies and brown rice with eggs baked in, it's soooo crazy good. In fact, I used to use the fact that I was making it to lure my now hubs into driving almost 2 hours from his work just to see me for the night by telling him I was making this dish!

This works best when you use cold or room temperature cooked rice, which gives it a nice, crispy texture and keeps it from getting sticky or mushy in the pan. It also helps it form a nice crust on the bottom, which is kind of the best part. Or maybe it's the runny yolk? Mmmm.

It probably goes without saying, because everything goes well with sriracha, but this is REALLY good with sriracha.

Eggs in a Nest

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3 ounces spinach, roughly chopped (half a bag)
  • 6 eggs
  • Sriracha and chopped fresh parsley, optional for garnish

Instructions

  1. Bring brown rice and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium pot. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, about 40-50 minutes. Set aside and cool to room temperature, or refrigerate.
  2. Head olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add carrots and sun-dried tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until carrots are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add brown rice and cook until vegetables are tender and rice is starting to get crispy. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Make 6 wells in the rice and crack an egg into each. Cook until whites are starting to set, then transfer to the broiler. Cook until whites are set and eggs are still runny, which should take just a few minutes.

For those of you who actually like to do Valentine's Day like a normal person:

Strawberry Crepes with Cashew Cream
Strawberry Crepes with Cashew Cream
Spaghetti with Roasted Cauliflower and Browned Butter Sauce
Spaghetti with Roasted Cauliflower and Browned Butter Sauce
Cedar Plank Trout with Asian Guacamole
Cedar Plank Trout with Asian Guacamole

Strawberry Rhubarb Breakfast Crisp

Try this breakfast friendly take on the dessert crisp! This strawberry and rhubarb breakfast crisp is made with whole grains, frozen fruit and lightly sweetened! 

Y'all know how I feel about all the 'New Year, New You' craziness. If not, let me sum it up. There's no need for a new you because current you is pretty cool. Let's resolve to treat current you to an amazing year.

'Nuff said.

Now, here is one new thing for the new year that I can get down with and that's this month's Recipe Redux theme: A New Ingredient for the New Year. 

This one was actually surprisingly hard. Weird ingredients are kind of my thing. Short of picking up something for shock value (offal anyone? I bet a tripe recipe would bring in tons of blog traffic!), I was really having a hard time thinking of anything that was new to me.

So, I gave up and started thinking of breakfast. Per usual.

Last month I mentioned my goal of sharing more 'formula' meals versus set recipes. Breakfast crisp is one formula meal that's been getting a lot of airplay in our house. It's basically the same thing as a dessert crisp, but made with whole grains, less sugar and is served with plain yogurt instead of ice cream. I mean, muffins are basically socially acceptable breakfast cake, so why not breakfast crisp??

I know people say baking is a science. Usually that's true, but with crisp, I never measure ingredients. Well, except for this post. But please know this is a pretty intuitive 'recipe'. All I do is toss frozen fruit, a little lemon juice and/or zest, a sprinkle of sugar and a tablespoon of any kind of flour in a baking dish. Then I top it with a mixture of flour, oats, a tiny bit more sugar and enough coconut oil to form crumbles. Sprinkle it over the top and bake at 375 for 40ish minutes. Easy peasy, right?

You can use any fruit you like. About 4ish cups works great. I use frozen for convenience sake, but fresh obviously fresh works too. For flour, I used gluten free buckwheat flour because I've got two big bags on hand, and I love it's earthy flavor. Normally I use whole wheat or spelt flour, but you could also do almond meal or oat flour. No rules here! I usually mix a half cup or so of chopped nuts into the crumble and would have thrown some almonds in there if I had remembered.

So yeah, back to that new ingredient. When I was shopping for my crisp, I ran across frozen rhubarb, a fruit (or is it a vegetable) I've never cooked with or even tried before. I'd heard it has a sweet-tart flavor and I just love tart, so there we go. My new food conundrum was solved!

Hope this breakfast crisp becomes a regular in your house too!

Strawberry and Rhubarb Breakfast Crisp

Serves about 6

Ingredients

Filling: 

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen
  • 3 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon buckwheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

Filling:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup almonds, copped and toasted
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • Yogurt, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large baking dish, combine fruit with lemon juice, buckwheat flour and sugar. In a medium bowl, mix oats, flour, sugar, and salt. Mix in coconut oil with fingers or a fork until it sticks together. Crumble over the top of the fruit and place in the oven. Bake 40-45 minutes until bubbly and golden. Serve warm, room temperature (or cold right out of the fridge!) with yogurt.

Strawberry Rhubarb Breakfast Crisp

Gluten Free Carrot-Pecan Muffins

Alternate title: Life Changing Muffins.

This is no exaggeration friends. These bad boys are made with a combination of whole grains and almond meal and naturally sweetened with only dates, banana and shredded carrots. Although they're not cakey like store bought muffins, they're hearty and dense - a stick to your rib type of muffin.

I adapted this recipe from Green Kitchen Stories, and since then, I've adapted it many more times. Just keep the basic dry and wet mixtures the same, then swap in different shredded fruit, vegetables and nuts. You could also swap apple sauce for mashed banana if you like, but add a few extra dates to compensate for the sweetness. Although these muffins are gluten free, you could also make them gluten full by swapping whole wheat flour or spelt flour.


Gluten Free Carrot-Pecan Muffins

Makes 12

To make these vegan, use plant yogurt and swap 3 tablespoons ground chia seed mixed with 9 tablespoons water.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 2/3 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 roughly chopped carrots, about 1 cup
  • 6 dates, pitted
  • 2 medium bananas
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place oats in a food processor and blend until they form a flour. Pour out into a large bowl. Add almond meal, buckwheat flour, tapicoa starch, baking powder, baking soda, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and whisk to combine.
  3. Place carrots in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add to dry mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Add dates to the flood processor and blend until roughly chopped. Add bananas, eggs, yogurt, coconut oil, and ginger and blend until pureed. Stir wet ingredients into dry until fully combined. Stir in pecans.
  5. Divide batter evenly between the wells of a lined 12 cup muffin tin. Place in the oven and bake 30 minutes until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Store covered at room temperature and transfer to the refrigerator after a couple days.

How to Make the Perfect Omelette + Recipe for Simple Mushroom and Goat Cheese Omelette

Learn my tricks for how to make the perfect omelette with a creamy, custardy texture, plus a simple recipe for mushroom omelette with goat cheese. 

Earlier this week, I read a really interesting article, "The Myth of 'Easy' Cooking." It got me thinking differently about the recipes I share and how I approach cooking. I encourage you to give it a read, especially if you feel like you're constantly strapped for time, running around like a crazy hot mess (i.e. me most of the time). If you're too busy to read it right now, running around like a crazy hot mess, basically, the summary is this:

Easy recipes aren't actually easy.

With the recent emphasis on clean eating, home cooking has become the gold standard of healthy eating. As someone who firmly believes in the power of whole food, I can certainly agree with that designation. In my practice, I spend a considerable amount of time with my clients teaching them how to make home cooking a realistic and regular habit.

But, we can't forget that it comes at a cost and that cost is time. Time is a precious commodity, especially for anyone with children, working a job more than 40 hours a week (hi!), multiple jobs, a long commute, or is active in their community.

With the barrage recipes marketed as easy, which I am absolutely guilty of too, it's easy (pun intended) to feel guilty for not having time to cook. Why can't I find the time to make homemade almond milk in three different flavors for the week?? The recipe says it only takes 15 minutes! And I know I'm not the only one who has taken well over an hour to cook a Rachael Ray 30 minute meal. With 19 ingredients, it takes me 30 minutes just to hunt down the ingredients in my kitchen!

The problem isn't you, it's the recipes. Not that the recipes aren't actually semi-easy or relatively quick if you've done them before. It's the fact that we're using recipes in the first place. As the author states, "real 'easy' cooking, if that’s what you’re after, is far too simple to sustain a magazine and cookbook industry. It relies on foods that can be purchased at a single point of sale and involves a bare minimum of ingredients and a small repertoire of techniques. It leans heavily on things your mom taught you."

Basically, it's not about knowing how to follow a recipe, it's about knowing how to cook. Sure, recipes are helpful for teaching people how to cook (and of course baking, which is much more scientific). But once you know how to cook, you can skim a recipe for inspiration without spending time reading it word for word. When you know how to cook, know what ingredients are extraneous and can be left out. When you know how to cook, you know what a teaspoon or a third of a cup look like, so you don't have to spend time measuring.

Inspired by that article, I plan to share more posts discussing basic cooking techniques rather than specific recipes. 'Non-recipes' that give you the basic instructions you need to create a gourmet tasting meal without spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

Alas, I give you a 'non-recipe' for omelettes. They've sustained me many a day! Whether it's for breakfast paired with fresh fruit or dinner with a side of toast and greens dressed with lemon juice and olive oil, omelettes are super simple yet feel gourmet when made with seasonal ingredients and good technique.

So, you probably know how to make an omelet, but do you know how to make a perfect omelet? Well, I probably don't either. Who are we kidding? I'm no chef! But...I do know how to make a damn good omelet, and I think that's good enough. Here are my tricks of the trade:

  1. Precook vegetables. With the exception of spinach, which wilts in approximately 2.5 seconds, there's nothing grosser than raw vegetables in an omelet. I often use omelettes as a way to use up leftover vegetables, or I'll batch cook vegetables on the weekend. Then there's the ultimate time saver - frozen, defrosted vegetables. #nojudgement
  2. Use a nonstick skillet. Save yourself the hassle. Just do it.
  3. If you can, use room temperature eggs. This is by no means a rule, because goodness knows I regularly forget to take my eggs out of the fridge in advance. But if you can, it helps give the eggs a custardy texture. Sometimes I'll put them in room temperature water to raise the temperature a bit.
  4. Beat the eggs with a fork until completely mixed and season with a little salt and pepper. Add dried or fresh herbs if you like.
  5. Heat the dry skillet on medium-high heat a minute or so before adding butter. This makes sure it's nice and hot, which will help the omelette cook quickly. On the topic, while I don't use a ton of butter, I am pro-butter vs olive oil when omelette making. It tastes so much better. The pan is ready when the foam in the butter subsides.
  6. Pour the beaten eggs into the hot pan then tilt so it covers the skillet. After it's in the pan, DON'T TOUCH THE EGGS! You want it to get a nice crust so it's important to let it sit.
  7. When the eggs are mostly set, but still a little wet in the middle, add the filling. The eggs will finish cooking with residual heat. If you cook it fully, your omelette will be dry.
  8. Immediately fold one side over the fillings using a wide spatula (I like this one). As you tilt the pan on to your plate, filled side first, flip the other side over the fillings so you've got a trifold.
  9. Cheese. This deserves a special note of it's own. Crumbly cheese like goat or feta should go one top, while shredded hard cheeses that melt and get gooey should go inside. This is not personal preference, but rather a cold, hard, scientific fact.

Now, let's talk fillings. I'd love to hear your favorites in the comments below! Here are some of mine:

  • smoked salmon + goat cheese + tomatoes + avocado
  • red onion + corn + tomatoes + sharp cheddar
  • asparagus + brie
  • spinach + sun dried tomato + pesto
  • kale + olives + feta + oregano
  • chilies + black beans + tomatoes

And of course, garlicky sauteed mushrooms...

Simple Mushroom and Goat Cheese Omelette

Makes 2

Ingredients

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Shallot, finely chopped
  • Garlic, minced
  • Mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 3 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
  • Butter
  • Goat cheese
  • To garnish (optional): truffle salt, chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. Add shallot and garlic and saute 1 minute until fragrant. Add mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute until liquid is released and absorbed, about 10 minutes. Remove from skillet, set aside and wipe skillet clean if making omelette immediately. Or refrigerate until needed, then reheat briefly in the microwave.
  2. Crack eggs into a bowl and beat until completely mixed with a fork. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place clean skillet on medium-high heat. Add knob of butter, dragging it over the pan with the tip of your knife as it melts to cover the skillet. When foam subsides, pour in the egg, lifting the skillet to spread it evenly. Cook until eggs are mostly set, but still appear wet on top.
  4. Add mushrooms in a line down the middle. Immediately flip edge of eggs over the fillings. Press down slightly to 'seal'. Slide filled side of omelette out of the skillet and on to the plate while flipping the other side over the top to make a tri-fold.
  5. Crumble goat cheese over the top, garnish with truffle salt and parsley and serve.