One of my very favorite things is going to a bagel shop and ordering a sesame bagel with veggie cream cheese. The veggie cream cheese tastes different from the stuff in the dairy section at the store. It tastes BETTER!
I didn’t feel like driving to the nearest bagel shop- its over half an hour away. So, I decided to make my own. It was pretty easy! Plus, it can be customized to fit your tastes. Don’t like red bell peppers? Leave them out! Addicted to kale? Throw some in there! Whatever floats your boat!
And when you’re done making this cream cheese, you can slather it on toast, toasted bagels, crackers, celery sticks, etc. YUM! And the breakfast BLTs made with this stuff are AWESOME! I use this cream cheese instead of mayo, then pile the bacon, lettuce and tomato on my toasted bagel.
I couldn’t find sesame bagels at the store that would work with my ‘lower carbs’ diet, but I did find the Thomas Bagel Thins in the Everything flavor. They’re pretty good- especially with freshly made veggie cream cheese.
Seriously- go make some!!
Veggie Cream Cheese
- 8 oz. cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 Tbsp minced scallion
- 2 Tbsp minced celery
- 3 Tbsp minced carrots
- 2 Tbsp minced red bell pepper
- Bring cream cheese to room temp. Whip slightly in a medium sized bowl.
- Add garlic and veggies. Stir well.
- Refrigerate at least 2 hours to let the flavors ‘meld’ before using.
- Keep in fridge- should last a week or two in a tight lidded container. Enjoy!!
So, I have to go on a temporary low-carb diet. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes– twins can put a lot of stress on their mama’s body! I’m usually fine with snacks, lunch and dinner, but breakfast has been a bit of a challenge.
Luna bars have become my new best friend for busy mornings. They taste great, and are low-glycemic– but I still have to balance them with a little more protein like a hard boiled egg or stick of cheese.
Scrambled eggs are off the table for now. It’s a pregnancy thing- not that there’s anything wrong with scrambled eggs. I like quiche, but it takes too darn long to make. Plus, it can be too eggy sometimes.
Then I ran across this recipe in the latest issue of Taste of Home (you need to be a member of Taste of Home to open the link). This was perfect! I could bake it up on the weekend, slice into 6 servings, wrap each serving, and freeze a few. A thawed piece only takes 45 seconds to heat in the microwave. It’s low enough in carbs for breakfast, high enough in protein to balance the carbs out, and it has lots of veggies. Veggies for breakfast! That’s the kind of thing that makes you feel all healthy and stuff.
There was one problem when I made the recipe as directed. It was… blah. Very blah. No flavor kind of blah. So, I made a few modifications, and came up with some variations to try over the next few weeks.
My modifications included adding seasoning (garlic salt), and using two types of cheese instead of 1. Viola! Flavor!
Do you feel all healthy and stuff when you eat veggies at breakfast?
Zucchini Breakfast Puff
- 3 large eggs (I used the kind with omega-3)
- 1/2 cup canola or olive oil
- 1 lb zucchini, shredded (about 3 small)
- 1 cup reduced fat baking/biscuit mix (heart smart Bisquick)
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 10″ oven proof skillet with baking spray.
- In a large bowl, beat eggs. Slowly whisk in the oil to the eggs. Once fully combined and thickened, add zucchini, baking mix, cheeses, and garlic salt. Stir well.
- Pour batter into prepared skillet, smoothing the top.
- Bake 25 minutes, or until puffed, golden, and the center is set.
- Let cool about 15 minutes. Loosen the edges of the puff from the skillet and slide onto a large plate.
- Cut into 6 pieces and serve warm.
This recipe stores well- just wrap each piece in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze. Thaw overnight in the fridge if frozen, then just unwrap, place on a plate, and heat in the microwave on high for 45 seconds. DIG IN!
- Broccoli Cheddar Breakfast Puff: Replace Zucchini with broccoli (thaw a bag of frozen broccoli and chop it up into small pieces), use all sharp cheddar cheese. You could also add some HAM if you have it.
- Italian Zucchini Breakfast Puff: Add 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved, and 1/4 tsp dried basil. Replace cheddar with mozzarella.
- Bacon-Spinach-Artichoke Breakfast Puff: Omit Zucchini. Use a small box of frozen spinach (thawed, and wrung out in a towel to get rid of excess moisture), 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, chopped fine, and 1/3 cup bacon bits. YUM!
Yummy and healthy? Yes, indeed! This is another recipe from King Arthur Flour’s Whole Grain Baking. This recipe is easy and produces a dense, slightly sweet, satisfying loaf. One slice fills me up for breakfast (until the next craving kicks in).
I used mini chocolate chips instead of walnuts, due to an allergy. But nuts or raisins could be added as well. Whatever floats your boat! The book also has instructions for making the bread into muffins, which freeze very well.
So the next time your bananas are going a little south on the counter, consider making this yummy healthy treat. 😉
Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 large or 3 med/small very ripe bananas
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (I like semisweet)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.
- Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add baking soda, salt and vanilla, beat well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add honey, and mix well. Scrape down the bowl.
- Break bananas into chunks and add to batter bowl. Beat well until almost smooth. Scrape down the bowl.
- Add flour all at once, and beat on low until combined. Add chocolate chips and stir well. Remove bowl from mixer, and give it one final stir by hand.
- Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan, using a rubber spatula to smooth out the top. Bake 50 minutes.
- After 50 minutes, lay a sheet of foil over the top, and continue to cook another 10 to 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Mine took the full 15 minutes.
- Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes. Loosen the sides with a butter knife, then turn the loaf out onto the cooling rack. Cool another 30 minutes before slicing.
- Store in an airtight container. I like to heat mine up in the microwave before eating.
I have a new addiction. There’s a new ‘Aussie-Style’ yogurt in town. Noosa. Noooooooossssaaaaaa! It’s fantastic. It’s creamy with just the right amount of tart, and the fruit part is separate from the yogurt part, so you get to stir it all up. Plus, it comes in a tub similar to cream cheese instead of the traditional yogurt cup. The downside? A few things. The price. At least twice the cost of a regular ol’ cup of yogurt. And– not available in a low fat or low sugar version. No wonder it tastes so good!
Well, I just so happened to have strawberries and rhubarb in the fridge that needed to get used up. And some plain nonfat yogurt. And some granola because the crunchies just make it oh-so-much-better!
So, here’s my homemade version of my new summer favorite. Enjoy!
Strawberry Rhubarb Yogurt
- 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 1 cup fresh rhubarb, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 cup sweetener (sugar, splenda, honey, whatever)
- Plain yogurt (nonfat, lowfat, fullfat, whatever)
- Crunchy granola (I like the high-protein kind by Nature Valley)
- Combine fruit and sweetener in in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until fruit almost completely breaks down, about 10 minutes. Stir well and set aside to cool. Pour into a jar and keep in the fridge.
- Spoon yogurt into a bowl or cup (I use about 1/2 cup), spoon strawberry-rhubarb goodness on top (about a tablespoon), stir-stir-stir, top with granola.
- Enter strawberry rhubarb nirvana. With crunchies.
Do you remember a couple of years ago when there was a pumpkin shortage? I do! Finding a can of pumpkin was difficult. I didn’t get to make pumpkin muffins or cookies that year. I think I went through withdrawls!
Pumpkin is one of my favorite ingredients. I love pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cookies, and PUMPKIN SPICE LATTES!!! Pumpkin is packed with vitamins and is very nutritious. My dogs also enjoy a scoop every now and then. 😉
This recipe from King Arthur Flour is taking the health of pumpkin and elevating it to a new level. Don’t get me wrong– it’s still packed with sugar and chocolate. But there’s whole wheat flour in there, too. These muffins freeze extremely well. I froze the batch and pulled out a muffin at night for breakfast the next morning. Yum!
Thank you, King Arthur Flour, for coming out with a Whole Grain Baking Book. This book is PACKED with AWESOME recipes everything from savory breads to sweet cookies and tarts. It would be a perfect gift for anyone that loves to bake, but wants to be more health conscious. It’s already one of my favorite cookbooks! I would also like to mention that I contacted King Arthur Flour and asked permission to post the recipe on my blog. They were quick to reply and give permission. Hows that for customer service?
Hope you can scare up a can of pumpkin to make these soon!! 😉
Whole Grain Pumpkin Muffins
A King Arthur Flour Recipe from Whole Grain Baking
- 2 cups King Arthur whole wheat flour (traditional or white whole wheat)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1-1/4 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (or 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground cloves and 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 lg eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 3/4 cup (3 oz.) chopped nuts (I used pecans)
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips (or raisins or dried cranberries)
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease muffin tin cups or line with paper liners.
- Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices in a medium bowl.
- Cream together butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl. Beat in vanilla and pumpkin. Add the dry ingredients, mixing until evenly moistened. Stir in the nuts and chocolate chips.
- Scoop batter into the muffin cups so they are about 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 22 to 24 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and wait at least 5 minutes before removing muffins from the pan to cool.
Some of you know that I have a fairly recent addition to my kitchen. A recent addition that I LOVE so far. You would love it, too. It’s my Vitamix blender. The other blenders are going in the garage sale that will happen in a few weeks.
The Vitamix is AMAZING! It can do anything a regular blender can do, plus make soup. SOUP! It will heat the water and everything. I am definitely going to take advantage in a few weeks when the weather starts cooling down. 🙂
This morning, I had a smoothie and an almond butter waffle sandwich. YUM! Smoothies are great because they are very forgiving. Hope you have fun experimenting with different fruit combinations!
Frozen Fruit Chunks (I got a bag from Costco that has pineapple, papaya, mango and strawberries)
agave nectar or sugar
1. Fill up your cup with fruit chunks– the cup you intend to drink out of. Once the fruit chunks are in there, pour the milk in to the halfway mark, then add water until the cup is 3/4 full of fruit and liquid. Add about a TBSP of agave nectar or sugar. Dump it all into the blender.
2. Give it a whirl until all the fruit is crushed up and it has the proper consistency. Add more liquid if needed– the Vitamix is great because it has a plunger stick that helps all the fruit get down to the blade.
3. Pour into the cup you measured with, stick in a straw, and sip. Now GET TO WORK!! 🙂
Have a happy day!
PS- Please forgive the sideways smoothie pic. The silly computer loaded it sideways and I can’t get blogger to rotate it!