Monday MMM MMM

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I hope everyone had a great weekend. Fast though, wasn’t it? Seems to me like it was over in the blink of an eye. But, who am I kidding, I’m a teacher, and with the summer off, every day feels like a weekend day! I still enjoy the actual weekend, if only just the principle of it….

Saturday night, the husband and I put the kiddos to bed and played a little pool out in the garage, and for some reason, he brought up having pancakes for breakfast. Now, pancakes are something I gave up a long time ago. The term “Bisquick” doesn’t exactly exist in my diet vocabulary anymore, if you know what I mean. And yet, the idea of once again eating a plateful of delicious, warm pancakes was very enticing. I’m ashamed to admit that I actually dreamed about pancakes that night, and as you can imagine, I woke up a determined dieter to uncover a way to have healthy, clean pancakes.

I scoured Pinterest for a little bit, searching for that perfect pancake recipe, but couldn’t find something that really met all my requirements. I felt a little discouraged, until I realized the recipe had been right under my nose the entire time. And enter the perfect clean eating oatmeal pancake.

I found this recipe on a bag of oat flour I had stored in the back of my pantry that I had purchased to make my own protein bars. I tweaked it a bit, because what is a recipe without tweaking? These little pancakes came out delicious, satisfied my pancake craving, and ended the hunt for a clean pancake recipe. Perhaps it may end yours, too!

Clean Oatmeal Pancakes

Makes 25 pancakes

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 cup oats
3/4 cup oat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 packets Truvia
2 eggs, whites and yolks separated into different bowls
1 tbsp olive oil

Directions:
1. In a medium saucepan, heat milk to boiling. Add oats and stir, let sit 5 minutes.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, mix oat flour, baking soda, salt and Truvia.
3. Add oatmeal and milk mixture to mixing bowl and stir.
4. In a small bowl, combine egg yolks and olive oil. Add to mixing bowl.
5. In a small bowl, beat egg whites until frothy and add to mixing bowl.
6. If batter is too thick, add milk until desired consistency is reached.
7. Using a tablespoon, drop batter onto a greased skillet. Cook until bubbles form on top, and flip to cook other side. You can also use a 1/4 cup to measure batter to make larger pancakes.

Nutrition Information (per 1 pancake)
38 calories
1.5 g fat
4.5 g carbs
1.5 g protein

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Aren’t they just adorable little things!

Top these however you want: honey, syrup, peanut butter, fresh fruit, etc.

These clean pancakes are also 3-year old approved, so you really can’t go wrong!

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Have fun eating clean!

Perfectly CHOCOLATE Protein Smoothie

Good Saturday morning! My kiddos woke me up just at the crack of 6 this morning. With both of them being so young, it’ll make for quite a long day! But, no worries. They keep me active and happy.

To wake up and get going this morning, I decided to make my incredibly delicious protein smoothie. Nothing starts off the day better than a healthy, filling smoothie, in my opinion. And this one takes the cake quite literally – it tastes just like chocolate cake! Now I know I’ve got your attention! Cake for breakfast? Well, yes! You can have your cake and drink it, too!

First things first: gotta gather your ingredients. My hubby always makes fun if me when I start whipping the things out I need to make this smoothie. “So many things!” he always claims. I disagree, but you can be the judge of that.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 tbsp ground flax seed
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 packet Truvia
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
8 ice cubes

Let’s get started!

First, measure out your cottage cheese and add it to your blender.

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I know what you’re thinking. Cottage cheese in a smoothie? Hey, don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it! It actually doesn’t add any real flavor but instead thickens a smoothie up like no one’s business and adds a whole lot of protein. Can’t stomach cottage cheese? Okay, okay, you can replace it with a 1/2 cup of yogurt (go Greek!) but your end result won’t be as thick. Just sayin’.

Next, add a scoop of protein powder.

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I love Muscle Tech Whey Protein. Very delicious and has 20 grams of protein per serving. But you can use whatever you’ve got. I’ve used other powders, even Shakeology, and you still get a quality smoothie. (PS, if you do use chocolate Shakeology, don’t add the cocoa powder later, for obvious reasons…) Moving right along.

Add 1 tbsp ground flax seed.

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This is really optional. You don’t taste it at all but I like the added texture it gives. And of course all the benefits of flax seed!

Now measure out 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder.

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Why unsweetened? Well, we’re trying to make this smoothie as clean as possible. Could you use sweetened? Sure. I never have. But I bet it would be marvelous.

Now, add in a packet of Truvia, or any other sweetener you like.

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Measure 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. You guessed it, throw it in the blender. That’s the best place for it.

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Add 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

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Any brand is ok. Though I’m using Silk here, I actually prefer Almond Breeze. It all depends on you and your preferences. You could also substitute any other milk you have here if you’d like.

Finally, throw 8 ice cubes into that blender of yours!

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This is important: you need 8. Not 9, not 7, 8. Are you hearing me? 8! I don’t know why, but 8 is the magic number here. Trust me. Just use 8.

Now that you’ve got everything thrown in your blender (see, that wasn’t too many ingredients, was it? Or maybe it was. Just do me a favor and don’t tell my husband he’s right. It’ll go to his head and we don’t need that) it’s time to do some blending.

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I blend on low until most of the ice is chopped up, then switch it to high and let it do it’s thing. With my specific blender, I know I’m getting close to finished when I can hear it slowing down. The smoothie just gets so dang thick that I’m guessing its harder to blend. Trust me, you’ll know when you’re there.

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Oh yeah, looking good, baby.

Pour into a large glass and enjoy!

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This recipe fills up my 28 oz Blender bottle.

Perfectly CHOCOLATE Protein Smoothie
1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 tbsp ground flax seed
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 packet Truvia
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
8 ice cubes
Add ingredients to blender and blend until smooth!

Nutrition Information:
295 calories
7.5 g fat
27 g carbs
36 g protein

I hope you enjoy!

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Yummy Casserole

If you didn’t already know, I’m a mother of a two and a half year old and an almost three month old. When it comes to cooking dinner, I look for things that are easy, use minimal ingredients, and that are healthy and filling. I think I’ve scored with this delicious casserole recipe! My two year old and hubby both agree it’s a winner!

It’s called No-Peek Chicken and the original recipe can be found here. I did a few things differently for my recipe, but I’ve made it both ways and they’re both super yummy.

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Ingredients:
– 1 cup rice (white or brown)
– 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
– 1 can water
– 1 lb chicken breast, cubed

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13×9 casserole dish with cooking spray.
2. Combine rice, 2 cans soup and 1 can water in casserole dish, stirring until mixed thoroughly. Place chicken on top.
3. Cover dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 2 1/2 hours. Don’t peek!

Makes 4 servings, 365 calories

If you use the original recipe and make this with the long grain and wild rice, be prepared for some crunchy pieces every bite. I use regular rice so it will be soft, but both ways are still tasty. Also, you don’t have to cube the chicken, you can leave it as breasts or tenderloins, I just like to be able to scoop this out and serve it without cutting up anything for my daughter. You can also use different soups for this (the original recipe calls for cream of mushroom and cream of celery) and I imagine cream of chicken and cream of broccoli or broccoli cheese soup would be amazing, too! Next time I make this dish (which will be some time this week!) I’m going to use cream of chicken soup, white rice, and add some frozen broccoli for a nice, hearty meal.

Be prepared for the deliciousness, this is one of those recipes that is even better as leftovers!

Breakfast

My favorite meal of the day is breakfast. I could eat breakfast food for every meal of the day! Anyone else?

Sometimes I get stuck in a breakfast rut. Lately, it’s been eggs and bacon every day. Pretty boring, huh? Sometimes I’ll mix it up by having oatmeal, waffles (no butter or syrup of course!) or a green smoothie, but I’ve been in the need for something quick and easy to spice things up a little.

The other day I was browsing around Pinterest and saw a cute breakfast idea I knew I had to try: muffin pan omelettes! You can make these in so many different ways that the possibilities are endless, plus you can either make an entire batch or just a couple at a time.

What You’ll Need:
-muffin pan
-cooking spray
-eggs (number depends on how many you want to make)
-ingredients of your choice (ham, bacon, sausage, peppers, onions, spinach, cheese, etc.)
-salsa for topping

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Make ’em:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray.
2. Crack the eggs and place one per muffin cup (I cracked them directly into the pan). Use a fork to scramble the egg, then add ingredients of your choice. If you’re adding meat, make sure it’s cooked prior to adding.
3. Bake 25-30 minutes until egg looks done.
4. Top with salsa for an extra kick!

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I made vegetarian omelettes using just egg and bell pepper and topped it with salsa. I imagine you could do this using just egg whites if you wanted.

Have fun and get creative!

If You’re Hungry and You Know It…

Yesterday, I made a delicious chicken, vegetable, bean and rice dish. I don’t know what else to call it! It’s sort of like a Mexican beans and rice or a chicken gumbo. It doesn’t matter what it’s called, it’s good, healthy, and satisfying.

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Chicken, Veggie & Rice Skillet
Recipe yields about 6 servings

What You Need:
– 1 pound chicken (breasts or tenderloins) cut into cubes
– salt and pepper, to taste
– Pam or any cooking spray
– 2 zucchini, sliced and quartered
– 1 cup bell peppers, chopped (any color, I used red, orange and yellow)
– 1 can black beans, undrained
– 1 can Rotel tomatoes, undrained
– half a 16 oz bag frozen corn
– 2/3 cup water
– 1 cup rice (I used white because we had it)
– shredded cheese, if desired (I can’t eat dairy right now, but the hubby said cheese makes it extra yummy)

Directions:
1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook in a skillet over medium heat until done, about 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, spray a large skillet or pot with cooking spray and heat over medium. Add the zucchini and bell peppers and cook to desired softness, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in undrained can of black beans, Rotel tomatoes, corn and water. Increase heat and bring mixture to a boil.
4. Add rice and chicken. Cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until rice is cooked and all liquid is absorbed.
5. Top with shredded cheese, if desired.

315 calories per serving, without cheese

I found this recipe on Pinterest. It is originally a vegetarian dish that I tweaked (since my husband is a huge meat-eater). You can find the original vegetarian recipe here.

When you’re hungry and you know it, eat something healthy! *clap, clap*