Elyse’s Favorite Overnight Oats

Happy Spring!  It’s snowing here…

This blog post is special to me because this concoction is what got me out of bed in the morning during this past (really awful) winter.  It isn’t because it is warm, but because it is SO tasty.  It also cut back on the time I needed to get ready in the morning which allowed for a few more minutes in my warm bed. It keeps me very full and prevents me from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) snacking.  Also, March is National Nutrition Month and breakfast has always been heralded as the most important meal of the day so let’s do it right!

FullSizeRender (11)

 

This magnificent breakfast has it all!  Let’s go through the layers 🙂

Almond Milk (Unsweetened)

  • Less calories than milk per cup
  • Heart Healthy
    • no saturated fat, no cholesterol
    • low in sodium
    • high in healthy fats (including omega-3’s which are heart healthy)
  • Calcium and healthy bones
    • 30% of daily calcium intake
    • 25% of Vitamin D (tough to get in the winter!)
  • Gorgeous Skin
    • 50% of Vitamin E (containing antioxidants essential to healthy skin)
  • Low Glycemic Index (body will use carbs as energy, not stored as fat!)
  • B Vitamins (iron and riboflavin) which are helpful for muscle growth and healing)

Chia seeds and Flax seeds (ground):

  • Omega 3’s!!!
    • Have been associated with preventing Alzheimer’s, and are heart healthy
    • Chia have more omega 3 (gram for gram) than salmon!
  • High nutrient, low calorie
    • antioxidants, fiber, quality protein,
    • Chia seeds are high in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and protein
  • Improvement in Type 2 diabetes
  • Can improve exercise performance
  • improves blood sugars
  • May help protect against prostate, breast, and colon cancer

PB2 (or any powdered peanut butter):

  • 85% less fat than peanut butter but with all the goodness!
  • Mixes well

Banana:

Berries

  • Antioxidants
    • helps fight free radicals that can lead to illness
  • eat some sort of berry daily!

Oats

  • Oats help lower cholesterol.
  • Oats help decrease inflammation
  • Oats are dose-responsive, so the more oats you eat, the more effective they are.

Raisins:

  • This link should convince you:  Health Benefits of Raisins
    • Constipation
    • Cancer prevention
    • Weight gain for athletes or those having a hard time putting on weight, this is a healthy choice.  If diabetic or on a weight loss program, you can omit or reduce the amount of raisins
    • Hypertension
    • Diabetes
    • Anemia
    • Fever
    • Eye Care
    • Acidosis
    • Eye Care
    • Sexual Dysfunction
    • Bone Health
    • Dental Care
    • Fiber

 

Breakfast of champions, no??

FullSizeRender (10)

Elyse’s Favorite Overnight Oats:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
    • if using sweetened, omit coconut sugar and maple syrup
  • 1 tsp coconut palm sugar (or sugar of choice)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 TBS chia seeds
  • 1 TBS Flax (ground)
  • 1 TBS PB2 (I use chocolate)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1-2 TBS raisins
  • 1/2 banana diced
  • 1-2 strawberries or other berries (diced)
    • could use thawed frozen berries

Directions:

  1. Mix almond milk, sugar, syrup, chia, flax, and PB2 together
    1. be sure to really mix in the chia or else they’ll clump together overnight creating a chia “ball”
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir and close and shake
  3. Refrigerate overnight, enjoy, and have a delightful day!


IMG_8252FullSizeRender (12)

 

 

Thanks for being a friend,

Elyse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers (Giuseppe Peppers)

I was recently reminded by the always entertaining app “timehop” of a photo I took a year ago.   This was it:

FullSizeRender (8)

The caption read:

Dinner–quinoa, chicken sausage, tomato and mushroom stuffed pepper.  My goal was to clean out the fridge–mission accomplished.

I remember this moment.  It was the last bit of animal protein I had left in my fridge and the last time I cooked meat.

At that time, I had recommended some health related reading material to a friend for her and her family and she jumped right into reading it.  I myself hadn’t even read it, and when she sat down to talk to me about it, I felt like a hypocrite.  Immediately after that lunch date, I began reading it.

The book, Eat to Live by Dr. Fuhrman, was originally recommended by a PBS special (oh the wonder of public television and it’s educational purposes) after I had a medical situation arise that made me realize my health wasn’t always going to be a guarantee.  I was going to need to ensure that through healthy choices, exercise, and overall happy living.  I made a conscious choice to choose me, to choose my health, and to become educated about what that meant for me.  That meant, a whole-food plant based lifestyle.

Let food be thy medicine.

I don’t use terms like “clean-eating” or “vegan” on the regular in my writing, because I feel like whole-food plant based can be very different from those definitions of eating.  For example, an Oreo is considered vegan.  Or free-range organic chicken can be “clean.”   Instead, I strive to pack my life full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and beans.  Don’t you worry though, I still get plenty of protein.  On average, people actually consume TOO much protein.   I am always asked “but aren’t you worried you won’t get enough protein?” Truth is, I thought the same at first, but ever since switching to cooking whole-food plant based I started wondering why I hadn’t been worried before about things like, “am I getting enough of these vitamins, or enough fiber, or enough antioxidant rich foods?”

I love the way that I feel now that I concentrate mostly on whole grains, vegetables, and fruits etc.  And, not to mention the added benefit of knowing that I am doing something good for the environment (but we’ll save that for another day.)

You may wonder if Ian is whole-food plant based as well.  I will say that, when it comes to home cooking, yes.  When it comes to eating out, anything goes.  I am usually pretty surprised about how his choices have changed even when we go out.  We are now enjoying vegetarian options that we had never even considered before.  It has opened our minds to a whole new world of recipes and dishes.

Of course I don’t expect everyone to read this and suddenly want to take up the same lifestyle.  I do encourage you to try “meatless monday” or “weekday vegetarian” and see how you like it!

If you’re looking for some inspiration, feel free to comment and follow me on instagram or on facebook.  I would love to hear from you.

Here is a list of my favorite materials on the subject:

Forks Over Knives (netflix documentary, book, cookbook, and iphone app)
Dr. Fuhrman “Eat to Live” (coined the phrase “nutritatian”)
Dr. Esselstyn
Engine 2 Diet (Books, cookbooks, 21 day challenge, and products)
The China Study
Oh She Glows (blog and cookbook)

Anyhow, after being reminded of that last meal I had made, I decided to make it again.  This time “just with veggies,” or as my mom overheard on the phone “Giuseppe”

FullSizeRender (9)

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers (or Giuseppe Peppers)

Makes 4-6 halves (serves 4-6 depending on hunger level :) )
Created by Elyse M.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 bell peppers (halved and seeds removed)
  • yellow onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 5 oz of baby bella mushrooms (or other button type)
  • two large handfuls of spinach (I used baby spinach)
  • 15 oz can of Diced Tomatoes*
  • 1 cup garbanzo (chickpeas) beans (throw leftover beans on your salads if using canned)
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (in vegetable broth, and save any leftovers for salads)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Optional: red pepper flakes for a kick

* If you would rather buy diced tomatoes packed in Italian herbs and spices, that will also likely work well.  Just omit the final 4 spices.

Directions:

  1. Cook Quinoa in vegetable broth according to package instructions if you don’t have some prepared already.  2 cups cooked would be about 1/2 cup dry.  Don’t be afraid to make too much.   I started with 1 cup dry and used leftovers on salads.
  2. Place peppers cut side down in a pan with water.  They don’t need to be submerged.  Steam until cooked (somewhat soft)*
  3. Meanwhile in another pan cook onion (in water, adding more water if necessary) and garlic until onion is translucent.
  4. Add mushrooms and cook for a few minutes
  5. Add spinach until wilted
  6. Add tomatoes, garbanzo beans, quinoa and spices and let simmer for 10 min (or until fragrant and all the flavors come together)
  7. Salt and Pepper to taste.
  8. Fill peppers with the filling and top with nutritional yeast (or faux parmesan) if avoiding dairy, or top with a small sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

*My mom cooks the peppers in tomato sauce for added flavor when she makes stuffed peppers.  Worth a try!

A little Giuseppe Verdi in honor of the recipe name: The Quartet from Rigoletto

As an added bonus I have chosen the recording with my CMU voice teacher, Mildred Miller.  She recently turned 90!  Happy Birthday!