Sunday, December 31, 2017

Classic Tiramisu



Choosing a favorite dessert is tough. TOUGH I tell ya.  But we must choose.  You never know when you will be in some crazy situation where you only get to have one more dessert for the rest of your life, and you need to have an answer.  For me, it's a very very close call between tiramisu and chocolate cake.  Two very different things, both super decadent, but in the end tiramisu wins out by a nose.  My obsession is my mom's fault, or in a less negative way, she gets all the credit.  She loves tiramisu too and from my recollection first encouraged me to try it at an Italian restaurant when I was a teenager.  My first memory of it is during a quick trip we took, the two of us and a friend of mine, to Chattanooga when I was in high school.  We ate at a local looking Italian restaurant, don't remember the name, and we all ordered it at my mom's urging.  After that I was hooked!  She's made it occasionally over the years and it's always excellent.  This is the recipe she has used.  Lately she has started making a Tiramisu mousse, which takes all the elements sans ladyfingers.  Now on to making a classic tiramisu!

I skipped a few steps with my picture taking.  First things first is really the toughest part, and it's not that tough.  Make the egg yolk custard like stuff - Separate the eggs, whip with sugar, put it in the top of the double boiler, and cook for about 10 minutes.  YOU MUST STIR CONSTANTLY.  Don't stop stirring or you may curdle the egg yolks.  That would be bad and you have to start over.  When you are done, transfer to a bowl and cool to room temp.  For me, by the time I brushed all the lady finders, whipped the first batch of whipped cream, the mixture was cool enough.  (It's winter and my house is a balmy 67F degrees so that probably had something to do with it).  The egg yolk mixture is pictured below in the middle.


What dish should you use?  I have used a trifle clear dish before, but mostly use my 8x8 glass pan.  This recipe will be more than you can fit in an 8x8, so I'm using two of that size.  You can certainly use a 9x13 glass pan too, but for me two smaller dishes is easier to put in the refrigerator.   

Below is the egg yolk mixture blended with the mascarpone, and ready for the whipped cream to be folded in.  When folding in whipped cream, don't over mix!!   The key is you want to keep it light, and if you are too aggressive with your mixing you will flatten out all the nice air bubble you just created in the whipped cream.  Also, don't fold it all in at once.  I start out with a small amount, maybe 1/4 of it, then add the rest in thirds.  It isn't exact science, so remember the key is to not over-mix. 

fold fold fold

All done folding! 
 Now the layering begins.  Layer on the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers (that you have already brushed both sides with the coffee liqueur), then add another layer of ladyfingers, then another layer of cream.  Leave some room at the top for the Sweetened Whipped Cream!



Now add on your Sweetened Whipped Cream layer to the top. Watch out for others in your house that may want to come and steal the whipped cream as it's super delicious.  


I'm making this for a family get together, so plan to take the 8x8 pan and keep the other for myself.  Hey, for all this work I need a reward, right? 


Dust the cocoa powder on the top. Word of advice, don't breath in deeply when doing this as you may sneeze, and that would be gross.  See the little fine mesh strainer? It's new! Part of a 3-strainer pack I got for Christmas.  LOVE THEM.  Perfect for this!  Oh, and the other good thing about making two dishes, is you can practice on the "keep" dish so you are better at it for the "share" dish. 




Enjoy! 


Classic Tiramisu

Makes 10 to 12 servings

Ingredients:
6 egg yolks
1-1/4 cups sugar
1-1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1-3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
2 packages ladyfingers (3 oz each)
1/3 cup coffee liqueur (or Brandied Espresso, recipe follows)
Double recipe of Sweetened Whipped Cream (recipe follows)
Unsweetened cocoa powder for garnish


Directions:
Combine egg yolks and sugar and whip until thick, about 1 minute.  Place in top of a double boiler over boiling water. Reduce heat to low and cook 8 to 10 minutes stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, and let cool to room temperature. Add mascarpone cheese, beating well.  Whip heavy cream in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form.  Fold into egg yolk/mascarpone mixture; set aside.  Brush each side of the ladyfingers with the coffee liqueur.  Line bottom of a large dish or two small dishes with ladyfinder halves.  (I used two 8x8 glass pans).  Spoon half of the egg yolk mixture and spread evenly.  Repeat ladyfinger layer then another cream layer.  Spread sweetened whipped cream on top.  Using a fine sifter or fine mesh strainer, garnish with cocoa powder on top.  Cover and refrigerate several hours or preferably overnight. 

Sweetened Whipped Cream:
Combine 1/2 cup whipping cream, 1 tablespoon unsifted confectioners sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract in a large bowl.  Whip until stiff peaks form. 

Brandied Espresso:
Combine 1/3 cup hot espresso  or strong coffee with 1 teaspoon brandy. 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Recipes to Help Keep Your Sanity in 2018

First things first - Happy Holidays!  I love Christmas time.  Taking time off, being SUPER lazy, seeing friends and family, and having time for lots and lots of cooking!  What's not to love.  

Us at the end of the day on Christmas.
I am writing this on Friday December 29th, or day 7, DAY SEVEN, of taking off of work for Christmas and New Years.  Can't remember the last time I was able to unplug this much! Ok I did go by the office today for a minute, and did a little bit of emailing yesterday, but that doesn't really count because both were brief and completely stress free.  This break has been very relaxing and fun so far.  No big trips - have just enjoyed low key good ole Prattville Alabama.  Have had some family gatherings and friends in town for the holidays.  Saw the new Star Wars movie.  And I still have 3 more days off to go!  

I have been looking forward to cooking, cooking, and more cooking, and my break did not disappoint.  This post is about ideas and recipes of things to do ahead of time, so you will be less likely to eat out and more likely to eat healthier in the new year!  Let's face it - it's HARD to cook on work days.  So I'm all about doing things ahead.  This post will be in 2 parts.  First is using the crockpot to make things for later when things get most certainly nuts; second is more make ahead ideas but with your stovetop and oven. 

Recipes:
Slow Cooker Chicken Fajita and Quinoa Soup
Slow Cooker Red Bean, Sweet Potato, and Chicken Stew
Make Ahead Western Omelet "Muffins"
BBQ Beer Pulled Chicken


Part 1 - Use the crockpot to keep you sane

I love using the crockpot.  But having to do the chopping and prep sometimes can defeat the purpose of not having time to cook during the week.  So I did two things - 1) I made a soup, portioned and froze for later, and 2) chopped and prepped another that I can dump in the crockpot straight from the freezer and wha-la.  

Slow Cooker Chicken Fajita and Quinoa Soup
If you aren't eating quinoa you need to be.  It's super healthy and filling and I make it all the time.  The only perplexing part of cooking with it has been rinsing it. It's TINY.  Rinsing takes off this outer coating that can taste bitter (so you need to rinse it).   For Christmas I got a set of three fine mesh strainers, perfect for quinoa rinsing!! (they will also be great for stock straining, rice rinsing, etc).  This recipe is from Eat Yourself Skinny.  After cooking I portioned into ziploc freezer containers (two servings per container), cooled overnight in the refrigerator, then put them in the freezer.  Labeled with sticky notes so I'll remember what the heck it is later when it's a solid block of frozen goodness.   

Rinse yo quinoa

Add everything to the crockpot


Take out the cooked chicken and shred

All done! 

Slow Cooker Red Bean, Sweet Potato and Chicken Stew
One idea that really helps out when things are busy is doing the entire meal prep ahead, dumping it all in a single freezer bag, freeze, then the day off dump it in the crock pot and go.  It can be that simple! Well pretty much.  For this recipe, you will add the stock/broth the day off (but how hard is opening and pouring in an entire carton, no measuring!), and then stirring in peanut butter near the end right before you eat.   Like the previous recipe, you can freeze this after cooking if you don't want a lot of leftovers.  

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:
2 - 15 ounce can no-salt-added red beans, rinsed and drained (or one can chickpeas and one red beans)
4cups peeled, cubed sweet potatoes (about 1 pound)


  • 8ounces boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces


  • 8ounces boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces

  • 32 ounce carton reduced-sodium chicken broth

  • 2 1/2cups chopped green sweet peppers (2 large)


  • 114 1/2 ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained


  • 110 ounce can tomatoes and chopped green chiles, undrained


  • 1tablespoon Cajun seasoning


  • 2cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/4cup creamy peanut butter
  • chopped cilantro (topping)
  • chopped peanuts (topping)

    Directions:
    With a sharpie, write the directions on the front of a large gallon size freezer bag.  Add all items except the chicken broth, peanut butter, and toppings to the bag.  (You don't want to have to be hunting around for the recipe and how long you cook it at the crack of dawn). Seal, flatten, and put in the freezer.  

    Day of cooking - Run warm water over the bag to so that you can break it up slightly and fit it all in your crockpot.  Dump everything in the crockpot.  Pour broth into crockpot.  Cook on low 10-12 hours or high 5-6 hours.  When it's ready, mix peanut butter with about 1 cup of the liquid in a separate bowl, then add back in and serve.  Top with cilantro and peanuts. 






    Part 2 - More Make Ahead Ideas

    This next part has two recipes, one for breakfast and one that is just meat that you can use in all kinds of ways.  Meat is a struggle for me on busy days/weeks because it takes forethought with buying, thawing, and cooking.  Granted fresh vegetables and fruit take forethought, but for me far less than meat.  So, making a lot at once and freezing in small portions is genius! 

    Make-Ahead Western Omelet "Muffins"
    Makes 12 muffins or 6 servings

    This recipe is adapted from the SkinnyTaste cookbook, which I highly recommend owning.  The website (skinnytaste.com) is great too and I make recipes from there all the time.  The great thing about this recipe is you can really adapt it to other veggies, cheeses, and meats you like or have on hand and need to use up. 

    Ingredients:
    6 large eggs
    6 large egg whites
    3 oz chopped ham (or turkey if right after a holiday and you have leftovers)
    3 oz shredded smoked cheddar
    1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (red or orange preferred, but any color works)
    1/4 cup chopped chives or green onion tops (green part)
    pinch of salt and pepper

    Directions:
    Preheat the oven to 350F.  Spray 12-count muffin tin with cooking spray.  In a large bowl beat the eggs and egg whites.  Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix together.  Pour about 1/4 cup mixture into each muffin cup.  Bake 22-25 minutes.  

    To Freeze:  
    After cooking, let completely cool to room temperature on a cooling rack.  Individually wrap each in plastic wrap, then place all of them in a gallon size freezer bag.   When you are ready to eat them, unwrap and microwave for about 1 minute.  2 muffins = 1 serving.  




    I put too much in each tin, so I actually made 11.  That just won't do so I ate one.  





    BBQ Beer Pulled Chicken

    This last one can actually be made in the crock pot or on the stove top.  Since my crockpot was busy making the Quinoa soup, I made this on the stove top.  It honestly was more fun too on the stove top.  Recipe is from Half Baked Harvest (they also have a very tasty cheddar popover recipe on the same post as the chicken).  

    This may seem really weird, but when I was ingredient shopping I came across whole chickens on sale at Whole Foods, and felt a strong desire to buy it so I could break it down.  I've broken down a whole chicken a few times, but it's been a while.  Something about it makes me feel very accomplished when I'm done......So, for the chicken, I broke down a 4.5 lb chicken and used both breasts, both tenderloins, and both thighs.  I've put the drumsticks and wings in a freezer bag in the freezer for later.  




    Brown

    Simmer, simmer, simmer

    Stir near the end to keep from sticking to the bottom
    Portion into small freezer size bags for one meal for however many folks you have.  The skies the limit on how to use it, but few ideas come to mind:
    • on a bun (brilliant, right?)
    • on a baked sweet potato.  This is my favorite of this list.  I make a lot of "baked" sweet potatoes and then pile things on top that I have around.  Canned black beans (rinsed) with some cheese and avocado is a good idea. To "bake", wrap a washed sweet potato in plastic wrap, microwave for 4-6 minutes depending on size. Done. 
    • on a salad
    • on chips (nachos)
    • in a tortilla shell - BBQ tacos
    I hope you enjoyed these recipes and tips on how to make life more sane during your busy work week! 

    I'll end with Fritz, because, well, he's adorable.   For some reason he hangs around a lot while I'm cooking, looking like I'm going to drop something.......(because I often do).




    Good luck to everyone in the New Year! 


    Sunday, December 3, 2017

    Thai Chicken Red Curry with Coconut Soup

    Behold - Thai Chicken Red Curry

    First attempt at Thai Coconut Soup

    Have you ever thought about what cuisine you would eat if you had to choose just one?  Broadly speaking, choices would be Italian, Asian, American (think hamburgers, steak, and potatoes), Mexican, Greek, French, etc.  Perhaps you have even engaged a friend or significant other to ponder this very important question.  Seems just as productive an exercise as the "if you were on death row what would your last meal be" conversation, right? Well let's say I really had to choose, I would have to say Asian.  It could be my DNA talking - I am 1/4 Japanese after all.  My Japanese American Grandmother cooked some Japanese food for us all throughout my life, but mostly fried rice, and I'm not sure the bacon she added was all that authentic.  She'd cook other things for my parents that she didn't think my brother and I would like too.  I've also prepared her favorite sushi recipe with her a few times (see a previous post A Little Family Heritage for the recipe and pictures).  But all in all, I'd have to say I'd pick Asian because it is so darn tasty (Greek is a very close 2nd...).  We have some excellent Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Chinese restaurants here in Prattville and Montgomery (shout out to Green Papaya, Tokyo, Osaka, La'Taste, and Mr. Chens). 

    Speaking of Thai - my favorite dish to order when at a Thai restaurant is Red Curry.  Green Papaya, located in Montgomery, AL, is my favorite Thai restaurant, which is really Thai - Lao cuisine.  There are a lot of curries, and a lot of dishes with basil on the menu (the Spicy Fried Rice is AMAZING).  I am not into crazy spicy food, but if it has a little bit of a bite I'm good with it.  Recently after an Alabama football game, Zac and I went to a Thai restaurant in Tuscaloosa called Ruan Thai, located on the Strip.  I ordered Red Curry - delicious!   This got me thinking that I should really try and make it since I love it so much.   Cooking Asian food is completely intimidating to me though.  I've made some Thai dishes before, but they are usually peanut centered vs coconut centered, if that makes sense.  I make a Thai shrimp dish that is pretty darn good.  There are a few other Asian dishes we make, but generally they are on the simple side.  The ingredients can be hard to find.   I can also order it out so easily (remember my list of awesome Asian places? All have perfected the To Go order!) 

    Most of the time when I'm thinking of a new dish to try, I want it to be a challenge.  That's assuming I'm not in any hurry of course, which means the weekend (I don't see how anyone has much time to cook on a work night, seriously).   I knew this weekend I wanted to do something new, and thinking back on my Red Curry fascination thought it was time to try it.  I also went back to Ruan Thai again recently, and had their coconut soup for the first time, and thought that would go perfectly with Red Curry (and I order the two together often from my local joint).  So, off I went researching recipes and see what ingredients I could find locally. 


    Thankfully I was able to find everything between a local Asian market (Mr Chens market, adjacent to the Chinese restaurant of the same name in Montgomery), and Whole Foods.  I bought the lemongrass stalks and shiitake mushrooms at Mr Chens, the keffir lime leaves, ginger, and everything else at Whole Foods.  

    lemongrass

    This was my first time ever using lemongrass.  So I Googled it of course, and found some great tips on cooking with it.  It's like cooking with a leek really, you end up not using most of it.  Cut off the dark green part, peel off the outer leaves until what is left is mostly yellow.  From there, you can do it different ways, but the intent is to infuse the flavor into the liquid in the recipe I made.  So I scored it with a knife and crushed it a bit so there was a lot of contact with the stock.  Same principal as smashing a garlic clove to infuse oil.    Now onto the recipes! 

    Both of these recipes said they would take roughly 30 mins, and when cooking them simultaneously it took me about an hour and a half, but that includes cleaning.  I'm one of those people that prefers to have everything prepped before I start cooking anything.  This is through much learning. If I'm across the kitchen chopping or whatever, and something is cooking that I'm supposed to be half watching, well let's just say that does not work out well.  This is not too different than most cooking shows where most things are magically measured out and already washed and chopped, so the chef can focus on actual cooking.  Then, while I'm cooking if there is some waiting around for things to boil or simmer or whatever, I clean.  My kitchen is not that big, so generally I need that space for something else soon anyway, like plating, or my sink is simply overflowing so I must clean something.  So, that being said, I took me an hour and a half to make all this, and in the end my kitchen was clean except for the two pots the food was in.  Two thumbs up to me. 

    Tips - For both of these recipes, use full fat coconut milk.  Worth it.  For the sugar, I use coconut sugar anyway in place of regular white sugar.  You can read about coconut sugar online, but basically your body breaks it down differently than regular sugar, in a good way. It's better for diabetics because of that.  We are not diabetic, but have family members who are, so have just gotten in the habit of using it.   However, most recipes I saw for Thai cuisine called for Palm or Coconut sugar.  

    Thai Coconut Soup




    Ingredients

    • 4 cups chicken stock or broth
    • 3 kaffir lime leaves, torn into large pieces
    • 1 small Thai chili, halved
    • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
    • 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and cut into 4 large chunks
    • 1 stalk lemongrass, scored and cracked open
    • 1 can coconut milk, full fat (13.5 oz)
    • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
    • 1-1/2 tsp coconut sugar
    • Juice of 2 limes
    • 4 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced and cooked.
    • salt and pepper
    • 2 Tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped

    Directions

    Bring the stock or broth to a boil over medium heat in a soup pot. Add the lime leaves, chile, garlic, ginger and lemongrass. Lower the heat to medium-low; cover the pot and gently simmer to let the spices infuse the broth, about 10 minutes.
    Uncover the pot, and remove the lime leaves, ginger, chile, garlic and lemongrass with a slotted spoon, and discard.  Stir in the coconut milk, mushrooms, fish sauce, sugar and lime juice. Simmer about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into a individual serving bowls. Garnish with the cilantro. 





    The Red Curry ended up WAY easier than I thought it would be!  While the soup took a bit of prep, I can see making Red Curry when I may not have a ton of time.  Chopping up the chicken took the most time of anything.  This would also be great with shrimp or tofu! 

    Thai Chicken Red Curry

    Ingredients

    • 1.5 lb chicken, cut into cubes (I prefer thighs, they are more flavorful than breasts)
    • 2 medium red bell peppers, sliced
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 tbsp red curry paste
    • 1 can coconut milk, full fat, 13.5 oz
    • 2 tbsp fish sauce
    • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
    • 5-6 kaffir lime leaves, julienne
    • 2 cups cooked jasmine rice

    I like to get everything prepped and ready to go next to my stovetop





    You can server over rice, or with rice on the side

    all done!

    So my first try at both Thai Red Curry and Coconut Soup were a success! I'm thinking both will be even better as leftovers.....  

    Friday, December 1, 2017

    Pancakes and Paella Re-Launch & Greek Yogurt Parfaits


    Welcome to Pancakes and Paella! I’m considering this is a re-launch of my blog, since I’ve largely neglected it for 2 years, and even then, wasn’t all that active for a while.  Why the name? Well, I like pancakes, ALOT; it’s really the ultimate comfort food for me.  Paella? – example of my experimenting nature and desire to cook and eat new and interesting things.



    Before we get to the parfait.....a little bit about me.  Know that I am not a writer; I’m an engineer.  So apologies in advance for my overuse of the exclamation point and rambling that may occur.  This is basically stream of consciousness.   Ok, now on to food -  My food philosophy is this – I believe wholeheartedly as Hippocrates said that Food is Medicine.  We are what we eat.   Michael Pollan is my food idol, and these three food rules of his sum up my eating philosophy perfectly:




    I’ve been trying to eat food free of chemicals, preservatives, and processed food for close to 5 years now. Some call this “clean eating”, I didn’t know that term at the time, maybe it wasn’t around, but that’s what I call it now.  I’m not going to tell you it’s easy, because it’s not, but it’s a lot easier now then when I started.  Grocery stores near us have A LOT more options now (the Publix Greenwise line is awesome).  I still eat out, especially when I’m traveling, but am more picky about it.  I also do eat frozen meals, I just pick the kind that have ingredients that I can pronounce and generally are organic.  Am I all organic in what I eat? No. It’s seriously too hard.  We don’t have access to a wide range of organic things here in our local town, and I'm not driving 30 mins to Whole Foods every time I need something.  BUT, if you can do that from a convenience standpoint, I’m all for it.   I also realize and am very passionate about economic disparity as it relates to food and health.  I am lucky that I can even choose to eat this way, because I can afford it.  Many don't have this choice, and eat processed cheap food and fast food because it’s all they can afford.  There is no deciding if the organic strawberries are worth the extra $2.  The entire subsidy of the food industry is totally out of whack.  It's no mystery why the most economically disadvantaged also have some of the highest rates of obesity, diabetes, and other preventable health issues.  Doctors can prescribe pills, but not fruits and vegetables.  Our society needs to fix this folks.  

    Back on topic - My weakness is sweets. I have a MAJOR sweet tooth.  Always have.  When I do have sweets, I do try and eat the “healthiest” sweets I can, meaning nothing processed or full of chemicals, additives, etc.  Still not healthy, but no poisonous either.  Also, I’m not perfect by any means when I talk about how I eat.  Generally, I feel like I do a pretty good job most of the time, so if I eat horribly some of the time it’s not the end of the world.   My weaknesses are Sonic hot fudge sundaes, donuts (NOT cake-y donuts, yuck), and any chocolate cake.   I will eat those things when tempted, which means if I see it with my eyeballs.   So yes, you will see pics of donuts and cakes and crazy sweet and delicious things on this blog as well as kale, quinoa, tofu, and kefir. 

    Chocolate Ganache cake I made for my father in law's birthday this year
    I’m a pretty adventurous eater thanks to my husband Zac.  Not that I was super picky before, but since we met he has really helped me to try just about anything (I'll try most everything at least once), and I’ve found a lot of things I now love that I used to think I hated (like stuffed mushrooms).   We love to eat, and you’ll see a lot of what I post here is of our food adventures outside of our kitchen.  I’m also lucky to be married to a guy that also loves to cook, so we have fun doing it together!  Zac is often our sous chef, doing the chopping and prepping, while I’m cooking.

    Us.
     
    Our dog. 

    So, with this blog relaunch, my goal is to play a bit of catch up and post about what we’ve been up to lately, or at least the highlights.  Also current stuff of course.  Likely all mismatched chronologically.  Here’s a preview…..


    First totally from scratch cinnamon rolls

    We have a Whole Foods now! Well, 30 mins away, but still excellent news.
    Love the free cheese, especially the cave aged variety. (I've never actually heard
    of cave aged...)

    Miami!
    Dessert in Key West at a place actually called Better Than Sex

    Homemade Ribs.  UA football game on TV.  Good day. 

    My first Wisconsin cheese curd

    Fresh Alabama farm raised shrimp! Said shrimp cooked in the Quinoa dish below...

    Shrimp and Artichoke Quinoa

    My first "Sheet Pan" Dinner.  Genius idea whoever came up with it. 


    Now on to a recipe! We have both been eating this for a couple of years, nearly every day.  It’s our breakfast – Greek Yogurt Parfait. I make a variance of this a lot as overnight oats with largely the same ingredients.   When we first started eating plain Greek yogurt, neither of us thought it tasted “good”.  I thought it was honestly pretty intolerable.  I was used to sugar laden single cups full of healthy sounding things, but at the end of the day had just as much sugar as a donut, which no one thinks is healthy, yet I thought the yogurt cups were healthy.   Most of the pre-flavored kind are full of not-good fillers and additives too (you need to read the labels).  So, plain Greek yogurt it is, and we flavor and add things to it that we know are good for us, and are filling.  Most of these ingredients are said to boost metabolism too, so that’s a plus.

    Recipe:

    Greek Yogurt Parfait Breakfast

    Ingredients and Directions:
    Refrigerated portion – put the following in a small container, cover, and refrigerate.
    3/4 cup Greek yogurt – plain
    ¼ cup plain Kefir (good for your gut health!)
    ½ cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
    1 tbsp ground flax seed



    Non-refrigerated dry goods – put the following in another small container and cover.
    ¼ cup plain granola.  Read the ingredients and get as plain Jane as you can. 
    1 tbsp chia seeds
    ¼ cup pepitas
    1 tbsp almonds, shape of your choice, we like them sliced
    Dash of cinnamon.




    This recipe is for a Zac portion size.  I make mine with just a little less of everything, I don’t have exact measurements, just a little less.  You can play around with the exact amount that makes you full and keeps you full.  Greek yogurt has a ton of protein, a good reason to use that vs non-Greek varieties.

    Some hints:  Grind your own flax seed with a coffee grinder (don’t use it for coffee and this though). It’s much cheaper and is better for you.  Keep flax seed (whole or ground) in the refrigerator as it goes bad quickly. Frozen blueberries can sometimes be better as when they thaw, they release juices which end up flavoring the yogurt once you mix it all up.  Score.  Also, the reason to package these separately is so the dry good don’t get mushy.  Mushy is not tasty. Each Sunday we generally make enough servings for the entire week, stack up the yogurt/blueberry containers in the fridge, and stack up the dry goods on the counter.  Easy grab and go each morning before work!

    Also feel free to sub in walnuts or any other nut in place of the almonds too.  Almonds have more of a metabolism boosting effect than some other nuts, which is why we chose them.   I’m still waiting for a grass-fed Greek plain yogurt to be available here, that would be the ultimate!

    I’ll post my overnight oat variation soon!  Overnight oats are awesome.  I despise regular hot oatmeal (consistency is just awful, right?) but love overnight oats!

    Other posts on the horizon soon (hopefully), in no particular order:
    • Shrimp dishes.   Lot of shrimp dishes – (backstory, I recently bought a lot of very tasty fresh locally raised Alabama shrimp, details to follow).  
    • Hot and Hot Fish Club  
    • Emeril! 
    • That time we went to Miami and the Fl Keys  
    • Thai coconut-y things 
    • Gumbo

      
    Me with my very fresh alive-the-day-before super jumbo shrimp!