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.

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...)

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.


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!

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