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My omelette bake with a PB slathered muffin
The more make-ahead type of breakfasts I get into my repertoire, the happier I am in the mornings. I found a great little spinach and mozzarella egg bake on Pinterest that needed a little tweaking.

I left out the olive oil it called for; you don't NEED oil to cook some spinach, seriously. I used nonstick spray instead, a little water if I thought steaming would be better. I also replaced the real eggs with liquid egg substitute. There's nothing wrong with real eggs...except for the extra calories and cholesterol...just saying. Also, the original recipe asked for green onions, but I don't normally have that laying around, so regular round onions it was. It also called for a specific type of spice, but I'm not about to go out an buy a whole bottle of some random spice mixture unless I KNOW I'm going to continue to use it. That being said, I decided to go with a little spicy flavor (i.e. cayenne) instead.

Anywho, the recipe is really simple overall and the result is pretty tasty. Since I'm only making food for myself, this will feed me for almost a week of breakfasts. YAY!


 
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I can't believe people bought these...
"Ch-ch-ch-chia!" I don't know if you have or haven't heard of this chia seed health fad that's sweeping the nation, but it's definitely arrived. As indicated by the post title and the quoted famous commercial jingle, chia seeds are indeed related to the pretty well known chia pets that were sold popularly in the 80s/90s (pictured to the left). The seeds grow into this carpet-esque grass that the Chia Pet company used to grow into animal shapes, all you had to do was water and trim your decorative "plant."

Anywho, now we're in the 21st century and health folk everywhere are touting the benefits of eating the tiny little seeds these Chia Pets were grown from. You can eat them whole or ground down, raw or sprouted, and in just about anything. They also turn sort of gelatinous when left in liquid...and hence recipes like this chia puddings or chia drinks were born, breeding healthy snacks everywhere!


 
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Maple Blueberry oats while catching the sun rise.
This has been the most amazing find of my healthy new life!! Hands down, swear to god. It was one of the first few pins I actually tried out from Pinterest, and although I've tweaked the flavors and add-ins to my liking and created brand new ones for myself, that pin is what started it all.

So why all this hype about some oatmeal? Well because it saves me time and energy in the mornings when I'm hungry and don't want to do a damn thing to feed myself...cooking is tiring sometimes! On the other hand, when it's 10pm on some random night at home and I'm awake and thinking about what I'm going to eat for breakfast the next day, it's way easier for me to muster up some energy and get some food together (I honestly think I'm an insomniac sometimes). They're pretty simple to make, already pre-portioned come breakfast time, and SO convenient. These little suckers are so easy to just grab out of the fridge and run out the door with a spoon in tow (This is where I point you to the picture on the right from when my boyfriend decided he wanted to take pictures of sunrise and I NEEDED to bring food or I was going to be a very cranky girl). Yes, I said from the fridge; it's a cold oatmeal. I had never had cold oatmeal before making these, but you get used to it, especially with all the different flavor choices...you'll see what I mean, just read on.


 
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Holding up some delicious desserts!
Not everyone owns real popsicle molds, and if they do, they don't necessarily have a lot of them....so when I decided to have friends over for dinner and saw this pin on Pinterest for some strawberry shortcake popsicles, I was so excited! No molds necessary, just a bunch of Dixie cups and popsicle sticks. :D

The original recipe is fairly simple and straight forward, but for the sake of my health, I substituted a few of the ingredients. For example, I thus far haven't found any box of Nilla wafers that I'm willing to eat, so I used fat-free graham crackers instead. Also, the recipe called for whole milk yogurt...what?! WHOLE MILK yogurt?! Who does that anymore anyways? So I definitely replaced that with greek yogurt (in my case, Fage 0% (fat-free) plain). I considered using stevia instead of the honey, but I ended up going with agave instead because I didn't want to change the consistency of the pops. BUT, if someone out there decides to use a granular stevia instead, let me know how it turns out! (^_^)


 
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I could barely wait to eat them!
There's nothing like peanut butter and chocolate and banana all mixed together! It might be one of my all time favorite flavor mixes. XD I also happen to love desserts, and thus this cookie was born with a little pinspiration from this pin that links to the original recipe on Watching What I Eat.

I made my own tweaks to the recipe, including cutting out the carob/chocolate chips and replacing it with cacao nibs. Cacao nibs are little bits of chocolate that are 100% cacao, meaning no sugar or milk have been cut in. They retain all the benefits that people talk about chocolate having, but it's less fattening because it hasn't been altered from it's original 100% cacao state.

The original also called for added chopped nuts, but I left that out in favor of using crunchy peanut butter. I know nuts are a healthy source of good fats, but calories are calories sometimes, and my needed nutrients at the moment didn't include needing that much fat, healthy or otherwise. I've been eating too much avocado, tee hee. Sacrifices, sacrifices.

I also used chocolate protein powder instead of the suggested vanilla because, come on, chocolate goes with peanut butter and banana WAY better than vanilla ever will, hahaha, but I'm biased. I'm a chocolate lover to the max. (^_~) I also doubled the amount of protein powder for the recipe so that it would be a more worthwhile snack.



 
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A quinoa bake square with breakfast yogurt parfait!
I recently found a Pinterest pin for a quinoa breakfast bake. I'm all about having something pre-made and ready to go in the morning for breakfast, so making something like this one afternoon will give me part of breakfast for the rest of the week (and enough for some daytime snacking, too, tee hee ^_^)! 

You know, when I tell people I know that I eat quinoa (pronounced keen-wah; it's okay, I didn't know at first either), I usually get one of two responses: 1) They have no idea what it is, or 2) They say, "Oh, I've heard of it, but what is it?" Since I'm from Hawaii and pretty much everyone here eats [white] rice everyday with one or more of their meals, my answer to the question is normally starts with, "You eat rice? It's like rice. You can cook it the same way and eat it the same way, but it's healthier and better for you." If you look at the pic on the left, they don't look alike, but they have the same texture, about the same taste, and can be used in pretty much all the same recipes. And then, of course, people ask how is quinoa better for you? And then I have to launch into explanation mode...


 
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After dumping a ziploc of fruits into a blender cup
Thanks to one page of a book I was skimming in Barnes & Nobles just before the new year, I ended up with a new year's resolution of sorts without even realizing it. I don't go to the gym everyday, and I don't want to go everyday (I'm a lazy butt), but when I do go, I like to work out my whole body if I can. The book suggested that for people like me who do whole body workouts, I should be going to the gym three times a week (Monday, Thursday, & Saturday)~~~~so I'm trying it out to see what it does for me.

What that really means is that my sleep-loving self has been getting up pretty early three days a week and going to the gym. Being as lazy as I am, making breakfast early in the morning is hard for me. One of the easiest things to make in the morning is a smoothie, especially if you take a couple minutes to prep the ingredients the night before. Just measure out the fruits or veggies you're going to use into a ziploc bag (see my picture below with the recipe; you can spot a ziploc with fruits); keep it in the fridge or freezer, and just dump it into the blender with any liquid ingredients the next morning! The hardest part is really just trying to figure out what goes into the smoothie.


 
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From the Pilsbury homepage
Kind of dramatic post title, I know, but here I am thinking about carbs again...they taste so good, and they're so hard to get away from, especially when you love bread and baked goods. Out in the grocery store and newspaper ads, that means that after a childhood full of the stuff, when I see Pillsbury products go on sale my first instinct is, "Oh cool! That would be so easy to make into (fill in the blank with your own ideas)!" Which is normally promptly followed by, "Wait, crap...no, bad self! Can't have Pillsbury! SO bad for you!" It's so troubling having to fight myself (-_-") arg.

When I'm at the store, even if I'm pretty sure I'm not going to buy it, I'll still look at the nutritional information on the back/side to prove to myself that I'm making the right decision in not buying it, hahaha. Actually, though, Calorie Count has created a pretty comprehensive list of all the Pillsbury products and their corresponding nutritional information; they've even gone so far as to give a Nutrition Grade to most of the items! While a C might be a passing grade in school, it's definitely not a pass for my health, much less many of the other items that they ranked as D's. Have a look for yourself, click on the Pillsbury products that you've bought or eaten and see if you're happy with the results. First of all, pay attention to the serving size, and THEN look at the information below it. For example, ONE Grands Flaky Biscuit is almost 200 calories by itself!! *SHOCK* That, and the accompanying 9g of fat and the 24g of carbs (5g come from sugar), whoa! There's barely any fiber, a small amount of protein, and in comparison to the "bad" carb and calorie numbers, it's nutritionally just not worth it. Think of it in terms of something else, like a car; you wouldn't pay $40k for a car that has a great body kit, a nice paint job, and a super luxurious and comfortable interior, but doesn't have tires or is missing the windows and/or the engine, right? It's normally just not worth it.


 
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Avocados are definitely NOT in season right now (middle of January :P) in most of America, but I still have lots of avocado ready for use. "How?" you ask? By freezing it! It was one of the first Pinterest pins I actually tried out. Basically, it involved pitting, peeling, and mashing the avocado up with lemon juice, and then freezing it. And what that really means is that now that avocados are expensive and out of season, I still get to use them! Woot woot!

I took a bag out of the freezer yesterday to thaw with the intentions of making healthier brownies, but I ended up making a few other things instead. If you're confused by me saying brownies, just know that avocados make a good replacement for butter in lots of baking recipes! It's just as creamy but a million times better for you.


 
Let me tell you, it's hard coming up with so many different ways to use spinach! Sometimes a little inspiration is required...like today. I found a pin on Pinterest from the Undressed Skeleton blog with a recipe to make Banana Spinach Protein Bars. It sounds seriously crazy, but just like the blog says, you can't even taste the spinach because of all the banana. Honestly, I was really skeptical about that description and about the taste in general, but I've found that I'll really try anything at least once (even if that means I have to suck it up and literally eat all the failure when I'm done).

After following the original recipe, I tweaked it just a little to get a little more, nutrition-wise, out of each bite. I think I added too much banana on accident which made it a bit extra liquidy, so I added more flax seed meal and more protein powder than the recipe originally called for. Also the directions for what kind of vessel to cook them in was pretty ambiguous, so I just guessed on that. My tweaked version of the recipe is below. Small warning: It came out a little dry in the middle, but if you can live with that, go for it! If I make these again, I'd probably add more banana to keep it moist.