Banana Stuffed French Toast

I had another long run this morning! Listening to music really helps the miles go by when I am on the treadmill., and now I also have the Olympics on TV to distract/inspire me in the mornings. I am still working out the kinks in my workout playlist, but on the whole it is motivating…until some John Mayer comes on and I want to go relax while eating breakfast in bed. Other than that, the training is going well and I am hopeful that I will be able to keep it up as I travel more for work in the coming weeks.

One of the biggest difference of running longer distances is the fuel that my body needs. When I started out with 3/4/5 mile runs, I would just go straight from the bed to the gym without even drinking much water. However, now I really need some carbs to get my through the run. My default breakfast solution is toast and peanut butter, which is quick and easy. But if I had the time, I would definitely make this banana stuffed french toast every day!

This french toast is so creamy and rich without the ridiculous calories and fat of other recipes. I found it was substantially easier to fold pieces of bread in half rather than putting two pieces together like a sandwich (or cutting a slit in thickly cut bread). This recipe makes two mini french toasts, perfect for a pre-run treat!

Banana Stuffed French Toast

serves one

Ingredients

2 slices of whole wheat bread

1 egg

2 Tbsp almond milk

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 ripe banana, mashed

2 tsp plain whipped cream cheese

Whisk the egg and milk together. In a separate bowl combine the spices, banana, and cream cheese. Stir the mixture well (the bananas and cream cheese can be a little lumpy). Take the slices of bread and put half the banana mixture on one side of each piece. Fold the bread over to cover the mixture and pinch the edges closed. Dunk the stuffed bread into the egg mixture. Cook the bread on a oiled pan on low heat. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side.

 

Also I want to give a happy birthday shout out to my mom!!

🙂

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Vegan Pancakes

I am a huge breakfast person. I love pretty much every possible breakfast food, and will eat breakfast foods at any time. Of course, my favorite is definitely oatmeal (I actually brought some overnight oats for lunch yesterday), but pancakes take a close second.

Well, technically pancakes are tied for second with eggs and bacon. The competition is rather fierce.

Regardless, I have been on a serious pancake kick this week. In five days, I have made pancakes four times. With all of this experience, I have crafted my favorite vegan pancake recipe. They are vegan mostly because I have run out of eggs and am procrastinating grocery shopping (thus why I made oatmeal for lunch).

I decided to use all whole wheat flour for this recipe (instead of half and half with white flour), and the pancakes are still light and fluffy! But if you are not a fan of heartier pancakes, I would use a blend of white and wheat flours. I am weird and top my pancakes with heaps of applesauce and greek yogurt, drizzled with maple syrup; which should explain the pictures.

Vegan Pancakes

makes 4 pancakes

2/3 cup whole wheat flour

1 T baking soda

1/8 t salt

1 packet stevia

2/3 cup+ 2 T almond milk

1 T coconut oil, melted

Directions: Mix and sift the dry ingredients. In another bowl, whisk together the milk and oil, and pour onto the dry. Stir until just combined. Heat and lightly oil a large frying pan. Scoop about 1/4 cup of batter onto the pan. Cook until brown on both sides and serve warm.

Homemade Nutrigrain Bars

Nutrigrain bars are by far my favorite snack bar. I love the bready coating and sweet gooey jelly on the inside. But they are also not healthy at all! I rarely buy them, but will pass them wistfully in the grocery store.

Instead of perpetually pining for the overly processed snack, I decided to look around the blogging world for a great subsitute. After a little experiementation, I used settled on this recipe from Peas and Thank You. I liked that it included whole wheat flour, lots of oats, and only minimal sugar.

I generally followed the recipe except that I substituted coconut oil for Earth Balance. The crust was a great replication of the nutrigrain taste, and the fruit preserve center was excellent as well. The first time I made the recipe, I thought the crust was actually too thick, and on the second try I found that I could make a 9×13 pan of bars, instead of the 8×8 suggested in the recipe.

The bars are definitely still a treat, because of the high sugar content in the preserves. Although I bet the taste would be maintained if one wanted to use sugar-free preserves instead (I’m looking at you, C.J. ;)).

Protein Packed Oatmeal

Out of all the clean eating plans out there, Paleo is one that has never really called to me. I am not the biggest meat eater, and I love grains and dairy too much! I also find it a bit weird that eating like a caveman still allows for processes like baking that were not around in the Cenozoic Period (yes, I did look that up ;)). However I found a recipe for paleo “oats” that was really intriguing. Instead of using oats, the recipe called for eggs and fruit as a grain substitute.

As you know, I am always looking for fast breakfast ideas that are packed with protein. Some of my favorites include egg muffins, protein pancakes and smoothies. Despite these great ideas, I usually end up eating oatmeal several times a week because of its convenience and the fact that I don’t have to prepare ahead of time.

I experimented with several different versions of this recipe before finally perfecting one worthy of sharing. It includes some oats for fiber, but mostly because I felt weird eating eggs scrambled with fruit. The egg adds protein, which keeps me full for longer than my typical bowl of oats. So far, I have used this recipe with bananas, apple sauce and blueberries. I am sure other fruits would be just as tasty and filling.

Protein Packed Oatmeal

Ingredients

2 T oats

1/2 cup fruit, mashed

1 egg

Add water to the oats until they are covered and let sit for five minutes. After letting the oats sit, drain out the water and add the mashed fruit. Scramble the egg and thoroughly combine with the oats and fruit. Microwave for two minutes, stopping to stir the mixture after a minute.

I used blueberries in this batch

raw mixture

Today I am off early to look at apartments in Charlotte! Hopefully I will find some nice and not too expensive options 🙂

Graduation Preparation

This weekend was full of preparation for graduation (read:graduation dress shopping). The big commencement ceremony and my departmental graduation are both on Sunday, so I have a week to either buy something or revive an old favorite from mine or my sister’s closet. Shopping did allow me to figure out what I am looking for now: white lace/crochet, short sleeve, mid thigh length. A sheath cut would be  nice, and maybe paired with some nude pumps? Here are a couple ideas I found online:

Gypsy Lace Dress by Free People

Los Feliz Dress

I like this lace better, but it does not have sleeves

Los Feliz Dress via Modcloth

Fire Lace Shift Dress

I like the cut of this one the best, but it is so darn short!

Fire Lace Shift Dress via Nordstrom

To be honest, I will probably find something at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s, but it’s nice to have an idea of what I want.

Hopefully it will be long enough to throw a suit jacket over and wear to work? That reminds I need to do some work clothes shopping. Right now I have one suit, about 6 tops, and one pair of heels that I could wear all day. Outlet shopping, anyone?

_____________

I didn’t mean to turn this into a fashion post. So here is a picture of my breakfast to add content balance:

Spinach scrambled with two eggs and some feta

And now to addressing all of these graduation announcements…

Oatmeal Applesauce Pancakes

Yesterday was not the most fun of days. I spent most of my time in front of the computer alternately:

1. defining terrorism-and generally just researching terrorist groups for a paper in my Ethics of War class

2. reading blogs- congrats to Lora, looking at Kath’s cute interview outfits, and an older but super inspirational post from swim bike mom about her Half Ironman (sob alert!)

3. writing a reflection paper about my mentoring experience

4. watching episodes from season 5 of How I Met Your Mother- slowly but surely getting through the whole series

5. trying to understand participles in all their forms in Russian- not much success in that department :/

I also fit in a decent three mile run in the afternoon to keep me from going stir crazy.

Despite the blahs of finals week, I got my day off to a great start with an Oatmeal Applesauce Pancake! I opened a big container of applesauce a couple days ago and need to use it all up before it goes bad. Any easy applesauce recipe suggestions?

I basically used this recipe by Whole Foods, but I added a 1/4 cup of milk and omitted the syrup. These are not as filling as my protein pancakes, but still a great option for a healthy breakfast.

Oatmeal Applesauce Pancakes

adapted from Oatmeal Apple Pancakes

Ingredients

1 egg

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 cup rolled oats (use GF if needed)

1/4 cup milk

dash of cinnamon

Directions: Add all of ingredients to blender (I use my magic bullet) and blend until the batter is smooth. Cook on a greased pan 2-3 minutes each side.

I topped mine with almond butter

Enjoyed with some Chai tea to wake me up

Also, “apple sauce” one word or two?

Spinach Feta Egg Muffins

After I enjoyed the Broccoli and Cheddar Egg Muffins so much, I decided to make another version. These spinach and feta muffins are just as simple but with significantly less fat and calories. Make a batch today and you have breakfast for the rest of the week!

Spinach Feta Egg Muffins

makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 cup cooked spinach (I just defrosted frozen)

3/4 cup crumbled feta

2 cups egg whites

Preheat oven to 350. Combine the spinach and feta. Divide evenly into the muffin tins. Pour egg whites into muffin tins until 3/4 full. Bake for 25 minutes. Can be stored in the refrigerator for a week (maybe more, but I always eat mine before the week is over).

Nutritional Info for two muffins: 103 calories, 4.1g fat,  12.2g protein