Homemade Bread, Honey, and Yummy Sandwiches

There are a lot of foods I love in this world and three of those just happen to be:

Bread

Sandwiches

Honey

Though, not necessarily in that order.

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I love baking, but I especially love baking breads. All sorts of breads. From french rolls, to sweet breads, to quick breads, to sandwich bread . . . I just love it! Something about the smell of that rich wholesome scent wafting through my house is enough to make me eat the entire loaf right out of the oven, with honey shmeared all over it.

BUT,

I really do try to not consume so much bread, because if I let myself loose I would eat WAY too much of it. I crave breads, I love breads, give me my bread!!! Growing up my mom ALWAYS made homemade wheat bread. It was a tradition I looked forward to (even the last time I went home for a visit she sent me away with a fresh loaf of bread!). Nothing better than coming home from school, opening the door, and smelling freshly made wheat bread. We rarely bought bread from the store – only for special occasions or treats (texas toast, french toast, anyone?). And after moving out of the house, and eventually getting married and becoming queen of the roost in my own home, I would on occasion break out my mom’s bread recipe and whip up a few loaves. I didn’t do it more often because I have always battled the health side of not consuming too much bread (because let’s face it, that loaf didn’t last more than 24 hours).

My mom’s delicious recipe features a blend of whole wheat and all-purpose white flower. A blend that gives the bread a lighter texture and is perfect for making sandwiches, and such. But, because of the use of white flour I once started on a quest for a 100% whole wheat flour bread, but stopped after my few attempts resulted in a dense, dark loaf that wasn’t very palatable or sandwich making material (obviously, sandwiches are my end goal with whole wheat bread).

It wasn’t until a conversation with my husband (pre-costco run) about ourΒ  goals of eating healthier, less processed foods, as well as minimizing the amount of treats. He listed food that met this definition (since we do have slightly different definitions, this was important) and part of that was eliminated store-bought breads, crackers, breakfast cereals, white flours, etc. All these foods are highly processed with lots of added ingredients. I then asked him if he wanted me to start grinding our own wheat and making homemade whole wheat bread, and he was down with that! But, that meant finding a recipe that cut out white flour and was truly 100% made from whole wheat flour.

Thus, I resumed my search and VOILA!!! After some extensive research (ok, it wasn’t that extensive) I found an amazing recipe that I tested today as well as tips for getting a light and delicious bread made from whole wheat. I was skeptical at first, but I couldn’t wait until the bread cooled, and sliced into it right away. I was floored! The bread was so soft, but not crumbly, and the taste was very wholesome, nutty, and very delicious – no bricks in my kitchen today! The secret is in letting that whole wheat soak, and giving it the time it needs to rise – serious important steps you shouldn’t skip. You can find the recipe here along with step-by-step picture instructions: King Arthur Flour Classic Whole Wheat Bread

I chose to follow this recipe exactly (though I was short on honey & used real milk instead of dry milk), but next time I am going to sub the oil for melted butter, because I believe butter is good. I am certain this is going to be my staple bread recipe going forward, and am excited to play with it and make some fun variations! I can’t wait for Sam to get home so I can test my bread on him. And guess how I’m going to do that!? By making a sandwich of course:

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I love making sandwiches and I love eating them! And, I do pride myself on making some darn delicious sandwiches. This here beauty features leftover rotisserie chicken, Tillamook cheddar cheese, tomatoes, pickles, spinach, mustard, and hummus. Simple, but highly satisfying πŸ™‚ Seriously, this bread turned out to be PERFECT 100% whole wheat sandwich making bread! And the upside: no preservatives or added stuff. I know exactly what went into my bread and am happy how it turned out!

And now . . . HONEY!!!

Did you know that there is quite a controversy over Honey in the United States and whether or not the honey you are buying from the store is actually 100% real honey??? For more information, check out this article here. Totally blew my mind and so I was happy when I used the last of my store-bought generic honey. I really had no idea what some companies were doing to process the honey to give consumers what they supposedly wanted (for those who don’t want to read the article, basically a lot of U.S. brokers purchase ultra-filtered honey from foreign companies that remove the pollen from the honey, and in addition, the manufacturers from China were adding in other unhealthy and cheap sweeteners to make the product cheaper).

I got lucky and happened to have a HUGE container of raw honey given to me by my mom the last time I was home. Apparently, the farmer they lease part of their land too keeps bees! How awesome is that? And, he gives my mom lots of yummy raw honey, and she in turn gives it to her kids because then she’d have a lot of honey on her hands. So, now I have a lot of honey on my hands. I mean, this was a huge jug of honey. Unfortunately, it had crystallized and was way to hard to pour out of the jug. So, I soaked the jug in warm water for 15-20 minutes to help restore it back to its regular consistency, and then was able to divide it into two mason jars to make it easier to access πŸ™‚ This raw honey does not taste like the store-bought kind. It seems richer, and sweeter, and you can taste the nature in it – if that makes sense.

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So, I have to say that after a slice of warm homemade whole wheat bread with raw honey, and a delicious sandwich for dinner, my crummy prego day turned out all right.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Banana Pancakes

Talk about YUM!!! I LOVE breakfast. I’m just a breakfast girl. I love eating all the different types of breakfast foods and often do for various meals throughout the day. I also don’t miss breakfast. I love it that much. Even if I wake up late and its really lunch-time . . . I eat my breakfast. I don’t do dinner or lunch for breakfast. I ALWAYS have breakfast for breakfast.

I also love protein pancakes. (Check out this previous post here, with an awesome recipe, btw), and I also love strawberries (can’t wait to go strawberry picking this season!) and I also happen to love cream cheese, and I only like bananas at a certain degree of ripeness, which is not very ripe at all.

However, I had some super ripe bananas and knew I needed to throw them into something before they went bad. I was also really, really hungry when I woke up, and decided I really wanted pancakes. And then I remembered the strawberry cream cheese in the fridge that needed to get used up . . . and voila!

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Yummy Breakfast Ingredients:

1/2 cup Kodiak Cakes, Power Cakes Pancake Mix

1-2 Tablespoons Strawberry Cream Cheese

1/2 cup Almond Milk

1 Egg

Some Sliced Bananas (This depends on how much banana you like in your pancakes)

Scrambled Eggs

Orange Juice

Directions: Whisk almond milk, egg, & cream cheese. Add Power Cakes mix until all combined. Pour into pan and place banana slices on top. Cook until done, and then make another one! Scramble some eggs, pour some juice, and get ready to eat a scrumptious, high-protein breakfast, and just pretend it’s the weekend!

(Jack Johnson stuck in your head yet?)

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You can get Kodiak Cakes at their website, or at amazon, OR I found mine at Target on sale for around $5! Seriously, the macros on this mix are so great & you have several different options for making your pancakes higher in protein (ex: subbing cow milk instead of water or almond milk, and using an egg). Make sure you get the POWER cakes. Those ones have more protein in them!

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ENJOY!

Chicken Salad . . . On A Salad

So today I want to share with you an AWESOME healthy recipe using leftover chicken! I often have leftover shredded chicken hanging out in the fridge that needs to be used up. Today it happened to be a rotisserie chicken that we never got around to eating much of. Whether you used leftover chicken or cook it fresh to use (or use canned) this recipe is a healthy version of your typical deli chicken salad!

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Basically I used this recipe but modified it. And, by modify I mean not measuring anything, using green onions instead of regular onions, and adding a few dashes of curry powder. Other than that, I just chopped everything up and added an amount that looked good!!!

063I started by pulling all the extra meat off the rotisserie chicken and chopping it up into small pieces.

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Put a large dollop of Greek Yogurt on top!

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Add your onions, apple, grapes, almonds, cranberries, salt & pepper, garlic powder, and any other spices you want!

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Mix it all up! Add more Greek yogurt, or lemon juice, or spices/seasonings to get the texture you want.

Now, here comes the best part, especially if you need a healthy alternative to the mediums Chicken Salad is normally served on. I LOVE croissants. In fact, it was difficult to pass them up at the grocery store today knowing I was making Chicken Salad for tonight. But, croissants are not the healthiest option, despite how delicious they may be. I also didn’t want to eat a too many carbs for dinner tonight and use another type of bun/bread/roll, so i decided to put my Chicken Salad on top of salad!!! I have never done that before, but paired with a slice of homemade whole wheat bread topped with a slather of Brummel & Brown spread made it a perfect healthy dinner!

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So YUMMY!!!!

There are SO many ways you can use Greek yogurt as an alternative to certain ingredients (like mayonnaise). Greek yogurt is what makes this Chicken Salad unique and delicious! I may have added a lot of apple and grape, but that is because I love apple and grape! You can add whatever else you want to your chicken salad to spice it up (celery, various seeds, veggies, hard-boiled egg, etc.) to fit your taste and or macros.

And . . . the other reason I wanted a healthier dinner was to make room for this:

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Leftover carrot cake from last night! Enjoy!

Good Eats!

So, I feel like I have been making more treats than I normally did before I started this 360 days of no sugar thing! Maybe because my husband continues to request a weekly treat . . . is he doing it to test me??? Well I haven’t broken yet and am doing great! I’m really focusing on finding healthy alternatives (like a few recipes I’m going to share below!)

I also feel like I have to talk about and document all these treats I’ve been making and abstaining from. It is empowering. So, I’m sorry if any of these make you crave sweets! But, do not worry, I will share a yummy recipe for some Cinnamon Swirl protein bars that tastes more like a breakfast cake, or bread.

But, before we get into treats, we have to talk about this amazing dish I had at Jaco’s last night! I am not a huge fish person, but I’m working on bringing it into my diet more often because of the health benefits. This was a Mahi Mahi with pureed celery root and grill asparagus. Oh my lanta it was so yummy! If you are ever in Pensacola, go check out Jaco’s on Palafox Pier! Sam and I got to watch the sunset overlooking the ocean and a whole bunch of expensive yachts. Epic.

 

Mahi from Jaco's

And, here are the scones I made Sam tonight. Don’t they just look delish? I’m not giving you the recipe for these. You don’t need it.

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And here are my awesome Cinnamon Swirl Protein Treats! I originally got the recipe from this girl’s blog called Mouthwatering Motivation. So, head on over to her blog to check out the recipe (since she made it, not me). Mine don’t look quite as good as hers because I didn’t put peanut butter on top of mine. But they sure were scrumptious!

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And now for a recipe from me! Because this one I created on my own from a conglomerate of recipes I’ve been trying over the past few months. These are called Delicious Berry Protein Pancakes. And these are hands down the best protein pancakes I have EVER Made! They almost taste like the real deal. They have yet to pass the husband test, but if they do I’ll let you all know!

196Here are the ingredients!

27g oat flour

12g oats

18g Trutein Cinnabun protein powder (this stuff makes all the difference)

2 egg whites

1 egg

110g Chobani Plain Greek yogurt

1t vanilla extract

1t baking pow

dash of salt

stevia to taste

Mix it all up. Fry em up. Eat em up.

I topped mine with 120g of frozen berries that I microwaved and sprinkled with stevia.

Makes 3 large pancakes! Macros: (1/3 of recipe or 1 pancake) Cal: 152, Fat: 3.3g, Carb: 17g, Protein: 14.6g

I ate 3 the other day because I was combining 2 meals. In the future I’ll have to halve it!

But Seriously, oh my gosh I could eat these every day! These may be the best pancakes I’ve ever made!

 

On to a happy note. I PR’d on my pullups last week! So happy with myself. I used to not be able to do even 1 chin-up, then I could do 8 chin-ups, and then I couldn’t do 1 pull-up . . . and now I can do about 4 on a good day! Check out this post about my pullup goals!

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48 days STRONG

360 Days & Blueberry Pie

So we have this AMAZING blueberry patch about 10 miles from my house and let’s just say I’ve been there picking blueberries quite frequently. Well, my friend Nanci and I found this one row that had deliciously sweet blueberries. They were SO sweet and I thought to myself what a great pie those blueberries would make.

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BUT

I can’t have pie because it has sugar in it. I thought to myself . . . what if I made a pie without sugar in it? Surely these blueberries were sweet enough by themselves, this could work, couldn’t it? So, I picked and picked until I had way to many blueberries and hustled home to get some in the freezer (ok, I actually didn’t get them in the freezer for a few days) to patiently await their shining moment to be part of the most amazing sugar-free pie ever!

Well that time came this last Sunday. Nanci invited me over on account of both our husbands being busy with studying. And we decided it was time to make that pie. We didn’t put sugar in the crust or in the pie filling. I’m thinking this pie is looking awesome and couldn’t wait for it to get in the oven. We did decide so mash some very sweet pineapple and added about 1/4 cup of the juice to the pie to help with the sweetness factor.

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Into the oven it went and in the meantime we made some banana oatmeal cookies that turned out to be more like banana oatmeal breakfast bars on account of the limited ingredients (bananas and oatmeal). When the pie FINALLY came out of the oven it smelled SOOOO delicious! The filling oozed out a bit so we let it rest and cool before eating. Then we DOVE into that sugar free blueberry pie. And I just want to say that we did not add ANY sugar at all. No white sugar, or brown sugar, or even zero calorie sweeteners like stevia, or truvia, or splenda. We didn’t add any of that stuff.

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Sure looks scrumptious. But, looks can be deceiving and they were. We bit into our pie expecting this melt-in-your-mouth buttery dessert and it just did not meet that expectation. AT ALL. We decided that it was more like a breakfast pie, but in order to be a dessert in definitely needed sugar. Too bad for us, that sweet tooth was not satiated.

Lesson learned – a pie without sugar is not dessert. And treat without sugar is not dessert.

Nice try I guess.Β  A girl can dream right? And this is part of my 360 days . . . to experiment with commonly eaten foods and make them healthier! My pie didn’t turn out how my imagination wanted it to be, but hey, at least we tried and now we know! At least the crust turned out all buttery and everything nice like that πŸ™‚

Keep On Keeping On! 24 days STRONG!

Chicken Tacos and a Guide To Protein

I eat a ton of chicken. Its lean, a good source of protein, easy to prep, and can go in a number of dishes. In fact, chicken is my go to meat of choice. Mostly because it never gets old and there are tons and tons of healthy recipes for which you can use chicken!

Tonight I decided to make some delicious and healthy chicken tacos. My go to method is cooking several breasts in a crockpot along with seasonings and spices. When done, I shred the chicken and store in a bowl to eat throughout the week. I didn’t have ton of time to prep tonight, so I pulled some corn tortillas out of the freezer, heated them up in a fry pan, topped them with chicken, cheese, Tapatio Sauce, and some spinach and tomato. So easy, so yummy, so healthy!

Chicken Tacos

I know I talk about food a lot, and the reason is proper nutrition is the key to reaching your goals. If you want to lose weight, you have to eat right, if you want to gain muscle you have to eat right. I’m sure you’ve heard sayings like, “You spend 1 hour in the gym, what matters is what you do with the other 23” or things like, “nutrition is more than half the battle” or “you can’t out exercise a bad diet.” All these things are true! Proper nutrition is 90% of what it takes to get where you want. And I think it is sad that we live in a society where it is cheaper to buy packaged and processed foods, eating out usually entails huge servings with tons of added sugars, and fats, and other unhealthy things, and it is just plain hard to stick to a certain meal plan.

Ways you can combat this is to just make better food choices on a daily basis. Try to simplify cooking meat by using herbs and spices rather than marinades and dressings. Aim to get at least a serving or two of veggies with every meal. Put down packaged goods and choose healthy alternatives or make healthy alternatives. Drink lots of water and remember to make healthier choices. Your heart will be happy, your brain will be happy, and so will the rest of your body.

Another tidbit of information is making sure you are getting enough protein in your diet. If I consciously did not make an effort to eat a good source of protein at every meal . . . I would not be getting all the protein I need. If you are trying to lose weight, eat protein! Any time you workout you need protein to help your muscles recover (and get stronger/bigger). Protein also lends more satiety to meal and helps curb cravings. Women’s Health made this handy little chart to help you get an idea of good protein sources and how much protein is in a serving.

I eat chicken, cottage cheese, nonfat plain Greek yogurt, eggs, and whey protein powder (not listed) on a daily basis. If your goal is to build muscle . . . eat more protein!!! It is good for you.

Egg White Oatmeal Pancakes

Ok, so I have been searching for an egg white oatmeal pancake recipe for quite a bit now, and just haven’t found one I love. I took a break from it until this morning when I found one to try and BAM! Most delicious of them all! (The others I was choking down to the last bite . . . no good).

What makes this recipe so different? Well, it is pretty fluffy and light for a whole-grain pancake. And, I don’t know, it was scrumptious until the end and I wanted more! That is always a good sign.

I found this recipe on Pinterest, of course. But modified it to fit my macros. I eat eggs, oatmeal, and fruit for breakfast almost every morning. I love eggs, oatmeal, and fruit! But, its nice to spice things up a bit and use those ingredients to make something different.

Here is my modified recipe:

  • 30g oat flour
  • 10g oats
  • 50g cottage cheese
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • dash of cinnamon
  • Stevia to taste

And for the topping:

  • Peaches
  • Stevia

I mixed up the pancake ingredients and cooked them in the fry pan. I made 3 pancakes, which is perfect for me! As far as adding sweetener to the batter, I usually don’t add much, and while my pancakes themselves were not very sweet, once you add the fruit topping it is plenty sweet, and I like it that way! In the meantime, cut up the peaches (if i had the means to fresh peaches, I wouldn’t be using canned. But such are these times. I just get the kind with no added sugar), and sprinkle some Stevia on top and microwave for about 45 seconds. You are more than welcome to use whatever kind of syrup/fruit topping concoction you can come up with. Right now I don’t have sugar-free syrup, so I have to make my own fruit topping. Plus, I like fruit topping better anyways. (Another fruit topping option is to microwave a serving of frozen blueberries until they’re almost soft. Mush them up with a fork and sprinkle Stevia on top, then microwave for another 20-30 seconds. Makes a delicious crushed blueberry topping!)

Plain pancakes!

Egg White Oatmeal Pancakes

Fruit Topped Pancakes! (I sprinkled cinnamon over the top)

Egg White Oatmeal Pancakes with Peaches

To finish up, I garnished my breakfast with a pan cooked egg white (I still had one egg white I needed to eat for my plan) and it was scrumptious!!! I wanted more. Definitely going to make this for breakfast again this week! Next step is to test it on the hubby to see if he approves.