Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

IMG_0876Last year, Jeremiah and I went strawberry picking for the first time. I had always wanted to do it but hadn’t been able to fit it into my schedule. We loved it so much, we decided to do it again this spring. The weather was a little hotter this year as we went from winter straight to summer. When you pick a flat of berries, you need to come up with a few recipes to use them in. I ran across the recipe and cooked it up on a day when Jeremiah was working from home. We both agreed, this recipe was a winner. Great flavor and bonus it’s a skinny recipe.

Skinny Strawberry and Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast by Savory Nothings

  • img_0866.jpg4 T. One-third less fat cream cheese
  • 1 T. honey or maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ c. skim milk
  • 4 T. whole grain bread crumbs
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 8 strawberries sliced
  • 8 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 2 T. oil

Mix honey and cream cheese. In a shallow dish, whisk together eggs and milk. On a large plate, combine bread crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon. Cover four slices of bread with cream cheese mixture and top with strawberry slices. Top each slice of bread with a second slice of bread. Dip in egg mixture to coat each side, dripping off excess. Then, repeat in bread crumb mixture. Cook in a pan coated with oil and flip half-way through cooking.

No Bake Monster Cookies

A few weeks ago, a friend posted a picture on Facebook of some cookies her daughter had created for 4-H. One of the cookies was a no bake monster cookie. I asked her for the recipe and she said they had found it on Pinterest. Since I follow her on Pinterest, I checked out her pins. This recipe is super easy and protein packed. It’s quick and easy but not as good as my mom’s original monster cookie recipe. My husband agreed. However, I did get a chance to use my my new cookie scoop I got as a wedding gift.

No Bake Monster Cookies by The Baker Mama
FullSizeRender (7)2 1/2 c. oatmeal
1 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
1/2 c. mini M&Ms

Mix together oatmeal, peanut butter, honey, and extract. Then, stir in chocolate chips and M&Ms. Scoop into round balls on parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before eating. Once solid, you can transfer to an airtight container so they don’t dry out.

Notes:

  • I used reduced fat creamy peanut butter but the original recipe says you can also use crunchy peanut butter.
  • I used regular sized chocolate chips and M&Ms. They worked but the might have stayed together better if I had used the mini sizes.

Purple Resolution Smoothie

A few weeks ago, Jeremiah and I decided to make shrimp tacos. I found a recipe that included a slaw complete with red cabbage. Unfortunately we didn’t need very much of it so we went searching for recipes to make with the rest of it. I told Jeremiah that the Pioneer Woman had a smoothie recipe I’d tried before and it wasn’t bad. I’m not sure Jeremiah believed me. Red cabbage is really healthy and their aren’t a lot of recipes out there to make with it. We added it to Jeremiah’s green beans with bacon. It was ok but we didn’t like it as well as when he usually makes it with bacon, shallots, and garlic. So I made the smoothie for him. It’s super healthy and fills you up until lunch. Make it yourself and see what you think.

Berry smoothiePurple Resolution Smoothie by Pioneer Woman
2 c. Greek yogurt
2 c. mixed berries
2 c. blueberries
1/4 head red cabbage
1/4 c. honey
1 banana
1 c. cranberry juice

Blend together and serve. Makes four cups.

Nutritional Information (Based on a two cup serving): 524 calories, 2 g. fat, 5 mg. cholesterol, 163 mg. sodium, 988 mg. potassium, 106 g. carbs, 13 g. fiber, 83 g. sugar, 28 g. protein, 30% Vitamin A, 145% Vitamin C, 78% calcium, and 11% iron.

Notes: 

  • You could probably use regular yogurt but it will decrease the protein in this recipe.
  • You could probably use berry flavored yogurt and decrease berry content.
  • I used frozen berries and banana.
  • I used lite cranberry juice. The original recipe also suggest grape juice. 

Cinnamon Vinaigrette

Last year, I had a chance to judge Harvesters AmeriCorps Members’ Lunch Challenge. This activity is an event kind of like one of those Food Network chef shows but for people learning to create a nutritious meal on a budget. They are given a mystery pantry bag of groceries and a handful of seasonings. Then, they can purchase items from a grocery store. But wait, your goal is to feed everyone in your group for less than a $1.50 per person (the max benefit for person receiving SNAP – former called food stamps).

I’m not a salad person. You will never find me go to a restaurant and order a salad. But when I sampled this romaine lettuce and apple salad with a cinnamon flavored dressing, I wanted more. I asked the team how they made it but I couldn’t get an exact recipe. Below is my recreation. Although I am not 100% sure it is the same – it does taste good.

I served this recipe over romaine lettuce and chopped honey crisp apples. You could probably add croutons, feta, and nuts to your salad and it would still taste delicious.

Cinnamon Vinaigrette Cinnamon Vinaigrette by Amber Bourek
¼ c. Balsamic vinaigrette
½ c. honey
½ c. water (may need to add a little more to thin honey)
cinnamon to taste

Mix ingredients and pour over salad.

Note: I did not peal the apples but my boyfriend thinks it would be good that way as well.

Skinny Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Oh my goodness, these were so good. I wished I hadn’t halved the recipe.

Skinny Chocolate Chip Raspberry MuffinsSkinny Raspberry Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins from Pinterest
2 ½ c. whole wheat flour (you can also use half all-purpose and half whole wheat)
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ c. honey (or maple syrup)
½ c. brown sugar
1 c. mashed ripe bananas (2 bananas)
¼ c. Greek yogurt
1 egg, beaten
¾ c. milk
½ c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 ¾ c. fresh (or frozen) raspberries

In a large bowl, mix powder ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk honey and brown sugar. Add banana, yogurt, and eggs. Slowly pour into dry ingredients. Fold together. Add milk. Fold in chocolate chips. Fold in berries. Bake at 325 degrees for 17-18 minutes. Makes 15 muffins.

Fruit and Veggie Smoothie

I’m a pretty practical person. When my mom ask me what I want for a holiday gift, I usually have a hard time coming up with stuff. This year, I decided to take my birthday money though and invest in a Ninja blender. Sure, we have all seen the infomercials for it – but does it really work? I did a little online research. I usually don’t read people comments on stuff because it just gets my heart racing. The anonymity of the internet makes people think they can say anything. But I figured if the major of the 100 reviews written on multiple websites were good, maybe all those people weren’t paying to write them. I also chatted with a friend of friend who said it worked good at everything but chopping kale. Ice was my biggest concern. I had some cheap blender and it couldn’t chop ice for anything. I wanted a Starbucks quality blender at a price that fit my budget. The basic Ninja is $99. I used my Bed, Bath, and Beyond 20 percent off coupon getting it down to $80. With birthday money, I could justify the expense.

This smoothie was one of my first test. I have to say, it work beautifully. (Just so you know, I haven’t been paid a dime to say this or anything else on my blog). In the weeks ahead, I will share how it did on other recipe. (I’m even going to give homemade ice cream a try even though I didn’t buy that level of Ninja.) This recipe is definitely a keeper though. I saw it while watching Pioneer Woman on the Food Network and found the exact recipe on the internet. It will be on my Pinterest favorites if you want to tag it for later.

Orange Resolution SmoothieOrange Resolution Smoothies by Ree Drummond
2 c. frozen mangos
2 c. peaches
2 c. Greek yogurt
1 c. Orange Juice
1 c. pineapple
¼ c. honey
1 banana
1 c. mini carrots

Blend together and serve. Makes eight servings.

Notes:

  • I used canned pineapple packed in natural juices.
  • I chopped up the carrots.
  • I cut the recipe to a fourth and it made a good cup and half smoothie.

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

Honey, bananas, and Greek yogurt are great healthy recipe substitutions. The recipe has all plus the low fat, high fiber quick oats. Throw in a little flax seed which is currently being researched to prevent breast cancer. You might be surprised to learn this recipe is actually pretty good. I would totally make it again.

Banana Oatmeal MuffinsBanana Oatmeal Muffins from Pinterest
2 ½ c. oats
1 c. low-fat Greek yogurt
2 eggs
½ c. honey
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 T. flax seed
1 tsp. vanilla
2 ripe bananas

Food process oats to a finer consistency. Add remaining ingredients and blend until mixed. Pour into 12 muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

Notes:

  • I halved the recipe and it still made 9 muffins.
  • I substituted low-fat vanilla yogurt because it was what I had on hand.
  • I added some frozen berries to a few muffins. Feel free to mix chocolate chips or nuts into yours. The plain muffins were also good.
  • I didn’t have any flax seed so I made it without.

Honey Garlic Marinade

I work two jobs so I treasure the one day I get off a week. Lately, it has been Mondays. Believe it or not, I actually look forward to Mondays. For 10 years, I worked 7 days a week. It’s nice to be in a place where I don’t have to work every day. I’ve also learned I can break things up like just mopping one floor this week and another the following week. It is also the one day of the week I can cook lots of new recipes. This is actually one I tried today. It did its job in the fridge while I washed 10 loads of laundry.

Honey Garlic Prok ChopsHoney Garlic Park Chops from Pinterest
1/3 c. honey
1 T. honey
1 ½ tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. chopped garlic
2 pork chops

Mix ingredients in a baggie and add pork chops. Marinade in the fridge for 30 minutes. Cook until meat is no longer pink.

Berry-Burst Yogurt

In September, I took a job as the Volunteer Services Manager at Harvesters – The Community Food Network. The position was the perfect match for me – volunteerism and food. Plus, as a donor and episodic volunteer I knew just how great an organization Harvesters was…or so I thought. I quickly learned that this organization was even better than I realized.

Harvesters is the Kansas City area’s only regional food bank. The difference between a food bank and a pantry is something most people don’t know. Each week, Harvesters processes enough food to feed 66,000 people in our 26 country service area. They work with a network of over 620 food pantries, kitchens, and shelters to get the food to where people live. From some of the rural counties we serve, this might even be a few hours from our Topeka facility. Harvesters operates like a business – quickly processing food orders placed online like Amazon might do. The high level accountability and relationship building with local businesses mean that 97% of the food and funds received go right back out to the people served by our community partners. I’ve worked for a lot of great nonprofits by nobody with that little of overhead expenses.

I, like so many of you may be, was shocked by just how many people are food insecure. One in six people in our country are hungry. That means, probably someone you know has or currently is struggling to eat. And for some reason, many people have this perception that if someone isn’t skinny or displaying a bloated stomach than they aren’t really hunger. In fact, major health issues like obesity and diabetes are often the result of food insecurity. When people are limited on funds, they purchase unhealthy, cheap foods that fill up their bellies. Since 1980, the cost of processed foods has decreased by 40% while the cost of healthy foods like fresh vegetables/fruits and lean meats has increase by 40%. Are you as surprised as I am by this? What is even sadder is that one in three kids born in the year 2000 will develop Type II Diabetes (the kind that is caused by what you eat and limited exercise).

One of the coolest things Harvesters does to help address these issues is that it provides nutrition education. We have a whole team of people who spend their days testing recipes and teaching nutrition classes. These dishes are selected for their healthy qualities, tantalizing taste, cost, and ease in preparation. I have to say, I haven’t tasted a recipe yet that I haven’t liked – and you know veggies aren’t my favorite. In addition to teaching classes for both children and adults, we also share these recipes at our Mobile Food Pantries. Each month, Harvesters distribute a ½ million pounds of fresh produce. Nutritious recipes help people utilize the healthy fruits and vegetables they receive.

Check out this Kids in the Kitchen recipe for a delicious breakfast/dessert favorite.

Berry-Burst YogurtBerry-Burst Yogurt with Granola by Harvesters Nutrition Services
1 c. uncooked oats (quick or old fashioned)
¼ c. honey
¼ c. canola oil
1 lemon, zested (2-3 T. juice, 1 T. zest)
1 (12 oz.) package frozen mixed berries (2 ½ c.)
2 bananas, ripe
¼ to ½ tsp. cinnamon
3 c. vanilla Greek yogurt

Combine oats, honey, and oil. Heat skillet to medium temp and add mixture. Stir frequently for 8-10 minutes until golden brown (but don’t burn). Immediately remove from skillet and cool on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet for 10 minutes. Then, break into clumps.

Zest lemon and add with cinnamon to yogurt. In a separate bowl, mash together bananas and berries. Dish up ¼ c. yogurt, ¼ c. fruit, and top with 1/8 c. granola.

Nutritional Information: (Serves 12) 178 calories, 6 g. protein, 27 g. carbs, 3 g. fiber, and 22mg sodium.

Notes:

  • Total cost is $8.31 or $.69 per serving
  • I made it with lemon juice and no zest.
  • I microwaved the berries for a few minutes to thaw. Leftover yogurts were refrigerated.
  • Greek yogurt is expensive so I used low fat vanilla yogurt. Greek yogurt is $1.15 per container. Each regular yogurt was $.40 per container. Just note it might change your nutritional information.

Pork Tenderloin

An easy Asian inspired recipe.

Asian Inspired Pork LoinPork Tenderloin from Pinterest
1 package of pork tenderloin (2-2.5 lbs)
4 garlic cloves
1/4 c. soy sauce
2 T. mustard
4 T. honey
4 T. orange juice
1 T. rosemary
salt and black pepper
3 T. Olive Oil

Grease a 13 x 9 pan. Place pork loin(s) in dish. In a bowl, mix together remaining ingredients. Pour over pork. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, basting half way through. Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes:

  • I cut a 1.5 lb. pork tenderloin in half and placed it in a smaller baking dish. I thought the meat was a little pink for my taste. I cooked an additional 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
  • I used a honey dijon mustard.
  • I was a little short on honey so I added 1 T. of light syrup.
  • I used jar chopped garlic. I probably put in two teaspoons.
  • I made this recipe with light soy sauce.