Apple-pie oatmeal

Oatmeal – one of the best choices for breakfast! It is supposed to help with weight loss, manage your cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, and lower blood sugar levels. Combine that with apples and cinnamon, and you’ve got a trifecta for breakfast that is sooo healthy and good for you and helps you stay full for a couple of hours! While Nilesh and I’ve had oatmeal for breakfast for a while, I’m trying some combinations to entice the kids with a healthy breakfast as they rush out of the door at 6:45am!

The sweet aroma of apples with cinnamon baking wafts through the air as the kids wake up and get ready for school. If that doesn’t tempt them with breakfast, nothing else will.

SERVINGS: 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 sweet apples -cores and evenly sliced
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsp honey (alternative is 2 tsp maple or agave syrup)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (GF for gluten-free eaters)
  • 2 cups water ( or 1 cup water and 1 cup regular milk or unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds, or walnuts
  • 4 whole dates (finely chopped)
  • Optional: Flax seeds, chia seeds, brown sugar

METHOD:

  1. If using the oven:
    1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
    2. Toss the apples with cinnamon powder, 1 tsp honey and lemon juice
    3. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and lay apples flat on the pan
    4. When oven is ready, put pan in the oven, bake the apples for 5 minutes
    5. When 5 minutes is up, remove pan from oven, roll over parchment paper to create a box so the apples are in a sort of “pocket” to trap in moisture. Place pan back in oven and cook for 15 minutes more until soft.
  2. If using the stove-top:
    1. Add the apples, honey, and sprinkle in the cinnamon and lemon juice. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the apples are softened
  3. Making the oatmeal:
    1. In a small saucepan over high heat, add oats, and water(or water/milk or milk only). When it comes to a boil, reduce to low-medium heat and cook until thick and creamy to a desirable consistency
    2. Once think, remove from stove top
  4. Serving:
    1. When oatmeal has cooled slightly, arrange 4-5 slices of baked apples in bottom of a serving bowl. Top with oats. Add 1/3 cup of the apple slices as topping to the oatmeal along with 1/2 the nuts and a drizzle of the honey
    2. Other toppings may include flaxseed, chia seed, brown sugar

Cinnamon Cake Bites

A quick and easy dessert for a weekday or a nice breakfast option with coffee!

While nothing beats baking a cake from scratch, unfortunately, lack of time on a week day calls for improvisation. It’s always nice to have the aroma of cinnamon wafting from the kitchen when the kids get home. This quick dessert, or after-school snack, is easy to put together while on a lunch break from work!

Ingredients:

  • 1 yellow cake mix box – 15.25oz (I typically use Duncan Hines)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (also known as icing sugar)
  • 1.5 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees farenheit
  2. Coat a 9×13 pan with butter and then set aside.
  3. In a bowl combine cake mix, eggs, oil, vanilla and sour cream. Using an electric mixer, beat on low for 30 seconds then raise speed to medium and and mix for 2 minutes
  4. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon
  6. Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon mix and the walnuts evenly onto the cake batter
  7. Taking a butter knife, gently swirl the sugar cinnamon mix and walnuts into the cake batter. DO NOT over swirl
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Put a tooth-pick into the center of the cake and if it comes out clean, the cake is ready
  9. Cool for 20 minutes
  10. While cake is backing, gently whisk together the powdered sugar and milk. Pour this over the slightly cooled cake
  11. Allow icing to set – 5-10 mins
  12. Cut cake into mini squares and it’s ready to eat
  13. Cake can stay refrigerated for a couple of days – mine doesn’t last more than 2 days!

Apple Pie Smoothie

Apple pie, anyone?? How about apples and cinnamon for breakfast? This smoothie is a rif on a smoothie I came across in Mens Health magazine. We loved the flavor of sesame seeds, this one incorporates. A delicious, protein-filled smoothie that’s bursting with flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Milk
  • 1 scoop Vanilla flavored Protein Powder
  • 1 Apple, core removed, and sliced into wedges
  • 1 cup of Spinach
  • 1 tbsp of Almonds
  • 1 tbsp of ground Flaxseeds
  • 1 tsp of Sesame Seeds
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon Powder

Method:

  1. Pour milk into the blender (I use a Vitamix)
  2. Add remaining ingredients
  3. Blend and slurrrrppppppp!

Acai-Blueberry Bowl

Acai berry bowls continue to be the Instagram rage and I just had to check it out when I saw a Acai Puree packet at Trader Joe’s. The acai (ah-sigh-EE) berry is a grapelike fruit harvested from acai palm trees, which are native to the rainforests of South America. Like other berries, acai berries contain antioxidants and fiber. Widely touted as a super fruit, it’s a very healthy way to start your day or even have as a mid-day snack.

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet Trader Joe’s Unsweetened Organic Acai Puree – 3.52 oz packet
  • 3/4 cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 1 medium Banana (keep aside a couple of slices for topping)
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 1/4 cup non-fat Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Honey or 2 Medjool dates (or more, depending on sweetness desired)

Method

  1. In a blender (I use a Vitamix), add the unsweetened almond milk, acai puree, blueberries, protein powder, chia seeds, honey/dates and Greek yogurt.
  2. Blend until smooth (adjust almond milk and honey/dates, if needed)
  3. Scrape mixture into bowl
  4. Top with remaining banana slides
  5. Grab a spoon and dig in

Apple Cinnamon pancakes

Pancakes are a kid breakfast favorite. But given how much the kids love it, adding in fruits and limiting the sugary syrup make for a healthy breakfast option. I couldn’t get my pancakes fluffy until I realized it was the fat-free milk. Buttermilk is the trick. The first time I used buttermilk, I was amazed with how fluffy the pancakes became and, the kids said I finally mastered restaurant-grade fluffy pancakes!

Servings: 16 pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large-sized red apple, grated
  • 4 tablespoons butter

Method:

  1. Whisk the flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder together
  2. Separately, beat eggs, then brown sugar until sugar dissolves
  3. Add buttermilk, vanilla to the egg mixture and whisk for a minute
  4. Whisk the flour mixture into the milk mixture until combined with a few lumps
  5. Add in the grated apple and stir in gently. Avoid over-mixing
  6. Take a tablespoon of butter. Melt into a skillet over medium heats. Drop 2 tablespoons of batter per pancake into the hot skillet. Cook until bubbles form on the surface of the pancake and edges are set, about 3 minutes. Flip the pancake and continue to cook for about a minute until puffed in the center. Transfer to a oven-proof plate and keep warm in the oven while cooking the rest of the pancakes.
  7. Serve plain or with a drizzle of honey


Shakshuka

Growing up, our parents always made us start the day with egg – half-boiled, sunny-side up, omelets, or scrambled. If we got lucky, there was a “sidish” with it (meat curry left-overs from dinner, the previous night). Then I stumbled on Shakshuka, an Israeli dish – a one-skillet recipe of eggs baked with a tomato-red pepper sauce and a mix of spices. Served with a pile of pita or challah bread, it’s a delicious start to the day. Another great add to the list of egg recipes for breakfast. (And, I’ve also used it for a quick dinner meal, when I was just too tired to prepare something more elaborate).

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped (we love garlic!)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp paprika powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder or to taste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes with their juices, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (or to taste)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Hot sauce
  • Optional: Feta or other cheese
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium.
  2. Add onion and bell pepper. Saute until very soft, and onions are translucent
  3. Add garlic and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes
  4. Stir in cumin, chili, and paprika, and cook 1 minute
  5. Pour in tomatoes and season with salt and pepper
  6. Simmer until tomatoes have thickened, about 10 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed
  7. Using a large service spoon, make wells in the tomato sauce
  8. Gently crack eggs into skillet in tomato wells
  9. Season eggs with salt and pepper
  10. Cover and cook until eggs are just set, 7 to 10 minutes or to your liking
  11. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with hot sauce.
  12. Optional: Sprinkle feta cheese or other cheese
  13. Serve hot with pita or challah