Double Berry Breakfast Parfaits

I accidentally made a perfectly patriotic parfait! (Yay alliteration!)

Double Berry Parfaits

I had an abundance of blueberries and strawberries languishing in my fridge, too much Greek yogurt, and a hankering for something different for breakfast. And I wanted to put something in old mason jars because I though it was very Pinterest-y of me. And I’m obnoxious.

Double Berry Parfaits

These Double Berry Greek Yogurt Parfaits were just the ticket. Super quick to make, full of protein and fiber, and naturally sweet, they are perfect for the morning or an afternoon snack and a wonderful post-workout treat!

Double Berry Parfaits

Double Berry Parfaits (serves 2)

2 cups plain Greek yogurt

1 ½ cups sliced strawberries

1 pint fresh blueberries

Honey, optional

Cinnamon, optional

In mason jars or bowls, begin layers with ¼ cup of Greek yogurt, followed by a layer of strawberries and then blueberries. Repeat layering process until yogurt and berries are gone. If desired, add a drizzle of honey and sprinkling of cinnamon to yogurt layer before adding berries.

Store any uneaten parfaits covered in fridge for up to two days.

Double Berry Parfaits

‘Murica

 

Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad

Sometimes it is so tempting to not pack a lunch for the office. Sometimes I just want those extra ten minutes to sleep or drink coffee or play with my hair. Sometimes I am uninspired by what I see in my fridge. Sometimes I just plain don’t feel like making lunch.

strawberry and coat cheese salad

So I go out. I zip to the Whole Foods five minutes away and peruse the aisles for something to eat (grocery shopping when hungry may actually be considered some form of torture). I usually end up in the prepared food/salad bar section of the store trying to narrow down my choices. A few weeks ago I found a “Seasonal Selections” salad filled with berries, nuts, and goat cheese. I had to have it! So I did…for about $8. For. A. Salad.

strawberry and coat cheese salad

I am ashamed. It’d be one thing if the dish would stretch to two meals, but let’s be real, I rarely leave leftovers as it is and a salad surely won’t make the cut. It was delicious, just like I thought it would be, but it wasn’t entirely worth it. Plus, I did the math (which in itself is huge!) and realized I could spend about twice that much on ingredients and make the same kind of salad 6 times over!

And that’s exactly what I did. This Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad is light, summery and perfect for on the go lunching or those days when making food is the last thing you want to do. Sweet berries, tangy cheese and filling nuts on a bed of crunchy greens? Yes please!

strawberry and coat cheese salad

Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad (serves 1)

3 cups lettuce blend (I like Spring Mix and Romaine)

1 cup sliced strawberries

1 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

1 oz.  walnut pieces

balsamic vinegar, optional

Pile lettuce on plate and top with strawberries, nuts and cheese. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired.

strawberry and goat cheese salad

Whole Foods, Schmole Foods.

Sweet Potato and Lentil Salad

In grocery stores back home the deli cases offer a huge selection of what they call “salads” though none of the dishes actually have lettuce or greens in them. It’s a very Midwestern thing, I think, to have these giant bowls of goodness loaded with mayonnaise, pasta, potatoes, meats, and occasionally vegetables and to sell them for only $4.95/pound.

sweet potato and lentil salad

There’s potato salad (Polish or German, there’s a difference), pasta salad, tuna salad, fruit salad, grasshopper salad (a delicious combination of Cool Whip, mint flavoring, green food coloring, and crushed Oreos). The list goes on.

The traditional Midwestern response: “Kale? Escarole? Radicchio? Just who do you think you are? Those don’t belong in a salad! Now go get me a can of cream of mushroom soup for tonight’s hot dish…”

sweet potato and lentil salad

Aaaaaaaaanywho. That loose definition of what constitutes a salad led me to make this delish dish. Creamy sweet potatoes, protein-packed lentils, tart apples and meaty mushrooms are combined to make an incredibly filling vegetarian dish. A drizzle of balsamic reduction and a healthy sprinkling of a nice salty cheese balances out this warm and filling Sweet Potato and Lentil Salad. Make a large batch of it at the beginning of the week and eat for days or make for a group and a delicious side dish to go along with a roast chicken.

sweet potato and lentil salad

Sweet Potato and Lentil Salad (makes 4 servings)

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

¼ medium red onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 tart apple (such as Cortland), chopped

1 medium sweet potato, steamed, peeled, and chopped

1 cup cooked lentils

Balsamic vinegar reduction, see recipe below

2-4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, for serving (optional)

Salt to taste

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, stirring to coat with oil, and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, and cook until mushrooms begin to soften and release juices. Add remaining oil, apples, sweet potato, and lentils. Cook until warmed through, about 5 – 10 minutes.

Divide among bowls and top with balsamic vinegar reduction and cheese. Serve immediately.

Balsamic Vinegar Reduction

½ cup balsamic vinegar

Place vinegar in a medium saucepan and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 – 10 minutes, or until reduced by half, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly. The reduction will thicken as it cools.

sweet potato and lentil salad

Totally worth $4.95/pound.

Breadcrumb Stuffed Baked Tomatoes

I’ve had this fascination lately with eating “Brupper.” (That’s “breakfast-for-supper” for the uninformed.) It’s partly due to my love of all things breakfast food and partly due to my laziness. By the time I get home from my internship (and an hour stuck in traffic) all I’m thinking is “FOOD! GET ME FOOD NOW!!!”

Breadcrumb Stuffed Tomatoes

So, eggs and toast have been a staple the past week. I find some veggies to throw in the eggs or on the side and – boom – complete meal.

Not wanting to eat scrambled or fried eggs for the umpteenth night in a row, I decided to get a little creative and put the eggs and toast inside the vegetables.

Breadcrumb Stuffed Tomatoes

With a little ingenuity and a quick round in the oven (my minuscule amount of patience is even thinner by night’s end), these Breadcrumb Stuffed Baked Tomatoes were ready in no time. They’re a healthier take on classic stuffed tomatoes, using egg whites in place of oil and a a full-flavored cheese used sparingly in place of a less flavorful, but more caloric one.

Breadcrumb Stuffed Tomatoes

Breadcrumb Stuffed Baked Tomatoes (makes approx. 6 small or 4 large tomatoes)

6 small tomatoes (about 2 inches around), I used chocolate tomatoes, but regular vine-ripened will work too

3 slices whole-wheat bread, toasted and cooled

2 egg whites

1 tsp. salt

1 TBSP crushed basil leaves

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese

2 TBSP olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a small baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Using a paring knife, cut into the tops of the tomatoes at a 45 degree angle and cut a circle around the top. Remove the top and discard. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh and seeds of the tomato, being careful not to pierce through the skin.

Arrange the hollowed out tomatoes on the prepared baking dish and set aside.

Roughly rip the toast into the bowl of a food processor and process until they form coarse bread crumbs. Add the egg whites, salt, basil, and cheese and blend until fully incorporated.

Fill the tomatoes with an equal amount of the breadcrumb mixture, pressing filling in firmly. Drizzle stuffed tomatoes with olive oil and bake in preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until flesh is tender.

Remove and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Breadcrumb Stuffed Tomatoes

Brupper of champions.

Hotel Room Workouts

Exercise and vacation are rarely synonymous. But, when the sole reason for the vacation happens to be a trip to a bakery, a little more movement should probably be on the menu too.

Nowadays it’s commonplace for hotels to have gyms or small rec rooms filled with treadmills and dumbbells and…well, that’s usually about it. For some reason, I generally have an aversion to these rec rooms – they’re cramped and small and make me self-conscious. I have an irrational fear of some other hotel guest or bellhop seeing me sweating it out and judging me (yes, I’m very happy in my neurotic bubble, thankyouverymuch).

Luckily, there are plenty of exercises that can be done in a hotel room with little to no equipment. There are even workouts designed specifically around being in a hotel. I’m also packing my trusty TRX to make my own gym.

Here are some of my favorite hotel room worthy exercises:

trouble area target circuitSource

perfect 10 leg workoutSource

morning workoutsSource

because you canSource

cardio workoutSource

8 minutes away Source

I figure that spending 20 – 30 minutes every morning over vacation will not only make me feel stronger and more fit, but will totally justify a second (or third) dessert.

How do you stay fit on vacation?

On exercise

I was on my third episode of Dawson’s Creek when it happened. I was just laying there, astonished by the antics of Dawson and Pacey, when I began to feel it. The urge, the pull, the itch, whatever you want to call it. All of a sudden I had to run. Had to.
I paused the show, frantically dressed and gathered my shoes and iPod, afraid the feeling would slip away.
I was out the door and moving, not sure where my feet were carrying me. I took off faster than normal, bobbing through the early afternoon crowd I never encountered on my morning jogs.
Twenty-four minutes later I was climbing the stairs back to my front door, feeling a satisfactory burn in my lungs and fatigue in my legs. I smiled, a sense of accomplishment spreading through me. I did it. 

Read more »

Blueberry Kiwi Salsa

I’ve got nothing for this salsa. It’s hot, I’ve been working like crazy, and am beyond sleep deprived. And really need to paint my nails so we’re keeping this short and sweet. And eating some Blueberry Kiwi Salsa.
I made it months ago right in the midst of a heat wave and a baking lapse. I put it on everything. Salads. Salmon. Spoons. It was phenomenal. I’m always looking for new salad toppings and love putting fruit in my salads so this salsa was the best of both worlds.
Any fruit and be thrown together with some jalapeno and red onion and become a quick and easy salsa, I’ve done cherry and strawberry variations of this with huge success. Have fun with it!

Blueberry Kiwi Salsa(make approx. 2 cups, inspired by How Sweet Eats)
1 vine ripe tomato, seed and chopped
½ medium jalapeno, seeded and chopped
¼ cup chopped red onion
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 whole kiwi, peel and chopped
Handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
Juice of ½ a lime
Salt, to taste
Combine ingredients in food processor and pulse until desired consistency is reached. Alternatively, ingredients can be chopped uniformly and simply mixed together.
Salsa can be stored in fridge for up to one week.
I lied, I’ve got chips for this salsa.

Mini Turkey Pitas with Avocado and Red Onion

I’m so sick of ham. Sick and tired of ham. Ham sandwiches. Hot ham and cheese. Dirty crockpot water ham. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. The ham that is at every seemingly respectable church, community, or family event in the Midwest. It just sits in dirty water for 6 hours as people grab stale buns and make sandwiches with it for.the.entire.party. Makes my skin crawl just thinking about it.
I, on the other hand, have a much more refined palate and choose to snarf down taco dip and lemon squares and bbq baked chips like my life depends on it. But that's neither here nor there…
But, not every day holds such an occasion as the annual church picnic or a second cousins graduation party. On those days there is no dirty crockpot water ham (thank goodness). There’s just lunch.

Read more »

No Plate Like Home

From Scratch, Tasty Home Cooking!

Gourmet Mari Chef

Original Dairy-Free Recipes, Food Styling, and Photography by Mariana

Honestly YUM

Life is a balancing act.

Bake at 350°

Life is a balancing act.

Pinch of Yum

A food blog with simple and tasty recipes.

NinetyCo

Life is a balancing act.

Style Sweet CA

Life is a balancing act.

Willow Bird Baking

Lessons in Life and Kitchen Confidence

Lauren Loves

Life is a balancing act.

The Daily South

Southern Living Blog

Midwest Nice

Midwestern born and bred, southern friend and fed

Jessi Kneeland

Life is a balancing act.

Today's Letters

Life is a balancing act.

Sprouted Kitchen

Life is a balancing act.

Eat, Live, Run

Life is a balancing act.

Pastry Affair

Life is a balancing act.