Monday, March 22, 2010
Breakfast is undoubtedly my favorite meal of the day. You would be surprised at how a big balanced breakfast can fuel your body to sustain the pressures of your daily routine. No matter how much you travel or how stressful your job is, a healthy breakfast is your password to a bright, energetic and happy day. In today's fast paced life, I believe it is the need of every family to watch what they eat for breakfast although they may not be able to make this meal their family meal.
Lately, we have been skipping breakfasts for one reason or the other, starting our day with a heavy dose of caffeine and eating heavy in the evenings. As a result, we get grumpy during the day, overeat in the evenings & feel fatigued and bloated the following morning.
This blueberry and banana parfait did a marvellous job of breaking this vicious cycle. It gave us something incredibly delicious to indulge in as we started our day. This balanced whole meal has the capacity to keep your body fueled for a busy morning. You get your carbs, calcium & protein as well as your berries & fruit in a single delightful bowl. This was our ultimate solution to ensuring that we ate our 'breakfast like a king'.
Blueberry & Banana Parfait
1 large banana, thinly sliced
6 oz packet of blueberries, washed
1 cup granola of choice (I used 7 grain granola)
2 cups plain yogurt
4 TBS sugar
Mix the sugar and yogurt in a bowl. Take two glass cups or parfait bowls. Arrange the granola, fruit, yogurt & berries in alternate layers. You can create as many or as little layers as you like depending on the size of your parfait bowls.
Serve immediately at room temperature or chill for 15 -20 minutes before serving. Cover & store in the fridge if preparing in advance. This can be prepared a day in advance.
1. Replace the fruits & berries with what you have at hand.
2. You can substitute the plain yogurt with some flavored yogurt or try Greek yogurt for some extra thickness.
3. Add any nuts of your choice for some added crunch.
4. Use maple syrup or agave nectar as a natural sweetener in place of sugar.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
I know, I know...Christmas is still a long way away....you folks are probably wondering what these bright red and green colors are doing here at this time of the year? Here's what... I had stumbled upon some high quality pistachios and dried cranberries while grocery shopping one weekend in February. I had to buy them, but first I had to think of a recipe I would use them in. That wasn't difficult at all and the result was these moist, delicious and nutty muffins. I shared them with some of my friends, some of whom actually made them at home. I got rave reviews and all of them told me how delighted they were to bake them. I was ecstatic!
With that verdict I set off with my whisk and those rich quality ingredients to try a newer, healthier version of the original muffins. This time by substituting some of the all purpose flour with bran. Yeah! And it was a success! The bran gave a wonderful, nutty texture to these muffins which complimented the sweetness of the cranberries. Pistachios, which are my all time favorite, provide the perfect crunch along with some rich buttery goodness.
I will still be playing around with this recipe to incorporate more whole grain flour, reducing the butter, changing the baking temperature to get an appealing golden brown crust. But for now here is the recipe to these gorgeous healthier muffins.
Cranberry & Pistachio Bran Muffins with Orange Zest
Makes 12 standard sized muffins
1 cup all purpose flour, sifted
3/4 cup wheat bran
1 tbs baking powder
3/4 cup cranberries, sweetened
1/3 cup pistachios, unsalted & unroasted
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup), melted
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup apple sauce
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 tbs orange zest
Preheat the oven to 400 deg F. Line a standard muffin tin with muffin cups.
Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Mix all the wet ingredients in a 2 cup measuring bowl and whisk until well combined (Mixing in a measuring bowl just makes it easy to pour the wet ingredients in to the dry ingredients. You can mix the wet ingredients in any bowl).
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula fold the ingredients using minimal strokes. Do not over mix.
Fill each muffin cup with 1/4 cup batter.
Bake for about 13-15 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Allow them to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes and then transfer to the cooling racks.
Enjoy with a cup of hot coffee for breakfast or as a snack.