Huevos Rancheros [Made Healthier]

Yesterday, I had the most irresistible craving for huevos rancheros. Weird, right? I mean, chocolate cravings make sense, so do chip/dip cravings, but huevos rancheros – who craves that?! This girl apparently. You see, when my best friend was visiting the other week, I did what any good New Yorker (yep, that’s right – I just called myself a New Yorker…more on that later) would do and took her to my favorite, guilty-pleasure brunch spot. The pancakes there are ridiculously good. Seriously, no joke. I’m not even a person who orders pancakes for breakfast/brunch. But they are THAT good. Ahh, the suspense is killing you, isn’t it? What is this magical place, you ask? It’s Clinton Street Baking Company & Restaurant, the (unofficial) brunch monarch of Alphabet City. Anyways, we did what any smart best friends would do and split two dishes rather than each getting our own – best of both worlds kind of thing. Now, I’ll be honest and admit that I was a little reluctant at first to share my precious pancakes, but truth be told, it was worth it.

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Our delicious, guilty-pleasure brunch!

My friend ordered the huevos rancheros and since I have never had it before, I didn’t know what to expect, but man was it good! I’m a fan of a smorgasbord of flavors and textures in my food, which is exactly what huevos rancheros delivers. If you don’t know, huevos rancheros (at least the one I devoured at Clinton St. Baking Co.) consists of sunny-side up eggs (which we substituted with scrambled eggs) with red beans, guacamole, jalapeno sour cream, salsa picante, and pepper jack cheese on a flour tortilla. Now you know why I was randomly craving it.

So, I vowed to recreate huevos rancheros in a healthier way.

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Huevos Rancheros [Made Healthier]

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

¼ red onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, diced

½ green bell pepper, chopped

1 medium tomato, chopped

½ cup black beans, canned, drained (preferably no salt added or low sodium)

1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

½ tsp paprika

½ tsp chili powder

1 tsp sriracha (optional)

2 6” whole wheat tortillas

2 large eggs (organic and cage-free, preferably)

½ half Haas avocado, sliced

1 lime wedge

1 Tbsp cilantro,diced.

2 Tbsp salsa (optional)

Directions:

In a pan, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and cook for 3 minutes, or until they appear translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the green pepper and tomato and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the black beans and spices and cook for about 3 more minutes. Meanwhile, spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and cook the tortillas, one by one, for about 2 minutes. Afterwards, fry each egg as desired. Layer the vegetable and bean mixture onto the tortillas, dividing evenly and squeezing the lime on top, followed by the eggs, avocado and cilantro. And if you want more kick, add salsa on top. And voila, you have a (healthier) huevos ranchero dish!

This dish is great as a weekend breakfast or brunch, or if you’re like me, it’s also delicious as a light dinner. Hope you enjoy! Do you have a favorite huevos rancheros recipe?

Two-Ingredient Banana Pancakes

You know that Jack Johnson song, “Banana Pancakes?” It’s one of my favorite rainy day songs, and always makes me want banana pancakes. No matter what time of the day it is. Heck, it makes me think that if I were eating banana pancakes, the rainy day wouldn’t be so bad. And today feels like a rainy day, in fact, I’m 60% sure (according to my phone) that it’s going to rain sometime later today, most likely at a time when I need to trek outside to get to my next destination, most likely in a way that will leave me absolutely drenched. And so, to keep from getting upset at the possibility of an unfortunate rain, I’m going to think about banana pancakes. And you should too. Why, you ask?

Well, what if I told you that I had a banana pancake recipe that wouldn’t break your calorie bank? And that it was high in protein, and [gasp] had no wheat (meaning gluten-free for all my gluten-sensitive friends)? And, as if you’re somehow not convinced yet, that it takes less than 10 minutes and 2 ingredients to make? Are you sold yet? I thought so.

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Two-Ingredient Banana Pancakes:

Makes 1 serving of pancakes

1 ripe banana

2 eggs

*cinnamon, dash (optional, but HIGHLY recommended)

*Another optional add-in: crushed walnuts – to up the healthy fat content of these pancakes and keep you full longer.

In a small bowl, mash the banana with a fork. Add the two eggs (and cinnamon, if you dare), and whisk the ingredients together with the fork. Spray a heated pan with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon a desired amount of the “batter” onto the pan and cook until golden brown. And try, just to make this little nutrition fanatic friend of yours happy, NOT to pour syrup or any sweetener on your pancakes. Your body will thank you for it!

What’s your favorite rainy day meal? Comment below and let me know!

Sunday Morning (or any morning!) French Toast with Homemade Raspberry Sauce

Welp. It’s not Sunday, but life has been a whirlwind and will continue to be a whirlwind all week (a good whirlwind though – no worries). But I couldn’t resist and I HAVE to share this recipe. It’s simple AND satisfying, and one of my favorite weekend breakfast/brunch dishes. Or any day that I’m not rushing through my morning routine.

I’m sure you read the words “French toast” and thought of the typical indulgent breakfast favorite that is sure to leave you with a sugar rush rather than setting you up for the day. I’m not going to lie, French toast is one of my brunch weaknesses. But, I have to admit, it’s usually more of a dessert than a well-balanced breakfast dish, drenched in syrup and topped with even more sugar-laden goodies.

So, of course, I had to recreate it. I mean, a girl with a love for French toast simply can’t go without for too long, am I right? But you won’t find any added sugars in this recipe…what you will find is a well-balanced breakfast, complete with whole grains + fiber, complete protein, healthy fats, and fruit + antioxidants.

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Sunday Morning French Toast with Homemade Raspberry Sauce:

Makes 1 serving

1 piece of whole-grain bread

1 large egg

1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen

2 Tbsp almonds, chopped or slivered

dash of cinnamon, to taste

Whisk the egg and cinnamon together in a bowl. Soak the bread in the egg mixture, flip over and soak the other side. Spray a heated pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place and cook the bread in the pan until golden brown. Flip and cook the other side. Meanwhile, in a heated pan, toast the almonds until they are golden-brown, 2-3 minutes. Microwave the raspberries for: 30 seconds if they are fresh, 45-60 seconds if they are frozen. The raspberries should melt and form a sauce, but still be mostly intact. Top the French toast with the raspberries and almonds. And voila, you have healthy French toast that is firm on the outside, soft on the inside, creamy and crunchy on top, and both cinnamon-y and with a naturally sweetness from the raspberries. Delish!

What’s your favorite healthy Sunday morning breakfast? Leave a comment and let me know!

Lean Green Omelette

Let me start this off by saying…my boyfriend makes the BEST omelettes. I’m not kidding, they are to die for. We went to the Dominican Republic a few weeks ago on vacation and ate omelettes EVERY SINGLE DAY. Probably not the healthiest choice either of us have made, but man were they delicious. And we were on vacation. The same man made them every morning and it was fascinating to watch – he made it seem as if were an art form. Omelette making an art form? You probably think I’m crazy, if you didn’t already. 

P1020846Beach bums in the D.R. – watch out!

Well, anyways Chase adopted these omelette-making skills and perfected them…and now he is the best omelette-maker I know. I know, I know, you’re probably jealous of me now (and you should be).

So today, after my 90 minute cardio workout (insane!), I was, to say the least, STARVING. And not only was I hungry, but I wanted to refuel myself. I’m usually not the one to eat more than one egg in a sitting but I felt it was necessary.

And I missed Chase. So I whipped up an omelette (literally). And yes, it was the right choice.

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In order to incorporate all of these delicious vegetables (and to satisfy my grumbling stomach), I decided to make a 2-egg omelette. Yes, I know there has been much debate on the unhealthiness of eggs, and their contributing role in raising cholesterol levels…however, there has been more recent research done on how dietary cholesterol actually does not significantly raise blood cholesterol levels, and that only a small amount of the cholesterol you consume passes into the bloodstream. Blood cholesterol levels are impacted much more by consuming saturated fats and trans fats. That being said, those with heart disease or cholesterol problems should still limit their intake of dietary cholesterol to less than 200mg/day. If you don’t believe me, check out this awesome article by the Harvard Medical School: www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/egg-nutrition. If you still don’t believe me or if you do have high cholesterol or are at risk for heart disease, use egg whites instead of whole eggs. I promise it will be just as delicious.

Anyways, nutrition facts aside, back to the omelette-making business. The key is to cook the vegetables first, then combine them with the egg(s), whip, and cook.

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Lean Green Omelette:

Makes 1 omelette

1/4 medium red onion

1/2 large green bell pepper

1 cup spinach leaves

1/2 Tbsp olive oil

2 eggs (or 2 egg whites for the cholesterol-friendly version)

sea salt (to taste)

black peppercorn (to taste)

garlic pepper (to taste)

Chop the onion, bell pepper, and place in a bowl with spinach. Heat 1/4 Tbsp olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Toss in the vegetables, and let them cook for about a minute or two (until the spinach has wilted). In a bowl, combine the cooked vegetables with 2 eggs, whip with a fork, put the remainder of the oil (1/4 Tbsp) on the pan, and pour the vegetable/egg mixture in until it covers the entire pan. When the bottom is golden in color, flip it over onto the other side (bonus points if you get it flipped over in one piece!). Let the other side cook until it too is golden, fold the omelette and transfer to your plate.

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Talk about green!

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If you’re enjoying this for breakfast, you could accompany your omelette with a small piece of toast. However, if you’re like me and want to make it a full meal (and have a Trader Joe’s conveniently located within walking distance to your home), I suggest you pair it with a piece of whole wheat bread smothered with Trader Joe’s Red Pepper Spread with Eggplant and Garlic. 

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It is absolutely delicious. And addicting. And pairs great with this fabulous omelette.

What’s your opinion on the egg/cholesterol debate?

First Day of Classes! Pt. 1 + Creamy Crunchy Banana Oatmeal


After a once-again sleepless night, I woke up before my alarm (again) and scurried over to the kitchen to make breakfast. Making breakfast has become almost a brainless routine for me…and I have no regrets about it. Ever since I fell in love with oatmeal this summer, I’ve had it for breakfast EVERY SINGLE DAY, well almost, aside from the weekend pancakes or French toast or my mom’s delicious home-made blinchikis.

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You might wonder if I ever get bored eating oatmeal day after day, but how could I? With oatmeal, I can get creative and explore endless possibilities of delicious variations. This one specifically is perfect for my current NYC college student budget. Cheap, healthy, and filling!

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Creamy Crunchy Banana Oatmeal:

Makes 1 delicious bowl of oatmeal

1/4 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup milk of choice (I prefer vanilla soymilk)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 banana, sliced

1 Tbsp natural crunchy peanut butter

Alright, so you could easily put all of these ingredients together in a bowl and pop it in the microwave for 3 minutes and call it good…however, I’ll tell you a trick to make it the most enjoyable oatmeal experience you’ve ever had. The night before, combine the oats, cinnamon, and milk in a tupperware container and stick it in the refrigerator. This allows the cinnamon and (soy)milk to infuse into the oats. Then, in the morning, pour the oatmeal mixture into the bowl and heat it in a microwave on high for 2 minutes. Take it out, add the chopped banana and stir. Don’t forget to add that precious peanut butter before placing the bowl back in the microwave for 1 minute. Now the best part…enjoy your delicious bowl of oatmeal (but let it cool a little first before scalding your tongue – this is a step I forget every morning).

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Oatmeal and coffee are daily necessities for me, and without both in the morning to start my day, I am even more likely to wander around aimlessly.

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And today, I had an agenda…

to navigate my way through campus.

You see, this whole wandering through campus looking like a lost freshman really isn’t my thing. And honestly, what’s even worse is when people ASK me if I’m a freshman, and I have to explain that no, I am a grad student, it’s just my first day. Oy.

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So I set out after breakfast to catch a campus tour…and missed it. Yep, back to the lost freshman syndrome. I grabbed a walking tour map and went on my way.

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…definitely not in Michigan anymore.

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Check back later to see what I made for my rainy day lunch!

Hint: It’s healthy AND delicious.