Jam Filled French Toast Roll Ups

Friday, October 25, 2013

Have I got a yummy breakfast recipe for you guys! I was on Pinterest a couple weeks ago and came across a recipe twist to the standard french toast - a roll up with your choice of jam filling! I made it the next day and fell in love! I will be making these once a month (or week!) as a sweet breakfast treat. Enjoy!

Jam Filled French Toast Roll Ups
Prep time: 10 min        Cook Time: 18-20 min           Yield: 16-20 roll ups

- 16 - 20 slices sandwich bread
- 1/2 cup jam, your choice (I used strawberry)
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 Tbsp butter, melted
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a large cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.
2. Trim crust off each slice of bread. Working with one bread slice at a time, use a rolling pin to flatten bread to half its original size. Spread one tablespoon of jam onto one half of the slice. Starting from the jam side, roll up bread and set aside. Continue with remaining bread slices.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, milk, vanilla extract, flour and baking powder. Dip each bread roll up into mixture and transfer to prepared cookie sheet.
4. Bake in center of oven for 18-20 minutes, turning them after 9 minutes.
5. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. Once the roll ups are baked, dip each roll up in cinnamon mixture to evenly coat. Serve immediately.

Butternut Squash Recipe Roundup

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I love this time of year when pumpkins and squash varieties are readily available. I love the colour that they bring and the delicious dishes that are made with them. Not only are they delicious, they are also packed with nutrients. One cup of cooked squash has 457% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A (a key vitamin for vision health) and is a good source of fiber, potassium, and magnesium! I don't usually make dishes designed around pumpkins and squash (other than pumpkin pie!). So I decided I will check out some recipes for ideas on how I can incorporate butternut squash into my recipes this fall. And while I did go a little overboard with collecting the recipes, I can always use this page for future years to come when I want to try some new recipe.

Butternut Squash Tart with Fried Sage
Macaroni and Cheese with Butternut Squash
Steamed Butternut Squash Pudding
Potato and Squash Mash
Skillet Chicken Pot Pie with Butternut Squash
Squash and Bean Minestrone
Butternut Squash with Brown Butter
Butternut-Squash Crumble
Ginger-Squash Cake with White Chocolate Frosting
Butternut Squash au Gratin with Wild Mushrooms and Crispy Bacon
Butternut Squash Soup with Chipotle Cream


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

This weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving. We had two lovely (and filling!) dinners at both parents' homes. I was thinking of what I was thankful for this year. I started off with the common things I am always thankful for: health, happiness, love, family, friends, job. But different this year than any other year's passed, I was mostly thankful for life.

Last week I witnessed a horrible accident that happened only two cars away from me, right in front of me. On a two-way high-speed road, the oncoming car ended up clipping the tire from the car that was only two cars ahead of me, flipped onto its hood and came sliding and spinning down the lane. Because I was already at a stall from the traffic, I stood there like a deer in headlights watching this (what seemed like a giant) machine coming towards our direction. I didn't move, I didn't know what to do. The only thing that passed through my mind was "it is going to slam into me!" In what seemed like minutes, the car in front of me quickly diverted to the right which I followed suit. Thankfully, as the car was spinning in its path it caught onto the gravel and slowed down, stopping only a few feet off to the side from where I was stopped gazing at the sight, trying to comprehend what was happening. The pieces from the car came flying everywhere, hitting and denting up my car.

After calling 911, I sat there watching everyone rush to the aid of those in both cars. I was thinking just how close that car came to me. Then a swarm of emotions came to me. I started thinking of the "what ifs" - what if I had left work early by a minute or two I would have been right behind that car; what if that car didn't stop from the gravel and instead came my way; what if the car that got clipped had been pushed backwards from the force and cause the cars in front of me to crash into me? There were so many emotions and thoughts that rushed through my mind that day and the next. I felt so traumatized at the thought that this rollover happened right in front of me.

There are so many things from that day that I have to be thankful for. Thankfully the people in that car only suffered minor injuries, from what I read in the news. Thankfully the car didn't collide into more cars than one. Thankfully I had left work when I had. I am so thankful to God for the blessings that He has given me each and every day. And most importantly, guarding me from what may have happened that day. I now see how precious life is. I now see how life can be taken away so easily. I am very thankful for everything I have and for all the joys and gifts that He has blessed my life, and this was a great reminder of all that I do have.

Warm Asparagus and Eggs with Onion Vinaigrette {Guest Post}

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hi all! Today I am sharing my most favourite lunch recipe over at The Best Blog Recipes! Make sure to stop by and get the recipe or check it out below!

Warm Asparagus and Eggs with Onion Vinaigrette
Prep time: 5 min        Cook Time: 10 min           Yield: 1 serving

- 2 shelled eggs
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 1/2 red onion, minced
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 lb. large asparagus spears

1. In a small saucepan, boil hard-shelled eggs until cooked to your liking. I boiled mine for 10 minutes until hard-cooked. Allow to cool, or submerge eggs in cold ice water.
2. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, onion, olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
3. Cut off the woody ends from the asparagus. Place the asparagus on a rimmed baking dish. Bake in the oven at 400°F until they are tender and slightly brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Arrange the asparagus on a platter or individual plates. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the warm asparagus, distributing it evenly. Chop up the hard boiled eggs into small cubes. Sprinkle over the asparagus and serve immediately with toast or warm bread.

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Tomato Salsa - Sataraš (Satarash)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Well folks, summer is officially done (since a couple weeks ago!) and we are slowly picking off the last remaining tomatoes and peppers we have before the growing season is over (if it isn't over already!). Every summer, we get so many tomatoes from our garden and from the grandparents' garden that I often find myself making this easy and super Vitamin C filled meal. It is a traditional Serbo-Croatian recipe called Sataraš (Satarash) that resembles salsa.

It is a great lunch option or even dinner. We eat it almost every week during the summer with some fresh cut up cucumber and feta cheese. We just cannot get enough of it! If you still have some tomatoes, pepper and onions left over in your garden, make sure to give this a try! If you have any salsa left over, you can try your hand at canning this recipe, or do what I do and just freeze portions to use for future dinners. Enjoy!

Tomato Salsa - Sataraš (Satarash)
Prep time: 10 min        Cook Time: 45 min           Yield: 4-6 servings

- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, minced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, minced
- 8-10 large tomatoes, cubed
- 2 tsp salt (or vegeta)

1. Heat oil in a large pan (a wide and shallow one is ideal) over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add peppers and cook until almost tender, about 8-10 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook uncovered until almost all of the liquid is evaporated. Season with salt or vegeta. Serve warm either on a slice of bread or alone.

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5k Run Update

Monday, October 7, 2013

Hello friends! I hope you all had a marvelous weekend. I had my 5k "Zombie Run" on Saturday. It was honestly something I could not have ever prepared for! I thought this run would be a straight, on-the-road type of run. Boy was I wrong! It's called a zombie run for one reason: you are given three "lives" (or flags) and you have to finish the line with one flag in tact, meaning that you have survived from the zombies! The course was not as easy as I thought it would be. We ran through the forest, up and down steep slopes, over pits of mud, and through tall grass. The obstacles were honestly tough - over hay stacks, over cars, and through large sewer pipes.

I honestly thought it was like a military training boot camp! And on top of it all you have to run from the zombies chasing you. It tested both my fitness level and endurance level! But I made it, and I survived! Ok, I didn't "survive" with any lives (only one from our 4 team group did), but I now know I can handle hard and tough events like these. I never ended up taking any pictures of the event (I mean, who could with the zombies after you!) but I will share a few from the event's Facebook page (giving all rights of the pictures to them). Enjoy!

A few of the 2,000 zombies that attended the event.
The famous mud pit!
The hay hurdle...which was at the very start of the race! And if that didn't kill you then running up the tall hill did! It kicked our butts, but the long road ahead was not any better!
Over the meadow and through the woods...of the dead!

Giving Thanks at the Table

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Here in Canada, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Only two more weeks until Thanksgiving weekend. I love this time of year. When the leaves start to fall, the smell of home cooked meals is in the air, and you can finally wear your warm sweaters and cozy boots. I remember my childhood around this time of year: we would always have Thanksgiving dinner at my grandparent's house. The smell of turkey dinner in combination with the wood burning fireplace always hit me as we drove up the driveway. My grandmother's kitchen is small, but it somehow was always big enough to fit all the dishes and food. She always made the turkey, stuffing and veggies while we brought the mashed potatoes, soup and dessert. I loved the heat that both her oven and fireplace created, and that warm and cozy feeling inside of me as we all ate together. It was just wonderful memories year after year.

As I grew older, moved out and started making new memories with my in-laws, I now look forward to the days where I too can create these memories for my children. Again this year, Thanksgiving will be celebrated twice - once at each side of the family. Our house is not big enough to host a large dinner, and so I look forward to baking two apple pies and bringing two veggie plates. However, if I had a larger house to host Thanksgiving dinner, I would set my table like this...



Post-Workout Lessons

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

In April, I started the 60-day Insanity challenge to help me get into shape for summer. The program really helped me get toned up and slimmed down. I lost a total of 3 pounds during the first half of this program, on top of my already 10-pound loss before my wedding. During the program, I felt that I wasn't losing the weight as effectively as I should be. I felt like I hit a plateau - my pants seemed to still fit somewhat the same as they did before, and I wasn't seeing much change on the scale. I was eating healthy, eating regularly as the program nutrition plan suggested, and working out. However, I was not losing any weight during the second month. That all changed about two weeks after I ended the program. I started jogging around the block and noticed that I had lost another 7 pounds within a week of jogging! I think I was at a plateau - I needed a change of pace to help me lose more weight. Insanity helped to build my muscles and tone me up, which I still have. However, changing it up and doing jogging after this high-intensity interval training program helped my body lose more weight.I am currently back at it with the Insanity program, trying to lose the 7 pounds I have left to be at my "happy" weight. And with the 5k run I have this weekend, my training sessions have helped to keep me on track.

During this entire weight-loss process, I have adopted a new way of eating and living. I no longer visit fast food chains, on occasion have a glass of pop, no longer house junk food in my cupboard, always cook at home using fresh fruits and veggies, and know how to schedule in workouts into my day. I am not a crazed count-every-single-calorie food addict, because I don't believe in living your life so restricted. Nor do I eat low-fat, calorie-wise, nutrient-filled packaged foods. Food should be about eating healthy and natural ingredients. No veggie is a "nutrient-filled", "low-fat", "low-calorie" veggie. When it comes to fresh produce, this shouldn't be a concern. I know there is no real benefit in eating the new veggie bread to get my daily dose of veggies. But instead  my body will get the nutrients from fresh ingredients that go into the home cooked meals that I make. I now truly follow the "everything in moderation" rule - it's what works for me. Can I have a cookie for a snack? Yes. But do I have a half-dozen in a day? No, and I probably don't even in a week. I have educated myself in healthy eating - not only for me but for my family. This was probably one of the most important lessons I have learned through this weight loss journey!

Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I have been searching for healthier alternatives to cookies recently, and am always trying to add new things to my recipes. Which is why I was so intrigued by this recipe - chia seeds? Oh yes! While the recipe called for almond butter, I used sunflower-flax seed butter. And I have to say it gives it a nice taste. If you don't have these nut butter alternatives, I am sure you can substitute for peanut butter. While these cookies are not made with any flour, I have to say that they don't taste as if they are lacking flour as the main ingredient. They are so chewy, even after two days. I added chocolate chips to mine, to give them more taste (and I love adding chocolate to cookies!). Enjoy!

Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies
Prep time: 10 min        Cook Time: 12-15 min           Yield: 2-3 dozen

- 1/4 cup ground chia seeds
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup almond butter (I used
sunflower-flax seed butter)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 5 cups rolled oats
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips cookies or raisins (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. Place chia seeds in a large bowl. Pour in hot water and immediately whisk together to avoid clumps. Allow to rest for a few minutes. Then add coconut oil, applesauce, almond butter, sugar, vanilla. Whisk well to combine.
3. In a separate bowl, combine oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to wet ingredients. Stir well with wooden spoon. Add raisins or chocolate chips. Stir to combine.
4. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

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