Now that the weather is chilly, well cold would be a better word, I love to enjoy a hot comforing breakfast in the morning. Oatmeal is that morning comfort food for me and I used to frequently cook regular oats on a cold morning. That is, until I tried steel-cut oats.
A couple of winters ago, my friends Steve and Shari came for a visit and offered to cook breakfast. The night before, we had gone to Huckleberries Natural Market, which is always a fun place to browse and shop. They carefully selected the ingredients, which included steel-cut oats and organic raisins. Watching Shari in the morning, I was a bit skeptical, but when I tasted the oats and felt the gooey yet crunchy texture, I was forever hooked.
Since that day, I have cooked these oats only on occasion. They take so long that usually my husband and I are not patient enough to wait for our breakfast. So, after some digging, I stumbled upon a few different ideas to make breakfast a breeze in the morning. My favorite was the thought of putting the steel-cut oats in the crock pot. I have tweaked the recipe and created a yummy reason to hop out of bed on a cold morning. Of course I have added some anti-inflammatory touches 🙂
Steel-cut Crock Pot Oats
1 cup steel-cut oats
4 cups water
1/2 cup non-fat milk
Pure Maple Syrup
Cran raisins or raisins
Mix the oats, water and milk in a slow cooker. Set on low heat for 8 hours. Start this before you go to bed and you will wake up to a healthy, warm, and comforting breakfast. Add 1 teaspoon of flax meal and 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup plus some raisins to complete the perfect bowl of oatmeal. By the way, plain ole raisins are extremely high in anti-inflammatory properties and can help calm morning inflammation.
While researching the health benefits of pumpkins today, I learned a fun little tidbit. I already knew that they were a really great source of beta-carotene. I also knew that they were great for an anti-inflammatory diet. What I did not know was that pumpkin seeds are packed with the mineral zinc! They are awesome for fighting cold and flu viruses. I think that is wonderful news. A delicious and nutritious way to stay healthy is always a plus.
I love to make Spicy Pumpkin Seeds in the fall. The spices I use add to the anti-inflammatory benefit so all the way around, they are plain ole good for ya 🙂 Enjoy!
Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
- 2 cups pumpkin seeds, rinsed and patted dry
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (or salt to taste)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl until evenly coated. Spread single layer on the cookie sheet. Bake for 25-35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container.
With the many diet changes I have made in the past four years, giving up coffee is not one of them. I love sipping my hot cup of coffee in the quiet stillness of the morning before the business of the day begins. It is a special time to collect my thoughts, plan my day, and most of all commune with God through prayer and reading the Bible.
I enjoy a small amount of dark chocolate creamer in my coffee. Instead of purchasing the super sweet milky chocolate creamers from the grocery store, I make my own. That way I can control the amount of sugar, milk, and add dark cocoa that actually has anti-oxidants. I also add a little cayenne pepper and cinnamon for anti-inflammatory benefits and to give it a bit of a bite and extra flavor. It is simply delicious!
Mexican Chocolate Coffee Creamer
1/2 cup of organic sugar
1 1/2 cups of dried non-fat milk
1/4 cup dark chocolate powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix all together and store in an airtight container. Enjoy!
* You can experiment with the amount of ingredients by adding or taking away so that you adjust the recipe to your liking.
I realized today that I have not added a gardening post since spring when my baby plants were stuck in the windowsill. Since then, my husband has built me three magnificent raised beds and the produce has gone wild.
- Radishes:We have planted twice and eaten them up the moment they were ready.
- Lettuce:Had plenty the first time around. They were supposed to be the cut and comeback variety, however, they did not come back so well. Perhaps because of the heat.
- Carrots:Simply amazing
- Onions: Still growing, but we are using them already.
- Peas: They were awesome and we enjoyed them with homemade ranch dip.
- Green Beans: They are ready now and we cannot seem to pick and eat them fast enough. May need the neighbors to help in eating them.
- Squash:So far we have harvested one and it was delicious. Waiting for more.
- Zucchini:What can I say except WOW! It is doing what zucchini does best….producing lots of zucchini. May need more creative ideas for zucchini recipes.
- Tomatoes:My poor poor maters. I babied them and nurtured them along and all of the sudden when they went outside they got blight! They are still producing tomatoes but the plants are pretty scary looking. Need to figure out how to keep them in better shape next year.
- Strawberries: We started out with 36 little strawberry plants and they have flourished and are spreading throughout the bed. No berries this year, but should get a good crop next year.
I have loved everything about my garden. The planning, planting, weeding, watering, and of course the harvesting. The fact that it not only survived, but flourished makes me exceedingly happy.
Once in a while I really get in a rut planning out meals, especially when trying to keep the meals in the anti-inflammatory range. A couple of days ago I was extremely tempted to go out to eat with my husband rather than coming up with a new idea. As usual I opened the refrigerator door and stared at the contents. I saw sweet peppers and two kinds of tortillas. White flour tortillas for my husband and multi grain with flax tortillas for me.
Hmmmm…. the wheels began to turn. I went out to my garden and picked a beautiful white onion and headed back into the kitchen.
I chopped up the peppers and onion and placed them in a saucepan that was drizzled with some good ole anti-inflammatory olive oil. Look how beautiful and fresh the colors are.
After sauteing the peppers and onion I placed half of the mixture onto each tortilla. Then I shredded a little bit of Dubliner cheese. This is one of our favorite cheeses lately. Well….honestly I just love cheese in general, but this one is what is in the refrigerator right now. I lightly sprinkled a little cheese over the veggies and covered with another tortilla. Then I pulled out one of my favorite kitchen tools……
……. and one at a time cooked the Veggie Quesadillas in there. They turned out scrumptious!
1 onion, diced
4 sweet mini peppers, diced
1/4 cup shredded cheese (your favorite)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 small tortillas
Sautee the onion and peppers in a medium pan drizzled with olive oil over medium heat. Stir occassionally and cook until tender. Add the salt and mix together.
Lay out two tortillas and place half of the mixture on each tortilla. Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the veggies and cover with another tortilla.
Cook one quesadilla at a time by placing on a pannini maker that has been lightly coated with cooking spray. Close the top down over the quesadilla and cook for about 2 minutes or until golden griddle marks appear on the quesadilla and the cheese is melted.
Serve with salsa, sour cream or my Sundried Tomato Hummus.
Chicken is pretty much a staple around our house. I can do grilled chicken on the outdoor grill more ways than you can imagine. Thankfully, chicken is not horrible on the inflammation scale. It has a very low rating and therefore I can enjoy it on a regular basis. When you add to it the proper anti-inflammatory spices you instantly have a chicken breast that will help calm inflammation in your body.
The other day my husband asked me if I knew how to make Chicken Corden Bleu, which I do. However, I wanted to make it anti-inflammatory. I made a couple of adjustments to the typical way of making this dish and I am pleased to say that it was a success! Since garlic and paprika are very anti-inflammatory I made a rub out of them and rubbed it into my chicken breast, both sides, after pounding out the meat. I used canola oil to fry it in since that is an anti-inflammatory oil. I also made sure to use a very low-fat cheese and to use it sparingly. I served the chicken with sauteed zucchini fresh from our garden. No need to miss out on delicious food while eating the anti-inflammatory way! Give this a try…it’s delicious 🙂
Chicken Corden Bleu
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 slices of lean deli ham
2 slices of low-fat Swiss cheese
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup of Italian seasoned bread crumbs
2 egg whites
Place the chicken breasts on a large wooden cutting board and cover with saran wrap. Use a meat mallet (or rolling pin) and pound the chicken until flattened to about 1/4 inch thickness. Throw away the saran wrap.
Mix together paprika, garlic powder, and salt. Sprinkle over chicken breast and rub into both sides.
Place one slice of ham and one slice of cheese on the rough side of the chicken breast. Roll the breast up while keeping the ham and cheese in the middle. Fasten by sticking a couple of toothpicks down through the chicken to hold together.
Put the egg whites into a bowl and whisk with a fork until frothy. Put the bread crumbs in another bowl. Dip one chicken roll at a time into the egg whites first and then rolling in the bread crumbs, coating all sides.
Place the rolled and coated chicken into a frying pan with hot canola oil over medium heat. Fry for about 10 minutes per side, watching closely to keep from burning. Turn down the heat a little if it is cooking too fast. Test for doneness before serving.