The problem with breakfast

I think we can all wrap our heads around eating low-GI during most of the day. Eat lots of fruits and veggies, lean protein, whole grains, etc. It isn't too much of a stretch to eat a salad for lunch instead of a sandwich or to switch out some broccoli for your nightly potato. Breakfast, on the other hand, can be quite a challenge.

When you think about it, almost all of our "quick serve" breakfast options are loaded with highly processed grain (which immediately turns into sugar in our bodies). Cereal, toast, muffins, pancakes, waffles....they are all just a bowl of sugar waiting to hit your stomach. So what should we eat for breakfast if we have to eliminate almost everything off of the breakfast list?

Here are some of my favorite low-GI friendly breakfast options:

- Sprouted grain toast with peanut butter with fruit on the side
- Plain yogurt with fresh fruit and nuts
- Fresh fruit smoothie made with yogurt and seasonal fruit
- Flax and Bran Morning Glory Muffins
- Slow cooked oatmeal (never instant!) with milk and nuts.

Embracing the change of season yesterday, I decided to make myself a veggie scramble for my AM meal. This is a favorite during the fall and winter. It takes about 10 minutes to make from scratch. If you are pressed for time, saute up your veggies in advance (or use last nights leftovers - almost any veggie is good in this). This cuts the prep time to around 3 minutes. I generally serve this with one piece of sprouted grain toast, but had a whole grain, high fiber sandwich thin in the house so I used it instead. It was delish.

Veggie Scramble (serves 1)

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 t olive oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 oz cheese of choice (optional)
S & P to taste

Heat medium saute pan over med-high heat. Add olive oil to coat pan. Add peppers and onion to pan and cook until crisp tender, about 5 - 6 minutes. Add egg to pan and stir to combine. Cook until egg is just set, about 2 minutes. Top with cheese, add S & P as desired and serve.

The sweet tooth is on the loose - Soft Ginger Carrot Cookies

Maybe its that time of the month, maybe its because its Monday, maybe it is because it is raining cats and dogs. Whatever it is, I need MORE cookies today. I have an abundance of carrots in my fridge, so I decided to use some of them to whip up a batch of Soft Ginger Carrot Cookies. They are perfect with a cup of tea on a chilly fall day. Mmmmmm....

Soft Ginger Carrot Cookies (makes 30)

1 C whole wheat pasty flour
1 C almond meal
1 t ground ginger
1 t baking powder
Pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch salt
12 T butter (1 1/2 sticks), room temperature
1 egg
1/3 C dark agave nectar
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 C shredded carrots (about 3 small carrots)
1 C chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, almond meal, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer, beat butter for two minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add agave, vanilla and egg and beat an additional minute. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in carrots and nuts.

Using a medium-sized cookie scoop (approx 2 T per scoop), scoop out dough onto cookie sheet. With a wet palm, gently flatten each cookie. Bake 14 - 16 minutes or until firm and lightly golden brown. Remove to wire rack to cool.

Each cookie has 116 calories, 0.5 g of sugar and 1 g of fiber. Compare these to Land O Lakes Carrot Cake Cookies at 196 calories, 17.7 g of sugar and 0.7 g of fiber.

Low Sugar Chocolate Cake Cookies

The last 6 weeks have been insane for me. My Mom was here visiting (hi Mom!), we went to NYC together, I was working lots of hours, David went back to school, Mom went home, we went on vacation, Daniel went back to school, etc, etc, etc.... I am not really sure how I got thru the last month and a half, but I do know that it involved lots of sugar.

Generally speaking, I don't worry too much about the occasional times when I am off of my eating plan. I think that is why I have been able to keep it up for nearly two years. I just get right back on the clean eating wagon and move on. But, when you have been on a 6 week bender like I have been, its a bit hard to kick the need for sugar. That is why I needed cookies this weekend.

The sugar cravings have been getting to me since I started back on the refined carbs and I have been dying for a cookie in the evenings. I decided to stop sabotaging myself by making some not-too-bad-for-me treats. These are a soft, cake like drop cookie which are an adaption of a cookie I found on They are soft and chewy and not too sweet. Chris finds them a little too bland (i.e. he wants more sweetener), but the boys and I like them as is. If you want to sweeten these up, just add a bit more agave and you should be fine.

I did a quick nutritional analysis of these cookies and compared them to Oreo Cakesters. A 59 gr serving of my cookies is 3.3 gr of sugar and 2.8 gr of fiber and a similar serving of Oreos delivers a whopping 24 gr of sugar with less than 1 of fiber. While my cookies aren't health food (there is butter and sweetener in them after all) they are a fantastic substitute. Enjoy in good health.

Low Sugar Chocolate Cake Cookies (makes 24 cookies, or about 8 servings)

2 egg whites
3/4 C almond meal*
3/4 C whole wheat flour
1/3 C agave nectar
1/4 C cocoa powder
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/4 C butter, softened
1/4 C grain sweetened chocolate chips
1 T butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Like baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Add egg whites to a clean large bowl. Whip until soft peaks form. Gently add the remaining cookie ingredients to the bowl and fold to combine (the dough will be the consistency of thick paste.)

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto parchment lined sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 7-8 minutes or until set. Do not over bake. Remove to wire rack to cool.

While the cookies are baking, prepare glaze by adding butter to chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. Microwave for 15 seconds. Stir to combine.

When the cookies are cool to the touch, drizzle with glaze and enjoy.

* The almond meal that I used was the leftovers from making almond milk. I am sure standard almond meal would produce a similar cookie.

Saucy and Spicy Overnight Beans

Chris has been craving baked beans. I made some a few weeks ago and he has been begging for them since. I love cooking beans - they are cheap, easy to make, incredibly good for you and can be made in a multitude of ways. I was going to make my usual beans up this weekend, but decided to give a little shout out to Saucy Mama and whip up a batch using a few of their products. The resulting beans were delish. You should give them a try!

Saucy and Spicy Overnight Beans (makes 12 side dish servings)

4 oz bacon, diced
1/2 large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 C strong black coffee
3/4 C ketchup
1/2 C molasses
1/3 C dark agave nectar (or 1/2 C brown sugar)
1/4 C Saucy Mama Chipotle Mustard
1 T Saucy Mama Hot Wing Sauce
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T worchestershire sauce
juice of half a lemon
1/4 t liquid smoke
1/4 t dried oregano
1/2 t chili powder
5 C water
1 lb dried navy or great northern beans, picked over

Heat a medium frying pan over med-high heat. Add bacon and fry until most of the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Add onions and saute until soft, about 5 minutes more. Add garlic and saute approximately 30 seconds or until garlic is fragrant. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients except beans and stir until smooth.

Add dried beans, onion/bacon mixture and the sauce to a large crockpot. Set the pot to high and cook 12 hours (or overnight) or until the beans are tender. If you like, season with salt and pepper to taste before serving, but I didn't find they needed either.

I served our beans tonight with grilled sausages and crisp slaw. It was the perfect Labor Day dinner.