Not Fried Chilaquiles

As a hispanic person in America, I often have to explain to people that I’m not Mexican.  People just assume we’re all Mexican and that all our food is the same.  It’s not.  That’s cool.

Growing up I didn’t really eat Mexican food.  Now that I’m marrying a Mexican, I’ve eaten my fair share of Mexican food (and I’m not talking about burritos and carne asada fries).  So this brings me to chilaquiles.

Last year, Jesse and I went to Guadalajara to hang out with his family for a few days.  That’s where I first tried chilaquiles (you’re probably wondering how I grew up in Southern California and never ate chilaquiles, right? I have no idea).

I had them in a market in Guanajuato for breakfast and roughly 3 hours later, I threw them up at a gas station.  All sorts of cute, right?

Needless to say, chilaquiles did not leave a good impression on me.  I think those ones were just super greasy and I was sick.  It was not a good combination, and I sort of decided I didn’t need to eat chilaquiles again.

But recently, Jesse has been talking about chilaquiles (side note: this is what Jesse does. He gets really excited about making certain dishes until he finally does).  He swore to make the most delicious chilaquiles without all the oil (because usually the tortillas are fried).  So I said why not?

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They were delicious and best of all, I didn’t puke them up.  (I’m really selling chilaquiles over here).  I liked them so much that he made them again so I could blog about them.

So if you’re looking for a fun, lightened up weekend brunch that is pretty simple (and natural! no canned things!), here’s your go to:

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Not Fried Chilaquiles

6-8 corn tortilla
3 Tomatoes
1 Serrano Pepper
3 Chiles de Arbol
2 Cloves of Garlic
Salt to Taste
1 1/2 tablespoons corn/vegetable oil
2 Eggs
Queso Fresco
Diced Onion
Chopped Cilantro
Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 300F.  Slice tortillas into strips.

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Place on a rack on top of a baking sheet and bake about 20 minutes or until crispytortillas2tortillas3

In the meantime, make your chilaquiles sauce.  Boil 3 tomatoes with 1 serrano pepper and 3 chiles de arbol in enough water to cover tomatoes.

sauce ingredients

Boil until soft (about 15 minutes).  Next blend together tomatoes, serrano pepper, chiles and garlic until smooth with 1/2 cup of boiling liquid (discard rest of liquid).  In the sauce pan that you used to boil the ingredients, heat one tablespoon of oil.  Once hot, carefully pour in the sauce. Let it cook a bit longer until ready to use.  At this point, add salt to taste.

Now you can start to assemble.  In a pan, heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil.  Add crispy tortillas and toss them.  Then crack in two eggs and scramble them around the tortillas.

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Once the egg is cooked, pour the sauce on top of the tortillas and serve.

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Top with fresh chopped onion and cilantro, queso fresco and a dollop of sour cream.  Serve with beans if you’d like.

This is enough to feed 2 people a good amount.

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A note about spiciness: I like spicy, but not too much.  To accommodate my tastes, Jesse only used half the serrano pepper.  You can also discard the seeds from the serrano pepper and chile de arbol to make it less spicy.  For more heat, add a few more chiles de arbol.

Make chilaquiles! You’ll like them!

What’s your favorite Mexican breakfast dish? I’m a big fan of eggs and beans.  This is probably why I had never tried chilaquiles.

 

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Healthier Banana Coffee Cake with Maple Oat Topping

A quick cake for when you need something a little bit on the healthier side.

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I had a rough morning a few days ago.  Then I gave myself a pep talk and remembered that being healthy is something I have to consciously do everyday. For me, being normal means eating three meals a day, focusing on eating a lot of vegetables and protein and NOT eating 3 slices of cake after lunch.   Pretty simple right?

The reality is I’m always going to want dessert, and eating dessert is ok in moderation. Eating a donut, chips and ice cream all in the same day (aka this past Sunday) is a little too much for me .  There is definitely a balance.

Somedays I want to embrace it and make real, delicious desserts, because I love baking.  But then other days, I want to make healthier alternatives with a little more consideration for the ingredients, like this cake:

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It’s lower in sugar than traditional cake and gluten-free (if that matters to you).  It only uses whole oats so you don’t have to worry about processed flours.

Healthier Banana Coffee Cake with Maple Oat Topping

1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup rolled oats, ground*
1/2 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 medium ripe  bananas, mashed
1/2 tbsp powdered sugar (optional, for dusting)

For Topping:

1/4 oats
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp maple syrup

Pre-heat oven to 350F.  Grease 6 inch baking pan (I used a springform pan).

In a bowl, mix together oil, maple syrup, egg and vanilla.  Set aside.

If you haven’t done so already, grind your oats in the food processor (or blender like a vitamix). *use gluten-free oats if you’re gluten intolerant

Add dry ingredients to oil mixture.  Stir to combine.  Lastly, fold in the mashed banana.

In a small bowl combine ingredients for topping.

Pour batter into baking pan, sprinkle oat topping on top and bake for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through (I think might took about 40 minutes).

Allow to cool.  Dust with powdered sugar if you’d like (optional).

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This turned out great, but doesn’t any type of banana cake/bread always turn out amazing? I think next time I’d try reducing the maple syrup some more.

If you’re curious about the nutrition information on this, here it is:

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This does not include the topping and each serving is 1/8th of the cake (a small ish piece).

Not the best and not the worst.  I guess that’s what it’s about overall, right?  Balance.

 

 

Getting Back on the Healthy Train and Starting Crossfit Again

I live and die by schedules.  I love checklists, to-dos and deadlines.

I love to know exactly what I have to done and when it has to be done.  In work, that’s great.  I get things done quickly.  In life, it means when my schedule gets thrown off, I have a hard time maintaining sanity.

Moving to the Bay Area has really thrown off my schedule.  It used to be I’d wake up at 5:30, be at the gym by 6am (or out for a run), be at work by 8:15.  My morning schedule was great.  I was used to it.  I was so productive.  Exercising in the morning makes me feel great.

Then the past few months happened.  We went to Mexico and Guatemala, we moved and got settled and all that went away, especially because I work remotely while I look for a new job up here.

Moving is hard.  It’s hard to get used to a new place and get your bearings.

So while all that was happening, I basically ate terribly and didn’t exercise.

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(Please see my Instagram for more details)

But all that said, it’s finally all coming together. But it’s not magic, it takes work (and contrary to what other blogs like to tell you, getting healthy is not always fun).

I’m figuring out my schedule.  I also found a new Crossfit.  I’ve been 3 times so far and let me be perfectly honest with you, going to a new crossfit is scary.  You’re not sure what to expect, because every box is different, and people are different.

I think I’ve lucked out, because everyone has been extremely nice.  But it’s still scary, and I miss my old box with my set of friends and coaches that I like.

I had to make myself go this morning.  I was dreading it, because I was scared.  But once I got there and did the workout, I had a great time (p.s. my back squat 1 rep max has gone down by 22lbs, I’ve got work to do).

The key for me to stick with it is to just make myself do it.  I don’t have my running buddy anymore, so I need to find other ways to make it work.  My solution: Nike it.

Then there’s eating healthy.  I’ve struggled, because cheese and cake are delicious.

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So just like how I have to force myself to exercise, I currently have to force myself to eat well.  I’m trying, because I pretty much want to eat Chinese food and cake for every meal.  I cleaned out my fridge and left only non-processed foods and made normal meals for myself trying to balance protein and carbs.

breakfast

lunch

Healthy and colorful meals can be awesome.  They just take some getting used to, because I’m convinced your palate changes after eating a certain way for a few weeks.  Being healthy is important and let’s be honest, sometimes it’s not fun and you just want to eat cake (I can’t be alone in this sentiment).

There’s a time for cake, but right now, it’s time for vegetables.  And let’s not forget, I’m getting married next year, now is not the time to start gaining weight.  I’m also not into crash diets, so probably a good idea to just maintain my weight for the next year (or lifetime?).

Do you have any tips for getting healthy after being off-track for a while?

Peanut Butter Goji Soda Bread

I missed the boat on St. Patrick’s Day.  There was no green beer or corned beef and cabbage, but I did get a little inspiration from the Irish yesterday… Soda Bread.

I’ve never actually had soda bread, but a lot of people seem to like it.  So given the Irish inspiration and some jars of peanut butter and a bag of goji berries sitting around, a great idea came.  Let’s put the two together.

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The good news is my experiment was a success!  Again, I’ve never had soda bread so I’m not entirely sure what’s it’s supposed to taste like but this one was good.  Faintly sweet and with a hint of peanut butter.

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I kind of think you could make an amazing PB&J with this soda bread, but it would be all sorts of dense and intense.

Feel free to give that a try.

Peanut Butter Goji Soda Bread

3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp butter, cold
1/2 cup The Bee’s Knees Peanut Butter
1/2 cup dried goji berries, rehydrated, liquid reserved
1/4 cup plain yogurt mixed with
3/4 cup water (1 cup total) or 1 cup buttermilk if you have it
1 tbsp melted butter

Take some hot water and pour it on the goji berries to rehydrate, set aside until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add butter and use your fingers to work it into small pieces.  Add peanut butter and do the same.  It’s ok if there are chunks of PB, you’ll work it in more later.
Strain goji berries and reserve the steeping water.  You’ll need about 1-2 tbsp of it.  Add yogurt mixture and goji berries to the flour mixture.  Work into a ball.  Add goji berry liquid as needed (I used about 2 tbsp).

Once you’ve got it into a ball.  Transfer it onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and form into a round thick disc shape.  Score the top in an X shape with a knife.   Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with additional sugar.

Bake 45-50 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test.  Allow to cool completely, serve and enjoy!

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This recipe makes one pretty big loaf.  It’s a lot of soda bread, but worth it.

Anyone ever tried making bread pudding with soda bread?  I think that could be amazing!

GIVEAWAY! Don’t forget to enter the Peanut Butter & Co Giveaway.  It ends this Friday!  To enter, go back to the Chocolate Peanut Butter Goji Berry Pie Post and leave a comment!  Entering is easy, winning is awesome.  Tell your friends!

Fancy Deconstructed Breakfast Burrito

It’s been years since I’ve watched cooking competitions like Top Chef, but back in the day, I was an avid watcher.  I remember that chefs took a common dish and made it fancy by calling it “deconstructed.”

You know… Deconstructed Peanut Butter and Jelly would be something to the effect of pan fried bread with peanut butter mousse and roasted berries.

Fancy, right?

Deconstructed was all the rage about 10 years ago.  Is that trend still happening?  I’m not hip enough to keep up with trends, so I’m still doing things “deconstructed.”  Hence this deconstructed breakfast burrito.

Deconstructed Burrito1We all know and love Breakfast Burritos.  But I decided to make a healthier (and fancier? That’s open to interpretation) version for your average weekend morning. Jump on the deconstructed train and make this deconstructed breakfast burrito.  

It has everything you need: eggs, beans, tortillas and… kale. I know, kale has no business being in a breakfast burrito, but we’re being fancy remember! So here it goes…. Deconstructed Burrito2

Fancy Deconstructed Breakfast Burrito

1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup kale, washed and finely chopped
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 lemon, juice only
salt and pepper to taste
4 eggs
1/4 cup Monterey jack cheese,  shredded
1 cup refried beans of choice
2 flour tortillas (I used whole wheat)

Heat olive in a pan on medium heat.  Add onions and cook a few minutes until translucent.  Add kale and cook a few more minutes (about 2-3).  Add tomatoes and cook another minute or so.  Season with salt and pepper, then mix in lemon juice.  You want it to be a little salty since you’re not adding anything to the eggs.

In the meantime, beat together eggs.  Add eggs to pan.  Scramble it all together.  Set aside.

Heat tortillas (either on a pan or in the microwave a few seconds).  Place tortilla on a plate, spread with refried beans, top with scrambled eggs, sprinkle with cheese (about 2 tbsp per tortilla, or more if you want) and serve! You can try to wrap it up or eat it with a fork and knife, if you’re looking to be fancy. Ok let’s be honest.  I always thought the deconstructed this was a bunch of crock.  But that said, this dish is awesome.

Deconstructed Burrito3Call it what you want: Burrito? Kale Egg Scramble? A Hot Mess on a Plate?

Whatever you call it, it’s all sorts of tasty and definitely breakfast-worthy!

What’s your favorite fancy breakfast? I love eggs benedict (is that even fancy?)

Healthier Pancake Toppings and Options

With my series of overindulgent posts as of recent, I feel the need to balance out the calories and cholesterol with something a little bit healthier: Pancakes.

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That’s not a joke.  I totally think pancakes can be healthy.  You just have to know how to do them. As a kid, I hated pancakes.  I always thought they tasted funny.  Then something magical happened, I tried IHOP’s pancakes and I loved them.   That’s when I realized what I hated was Bisquick pancakes.  That’s all my mom ever made.  Sorry mom, but bisquick is just gross. When I discovered my love of pancakes, I wanted to eat them all the time.   While we all know pancakes aren’t always the healthiest breakfast, there are ways to lighted up your pancakes and especially the toppings so they’re still fun and delicious but won’t undo your workout. Here are a few ways to keep your pancakes a little on the healthier side so you can enjoy them guilt-free. peachpureepancakes2text

Choose a Better Pancake Base

Pancakes can basically be a carb fest (nothing wrong with that), but if you’re looking to balance your meal, adding protein powder is a great start.  I’m a big fan of protein pancakes because the extra protein helps keep you full.

Some of my favorites are:

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Vanilla Coconut Protein Pancakes
Pumpkin Protein Pancakes
Banana Protein Pancakes

The fun part of protein pancakes is you can play with different flours and protein powders and find a mix that you love.

If making your own pancakes from scratch isn’t your thing or you’re really not looking to add some extra protein, there are some pancake mixes that are pretty natural and overall healthy.  I love Kodiak Cakes, because they’re super easy to make (just add water) and the ingredients are all natural.

You could also go the Paleo Pancake route.  It’s not exactly a pancake but still pretty darn tasty.

Lighten Up Your Toppings

When I was younger, I ate the regular old pancake syrup you get at the grocery store.  Nowadays, I try to stick with toppings that don’t have any chemicals or artificial sweeteners.  Straight up maple syrup is a little too intense for me, so generally I like to mix it up to create different types of syrups and sauces and toppings.

My latest obsession is fruit purees mixed with maple syrup.

I like to puree some fresh peaches and mixed it with maple syrup… about 2 tbsp peach puree + 1 tbsp of maple syrup for one person.  You can also just puree the fruit and skip the maple syrup.  I tried that with banana (simmered them in water first, but raw works) and it was awesome:

pancakesbananasyrupMy other favorite combo is plain greek yogurt with maple syrup.

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But in general, fruit is a great topping.  It helps bulk up the volume without adding as many calories as eating extra pancakes.  Berries are always a great addition…

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But you can also get creative, like topping your pancakes with persimmon!

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 Portion Control

I love a big stack of pancakes.  Mostly because it looks pretty, but also because it’s fun to eat.  But eating 4 or 5 full sized pancakes is a lot.  So what I do is I made them smaller!  That way I feel like I’m eating a lot but really I’m not.

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I generally use a tbsp measurer to prepare my pancakes.  Each pancake is composed of 2 tbsp of batter, instead of about 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) which is normal.

In the photo above, the banana slices show how the pancakes are actually pretty small.  Despite the fact that the portion size is smaller, I still feel like I’m getting a good amount of pancakes.

 

I’m all for eating a full stack of pancakes with butter and maple syrup every once a while.  But on a normal day basis, I like to keep it a bit lighter.  Pancakes can still be enjoyed if you’re trying to stay healthy.  It’s just about making sure you make the right choices.

What’s your favorite way to slim down your pancakes?

Breakfast Sliders

One of my favorite things to do is  recreate things I tried in restaurants.  A few weeks ago, I met up with a friend for brunch in Long Beach.  We shared an appetizer and an entree and sipped bellinis.  For our appetizers,  we shared some breakfast sliders.

After one bite, I was in love.  I mean… biscuits, eggs, bacon, sausage gravy.

Everything you want in breakfast in one delicious bite.  I knew I had to recreate them, and so I did.

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Breakfast Sliders

1 Recipe for Crazy Good Biscuits
1/2 lb breakfast sausage
1/3 cup flour 3 cups milk (I used low fat)
garlic salt
12 slices of bacon
8 eggs (I used Eggland’s Best)

First make your sausage gravy.  Crumble and cook your breakfast sausage in a large skillet or pot.  Make sure you buy the kind in the tube, not the links.  Once the sausage is almost cooked through, add flour and toss.  Cook a few minutes.  Stream in milk, slowly, stirring constantly to break up lumps.  Add garlic salt to taste. Remember the breakfast sausage is pretty salty on its own so you won’t need too much.  Set aside, leave on simmer to keep warm.

Next make your biscuits and cook your bacon until crispy and set aside.

The last step is to cook the egg.  Scramble the eggs in a bowl.  Pour eggs into a greased, heated skillet.  Cover and allow to cook a few minutes until almost cooked through.  You’re basically making a big egg pancake that you can slice and fold. Once the eggs have almost set, flip over and cook another few seconds.  Remove from heat and slice in half, then slice each half into 1 1/2 – 2 inch thick strips.  You should have 10-12 pieces.

Now assemble your sliders. Slice the biscuits in half.  On the bottom half, lay some sausage gravy, then take an egg strip and fold in half and place on top of sausage gravy, lay on some bacon and top off with top of biscuit.  Repeat until all your sliders are ready.  This recipe will make about 10-12 sliders.

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These coincided with the fact that Eggland’s Best send me some egg coupons to throw a Brinner Party.  These were the perfect appetizer.

So if you’re having a Brinner party or if you just want to have an awesome breakfast-inspired treat, this is it.

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ALSO, this is my entry for the Eggland’s Best “Your Best Recipe” contest.  Cross your fingers for me, then submit your own recipe!

Here are the contest details:

2014 Eggland’s Best “Your Best Recipe” Recipe Contest:

  • Visit the Eggland’s Best website to learn about their 2014 Eggland’s Best “Your Best Recipe” Contest
  • Eggland’s Best will be accepting original recipes through their website until July 31st
  • One Grand Prize Winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize and a year supply of EB eggs
  • Category winners will receive a cash prize of $1,000 and a six-month supply of EB eggs

Pretty awesome, right?  Who doesn’t want to win eggs and money?

Speaking of which, one more day to enter the Eggland’s Best giveaway to win some Eggland’s Best Eggs and a $25 Visa gift card!  Click here to enter!

 

What’s your favorite brunch/brinner appetizer??