Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

Heart-y Strawberry Whole-Wheat Pancakes

Heart-y!  Get it?  ‘Cause it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow and these heart-shaped pancakes are chock full of healthy ingredients and are so filling and…yeah.  You get it.

I’ve been all about breakfast lately–and Fritz and I truly outdid ourselves since we decided to celebrate V-tine’s a day early on account of having a full day of classes tomorrow.  We slept in a bit, and woke up to a 55 degree house again (seriously?!).  We decided to make a gigantic breakfast to warm up while we waited for the heat to be fixed.

It might be illegal to have food this good when it’s not even the official holiday yet.  And if this breakfast doesn’t fill your heart to overflowing with love for each other–and every other organism on the planet, I don’t know what will.  Not to mention your body will thank you for all the good stuff inside: wheat germ, flaxseed, strawberries, and whole-wheat flour make this a heart-healthy breakfast.

Strawberry Whole-Wheat Pancakes (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)

  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 C whole-wheat flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 T ground flaxseed
  • 2 T wheat germ
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 T melted butter
  • 2 C buttermilk (I use dried buttermilk–add the powder with the dry ingredients and the water with the wet) 
  • 1 C chopped strawberries

This is an easy mix.  I combined the dry ingredients, made a well, and added the wet ingredients.  Mix well, then add the berries.

 Cook over medium heat–we used egg shapers to make hearts and perfectly round pancakes.  Looks good, but they also cook evenly and don’t run into each other for easier flipping.  Top with more strawberries, some cinnamon sugar, and of course, maple syrup.  These pancakes have a perfect and subtle butter flavor already so you don’t need to add extra (unless you want to–it is almost a holiday!).

Just a touch of syrup.

Well, maybe a little bit more.

To celebrate, we made a really fun, delicious, and exotic Asian-inspired dinner together.  You’ll see all about that in a later post.  We also decided to exchange gifts early–Fritz made my present this year (and Henry helped).  Here’s a little hint:

You’ll see the fruits of their labor in a day or two.  Have a happy V-Day tomorrow!  What are your plans?

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Sweetheart Steel-Cut Oats for Two

There is nothing in the world like a great breakfast.  It starts off your morning right and lets you finish the day strong.  Since I’ve recently made the transition from rarely eating any breakfast to polishing off a giant bowl early every morning, I’ve seriously seen a difference not only in my energy level but also in my eating habits for the rest of the day.  I had heard it all my life, but breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day.

Especially when it involves healthy grains and fruit.  Yum.

Fritz and I discovered steel-cut oats around Thanksgiving, and they now reign as our king of all breakfasts.  At first we only had them on the weekends, because they take too long to make when you have to leave the house at 7:30.  It was a sad time in our lives–until I realized I could make them in vast quantities, refrigerate the leftovers, and we could microwave them at our convienence.

So here’s a beautiful and fruit-filled sweetheart’s breakfast.  Either cut the recipe in half to serve just two, or keep it the same and refrigerate the leftovers.

Sweetheart Steel-Cut Oats (with fruit)

  • 1 C steel-cut oats
  • 3 1/2 C water
  • 1 C milk (we use skim)
  • sprinkle of salt (optional)
  • fruit to top–strawberries, banana, apple, sliced

Put the steel-cut oats and the water in a pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the water is absorbed, stirring occasionally.  Add the milk, and continue to cook until the oats are the consistency you want-about 30-40 minutes.  You can leave out the milk, but they won’t be as creamy (and my dad and the dairy industry won’t like you as much).

This makes four servings–add a sprinkle of salt to taste, and top with the sliced fruit.  If you are saving the leftovers, don’t add the fruit until you eat it.  I really piled on the fruit, and it was sweet enough for me to eat without adding any extra sugar, but be creative!  You can also add some peanut butter, or maple syrup, or anything else your heart craves.  Make it for your significant other, and bring it to ’em in bed topped with everything they love.

This just might be the perfect start to your Valentine’s day–and you won’t be snacking all day because it will definitely fill you up until lunch.

But be careful.  Steel-cut oats may change your life.

 

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Valentine’s Day Fruit Dip…or Dressing?

Today a beautiful thing happened. 

I had a free moment to reorganize some of my kitchen cupboards.  Like I said, it’s a beautiful thing.

But before I talk about that I’m going to share with you a recipe for a fruit dip that I made in the spirit of Valentine’s day.  Well, it was intended to be a dip, but it turned out runnier than I wanted–and today I discovered the perfect use for it: a dressing for a quick and beautiful fruit salad.  It definitely wasn’t what I expected, but I took what I had and looked for the best in it–and it turned out better than my original idea.  Kind of like a relationship, right?  And to think, I learned all that without marriage counseling.

My idea was to make a yogurt dip to be used in lieu of chocolate fondue for a healthier (and pinker) V-tine’s day treat.  This could still be accomplished beautifully with a little recipe-tweaking.  Don’t worry, I’ll let you know what to do.

Valentine’s Day Fruit Dressing

  • 1 C plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 C milk (I may have used a bit less)
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1-2 T brown sugar, depending on how sweet you want it
  • 3 strawberries, hulls removed

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth.  I suggest adding the milk at the end, and slowly, so you can decide the consistency you like.  If you want to stick with the fruit dip idea, ditch the milk entirely.  You can also add some red food coloring if you want it to be pinker.

This truly tastes amazing.  The vanilla and brown sugar are the perfect complement to any fruit, without overpowering the natural flavors.  And the tanginess of the yogurt!  Don’t even get me started.  I made an impromptu fruit salad today of apple, banana, and strawberry, and drizzled this over in a sudden stroke of genius.  It was so delicious that it didn’t even occur to me to take a picture before I inhaled the entire bowl.  Perfect for the Valentine’s day sweet tooth without ruining my eating for the day.

So onto the cabinets!  They looked so nice and organized (and might I say crammed with ingredients) that I took pictures–and then I thought I’d share.  You know…just in case you’re interested.

This is our processed-food-and-non-perishable-cooking-ingredients cabinet.  Top shelf are mostly breakfast foods and snacks–two things in there that don’t belong there anymore are the Carnation Instant Breakfasts (I’m a big-breakfast girl now) and Bisquick (which should be in the fridge…oops).  However, I refuse to throw away food and I’ll use the breakfast shakes in smoothies or try to hide them in Fritz’s dinner somehow.  The middle shelf is all the canned stuff/pasta/rice noodles/pectin (in case I have a sudden urge to make jelly)/and spring roll wrappers that are just waiting for our Valentine’s day dinner-making date.  And of course, Grape Nuts courtesy of my dad.  I’m obsessed with eating 1/4 C in my plain Greek yogurt with a banana for breakfast.  The bottom shelf is my favorite–fun grains, rices, beans, and other exciting things to cook with. New on this shelf is some fun Chinese black rice Mom found in a specialty store that I’ll need to do some experimenting with.

Impressively packed, right?  This has been organized like this since we moved in, and it actually stays really nice for the most part.  Once in a while I need to shuffle some spices around so I don’t lose the little guys in the back.  On top of the cabinet are a few of the teas that I drink most often, for easy access.  The top shelf is beverage stuff on the left and dry baking ingredients on the right.  Middle is all my spices–which clearly I love.  I use all of them, but ranked among my most frequent are definitely cumin, thyme, and red pepper. Spices are free taste–no calories!  The bottom shelf is flours and sugars on the left, and all the wet ingredients I use–honey, PB, vinegar, jam, etc.  I’m most proud of the fact that I made a couple of the objects in the shelf–the mint jelly, vanilla extract, and a few of the spices were grown and/or prepared by yours truly.

Makes me feel like Laura Ingalls Wilder.

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Filed under Appetizers, Desserts