Friday was a snowy day in Simcoe. But apparently it wasn’t snowy enough for school to be canceled. However, I do not like taking chances with winter driving, and since the job I was scheduled for was a 40 minute drive away (on a highway where my family had previously been in an accident), I canceled my job. Bad news = I didn’t make any money on Friday (and I already had to cancel one day this week since I was sick 😦 ). Good news = I had extra time on my house, time enough to fit in an extra class at the gym and make 3 delicious meals. 🙂 Allow me to share what I enjoyed on a day when I had the luxury of time to make whatever I wanted.
For breakfast, I enjoyed a delicious bowl of oatmeal. I used to eat oatmeal on a semi-regular basis, but had sort of gotten out of it. Tina (and lots of other healthy-living bloggers) makes all sorts of creative oatmeal creations. I’ve enjoyed this oatmeal breakfast a few times in the last couple of weeks. Since I cook the oats on the stovetop, this breakfast is not an ideal weekday option, but for weekends or mornings when you have a bit more time, this oatmeal is the way to go, especially during these cold winter months. Here’s what I did: In a small pot, combine 1/3 cup old fashioned oats (go for the old-fashioned – they have WAY more texture than quick or instant oats), 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup water, a few dashes cinnamon, Brown Sugar Twin to taste and a splash of vanilla. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until liquid is mostly absorbed. In the meantime, chop up an apple and cook in a saucepan with water, cinnamon and Brown sugar twin until tender. When oatmeal and apple are done, combine the two and serve in a bowl. The drink on the side of my oatmeal is 1/2 cup almond milk, vanilla extract, Splenda and chai tea. I made this oatmeal after my run last weekend and it was just what I needed to warm me up.
Lunch was equally delicious…and a vegetarian delight! Inspired by this recipe I saw in Rachael Ray Magazine in an article featuring hearty vegetarian entrees (and by the piece of eggplant in my fridge), I created a stuffed eggplant dish by baking a chunk of eggplant at 450 for 20 to 30 minutes (seasoned with salt and pepper). The filling was a mix of 1/4 cup ricotta cheese, chopped spinach, Dijon mustard, garlic salt and pepper. I made a quick tomato sauce (garlic and chili flakes sauteed in 1 tsp olive oil, then added a handful of cheery tomatoes and some canned tomatoes and simmered). I used a bit of the tomato sauce to cover the eggplant (after I cut it in half and stuffed it), then baked it for another 10 minutes. I put the rest of the sauce on a dish of Hungry Girl-fredo, mixed with steamed broccoli rabe and spinach and one portabello mushroom cap I broiled with garlic seasoning. The result of this combination? A delectable Italian-style totally filling and satisfying vegetarian lunch! I had an apple for dessert and later on as a snack, a delicious mint chocolate mocha drink I whipped up.
On to supper….Friday night = pizza! 😀 I was super-stoked to try the new President’s Choice Blue Menu Light Brie Cheese I bought…which I did. I LOVE brie and I was SO EXCITED when I saw that a light option was available! Another winning pizza creation! The crust was my standard crispy thin tortilla crust. And the toppings were: 1 wedge the Laughing Cow Light cheese, spread over the crust; 1/2 onion and few handfuls mushrooms, sauteed in 1 tsp olive oil; thinly sliced apple (lovin’ the apples on pizza these days); 2 slices diced lean deli ham; salt and pepper; a sprinkle of dried thyme and an ounce of the above-mentioned brie. YUM-town! It was soooo tasty! What about the brie? It didn’t really make or break the pizza. What I had was good, but there wasn’t enough on there to really make a difference. The flavour was good, but the texture wasn’t the same as full-fat brie (not that I expected it to be). The salad in the background was spinach, the rest of the apple, sliced red onion, a little bit of cooked butternut squash, sprouts, 6 chopped roasted almonds (doesn’t sound like a lot, but the toasty flavour makes a little go a long way)! For a change, I made a creamy yogurt dressing (sort of inspired by the one on this salad ) out of fat free plain yogurt, white wine vinegar, fat free Italian salad dressing, a dash of cinnamon, chipotle chili powder, Brown sugar twin, and just a touch of apple butter (it really added something)!
For dessert, I enjoyed a chocolate and a couple of these meringues I made for my mom (she was having a business dinner on the weekend and wanted something light for dessert). Meringues are light as air (and gluten-free, for all you avoiders out there) and fat-free….you can eat 2 of these things for less than 50 calories…score! Another bonus? 4 ingredients and so simple to make! The recipe was so easy that I can type it from memory.
Chocolate Meringues – adapted from The Betty Crocker Cookbook
3 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2/3 cup white sugar
2 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking cocoa
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy (you want an electric mixer for this…it will take forever to do with a whisk, but my hat is off to you if you want to try:) ). Beat in sugar 1 tbsp at a time. Continue beating until mixture is stiff and glossy (you should be able to remove the beaters and the meringue will form peaks that hold their shape). Fold in the cocoa with a spatula (there will still be a few streaks).
Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a spoon to drop the meringue on the cookie sheets – makes about 2 dozen cookies. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely then store in an airtight container.
Light as air and chocolate too…YUM!
So not bad for a day’s work, eh? I don’t eat like this every day (I wish I could)…but this is how I like to eat when I have the time. What would you make to eat if time was no object?
P.S….I remembered that my lunch was not completely vegetarian. After my extra workout at the gym and an hour and a half running errands, I was HUNGRY…I needed a protein boost while I was putting away groceries and making lunch….so I spread 2 slices lean deli ham with a wedge of Laughing Cow light and a touch of Dijon mustard. I topped this with spinach and rolled them up….yummy and oh-so-satisfying. This is great to pack in lunches, or any time you need a quick hit of protein. Even if you just do the ham and cheese it is delicious. 🙂