Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pinteresting Review: Oatmeal Packets

     Every time I ask my four year old what she wants for breakfast, I get one of two answers: yogurt or oatmeal...with sprinkles of course. Apparently, everything is better with sprinkles.
     Now, I realize that it doesn't take that long to make good ole' old fashioned oats. It does take more than a minute, though, and that is how long instant oatmeal packets take to cook. Buying a box of weird ingredient oatmeal packets every week is out of the question, so when I saw these homemade oatmeal packets on Pinterest, I had my solution. I can give my sprinkle-lovin' princess a hot, healthy breakfast and save money at the same time.
     Basically, I followed the same recipe I found on Pinterest. Sometimes we add a splash of vanilla after the oatmeal is cooked. Sometimes, I make the packets with only one teaspoon of brown sugar and add a splash of maple syrup for a different flavor. You could also leave out the sugar altogether and add your sweetener of choice later...like cookie butter! Then suddenly oatmeal isn't as healthy but is more delicious.
     I put the packets in those snack size bags. I found the butterfly bags pictured in the dollar section at Target. Then I put all the bags in an empty oatmeal container. I have the recipe taped onto the outside, so when we run out of packets I don't have to look for it. I even made it all fancy with argyle duct tape. Nice, I know.
    As far as the nutritional information goes, these are very similar to the store bought packets. We compared them to Trader Joes Apple Cinnamon oatmeal packets since that is what we had at home. Each packet is 139 calories, 27 carbs, 2g fat, 4g protein, 10g sugar, 3g fiber. If you use Stevia instead of the brown sugar, you save 30 calories and 8g of sugar.

Homemade Oatmeal Packets

by Robin
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute
Ingredients (20 packets)
1/3 cup quick oats
1 tsp milk powder
pinch of salt
2 tsp light brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Combine all ingredients in a snack-size bag.

To make for breakfast...
  • Dump packet into bowl.
  • Add 1/2 cup water.
  • Heat in microwave for 1 min 10 sec.
  • Stir (Optional: Add in dried fruit, granola, apples, maple syrup, etc)
  • Add Sprinkles for princesses (optional)
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Monday, March 18, 2013

Pirates, Mermaids, Lalaloopsies, & Cake!

    Pretty much all of my time lately has been devoted to making Big E's special day, well...special. This girl is convinced she is going to be a mermaid when she grows up! She even has a name, "Pink Tail." When asked how she will grow a tail, she says, "I will just walk into the sea, and there will be a tail." Magically, I guess? I love her creative imagination.
     Her favorite toys right now are Lalaloopsies, so naturally her party would be based around them. There is a Mermaid and a Pirate Lalaloopsy so that was the starting point on this crazy party planning process. Then, I got on Pinterest and started a party board to store all my ideas. You can find my board here.
    All the girlies got mermaid tails and the boys got pirate vests. There was going to be some outdoor activities like walking the plank and digging for treasure in the sandbox, but the weather didn't cooperate. We just had our treasures inside and they could pick out what they wanted. The pirates kept stealing the treasure from the mermaids as you would expect, I guess. In the end, everyone got to take home what they wanted.
    For food, we had a variety of themed food. There were lots of gluten free options since four of our guests have to eat that way. We had octopus (hot dogs), shells & cheese (mac and cheese w/ gf shells), rubies, emeralds, and sapphires (strawberries, green grapes, and blueberries), sushi (peanut butter banana roll ups), pirates gold (cheese), seaweed, (gold) fish and chips, and driftwood (pretzels). To drink we had sea water, muddy water (tea), and coral splash (pink lemonade). Of course we also had cake! The chocolate cupcakes were gluten free. The white cupcakes were angel food cakes made a little healthier.
     The white cupcakes were inspired by a Jessica Seinfeld recipe, and the icing was my own creation. I used the icing on both flavors of cupcakes and it was delicious and light with just the right amount of sweetness. It's fluffy like whipped cream and sturdy like cream cheese. I think I have found my go-to frosting! If you are interested in the nutritional information: each white cupcake had just 93 calories, 14 carbs, 3g fat, 4g protein, 10g sugar, and 1g fiber!

Angel Cakes with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

by Robin
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients (24 cupcakes)
10 large egg whites
1-1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 cup white whole wheat flour (almost...see instructions)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup yellow squash puree
2 tsp vanilla extract
8oz cream cheese, softened
1 tub whipped topping (I used Trader Joe's House Whip)
4 Tbl powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
  • Preheat the oven to 350*. Line muffin tin with baking cups.
  • In bowl of electric mixer, combine egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt. Beat until the eggs double in volume and stiff peaks form.
  • To measure flour, add 1 scoop of protein powder into your cup measure, then fill the rest of the way with white whole wheat flour.
  • Add flour, protein powder, sugar, squash, and vanilla to the egg whites. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold together until just combined.
  • Divide batter into muffin cups and bake until lightly browned and spring back to touch 18-20 minutes.
  • Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
  • For the frosting, beat the softened cream cheese until light and airy. Add in whipped topping, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add gel food coloring if desired.
  • Use 1M tip to frost cooled cupcakes.
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Monday, March 11, 2013

Tex Mex Spring Rolls

     It's Secret Recipe time again. This month, I was assigned Sarah's blog Sarah's Kitchen. If you haven't yet, you need to go check out her blog. Some of my favorite dishes are found there, and most recipes are pretty healthy. I found so many recipes that I want to make! This vegetable lo-mein looks like a quick and easy weeknight dinner. In fact, I plan to make it later this week. I also pinned this recipe for English Muffins. I keep seeing recipes for them, and I think I could save a lot of money by making my own. Finally, I'm just looking for an excuse to make these chocolate cupcakes with cookie butter buttercream. Chocolate and cookie butter rank among my favorite foods, so these have to be the best cupcakes ever.
    Now for the recipe I ended up making for this month's reveal. I saw them, and I just couldn't stop thinking about these Tex Mex Egg Rolls. I've never had such a thing, but when I told my friend about them she knew what I was talking about. I wasn't sure if they were an appetizer, side or main dish. Really, I think it could be any of those things. We at them as more of a main dish since there is a lot of rice and meat stuffed inside.  I ended up buying spring roll wrappers instead of egg roll wrappers so these would be gluten free and we could serve them to our gluten free guests. Yup, I'm brave like that; serving up something I've never made before. As it turns out, these things are amazing. Apparently, there is a bit of a learning curve with the spring roll wrappers. I gave up, and wrapped some rolls in whole wheat tortillas. After tasting them, I decided the filling flavor was overpowered by the wheat. So, I researched how to use spring roll wrappers and found that if you soak them for a bit in warm water, they soften right up and they were much easier to work with. I didn't fry mine in oil, I used the griddle to brown them. I wonder if browning them in the oven would be better for more even browning. In the end, everyone loved them and we will definitely be making them again!

   Nutritional info (one roll with 1/3c filling): 173 cal, 21 carbs, 5g fat, 11g protein, 1g sugar, 1g fiber
Tex Mex Spring Rolls

by Robin
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients (serves 20)
1 box yellow rice (I used Zatarains yellow rice)
1 lb lean turkey sausage
1 can black beans,drained
1 can rotel, drained
2 cups shredded monterey jack
1 packet taco seasoning (or 3 Tbl)
Spring roll wrappers ( or egg roll wrappers)
  • Cook the yellow rice according to the directions on the box and leave to cool completely.
  • Cook the sausage until no longer pink, drain and leave to cool completely.
  • Stir together the rice, sausage, black beans, rotel, cheese and taco seasoning.
  • Soak each wrapper in luke-warm water for about 30 seconds to soften it up before using. Place a third cup of mixture onto the center of each wrapper. Fold one side of wrapper over the filling, tucking the tip of the wrapper under the filling. Fold left and right sides over filling. Tightly roll the filled end toward the remaining edge and press to seal.
  • Fry the egg rolls at 375 for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown.
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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Banana Yogurt Protein Muffins

    The other day on my Facebook page, I mentioned some banana yogurt muffins that were high in protein and delicious. I can't believe how well these turned out. Basically, I just took my favorite banana bread recipe and made a couple of healthy substitutions.
     I was inspired by the container of Greek yogurt sitting in my fridge. Then, I went on the chobani website, where you can find ways to substitute Greek yogurt into your recipes (scroll to bottom of page for the chart). There is actually a recipe for banana muffins on the chobani website, but it calls for a lot more sugar than my version...and my version is fabulous if I do say so myself.
     I'll admit I was a little wary of the substitution making the muffins have a different texture. Have no fear, these muffins are moist and flavorful. You won't even know they are healthy! These are loaded with healthy whole wheat, protein, and fiber, and they taste great. The nutritional information per muffin is 134 calories, 17g carbs, 2g fat, 5g protein, 4g sugar, and 2g fiber.

Banana Yogurt Muffins

by Robin
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients (12 muffins)
  • 2 c flour (1-3/4 c if using whole wheat like me)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c Chobani vanilla with chocolate chunks
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 3 tsp stevia
  • 1 egg (or 1Tbl flax + 3Tbl water)
  • 2-3 bananas (I like to use the over-ripe bananas left at the end of the week)
  • 3 Tbl chobani vanilla with chocolate chunks
Preheat oven to 350* Line muffin tin.
Combine yogurt and sugar. Beat thoroughly.
Add egg.
Peel and mash bananas with a fork. Add to creamed mixture.
Then add the rest of the yogurt and dry ingredients alternately. Mix until blended.
Pour into muffin cups
Bake about 20 minutes at 350* or til toothpick comes out clean
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