Dessert for Breakfast?

I’m sorry if my title is misleading.  You may have assumed I would be rationalizing eating pie or cake or cookies for breakfast. If you need any help with your rationalization, mine usually goes something like this “if it’s home made, it’s probably healthier than a donut…”  or “if I drink a glass of milk with it, I’ll get some protein.”

But today’s dessert as breakfast discovery is a Cacoa/Avocado Smoothie.  Hear me out on this.  This taste treat was like drinking the most delicious dark chocolate mousse/pudding/truffle for breakfast and being left energized and ready for your day—not ready to crash from your pumped up blood sugar.

Some of the ingredients used in a Cacao Smoothie

Some of the ingredients used in a Cacao Smoothie

I started by looking through the new cookbook from Gwyneth Paltrow “It’s All Good” and found an awesome recipe for a Creamy Avocado + Cacao Smoothie.  Gwyneth doesn’t need my help promoting her cookbook, but I must highly recommend this one.  My wonderful husband gave it to me on Mother’s Day–I think he purchased via the GOOP.comweb site, and it was even personally inscribed by Ms. Paltrow.  As a collector of cookbooks, my autographed ones are highly prized and bring back lots of memories for me.  There are also many, many greatrecipes on the web site–delicious and easy to prepare once you start keeping the ingredients in your pantry.

“It’s All Good” Gwyneth’s new cookbook. Via .

“It’s All Good” Gwyneth’s new cookbook.

So, back to the smoothie–alas, my almond milk was expired.  Plus I was debating adding protein powder for that extra boost to keep me powered through a long Saturday morning of activities and errands.  Here is what I ended up with:

Cacao Smoothie

1 small container goat milk yogurt, plain (giving me that protein boost!)

1 ripe avocado–pitted and scooped out of the peel  (also boatloads of protein here)

1 c coconut water

1/2 t almond extract

1 T raw honey

1 small packet XyloSweet (a xylitol sweetener) or your sweetener of choice

1 T raw cacao powder

1 small scoop ice

Blend all together and presto chango–healthy breakfast!

I’m telling you, this is super delicious.  If you haven’t tried an avocado in a smoothie you really need to get on that bandwagon.  Gives it a great smooth texture and you don’t taste it at all–even with fruit.  I think the pickiest of eaters would even like this if you didn’t tell them what was in it!


Easy, Impressive Winter Meal

We’ve had some friends in from Chicago the other evening who are total foodies.  We love to eat, drink and be merry with these guys and their visit was coming mid-week, so going out and about didn’t seem like the preferred option.  While I consider myself a good cook, there was the added pressure of coming up with something delectable and special for these two.  Also, cooking mid-week doesn’t lend itself to anything too elaborate.  It seemed like an impossible challenge–find some quick to prepare, easy to execute recipes that are impressive AND delicious.

Ina Garten and Ree Drummond to the rescue!

I must say I love each and every cookbook I own that these two have published.  They are my go-tos and my fall backs.  Here is the menu I ended up making:

From “The Pioneer Woman Cooks:  Food from my Frontier”:  Herb-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Cornmeal Cakes and Roasted Vegetables.  For the vegetables I roasted chopped carrots, parsnips and butternut squash. I used fig preserves for the sauce and while I did use the 1 cup of water called for in the recipe to make the sauce, I then needed to boil it WAY down to get the consistency I wanted.  In the future I will start with 1/2 c and see how it goes.

I also made her Crash Hot Potatoes, from the same book.


My friend commented that the cornmeal cakes reminded her of her grandmother’s mush she used to make her for breakfast with maple syrup!  I only made half of the recipe called for, but what we didn’t eat on our plates, got gobbled up just by dipping them in the sauce!  Any leftovers would have made a great breakfast treat, but we had none!  I will make the entire recipe next time.

For dessert, one of my all time favorites is Ina Garten’s Brownie Pudding, found in “Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics.”  The recipe garners 5 out of 5 stars on the Food Network web site.  Need I say more?

 The intense chocolate dessert has the best consistency–the top forms a somewhat crunchy crust that yields to an amazing gooey delicious mess of chocolate.   My husband and son rose to the occasion and plated the desserts with fresh raspberries and drizzled chocolate syrup on the plates. I wish I would have thought to take a picture of them, but we gobbled them up so quickly that their artistic efforts weren’t memorialized.  Still, it was a perfect end to another memorable evening of friends and laughter.

Yummy for your Tummy Breakfast

I’m getting ready to bake up the traditional German Lebkuchen this morning and I know in my heart that I won’t be able to resist sampling along the way.  With this in mind, I decided I should at least start the morning off on a healthy foot and not just get jazzed on java.  So, I just made and devoured a delicious, quick, warm breakfast of Nutty Maple Quinoa.

Two of the ingredients for my quinoa. I devoured it so quickly I forgot to take a pic of the actual dish!

Two of the ingredients for my quinoa. I devoured it so quickly I forgot to take a pic of the actual dish!

This is my cousin’s recipe and I must share:

12 oz. package quinoa

2 c water

1/2 c dried cherries, chopped

1/2 c raw almonds, chopped

1 T fresh ground cinnamon

1 T maple syrup

Place one cup quinoa and 2 cups water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. (I used 1/2 c quinoa and 1 c water and it was perfect for a hearty individual breakfast).  Reduce to simmer, cover and cook until all the water is absorbed (10-15 minutes).   Toss in the remaining ingredients and serve as a warm alternative to oatmeal or cereal.

Of course, in real life, one can short cut the recipe by using what is on hand—I had sliced almonds and already ground cinnamon.  I also just drizzled on the maple syrup to taste and sprinkled the cinnamon.  Those of you who free form recipes like I tend to do will recognize yourself.  Those who like to stick to the measurements will also be rewarded with deliciousness!