Breakfast To Go!

I went to Whole Foods yesterday to get a few things, and wow, I love that store! However, I have mixed feelings on buying organic foods. Yes, I think it’s great to buy foods that are natural and without chemicals, pesticides, ect. What bothers me is the fact that it is necessary, that so much food is made with so many chemicals and what not that you have to go out of your way to buy food the way it it naturally grows. Anyone else think it’s a bit crazy to pay extra for food grown the way the earth naturally produces it? Okay, I’ll stop ranting.

When I got home, I decided to make some homemade granola bars using this recipe.
In went 2 1/2 cups rolled oats, a cup of whole what flour, 1tsp vanilla, 1tsp baking soda, 2 1/2 Tablespoons flax seed, 1/4 cup of honey, 1/2 a cup apple sauce and 1/3 a cup brown sugar.

At this point you could probably add in whatever you want. I stuck with the recipe by adding unsweetened shredded coconut, pecans and almonds. I then added some dried cranberries (sweetened with apple juice) and a mix of dried papaya, mango and pineapple. I thought the mix needed a little more flavor so I added in some cinnamon too. A little cloves, nutmeg or even a dash of salt to bring out the other flavors might have also been a nice addition.
I pressed the mix into a greased 9×13 and into the oven for 20 minutes (at 325 degrees).
After they cooled, I cut them into bars and sprinkled a little unsweetened coconut on top!
They are really good, a great healthy snack. Also, an easy breakfast when you’re on the go!
They were pretty crumbly and some of the bars got a little broken so I took a few of the falling apart bars and crumbled  them up and put them back in the pan to bake a little longer, creating impromptu homemade granola. I think it will be perfect atop some coconut milk yogurt for breakfast tomorrow!
Last night for dinner, I had a salad I really enjoyed. Here is a picture!
A nice mix of romaine, carrots, tomatoes, pecans and cranberries (again sweetened with apple juice). I topped the salad with what has become my favorite homemade salad dressing (I have primarily topped all my salads with homemade dressing for the past 2-3 years.) A simple mix of lemon juice, honey olive oil, pepper, and Beau Monde seasoning. So simple, yet so tasty! I really recommend you try it! The Beau Monde really makes it; if you don’t have any on hand, I think it’s worth it to pick up a jar!
Product I recommend: Apple Juice Sweetened Cranberries. I know I’ve already mentioned them a few times in this blog, but they really are great. They taste much better then typical craisins as they have a nice tangy/tartness and aren’t overly sweet as many brands are. Much healthier too! Available at Whole Foods Market in the dried fruit section.
Thanks for reading! If you guys could do me a huge favor and help spread the word about this blog I would really appreciate it.
Thanks a ton,
Ann Claire

Hello Blogging World!

Dreams of attending the CIA in Hyde Park or Napa Valley, opening a restaurant, or having a cooking show on the Food Network have filled my mind since age eight. I have always had a passion for food and gourmet cooking. Food is just such an amazing thing. Everyone eats it, yet there is oh so much variety and variation in the foods people consume around the world. I find it fascinating.

Recently, my passion for food has taken a slightly different turn. One that I’d certainly say is for the better. I’ve gotten really interested in healthy cooking and eating. I mean anyone can cook decent food using ingredients such as butter, sugar and other equally unhealthy things.

Okay, so that isn’t completely true. We all know someone (or maybe even are that person) that somehow manages to mess up boxed macaroni and cheese. But really, when cooking with these types of ingredients is not all that difficult to have the end product be pretty tasty. The real challenge is making tasty food that is nutritious and good for you.

When I say healthy please do NOT do not let your mind go to images of 100 calorie packs, low-fat, or diet food and drinks. This is not what I am aiming towards. I plan to cook foods that are natural, fresh, and chemical free. While I have no specific diet or plan that I am following I do plan to eat a bit of an eastern diet and base my food choices on Michael Pollan’s quote in his book In Defense of Food. “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

This is something I have wanted to do for a long time but I have never gotten around to it. Alas, summer is here and my free time is greater so I have time to focus on nutritious and healthy cooking and eating. This is not something I am doing to lose weight or anything like that. I am doing this because I truly believe this is the way God intended humans to eat. I am tired of feeling gross and sluggish after eating the typical “American” diet. There are so many diseases today that are diet induced and are much more abundant in the Western world. Coincidence? I think not.

I invite you to join me as I branch away from the typical Western diet। I invite you to join me on my journey to a healthier self in this wonderful summer of 2010.

But enough with the chit-chat. Let’s get cooking!

Unfortunately this morning I didn’t have time to eat before heading out the door. Upon returning home around eleven I was quite hungry. I haven’t had a chance for a Whole Foods or Sun Harvest trip yet so ingredients were slightly limited.

I began by warming on the stove some veggies that were left over from the weekend (eggplant, onions, red, orange and yellow bell peppers already sauteed with some red wine vinegar for flavor)।

After the vegetables were warmed I cracked in two eggs and some Herbes de Provence (a natural blend of garlic, herbs, spices, sea salt, and lemon peel)

When the eggs finished cooking I put the mixture on a whole grain tortilla and topped it with some homemade salsa।

Completed veggie burrito served with a sliced apricot and a few blackberries। Yum! (although extremely messy)

Thanks for reading! Check back soon!

Ann Claire