CATEGORIES

Maple Bacon Walnut Oatmeal

First of all, I wanted to apologize again for falling off of the grid. My passion for food has not gone away, though I have had to make a few adjustments in my diet which I will get to shortly. Mostly, it’s been a time issue, but it’s been a bit more than that. Without going into gory details, let’s just say my cholesterol, blood pressure and weight have been far less than ideal and my doctors suggested some changes to not only help with those issues but to help with my lower back disc issues. So I did something I thought I may never do–I saw a nutritionist. Granted, I know a lot about food and maybe you do too. But you can always learn more about anything and you certainly should do that when it comes to food.

I thought that overall my diet was not horrible, until I started a diary and recognized that while I’m currently not drinking alcohol and mostly stick to coffee and carbonated water/seltzer, I was compensating by eating tons of empty calories. And even when I thought a light lunch of a baked potato and tomato soup was good, little did I know that it was a double whammy of bad–because of the carbs in the potato coupled with the sugar in the soup (more carbs)….but the thing my nutritionist pointed out about this lunch made a light bulb go off in my head. “You’re not eating enough protein,” she said. That lunch had zero protein (or maybe a negligent amount), and because of that it explained why I was often hungry an hour later.

When she started to plot out some good choices for me, it started to make sense. Would you consider a breakfast of cottage cheese and fruit, two slices of whole wheat toast each with a tablespoon of peanut butter, and a small glass of tomato juice part of a “diet?” Trust me, it’s not. That breakfast is filling as hell. Which of course means no mid morning blood sugar spike leading to pretzel or doughnut gorging. The plan is now to have 30 grams (or more) of protein AND up to 45 grams of carbs, with some vegetables–at breakfast, lunch and dinner. And to have 7-14 grams of protein plus 15 grams of carbs as a snack (example apple and cheese or greek yogurt and nuts or an orange and some jerky). The magic words I heard are that I CAN have carbs. I’m also allowed to have one treat per day–ice cream after dinner or cookies or jelly beans. If I have the treat during the day, I have no treat after dinner. It’s a fair trade and way of deal-making with myself.

Look, I know you don’t come here for health and nutrition advice. But I think it’s important enough that you should consider looking at your own eating habits, especially if you need to lose a few pounds (oh yeah, I lost 3 pounds this past week and I’m just starting) and are getting up there in age. So I’ll offer hints and suggestions where I can, starting with my breakfast this morning–Maple Bacon Walnut Oatmeal. Yes, I’m serious.

I told my wife the other day that I had a single serving of oatmeal (I like to make it from scratch, which only takes 10 minutes or so), with walnuts and maple syrup, and bacon on the side. She suggested taking it one step further and crumbling bacon on the oatmeal. That’s one of the many reasons I married her–she is simply brilliant (and hilarious, I may add). So I tried that this morning. I made the oats the same way (with a splash of half and half too) and crumbled two slices of bacon on top. As good as it sounds, this particular version was not a home run. The bacon was overpowering because it was all on top. But as I got deeper and had more spoonfuls of oats with bacon accents, it was, then, a home run. A touchdown. A three-pointer at the buzzer. You get the idea, sports fans. I also need to try this with bacon that crumbles better without burning quickly as I used today. You’ll notice that frosty glass of milk on the side. I have always had milk with my oatmeal, and now even more so since I need that extra protein to balance the carbs in the oats. But I like to also put the milk in the freezer before I cook the oats, making it ice cold in a frosty glass. It’s the little things, I tell you.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Does bacon grow on trees? My kid thinks so

Kids say the darnedest things, don’t they?

Well, this past week, my 5 year old son Jonathan attempted to be a trendsetter when the teacher in his 4K class asked each student what they would grow if they had a garden. Most answers were what you’d expect–tomatoes, veggies….and less traditional items like peaches and watermelon. But Jonathan’s answer took the innovation prize–bacon.

Hey, she asked what they would grow, not what type of “produce” they would grow. Besides, to Jonathan, it must seem like Mommy and Daddy pick bacon from the microwave tree for him every morning.

More pizza and eggs

Chef JimI recently whipped up a kickass omelet using cut up pizza as the filling. It’s a combination that I’m not sure why it’s not done more. So when I was in upstate New York last week visiting family, and had the most awesome pizza from Bud’s Place, I commented that this pizza was so good, I might have to have it for breakfast with my eggs in the morning. And I wasn’t joking.

So the next day, I heated up a slice of pizza (my sister showed me that the best way to re-heat pizza is in a frying pan, and she was right). Then I fried an egg, sunny side up, and slipped that right onto the pie. Pure heaven. Seriously, I wasn’t hung over but if you can think of a better hangover food combination, tell me what it is.

Man, I’m hungry now. I wish I had some pizza on hand!

Sometimes ya gotta love the French

Sometimes the French get a bad rap. Even sometimes in our American minds, when the stereotype of skinny, stuck up wine-drinking cheese eaters conflicts with the vision of our core audience on Bullz-Eye.com, which is more chubby, loud, beer-swilling, bratwurst and Velveeta folks.

But let’s face it–the French make some damn good food, and we sometimes need to give them some love for it.

Such an instance reared its head in my world this past Saturday, as I was heading to the eye doctor. I’d never been to this doctor, and his offices are located in a strip mall here in Madison. Before I walked in, I noticed a French bakery next door, and it was hopping. So as I’m having flashing lights shone in my eyes, and puffs of air shot at my eyes, and having to read these tiny letters on a chart, and picking out glasses (by the way, when did the price of eyeglasses become akin to buying a television?)–all the while I’m thinking about that bakery and wondering what they might have. It didn’t help that my eye appointment was at noon and I was starving.

I went into the bakery and literally the women behind the counter all had thick French accents. This place was REAL. It’s called La Baguette, by the way. First I noticed some fruit tarts….something I don’t normally eat, but they looked amazing. Then I noticed these croissants…real ones, not the thin grocery store croissants. But next to those were something sort of round and croissant looking. I asked one of the ladies behind the counter what they were and she replied in her French accent, “chocolate croissant.” Are you kidding me? Count me in. I bought one of those, two plain croissants and a pear tart. Then I noticed the row of baguettes, and had to have one. It was warm and right out of the oven. Wow. I told the lady I would buy more if I stood there longer, and she said, “Please take your time!”

Needless to say, the baked goods from La Baguette were amazing. I managed to not eat all of it on the ride home, so my wife and I made a nice sandwich with the baguette, and we ate the chocolate croissant for dessert. The next morning we split the pear tart, and then while my wife ran out to an appointment, I made a fantastic breakfast sandwich using a croissant (see photo). I made some bacon, and cooked an overeasy egg and put those right on the croissant, and it was amazing. It helped that I had the perfect vehicle, but the bacon and egg came out perfectly, and that doesn’t always happen.

So hey, for right now anyway, I salute the French and their food. I also salute La Baguette, where I will return when I pick up my glasses next week.

Maple cheddar

Okay, so if you don’t live in Wisconsin, this might be a bit more difficult to relate to. But on a recent visit to the most awesome Brennan’s Market, I came across a new flavor of cheddar–maple cheddar. It’s cheddar cheese literally infused with maple syrup. I was a bit skeptical but when one of the employees asked me if I needed help and then saw the maple cheddar in my basket, she said that was her favorite. Okay, if I was ambivalent before, now I was sold. And I was already imagining what to do with this cheese.

I had also picked up some thick cut bacon at Brennan’s, and so my breakfast the next morning was an open faced bacon/cheese melt using the bacon and the maple cheddar. And as you might expect, it was awesome. Of course, you can make this with any type of cheese, but this maple cheese gave it that hint of sweetness, and it was subtle, as if you were eating pancakes and some of the syrup slid onto your sandwich. Yum.

And it’s simple–just cook 2-3 slices of bacon. Cut a thick slice or two of crusty Italian bread, top with the bacon and some shredded cheese, and broil or toast for about 2-3 minutes or until the cheese melts and is bubbly.

Healthy breakfast bowl

Last week I posted something on easy breakfast tacos, but it doesn’t always have to be about tacos or burritos when you are making a quick and healthy breakfast. What follows is my take on the breakfast bowl, something that has become more prominent in fast food chains as carbs have fallen out of favor the last few years.

So here we go…..

Chop some tomatoes, shred some cheddar cheese and open a can of pinto beans.

Prepare some quick brown rice (I like the Trader Joe’s kind in the freezer section, that you nuke in three minutes) and put about 1/2 cup of the cooked rice in a bowl. Set the rest aside (or multiply this recipe out for more servings).

Cook 2 eggs in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until the whites are just set (don’t overcook–you want a runny yolk). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the beans and tomato in the bowl with the rice, top with the cooked eggs and shredded cheese. (Other options and add-ins are green pepper, jalapenos, cooked corn off the cob, or diced avocado.)

Top with salsa or hot sauce and serve.

Easy breakfast tacos

It’s not always easy to make a quick, healthy breakfast, but here is one you can do that is way better than something you can get at any drive-thru. Breakfast tacos, and super easy ones at that.

For one person, you’ll need 2 corn tortillas (I like the white corn rather than the yellow), 2 eggs, some shredded sharp cheddar, optional bacon and some good salsa or hot sauce or both.

You can either warm the tortillas by wrapping them in foil and putting in the oven or toaster oven for 10 minutes at 300 degrees. OR my way is to quick fry them in a nonstick pan by spraying both sides with cooking spray and cooking over medium high heat for about 30-45 seconds per side.

If using bacon, cook 2 slices according to package directions (I use the microwave for this).

Meanwhile, heat another nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk with salt and pepper. Pour into pan and cook for 2-3 minutes or until just set. Divide the egg on each tortilla, sprinkle with cheese, crumbled bacon and hot sauce or salsa.

Fold in half and eat!

Bullz-Eye blog ranks most addictive breakfast cereals

Chef JimYou know that feeling when you eat a cereal, usually a sugar-laden one, when you get to the bottom of the bowl and want to fill it up again? That’s what this awesome list of the most addictive breakfast cereals on the Bullz-Eye.com blog talks about.

It’s a great list, but I bet you could all think of at least 5-10 more off the top of your head that you like better. One of the readers mentions Lucky Charms, which happens to be the only cereal our 3-year son old will eat. Lucky for me (no pun intended), I bought him a box of the Chocolate Lucky Charms recently and he won’t touch them. Hmmm….of course, I needed an afternoon snack so I’ve just polished off two bowls as I wrote this. Yum.

Product review: me & goji cereal

Now this is one of those ideas that will make you smack your own forehead, and tell yourself you should have come up with the idea –make your own cereal based on various lists of ingredients. That’s the premise of me & goji, the brainchild of two friends named Alexander and Adam, who enjoy healthy food that tastes good–but also with an eye toward the fact that different people like different types of cereal ingredients.

So you go to www.meandgoji.com, and you choose a base such as flakes, or hoops or granola; and add things like dried fruits and nuts. I ordered the oat rings with dried cherries, granola clusters and almonds. And there are several things I like about me & goji. First, the oat rings are solid and sturdy and stand up to milk for several minutes. You know they are made from whole grains, yet they taste really good. The cherries are tart but not too tart, and the clusters and almonds add a nice counterpunch. The only drawback is that I would like to have more of the secondary ingredients. I’m guessing it’s about 70% oat rings, and 10% of each of the others.

It also comes in a cool capsule that you can stick easily in a gym bag and have a good snack after working out. You also get to name it whatever you want, so mine was “Mikey’s Mix.”

You also pay per ingredient, so you have some control over that. And me & goji might cost you more than a traditional box of healthy cereal, but the fact that you can custom design it and tote it easily anywhere makes it worth that. It’s also a cool thing to order for holiday gifts and/or stocking stuffers. In fact, I’m going to order some today for that very reason.

So check out me & goji, but don’t beat yourself up for not thinking of the idea first.

Huevos rancheros

Here is another killer recipe I posted on Grub for Guys a couple years ago….

You want something the morning after a night of, um, sipping a few cocktails? Yeah, usually what you’re craving is not just a giant glass of water and some coffee, but some protein to soak up the residual alcohol. Well, here’s a bonus…even if you don’t drink, my Huevos Rancheros recipe tastes good, and it’s a quick, easy and healthy breakfast any day of the week.

Ingredients:
2 six-inch corn tortillas
2 eggs
½ cup refried beans
Hot sauce to taste
Chopped cilantro (optional)

Directions
Put the tortillas in a toaster oven at 300 degrees for about 5 minutes, or until they start to become brown and crisp. Another option is to fry them quickly in a non-stick skillet coated with cooking spray for maybe 30 seconds on each side. The key is to make sure they are crispy and not still limp (no blue pill jokes, please).

Put the refried beans in a microwave safe bowl and nuke them for about 45 seconds. Spread ¼ cup beans on each tortilla.

Then fry the eggs in a medium size skillet until the whites begin to set—that means they are safe to eat and the yolk will be slightly runny. Those yolks will also be delicious and may be enough to cure your hangover alone. Put an egg over the beans on each tortilla, douse liberally with hot sauce and cilantro, and serve.

This recipe serves two people or one really hungry dude. Heck, some guys could probably down three or four of these, but the recipe is easy enough to adapt if that’s the case. Enjoy!

Related Posts