Monday, December 31, 2012

Banana Oat Flax Pancakes for ONE

As we are headed into the New Year ( wow, has it flown by!) why not start this year healthy to help you reach those goals treating your body right. Plus these pancakes happen to be gluten free, are simply delicious & are extra fantastic as it serves just ONE (but you can easily double it if you would like). These pancakes aren't your typical ones however, they are full of nutrients, protein, whole foods, & filling, that will indeed boost your energy & satisfy you each morning.

  You can use this recipe as a base & also experiment with ingredients you have on hand, as the possibilities are endless, adding any flavors you like-- apples, pumpkin, strawberries, coconut milk, carrots, dried fruit, chocolate chips... but keep them healthy :)

Note: In reality, you can mix an egg & a banana alone & create a pancake-- it truly does work, but I enjoy this combination better.

I enjoy mine topped with some sunflower seed butter & sprinkle of unsweetened coconut-- no syrup as the banana sweetens it enough. Seriously, I am telling you that these pancakes hit the spot & I literally get excited to wake-up in the morning because I know I get to eat some yummy pancakes to fuel my body properly-- its a win-win deal.

Banana Oat Flax Pancakes for ONE: (makes 3 small pancakes)

1 ripe banana
1 T flax seed
1/4 cup oats*
1 egg or 2 egg whites
1 tsp cinnamon
1.5-2 T Greek yogurt*
1/4 tsp baking powder (optional)*
1/2 tsp baking soda (optional)*
1/4 tsp coconut oil

Place flax seeds & oats in a blender or food processor, grind into a fine consistency, should only take a minute or so. In a bowl, place banana in & mash with a fork until there are no lumps. Add egg & 1.5 T yogurt, whisk together. Combine cinnamon, baking powder & soda if using into flour mixture. Add to wet mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined. If batter seems to thick add the 1/2 T. Heat a skillet over low-medium, add in coconut oil, wait till pan is warm. Pour 1/3 of batter for each pancake, let cook for 30 seconds or until edges have stiffened or pulled away from pan and middle produces tiny bubbles. Flip & let cook for another few seconds. Top with desired toppings & enjoy this nutritious breakfast.

*Be sure for gluten-free pancakes to verify that your oats are free of gluten, or replace with any flour you would like, even protein powder.
* You could easily replace the Greek yogurt with any yogurt, diary or non-diary option
* The baking powder & soda just act to make a more puffy pancake, but is not vital to making it fluffy, as the pancake will still turn out delicious with or without these 2 ingredients.

Happy New Year my friends! And may this year bring you much love & many blessings from our Father in Heaven. 
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
-John 16:33

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Our Christmas

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, remembering the sweet gift that our Lord gave us with His son's birth! Ours was delightful even though we were away from home. But it was a joy to share it together as well as with some friends.

Christmas Eve here in Mexico is the more celebrated day of the two, where Christmas morning, most families lounge around & just enjoy a relaxed day. So on the eve, it is nothing of the sort, they throw a big family & friends celebration with lots of food, music, and fun, waiting until midnight to strike, in which they then launch a very crazy burst of fireworks & gun shots (scary!) & then the children finally get to open their gifts.

Also, during this Christmas season I attempted many projects to celebrate the season & decorate our humble home. This Christmas was our second, but extra special because we bought our first tree & wanted to put my finishing touches on it, so I made some ornaments using this salt dough recipe, but only had wheat flour, no paint nor cookie cutters on hand, so I used nail polish... they turned out a little more rustic than angelic. Some friends and I also attempted some cinnamon applesauce ornaments, but unfortunately that one was a total fail. And instead of buying stockings, I made some using some inexpensive material and an old white t-shirt, which by no means are perfection, but they got the job done. Also, for the first time I made some truffles for a Christmas gift, but made a healthier version of them switching-up ingredients & using wholesome ones instead. 

For Christmas eve, I spent most of the day cooking as the husband & I hosted a dinner that turned out delicious despite guest cancellations & a very delayed dinner-- stuffed broccoli & mushroom garlic chicken, roasted carrots & beets w/ a citrus sauce, & scalloped potatoes. And of course, ended it perfectly with a movie, pumpkin pie & hot cocoa. 

 Christmas morning though is simply my favorite, early morning family gathering, nibbling on Christmas breakfast tradition, cinnamon rolls, diving into stockings & gift exchanging. Where the presents aren't what is important, but just the joy & cherished moments spent with loved ones just swells my heart full of love. Although we weren't surrounded by family this year, we made sure to skype them early which I am so grateful for technology/internet, it warmed my heart to see their smiling faces! I of course had to continue our tradition with cinnamon rolls paired with coffee, along with a nice relaxed morning spent with the hubby. And later spent the afternoon with a friend of mine's family friend for a delicious & very entertaining Christmas dinner with an incredible view. We enjoyed it so much & even had a funny little sock gift exchange that seriously ended the night perfectly with lots of laughs. We were so grateful for the invite & the pleasure of meeting new people. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Story about St. Nick + Jesus' Birth

I've always loved Christmas-- its jolly & cheerfulness, the gift-giving, & family traditions. During all the Christmas shopping, holiday baking, & seasons greetings, its often easily forgotten that this very special celebration is to remember what actually should be the most important thing in our lives in any season, the birth of our Savior. But when the world bombards you with Santa Claus, elves, snowmen, and trees, it becomes a whirlwind of excitement and the true meaning gets put on the back burner. But when did Santa become more important than Jesus, why is he even apart of this holiday & steals all the glory from our Savior...?

Santa Claus surprisingly has a long history, yet at the same time we hardly know anything about him... yes we know of all the story book tales, but he in actually stemmed from a real person, Saint Nicholas. This man a Greek from the 4th century and had inherited a great deal of money from his parents who had unfortunately passed, but a good man as he was, he decided not to keep any of it for himself, but rather gift is as gifts. There are various stories of him tossing bags full of gold to those in need or placing coins in the shoes of children as they left their  shoes outside. These accounts indeed demonstrates the beginning of Nicholas' miracles which he later became known as the "wonder-worker".  He then was selected as Bishop by the Maya people, but actually imprisoned for his Christian beliefs. Once he was released, he still encountered great persecution, but beacuase of his kindness, dedication, and steadfast love for the Lord, he was highly esteemed & honored for his service, having hundreds of churches dedicated to him & his works.  A Greek had wrote "The West as well as the East acclaims and glorifies him. Wherever there are people, his name is revered and churches are built in his honor. All Christians reverence his memory and call upon his protection." His legend reached many countries, but as the Reformation continued, only Holland had really continued this legend, calling him Sinterklass. And eventually in other arts of the world, was replaced as the bearer of gifts, such as the Christ Child by Martin Luther, or Germany as Christkindl. Then over the years, they began to pronounce it as Kriss Kringle. And eventually is now considered the iconic Christmas representation under the name Santa Claus. And so there you have it a brief history on the man who wears a red suit & rides in a sleigh is an exaggerated figure from history who made a difference as a Christian & ultimately will be remembered and is honored in many different ways.

But even with this knowlege, just as St. Nick celebrated Jesus with his life, we too should remember the "reason for the season", so this Christmas, lets celebrate the true & perfect purpose of Christmas primarily, Jesus Christ, and allow all the other joyful & seasonal things to follow behind. 
Here is a passage of Jesus' birth, Luke 2:1-20.

The Birth of Jesus
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah,the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host 
appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Round-Up

With Christmas quickly approaching, here are TEN things I have been loving-- ideas of some delicious treats & traditions, to gift ideas, to holiday decorations, & of course beautiful gift-wrapping, all to celebrate during this Christmas season, all the while not forgetting the main reason for this sweet season, the Birth of our Savior. May your Christmas' be so blessed as you share it with all your loved ones & experience a time of joy, fellowship, and peace. I hope that these few ideas will bring about inspiration & creativity to you as you prepare to celebrate the holidays. 

1. Overnight Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls are always a special treat that is served Christmas morning. We often just buy the pre-made rolls, but nothing taste more delicious than homemade & to top it off even more, baking with holiday flavors, gingerbread. Click here for the recipe.

2. Edible Snow Globe

I simply adored this cute idea from La Receta de la Felicidad by creating a snow globe using a ramekin dish & glass bowl, meanwhile making it perfectly edible with a chocolate pudding base & creating gingerbread Christmas cut-outs for a sweet little scenery. Amazing tutorial can be found here.

Edible Snow Globeedible snow globe

3. 100 Edible Gift Ideas + Free Printables

Here is a lovely list of sweet & super cute gifts to offer loved ones during this holiday season, simply click here to find more. These are also great for those with a smaller budget & who doesn't love something homemade, it always blesses the heart.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pancake Mix Recipe + 99 More DIY Food Gifts for the Holidays

4. Classics Re-covered

I love reading & while looking through Martha Stuart's many Christmas ideas, I came across these lovely books-- all your favorite classics re-styled for a fun & perfect gift for all those book worms who would be overjoyed to have such a collection from the famous 'type designer Jessica Hische (who regularly works for the likes of Wes Anderson and Tiffany & Co.) leaves her stylish stamp on classic tomes such as "Jane Eyre," "Madame Bovary," and "My Antonia." $20-$22.' You can purchase @ Penguin.


5. Holiday Carnation Wreath

This is a lovely way to deck your halls with as the carnation flower is a more inexpensive flower, but incredible beautiful, you can make this DIY wreath to impress friends and family. Find our how-to here.


6. Wax Snowflakes

This is a fun craft to do with kids, while simultaneously offers as a holiday decoration for your tree or simply around the house. You can create your own shapes or use cookie cutters as a guide. Directions can be found by Martha Stuart's page here.

7. DIY Adorned Glitter Clothespins

This is seriously one of my favorite finds, as these clothespins are just too adorable and offer as endless uses from gift-wrapping, ornaments, or party decor. They are super simple to create & of course you can create them with whatever you can find at your local dollar store or even what you have around your very own craft station. Tutorial can be found @ Creature Comforts Blog.

8. DIY Vegetable Stamp Gift-Wrapping Paper

Talk about being creative, this is the ultimate project as you simply use celery or other vegetables to create a lovely design to spice up some plain paper & create an elegant & perfect presentation for your loved ones. Easy steps on how-to can be found @  Geninne's Art Blog.

Celery stamped wrapping paper

9. DIY Mini-Wreath for Gift-Wrapping

I loved this presentation & its so easy too. It creates such a rustic & sweet way, as well as inexpensive too, to impress others as they receive their special gift. Tutorial @ Odessa May Society.

10. Holiday Organizing Tips

And couldn't leave out some great organization tips from of course no other than the famous Martha Stuart as she offers great ideas for presenting Christmas cards to packing-up holiday decorations. Check out all her many tips here.

 Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Batter Oats: 2 Ways

Brownie Batter Oats
Banana Bread Batter Oats

Batter Oats... what does that mean!? It simply means that by grinding the oats into a flour-like consistency the texture of the oats becomes a more light, smooth, & fluffy consistency creating flavors that resemble a batter, you know like when your making a birthday cake, creating an endless amount of possibilities. For instance cake batter... hmm :) Not to mention it takes only half the time to cook!  These two versions are equally delicious & so satisfying, & one of my new favorite ways to eat my all-time favorite breakfast, oatmeal! Banana Bread Batter Oats: gives you that winter warmth of delight & comfort in a bowl, satisfying that sweet craving in a healthy & nutritious way. Brownie Batter Oats: decadent, yet filling & leave you guiltless as this is simply a nutritious & sweet way to satisfy that chocolate craving.

Batter Oats Base: (serves 1)
1/2 cup ground oats*
1 cup water
1/4 milk
1 tsp chia seeds or ground flax seed

Directions: Grind oats using a blender or food processor & pulse until you achieve a more fine texture. Heat a small saucepan with both liquids, let boil, reduce heat, and add oats. Stir well & let cook for about 5 minutes or until absorbed liquid & is thick.
* If you like texture I recommend leaving some oats whole, this is usually how I prefer it.

Banana Bread Batter Oats:
1 serving of Batter Oats Base
1 banana, sliced
1 T unsweetened coconut
1 T walnuts (optional)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
While the oats or cooking, add banana slices & coconut, stir well. As the banana slices get heated they will fall apart & blend into the mixture. Garnish with banana slices & coconut. Enjoy!

Brownie Batter Oats:
1 serving of Batter Oats Base
2 T of cocao powder or regular cocoa powder
1 tsp sweetener
2 pieces of dark chocolate, chopped or chocolate chips
seed/nut butter (optional)
Directions: While oats are cooking, add in cocao powder & sweetener, stir until thoroughly combined. Remove & pour into desired bowl, add chocolate & top with drizzle of milk & seed/nut butter if desired. Yum!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Birthday: 12.12.12

Do you see that date!? That marked a very special & rather perfect date, as yesterday my twin sister & I celebrated our 23rd birthday. Even though we dislike spending them apart, I still had a very lovely day, the husband treated me extra special even though he is feeling under the weather. Samie & I made sure to keep in contact throughout the day to share another memory as we especially enjoy birthdays, not just for ourselves but as well to celebrate the special lives of all those whom we love-- & the biggest birthday celebration is just around the corner as we get ready to celebrate our dear Savior's birth! I was seriously so overwhelmed to by everybody's birthday wishes on FB, especially living abroad from all my friends and family, you all made me feel so special, thank you! Below are some pictures to share my birthday re-cap with you. 

On Sunday I invited a few friends over for sushi-making dinner party, which turned out super delicious & a lot of fun. We had a mix of cooked proteins ( & I know technically its not sushi, but I am not a fan of raw), lots of vegetables to choose from, as well as a sweet vs. a spicy sauce, & a nice Japanese cucumber salad to go with.

After dinner we heard the whistle from the "Camote Man"-- he sells yams or bananas drowned in piloncillo (brown sugar basically) & lechera (condensed milk), very unhealthy but oh-so-good from a cart. He pushes this cart around to the neighborhoods & blows the whistle to let everyone know he is coming, it is really quite fun & I love yams, especially candied ones :) He was so kind and let us take a photo.

We played a few games of spoons and old favorite card games while we made some room for my birthday dessert, Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake!


And finally cake time: this was actually my first attempt at making a cheesecake of any sort--it came out delicious! Although I was shooting for a more fluffy cake for the 2nd layer and also ran into problems when removing the cheesecake from the pan, so my layers went on backwards, but it was still scrumptious, especially when paired with some Mexican hot coco, mmm... I used this recipe here for a crustless pumpkin cheesecake & would definitely make it again. 

 Now on to the actual day:
It was a definitely a calm & relaxed kind of day, but very enjoyable nontheless. Started it out with a morning run w/ a friends, & then the highlight, skyping with the other half! Also we recieved a package in the mail with many of my favorite things I have been wanting but hard to find here, such as canned pumpkin & Gevalia coffee, so I was able to a have a my perfect breakfast favorite: Pumpkin Carrot Oats w/ sunflower seed butter in my new decorated mug :) Also, in that package was sweet gifts from the in-laws like Toms & other various gifts, thank you!!! 
Both the hubby & I had to work, but we still managed to celebrate with a delicious lunch at El Rincon Chilango & then later that night the movies! I also snuck a bag of my favorite popcorn recipe: Kettle Corn. And of course topped the day off with the last slice of my pumpkin cheesecake. I have to say it was a great birthday! 

The hubby ordered his favorite:
 Green Mole enchiladas

Pazole! My favorite :)

Thank you again for all your birthday wishes, love, and encouragement. Blessings!