What’s for Breakfast? Whole Wheat Cinnamon Pancakes

I woke up on Sunday and wanted to have something different for breakfast. I know Mal loves pancakes, so I got on the Internet and looked up some different recipes for whole wheat pancakes.

Typically when I use whole wheat flour, the end product isn’t exactly light and fluffy like it is when I use white flour. That being said, I am both skeptical and optimistic when I look at whole wheat recipes. I found this recipe in a 2009 post on a blog called skinnytaste.com. If I wasn’t skeptical before, I definitely was after reading the name of the blog. We love eating healthy but when it comes to something like pancakes we have the same mindset: go big or go home.

This recipe caught my eye because it included cinnamon, a spice that has a host of health benefits – it contains antioxidants and some studies have showed that it can also lower blood sugar – and tastes pretty good too.

Like I said this recipe came courtesy of skinnytaste.com. Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons skim milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Cooking spray (I used Pam baking spray)

Here’s how you make them:

Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl

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Combine eggs, milk and vanilla in another bowl and add to dry mixture and stir just until mixed

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  • Spray skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat
  • Add about 1/2 cup of batter to skillet and once you see bubbles on the outer side of the pancake, it’s time to flip it
  • Cook for about another minute or so and then remove the pancake from the skillet
  • Repeat until all the batter is done
  • Enjoy!

Here’s how they ended up:

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These were as light and fluffy as anything I’ve ever made with white flour. By far the best whole wheat pancake recipe I’ve ever used. Top them with some powdered sugar and cinnamon and a tablespoon of maple syrup and you’ve got yourself a delicious and astonishingly healthy breakfast.

Do you have a go-to pancake recipe? Have you ever tried gluten-free pancakes? Let me know in the comment section below!

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On the run in Naples, Florida

I have always told Mal that I’m glad she’s from South Florida and not from somewhere with a frigid climate. That sentiment rings especially true when it’s cold in the Washington, DC area; and it has indeed been freezing here. So we were happy to be able to take advantage of our long MLK/Inauguration Day weekend and fly down to South Florida to run the Naples Half Marathon on Sunday January 20.

We ran this race in 2011 and enjoyed the flat course and scenery. We knew what we were in for and even though we weren’t anywhere near where we should have been, training-wise, but we felt good about giving it a shot. Plus, the fact that there was a good chance it was going to be a brisk 65 degrees at race start helped in the decision-making process…!

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I was wearing my awesome Christmas present from Mal – yes socks can be an awesome gift when they are RG3 “No Pressure No Diamonds” socks!

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We were ready to run!

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Making our way past mile 10 and on the way to the finish:

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No, it wasn’t our best time, but we didn’t fly down there to break any of our records. It felt so great running in warm weather, on a flat course lined with palm trees and scenic waterfront views. We had fun going to the beach after the race and soaking up the warm weather before flying back to DC on Monday.

Our flight landed in DC in the afternoon and we were welcomed home with temperatures in the mid-30s. Back to reality…

What’s for Dinner Tonight: Turkey Enchiladas

This is one of my favorites. A healthy version of a typically unhealthy Mexican dish: enchiladas. This version uses ground turkey breast instead of beef, which cuts out a whopping total of over 400 calories and almost 50 grams of fat, as well as reduced fat cheddar cheese. I also used corn tortillas instead of flour, but only because I prefer the flavor of corn tortillas. With that, here we go:

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This recipe is brought to you by Fitness Magazine (with a few personal tweaks):

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (divided into 1 tablespoon and 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 8-oz can of no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 handful of reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Here’s how you make them:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 and coat a baking dish with cooking spray
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan; once oil is hot add onion and cook until softened (about 5 mins)
  3. Add turkey, zucchini, 2 tablespoons olive oil, jalapenos, 1/2 cup tomato sauce, cumin, oregano and cinnamon; cook for about 8 mins and set aside
  4. Wrap corn tortillas in damp paper towels and heat in a microwave for 30 seconds (to make them a bit softer; don’t worry if they rip when you try and roll them – they always do); spoon some of the turkey mixture into each tortilla, roll them up and place them seam-down in the baking dish
  5. Drizzle the rest of the tomato sauce on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with the cheese; bake for 30 minutes
  6. Remove from oven and let the dish sit for about 5 minutes before serving (I cut up an avocado as a side dish and added some low-fat sour cream as well).

Like I said this is one of our favorite dishes. It’s guilt-free Mexican food and it’s delicious. It is a bit more time-consuming than some easier dinners, but if you have a bit of time it’s absolutely worth it.

Next up on the blog: Naples Half Marathon Race Recap. Stay Tuned!

Running this weekend

I always tend to be excited for weekends, especially three-day weekends. This weekend, however, is going to be special. We are heading to south Florida, where Mal is from, and running a half marathon in Naples, Florida!

We ran this race 2 years ago and it was a great experience: perfect running weather, flat, scenic course with some combination of beaches, water and palm trees the whole way. Here we are with our finisher’s medals:
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I’m bringing back the “Race Recap” series so be sure to check back here next week for the 2013 edition of the Naples Half Marathon Race Recap.

Also, Mal and I are making one of our favorite dinners tomorrow so I’ll be posting “What’s for Dinner: Healthy Turkey Enchiladas” tomorrow night.

What’s for Dinner Tonight? Lemon Basil Shrimp

Ok I’m going to try something new. I’ll post a few pictures of what we eat for dinner each night, along with the recipe and some commentary about the nutritional benefits of the food. So to kick things off we have Lemon Basil Shrimp served on a bed of spinach:

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Luckily I had some “help” in the kitchen…

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This recipe is so easy and it takes no more than 20 minutes to make. Here’s what you need to make it for two people, though you can easily cut it in half if you’re cooking for one:

  • 2 servings of pasta (I used gluten free; Mal used normal whole wheat)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 20 shrimp (or so)
  • 2 tablespoons of capers (drained)
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (about half a lemon’s worth)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil
  • 2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach

Here’s how you make it:

  1. Cook pasta and drain
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a pan and sauté shrimp until they are done (about 3-5 mins depending on their size)
  3. Put one handful of spinach on each plate and sprinkle with any leftover lemon juice and some cracked black pepper
  4. Combine the cooked pasta, shrimp, capers, lemon juice and basil in a large bowl and top each serving of spinach with half of the mixture
  5. Top with a pinch of Parmesan cheese

So easy, so delicious and so good for you! You’re getting great, healthy protein from the shrimp, whole grains from the pasta, vitamin c from the lemon and a ton of folate – an important vitamin – from the spinach. What a nutritional powerhouse of a meal!

What’s on your plate tonight?

Happy Hour vs. Exercise

What’s your way of dealing with workplace stress? While heading to the local watering hole with your coworkers may seem like an enticing idea, blowing off steam and clearing your head by going for a run or hitting the gym will probably do a better job getting you to de-stress.

I work for a company that designs workplace wellness programs and encourages people to be more physically active and lead healthier lives. While admittedly it can be difficult for me and my coworkers to practice that same philosophy at times, our company has started to try and make it easier on us by offering us a “Bootcamp” class once a month after work.

They have a personal trainer from a nearby gym come in and put us through the ringer for an hour; doing an hour of a mixture of cardio – including running laps inside the office – and strength training. Squat jumps, burpees, mountain climbers, lunges…pretty much everything you can imagine!

What’s great is that we have upper management participating with us in these Bootcamps, so we really feel their support and engagement in the wellness program. In a previous post I wrote about how vital upper level support is in any wellness program’s success, so it’s great to see that we practice what we preach.

I can say that there are days where I sit at my desk, getting ready to leave work for the day, and I think to myself: happy hour or exercise? Having tried both I can honestly say that it’s no contest: exercise is a sure-fire way to clear your head and get your mind off anything negative that happened earlier in the day. Not to mention it’s healthier too 🙂

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Pike’s Peek 10K Race Recap

I know, I know. It’s been so long since my last post that I’m sure some of you are wondering what’s going on. Well, buckle up because there have been a lot of changes since my last post!

First change: I got a new job! I now work for a company that designs corporate wellness programs, which is more related to my Masters program. So that’s exciting!

Second change: Mal and I got a puppy! Meet Brady (he’s being nice with his cat-brother Tinsley):

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For more professional pictures, take a look at these pictures taken by our awesome wedding photographer, Melissa Manzione.

Third change: I just graduated from my program at American University, so I am now officially a Master of Health Promotion Management!

Ok I think that’s it. It’s been a busy few months! I figured since it had been so long since my last post I would go back to an old favorite: the race recap. And it just so happens that Mal and I recently ran the Pikes Peek 10K.

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We had a beautiful morning. The sun was shining and it was a perfect temperature for a nice downhill course from the Shady Grove Metro into Rockville, MD.  Mal graciously put up with my picture-taking:

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She LOVES the 10K distance, and I agree with her: it’s a great distance to run. You get a great workout and your day isn’t half-over when you finish. We did really well and crossed the finish averaging about an 8:50 minute-per-mile pace.

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We had a busy day planned too, so we had to rush to get home for Brady’s puppy kindergarten and then a fun play-date with his fellow 5 month-old golden retriever, Carson. Needless to say, he was exhausted after all that running. Which was great because he slept like a champ that night!

Next race is the Fredericksburg Historic Half with my sister, Em. It’s her first half marathon and I put together her training plan back in January, so I’ll be glad to take at least some of the credit for her success next weekend…! She’s already CRUSHED the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler (Mal and I ran with her) back in early April, and she’s been sticking to her training plan. Let’s all wish her good luck. Good luck sis!

I’ll be sure to post something in the meantime, but keep an eye out for that race recap soon after the race ends 🙂