Eating Clean: Banana Pancakes

Banana based pancake recipe. No flour; only pure natural ingredients.

Pinterest is a great place to find recipes for just about anything. I came across a couple of pancake recipes that called for only two-ingredients: just an egg and banana. Notice there is no flour. You won’t find a pancake recipe that is any healthier than this.Flour free, sugar-free pancakes, and it tastes good? Yes, please! To be straight with you, they aren’t terribly filling but they do hit the spot for when you are craving pancakes. I don’t think I’ll ever make regular flour pancakes again.

I didn’t think that just egg and banana were enough, so I added cinnamon and I’m glad I did!  These were delicious and light! It’s okay. Be skeptical; you probably don’t think that this works. How would just those few ingredients combined create the consistency of a pancake? I don’t know but it does and it’s delicious.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Egg
1 Large Banana
2-3 shakes Ground Cinnamon (to taste)
*you can also added Sugar Free Syrup


Serving size about 4;  Calories: 170 Fat: 6g Total Carbs 26g Dietary Fiber: 3 Protein: 7g*

DIRECTIONS: Easiest pancake you ever make! 

– Peel and slice the banana. Add the banana to a bowl and mash it up to remove clumps.

banana

mash it up

– Add the egg and mix it until it is fully combined

add egg

– Add in cinnamon and stir again


mix

-Spray a medium-sized skillet with cooking spray.

-Heat on medium

-Fill a 1/4 sized measuring cup with the pancake batter or pour from bowl for desired size (less dishes to wash)

-Pour onto heated skillet.

– Add any toppings if you wish, now.

-Cook each side until lightly brown. It won’t bubble like a flour pancake but close and it will be solid enough to flip.

cook the pancake

Enjoy these healthy pancakes!!

ready to eat pancake

I am so excited to continue to make these for breakfast or after a good workout. They are so light and easy to make. Being that I don’t eat meat unless it is anti-biotic/hormone/GMO-free, this is a good source of protein for me. Maybe next time I’ll even add a drop of vanilla extract, or  blueberries, strawberries, chocolate chips, PB2, or pumpkin! I know, I’m just jumping on the crazy train over here, tonight folks! Add whatever floats your boat. It’s all delicious.
{If you make these at home, be sure to come back and let me know what you think! I’d love to hear your suggestions of any additional fix-ins too!}

*according to MyFitnessPal

** anyone else think of Jack Johnson when you hear “Banana Pancakes”?

I am not a dietician and don’t pretend to be. Please consult your Dr. for questions and nutritional advice. Recipes and comments are my take on Eating Clean recipes. I cannot guarantee that recipes are 100% Clean. They are loosely based on what I interpret or consider acceptable alternatives for this lifestyle.

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Eating Clean: Cauliflower Crust Pizza

When people are trying to eat healthy, one of the hardest things to give up is pizza. There is a reason it is American’s favorite food. The gooey hot cheese, the perfectly soft yet crunchy dough, sweet tangy sauce and yummy toppings are just too delicious to refuse. Oops, even that got me drooling a bit. But you don’t have to throw your plans of eating clean and healthy out the window for that one slice of greasy pizza. Luckily, there is a healthy alternative for pizza.

Enter: Cauliflower Pizza!

Unlike regular pizza that has dough made of flour and sugar, this crust is made out of cauliflower!

Like you, I was a little skeptical about using cauliflower to make a pizza crust. I mean I don’t want it ON my pizza, why would I want the foundation to be made from it? But trust me when I say that for a healthy alternative to pizza, it is pretty impressive and tasty.

Hold up, let’s be honest here. It is not the same as eating a flour pizza crust, so I won’t pretend it is. It still feels like you are eating pizza, you just can’t go into it expecting it to taste the exact same. But it doesn’t feel like you are eating cauliflower either. In fact, if you tried it before you knew it was cauliflower, I’m not sure you’d guess what it was. It still has that same cheesy and delicious taste just so much healthier! Do you like a crispy crunchy edge to your crust? Cauliflower pizza does that too.

Pizza is one of my favorite foods but I don’t like the guilt or how I feel physically after I eat it. Between a veggie crust and veggie toppings, I feel good eating this. Just like flour pizza, you can add a variety of toppings all to your heart’s desire: mushrooms, spinach, onions, black olives, squash, eggplant, cheese, zucchini, and tomatoes, really, the options are unlimited! You can top the pizza with whatever you like, just make sure the toppings are pre-cooked since you’ll only be broiling the pizza for a few minutes.***

So yes, pizza CAN actually be healthy and taste good too!

Overall, I am very pleased with the outcome and will most definitely be making it again. I hope you give it a try and enjoy it too!

RECIPE: (adapted from here and here)

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Ingredients:

1 head of (riced) cauliflower
1/2 - 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese* (I used part skim)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 - 2/3 tsp Italian seasoning
2/3 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp garlic salt
Salt & pepper to taste
olive oil (optional) ** 
Pizza sauce
Choice of toppings***
*Depends on how cheesy you like it. I’d use more if I could.
**This made my pizza more oily than I would have liked. Next time I’ll skip it.
***Meats and veggies need to be pre-cooked before placing them on the pizza. After the crust is baked, the pizza is only under the broiler to melt the cheese, not long enough to properly and safely cook meats and veggies.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (I used aluminum and it ripped easily)
“Rice” the Cauliflower:

Take 1 large head of fresh cauliflower, remove stems and leaves, and chop the florets into chunks. Add to food processor and pulse until it looks like grain. Do not purée it by over-pulsing. I am pretty sure you can use a cheese grater if you don’t have a food processor. Put the grated cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and cook for 8 minutes (time depends on microwave power, so you may need to reduce or add to this cooking time). There is enough natural moisture in the cauliflower so there is no need to add water. It will cook itself. One large head should produce approximately 3 cups of riced cauliflower. The remainder can be used to make additional pizza crusts immediately, or can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Place the cooked Cauliflower Rice on a tea towel and squeeze out all the water. as much of the water as possible. You want it as dry as possible so there won’t be extra moisture in the crust. Excess moisture will prevent the crust from crisping.
In a medium bowl combine the dry Cauli-Rice, egg, mozzarella, and spices and mix to combine well.
Cauliflower rice mix
Press the cauliflower mixture into an even thickness (about 1/4 – inch thick) on the prepared pan.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is firm and golden brown.
Baked cauliflower crust
Remove the pan from the oven and turn on the broiler.
Top the cooked crust with sauce, cheese and toppings of your choice.  Place under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and melted. Approx 5 minutes.
cauliflower pizza ready to eat

Look how yummy that looks! I only added cheese this time, but next time, bring on the toppings! ENJOY!!

In full disclosure, mine turned out a little mushier than it was supposed to. As you can see, this is what happens when you don’t get enough moisture out of the cauli-rice. I clearly needed to put it back in and cook it a little longer. When I used a spatula to scoop it up at first, it crumbled into a gooey glob of goodness! Because it has a lighter consistency, it is hard to eat with your hands; it is much easier to use a fork. If you ask me, I’ll take eating pizza with a fork any day if it means I can feel better about what I’m eating.

gooey goodness of cauliflower

{If you try this out, I’m interested to know your thoughts! If you adjusted the recipe at all,
what did you do and how did it work out?! Feel free to share comments below!}
I am not a dietician and don’t pretend to be. Please consult your Dr. for questions and nutritional advice. Recipes and comments are my take on Eating Clean recipes. I cannot guarantee that recipes are 100% Clean. They are loosely based on what I interpret or consider acceptable options for this lifestyle.

Eating Clean: Kale Chips

I’ve been on a health kick lately. After experiencing completely natural, GMO/hormone-free meat in Tanzania, I realized I didn’t want to put those chemicals and preservatives in my body anymore, so I decided to give up all meat that didn’t fit the bill. However, I continued to eat processed pre-prepared foods. It hit me the other day that this is a contradiction and silly to only do half ass eliminating preservatives. I’ve also had trouble loosing those stubborn pounds lately so I decided to try completely “eating clean.”

What is Eating Clean? I think it means different things to different people. Here are the guidelines I’m going to attempt to follow:

  • Eating foods with ingredients that you can actually pronounce. If you can’t read it, don’t eat it!
  • Eating meats that comes from the butcher and aren’t pre-packaged or human manufactured. Also avoid farm fed fish.
  • Like your momma said, “Eat your fruits and vegetables!”
  • Avoid processed food like canned or frozen foods or anything you find in the chip aisle. Best to shop perimeter of the store. If it can spoil, eat it! (but obviously eat it before it spoils…)
  • Whole wheat does not mean whole grain. Stick to whole grain.
  • Basically, eat mostly foods that are off a tree, bush, plant or vine and you are in the clear. The goal is to get the food as close to it’s natural state as possible. But I’m not going to be fanatical about it.

In MHO, I think there is something to be said for all the chemicals and preservatives in our food and the challenges it poses for our body’s digestion and the increase in cancer statistics. So, I was on the hunt to find a clean snack. I’d seen kale chips floating around on Pinterest so I thought I’d give it a try. They hit the craving of potato chips but are so much healthier. That is, if you make them at home. Store-bought completely defeat the purpose as it is pre-packaged and loaded with preservatives. So opt for homemade! DELISH and super easy! Instead of 160 calories of Ruffles chips PER 1 oz. – Kale chips have about 34 calories per cup! (If you load them with cheese, it will obviously be higher…)

So let’s get to it, shall we?

Time: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 large bunch kale
1 Tablespoon olive oil (optional) or Pam Spray
Seasoning to taste: suggestions: garlic powder, cayenne, salt, paprika*

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

Wash and dry the kale. (super important to dry!)

Remove the stem

Tear leaves into bite size pieces

Spread on cookie sheet and sprinkle lightly with oil or Pam

Lightly Sprinkle seasonings**

Bake 7-10 minutes or until crispy

*Use sparingly. Spices can be more pronounced than usual

** I made different flavors. I put garlic powder throughout. In one section only salt and olive oil, another batch with just olive oil and another with garlic powder and cayenne.

kale dried
Washing/Drying Kale
Kale Seasoned and ready to bake
Kale seasoned and ready to bake
ready to plate
Crispy & ready to plate. See how they shrunk?
YUM! snack time!
YUMMY! Snack time!

Verdict: The cayenne ones had a lot of flavor and were good for an occasional snack but I think the simple garlic, salt and olive oil was my favorite. It really hit the spot of replacing chips. It had the perfect saltiness for a healthy snack.

If you try the variations or your own concoction, let me know which is your favorite. Do you have any “clean” recipes you love and would like to share? Please do so in the comments below!

Enjoy!

 

I am not a dietician and don’t pretend to be. Please consult your Dr. for questions and nutritional advice. Recipes and comments are my take on Eating Clean recipes. I cannot guarantee that recipes are 100% Clean. They are loosely based on what I interpret or consider acceptable options for this lifestyle.

What exactly are you eating when you eat McDonald’s french fries?

Warning: watching this video may cause you to curse me for showing it to you and you may never want to touch McDonald’s french fries again. (You are welcome!)  So if you love the fries and want to continue eating them in peace, stop right here.  Personally, I have not had fries since I saw this video almost a year and a half ago. I’ve thought about it because they are delicious and the best around (for fast food places) but remembered this video and passed.

I have always believed in the “everything in moderation” theory.  I eat healthy, I watch what I eat, but I also let myself enjoy food. Brownies? Delish. Bacon? Bacon! Bacon! I drool… Grilled veggies? Yes, please. mmmm I’m hungry now… anyways, everything in moderation is my key to being happy and healthy. Life is too short to do anything but enjoy it so I try not to deny myself of anything, except for these fries.

How many of you have gone to McDonald’s craving chicken nuggets or a Quarter Pounder with cheese, large fries, and a drink? You know you really shouldn’t eat it, you know it is not good for you, and that you’ll feel guilty and likely gross afterwards, yet just like those dirty magazines in your closet, you just can’t help yourself because it is Just. That. Satisfying.

I generally try not to think about how my food is made or what goes into the food I am digesting.  Ignorance is bliss, right? After all, food is food, it all gets digested the same way. Simple, right? Wrong.

See, that’s when it gets disturbing. As you’ll see in this video, the experiment puts McDonald’s fries and various sandwiches in glass jars along with a freshly ground burger and fries from the local joint down the street.  The process is videotaped over the course of 10 weeks.

Watch this video and you might just thank me for doing your health and stomach a favor. The fries have an uncanny and disturbing ability to stay fresh…  indefinitely.

NOTHING SHOULD STAY FRESH INDEFINITELY.* Except honey. So what exactly are you eating when you eat McDonald’s fries? Granted, the way food breaks down in our stomach is not the same as the way it breaks down in a glass jar, but that isn’t the focus here. The point is that among all the items IN the jars, everything molded and decomposed except the fries. You can argue that fries are not the same as meat and bread and that’s why they didn’t decompose. But if that is the case, why did the local store’s fresh fries rot, and rot fast at that, while the McDonald’s fries remained unchanged? For 10 weeks!

This is blasphemy! This is sick and disgusting and gross and disturbing.  What exactly are they putting in these fries that preserves them so long? How are they so chemically processed and manufactured that they doesn’t decompose? Or even wilt?  More importantly, what are we putting into our bodies when we ingest this? What kind of chemicals and preservatives are we digesting? Are we giving ourselves and our children poison?  No wonder that the obesity rate in America is so high.

Also, I recently came across this photo on the internet. This is what chicken nuggets look like before they are nuggets.  Apparently, McDonald’s claims that they don’t do this, but regardless of that debate – it is nasty and makes me question chicken nuggets in general. Hello Morningstar! It looks like a snake mated with a flamingo after eating strawberry fro yo.

I’msorryI’mnotsorry if it grossed you out too.

*No one tried them to know if they were edible so when I say fresh, it is more in appearance as if they were fresh out of the box.

Giving up (red) meat and pop: the results -kind of like rejecting that gorgeous guy in a Porche.

We survived the 30 days.  In case you don’t remember, Mr. Boyfriend and I decided to give up all pop and red meat for the month of June.  I am happy to report, mission accomplished! We did it!

It has been a full month since we last had any kind of red meat and pop. Thanks to all of you who sent words of encouragement!  It definitely helped reinforce that this was a good idea and that it was worth doing.

Giving up red Meat:

A little side note – I am very picky about my chicken. I don’t like the texture and I think almost all chicken is dry, even if it’s dunked in sauce.  Unless it’s fried, because then it is Delicious, with a capital D.  So right off the bat, I faced a challenge of getting enough protein because I was left with really only 3 options: deli or ground turkey, fish and quinoa. Mr. Boyfriend had a bigger challenge ahead as he is a meat-and-potatoes guy.  He is from Texas so giving up red meat is virtually unheard of.  At first we debated what we could or couldn’t eat. Bacon? Pork?   Mr. Boyfriend’s theory was that if pork is considered “the other white meat,” and both bacon and pork come from a pig, then bacon is not red meat. But I disagreed.  I don’t consider ham or ribs to be white meat either.  The meat is literally red, and isn’t chicken or turkey, and is not good for you, so I consider bacon to be red meat. I know my reasoning might be faulty, but I’m sticking to it.  We even Googled bacon. We got mixed answers but most said it was indeed red meat, so I said bacon was on our hit list.  Would you eat pork and/or bacon if you gave up red meat?

This challenge was really good for us to realize just how often we ate it.  You know how pork is “the other white meat”?  Well, I have concluded that red meat is “the convenient meat.”  I didn’t realize just how easy it is to order, until now. It is the fall back option, the “oh, I don’t want chicken, might as well have red meat” option. And it’s everywhere! I think my biggest challenge was pepperoni pizza.

Some situations/places we were faced with challenges:

  • Arlington Race Track: Because of my dislike of chicken, I would normally automatically  have gotten a (Vienna) Hotdog. However, this time I opted for a pulled chicken sandwich and fries. It was surprisingly tasty (probably because it was slathered with sauce) and definitely the healthier option.
  • Mr. Boyfriends birthday dinner: My parents wanted to take him to dinner, and we usually go to this delicious steak house called Wildfire, but this time we opted for cuban. Last time we were here we got amazing steak, so this time we opted for the pork.
  • Summer Festivals: There are so many festivals with delicious food.  We had to remind ourselves of our June goal.  One specific summer fest is RibFest.  We have wanted to go for the past few years, but really, what would be the point to go this year? That would be pure torture.
  • Each Wednesday, dinner is provided at work for Mr. Boyfriend while he attends his masters class.  Unfortunately, the only legit option is usually meat. Italian beef, hamburgers, hotdogs, etc. are convenient and easy to order/serve to a group of people. There were nights he would come home and have to make dinner for himself.
  • When Lauren came to town for a business trip, I of course had to take her to get Chicago style pizza.  I always get low-fat cheese pepperoni pizza when I go to Lou Malnati’s (arguably the best deep dish in Chicago) but this time I actually had to read the menu! My vegetarian pizza was delicious, but it was no pepperoni!
  • One night, Mr. Boyfriend and I didn’t feel like cooking and we craved a pepperoni pizza.  I am proud to say, we went with a veggie pizza with spinach and mushrooms. Even though we missed our pepperoni, the pizza hit the spot and we were proud of ourselves for ordering a healthier meat-free option.
  • We had a lot of struggles with pizza apparently.  The best thin pizza is at a place called Barnaby’s in the northern suburbs.  My parents wanted to take us there one Sunday night but we had to force ourselves to tell them no. I was tempted to throw in the towel and say, “F’ It!” but I stood strong.
  • My cousin graduated from high school and the ceremony was held at Northwestern University.  If you are familiar with the area, there is a local hot dog stand in the parking lot across from the stadium.  We knew we had to eat beforehand, otherwise we wouldn’t eat until very late.  I walked in and instantly heard, Caryn, you know you want to eat me! I’m delicious! and don’t take a lot of time to prepare! You don’t want to be late to the ceremony! Eat Me! The Vienna hotdog was calling my name, but I resisted and went with a turkey burger.

Giving up pop:

I don’t drink pop that often to begin with, so this wasn’t all that difficult for me. I don’t need it for the caffeine and usually only drink it when I have a sweet tooth. Mr. Boyfriend, however, needs his caffeine and sugar fix more often than me.

  • When I order Subway, I almost always get chips and a drink with it. The sugary pop is a sweet compliment to the sandwich. It completes the meal. I usually mix half Diet Coke (they don’t have Pepsi) and half Cherry Coke. I only opted for water this month, and split the occasional cookie. What? Who doesn’t want something sweet after a sub sandwich?
  • The most challenging part of giving up pop was at bars on the weekends.  When I’m not ordering beer, I usually order a mixed drink of some kind, a Vodka Sprite or Whiskey Sprite or something similar. I chose to stick with beer all month. What drink do you order at bars?
  • Not often, but occasionally at work, I get a sweet tooth in the afternoon.  Instead of going to the vending machine for candy to get my sugar fix, I get a Pepsi. This month, I reached for gum when I needed to get my fix.

Result:

I don’t know if it is psychological or physical, but I feel better after doing this detox. This challenge was harder for Mr. Boyfriend than it was for me and we got different results.  On a scale of 1 -10  (10 being I can’t survive without it) I would rate this experience as a 3-4 but he rated it a 6.  I feel healthier, cleaner and definitely not as heavy.  While it might be a case of wanting what you can’t have, he said he now craves a pepperoni pizza but does admit that he is more aware of the fact that he needs to cut back on his intake of both products.  We both realized we consumed both products more often than we thought.  While  red meat is a good source of iron and protein, it does made you feel sluggish and heavy.  It is almost as if the salad is the angel on one shoulder and the filet mignon is the devil on the other.  I am convinced that red meat is the easy, convenient but dangerous choice. It is temptress of all meats. It is that man meat with rock solid abs, defined muscles and perfect dimpled smile that makes you want to be bad for just this once.  

I thought about having a pop yesterday, but stopped myself.   If I went this long without it, do I really need it now? This process made me realize  there is a difference in what we want and what we need.   We just need to use our self-control. Pop contributes to gingivitis, tooth decay, increases risk of obesity and decreases calcium in the body. The fact that pop rusts when placed in vinegar, totally creeps me out.  It makes me question, what exactly are we putting in our bodies?

While we won’t give either up forever, we will now make it a point to eat and drink them less frequently. Our bodies will thank us when we get older.  I want to live a long and healthy life, and I know that starts now.