Mommy and Me Breakfast by Melissa Cates

"Breakfast is the most important meal of the day."

"An apple a day keeps the doctor aways."

"Always wear clean underwear."

These are some important adages to live by, and I can say I adhere pretty closely to two out of the three… What? Sometimes, I find myself all out of apples.  ;)

My two-year-old son is a grazer, but he does his best eating at breakfast. He will eat more variety and quantity first thing in the morning before his little mind and body start buzzing. So, it falls to me to provide him with plenty of nourishing, nutrient-dense fare from the get-go. I would love to stand at the stove and prepare him a veggie and feta frittata with a side of freshly diced fruit and some homemade granola having already showered, dressed and “put my face on.” Adorable apron, optional, but present in my fancy daydreams.

Ah, June Cleaver, you pillar of a woman! I serve Austin’s breakfast with yesterday’s pony tail riding low and loose, draped in lovely mix and match PJ’s with dark circles under my eyes that are either from too little sleep or a poor job with the eye makeup remover…or both.

My go to breakfast when I need to get everything cooked and on the table with minimal pots, pans, and prep time? Oatmeal. I love oatmeal. Like, really love it. Needless to say Austin does, too. Here’s what I do.

My first hack: one-minute oats. They are the same as their longer-cooking counterparts, just ground into smaller bits. Next, because I hate scrubbing pots first thing in the morning (or anytime, at all), I use the microwave. Use water, almond milk, or cow’s milk, depending on your preference. My scrawny tot gets whole milk, and I’ll tell you, the taste can’t be beat.

Then, pick your add-ins. Austin and I share, so I do 1.5 portions of the oatmeal and usually stir in half a cup or so of greek yogurt for protein. It makes enough for us both.  This morning, we were out of yogurt (oh, Fridays…) so a little coconut oil and flax seeds did the trick.

Oh, and honey. It doesn’t matter how healthy it is if he won’t eat it! A little goes a long way.

I found a squeeze yogurt and tossed it on the plate to entice him to eat, eat, eat; fresh fruit rounds it all out. One would normally cut fruit up for a toddler, but Austin is adamantly into having the “whole fing,” and that’s a battle I’m not about to fight!

I would write out a recipe, but it is found right there on the carton of oats. So, here are some ideas for stir-ins:

·      Greek yogurt (Protein, protein, protein)
·      Peanut or Almond Butter
·      Mashed Banana
·      Flax seeds (Omega-3’s are important for developing brains!)
·      Fresh fruit
·      Coconut Oil (Healthy fats are essential for growing tots. And, momma, rub a little on those dry cuticles for an instant mani!

Now that I’ve saved so much time on breakfast, I can catch up on my reading or give myself a mani-pedi. Oh wait, that’s another daydream. But seriously, I may not have time for wet nails during the day (who does?), but cutting yourself some slack by having easy, nutritious meals up your sleeve is a definite way to pamper yourself and simplify your life.

Wishing you breakfast, apples, and clean underwear,

Melissa

 

Smoothie Making 101

Green Smoothie 
Highway 30a

If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably noticed I really like green smoothies. 99% of my days start out with a green smoothie. Not to sound like a total cliche, but I believe they changed my life. It started about three and a half years ago. After feeling really sluggish at work for a few months, I decided something had to change and embarked on a personal nutrition challenge: seven days of green smoothies.  Before the challenge, most mornings started with a "healthy" cereal. I thought cereal was a pretty good choice - boy was I wrong! Once I dropped the box of Kashi, I realized it was the reason I was having digestive problems, feeling overly full, bloated, and constant sugar cravings. Ew. Who wants to feel like that all the time? ....not me.  

That seven day challenge turned into a nearly 4 year love affair with greens. Smoothies are super refreshing and provide a blast of nutrients first thing in the morning. The changes I felt were so profound, it became a lifestyle. Some of the changes I noticed after the first month were, increased energy, mental clarity, healthier food cravings and weight management. The best part? You can really pack a ton of nutrients into 1 drink! AND - they are super low maintenance. You just need a blender and 3-5 minutes. Of course, you can find tons of recipes online, so I'm not going to give you one today. Instead, I'll share my Smoothie 101 tips, so you can figure out your own delicious concoctions! 

Smoothie Building Blocks
1. Choose a creamy base: banana, mango, peach
2. Choose a complimentary flavored fruit: apple, pear, berries, citrus
3. Add 1-2 handfuls of greens *if you are worried about it tasting green, start with a small handful and work your way up!
4. Choose an unsweet liquid: water, coconut water, almond milk, coconut milk
5. Blend your HEART out!

Pro Tips:

  • Less is more. The best smoothies are the simple ones. You don't need 10 different fruits and veggies to have a nutrient dense and flavorful smoothies. My favorite recipes usually include 3-5 ingredients. 
  • Consider your nutrients. Greens + Protein + Healthy Fats
    • Greens: spinach & chard have a mild flavor = beginner friendly! Start there. 
    • Protein: hemp seeds, chia seeds, whole food nut butters, full fat greek yogurt
    • Healthy Fats: avocado or coconut oil are great to start with. 
  • Don't make a sugar BOMB
    •  30%-40% greens + 60%-70% low glycemic fruits is a good starting place.
    • Added sweeteners should be natural (raw honey, maple syrup) and used sparingly. 

You can follow me @emiliemaynorliving for weekly inspirations or sign up for the next Blend Your Heart Out Smoothie Challenge!  Feel free to comment with any smoothie questions or share your favorite recipe!

Cook Once, Eat Twice: How to Optimize your Time in the Kitchen

I've been sick and generally low energy for over a week. Like a good holistic yogi, I tried all the go-to home remedies first. Young Living Essential Oils, elderberry syrup, hot teas, rest, even suffered through a daily nasal rinse with a nettypot. (Ladies: using a nettypot can be super effective, but as you may imagine, nasal draining is NOT.PRETTY. If you want to keep romance alive in your house, close the bathroom door during this practice.) 

Impressive, over the top breakfast: Scrambled eggs, sautéed collards, onions, mushrooms in coconut oil with a side of fresh avocado and tomato slices. 

It took me nine days to finally cave and go to the doctor. Turns out, my simple cold had spread into a nasty upper respiratory infection - glad we caught it! Fortunately, I don't get sick too often and rarely have to take medicine so, when I do, it works. Fast. I woke up bright-eyed and bushy tailed feeling like the energizer bunny. Happy to be feeling well, I was a regular Chatty Cathy. Unfortunately, Mr. Maynor didn't share my 6am enthusiasm to talk about the joy of life and lovingly suggested that I shift my glorious energy elsewhere. So, I went to the kitchen to fix an unusually big breakfast: scrambled eggs, sautéed onion, collards and babybella mushrooms, garnished with 1/2 an avocado and fresh tomato. Totally over the top for a Wednesday morning, I know, but I'd rather think of it as opportunistic. When life offers you an energy boost, ya gotta do something with it!

I've found over the years that eating well on a consistent basis is not just about planning ahead, it's about using your time and energy wisely. To do that, I use a simple rule to optimize my time in the kitchen: Cook Once, Eat Twice. It's really as simple as it sounds, if you're already spending a bit of time in the kitchen, cook enough for another meal. Perfect example, our breakfast this morning was also prep for dinner tomorrow. I cooked double the amount of veggies we needed  and plan to toss them on pasta tomorrow night for a quick dinner. I didn't spend any extra time cooking today, and tomorrow's dinner will be all about boiling water and melting butter. BOOM. It's that simple. 

Here are a few ideas to help you implement this time-saving tip at home:
1. Dried Beans - cheap and low maintenance = no brainer! Throw a bag of beans into the crockpot along with your favorite seasonings and let them cook overnight. Voila! You wake up to a healthy, protein packed food that will make your cooking load so much lighter through the week. I really like pintos, cannelloni or great northern beans, myself. 
2. Rice - I keep a huge bag of brown rice from Costco on hand all the time. Making a big serving at the beginning of the week saves time and gives you options. (Really, any grain would work well here!)
3. Boiled Chicken - Boiling 2 chicken breast on Sunday evening, while I'm cooking saves me tons of time and increases meal flexibility. Once cooked, chop or shred the chicken and use it to top salads, add to pasta or wraps. You can check out this Behind the Scenes with Nourish post to learn more about prepping chicken ahead of time! 
*Keep healthy wraps or pita pockets on hand for a quick lunch. Throw the beans, rice and chicken in with a light sauce or dressing and you've got yourself a delicious, low effort, home-made lunch!

Breakfast Matters

Breakfast Matters. Period.

From the moment you wake up in the morning, you encounter a dozen opportunities to be mindful and nourish yourself. And it starts with breakfast. It is so easy to feel rushed and live in the mentality that you are too busy to eat a good breakfast. It doesn't matter if you are a busy CEO, a stay-at-home mom, or stressed college student, we are all guilty of skipping this vital meal for one reason or another. Making breakfast a priority sets off a ripple effect of positive choices throughout the rest of your day. 

Quality Matters. I'm not talking about scarfing down a bowl of sugar loaded cereal. Having a nice balance of healthy fats, protein and fiber to fuel your body will do wonders. The blast of nutrients fuels your body to stay energized, satiated throughout the day and promote better brain function = increased productivity! Who doesn't want all that?? 

Here's the best part: It doesn't have to be complicated! There are so many options for quick, make ahead meals that won't cut into your morning routine: green smoothies, chia pudding, overnight oats, egg muffins.

Make breakfast. Because you are worth it. 

 

Overnight Oats with almond butter, dried cranberries, and raw pumpkin seeds. 

Overnight Oats - By KERF
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/3 – 1/2 cup milk [depending on how thick you like it]
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/2 banana
1/2 tbsp chia seeds
Pinch salt
Pinch cinnamon

Directions
Stir everything together in a bowl. Place in fridge overnight. In the morning top with something crunchy and something with healthy fats – like nut butter or nuts.