Category Archives: Breakfast

Pan fried chillaquiles

 

You know how sometimes (always) you have a party, and at the end of the night, there’s like, 10 chips left in the bag? Or you clean out the pantry and realize there’s a who-knows-how-old quarter bag of tostitos still sitting on the top shelf, using up your favorite chip-clip?

Turns out, there’s a way to use up leftover or old tortilla chips to make them into something new and delicious!

Chillaquiles (chee-la-kee-lays) is a home-style Mexican recipe, with tons of flavor and stick to your ribs goodness. It is in no way a healthy recipe, which is a slight deviation from my normal attempts to healthify everything. But we all need a little indulgent comfort food now and then, and I’m always a big fan of not wasting food. Even the 8 chips left in the bottom of the bag.

pan fried tortilla chips and salsa

Makes one enormous pan full! Serves about 8.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 large can tomato sauce
  • 5-6 eggs, scrambled
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

eggs, whisked

Step 1: In a large frying pan, pour the chips, salsa, and tomato sauce. Cook over medium low heat, until the chips have begun to soften.

pouring the egg into the chillaquiles

Step 2: Scramble the eggs in a bowl. If you want extra fluffiness, add a splash of milk. Pour into the frying pan, add the cheddar, and mix well.

Step 3: Cook over medium-high heat, mixing occasionally, until the egg is cooked through. If you like, sprinkle with a little extra cheddar.

Optional add-ins include: diced peppers and onions, sour cream, black or pinto beans, chorizo, sausage, other types of cheese like pepper jack, jalapenos…

 

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Peanut Butter Banana Power Smoothie

 

This has quickly become one of my absolute favorite breakfast recipes! Just one ‘dish’ to wash when you’re done. Smoothies are amazing because they are so versatile, so quick, and so healthy! Of course, that last part does depend on what you put into it.

Many stores and fast food options that claim they have “healthy smoothies” are really not so healthy. They are calorie and sugar packed health bombs masquerading as health food. Just because it has a teaspoon of spinach powder or banana puree does not excuse a smoothie with 118 grams of sugar and over 500 calories!

Peanut butter banana oat smoothie ingredients

So why not blend one up at home? Far healthier, super fast and easy, and way healthier for you.

This recipe takes your typical banana base, and adds several other super health foods such as peanut butter powder (for all the flavor with a tiny percentage of the fat!), gut-helping yogurt, healthy fats from coconut milk, fiber packed oats, and the ultimate tiny nutrition powerhouse: chia!

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 2/3 cup yogurt or Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp PB2 or PBFit
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Step 1: Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend on high until well combined.

You could optionally add in a scoop of protein powder if you need it, or a cup of ice cubes if you want a different texture.

This recipe makes enough for 2 good sized glasses of about 16 oz each, so share with a friend or save the second serving for later, maybe after a good workout!

Healthy PB Banana Smoothie

 

Peanut Butter Banana Power Smoothie

Peanut Butter Banana Power Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 2/3 cup yogurt or Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp PB2 or PBFit
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend on high until well combined.
  2. You could optionally add in a scoop of protein powder if you need it, or a cup of ice cubes if you want a different texture.
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http://www.budgetepicurean.com/vegetarian/peanut-butter-banana-power-smoothie/

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Chocolate Chia Pudding

 

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to jump on the chia pudding band wagon! I’d read about so many uses for chia seeds, and how they are an amazing vegan source of omega-3s and fiber along with a host of other micronutrients, added chia to salads, smoothies, crackers, and bread recipes, and have made chia fresca and enjoyed it. But it took forever to try this!

Don’t make my mistakes people. Make this tonight!

Chocolate chia pudding ingredients

Chia seeds may seem expensive, but a little goes a LONG way! They absorb water and can swell up many times their size, creating a gel-like coating around the seed. It is a strange texture at first, but give it a try. The health benefits are worth it!

Chocolate chia pudding ingredients in bowl

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c chia seeds
  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk
  • 2-3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder

Chocolate chia pudding mixing

Step 1: Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with a whisk, or you can put it in a mason jar with a lid and shake it like you mean it!

Chocolate chia pudding ready to eat

Step 2: Refrigerate one hour or overnight. It will thicken as it sits. If you want it thicker, add more chia, if you want it thinner add more milk. It makes about 4 1/2 cup servings and should last a week in the refrigerator.

Chocolate chia pudding with strawberries

Top with granola and fresh berries for an amazing breakfast or anytime snack! The thick gel consistency of the seeds makes it almost exactly like pudding. And if you really love chocolate, use chocolate almond milk, or double the cocoa powder. It’s the healthiest treat that tastes like dessert I’ve ever had!

 

Mini Apple Pie Bites

 

These little gems were inspired while searching for healthy options to make for Pi Day (March 14 = 3.14) to take to work and share. While I do love pie, I don’t love butter, preservatives, saturated fat, mountains of sugar, etc. But I also don’t want to eat a bland, tasteless pile of cardboard and call it “pie”.  So what’s a health-conscious dessert lover to do?

Make these!

Mini Apple Pie Bites

They are like a mix between apple pie and apple crisp, in a bite-sized muffin-like package! And with about 50 calories per mini muffin, you can easily have 2 or 3 and not even feel bad. They are very easy to customize too. Add raisins, mash in a banana, change the spices if you don’t like nutmeg. If you add some protein to the recipe these would make a great pre- or post-workout snack.

This recipe makes about 24 mini muffins, or you could make a dozen normal sized muffins. If I had known how delicious they would be, I’d double or triple the recipe! This will become a staple in my house I’m sure. Better stock up on applesauce…

Apple Pie Bites Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup pancake mix
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • 1 whole apple, diced small
  • 2 tbsp syrup or sugar
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg

mini apple pie bites mixed ready to bake

Step 1: Wash your apple, and dice very finely. Once baked this gives your pies a sweet, chewy texture. If you don’t want any chunks at all, just replace with another 1/2 cup applesauce.

Step 2: In a bowl, mix all the ingredients well. If too dry, add a bit of water or apple juice. If too moist, sprinkle in more oats until you get the consistency you desire.

mini apple pie bites in tin

Step 3: Spray a mini muffin tin, and add 1 tbsp of the mixture. Bake at 375 for 17-20 minutes on the bottom shelf of the oven, until pies are solid and turning brown on top. Let cool, then pop out onto a plate.

Mini Apple Pie Bites

Mini Apple Pie Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup pancake mix
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • 1 whole apple, diced small
  • 2 tbsp syrup or sugar
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Wash your apple, and dice very finely. Once baked this gives your pies a sweet, chewy texture. If you don't want any chunks at all, just replace with another 1/2 cup applesauce.
  2. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients well. If too dry, add a bit of water or apple juice. If too moist, sprinkle in more oats until you get the consistency you desire.
  3. Spray a mini muffin tin, and add 1 tbsp of the mixture. Bake at 375 for 17-20 minutes on the bottom shelf of the oven, until pies are solid and turning brown on top. Let cool, then pop out onto a plate.
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http://www.budgetepicurean.com/vegetarian/mini-apple-pie-bites/

I can’t wait to share these at our Pi Day party!

 

Make Ahead Egg Muffins

 

Usually, my morning routine looks something like this:

6:10 – hit snooze
6:17 – hit snooze
6:24 – finally get up, go make coffee
6:25-7:15 – enter a black hole in space and time
7:16 – realize I’m gonna be late if I don’t move it
7:17-7:20 – pack lunch, maybe breakfast
7:21-7:30 – run out the door and pray for light traffic

Now, I don’t know what your mornings are like. But if you’re anything like me, you like your sleep and don’t have time for a long and leisurely brekkie every day. And if you do, good for you! You can still use this quick-and-easy make ahead recipe and then have more time for you in the AM.

Make ahead egg muffins in muffin tin

These egg muffins are so simple, and you make a dozen at once. That way you can put 2-3 in baggies and refrigerate or freeze. Then breakfast all week is only a push of the microwave button away! You can scale up to feed a big family, or even make just one serving by mixing 2 eggs and desired ingredients in a coffee mug and microwaving. (Didn’t know that little trick? Oh yeah, it’s the best.)

You can also customize it to your taste preferences. Anything you would normally eat with or in scrambled eggs you can probably adapt to this recipe. Try sausage, or bacon, or ham. Vegetarians, this is a blank canvas! Add zucchini, shredded carrots, sweet potato, broccoli or cauliflower. And cheese is optional, but highly recommended!

Butter mushrooms and onion

Ingredients (makes 12 egg muffins):

  • baker’s dozen (13) eggs
  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 1 pint mushrooms
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 cup raw spinach
  • Optional: shredded cheese, breakfast meats, other veggies

butter and onions in pan

Step 1: In a pan over medium heat, add the butter and diced onion. Cook 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion becomes soft and see-through. Pre-heat the oven to 350, and spray a muffin tin really well with cooking oil. (Stuck, baked-on egg is the worst.)

scrambled egg and greased muffin tin

Step 2: Add the diced mushrooms, and cook another 5-7 minutes, until softened. You can add a few tbsp water or chicken stock if they seem to be sticking or burning. Just before pouring into the muffin tin, add the spinach to wilt.

scrambled egg in muffin tin and eggs

Step 3: Break all the eggs into a bowl, and whisk violently for a minute or two. Mix in the cooked onion, mushroom, and spinach. Pour into the muffin tins until 2/3 full; leave a little room because the egg will puff up as it cooks.

make ahead egg muffins with cheddar cheese

Step 4: If desired, sprinkle with shredded sharp cheddar or whatever cheese you like. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until egg is fully cooked. Watch carefully at the end so that it doesn’t brown or burn.

I’d recommend letting these cool for a few minutes, then removing to a different plate or container quickly. You don’t want the egg to set and harden in the tin. It’s so easy to whip up a batch of these on the weekend, and you can even mix up the mix ins to have tons of options every day.

As for the cost? A dozen eggs is .99 – 1.29, or 4.50 for organic cage-free. Depends greatly on what you use to mix in, but the cost for an onion (~.50), mushrooms (.99 on sale), butter (maybe .50), and spinach (~.25 for 1 cup) for me comes to about 2.25. This makes 12 muffins, and I generally eat 2 for breakfast, so 6 servings. Let’s estimate high:

4.5 + 2.25 = 6.75 / 6 = basically just barely over a dollar per day, and that’s if I use the fancy eggs! For plain jane eggs, the cost drops to maybe 50 cents for an awesome breakfast that includes protein, fats, and a serving of vegetables! I can get behind that. I hope you can too!

 

Chocolate peanut butter banana oatmeal

 

Are you looking for a super quick breakfast recipe?  A breakfast that takes less than 5 minutes to make, is packed full of protein, and costs less than $1?  Can I get a HEALTH YEAH!

Oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfast staples, for so many reasons.  Oats are full of fiber to keep you full all day, so you don’t get the early afternoon munchies.  Oats also contain several micronutrients such as manganese, selenium, phosphorus, fiber, magnesium, and zinc.

And, not to mention, oats are dirt cheap!  You can get a huge tub for like $5.  Talk about affordable meals.  Oh, and if you get the quick-cook kind, you just need a minute or two in the microwave and bam, you’re ready for the day.

All you have to do is keep these ingredients around the house, and you can whip up a super healthy breakfast for under a dollar in under 5 minutes.  No more excuses for having just coffee in the morning, you can fill your belly all morning long with healthy whole foods with the push of a microwave button. You can even blend all the ingredients for a thick breakfast smoothie instead.

Cocoa PB Banana Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 large banana
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup milk and/or water

Chocolate peanut butter banana oatmeal

Step 1: Cut or mash the banana in a bowl.  Add the oats and cocoa powder (more if you really want it chocolatey!), and then add the water and/or milk.  Add slightly more or less depending on the consistency you want.

Peanut butter banana oatmeal

Step 2: Microwave for 1 – 2 minutes, give it a good stir.  Add more liquid if needed, or another sprinkle of cocoa on top.  Breathe in the delicious cocoa smells, and dig in!

This is almost Elvis worthy.  All it’s missing is some bacon to be a breakfast fit for the King.  But that seems like a little bit too far… but if you want to try it out, rock it.  And let me know how it goes!

Peanut butter banana oatmeal

Peanut butter banana oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 large banana
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup milk and/or water

Instructions

  1. Cut or mash the banana in a bowl. Add the oats and cocoa powder (more if you really want it chocolatey!), and then add the water and/or milk. Add slightly more or less depending on the consistency you want.
  2. Microwave for 1 - 2 minutes, give it a good stir. Add more liquid if needed, or another sprinkle of cocoa on top.
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Smoothie Freezer Bags

 

Happy 500th Post! Time flies when you’re having fun  😉

Let me describe for you a typical American’s morning.  We wake up to the alarm going off, maybe hit “snooze” once or twice or ten times.  Realize what time it is, maybe freak out about everything we need to do today. Finally coerce ourselves out of bed (probably with the promise of coffee soon).

We stumble into the kitchen and autopilot the caffeine of choice (hot tea, cocoa, Moutain Dew, but probably coffee. So much coffee).  Glance at the clock, think “oh crap I’m gonna be late!” run back to our room, look through closets and drawers trying to find something to wear that is appropriate / cute / in season / matches the weather / doesn’t smell like rotten garbage / still fits.

Finally clothed, we rush to the bathroom.  We shave, shower, do our makeup, brush our hair, bonus points for time to blow dry or style it, brush our teeth (hopefully!). Now with negative two minutes to go until we need to leave, we rush out the door, maybe with second coffee in to-go mug in hand, and off to work we go… And don’t even get me started on the ridiculous circus that is a morning when there are children involved!

Where is the breakfast in all this rush?

You know your entire life your mom always said breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and of course she is right. A healthy breakfast helps you wake up, gets your metabolism revved to create and repair cells, pump blood and oxygen, filter out the bad stuff, and move your muscles all day.

It keeps you from getting hangry right around ten or eleven am and making a trip to the vending machine / coffee shop / donuts in the break room and gets you through until lunchtime. It keeps your neurons firing so you can think and be your best all day.

But you just don’t have the time!

I get it. I’ve been there a million times. Drive through bagels, donuts or muffins from heaven when someone has a birthday or there’s a meeting and its catered, a granola bar hidden in a desk drawer. Some days you gotta do what you gotta do.

But there is a better way.

Enter: The Smoothie Freezer Pack!

Smoothie freezer bags

Oh yes, this thing is a busy persons’ dream. Just pull it out, dump in a blender with some milk or juice, push “go” and walk away for a few minutes. Pour it into a glass or travel mug and you have a real food, super healthy, breakfast of champions with almost no work! It just takes a few moments of prep and a bit of planning ahead.  Don’t get scared now, I believe in you.

On a weekend or whenever you grocery shop, just stock up on 5 bananas, 2-5 other fruits you like, and some sort of green (spinach is a good starter, but you can also use kale, swiss chard, beet greens, mustard greens, etc). Then grab some plastic zip top baggies and a knife, and here we go!

Smoothie Pack Ingredients

Step 1: Cut up all your fruits. You will notice avocados, and that may worry you. But trust me, if you’ve never tried it, avocado is AMAZING in smoothies! And it is a super way to sneak in some healthy fats and a creamy texture that no one will even know is there! It will be our secret 😉

Freezer Smoothie Bags

Step 2: In each baggie, add 2-3 types of fruits, one whole banana, and a big ol’ handful of greens. I used avocados, pears, peaches, blueberries, pineapple, spinach, and beet greens. Try different combinations until you find what you like the best.

Smoothie Bags

Step 3: Zip up the baggies, and pop them in the freezer. That’s it! Now all you need to do when you want breakfast in a hurry is take out a bag, pour it into a blender. Then add about 1/2 – 1 cup of liquid of choice, I recommend milk, juice, green tea, or kefir, and blend until smooth.

Smoothie to go

These smoothie packs can also be a great after-workout refresher, or a snack / treat anytime you want a blast of healthy fruits and veggies. You can add some protein powder or a tablespoon of peanut butter for an extra protein punch. Now go forth and conquor your day!

 

What is your favorite smoothie mix? Do you have a super quick breakfast you love? Share here!

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Mexican Breakfast Strata

 

Don’t you just love it when you make something that takes literally just a few minutes, but turns out amazingly delicious and also very impressive looking?  Me too!  So the other day, my coworkers and I realized that it was someone’s birthday.  We had totally forgotten, and felt terrible, so we decided the following day would be birthday breakfast!  Obviously, I volunteered to cook something.  Problem was, I didn’t think that through…

The next morning, I checked the fridge, and didn’t see much besides some eggs.  But whatever I made had to be transportable; sunny side up doesn’t travel well, and reheated scrambled eggs is icky.  Then I saw a half loaf of bread and the light bulb went on: Strata!  Strata is a breakfast casserole based mostly on eggs and bread.  You can add anything at all pretty much, and it makes a delicious layered meal.

Upon checking the freezer, I found some turkey bacon, and a half bag of frozen corn and peppers/onions.  Since I always keep cans of diced tomatoes and different types of beans around, it just made sense that a Mexican themed strata came together.  Full disclosure: I had no idea how this would come out!  I threw it all together, popped it in the oven, and got in the shower.

Once it was done, I covered it in tin foil, wrapped it in towels to keep it warm, and stuck it in a reusable bag to take it to the office.  An hour later, after a round of “Happy Birthday” which was satisfactorily embarrassing for the coworker in question, came the moment of truth.  I pulled out the pan, uncovered the casserole, and the whole room erupted in “Oh my GOSH that looks amazing!” and “that smells SO good, what is it!?”.  Once we dug in, the compliments just kept rolling.  Almost everyone had seconds, and we finished the whole pan between 6 people!

All this is not to brag, but mostly to convince you that even though it might sound complicated, it is really not.  Even if the combination sounds weird, it does work well.  Just give it a try and see.  You can make strata for the first time on a weekend just to be safe and make sure you have time to get it just right, as long as you make it.  And then tell me I’m right.  🙂

IMG_3606

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 loaf of bread
  • 1/2 pound turkey bacon
  • 1 cup peppers and onions
  • 1/2 cup frozen or canned corn
  • 1 1/2 cup salsa or 1 can diced tomatoes with chilies
  • 1 cup black beans (or other type)
  • Optional: shredded cheddar cheese
  • Optional: fresh or dried oregano

IMG_3607

Step 1: In a large bowl, break all the eggs and scramble them well with a fork.  Add the milk and mix well.  Tear the bread into rough chunks.  You can also use a few days’ old bread for this, just add a splash more milk.  Some recipes call for leaving the bread overnight to soak, but I just made it right away and it turned out great, so it’s up to you.

IMG_3608

Step 2: In a frying pan, cook your bacon.  You can also use ham, sausage, and/or chorizo instead.  Or just omit the meat entirely to keep it vegetarian.

IMG_3609

Step 3: Add the vegetables and beans to the pan.  Heat well, and cook until peppers and onions are tender.

IMG_3610

Step 4: Spray a large 9×13 pan with cooking oil or spread with butter.  Pour in the bread and egg mixture.  Add optional cheese if using.

IMG_3612

Step 5: Pour the meats and vegetables and beans into the bread and eggs.  Mix it all together well.  You can also choose to keep it layered like a breakfast lasagna, if you have the time for that.

IMG_3614

Step 6: Bake the whole shebang in a 350 degree oven for about 35-45 minutes.  If you cover it with foil, it will bake faster, if you do not use foil, it will brown on top faster.

IMG_3615

Step 7: For the most impressive presentation, sprinkle with a little more cheddar and fresh oregano springs right when you take it out of the oven.  The cheese will melt from the heat.  Serve immediately, and try to keep yourself from devouring the whole pan in one sitting.

 

 

Mexican Breakfast Strata

Mexican Breakfast Strata

Ingredients

  • 8-10 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 loaf of bread
  • 1/2 pound turkey bacon
  • 1 cup peppers and onions
  • 1/2 cup frozen or canned corn
  • 1 1/2 cup salsa or 1 can diced tomatoes with chilies
  • 1 cup black beans (or other type)
  • Optional: shredded cheddar cheese
  • Optional: fresh or dried oregano

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, break all the eggs and scramble them well with a fork. Add the milk and mix well. Tear the bread into rough chunks. You can also use a few days' old bread for this, just add a splash more milk. Some recipes call for leaving the bread overnight to soak, but I just made it right away and it turned out great, so it's up to you.
  2. In a frying pan, cook your bacon. You can also use ham, sausage, and/or chorizo instead. Or just omit the meat entirely to keep it vegetarian.
  3. Add the vegetables and beans to the pan. Heat well, and cook until peppers and onions are tender.
  4. Spray a large 9x13 pan with cooking oil or spread with butter. Pour in the bread and egg mixture. Add optional cheese if using.
  5. Pour the meats and vegetables and beans into the bread and eggs. Mix it all together well. You can also choose to keep it layered like a breakfast lasagna, if you have the time for that.
  6. Bake the whole shebang in a 350 degree oven for about 35-45 minutes. If you cover it with foil, it will bake faster, if you do not use foil, it will brown on top faster.
  7. For the most impressive presentation, sprinkle with a little more cheddar and fresh oregano springs right when you take it out of the oven. The cheese will melt from the heat. Serve immediately, and try to keep yourself from devouring the whole pan in one sitting.
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http://www.budgetepicurean.com/breakfast/mexican-breakfast-strata/

 

Happy Easter!

 

Happy Easter everyone!  I hope today is filled with family and food and cute woodland creatures, and maybe some chocolates too.  But don’t get too crazy.  Remember, Easter & Halloween are dentists’ favorite holidays.

I will be enjoying the day with family, having an egg hunt, dying hard boiled eggs, eating some ham, and yeah probably having more than a few pieces of candy. 🙂  (Oh, and don’t tell, but I totally want to surprise everyone with this unbelievably easy [microwave only!] carrot cake recipe and healthy cream cheese frosting!  I really hope it is as delicious as it sounds.)

Enjoy the roundup below of creative, healthy ideas to make this the best Easter ever!

 

Natural Easter Egg Dyes from Rodale’s Organic Life

natural easter egg dye

How to Make Vibrant Naturally Dyed Eggs

50 Non-Candy Egg Stuffer Ideas

40 more Non-Candy Ideas

40 Egg-cellent Non-Candy Easter Egg Fillers

No One Will Guess These Easter Brunch Recipes Are Healthy

Easter Brunch

If they're going to be on your Easter table, they should totally look pretty. Get the recipe from Delish.

And of course, we can’t forget the CANDY!

50 Homemade Easter Candy Recipes

50 Homemade Easter Candy Recipes

15 Healthy Easter Desserts

 

 

Image at the top of page from HERE.

Peach Oatmeal with Kefir

 

Some of you reading this may be thinking “what in the heck is kefir“?, and, “How do you pronounce that?”, or maybe, “Oatmeal is awful boring goop.”

Well, I have heard it pronounced both “kef-eer” and “keef-er” and I don’t have a strong opinion on which is correct.  If anyone knows for sure feel free to comment below.  But call it whatever you want, what it is a superfood that has many proven health benefits of kefir supported by research.  It is essentially fermented milk.

Now, before you go all “ewww, fermented stuff is gross!” hear me out.  This is a drink which has been around for many many years, used by different herding cultures and passed down through the ages.  Many peoples mostly lived on milk from their herds as they were nomadic, and they would store milk in leather pouches for days at a time.  This would gradually ferment into a sour, thicker, yogurt-like liquid that they could store even longer.  These people were known for their health and vigor.  “Elie Metchnikoff, a Nobel-prize winning biologist at the Pasteur Institute, first suggested that lactobacilli might counteract the putrefactive effects of gastrointestinal metabolism in 1908. ” (source)

The fermented milk would contain chunks of symbiotic cultures of various lactobacilli (a type of bacteria), yeasts, and other microorganisms which are useful for healthy digestion.   For those with a scientific curiosity: “Microorganisms present in the grains include lactic acid bacteria, Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis, Streptococcus thermophilus, Lb delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus, Lb helveticus, Lb casei subsp. pseudoplantarum and Lb brevis, a variety of yeasts, such as Kluyveromyces, Torulopsis, and Saccharomyces, acetic acid bacteria among others. ” (source)

Kefir has antibiotic and antifungal properties. It’s been used in the treatment of a variety of conditions, including metabolic disorders, atherosclerosis, and allergies, tuberculosis, cancer, poor digestion, candidiasis, osteoporosis, hypertension, HIV and heart disease. It may also help restore a better balance to the gut flora, alleviating conditions such as diarrhea, constipation, gas, and bloating.  Many lactos-intolerant people also find they are able to drink kefir without difficulty, as the fermentation breaks down much of the problematic sugars in the milk.  If you’re interested, feel free to read about the differences between kefir and yogurt .

In addition to beneficial bacteria and yeast, kefir contains many vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes.  Among these small health benefits are: calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, B2 and B12, vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin D, and many amino acids.  In particular, tryptophan, one of the essential amino acids abundant in kefir, is well known for its relaxing effect on the nervous system.  Kefir in the diet can have a particularly calming effect on the nerves due to this and other salts important for a healthy nervous system.

 

Peach Kefir Oatmeal Ingredients

So now that I’ve hopefully convinced you to give kefir a chance, how do you get it into your diet?  Well, of course one option is to just eat/ drink it as if it were yogurt, as a snack or part of a meal.  You can also use it like milk and pour over cereals for breakfast.  You can whip it up into a smoothie just as you would with water or milk.  Or you can try this delicious recipe to make Kefir Oatmeal!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 can of peaches (in juice or water, not syrup, or home canned)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 2 tbsp – 1/4 cup kefir
  • Optional: Sprinkle of cinnamon

Peach Oatmeal with Kefir

Step 1: Pour the oats and water into a bowl with the peaches, and microwave on high about 3 minutes.  You can also cook this in a slow cooker on low overnight, or simmer on the stove top for 5-7 minutes.  Feel free to use any type of fruit you have and like here, frozen berries work well, as do bananas, pears, cherries, or apples.

Cinnamon vanilla peach kefir oatmeal

Step 2: Sprinkle on some cinnamon if using, stir well.  Let the oatmeal sit and soak for a few minutes.  When it is cooled enough that you can put your finger in it and not get burned, add the kefir and mix it in.  (You don’t want to boil alive all the healthy micro organisms we just talked about!)

You can also make this at night, and let it sit at room temperature, covered, overnight for some extra fermentation.  You will get great digestive benefits from both the whole grain oats and fiber as well as the beneficial bacteria.  Add more or less kefir to your own tastes based on how sour you like it.  If you absolutely must, you can add in some maple syrup or honey, but I like it just plain as is.  Enjoy!