Pumpkin French Toast

I was feeling festive last weekend before heading to the Common Ground Fair and decided to whip up a new (to me) recipe for my roommate and me.  If you haven’t already OD’d on pumpkin spice everything, I highly recommend this recipe.  The pumpkin flavor is subtle but gives this breakfast classic a seasonal twist.  I served mine with an egg while Kelly (and the puppies) had a side of bacon for some extra protein. 

I typically keep my loaf of bread in the freezer (simply because I can never finish it before it goes bad) which I find especially helpful when making French toast.  The frozen slices give you a few extra seconds to saturate them with the batter, remove excess and transfer to the pan.  I just love the pretty color and the smell was even better than any pumpkin candle.  I definitely got the stamp of approval from Kelly but I can’t say the same for the puppies.  She is now their favorite bacon provider.

Pumpkin French Toast
Serves 4

8 slices of whole wheat bread (frozen works best)
2 eggs
¼ cup almond milk (or other milk)
¼ cup pumpkin puree
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon cinnamon sugar

Heat pan over medium heat and spread a small amount of butter or non-stick spray over the surface.  Combine eggs, milk, pumpkin and spices in a small bowl with a somewhat flat bottom.  Dip each piece of bread in the batter, being sure both sides are covered with a thin layer.  Cook on each side for about 3-5 minutes or until golden brown.  Top with cinnamon sugar, maple syrup or enjoy plain.

Nutrition Facts: 212 Calories, 8g Fat, 26g Carbohydrates, 11g Protein, 5g Fiber, 298mg Sodium, 241mg Potassium


Fastest Kale Chips

What used to star only as the disgusting green garnish taking up space on your plate has now become a sort of cultural phenomenon for foodies and health nuts alike.  The first way I tried kale was as kale chips and I've been hooked ever since.  Baking kale takes off some of the strong "bite"this dark, leafy green provides.  Adding fat such as olive oil not only tastes great but makes it even easier for your body to absorb fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K).

One cup of kale provides just 33 calories, over 100% daily value of Vitamin C and over 200% for Vitamin A.  It also is a good source of fiber, iron, folate, and thiamine and is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin B6, calcium and potassium.  How can you say no to that?  Take my word for it, you can't.

This recipe is ready in 7 minutes and is a great slightly-salty snack.  So now that I've convinced you that kale may just be the most perfect food, go get cooking!

Kale Chips
Serves probably just you because these are hard to share

1 small bunch of kale
Olive oil
Sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Wash and dry kale and remove the leaves from the tough stalk.  Spray baking sheet with non-stick spray.  Rip kale into smaller pieces, about the size of a chip and lay in a single layer on the baking sheet.  (Don't be afraid to crowd the pan, the pieces will shrink some and you will definitely be wishing you and made more once you're done).  Drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil on the leaves and sprinkle a small amount of sea salt over the top.  Place in oven for about 5 minutes, flip leaves and finish baking for another 2 minutes.  Enjoy!


Common Ground Country Fair 2014

Hope you all had an awesome Fall weekend!  For those of you that were able to make it to the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, Maine I know you and a great weekend.  I think I'll let the pictures do most of the talking for one of my favorite fairs and times spent with my Mom each year.

 The BEST farmers market selection in one place.

 Farm techniques

 Children slide down this hill on pieces of cardboard.  Welcome to Maine.

 Tomato beauties

 Onions about the size of your head

 The winners...

 Pretty egg gradient

 Strangely perfect

 Hungry? Alpaca lunch.

 You should go just for the entire barn full of bunnies

 This little angora bunny just loving life and helping make a sweater

 Maple Candy

Life is short, eat dessert first.
 Pie Cone (pumpkin cheesecake filling because Fall!)  Don't worry, we shared.

 Vegetarian Taco made with black beans and winter squash.  We shared this, too.

 The Loot
Husk cherries, sweet onions, potatoes, Riffle goat cheese, carrots, purple pepper, kale.

"Husk Cherries" taste like a very sweet berry!

I'd love to hear about your experiences at the fair this year or in the past!  Leave a comment below and see you back here very soon!


Meme's Blueberry Muffins

Some recipes need no modification, health related or otherwise.  Anything made by your grandmother may be one whole genre of such recipes.  Especially when it comes to my grandmother's blueberry muffin recipe.  Yes, there is shortening.  (Oh, the horror!)  Yes, they are amazing.  I have tried several other blueberry muffin recipes in the past but very few are as fluffy or remind me of family more.
Occaisonally, I will add the juice of one lemon to the batter and top the muffins with lemon zest but I thought I would leave you with the basic recipe as is because it's delicious, and it's my grandmothers and you can't disrepect your grandmother.  I would go on but this one needs very little introduction.  So with that, enjoy and see you back here soon!

Blueberry Muffins
Makes 16-18 muffins

2/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoons salt
2/3 cup milk
1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Mix sugar and shortening thoroughly with hand or standing mixer.  Add eggs and beat.  Sift dry ingredients and add alternatively with milk.  Gently blend in blueberries.  Fill greased muffin tins half full.  Bake for 15 minutes. 

Nutrition Facts: 137 Calories, 5g Fat, 21g Carbohydrates, 2.5g Protein, 0.6g Fiber, 83mg Sodium, 154mg Potassium


Pumpkin Protein Shake Under 100 Calories

It’s officially Fall and I can officially post a slurry of pumpkin-y posts!  I had my first PSL this weekend but it was so hot out it had to be iced.  Still delicious but totally loses the coziness factor.  There is a chill in the air today which I’m hoping sticks around for a bit.

The only downside to the absolutely huge variety of pumpkin foods and drinks this season are the calories.  Between the pumpkin beer, pumpkin bread/muffins/pies and that awful, delightful pumpkin syrup for coffee, saying “No” just doesn’t seem like an option.  After all, pumpkin is a vegetable, full of fiber and Vitamin A and it can be easy to imagine you’ve got a healthy snack in your hands if you’re not careful.  

When I’m in need of a pumpkin-fix, I usually make my healthier version of a pumpkin shake (under 100 calories say what!?).  Thanks (again) to Pinterest I got some great ideas of inspiration for this one last year.  However, most recipes posted involved a lot of added sugar so I cut it out completely although depending on your taste buds you could add a little sweetness.  

With portion sizes in mind, remember to enjoy those pumpkin treats you do eat because there’s nothing like them!

Pumpkin Protein Shake
1 Serving

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (vanilla or original)
2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1 scoop protein powder (45 Calories per scoop)
Pumpkin pie spice to taste

Combine ingredients in blender or protein shake bottle with mixer.  That's it, enjoy!

Optional: Add honey, agave nectar, stevia or other product for sweetness.  Also, for a more milkshake-like version, add a few ice cubes to blender.

Nutrition Facts:  85 Calories, 3g Fat, 6.5g Carbohydrate, 8g Protein, 3.5g Fiber, 227mg Sodium, 258mg Potassium

(Also, contains 105% of Daily Value Vitamin A)


#WIAW | What I Ate Wednesday

Welcome to the first "What I Ate Wednesday" on Lemon Pantry!  This is not a new idea by any means but I thought I would give it a try.  I thought some of you may like to see what kinds of food dietitians eat (disappointingly normal) and I found it also helps keep me accountable throughout the day if I know I'm going to have to photograph it.

So this post contains what I actually ate on Tuesday for a "What I Ate Wednesday" post if that makes any sense.  Looking back I would have loved to add some greens to my dinner but I didn't want to go overboard before heading to 7PM yoga.  If you cross one eye and stand on your head you'll see I still had some whole grains, vegetables and dairy/protein snuck in there so it wasn't a total loss, even if it was pizza.

Otherwise, Tuesday was a pretty uneventful and typical day of what I might eat.  With some feedback I may do another one of these which will show some variations of meals and snacks, so let me know what you think!

6:15AM Breakfast
Whole wheat English muffin
Peanut butter
Small banana
8oz almond milk
1/2 scoop protein powder

9:30AM Snack 
Low fat cheese stick

11:30AM Lunch
Salad - spring mix greens, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, 1 packet chunk tuna fish, olive oil and lemon juice
Non-fat Greek yogurt
Medium Apple

2PM Snack 
Pumpkin Seeds

5:30PM Dinner 
Grilled whole-grain pizza with mozzarella and tomatoes

8:30PM Snack (Not shown)
Spoonful of peanut butter after yoga

 Not pictured is my morning coffee with milk.  I keep a reusable 16 ounce cup at work that I try to refill 2-3 times throughout the day with ice water.  I also typically drink 1 liter of seltzer water from the time I get home until bedtime.

Let me know if you guys liked this type of post and would care to see another one in the future in the comments below!