Healthy Berry & Peanut Butter Parfait with Granola

Now these were kind of inspired by acai bowls but mostly inspired by Jamba Juice’s Chunky Strawberry Topper fruit & yogurt parfait. Have you ever had one of those things? They are soo good. They blend strawberries, bananas, yogurt and peanut butter and then top it with fresh banana slices and granola. We had a Jamba Juice on campus and I used to have those things all the time until I realized they were 520 calories for the small ones which is more calories than a bagel with cream cheese! Therefore not really super appropriate for an in between classes snack and more meal replacement I suppose.

Healthy Berry + Peanut Butter Parfait

Healthy Berry + Peanut Butter Parfait

So I wanted to copy this delicious little parfait with about 200 less calories.

Healthy Berry + Peanut Butter Parfait

Healthy Berry + Peanut Butter Parfait

Healthy Berry + Peanut Butter Parfait

Healthy Berry + Peanut Butter Parfait

The key to making this healthier is replacing sugar-y yogurt with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and plain fat free greek yogurt. And substituting peanut butter with PB2, a powdered almost fat free peanut butter that is a great way to add peanut butter flavor with so much less fat. I elaborate more on PB2 in this post.

Healthy Berry + Peanut Butter Parfait

Healthy Berry + Peanut Butter Parfait

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cup frozen mixed berries or strawberries
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tablespoons of PB2
3 tablespoons of sweetener (I used Splenda but feel free to use whatever you like)
1 banana
1/4 cup of granola
Drizzle of honey (optional)

1. Blend berries, greek yogurt, almond milk, sweetener, PB2 and 1/2 the banana together until smooth-ish.
2. Pour into bowl.
3. Top with thinly sliced other half of the banana + granola.
4. Drizzle with honey if you’d like.

Healthy Berry + Peanut Butter Parfait

Healthy Berry + Peanut Butter Parfait

Healthy Berry + Peanut Butter Parfait

Healthy Berry + Peanut Butter Parfait

The base of this parfait basically has 180 calories so if you add in the banana on top and granola on top you have a total of 310 calories (depending on the granola you use of course). A little more if you use real sugar as opposed to a calorie-free sweetener. Still its not bad right? This would make a fantastic breakfast. And you can add in a little less almond milk if you want it thicker and more PB2 if you want more peanut butterness.

Healthy Berry + Peanut Butter Parfait

Healthy Berry + Peanut Butter Parfait

The one pictured above was made with strawberries only which makes it really taste similar to the Jamba Juice version. I also made it with mixed berries (see below). I think the reason because its so purple in the pictures below is all the blueberries as well as taking a picture at night. And a lot of my granola sank into the parfait hence the few little lonely granola islands. Its a yummy and filling snack high in protein and antioxidants but still delicious with the peanut butter and crunchy granola.

Berry & Peanut Butter Parfait with Granola

Berry & Peanut Butter Parfait with Granola

Healthy Berry & Peanut Butter Parfait

Healthy Berry & Peanut Butter Parfait

TIPS:
– This is is a great way to get all your healthy foods in a.k.a. throw in a tablespoon or two of coconut oil or flaxseed oil in the yogurt parfait mix or add in maca powder for energy! As far as topping it add in chia seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, coconut flakes and/or berries. If you added in all those things you would have the ultimate omega-3, healthy fats, vitamin E, protein, antioxidants, you name it power punch.
– Add fresh sliced strawberries on top. I wish I did!

Fig, Honey, Thyme & Goat Cheese Yogurt Popsicle

So I’ve noticed a lot of our recipes have really long titles and this no exception. I just really want people to know what’s in them right off the bat I guess? I was going to call them red, white and blue popsicles in honor of the upcoming holiday but I thought that might be pushing it as figs are really more purple than blue on the outside…

Figs

Figs

Also I was way too excited to get a half day on Wednesday and with that and no work on Friday I basically did not really remember to finish this post until today. So I guess the red, white, and blue is not really applicable anymore…

Figs from the farmer's market

Figs from the farmer’s market

Figs are amazing. I am aware they are not the most popular fruit and as a kid I tried to pretend I didn’t like it because I thought the interior of the fig looked like “tentacles” but they are delicious. Plump, sweet, and incredibly fragrant I suggest you find yourself some figs before they’re gone!

Figs

Figs

Perhaps the only downside with figs is that they are indeed highly seasonal and a touch on the more expensive side. I have bought figs from Trader Joe’s ($2.99 for a basket not bad at all), from the Little Italy Farmer’s Market ($4.99 for a basket) and Whole Foods ($5.99 for a basket) and sadly despite the TJ’s one being super cheap they were also not quite worth the money as they were still green on the outside and even after ripening were mostly hollow and dry inside. The one’s from the farmer’s market were the best, and I will be picking more up this weekend!

Figs

Figs

There is not much you need to do to enjoy figs, I find that they’re best when super fresh, it almost seems like a waste to cook them into anything unless they are dry or past their prime.

Figs

Figs

One of my favorite ways to eat them is as a light snack, drizzled with honey and then sprinkled with thyme and good feta or with a dollop of thick greek yogurt if you are not into the salty and sweet thing.

Fig with Thyme & Honey

Fig with Thyme & Honey

Fig + Honey  + Thyme + Greek Yogurt

Fig + Honey + Thyme + Greek Yogurt

And as much as I like them fresh, I perhaps got too excited about figs and having bought some from the farmer’s market and Trader Joe’s I decided to use some of the Trader Joe’s ones to make popsicles. More specifically: fig, greek yogurt, goat cheese, thyme and honey popsicles. This might have also been influenced by me recently acquiring these nifty little Zoku popsicles molds.

Zoku Popsicle Molds

Zoku Popsicle Molds

Zoku Popsicle Molds

Zoku Popsicle Molds

I got these from Pigment in North Park, this store sells all kinds of interesting decor, books and food items as well as all the components you would need to build your own terrarium. Zoku also has these other instant popsicle molds that will have your popsicle ready in 6 minutes or something of that sort. I can wait more than 6 minutes for my popsicles so I got the regular kind but those are a good option too for you more impatient types 🙂

Fig, Honey, Thyme and Goat Cheese Popsicle

Fig, Honey, Thyme and Goat Cheese Popsicle

INGREDIENTS:

Makes 2 popsicles with my molds, to make more double, triple, etc. accordingly.

1 cup of greek yogurt
4 tablespoons of goat cheese
sugar/agave/sweetener to taste
4 tablespoons honey
1 sprig of thyme
3 figs, chopped
popsicle molds

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Whisk the greek yogurt, goat cheese and sugar/agave/sweetener together until smooth.
2. Taste to see if its sweet enough for your liking, keeping in mind we are adding some honey after. Add more if necessary.
3. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the honey, thyme leaves, and chopped figs. Beat the figs around with the whisk a little so they break down a little until the whole mixture is the lightest shade of pink.
4. Add the last 2 tablespoons of honey but only mix in slightly so you still have swirls of honey.
5. Pour into popsicle molds and let freeze for at least 3 hours or according to popsicle mold instructions.
6. Eat!

Yogurt and Goat Cheese

Yogurt and Goat Cheese

Cherry Blossom Honey

Cherry Blossom Honey

So basically with popsicles or ice cream the more impurities you add to your liquid base the less solid it will be. Adding sugar, fat or alcohol all will make your popsicle softer. For this recipe I used nonfat Greek yogurt but using full fat would give you a creamier popsicle.

Greek yogurt, goat cheese, honey and thyme

Greek yogurt, goat cheese, honey and thyme

Greek yogurt, goat cheese, honey and thyme

Greek yogurt, goat cheese, honey and thyme

This is a lovely very grown up popsicle with good tang from the goat cheese, a floral flavor from the honey and figs and lastly a slight herbal earthiness from thyme. I don’t know that kids would enjoy it as much as adults but this is a perfect light dessert to serve after a summer BBQ.

Fig, Goat Cheese, Honey & Thyme Popsicles

Fig, Goat Cheese, Honey & Thyme Popsicles

Fig, Goat Cheese, Honey & Thyme Popsicles

Fig, Goat Cheese, Honey & Thyme Popsicles

TIPS:
– If you don’t like figs other fruits that can be substituted would be strawberries, apricots, grapes, blueberries or peaches.
– Thyme and the goat cheese could also be omitted. For the herb component you could also substitute it, some herbs that play nicely with sweeter flavors are rosemary, tarragon, mint, lavender, and basil.
– Different kinds of honey would add different dimensions to the flavor, I used a light cherry blossom honey but buckwheat honey would add a deeper honey flavor that would be lovely with the thyme.
– Lastly, if you want a really creamy popsicle you could always substitute heavy cream for the greek yogurt! But just make sure the cook the cream with the sugar before so that the sugar is properly dissolved.

Polite Provisions II

After being quite smitten with Polite Provisions the first time around, we decided to revisit the place during the afternoon to see what it’s like a little earlier in the day. It was definitely less crowded on a Thursday afternoon compared to a weekend night which is when we previously attended. We were able to sit at a table and it was a more casual vibe with most people ordering food from neighboring Soda & Swine next door.

Polite Provisions

Polite Provisions

Polite Provisions

Polite Provisions

As usual the cocktails we got we’re all spot on. The cocktail menu changes a bit everyday but there are a couple constants. They try to incorporate seasonal beverages and change up the cocktails on draft. Below is the cocktail menu for that day:

Polite Provisions Menu

Polite Provisions Menu

On to the libations…

The cocktail I ordered was the Ocean Side. This came with London dry gin, fresh lime, mint, sea salt and celery bitters.

Ocean Side

Ocean Side

I really, really liked this drink. It’s refreshing, not cloyingly sweet, and herbal as well as sweet and savoury at the same time with the sea salt and celery bitters. The celery flavour is noticeable but subtle, it played really well with the mint and lime. I’d reckon if you like gin and tonics and you like Bloody Mary’s you would like this guy.

One of the other drinks we ordered at our table was the Uncle Jalapeno, with Blanco tequila, jalapeno, and T-Bone’s pineapple soda.

Uncle Jalapeno

Uncle Jalapeno

I love spicy flavors in drinks like the habanero infused beer Ballast Point does or the jalapeno infused drink at Whisknladle (cannot remember its name right now even though I always order it!). I am not someone who can handle suuuper spicy food so don’t worry if you are wary of that, these are not meant to burn your palate, the peppers just add the slightest zing and more of their flavor than just blunt spice. The pineapple soda tastes like fresh pineapple and complemented the jalapeno and tequila flavors really well, without being too sweet. If you like those Mexican fruit cups with the spices and little limes on them you will love this.

The last drink we had was the Kentucky Buck. This drink was a little sweeter and fruitier but not anything excessive. It has bourbon, fresh lemon, strawberry and ginger beer.

Kentucky Buck

Kentucky Buck

Ok so the best way I can summarize this drink is that it tasted EXACTLY like strawberry fruit roll-ups. IT WAS AWESOME. And other people at our table agreed. Not very bourbon forward and very drinkable. If you’re not a fan of spirit-forward drinks but like fruit roll-ups (and who doesn’t?) you will like this drink.

Overall we had another great experience. Drinks are still all mostly $8 bucks, you are getting such good value for your money. The only $10 dollar drink was the dessert one. Cannot wait to come back yet again and try the punch bowls…

Polite Provisions

Polite Provisions

Polite Provisions
4696 30th St
San Diego, CA 92116
politeprovisions.com

Honey-Rhubarb & Greek Yogurt Parfait with Dark Chocolate

So. This is the first time I have ever cooked with rhubarb. But fear not,  it turned out quite nicely! I love rhubarb in desserts, it adds a great tang to pies and ice cream and pairs beautifully with strawberries or white chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Shavings

Dark Chocolate Shavings and a Swirl of Honey on the Parfait

It might seem intimidating at first because its a stalk-y vegetable that looks a lot like celery that is dyed bright red and you normally do not consume it raw or without cooking it with sugar. But cooking with it does not take very long at all and with the results you get a jammy sweet-tart confection that can be mixed into muffins, swirled into ice cream, mixed into a cocktail or dolloped on yogurt. I chose that last option.

Honey-Rhubarb & Greek Yogurt Parfait with Dark Chocolate

Honey-Rhubarb & Greek Yogurt Parfait with Dark Chocolate

Spoonful of the Parfait

Spoonful of the Parfait

I based my rhubarb on this recipe. I made some modifications and decided to add thyme to it. Thyme is such a nice woodsy herb that adds complexity to the honey-rhubarb compote. If you want it to be even more woodsy you could add rosemary even!

Rhubarb

Rhubarb

Rhubarb - Doesn't it look just like celery?

Rhubarb – Doesn’t it look just like celery?

INGREDIENTS:

Honey-Rhubarb Compote with Thyme

3 cups fresh rhubarb
1/4 cup orange juice
3 tbsp honey
1 sprig of fresh thyme

1. In a saucepan, bring the orange juice to a boil.
2. Add rhubarb, honey, and thyme and stir until everything is well mixed.
3. Cook mixture slowly for about 8 minutes. Taste for sweetness and add more honey if desired.
4. Let the compote cool completely. It can be stored in a jar for up to a week.

Honey-Rhubarb and Greek Yogurt Parfait with Dark Chocolate

Honey-Rhubarb and Greek Yogurt Parfait with Dark Chocolate

Honey-Rhubarb and Greek Yogurt Parfait with Dark Chocolate

honey-rhubarb compote
plain or vanilla greek yogurt
dark chocolate bar
honey

1. Layer the honey-rhubarb compote with greek yogurt
2. After each layer do a drizzle of honey and shave some dark chocolate on top of it.
3. Repeat.

Honey-Rhubarb Compote and Greek Yogurt Parfait

Honey-Rhubarb Compote and Greek Yogurt Parfait

The end result is a delicious mix of creamy yogurt, tangy-sweet honey rhubarb, and a touch of bitter from the dark chocolate. Its low-carb and satisfying (especially if you do big shavings of dark chocolate!). It made for a lovely breakfast today and tomorrow I’m thinking of adding the compote to some oatmeal with almond milk, coconut shavings and fresh sliced strawberries…

Honey-Rhubarb Compote and Greek Yogurt Parfait

Honey-Rhubarb Compote and Greek Yogurt Parfait

TIPS:
– You can substitute the honey in the compote recipe for a sweetener like sugar or the cup-for-cup Splenda! If you use a no calorie sweetener this would be a pretty healthy (and virtually zero carb) recipe.
– Adding in sliced strawberries or fresh blackberries to this parfait would also be lovely.
– If you don’t like dark chocolate, white chocolate pairs really well with rhubarb.
– Naturally you can use any kind of yogurt you like, and adding granola to this would really take it over the top!

Smudgy Honey-Rhubarb and Greek Yogurt Parfait Cup

Smudgy Honey-Rhubarb and Greek Yogurt Parfait Cup

5 Minute Healthy Salad – Strawberries, Feta, Almonds, Turkey + Thyme

One of the best ways to eat healthy during the work week is to BYOL – Bring Your Own Lunch. Cooking a bigger portion ensures you have extra leftovers to bring to work. However there are days when there are no leftovers to be had and very little time in the morning to prep something to take to work. Even though I have turned to Trader Joe’s frozen meals and PB&J’s, I also learned how to make tasty, filling salads that I can throw together in 5 minutes. I love salads with berries and this an easy strawberry salad that requires minimal cooking and will be ready to go in your trusty tupperware in less time than you take to shower in the morning.

strawberry, salad

Strawberry Salad

The best part about this recipe is that the basic concept is there but you can substitute whatever you have in your fridge: if I don’t have strawberries I throw in blueberries, if I don’t have feta I use goat cheese…No turkey? A tiny bit of bacon is not going to kill you. It’s all good 🙂

strawberry, salad

Strawberry Salad

INGREDIENTS:

Mixed greens
5 strawberries
2-3 slices of roasted turkey breast (not the cheap rubber-y kind please)
Handful of almonds
Feta
3 sprigs of thyme
2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon honey
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat up a small frying pan and add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to it.
2. Rip up the turkey in small pieces and add it to the hot pan. Season to taste and let it get crispy and brown around the edges.
3. While the turkey is browning fill your plate/bowl with the mixed greens and slice up your strawberries and place them on top of the greens.
4. Add almonds, thyme leaves, then crumble feta on top.
5. Add the turkey thats browned.
6. Combine the 2 tbsp of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and honey in a small bowl then whisk together and season to taste. If you are eating this right away pour it on top and toss to combine. If taking to work add it to the bottom of the container so everything doesn’t wilt and you can toss it all together before eating.

Amounts in this recipe are fairly loose because you should not be measuring things that early in the morning. Just add however much you want of each ingredient. I recommend adding A LOT of toppings so that the salad feels like a meal and you’re not just eating greens by themselves like a rabbit :/

You could also always add more meat like chicken breast. I like using meat as just an accent as opposed to the main ingredient in this salad because reducing your meat intake is good for you (but hard to do!) and although we tend to cook full meals for dinner (complete with steaks or salmon filets and whatnot) there are so many tasty ingredients you don’t miss it in this salad.

Strawberry

Strawberry

A great way to make salads more flavorful too is to use herbs like salad greens. If you have ever had tabbouleh or fattoush or other Middle Eastern salads, they use parsley and mint as if they were salad greens not just accent herbs. So have herbs on hand! I grow rosemary, basil, parsley and thyme. All are doing pretty well except for the parsley which apparently cats like to eat…

For this salad basil, rosemary, or mint would also pair beautifully with the strawberries.

Thyme

Thyme

Basil

Basil

Rosemary

Rosemary

So this is a lovely 5 minute salad for spring, look out for future posts on a super fast nicoise style salad and citrus-avocado based salad…

TIPS:
– If you don’t have strawberries: blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries would all do – just make sure its fresh fruit!
– We used fat free feta but using real feta makes the salad creamier and using goat cheese even more so!
– If you don’t have almonds, hazelnuts would be particularly good here. Or else pine nuts, walnuts, pecans, pistachio and most nuts would work…perhaps not peanuts.
– Candied nuts always are really good in berry salads as well! Those have a lot of calories so we stayed away from them this time.
– Any mixed greens maybe with the exception of iceberg lettuce could be used as a base – butter lettuce, romaine, spinach, etc.
– If you use a pre-made low fat dressing that would save you even more time!

Cafe 21

Cafe 21 has long been ranked #1 brunch in SD and being a fan of Hash House I always wanted to go to see this restaurant that upstaged Hash House’s pizza-sized pancakes and my favorite pesto scramble with chicken

sangria, cafe 21, san diego

Sangrias at Cafe 21

Cafe 21 has two locations, one in the Gaslamp and one in North Park. Brunch tends to get pretty busy so we would advise you to go early or late and in general the North Park one is less crowded than the Gaslamp. We went to the North Park location around 10 am and only had to wait a couple minutes for seating at the bar.

You know when sometimes you go to a restaurant and one dish stands out so you know what you absolutely must order? At Cafe 21 there were 4 dishes that I absolutely wanted to order. I considered ordering 2 and taking the rest home but finally decided I should not completely cancel out the benefits of the hot yoga session I attended that morning and decided on only one dish – it wasn’t easy.

Cafe 21 has 4 kinds of sangria and they’re all displaced on the wall – two red wine ones and two white wine ones. We were stuck deciding between the Pineapple Citrus and the Watermelon Cantaloupe. We asked for a taster and ultimately decided on a pitcher of the watermelon one. It was very refreshing tasting and tasted more like melon than wine. This was served with a slice of fresh watermelon and lots of ice; perfect for a hot day.

watermelon, sangria

Watermelon Cantaloupe Sangria

The menu has quite a few options ranging from frittata-style omelettes that come in cast iron pans (you can get one side dish with them), benedicts that come on corn cakes, salads, sandwiches, yogurt parfaits and specials. I decided on the Filet Mignon Omelette that comes with bell peppers and goat cheese with a salad for the side.

salad, strawberry, cafe 21

Side Salad with Strawberry

filet mignon, omelette

Filet Mignon Omelette

The omelette was fluffy and delicious, it comes super hot in the cast iron pan. I loved the goat cheese but wished the bell peppers were a little more cooked as I like them soft instead of crunchy. The filet mignon was cooked medium-well, I suspect it was rarer but cooked while sitting in the cast iron pan. The side salad was delicious, simple greens but dressed with a slightly sweet berry dressing and garnished with fresh strawberries.

My friend got the Prosciutto Omelette. This came with prosciutto, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese. It looked amazing and I think I would pick that one over the Filet Mignon Omelette next time. All the omelettes come with toast as well.

Prosciutto, Omelette

Prosciutto Omelette

Overall everything was quite good, the service was excellent, and we kept staring at dishes come out of the kitchen and inquiring as to what they were as everything looked amazing. Can’t wait to come back here and try the lavash bread with turkey sausage topped with cheese or the smoked salmon, egg, and avocado sandwich. And the baked pancakes with apples….And the shrimp corn cake benedict! Clearly will have to return more than once…

Cafe 21

750 5th Ave
San Diego, CA
92101

2736 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA
92116

http://www.cafe-21.com

Strawberry Vanilla Pound Cake with Almond Crumble

There are certain flavors that can really take a dish the extra mile and at the same time it’s hard to put your finger on what’s missing when it’s not there; nutmeg in cream sauces, a squeeze of lemon to brighten up roasted asparagus, and almond in vanilla-based baked goods. This pound cake is a simple pound cake recipe to which we add fresh strawberries, almond extract, a glaze and almond crumble. Nice to serve with ice cream for dessert or just lightly toasted for breakfast.

Strawberry Vanilla Poundcake

Strawberry Vanilla Pound Cake

RECIPE:

STRAWBERRY VANILLA POUND CAKE WITH ALMOND CRUMBLE

Pound Cake & Glaze:
1 cup softened unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
3/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cups self-rising cake flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup of chopped strawberries tossed with 2 tablespoons of flour
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of almond extract

Almond Crumble:
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons cold butter, diced
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup sugar

– Preheat the oven to 350C and grease a loaf pan.
– In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar, then add the lemon zest.
– Add the eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of the flour for each.
– Then gently mix in the rest of the flour.
– Add the lemon juice (saving 2 tbsp for glaze), vanilla, and finally almond extract.
– Mix in the chopped strawberries then add to the loaf pan.
– Pulse all the ingredients for the crumble in a food processor until you have a crumbly/granola consistency. Set aside.
– Sprinkle the loaf with caster sugar (about 2 tablespoons should do it) and then the crumble as it goes into the oven. Then bake for 1 hour or until a cake-tester comes out clean.
– Remove to a wire rack, and let cool in the tin before turning out.
– Whisk the confectioner’s sugar with 2 tbsp of lemon juice until the glaze is smooth. Add lemon juice/sugar as needed to adjust the consistency.
– Once its cooled swirl the glaze on top.

Based on Nigella’s Madeira Cake

The final product is a nice mix of rich pound cake with tartness from the strawberries, extra sweetness from the glaze and crunchy texture from the crumble. The almond perfumes the loaf and the strawberries get the tiniest bit jammy from being in the oven. Try it out 🙂

TIPS:

– You can sub out the strawberries for other berries, fresh or frozen.
– Be sure to toss the fruit in flour so they don’t sink to the bottom of the cake.
– You could also use dried strawberries if you don’t like how fresh/frozen fruit can bleed into the cake.
– Tastes even better the day after.