Sunday, October 6, 2013

Pumpkin Pancakes and Greek Quinoa Recipes :)

It’s the weekend! And it’s fall! That means two things:
  1. It is menu planning and meal prep time, and
  2. Pumpkin flavored everything is everywhere... including my pancakes J
In terms of weekend food prep, I’ve got a pretty good Saturday routine down. Sleep in, eat, gym with my mom, eat, grocery shop, eat, food prep, and then, obviously, eat again. This weekend, however, I switched it up a bit and included a couple new recipes in my menu, so it required a little extra shopping time. I also had to prep all my food around a kitchen window renovation, so things were a little slower than usual. I had to leave a couple things until today, but finally have got it all prepped and packed, and done! Whoot whoot! All ready for the week.

This weekend I also made two different kinds of post-workout pumpkin pancakes. And both were yummy! Pumpkin puree just has a way of making baking rich, lush and delicious. And, even though it's available all year, it just seems to fit the best with fall.
The first was based on my basic Cinnamon Zucchini Protein Pancake with Vanilla Icing, but with a ¼ cup of canned pumpkin puree added to the batter, and a tablespoon of pumpkin added to the icing. The second creation was adding a ¼ cup of canned pumpkin puree to my Chocolate Zucchini Protein Pancake with Chocolate Icing. Mmmmm, the additional moisture added from the pumpkin made the pancake very dense, and in the absence of cinnamon, the pumpkin flavor really came out, and paired well with the peanut butter and bananas on top. What a delicious way to get in those post-workout carbs and protein!

After opening up a big can of pumpkin and only using ¼ cup at a time, it lasts awhile, so I have been trying it out in different things. Pumpkin works really well in yogurt with some oats, walnuts, bananas, cinnamon and maple syrup. Pretty much autumn in a bowl J This has been my new bedtime snack for the past week. I also tried it out in an oatmeal cookie. While the execution of baking the cookie went a little awry (I tried frying it like a pancake because I didn’t want to wait for it to bake in the oven), it still tasted really good- especially with some chunky peanut butter on top! I based this creation on this recipe from the Powercakes website, but I used a chopped up Brownie Questbar as chocolate chips instead. It all came together quite nicely.

I am always looking for new ways to use pumpkin in baking or recipes, so let me know if you have other ideas J
I have also been using the fall weekends to build and experiment with other recipes as well. One of my new go-tos for a weekday meal has been a spanakopita/ Greek inspired quinoa bake. I based this recipe off of a side dish my girlfriend Leanna used to make, but made a couple changes to make sure that it included the right amount of carbs and protein I needed for a mid-morning snack. I also started baking it as a casserole so I could easily slice and package up individual servings to heat and eat at work. It’s a pretty simple recipe with only a few ingredients, but is full of flavor and can be adapted to suit any macros or particular tastes. Enjoy!

Spanakopita Quinoa Bake

Ingredients (for 6 servings):

·         240g uncooked quinoa

·         1 bunch (about 6) green onions

·         3-4 cloves of raw garlic (or to taste- I like a little bit more)

·         300g raw spinach (about one of the big boxes)

·         ½ bunch of fresh dill

·         ½-1 lemon, juiced

·         1 ½ cups egg whites

·         To taste- black pepper and garlic powder

·         1 ½ cup dry cottage cheese

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
  2. Dice up green onions and garlic. Sautee in a pan sprayed with Pam.
  3. Once onions and green onions are soft, add in spinach to wilt. Remove from heat.
  4. Stir fresh dill and lemon juice into onion, garlic and spinach mixture. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, mix egg whites, pepper, and garlic powder together.
  6. Add cooked quinoa to egg mixture. Mix well.
  7. Add spinach mixture to quinoa and egg mixture.
  8. Pour into sprayed baking dish.
  9. Sprinkle cottage cheese on top.
  10. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 5-10 minutes or until egg is set and cottage cheese is melted.
  11. Remove from oven. Let cool. Slice and serve or slice and store for an easy, re-heatable meal later.

This dish turned out really good! The combo of the garlic, onions, fresh dill and lemon really gives it that Greek-inspired flavor, while the quinoa and cottage cheese provide the carbs and protein to make it a satisfying meal. Options to switch it up a bit include using feta with (or instead of) the cottage cheese, swapping the quinoa with another grain for variety (I’m sure rice would work well!), add different vegetables (like peppers or sundried tomatoes) or change the herb (maybe some oregano?). Endless clean possibilities. Try it out and lemme know what you come up with!



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