Make Your Mornings Count With a Dash of Matcha Madness

So, guess I’ve been feeling the Eastern vibes lately. Between last week’s Korean Boribap recipe and this week’s love letter to all things matcha, I should probably just book a flight to Asia. Donate to my travel fund, and I’ll get right on that!

No takers? Shocking. Fine then…living vicariously through my taste buds isn’t the worst consolation prize. Lucky for this girl, my fianc√©’s sister did go to Asia recently, and she brought me back some authentic ceremonial-grade Japanese matcha.

Talk about earning brownie points with the future sis-in-law. Give me pretentious sounding superfoods, and I’m your friend for life. Well played, Kristin…well played.

If you’re a matcha virgin, it’s literally just powdered green tea. Observe:

matcha powder

But what makes it so freaking fabulous? Check out these impressive stats:

  • Yields more antioxidants than any other superfood including goji berries, acai, kale and spinach.
  • Contains a powerful blend of essential nutrients like fiber, chlorophyll, zinc, magnesium, and Vitamin C.
  • Strengthens immune function, promotes anti-inflmmatory benefits and works like a natural detoxifier.
  • Boosts the metabolism to burn calories more efficiently, and regulates healthy cholesterol levels.
  • Reduces physical and mental stress, enhances concentration and balances fluctuating mood states.

Way to kick some nutritional ass, Matcha! And that’s why I jumpstart each morning with this little green powerhouse I’ve become *slightly* dependent on. Sure, you can drink it like the socially acceptable human you are. OR you can get creative, steal a chapter from my cookbook…

And breakfast will never be the same.

matcha for breakfast

MATCHA GINGER OATMEAL

Ingredients:

1 cup Cashew Milk (unsweetened)

1/2 cup Whole-Grain Oats

2 tsp. Matcha Powder

2 packets Stevia (organic)

1 tsp. Almond Butter (all-natural)

2‚Äď3 pinches Sesame Seeds

1/4 tsp. Ground Ginger

Preparation:

  1. Pour the Cashew Milk into a small saucepan and preheat the stovetop burner on a medium-high setting.
  2. Add the Oats and stir occasionally until the mixture begins to boil, then reduce to a simmer and continue stirring until the texture thickens.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the stove, add the Matcha, Ginger and Stevia, then stir to combine.
  4. Transfer the oatmeal into a serving bowl, then top with Almond Butter and Sesame Seeds for extra crunch. (NOTE: feel free to use whatever toppings you prefer…I just choose sesame seeds in keeping with our Asian theme!)

matcha oatmeal before pic

matcha oatmeal after pic

MATCHA BLUEBERRY PANCAKES

Ingredients:

1 cup Cashew Milk (unsweetened)

3/4 cup Spelt Flour (or, a GF alternative)

1/3 cup Fresh Blueberries

1/2 tbsp. Matcha Powder

2 packets Stevia (organic)

2 tsp. Almond Butter (all-natural)

Preparation:

  1. Pour the Cashew Milk and Spelt Flour into a mixing bowl, then stir vigorously until no lumps remain.
  2. Add the Blueberries, Matcha and Stevia into this batter, then stir again to combine.
  3. Preheat the stovetop burner on a medium-high setting, place a griddle on this burner and coat with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Ladle the batter in small batches onto the griddle, allow to cook about 2 minutes on each side, then transfer the pancakes to a serving plate once they’re done.
  5. Spread the Almond Butter over the pancake stack and garnish with leftover blueberries, if desired.

matcha pancakes before pic

matcha pancakes after pic

Reader Poll (just because I’m curious): Do you cook with matcha, or are you a purist who thinks tea is for drinking, thankyouverymuch?

A Non-Beachbody Coach’s Take on Shakeology

Shakeology Flavors

I initially heard about Shakeology 6 months ago. Those first 3 months were spent in a perpetual state of skepticism. The next 3 months were spent in limbo between piqued interest and hesitation to fork over cash for a product I wasn’t sure would deliver.

Finally though, intrigue won out over financial responsibility, and 1 week later, my Super Sampler arrived in the mail. There I was — committed to trying this so-called “superfood supplement” I’d been resisting since December. No turning back now.

So, I took the plunge. Ripped open a packet. Poured some powder into the blender. Added a few ingredients lying around my fridge…

Then, I drank.

The first sip told me everything I needed to know. My eating habits would never be the same. In those .5 seconds it took to gulp down that smoothie, I became a bona fide Shakeology believer.

Since then, my mornings don’t even begin until this smoothie addict gets her Shakeology fix, which provides numerous essential nutrients in one wholesome, appetite-curbing (not to mention, ah-mazing!) meal.

In fact, according to the website, here’s what you’ll find in a single Shakeology serving:

  • Protein & Fiber: to naturally reduce hunger and unhealthy food cravings
  • Antioxidants, Phytonutrients, Vitamins & Minerals: to fight free-radical damage and support a strong immune system
  • Adaptogen Herbs: to help your body adapt and respond to the effects of stress
  • Prebiotics, Probiotics & Digestive Enzymes: to aid in nutrient absorption and promote digestive regularity

I’m not a paid distributor or Beachbody Coach. Nor is this a sponsored review that’ll earn me some sweet commission. Nope. I’m just personally attesting to the product’s incredible taste and positive results.

What can I say? It’s L-O-V-E. Love.

And logic. Because, damn, does this stuff work!

Shakeology turned my dubious trial run into a permanent lifestyle staple. That’s one “told ya so” this former skeptic will drink to anytime!

But, for all you other skeptics still at-large: maybe these RECIPES will change your mind…Go ahead: the indulgence comes completely guilt-free!

Chocolate Shakeology Smoothie:

Vegan Chocolate Shakeology Recipe

1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology Powder (or, make it Vegan)

1 tsp. Sweetener (e.g. Raw Agave Nectar, Raw Honey, Organic Stevia)

1 c. Unsweetened Cashew Milk

1/2 c. Fresh or Frozen Blackberries

1/4 c. Whole Grain Rolled Oats

1 tbsp. All-Natural Almond Butter

Strawberry Shakeology Smoothie:

Strawberry Shakeology Recipe

1 scoop Strawberry Shakeology Powder (or, make it Vegan)

1 tsp. Sweetener (e.g. Raw Agave Nectar, Raw Honey, Organic Stevia)

1 c. Unsweetened Cashew Milk

1/2 c. Fresh or Frozen Strawberries

1/2 c. Chopped Spinach Leaves

1/4 c. Whole Grain Rolled Oats

1 tbsp. All-Natural Almond Butter

Greenberry Shakeology Smoothie:

Greenberry Shakeology Recipe

1 scoop Greenberry Shakeology Powder

1 tsp. Sweetener (e.g. Raw Agave Nectar, Raw Honey, Organic Stevia)

1 c. Unsweetened Cashew Milk

1/2 c. Chopped Granny Smith Apple

1/2 c. Chopped Avocados

1/4 c. Whole Grain Rolled Oats

1 tbsp. All-Natural Almond Butter

Vanilla Shakeology Smoothie:

Vanilla Shakeology Recipe

1 scoop Vanilla Shakeology Powder

1 tsp. Sweetener (e.g. Raw Agave Nectar, Raw Honey, Organic Stevia)

1 c. Unsweetened Cashew Milk

1/2 c. Chopped Fresh or Frozen Mango

1/4 c. Whole Grain Rolled Oats

1 tbsp. All-Natural Almond Butter

And…Protein Pancakes Too!

Chocolate Shakeology Pancakes

2 scoops Chocolate Shakeology Powder

1/2 c. Almond Flour (grind 1 c. Raw Almonds in a blender or food processor)

1 Egg Yolk (or Vegan substitution)

1/2 c. Water or Unsweetened Nondairy Milk

1/4 c. Whole Grain Rolled Oats

1 tbsp. Organic Stevia Powder

Combine these ingredients in a mixing bowl. Coat a skillet with cooking spray and pre-heat on a medium stovetop setting. Ladle the pancake batter onto the skillet in approximately 1/4 c. increments and cook about 3 minutes on each side. Top the pancakes with fresh fruit and nut butter.

Summer Eats, (Slightly!) Slimmed-Down

I say “slightly” because some of the ingredients featured in these recipes aren’t as —¬†errrhealthy as they could be. For example, Brioche is used rather than a more nutritious whole wheat alternative.

But, hey…Sometimes you just gotta have those comfort carbs!

(Alright. I confess: my eating habits are, in fact, subject to slip-ups. You caught me. I’m human, too!)

Anywho, since May is underway, classic warm weather¬†favorites¬†are making their seasonal debut, and in my kitchen, I can’t resist showcasing those fresh ‘n airy flavors all day long — from breakfast to dinner!

Whether you crave¬†“brekky” in bed or a poolside cookout this weekend, here’s what I’ve got in the works to tickle your summertime¬†taste buds:


First, on the menu…Who’s up for¬†brunchin’ it?!

AVOCADO & ALMOND BUTTER PROTEIN PANCAKES

Ingredients:

1/2 Hass Avocado

1 c. Whole Wheat Flour

1 Egg (omit if Vegan)

3 tbsp. Water

1 tbsp. Agave Nectar

1 tbsp. Almond Butter

1 tbsp. Whole Grain Oats

Preparation:

  1. Peel and core the halved Avocado, then transfer it into a small mixing bowl and mash until smooth, as though you’re making guacamole.
  2. Add the Flour,¬†Oats, Water, Egg (unless, of course, you’re vegan!),¬†Agave Nectar and Oats¬†into the mixing bowl, then combine all the ingredients together thoroughly.
  3. Coat a small skillet with non-stick Cooking Spray and pre-heat the skillet on a medium stovetop setting.
  4. Spoon the desired amounts of Batter into the skillet, then cook evenly on both sides, about 2-3 minutes each.
  5. Transfer the Pancakes onto a plate and allow them to cool slightly, then top each pancake with a dollop of Almond Butter.

avocado pancakes


And, now for round two…Did someone say¬†din-din?!

TANGY CUCUMBER, LEMON & DILL SALMON BURGERS

Ingredients:

1 Skinless Salmon Fillet

2-3 Cucumber Slices

2 slices Brioche (I used St. Pierre)

1 Garlic Clove

1 tbsp. Lemon Juice

2 tsp. Lemon Zest

1 tsp. Dried Dill Weed

2 tbsp. Feta (sub. for Cashew Cream if vegan)

1/4 c. Plain Greek Yogurt (check out this non-dairy guide if vegan)

Preparation:

  1. Coat a small skillet with non-stick Cooking Spray and pre-heat the skillet on a medium stovetop setting.
  2. Place the Salmon in the skillet and saute evenly on both sides until the fish is cooked thoroughly, about 5-7 minutes each.
  3. While the fish is cooking, whisk the Yogurt, Garlic, Dill, Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest together in a small bowl, then set aside temporarily.
  4. Place the Brioche slices in a toaster until they turn golden-brown and crispy, then transfer them onto a plate.
  5. Spread a thin layer of the Yogurt Sauce on each Brioche slice and place the Salmon on one of the slices.
  6. Garnish with the Cucumber slices and crumbled Feta (or cashew cream), then place the remaining Brioche slice on top.
  7. Serve this¬†Salmon Burger¬†alongside a tropical fruit medley — such as Mango, Kiwi and Avocado.

salmon burger

(In other news: it just occurred to me that I might be suffering from an Avo-Addiction.)