kefir and chia breakfast parfaits

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Once I turned 30, I began to get a bit more health conscious. Less sugar, more fiber. Small changes. Then at 31, I really pushed the fruits and veggies. But at 32, I found I could no longer eat a slice of chocolate cake and feel decent afterwards. My metabolism slowed and it took more and more effort to maintain my ideal weight. Today I turn 33, and I sometimes feel like my body is just no longer cooperative. I’m on a range of (unavoidable) medications that make me tired, grumpy, and basically feel like a slug. To counteract all those crappy side-effects I need to pour in a really balanced diet to make me feel my best (which still, even on days when my diet is perfect, doesn’t always work). But I’m determined not to feel 33 going on 66, so I push on just trying to eat my best and exercise as much as I can.

For being a “grown up,” I don’t feel very grown up. I would still rather eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch for breakfast than eggs and avocados. But I know if I do eat that sugary cereal I will crash 1.5 hours later and feel even hungrier. The angel on my shoulder says, “Eat balanced! Protein in the morning!” while the sugar devil calls for “Cinnamon Toast Crunch! Cookie Crisp! Chocolate nom nom nom nom!”  Luckily, I can bop the sugar devil over the head with this healthy concoction that leaves me sated until lunchtime, and just not, you know, purchase the sugary cereals in the first place.

To make my daily breakfast, I start a day ahead. Prepping 3 of these at a time means there are 3 mornings where I don’t have to think about what’s for breakfast or be tempted by the kid’s leftover pancakes. I just grab a chia parfait out of the fridge, a spoon, and dig in before my stomach gets the best of me. Then on day 3, I make 3 more.

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What is kefir? It’s a fermented milk drink, sort of like a liquid yogurt. But unlike sugary yogurt, it packs 10.5 grams of protein per cup without the extra fat and calories. Plus it has more of the good probiotics to aid in digestion (and maintain healthy bowels….yeah I’m talking about that) than yogurt does. If you’re here in the UK, I like Bio-tiful Dairy Kefir that you can purchase on Ocado. In the US there are a ton more choices in the kefir department, from flavors like vanilla to cherry pomegranate. Just watch the sugar on the label–you don’t want to start your morning with a blood sugar blast-off.

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Pour 1 cup of kefir into a glass or resealable container (glass jars work great, too).

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Add some chia seeds. These pack a wallop of protein, Omega-3’s, and a ton of vitamins and minerals. Adding them to the kefir will give you your entire day’s worth of calcium in one serving.

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Next, add oats. Not quick-cook oats that will become mushy, but nice, thick old fashioned oats. Organic and gluten-free, if possible.

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Next, add a little bit of fruit compote or fruit jam for flavoring. You can omit this step, but I find that just a touch of sweetness and flavor really makes this breakfast shine. Look for no-added-sugar jams (if you’re using a flavored kefir omit this step).

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Stir it all together (or shake, if you’re using a lidded container)…

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…until everything is well combined. The mixture will be thin; don’t worry. It will thicken overnight in the fridge as the chia seeds and oats soak up the kefir. Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight and up to 3 days.

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In the morning toss on some fresh berries, or if you need to use frozen you can add them before refrigerating the night before.

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See how the chia seeds have expanded? Those will help fill you up and keep you going all morning. The oats, too!

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What a perfect start to the day. Play with different flavors of jam and/or kefir until you find something that suits you just right. My absolute favorite is plain kefir with strawberry rhubarb jam–it tastes like pie!

Cheers to 33 years, my friends. *Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me…I look like I’m 32 28, but I act like I’m 12.*

xx

Jenny

Kefir and Chia Breakfast Parfaits 

  • 1 cup kefir
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats (not quick-cooking)
  • 1 tsp whole chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp no-added-sugar jam for flavor (omit if you’re using a flavored kefir)

Combine all ingredients in a resealable container or small bowl. Stir well. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days. Top with fresh fruit before devouring!

bacon cinnamon rolls

On a lazy saturday morning when you have nothing in particular to do, when you have a fresh pot of coffee, the newspaper and the living room all to yourself, you need to treat yourself to these. Yes, they’re slightly evil. Yes, they will go straight to your hips. But on that rare morning when the house is quiet and there’s not a thing to do, there is nothing better.

To make this ultimate sweet/savory combo you need only two ingredients: one can of cinnamon rolls and bacon. Of course make the cinnamon rolls from scratch if you’re feeling ambitious. But if not, a tube of store-bought “Grands” work just fine (beware the smaller sized versions, which often don’t “roll” at all—they’re just little discs of dough).

Fry the bacon until it just begins to crisp but is still flexible. Drain on paper towels.

Unroll the dough, place two strips of bacon into each, and roll back up.

Place in a greased pan. Doesn’t the bacon look like it just belongs there? It does. Believe me, it does.

Bake according to package directions…

…frost…

…and enjoy. And if you go back for seconds, I won’t tell. The combination of the salty bacon and the sticky-sweet cinnamon roll is just too hard to resist.

-RDG

Bacon Cinnamon Rolls

Makes 5 rolls

  • 1 package “Grands” cinnamon rolls
  • 10 strips bacon

Fry bacon for a few minutes on each side, until slightly crisp but still flexible. Drain on paper towels.

Unroll cinnamon rolls, place two strips of bacon into each, and roll back up. Place in a greased pan and bake according to package directions.