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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Breakfast bars and Hot Tamales!

I've been focusing hard on trying to get M and my husband away from cereal in the mornings, and have been cooking up batches of breakfasts that they can have just as easily. We have homemade frozen waffles, apple-cinnamon pancakes, and French toast already in the freezer. And yes, honestly, all of those are much healthier than cereal, particularly if I can get them to eat them with maple syrup.

Here's why: I made them with farm-fresh eggs from free-range chickens, which have higher levels of omega-3s than factory farmed ones, and higher levels of vitamins A & E, and less cholesterol and saturated fat. I also used real whole milk from the farm, which is more easily digestible than store-bought, and has natural vitamins included rather than artificially added back in. (For more information about real milk, check out Not only that, but even with syrup, these things have less sugar than cereal. And if they use maple syrup, it is chock-full of minerals like zinc and manganese that are good for you. Plus, if they are taking the time to sit down and eat (which is better for your digestion than gulping and running) I can normally get some additional eggs or turkey bacon in them so that they have protein to start the day. Sometimes I can work some fruit in there too.

Store-bought cereals have over processed grains, typically GMO high fructose corn syrup, sugar, sugar, sugar, and lots and lots of chemicals. Even the so-called healthy ones. M and S are not convinced, but they like hot breakfast, so enough with my tirade.

Yesterday I made homemade breakfast
bars. Which look nothing like Kellogg's, but I think are delicious. We'll see how they feel this morning.
To make:
Soak 3-4 cups of whole rolled oats overnight (NOT instant oatmeal)
The next day, mix together 4 eggs, 3/4 cups brown s
ugar, 2 cups of milk, 1 Tbsp. cinnamon, 1 Tbsp. baking powder, 1 cup of raisins, 1 cup of diced fresh strawberries. Once that was all mixed together, I added the oatmeal. You can cook in one pan, but I divided into three smaller ones so as to cook in the convection oven and not heat up the house. I baked at 350 for 25 minutes. I let them sit out to cool, and then cut up and refrigerated. It made a total of about 20 small but filling breakfast bars.

**Update to that-- although I had two for breakfast, neither one of them tried them.)

For dinner I decided to make tamales, using leftover cornhusks from the previous day's cookout. I never had made tamales before, so I looked at several different recipes before working it out. My recipe makes about 15 tamales.

3 chicken breast quarters
1 tbsp. cumin, divided
1 tbsp. paprika, divi
1 tsp. ancho chile powder

1 tbsp. black pepper, divided
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. baking powder

1 can green chiles
1 jalapeno, chopped finely
1 onion, diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced
4-5 cups of water
2 tbsp. olive oil
husks from 5 ears of corn
3 cups masa flour or cornmeal

1/3 cup butter

Soak the cornhusks in a bowl of water. Bring the chicken breasts to a boil with black pepper, 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. paprika, and 1/2 tsp. of ancho chile powder. Once the water is boiling, reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the chicken is falling off of the bones. Take the chicken and shred it either with your fingers or with two forks. Remove the bones and discard. Reserve broth, allow both chicken and broth to cool. In a saucepan, saute the onions until almost clear, approximately 2 minutes, then add the garlic and saute for an additional minute. Add remaining seasonings, jalapeno, and green chiles. Cook for an additional minute and add shredded chicken. Mix well, and cook until chicken is warmed. In a separate bowl, mix masa flour, salt, and baking powder with the butter. Mix with your hands to get butter thoroughly blended. Carefully, a bit at a time, add the broth until your mixture is somewhat of a peanut butter consistency. Take the corn husks out of the water, and shake off excess water. In each, place 2 tsbp. of the dough mixture, then add 1 tbsp. of the chicken mixture. Carefully roll the husks up, and tie off with a strip of corn husks. (Note: Most recipes will tell you to use kitchen twice. I just felt like it would be silly to buy string when you could use what is already there.) It will be helpful if you can tuck the ends up as you roll. Next place the tamales upright in your steamer basket and steam, with the lid on, for about 90 minutes. Check often to be sure that the water does not run dry under the steamer, you don't want to dry the tamales out or have them have a burnt taste. Once you believe they are done, remove 1 and allow to cool for a moment. Check to be sure the dough is cooked well. Enjoy!

I left some meat reserved and refrigerated, and made into a breakfast omelet this morning:

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