Top Ten Reasons to Stay Up Late with a Pharmacist and a Prescription for Vegan, Gluten-Free, and Raw Almond Joy Larabars

Top Ten Reasons to Stay Up Late with a Pharmacist

1. Pharmacists can do more than lick and stick.
2. Pharmacists have a long duration of action.
3. Pharmacists Rx rated.
4. Pharmacists find new routes of administration.
5. Pharmacists do it over the counter.
6. Pharmacists are patient lovers.
7. Pharmacists accept third parties.
8. Pharmacists have a quick reconstitution time.
9. Pharmacists do it without breaks.
10. You will want no substitution.

[Kinda funny or kinda geeky? Or maybe only pharmacists find this funny because we're so geeky? :)]

So do you love Almond Joys but hate that all that fake, processed chocolate and sugar?  Or tired of spending well over a dollar for one measly Larabar?  Well, go buy the ingredients or bring them out of your kitchen pantry and give this prescription a try.  And if you have this prescription filled now, you’ll get homemade Larabars within less than a few hours.  No wait times, and no pharmacist consultations. So what are you waiting for?  Stop gawking at food porn and make some of these already.  Go on.

Vegan, Gluten-Free, and Raw Almond Joy Larabars

4 cups medjool dates, pitted
2 cups raw almonds
1 cup vegan chocolate chips
1 cup shredded coconut
4 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)

Soak the medjool dates in warm water for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Add the soaked dates, raw almonds, cacao chips, shredded coconut, and chia seeds into a food processor. Pulse until no chunks remain. Scrape the bowl down if it begins to clump. [This required a lot of patience. I may process the raw almonds first separately, followed by the cacao chips until coarsely ground. Then the medjool dates so it is not so chunky.]

Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper. Press the mixture into the pan using your hands and/or spatula.

Refrigerate for 2 hours for it to set. Slice into desired size and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.  [This recipe yields delicious homemade Larabars that are simply to die for.    You won't want to freeze them.  I know because, well, I came up with ridiculously amazing concoction :)]

How to watch the Amgen Tour of California (and gluten-free blueberry waffles)

food, recipe, gluten-free, rice, waffles, blueberries, gluten-free waffle

I started cycling a few years ago to get back into shape, and not because Lance Armstrong made it cool. It was a great way to spend time with my partner, social networking, to be outdoors, and not to mention all the accoutrements. I love geeking out on all the gears and accessories when I get excited about a new hobby/toy/activity. I spent so much time obsessing, I mean, researching and buying the right road bike, accessories, and jerseys. I spent a lot of my time at the local bike shops, online bike stores, and ebay. I didn’t realize how expensive the sport was, but I was in too deep to back out. Someone mentioned to me early on when I start cycling that it is expensive at first, but the gear sticks with you for a long time. And it’s true, I haven’t bought much for my road bike since my first initial hoarding :)

Anyway, I’m digressing from the title of my post. I was super excited when the Amgen Tour of California first rolled through our town two years ago. I really wanted to be at the sidelines as they rode through, but I couldn’t get the time off from work. Instead, I recorded the event and tried to watch it, but didn’t understand the overall concept of the competition. I did some more research, this time on the actual sport, and have really come to appreciate cycling. So as the Stage 4 of the Amgen Tour of California rolled through our town again this year, I thought I’d share with those who are interested but unfamiliar with the sport, how to watch/understand road cycling races.

The Amgen Tour of California is broken up into eight stages/days, starting in Santa Rosa, CA, and riding their way to Los Angeles, CA, which approximates about 800 miles on a road bike. Seven of the eight days are road races, while the other day is an individual time trial race. To win the overall race, individual times to finish each stage are added up to determine the overall winner.. Interestingly, a cyclist does not have to win all or any of the individual stages to win the overall race. Stage races also have other classifications and awards. For example, the stage winner (i.e., first person to cross the finish line for that day) wears the leader’s yellow jersey on the next day of racing. There is also the “King of the Mountains,” in which a cyclist earns this jersey by collecting points at designated King of the Mountain locations located at the top of mountains and hills. Only the first three cyclists to reach the top on rated climbs receive points towards this award.

I know, fascinating, right?!

Stay tuned for my next post on common strategies employed to win the road race competition.

Gluten-Free, Vegan Blueberry Waffles

2 cups rice flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 “eggs” (Ener-G Egg Replacer)
1 2/3 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup agave syrup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup frozen or fresh bluberries

Preheat waffle iron.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice flour, baking powder, and salt. Then add the wet ingredients, and whisk until the batter is smooth. Fold in the blueberries.

Spray the waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray, and ladle the batter onto the waffle iron. Cook until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 waffles.

Scrumptious Silver Dollar Vegan Pancakes

So I haven’t owned a nonstick skillet since 2003. I can’t believe I’ve been deprived for that long. When I bought a house, my partner’s Mom bought me a stainless steel cookware set because I thought that’s what the fancy professional chefs were using. After a few weeks, I thought it was one the greatest gifts ever. Well, I soon realized how little use they were when I set out to make scrambled eggs and omelettes one afternoon when we were craving breakfast. Only about 10% of our scrambled eggs and scrambled omelette ended up on our late. It was so sad. So I was soon disappointed. How quickly disappoint can set in. But I trekked on stubbornly with my stainless steel cookware. I just didn’t think I needed a nonstick skillet. That’s what butter is for, right?

We were on a mission to find a nonstick pan yesterday and headed to Sur La Table to check out their huge annual sale.  I was originally looking at a teflon-coated nonstick pan for $49.99, but with the wonderful customer service, we were directed to the Scanpan collection.  They had me at the non-teflon nonstick surface.  I was going to settle for the professional line, but was awe struck with the CTX line and decided to splurge a little more for the CTX 9.5 inch fry pan.

I had extreme buyer’s remorse after purchasing such an expensive nonstick pan.  I wondered if I made the right decision for that amount of money.  Don’t get me wrong, I love useful and innovative kitchen gadgets.  But I never imagined that I’d ever buy an expensive skillet/pan.  I thought one could purchase a decent pan for below $100.  I even thought about returning it a few times after we got home.  Boy, was I wrong!  This was one of the best investments I have ever made for my kitchen.  It lived up too all the hype and then some from the salesperson at Sur La Table.  I want to buy the entire Scanpan CTX collection.  If you are in the market for a nonstick skillet, forget the teflon-coated crap.  Go buy yourself a Scanpan nonstick skillet!  You won’t regret it!

We got home from Sur La table and I immediately started searching for recipes where I could take advantage of the nonstick surface.  Now I realize that you can cook anything and everything with this pan, but I wanted to make something that I haven’t been able to with my stainless steel cookware.  Making pancakes or eggs on my stainless steel skillet basically meant the majority of the batter or egg stuck to the pan.  And it’s a terrible mess to clean up.  So I was between a fried egg sandwich and pancakes.

Silver Dollar Vegan Pancakes

1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Coconut oil

Mix all the dry ingredients together.  Add wet ingredients and mix just enough to combine.  

Heat one teaspoon of coconut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Pour the batter around the skillet into 2.5 inch diameter pancakes.  Of course, you can make larger pancakes if that’s what you prefer.

Cook for about a two minutes on the first side or until the surface is covered with small bubbles and the underside is nicely browned.  Flip and cook for about a minute on the second side.  While cooking the pancakes, place the finished ones directly into the oven on the plate. Stack the pancakes as you go. This will keep the whole stack warm while you’re cooking them.  Repeat the process until you run out of batter.

Serve with maple syrup or any of your favorite toppings.

Makes 2 servings of 12 pancakes each.

Calories per serving: 390.

Healthy Mini (Almost) Egg White Breakfast Frittata

I wanted to surprise my partner with a Valenine’s Day breakfast before she went to work.  Why not a romantic candle-lit dinner?  Well, she was planning to help my parents out at their restaurant for dinner service since it can be one of the busiest nights of the year.  And even though breakfasts are not the most romantic meals of the day, I thought it would be something special to wake up to.  So I perused through the various recipes that I had bookmarked and was specifically looking for something healthy.  Something tasty, filling, but low in calories.  I was super excited when I came across this frittata recipe!

If you’re wondering what a frittata is, it’s an Italian version of the French omelette.  Omelettes traditionally have the egg mixture cooked and folded around a filling, while a frittata just mixes it all up, cooked in a mishmash combination all at once.  It may be baked, or it may be started in a frying pan. When started on a stove top the frittata can be finished in an oven, under a broiler, or it may be flipped and finished in the pan.

So I went to the grocery store at 9:30 p.m. after I finished work on Sunday evening with my list in one hand, and the basket in the other.  Shopping was like a race to the proverbial finish line.  I wanted to make sure my partner wasn’t suspicious of why I was getting home so late.  The real dilemma was trying to get the groceries into the house!  I set the groceries on the counter of the laundry room right as I walked through the house, hoping she didn’t hear the rustling of the shopping bags.  Luckily, she didn’t.  As my partner was getting ready for bed, I slipped to the kitchen to put the groceries away.

I waited, and waited, and waited until my partner finally fell asleep so that I could sneak away to the kitchen to prep the ingredients.  I wanted to ensure the perfect timing of the dish as she finished getting ready for work, but also a little sit down time to eat together.  As I was about to sneak away, my partner sort of woke up from her slumber and asked if I was okay.  I said that everything was okay, and wondered if I was ever going to make it to the kitchen.  She fell asleep, and waited for another five minutes before I thought it was safe.  I was able to sneak out, but our little dog who sleeps with us got out of bed to check on me.  This really made me nervous because he isn’t always quiet, and I just knew he was going to wake her up.  I’m so happy she can be a deep sleeper because she didn’t stir from him at all!  So I started chopping and prepping away.

Well, needless to say, everything went perfectly on Valentine’s Day.  Her alarm sounded off at 6:09 a.m. and as I realized she woke up a little later than I had hoped, I jumped out of bed and ran to the kitchen to preheat the oven.  The latter is what I was afraid was going to foil my entire plan.  I don’t even know if the oven preheated to the desired temperature, but I popped the muffin into the oven and waited very (in)patiently.  As nervous as I was, the frittatas cooked perfectly and in the right about of time!  Yay!

Mini Egg White Breakfast Frittata

5 egg whites
1 egg with yolk
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup baby spinach
1/3 cup bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup low-fat shredded cheese
2 slices canadian bacon, diced
Olive oil spray such as Pam
Muffin tin

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Beat egg whites with whole egg.  Fold in baby spinach, cheese, bell pepper, and canadian bacon.  Mix ingredients together.  Add a dash of salt and freshly ground pepper if you’d like.  I omitted the salt since the canadian bacon adds a bit of saltiness to the dish already.

Lightly spray the muffin tin.  Use a measuring cup to pour the egg mixture into the muffin tin, filling each over a little more than half full.  Place muffin tin into pre-heated oven, and bake for 30 minutes.

Makes 3 servings of 2 frittatas each.

Calories per serving: 55 calories

Maple Bacon Pancakes

Breakfast has to my most favorite meal of the day.  There’s just something about the smell of a cuppa joe, pancakes or waffles, bacon and sausages.  I especially love breakfast for dinner.  It defies all the rules of a traditional savory dinner.  It’s what your Momma told you what not to do with having sweets before dinner.  Having breakfast for dinner means it can be sweet, savory, or a combination of both.  It’s like having dessert WITH dinner.  It’s just like heaven but better.

We intended on making vegan pancakes and vegetarian sausages for dinner, especially after a great workout at the gym; however, as our hunger set in while driving home from the gym, bacon all of a sudden started to sound real good.  Better yet, crushed, crispy bacon folded into the pancake batter sounded even yummier.  So what was supposed to be a vegan meal, ended up being a gluttony of bacon.  The end.  :)

Maple Bacon Pancakes

1 1/4 cups soy or almond milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup, plus more for serving
1/2 cup wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup all-purpose flour or rice flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Optional: crushed, crispy bacon (for the non-vegetarian crowd)

Combine all the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Mix just enough to combine, but be sure not to over mix the pancake batter as this is the end result for tough pancakes.  At this point, if you want, add the crushed, crispy bacon and fold into the batter gently.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Ladle as many pancakes as possible onto your skillet.  Cook for about a minute and half on the first side or until the surface is covered with small bubbles and the underside is nicely browned.  Flip and cook for about a minute on the second side.  Repeat the process until you run out of batter.

Serve with maple syrup, and your favorite toppings.

We topped our pancakes with sliced bananas, a few slices of crispy bacon, and maple syrup.

Serving size: 3 or 4 (about a dozen pancakes)

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