Category Archives: Healthy Eating

Banana Wraps, Granola and Chocolate Chips

What some people won’t do to get their kids off to a school on time!  Today started with a TV spot on WHAS-11.  A tweet from Rachel Platt ended the segment where you can see some of the breakfast ideas for kids on their first day back to school.

Back to school breakfasts are very much like weekday dinners, in that you surely must have your pantry stocked in order to pull them off with grace and speed.  Take the Banana Wrap.  Not an original idea by any means, but one worth visiting if the concept is new to your family.   A child of primary school age can certainly make their own Banana Wrap along with yogurt and granola.  And, they will love the idea of holding the banana in a wrapper and enjoying it like, well, a monkey. Maybe we should call them Monkey Wraps!

Ideas for your breakfast pantry – they’re not just for kids.

Peanut, almond or sunflower butter

Whole Grain Wraps/Tortillas – great for lunches too.

Fresh whole fruit

Bananas – when too ripe to eat, slice and freeze for smoothies.  Frozen bananas make the thickest, richest tasting smoothies

Granola – home made is best or visit a Farmers’ Market near you for a great, local selection from Full Heart Farms

Milk, Soy or Almond Milk


Dried Fruits, peanuts, sunflower seeds and chocolate chips for trail mix

Whole Grain Breads, Pita – keep in the freezer to prolong life

Salad greens – yep, salad greens – if your kids eat salads, breakfast is a great time to add in more veggies to their diets.  Stuff a salad into a pita and add some fresh minced strawberries or peaches and skip the dressing.

Yogurt, skim milk or almond milk for smoothies

Banana Wraps

For each wrap, you will need:

  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 whole grain tortilla
  • 2 Tbls peanut butter, soy butter or sunflower seed butter
  • 1 Tbls or so chocolate chips, dried fruits, etc.

Place the tortilla on a cutting board and spread with the nut butter.  sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Lay the banana on the tortilla and wrap it up.  Cut in half, if desired.



Pasta e Fagioli

The other day, I had the chance to sit in one of my favorite lunch places and reminisce  about a bowl of Pasta e Fagioli.  Sipping on a hot, fresh cup of coffee, the question that was pressing for me was; “What’s the soup of the Day?”  When the returned answer was Pasta e Fagioli, my menu choice was made.  I smiled, asked for crusty bread to accompany the soup and settled in to recall my first trip down Zuppa lane.

A few years into my experience of teaching cooking classes, I looked at every opportunity to partner with other small businesses to bring a new concept to our collective publics.  Working at the Farmers’ Market in St. Matthews, my next booth neighbor was Justin Gilbert of the locally famous Gelato Gilberto.  We talked about his experiences in Italy and before you know it, we’d agreed to partner in offering a few Italian Cooking Classes in his home.

Justin’s home just wasn’t any home, but a three story, cozy condo in Norton Commons.  Above his Gelato Gilberto business, his family enjoyed their perch above the little village in Prospect.  We tried a few classes in his shop and a few in his and his family’s cucina at the top of the stairs.

It was up those winding stairs that the magic of food and friendship took place.  We began the evening with some antipasti, the details, I don’t remember.  What sticks in my mind and what I thought quietly about that day last week in Blue Dog Bakery and Cafe was the Panzanella Salad, the Pasta d Fagioli and the Gelato.

Patricia Wells, one of my favorite cookbook authors says: ‘there are about as many versions of pasta and bean soup as there are cooks…varies from a broth-like bean soup to a creamy bean puree…’  The one I had at Blue Dog, and the one that I make (although different) are of the brothy variety.  Tonight, we are sharing my version, along with a homemade loaf of bread and, I am sure a few glasses of vino.

Pasta e Fagioli

  • 2-3 oz. of finely diced Pancetta
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2-3 ribs celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup or more diced carrot
  • 2 Tbls olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 cup, or more diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup uncooked pasta, or two cups cooked pasta
  • 3 cups cannelini beans, undrained – if canned*

Begin by preparing the diced vegetables.  Drizzle the olive oil into a stock pot.  Add the onion and Pancetta and begin to saute.  Once the onion has softened, add the celery and carrot and cook until the onion is translucent and the celery and carrot have begun to soften up a bit.  Season with salt and pepper and add the pinch of crushed red pepper and bay leaf.  Add the stock and tomatoes.  Bring to a simmer.  Add the pasta and cook until al dente.  add the cooked beans.

Heat the soup until completely hot and the pasta the perfect consistency.

For, me, I love a sprinkling of fresh Parmigiano cheese, fresh grated black pepper and some basil chiffonade.

*It’s easy to cook beans from their dried state, but they do take a bit of a watchful eye and time.  See my blog post about cooking beans, January 12, 2009.


It’s Hard to Eat 13 Servings of Fruits and Veggies…

… If you don’t start with Breakfast!

Every week since the first of the year, I am finding new inspiration to ‘eat my veggies’.  Most recently, a youtube video by a doctor whose MS was reversed by completely changing her food plan.  The key, Dr. Terry Wahls says is to eat three huge platefuls of leafy greens per day.  Kale is touted as being the most nutritious green helping us to make these cellular changes.  Take a few minutes and watch this video – you won’t regret it.

Back to Breakfast.  My first inkling that eating something green for breakfast was during my days at Breadworks.  We made wonderful salads with a great mix of field greens, brightly colored peppers, onions and seeds.  Topped with a conservative amount of cheddar cheese and drizzled with a bit of balsamic vinaigrette, it was tasty.  Crunchy, sweet, savory, acidic and satisfying.  But, I have to admit that I was pretty surprised that one of my regular customers was eating it for breakfast!  Once she explained, I thought: “why not?”

Years have past, but I still try to take a routine stab at adding veggies to breakfast.  Sure, it’s easy to add left over vegetables to an omelet, but more recently, I’ve gone a different route. With a selection of veggies and greens almost always in the fridge, I’ve decided to broaden the experiment.  I was never one to really ‘love’ breakfast food, unless of course, if I can ‘love’ my chocolate chip cookies with my morning coffee.  So why not cook foods that we think of as lunch and dinner foods for breakfast?

I’ll not give up on the breakfast salad that I introduced at Breadworks, but lots of times, I want a warm, filling plate in the morning.  So, here are a few of my new favorite things:

Steamed Kale with leftover potatoes, sauteed with a bit of olive oil and red onion

Roasted peppers, tomatoes and eggplant over a steaming mound of polenta

Stir fried rice with egg and minced peppers, mushrooms, green onion and jalapeno

Arugula, with a simple dressing made from red wine vinegar and olive oil, with pistachios thrown on for protein.  Adding a piece of whole grain toast with a bit of shaved Parmesan will let you think you might just be in Tuscany for Breakfast.

Visit a previous post of mine: ‘Stir Fried Rice Makes Good Use of Leftovers’ for the details of making the fried rice. For Breakfast, I usually streamline the process by just doing the egg, some veggies and a little sesame oil.