Oh Yeah…


Oatmeal.  At our house we love a good bowl of oatmeal.  I shall emphasize the “good” in that sentence, as it is crucial to the positive  oatmeal experience.

I like pretty much all foods that enter my mouth to varied in texture, a bit complex and bursting with flavor.  The lovely portrait of oats you see pictured above is “Coaches Oats” with brown sugar, raisins, walnuts and pecans.  Splash some milk on top and gimme-some’a-that!

I have some old-fashioned Quaker oats in my pantry (it’s on the bottom shelf so you couldn’t see it on the “heart” photo post the other day) but these  are reserved for baking.  Sorry Mr. Quaker guy, but your oats just don’t cut it in a bowl ’round here.

two oats

I discovered steel-cut oats (small can) several years ago and I must say, they changed my oatmeal outlook big time.  Steel cut oats have a nutty, textured taste.  They can take up to 45 minutes to cook though, so, you know, ya gotta have a good plan in place.  Whenever I make them, I make up a pretty big pot so we can have them for a few days.  Sometimes, when I’m feeling really crazy, I even freeze them for a future defrost.

I know.  Now that’s crazy.

More recently I stumbled upon “Coaches Oats” which is a whole grain oatmeal I’m able to pick up at Costco.  These little honeys cook up right-quick and have almost the same nutty-ish taste and fuller texture that my peeps know and love in their morning bowl.

I’m not trying to plug any brands here, but I do recommend a whole grain oat if you’re going to make anything at all.  “Whole grain” means that the hull–which contains all the fiber and most of the nutrients–has not been removed from the grain.

My husband likes his oatmeal with raisins, brown sugar and a spoonful of natural peanut butter mixed in.  I don’t know if feeding this concoction to your husband will make him as dashingly good-looking as mine is, but you could try and let me know.

I LOVE Breakfast!!


I Love Breakfast!

This week at our house we’ll be eating delicious, healthy and easy-to-make (always!) breakfast sandwiches.  I call them “Michelle McMuffins” but you can personalize yours if you like.

At my house we take breakfast very seriously.  I always have.  I could never understand the old, “I’m just not hungry in the morning,” answer. 

WHAT!!!??? You haven’t eaten in roughly TWELVE HOURS and you’re not hungry’!!!???  Seriously.  How is this possible?

And then, not only am I hungry, but I’m HUNGRY (I’m going to be using a lot of CAPITALIZED and italicized font today!  Plus a lot of !!! and ???  See how serious I am about breakfast!?)

How can one go out and conquer the world on a small bowl of cereal or a slight piece of toast with butter?  If you can, kudos, but  Michelle no comprende.  I need something substantial, baby!  A typical breakfast for me is something like the following…

First, a cup of good coffee with milk.  Gotta start on the right foot.  Then I like a good grain/protein mix like toasted up pancakes from the other day, good oatmeal with raisins and fresh chopped nuts (that recipe coming soon), or, perhaps Michelle McMuffins!!!

Do you want the recipe now?  OK, OK!

Ingredients: 1 egg, Whole grain English muffin, few pinches of shredded cheddar cheese and a slice nitrate free ham

Directions: While the English muffin is toasting, I cook the egg over-medium (over-hard for the kids) in a fry pan.  I have a toaster oven so when the muffins are close to being done, I put a little cheese on one half and the piece of ham on the other.  Alternatively you could heat the ham and cheese with the egg.  When the egg is done, slide it between the two muffin halves, ham and cheese and wa-lah!  Girlfriend, you’ve got yourself a McMuffin! 

Tips: Sometimes I use whole grain sliced bread instead of an English muffin.  For this I cook up the egg and then layer it with the ham and cheese between two slices of bread.  Then I put the bread back in the pan with a little butter and cook it like a grilled cheese sandwich, flipping onto both sides.  Go easy on the cheese and the butter to keep the fat levels down. 

And just in case you’re interested, I always round out my first meal of the day with some kind of fruit, usually something de-lish from the farmers market.  This week my fruit bowl options are pears, oranges and apples.  Pear is sounding kinda nice…

And just in case you’re even more interested, I’m not kidding one bit about how much I love breakfast.  Like, I am seriously bummed about my upcoming annual physical because not only do I have to fast (fast!?  Yikes!) for the blood test, but I couldn’t get in before 9:00 am!!!  How in the world am I supposed to wait so long to eat!?  I may have to stash a Michelle McMuffin in my purse that day… 

I hope nobody smells it in the waiting room.

What is that scent !!!???

Roasted Chicken Anyone?


This week at our home… we’ll be enjoying a savory citrus-y roasted chicken!  If you’d like to make one too, check out the recipe by clicking on the “recipes” page at the top of my blog and select “meat.”

I buy mostly organic meats for my family.  Who the heck can afford to feed a family of 5 organic meats?  I have found some ways to make it work on a very tight budget (Hi: my husband is a public school teacher and I am a full time homemaker.  When I say “tight budget,” I mean it!)

I would like to take a moment to remind/inform everyone reading this that I, Michelle Calva-Despard, do not choose to cook recipes with long ingredient lists nor with lengthy, painstaking steps.  Someday when I’m not up to my neck in laundry and PTA, I may return to the more exotic side of the culinary world, but for now, I’m committed to making tasty, healthy, affordable and simple-to-make meals for my familia.  Do not fear my recipes!

You can look forward to a recipe “from our home” every Monday for the time being.  We eat a lot around here, so that should keep my Monday posts humming along for a while!

With my magic wand (aka: experienced mommy brain) I can turn this roasted chicken into three or four meals for my hungry bunch.  But for today; it’s just a beautiful and tasty roasted chicken.  And by the way, it tastes as good as it looks…

Mostly Kale… most of the time.

My name is Michelle Calva-Despard and I have a fairly healthy obsession with mostly healthy food. I’m not one of those nutrition Nazis who promote only 100% organic, no sugar added, nothing processed ever priced at a small fortune from Whole Foods diets.

I do what I can. I shop organic locally grown produce… most of the time. I feed my family an organic plant-based diet, few low-fat organic meats, push the legumes and whole grains… most of the time.

It’s work but it works–because I have some tricks up my sleeve so that I can hold on to a few scraps of sanity between the strategic shopping, meal planning and tasty-nutritious food prep that I love so much… most of the time.

At my house I’m proud to say I’ve found a way to make sure we eat a well-balanced diet of mostly healthy foods at pretty much every meal. And then… every once in a while Mike and I throw the kids in the car and go out for big ‘ol cheeseburgers, fries and a beer!