During their busy courtship, Lanny and Raven Lancarte split their time between working at his then-new Fort Worth bistro, Lanny's Alta Cocina Mexicana, and staying fit. But just as Lanny's (www.lannyskitchen.com) is far from just another Mexican restaurant, their workout regimen also rises into the off-the-charts realm.
As adventure-race enthusiasts, the two focus on healthy eating to fuel their kayaking and mountain-biking missions. So it's no surprise that during their first holiday season as a married couple -- they tied the knot at a British Columbia ski resort last March, with Lanny squeezing in a heli-skiing trip the morning of the wedding -- you'll find them putting together a special brunch packed with equal portions of nutrition and creativity.
Lanny chooses whole grains, egg whites and Greek yogurt among ingredients for their holiday brunch, while Raven -- who will wrap up her MBA studies in tax accounting this winter -- finds smart goodies for her power smoothie.
The rest of us can take a lesson from these two, as they celebrate the season of good cheer by eating well and feeling great.
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Whole-grain waffles with whipped Greek yogurt, warm figs and maple syrup
For the pancake mix, Lanny likes Hodgson Mills brand, found at most grocery stores. He crafts a whipped yogurt to give the luxury — but not the fat — found in whipped cream.
2 cups whole-grain pancake mix
1¼ cups skim milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 fresh black figs
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1. To make waffle mixture, add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Reserve until ready to cook.
2. To make whipped yogurt, add yogurt, sugar and extract to a bowl and whip with mixer using whisk attachment until stiff and peaks hold.
3. To make topping, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place figs in a nonstick baking pan and drizzle with maple syrup. Bake for 7 minutes. Follow directions for waffle maker and cook waffles until golden brown and done. Top with warm figs in maple syrup and whipped yogurt.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 343 calories, 12 grams fat, 49 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams protein, 74 milligrams cholesterol, 247 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber, 32 percent of calories from fat.
Egg-white and chicken migas with tomatillo sauce and skim-milk mozzarella
A variation on the favorite at the Lancarte family's bakery-cafe, Esperanza's, this version incorporates baked chips, such as those by Guiltless Gourmet, and the famous Joe T. Garcia's-brand tomatillo salsa. If you are short on time, use a roasted chicken from your store's deli, discard the skin and shred the breast meat.
1 tablespoon grape-seed oil
2 cups baked corn chips
8 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 cooked chicken breast, diced
1 cup bottled tomatillo salsa
1 cup shredded skim-milk mozzarella
1. In a saute pan, heat grape-seed oil on medium-high heat and add tortilla chips, stirring for 30 seconds.
2. Add egg whites and stir with spatula until cooked, about 30 seconds.
3. Add chicken and salsa and stir until heated through, another 30 seconds or so. Serve immediately and garnish with cheese.
Nutritional analysis per serving, based on 2: 431 calories, 22 grams fat, 16 grams carbohydrates, 41 grams protein, 55 milligrams cholesterol, 647 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber, 47 percent of calories from fat.
Raven's power-up breakfast smoothie
Inspired by the fruity aguas frescas at taquerias and Mexican bakery-cafes, this smoothie gets a protein boost from kefir, a fermented-milk probiotic that you can find at Central Market, Sunflower Shoppe and other stores that carry health foods. The couple's other brunch beverage is Los Andes Honduran coffee, found at Central Market.
1 cup almond milk
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup kefir
1 cup mango chunks
1 cup pineapple chunks
2 tablespoons agave nectar
4 cups ice cubes
Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Serve immediately.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 502 calories, 32 grams fat, 52 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams protein, 3 milligrams cholesterol, 69 milligrams sodium, 9 grams dietary fiber, 53 percent of calories from fat.
Sweet potato and Granny Smith hash browns
A play on traditional hash browns, this version scores high on the virtue scale with ingredients rich in fiber and vitamins.
1 tablespoon coconut oil
4 ounces turkey bacon, diced
½ yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
Chicken broth, as needed
Salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup golden raisins
1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat and cook the turkey bacon until crisp. When golden brown, add onion and then garlic. Cook about 1 minute or until translucent.
2. Add sweet potatoes and cook for about 10 minutes. Then add apple and cook 5 more minutes, or until liquid has dissolved. If mixture begins to burn or stick to pan, add chicken stock to prevent further sticking.
3. Add salt and pepper as needed, spices and golden raisins; using a rubber spatula, turn mixture and cook for 2 more minutes. Serve warm.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 111 calories, 3 grams fat, 20 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, no cholesterol, 8 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber, 21 percent of calories from fat.