MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. (KABC) --At age 15, Devon Alexander weighed 200 pounds. Cooking at an early age, she learned to make some pretty substantial swaps to slim down.
Now as a celebrity chef, she keeps her finger on the pulse of food trends like zoats.
"It's a combination of zucchini and oats," said Alexander.
If that appears to have a "yuck" factor, think carrot cake or zucchini bread. It's all in how you build your bowl.
Alexander has three versions:
Classic zoats with maple syrup and nuts; mild zoats with orange peel and orange extract with Stevia or your sweetener of choice.
Her favorite is zoats with cloves, cinnamon, a few chocolate chips and cocoa powder and a pinch of salt. All is cooked with unsweetened vanilla milk.
"So now I have a nice, thick, chocolate breakfast or dessert, if you want," said Alexander.
At 19 calories a cup, she feels mixing in a low-cal, high-nutrient veggie is a nice option.
"I recommended you don't peel it unless your're serving it to kids," said Alexander.
And then there's sweet potato toast.
If you think about it, you don't think twice about swapping out chicken or steak in your salad or tacos, so why not swap out your carbohydrates.
Instead of regular bread, sweet potato toast.
"You're adding so many nutrients: potassium; there's fiber, it's gluten free," she reminded.
Egg white, Italian chicken sausage arugula or peanut butter banana - two filling options.
Just a word of caution, don't pop it in the toaster like toast. Treat it like raw potato as it takes 20 minutes in the oven on high heat to get toast quality.
Even then she says it isn't crunchy unless you oil it up.
Recipes by Devin Alexander copyright 2016
Chocolate Spiced Zoats
cup shredded zucchini
cup old fashioned oats
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon Truvia
teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Pinch of ground cloves
1 teaspoon mini semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
1.Mix shredded zucchini with oats in a small saucepan.
3.Cook on med heat, stirring frequently, until moisture is evaporated, about four minutes. Remove from heat
4.Add the cocoa powder, Truvia, cinnamon, salt, cloves, and chocolate chips. Stir to combine.
Makes 1-1/4 cup serving.
Sweet Potato "Toast" Sausage & Egg Breakfast Sandwich
2 thick slices of sweet potato, taken from a medium sweet potato*
2 ounces lean (not pre-cooked) chicken breakfast sausage, casing removed, if casing exists
2 egg whites
Large handful of arugula leaves
Olive oil spray
On a sheet of parchment paper, flatten and shape the sausage until it is slightly larger and the same shape as the sweet potato (it will shrink slightly during the cooking process).
Put the sweet potato directly on the rack in toaster oven. Set the oven to the darkest setting, and toast the sweet potatoes as many times as necessary until the slices become brown and tender throughout, approximately 11-15 minutes.** Remove from the oven and set aside.
Meanwhile, place a small, nonstick frying pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, move it away from the heat, and lightly mist it with spray. Add the egg whites. Once they begin to set slightly, use a large spatula to gently nudge them into the same shape as the sweet potato. Flip the egg to fully cook. Remove from the pan, and cover to keep warm.
Return pan to heat. Cook the sausage patty until it is no longer pink throughout, approximately 2-3 minutes on each side.
Place one "toasted" sweet potato on a plate. Top it with the egg, sausage then arugula. Place the second slice of sweet potato "toast" on top to create a sandwich.
Makes one serving.
*Look for a sweet potato that isn't too narrow. You want the sweet potato slices to be be close to sandwich or English muffin size.
** Toaster ovens vary. Watch your sweet potatoes closely the first time you make this recipe.