Tag Archives: Breakfast

Sweet Potato, Apple, & Poblano Hash

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One of my very favorite things about this time of year is that the great variety of seasonal chiles appear in the farmers markets and grocery stores. As a native Texan, you might think that my favorite of these is the jalapeño. It’s not. Those things are perfect paired with cream cheese for Armadillo eggs or for stuffing tamales, but they’re not my favorite. No, mine’s the poblano. It barely makes the chart on the scoville scale, carrying just a tinge of heat, but provides a lot of flavor. I never make chile con carne the same way twice, but my best versions always contained roasted poblanos. But that’s another post.

Lately I’ve been eating a lot of hash. The tiny baby-bite-sized cubes are perfect for Isaac to pick at, and I find that a dish of hash with two eggs baked on top makes for the most satisfying breakfast. This morning I found myself (sadly) without bacon, but when I realized I had a green apple and a farmers market poblano on hand, I realized I could make a hash perfect for a September breakfast.

 

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Sweet Potato, Apple, & Poblano Hash
{gluten free, paleo}
Serves 2

1 large sweet potato
1 green apple
1 poblano chile
2 tbsp pastured lard, ghee, or coconut oil
1 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 green onions

Dice the sweet potato and apple into a fine dice. These need to be finely diced rather than chopped into large cubes, so that they will cook sufficiently in the pan.

Cut the poblano in half length-wise, remove the seed, membrane, and stem, and finely dice.

Set a cast iron pan over medium-high heat and add the fat to the pan. All the fat to heat up, but don’t let it get so hot that it smokes.

Add the sweet potato, apple, and poblano to the pan and toss to combine. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Allow to cook on medium or medium-high, stirring ONLY OCCASIONALLY. You want the sweet potato to develop some caramelization, and that won’t happen if it all keeps getting tossed around. After about 10-15 minutes, test a piece of sweet potato to make sure that it’s cooked through.

Sliced up some green onions and serve on top.

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*DON’T FORGET! I’ve got a giveaway going on HERE through 9/16/14 at 11:59 PM. Don’t miss out! *

 

 

The Most Important Meal of the Day

 

Ever since I graduated college I’ve pretty consistently made it a point to have breakfast every day. Some days it was bacon, eggs, and a homemade muffins. Other days it was a bowl of cereal, or a bag of trail mix as I walked out of the door. It may not have been much, but it was always something. I don’t think I really understood what a difference a good breakfast made until I began working with my holistic doctor. I knew that having breakfast would help me not be so starved and would pave the way for healthy choices throughout the day. But as I took my doctor’s orders in making sure every breakfast was high in protein and fat and devoid of grains, fruit, and sugar, I began to notice that on the days I ignored these rules I found myself sleepy and unfocused more often than not, and on days I did follow his orders, I was more likely to feel satisfied and alert most of the day.

Over time, though, I’ve adjusted these rules somewhat for the sake of variety and balance (and the demands of my more-active job), but not much. I still try to focus on protein and fat, but I do tend to include a small bit of whole (gluten free) grain or fruit. And since my work rarely requires me to be in before 10am, this usually gives me a good amount of time to prepare a quality, filling breakfast!

Here are some of my breakfasts from the last week or so. All taken on my iPhone, because I’m still nerding out over the fact that I can now take a photo on my phone and within 1 minute have it tweeted! (I’m aware that I’m grossly behind the times)

 

Omelet with goat cheese and spinach with a side of sweet potato hash and ice mint green tea…

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Scrambled eggs with salsa verde, leftover GF cornbread (Ashley’s recipe!), pomegranate arils, and more mint green tea (I love the tea pot Ed got me for Christmas!)

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Scrambled eggs, small green smoothie (banana, spinach, and Amazing Grass), and more mint green tea…

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Ed brought me breakfast in bed! Fried egg and apple slices… (and unpictured Tazo black tea)

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Blue corn tortillas with eggs, nutritional yeast, and salsa verde, with a side of orange and chai green tea with almond milk

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And for a change of pace… plain Greek yogurt with pomegranate, crushed almonds, and a little honey, plus a muffin on the side (made with mostly almond meal and a little teff flour and molasses—for iron and gingerbread-y goodness!). I don’t like to eat much yogurt because it doesn’t always agree with me, but it was on crazy-sale and I knew it would provide a bit more variety to my breakfast options.

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So obviously we have an egg lover in the house. Really, eggs and I have gotten real comfy. No, I do not dispose of the yolks. Contrary to what nutritionists have been trying to tell you for years, dietary cholesterol does not raise blood cholesterol. Saturated fat does, and eggs really don’t contain much of that. It’s so chock-full of other nutrients (and flavor!!) that it’s a shame to discard them. I frequently eat about two eggs a day.

 

This is what works for me for now. I don’t like to eat carb-heavy breakfasts because I get sugar highs and lows all day if I do that (even if it’s 100% whole grain!), and I usually will get a blood sugar headache (PCOS thing. Hypoglycemic symptoms.)

 

Do you like carb-centered or protein/fat-centered breakfasts? I honestly do miss the options in a carb-centered one, but I usually regret it later. Winking smile

 

IN OTHER NEWS! I begin teaching ZUMBA at my local YMCA next month! SO EXCITED!

Orange-Cranberry Scones, Gluten-Free!

Welcome to this week’s edition of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies & Sweets!

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I started this week with an idea of making a cranberry-pear tart. Which I attempted. And while it was good, it wasn’t… finished. But then I woke up yesterday morning no longer inspired by a tart. Instead, I wanted to make muffins! No. Muffins are too breakfast-y. Scones? Yes! Scones! Yes, they are a breakfast food, but they also double as a sweet treat, especially drizzled in sweet vanilla icing! In fact, you can serve these for Christmas morning for your extended family, AND make some for a Christmas potluck!

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I love the combination of cranberry and orange. Sweet, tart, citrusy, fresh, and fruity. Perfect for the holidays!

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Gluten Free Orange-Cranberry Scones
Adapted from All Recipes

400 grams (roughly four cups) gluten-free flour mixture of your choice (I use a 2:2:1—by weight—ratio of GF oats, brown rice, and flaxseed flours)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, chilled and diced
1 cup fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
1 grated zest of one orange
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup orange juice
1 egg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a large bowl combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and salt with a whisk. Using a fork or pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture until you achieve a fine meal throughout. Stir in the chopped cranberries and orange zest.

In a separate, small bowl, mix together the half-and-half, orange jusice, and egg until well mixed.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until well combined.

Dollop the batter into to two circular mounds on a greased sheet pan. Using a wet knife, “cut” the batter into wedges.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and firm.

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Serve with orange juice or a nice steaming mug of coffee! Smile

Apple Inspirations

Do you ever feel too inspired?

For the past several weeks I’ve found myself exponentially more inspired every day. To read. To paint. To cook. To write. To dance. To decorate. To travel. To love… To sleep.

I find my synapses firing so rapidly that I can’t really sit and formulate any particular thought. My thoughts are a runaway stream of consciousness.

So forgive me if my writing seems disjointed or rudimentary.

But I do manage to find some success in the madness.

One of my inspirations has been this tart.

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It was meant to harken the images of New England in the fall. Apple, pecans, maple, and oats… Colonial style inns, headless horsemen, and ghost stories…

Perfect for October, right?

I also wanted something that I could eat for breakfast and feel good about. Nothing too sweet.  But perfectly satisfying. I want to wake up, eat a piece with a cup of tea and feel like it’s a special morning. Every day.

Or at least until the tart is gone.

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I first tried this recipe simply. Just the apples and brie with the sweetness and warmth from the maple syrup and spices. But I felt like it was missing another dimension.

So I tossed in some rosemary…

and it became perfect.

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Apple-Brie Tart with Oatmeal-Pecan Crust
Feeds 4-6

For the filling
2 medium-large apples
2 oz brie (I used goat brie)
2 tbsp real maple syrup (grade B if you can find it!)
1/8 tsp each ground clove and fresh grated nutmeg
2 tsp finely chopped rosemary

For the crust
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup butter, diced small, and chilled very cold
1/2 cup oat flour (I pre-measured a 1/2 cup of oats and ground them in my old coffee grinder)
1/4 cup pecans
1 tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tart pan.

In a food processor, combine the oats, butter, oat flour, pecans, and sugar. Process until you have a fine meal that will hold together if you squeeze a bit in your hand.

Press the “dough” into the tart pan. Try to cover as much of the bottom and sides of the pan as possible.

Prick the dough with a fork and bake the crust for 12-15 minutes. This is called blind-baking, since there is no filling in it right now.

Meanwhile, slice the apples using a mandolin slicer, a food processor with a slicing blade, or fantastic hand-eye coordination with a knife. You want each piece as thin and evenly-cut as possible.

In a separate small bowl or saucer, combine maple syrup, clove, and nutmeg. Dip each apple slice into the syrup and drain off any excess. Place each apple slice in the crust in an even layer covering the bottom of the crust. Repeat with 1-2 more rows, or however many apple slices you have left.

Cut the brie into small chunks, preferably also evenly cut widths. Lay over top of the apple. Sprinkle with rosemary.

Bake until crust is golden, apples are crinkled, and cheese is melted.

Serve alongside coffee, raspberry tea, or apple cider. Winking smile

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What are your plans for this fall? Any fun recipes or activities?

On an unrelated note, who’s going to FoodBuzz?! I may or may not be. If I can figure out lodging arrangements, I have a pretty good chance of being there!

Homemade Breakfast Sausage

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Have you ever made your own sausage?

I consider sausage to be one of those real comfort foods—perfect for fall. But I also prefer to get my purchase my meat from quality sources (grass-fed, preferably local). This creates a problem in our area if we have a hankerin’ for some sausage, since once cannot and will not find pastured pork, turkey, chicken, or any other variety of sausage within a one-hour radius of my house. Sure, I could go to Sprouts in Lubbock and spend $8 on a package of six bison sausages, but why would I when I can make my own sausage in very little time at all, using quality ingredients of my own compilation and leaving out the stuff I just don’t need (nitrates/nitrites, excess salt, excess fat, etc.), and save so much money while I’m at it? Plus, when you have fresh flavors such as apple, sage, and fennel, who needs the store-bought stuff??

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Am I alone in that I tend to feel sick if I eat sausages in the morning? I used to love eating breakfast sausage until I realized that I felt sick every morning after I ate it. I realize now it was the excess grease. But since my pork was rather lean, I didn’t get that sickly feeling with this sausage! Another win!

 

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Apple-Sage Breakfast Sausage
Adapted from FineCooking.com

1 apple, diced finely (I used a jazz apple)
1/2 small onion (or one very tiny onion), diced fine
1 lb ground pork
1 small bunch (about 1/4 cup) fresh sage, minced fine
3/4 tsp fennel seeds, crushed (I used an old coffee grinder)
1/2 tsp whole allspice, crushed
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients together in a medium bowl until well distributed. Cover the bowl well with plastic wrap and park the bowl in the fridge for at least an hour, but preferably overnight.

In the morning (or afternoon or evening…), set a cast iron skillet to medium-high. Once heated, take about a 2-ounce portion of the pork mixture and form it into a patty. Cook on the cast iron skillet, flipping occasionally, so that the outside gets a slight crust and the inside is cooked thoroughly. No, you do not need to use additional oil. There is plenty of fat in the pork itself.

Serve with roasted sweet potatoes and poached eggs. Winking smile

 

 

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Mmmm. Tastes a little like Christmas.

Buckwheat Crepes

 

Ever since my 3-week elimination diet, I’ve spent a lot of time experimenting with various flours. Gluten-free cooking can seem intimidating to many, especially considering the abundance of overly-complicated gluten-free recipes floating around on the interweb. Tapioca starch? Xanthan gum? Gelatin? Sure, all these ingredient can have their place, but is it really necessary in recipes that never require gluten in the first place?

One of these grain-based dishes that requires no gluten is crepes.

Basically they’re really thin pancakes with a greater ratio of liquid to dry ingredients. Ever recall being told not to over-stir your pancakes? That’s because you don’t want to activate the gluten. For pancakes (and crepes), gluten=bad.

Which makes gluten-free crepe-making a cinch.

Did you know most baking recipes can be broken down into ratios? I’ve been experimenting with Michael Rulhman’s ratios for baking, substituting different flours and liquids in my recipes. And every recipe I’ve developed based on these ratios has turned out far better than the original, individual recipes I’ve found! The basic ratio for a crepe is 2 parts liquid, 2 parts egg, and 1 part flour (ALL BY WEIGHT. DO NOT NEGLECT THIS OR YOUR RECIPES WILL SUFFER A HORRIFIC AND GROTESQUE DEATH). Additional stuff (vanilla, salt, etc.) added at whim over and above the initial ratio.

I decided to experiment with buckwheat crepes.

I started off by grinding (in a coffee grinder) 2 ounces of raw buckwheat groats into flour. Do not use pre-ground buckwheat flour. Usually that stuff is pre-toasted and has this really intense earthy (read: dirt) taste that overwhelms the palette. I usually find recipes that include it cut the total flour with regular wheat flour. We aren’t using wheat because we don’t need it. Right? RIGHT!?

 

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I then mixed in two eggs (eggs are about two ounces each), 4 ounces of rice milk, and a sprinkle of kosher salt.

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Mix until smooth. You don’t have to worry about over-mixing since it’s gluten free!

Now here’s the trick for crepes. You need to allow the flours to soak. Let the batter sit for a good 30 minutes. Your patience will be rewarded with a silky batter.

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Rub a non-stick skillet with oil and heat to about medium-heat.

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Ladle about 3-4 oz of batter into the middle of the pan and QUICKLY tilt the pan all around so the batter spreads to the edges of the pan. It will set quickly, so this must be done with haste.

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When the bottom is set (you should be able to lift the crepe off the bottom of the pan with a spatula), carefully flip with a spatula, taking care not to tear the crepe. Let it cook on the other side for about a minute.

 

I filled my crepe with Nutella, sprinkled it with powdered sugar, and called it good. But I imagine these would taste pretty awesome filled with herbed goat cheese and drizzled with a balsamic reduction.

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Ooh la la…

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Have you ever eaten a crepe? I had a banana-Nutella crepe in Prague. OMG.

Veggies for Breakfast

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One of the stipulations of my doctor-ordered diet is that I must eat a pure protein+veggie breakfast. No fruit. No bread. No sugar.

For me, this means eggs. Every day.

It’s a good thing I like eggs.

On Sunday morning I started cracking eggs into a bowl to make a scramble for everyone in the house, and then inspiration struck. My mom always has a fridge full of vegetables she has few plans for, and before I realized what had happened, I was chopping zucchini, peppers, and tomatoes to toss into a frittata.

I love frittatas because they are simple, quick, nutritious, rustic, and look a lot fancier than they probably actually are. It’s basically a quick crustless quiche of Italian origin, which probably added in some small measure to my mother’s Italian frenzy.

The won’t be so bold as to post an actual recipe for frittata here. It’s pretty basic, and once you know the method, you don’t need a written recipe… ever.

For a more detailed explanation of the method, I recommend Alton Brown’s Good Eats episode on frittatas (Part 1 and Part 2)

For now, I will simply say this. I cracked about 10 eggs in a bowl and mixed. I tossed in several torn slices of swiss cheese, salt, pepper, and fresh, chopped herbs from my mom’s garden (greek oregano). I splashed in a bit of milk (if you forced me, I’d say about an ounce), and I set it aside.

I then diced zucchini, bell pepper, and tomato into smaller-than-bite-sized pieces. I then sauteed those veggies in an OVEN SAFE non-stick pan with a little drizzle of olive oil until fork-tender. Then add the egg mix right on top. DO NOT DISTURB.

When the edges seem to have set and are pulling away from the sides, slide the whole pan into the oven under the broiler and cook until the top is bubbled, firm, and slightly browned. I won’t tell you how long it will take. You just have to watch it. (Okay, about 5-15 minutes? But WATCH IT! It can go downhill real quick!)

Allow to cool. Slice and serve.

Enjoy.

Seriously?!

 

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Haven’t we had enough??

It’s been snowing off and on for the past week.

Yesterday we actually reached above freezing for the first time all week.

Neither classes nor offices closed at any time due to inclement weather. I guess they figure that Plainview is such a small town that any commuters can handle roughing it through the negative degree temps and ice.

Today is one day of relief. 50 degrees and I shaved my legs in celebration.

Tomorrow, I guess it’s back to this…

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(stolen from Facebook)

Anyway.

I tried Ashley’s Buckwheat Breakfast Bake today, using steel cut oats instead of whole buckwheat groats, almonds instead of walnuts, and dark cocoa powder+agave instead of carob powder.

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It was alright. I didn’t cook it long enough and I already know that buckwheat is an acquired taste that I haven’t fully acquired yet. I’m excited to try it out with other grains, though!

I also halved the recipe and ate a pear alongside. By the time I’d eaten it, it was nearly noon, so I’m still pretty hungry!

I think I’ll go try to convince Edgar to take me to Subway or something. I want to experience my one day of weather relief before who knows how long! I may even going running outside, but we’ll see…

I’ll be back later with the next installment of the 30 Day Challenge, plus an ACCENT VLOG!

 

How’s the weather been where you are? For the record, I’m jealous of you Virginians experiencing Springtime weather.

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