Breakfast Berry Bowl

Breakfast Berry Bowl 1826

Breakfast is my biggest eating challenge of the day. I am never hungry in the early mornings and when I do get hungry,  it’s protein and sugar that I crave. Think donuts and bacon. Oh boy! So, in an attempt to leave that bad habit behind, I worked this Breakfast Berry Bowl into my morning routine. It’s loaded with protein from the quinoa and brainfood from the berries. The added nuts are like the cherry on top for me and pack in some more protein. I drizzle with a little honey and sprinkle with cinnamon to get my sweet fix. This is really great for eating on the run too. Packing this in a jar the night before and grabbing it on my way out the door to eat while I deliver kids to school is a perfect excuse to skip the donut shop on my way into the office.

Ingredients:

Quinoa, any variety you like
Blueberries
Nuts, your favorite
Honey
Cinnamon

Notes:

The night before, cook your quinoa according to package directions. I always rinse my quinoa before cooking to wash away the bitterness the outside of grain, and I add in a pinch of salt for an added bit of flavor.  I typically cook 1/2 cup of quinoa and that will yield me (4) small breakfasts. Quinoa is very filling, so you don’t need much!  If you happen to cook more than you need, it freezes very well.  You can serve the quinoa warm, at room temp or cold. So versatile!

Directions:

Layer your Bowl or jar by adding quinoa first, followed by blueberries and nuts.  Drizzle with honey and sprinkle cinnamon on top.  If you are making these the night before and wanting to reheat, the microwave is your friend.  30-45 seconds and a quick stir will give you a perfectly warm breakfast.

Mmmmmm…..
– Gina

 

 

Friday’s Deeelish Dish

 

egg-salad-collage-1

The Lenten season is upon us.  It’s a time to think about renewing and making a positive change in your life.  And for me, it is also egg salad season.  It’s a favorite of mine.  I rarely eat it outside of this season, so I always look forward to it.  There are many different versions of egg salad, but my favorite, is a sweetened version with just a few simple ingredients.

1 large hard boiled egg
1 teaspoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of sweet relish (store bought, or cut up a few sweet gherkins)
pink of paprika
salt and pepper to taste

With a fork, mash your egg to your liking. I like mine a little chunky.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  I love to serve the finished egg salad on a hearty piece of whole wheat bread with a few gherkins on the side.  So satisfying!

 

14 minutes to perfection

The perfect hard boiled egg might seem trivial.  But, there is nothing better than a beautiful canary yellow yolk that has the perfect velvet-y texture.

I though hard boiled eggs were fool proof. But, I also thought [for years!] that you hard boiled an egg in a pot of boiling water for 20 minutes.  That produces a very overcooked egg with a green [cringe] skin over the yolk that smells horribly of sulfer. I was  doing it wrong. So. Horribly. Wrong.  The perfection comes in the water temperature and the amount of time left in said water.  Times vary from internet search to internet search, but I have found the perfect amount of time to be 14 minutes in a [covered pot] of just-about-boiling water.

Place 6-8 eggs in a large pot. Fill with water, covering eggs with a few inches of water.  Heat over high heat, until the water is just about at a boil (190 degrees to be specific). Turn heat off and cover pan with a tight fitting lid. Set timer for 14 minutes.  When timer goes off, drain warm water and run eggs under cold running water for a few minutes.   If you find that you are having a hard time peeling your eggs after they are cooled, try cracking the shell all over and setting in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes.  The water will seep in between the cracks and you will have an easier time getting the shell to peel away from the egg.

I like to boil a bunch of eggs on Sunday, so that my boys have them to snack on throughout the week.  I put them in a colorful bowl in the fridge, that catches their eyes when they are looking for something to eat.  It’s the perfect,protein filled snack for a hungry boy just home from a long day at school.

hard-boiled-egg-4703-web-ready

 

From the earth….

Root vegetables, I have realized….are amazing and delicious and well….amazing.  This is the simplest recipe to prepare, with only a few simple seasonings, some beautiful root vegetables and a good knife needed.  I sliced up a few of my favorites; multi colored carrots, red potatoes, leeks, beets, acorn squash, and something new to me, celery root. I also through in some Brussels sprouts because I had them and I love their nutty flavor.  I tossed the veg with some olive oil and sprinkled them with coarse salt and freshly cracked pepper and threw in a few plucked sprigs of fresh thyme. Roasting them for 30-45 minutes brings out the sweetness of each vegetable and the flavors burst. After roasting the vegetables, I let them cool completely while I made a roasted garlic vinaigrette.  I assembled the salad by topping a serving platter with a big pile of greens. I used a mix of kale, spinach, chard, beet and mustard greens.  I nestled the roasted veg in the greens, making sure each area contained all of the vegetables so that it would be easy to serve a spoonful with everything included.  I topped the salad with large shavings of Parmesan and drizzled with the roasted garlic vinaigrette, right before serving.  Beautiful, natural, from the earth goodness!  Good for you and good for me.

My tips:  Use a large (and sharp) kitchen knife to cut up your vegetables.  Vegetables like butternut squash can be tricky without a good knife.  Make sure your vegetables are cut at the same thickness. This will help them to roast evenly.

Before and after……

roasted-vegetable-salad-blog-post

 

DIY: Growing Sprouts

 

growing-sprouts-1778-web-ready

I’ve been growing my own sprouts in my kitchen for a few years now.  I had the hardest time finding them at the grocery store and when I did find them, they only lasted a short time before they were slimy.  I gave up on relying on my grocery store and started to grow my own.  It is so easy, requires little maintenance, NO dirt and you can grow them right in your kitchen.  This is a GREAT project for your kids as well.  Although, I still can’t get my kids on board with eating them, but at least they can have fun growing them for me!

The supply list is short.

Seeds – My favorite: a spicy blend of clover, fenugreek and radish seeds, Alfalfa seeds are another favorite of mine.
Sprouting Lid – I ordered my lids on Etsy
Mason Jar(s) – I like to use a 24oz. jar to grow my sprouts and a 16oz. to store them in.

growing-sprouts-1852-web-ready

I typically grow a tablespoon of seeds at a time.  One full tablespoon will give you a least 2 cups of finished sprouts. Place your seeds in your growing jar with the mesh lid. Rinse them a few times.  You will need to soak your seeds.  This breaks down the hull and allows the sprouting to happen.  Fill your jar with 3 times as much water as seeds and allow to soak overnight.

growing-sprouts-collage

The next morning, drain your seeds and rinse them a few times.  Shake the seeds around the jar to space them out a bit.  Rest your jar (downward) in a bowl with a towel to catch the excess water that will drain out.  *The seed water stains badly, so use a towel that you don’t care about staining.

growing-sprouts-2111

Rinse seeds and drain twice daily.  Store in area with low humidity and out of direct sunlight.  On about the 4th day, place rinsed seed jar in indirect sunlight so sprouts can develop their green chlorophyll leaves.  This will take just one day.  After green leaves have sprouted, you will need to pull all sprouts out of the jar for a final rinse.

growing-sprouts-2175

I place my sprouts in a large bowl of water and swirl them around a bit with my hand.  The hulls from the seeds will float to the top and (mostly) to the side of the bowl.  I scoop the hulls out with a large spoon and re-rinse until most of the hulls are gone.

growing-sprouts-collage-2

Drain your sprouts well on a clean towel.  I store my sprouts in a glass jar in my refrigerator.  They last for about 2 weeks.  They are perfect for topping a sandwich or sprinkling over a salad.  I like to eat them straight up as a snack as well!

Sprouts…oh, how I love thee!

I get happy cravings for sprouts.  My favorite is a huge layer of spicy sprouts on a pita sandwich.  They are great in salads and I have been known to eat them by the ‘pinch full’ as a Good-for-Me snack.  They are the perfect green ‘crunch’ and they are so good for you.  They can be hard to find at the grocery though.  I remember searching for them years ago and finding out there was a recall on them due to an E coli breakout in our area.  So, I stopped my search and worry about E coli (yuck!) and  started to grow my own sprouts.  It only required a few tools, (i.e., a jar and seeds) no dirt, minimal care and I could do it in my kitchen.  The result was fabulous!  It’s been years since I’ve bought them.  I’ll share how to grow your own in the coming week…..

sprouts

The breakfast of champions

Carrot Cake Breakfast Quinoa

carrot-cake-breakfast-quinoa-9409-web-ready

I love quinoa. It’s an amazing source of protein and it is so filling.  It originates from Bolivia, where they refer to it as ‘the mother grain’.  As much as I enjoy it,  I think it’s a bit of an acquired taste.  It’s not for everyone. This sweet breakfast bowl is a nice change up and might make you think differently about this good for you grain.  It is hearty and delicious and it will get you through the toughest of Monday mornings.  It’s a great  ‘make-ahead’ breakfast that you can store in the refrigerator for the work/school week or even freeze it for longer storage.  *See tips below for reheating below.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
1 3/4 cup  unsweetened coconut or almond milk
3/4 grated carrots
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons maple syrup + more for topping
1 tablespoon almond butter + more for topping
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Instructions:

Toast walnuts over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to toast nuts evenly.  Nuts are usually toasted perfectly as soon as you start to smell them. Set nuts aside.

In a large saucepan, heat the quinoa and milk over medium heat until the mixture is at a simmer.  Add carrots, cinnamon and vanilla extract.  Turn heat down to low. Cover and simmer mixture for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add salt, maple syrup and almond butter. Stir until combined. Mixture will be thick. Divide into single servings. Top each with a dollop of almond butter, a drizzle of maple syrup and the toasted walnuts.

*To reheat pre-made bowls, microwave covered with a damp paper towel for 60 seconds. Stir well to distribute the heat. Add toppings and you are set.   For longer storage, freeze single servings and thaw overnight before reheating.