Category Archives: Breakfast

Quinoa and lentil Italian veggie hash

Our breakfast this morning…it was incredible!

Quinoa and lentil Italian veggie hash

Servings:  ~6

  • 1 cup (192 g) lentils (red, green, brown, or beluga)
  • 3-4 medium carrots (peeled if not organic), each cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 cups (235 to 475 ml) water for the lentils.  1/2 c for the quinoa.
  • 2 tablespoons (28 ml) coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 6 oz portobello and/or crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 2 jars of your favorite red pasta sauce.  I use Bertolli’s organic Tomato and Basil
  • 1 c shredded parmasean cheese or nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1½ t. dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon (2 g) dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes or crushed dried chilies or more per your taste
  • 1 cup (87 g) quinoa, rinsed well
  • 2 T dry red wine (optional)
  • 2 T basalmic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Eggs, over easy or cooked as you like
Instructions
  1. Add the lentils, carrots, and 2 c water to a large soup pot. Add a dash of salt and/or hot pepper flakes to the pot if you want to flavor the pot a little.  Turn the heat to high, cook until the mixture is simmering, and then decrease to low and cover. Cook 20 minutes, stirring often to keep the lentils from sticking to the pan.

  2. While the lentils cook, heat the coconut oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Then add the bell pepper and garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Add the mushrooms, garlic, basil, oregano, hot pepper flakes, and basalmic vinegar and sautee for another 5 minutes.  Stir in the 1 jar of pasta sauce and red wine (if using) and simmer on low another 20 minutes.

  3. Add the quinoa, 1 jar of pasta sauce, and 1/2 c water to the lentil/carrot pot.  If there are any seasonings that you would like to add, do it now.  More garlic?  More basil or oregano?  Turn on medium high and bring to a light boil.  Turn down the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 20-30 minutes, until the quinoa is done.  If using cheese or nutritional yeast, stir it in when there is about 5 minutes left to cook.   Be sure stir occassionally as this cooks to keep it from sticking.

  4. Cook the eggs over easy or according to your preference when the quinoa/lentil mix is about done.

  5. To serve:  Place a big scoop of the lentil/quinoa ‘hash’ in a large dish.  Place a large spoonful of the veggie sauce/mix on top.  Add the cooked eggs on top.  Garnish as you like.

  6. Eat and enjoy!

 

My fav muffin–Coconut banana gluten free

Baby bits of coconut sprinkled on top add a nice crunch

Get ready to read the recipe for your new favorite muffin!

My yogi friend, Sarah shared this recipe on her blog and I just had to give it a try.  I have now made these fantastic muffins 3 times in the 2 short weeks since she posted the original recipe.  I didn’t have many of the ingredients that her recipe called for, so I modified it with what I had in the pantry AND to lower the fat just a little.  It worked beautifully and I honestly wouldn’t change a thing.  My hubby gets so excited when I walk into his office with a hot pot of tea and a freshly baked muffin.  Maybe you should surprise your loved one(s) with this super moist and delicious muffin this afternoon?!

Bon Appetit!  XO

Fresh from the oven!

Coconut banana muffins

Servings: 6 large muffins

 

 

  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1/4 c applesauce (organic, unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup vanilla bakers cane sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 ripe bananas, lightly mashed (mine were pretty small)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour (AP flour does not sub well for coconut, so try almond if you can’t find coconut)
  • 1/2 c (plus about 2 T for sprinkling on top) unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup all purpose gluten free flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese or Vietnamese cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease the muffin tin.

In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.

In a medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix.  Spoon into the muffin tin.  Sprinkle the muffins with the coconut flakes.  Bake for 25-28 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clear.  Serve with a cup of hot tea or a large glass of coconut milk.  ENJOY!

 

Apple and orange smoothie snack

How absolutely refreshing...even in the middle of an ice storm!

My snack this afternoon was soooo tasty, filled my belly and recharged my energy stores…BIG TIME!  Give this fruity smoothie a try for a quick afternoon pick-me-up!

Apple and orange smoothie 2 servings

  • 1 apple
  • 2 oranges, peeled
  • 1/4-1/2 c almond, soy, or coconut milk

Put all ingredients into the blender and give it a rip!  Drink.  ENJOY!

Chia fruit pudding

Chia seeds are such the rage right now!  I had been silently resisting the temptation to jump on the chia seed party train until I was fully convinced that they were really worth the hype…I didn’t need another trendy food item taking up space in my pantry, afterall!  Well, a few days ago after doing more research on their health benefits (omega 3 fatty acids for mitochondrial renewal, antioxidants to get rid of cancerous free radicals, seed protein with low acidity and high calcium to help build strong, long, and lean muscles and keep my large bones strong, and fiber to keep me GOING!), I finally broke down and bought a big bag from the bulk foods section of my regular grocery store.

Coincidentally, right after I purchased my seeds, I saw a recipe on Pinterest for coconut mango chia seed pudding.  You probably already know how much I love coconut and mango, so I figured this was a pretty safe place to start.  Boy, oh boy, was I right!  I whipped a modified version of this pudding together in about 3 minutes that same afternoon and in the fridge in went.  A short time later, I had to give it a try.  I must say, I liked it.  No, I did not love it–it seemed a bit boring and thin.  Feeling a little miffed and dissatisfied, I went back and read the recipe again.  I had completely forgotten that it suggested waiting overnight (or at least 5 hours) before eating.  Sooooo I stuck it back in the fridge and waited.  WOW, what a difference a few hours made!  My creation had taken on a whole new consistency and honestly, it had a lot more flavor!  I was sooo elated, I ate nearly the whole bowl!!  Since then (which was only about a week ago) I have made it a few more times, trying different fruits and adding some vanilla beans–testing it out to see how versatile it is.  I am happy to report that so far, I have loved everything I made!  Even my hubby–who isn’t crazy about these sorts of dishes– digs on this one!  He had a small bowl with blueberries at lunch today and told me “It is sooo good, it tastes a lot like tapioca”!  When I eat the seeds, I am actually reminded more of poppy seeds because of their size and texture.  Next time I make it, I might try adding some chopped pecans or walnuts to the pudding to make it a great option for breakfast.  Oh, and how about lemon or lime zest?!?  If you want to doll it up a bit more for dessert, try adding some small dark chocolate chips and/or some coconut (toasted coconut?)–I bet it would be fantastic!!  Anyway, I am pretty sure you will almost always find a bowl of this yummy pudding sitting in my fridge just waiting for a hungry tummy to call home!  Bon Appetit!

Chia Pudding

Servings:  4-5

1 c vanilla almond milk (I like Silk’s)

1 c vanilla coconut milk (ditto)

4 T chia seeds

1 c cubed fresh champagne mango (or blueberries, raspberries, peaches, strawberries, blackberries)

dash of sweetener (optional–I don’t do this, but if you like it sweeter add some agave, honey or stevia)

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for a minimum of 5 hours.  It will thicken up nicely if left overnight!


Not your average poach

There are eggs hiding under the greens!

Nope, I am not going to tire you with a run-of-the-mill breakfast this morning…or another boring ‘ole smoothie.  And nope, you do not have to get up at the break of dawn to prepare it either!  The recipe that I am sharing is taken pretty much straight from Bon Appetit and it is scary what an easy and refreshing change this is for breakfast!  I love that it utilizes stock pantry/fridge items–nothing fancy schmancy (I don’t know how to spell that word–probably means I shouldn’t be using it?!) here!  Plus, the flavor…I can’t wait for you to dip a hunk of your favorite toasted bread in this sauce–it is going to blow your mind!!!  It is a perfect weekend breakfast..or lunch…or dinner!

Bon Appetit!

Not your average poach

Servings:  4

  • 1/4 c EVOO
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded, finely chopped (use one if you are not into the heat!)
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 t sweet paprika
  • 1 t smoky paprika
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • 1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, do a rough crush with a fork
  • freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 c feta, coarsely chopped
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 T fresh italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 T fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • Multi-grain bread toasted with a dab of butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat oil in a large oven proof skillet over medium.  Add onion, garlic, and jalapeno until the onion is soft–~10 minutes.  Add chickpeas, cumin, and paprikas, cover and cook for a couple of minutes.  Remove the lid, stir in the crushed tomatoes and simmer another ~10 mintues.  Turn off the heat.  Sprinkle the feta cheese over the top of the tomato mixture.  Carefully crack the eggs (so you do not bust the yolk) and space the eggs evenly over the dish.  Sprinkle some salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper over the eggs and put the pan in the oven.  Bake for 5-8 minutes–until the eggs whites are done, but the yolks are still soft.  Serve with cilantro and parsley as the garnish and multi-grain toast for dippng.

 

 

 

Matcha Smoothie

Isn't the light green color awesome?

All you green tea lovers, be well advised to GIVE THIS SMOOTHIE a go!  I had to make an extra big batch this morning to satisfy  LARGE second helpings for both the Mr. and I!  Whew, I can’t say enough about this refreshing and healthful start to my day!  The earthy Matcha (green tea powder) mixed with the creamy frozen banana and the sweet/tart nectarines came together perfectly to make this one of my favorite smoothies yet!  As always, a big hit of protein powder and ground flax seed filled my stomach and kept me very satisfied until later in the afternoon–even after burning up all of my energy stores during an excruciating 90 minute power yoga session first thing this morning!

If you haven’t already picked up a can of matcha to make my green tea panna cotta or lattes, stop by your local asian grocer the next time you are in the neighborhood–it isn’t cheap, but don’t worry, a small amount of the powder goes a LONG, LONG way!

So the dietitian in me HAS to tell you all about the health benefits of this green powder.  I am sure you have all heard the health buzz on green tea, right??  Well, think about the fact that this powder is 100% ground green tea leaves–NOT just the water that the leaves have been steeped in–giving you concentrated exposure to the ‘good stuff’.  So what is so good about it you ask??  To start, matcha provides a whole boat load of antioxidants to help prevent aging (LOVE IT) and chronic diseases (doubly LOVE IT). Fruits and veggies are great sources of antioxidants, but matcha is unparalleled in comparison. In fact, matcha is packed with exponentially more antioxidants than even fruit’s best performers–pomegranates and blueberries!  Experts at Tufts University have uncovered that matcha possesses an amazing twenty times (yep, I said 20x!!) more so than pomegranates or blueberries.

Even better, matcha contains a unique, potent class of antioxidant known as catechins, which aren’t found in other foods. More specifically, the catechin EGCg (epigallocatechin gallate) provides super-charged cancer-fighting properties. Most importantly, EGCg and other catechins counteract the effects of evil free radicals from the likes of pollution, UV rays, radiation, and chemicals, which can lead to cell and DNA damage. Since over 60% of the catechins in matcha are actually EGCg, a daily matcha regimen can help restore and preserve the body’s integral well-being and balance.  Sound pretty good?  Just wait, there is more!

Over a thousand years ago, matcha came to Japan as an aid to meditation practice.  I know, SNOOZE-VILLE, right!??  Which is why they would routinely drink matcha — to remain alert, yet calm. Modern science has recently confirmed the lessons of centuries of tradition. Matcha is rich in L-Theanine, a rare amino acid that actually promotes a state of relaxation and well-being by acting upon the brain’s functioning. While stress can induce beta waves—an excited, more agitated state—L-Theanine creates alpha waves, which lead to a state of relaxed alertness. And while L-Theanine is common in all tea, matcha may contain up to five times more of this amino acid than common black and green teas. As an additional benefit (and maybe because of this), L-Theanine may help memory and learning ability–I am sure we can all use a little help there!  Simply put, it promotes concentration and clarity of mind without any of the nervous energy found in coffee. So a green tea latte (made with Silk’s vanilla coconut milk, of course) really does make a lot of sense as an afternoon snack/pick-me-up!!

Guys and gals you are going to LOVE THIS…one of the most unexpected benefits matcha drinkers experience is a boost of energy through the day. In one study, researchers had thought that this was from the caffeine in matcha, but they found that it was actually the combination of matcha’s natural properties. Another recent study in particular found that matcha even improved physical endurance by 24%. Even if you aren’t facing a grueling workout, matcha can help you through the everyday marathon, whether it’s that project due the next day or getting the kids from school to soccer practice.  Oh, and on top of that a recent study shows that if consumed regularly, matcha may boost metabolism and burn calories up to as much as 4 x!

Whew, I am FINALLY done!  So, can you think of anything with health benefits comparable to matcha–all for next to ZERO calories??  Me either!  Fire up your blender and get ready to FEEL the beauty of this sensible, yet delicious breakfast or afternoon drink!  If you discover different scrumptious ways to use your matcha powder please send me a note with the details–I would love to hear your ideas!  Cheers!

Creamy smooth, lightly sweet, and full of healthful ingredients!

Matcha Smoothie

Servings:  2

  • 1 fresh banana
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 c frozen nectarines or peaches (mango would probably work too!)
  • 1 scoop ground golden flax seed
  • 1/4-1/3 c ground hemp protein powder (or your favorite HBV protein)
  • 1 t matcha (add more to taste)
  • 1-1 1/2 c coconut milk (depending upon your desired consistency)

Throw it all in your blender or smoothie machine and let it rip!  Drink and ENJOY!!

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin smoothie

I know you already know how much I love smoothies, right?  I drink one pretty much everyday!  I usually load blender up with fresh baby spinach, frozen fruit, protein powder, ground flax seed and use coconut milk as my liquid of choice.  I also know that if you are reading this post you must enjoy a smoothie from time to time yourself!  Which means that at this time of year you have seen plenty of pumpkin smoothie recipes, but don’t worry, this one is not like the rest…I promise!  There is no sweetener or frozen yogurt in my pumpkin smoothie–it uses the awesome sweetness of bananas to help make it delicious (and much better for you!).  Like 30 seconds ago, my hubby had his first drink and said…”it tastes just like pumpkin pie!”.  Yep, that is exactly what I was going for!  It is super smooth, thick, creamy and so very healthful!  You would seriously think that I threw the pumpkin pie mix in the blender instead of my short list of GREAT FOR YOU ingredients.  So fire up your blender and give this one a spin.  I might just make these instead of pie this year on the big day!  If I add a dollop of whipped cream on top I don’t think anyone would be disappointed, do you?!

Holy cow, I just finished my 6 oz serving and I am stuffed!  Thanks to all of the protein and fiber in this one, I have a feeling this will power me through my 90 minutes of yoga and well into the afternoon!  Cheers to easy and delicious ways of taking good care of yourself!

Pumpkin smoothie

Makes 2-6 oz smoothies

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1/2 c puree pumpkin (or more, to taste)
  • 1 c Silk’s vanilla coconut milk
  • 1 t pumpkin pie seasoning
  • 2 big scoops of HBV protein powder (I use hemp protein powder, which I buy from Amazon)
  • 1 scoop ground flax seed (I use Stober Farms Natural Milled Golden Flax Seed–this stuff rocks!)

Thow it all in your blender and let it rip!  Oh, make sure BEFORE you freeze your banana that it is cut into 1-2″ pieces–leave the peel on so you don’t have to prefreeze it before bagging–this will save your blender a lot of extra work and you a lot of extra time!  Then all you will need to do is dip the banana in warm water when you are ready to use it to easily remove the peel!

 

 

Smoothie love

Spinach smoothie

My breakfast!  This refreshing smoothie was the perfect way to start my day!  Remember those awesome peaches that I picked up at Gordon’s a few weeks ago?  Well many of them made it to the freezer for breakfasts like this!  Loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and protein this remarkably delicious drink left my hubby begging for seconds!  It literally takes about 5 minutes to make and will power you through even the most stressful mornings!  Give this one a try–you will be so very happy that you did!  Oh, and head to your farmer’s market and load up your freezer with peaches, nectarines and berries now so you can enjoy smoothies like this even in the off season!

Enjoy the love!

Smoothie love

Servings:  2

  • 2 big fistfuls of baby spinach
  • 1/4-1/3 c hemp protein powder
  • 1 c vanilla coconut milk
  • 1/2 c frozen peaches
  • 1/2 c frozen mango
  • splash of agave nectar
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 1 T ground flax seed

Thow it all in your blender and give it a rip!  All of my measurements are just estimates–use as much as you need to create the perfect flavor and consistency for YOU!  Garnish with a frozen peach or mango!

 

Ode to summer onion tarts

Globes of smelly goodness

The garden is growing extremely well so far this season–quick break to knock on wood–and I just pulled the last of the onions.  WOW, there were soooo many globes of smelly goodness!  I love all varieties of onions…green, yellow, red!  Don’t even get me started on shallots.  The sweetness that evolves with cooking astounds me and their nutritional value does too!  These babies are full of fiber, phyto compounds for cancer protection, B & C vitamins, and trace minerals.  I am feeling better just thinking about them!

I was feeling especially creative last night, so I decided to make tarts with a few of them!  I put Andy in charge of slicing up the onions, sorry honey (hee  hee).  He smartly put on my onion goggles (thank you Niki) and made quick work of the task–wish I had that picture to share!

We decided to try several different combinations of ingredients to add some variety to our evening with onions.  What a great plan–holy cow were they good!  We tried onion/mushroom/pancetta, onion/mushroom/pancetta/egg, onion/mushroom, and  onion/mushroom/egg.  Go figure that our favorite was the least complex–onion/mushroom.

I used a muffin tin to cook the tarts and it worked beautifully. The puff pastry was a gorgeous golden brown and the layers of carmelized onion were just beautiful.  These tasty tarts would make great hors d’oeuvres at your next party.  Serve either of the egg combos at breakfast with some fresh fruit and your family will be bragging on you all week long!

Caramelized onions

Ode to summer onion tarts

Servings:  6-8 large cupcake size tarts

  • 1 box pepperidge farm puff pastry
  • 3 large onions of varying color, sliced
  • 1 t salt
  • 1-2 T EVOO
  • Butter flavor PAM cooking spray
  • 2-3 eggs, scrambled (optional)
  • 1 c finely chopped mushrooms
  • 2-3 pieces of crispy, cooked pancetta or bacon (optional)
  • 2 t fresh thyme
  • 1 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 c freshly grated parmasean cheese
  • 1 t chipotle pepper flakes (mandatory)
  • Splash of agave nectar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large saute pan saute the sliced onion in the evoo over low/medium heat.  Add the salt and agave nectar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are nice and soft and carmelized to a golden brown.

If using bacon or pancetta, cook it until it is nice and crispy in a medium skillet, and then set the meat aside.  Using the same pan with the bacon grease, saute the mushrooms with the chipotle pepper flakes until nice and soft.  If not using meat, just throw some EVOO and pepper flakes into a skillet and saute until soft.

Make sure your puff pastry is thawed.  Using a round cookie cutter (or something similar) cut 3 pieces for every muffin whole you want to fill with the tart.  You will build the tarts in layers–kinda like a lasagna.

Generously coat the muffin tin with PAM butter spray.  Place a piece of puff pastry at the bottom of each muffin whole.  Add a thin layer of mushrooms, onions, and meat (if using) on top of the pastry.  If using egg, add a drizzle on top.  If not, just add the cheese and freshly ground pepper.  Repeat the next layer starting with the pastry circle.  Top the last layer with a pastry circle and then use an onion or sprinkles of pepper or thyme (or all three) to make a pretty garnish.  Give each pastry a quick spray of PAM and then bake for about 40 minutes–or until they are golden brown.  Allow the pastries to cool for at least 5 minutes before lifting them out gently with a fork.

The puffier one on the left is made with egg. On the right is just onions and mushrooms.

 


 

 

Italian delight frittata

Italian Delight served with home-made Rosemary black pepper ciabatta

I thought I better follow up my last entry with a hearty breakfast option that is also heart healthy AND a lot more respectful of the waistline.  TOFU HATERS CONTINUE TO READ, OPEN YOUR MIND, AND GIVE THIS A TRY!  IT IS MY PLAN TO BRING YOU OVER TO THE LIGHTER SIDE WITH THIS TASTY DISH!!

Sadly many of you have never had tofu done right and would rather skip breakfast (and reading this post) over trying this ridiculously delicious frittata.   I must confess that just a few short years ago I was right there with you, running for the door when tofu was mentioned.  My first experience with tofu was with a flavorless, oddly textured patty, at which point I vowed I would never go THERE again!  Thankfully, a very patient friend of mine encouraged a reintroduction and I was completely blown away…it was fantastic!  I can’t and won’t say that I eat a ton of tofu today, but I definitely enjoy it and at times really LOVE IT!  This dish is one of my many tofu loves!  There is so much great flavor in every bite and the texture is such that you will not even get that you aren’t eating eggs!  I know this dish will change your attitude about this really versatile alternative to meat, so give it a try and you are welcome!

Tofu Frittata

Servings:  4

  • 1 # extra firm tofu, drained
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 t dijon mustard
  • 1/2 c nutritional yeast
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, roughly chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 c sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 c artichokes, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 t oil from the jar of sun dried tomatoes or EVOO
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 t dried thyme or 1 T fresh thyme (my preference)
  • big pinch of tumeric (approx 1/4-1/2 t)
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 c fresh basil leaves torn into pieces

Tofu in the scrambled egg consistency

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Using your fingers, crumble the tofu until it resembles the texture of scrambled eggs.  Mix in all other ingredients well using your fingers (like making meatloaf).  Put it in a lightly greased (PAM cooking spray is works great!) casserole dish or non-stick pan.  Bake for 20 minutes then broil for 2-5 minutes, until the top browns just a little.  Serve with a side of fresh fruit and some whole grain toast.