Category Archives: Breakfast

Three egg omelets

Omelets are an always popular breakfast item. Usually reserved for the weekends or a restaurant, I wanted to show you how easy they can be. As explained in my Ham & Greens Frittata post, the difference between and omelet and a frittata is that a frittata has all the ingredients mixed into the eggs, it is all cooked together, and not folded up. An omelet is partly cooked, and then the ingredients are added in and the eggs are folded around the other ingredients. Most are intimidated by the flip, or fold technique. However, with a few simple tricks you can make a fluffy protein half-moon like a pro chef in no time.

Ingredients:
3 eggs (large, fresh, and room temperature if you can)
1/2-1 cup chopped veggies of choice
Meat and or cheese if you like
Vegetable spray, olive oil, or here I use coconut oil for the pan

Step 1: Add 1 tbsp coconut oil (olive oil, etc) to a warm frying pan. Saute and veggies or fully cook any meat you are adding. Set to the side to keep warm.

Step 2: Break all three eggs into a bowl and lightly whisk. You can use one or two whole eggs and the rest egg whites if you are concerned about cholesterol, or use egg substitutes. They should work just the same.

Step 3: Now the (not so) tricky part. Pour the eggs into the pan. You can wait to add the other ingredients until the last minute, or just add them on top of the eggs like I did. When the egg starts to cook (you will know by the change in color and texture) push it down the sides of the pan with a spoon or spatula. Mix up the egg in the center a little too. This helps to get the egg to cook on the bottom.

Step 4: Wiggle the pan around as you use the spoon or spatula to push the cooked egg to the center, and tilt it to get the uncooked egg to run up the sides. Repeat until most of the egg is cooked. Then, using a spatula or spoon, flip the egg in half, covering the fillings. It’s a great idea to add a sprinkle of cheese first for a gooey inside at the end!

Step 5: Let cook for another few minutes, then flip and cook a few more. This is just to ensure that all the egg inside heats enough to cook fully.

Sprinkle with a bit of cheese, and enjoy! You can use whatever type of vegetables or beans you like here. Onion, mushroom, greens, zucchini, and peppers work great


Of course, for the carnivore in the house I had to make a ham & bacon one too. All breakfast meats are amazing in omelets as well. Get creative, try any combination that sounds good. And don’t worry about not getting the half-flip perfect. Worst case scenario, you still have some delicious scrambled eggs.
Either way, break an egg and enjoy!


What is your favorite dish to make with eggs?


Baked ham & greens frittata

Frittatas are an awesome brunch staple, because they are easy to make and infinitely customizable. This would be a great Easter brunch option! They are the perfect answer to a vegetarian source of protein. Add in tofu, beans, and whatever veggies you want, but the eggs do the heavy lifting in the protein department. One typical large egg contains 6 g of protein, which is 12% of the recommended daily allowance for an adult (source: USDA). It also has keratin for your eyes, vitamin D, A and B, with only 70-80 calories. There aren’t many other protein sources with as complete nutrition for such a low per calorie count.

What’s a Frittata anyway?

Frittatas are most similar to a crust-less quiche. So if you love quiche but want to cut down on carbohydrates, calories, and saturated fat without sacrificing taste and versatility, a frittata is perfect for you. There is some confusion as to the difference between a frittata and an omelet. The main difference is that  omelets traditionally have the egg mixture cooked and folded around a filling which is added on top at the last minute, whereas a frittata is all mixed and cooked together, not folded over. A frittata is also traditionally baked in the oven for all or part of its cooking time. Your best choices for a perfect frittata are cast iron or a non-stick oven-safe frying pan. 

Now, if you have never tried a frittata, it may be intimidating. Or perhaps you have tried before with little luck. They turn out too dry, tough, overly browned, stuck to the pan, or too bland. That’s ok. There are a few tricks to the perfect frittata every time. Whatever pan you use, make sure to spray with cooking oil or spread some olive oil around so the eggs don’t stick. You need more for stainless steel than for non-stick or cast iron. Then make sure to cook any meat thoroughly first, then the veggies, then add the eggs. The rest of the tips are below.

Ingredients:
6 large eggs
1/2 cup spinach
1 cup cooked asparagus
4 slices deli turkey
Cheddar cheese
Spices (Mrs. Dash & garlic salt) 

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400. Cook any meat you’re using first (bacon, sausage, chorizo), remove it, and drain any fat. Then cook your veggies until slightly softened. You want them to still have a little crunch, as they will be cooked further.

Step 2: Add the meat or tofu and heat until warm. Season liberally here, as you will lose some flavor. I used a Mrs. Dash seasoning mix and generous amounts of garlic salt.

Step 3: Spread the contents of the pan into an even layer. You can sprinkle on a little cheese to let it melt here. Then beat the eggs in a separate bowl until fluffy and pour over the veggies and/or meat. Tilt the pan around so the eggs spread all the way to all edges. Let it cook just until it begins to set and is hard around the edges.

Step 4: Put the whole pan into the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. When you cut a hole in the center and no raw egg is left, pull it from the oven. Let cool 5-10 minutes, then cut into wedges like a pie and serve.

It turns out only gently browned but cooked through. The eggs are springy and light, and it is super filling without feeling heavy.

Frittatas have so many uses! If you’ve had a late day and are starving but don’t want too complicated of a dinner that you can make fast, just throw whatever veggies into it, have a nice glass of wine with it, and there’s a 20 minute dinner. If you’re having friends or family over for brunch or lunch, add a light salad. If you want to make a nice weekend breakfast for yourself or your family, just make some toast. Frittatas are so versatile. 

Enjoy, and Happy Easter!


(Easter Sunday is the 20th, in case you didn’t know. I had to look it up too, don’t worry.)

Pi Day: Blackberry Pie

Happy Pi Day!

Since it is March 14 (or 3.14) it is international Pi Day, the day to celebrate the number pi. The Roman symbol above is how we write pi in math class. It is defined as the circumference of a perfect circle divided by its diameter, or the distance around the outside divided by the distance perfectly halfway across.

Conveniently, Albert Einstein was also born on March 14th. But as for the number, possibly it’s biggest (and only) claim to fame is that it is infinite. There is quite literally no end to the digits if you calculate it out exactly. 

The digits of pi have inspired people to memorize strings of thousands of numbers, competitions, “the million digits of pi”, create poetry and music with these numbers. There is even a PiDay organization with a website that has all kinds of fun facts and stories about Pi.

There is a video of a Pi Rap by Amy McConnell. Several businesses jump on any excuse for a holiday with special Pi Day Deals. There’s even a trainer to help you memorize more digits of Pi!

If you want to know more about how Pi Day began, and how Americans celebrate, check out CNN’s article “How America celebrates Pi Day“.

A clever t-shirt showing how “PIE” in a mirror is 3.14 Pi!

In honor of this unique number I’m posting a special recipe, for pie of course!

Because blackberries were on sale this week, that is the fruit I chose. However, you can use any berry or fruit you like, including frozen.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pie crusts (I cheated and store-bought. If you’re baking-savvy or brave, you can try making your own pie crust, like this one from Pioneer Woman)
  • 4 cups blackberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp butter (or Country Crock)

Step 1: Let the dough thaw for 10-20 minutes on the counter top, if it broke at all smush it back together with your fingers.

Step 2: Combine all ingredients but butter and milk in a large bowl to coat the berries with flour and sugar. Pour into your bottom crust. Place little chunks of butter around on the top.

Step  3: Place the other crust on top, and make sure to cut some hole to vent. I of course had to go full-nerd and cut “3.14” into the pie.

Step 4: Brush the top with milk (or egg) to make sure it gets nice a golden. Bake on a baking sheet in the middle of the oven at 400 for 12-15 minutes, until nice and bubbly and golden.

 Cut yourself a nice slice along the radius and enjoy!


This is so amazing warm out of the oven, topped with vanilla ice cream or cool whip. It’s warm and sweet and melty… MMMM! It is also amazing as breakfast with a cup of hot coffee. =)

And because you desperately need to know the millionth digit of Pi:

3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510582097494459230781640628620899862803482534211706798214808651328230664709384460955058223172535940812848111745028410270193852110555964462294895493038196442881097566593344612847564823378678316527120190914564856692346034861045432664821339360726024914127372458700660631558817488152092096282925409171536436789259036001133053054882046652138414695194151160943305727036575959195309218611738193261179310511854807446237996274956735188575272489122793818301194912983367336244065664308602139494639522473719070217986094370277053921717629317675238467481846766940513200056812714526356082778577134275778960917363717872146844090122495343014654958537105079227968925892354201995611212902196086403441815981362977477130996051870721134999999837297804995105973173281609631859502445945534690830264252230825334468503526193118817101000313783875288658753320838142061717766914730359825349042875546873115956286388235378759375195778185778053217122680661300192

Just kidding. But if you really do want to know all one million go here


Are you doing anything to celebrate Pi Day?

Fruit-filled Banana Bread

Sometimes in life, our good intentions drive us to over-buy on produce. Then we have cabbage rotting in the crisper, wilted kale and celery, oranges drying out on the counter, or brown-spotted bananas on the table. But this is not always a bad thing. Wilted veggies can be put in the freezer to become vegetable stock at a later date. Fruits that aren’t moldy can be juiced or put into smoothies. And my favorite thing to do with mushy, old bananas is to make banana bread. This is why I never worry about buying too many bananas, because I know the ones that get old and turn brown are going to be made into a delicious breakfast or anytime treat! If I only have one, I put it in the freezer until I accumulate 3 or 4 bananas. Then it’s game on. For this version I got the basic recipe from Simply Recipes and added some extras of my own.
Ingredients:

  • 3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup sugar (can easily reduce to 3/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (or blackberries)
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries

Step 1: Mash the bananas in a bowl. Add the wet ingredients: egg, butter, vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, blueberries and cherries. Pour the wet into the dry and mix well.

Step 2: Spray an oven-safe bread pan with oil, and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until browned on the outside and a fork comes out clean in the middle.

This bread is soft on the inside with a perfectly crunchy top crust. The blueberries and cherries are chewy sweet surprises in every bite! I think this bread is perfect for adding all sorts of fruit goodies, you could use any berry you like. Healthify it with whole wheat flour, or add flax seeds. Use splenda or nutrisweet instead of regular sugar. Use applesauce instead of an egg to make it totally vegan. The possibilities are endless!


And for only 228 calories a slice, this is a great grab-and-go breakfast or evening snack to ward off a sweet tooth without breaking the calorie bank.

 

Nutrition Facts

  12 Servings

Amount Per Serving
  Calories 228.3
  Total Fat 5.8 g
      Saturated Fat 3.4 g
      Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
      Monounsaturated Fat 1.5 g
  Cholesterol 29.1 mg
  Sodium 147.7 mg
  Potassium 167.5 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 42.1 g
      Dietary Fiber 1.7 g
      Sugars 22.2 g
  Protein 3.2 g
  Vitamin A 4.3 %
  Vitamin B-12 0.8 %
  Vitamin B-6 10.9 %
  Vitamin C 6.1 %
  Vitamin D 1.7 %
  Vitamin E 1.4 %
  Calcium 0.9 %
  Copper 3.6 %
  Folate 11.8 %
  Iron 6.5 %
  Magnesium 3.9 %
  Manganese 10.4 %
  Niacin 7.3 %
  Pantothenic Acid     2.1 %
  Phosphorus     4.1 %
  Riboflavin 9.3 %
  Selenium 10.7 %
  Thiamin 12.1 %
  Zinc 1.8 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

 

Breakfast Burritos for the Busy

 

I always say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However I also understand mornings can be the busiest time of the day. This is why I have become quite talented at whipping up fast, hot, filling breakfasts in under 30 minutes. Sometimes, I even make several breakfasts I can leave in the fridge or freezer, then reheat and run out the door.

If you have a few minutes to spare in the AM or some time on Sunday to get ahead for the week, this a perfect idea to make filling your belly in the mornings easy. I made two, but you can scale this to whatever size you want.
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Ingredients:
2 tortillas
2 eggs, scrambled
1/4 cup cooked beans (I used canned kidney)
1/2 cup veggie (sliced zucchini featured here)
2 slices cheddar cheese

Step 1: In a sprayed or non-stick skillet, cook the veggies (I’ve used peppers, onion, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, squash, carrots…). Add the beans just to heat them, then pour in the beaten eggs. 

Step 2: Cook the eggs until fully done. Sprinkle on some salt or other seasonings if you like.


Step 3: Heat the tortilla for 10-15 seconds in the microwave, then add the cheese and half the egg mixture. Fold both ends of the tortilla in, then roll it up. I ate one that morning and saved the other for the next day. 

Please do get creative, you could add refried beans, black beans, spinach, sriracha… the possibilities are endless so you never get bored. These are also a quite affordable source of some major protein.

What’s your favorite wrap combination?

Pineapple Pancake Syrup

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While maple syrup is delightful, sometimes you feel a little bolder at breakfast time. When I get bored or simply want something unexpected, I make up my own syrups. Since I had a huge amount of leftover pineapple upside down cake and sweet potato pancakes from breakfast at Snooze in Denver (which could be a huge post in its own right, seriously GO THERE, it’s amazing), I decided to make a pineapple-y syrup to go with them. This would be a great syrup to make and have breakfast in bed for Valentine’s Day (or the Saturday following).
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Ingredients:
1/2 can pineapple chunks
1/4 cup pineapple juice from can
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice

Step 1: Put all ingredients into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then simmer 5-20 minutes, until it thickens to your liking.

These were the sweet potato pancakes, so those got extra love: melted marshmallows!

Step 2: Pour over pancakes. Stuff yourself silly, and smile. I bet this would taste great over my Perfect Pancakes too.



What’s your favorite way to top pancakes?

 

Homemade Cinnamon Raisin Soft Pretzels

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I’ve had a love affair with everything you can make homemade for quite some time now. From homemade oven-baked bread (that didn’t work very well… I need to try that again), to perfect pancakes, applesauce muffins, and even infused liquor, I love when I can take a few simple ingredients and make a whole lot of something I otherwise would have to buy at the store. Someday soon I will foray into making my own yogurt, bagels, kombucha, and sauerkraut too. 
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One thing I’ve had in the back of my mind to try was soft pretzels. They seemed like an easy enough task, though I wasn’t sure. History claims that a very long time ago, AD 610 according to TLC Cooking, a monk was frustrated with his class and had some leftover bread dough. He rolled the dough out into rolls and made the iconic pretzel shape to resemble hands crossed in prayer. Originally called “pretiola”, Latin for “little reward”, they were quickly re-named “brachiola” which means “little arms”. They reached Germany, where they became a huge hit and were known as bretzels. This translated in America to pretzels, and so the famous street/fair/and sports event food took its place in our history.
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So when I found on Sally’s Baking Addiction a 30 Minute Pretzel recipe, I knew I had to try it. However, my favorite soft pretzel is the Auntie Anne’s cinnamon raisin with glaze, so rather than a plain salt that’s what I was after. With a few tweaks, I was sure I could re-create that $6 treat for far less. This recipe ended up making 8 medium-sized pretzels. I’m sure you could cut it in half for one, or make smaller ones for young-uns. You can also omit the cinnamon and use less sugar and just roll in sea salt for regular soft pretzels and dip in mustard or cheese. In fact, I think I’ll need to make another batch of plain this weekend…
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Ingredients:
1.5 cups water
1 packet yeast
1 cup sugar or brown sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup raisins
4 cups flour plus extra
2 eggs, beaten
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Step 1: Pour the yeast into 1 1/2 cups warm-ish water and stir. You don’t have to wait for anything to rise, just mix it well.
Step 2: Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. (Flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and raisins). Add in the yeasty water and mix with your hands. Add more flour if needed. Once you have a fairly rubbery dough, break off a fist-sized chunk and place on a floured surface.

Step 3: Roll the dough out into a long strand, then cross it over into the pretzel shape. I’m actually going to try making letters and other shapes next time.

The next step is optional. Rumor has it boiling in baking soda water gives pretzels that chewy texture and browned color. Boil 1 cup baking soda in 9-10 cups water. Dunk the pretzels, and let boil for 5 minutes, then dry on a rack before baking. **Oh wait… it said 30 seconds. That could explain a lot. Only leave them in the boiling soda water for 30 seconds if you do this step**

A little hint: putting a wooden spoon across the top of a pot keeps it from boiling over. At least up to a certain point.

My post-baking conclusion was that while the boiling did cause a different color and taste, I like the pretzels without the baking soda step better, so I won’t be doing that in the future. However feel free to experiment yourself, maybe the altitude has something to do with it… #ColoradoBakingProblems

Step 4: Beat the eggs in a flat bowl/plate and coat the pretzels fully.

Step 5: Brush on some butter and cinnamon/sugar if you want extra sweetness. Bake the pretzels at 425 for 10-15 minutes, until nicely browned. Make sure to watch for burning.

Step 6: To make the glaze, take 1 cup powdered sugar and mix in 2 tbsp melted butter, 1 tsp vanilla flavoring, and 1-3 tbsp milk (depending on the consistency you want).

Drizzle the glaze over your pretzels and enjoy!

Warm and chewy right out of the oven, these pretzels were fantastic! Just as good, if not better, than anything I’ve had from a mall or baseball field. Will definitely be making these regularly, they are so easy and take less than a half hour total time.
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National Pretzel Day is April 26, so you have plenty of time to practice and perfect your favorite recipe!
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80% of all pretzels in the United States are made in Pennsylvania, where the hard pretzel originated. Unfortunately the Pretzel Museum in Philadelphia has closed, but they leave behind some fun facts:
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bullet Pretzels without salt are called baldies.

bullet An 1859 parade in New Orleans featured a float carrying a pretzel-baking machine.
bullet An average pretzel has 3.5 grams of fat and 260 calories.
bullet German kids wear pretzels around their neck for good luck on New Year’s. 
bullet Pretzels top some Christmas trees in Austria.
bulletA page in the prayer book used by Catharine of Cleves depicts St. Bartholomew surrounded by pretzels which were thought to bring good luck, prosperity and spiritual wholeness.
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For lots more fun facts on pretzels check out the TLC website.


What’s your favorite type of pretzel or topping?



Vegetarian Breakfast Strata

I’ve said many times, and I’ll say it again, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
I’ve also said many times that I love easy, make-ahead meals. This breakfast strata could be put together or baked the day before and stored in the fridge if needed. It is super simple and could incorporate any type of veggie or bean you prefer. You can make it completely vegan by using egg substitute and no cheese too.
 
Ingredients:
3 slices bread
1 can beans, slightly mashed
1/2-1 cup vegetable (spinach here)
8-10 eggs, beaten
sprinkle of cheese

Step 1: Lay the bread in an oven-safe pan sprayed with oil. Layer on the mashed beans, cheese and spinach.

Step 2: Add the egg mixture.

Step 3: I sprinkled more cheese on top. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes, until eggs are fully cooked.

Mmmmmmm! Hot, healthy, and protein packed breakfast. Actually this doesn’t necessarily have to be for breakfast, you could have this any time of the day.

 
What are your favorite strata ingredients?

Bacon & Egg Breakfast Biscuits

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We all have heard how breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Yet busy mornings, waking up late, or a lack of energy in the a.m. can stymie any attempts to be culinarily courageous before noon. This recipe is an easy weekend project which can make a few dozen little bacon-wrapped breakfast packages you can store and re-heat for a quick breakfast on the go all week long. If you can keep yourself from eating them all at once.
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Ingredients:
1 pound bacon 
1 1/2 dozen eggs
2 packages biscuits
Shredded cheese (optional)

Step 1: Line some muffin tins with a strip of bacon.

Curl it around so the bacon makes a little cup.

Step 2: Crack an egg into each bacon cup. Cover with the biscuits. Add cheese if you want.

Step 3: Bake at 350 for ~40 minutes, until egg is cooked fully and biscuit is crispy and golden brown.

 

 

 

 

These little biscuits are absolutely perfect. The biscuits are buttery and crispy, the bacon is of course bacon, and it all comes together for a handheld protein powerhouse. The bacon does make it a little greasy so beware of that.

 How do you get breakfast on busy mornings?

 

Perfect pancakes

There is nothing quite as wonderful on a lazy Sunday as fresh, homemade pancakes. And they are actually quite easy to make. Just four dry ingredients plus four wet, and maybe some chocolate chips, fruit, or nuts. This would also be a great Christmas morning breakfast or brunch.  Total time required is roughly 20 minutes. This recipe makes about 10 hotcakes. 

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk
1 whole egg
3 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp vanilla 
Optional: 1/2 cup chocolate chips, fruit, nuts, oats, etc.

Step 1: Mix the first four dry ingredients in a large bowl. (Add whatever extras you like).

Step 2: Mix the next four wet ingredients into the dry. If you want to, you can set this aside for 10-20 minutes to shower or watch the news or brew some coffee.

Step 3: Heat a frying pan over medium heat and spray with cooking oil. Pour in about 1/3 cup batter per cake. Cook until batter shows bubbles, about 4 minutes.

Step 4: Flip the cakes when golden brown and cook another 1-2 minutes.

Serve with syrup, preserves, whipped cream, honey, or whatever you like on your pancakes.


This recipe produced light and fluffy cakes with the perfect amount of sweetness. I’m pretty proud of this batch I must say. Try making your own Pineapple Pancake Syrup to go with them.



What is your favorite type of pancake?