Tag Archives: breakfast

The Perfect Hangover Breakfast. I Mean… Mexican Brunch. Yeah.

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It’s been a week of running around, fixing up the house, hosting parties, celebrating birthdays, cleaning up… and we’re not finished yet. I’m tired.

Also, I’m now officially thirty years old, which I’m sure grants me additional bitching advantages.

Even though I can’t drink, what with the baby producin’ going on in here, you can’t blame me for not thinking of those of you who can and do (you bastards), so I bring you the perfect solution for your hangover mornings. Though this is a health and fitness blog, so what I really mean to say is did you know alcohol can be a major contributing factor in trumping weight loss goals? Now you do. Hey, if I can’t enjoy a drink no one should.

Back to cooking.

Tomatoes, onion and peppers are the three staples to accompany almost any dish in Mexican cooking. This brunch isn’t the exception.

 

Use an iron skillet for additional iron in your food. That’s right, cooking in iron pots and pans increases the iron content of your yums, as explained in this article published in the Journal of Food Science. Plus iron skillets give that old time ranch, wild west, pioneer feel to your kitchen. I’m sure that enhances the flavor.

With a side of black beans an avocado this brunch is a sure powerhouse of awesomeness. Heart-protecting, fiber-giving, anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting awesomeness.

 

Mexican Brunch

2 farm eggs

1 jalapeno pepper

1 tomato

1 small onion

1/2 avocado

1 slice whole wheat bread

refried black beans

salsa

chipotle powder (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

1 Tbs oil (I used coconut)

Heat the oil and saute the sliced onion and jalapeno in the skillet. After about 8 minutes, add the tomato slices. Once the veggies are cooked, crack the eggs on top of them and flavor with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the skillet if you like your yolks to cook instead of staying runny.

Toast your whole wheat bread and slice the avocado on it. Heat the beans and sprinkle with chipotle powder, if using. Take the veggies with the cooked eggs on top and pass them to your plate; cover in salsa.

 

Ideally I would have used two corn tortillas instead of the bread, but I didn’t have any at hand this time. Using corn tortillas in lieu of would also turn this into a gluten-free meal, if that’s something you need to watch.

Eat while promising yourself never to drink like that again.

 

Food Porn

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It’s a gorgeous day outside and my daughter is off school for the day, so no recipe to share today, just some food porn.

Meet my breakfast:

 

Real food is so beautiful.

 

And, you know what? It makes you feel beautiful, too.

 

 

 

Wild and precious, indeed.

 

Are you on Pinterest? Find me there as carobl

 

Happy weekend!

 

For Those Days When You Want It All

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This morning I couldn’t decide if I wanted something sweet or something savory. I went back and forth in my head trying to choose the perfect breakfast, the one that would hit right on the spot.

Then, enlightenment. An a-ha moment hit me in the face and I had a motivational talk with myself. I said Girl, why do you limit yourself.

We’re only bound by the limits we set for ourselves and all that jazz, right? Not anymore. Choose to be free. Release yourself from your mental barriers like I did. Decide to have it all.

First, breakfast. Then THE WORLD.

 

Let’s talk a bit about the specific ingredients used, starting with the egg.

The egg I used is from the dozens we bought at the farm this weekend. They’re happy eggs. This means that mother hen wasn’t curled in a cage with 20 other hens, with her beak and toes broken to avoid hurting each other, bald from stress and with her skin in open wounds from friction against the cage wires. She wasn’t fed growth hormones and wasn’t driven crazy by being kept under bright lights 24 hours a day to increase her egg production.

No, this momma hen lived free with the grass under her toes, clucking and stretching her beautifully feathered wings. She has pecked and scratched at the ground, finding the best and most nutritious food for her body. And you know what? It shows.

Farm eggs are very different from supermarket eggs. The yolk is deep yellow, very rich in color and flavor, while the supermarket version is pale yellow and very weak in consistency. I have a very difficult time trying to fry supermarket eggs and keeping them in their shape because the yolk is so weak it tears apart and spills all over the pan with great ease.

Their shells are quite different, too. Farm eggshells are sturdy, while supermarket ones are fragile, crack easily, and it is common for the shell to crumble into your cooking pan (annoying!). In fact, my mom was telling me that my sister recently began buying real farm eggs, and this past Easter when it was time for her kids to go on the egg hunt they had one heck of a time trying to crack those shells. Snort!

If you’re here for health, your best bet is to go for farm fresh eggs. Nutritionally speaking, they’re sounder simply because a farm’s hens have a way healthier lifestyle and eating habits than the antibiotics-stuffed factory hens. It’s all a chain, and if the animals you consume lived in their own shit and were more pumped with chemicals than a bodybuilder, what do you think you’re eating? Shit and chemicals, of course.

Then we have the salt. I insist constantly that you use a good quality sea salt, avoiding regular table salt completely. Sea salt provides our body with a myriad of trace minerals that we need for many functions, including muscle contraction and expansion, nerve stimulation and transmission, and brain development. On the other hand, table salt is highly refined and it lacks any benefit. Nothing good will come out of it, period. Slowly but surely, it kills.

Finally, let’s discuss raw honey. Not only is the taste of raw honey far superior than regular supermarket honey, but it also offers many more benefits that the processed version has been stripped of. Raw honey is unpasteurized, so it hasn’t been exposed to heat, which guarantees that its nutrients remain intact. Raw honey is an alkaline-forming food, and –especially if you buy raw honey from your local region– it can help in the prevention of allergies, as it contains pollen from your local flora. It has anti-bacterial properties and helps our immune system stay strong. Honey and lemon for a sore throat, anyone?

Now we’re ready. Behold.

 

Breakfast For The Greedy

1 farm egg

3 sprigs of asparagus, shaved

1 C of baby spinach

sea salt, pepper to taste

1/4 C cottage cheese

1/2 Tbs olive oil

1 tsp coconut oil

For the syrup:

1 Tbs raw honey

2 Tbs frozen blueberries

Melt your coconut oil in a small pan at medium-low heat and when it’s warm fry the egg in it. You don’t have to use a heart-shaped pan like I did, but I swear stuff tastes better like this. It’s magic.

In another skillet warm the olive oil at medium-low heat and saute the asparagus with a bit of sea salt. Once they are done throw in the bunch of spinach and cover, for about 90 seconds. Place the cooked asparagus and spinach on a plate and wait for the egg to finish cooking.

In the meanwhile, let’s work on the most delicious homemade syrup ever: Place 1 Tbs of raw honey in a glass bowl, add the 2 Tbs of frozen blueberries, and melt it all in 10 second increments in the microwave. You want the blueberries to turn mushy so you can crush them with a fork and they release all their flavor into the honey, but you don’t want to boil or burn the honey.

Place your cooked egg on top of the spinach and serve the cottage cheese in a small bowl. Pour over the blueberry syrup, and you’re done!

 

High in protein, high in flavor. Savory and sweet. You can have it all.

 

The Prizewinning Breakfast Cereal

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When it comes to grams of fiber and protein content this cereal takes the imaginary prize.

How’s your fiber intake, by the way? It looks like a jolly good mornin’ to talk about poops. SO LET’S.

NOT the kind of fiber I’m talking about.

You already know that you need fiber to get things moving in… um… the evacuation route. But if you’re like the average North American (and that includes you, Mexico) then your fiber intake is likely lacking.

While we’re at it let’s set the record straight: Eating a bar of Fiber 1 will not make up for the amount or quality of fiber that your body needs. It’s called marketing, darling.

I highly doubt that any commercial brand of cereal or bar can offer what our body really needs. And this is why I set out on a search, a journey, if you will. I journey-ed all the way to my kitchen to experiment until coming up with the most kick-ass (clean-ass?) cereal I could possibly muster.

If you’ve been reading me for a while you’ll know that I’m a true believer in effective eating– getting the most nutrients packed in one single meal. Considering this, I decided that my cereal had to comply with the following characteristics:

-Very high fiber content

-Very high protein content

-Made entirely of whole foods

-Easy to make and store

-Easy to modify to different tastes/flavors

-Cost-effective

It took me a while to do some research because I wanted to make sure I was choosing the best of the best ingredients. And here we have the finalists of the awesome cereal pageant:

Millet- High in magnesium (which fights migraines and asthma and protects the heart). High in phosphorus (aids in tissue and muscle recovery, as well as bone density– imperative for athletes!). High in insoluble fiber.

Teff- Extremely high in calcium, Vitamin C and dietary protein. Many of Ethiopia’s famed long-distance runners attribute their energy and health to teff.

Amaranth- High content of the amino acid lysine (for tissue growth and repair), and of the minerals calcium, iron and magnesium. One of the Aztec foods of choice, and again, if it was good enough for mighty warriors it’s certainly good enough for you and me.

Quinoa- Full spectrum of nine essential amino-acids, making it a complete protein. Also high in lysine. Good source of manganese and folate, along with many other nutrients.

Buckwheat- Rich in flavonoids, particularly rutin, which protect against disease by extending the action of vitamin C and acting as antioxidants.

Oats- Contain a specific kind of fiber called beta-glucan.

On top of all this, all of the above mentioned ingredients help improve heart health and keep heart disease away. They all help diabetics with the regulation of sugar, as well as preventing diabetes from appearing in the first place. They’re all super high in fiber, which contributes to colon health and keeping the risk of colon cancer away. Whole grains like these offer protection against atherosclerosis, ischemic stroke, insulin resistance, obesity, and premature death.

Whole grains are also important dietary sources of water-soluble, fat-soluble, and insoluble antioxidants, and include vitamin E, tocotrieonols, selenium, phenolic acids, and phytic acid. Whew!

So we have a winner.

 

The Cereal That Will Clean Kick Your Ass

Remember that you can alter the quantities to your liking. This is just an approximate of what I used in my version, but you can certainly switch it around to your convenience.

About 2 1/2 C of water, enough so that your cereal doesn’t go dry and burn

1/4 C quinoa

1/4 C millet

1/4 C teff

2 Tbs buckwheat

2 Tbs oats

2 Tbs popped amaranth

Milk of your liking (I used rice)

Quality salt (I used Himalayan pink sea salt. Kosher salt, Celtic salt and sea salt are good options. Anything but regular table salt.)

Quality sweetener (I used Sucanat)

Toppings of your liking (see below for a list of suggestions)

Before anything I popped my amaranth. You can cook it with the rest of the grains, but I really prefer the taste of popped amaranth (plus it reminds me of home). It’s super fast and easy, look here.

Soak the millet and quinoa for 15 minutes, and rinse. Place them in a saucepan with about 2 cups of water and the buckwheat, bring to a boil and salt lightly. After about 10 minutes add the Teff and let it continue cooking. After 5 minutes add the oats and stir until the oats are cooked and tender. Make sure your water isn’t completely gone because your cereal will burn.

Once this porridge is ready serve it in a bowl, sprinkle the popped amaranth, add your milk of choice and your toppings. That’s it!

Tips: Buckwheat has a very strong, overpowering taste. I’d recommend you keep the ratio of buckwheat really low, particularly in the beginning, if you’re just starting to get used to it.

And water. I can’t say this enough. WATER WATER WATER WATER WATER WATER. Fiber is awesome at sweeping your insides, but it does need water to swoosh all the yuckies out. DRINK WATER. LOTS OF WATER. OFTEN. ALWAYS.

Toppings to use:

Fruits- Strawberries, blueberries, banana, unsweetened coconut flakes, peaches, mango.

Seeds- Pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, chia, ground flaxseed.

Nuts- Almonds, walnuts, pecans, pine nuts.

Milk- Rice, almond, hemp, organic soy, coconut.

Sweetener- Sucanat, Turbinado sugar, Rapadura (what in Mexico we call piloncillo)

 

Stock your bathroom with good reading material, if you’re into that sort of thing. Not that you’ll be spending a whole lot of time in there, mind you, because this cereal will guarantee that things travel fast, smooth and effectively.

Love thy poops. <3

 

For The Munchies: Banana-Kefir Muffins

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Don’t give me that look, we all need baked goodies every now and then.

How much damage or benefit we choose to make with said goodies… that’s a whole other story.

I’m less that cheerful because I just realized my Healthy Potatoes post went up with just the picture and not a word of what I typed. What the heck. This is very inconvenient because the info I had written there was connected to this post as well, but I’m too lazy to re-type it all. Oh well.

Basically what you need to know is that milk kefir is awesome. It’s very similar to yogurt in that they’re both made out of bacterial cultures that grow in milk; they’re alike in consistency and looks as well. They have a similar taste, though I find kefir a bit more tart. Also, kefir offers many, many more benefits to your body than yogurt, especially to your gut in the form of beneficial bacteria. How many benefits? Read this list in awe.

In baking it’s important to remember the potential triad of awfulness: the sugar, the flour, the oil.

Why? Because regular white sugar is pure evil, bleached white flour is useless and regular vegetable oil is gross.

Are you done reading the links? Carry on.

With this info in mind I took a regular muffin recipe and switched the main ingredients into stuff I actually want to eat.

The result: Delicious, fluffy, spongy muffins.

Muffins That Aren’t Trying To Murder You (makes 12)

1 1/2 or 2 bananas, mashed (I used 1 1/2)

1 1/4 C whole wheat flour

3/4 C unbleached flour

1/2 C healthier sugar: Sucanat, turbinado, rapadura, coconut sugar, etc. (I used Sucanat and loved it)

2 Tbs coconut oil, melted. Plus more for coating the muffin tin.

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 C kefir

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 C chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds (optional) (I used pecans)

Preheat the oven to 350 F and coat the muffin tin with coconut oil. In one bowl mix together the dry ingredients: flours, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. In another bowl whisk the wet ingredients: egg, mashed bananas, vanilla, kefir and melted coconut oil.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ones and mix gently just until it’s all combined and moist. Fold in the chopped nuts, if you’re using. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tin. Bake for about 20 min., until they’re golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

I attribute the soft sponginess of these puppies to the kefir, as I’ve read that it does wonders in baking when substituting it instead of buttermilk. You can find kefir definitely at health food stores, but possibly also in your supermarket in the fridge section, where the yogurts are (it’s sold in plastic tubs like the yogurt ones, as well.)

What makes these muffins even more perfect is that they can be frozen to store and eat later. Be still, my heart.

Turmeric Vegetable Egg Bake (Alternatively: Don’t be an asshole to your body)

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“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”

Now lunch and dinner are officially insulted. Nice doing.

So, is it? Isn’t it? I think it’s a stretch to call breakfast the most important meal because all of them are important, but it certainly is of great value. Think of it this way: You wake up after hours of sleep, and your body is in dire need of nutrients. Then, what does the average person do? Feed themselves coffee or some equivalent crap. I have nothing against coffee and enjoy it sometimes, but if that’s the first (and worse, the only) thing you’re feeding your body in the morning when your organism is starved for nutrition, that’s asking for trouble. Body goes all like, the fuck, what am I supposed to do with this shit.

There are obviously plenty of genuine medical reasons why a body may go bezerk, from thyroid problems to diabetes and so many others. For the average human being, though, it can often boil down to habits.

And so when we’re being unreliable and not providing Body with proper sustenance, Body says screw this, who knows when I’m getting fed again, imma store me some fat. It’s like when you were a teen and Mom would clean your room and you’d be all MOM but Mom didn’t give a shit because you obviously weren’t going to do it yourself. Before we yell at Body to MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS AND STOP TRYING TO RUIN MY LIFE we have to prove we’re responsible and feed it properly. That, or consider yourself grounded.

This may sound like new age-y hippie crap, but I honestly think that we would be singing an entirely different tune if daily we could be appreciative and grateful of how immensely wise is our biology. It would certainly be better than cussing our body because the asshole insists on storing fat. That’s a figure of speech by the way, your asshole does not indeed store fat. Back to the paradox, we get angry at our body for being amazing and protecting us– even from ourselves. How poetic and sad is that?

As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite way to start my day is usually with a fruit smoothie, but what I eat an hour or two after that varies from day to day. What I’ll show you next is an example of what I have on days that I feel particularly hungry and/or inspired to cook. Behold.

 

Why cook the vegetables in turmeric, you ask? Because turmeric is an amazing anti-inflammatory, comparable to drugs such as hydrocortisone and Motrin, except without the nasty toxic side effects. It offers relief to those with rheumatoid arthritis, aids those with cystic fibrosis, and it inhibits cancer cell growth. You can also use it in curries, soups, baked sweet potato, sprinkled over steamed cauliflower, or on caramelized onion.

Turmeric Vegetable Egg Bake

Sliced vegetables of your liking. I used: Onion, green, red and yellow pepper, zucchini, jalapeno, mushroom, shredded carrot, and baby spinach.

1 egg

oil, for sauteing

1/2 avocado

3 Tbs of mashed black beans (homemade is always better)

Turmeric

Salt and pepper

Garlic powder

Paprika (optional)

Dry parsley

Take all the sliced vegetables except for the spinach, and saute them lightly. You can skip this step, but I like it better like this because it mellows out the flavor of the onion and softens the veggies. Flavor them to taste using salt, pepper, garlic powder and turmeric. Once they’re done add the baby spinach to the pan and cover for about 90 seconds. Remove from heat and place all veggies in the baking bowl.

Crack the egg carefully on top of the veggies and place in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350. While the egg is baking, scoop out the avocado half and mash it up, adding sea salt (you can skip the salt, but I swear I can’t eat avocado without it. It’s a psychological thing.) Place the mashed avocado back into the skin, hollowing the center a bit so it nests the mashed black beans. Sprinkle dried parsley.

Once the egg is cooked to your liking bring it out of the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Sprinkle paprika on top.

 

Next time we feel like stomping our feet and threatening to run away because Body is obviously trying to ruin our lives, we should take a moment to consider that Body, just like Mom, is looking out for our best interest. They both act on what is best for us– even if we can’t understand it. Thank you, Body. Thank you, Mom. Now I get it.

 

I was going to title this ‘Taste the Rainbow’, but then I wanted to punch myself in the face.

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I can do better. I’ll come up with a more creative title. Someday.

Now focus.

Some months ago I found an article in one of those trashy celebrity sites (now you’re gonna pretend you never read those?) and the headline said something like ZOMG JENNIFER ANISTON REVEALS SUPER DIET SECRET. Not exactly but might as well considering journalism is pretty much dead. Anyway, it was one more of hundreds of articles that promise the answer to everyone’s prayers, the revealing of the mystical elixir of youth– and skinniness. So of course I read it!

Her secret diet? She eats colorful meals.

I facepalmed and rolled my eyes so hard they almost fell out of their sockets, but not because the advice was stupid. It was because groan why did this information have to be released as celebrity news, thus completely stripping it of any credibility? Looking at it on the bright side, maybe the article helped some people change their eating habits for the better by sheer aspiration to be perceived as desirable as Aniston. Har.

Jennifer Aniston aside, I learned about colorful meals a long time ago through my reiki teacher, who also happens to be a naturopath, herbologist and a medical doctor. The logic behind this idea is actually quite simple: Every food’s color is determined by the nutrient they mostly consist of. So, by eating a bit of every color found in nature each day you’re guaranteeing your body is receiving the widest variety of nutrients.

EASY.

I laugh sometimes (and by laugh I mean I want to cry) when I see how unnecessarily complicated some people make nutrition seem. The bookstore is full of books in which the authors figured how to make money off of you and me, and we fall for it every time. Think about it: If it was absolutely necessary that we carry around our kitchen scale, calculate our intakes like a witch’s potion, avoid entire food groups, and count calories until our head explodes, then humanity never would have made it this far. None of it is sustainable for the course of an entire lifetime.

Of course nutrition is a science (and a fascinating one, too!) and it’s full of awesome complexities, chemical reactions, hormonal  releases and even psychological aspects. It is true that when there is a specific goal at hand (say, shaving off a fraction of a second in how fast an Olympic runner runs 100 m.) the elaborate details in the diet are of mayor importance, but it is also true that the act of eating normally, for everyday sustenance and health, is in no way difficult– and it was never meant to be.

If you’re thinking that by ‘colors’ I mean you can down a packet of Sweetarts and call it a day, you’re doing it wrong. These colors must come from wholesome foods: Foods that grow/exist on their own in nature with no human intervention. GASP. There is an amazing world of food out there, and sadly we have limited ourselves to a very small spectrum. Our choices aren’t always what our body needs, and we suffer because of it in the form of disease, lethargy and excessive weight. Changing this doesn’t have to be difficult.

And now, I will share with you the list of foods by color that I use myself as a reminder of some of the options there are available. Because I’m awesome. WHO LOVES YOU.

Simply click on the picture and you’ll be able to print it.

Obviously depending on your area and availability some of these items will be more difficult to find than others. Stick to what is affordable and readily accessible to you. Remember, easy does it. For example, if some fresh fruit is off-season and very expensive at the moment, maybe consider using frozen fruit instead. I do use frozen fruits and veggies when prices are too hacked up here (usually in the middle of the cold, dead winter), but I generally steer away from canned stuff. Do whatever works for you.  Also, feel free to add or delete items from the list above to your liking– make this yours.

And because I know it can take a bit of time to get used to new habits, here’s a little something to help you along the way. Print the following chart and simply write down by day the foods you’ve had so far. It’s a great way to see which color is the most evasive in your diet, and so you can focus on consuming a bit more of that.

For example, yesterday I ate

Smoothie: Blueberries, strawberries, cherries, blackberries, pomegranate, flaxseed.

Hot cereal: Bob’s Red Mill mix with corn, wheat and buckwheat; almond milk, almonds and walnuts added to it.

Lunch: Chickpea soup (tomatoes, ginger, yellow onion), and avocado sandwich in whole wheat bread.

Dinner: Green salad (spinach, lettuce, beet greens, arugula), vegetable cream soup (carrots, potatoes, red onion, leeks, zucchini, almond milk), shrimp.

So my chart for yesterday would look something like this:

It isn’t necessary to write down every. single. thing. you eat, though you can certainly be as detailed as you want. I mostly conform with writing one item per color even if I ate more, just to know that I’ve had something in that color for the day. As you see, yesterday I didn’t have anything black so today I’ll remember to add some raisins to my cereal.

Bonus? This chart is awesome for kids, too. It’s like a game, the challenge of getting one in every color by the end of the day! Even better when they get to pick and choose from the list what it is they like to eat. Involvement never hurt ’em.

I find that starting my day with a fruit smoothie not only guarantees that I consume a whole lotta colors right off the bat, but it also gives me that extra humpf of energy. Plus they’re delicious.

And now you’re ready, my little grasshopper, to take charge of your beautiful body and treat it like it deserves. Go on and make me proud.