• Coddled Eggs

    I am one of those people that needs breakfast.  My day starts early and I need something to get me through until lunch.  I always try to have my fruit smoothie when I first wake up and then an hour or so later I have something with a lot of protein in it.

    There are always studies out there talking about how having a healthy breakfast can help you lose weight or hold your weight steady.  I don’t know what the latest research speculates is the actual mechanism.  I have heard that the satiation and mindset of having eaten breakfast prevents overeating later in the day and also that it gets the metabolism stoked up for the day.  I just know my whole day and life is better if I have a good stable breakfast.  I love the old saying that says to breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and supper like a pauper.

    Sometimes I will do my breakfast sandwich or a taco and some days I do coddled eggs.  Chief isn’t much of a breakfast eater but I like to make him breakfast every morning to keep him healthy. Sometimes I almost feel badly forcing him to chew down a whole breakfast sammie, so the coddled eggs might be better for a light morning eater.

    Coddled eggs is one of my favorite ways for preparing a simple and portable egg breakfast using ceramic egg coddlers.  I had never heard of them until recently, but they are these beautiful little blue ceramic containers.  One of the things I like about this breakfast is that I can continue to get ready in the morning while I’m cooking and then can grab it when it’s done and take them to work to eat after my commute.  To make it, you do the following:

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    • Bring a pot of water to a boil.  It should be big enough to fit in as many coddled egg containers as you are cooking.
    • Put a generous dollop of clarified butter in the ceramic container.  I like to wait for the butter to melt by holding it in the hot water and then kind of swirl it around the inside of the coddler.
    • Crack two sustainable, pasture-raised organic eggs in to each coddler and screw on the lid.
    • Turn the burner down to a high-medium heat. You want the water just below the base of the lid so it’s best not to have the burner on really high heat.P1050409
    • Let the eggs cook at a soft rolling boil for about 14 minutes.  You may want to play with the cook time to get the eggs prepared how you like.  Chief likes more of a runny poach-style egg whereas I prefer mine slightly more like hard-boiled eggs, so sometimes I take his out a couple minutes early.

    Then you have a portable, satisfying breakfast in a pretty little container.  Just salt and pepper and eat the eggs out of the coddler with a spoon. The picture below also has a few chives I added from our garden. P1050413You could also always scoop the eggs out and serve on a plate with toast, avocados, etc.

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  • Banana Chocolate Smoothie

    This is one of my favorite things to drink right after a hard workout.  The natural sugars help restore energy and the protein repairs muscle.  It also makes for a really delicious and satisfying breakfast.  It tastes like a milkshake if you need an appetizing word to lure your kids to consume something healthy.

    • 1 medium size ripe banana
    • ¾ cup whole raw milk (or almond milk for vegan or lactose intolerance)
    • 2 tablespoons cocoa
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 1 tablespoon flaxseed
    • Couple dashes cinnamon
    • 1 cup ice cubes

    Blend all ingredients together using a blender or hand-blender.

    Bananas are full of potassium, which can help balance fluids in the body and maintain muscle function (e.g. prevent cramps).  They are also full of fiber, vitamin C and vitamin B-6 and work great for any indigestion issues.

    I have recently discovered a dairy farm nearby, Stryk Jersey Farm, from which I can get raw unprocessed milk from pasture-raised, grass-fed Jersey cows.  It is unpasteurized, is not homogenized and contains a healthy distribution of beneficial bacteria, enzymes and nutrients in their raw form.  This milk is really high in protein and mixing it in to a smoothie will keep you full for hours.  It’s not available in some states, but look in to if you’ve been curious about making your own dairy products or introducing the health benefits of raw milk.

    Cocoa is full of flavonoids, which can help to prevent heart disease by decreasing blood pressure, reducing inflammation, balancing good and bad cholesterol and improving blood vessel health.   And it tastes divine!  Cocoa does have a little bit of caffeine so be sure to consider that when deciding what time of day to have this smoothie (or giving it to little ones).  Cocoa also helps to decrease insulin resistance so can help prevent Type 2 diabetes or decrease the amount of sugar-related health problems you might be having such as problems with yeast, or Staph.

    Flaxseed is high in fiber, lignans, protein and omega-3 fatty acids.  Be sure to buy the kind that are ground so the body can more readily absorb what is contained within the seeds.  They need to be stored in the refrigerator.

    Honey contains beneficial bacteria and is full of antioxidants.  Try to use local honey in helping the body to adjust to local pollens for controlling allergies.  Be sure it is raw and unprocessed so that pasteurization does not destroy the healthy bacteria and other beneficial natural compounds.

    Any time I am adding a sweetener like honey or a type of fruit sugar, I like to add some cinnamon because cinnamon helps regulate insulin levels in the blood.

  • Fried Egg & Avocado Breakfast Sandwich

    This is true comfort food!  This recipe for a fried egg sandwich is so incredibly simple that I’m sure most people don’t need a recipe, per se, but it is more of a reminder that this perfect breakfast exists!  You will need the following for one sandwich:

    • 1 egg (Try to find eggs from a local, pastured source.)
    • 1 English muffin (Whole-grain is best.  Central Market in Houston makes some really good ones.)
    • ¼ avocado, thinly sliced
    • 1 slice white cheddar
    • Dash of hot sauce (I love Tejas Tears, but Cholula or whatever you like works)
    • 1 tablespoon caramelized onions (optional)

    Turn the oven to broil and begin toasting the English muffin.  Fry the egg slightly over-hard in a little bit of clarified butter.  Salt and pepper them.  Once the English muffin has popped up, place the fried egg on the base of the English muffin.  Add the caramelized onion.  Top with one slice of cheddar and broil in the oven until the cheese is melted and starting to bubble.  Remove from the oven and top with sliced avocado and hot sauce.  A little bit of very thinly sliced fresh jalapeno is also wonderful if  you have it. Read more

  • Granola Recipe

    Everyone is always calling me a hippie, so it’s only natural I provide a recipe for granola.  You are what you eat, I guess!  I love preparing a batch of granola on Sundays so I have it for the workweek and because it makes the house smell good.  It makes a great breakfast or works really well for a late afternoon sweet craving that will help power you through until dinner.  It’s also a nice pre-workout snack.  As you prepare the granola, preheat the oven to 350° FYou will need the following ingredients:

    Mix

    • 2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant)
    • 1 heaping cup of mixed nuts (sliced almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, pine, etc.)
    • ½ cup mixed seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower seeds, etc.)
    • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (I like “Let’s Do Organic” brand)
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 tablespoon of wheat germ

    Add

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
    • 5 tablespoons maple syrup (use the pure kind)

     After baking

    • 1 cup dried fruit
    • ½ cup dark chocolate chips

    Mix the first ingredients together in a bowl and spread out on a baking sheet.  I like to use one with high sides so it’s easier to stir later.  Once you have it smoothed out, drizzle with the oils and maple syrup.  If you don’t have coconut oil, just use all olive oil.  Bake 25-30 minutes.  Every five minutes or so, pull the granola out of the oven and stir it with a wooden spatula and then return to the oven.  The granola tends to burn quickly if this step is missed.  Remove it from the oven when the granola is golden.

    After the granola has cooled down to room temperature, add roughly chopped dried fruit.  I like to use dried cherries and wild blueberries, but other ideas are raisins, mangos, and apples.  The dark chocolate chips are optional, or course, but I really like them in there to help satisfy sweet cravings.  These cravings usually strike when I am overly tired and this snack helps boost energy.  Store it in an airtight container.  I like to use a 1.5-liter screw top glass jar and just leave it sitting on the countertop.   Sur le Table makes some nice ones. It’s one of the weapons in my “hangry” prevention arsenal.  I get really mean when I get too hungry, as Chief can attest to.

    You can serve this with milk (cow, almond, soy, rice, oat, etc.) or yogurt.  Another idea is to layer the granola with yogurt and fresh berries like a yogurt parfait.  This looks really nice when done in one of the screw-top jars in a smaller size (.25 liter) and is a wonderful way to do breakfast on the go. 

    This granola is a great alternative to store-bought granola both for the novelty and because you can control the type of sweetener that is used, which is maple syrup in this case.  Maple syrup has the benefits of having iron, manganese, zinc and calcium and also contains antioxidants and polyphenols.  In addition to that, it has a more concentrated sweet taste for the same amount as cane sugar.  If you don’t like coconut, don’t be turned off by this recipe.  It only acts as a sweetener and doesn’t taste much at all like coconut.  Enjoy!

  • Skinny Bitch Breakfast Fruit Smoothie

    The book Skinny Bitch has some good nuggets of information, despite being a little too hardcore in its suggestions for me and seemingly shallow in its premise.  I don’t think all the science is quite right but they did give me some things to think about.

    One aspect I definitely agreed with the authors on was the ridiculousness of the carb avoidance fad, including avoiding fruit.  They conclude that fruit is one of nature’s most perfect foods, supplying all kinds of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.  And, of course, it’s loaded with fiber and antioxidants and everything else we’re supposed to eat.

    The part I really like is they suggest we eat it in the morning before we eat anything else because fruit is very simple and breaks down and passes through the digestive system quickly.  For that reason, it shouldn’t be stuck in there with other things that take more time to process, like fats, starches, and protein.  I absolutely agree with this and have an intuitive understanding because my belly never feels quite right when I consume fruit with a meal.  The simple fruit sugar will stay in the stomach too long if it is being digested with the other things that break down slowly, so it will begin to ferment and cause problems like bloating, gas, and heartburn.

    I’m not much of a fruit lover, so I like the idea of wolfing it all down in a fruit shake first thing when I wake up some mornings, and then continue with whole grains (chia seed pudding or granola) and protein (hard-boiled egg or yogurt) an hour or so later when I arrive at work.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to not like fruit, but I just don’t get excited and jazzed up for it the way I do about vegetables.  The other nice thing about this shake is that fruit provides quick energy to get you going in the morning.

    I have this recipe down to a science now and you’ll notice everything is already prepped so I can prepare it in a bleary-eyed morning condition.  I have been tweaking this shake, but lately I have settled on some variation of the following ingredients:

    • 1 small banana
    • ½ cup frozen organic mixed berries
    • 1/3 cup pre-cut pineapple (frozen works fine)
    • 1/3 cup pre-cut watermelon
    • Any other fresh or frozen fruit you enjoy or that is in season
    • ¼ cup pomegranate cherry juice
    • ¼ cup beet-carrot juice
    • 1 cup coconut water
    • Dash of cinnamon

    Bananas have so much good stuff in them but I’m not a big fan of eating them plain.  I like to freeze bananas as soon as they start to get overly ripe.  Having a frozen banana and/or the frozen mixed berries helps keep the shake cold.  The frozen berries are quite a bit less expensive than the fresh and maintain all their nutritional value.  If something is in-season and available at a good price, I will use the fresh.  Pineapple has an enzyme, bromelain, that aids in digestion.  I really like watermelon because it’s inexpensive and full of the antioxidant lycopene.  Pomegranate cherry juice is high in antioxidants and cherry helps with inflammation.  As far as the beet-carrot juice, any juice you have made or have on hand will do.  Central Market in Houston or Whole Foods make some great fresh juices.  Coconut water is very rich in potassium, provides tons of electrolytes for very few calories, and acts as a natural diuretic and mild laxative to keep the belly slim.  Coconut water is a great way to replenish the body after hot yoga or a hard workout.  It’s basically nature’s Gatorade.  I add in the cinnamon because it helps regulate insulin levels which helps control the sugar in the bloodstream after consuming these natural fruit sugars.

    I like to mix my smoothie in one of those handheld blenders and drink it out of the mixing cup.  It only takes a couple of minutes and then fruit is out of the way!  One trick my mom taught me is to do a round with the handblender with some water and a drop of soap to get it clean after you’re finished.