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Brunch

Brunch/ Meals/ RECIPES

Easy Egg Spinach and Avocado Breakfast

Egg and spinach topped with avocado slices

The Beauty of Egg, Avocado, and Spinach

I posted the above Egg, Avocado and Spinach breakfast photo on Instagram, and it got lots of attention!

Maybe it is all of the beautiful colors in this ‘easy-but-looks-fancy’ dish. They really are quite beautiful; the dark green of the wilted spinach against the shiny cooked egg white and sunny yellow of the egg.

A sprinkling of seeds in all the neutral colors doesn’t hurt, either. Such a pretty dish! All those colors represent different textures, which make this dish very satisfying!

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Brunch/ RECIPES

Oven Scrambled Eggs

Oven Scrambled Eggs - so easy, light, fluffy & delicious!

I love finding easy new cooking techniques for staple foods that everyone loves. That is exactly what I found in Oven Scrambled Eggs. These eggs cook up super light and fluffy and are the best-tasting eggs I’ve ever had!

Baking scrambled eggs in the oven makes sense if you have other things to do besides watching eggs cook. I have made them for our Christmas morning brunch the last 2 years and loved having them in the oven along with our Christmas morning traditional cinnamon rolls. I’ve read about others throwing bacon on a baking pan and baking it at the same time as the eggs.

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Brunch/ RECIPES

Quinoa for Breakfast | 3 Ways

Cinnamon Chia Quinoa Breakfast

 Why Quinoa for Breakfast?

Eating a quinoa breakfast gives a great nutritional start to your day. It will keep you full for hours thanks to the 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber in just one cup! Quinoa is technically a seed, not a grain, and packs all nine essential amino acids your body needs. It contains iron, vitamin B, and my fav–the calming mineral, magnesium! This is just a few of the nutrients in quinoa, there are much more!

2 Staple Quinoa Breakfast Toppings: Chia & Hemp

If you top your quinoa breakfast bowls with chia and hemp seeds, you add even more health benefits. It ups the protein, fiber, and those good omega’s.

Chia seeds have 5 grams of fiber per tablespoon, which is a big deal, as most people are not getting enough fiber in their diet.

Hemp seeds contain all essential amino acids, just like quinoa, which is unusual for plant protein sources, so they are a great addition for people on a vegetarian or vegan diet.  I like to think that the good fats (omega-3 alpha-linolenic acids) in hemp (and chia, and quinoa!) help keep my skin looking as fresh and smooth as possible.

Strawberry Chia Hemp Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

How to make Quinoa

Making quinoa is very similar to making rice, but with the extra step of rinsing the quinoa. Rinsing is no big deal, just measure into a fine mesh strainer, rinse and strain.

I prefer making quinoa in my Instant Pot pressure cooker, but you can make it on the stovetop or in a rice cooker.

Here are instructions for all 3 methods:

 

Stove Top Instructions

4-6 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa (any variety–white, golden, red, black or a mixture)

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Tools:

Fine-Mesh Strainer

2-quart saucepan with lid

Spoon

 

Instructions:

Rinse the quinoa –this is important. Quinoa has a natural coating, called saponin, that can make the cooked grain taste bitter or soapy. Luckily, it’s easy to get rid of this coating just by rinsing the quinoa just before cooking. Boxed quinoa is often pre-rinsed, but it doesn’t hurt to give the seeds an additional rinse at home.

Measure 1 cups of quinoa and place into a fine-mesh strainer. Rinse thoroughly with cool water. Rub and swish the quinoa with your hand while rinsing. Drain.

Add rinsed quinoa to the pan. Add liquid and salt and bring to a rolling boil.

Turn heat down to the lowest setting. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and let stand for 5 more minutes, covered. Don’t peek!

Remove the lid. Fluff the quinoa gently with a fork, and serve. If any liquid remains in the bottom of the pan or if the quinoa is still a bit crunchy, return the pot to low heat and cook, covered for another 5 minutes. until all the water has been absorbed.

 

Rice Cooker Instructions:

Use 2:1 liquid-to-quinoa ratio and cook according to rice cooker instructions.

 

Instant Pot Instructions:

1 1/2 c water | 1 c rinsed quinoa| 1/2 t salt | 1 min | HP | NR
Combine one cup rinsed quinoa, 1 1/2 cups water, and 1/2 t. salt in the Instant Pot. Seal and set it to cook on high pressure (HP) for 1 minute. Use natural release (NR).

Cinnamon Chia Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Quinoa Breakfast–3 ways:

Maple Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa

1/2 cup cold cooked quinoa

1 tbsp hemp seeds

1 tbsp chia seeds

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp maple syrup

Splash almond milk

Add quinoa to a jar, bowl or glass. Sprinkle with seed & cinnamon. Drizzle with maple syrup. Add almond milk to your taste.

Strawberries & Cream Chia Hemp Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Strawberries & Cream Breakfast Quinoa

1/2 cup cold cooked quinoa

1 tbsp hemp seeds

1 tbsp chia seeds

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp maple syrup

3-5 fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

Splash almond milk

Add quinoa to a jar, bowl or glass. Top with strawberry slices. Sprinkle with seed & cinnamon. Drizzle with maple syrup. Add almond milk to your taste.

Peaches and Cream Quinoa Breakfast

Peaches and Cream Breakfast Quinoa

1/2 cup cold cooked quinoa

1 T hemp seeds

1 T chia seeds

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp maple syrup

1/2 peach, cubed

Splash almond milk

Add quinoa to a jar, bowl or glass. Top with peaches. Sprinkle with seed & cinnamon. Drizzle with maple syrup. Add almond milk to your taste.

Top your breakfast bowl with hearty crunch toasted quinoa!

Tips & Tricks for Easy Breakfast Quinoa

~want to top your breakfast quinoa with crunchy quinoa? Click here for the recipe.

~make a large batch of quinoa at the beginning of the week.

~store in quart mason jars for easy to see and grab from the refrigerator

~keep seeds and toppings together in the cabinet to easily grab for easy morning breakfast prep

~heat quinoa for those chilly mornings

~one cup of dry quinoa yields about 3 cups of cooked quinoa

~to cook one cup of quinoa, you need 2 cups of liquid


I will be sharing some more of my favorite quinoa breakfast bowls and toppings, like Chocolate Cherry Coconut and Pumpkin Spice for fall! Make sure you are subscribed to our email list so you don’t miss a post!

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Brunch/ RECIPES

Avocado Pomegranate Egg Muffin

Avocado Pomegranate Egg Muffin

The first time I had these awesome Avocado Pomegranate Egg Muffins was a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve made them several times since!

My sweet friend Ali made them for me when I was visiting her in Houston, Texas. She is there for cancer treatment, away from her husband and littles and fighting a brave fight.

I’d so love for you all to know her, as she is the type of person the whole world should know, but for now I will just say that I flew to Houston to love and serve, but ended up being the one loved on and served!

These awesome Avocado Pomegranate Egg Muffins are the perfect example of that love.  Ali and I woke up early to drive into the city for her chemo treatment, and when I walked into the kitchen a beautiful plate of breakfast was waiting for me. I was floored.

She is the one getting cancer treatment yet gets up and makes breakfast for ME! My heart!

The amazing dish consists of a toasted english muffin, topped with avocado and a perfectly cooked egg. She somehow knew I didn’t like my egg yolk too runny or overcooked, and the cook was spot on, just right for me. The special touch was pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top.  I could not believe how beautiful it was, and was eager to see how the flavors would taste together.

Avocado Pomegranate Egg Muffin on a plate

It was amazing. The toasted , chewy english muffin is perfect topped with creamy avocado. The egg added another layer of texture, a heartiness of protein and a touch of salt. The pomegranate seeds added a sweet crunch and balanced the salty, savoriness of the egg. It was perfection.

This breakfast will keep you full and is super nutritious. It has fiber, protein, healthy fats & antioxidants. To make this gluten-free, just buy gluten free english muffin. If gluten is not an issue for you, my favorite brand of english muffins are organic and sprouted Ezekiel brand english muffins.

Avocado Pomegranate Egg Muffin breakfast

Not only did it taste like perfection, but it looks amazing, too.

How great would this be for a Christmas brunch? The color is amazing.

Make it. Make it for yourself and a loved one. They will feel special & will be floored with the beauty and deliciousness of this dish!

Avocado Pomegranate Egg Muffin breakfast or brunch

AVOCADO POMEGRANATE EGG MUFFINS

serves 2– you and a friend!

2 english muffin ( I use Ezekiel brand), toasted

1 avocado, sliced

2 eggs, cooked to your liking, with s & p

a pomegranate, seeded

Free your pomegranate seeds (how-to video here), cook your egg, and have sliced avocado ready to go. Toast the english muffin, top with avocado sliced, top with seasoned egg that is sliced in half, and sprinkle pomegranate seeds over all. Enjoy!

avocado-pomegranate-egg-muffin-pin{PIN FOR LATER}

Brunch/ HEALTH/ Nutrition/ RECIPES/ Sweets

Quinoa Cinnamon Cracker Crumble Topping

QUINOA-CRACKER-CRUMBLE-TOPPING

SUMMER ENTERTAINING

It is almost July and I’m loving every bit of this summer. Comparing it to last, it is a breath of fresh air and full of moments I’m trying hard to hold on to, as my 3 teen girls are growing up so quickly. Every time I blink I feel they change, morphing by the moment!

In this season of life, summer entertaining at our house more often than not involves teenagers! They have sleepovers, watch movies, and literally ‘hang’ out in our backyard in their hammocks. Did you know portable hammocks are a ‘thing’ with teens right now? They are a super fun way to get your teen outdoors with friends, to hang together & socialize with each other and the whole world on their phones.

Smoothie-Breakfast-bowl-Breton

 SMOOTHIE BOWLS

Whenever my teens ask to have a friend sleepover, one of the first thoughts I have is “hmm..what do I have for snacks and breakfast?” We all know food is a very important part of entertaining teens.

My oldest is a cross-country runner and cares about nutrition and health. She wants a healthy breakfast and snacks. My younger two just want tasty and don’t care much about the health status of their snacks, but I’m noticing some of their friends do, so hopefully it will wear off on them!

I have found the perfect healthy solution for both summer sleepover breakfasts & snacks whether the girls have a healthy palate or not…THE SMOOTHIE BOWL!

There is a huge smoothie bowl movement going on and I love it! Just search #smoothiebowl on instagram or twitter and you will see all kinds of beautiful examples.

A smoothie bowl is basically a thick smoothie that you can eat with a spoon, with all kinds of fun toppings. The toppings are a great way to add nutrition to the bowl, and the extra texture makes it feel like a luxurious treat for breakfast.

This is great summer entertainment food for my girls. I can blend up the smoothie in seconds and set out a variety of toppings, from chia seeds to chocolate chips– something to please everyone!

It’s also the perfect food to eat while hammocking outside in the summer sun!

Breton-Cracker-crumbles

Cracker-crumble-baked

QUINOA CINNAMON CRACKER CRUMBLE TOPPING

I made the PERFECT topping for our smoothie bowls. I wanted to add a nice hearty crunch, something like granola but more decadent. Something that tastes like a cinnamon roll but with crunch and a bit of health to go along with it.

Enter my Quinoa Cinnamon Cracker Crumble Topping.

That is so fun to type. It is also so fun to create a recipe, because then I get to name it whatever I want!

Breton-Cracker-Ingredients

This Quinoa Cinnamon Cracker Crumble Topping is amazing and good enough to be eaten alone, straight from the jar. It has cinnamon, maple syrup, butter and just a touch of brown sugar. The crunch comes from raw quinoa and delicious chunks of cracker.

Breton-Cracker-Product

CRACKERS

I used and love Dare Breton Crackers. They are super versatile, great for an extravagant party, an impromptu gathering, or a teenage sleepover. They are loaded with crunch and packed with flavor.

Breton-Cracker-Crumble-1

I coated the cracker chunks with the maple/cinnamon/butter mixture and baked. The quinoa is tasteless but adds amazing crunch factor. Other than the crunch, the best thing about adding quinoa is the protein it adds to the top of your smoothie bowl, which is extra filling and makes my ‘runner girl’ and her friends very happy.

The cracker topping stays nice and crunchy even mixed into a smoothie bowl, down to the very last bite! This cracker topping would also be great on top of yogurt, ice cream, or oatmeal. 

Smoothie-breakfast-bowl-toppings

Breakfast-bowl-toppings

MORE TOPPING IDEAS

I made the smoothie bowls inside, and set my topping bar outside, for guests to help themselves to. I kept the toppings on the healthy side, but really, the sky is the limit when it comes to smoothie bowl toppings. The one topping I will always want now that I’ve tasted it, is the quinoa cracker crunch topping. You guys, I’m telling ya, this recipe is GOOOOD!

 

Here are a few other topping ideas:

chia seeds

chocolate chips

shredded coconut

berries

nuts

hemp seeds

banana

gogi berries

raisins

dried cherries

You could even add some gummy worms when serving teens, although, if I did this I would make the base a green smoothie by adding spinach, to make myself feel better about the worms!

Breton-Cracker-Crumble-2

QUINOA CINNAMON CRACKER CRUMBLE TOPPING

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 sleeve Dare Original Crackers, crumbled (about 1 1/2 – 2 cups crumbled)

1/4 cup melted butter

1/3 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon brown sugar

sprinkle of salt

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Crumble the crackers into a bowl, keeping some nice big chunks. In a separate bowl, melt butter. Add cinnamon, maple syrup and quinoa to the butter and stir well. Pour over crackers and toss to coat.

Spread into a buttered baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Be careful not to over-brown.

Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon brown sugar & some salt to taste while still hot. Let cool then toss and store in an airtight container. I love using a mason jar.

smoothie-breakfast-bowl-2

SMOOTHIE BOWL RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

1/3 cup yogurt (can use smashed avocado to keep it vegan)

1 frozen banana

1 cup frozen strawberries

1-2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 – 1 cup milk of choice (I used almond)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Put all ingredients in a blender. Start with 1/2 cup of milk and add more until vortex forms in the middle and ingredients can blend freely. Don’t add too much milk.  The key to the smoothie bowls is keeping it thick enough to eat with a spoon.

Pour into a bowl and add Quinoa Cinnamon Cracker Crumble & your choice of toppings.

QUINOA-CRACKER-CRUMBLE-PIN-MAIN

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WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Have you done much summer entertaining this year?

What are your favorite cracker recipes?

Want more ideas for using crackers in creative ways to entertain? Check out Dare Breton Cracker for a ton of great recipe ideas!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Brunch/ Featured/ GF, Vegan & Raw/ RECIPES

Coconut Bacon Recipe

Coconut-Bacon-PIN

Yep, you read that right. Coconut bacon. It’s a thing–a very good thing! I have continued to be amazed at the genius recipes I find in the vegan world.  Although I am no longer vegan, I still try to eat a ton of plants and use meat as a type of garnish or side dish. As far as meat goes, we really only eat fish, organic chicken and organic grass-fed beef.  I will also buy organic, nitrate-free sliced turkey for my girls lunches on occasion.

Coconut-Bacon-640px

Bacon

It had been ages since I have bought bacon, but I recently bought some from Trader Joes that was nitrate-free & really enjoyed it on my salads.  What I didn’t enjoy was the added cost to our grocery budget, and I really don’t want to get into the habit of buying bacon again.

I was recently scrolling through Bloglovin’ & came upon a recipe for Coconut bacon that stopped me dead in my tracks. I love coconut. I love bacon. I love anything salty-sweet, and I knew I would be making Coconut Bacon as soon as I possibly could.

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Brunch/ Featured/ Homemade Gifts/ RECIPES/ Sweets

Cranberry Chia Jam

CRANBERRY-CHIA-JAM-PIN

I cannot get enough cranberries for some reason this season! I crave them. It all started around Thanksgiving with my Hall of Fame Cranberry Sauce, which was so good that I started putting it on my toast in the morning.  Then the New Year hit and I wanted a healthier version, so I came up with this Cranberry Chia Jam recipe.  This awesome recipe is sweetened naturally & packed with 2 superfoods; cranberries and chia seeds.

Cranberries

Cranberries are so very healthy. According to WebMD:

Cranberries have vitamin C and fiber, and are only 45 calories per cup. In disease-fighting antioxidantscranberries outrank nearly every fruit and vegetable–including strawberries, spinach, broccoli, red grapes, apples, raspberries, and cherries.

One cup of whole cranberries has 8,983 total antioxidant capacity. Only blueberries can top that: Wild varieties have 13,427; cultivated blueberries have 9,019.

Cranberries are amazing, but being as tart as they are, it is tempting to use sugar to sweeten them up. There is a reason my Hall of Fame Cranberry Sauce is so good, and that is the 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar in it! I am really trying to detox from sugar so I had to find a way to keep my cranberry -jammed toast habit, but dump the sugar.

My solution was to sweeten the recipe up with honey or maple syrup instead of brown sugar, and cut the amount of sweetness way down.  Another way I added some sweetness is by using the juice of the orange.  The recipe calls for grated orange peel, so it made sense to use the juice from the orange as a natural sweetener.

Cranberries-clemantines-chia-cinnamon-jam

Chia Seeds

Using juice and a liquid natural sweetener made the cranberry mixture a bit too runny after cooking, so my solution to this was chia seeds! I was giddy to think that not only would they thicken the jam and act as pectin would in regular jam recipes, (chia seeds swell and turn gelatinous) but they would add more health benefits on top of my toast!

 

Here are a few reasons why chia seeds are my favorite seed:

 ~they are jammed packed with protein and minerals and healthy fats and fiber
~they provide more plant-based Omega 3’s than any other food, even FLAX
~5 times the calcium of milk, plus boron which is a trace mineral that helps transfer calcium to bones
~8 times the omega 3’s found in salmon
~3 times more iron than spinach
~2 times the amount of potassium than bananas
~more antioxidants than found in blueberries
~they have 5 GRAMS of fiber PER TABLESPOON!
~the are a complete source of protein, providing all the essential amino acids
~can be stored for years without deterioration of flavor or color
~they are flavorless and dissolve in juice, soups, stews, shakes etc..
 ~they are low-calorie way to get super FULL!
Jar of cranberry chia jam

My Morning Toast Habit

I am in a major morning toast habit.  I have found my favorite bread from Sam’s called Dave’s Killer Bread, and it is full of seeds and nuts and all kinds of organic goodness. It has 6 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber & 670mg of Omega 3’s due to all of the great flax and pumpkin seeds in it. I make 2 slices so all of that goodness doubled. I like to use a softer bread for sandwiches, unless they are grilled or Panini pressed, but this bread is delicious with just a touch of sweet & makes wonderful toast.  I buy it in bulk and freeze it.  I take it straight from the freezer to the toaster. You can buy it here on Amazon or at Sam’s.

I use either Earth Balance spread or organic butter…whatever we have on hand.  We do not drink milk around here but I have added some organic animal products back into our diet.  We just do better health- wise with some good organic animal fats & protein, and it especially seems to be a positive thing for our family when it comes to brain health– but that is another post!

cranberry-chia-jam-masonjar-gift

Cranberry Chia Jam As A Gift

Here is where I have to make a confession.  I had a jar of my Hall of Fame Cranberry Sauce all packaged up and ready to give to my sweet neighbors during the Christmas season.  They always give us great home-baked goods and I wanted to send a little something their way, too.  I even shared a picture of it on my New Nostalgia Facebook page.  I made a jar for them and a jar for us. Confession: I ate the jar for us… and the jar for them.  I know! I know! I just couldn’t imagine my toast without cranberry sauce on top and mine ran out so I just had to open their jar and help myself.

Because of my selfishness, our poor neighbors didn’t get a gift until New Year’s…ok…I confess, I delivered it just yesterday.  But, I feel like it all worked out well.  They are very health conscience, so it felt great to give them my Cranberry Chia Jam instead of the sugar-filled Hall of Fame Cranberry Sauce, and last night I got a text from my neighbor letting me know he was looking forward to toast in the morning.  I did have to dump the original Christmas packaging idea, and instead added a fun polka dot tag and a little hint of sparkle, as New Year’s day really was not THAT long ago, right?

mason-jar-gift-cranberry-chia-jam

 

Cranberry Chia Jam Recipe

makes 1 pint

2 cups fresh or frozen organic cranberries, sorted and rinsed

1/3 cup of organic 100% maple syrup or honey (more if you want sweeter)

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Peel of one orange, grated (or 2 clementines) I use the fine side of this grater.

Juice of one orange (or 2 clementines)

1 Tablespoon chia seeds

………………..

Add all but chia seeds to a medium saucepan.

On medium heat, let the cranberries pop and cook, 7-9 minutes, mashing and stirring as they cook.

Let cool, then stir in the chia seeds.

Store in a jar. Jam will thicken upon standing.

This will keep for about a month in the refrigerator.

………………..

Enjoy!

Do you love the taste of cranberries?

Do you use chia seeds? How?

Did you make any homemade gifts this holiday season?

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