Recipes of the Week: Breakfast Brownies, Healthy Dressing & More!

bacon-and-pea-omeletAn Omelet for Any Meal

Our favorite foods are all about contrasts: sweet flavors make savory flavors more savory, soft textures emphasize crunchiness, and the visual appeal of different shapes adds to the “yum!” factor. In this omelet, the umami-rich, savory bacon is the perfect foil for the slightly sweet peas, just as the creamy egg is the ideal opposite for the slightly sharp green onions. I opted to sauté the onions before stirring them into the egg, but you could skip the pre-cooking if you’d like less-tamed onions.

This ultra-savory omelet makes a great lunch or breakfast. Or both — you could double the ingredients and leave half of the omelet in the pan to enjoy later on. Dishes made with cooked eggs last for several days in the refrigerator and are delicious when eaten chilled. (Note: don’t reheat egg-based dishes in a microwave! They tend to become rubbery and decidedly less appealing.)

Bacon & Pea Omelet

This recipe makes 1 omelet. Feel free to double the recipe if you like. Should you want 3 or more servings, you might want to use more than one skillet — if the omelet gets too big, it’ll be very difficult to flip over without cracking it. Medium and small omelets are much better than large ones!

2 stalks green onions, green part only, minced

1 egg, preferably from pastured hens

1 strip cooked bacon (I adore Applegate’s pastured bacon), chopped

Handful frozen peas

Heat a dash of extra-virgin olive oil or a dab of butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat for a minute or two before adding the green onions. Reduce heat to medium-low and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until softened. While the onions cook, lightly whisk the egg in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk in the chopped bacon and the peas.

Pour the egg into the pan and swirl to incorporate the cooked green onions. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, then use a spatula to squiggle a hole into the center of the omelet to let the still-completely-raw layer on top run down to the surface of the pan to cook. After another minute, the center should be somewhat set. Very gently flip omelet over, using 2 spatulas if that would make your task easier. (It does mine. I always use 2 spatulas for omelet-flipping.) Cook another 3 minutes or until both sides are golden brown.

Serve immediately. Any leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 4 days and savored at any time of the day. Who says omelets are only for breakfast?

Enjoy!

curried-carrot-soup-with-pinenutsWarming Exotic Winter Soup

Nothing warms up a cold winter night like spicy soup. I don’t mean spicy-hot, I mean spicy-variety — in this case, a simple blend of curry powder and cilantro. (Technically, cilantro is an herb, but I’m going to lump them together under the concept of “spice.”) The slightly sweet carrots provide the perfect canvas for the earthy curry powder and bright, almost-acidic cilantro.

I added fresh lime juice and a dash of sherry vinegar for extra spots of brightness, but you could omit those if you’d rather have a smoother, sweeter soup. Likewise, if you’d rather have a chunkier soup, you could skip running the finished soup through a blender and have chopped veggies instead of velvety-smooth ones. I decided I wanted a smooth soup to contrast with the crunchy pinenuts, plus I was curious to see how smooth my Vitamix would make the soup. (Answer: very, very smooth.) A standard blender will still be able to velvetize the cooked carrots.

Cilantro Carrot Soup with Pinenuts

Serves 2. Can easily be doubled or tripled.

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

4 carrots, chopped (organic carrots taste much sweeter!)

6 cloves garlic, sliced

2 cups chicken OR vegetable broth (if it’s chicken, preferably it’s made from free-range chicken)

1 T. sherry OR apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. curry powder

Juice of 1/2 lime

Handful fresh cilantro leaves

Pinenuts for garnish

In a large pot, sauté onion and carrots in a pat of butter or ghee or a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring often. Stir in garlic and cook another 2 minutes or until garlic is fragrant and soft. Add broth, vinegar, and curry powder and simmer for 20 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. (You can use this time to prep the cilantro: rinse it well and then pluck off the leaves, discarding any that are wilted or bruised.)

Stir in lime juice. If you’d like to have a smooth soup and your blender can handle blending fresh-off-the-stove soup, go ahead and blend it at this point. If your blender isn’t suitable for ultra-hot liquid, let cool at least 5 minutes before blending.

Pour back into the pot and stir in cilantro leaves. Serve immediately, garnishing with pinenuts. You might also want to serve the soup with feta cheese. Leftover soup can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Note that the smooth, blended version of this soup also makes a wonderful sauce for chicken and whole-grain pasta dishes.

Enjoy!

oat-brownieBrownies for Breakfast

You might think it’s unhealthy to have a brownie first thing in the morning, but if you make your brownies with low-glycemic flours like buckwheat and cocoa powder (remember that anything dry and powdery counts as “flour”!) and include oats and eggs and bananas, your DIY brownie breakfast is going to be far more nutritious than most of the pre-packaged breakfast cereals on the market. Also far more nutritious than store-bought blueberry muffins, cinnamon rolls, and bagels, most of which are made with refined flour, lots of white sugar, and low-quality oils.

So why not enjoy qualitarian brownies for breakfast? You could even add chopped nuts to yours to bump up their good-for-you-ness. (I like nuts, but I like to eat them on their own rather than chopping them up to include in brownies and cookies. Ground nuts, on the other hand, make divine flours.) Or top your brownies with a dab of mascarpone cheese or whole-milk Greek yogurt for an extra-delicious start to your morning!

Banana-Oat Brownies

Makes about 9 brownies.

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably not Dutch-processed (Dutch processing lowers the acidity of the cocoa and makes it taste less like chocolate; likewise, the aroma of Dutched cocoa is flat and vaguely burnt, while the aroma of “natural” cocoa is rich and almost fruity)

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cup rolled oats (be sure to use gluten-free oats if you’re making gluten-free brownies!)

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Dash sea salt

3 eggs, preferably from pastured hens

3 large bananas, mashed (place the peeled bananas in a flat-bottomed bowl and use a fork to mash them)

1/3 cup to 1/2 cup powdered sucanat (run sucanat through a coffee/spice grinder for a few seconds to powder it, then stand back when you lift the lid to avoid breathing in the fine powder that will drift up), depending on how sweet you want your brownies

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil OR unrefined hazelnut oil

1/4 cup whole milk, preferably from grass-fed cows

1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8″x8″ glass pan with butter or extra-virgin olive oil. (I like to save my butter wrappers and then use them to grease pans. Waste not, want not!)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, buckwheat flour, oats, baking powder, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs for a minute or until frothy. Beat in the mashed bananas, sucanat, oil, milk, and vanilla. Add about half the dry ingredients and beat well, then scrape down sides of bowl and beat in the rest of the dry ingredients. Since this is a gluten-free recipe, you don’t have to worry about over-beating the gluten and toughening it.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. You can store the completely-cooled-and-then-covered brownies on the counter during the chilly winter months, but if you have any still around after 3 days or your house is 70F or higher (mine is not; I am thrifty with heat in the winter months), you’ll want to refrigerate the brownies. Otherwise, those fresh bananas in the batter could start to ferment. These brownies make excellent desserts, breakfasts, or snacks.

Enjoy!

First three recipes courtesy of The Cultured Cook.

basic-flax-and-lemon-dressingBasic Flax and Lemon Dressing

Clear Brain Fog! Omega 3s found in flax oil help maintain a healthy nervous system and brain function

View Video Recipe of Basic Flax and Lemon Dressing.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/3 cup flax oil

2/3 cup olive oil

1 tsp mustard

1 clove garlic,grated or minced

pinch chili flakes, cayenne or black pepper (opt)

pinch salt

Directions:

1. Put all ingredients into a mason jar, put the lid on tightly and shake before using.

2. Add optional herbs like thyme, chives, cilantro… or even sun-dried tomatoes.

3. Keep in the fridge. It expires on the date of the flax oil you used.

Courtesy of My Yoga Online.

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