Monday, June 25, 2012

Great Grains! Mom's Breakfast Porridge

Okay, I realize this may not be the most appetizing photo...but I promise it tastes divine!
I spent the night at my mom's house recently, and before going to sleep for the night, she asked me what I wanted for breakfast. Oh, the joys of having someone else prepare food for you! :-) She's eaten healthy for as long as I can remember, so I simply told her, "I'll have whatever you're having."

The next morning, I walked into the kitchen to the delicious smell of grains cooking on the stove. I thought it was oatmeal, but it turned out to be something much more delicious. And much healthier too! All sorts of whole grains, cooking in almond milk and spices. I couldn't wait to dig in! She spooned some into a bowl for me, and I added in toppings from the assorted jars she'd placed on the counter: coconut, nuts, cinnamon, chia, flax, and maple syrup.

It was a delicious start to my day, and was very filling! I didn't feel stuffed at all, but it kept me going until lunch time, and I didn't even need my usual mid-morning snack. Thanks Mom for sharing the recipe with me!

Mom's Breakfast Porridge (serves 2)
Ingredients:
3/4C any combination of steel cut oats, quinoa (rinsed), millet, teff, amaranth
2C Water
1/4C Almond Milk (or your milk of choice)
Dash of salt, nutmeg, and cloves
Splash of Vanilla Extract
Ginger (about 1t fresh, or 1/2t dried)

Toppings: (any combination you desire, to add after cooking)
Chia Seeds
Ground Flax Seeds
Shredded Coconut
Cacao Nibs
Gogi Berries
Nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, pecans)
Cinnamon
Fruit (such as berries or banana)
Honey or Maple Syrup to sweeten

Directions:
- Be sure to rinse the quinoa well if you're using it. The grain naturally contains a coating called saponin that makes it taste bitter (and has a laxative effect).
- Put your desired grains into a pot with the milk/water mixture, and heat on the stove.
- Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer.
- Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes (keep an eye on it so you don't almost burn it like I did!).
- Let it stand about 5 minutes, this will thicken the mixture.
- Spoon into bowls and mix in your favorite toppings! If it has gotten too thick, add some more milk and stir.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sweet Potato "Chips"

Slicing the sweet potato. You can go even thinner than this!

Sliced and ready to go into the toaster oven.
I have to give credit to my friend Caley for sharing this recipe on her blog a few months ago. Since reading it, I have made these chips multiple times. I've both eaten them plain and dunked them in guacamole as she suggests, and however you eat these bite-sized morsels, they are delicious!

Sweet potato chips! Yum!

Directions:
- Take an organic sweet potato (or two, or three) and after rinsing it with a potato brush, dry it and slice very thinly. The thinner you slice, the crispier the chip.
- In a large bowl, mix the potato slices with a little olive oil and salt (and any herbs you desire, such as thyme or rosemary).
- Spread slices on a baking sheet in a single layer, and bake at 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, flipping them over about halfway through.
- They're done when they're crispy! Exact baking time will depend on thickness, so keep an eye on the chips. Let them cool, if you can, and enjoy with your favorite dip.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sun Tea!

Sun Tea, brewing on my kitchen windowsill.
One of the benefits of my move to the suburbs of San Francisco is that it gets warm! Almost hot, even! And a benefit of that warm sun beating down? I can make sun tea! The great thing about this recipe is that you can use whatever tea you have around, it doesn't requite any special equipment beyond things you probably already have in your kitchen, and it's super easy!

Here's how to do it:
- Find a large glass container with a lid. I used plastic, which I later found out you are NOT supposed to do. A better container would have been an empty glass juice jar, or mason jars.
- Fill the container with cold, filtered water. Tea tastes better un-chlorinated!
- Add a few tea bags of whatever tea combination you feel like. Pictured here I used three bags of a black tea blend and two of a lemon-ginger herbal. It was delicious!
- Let the container sit in the sun for 1-3 hours. You might have to move the container as the sun moves. After the first hour, taste it every 30 minutes or so to see how strong it is. When the tea has reached your desired strong-ness, remove the tea bags and put the container in the refrigerator to cool.
- After it has cooled, serve in a tall glass over ice. Add some mint or lemon (or other fruit) if desired.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Lox and Eggs

Lox and Eggs, with a side of buttered Rye toast.
What was the first thing you learned how to cook? And who taught you? When I was a kid, on lazy Sunday mornings my dad and I would make scrambled eggs. We'd usually mix in some American cheese (loved it back then, now I think ICK) and called them "cheese eggs." As I got older, I took on more of the cooking role, and my dad decided to teach me something his family used to make when he was a kid: Lox and Eggs. I know, you're probably thinking that mixing smoked salmon with eggs sounds pretty disgusting, but I promise you this dish is pretty amazing.

Last weekend, I picked up some wild smoked salmon and local pastured eggs at my Farmer's Market. When I got home, I saw the onions sitting on our counter and had an "aha" moment - I was going to make my weekend meal from years ago! Read on below to learn how it's done...
Diced onions and smoked salmon, sauteed in butter. Smells so good!

Lox and Eggs (serves 1, adjust as needed)
Ingredients:
- 2 Eggs, from pasture-raised chickens
- 1/8 Organic Yellow Onion, diced
- 2-3 slices of Wild Smoked Salmon, diced
- Pat of organic butter

Directions:
- In a medium frying pan, over medium heat, melt a pat of butter.
- When melted, add the onions and stir.
- As onions are heating, crack eggs into a bowl and whisk til blended.
- When onions are soft and translucent, add the smoked salmon.
- Stir for a couple minutes, until the salmon changes color.
- Add the whisked eggs, and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until eggs are desired done-ness.
- Put eggs on a plate and eat. I usually add a piece of buttered whole-grain toast on the side.

Health Benefits:
Salmon and eggs from pasture-raised chickens are both rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which studies have shown to have many beneficial effects on the body. Notably, can Omega-3s reduce inflammation within the body, increase the health of your heart, and may even lessen a depressive mood and ADHD symptoms. Here's a link to WedMD, which has much more information on the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids.