Herb and Goat Cheese Omelet

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What’s a girl to do when she’s woken up by her grumbling stomach? Devour a huge breakfast, of course!

Weekend mornings are the best. I mean, for real, what’s better than waking up with the sun, lingering under the covers for a few extra minutes of warm happiness, and then slowly stretching upwards and outwards to welcome the day? Probably nothing. I, like any red blooded American, live for the weekends. They are slower, and happier, and since Chirag comes home on the weekends, Saturdays and Sundays are instantly more fun.

During the week, I’m constantly pressed for time in the mornings, and find that I’m rushing to get out the door by 6:30am, and my breakfasts usually consist of a quick microwaveable scramble or a make-ahead muffin or breakfast sandwich. My favorite part of the weekends is that I can take my time and eat something fresh, healthy, and balanced. Also, this recipe gave me a chance to use up some fresh herbs I had in my kitchen. Any combination of herbs would taste great and fresh in this recipe, so you can use whatever you have on hand, which makes life 100 times easier on a lazy weekend morning.

Not to completely divert from the point here, but goat cheese is magical. Especially when you buy the kind that is mixed with herbs and olives.

Anyway.

Long story short, weekends = the best. Weekend breakfasts = the best of the best. The end.

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Herb and Goat Cheese Omelets
Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients
8 large eggs
1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning or 1 Tbsp finely minced fresh herbs (eg. parsley, oregano, rosemary, basil, tarragon, sage), plus more for garnish
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tsp olive oil, divided
2 oz soft herb goat cheese
1 cup baby spinach, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, sliced, plus more for garnish
Parmesan cheese, shredded, for garnish

  1. Whisk eggs, herbs, salt and pepper together in a large bowl.
  2. Heat 1/2 tsp of oil in a skillet. Pour 1/4 of the egg mixture into the pan, and allow to set. Sprinkle 1/2 oz goat cheese, 1/4 cup spinach, and 1/8 cup green onions onto the the omelet and cook for an additional minute or until spinach as slightly wilted. Repeat to make 4 omelets total.
  3. Garnish with fresh herbs, green onions, and Parmesan cheese, and serve hot.

 

 

Mexican Egg Breakfast Sandwich

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These icy temperatures are relentless. Is it just me, or has this winter been colder, longer and more of a bummer than those in the past? It seems like the whole country has been beaten and battered by the ugly bully named winter. Isn’t it technically spring? I just want to see some tulips and daffodils in the tree lawns already!

One of the biggest struggles I’ve had this winter is just getting out of bed in the morning. My bed is just so warm and cozy, and 5:30am is just way too early for me these days. It really takes every ounce of willpower to leave my bed when it’s so dark and cold, but alas, such is life, and this is definitely a first world problem. But as a lifelong morning person who has avoided caffeine for most of her life, I now understand those coffee addicts that wait in line at Starbucks for 30 minutes every day.

Since I don’t feel “awake” until long after I’ve left my bed even though my eyes are open, I’ve started relying entirely on my breakfasts to fuel me through my mornings. I’ve found a need for instant carb energy and long-lasting protein energy, with just enough good fats to get my brain working. Using this Weight Watchers recipe as a starting point, I added more veggies and a sprinkle of cheese to make a satisfying and balanced breakfast sandwich that is sure to carry you through your morning.

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Mexican Egg Breakfast Sandwich
Serves: 6 (see notes)
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: <5 minutes

Ingredients
2 sprays cooking spray
6 eggs
4 egg whites (I recommend pre-separated liquid egg whites)
3 Tbsp scallions, sliced
1/4 cup bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 light English muffins, sliced in half
6 Tbsp reduced fat cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp fat free salsa

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat, and coat with cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, scallions, bell pepper, onion, cilantro, salt and pepper until well combined. Pour into skillet and cook, scrambling until set (see notes). Remove from heat.
  3. Divide scrambled eggs evenly on top of the English muffin bottoms. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of cheese on top of the eggs, and repeat for all English muffins. Spread 1/2 Tbsp of salsa on the inside of each English muffin top. Close sandwich, and serve warm.

Notes:
This recipe can be really simply cut down to 1 or 2 servings for a quick breakfast-on-the-go. If you are making single servings and have a small egg skillet, you can pour the egg mixture into that, and instead of scrambling, cook the eggs without stirring for 2 minutes, flip, and cook for 2 additional minutes to form an egg patty.
For an easy grab-and-go weekday breakfast, make all 6 sandwiches, wrap each individually in wax paper, and freeze for up to 7 days. When ready to eat, microwave for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through.

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Scrambled Tofu with Spinach and Tomatoes

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Fact: I could never, ever be vegan. I have immense respect for any vegan (or lactose intolerant person) because I would probably cry myself to sleep every night if I couldn’t eat cheese. It’s the best.

The above statement has nothing to do with the rest of this post, but I thought the world should know.

Anyway, I’ve had a turbulent relationship with eggs in the past. I’ll go through these phases where I think eggs are the best ever, and then suddenly, I’ll never want to even smell an egg ever again. It’s a strange problem, but alas, such is my life. I’ve been reading a lot of recipes for tofu as a scrambled egg substitute, so I thought I’d try my hand at it. And it is good! This dish has a similar texture to “wet” scrambled eggs, and can accommodate for a lot of great flavors and add-ins, without having that “eggy” taste. And a big bonus here: this recipe takes less than 10 minutes, and can be made in advance! Woohoo!

Want to make this dish even more filling? Grab a couple of whole wheat or corn tortillas and make a breakfast taco. Heat up some black beans to throw into the taco to make an even more satisfying any-time-of-day-meal.
Want more add-ins? Try plain or roasted corn, plain or roasted red peppers, caramelized mushrooms, salsa, avocado, kale, taco seasoning, or brie.
Want to make it more vegan? Use nutritional yeast or vegan cheese instead of regular cheese.
Can’t commit to tofu? Use half the amount of tofu, and add 2 eggs for scrambling.
Really skeptical about tofu? Nix the tofu all together, and use eggs as you normally would. But really, just give tofu a chance!

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Scrambled Tofu with Spinach and Tomatoes
Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients
1 package firm tofu, drained and rinsed with excess water pressed out
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
1 tsp paprika or mild chili powder
Hot sauce, or to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup spinach, roughly chopped

  1. In a large skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes.
  2. While crumbling with hands, add tofu to skillet. Use the edge of a wooden spoon to break up the tofu into smaller crumbles until it resembles scrambled eggs. (If using eggs, add them in now and scramble them up!)
  3. Add cheese, mustard, paprika, hot sauce, salt and pepper to the tofu, and stir continuously until cheese melts.
  4. Remove skillet from heat and toss in tomatoes and spinach. Stir until spinach wilts. Serve hot.

Note: For a make ahead meal, prepare this recipe through Step 3. Line the bottom of a lidded container with spinach, and pour hot tofu mixture over it. Place tomatoes on top, cool completely, cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Lemon-Berry Muffins

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Can you believe Christmas is less than a week away? I can’t wait to be with my family, drinking hot cocoa and decorating cookies. My family is generally less traditional than most on Christmas (we would rather pick out our presents than have the element of surprise on Christmas morning), but we still do some things every single year. We always eat cinnamon rolls for breakfast before we dive into the presents, and we always have cookies and chocolates galore.

This year, we’re also getting together with several of my cousins. The various members of my extended family are more or less moving targets, where everyone leads busy, exciting lives, so I am extra happy that, for the first time in a long time, we’ll all be together again. I feel more joyous this year than any Christmas in the past!

Though I’m not traveling until next Tuesday (Christmas Eve), most of my friends and colleagues at work have taken all of next week, and some even the week after, off for the holidays. I spent many hours embossing cards and decorating envelopes last night so I could distribute handmade holiday cards to my coworkers. I am so pleased with the way they turned out and I hope everyone likes them!

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Onto less Christmas-y things… 🙂

I have mentioned before that breakfast is the single most difficult and stressful meal of my day. I’m wishy-washy about me feelings on eggs (although I recently made an egg dish that I loved and will be sharing soon!), cereal and oatmeal get boring REALLY fast, and since breakfast meats are obviously not an option, I’m left with sugary sweet dessert-like breakfast foods. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love donuts as much as the next girl, and though Krispy Kreme donuts on the regular would be my dream, I’d be about 500 pounds with clogged arteries by age 30. So, that’s not an option either. I get cranky and sluggish if I ever skip breakfast, and it just sets me up for a certain level of dietary failure for the rest of the day.

To add further complexities to my breakfast conundrum, I leave my apartment at 6:30am on workdays, when my thoughts are still monosyllabic and I operate under conditioned, reflexive motions that allow little flexibility to add “making breakfast” to the mix. I’m barely awake and functioning, and I’m expected to make breakfast? What?! To circumvent this issue, I get my breakfast, lunch and various snacks ready for work the night before. Lunch is usually leftovers from dinner, and lately my snacks have been clementines because they are so good and I eat them like candy. For breakfast, I either bring something I can microwave and is contained in a single piece of Tupperware, like eggs or oatmeal, or I bake muffins.

Muffins are the best. The best kind (read: full-fat kind) are buttery and decadent and bursting with sweet flavor. In the past, when I’ve made “low fat” or “guilt-free” muffins, they aren’t the same by any stretch of the imagination. I mean, for starters, they never even rise up to give that beautiful muffin top shape. I think that’s the only time in my life I’ve ever said “beautiful muffin top,” by the way. “Healthy” muffins tend to be drier and crumblier too, so the texture is way, way off.

But for the first time, this week, I baked muffins that have more full-fat taste without being full-fat. I adapted a recipe that I found here. In fact these muffins are only 5 Weight Watchers Points Plus (by my own calculations), whereas a regular muffin can run you anywhere from 8 to 12 Points Plus! My favorite part of these muffins though? The muffin top, of course!

Lemon-Berry Muffins
Serves: 12 (1 muffin per serving)
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup of sugar (or Splenda sugar substitute)
1 cup nonfat milk
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose white flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen mixed berries

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray or line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk lemon juice and sugar together until well combined. Add milk, oil, eggs and vanilla extract and beat on low until smooth.
  3. In large bowl, whisk both flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the milk mixture slowly and combine. Carefully fold in the berries. Divide the batter equally into the muffin cups.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the tops are golden and springy to touch, and the muffins pass the “clean toothpick” test. Cool, and enjoy!

 

 

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Hard Boiled Egg, Mixed Fruit and Cottage Cheese Breakfast On-The-Go

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I had about 2 minutes this morning to pack my breakfast and get myself out the door, so I threw together a protein-packed breakfast to get me through the day. I wake up so early in the morning (5:30am ugh) and don’t have much of an appetite until later on in the day, while I’m at work. So instead of getting a fatty, greasy breakfast from the cafeteria at work, I like to bring something healthier and more balanced. If only getting through the work day could be so easy!