Posts tagged ‘eggs’
Farmers Markets were not something I frequented while living in Boston. While there were some great ones to choose from, I was intimidated by the crowds and the price tag. Since moving, however, Dan and I have become major converts to all of the fun, fresh, local ingredients that you can find at the market. While certain items can still be pricey, there can be some great deals on seasonal fruits and vegetables that all begged to be picked at once. We have also learned that there are some things that are worth the extra dollar or two! The best part is getting to know the vendors and supporting local business. We are on first name basis now with “The Egg Lady” and know who has the best tasting tomatoes or the best prices on lettuce. We go every weekend that I have off for some staples (eggs, seasonal vegetables, and occasionally some local berries or peaches) and allow ourselves one splurge per visit (usually locally-raised meat, fancy cheese, a bottle of local wine, etc.)
Here are some of the things we have found lately!
Staples: Seasonal Green Vegetables
One of my menu planning strategies is to not plan my vegetable sides. Why? This allows me to look for deals on what looks best or has the best price at the market. I am able to make a list generated by the main component of the meal for the grocery store, and then make sure I pick up 4-5 varieties of vegetables to accompany my meals for the week! Some of my farmers market favorites are zucchini, sweet corn, and lettuce, as these are low-fuss to prepare during the week and are usually abundant. The most notable find, however, was this gigantic bunch of kale grown by the local middle school gardening club that I picked up for just $2!
Worth it: Eggs
Farm fresh eggs are worth every extra penny, in our opinion. Not only do the chickens that lay them live a happier and healthier life, but the resultant quality of the eggs is incomparable to anything you could get in the grocery store. Not a believer at first, my husband directly compared a cage free, organic egg from Trader Joe’s to one from our favorite vendor at the Delmar Farmer’s Market. While the egg at Trader Joe’s was sunshine yellow, there was no comparison to the golden yolk that came from the farm fresh egg. The egg whites are also less runny, which means that our fried eggs are much easier to cook perfectly. He is now such a convert that we are now on first name basis with the egg vendor, and may even head to their farm one weekend to meet the chickens and pick our own dozen!
Not convinced? Here is a picture of our typical Sunday morning breakfast. Drool.
Treat yourself: Flowers
For weeks, I had been eyeing the gorgeous zinnias and dahlias, lusting after the gorgeous colors. While flowers are never cheap, some farmers market bunches can run upwards of $10 for a small bouquet. Since they are not a necessity in our weekly budget, I held out for the perfect occasion to splurge on these beauties. Finally getting the new table that my sister and brother-in-law hand-crafted for me seemed like the perfect occasion!
Putting it all Together: My Favorite Meal
One of my favorite meals from the summer is actually one of our simplest. We put together a salad from the bounty we had picked up at the market the day before, and boy was it good! The base was a baby lettuce blend with arugula, topped off with cucumbers, local aged goat-milk cheese, and a poached egg. I also threw in a handful of sweet strawberries that we picked ourselves at a local farm, and finished the salad with a simple balsamic vinegar reduction. I wish salads always tasted this good!
Question: Are you a farmers market fan? Share some tips and favorite finds below!
Every once in a while, I get a bunch of unidentified green stuff in my Boston Organics box. I’d like to think I’m better than the average gal at green identification, but there are still occasions when I can’t quite distinguish certain species of kale from chard from random leafy greens. Last week was one of those weeks – I got a bunch of what looked like a mix between kale and Swiss chard in my box. Not sure exactly what the flavor of the greens would be, I decided to make a frittata out of them! I have posted several frittata recipes before and generally follow the same framework. For those of you who are new to this recipe, a frittata is essentially a fancy, fluffy baked omelette that is much simpler to make than its name implies. I use onions and garlic for a flavor base and 8 eggs with a splash of milk, salt and pepper for the fluffy egg center. To change the profile of the frittata, I simply switch up the veggies and cheese that I use. Goat cheese is my favorite because it is soft and melty in a freshly warmed frittata. To further switch things up, I splashed a bit of Balsamic vinegar over the greens as well. The result was a satisfying, fluffy egg dish bursting with green stuff. Who needs to know exactly what greens you are eating when it tastes this good?
Ever find that most recipes with goat cheese call for an ounce measurement instead of a tablespoon or cup portion? You’d need a scale to do that… so here is your chance to win one!
Sue from SlimKicker.com contacted me about hosting a give away so that one of you has a chance to win this amazing kitchen scale! SlimKicker.com is a calorie counter and healthy lifestyle app that turns your diet and fitness goals into a game-style challenge, complete with points and rewards. You simply track calories and your healthy food choices, as well as complete healthy challenges, to rack up points. Once you reach a certain point level, you are reminded to reward yourself with something like a “cheat food” or new fitness gear. The tracking system and supportive community are great motivation to stay on track with your fitness goals! I definitely found this type of support essential during my Game On challenge!
This is where you come in – SlimKicker.com is in need of some new ideas for healthy living challenges. To enter this give away, simply leave a 1-2 sentence comment with your idea for a fun and creative healthy living challenge. They can be anything from drinking 8×8 glasses of water a day, to getting 30 minutes of exercise per day, to learning to snack wisely between meals. The best idea will be chosen and featured as part of the SlimKicker challenges, and will receive the kitchen scale! The contest is open for one week, so leave your comment by Tuesday, August 7 at 9am to enter. One comment per reader, please, and prizes can only be shipped within the US. Looking forward to seeing the ideas that you come up with!
Hidden Greens Frittata
1 sweet Vidalia onion, chopped
1 bunch greens, roughly chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
dash garlic powder, parsley, salt
2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup milk
2 oz goat cheese
Preheat oven to 350F. Saute the onion in the olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Add chopped greens and saute until slightly wilted. Add Balsamic vinegar and allow liquid to reduce slightly. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, milk and spices. Pour over the greens and stir slightly to distribute. Allow to cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Transfer heat-safe saute pan to the oven and continue to cook for about 15 minutes. Crumble goat cheese over the top and return to oven for 5 more minutes or until edges are browned and center is set. Immediately sprinkle with shaved Parmesan cheese, if desired. Cut into 4-6 wedges and serve warm.
This past month has taught me a lot. Sure, I put in a lot of hours learning microbiology, physiology, pharmacology, pathology… but beyond the medical science, I also learned a lot about myself.
I learned that it is okay to realize you have worn nothing but leggings and yoga pants for 6 days straight when you sort your laundry.
I tested my attention span and sedentary capacity to their limits, and then broke up study blocks with jumping jacks and sit ups to stay awake and sane.
I realized how important it is to get out of the house each day, even if it is just for a quick one mile jog.
I learned how much I love to run.
I remembered how much I love to walk on days when I just can’t muster the energy to run.
I appreciated just how much I learned in the past two years, and how much there is that I still don’t know.
The human body is an amazing machine.
I learned that it is okay to cry on a friend’s shoulder when you are overwhelmed and feel inadequate for the task at hand.
I was and am constantly reminded that God is faithful. Starting the day with a Psalm helped refocus my priorities on some really tough days.
I am amazed at the supportive and loving community that has surrounded me and carried me through to where I am now.
I learned that colored pens make everything more fun.
I released my post-exam anxiety and jitters by recycling two years of notes and scrap paper.
I learned how important home cooked meals are to me. I only ordered take out twice. And both times were worth it.
I survived by being okay with having breakfast for dinner. And lunch. And breakfast. Because what would life be without home fries and eggs?
I made more variations of home fries and eggs than I knew possible before this past month. Breakfast for dinner meals were great because they still gave me the break I desperately desired in the kitchen without any intensive prep or clean up. I never measured, so these are loose instructions for some of my favorite and unexpected combos rather than strict recipes.
The first is a Turnip Hash that was inspired by the plethora of turnips I received in my Boston Organics box. I cut up a large turnip (peeled) and a large potato (unpeeled) into bite sized pieces and steamed them until they were fork tender. I then sautéed them in a large skillet with a pad of Smart Balance Light butter, a pinch of salt and rosemary. On a whim, I threw in a small handful of raisins and a dash of cinnamon, because it makes everything better. And it did. I was surprised how much I liked this! The classic rosemary with potatoes kept it homey, while the turnips added an interesting flavor and stronger texture. The raisins were a nice sweet addition, though I did make it without and liked it both ways. A whole turnip and potato made at least 3 if not more meals for me served alongside a fried egg and piece of toast. Breakfast for dinner success number 1!
The second is a Curried Egg Omelette. I can’t take credit for this idea – my Grandma is the true brains behind this creation. While in Florida, she made eggs one morning and on a whim (I am seeing where my cooking style comes from now…) threw in a dash of curry powder and cinnamon. I was skeptical, as I am sure you are as well, but, like I said, cinnamon makes everything better. And it did. The cinnamon flavor didn’t shine through, but instead enhanced the light curry flavor that took over the scrambled eggs. It was unexpected and addicting. I knew I had to make it again. So I did. I mixed two eggs with a teaspoon of Greek yogurt (you could use milk or sour cream as well) and a few shakes (about 1/4 tsp) curry powder and a shake (less than 1/8 tsp) cinnamon. You can turn this into scrambled eggs, or pour it into a really hot pan for a nice omelette with a crunchy outside. The curry flavor is mild but unique, and leaves me wanting more! I ate these eggs alongside some sweet potato home fries, skins left on and sautéed in olive oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Lesson learned in writing this post: I should buy stock in cinnamon.
And I am so excited to cook and share with you all again!
My family Christmas was full of quality time spent together. Since Christmas fell on a Sunday this year, we worked our Christmas traditions around our Sunday church service. You can tell we aren’t kids anymore, since sleeping in was more important than early morning Christmas presents! We still enjoyed our traditional Christmas breakfast of egg casserole before church, but with a few veggie twists for me. Since I can remember, my mom has made a church cookbook breakfast stratta with pork sausage, eggs, cheese, and bread cubes. She still made the traditional favorite for my dad and sister, but adapted another casserole recipe for me.
The original recipe is from Simply Living Healthy, and I sent it to my mom a few months ago knowing how much she loves jicama. She made it for my family when they went to Florida, and wanted to make it for me as well. Instead of using sausage, she added more mushrooms for meaty texture. The jicama adds a great sweet crust, and the dairy-free, veggie and protein packed casserole will keep you full all morning. Check out our vegetarian twist, or head over for the original recipe!
After church, we enjoyed surprising each other with thoughtful gifts. My sister searched high and low for a fun teapot for me, and my parents surprised me with a great new knife, set of mixing bowls, French press, and a few other fun kitchen gifts. But it turns out I am not the only foodie in the family! My sister got a waffle iron, an immersion blender, and an apron, and my mom got a new electric pasta maker! We spent the rest of the day playing with our new toys.
We couldn’t get my mom’s pasta maker to work that day, which was a huge bummer. The dough has to be the perfect consistency to not get stuck in the extruder, and we couldn’t get it to work. We gave up for the afternoon and broke out my hand roller, so we still got to enjoy fresh pasta with homemade sauce for Christmas dinner! (My mom persevered and finally got the right dough consistency yesterday, so the electric pasta maker will stay!)
Our Christmas celebrations will continue for the week, since my mom, sister, and I are all home and work-free. My sister and I are delivering our last Christmas present to our parents tonight: a gourmet dinner at home! On the menu: petite beef wellington, warm beet salad, lobster ravioli, and rum poached pears! Come back tomorrow for the recipes and pictures!
Jicama Breakfast Casserole
adapted from Simply Living Healthy, serves 4-6
12-14 ounce jicama (weight is before peeling and shredding)
8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium roasted red bell pepper, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
Saute mushrooms in olive oil over medium heat. Don’t over crowd the pan, as you want the mushrooms crispy. (This may require cooking in two batches depending on the size of your pan.) Peel the jicama and shred the root. Press between paper towels to absorb as much water as possible. Press into a glass pie dish as a crust. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and coconut milk. Layer the mushrooms and roasted red pepper over the jicama, and then pour the egg mixture over top. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the dish and bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Remove the top and bake for 7-10 more minutes. Cut into slices to serve.
My Dad is pretty helpless when it comes to food. When my mom went on her first business trip a few years ago, my neighbors took it upon themselves to invite my Dad over for dinner a few nights to make sure he got a real meal. On nights that dinner isn’t made for him, he has been known to pull out the cold cuts, cheese and bread. Smart man – no dinner, make a sandwich instead, right? Oh no. He proceeds to carry those down to his La-Z Boy recliner, and then eat them separately. Why waste the time making a sandwich if its all going to the same place, right?
Now, its Father’s Day so I can’t make fun of my Dad too much! There is one thing my Dad is an expert at cooking – eggs. My sister and I were not the biggest omelet fans growing up, but we loved his “Daddy eggs.” He would chop up everything really small so you never got a chunk of onion, and would always load those eggs up with cheese. We still request the occasional Saturday morning of Daddy eggs on our weekends home from school. In honor of his famous breakfast, I made him a Big Daddy Frittata for Father’s Day. The flavor combo might look familiar… but I had to use what was in the fridge! It is like a gourmet version of bacon and eggs. It was absolutely wonderful! Happy Father’s Day – to my Dad and to all fathers. Know that you are loved and appreciated for all that you do.
Question: What are your plans for Father’s Day?
Prosciutto and Carmelized Onion Frittata
adapted from the Food Network, serves 4-8
5 oz prosciutto, chopped
1/2 cup caramelized onions
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
2 oz Parmesan cheese
4 oz goat cheese
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In an oven-safe skillet coated well with cooking spray, cook the chopped prosciutto until it begins to crisp slightly. Add the caramelized onions and cook for another minute. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and salt. Stir in shredded Parmesan cheese. Pour evenly over the prosciutto and onions. Cook until the eggs begin to set, about 5 minutes. Top the frittata with the crumbled goat cheese. Cook in the oven for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with thyme and fresh ground pepper. Return to oven; broil at 350 degrees for 4 minutes. Slice into desired portion sizes and serve.
Happy Sunday! Hope that you all have had a relaxing weekend and are ready to face a Monday that is fast approaching. My Sunday was fantastic – I woke up early for a smoothie with my sister, and then showed my mom some simple weight lifting exercises. After a quick shower, my mom and I met my sister and dad at church. What a blessing it is to have such an excellent new pastor at my parent’s church, and we found out today that we have a new youth pastor as well! It is exciting to see new life breathed into the church where I was raised, especially after such struggles for the past few years. Some food for thought from my Sunday sermon – the church is supposed to be safe for people, but dangerous to culture. Too often, we are reversed – condemning certain individuals and following popular culture, both Christian and secular. Jesus was, instead, was a trouble maker! He hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes, and preached such “craziness” as the Sermon on the Mount. If only we could live in a way that reflected this truth.
2And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5: 2 – 12 (ESV)
After church, I got a chance to catch up with a few friends that I haven’t seen in a while. The nice part about being home for a little longer is that I am getting to catch up with people I haven’t gotten to see on my short weekend trips home! I met my friend Michelle from high school at Jakeabob’s, a cute little seaside restaurant. The first time my mom told me about her new favorite local spot, I thought she had lost all sense. This restaurant proves that you should never judge a book by its
cover name! The food is fantastic, with great flavor combinations and reasonable prices for seafood. I enjoyed a big salad topped with pecans, mandarin oranges and shrimp with a raspberry vinaigrette. Michelle had an enormous ahi tuna burger, which she generously let me try! Both dishes were incredible, and the ocean front views made the experience even better. So great to catch up with old friends!
After having a pretty filling lunch, I knew that a lighter dinner would be on the menu. This is pretty common in my family. We tend to have a bigger lunch immediately after church, around 1:30 or 2, and then have the smaller meal of the day for dinner. Tonight, I made a yummy frittata, which would also be great for a brunch or a weekend lunch. It was inspired by this hearty looking recipe at Rufus’ Guide, and this interesting grilled version at KERF. I cooked everything on the grill, until it ran out of gas… oops! The potatoes made a nice sort-of crust, and the grilled asparagus had a great texture and flavor in the frittata. Plus, keeping everything outside on the grill kept the house from getting too hot. Even if the grill hadn’t run out of gas, I still think it might be a good idea to finish this off in the broiler oven. It gives the top a nice crisp that you might miss with bottom-only heat from the grill. Before making a frittata, either in the oven or on the grill, make sure your pan oven-safe first! And keep a good oven mitt on hand, since the handle will be super hot! I chose to leave the cheese out of this frittata because my sister is lactose-intolerant. She can handle the little bit of milk in the eggs because it is diluted so much, but the cheese would not have such friendly outcomes. Try this without the cheese, or add a little bit of Parmesan on top!
Question: Does your family have any Sunday traditions?