Monthly Archives: January 2016

Sweet Breakfast Wraps

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A Sweet Breakfast Wrap with hard-boiled eggs, sweet potatoes, bacon (from pasture raised hog), avocado, and a collard green.

Breakfast is one of the hardest meal to incorporate veggies into.  But it’s not because veggies don’t taste good in the morning.  Personally, I just wasn’t raised with the idea.  I was raised eating cereal and occasionally on Sunday, pancakes.   There is nothing easier than cereal, and let’s face it… that sugary stuff is oh so sweet and yummy!

Why would anyone eat anything else?  Cereal like “Smart Start” must be a brilliant way to start the day, right?  Sure there can be some good things in cereal… just like eating a donut with fruit filling!  Cereals are loaded with a long list of ingredients, often including artificial ingredients, sugars, food colorings, and other mysterious ingredients… things you wouldn’t classify as “food” if you saw it on your kitchen counter.  Wondering about the ingredients in your food?  Check out the ingredients, like this example with Smart Start, here to see an analysis of ingredients in foods you are interested in:  http://www.foodfacts.com/ci/nutritionfacts/Breakfast-Foods/Kelloggs-Smart-Start-Cereal–oz/1575.  Not only are most cereals not as nutritious as we once thought, what about the milk and sugar you pour on top?

SIDE RANT:  There are many reasons to consider removing milk from your diet:
-Traditional milk (milk that is pasteurized and homogenized) removes most of the potential health benefits from raw milk.
-Traditional milk (as opposed to organic, pasture raised, raw milk) often comes from cows that are given anti-biotics and hormones, such as rBST.  rBST has been linked to many side effects, such as increased occurrences of mastitis, lameness, and infertility in cows. There are humans side effects including, but not limited to, girls reaching puberty earlier, men and boys growing “man boobs”, and of course, cancer.  Besides… rBST is prohibited in numerous countries.
-Why do no other animals on earth drink milk after the infancy stage?  Especially milk from a different specie.  (except in those super adorable cases, like where a momma dog nurses piglets when momma pig is not able to nurse)  How many animals do you know with weak bones??
-There are numerous cultures that don’t drink milk, or eat any dairy, and have less cases of osteoporosis than milk-drinking cultures.  (think Asians)
-Some studies claim calcium in milk is not as absorbable as calcium from vegetables, so the calcium in milk just passes through.
-Dairy cows from large farms often get little to no exercise and are confined to their stall for most, if not all, of the day.

Of course there are cereals that are better than others, but in general, processed foods can’t compare to eating whole foods.  If you must drink milk, try raw milk or a milk substitute like unsweetened almond or rice milk. If drinking raw milk, consider the welfare of the animal… do they have access to pasture, sunlight, and exercise? The healthier the animal is, the healthier the milk it produces.  If you’re going to eat cereal, try single ingredient cereals like oatmeal in Annie’s “High Octane Oatmeal” recipe.

But this post is not about cereal at all… I just got off on a side tangent.  🙂  My point is to eat whole foods whenever possible and make it easy so you can sustain this lifestyle of eating healthy.

As I was saying… it can be hard to incorporate veggies into breakfast.  Scrambled eggs and quiches are excellent ways of getting veggies into your morning routine.  But if you don’t have time to cut up veggies and cook in the morning, you need an easy way to get some more veggies and nutrition in your breakfast.  As I posted in my perfect peel hardboiled eggs “recipe“, I eat hard boiled eggs every morning during the week at work.  This post expands on that idea, but keeping it simple and adding some more nutrition (including, ah hem… lots of calcium!) to your breakfast routine, without adding a lot of time.

If you don’t have an egg cooker yet, you should seriously consider buying one!  Hot hard boiled eggs are soooooo much tastier than cold hard boiled eggs.  But if you insist on the old fashioned way, you can cook your eggs ahead of time and eat your eggs cold.  Otherwise, this recipe is great with eggs cooked in any fashion.

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Large-leaved kale from my garden that works awesome for wraps!

Ingredients for the bare essentials of a Sweet Breakfast Wrap:
1 large leafy green (Kale, Swiss Chard, or Collard Green)
2 eggs (any method is ok – hard boiled, over easy, poached, scrambled)
Sweet potatoes (or Yams)
Turmeric
Nutritional Yeast
Sea Salt

Optional (get creative here, but here are some ideas):
Avocado
Raw Pepper slices
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Grass fed, pasture raised meat – ham, bacon, sausage

Preparation ahead of time:

  1. Bake your sweet potatoes.  Turn your oven to 400.  No need to preheat the oven.  Just prick the potatoes with a fork, stick them on the rack and put a sheet of tin foil below them to catch the drippings.   Bake for about 45 minutes or until they are soft.  I use an Ove Glove and squeeze them to make sure they soft.  (Gina would just squeeze them with her bare fingers! Please don’t do this.  She is super-human.)  I bake enough sweet potatoes to make it through the work week.  Sweet potatoes can vary immensely in size, so it’s hard to say how many sweet potatoes you need to cook at one time.  I’ve had sweet potatoes so big that one would probably get me through the week!  Store the sweet potatoes in a container and pull out as you need throughout the week.
  2. If you are going to pre-cook your hard boiled eggs, I honestly have no idea how to hard boil an egg in a pot, so you’ll have to google that if you need a refresher on that.  Hard boil enough eggs to make it through the work week.  Put your eggs in a carton and mark them with an “x”, using a pencil, so you remember which are hard boiled.
  3. Purchase some greens at the local farmers market or grocery store, or if you’re lucky, pick some from your garden.

When you’re ready for breakfast:

  1. Grab a leafy green.
  2. Cut some pre-baked sweet potatoes lengthwise so they fit nicely in your wrap
  3. Cut your hard boiled eggs in half, or cook eggs of your choice
  4. Put eggs and sweet potatoes in wrap (I think the sweet potatoes are good cold, so I don’t bother heating them up – but you could if you like.  When I do heat up the baked sweet potatoes, I like to heat them up by cutting lengthwise and then placing in a cast-iron pan on the stove top with a little butter.  Flip after a couple minutes to warm them thoroughly.)
  5. Add any other ingredients you have on hand
  6. Sprinkle with seasoning of your choice – I am in love with the combination of turmeric, nutritional yeast, and sea salt
  7. Wrap and enjoy

One of the keys to eating healthy is to have healthy foods on hand.  Seems like a no-brainer, but if you have fresh food on hand, you will not be as tempted to go to the cupboard where your processed foods live.  Make it a habit to have these green wraps on hand at all times and start wrapping your other meals in leafy greens too!

Beef Stroganoff

Ever since my work commute went from 10 minutes to 45 minutes I have made it my mission to create super simple and quick dinners during the work week.  I don’t want to spend the little time I have during the week in the kitchen; I ‘d much rather spend it snuggling with my fur babies and Shane!

Seriously, this dinner can be made in 30 minutes or less! Also, the leftovers make a great work week lunch !! I love that because it saves me time!!

Note: I like to cook with grass fed beef which we purchase from one of Shane’s co-workers.  Grass fed beef offers  more “good” fats, and fewer “bad” fats. They are richer in antioxidants; including vitamins E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. Furthermore, they do not contain traces of added hormones, antibiotics or other drugs.  I know that these cows had a  normal life and humane death- that is important to me.

This recipe serves ~4

1 package (2 steaks or about 1 lb) tenderized round steak (I think it would be fine with any cut of beef)

2 heaping Tbsp Spelt flour (whole wheat or white would be fine too)

2 Tbsp Bragg’s Aminos

2 Tbsp Sunflower Oil (whatever oil you like to cook with is fine)

Organic Beef bullion: to taste.- I use Better Than Bullion

~2 cups water

4 servings of whole wheat egg noodles (option 1)

veggie noodles (option 2, use as much as you like!)

Method:

Take the tenderized round steak out of the freezer and place in the refrigerator before you leave for work in the morning.  When you get home, the meat will be soft enough to cut through but still firm enough to make cutting easy.  Slice into thin strips.  Start the water for the noodles (if making).  For the meat: heat a large pan with 1 Tbsp of oil. Add 1/2 of the meat.  You want to cook the meat in small batches so that it sears and gets that nice dark brown caramelized coating (if you toss all of the meat in at once it tends to steam rather than sear).

Searing Round Steak

Searing Round Steak

Once one batch is seared you can take it out and do the same with the next batch. Note: you are not cooking the meat all of the way through at this point so don’t worry if there is still pink visible.  Once all of the meat has been seared you can toss it all back into the pan and add the flour.  Stir to coat the meat.

Flour coated steak

Flour coated steak

Now add Bragg’s Aminos and water and continue to stir.  A nice gravy will form.  You may decide that you don’t need to add any bullion, I would give it a taste and season to your liking.  Now turn the stroganoff on low and put a cover on it.  The meat will cook through in a very short period of time, it will be completely done by the time the noodles are finished.  Cook the noodles according to the directions. Drain the noodles.  Place stroganoff on top of noodles and done!  I sometimes add peas to the mixture, that is pretty tasty too.strog6

Shane likes the noodle version of this and I like to eat my stroganoff with Zucchini  or Cabbage noodles (pictured).  The cabbage noodles are basically thinly cut cabbage which has been sauteed until tender.  Granted, the purple cabbage noodles with stroganoff are not very photogenic, but they sure taste good!

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