Easy Winter Breakfast

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Good morning. Hope you all are staying nice and warm. What’s on the menu for breakfast? Though I’ve got some oatmeal at my desk (same as it ever was), I’m sort of wishing it was this concoction I enjoyed over the weekend:brown rice and egg whites

Once upon a time, I thought breakfast came in a brown paper packet that you added hot water to. Learning how to make basic rolled oats at the ripe old age of 23 was kind of a game-changer. Since then, things have only gotten better—and weirder.

Of course, I know there are plenty of you out there who are, like, eggs & rice, nbd, Jess. But when you add caramelized onion, kale, and goat cheese to said eggs (or egg whties) and rice, it really makes the morning meal that much more special. That’s a lot of “m”s, huh?

This isn’t so much a recipe as an idea of a recipe—a delicious, nutritious sketch, if you will. All you need for this is some cooked brown rice, some kind of protein like cooked eggs or egg whites, and whatever cooked veggies your little heart desires. Next time I’m throwing in some mushrooms because this umami tooth is not f***ing around. Just please don’t forget the onions!

What’s your favorite breakfast of late? 

What I Ate Wednesday #144: Snow day

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Welcome to the first What I Ate Wednesday post of 2014. Or okay, the first one about food actually consumed in 2014. Ironically, this week I’m giving you a look at last Friday, on which I took my last vacation day of 2013.  Whatever works, I guess. It was “use it or lose it,” which is why I took so many random days off in November and December. I am and am not looking forward to working full weeks at my clinical job now that the new year has started. On the one hand, it was nice to have the extra time to do other things, but on the other, it was really stressful to squeeze in as much as I could on the days I was there. So this was a nice way to spend a snow day, and I got to eat a lot of delicious things. As always, many thanks to the lovely Jenn of Peas & Crayons for hosting the weekly link party—hop on over there to see more WIAW from other bloggers!

  • Breakfast: Quinoa with kale, roasted veggies, egg whites, and goat cheese
  • Lunch: Leftover red lentil chili; salad; a toasted whole wheat sandwich thin with hummus and roasted eggplant
  • Snack: Plain Greek yogurt with cinnamon, cereal, and fig & ginger jam
  • Dinner: Shakshuka at Hummus Place in the West Village, along with some mezze I shared with my friend Anna. We had falafel, roasted eggplant in tahini, and roasted cauliflower. And about a gallon of mint tea, which our server kept bringing. She even sent us each home with a cup to go, on the house. So nice! The restaurant also serves wine and beer, but as I’d had a glass of red wine at a nearby bar before dinner, I was more than happy to sit hot tea. It was the coldest night in 20 years, according to the chitchat on WNYC.
  • Dessert: One of these chocolate-covered cherries my aunt and her husband brought back from Seattle. So delicious!

Man, I could eat shakshuka pretty much every day and not get sick of it. Naturally, Saturday morning, I had to buy eggs and canned tomatoes so I could make my own. Traditionally, you poach the eggs in the spicy tomato sauce, but I usually make a short-cut version in which I just top a mix tomato sauce and veggies with a poached egg. Not exactly authentic, but super-satisfying.

What food could you eat every day and not get sick of? 

Shortcut Shakshuka

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My temporary aversion to egg yolks was overpowered by a ridiculous craving for shakshuka last week. Though egg yolks do contain saturated fat and cholesterol (about 185-215 mg), they are also a rich source of lutein, zeaxanthin (key for eye health), vitamins A, D, E, and K, and choline. That’s also where you find the calcium, folate, and iron. In the context of a healthy, balanced diet, there is room for a few whole eggs per week.

Current recommendations from the American Heart Association dictate that people keeping an eye on their cholesterol (the LDL—or “bad”—cholesterol, in particular), should limit cholesterol intake to 200 mg or less per day. If someone wants to have an egg per day, they can do so if they take it into account that it will cover basically all their cholesterol for the day, and should increase vegetable intake and replace certain animal sources of protein and fat with vegetable-based sources. However, it might be more realistic to limit intake of egg yolks to a few times a week if cholesterol is a concern.

So back to the shakshuka…Though the traditional variation of this dish involves poaching the eggs in the tomato sauce, I did not feel like waiting. Or being particularly traditional. I had made tomato sauce a few days earlier, so that served as the perfect base. You can use store-bought if you have a brand you like, but seriously, making your own is so easyIMG_4013

Anyway, all you do is zap some spinach in the microwave. The add the tomato sauce (~1 cup) and whatever vegetables you want to add. I had some roasted eggplant, roasted broccoli, and caramelized onion to play with. Microwave for 1-2 minutes. Top with a poached egg (which I also made in the microwave…) and feta.

It totally hit the spot. Craving satisfied, daily cholesterol needs met.

Do you like eggs with tomato sauce? My sister hates this combo, but it’s one of my absolute favorites.

Black Garlic Quinoa Stir-Fry

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Have you ever tried fermented black garlic? I saw some when I was at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago,and I just had to try it. I’m glad I did! It’s mild and a little bit sweet and adds a note of wtf-is-this-awesomeness to a humble stir-fry.

black garlic quinoaI made this the other night when faced with a craving for a grain & veggie /vehicle-for-poached-egg dinner. I made a large amount so I would have leftovers for the next day, but you can definitely make a smaller amount if preferred.

Serves 2 (or 1, twice)


  • ~2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 head black garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 10-oz package shredded brussels sprouts
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce (optional)
  • salt & pepper to taste, if desired
  • ~1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup roasted golden beets
  • 2 poached eggs
  • tahini, for drizzle (optional)


  1. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and cook a few minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add shredded brussels sprouts and cook until wilted and hot. Add soy sauce and salt/pepper if using.
  4. Add quinoa and beets. Cook until flavors are well-blended.
  5. Serve hot. Divide into two bowls and top each with a poached egg. Drizzle with tahini if desired.

Have you ever tried black garlic? What are some of your favorite dinner recipes? 

Do’s & Don’ts of Brunch

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IMG_2117I go through phases sometimes where I feel the need to take breaks from social media because whenever I log onto Facebook it seems like everyone is going on more vacations, having more sex (or so I—probably wrongly—assume from status updates about saccharine couple-y things), and eating more brunch than me.

But then I go through phases where I’m too busy eating brunch and having sex and (pretending I’m) on vacation to care. The pendulum swings one way and then the other and then the other…or however the saying goes.

Though I’m in between these two modes right now (aka Facebook doesn’t bother me that much but I still have time for it), I appreciated this Glamour magazine Do’s & Don’ts of Eating Brunch. As an early riser, “brunch” is usually straight-up lunch for me, but calling it brunch makes me feel like I’m living that Big-City Life or something. 17-year-old me would think my 27-year-old self was super-lame for waking up so damn early on weekends, but hey, DNA.

A few of my personal brunch Do’s & Don’t’s:

  • Water before coffee. Coffee before booze, especially if you order drinks before deciding what to eat—it’s easier to make good decisions  (food-related and otherwise) when your head is clear.  Whether I order alcohol depends on whether I have anything in my stomach and what else I have to do that day.  I usually skip the mimosa (the OJ is way too sweet) in favor of plain sparkling wine or a bellini—peach puree and champagne are lovely together. A bloody mary can be a good choice too, as long as you keep in mind that you’re likely getting a lot of sodium in there.
  • Eat for energy—I usually choose my meal based on what I think will help me feel energized and ready to take on the rest of the day. I’m an easy sell when it comes to anything with poached eggs and veggies. Bonus points for avocado. I also try to go for things that involve mixed greens as a side. A mix of carbs, protein, and healthy fat helps keep me satisfied. 
  • If you’re craving bacon, order bacon. If you don’t, you’re just going to be thinking about it all day/week/whatever. Ignoring a craving sets up up for feeling deprived and overdoing it later.

Is it “brunch” or “lunch” for you? What do you usually order? 

Breakfast Ideas

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For my last Masters course, I’ve been working on a research study about breakfast consumption, so this all-important first meal of the day has been on my mind a lot.

In fact, the initial seeds for the project were planted during a discussion/debate with someone who started their day with a red bull and a cigarette. Many people insist they’re too busy in the morning to eat anything, but regular breakfast intake has been consistently associated with a lower BMI, adequate nutrient intake, and improved performance and work and school.

ubiquitous bowl of zucchini bread oats
ubiquitous bowl of zucchini bread oats

It’s no secret I’m partial to oatmeal. Here are a few of my favorites:

When I’m not eating oatmeal, sometimes I’ll have pancakes, egg white scrambles with lots of veggies, yogurt bowls, or green smoothies. Basically, the world could end, and I would still make breakfast.

My personal breakfast equation goes a little something like:
fresh fruit/vegetable + whole grain (oats, bread, cereal) + protein and/or fat (peanut butter, yogurt, cheese, milk, etc)

The mix of different nutrients helps keep me energized and satisfied until lunch, and way more likely to keep making good choices throughout the day since I have adequate brain function. Our brains need fuel to think clearly—waiting until we’re past the point of hunger clouds our judgment. Not so helpful if you’re scanning a takeout menu at 2 pm.

Self Magazine’s nutrition blog also has some great, easy  breakfast ideas that happen to be under 350 calories each.

What’s your favorite breakfast? 


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Happy Monday—how’s it going? Pardon yesterday’s radio silence. I spent a lot of time this weekend out enjoying the city: among other things, there was oyster happy hourbrunch, wandering around Chelsea Market, a wine-tasting class, dinner, and a movie.

Sometimes I complain about working from home and “having” to set my own schedule, but I’m truly grateful for days I can say yes to things and enjoy a Sunday-like Monday. After enjoying a late breakfast outside in the sun (without a sweater or jacket!), I’d definitely say this one is off to a good start. It’s back to the grind tomorrow, so I’m thankful to be enjoying such a nice day.

What was the highlight of your weekend? What are you looking forward to this week?