Jan 312016
 

People everywhere are predicting the big food trends that are coming in 2016. Things like poke, matcha, and acai bowls (or anything in a bowl for that matter) are definitely coming atcha this year. Another trend I’m particularly excited about? Breakfast salads.
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I have to say it’s pretty brilliant. Why should salads be restricted to lunch and dinner? Why not start getting those greens in first thing? Nobody puts baby in the corner. Breakfast salads are here and there’s no end to the possibilities. Whether it’s a savory version with a fried egg on top or a sweet version like this one–with grapefruit, ricotta, almonds, chia seeds, and honey–breakfast salads are the perfect quick healthy way to start your day.
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Nutrition Highlights: They say it’s the most important meal of the day, but breakfast can very quickly veer off the nutrition. The truth is most quick and easy options–like bagels, pastries, cheesy-bacony sandwiches and even many granola bars, yogurts and oatmeals–can be packed with added sugar and fat, and lacking in any real fiber or protein to get you going. A breakfast salad is the perfect way to make sure you’re getting a little bit of everything you need–fiber and vitamins/minerals from the greens and fruit, protein, fiber, and healthy fat from the nuts and seeds, and protein and calcium from the ricotta (or greek yogurt). The honey here is definitely optional and I would might omit it if I was using a sweeter fruit (like a pear), but with the tart grapefruit a tiny drizzle was perfect.
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Perfect Breakfast Salad Equation!
(a non-recipe recipe)
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What’s in it:
GREENZ- 2 cups (like arugula, kale, mixed greens)
FRUIT – 1/2 cup (like grapefruit, berries, mango, melon, apples, grapes, pears, pomegranate seeds)
NUTS- 1-2 tablespoons chopped, bonus flavor points for toasted (like almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts, pecans)
SEEDY THINGS- 1 tablespoon (like chia, flax, amaranth, sprouted buckwheat, sprouted millet, quinoa, hemp seed)
DAIRY – 1/4 cup (like ricotta, greek yogurt, or cottage cheese)
DRIZZLE – Tiny drizzle of olive oil and/or honey and a sprinkle of salt
Other fun options – 1/4 avocado, 1/4 cup whole grains (like cooked quinoa or farro), 1/4 cup cooked beets, anything else you can think of!

How to make it: Literally mix those things together and eat –> Breakfast of champions. Go.
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Dec 132015
 

Growing up in a half-Jewish home, Hannukah meant a lot of things to me. It meant lighting the menorah (which sat on our mantle above our hanging stockings) every night and placing bets on which candle would last the longest. It also meant underwear night, which was the night that instead of cool gifts, we got new underwear (don’t ask). And of course, it meant good food with a great family–including latkes. With one night of Hannukah left, it’s not too late to get in your latke fill. This version has some extra veggies, extra color, and some upgraded toppings.
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This grown up version version is made with butternut squash and beets in addition to the standard potatoes and onions which make them healthier, tastier, and prettier all at once. The topping are just as important as the base, and I served mine with some homemade chunky apple sauce or with a yogurt-chive sauce and smoked salmon. I liked them, a lat…ke.
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The one issue I have had with latkes in the past is the pain of grating all the veggies. This year I enlisted my new spiralizer and spiralized all the veggies using the thinnest blade. Not only was this much easier, but it also made gorgeous spirals that added a cool shape to the latkes.
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Nutrition highlights: These latkes are way healthier than your average latkes with added phytochemicals, antioxdiants, and fiber from the beets and butternut squash. They also get a little protein from the eggs that bind them together. By making my own apple sauce, I could make sure it didn’t have too much added sugar, and instead of sour cream, I made a creamy sauce with fat free greek yogurt. Although I still pan friend mine, you could also bake these instead for a lower fat version.
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Beet, Butternut Squash & Potato Latkes
makes 15-20 small latkes
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What’s in them:
1 medium russet potato, peeled
2 medium beets, peeled
Approximately 1/3 butternut squash, peeled*
1 small or medium onion
2 large eggs, egg
1/3 cup whole wheat or regular flour
1 teaspoon salt, plus a little extra for sprinkling over the cooked latkes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Vegetable oil (I used sunflower seed oil) for pan frying
Optional toppings:
– homemade or store bought apple sauce
– chive-yogurt sauce or low fat sour-cream with or without smoked salmon

For the chive-yogurt sauce:
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
To make it: combine all the ingredients, stir, taste, and season to taste.

For the apple sauce:
2-3 apples, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar (more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of salt
To make it: Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes or until apples are very soft. Taste and add additional sugar/spices to your tastes. For chunky sauce, just smush the apples a bit with your spoon as they cook. For a smooth sauce, run through the blender or food processor.

How to make them:
1. Shred all the vegetables using a box grater or thinnest spiralizer blade. If using a spiralizer, run a knife through the spiralized veggies a few times so the strands are not too long.
2. Wrap veggies in paper towels and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Careful with the beets…those guys stain like woah.
3. Combine the veggies, egg, flour, salt/pepper and stir until well combined. Note, everything will look pretty red at this point, that’s ok.
4. Heat a large non stick skillet over medium-high, once hot add 1 tablespoon of oil. Spoon about 2-3 tablespoons of mixture into the pan per latke, making sure you leave enough room for flipping. Flatten mounds slightly while they cook. After 2-3 minutes or when golden brown, flip the latkes and cook the reverse side for another 2-3 minutes.
5. Transfer cooked latkes to a paper-towel lined wire rack or plate to cool.
6. Add another tablespoon of oil per batch and continue until all your latkes are cooked.
7. Serve with your choice of toppings (I did half apple sauce, half chive-yogurt with smoked salmon). Enjoy!

*Note: you want to have approximately equal amounts of potato, beets, and butternut squash so you can adjust the amount you use of each based on the size of your veggies
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Nov 272015
 

Thursday November 26th, 8:27 pm: “I will never ever eat again.”
Friday November 27th, 9:02 am: “I’m starving, where is the pie?”

It happens to all of us: After feeling more stuffed Thanksgiving night than the bird in the middle of the table, somehow we wake up the next morning even more ravenous than usual. May it’s the sugar hangover. Maybe it’s the regular hangover. Or maybe it’s the fact that we know there’s a fridge full of leftovers that have somehow become even more delicious overnight. To combat those pie craving and get back on track, I made this hearty Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal with stone ground oats, quinoa, and tons of healthy toppings. Let the leftovers wait until lunch time.
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Homemade oatmeal is nothing like that stuff in the packets. By cooking it on the stove or in the crockpot with lots of spices (and in this case, a whole can of pumpkin), the flavor and texture are so much better than that instant stuff. And even though it’s not “instant”, it’s still pretty darn quick and can be done in 30 minutes on the stove (or overnight in the crockpot if you’re more a set it and forget it kind of person). The other secret to oatmeal nirvana is an amazing array of toppings–nuts, seeds, fruit, you name it. The world is your…bowl of oatmeal?
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Nutrition highlights: In this recipe, I mixed two different grains (well one is technically a seed) to maximize nutrition. The steel cut oats provide complex carbohydrates and tons of fiber while the quinoa provide a complete source of protein, even more fiber, and lots of vitamins and minerals like manganese, magnesium, iron and folate among others. The can of pureed pumpkin (the unsweetened stuff!) adds more than just amazing flavor, it also is loaded with antioxidants, fiber, and beta carotene. This recipe has virtually no added sugar but can be adjusted to your taste. The toppings can be incredibly healthy as well, with protein, healthy fats, and fiber from things like chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, toasted pecans, or coconut. The best part about this is it’s will keep you seriously full until lunch time (but not in a unbutton your pants kind of way).
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Pumpkin Spice Quinoa Oatmeal Bowls
Makes 4-6 servings
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What’s in it:
1 cup steal cut oats
1/2 cup quinoa (any color is fine), rinsed
1 14.5 oz can pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (or 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg)
1 tablespoon maple syrup (admit for no sugar added, add more if you like a sweeter oatmeal)
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or any other milk you like)
Topping options (any combination of your favorites): pomegranate seeds, chopped apples or pears, chia seeds, hemp hearts, pumpkin seeds, toasted or candied pecans, slivered almonds, roasted coconut chips, (brown sugar or maple syrup if you have a sweet tooth).

Step -1. I skipped this part due to laziness, but many recipes recommend toasting oats/quinoa in a skillet with a little bit of coconut oil for 1-2 minutes prior to making the oatmeal.
1. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan on the stovetop.
2. Once boiling, add the quinoa and steel cut oats, turn heat down to low/medium and let simmer for 5 minutes. Whisk in pureed pumpkin and spices and simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
3. Add the almond milk and maple syrup and turn off the heat.
4. Serve with a little additional almond milk if you like a looser oatmeal. Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

*If you prefer to use the slow cooker, combine all the ingredients and cook on low for ~6 hours.
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Oct 182015
 

It’s apple week on cook tush! After a big day of apple picking last Saturday, followed by lugging approximately 20 pounds of apples back from Westchester to Manhattan, I had to make good use of our loot. That means I have not one, but TWO apple recipes for you this week. Here’s the first (and don’t tell the other recipe, but my favorite of the two)– Apple Pie French Toast Bake with Almond Crumble. Yes, you can eat this for breakfast. You’re welcome.
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4 things will happen if you make this recipe: 1) you will be shocked by how easy it is, 2) your house will smell like heaven, 3) your family will love you, like a lot, and 4) I forget, I’m too busy eating french toast.
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Something about french toast seems decadent and naughty…the kind of breakfast that leaves you needing a sugar-induced nap about an hour later. But, if you think about it, the staples of french toast are just eggs, bread, and milk. Sure, some people choose white bread, half and half, and add a whole lot of sugar, but in this version I used a multigrain loaf, unsweetened almond milk, and virtually no sugar. Oh, and apples. Lots of apples.
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I used 3 different types of apples just because I had a good variety from my apple picking adventures, and wanted a mix of sweet and tart apple flavor, but you can really use any you have on hand. While the apples are sauteing, you let the bread cubes soak up a mixture of almond milk, egg, cinnamon, vanilla mixture. Then you toss in those tasty apples, top with a little almond-sunflower seed-brown sugar mixture for a crunchy topping, and you wait for the magic to happen.
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Nutrition highlights: There’s absolutely nothing to feel guilty about when it comes to this recipe, and I actually can’t think of a much more balanced breakfast option out there. The combo of hearty multigrain bread, nuts/seeds, eggs, almond milk, and apples provides the perfect mix of complex carbs, fiber, protein, healthy fat, and vitamins to get your day started right and keep you satisfied until lunch. If you can keep your family from devouring the whole thing (good luck), you can also pack it up into tupperware to eat for breakfast throughout the work-week. The only way this recipe can go wrong (or right?) is by covering it in maple syrup, or dare I say, vanilla ice cream. But let the record show I’m not suggesting that. I’m not doing it right now either. Definitely not.
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Apple Pie French Toast Bake with Almond Crumble
Makes about 6-8 servings*
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What’s in it:
For the french toast-
– 1/2 large loaf of multigrain bread, ideally a few days old, cut into 1 inch cubes (about 5 cups cubes)
– 4 large eggs
– 1 1/2 cups vanilla almond milk**
– 1 teaspoons cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the apples-
– 3-4 apples, thinly sliced
– 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1 tablespoon coconut oil
For the topping-
– 1/3 cup roughly chopped raw nuts and seeds (I used almonds and sunflower seeds)
– 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar (depending on your sweetness preference)
– 1/4 teaspoon salt

How to make it:
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Fill your casserole dish with the cubed bread.
2. Mix the eggs, almond milk, 1 tsp cinnamon, vanilla, and 1/4 tspn salt in a bowl. Pour over the bread cubes and toss and press down on the bread cubes with a fork so they soak up all that goodness.
3. While it soaks, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick pan and add your sliced apples. Sprinkle with 1/2 tspn cinnamon and saute for about 5-7 minutes until slightly softened and beginning to caramelize.
4. Add the apples to the casserole dish and toss so they are well distributed throughout the bread cubes. Make sure a few slices end up on top because it looks pretty. If you want, you can also set aside a few of the sauteed apple slices to use as a garnish for serving.
5. Prepare the topping by combining the chopped nuts/seeds of your choosing with the brown sugar and salt. Set aside.
6. Bake the casserole for 25 minutes, remove from the oven and sprinkle with the nut-brown sugar topping, and bake for an additional 15 minutes (40 minutes total).
7. Serve with a little maple syrup (or vanilla ice cream as a dessert!) and enjoy!

Notes:
*I used a medium sized “gratin” casserole, but you can also double the ingredients and bake it in a 9×13 casserole dish to serve a bigger crowd.
**I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk to keep this dish very low sugar, but if you want it to be slightly sweet, use regular vanilla almond milk or add a few tablespoons of maple syrup to the egg/milk mixture.
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This is the perfect fall breakfast for any day of the week, or to impress guests with. I have a feeling it will be making a day-after-thanksgiving appearance in my house this year!
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Stay tuned later this week for apple picking recipe adventure #2. It’s another healthy one, to make up for all those apple cider donuts we may or may not have had at the orchard.
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Jul 072015
 

This just in–trends are no longer just for clothes, shoes, and hair. Food trends are taking the world by storm. Kale, for example. I’m pretty sure kale existed in nature before 2013, but I sure hadn’t seen, tasted, or juiced it before. Now it’s everywhere all the time (and I’m not mad about it). Don’t get me started on “bone broth”. And if I see another instagram post of a big fluffy donut or ice cream sandwich…well let’s be honest, I’ll probably just like it. And finally, the trend I’m talking about today–toast. So simple, so versatile, so delicious. I’m jumping on the toast train with 2 simple toast recipes: Avocado, Lemon, Chili & Sesame and Blackberry-Nectarine Ricotta & Honey.
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Guess how long it took me to make not one but TWO awesome toast varieties you see below. Just GUESS. 10 minutes, that’s how long. The key to toast success is three fold. One, you need perfect toasted bread. None of that processed pre-sliced stuff here. My favorite is something sturdy and seedy like a multigrain loaf. Two, fresh, simple toppings. Here I used avocado brightened up by fresh lemon juice, and ricotta topped with seasonal fruit. Three, texture and color. Don’t underestimate the power of some black sesame seeds, chili flakes, and lemon zest or toasted pistachios and a drizzle of honey to make your toast that much more exciting.
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The real beauty of the toast trend is that it can be eaten for any meal of the day. It can be a perfect breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or even an impressive appetizer when you have guests over. You can add a poached egg on top for extra protein, or some fresh greens to get in an extra serving of veggies. The possibilities are endless.
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Nutritional Highlights: Toast is an amazing vehicle to get a variety of macro and micro nutrients into one meal. Using a healthy whole grain bread provides fibers and healthy carbs. My avocado toast has tons of healthy fat (adding an egg would up the protein too). The ricotta version has healthy fat and protein from ricotta (which is pretty low calorie compared to other cheeses at 50 cal per 2 tablespoons) and pistachios, and tons of vitamins from the fruit. Skip the honey if you’re watching your sugar intake, but I love the touch of sweetness. The other great thing about toast is it’s essentially just an open faced sandwich (duh) so you’re only eating 1 slice of bread instead of 2 to manage carbs and portions. I’ll toast to that.
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Two Perfect Toast “Recipes”
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Avocado-Lemon Toast with Sesame & Chili

What’s in it:
1 slice of thick whole grain bread, toasted
1/2 large avocado
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste
Optional (but encouraged) toppings: 1/4-1/2 teaspoon each fresh lemon zest, chili flakes, and black sesame seeds, a few cilantro leaves

How to make it:
1. Toast the bread.
2. Meanwhile, mix 1/4 of the avocado with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Slice the remaining 1/4 avocado thinly.
3. Spread the toast with the mashed avocado and then the sliced (note: using the mashed and sliced combo is for aesthetic purposes only…if you’re not serving this to guests feel free to just mash it all!)
4. Top with the chili flakes, lemon zest, black sesame seeds, cilantro leaves, and additional salt as needed.

Ricotta, Nectarine, & Blackberry Toast with Pistachios and Honey

What’s in it:
1 slice of thick whole grain bread, toasted
3 tablespoons ricotta
Fresh fruit: I used 1/2 nectarine and about 8 blackberries, but any berries/fruit would work!
Optional (but encouraged) toppings: 1 Tablespoon toasted pistachio (or other nut) and a drizzle of good honey.

How to make it:
1. Toast the bread.
2. Top with the ricotta, arrange fruit, sprinkle nuts, and drizzle with honey.
3. Eat.
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Oct 142014
 

Some people may be getting a little tired of the pumpkin spice EVERYTHING that is popping up everywhere, but let me tell you, I am NOT one of them. It’s finally fall–arguably the best season of all–so bring on the scarves, booties, brussel sprouts, apples and pumpkins. In the fall nothing is safe from being pumpkinized, and that’s exactly how it should be. Because I love pumpkin spice as much as the next 20-something female in New York City, I made this amazing and super healthy Maple Pumpkin “Pie” Parfait with Greek Yogurt, Granola, and Chia Seeds.
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If I could eat a slice of pumpkin pie covered in whipped cream every day of October and November, I would. Unfortunately I was not blessed with a metabolism that allows me to do this, so I have to get creative. As a disclaimer, this is certainly less decadent than a traditional pumpkin pie and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend serving it to your guests on Thanksgiving, but I do think it’s the perfect every-day snack, breakfast, or dessert for you to enjoy all fall. It was also incredibly easy to prepare–simply whisk pumpkin puree with spices, vanilla, and a little maple syrup, and layer it with greek yogurt and your favorite toppings (like granola, nuts, dried cranberries, chia or toasted coconut).
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Nutritional Highlights: Let’s talk about pumpkin, pumpkin. I know we don’t usually think that the healthiest foods come out of cans, but this is an exception. Canned pumpkin puree is really great for you, and way way way less labor intensive than roasting and pureeing your own pumpkins (although if you do that, more power to ya). First of all, it only has about 90 calories in a whole cup (and for each serving of this recipe you’ll only be eating about 1/2 a cup). Additionally, it’s high in fiber (7g per cup) which means a lot of great things for your body–keeps you full, helps keep things moving (if you know what I mean), and may also reduce your risk for heart disease by controlling your cholesterol. It has a ton of vitamin A which is important for vision as well as normal cellular functioning in the whole body. In this recipe, we up the nutrition even more by adding greek yogurt, which is high in protein and calcium, and chia seeds which are high in fiber. This is truly a guilt-free dessert that will satisfy your sweet tooth, keep you full and energized, and help you cozy up to fall.
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Maple Pumpkin “Pie” Parfait with Greek Yogurt, Granola, and Chia Seeds
makes 4 servings
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What’s in it:
1 15-oz can of pure pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons good quality maple syrup (less if you are watching sugar intake)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups non-fat greek yogurt (recommend plain but if you need extra sweetness vanilla would work)
Toppings: Low fat granola, chia seeds, dried cranberries, chopped nuts, toasted coconut

How to make it:
1. In a bowl, whisk the first 6 ingredients. For a chilled parfait, refrigerate mixture for at least 30 minutes or keep your can of pumpkin in the fridge before you begin.
2. Prepare your toppings. You can use any combination you like, but I mixed about 1/2 cup plain low fat granola with 1-2 tablespoons each of chopped pecans, chia seeds, dried cranberries, and toasted coconut. You can also just choose a granola that already has some of those ingredients.
3. Prepare your parfaits: Start with a scoop of the pumpkin mixture (about 1/4 cup), top with a layer of greek yogurt (about 1/2 cup), sprinkle with some of your toppings, top with another 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, and additional toppings. Repeat for the remaining parfaits, or if you’re just making one serving at a time, store the components separately until you whip up your next one.
4. Serve chilled and enjoy!!
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Yum. Enough said.
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Jul 102014
 

Ever get into a breakfast rutt? Are you a serial cereal eater? Do you wish your toast was toast? Looking to scramble your egg routine a bit? (Insert additional breakfast puns here). I find that more than any other meal, I am a creature of habit and often go months eating the exact same breakfast. For the past several months for me this has been cereal with almond milk, berries/banana, and cinnamon. A great breakfast, but I was looking for a change. I decided to go the savory route with these super healthy, protein-packed quinoa, veggie, and egg bites.
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A few great things about this recipe. 1) It’s the perfect refrigerator clean out recipe. You can pretty much throw in any type of vegetable or cheese and these will turn out great. 2) It’s easy to make and makes 6 servings so you’re set for the whole week. 3) These are SO healthy…stay tunes for more on that…
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Nutritional highlights: If you’re looking for a healthy breakfast you really can’t do much better than that. The bulk of these muffins are veggies and quiona, which provide tons of vitamins and protein. A few eggs to bind it together adds even more protein and some healthy fats. I used 2 egg whites and 2 whole eggs because the bulk of the nutrients in the egg are actually in the yolk (like B vitamin choline). Plus, contrary to popular belief, even though the yolk is high-ish in dietary cholesterol, it doesn’t actually seem to increase our blood cholesterol. So why not use all whole eggs? Of course you could, but to keep the calories in check I went with half and half. And two of these little cups are only 150 calories! That with a piece of fruit and a coffee (or two or three, oops) is the perfect breakfast.
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Mini Summer Vegetable & Quinoa Frittatas
makes 12 muffins (6, 2 muffin servings)
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What’s in it:
1/2 cup dry quinoa cooked in 3/4 cups water
1 leek, chopped
2-3 cups chopped vegetables (I used zucchini, yellow squash, and baby portobella mushrooms)
2 egg whites and 2 whole eggs
1/4 cup milk (I used soy milk but any type you have works)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
optional: 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese and 10 cherry tomatoes, sliced

How to make it:
1. Preheat oven to 375 and spray a muffin tin with olive oil spray.
2. Get your quinoa cooking. Note: Your quinoa box/bag probably says to use a (1:2 ratio), ie 1 cup of water for a 1/2 cup quinoa, but I like it to have a little bite and not be too mushy. But prepare according to your preferences!
3. While quinoa is cooking, saute your vegetables. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat and add your chopped leeks. Saute for 1 minute and then add your other chopped vegetables. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5-8 minutes until the vegetables a softened and slightly browned. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper and set aside.
4. In a large bowl, whisk egg whites, whole eggs, and milk. Add cooked quiona and vegetables and spoon into your prepared muffin tin. Top with three cherry tomato slices each and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
5. Bake for about 10 minutes or until frittatas are cooked through.
6. Enjoy hot or cold for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Notes:
1) This is more of a quiona-veggie muffin than it is a true frittata. If you’re looking for something light and fluffy and eggy, use more egg and less quinoa/veggies.
2) Feel free to swap any type of vegetable or cheese that you like.
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Here’s to switching up your breakfast routine this summer!
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