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Breakfast Inspiration

While playing a little work team trivia, I was inspired to write about the joys of breakfast. I know a lot of folks who skip breakfast or suck it out of a straw, but having a few go to options can help fuel the day with nutrition and flavor. I like easy options in the morning that I can get started while I am getting ready for the day or they are really quick. Below are 5 of my go to breakfast options.  I certainly could add another five, but went with speed and variety. Check it out and let me know your thoughts. 

Grown Up Oatmeal

Ingredients:

1/3 cup rolled oats

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp maple syrup 

1 tsp chia seeds

1 tsp ground flaxseed

1 tsp butter

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup hot water

1/3 cup fresh blueberries

1/8 cup granola (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Add oats, cinnamon, syrup, seeds and water to a bowl. Let sit for 15 minutes. (Great time to shower or get dressed).
  2. Microwave for 2 minutes, add milk and butter and stir well.
  3. Top with granola and enjoy.

Oven Poached Eggs

Ingredients:

1 egg

6 tbsp of egg whites (2 eggs worth)

1 tsp chopped green onion 

Oven safe egg poacher

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray the dish with Pam or wipe down with oil of choice. Fill one with the cracked whole egg and evenly pour the egg whites in the remaining two. 
  3. Sprinkle green onion and salt and pepper on each egg
  4. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes. (Longer end if oven is not preheated.
  5. Remove and enjoy with toast or a grain bar.

Avocado Toast

Ingredients:

2 slices of whole wheat toast

1/2 of avocado

2 eggs

1 tsp oil of choice

Pinch onion powder

Pinch of garlic powder

Cayenne (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Toast bread. While toasting, heat a skillet with oil and fry the eggs, seasoning them with salt and pepper.
  2. Cut avocado in half and remove pit. (Wrap half in a paper towel and put it back in the fridge. Scoop out the half and evenly mash it to the toasts.
  3. Sprinkle seasoning on the avocado then top with an egg.
  4. Enjoy.

Açaí Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients:

1 banana (frozen or fresh)

1 cup of ice (if banana is fresh)

2 tbsp açaí powder

1/4 cup raspberries

1/4 cup strawberries

1/4 cup blueberries 

1/4 cup granola

1/2 cup of milk or nut or oat milk of choice

Directions:

  1. Add banana, powder, milk and ice to a blender. Blend until smooth. (1 min)
  2. Add mixture to a bowl. Top with berries and granola.
  3. Enjoy.

Heritage Flakes Cereal

Ingredients:

2 tsp chia seeds

2 tsp ground flaxseed

1/3 cup blueberries

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 to 3/4 cup of milk

1 cup of heritage flakes cereal

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a bowl, top with milk and enjoy. (I like to let it sit for a few minutes so that the chia seeds can absorb some of the milk.)
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To Press or Pour?

If you start your day with a strong cup of joe for more than just the jolt of caffeine, you also care about the flavor that really drives the coffee experience. While I will admit that a Keurig adds simplicity to getting that morning cup of joe quickly, there’s something to be said for the more traditional methods, pour over and French press coffee.

Pour Over

Pour over coffee allows for more control over the quality of the cup of joe. To start, some fresh ground beans go along way to a quality cup of coffee. If not, already ground coffee works as well. The real magic happens with a slow pour of boiling water over the ground coffee, where the pourer can ensure an even pour over the grounds to maximize the flavor in the cup of morning joy. An additional benefit to this method is the filtering ensures the cafestol, an oil in coffee beans that affects how the body metabolizes and regulates cholesterol, is filtered out. This gem of a method also comes at the fraction of the cost of some new modern tools at less than $20 for a kit. I found my glass pour over at Tuesday Morning. Other place you can likely find them inexpensively include Big Lots and Amazon.

Pro Tip: If you are trying to cut back on the sugar, try adding half of what you would usually use to the grounds before pouring the water over. The sugar gets better incorporated into the dripped coffee and reduces the need for the lump sum of coffee that is typically used.

French Press

A French press involves steeping the grounds in boiling water for at least 20 minutes to create a rich and bold flavor in the cup of coffee. When using a high quality bean, this method maximizes the flavor of the cup of coffee and ensures your cup of joe will be satisfying and strong. Similar to pour over coffee, this method is great to include half the sugar in the steeping process for reduced sugar consumption. The French Press can also be inexpensive with traditional glass devices. Stainless steel options, though more expensive, could be preferred for retaining the heat of the coffee, if you prefer to slow sip throughout the morning.

Pro Tip: Be sure to find the appropriate filters as this method tends to retain coffee oils such as cafestol which can impact cholesterol regulation in the body.

While more flavorful than other methods, the richness of the French press is likely best as a treat and had in all its glory. For the everyday use, a nice pour over still delivers more flavor and a consistent cup of coffee than some of the quicker more modern methods. I for one am in favor of tradition.

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Gift Ideas for Home Chefs

Every year it’s always a question of what to get loved ones for the holidays. With so many foodies stepping up their kitchen game, there are endless options of kitchen tools for easy food wins with new food creations. Below are my top three recommendations for kitchen must haved.

  1. Quality Knives are are must. Every home chef needs a set of good knives. The quality of the knives impacts not just the neatness of the cut or dice, but also the speed of food prep. After years of changing out knives every couple of years, I was thrilled to discover the Cutco brand of knives. While the expense is certainly on the front end, these knives come with a forever guarantee. I personally started with the 3-piece sheath set at about $300 and it is a set that can always be added to. With the holidays, there are bound to be sales for this great gift for home chefs.
  2. A Garlic Press is a kitchen must have. As a deep lover of garlic, I use at least a head of garlic per dish and sometimes the effort of peeling and chopping garlic leaves my nails smelling like garlic the next day. The Chic Chic press I received was hands down one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten. This is great for small amounts for dressings or marinades, or large amounts for roasts or rubs. At less than $20 for a good press, this is an easy win for a gift for a favorite home chef.
  3. An oil mister is an undervalued kitchen gem. With the new interest in air fryers and other healthy eating appliances, an oil mister is a great way to make proteins crispy, add minimal oil to a salad or grease a pan for morning egg scrambles. My Misto oil mister has served me very well. I’ve been able to use it for both avocado and olive oil which has been great for mixing things up.

These are three gems that I use daily in most cases. If you would like to gift my top three kitchen gems, check out Cutco’s website for their specials on knives. The other two can be found through Amazon or specialty shops such as Williams and Sonoma.