Weekday Breakfast to Go

eggbitesbaconmushroom

Despite following a #KetoLifestyle, I am lazy about making myself a proper weekday breakfast.¬† Before switching to the low-carb diet plan, I often ate oatmeal with berries, but, because that isn’t allowed on Keto, I’ve had to give that particular pleasure up. ūüė¶

I need to do a better job of spacing my meals out, so I’m not starving by the time I finally eat a meal, so I’m diving into the craze I’ve heard about but never tried: pressure cooker egg bites.¬† Once I looked at the recipes, I realized that they’re like a fluffy crustless quiche or hand held omelette, two things I love!¬† Since I have the tools I need to make them: an electric pressure cooker and a silicone egg mold insert, there’s no excuse left for not giving them a try.

There are many different ways to make egg bites.

  • Pure Protein – featuring just eggs, or eggs and meat
  • Vegetarian – using an egg substitute and vegetables, tofu, vegetarian cheese, or other sources of protein
  • Combo – eggs, meat, cheese and veggies
  • Super Combo – eggs, meat, cheese, veggies, plus cottage or ricotta cheese

Pressure Cooker Egg Bites

  • 6 Large Eggs
  • 1 Cup Shredded Cheese – I used 1/2 Cup Sharp Cheddar & 1/2 Cup Pepper Jack
  • 2 TBLS Finely Diced Onion
  • 2 TBLS Finely Chopped Bacon
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Baby Bella Mushrooms (Or Fresh Spinach Stemmed, Rolled and Chopped)
  • 1/4 Cup Yellow or Green Zucchini Diced (Or Bell Peppers)
  • 1/4 tsp Oregano (if desired)
  • 1/2 tsp Cajun Spice (if desired)
  • Freshly Ground Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Using olive oil spray, or olive oil and a paper towel, grease each individual cup of the egg bite mold.

In a pan, over medium heat, cook the bacon until browned, then add onion, mushrooms and zucchini and cook for about 3 minutes.

Whisk the eggs with your seasonings in a large measuring cup.  Add the cooked vegetable mixture and cheese and stir well.  Spoon or pour mixture into egg bite mold. It should fill all spots evenly to just below rim.  Cover egg mold with foil.

Add 1 1/2 c water to pressure cooker. Put trivet inside and set egg bite mold onto the trivet.  Close the lid and set machine to cook on high for 8 minutes and then allow to release naturally for 4 minutes.  Immediately remove the egg bite mold and then remove the egg bites from the mold so that they do not sit in any water that has pooled in the bottom of the mold.

Eat immediately or cool sightly then store in a covered container in the refrigerator to reheat for later meals or snacks.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat


Nutrition Facts
Calories 109 Calories from Fat 63
Total Fat 7g
Saturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 137mg
Sodium 208mg
Potassium 96mg
Total Carbohydrates 1g
Protein 7g
Vitamin A 14.6%
Vitamin C 15.1%
Calcium 12%
Iron 4.4%


Bacon, Gruy√®re & Spinach Quiche

bacongruyerespinachquiche

I love quiche.¬† It’s one of those dishes that can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or it can even be poured into mini muffin tins and made into appetizer sized servings.¬† Quiche is also one of the rare egg-dominant recipes that can be made ahead and frozen for later use.¬† This recipe is one I found in a Williams-Sonoma cookbook years ago, and one that is still featured on their website. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Bacon, Gruyère & Spinach Quiche

  • All-purpose flour for rolling out dough
  • 1 disk¬†cream cheese pie dough, thawed, or purchased piecrust
  • 6 thick-cut bacon slices, chopped
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruy√®re cheese

Prepare the pie dough (Cream Cheese Pie Dough link above) or remove purchased pie dough from package

Preheat oven to 400¬įF.

On a floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch round tart pan and trim the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold the overhang back over itself and pinch to create a sturdy edge. Pierce the dough all over with a fork. Freeze for 15 minutes.

Bake the pastry shell until the edges are lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool briefly. Reduce the oven temperature to 375¬įF.

Make the filling

In a frying pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all but 1 Tbs. of the fat from the pan, add the shallot and cook just until softened, about 1 minute. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the spinach mixture to the bowl and stir to combine.

Bake the quiche

Sprinkle the bacon and the cheese into the pastry shell. Pour in the spinach mixture. Bake until the filling is set and the crust is golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool briefly. Remove the pan rim, cut the quiche into 6 wedges and serve warm. If freezing, set aside to cool (see note below). Serves 6.

Note: To freeze, let the baked quiche cool completely. Wrap in aluminum foil and freeze for up to 2 months. To reheat, place the unwrapped quiche on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 325¬įF oven until heated through, about 40 minutes.

 

Do You Eat Breakfast Every Day?

fruitandoatsSince we were young we’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.¬† Turns out that Mom wasn’t just trying to keep us from shoving candy and junk food into our pie holes by making us eat breakfast.

It really is important to eat breakfast for some very good reasons:

  • Breakfast influences how we perform physically and mentally throughout the day.¬† According to John L. Ivy, PhD¬†University of Texas at Austin, “Breakfast immediately raises the body‚Äôs energy level and restores the blood glucose level to normal after an overnight fast.”
  • Kids who eat breakfast tend to eat healthier throughout the day
  • Skipping breakfast can make kids feel tired, restless and irritable
  • Choosing breakfast foods that are rich in whole grains, fiber, and protein while low in added sugar helps boost attention span, concentration, and memory
  • People who don’t eat breakfast tend to overeat later in the day and are more likely to be overweight
  • If you are trying to lose weight, breakfast kicks your metabolism into gear and helps get your body into calorie burning mode for the day.
  • Eating a good breakfast lowers levels of¬†“bad” LDL¬†cholesterol, lowers chances of getting diabetes, heart disease and being overweight (per WebMD.com)

Eating the right foods for breakfast is also important:

  • Oatmeal – Steel cut with fruit, almonds¬†and sweetened (if desired) with honey.¬† Another healthy option, the one that Barry Jay, Co-Founder of Barry’s Boot Camp, prefers, is to add a tablespoon or two of natural almond or peanut butter.¬† Avoid pre-packaged oatmeal that’s high in sugar and low in fiber.
  • Cheerios – Top with a sliced banana, and serve with non-fat milk and a hard boiled egg.
  • Greek Yogurt – A great “Grab and Go” option. High in protein, just add a pinch of cinnamon and a handful of blueberries or raspberries to sweeten.
  • Vegetable omelet¬†or scramble made with¬†3 egg whites¬†+ 1 egg yolk (which provides protein, vitamin A, choline and B vitamins) a handful of fresh spinach, chopped tomato, a few chopped broccoli or cauliflower florets and, if you desire, a bit of feta cheese.
  • Bananas, Apples, Berries – Easily¬†Digestible fiber that will keep you fuller longer
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake – chocolate whey protein powder, natural unsalted peanut (or almond) butter, ice, unsweetened almond or coconut milk, cinnamon, and water.
  • Whole Grain Bread Toasted – Topped with either: natural almond or peanut butter and a sliced banana; or a scrambled egg, atop a slice of cheese,¬†a few leaves of raw spinach and a slice of tomato

Any of these choices are hearty enough to keep you full until at least 10:00- 10:30 when you should have a mid-morning snack to keep you going.¬† Keeping your blood sugar steady throughout the day helps keep your energy¬†levels and attention up during the school day or work day, which is especially important if you are someone who operates heavy equipment or drives for a living.¬†¬†I’d want to be at my very best if that’s what I did!

If you’re dieting it’s important to eat small amounts between your main meals for the same reason.¬† When blood sugar crashes we are at our most vulnerable and most likely to reach for the nearest food to satisfy our hunger, which often isn’t the healthiest choice: drive-thru, pre-packaged snacks, etc.

quest-bar-cheat-clean

In my case, I always try (I don’t always succeed) to choose:¬† a piece of fruit with a cutiesjuiceindividually packaged cheese stick;¬† a low net carbohydrate protein bar (I like Quest Bars); or a hard boiled egg and a glass of fresh sqeezed or whole fruit (no sugar added) juice like Cuties Tangerine Juice.

If you’re like me, you do more in a day than most people and do for yourself last.¬† I, for one, am slowing down to take care of my health because if I don’t, the rest of the people around me will surely fall apart.¬† Moms are the grease that keep the squeaky wheel of the family¬†turning and we need to start taking care of ourselves today.¬† Yesterday is gone, we can’t change that, but we can change¬†tomorrow.

That change starts with breakfast,¬†even if it’s just a glass of juice (or an apple or banana) and a hard boiled egg that’s been pre-made and peeled to grab and go on the way out the door.

One way to make sure to have quick mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack on hand at work is to at least prepare your grab and go snacks on Sunday:

  • If you have a small to medium lunch or grocery¬†type¬†bag you can leave in the refrigerator that’s ideal.
  • Boil a dozen eggs; peel once they are cool enough to touch (I plunge mine in ice water to stop the cooking); put 5 into a zip bag and then into the lunch bag.¬† Put the other 7 into a second zip bag and put into the snack / deli drawer in your refrigerator.
  • Fill 5 snack sized zip bags with¬†1-2 TBLS each¬†natural (no sugar added) almond or peanut butter and put into lunch bag.
  • Put 5 medium sized Apples and 5 individually wrapped low-fat cheese sticks into the lunch bag and put into the refrigerator.
  • Make a note for yourself and put it with your car keys so you don’t leave without your snack bag.

It takes a very small¬†effort to eat breakfast when it’s something as simple as a banana and a hard boiled egg that you can grab on the way out the door to work.¬† Even if you¬†regularly eat out for lunch, you will likely eat less (and better) and will¬†get through your day with more energy and clarity if you have your snacks on hand to get you through the mid-morning and mid-afternoon danger zones.¬† Who knows, you might even lose a few pounds. ūüėČ

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

 

No fail Deviled Eggs

FullSizeRender_1According to Wikipedia, “Deviled eggs (US) or devilled eggs (UK), also known as stuffed eggs, angel eggs, eggs mimosa, Russian eggs, dressed eggs, picnic eggs are hard boiled eggs shelled, cut in half, and filled with the hard-boiled¬†egg’s yolk¬†mixed with other ingredients such as¬†mustard and mayonnaise,¬†but many other variants exist internationally. Deviled eggs are usually served cold. They are served as a side dish, appetizer, or a main course, and are a common holiday or party food.”

I couldn’t come up with a better description than theirs,¬†¬†but I’d add that¬†every chef, chef wannabe and home cook adds their own touches that make their deviled eggs anything but ordinary.

Some of the exotic ingredients I’ve seen¬†included in other¬†recipes for deviled eggs:

  • Greek Yogurt
  • Sour Cream
  • Cream Cheese
  • Sweet Pickle Relish
  • Horseradish
  • Wasabi Powder
  • Dill¬†Pickle
  • Sugar
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Jalapeno/Habanero Chilies
  • Chipotle Chilies
  • Turmeric
  • Green¬†Olives
  • Black Olives
  • Shredded Cheddar or Mexican Blend Cheese
  • Pimentos
  • Poppy Seed
  • Thyme
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Salsa
  • Minced Onion
  • Caviar
  • Cream
  • Capers

The ingredients that people top their deviled eggs with are as diverse as the ones they put inside, but those most commonly found include:

  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Paprika
  • Curry Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Chopped Chives
  • Dill
  • Caviar
  • Anchovy
  • Bacon Bits
  • Shrimp
  • Herring

I prefer mine as simple as can be:

Lisa’s Basic Deviled Eggs

  1. In a medium saucepan, in about 1 quart of cold water, place fresh eggs (I do 6-12 large or extra large)
  2. Over medium-high heat, bring pan of eggs & water to a boil
  3. When you reach a boil, set timer for 20 minutes and reduce heat to medium
  4. When timer goes off, immediately remove eggs and place into a bowl filled with ice water to stop the cooking process
  5. Peel the eggs, cut each in half lengthwise and place the yolks in a bowl
  6. Mash the yolks with a fork then add approximately 1 TBLS Spicy Creole Mustard (I like Zatarain’s)
  7. Add approximately (to your taste) 2 TBLS (1 TBLS per 6 eggs give or take) Mayonnaise (I like the taste and consistency of Best Foods) and stir with a fork until well blended and you have enough volume to fill all of the halves
  8. I use a pair of spoons to mound the egg yolk mixture into the empty egg white halves, but you can also put the mixture into a plastic bag (to pipe out with the end snipped off) or a pastry bag with a star tip attached for a neater presentation

I add a turn or two of freshly ground pepper and nothing else, but will occasionally sprinkle a little bit of paprika on the egg white halves BEFORE I fill them with the yolk mixture if I’m feeling fancy.

The temperature deviled eggs are served at is as varied as the ingredients people use to make them.  I prefer to loosely cover the eggs and quick chill them in the freezer, if I am short for time, or in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.

snapwareeggstorageChilling Tip:¬† If you don’t have a covered, locking storage/ transportation dish made specifically for deviled eggs, here is a simple way to protect your refrigerator (or freezer) and the food inside from absorbing the overpowering smell of egg:¬† Put a plate inside a gallon sized zip bag then place the eggs on the plate in the bag and close securely before chilling.

Picnic or tailgate tip: Prepare filling and transfer to a plastic zip bag.  Carry whites and yolk mixture separately in cooler.  Fill eggs on the spot, pressing filling out of snipped corner of bag.

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

 

Did You Know…?

freezer_openThere are many foods I didn’t know could be frozen, saving me¬†from the inevitable time when I need something like buttermilk, which I never have on hand when I come across a recipe that calls for it.¬† Learning this led me on an internet search to see what other seldomly stocked foods can be frozen for use later.

You Can Safely Freeze:

  • Buttermilk:¬† Fill an empty ice cube tray.¬† Freeze overnight and transfer frozen cubes to a freezer bag.¬† Keeps up to 3 months and each cube slot measures 1 ounce (1/8th of a Cup)
  • Bananas:¬† Freeze them overnight when they are at their ripest point¬†(when skin is browning but not going bad) in their skins. Using a sharp knife slice the frozen bananas in half lengthwise and peel off the skins.¬† Store in freezer bags for use in smoothies.¬† Homemade Frozen Bananas:¬†Put two frozen halves together with a popsicle stick between them and coat with melted chocolate. Immediately sprinkle with/roll in¬†nuts, coconut, or rainbow/other sprinkles and place on a pan lined with waxed paper.¬† Freeze an hour or two and enjoy for dessert.
  • Butter: This is particularly good to know since I rarely need unsalted butter and buy it 1 pound at a time (4 – 1/2 Cup cubes) when it’s on sale.¬† Now I can cut cubes in¬†half ¬†(1/4 C portions) and freeze them in freezer bags for later use!
  • Cheese: Don’t freeze whole chunks – it crumbles when you defrost and try to slice it.¬† Instead grate or shred it and freeze in 1 Cup portions in zip bags for recipes at a later date.
  • Eggs:¬† Remove the shells and freeze individually in snack sized zip bags.¬† You can also freeze egg whites separately from their yolks. ¬†I’d recommend marking the bags with the number of egg whites or whole eggs you freeze per bag to make using later easier.¬† Frozen “pre-made”¬†omelettes:¬† In a large measuring cup crack the desired number of eggs and whisk .¬† Stir in 2 TBLS milk,¬†1/4 Cup each chopped bell pepper (or any pepper you desire) and¬†chopped ham (bacon, turkey, chicken breast, ground beef, sausage, etc.) and 2 TBLS chopped onion (if desired).¬† Pour into sandwich sized zip bags and freeze until needed.¬†Great weekday breakfast option.¬† You can remove a bag to the refrigerator the night before to thaw,¬†pour into a preheated pan to cook, sprinkle with a bit of frozen grated cheese¬†& eat right before running out the door the next morning.
  • Garlic: Separate cloves but leave skin on and freeze in a doubled zip bag to keep freezer odor free.
  • Wine:¬† Unlike hard alcohol, wine does freeze solid.¬† Freeze¬†in 1 ounce portions in an ice cube tray and transfer to a freezer bag to use in sauces or other recipes.
  • Yogurt: Measure it into 2 to 4 TBLS (aka 2 to 4 oz or 1/4 to 1/2 Cup) portions and freeze in zip bags.¬† Don’t forget to mark the bags for later recipe use.
  • Lunch meat: Can be safely frozen in zip bags for up to 2 months.
  • Bread:¬† You can freeze a loaf of sliced bread for up to 3 months and you don‚Äôt even need to thaw it before eating it.¬†The freezer is a better storage option than the fridge, which can dry bread out.
  • ¬†Milk / Half¬†& Half:¬† Milk can be frozen for 3 months.¬† Half & half stays good for 4 months in the freezer, but never freeze heavy cream.¬† Cream doesn’t freeze well at all.¬† I never understood why my mother-in-law always shook the milk before pouring out of the carton, now I do!¬† She kept it frozen in the chest freezer in the garage and was breaking up the ice.
  • Grains:¬† Quinoa, farro and bulgur¬†last 3 months in the cupboard but up to 6 months in the freezer!
  • Tofu:¬† Chop it in chunks and freeze for up to 5 months to add to smoothies, soups, stews, etc.
  • Tortillas:¬† That at room temperature, not in the microwave.

Important things to remember about freezing any food are:

  • Make sure you are using a bag or container meant for freezer use to ward off freezer burn, keep smells from escaping into the freezer, and keep your food fresher longer
  • Remember to mark the date frozen as well as the last date you should use the food directly on the bag or on a piece of tape¬†with a permanent marker.
  • Don’t over stuff your freezer.¬† A well organized freezer gives you the ability to easily see what you have on hand and¬†helps food freeze faster/stay frozen because cooled air can flow between and around the packages.

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Roasted Jalapeno Avocado Bacon Pie

Because Thursday is the slowest day at my “real job” I usually have time to fool around in the kitchen to¬†try to create¬†a new dish¬†to¬†serve for dinner.¬† This week was no different¬†except that¬†I needed to come up with something healthy because I am (BOO – HISS)¬†dieting i.e., not eating anything that even resembles Halloween candy or that I can pick up at a drive-thru window, have delivered to my front door, or comes out of a can or box.¬† No Bueno!

jabpieings Determined to stay on track, into the kitchen I went to make a healthy meal that would taste good, keep me full and make my digestion work hard (and burn calories) all night long.

aha-cartoonHappily I found some of my favorite spicy, salty, satisfying flavors there!¬† Bacon, fresh jalapenos, a forgotten Roma tomato (thankfully still firm), some ripe avocados from my backyard, green onions, eggs, and a wedge of aged gouda.¬† AHA Moment: I’d eat breakfast for dinner!

Roasted Jalapeno Avocado Bacon Tortilla Pie

  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1 1/4 Cups Sour Cream
  • 4 Slices of Bacon (cooked crisp, drained, cooled and chopped)
  • 3 Green Onions
  • 1/2 of 1 Large¬†Roma Tomato
  • 7¬†Corn Tortillas
  • 1 Medium¬†Avocado
  • 1 Cup Shredded Aged Gouda Cheese
  • 1 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • Olive Oil Spray
  • Freshly Ground Salt & Pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.¬† Lightly spray the bottom and sides of a 9.5″ Pyrex pie plate with the Olive Oil Spray.

In a small non-stick¬†frying pan heat each of the tortillas until just lightly browned on both sides.¬†¬†Lay one in the center on the bottom and then layer the rest around the pan overlapping to make sure there is a “crust like” coverage.

In the same pan roast the whole jalapenos until the skin bubbles and begins to blacken.  If you want a bit less spice, remove the seeds and stem first.  Combine both of the cheeses: sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese over the bottom of the tortilla crust.  When peppers are roasted, chop them and scatter over the first cheese layer.

Chop and quickly dry saute’ the whites only of the green onions (chop the greens and set aside) and the Roma tomato¬†with a bit of salt & pepper.¬† Distribute the onion/tomato mixture over the jalapenos then cover with 1/2 of the remaining cheese.

Chop the avocado then layer it with the bacon over the second cheese layer.

Mix the 4 eggs and the sour cream until well combined and beginning to thicken.  Add cracked salt and pepper then pour carefully over the pie surface taking care not to overflow the edges of the exposed tortillas on the sides. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top and put pie pan in the center of the pre-heated oven.  Bake 40-45 minutes, or until cheese begins to brown and a knife inserted into the center of the pie comes out with no egg mixture on it and center is cooked through.  Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes before slicing into wedges to serve.  Top each wedge with the reserved chopped green onions.

jabpie2     jabpie3     jabpie4

To make this a complete meal serve with a salad of Romaine, the reserved 1/2 of the tomato, and any other fresh produce you’d like (I¬†chop a green apple, some jicama, and add a shredded carrot) then dress lightly with olive oil, combined with salt, pepper and some lemon juice to keep it healthy.

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to:  recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. If so, visit my This Girl Loves To Eat community at:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood