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Before our long run on Saturday I was looking for some kind of carby breakfast. Mostly bread, maybe some veggies, and of course eggs because I have been an egg eating machine lately. I am usually a bit hesitant to try new foods before long runs, but we planned on running later in the day and I had already tried out each component of this as a pre-run breakfast, so I decided to give it a go.

I was disappointed that the avocados turned brown in the oven because I thought that took away from the asthetics of the pizza, but the vibrant yellow egg yolks more than made up for it. This pizza was so fresh tasting and the aroma that wafted out of the oven each time I checked on it was just incredible.

Overall, this was a huge win. We both commented that we could definitely serve this to other people and even discussed having it again. Maybe even for dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup julienned rutabaga (Finely chopped potato would work fine too.)
  • 2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pizza dough (I used 1/4 of this recipe.)
  • corn meal for flouring
  • 1/4 clove elephant garlic (or 1/2 clove garlic), minced
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees with a pizza stone in it if you have one.
  • Toss rutabaga (or potato) in 1 tsp olive oil until it is lightly coated, season with salt and pepper, then saute over a medium-high heat until lightly browned, then set aside.
  • Sprinkle cornmeal on a sheet of parchment paper then roll and stretch dough to form pizza.
  • Lightly brush the crust with the remaining 1 tsp of olive oil, then distribute minced garlic over the crust.
  • Crack three eggs onto the crust being careful not break the yolks.
  • Arrange rutabaga “hash browns” and shallots on top of the eggs, sprinkle with Mozzarella, and place avocado slices on top of the cheese.
  • To transfer the pizza to the oven, carefully pick up parchment, place on pizza stone, then slide parchment out from under the pizza.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and pizza crust is lightly browned.
  • Note: If you prefer not to eat the egg yolks, they can be left out or easily removed with a spoon after baking, but they do make for a much prettier pizza.

Servings ~ 2 to 3

1/3 pizza w/whole eggs
Calories ~ 349, Fat ~ 15.4 g, Carbohydrates ~ 37.6 g, Protein ~ 15.6 g

1/2 pizza w/whole eggs
Calories ~ 523, Fat ~ 23.1, Carbohydrates ~ 56.4 g, Protein ~ 23.4 g

1/3 w/egg whites only
Calories ~ 304, Fat ~ 11.1 g, Carbohydrates ~ 37.6 g, Protein ~ 15.2 g

1/2 pizza w/egg whites only
Calories ~ 456, Fat ~ 16.7 g, Carbohydrates ~ 56.4 g, Protein ~ 22.8 g

After touting the benefits of meal planning last week, I failed at it miserably this time around.

Over the weekend we headed to not so sunny Southern California to visit Chris’ family. I went, armed with a purse full of “food” magazines, ready to knock out a meal plan on one of our four flights, but it never happened.

Wait, not so sunny?

Each winter as we get hammered with snow, frigid temperatures, and ice cold gusts of wind tearing across Indiana, Chris extols the virtues of the weather in Los Angeles. He is right. Sort of.

I closely followed the weather for days before we left. I fantasized about basking in the sunshine and considered that it might even be too hot for me to get in my long run on Saturday.

As usual, the temperature dipped just before our arrival. I even got to do my Sunday run in chilly rain.

The State of California should consider paying for me to move there because I can solve all of their drought problems. You see, it gets cold and rainy every time I visit.

Then again, maybe they don’t want me there as I would spoil their near perfect climate. On the upside, the weather was a perfect 55 degrees for my long run and the cool rain felt pretty good during my recovery run.

I apologize to all of the Angelinos for ruining your weekend weather. The song is a lie, it sure does rain in Southern California.  

Ingredients (per serving):

  • 1 slice of whole grain bread made into bread crumbs
  • 5 tsp Dijon mustard, divided
  • olive oil spray
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 8 oz fresh spinach
  • 3 tbsp half & half (I used fat-free.)
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 eggs

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Spray bread crumbs with olive oil, then toss them with 2 tsp Dijon mustard and mustard seeds, then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Bake until golden and crisp, about 7 minutes.
  • As bread crumbs are cooking, add enough water to a skillet to coat the bottom, add the spinach, and toss over a high heat until the spinach wilts, about two minutes.
  • Strain the spinach, transfer it to a sauce pan, then stir in 3 tsp mustard, half and half, and chopped thyme.
  • Stir the spinach over a medium heat for several minutes until it thickens, season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Lightly spray a skillet with olive oil, crack two eggs into the skillet, then cook over a medium-high heat until the whites have cooked through.
  • To serve, layer the spinach, eggs, and bread crumbs.

Servings ~ 1
Calories ~ 334, Fat ~ 15 g, Carbohydrates ~ 25 g, Protein ~ 21 g

As we usually do on the weekend, we had a “real” breakfast on Saturday. Exciting, eh?

I got up bright and early trying to imagine how I was going to use leftover mashed potatoes for breakfast. Sounds simple enough unless you want a blog-worthy breakfast. That increases the challenge a bit.

Or so I thought. Look for many more mashed potato-y breakfast recipes in the near future as we seem to be on a mashed potato kick lately.

Saturday morning we did a test-pack for Africa to:

  1. Make sure that our gear actually fit into our bags.
  2. Check that our bags were not too heavy to check under Continental’s stingy 1 bag x 50 lb. weight limit even for international travel.
  3. Figure out what, if any, gear we were missing from our checklist.

Chris tried on his proposed safari getup. He figures that his “sun runner” hat, Omni-Shade shirt, and ie lavalava should make the perfect outfit. Maybe he’s on to something.

Notice our sweet 1970’s bathroom, complete with groady previous owner carpet. I bet we could have renovated our bathroom if we skipped out on this trip, but what fun would that be?

Results:

  1. Gear fit in bag test:
    1. No problem for Chris, his backpack is slightly bigger than mine.
    2. Somewhat problematic for me, I figured it out, but it could have been a stressful night before departure if I hadn’t completed this pre-pack exercise.
  2. Bag weight:
    1. My monster suitcase weighs 15 lbs. (No wonder I have so much trouble keeping it within the weight limit, right?)
    2. My gear in a duffel bag weighs 35 lbs. without toiletries or my case of Clif Bars packed*. (Anyone else see a baggage fee on the horizon?)
  3. We each needed (or wanted) a few new items:
    1. A “safari” dress for me. Just go with it. It will be phenomenally cool in the pictures.
    2. Down mittens for Chris. Ok, more practical than my “need”.
    3. A dry bag for our camera equipment. I think we should just use a few trash bags, I honestly trust them more.**

*Some of you will ask “Why on Earth are you bringing a case of Clif Bars with you to Africa? Don’t you want to experience the food?”

Yes, of course I want to experience the food, but I tend to be over the top adventurous in my experimentation with local cuisines. So much so that I have spent more than a few days on the bathroom floor of an “interesting” hotel room in a few remote locales fighting off impending death by dehydration and/or electrolyte imbalance.

At the conclusion of each of these experiences, I only wanted to eat something sweet, cake-like, and familiar. Thank you Clif Bar & Company. Your Clif and Luna Bars are very well responsible for my survival on more than one of these occasions.

**My last soaked camera experience was at Machu Picchu last year. Guess what. The camera was in a dry bag. Fail!

All in all, the packing test was a success!

Do these gaiters make me look like I have cankles?

Ok, on to breakfast.

From Country Egg, City Egg.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups mashed potatoes, heated through
  • 4 eggs
  • Coarse salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, chives, oregano, or thyme

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Divide the mashed potatoes into four individual baking dishes.
  • Make a deep well in the center of the mashed potatoes.
  • Crack an egg directly into each well.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese over each egg.
  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until eggs are done to your likeness.
  • Remove from oven, garnish with fresh herbs.
  • Serve immediately.

Servings ~ 4
Calories (if your mashed potatoes are just that, mashed potatoes, no fancy stuff)  ~ 165, Fat ~ 6 g, Carbohydrates ~ 16 g, Protein ~ 10 g

This breakfast was an extremely enlightening one for me, so I was pleased for its serendipitous appearance in my kitchen.

Enlightening breakfast, you say?

Preparing breakfast for guests usually involves me, and hopefully Chris, scurrying around the kitchen like crazy making MTO omelettes or some equally labor intensive dish, often resulting in each guest eating their breakfast independently of the others and the chef standing stove-side noshing on the “mistakes”.

I have no doubt that Chris has every intention of helping out when we have guests. He is usually first to great them at the door, first to offer them a drink, and has an exceptional ability to make small talk with even the most awkward guests.

But, those of us who are close to Chris like to joke around about him being the guy who asks “What can I do to help?” at precisely the moment when you no longer need help. 

Chris has the best of intentions, but he is much more carefree than I am. As my Type-A-ish self is rushing around in a frenzy unnecessarily picking up after my guests, Chris is able to live in the moment, enjoying the party, not giving a second thought to the impending clean-up.

If only I could be more like Chris. There is always time to clean up later.

So what does this breakfast have to do with parties, Chris’ helpfulness, or my inability to chill? It has the potential to allow each guest to have an MTO frittata-esque breakfast with little cooking involved, hopefully encouraging me to have a more Chris-like experience.

We stuck with ham, cheese, and pineapple because they were leftover from our Aussie Burgers, but the possibilities are endless!

Ingredients:

  • 8 egg whites
  • 2 oz cheese, shredded (I used reduced fat Swiss.)
  • 2 oz extra lean ham, diced
  • 6 pineapple rings
  • olive oil spray

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lightly spray six cups of a muffin pan with olive oil.
  • Beat egg whites, then distribute evenly among the six greased cups in the muffin pan.
  • Evenly distribute ham and cheese into each cup of egg whites.
  • Balance a pineapple ring over the top of each of the six cups. (The eggs will rise to meet it as they bake.)
  • Bake for about 16-20 minutes until the eggs are firm.

Servings ~ 6
Calories ~ 86, Fat ~ 2 g, Carbohydrates ~ 8 g, Protein ~ 12 g

After a failed attempt at hobak-jeon, a.k.a. Korean squash pancakes, I needed to come up with an alternate plan for breakfast.

I pestered Chris some hoping that he would volunteer to take on the breakfast re-do. “Chris, what do you want to make for breakfast?”

“I made you cornbread for dinner last night. I’ll just have a bagel for breakfast.”

That wasn’t going to work. While Chris is content with his two bagel a day habit, I wanted real breakfast.

“Do you want a croque monsieur? Do you think I can make one with the rest of this cornbread?”

So that is how we ended up with Corny Croque Madames for breakfast. We actually split a Corny Croque Monsieur and a Corny Croque Madame, but the Madame with the egg on top tasted so much better than the plain version that Monsieur did not make the cut.

Ingredients (per sandwich):

  • 1 slice corn bread
  • 1 slice cheese (I used 1 oz of reduced fat Swiss)
  • 3 oz thinly sliced ham
  • 2 tbsp sauce (Someone please tell me what kind of sauce this is.)
  • 1 egg, over-medium

Ingredients (The sauce…Is it a béchamel? A Mornay? Something else entirely? It is tasty, that’s for sure!):

  • 2 tbsp yogurt butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup shredded swiss
  • nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste

Directions (The sauce):

  • Melt the butter in a small sauce pan.
  • Whisk in the flour until the mixture is smooth.
  • Add the almond milk and bring to a simmer.
  • Simmer for another 10 minutes or so, stirring regularly, before adding the cheeses.
  • Stir in the cheeses until they are fully melted.
  • Season to taste with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
  • An idea to use up the extra sauce: Butternut Squash Gratin

Directions (The Madame):

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Slice a piece of corn bread horizontally to form the top and bottom of the sandwich.
  • Layer ham and cheese on the bottom of the sandwich, then top with the top piece of cornbread.
  • Place the sandwich on a baking sheet and heat until the cheese begins to melt. (If you use reduced fat cheese like I did, use your best judgement as it may not be as melty as full-fat cheeses.)
  • After the cheese has melted, add a few spoonfuls of sauce to the top of the sandwich, then return it to the oven for several more minutes.
  • While the sandwich is in the oven, cook your eggs, over-medium.
  • Plate the sandwich with an egg balanced on top.

Servings (The Madame w/sauce) ~ 1
Calories ~ 410, Fat ~ 15 g, Carbohydrates ~ 32 g, Protein ~ 35 g

Servings (Sauce) ~ 24
Calories (per serving) ~ 19, Fat ~ 1 g, Carbohydrates ~ 1 g, Protein ~ 1 g
Calories (total batch) ~ 454, Fat ~ 29 g, Carbohydrates ~ 16 g, Protein ~ 31 g

You know those mornings when you wake up and the only thing that sounds good for breakfast is pizza?

You don’t have those mornings? No, I’m not a college student.

Sometimes I have those mornings, but I have finally become sensible enough that I will not usually give in to the urge to eat pizza for breakfast. I will cheat a bit and eat breakfast that tastes like pizza though.

One of Chris’s favorites is cheesy eggs with marinara sauce and tons of sautéed veggies like onions, peppers, and mushrooms. The Hawaiian frittata is another example of breakfast that tastes like pizza.

Eggs:  Meet Hawaiian pizza.

It was meant to be.

Next mission: Figure out how to make a legitimate breakfast taste like BBQ chicken pizza!

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups mushroom slices
  • 6 thin slices Canadian bacon
  • 3 pineapple rings, chopped (or about 3/4 cup diced pineapple)
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 egg whites
  • 2 oz reduced fat swiss cheese
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • olive oil spray

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees (on convection if possible).
  • Chop veggies and Canadian bacon.
  • Saute onions for several minutes until they begin to soften.
  • Add the mushrooms and cook 10 more minutes. 
  • Beat together eggs, egg whites, milk, cheese, and Italian seasoning.
  • Spray a pie plate with olive oil spray.
  • Pour onions, mushrooms, Canadian bacon, and pineapple into pie plate.
  • Pour egg mixture over the veggies.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes until eggs are fluffy.
  • Consider serving with some barbecue sauce for dipping.

Servings ~ 4
Calories ~ 198, Fat ~ 7 g, Carbohydrates ~ 12 g, Protein ~ 22 g

We went all out for breakfast yesterday morning. Ok, maybe not all out, but this was way fancier than our typical breakfasts.

I am an oatmeal girl, at least five days per week. Lately I have been making overnight oats with almond milk and blueberries. Chris favors bagels, two whole wheat un-toasted, no toppings. I don’t think his breakfast choice is exciting enough for me to eat week in and week out, but it is efficient, that’s for sure. As long as he is happy, I am happy!

The divergence from our normal breakfast was due mostly in part to me being sleepy and trying to put off mountain biking for later. I successfully delayed us for at least an hour or so.

These things were awesome! I made mine with four scrambled egg whites instead of the two over-medium eggs pictured, but I understand that egg whites are not so popular with everyone.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cups corn (I used frozen.)
  • 2/3 cups black beans
  • 8 eggs
  • 4 oz jalapeño cheddar, shredded
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 avocado
  • 8 tbsp sour cream (I used reduced fat.)
  • diced tomato (optional)
  • hot sauce to taste
  • olive oil spray

Directions:

  • Chop onion, then sauté in a skillet with olive oil spray.
  • Just before the onions turn translucent, add the corn and black beans and continue to cook until all of the ingredients are evenly heated.
  • Cook eggs, over-medium.
  • While eggs are cooking, place tortillas (lightly sprayed with olive oil) in a broiler to heat them until they are pliable.
  • Top each tortilla shell with one egg, several spoonfuls of the black bean mixture, 1/8 avocado (sliced), 1/2 ounce of shredded cheese, and 1 tbsp of sour cream.

Servings ~ 4
Calories (with whole eggs) ~ 553, Fat ~ 34 g, Carbohydrates ~ 41 g, Protein ~ 26 g
Calories (with egg whites) ~ 490, Fat ~ 26 g, Carbohydrates ~ 41 g, Protein ~ 35 g