Avocado Toast & a Tip for the Best Scrambled Eggs

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Growing up, breakfast at Papau & Grammy’s house was always a comforting treat. The scent of Grammy’s flaky, buttery biscuits and her made-from-scratch, stick-to-your-ribs sausage gravy plus Papau’s famous scrambled eggs would fill the house and make our mouths water. And although the days of eating sausage gravy are now few and far between (or never), thankfully creamy, fluffy scrambled eggs are a delicacy deemed healthy and inexpensive.

Papau’s eggs are made with olive oil over low heat and lots of Papau love and really can’t be improved upon, so let’s just make sure that’s clear. But when I came about Shauna Niequist’s trick for the best scrambled eggs, I had to try them. With only eggs, a good non-stick pan and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, these are hard to beat. Something about adding the eggs, already whisked, to a cold pan, turning the heat to a medium low and slowly running your spatula through them creates the absolute creamiest eggs imaginable. The only thing better would be if Papau had made them.

If you’ve never enjoyed the simple luxury of avocado smashed onto a piece of toast, well, you’re missing out. It’s the best treat for breakfast, lunch or dinner and can even be made with gluten free bread, because while it’s not good eaten soft, gluten free bread can be turned into some darn good toast. My dad’s method of “oven toast” is the best: your choice of bread with a couple pats of butter, toasted in the oven at 350 for ten minutes. Can’t beat it.

So, I’m not really sharing a recipe, but just an idea and a method. Trust me and try it!

Avocado Toast with Scrambled Eggs

for one, easily multiplied

Ingredients: 

2 eggs, whisked in a bowl until the yolks and whites are combined

1 piece of bread

1/2 an avocado

a sprinkling of salt and pepper

To make:

Toast your bread. Smash avocado on top.

Make your eggs. Please make them with this method, you won’t regret it.

Put a small, non-stick pan on the stove top. Add whisked eggs. Turn heat to medium low. Slowly and gently use your spatula to move the eggs around the pan. Be patient as you won’t see much progress at first. Don’t leave the stove, keep stirring. Soon, the eggs will begin to pull together, continue stirring until the liquid has come together into light, fluffy scrambled eggs. Just before they seem completely done, remove from heat. (They’ll continue to cook).

Immediately scoop them onto your avocado toast and eat while warm!

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Breakfast Casserole & Hostess Tips

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Hostessing is one of my favorite things to do. I love to make people feel welcome and comfortable when they come to my house, whether it’s just for an evening or an overnight visit. I have to admit, however, that at times I do let myself get stressed out about it when things are going the way I expected. Recently when my husband told me that some guests were coming in town an hour earlier than expected, I starting completely freaking out cried a little and he looked at me with just a tad bit of concern. So my number one rule of hosting is: you aren’t perfect, you can’t be perfect, so just get over it. Chances are, the person coming to your house isn’t perfect either, so calm down. No amount of pristine cleanliness and perfect decore can equal your expression of genuine care for the person who walks in your door. That’s what they’ll remember most. That being said, here are a couple of my go-to tips for hosting anyone who stays the night.

1. Make sure your guest room is clean and welcoming. Fresh sheets, all surfaces newly dusted, the floor vacuumed and mopped, and a candle lit. Put some interesting books on the nightstand for reading options, a notepad and pen, and if you have room, a chair of some sort so they can relax. If possible, make some space in the closet for luggage.

2. Provide fresh towels, wash cloths and toiletries. I like to include a little container full of: toothpaste, a toothbrush, floss, melatonin, Tylenol, cough drops, mints, body wash, lotion, soap, deodorant, tissues, mouthwash, almonds & chocolate. I basically just raid the little one dollar travel-size toiletry section at the grocery store! Most people won’t use all or even any of this stuff (except the chocolate is always gone!) so you don’t have to buy more of all of these things every time.

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3. A clean bathroom! When people use the bathroom, they want it to be clean. I include more fresh towels, good hand soap, and a cute hand towel. A hair dryer is a great thing to have as well as good body lotion and extra toilet paper. Plus I’ve deep cleaned it, making sure there is hopefully not one single dog hair to be seen. Again, nothing fancy for me, just clean and simple.

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4. A good, hearty breakfast with coffee (and the fixings), tea and orange juice available. Find out what time your guest normally wakes up and wants their coffee. I’m the type that hopes for it first thing. Again, it doesn’t have to be something crazy like homemade hollandaise sauce over shrimp and eggs Benedict. Just go with something easy and flavorful. And something you’ve made before to insure success. I recently served house guests some failed homemade pumpkin cinnamon rolls that didn’t rise, not my best moment, but thankfully they were good friends and very gracious. Plus I had bacon so that saved the day.

For a great and simple breakfast option, this variation of a breakfast casserole is really delicious. This week we are hosting some guests unexpectedly. I was able to throw this casserole together simply and inexpensively.

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I would love to hear some of your tips about hosting! Send them my way!

Happy hosting!

Breakfast Casserole:

Ingredients:

7 eggs
1/2 cup half and half
2 large red potatoes, julienned
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red or yellow bell pepper, diced
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Sliced avocado for topping

To Make

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the julienned potatoes on a cookie sheet and drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix potatoes together with olive oil so they are evenly coated. Roast potatoes in oven for 20 minutes.

Spray a 9X13 inch glass pan with cooking spray.

Sauté diced onions and bell peppers in 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat until soft and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add minced garlic and sauté one minute. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, and chives.

In the baking dish put roasted potatoes and sautéed onions and peppers, combine together. Pour egg mixture over the veggies. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top. Top with sliced tomatoes, spaced over the casserole.

Bake casserole for 30-35 minutes until eggs are cooked through.

Top with sliced avocado and enjoy!

**the eggs and potatoes make this a hearty dish, but some cooked, crumbled bacon or breakfast sausage would be delicious added to the mix. Just combine with the veggies before pouring in the egg mixture.

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Ode to October + Lazy Saturday Brunch

I love how fall just takes over. Pumpkins everywhere: cookies, muffins, drink flavors, even soups. Decor, carving, roasting seeds, flower planters. I love that the color orange in the shape of a large round vegetable is the center of fall. I love the weather, the cool days (well, one here and there), the sweaters, the s’mores. I love how when fall comes the holidays come soon after. There’s a sense of nostalgia and celebration that arrives with fall. My birthday is in October, and three years ago on my birthday, my husband proposed to me. That adds another level of lovely memories to my fall experience. I’ve always loved the fair with its rides and fried food. It’s just wonderful. Thank you, God, for fall.

Well, sooner or later, you’re bound to have a lazy fall morning probably on a Saturday or Sunday, so here’s what you should do. Sleep in. Brew a big pot of strong coffee. Light a fallish scented candle (pumpkin of course, or my new favorite: spiced orange & cinnamon). And whip up a big brunch that you can enjoy at a leisurely pace. Does anything sound better?

Last Saturday, I made a scrumptious and easy vegetable hash with a fried egg on top. Totally simple and totally delicious. You could add a side of buttered toast or top it with some crumbled bacon or add a Mexican flare with fried chorizo and salsa. However you try it, next time you have a lazy Saturday, enjoy  the relaxation and coziness of a mid-morning brunch.

If you’re not a fan of peppers and spinach, make this with any assortment of veggies!

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Ingredients: 

4 Tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup diced yellow onion

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

1 clove minced garlic

3 cups fresh spinach

4 eggs

1/2 of an avocado, sliced

a sprinkling of chopped green onion

a sprinkling of shredded cheese (I used mozzarella, but cheddar or feta, or really any cheese works great)

salt and pepper to taste

To make:

Saute onion and bell pepper in 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. After a 5 minutes and veggies are becoming translucent and soft, add minced garlic. Saute garlic for about a minute then add spinach, 1 cup at a time. Stir in each cup of spinach, adding more when wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn heat to low, and allow to sit while you fry the eggs.

Add one tablespoon of olive oil and fry two of the eggs. There are lots of ways to do this depending on how you like them. I don’t like my eggs runny. Here’s how to fry an egg.

Put half the veggies on a plate, sprinkle cheese on top of veggies, top with two fried eggs, top with sliced avocado and chopped green onion. Repeat for second plate. Enjoy!

More brunch inspiration: (these aren’t quite in the healthy category)

Three Ideas for Exciting Waffles

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Biscuits and Gravy

Mushroom & Brussels Sprout Hash

Savory Cornmeal & Chive Waffles with Salsa and Eggs

Pumpkin Spice Waffles with Butternut Bacon Syrup


Nutella, Fruit, Pecan, & Bacon Waffles with Honey

Our very first wedding gift was a waffle maker from one of Matthew’s coworkers. I remember the giddy feeling of opening a gift for our new married life together. At first we were skeptical about whether or not we’d use it, but we were convinced we had to keep it, if only for what it represented. I’m thankful we did because waffles are a delicious once-in-a-while treat for lazy Saturday mornings or to mix it up on a week day night.
They may not be bikini friendly, but sometimes you just need to raid the fridge and make delicious Nutella, bacon, pecan, strawberry, banana, honey waffles for dinner.

Nutella, Bacon, Strawberry, Banana, Pecan Waffles with Honey
(Adapted from Joy the Baker)

3 cups all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups milk
1 stick of melted butter

Toppings:
Nutella
Cooked, chopped bacon
Pecan pieces
Sliced strawberries
Sliced bananas
Drizzle of honey or drizzle of maple syrup

Set up your waffle iron on a level, clean surface and turn on to preheat.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and brown sugar. Whisk to blend. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, banana, milk and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold. Try not to over mix the batter or the waffles will become tough. It’s ok if a few lumps remain in the batter.
Cook according to waffle iron instructions.

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Homemade Granola

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Oh hey! It is December. I love December. Christmas is on it’s way and we get to drink things like peppermint hot chocolate and caramel apple cider. Supposedly cold weather and warm clothing are a part of December as well, but not here in South Louisiana. I guess we are getting ready for a tropical Christmas.

I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking about making some homemade gifts this year, with Pinterest overtaking the world of creativity, there is an abundance of ideas from beeswax candles to adorably packaged baked goods to coffee sets.

To add to your idea list, I give you: homemade granola. Delicious, healthy, easily packaged, pretty to present, and enjoyed by most if not all. My mom has always made the most fabulous granola. This recipe is a bit hers, a bit mine, and a bit of gathered inspiration. Granola can be enjoyed many ways: with cold milk, scooped onto creamy yogurt & berries, as a frozen yogurt topping, or baked into cookies. I hope you try it and you like it!

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Homemade Granola

makes about 12 cups

adapted from Joy the Baker

1 to 1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

8 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 heaping cup coarsely chopped banana chips (optional, only if you REALLY like them)

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoons salt

2/3 cup olive oil

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1/3 cup honey

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

To Make:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl, toss together coconut, nuts, banana chips (if using), rolled oats, cinnamon, and salt.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, stir together the oil, maple syrup, and honey.  Stir until melted together.  Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.  Stir together.

Add the wet ingredients, all at once, to the rolled oat mixture.  Toss to coat, insuring that all of the dry ingredients are coated in the maple syrup mixture.  Divide the mixture between the two prepared baking pans.  Spread into an even layer.

Bake granola for 45 minutes, removing the pans every 15 minutes to stir.  Once mixture is evenly browned and toasted, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

When, done, the granola should be a nice golden color. It will darken after you take it out of the oven. Granola lasts several weeks! Enjoy!


Greek Pizza with Hummus

First of all, this is what I ate for breakfast:

You too can turn your squishy bananas and kinda brownish strawberries into big, moist, tasty muffins. I know I already told y’all about this recipe, but it’s just so good (minus the sage)! And if you substitute the sour cream for bananas, it’s healthy(ish)! I’m thinking of ways to make these healthier like decreasing the amount of sugar-the bananas add some sweetness, and using half whole wheat flour.

But, onto today’s post. First, please excuse me in the journey of learning how to photograph my food. It’s hard! And when you’re short on time, trying to make dinner in 30 minutes before your hungry husband gets home, even harder! I decided I need some photography lessons, so hopefully you’ll see some progress soon.

Greek pizza. What’s not to love? Ground turkey, crazy feta, homemade simple sauce, sauteed onions and red bell pepper. Add a side of hummus and I could eat this meal for days! And, to make things even better, I was filled with joy, surprise, delight, and pride when I watched my East Texas husband put a spoonful of hummus on his pizza! I’ve never doubted that I married the right man, but this act of food brilliance confirmed my heart even more. True love.

This is my favorite homemade hummus recipe:

Drain and rinse one can of chickpeas so as to get rid of all the canned juice and canned flavor.

Put chickpeas, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 (or more!!!) cloves of garlic, 2 generous tablespoons of tahini, the juice of two lemons, sprinkles of salt, and some pepper in your food processor.

Pulse until the ingredients reach a smooth, creamy consistency. Add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Place in the refrigerator to allow flavors to combine. Yum. And way less expensive than buying it. Tahini is expensive when first buying it, but lasts a long time.

On to the Greek Pizza.

Here’s what you need:

Pizza crust–homemede is delicious but not when you have 30 minutes, thankfully there are great store bought crusts

Pizza sauce–my simple recipe is below

Crazy feta-my adapted recipe is below

1.25 lbs of ground turkey

1/2 of one red bell pepper, diced

1/2 of one sweet yellow onion, diced

garlic powder

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

First, do Step 1 for the crazy feta, see below. Then make the sauce so that flavors can combine well (recipe below).

Dice onion and red bell pepper on medium heat with 1 teaspoon of olive oil until they are soft and a little bit browned.

Sautee ground turkey with 1 tablespoon garlic powder and 2 teaspoons olive oil until cooked through-a medium greyish color. Salt and pepper to taste.

Crazy feta:

I made an adaptation of the original recipe, basically I just reduced the amount of feta cheese (because it’s a bit costly) and jalapenos.

1 8oz brick of feta

1 Jalapeno

1 bulb of garlic

Step 1. Cut off the top of the garlic bulb, place in a small sheet of foil, cover with some drops of olive oil, pop in the oven on 450 degrees for 30 minutes. Put the jalapeno in by itself for the same amount of time. Place these on your pizza stone or on a cookie sheet.

Step 2. Crumble the feta then add roasted garlic, chopped up roasted jalapeno, the juice and zest of the lemon, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

This would make a great dip with pita chips, but is also excellent as the pizza topping. I used all of it on the pizza, but most non-feta obsessed people probably wouldn’t.

Pizza sauce:

One 14oz can of diced tomotoes

1 garlic clove minced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 small can of tomato paste

1 1/2  teaspoon oregano

1 1/2 teaspoon basil

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all these ingredients with immersion blender (one of my favorite kitchen appliances) or in stand blender.

To assemble:

Top pizza crust with sauce, ground turkey, onion and pepper mixture, and crazy feta. Bake on 450 for about 10 minutes, until crust is brown.

Makes enough for four! Or two with leftovers.

Sadly my photo doesn’t do it justice, but, truly, so good. Especially with a dollop of hummus on each bite.


Weekend Bites

After overcoming the heat and seeking an air conditioned refuge, we were able to enjoy some yummy flavors, borrowing two recipes from other blogs I like and one of my own.

I highly recommend Pioneer Woman’s Asian Noodle Salad. However, take her advice and serve this up on a girl’s night or by yourself (if you are a woman). Because, as she warned, this isn’t really a man’s meal. I tried to manify it by adding grilled chicken, but to no avail. Matt’s exact quote was, “I’ve never really liked salad because it takes too much effort to eat.” Hmm…However, I ate this a few weekends ago with a girl friend and we loved it! That time I added some toasted almonds, which were perfect.

A win for the weekend were the wonderful Strawberry Banana Muffins inspired by this recipe. I omitted the sage altogether and instead of the sour cream, I used 1 cup of mashed bananas (about two bananas). I hate seeing fruit go to waste, so my over ripe strawberries and bananas, which couldn’t be eaten by themselves, were perfect in muffins. The avocado smasher achieved just the right smashedness for the bananas. These are best enjoyed with a slip of butter inside and a cup of coffee.

But, the best and tastiest bite of the weekend were roasted stuffed jalapenos. Oh my. Please make these right now!

So good that I almost gobbled them down before sharing with my husband AND so good that I wish I had 10 more jalapenos! Make these asap!

You need:

4 jalapenos (however, I recommend doubling or tripling this recipe!)

1 tablespoon seasoned bread crumbs

1 tablespoon parmesan cheese

4 cloves of garlic (don’t worry, it gets roasted and the flavor calms down)

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

a bit of olive oil

a bit of salt

foil

To make:

Preheat oven to 450. Using a paring knife, slice off the top of each jalapeno, and then carefully twist the knife inside the jalapeno, this quickly and easily removes the insides and seeds. But, be careful!

Mash all of the ingredients until they stick well together. Fill each jalapeno with stuffing.

Place each jalapeno on a little piece of foil. Add a few drops of olive oil. Sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt. If there is left over stuffing, just eat it by the spoon full OR put in the foil. Wrap up foil into little packets and put in preheated oven for 30 minutes. I put mine right on the pizza stone, but if you don’t have one, a cookie sheet will work just fine. Make sure to put it in for the preheating.

After thirty minutes, you will open the oven to the most delectable smell and promptly eat the roasted, salty, cheesy, garlicky jalapenos before your husband has even come down to dinner. Sadly, all I have is the following terribly blurry photo because my camera battery died just as I took the picture and I could not wait for the battery to charge before devouring these little guys.