my breakfast is broken

11 Mar

I don’t know about you guys, but for me, breakfast is the most difficult meal of the day. This is the diatribe that plays itself out in my head every time I wake up:

  • Will I have enough time to make, or even just eat, something for breakfast?
  • Does my breakfast have too much sugar?
  • Too many carbs (grain)?
  • Too little protein?
  • Will it keep me full?
  • Is it too processed?

If I don’t make/eat breakfast before leaving for work, the battle continues on the road: Can I stop somewhere to grab something without being late? What’s cheap, but still healthy? How long is the line? If I just don’t even bother, will I make it to lunch without gnawing my own arm off?

Somewhere along the line, it finally occurred to me that breakfast is WAY TOO COMPLICATED.

Think about your typical breakfast foods: Cereal (too many carbs, too much sugar). Yogurt (won’t keep me full). Bagels (too many carbs, too little protein). Pastries (no brainer–not healthy). Pancakes (too much time, too many carbs). Fruit jams (too much sugar). Granola bars (too many carbs, too much sugar). I finally gave up and started eating eggs almost every day.

Why, I wondered, is something that should be so simple–easy access to a filling, healthy meal–so jacked? Then one day I heard this crazy idea on the radio:

People can just eat the same foods they eat for lunch and dinner, for breakfast. 

Japanese breakfast

a traditional breakfast in japan. doesn't look very familiar, does it?

Wha whaaaaaaaaaaat? WHY HAS NO ONE THOUGHT OF THIS SOONER, you ask? Breakfast has changed in America over time based on work schedules, work environments, and the migration of women into the workforce (and out of the kitchen). All of us now have less time to prepare, and to consume, breakfast–but I think just changing the way we think about what breakfast is will at least give us some better options for what we eat.

For me, understanding my morning meal doesn’t have to be limited to “normal” breakfast foods opened up a world of opportunity for healthy, yummy and filling ways to start my day:

  • Meats: Why not grab a small piece of leftover dinner or a slice of lunch meat from the fridge instead of fried sausage or bacon?
  • Hummus: No duh–I’ll eat this any time of day!
  • Eggs: Easy to make fresh or hard boil for something filling on the go.
  • Cheese: see Hummus.
  • Yogurt: Also quick and easy. Pair with an egg or some cheese/hummus, and you’re set ’til lunch.
  • Fruit: Quick! Easy! Great with any of the above! (Noticing a theme here?)

What do you think? Is breakfast a breeze, or a royal pain in the tummy? I’d love to hear about your breakfast challenges or meal ideas!

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what up, pinterest?

10 Mar

Oh my gosh! I just checked out the (completely unimpressive) analytics on my blog for the first time in forever, and discovered people have been pinning pics from my posts on Pinterest! HOW COOL IS THAT?

Image

Deb Balai, I love you. Also, note to self: Pin blog stuff.

be a chef’s knife ninja in 3 steps

7 Mar

Back in DC there’s this totally awesome cooking store called Hill’s Kitchen, where I took an intro knife skills skillz class. Guys, I had no idea I could do so many things wrong with something as seemingly simple as chopping stuff. Have no fear, however; if you’re in the same boat, here are my three must-know tips from the class on how to be a better cutter:

1. Get a grip. So turns out there’s actually a proper form to cutting, y’all! Grip the (chef’s) knife just above/in front of the handle, stand up straight and put your feet hip-width apart. I think this is to make you pay attention so you focus on cutting the food, and not your fingers. Which I support.

proper chef's knife grip

cue psycho soundtrack


2. Off with ‘is ‘ead! And feet! The first three chops to everything (disclosure: I haven’t actually tried cutting everything) are to nip off the ends and then do a cut down the length so that the food can lie flat on the cutting board, like so:

chopped eggplant

and thus ended the dynasty of King Eggplant IV


3. The magic’s in the motion, baby. When you think of cutting, you hear “CHOP! CHOP! CHOP!” and picture an up/down, up/down, up/down motion in your head. But really the noise you should hear when you cut is a smooth “swish, swish” and the motion of each cut should be more of a rocking backward then forward and through the food, with the tip of your knife never leaving the cutting board. Here, take a look:

That’s it! Now you can chop with the best of ’em. Here are a couple additional resources from About.com with more info. Happy cutting!

The Anatomy of a Chef’s Knife

How to Use a Chef’s Knife

lord, give me strength… with a side of chick-fil-a sauce

22 Jan
chick-fil-a chargrilled chicken sandwich

so delicious. so healthy. so... evil?

Friends, I have a gastronomic dilemma of the ethical variety.  Before I get into the details, though, let’s just talk about all the reasons  my favorite fast food restaurant, Chick-fil-a, is AWESOME:

  1. Those cows are so right–chicken just tastes better than beef.
  2. Chick-fil-a is healthy. Not if you order fried chicken strips, french fries and a milkshake–but they have a robust selection of healthy options that are all delicious. Every single one! My favorite is the chargrilled chicken sandwich (pictured above) with a side salad. The salad comes with sunflower seeds, y’all! SUNFLOWER SEEDS. Anything to say to that, McDonald’s? I didn’t think so.
  3. Their customer service is stellar. Not only are the people nice, but when there was a tomato shortage a couple of years ago, they actually added a line item to my receipt refunding me the 10 cents for the slice of tomato that was missing from my sandwich.
  4. Every winter, they have the most delicious peppermint milkshake in the world. Okay, maybe not in the world, but trust me, it’s yummy.
  5. Do you really want anything except a chicken biscuit when you have a hangover?

And yet, despite being the fast-food love of my life (imma call you, Taco Bell!), I am sad to say the Chick-fil-a apparently has not-so-friendly views about homosexuals.

…INSERT SAD/CONFUSED/HUNGRY FACE HERE.

And that brings us to the place where I need your advice. I have been trying really, really hard to not eat at Chick-fil-a since learning this news… but I’ll be honest. One one hand, sometimes I need to grab lunch to go–and when I do, I’d really prefer that lunch be healthy. On the other hand, I also don’t want my lunch to be supporting hate. I mean, if Chick-fil-a were donating $2 million to the Klu Klux Klan, it would take me and I hope not a few other people about .5 milliseconds to stop eating there completely. Why am I still tempted now?

What do you guys think? Do I bite the bullet and stick with the only healthy (and delicious) fast food gig in town–or put my money where my mouth is and swear off the beloved chargrilled chicken sandwich completely? So far, Chick-fil-a is winning in spite of myself. Help!

hey, me! get back in the kitchen!

18 Jan

Hi, friends! It’s been a long time, but I’m back and bloggier than ever! I’ve got a whole host of posts a brewin’, but in the meantime, I wanted to share one of the fun foodie secrets I’ve been keeping all to myself since I’ve been away–namely that Williams Sonoma has awesome recipes, and they’re pretty delicious. Some of my favorites so far (click pics to see the recipes):

short rib tacos, williams-sonoma

short rib tacos

greek shrimp with tomatoes and feta, williams sonoma

greek shrimp with tomatoes and feta

apple-orange cranberry sauce, williams sonoma

apple-orange cranberry sauce

Needless to say, the site’s become my go-to for recipe hunting.  Discovered your own to-die-for recipes recently? Please share!