The holiday season is imminent and busy shoppers are filling their baskets with hams, birds and beef roasts to deck out dinner table. But, let’s not talk turkey, let’s talk eggs! With Thanksgiving, Christmas and all the other equally celebratory winter holidays that people hold near and dear, many of us will find ourselves hosting guests. And, in my experience, guests are always ready to eat from sun up to sun down. I’m happy to all my ravenous revelers, in fact I love cooking for company — I just don”t like to feel rushed in the morning.
My easy Artichoke and Blue Cheese Egg Bake comes to the rescue on so many levels – it’s simple to make, can be prepped the night before and kept in the fridge until next morning, can be make in individual servings or in one big family-style pan, and . . .most, it just tastes delicious!
Artichoke and Blue Cheese Egg Bake makes is a beautiful recipe for brunch or breakfast. Lovely for holiday entertaining.
Who wants a bland, boring breakfast when the flavors of blue cheese and artichokes are ready to add extra AMAZING to the day?! Also, there are tomatoes and a ton of spinach in this recipe, so it’s also kinda like eating a salad for breafast or brunch. This statement makes even more sense when I tell you that blue cheese dressing is one of the secret ingredients!
I actually posted this egg recipe in January 2104 after developing for Litehouse Foods using their award-wining Simply Artisan Reserve Blue Cheese Crumbles and OPA Blue Cheese Dressing (made with Greek yogurt). Because it has been so popular, I decided to refresh the photos — oh, and also it will be featured in an upcoming 2017 food calendar! Ooh, I wonder if it will be the centerfold — keep you posted!
This is the perfect breakfast to power up for all that upcoming Black Friday shopping or as a simple, light dinner when you come home from the shop-a-thon and need quality protein and healthy veggies for recovery.
What do you like to serve holiday house guests for breakfast? Are you running in a Turkey Trot this week? What has your best shopping deal been so far (I know it’s early) — please share in the comments, XOXO – Jennifer
Artichoke Blue Cheese Baked Eggs
Wake up to bold and beautiful baked eggs featuring artichokes, blue cheese, spinach and tomatoes. Easy to prep night before and then just stick in the oven.
Lightly spray 4 ramekins or small gratin dishes with baking spray. Coarsely chop spinach and divide evenly among dishes.
Drizzle even portions of blue cheese salad dressing over spinach and sprinkle with red onion.
Slice grape tomatoes in half and drain liquid from jar of artichoke hearts. Place tomatoes and artichokes around perimeter of dishes.
Gently crack 2 eggs over top of spinach mixture, taking care not to break yolk. Repeat for remaining 3 personal-sized baking dishes. Sprinkle tops with chives. This may also be made in a 8” to 9” round baking dish with all the ingredients for “family style.”
Place dishes on a rimmed baking sheet and place on center rack of oven. Back for approximately 20 minutes or until egg whites have set and yolk has achieved desired level of doneness.
Remove from oven and sprinkle tops with an even portion of blue cheese crumbles. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.
Pumpkin fans, you’re going to love these waffles a latte! They are crispy on the outside, soft and delicious on the inside with the comforting flavors of pumpkin, fall spices and coffee. Yup, coffee for that little extra morning kick — nothing like keeping the love for PSL strong! Gluten-free Pumpkin Spice Latte Waffles are a must-make for your next weekend brunch – heck, even throw a scoop of coffee ice cream on top for an amazing autumn-inspired dessert!
Made with gluten-free ingredients, nutrient-rich pumpkin, and coconut oil and coconut sugar (low glycemic impact), my waffles are so much healthier than those frozen store purchased alternatives – and really not that hard to prep. My recipe makes 12 huge, 4-square waffles (so 48 individual waffles), that can be stored in the freezer and popped in the toaster oven on those crazy mornings.
Mix together flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl.
In a second bowl, add eggs, sugar, pumpkin, coffee, milk, coconut oil and vanilla; beat well.
Gently fold in the flour-spice mixture to the moist mixture.
Cook according to your waffle iron directions, until a deep golden brown and crispy on the outside.
Serve with honey butter, maple syrup or your favorite toppings.
* You can make your own oat flour by putting old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats in a food processor or blender and pulsing until they are finely ground. Oats are gluten-free by nature, by if you have an allergy, make sure that you are buying certified gluten free oats that have been processed in a gluten-free facility.
Thank you Florastor® Daily Probiotics for sponsoring this post. Visit your local retailer to pick up your bottle of Florastor®Daily Probiotics to complement your active lifestyle
!Have you ever become all-out sick, or at a minimum felt like crap on a crumby cracker, a few days after finishing a physically or mentally intense event like a marathon or Ironman, huge work deadline or even hosting a mother-in-law (not mine, of course)? Falling under the weather after the black cloud of stress has lifted isn’t a coincidence; it’s an all-to-real occurrence that is referred to as the “Let Down Effect.”
Various studies have correlated the dissipation or “let down” of real or perceived stress with an increase in common colds, illnesses, flare-ups of chronic conditions like asthma, migraines, tummy trouble and other medical ailments. By now, you’ve heard that chronic stress can make you sick and eventually even kill you, but many are surprised to learn that getting sick after a high-stress event (and while perhaps feeling quite relaxed about life) is all too common. This “Let Down Effect’ happens, in simple terms, due to the weakened state our bodies are left in left in after “things get better” – we use a lot of energy and resources to function in high alert mode without a break
When stressed, physically or mentally, increased levels of cortisol, adrenaline and other hormones put your body in fight-or-flight mode and mask the perception of pain. We are cleverly designed like this to safely and quickly extract ourselves during the threat of danger, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, the immune system can be compromised, especially after prolonged periods of stress, and latent or chronic conditions can flare up.
In addition to these tolls of physical stress, the let down from emotional stress can cause many of the same problems. For example, dopamine (the pleasure and reward hormone) levels can drop, initiating possibly addictive behaviors like over eating, drinking and substance abuse as a person tries to subconsciously find relief.
So, how do you prevent or at least lessen your chances of falling victim to the “Let Down Effect”?
Sleep Well: Sleep deprivation compromises the immune system, so don’t pull all-nighters thinking you’ll come out ahead. Instead, do the best you can to get 7 to 8 hours a night by staying away from large late evening meals (including alcohol and caffeine), avoiding the blue light emitted from screens several hours before bed, taking a warm bath and using a diffuser to mist essential oils like lavender and chamomile.
Exercise Regularly: Moderate-intensity exercise done on a regular basis can keep your body from downshifting too quickly after a high stress event. If you don’t have time for an official jog or workout, try to include at least some extra walking or other movements in your day.
Decompress Frequently: If life is throwing too much your way, schedule non-negotiable “breaks” to relax whether it’s a 10 minute morning meditation, an entire hour devoted to yoga or even just 1 of minute of positive visualization every couple hours.
Nourish Your Immune System: Try vitamin C rich foods like oranges and grapefruit, vitamin E rich foods like sunflower seeds or spinach, zinc rich foods like beef and egg yolks. Probiotics can also help strengthen your digestive balance and support a healthy immune system.
So, speaking of nourishing the body to help allay stress and prevent illness, I’m sharing a couple things I’ve been doing lately to stay as well as I can. You may have read my post last month about a Sleep and Stress test I took recently – it revealed that my cortisol and cortisone levels are highly elevated throughout the entire day without ever falling to normal as they should. This is likely a result of everyday work/family stress magnified by my running and obstacle course training, and chronic lack of sleep — I’m working hard to resolve it.
So, one of the things I started doing was taking Florastor® Daily Probiotics in the morning and evening with my meals – it’s the best-selling probiotic worldwide and backed by 60 years of use and research. So far, I’ve been really happy with how this easy-to-take capsule is bringing my digestion into balance and helping me better maintain my immune function. Florastor® is the only probiotic brand with Saccharomyces boulardii lyo CNCM I-745 which helps restore your natural flora. Florastor® helps my body break down carbs and fiber and naturally absorb water and nutrients from the foods I eat, these are good things for me as I fluctuate from being bloated to dehydrate when under stress. I also appreciate that this product is vegetarian, gluten-free, contains non-GMO ingredients and can be stored at room temperature. While, thankfully, I rarely have taken antibiotics, Florastor® Daily Probiotics can help those that need to be on this medication maintain a healthy flora balance.
I also wanted to share this quick and easy breakfast recipe that is high in zinc – 60 Second 2-Egg & Beef Omelet. Yay, beef and whole eggs are both great sources of zinc, an essential mineral that keeps the immune system strong, helps heal wounds, and supports normal growth. My recipe is also high in protein, and you know I’m a stickler for getting approximately 25g of protein at breakfast – the eggs and beef are very satisfying for only 220 calories and keep me from tanking mid-morning. Plus, this microwave mug recipe takes less than 1 minute to prepare and around 60 seconds to cook, so there’s absolutely no stress in making breakfast on even the most frantic mornings!
Have you ever become sick after a period of physical or emotional stress? What do you do to boost your immunity or bounce back from a “tough time” healthy? Please share your comments and tips below – XOXO, Jennifer
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
60-Second 2-Egg & Beef Mug Omelet
Got a minute? Then you've got a healthy, balanced breakfast packed with protein thanks to this super speedy egg recipe that cooks up in 60 seconds.
I must say, I slayed yesterday’s tempo run and I think it was the dragon fruit smoothie I made for my afternoon snack. Just like the perfect run, where speed comes without too much suffering, can be elusive . . . so is the dragon fruit. You don’t see this beautiful tropical fruit very often, mainstream markets don’t usually carry them – so if you ever do see one, snatch it up! The Dragon Fruit, also known as a Pitaya, Strawberry Pear or Mood Flower, is the unusually striking fruit of a cactus – don’t worry, there are no thorns or stickers on it! There are different varieties – pink or yellow exterior and white or magenta interiors speckled with tiny edible seeds. Despite their showy appearance, the taste is quite mild, similar to a kiwi – I have found the yellow variety to be the sweetest.
Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit: First of all, like most fruits, dragon fruit is hydrating and provides healthy complex carbohydrates to fuel to body and brain. Dragon fruit is also surprisingly high in phytonutrients. Rich with beneficial antioxidants, this pretty (and pretty powerful fruit) a serving contains 10% Daily Value of vitamin C, polyunsaturated (good) fatty acids, a bit of protein, carotene, and several B vitamins that are essential for the optimal metabolism of carbohydrates.
I recently came into a huge windfall of dragon fruit from Frieda’s Produce, so I ate all I could simple by slicing open and digging out the flesh with a spoon! I’ve also sliced the fruit and put on my salads, in my yogurt and used in salsas. They keep for about a week in the fridge (wrap in plastic wrap to extend the life) and can also be cut up or pureed to freeze. Later this week, before I go into freezer storage mode, I’ll be making Dragon Fruit Chia Jam. Stay tuned for that!
Today, I’m sharing that smoothie I hinted at, the one that made me run fast – haha! My recipe for a Dragon Fruit Coconut Smoothie Bowl is a nourishing sweet treat that is a quick fix for breakfast, a pre or post workout snack or healthy dessert. It was almost too pretty to eat. Almost. If you can’t find the fruit fresh, I’ve noticed that many upscale grocery stores sell it in the frozen fruit section.
Dragon Fruit Coconut Smoothie Bowl
1 cup dragon fruit flesh (fresh or frozen)
12 ounces almondmilk/coconutmilk (the carton kind from refrigerated section like Blue Diamond)
1 tablespoon cacao nibs (I like the ones from NOW Foods)
Additional dragon fruit for garnish
To prepare, add dragon fruit, unsweetened coconut milk, and protein powder to blender. Process until smooth. Pulse in enough ice until desired consistency achieved. Pour into bowl (or tall glass) and top with shredded coconut, cacao nibs and additional dragon fruit if desired. Serves 1
One bite of my Brazilian Beef & Plantain Bowl (with egg, honey and toasted coconut) and you’ll happily say “Tchau” to a tower of pancakes, waffles or buttered toast in the morning! Loaded with protein, quality complex carbohydrates, iron, potassium and other essential nutrients, this easy breakfast made with leftover steak will fuel you for a full morning of demanding activities! The flavor combination may sound weird, but trust me, it’s so delicious! Pra caramba!
The protein in the recipes is a combination of 3-oz. left over lean steak (like top sirloin, strip, tenderloin, flat iron, etc.) and a single, sunny-side up egg. Along with a little bit from the plantain, you’re getting about 28 grams of protein with this meal – the ideal amount to consume in a single sitting.
It’s the perfect morning meal for a Protein Challenge! Each day is a new start, so beat yourself up if your diet wan’t exactly “on point” yesterday — you get a new chance to eat well today!
I always feel best when I’m eating 25g – 30g protein evenly spaced at each meal. Plus, it helps prevent snacking!
If you’re not familiar with plantains, you can typically find them in most grocery stores in the “exotic produce” area. This “vegetable-banana” is a less sweet and a little more starchy tasting than a regular banana – but so yummy when baked, microwaved or sautéed! They are a common ingredient in the cuisine of Mexico and Central / South America and in Brazil go by their Portuguese name of “banana-da-terra.”
Oh, and now for something crazy beef & bananas that isn’t actually food! It’s me planking until failure the other day before teaching a Grilling 101 class at the Texas Beef Council.
A video posted by Jennifer Fisher (@thefitfork) on
I’ll teaching a class on “Empowered Meal Prep – Protein for Fitness” at thePinner’s Conference in Dallas on Sept 9 & 10th. I’ll be sharing this Brazilian Beef& Plantain Breakfast Bowl along with a delicious Molasses & Pepper Flat Iron Steak recipe and Super Iron-Boosting Steak Spinach Salad. Sign up for my class, I’ll also have beef swag and lots of tasty samples! Use the discount code FITFORK at online registration to save 10% on the very reasonable cost that allows you access to 100+ classes on food, fitness, crafts, home décor and more! Or, if you just want General Admission to shop and see the sights (no classes), you can get a free pass ($7 at door) using FREESHOPPING. RESISTER HERE
Have you ever used plantains in a recipe? Do you have a planking hashtag for me? Are you watching the Summer Olympics? What has your favorite moment been so far? Please share in comments, XOXO – Jennifer
Brazilian Beef and Plantain Breakfast Bowl
Power up your day in savory-sweet South American style with this hearty, protein-rich steak breakfast bowl featuring plantains, coconut, honey and an egg!
Add coconut oil to medium skillet and bring to medium-high heat. Sauté chopped plantains and yellow peppers for approximately 6 to 7 minutes, or until plantains turning golden brown and peppers softening.
In the last 90 seconds or so of cooking, stir in steak chunks to gently reheat without overcooking. Slide the steak mixture into 4 cereal-sized bowl and set aside.
Immediately poach or fry eggs to your preferred level of yolk “doneness.” Slide a cooked egg on top of each bowl of beef mixture and season with salt, pepper, sprinkle of coconut and a drizzle of honey!
Are you scrambling to get out the door on time when the sun rises and skipping (or stumbling) right past breakfast? Missing your morning meal is a mistake for sure – I always end up getting “hangry” mid-morning and end up molesting the vending machine. That’s why I like to plan ahead just a bit to have ingredients on hand to make a quick fix like the Asparagus Egg Scramble with Feta Cheese I’m sharing today or to prep a make-ahead meal such as my Barn Raiser Beef & Egg Casserole (freezable in individual portions).
So, if you’ve got 10 minutes in the morning, you have a whole 600 seconds to get cracking on this Asparagus Egg Scramble with Feta Cheese. If you prep veggies the night before, you might be able to get it done more quickly! This easy egg recipe also makes a lightning-speed dinner solution on those nights when orchestrating a complicated meal is absolutely, positively out of the question.
This is how to get the speed you need -asparagus, spinach and tomatoes sautés together on the stove top while eggs are scrambled on a nearby burner. When the two skillets are just seconds from being done, just slide out the contents from one into the next and stir!
I’ve give this breakfast dish some salty, tangy zip thanks to the distinctive flavor of feta cheese – love using the new Simply Artisan Reserve Feta Cheese Crumbles, the container sprinkles these tiny cheese pieces just like a grated Parm. It’s genius! Look for it, along with Bue Cheese Seaons in the specialty cheese section of your local grocery store.
Meanwhile, make an easy feat of feasting with the Asparagus Egg Scramble with Feta Cheese recipe! Serve straight from the skillet or spoon atop toasted whole grain toast – I’ve even bookended between bread to eat sandwich-style when rushing out the door. Enjoy!
In medium bowl, whisk eggs and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Spray 12” skillet with cooking spray and bring to medium-low heat. When hot, add eggs and stir fairly vigorously using spatula, for approximately 5 minutes.
In another 12” skillet, add olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Add asparagus and carrots and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Next add spinach, tomatoes and garlic, stirring frequently and continuing to sauté for about 3 additional minutes or until spinach is wilting.
Keep eggs on medium-heat and add sautéed vegetable mixture, stirring to incorporate.
Remove from heat and sprinkle with feta cheese crumbles.
Season additionally with salt and pepper, if needed.
This post and giveaway sponsored by Hamilton Beach, but all opinions and enthusiasm are my own!
I never thought I needed a toaster oven and, boy, was I soooo wrong. I changed my mind when recently developed a recipe for Hamilton Beach that would work in their fancy 4 Slice Easy Reach™ Toaster Oven with Roll-Top Door. Honestly, it was my first time using a countertop toaster since back in my childhood days when this is how I made my buttery, cinnamon toast for breakfast! I love the convenience and quick clean up so much, I’m giving away one of these amazing appliances to one of you (enter at bottom of post).
The recipe I made for Hamilton Beach was a single serve breakfast cookie Chocolate Speckled and Seeded Breakfast Cookie, a much healthier option than the sugar and butter on white bread treat I would cook up as a kid. Fresh baked from the toaster oven, this cookie is packed with flavor and nutrition thanks to whole grains, seeds, and just a smattering of chocolate to soothe a sweet tooth. The entire huge cookie has just 268 calories and 16g protein – plus it’s gluten-free and nut-free plus sugar free and dairy-free (if you don’t use the chocolate chips). Get the full recipe on Hamilton Beach Every Day Good Thinkingblog
So, what’s so awesome about a toaster oven? Well, for one thing, it doesn’t heat the whole house up, and that’s a major concern here in Texas! But you still get that fresh-baked, crispy texture on foods that the microwave just can’t deliver – the little slide out tray will accommodate so many healthy food options – broil salmon, roast asparagus, bake eggs, make muffins and, yes, even make toast! It fits four slices of toast or even a 9” pizza! A smaller appliance is also so convenient when just preparing a meal for one or two people and works well in a dorm room, RV, cabin, office kitchen or other places where space is tight. Plus, the 4 Slice Easy Reach™ Toaster Oven with Roll-Top Door has several unique features including a removable roll-top door than makes it super easy to clean up!
I’m on this mug muffin kick lately. I have a zillion iterations, from Lemon Raspberry Protein Muffin Mug to this Blueberry Pecan Oat Protein Mug Muffin that I’m sharing today. I usually mix up this protein-packed breakfast scoop by scoop in the morning, but I love this one so much that I big-batched it! Meal prep, y’all – I can’t believe I’m so organized. Haha.
So, come morning, when I’m not feeling human, all that’s left to be done with my breakfast is add two liquid ingredient (egg white and almond milk) to my mix and stick in the microwave. I tried to use an egg white powder in the mix to make even more convenient, but I didn’t like that so much – plus, how is cartoned egg-white not convenient?! Other things to love about this Blueberry Pecan Oat Mug Muffin recipe in addition to the homey taste is the wholesome nutrition – it’s gluten-free, sugar-free, low-cal and packed with protein (32 grams protein and about 240 total calories per serving).
When I say that this is a Master Mix Recipe, it means you can swap out the blueberries and pecans for the other dehydrated fruit and nuts of your choosing — bananas & peanut, pineapple & macadamia nut, raspberries & almond are just some ideas!
I ran the nutritional info for you tracker types!
Instead measuring out the oats, chia seeds and pecans separately, I like to just use Love Grown FoodsSuper Oats with Chia & Nuts – that stuff ROCKS my world.
Here’s a run down on most of the products I used in this recipe:
What is your go-to easy meal in the morning? If you were swapping out the fruit and nuts, what would you choose? Please share in the comments — XOXO, Jennifer
1 1/4 cupegg whiteparceled out 3 tablespoons per serving
To make master mix, add protein powder, baking mix, oats, chia seed, pecans, stevia and dehydrated blueberries to large mason jar or storage container and shake to blend.
To prepare individual serving, add approximately ½ cup mix into large mug or microwave-safe bowl. Stir in 3 tablespoons of egg white and 5 tablespoons of almond milk. Microwave on high for between 1 and 2 minutes – exact time will vary by microwave strength (the magic time at my house is 90 seconds). Mug cake will rise dramatically while cooking and then settle back down and is “done” when no longer wet and has consistency of a bread pudding.
*In lieu of these three ingredients, you can swap out with just a little skosh more than 1 ¼ cup of Love Grown Food Super Oats with Chia & Nuts