One of the times I’m happiest is when I’m in the kitchen. Five years ago I would have never said that — I barely even set foot in my kitchen. What can I say – I’ve come a long way!
Yesterday I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. One of our favorite Sunday breakfasts is eggs. Eggs are often referred to as the perfect protein because they are the only source of all the essential amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. But as a health coach, I have a few “rules” when it comes to eggs.
First, they must be free range and organic. Also, it’s best not to separate the yolk from the white. There are important vitamins and minerals in the yolks. All the hype about eggs causing high cholesterol simply isn’t accurate. If this is a concern, worry about red meat instead. Eggs are not a “fattening” food so a few yolks won’t hurt ‘ya! Finally, I’m often asked if brown eggs are better or healthier than white eggs and the answer is …. color doesn’t matter at all so choose what you like!
Much to my dismay, I cannot seem to cook eggs right. My boyfriend likes his eggs over easy and I’ve been working all summer to perfect my technique. My first attempt this morning is on the left — a bit of a mess so I ate those. Note: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes in the kitchen! My second attempt is pictured on the right. Much better! I ate mine with a slice of yeast free, whole wheat sourdough from Bread Alone and my boyfriend enjoyed his with a multigrain and flax seed english muffin. Of course, being British he also coated his eggs in ketchup (not recommended) 😉
Later in the day, I headed back into the kitchen. My boyfriend is a bit of a chip fanatic so in an effort to wean him off and replace them with a healthier alternative, I made Spiced, Roasted Chickpeas. They are perfect as a protein-packed snack and also make a great salad-topper.
The recipe is so simple:
1 can of chickpeas
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
Pre-heat the oven to 350. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. In a bowl, combine chickpeas, olive oil, salt and cumin. Stir to coat. Transfer the mixture to a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until crunchy.
Recalling the stuffed peppers I made about a year ago that were so good, I wanted to see if I could duplicate them for dinner. Sure enough, they were just as good, if not better! We paired these with a simple salad of arugula, tomato and fennel with olive oil.
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 onions, chopped
3 cups raw brown rice
6 cups water, stock or tomato juice
1/2 tsp allspice
1 cup chopped tomatoes
3/4 pound Cheddar cheese, grated (optional)
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
salt & pepper
2 large green peppers, tops cut off and seeds removed
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add and saute the garlic and onion. Add the rice and brown about 5 minutes. Add the desired liquid and allspice. Cover and cook until rice is done, about 40 minutes. Toast almonds in a dry skillet or hot oven. Stir in tomatoes, cheese, almonds and salt and pepper to taste. Cook peppers in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and stuff peppers with rice mixture. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Notes: Although the recipe seems complicated, this is really easy to make but it takes some time so plan ahead. It’s a great dish for leftover brown rice. But if you don’t have time to prepare the rice before adding it to the skillet, you can often find it pre-prepared on a salad bar at a health food store 😉
I used yellow peppers instead of green and for a healthier option, skip the cheese. I had some raw sheep’s milk cheese to use so I used a small amount of that but normally would opt for a cheese-less. I also used a combination of vegetable stock and water to make it more flavorful and to lessen the sodium content and if you don’t have allspice, try equal parts cinnamon and nutmeg.
Overall, a successful day in the kitchen and the best part is I have leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch!