scrambled rice breakfast bowl

scrambled rice breakfast bowl

i’ve always thought there is a very good reason that a slice of cold pizza or a slab of leftover lasagna tastes so good for breakfast. i am a fan of fresh fruit and smoothies, or a good grain bowl, but i also love something savoury and comforting in the morning. let’s face it, after a sad breakup, or a night of heavy drinking, you know what you can do with your smoothie, know what i’m saying?

a lot of my recipes come about from the necessity of making something when there isn’t much in the fridge, or trying to use up what i have on hand and this scrambled egg/fried rice hybrid breakfast bowl made from leftover rice is no exception. my special brit friend is half japanese, and fills me in on all the sometimes weird (natto, anyone?) and wonderful things his family eats for breakfast. i was especially intrigued by the japanese rice and raw egg dish called tamago kake gohan, but…one thing i can’t seem to get past is the idea of eating raw eggs. so for this version of a rice breakfast bowl, the eggs are still stirred in at the end, but they go into very hot rice, resulting in a creamy, softly scrambled egg enveloping each grain of rice, almost like a sauce. sometimes i cook it a bit further to almost scramble the egg. either way you prepare it, it’s a protein-rich, slightly spicy and satisfying breakfast that everyone loves and takes only 15 minutes to make. for ease in the morning, chop up the vegetables the night before.

scrambled rice breakfast bowl

scrambled rice breakfast bowl

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 small carrot, shredded
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 tsp. chinese 5-spice powder
2 cups cold cooked white or brown rice, any variety
1 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp. sriracha hot sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp. sesame seeds plus a few more for sprinkling
4 eggs, cracked into a bowl and lightly beaten
1/2 avocado, sliced

in a large non stick pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. when the oil is shimmering, add the carrot, red pepper, and celery. cook for 4 minutes, then sprinkle on the 5-spice powder and cook for 15 seconds or so, just until the spices are lightly toasted. increase heat to high. add the rice, and cook, turning and stirring for 3-4 minutes, or until hot and starting to get a bit crispy. stir in the tamari, sriracha, sesame oil, green onions, and sesame seeds, and mix well to coat the rice. remove pan from heat, and immediately add the beaten eggs, stirring to evenly distribute the eggs into the rice, and cook until the eggs are cooked through but still soft.

load rice into bowls and top with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and the sliced avocado. serve right away.

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breakfast labneh

labneh with apricots and breakfast crackers

good morning, and happy tuesday to you.

it seems i’m getting into a habit of making tuesdays’ posts about breakfast. which is good, since it will hopefully give you some ideas of what to feed yourself and your tribe as you all head out into the world this week. the day has to be good when you’ve started it off with a lovely and civilized breakfast together!

yogurt is a breakfast natural, and this recipe really shakes it up. labneh is a middle-eastern dish, and is essentially yogurt that has been allowed to drain. it’s most often served in a savoury fashion, scattered with spices and a drizzle of olive oil, but it cries out to be eaten with fruit and cheese for breakfast! when choosing yogurt to make the labneh, make sure you choose natural, plain, full-fat yogurt, free of gelatin and starchy stabilizers. anything from 3% milk fat all the way up to 10% works fine.

it’s a fairly well-known that balsamic vinegar pairs really beautifully with fruit. something else i discovered a long time ago is that if you reduce white balsamic vinegar, it becomes a luscious, amber-coloured nectar, with a perfectly balanced sweet and tangy flavour. that’s how we made the apricots for this. trust me people, you’re going to love this!

to tie is all together, i’ve made some breakfast crackers, full of almonds, flaxseeds, and cranberries. this recipe makes a lot, so you’ll have some left over for snacks. they’re not too sweet, and perfect for scooping up the labneh and those succulent apricots. they are made by baking a batter into a loaf, cooling and slicing it thin, then baking the slices a second time to make them crisp. if you happen to have a little terrine pan or a pullman pan, it’s perfect for this. if not, use a regular loaf pan, but cut each slice into 2 pieces before baking a second time, so they’re not too big. if you happen to have access to a meat slicer, perfect! but a bread knife works just fine to make the thin slices.

this recipe is meant to be made ahead of time, so you have all the components ready to go in the morning. with a breakfast like this to start the day, only good things can happen. xx

breakfast crackers

labneh with star anise apricots + breakfast crackers

1 750g container of plain, full-fat natural yogurt
1 500ml bottle white balsamic vinegar
1 cup dried apricots, sliced in half (or fresh, if they are in season)
4 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half

for the breakfast crackers:

1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 tbsp. baking soda
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. sesame seeds
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries

line a non-reactive strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth and place over a bowl. dump in the yogurt, put the whole thing in the fridge, and allow it to drain for 6-8 hours or overnight. transfer the drained yogurt to a bowl, discarding the liquid, and stir the labneh to make it smooth.

gather your ingredients for the breakfast crackers. preheat oven to 375f and grease and line a terrine pan or loaf pan with parchment. mix together all the dry ingredients in a big bowl. make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermik. give the mixture a few good stirs to combine, but don’t overmix. scrape into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. cool completely on a rack.

when cool, use a serrated knife to slice as thinly as you can. lay the slices on a rack and bake in a 350f oven for 10 minutes, or until they are almost crisp (they will crisp more as they cool). cool completely and store in a covered container in a dry place.

empty the white balsamic vinegar into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. add the anise and cinnamon stick and boil down until reduced by half. add the apricots, reduce heat to medium, and cook until juices are syrupy. cool in the syrup, and keep in the fridge. remove anise and cinnamon before serving.

serve the labneh with a spoonful of the apricots and the breakfast crackers on the side. serves 4, with a generous amount of crisps left over for snacking.

**the crackers, (and also the apricots) would enjoy a frolic with some soft, brie-like cheese, or any type of blue cheese on a cheese plate, too.

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almondos

almondos

happy monday all!

kicking off #bakingmonday with this easy raw cookie recipe i call almondos, and a bit of a backstory.

at one point i had nine laying hens who provided more eggs than we needed, and a friend of mine knew someone who was looking for fresh, organic and uncaged hen eggs. i happy happy to share our surplus, so every week or so, liz would stop by and pick up a dozen fresh eggs, and every time she came she would bring something lovely in return! one day she brought these wonderful little cookies. at that time, raw cookies were not something i had really given a fair try, but they were an instant hit. i’ve adapted it a bit, and now this recipe has become a standby around here. this is one of things i love about food, how it naturally bridges gaps and builds community and fosters friendships and sharing.

these super-crunchy, gluten-free, vegan and egg free (!) cookies are the perfect protein-packed snack on the go and i always keep one or two in my bag. they are best kept well-chilled.

sometimes i make them a bit bigger to have with some fruit for breakfast. feel free to change up the nuts and nut butter to your liking.

almondos

almondos

2 1/4 cups raw unblanched almonds
1 cup almond butter
1/4 cup raw, organic coconut flakes
3 tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup hemp hearts

set aside 24 almonds, and place the rest on the bowl of a food processor. pulse to chop very coarsely. add almond butter, coconut flakes, honey, and almond extract, and pulse until the mixture comes together, but the almonds are still nicely chunky.

scoop out 2 tbsp portions and roll into a ball, then form into a small disc, and roll the edges in the hemp hearts. press a whole almond and 3-4 chocolate chips into the top of each cookie. chill until firm. makes 24.

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steel-cut oats with ginger-roasted figs

steel cut oats with ginger roasted figs

i recently posted a photo of figs on instagram and someone commented that they were adorable. aren’t they though? figs are truly the cutest of fruits! with their perfect shape, smooth aubergine-hued skin and varying shades of pink/ruby/berry inside, they may be my favourite little fruit to eat and photograph. don’t even get me started on kumquats. kumquats deserve their own post entirely.

i’ve written before about how i’m really not much of a morning person or a breakfast person, but damn if this blog isn’t making me one. it’s a fun process to develop interesting breakfast recipes that don’t make me shudder at the thought of eating before 2pm.

steel cut oats, also called irish oatmeal or pinhead (har!) oats are so far removed from those gloppy pouches of instant oatmeal. they are both oatmeal the way a can of pop and an 1869 chateau lafite are both drinks.

so why not make the lafite of oatmeal? ok i’m ahead of myself, you can decide if these are that good, with their luscious, juicy roasted figs, honey, ginger, and the secret ingredient, balsamic. don’t be weirded out! a few drops mellow the sweetness of the figs and honey and make the resulting saucy juices really pop. a scatter of toasted pecans hemp seeds adds texture and a hit of protein.

so don’t be a pinhead (like me). eat some breakfast!

steel cut oats with ginger roasted figs

steel-cut oats with ginger-roasted figs

1 cup steel-cut oats
4 cups water
1 lb fresh figs, cut in half
4 tbsp. honey
2 slices candied ginger, slivered
3 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup toasted pecans, chopped
2 tbsp. raw hemp seeds

prepare the steel cut oats. (this can be done the night before*). in a medium pot bring the water to the boil and add a pinch of salt. stir in the oats. bring back up to the boil, cover, remove from heat, and let stand for 1 hour.

preheat oven to 400f. in a small glass roasting pan, toss together the figs with the honey, balsamic, and ginger. cover tightly with foil, and bake for 20 minutes. remove foil and cool to warm.

spoon oats into a bowl, top with 1/4 of the figs and some of the lovely oozing juices. scatter pecans and help seeds on top.

*you probably already know you can use this method to prepare your oats the night before. i did not make this up. what you will likely find in the morning is a very greeny-blue substance on the surface of your oats. people have asked me,

“what the hell?”
“is this mould!?”
“i left the oats out all night, and they’ve gone bad!”
“am i going to die??”

yes, you are going to die, we all are. but not from the green stuff on overnight oatmeal. they haven’t gone bad and mould can’t grow that fast. it’s a result of a chemical reaction and completely harmless. scrape it off and move on.

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salted macaroon granola

salted macaroon granola

i have great, great news for you. this salted macaroon granola is somewhat healthy. unlike commercial granola it isn’t fat laden. it’s full of whole grains and  contains only a small amount of unrefined sugar as well as a good handful of cacao nibs, a bona-fide “superfood” and other things that are closer to the good side of the food spectrum. okay, so it’s not broccoli, but it’s not brownie cheesecake either. i don’t think enjoying something sweet and tasty should (always) make you feel dirty after.

there are times i really crave chocolate. like right now. also, 5 minutes ago. that’s when i grab a little handful of this yummy stuff. thanks to the triumvirate of cocoa power, cacao nibs, and a smattering of vegan chocolate chips, this is REALLY chocolatey. it should be noted that i never use caps. not even when i spell my own name, so this is like, huge. there are also coconut chips and sliced almonds, mingling amongst the big clusters of oats, kamut, rye, and bran, so it goes without saying this granola packs a decent crunch.

all bliss-inducing chocolate dreaminess aside, the cacao nibs are pretty special. they are a source of powerful antioxidants and release euphoria-inducing neurotransmitters. a chemical in cacao called PEA sharpens you up and makes you feel more alert. (i know this to be a true and undisputed fact, because it’s 1 am and i came up with the word “triumvirate”).

sprinkled over some greek yogurt or doused with almond milk, it’s breakfast. mix a bit up with some air-popped popcorn and it’s snacking gold. or just crack the jar and stick your hand in there. now is good.

salted macaroon granola

salted macaroon granola

4 cups of a mixture of rolled oats, kamut flakes, rye flakes, barley flakes, etc. (any combo you like)
1/2 cup wheat bran
1/2 cup sliced raw almonds
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup liquid honey or brown rice syrup
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1 cup organic cacao nibs
1 1/2 cups raw, organic coconut chips
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

preheat oven to 350f. line a large baking sheet with parchment. in a large bowl, mix together the grains, wheat bran, and almonds. in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, melt the coconut oil with the honey or brown rice syrup until runny. remove from heat. whisk in the cocoa powder and salt until very smooth. scrape out of pot into the bowl with the grains. toss well to combine (i usually just use my hands).

turn out onto prepared pan. bake for 1/2 hour, stir once, and bake an additional 15 minutes. remove from oven and allow to cool completely. it should not be the slightest bit warm.

when cooled, gently break up the granola so that some large chunks remain. toss with the cacao nibs, coconut chips, and chocolate chips. store in an airtight container or glass jar. eat with reckless abandon.

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vegan barley-millet breakfast bowl

barley millet breakfast bowl

i’m not much of a breakfast person. when i get up, all i want is coffee. my eyes don’t work. playing with fire or knives would be a bad idea.

what i do find though, is if there is something available, i’m more likely to eat it. i guess i could have made a long story short and just said, i’m lazy in the morning, which is true, and i’ll freely admit it. so when i’m full of energy at night, i’ll make a few breakfasty-type things to have on hand, like cooked grains.

millet is an underused little seed that i love! it’s nutty and crunchy, easy to prepare, and makes a tasty addition to this breakfast bowl.

i had some leftover barley after making this. you can use quinoa, wheat berries, kasha, whatever you’re feeling.

barley millet breakfast bowl

vegan barley-millet breakfast bowl

1/2 cup millet
1 cup water
1/2 cup cooked barley
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 banana, diced
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup toasted almonds*
1/2 cup almond milk

place the millet in a small saucepan and heat to medium, shaking the pan to toast the millet. the grains will start to pop and when they just start to give off a bit of smoke, are turning golden, and smell toasty, carefully add the water (carefully – it will sputter and spit at you). Bring to a boil. Cover and turn heat off. Allow to stand for 20 minutes, or until millet has absorbed all the water. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool completely. stir in maple syrup.

for each bowl, place 1/4 of the millet and 1/4 of the barley. top with 1.4 of the bananas and berries, and sprinkle with almonds. pour over a little almond milk, and drizzle with a little more maple syrup, if you like it a little sweeter.

*i used whole, unblanched, raw almonds and chopped them roughly before toasting in a dry pan.

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