Vegs for breakfast

Sitting on the back patio with a cup of coffee early on summer mornings is one of my “recharge” rituals. I love the quiet of the world, with mostly only nature stirring about, and the 70 degrees is perfect.

I have never been a big breakfast eater. In college I remember being weird in that cereal was not a default meal for me. Even before the vegan diet I didn’t enjoy sausage or other heavy rich foods first thing. Brunch time? Maybe. But just a cup of coffee wasn’t all that unusual for me to survive on til midday.

But then you get older and just coffee kind of makes you feel yucko and jittery. So I have really been trying to eat in the morning and in the process expanding my foods.

I have discovered that I like vegetables for breakfast! Typically that’s sautéed zucchini and cherry tomatoes, some bell peppers if I have them and fresh basil. If I need some starch, will put it over quinoa.

Sometimes even a mixed green salad with sautéed sweet potatoes, tomatoes, avocado and nuts (pistachios in this case). It feels a bit odd to have salad in the morning but eh, I am used to being different by now 😉

I also love toasts, with avocado or hummus and topped with radishes or more tomatoes, and dill. A side of fruit salad with mint rounds it out. I make cold press overnight so the coffee is always ready as soon as I am up.

Maybe because it’s first thing in the morning, it’s easier to slow down and take my time to beautify my food too.

There’s something about starting out the day with some solid self-care, both in the enjoyment of nature and healthy food, that is nourishment on many levels.

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Ode to Brussels Sprouts 


A Brussels Sprouts elfje

Roasted Brussels are so easy they don’t need a recipe. They’re probably my favorite fall vegetable and I love converting people who only remember the crappy canned slimy ones from childhood. If you can find them on their stalks, that’s even cooler because they’re beautiful! The Sprout has sprung!

To learn more about elfje poems, visit Simply Elfje.

Charred

Crispy translucence 

Caramelized Buttery buds 

One of a kind

Sprout

Ps cut in half (quarters if they’re golf ball size), toss in olive oil, salt and pepper, roast at 400 for 40 minutes. I leave the loose outer leaves in the pan, the scraps of burnt paper are my favorite!

Fall farro salad 


Carnivores look away. This salad is hip, man. An ancient grain and vegan-friendly. It’s probably too cool for some of my readers (you know who you are). 

We’re enjoying one of our best falls on record (normally snow is a real possibility right now), and I wanted a healthy and hearty but not heavy salad. This was perfect.

I buy “quick cook” farro from Trader Joe’s. That just means that it takes 10 minutes instead of 40 to cook. Farro is sometimes called spelt. You could easily substitute in barley or wheat berries, even wild rice, which is common here in Minnesota. Anything that will crunch and be good cold/room temperature. 

The squash if diced small and tossed in olive oil get a nice crispy crunch outside but stay soft inside. I love the varying textures in this salad, along with the colors! 

Fall farro salad

  • 2c (8 oz dried package) farro
  • 1c chopped kale
  • 1c butternut squash, diced small
  • 1c red cabbage chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped 
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/3c olive oil
  • Salt and pepper 

Roast diced squash for 40 minutes at 400 degrees. Boil farro for 10 minutes and drain. Mix vinaigrette. Toss kale, cabbage and farro in vinaigrette. I used about half to start and kept adding until it tasted well coated. Add in squash. Serve cold or at room temperature.

“Instant” Italian soup


I saw this idea for “instant” on-the-go soups in both Martha Stewart and Cooking Light and admit I was skeptical. Would it have decent flavor? Would vegetables get “cooked” enough?

I have played around with ingredients and can say, yes! It’s not as good as long-simmered soups, but a healthier, fresher option than canned soup. Hub loves it as a work lunch–just add hot water (like found from the coffee maker in an office).

A variety of ingredients work and it sits well too so you can make several days’ worth at a time. Enjoy!

Instant Italian Soup (2 servings)

  • 1 box Parmesan couscous (uncooked)
  • 1 small zucchini, thinly sliced 
  • 1/2c navy beans
  • 1/3c spinach or kale, chopped 
  • 1 chicken sundried tomato mozzarella sausage, sliced
  • 1/4c matchstick carrots
  • Handful small tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • Salt & pepper

Layer ingredients in 2 wide-mouth jars. Sprinkle the couscous with the parmesan seasoning packet. Top the vegs with the pesto and salt and pepper. When ready to eat, fill jar with hot water, cover and let steep for 3-5 min. 

Steak salad with beets & goat cheese


The seasons are changing. The berries and tomatoes are done, and the root vegetables and fall squash are getting going. I do my best to enjoy every last nice day before it gets über cold 😦

The boys love this salad, mainly because of the dressing. Mix in whatever vegetables look good and protein of your choice, but don’t skip the goat cheese, cranberries and dill. And dressing!

Flank steak

  • 1.5lb flank steak
  • 1/4c soy sauce
  • 2tsp ginger
  • Red pepper flakes

Marinate steak at least 2hours and up to 8. Grill or broil to desired temp.

Salad dressing

  • 3roasted beets, cooled and sliced
  • Orange pepper, julienned 
  • 3oz goat cheese, crumbled 
  • 4 tbsp dried cranberries 
  • 1tsp dried dill
  • 1tbsp pine nuts
  • 8cups mixed greens

Pan roasted garlic butter dressing 

  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard

Saute garlic in butter. Cool. Add olive oil, lemon juice, dijon, shake to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Corn and tomato saute with basil

Sweet corn, sweet, sweet, corn. Minnesota summer at it’s best. I was so thankful to get all of my favorite ingredients at their peak in the farm share box this week. 

While the corn is an obvious superstar, the things that make this recipe better are onions and garlic–FRESH! If you’ve only had the supermarket versions you’re missing out. Fresh garlic is in a completely different stratosphere, far more delicate flavor since it’s not dried out from all that shipping and storage time on a shelf. Seek it out at your farmer’s market, you’ll be convinced.

Hub threw a steak on the grill and voilà! Weeknight dinner on the patio. 

Corn & tomato saute with basil

  • 8 ears corn, kernals sliced off
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2c basil, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper

Saute onion in butter til soft, about 3 min. Add corn kernals and continue sautéing until bright yellow, about 10 min over medium-low heat. Add garlic, tomato and cook another 3 min. Toss in basil and season with salt and pepper.