Open faced pesto omelet with kale and cherry tomatoes

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Not all mornings are created equal. And yet, it’s the way we handle them that can set the tone for the rest of the day. For me, the majority of my days start the same; I wake up at 5am, go to crossfit from 6-7am, shower and head to a long day of work followed by grad-school or yoga. I’m running a tight ship in the mornings, so I have to be pretty planful on what I’m bringing with me to eat, to make sure that I can get something healthy and nutritious to start my day. Planning, time-constraints, constantly on the go, these are the areas that I’m good at. This post is not about that.
My schedule switches around from time to time with work, and today was one of those days. I had the morning off and decided to try and slow my life down (something I’m terrible at) and sleep in, go to a later crossfit class and just enjoy the morning before I had to go into work for noon.
I went to crossfit and had a tough class. I felt awful leaving, and, because I had nothing planned, free reign, I went down the street to the local orchard with one thing on my mind…comfort food. I walk in there prepared to buy the whole display of freshly baked pies and cider donuts. Instead, I walk out with a grapefruit and a gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free pumpkin cupcake. I look at the cupcake, which I’m sure sounds like the most ridiculous type of treat to a lot of people, and I actually don’t even want it anymore.
My life, constantly on the go, has left little time for patience with myself. It feels like a whirl-wind where the tiniest slip up can send everything crashing to the ground. When, in actuality, that isn’t the case. Talking to a good friend pulled me back into reality; she grounded me again. Some days just aren’t good, and those are the days which it’s hardest to keep all the good things in perspective. It’s hard to hold it together all the time. And well, that okay. You just keep working hard, because the alternative is to stop and that’s just silly.
So I came home, put my cupcake in the fridge (I will still eat it, just at a time I can actually enjoy it) and decided to make myself a delicious breakfast. I knew cooking would make me feel better, and eating a hearty, nutritious breakfast would reset my off morning and set me up for a much better day.

Open faced pesto omelet with kale and cherry tomatoes
¾ cup organic cage-free egg whites (about 6 egg whites)
1 cup organic kale, washed and roughly chopped
About 6 organic grape tomatoes, quartered
1 tsp organic basil pesto (it’s easy to make your own, but I keep a jar on hand just to add a quick little bit to the occasional recipe, but if you have time to make your own, by all means!!)
Organic extra virgin coconut oil (I use the spray when cooking eggs, but you can use a little of the regular stuff, or even olive oil or your favorite other cooking spray)

Directions:
Heat a medium sized skillet on low to medium, spray with coconut oil
Sauté quartered tomatoes for a minute or two and add the kale. Continue to cook until kale is wilted.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl add 1 tsp of basil pesto to egg whites and whisk together.
Turn your pan down to low, give it a minute to come down in temperature, and then pour the egg white mixture over the kale and tomato mixture.
Cover the skillet (I just use my largest pot’s lid since my skillet doesn’t come with a cover, 🙂 Improvise!)
Let cook about 5 minutes or until the top of the egg is set. (Be patient, and don’t turn up the heat to make it cook faster because the bottom will burn! By covering it, the steam will help cook the top and you won’t have to flip it!)
And that’s it, just slide it out onto your plate and enjoy 🙂

Late night study snack – Spicy sweet potato fries with vegan curry cashew cream

chilisweetpotatofriesandcurrycreamsauceThe life of a working grad student is certainly not a luxurious one.  Long days, late nights, and a hectic schedule are a daily occurrence. It is easy to fall into a rut with food choices when your mind is occupied by exam dates and papers that are due. Sometimes all you want is something quick and easy. But I’ve found that if you think outside of the box a little bit, items that on the surface may seem time consuming and difficult to make, can actually fit into your schedule pretty nicely.

Last night when I got home from class, I knew I was in for a late evening. I had a film to watch, a paper to write about the film and other general homework assignments that are due each week. Yes, I procrastinated, it happens. I knew I would want a late night snack to get me through the night, and nighttime is when my sweet tooth kicks in the worst. My solution: sweet potatoes.  They’re sweet and creamy and I love to add another dimension with a hint of spice.  Cut them up into fries and they’re the perfect snacking food.  And of course, every fry needs a dipping sauce; it’s pretty much a rule.  I have been experimenting with vegan cashew cream sauces, and I wanted to try a different spin on one this time…curry.  For me, nothing says comfort like warming spices, and with the season of cool, dark nights upon us, spicy sweet potato fries and a curry cream sauce makes perfect sense.

This is one of my recipes that has quick, easy prep, and gives you time to be productive while it does the hard part all by itself.  I got home, turned the oven on, sliced, tossed and threw in the sweet potatoes, put some cashews in a bowl of water and got to my homework.  When I was ready for a break from my assignments, my snack was ready for its final finishing touches.  I then promptly devoured it as I got back to my late night of studying.

Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

2 small or 1 medium to large sweet potato

1 TBS olive oil

Cinnamon – to taste

Chili powder – to taste

Sprinkle of salt

Raw vegan curry cashew cream

½ cup raw, organic, cashews

¼ cup water

½ -1 tbs lemon juice

½ teaspoon curry powder

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon dried basil

To start: preheat the oven to 400 and put the cashews in a bowl of water to soak for at least 30 minutes

  • Cut the sweet potato(es) into long fry-like pieces.  I like mine to have some crunch, so I cut them on the thinner side.  A trick I use here is to cut the pieces at an angle, so one end gets crunchy while the other end has more potato to it.
  • Drizzle the olive oil, sprinkle on the cinnamon and chili powder to taste (I prefer a lot of cinnamon and only a little spice, so I do about ½-1 teaspoon of cinnamon and a dash to ¼  teaspoon of chili powder, but of course, adjust how you like it) and toss it all together to coat evenly
  • Spread out on a foil lined baking sheet in one layer and bake
  • Bake for 30-45 mins depending on how well you liked them cooked; toss the pieces about half way through to even out the cooking

To make the sauce:

  • Drain the soaked cashews and discard the soaking water
  • Put them in a blender or food processor with water, lemon juice and seasonings
  • Blend until creamy (you may want to add more water if it’s too thick)

Always TASTE your food as you cook!! Maybe you want more curry, or more lemon, or more cinnamon or more spice! …experiment until you find what balance is right for you!!