recipes

Make Ahead Breakfast Ideas

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Let’s face it there is always one thing we wish we had extra time for…for some people it’s reading, going to the gym, drawing and for others it is cooking. With only 24 hours in the day, it really gets hard to get everything on the to-do list done. And unless you are getting up at the crack of dawn – it just not always going to happen. But, what if you took an hour on Sunday to prep meals for the week to give yourself more time to do what you want later one? To me, that is the beauty of meal prepping.

As a part of my weekly meal prep, I always try to prepare some sort of breakfast item. You know, for those fridged mornings when all  I want to lay in my warm bed as long as possible. Or those mornings you know you need to be at the office early to prep for a big presentation. Whatever your morning brings, its a pretty good feeling knowing you have one less thing to do and you can enjoy your morning coffee that much longer.

Not only are you saving time and stress, but you are obviously saving money. Instead of that $12 smoothie – you can buy a ton of fresh fruit for the same price and make your own at home to last the week. The same goes for that overpriced Starbucks Oatmeal or Avocado Toast.

All you need to do is to find a few breakfast foods you like, pick up the ingredients needed, give yourself 1-hour on Sunday and you’ll be excited for breakfast all week. Here are some of my favorite go-to’s. We like to rotate them so nothing ever gets overdone.

Hard Boiled Eggs – This by far is the EASIEST route. Boil up a dozen eggs and you have Avocado Toast ready in minutes. (or you can always bring them with you for a mid-day snack). I did a blog post on perfecting hard boiled eggs – I like mine softer in the middle so I usually cook them for 4-6 minutes.

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Oatmeal – Oatmeal to me is the comfort food of breakfast. It is so satisfying on a chilly morning plus it is filling so you’ll find you won’t be hungry as early. But the nice thing about oats is how versatile they are, they can be eaten hot or cold. Quick/Instant Oats are tried and true, overnight oats are great during the warmer months & crockpot Oatmeal can be made Sunday night and you’ll have enough for the week.
Pancakes – Is there a more nostalgic breakfast than Pancakes? I feel like everyone can remember having Pancakes on a Saturday as a child. And they can be just as good as an adult, healthy too. There are now healthy pancake mixes floating around stores like Kodak Cakes or Bob’s Red Mill. These are great in a pinch if you don’t have the key ingredients to make from scratch. But these homemade cakes can do no wrong.
Yogurt, Granola & Berries – To me, this equals summer breakfast. Creamy Greek yogurt, crunchy toasted granola, and fresh sweet berries. I recently tried to Gimme Some Oven’s Healthy Granola recipe and OMG I am never buying store bought granola ever again! It has 9 ingredients and takes 20 minutes to make. Throw everything in a cute mason jar and you’re ready to go with breakfast in tow.
Egg Cups – Another classic breakfast in my house. The best part about egg cups is how versatile and there is never an end to the combination of add-ins. Pick your favorite veggies, throw in some bacon, ham or turkey and sprinkle in your choice of cheese and bake to perfection. But take it from me, DO NOT forget to spray the tray with cooking spray – I learned that the hard way.
Smoothies – another go to in the warmer months especially when so many good fruits are in season. I usually stock up (or steal fruit from my parent’s farm share) on our favorite fruits to use. Throw in a little spinach (for extra iron), protein, chia and flax (totally optional), ice and you’re ready to hit blend. What makes smoothies so great is there is no wrong way to make one. You only have banana, pineapple & spinach on hand – that sounds like an amazingly delicious smoothie to me. Plus it never hurts to keep frozen fruit on hand for when your running low.

 

So there you have it. These are my go-to meal prep breakfasts that I have come to love because of how stress-free they make my mornings and I hope they give you some inspiration.

Have an on the go breakfast that you love? Feel free to share I would love to hear what your go-to is!

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Essentials

What Kind of Oil Should I Cook With?

Since you have hopefully gotten acquainted with your new Garlic and Onion tools, I hope you didn’t think I would leave you hanging with the last item two items in your first months box. 

Let me introduce you to your Olive Oil bottle and Pourer Top. Whether you are cooking everyday or on occasion I can guarantee you will reach for this bottle EVERY time. The bottle is the perfect size; it’s large enough to hold a substantial amount of oil (whichever kind you prefer, and if you’re confused about which type to use – we’ll talk it out later) yet not super tall that it can easily fit on most counters or in most cabinets. And then there is the top…the top may be my favorite part. Have you ever tried to pour oil from a large container you buy from the store? You end up either spilling it all over the counter or end up with a pool of oil that not even a loaf of bread could sop up. But when you add the top to your bottle, you will get an even, controlled flow of golden oil.

There are some other factors that come into keeping this liquid gold as protected as possible. You always want to keep oil away from heat, light and air. Make sure your oil is not sitting close to a major heat source, such as your stove and oven (which is something that I recently learned..oops, we all have to start somewhere right?). Always store Olive Oil in a bottle with a cap or seal (TA DA), air exposure can affect the taste. The hinge pourer makes it easy to quickly pour your oil while cooking, but doesn’t affect the oxidation while storing. OK, now it’s time to cook.

There are a wide variety of options when it comes to oils and at a top level can be really overwhelming. I know when I first started cooking, I would stand in front of the shelves in the store and have no idea which type to buy. Most times I ended up buying whatever bottle looked nicest but wasn’t super expensive or what I recognized my mom had used. To be fair, there is nothing wrong with this technique, going with what you know is a safe choice. But as I started cooking more and did more research, I learned that the type of oil you choose makes a difference.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO, anyone?) – EVOO is probably the most widely-used cooking oil and has the highest quality. It is an unrefined oil (meaning not processed) and noticed by its greenish gold hue with a peppery taste. It is a bit more expense than other oils since it is made from the first cold press of olives. EVOO is ideal for dipping, drizzling, salad dressings or really any dish that won’t be heated as it will compromise the flavor.

Virgin Olive Oil – Just like EVOO, Virgin Oil is also made by first press, but has a slightly higher acidity level with the same good taste as EVOO. A lighter golden color with a slightly less “Olive” flavor, making it less in quality. Virgin Oil can can be used the same way as EVOO but because it has a lower smoking point it can be your go too with cooking with heat. Think sautéd veggies, searing meats, even in baking. 

Canola Oil – with a high smoking point of 400 degrees (meaning it can withstand a higher heat), Canola Oil is ideal for frying. But Contrary to popular belief, Canola Oil isn’t as bad as it seems.  It is low in saturated fats and due to its neutral flavor, Canola oil will leave you with a golden brown, crispy coating to your fried Mozzerella Stick Onion Rings (Thank you Tasty!)  

Coconut Oil – What can’t you do with it? By now we know that the  uses and benefits of Coconut oil are extensive, if you don’t I recommend you check it out. With a lower smoking point, Coconut Oil can be used in place of butter in any recipe. We recommend keeping it use to sautéd Veggies or when baking (plus it adds a great flavor).

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Rule of thumb – as long as your recipe is not calling for a ridiculous high heat (400 or higher) – in most cases you will be fine cooking with EVOO or Virgin Oil, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to keep vegetable or canola oil on hand (especially if you like to bake). You would be surprised how many other oils are out there. If you are interested in cooking with another healthy oil option check out this article.

On that note, go to the grocery store, pick out a new kind of oil, pair it with a nice crusty loaf of bread (maybe even a glass of wine?) and do a taste test for yourself. The more you taste and cook with oils, the more you will be able to gauge the differences and get a feel for which type will work for your recipe. It’s good for us…tastes delicious…makes other food taste better. Honestly, could it get any better than that?

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Essentials

Introduction to Garlic

Since we know how versatile Onions are and a key ingredient for every kitchen, we can’t forget about our other favorite flavor filled essential, Garlic. Let’s be real? How amazing is the smell of Garlic cooking with a little olive oil? Walking into a kitchen to the delicious aromatic smells of Garlic can make a grown man’s mouth water. Being a powerhouse and one of the most vital ingredients around, Garlic plays a central role in so many dishes culturally around the world.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret when it comes to cooking with Garlic, TIME is EVERYTHING. If you are keeping it raw, you will be left with a strong pungent flavor, that is almost spicy & bitter but once it begins to cook becomes mellow and sweet. You can have your beautifully crushed Garlic (thanks to our tools) go from pale to gold to a burnt crisp in the time it takes you to watch one Snapchat. But Garlic that is perfectly cooked will leave you with a well-balanced, nutty, smooth flavor. But no worries, we’ll show you the ropes. Let’s start at the beginning.

How Do I Pick the Right Garlic?

So you finally decide to make that Shrimp Scampi recipe you pinned 10 months ago, the first step, find the perfect head of Garlic. It’s not as hard as you think. When searching for the right head of Garlic, look for large, firm clean bulbs with unbroken skin. One head of Garlic should contain about ten to twenty individual cloves. When you bring it home, you will want to store in a cool dry place where air can circulate, avoid refrigerating.

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How Should I to use Garlic? 

Lets face it, you would rather have the smell of  Garlic cooking in a delicious butter sauce (for the scampi obviously) wafting throughout the kitchen and instead of lingering on your hands all day (or maybe you do, which in that case its cool with us). We have all have been there…and don’t get us started on how annoying can it be to get the skin off a clove!? Well, now you have a lifesaving tool that will help remove skin with ease and keep the scent of Garlic of those precious hands.

  1. Using your fingers, divide the whole bulb into individual cloves. Store remaining cloves with the skin on.
  2. To remove the skin, place clove into Garlic Roller and apply slight pressure down as you roll the roller back and forth against a hard flat surface.

(Tip: make sure to clear the tube of any remaining skin, this little step will help prevent littering your drawer with flakes)

Using our Garlic Chopper

  1. For chopped Garlic, once you have removed the skin, place one piece of Garlic (2 if tiny) into carriage of Garlic Chopper. Roll chopper for 15-20 seconds or until clove has been fully crushed.
  2. Remove from carriage and you are ready to use!

How Do I Cook Garlic?

What was that secret to cooking with Garlic? Oh yeah, timing…timing is KEY. Depending on the cook time will affect the outcome of the Garlic flavor. As always, when in doubt, follow your chosen recipe it won’t steer you wrong.

Raw minced or chopped Garlic adds a great flavor to dressings, marinades, and salsas. Bruschetta is a great example; ripe tomato, fresh basil, a little olive oil and raw Garlic. The sweetness that comes from the tomato and basil is a perfect compliment to the spicy raw Garlic which is all pulled together by the the smooth oil. The flavors meld together to make a fantastic app or side dish.

If there is one cooking technique you want to nail, its saute. You will find that Sauteed Garlic is commonly used for the base of sauces, casseroles, soups; with vegetables, or meat. For a perfect pale gold saute, add olive oil and Garlic (whether chopped, minced or sliced) to a pan and turn on the stove to medium heat. You will want to make sure you keep this slow and controlled,  within only for a few minutes, that amazing aroma will begin to build and that’s how you will know your ready to add in your other ingredients.

You can roast a whole bulb for about 25 minutes or individual cloves for 20 minutes to serve with roast meat. By cooking for a longer duration breaks down the chemical makeup which leaves you with a soft almost creamy clove that will pop right out of its skin. But OUR favorite way to roast Garlic is with chicken. We will be sharing our favorite roasted chicken recipe next month. It is SO ridiculously easy and delicious. If your looking to meal prep, we’ve gotcha covered.

Is your stomach growling? Sorry, not sorry because We LOVE Garlic and want you to also. Hopefully with the aid of our tools, you’ll be whipping up Garlic goodness by the weekend. Not sure what to make? We have a few ideas for you.

Classic Garlic Bread
Shrimp Scampi
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Tomato Bruschetta 
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Easiest Garlic Mashed Potatoes
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Sauteed Spinach