breakfast

Spice Up Your Eggs

Breakfast foods are my absolute favorite. I love breakfast for breakfast... and I also love breakfast for dinner. Especially when I've had a long day at work and I have about 5 minutes of dinner prep in me, at best. As a dietitian, maximizing the nutrition in my meals is always a priority - and it just so happens that nutrients and flavor go hand-in-hand when it comes to my scrambles. I'm big on adding spices to eggs because 1) they provide a ton of flavor, and 2) spices are super high in antioxidants - that substance that combats otherwise harmful free-radicals. I urge you to try my recipe for spicing up your scrambles, regardless of what meal you make it for.  PS: feel free to get creative! If there is a spice that you love not listed below, modify my recipe and make it your own! 

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Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 2 whole eggs, organic, cage-free
  • 2 tablespoons feta cheese 
  • dash of soy milk (or almond if you prefer)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 
  • generous pour of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of thyme 
  • may top with sriracha 

Directions:

  1. Crack 2 eggs in bowl and whisk so that egg yolks break and mixture appears uniform and yellow. Add dash of soy milk and mix again.
  2. Add spices to egg mixture and mix again.
  3. Use nonstick pan and turn heat to medium. Add feta cheese to skillet. Scramble eggs until they are cooked to your liking.
  4. May garnish with more thyme or spices, as desired.  

Cannellini Bean & Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl

If you've been following this blog for a bit now, you probably know that I love experimenting with unusual ingredients or atypical combinations. If you're landing here for the first time, well, now you're in on it too. 

When making my usual after-work smoothie bowl the other day, I found myself thinking about how I could add more fiber without increasing sugar content, and without compromising the sweet flavor. Yes, I could add more greens, but that would create a tarter taste. Yes, I could add cauliflower (and that probably would have been perfect), but cauliflower smoothies feel like the new avocado toast these days, and that didn't make me feel like I was living on the edge. That's when I thought of adding cannellini beans! (because that's what everyone thinks of when they want to live on the edge, obviously). They're loaded with fiber and protein (1/2 cup has 5 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein), they're bland enough that they adopt the flavor of the fruit smoothie - or any smoothie - without compromising the taste, and they would add some more volume - because whoever wants their smoothie to end!? 

Here is the recipe for my cannellini bean & chocolate cherry concoction - highly recommend you try it. Oh, and I will DEFINITELY be experimenting with other fruit/vegetable flavor iterations of this bean-based delight, so stay tuned :) 

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 1/2 cup unsalted, organic cannellini beans 
  • 1/2 frozen banana 
  • 1/4 cup frozen wild blueberries 
  • 1/2 cup frozen dark and sweet cherries 
  • 1/3 cup organic soy milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dash of cinnamon 
  • 4 I Heart Keenwah chocolate quinoa puffs (for topping)
  • 1 tablespoon cherries (for topping)

Directions:

  1. Set aside topping ingredients and add all other ingredients to blender. Blend on high for about 30 seconds, or until contents appear evenly distributed. 
  2. Pour mixture into bowl. Use your hands to crush quinoa puffs, and sprinkle on top of smoothie. Add remaining tablespoon of cherries for topping.
  3. Enjoy! 

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Apple Pie Parfait

If you've already gone apple picking this season, you're probably wondering how you're ever going to use all of those Macintoshes. (And if you haven't, apples are practically falling off the shelves right now, so you'll be just fine). Either way, we have the answer to your apple abundance and it's super sweet - really, though. 

This apple parfait requires a little chopping and baking, but we promise it's totally worth it! We recommend baking a bunch of these apples at once, so you can make this several times throughout the week. Follow below. 

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 2 large Macintosh apples, diced (or 4 small Macintosh apples) NOTE: recommend baking about 6 medium apples, diced, to store extra. 
  • 6 oz plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 6 walnuts, crushed 
  • ~1 teaspoon cinnamon 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
  2. While oven is heating, dice apples into ~ 1/2 inch pieces. Spread apples onto nonstick baking sheet or pan. If pan, add ~2 tablespoons water 
  3. Sprinkle cinnamon over apples
  4. Bake for ~35 minutes. Apple slices should maintain their diced shape
  5. Allow to cool for about 20-30 minutes
  6. In glass or jar, layer yogurt and apples, as pictured above. In the last layer of apples, sprinkle crushed walnuts on top
  7. ENJOY! 

Spotlight On: Eggs

Easter is right around the corner, which means pastel blue, pink, and yellow eggs are showcasing in storefronts all around us. While we do recommend to limit the amount of chocolate eggs you enjoy, we've decided to use this holiday as an opportunity to shed some light on the health benefits of our favorite household staple, the egg. 

scrambled eggs

Do eggs raise cholesterol? How many eggs are too many? Are egg whites better than whole eggs? Are the brown ones healthier than the white ones? We get these questions all of the time, so we decided to give you the 411:

  •  Eggs are a source of total nutrition. 1 egg is about 70 calories and offers 6 grams of protein
  • Every single B vitamin is found in eggs
  •  Eggs contain every amino acid, making it a complete, high quality protein source
  • Eggs are one of the few good food sources of vitamin D
  •  Egg yolks are high in choline (1 egg provides about 35% of daily need), which is important for maintaining energy levels and a healthy metabolism. Choline is especially important during pregnancy as it contributes to brain and memory development
  • Egg whites contain a protein called avidin which binds to biotin making it absorbable in the body. Biotin helps the body convert fat into usable energy and is also linked with improving hair and nail strength.

Eggs became controversial when research from the 1980's revealed that egg yolks raised LDL and total cholesterol. More recent research, however, did not find any positive correlation between egg yolk consumption and cholesterol. Researchers found the the ratio of fats (omega 6: omega 3) in the diet had a much larger role in cholesterol levels than the amount of cholesterol consumed. The research is still mixed, but if you do have high cholesterol, we recommend limiting egg yolk consumption to 5-6 per week to be safe.

Eggs are a dieter's best friend. One study compared a group of dieters who had an egg-based breakfast to dieters who consumed a starch based breakfast and those who had no breakfast. At the end of the trial, the dieters with an eggy breakfast lost the most weight and body fat overall. Who's having an omelet tomorrow morning??

Time to get crackin! If making eggs at home, we recommend either using 2 whole eggs, or 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites in an omelet or scramble. This way, you get the benefits of the egg yolk but reduce the calories and fat content. Don't be afraid to ask for this next time you're out for brunch! As far as brown vs white, we don't discriminate. This may be surprising, but the color of the egg depends on the color of the chicken. Unlike the case with breads and grains, brown doesn't mean healthier! We choose organic, cage-free eggs. If from a local farm, even better. How to incorporate eggs in your day? Easy.

omelet
  • Pack 2 hardboiled eggs as a protein-packed afternoon snack, or as the protein for your salad
  • Try our omelet muffins, the perfect on-the-go breakfast or snack.
  • Add a fried egg to your next veggie stir-fry or cauliflower fried "rice"
  • Make an omelet or scramble with 1 egg, 2 egg whites, assortment of veggies, few slices of avocado, and fresh herbs and spices.
  • Add a fried egg to your avo toast

Have an eggsellent day! (Had to)

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Spaghetti Squash Sunny Side Up

The days are becoming noticeably longer and the weather seems to be warming up. All signs point to the changing of seasons! Before you completely kiss winter goodbye (it's not over yet!), be sure that you've made the most of you winter recipes. Today we're taking an original spin on one of our favorite winter foods... spaghetti squash. For breakfast. 

You've probably never thought of spaghetti squash as a breakfast food... but why shouldn't it be? For instance, it's customary to serve a side of (sweet potato) fries with your morning omelet, right? Squash isn't all that different. This delicious breakfast special combines spaghetti squash, parmesan cheese, and a fried egg, making it the ultimate breakfast of champions. 

Spaghetti squash is a good source of fiber as well as vitamins A and C. Parmesan cheese, little known, is a good source of protein and calcium. One quarter cup serving of shredded parmesan has about 10 grams of protein! Eggs are also a good source of protein, vitamin D, and other minerals. Now it's time to get cracking! 

Ingredients (serves 1):

  1. 1 spaghetti squash
  2. 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  3. 1 egg 

Directions:

Part I

  1. Slice squash longitudinally and remove seedy center. Place both halves face down (rind up) on baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
  2. Once baked, use a fork to scrape insides of squash from top to bottom, into a large bowl.
  3. Set aside 1/2 cup of squash for recipe (refrigerate remainder to use for dinner!).
  4. Add 1/4 cup parmesan to 1/2 cup of squash and allow to melt.

Part II

  1. Use stovetop to fry egg.
  2. When egg is cooked, place it atop the spaghetti squash and parmesan combo.
  3. ENJOY! 

Pumpkin Overnight Oats

Turns out we all face the same morning dilemma: how to beat the rush to work and squeeze in a moment for breakfast. One of the reasons we're still riding the overnight oats bandwagon is that it solves exactly this conundrum. When you plan your breakfast the night before, you eliminate that early morning breakfast bind. Now, pumpkin season isn't quite over yet so we're milking it for all that it's worth. This pumpkin overnight oats recipe combines fiber and protein to help you feel satisfied until lunch. Not to mention anything in a Mason jar makes for a perfect on-the-go solution. 

Ingredients (serves 1):

  1. 1 medium frozen banana
  2. 2/3 cup organic pumpkin puree
  3. 1/4 cup soy milk
  4. 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  5. 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  6. 1/4 cup rolled oats 
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  8. 1 teaspoon Trader Joe's pumpkin spice blend 

Directions:

  1. Combine frozen banana, pumpkin puree, soy milk, yogurt, vanilla extract, and spices in a blender. Power on high until ingredients are well blended. 
  2. Pour dry rolled oats into Mason jar. 
  3. Add blended pumpkin-banana mix into Mason jar. 
  4. Add chia seeds into Mason Jar.
  5. Mix contents with a spoon until oats, puree, and chia seeds appear evenly distributed. Close jar and place in refrigerator overnight. 

Bulletproof Coffee: Brew it or Screw it?

This trend is one that has everyone talking. BUTTER in your COFFEE? We have to give it to the founder of Bulletproof Coffee, Dave Asprey, for shaking things up in the health world. If Gwyneth Paltrow and Jimmy Fallon do it, we should too, right?? Not so fast.

bulletproof coffee

Asprey first came across the creamy yak butter tea while visiting Tibet, where it has been a traditional beverage for centuries. As there are not many yaks residing in the US, he put his own twist on the beverage by using 2 tablespoons of unsalted , grass fed cow’s butter and adding myotoxin-free coffee and 2 tablespoons of medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil.

Grassfed butter is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, D, K and beta-carotene. Grass fed is key here, corn or soy fed cows milk does NOT have the same nutrient profile! The MCT oil (coconut oil, typically) is an easily digested fat that is quickly absorbed and converted to energy rather than being stored. Coffee is meant to add that boost of caffeine and focus to your morning. When mixed with the fats, the caffeine enters your body more slowly and steadily.

Bulletproof coffee fans claim more energy and focus, digestive regularity, and weight loss. Sounds pretty great right? This is where we need to look at the other side of the story.

Bulletproofcoffee is 400+ calories, making it a meal replacement rather than addition. Asprey recommends replacing breakfast with the creamy coffee, which is where we find a problem. Why replace a balanced breakfast including protein, fiber, and an array of other nutrients with one that that is so low in essential nutrients?

We are huge coffee lovers, big fans of coconut oil, and have no problem with a dose of grass fed butter here and there. We hate to be conventional, but why not reap the benefits of coconut oil by using a tablespoon when cooking your vegetables? Or spread a teaspoon of grass fed butter on piece of sprouted bread? And why not enjoy your coffee with a splash of almond milk so that it can accompany your breakfast rather than replacing it?

We’re all about trying out different health trends and seeing what hits home. But here at Tovita, we are sticking to green smoothies, hearty bowls of oatmeal, and avocado toast for breakfast. 

Glam Granola

Granola is one of those foods that can trick even the most health conscious consumers. What comes to mind when you think granola? Camping, backpacks, breakfast, snacking… are we right? What you may not be thinking of is SUGAR. As with many packaged foods, the serving size of granola is often misleading. If you are eating 1 cup of granola (trust us, it's easy to do) you could easily be mindlessly snacking on more than 550 calories, 28 grams of sugar and over 80 grams of carbs (eeeek). The worst part? You're most likely still feeling lethargic and hungry just a few hours post that brutal sugar spike.

So, how to avoid this fiasco? Make your own! When it's done right, granola makes for a great snack. Enjoy it on its own or use it as a topping over Greek yogurt with fruit. It's about time granola got a makeover. 

Glam Granola Recipe (makes 8 servings):

granola
  • 4 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 cup chopped or whole pistachio nuts
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons flax seeds (and/or chia seeds)
  • 1/2 cup cup goji and/or mulberries
  • β…“ cup cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1/4th cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ΒΌ teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with tin foil

2. Add the liquid ingredients to the chopped nuts, seeds, and oats and stir until clusters begin to form

3. Spread evenly on baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until granola is golden brown