Breakfast Toasts

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I have been wanting to try these high protein breakfast toasts for some time now, but it’s a delicate balance with avocados. You have to plan your meals around when they are ready, and for some reason, this has rarely coincided with when I have extra time in the morning. One silver lining of yet another snow day is that we had a relaxing morning to experiment with some new breakfast dishes.

I think I am in love with this breakfast. Eggs are by far and away one of my favorite breakfast foods (they run a close popularity race with steel cut oats), and the pairing of scrambled eggs and avocado is pretty magical. I had my toasts fairly pure–just sprouted grain toast, mashed avocado and scrambled egg–but you could easily go crazy with this by adding bacon, crispy prosciutto, smoked salmon, a bit of salsa, cheese or whatever you happen to be craving in the morning.

Total assembly time was 15 minutes, so they don’t take long to prepare and clean up is fairly quick as well. I ate both toasts for breakfast because I was feeling pretty hungry, but on a normal morning, one would probably be enough. I would gladly have this for dinner, too, especially on nights when I am a bit rushed!

Using this recipe, each toast has 311 calories, 12 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber. Using regular bread or adding extras on top will change the nutritional value slightly.

Breakfast Toasts (makes two open-face toasts)

  • 2 slices organic sprouted grain bread (I used Ezekiel sesame bread)
  • 1 ripe, organic avocado
  • 2 fresh farm eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Toast the bread to your liking (I tend to like it crispy). Set aside.
  2. Remove the pit from the avocado and scoop the flesh into a small bowl. Mash it well with the back of a fork.
  3. In another small bowl, whisk the two eggs. Cook in a small, non-stick pan over medium heat. I like them scrambled, but you could make them over-easy or fried as well.
  4. Assemble the toasts by spreading the mashed avocado onto each toast. Top with the scrambled egg. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and/or pepper, if you like.
  5. Serve immediately.
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Steel Cut Oats and Slow Cooker Oatmeal

Traditional 28-ounce tin of McCann's Steel Cut...

I love to run. And that’s really pretty funny because I’m not very fast or agile.

Growing up, I never ran and wasn’t even athletic. I was the “creative” one, and somehow that excused me from participating in sports. When I was about 30, a friend loaned me a book that changed how I viewed running. The book was The Courage to Start, and it detailed the progress of John Bingham from heavy, smoking, drinking, middle age dude to svelte, non-smoking, still slow-as-molasses runner. I wasn’t in terrible shape when I started running, but it was comforting to have someone tell me it was ok to be the penguin, not the gazelle.

It sounds silly now, but growing up, it never occurred to me that you could be athletic and not be consumed with competition. Or with being super fast. I always assumed people ran because they wanted to be faster than everyone else, not because they wanted to feel good or to challenge themselves to just be better than yesterday.  I loved that book, and it encouraged me to find a love of running and an appreciation for what my body can do and not be critical of what it can’t. I will never be a gazelle, but I can be the penguin who is thankful for every day that my legs and lungs are strong enough to see me through.

Tom and I started training for a half marathon last fall, and we will run our big race at Disney in a couple of weeks! Our long runs are now at 15 miles and we are setting our sites even higher! Last week, we registered for the City of Oaks Marathon in November. Really, every time I write or say that, I kind of freak out a little.

Here’s the thing about running. Running makes me hungry, and when I bump up my mileage, I become voracious. But if I eat what I feel like eating, I will be way less of a gazelle and more like a sloth. One of my favorite fill ‘er up foods is steel cut oatmeal.  If you haven’t tried steel cut oats and you think you don’t like oatmeal, I’d encourage you to try it. It’s a whole different animal from those paper packets of highly sugared, processed oats. Steel cut oats are very high in fiber, higher in protein and high in iron. In fact, I don’t know why Popeye wasn’t eating oats, because they have more iron than spinach!

Steel cut oats take longer to make (about 30 minutes) and that can be daunting when you’re hungry and tired. They are, however, a great make-ahead dish. I like to make a batch, pop it in the fridge and heat up single servings in the microwave as I need it. Also, steel cut oats can be made in a crock pot overnight, so you’ll have hot oatmeal first thing in the morning. Easy peasy.

Think oats are boring? Add dried cranberries or any other dried fruit and maybe even a tablespoon of brown sugar. Or maple syrup. Or chopped nuts. My favorite is dried cranberry, pecan and brown sugar. The trick is to keep the sugar to a minimum.

So fuel up, get outside and have fun! The recipe below is for basic steel cut oats and here are some links to my favorite add-ins!

Toasted Oats with Cinnamon Almond Butter

Chocolate Pecan Oatmeal

Banana Pudding Refrigerator Oatmeal

Banana Bread Oatmeal

Cherry Vanilla Oatmeal

Gingerbread Oatmeal

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Steel Cut Oatmeal (stovetop)

  • 1 c. steel cut oats
  • 4 c. water
  • dried cranberries, chopped pecans, brown sugar, whatever makes you happy
  1. Combine oats and water in a small pot and heat to boiling.
  2. Boil oats for about 1 minute and turn the heat down to medium. Stir.
  3. Cook oats on medium for about 30 minutes or until it is very thick like porridge. Stir frequently to keep from sticking to pot.
  4. Ladle into bowls and top with your favorite toppings.

Steel Cut Oatmeal (crock pot)

Note: you will need to experiment with your slow cooker to see what setting works best. For mine, the low setting was still too high, but the “keep warm” setting works like a charm.

  • 1 c. steel cut oats
  • 4 c. water
  • 1/2 c. milk or cream
  1. Add all ingredients into crock pot.
  2. Cover and heat on low or warm.
  3. Cook for 7-8 hours
  4. Ladle into bowls and add your favorite toppings

Toasted Oats with Cinnamon Almond Butter

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Sometimes I read foodie articles and marvel at my own lack of creativity or insight. I read an article recently that revolutionized my oatmeal making, and I kept thinking, “why didn’t this occur to me?”. The article asked why, when we toast rice and other grains prior to cooking, we don’t ever toast our oats before making oatmeal. Toasting brings out wonderful flavor in nuts and grains–what would risotto be if we didn’t toast the arborio rice prior to adding the stock? I know right?

So since we have had three snow days in a row (rare here in North Carolina), I decided a lazy morning was a good time to experiment with this technique. I don’t think I will ever make oatmeal another way again. Oh. My. Goodness. Toasting the steel cut oats gives the oatmeal an amazing depth of flavor and a wonderful nuttiness. And since snow days are mornings where we go a little over the top with our breakfast, I added some cinnamon and almond butter to the oatmeal for a protein-packed, super healthy start to the day. This is crazy delicious. I want to eat this all the time.

So go ahead, toast your oats! Let me know what you think. I think you will never look at oatmeal the same way again!

Toasted Oats with Cinnamon Almond Butter (makes 4 servings)

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter per serving
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • Pinch of kosheror sea salt
  1. In a saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat until melted and just foamy.
  2. Add the oats and stir well. Continue to cook the oats, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. The oats should darken slightly and give off a wonderful, nutty aroma.
  3. Add the water and continue cooking and stirring for about 30 minutes or until the oatmeal is to your desired consistency (I like mine very thick, so I cooked it for 40 minutes).
  4. Plate the oatmeal in serving bowls or mugs. Add one tablespoon of almond butter, a little pinch of salt, and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.
  5. Stir and serve immediately.

NOTE: You can freeze the oatmeal in greased muffin tins, giving you servings ready to heat in the morning. Also, this oatmeal will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Banana Bread Oatmeal

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I think part of me is on a mission to figure out how many cozy flavor combinations I can make into oatmeal. I’m a big fan of bananas–banana pancakes, banana cream pie, banana pudding and, of course, banana bread. I am bananas for bananas!

This banana bread oatmeal uses steel-cut oats, organic bananas and raw honey to make a delicious, cozy oatmeal perfect for these last days of winter. My first attempt at creating this oatmeal worked out great–creamy with lots of banana flavor. The recipe below is for making overnight oatmeal in a crockpot, but you can make this on the stovetop as well.

Banana Bread Oatmeal (makes 4 servings)

  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 2 medium organic bananas, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups organic vanilla soy milk
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • Chopped pecans
  1. In the bowl of a slow cooker, add all the ingredients except the pecans. Stir, cover and set heat at the lowest setting (I use the “keep warm” setting).
  2. Let cook for 6-7 hours. NOTE: banana slices may float to the top and the exposed sides will brown a bit.
  3. Stir and serve with chopped pecans on top.

Oatmeal and Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

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This oatmeal is so good, I could have it for supper! If you love pumpkin pie, you will go crazy for this oatmeal. I think this is like a Snuggie in a bowl!

Steel Cut Oatmeal (stove top)

  • 1 c. steel-cut oats
  • 4 c. water
  • dried cranberries, chopped pecans, brown sugar, whatever makes you happy
  1. Combine oats and water in a small pot and heat to boiling.
  2. Boil oats for about 1 minute and turn the heat down to medium. Stir.
  3. Cook oats on medium for about 30 minutes or until it is very thick like porridge. Stir frequently to keep from sticking to pot.
  4. Ladle into bowls and top with your favorite toppings.

Steel Cut Oatmeal (crock pot)

Note: you will need to experiment with your slow cooker to see what setting works best. For mine, the low setting was still too high, but the “keep warm” setting works like a charm.

  • 1 c. steel-cut oats
  • 4 c. water
  • 1/2 c. milk or cream
  1. Add all ingredients into crock pot.
  2. Cover and heat on low or warm.
  3. Cook for 7-8 hours
  4. Ladle into bowls and add your favorite toppings

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Using the crock pot recipe above, substitute 1 cup of water for one can of organic, unsweetened pumpkin. Add a healthy tablespoon or two (I use 2) of pumpkin pie spice and cook overnight.

In the morning, the pumpkin will be at the top of the pot. Just stir it all back together and top with chopped pecans and a drizzle of maple syrup. Mmmmmmm, mmmmmmmm!

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