Easy Egg Bake

Easy Egg Bake (GF, DF, Paleo
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When working with clients, one of the biggest hurdles for them when it comes to transitioning to real, whole, nutrient dense foods is figuring out the whole “breakfast thing”. Most of the foods that we’ve been programmed to consider breakfast foods, things like cereal, toast, pancakes and even fruit are lacking in two vital nutrients. Fats and Protein. Our (often heavily refined) carbohydrate heavy breakfasts are setting us up for a wild ride on the blood sugar rollercoaster. Needing to snack every few hours, getting jittery, irritable and hangry and feeling the need for a mid-afternoon siesta are all pretty good signs that you need better balance in your life. Each meal we eat should have a balance of the three macronutrients, carbohydrates (grains, vegetables, fruits), protein and healthy fats. The proper ratio of these nutrients will vary from person to person, depending on several factors including age, activity level and digestive health. Keeping a food and mood journal, tuning into how you are feeling and working with a nutritional therapist can help you identify any tweaks you can make in your ratios to best fuel your body and provide long lasting energy.

Have you ever considered having a big Cobb salad to start your day? How about some left over pot roast and sweet potatoes? Sound crazy? Creating a balanced breakfast is more of a mental game than anything else. It’s really just another meal! Your cells don’t care if it is 7am or 7pm, they just want food that is nourishing, provides them with the nutrients they need to do their jobs and gives them the energy to keep going until the next balanced meal. This mental shift can take some work, but luckily, there is a food that is kind of a “jack of all trades”at fitting in to any meal. The almighty egg! Using eggs as a base for a tasty breakfast dish can help you transition from those carbohydrate heavy breakfasts to a well balanced, energizing way to break your fast.

Enter the Egg Bake (or Crustless Quiche if you are feeling fancy)! This recipe has it all. It’s super easy to prepare, can be made ahead and supplies you with breakfasts throughout the week and is SUPER adaptable to whatever ingredients you have on hand. It is the perfect “fridge foraging” recipe. You know when you have a lot of bits and pieces of stuff to use up – make an egg bake! 

I’ll be honest. I’m a bit of a free-styler in the kitchen. I tend to go by feel, throwing a bit of this or that in and adjusting as I go. When my husband compliments me on a meal, I often joke that I’m glad he enjoyed it, because it’s unlikely to ever taste the same way twice! I come by it naturally, as my mom is much the same way. I have fond memories of her handing a tasting spoon to Dad and asking him if the sauce or chili needed anything else. More often than not, after some pensive consideration (and maybe another taste or two), he would pronounce it as being perfect. This, for those of you wondering, is the absolute CORRECT response when your significant other asks for your opinion on their cooking!

This way of cooking does create some issues when you want to share a recipe though. A pinch of this or a glug of that doesn’t really make for effective recipe blogging. So, when I set out to make this egg bake, I made sure to jot down measurements. That being said, this recipe is so versatile, you can feel free to change it up as you see fit! I kept the ingredients in this one pretty basic, mostly because we are in the midst of the whole “shelter in place” thingy and this is what I had to work with! Leftovers work really well here. Got some leftover taco meat? Make a southwestern version with some added peppers, cilantro and top with avocado before serving. Leftover bacon (is that even a thing?) combined with green pepper and onion  – voila a Western omelet egg bake. Play around, improvise – food should be fun!

For this egg bake, I whisked 18 pasture raised eggs (I wanted roughly 3 eggs per serving) with coconut milk and salt and pepper. The milk can be omitted, but I find that it helps to lighten up the egg bake and make it a little fluffier.

Check out that color! These pasture raised eggs have lovely orange yolks, are more nutrient dense than conventional eggs and a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants and B vitamins.

Next, I diced up some leftover ham, evenly distributed it into a greased 9X13 baking dish and poured the egg mixture over top.

Lastly, I placed the sliced tomatoes in a single layer on top of the ham and eggs, sprinkled with the basil, a little extra salt and pepper and the nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is a great source of Vitamin B12 and it adds a mild hint of cheesiness to dishes. Since I love dairy, but am sensitive to it, I use nutritional yeast to make me feel like there COULD be some form of cheesy goodness in there!

This bottle came with us from Canada! Hence the English AND French label!

Finally, I popped it in a 350 F degree oven and let it bake for 45 minutes. And just like that, I have breakfasts (or lunches) for the week. This version is a little light on the veg (thanks, shelter in place), but pair it with a salad of mixed greens or some berries and you have a balanced meal that tastes great and supplies you with plenty of stable energy to keep you going until your next meal.

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Easy Egg Bake
A super versatile recipe that is great for any meal of the day.
Prep Time 15
Cook Time 45
Prep Time 15
Cook Time 45
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Grease a 9X13 inch glass baking dish with the coconut oil
  3. Crack the eggs in a large mixing bowl, add coconut milk, salt and pepper
  4. Whisk well
  5. Lay diced ham evenly in the prepared baking dish
  6. Pour egg mixture over the ham
  7. Lay the sliced tomatoes in a single layer on the top of the egg mixture
  8. Sprinkle basil, nutritional yeast and a little extra salt and pepper over the top
  9. Bake in oven for approximately 45 minutes or until the eggs in the centre of the dish are set. I like to check it after 30 minutes and monitor from there.

Corona Virus – Keep Calm and Support Your Immune System

Ok folks, let’s address the elephant in all the rooms right now. Corona Virus. Seemingly overnight it has escalated from a distant threat to one of real concern on the homefront. For those of you who don’t know, I’m living in the EPICENTER of the outbreak here in the US. By and large, there is a sense of calm concern and a quiet worry about the unknown. With many people working from home (and now the school closures) traffic is light, but there are still people out and going about their business. The media is doing its part to keep us all informed. Some say they are stoking the “panic” fires and creating undo stress and there is some merit to that. The truth is – we REALLY don’t know for sure…this is kinda unchartered territory for most of us. What we DO know is that the elderly and people with co-morbid conditions are the most at risk. Those of us who are young(ish), healthy individuals should be more concerned with keeping our immune systems healthy so that we can fight off the virus and prevent inadvertently passing it on to those more compromised individuals. I personally think that is the biggest concern, that the virus can be passed on BEFORE you are symptomatic.

So here is the deal. You DO NOT need a year’s worth of toilet paper and bottled water. Firstly, this is a respiratory illness. Secondly, you can ALWAYS find other, creative ways to wipe your behind if things get dire. This is not a natural disaster..water will still flow from your pipes. I get it. People are concerned and feel like they need to do SOMETHING to prepare. That’s understandable, but TP isn’t the answer. So what should we be doing?

Corona Virus - Keep calm and Support your Immune System

First off, it’s important to be aware that stress can weaken your immune system. While there is room for some concern and measures of preparedness, constantly worrying about “what if” is not doing your health any favours. Some tips to help keep stress under control:

  • Take a break from the news and social media. Give your mind a break from the onslaught of virus updates.
  • Use breathing exercises like these to help you switch from fight or flight mode and into a more relaxed state.
  • If you choose to self-distance yourself, use your “me time” to pursue hobbies you enjoy. Read, craft or, even better, prepare some healthy meals!
  • Move your body. Movement not only helps relieve stress by burning of excess stress hormone (cortisol), it also moves lymph throughout the lymphatic system, The lymphatic system filters out pathogens in the lymph nodes and is where the cells of our immune system mingle with the different pathogens that enter our bodies. 
  • Get lots of sleep! The number and activity of every immune cell are higher during the night, making sleep essential for long term health (Commitee on Military Nutrition Research, 1999). Aim for at least 7 to 9 hours nightly.

Secondly, leave the toilet paper on the shelf (unless you REALLY are running low!) and stock up on healthy, nutrient dense foods – which, conveniently, go a long way to supporting immune health!

  • Avoid sugar (this is stressful to the body and depletes, rather that enhances immune function)
  • Avoid pre-packaged, processed foods. More often than not, these are highly processed and refined, devoid of nutrients and full of preservatives. Not what your immune system needs to thrive!
  • Stock up on lots of bright and colorful fruits and veggies. These foods are packed with immune supporting nutrients like Vitamin C, B Vitamins, beta-carotene (the precursor of Vitamin A) and antioxidants.
  • If you are worried about being house bound for any length of time, stock up on HEALTHY non-perishables. Frozen fruit and vegetables are a great option when fresh isn’t possible. Prepare some meals ahead of time with your perishable ingredients and freeze them, so you have something nourishing on hand. Make a big batch of bone broth. It’s great for the immune system and easy to make into a hearty soup with some added cooked protein and frozen veggies.

Other things to consider include supporting your microbiome with sufficient fiber from a variety of vegetables and fruit, eating well balanced meals containing whole food, healthy fats, carbohydrates (in the form of vegetables) and protein and avoiding those inflammatory foods (sugar, processed and refined foods, additives and preservatives). Get outside in the sun if you can. Through sun exposure, our bodies make Vitamin D, which is another important nutrient for immune health. Oh, and remember to HYDRATE! Aim for half your body weight in ounces of clean, filtered water daily. Help your body absorb and utilize this water by adding a pinch of good quality seasalt (like Himalayan seasalt) to your water bottle.

Caution, not chaos, is the way to go. Go ahead and stock up your fridge, pantry and freezer with nutrient dense foods and use social distancing if being out in public is stressful to you. Not to sound like a broken record and state the obvious, but YES, please wash your hands thoroughly and often and avoid touching your face as much as possible. If you are symptomatic (fever, dry cough, shortness of breath), STAY HOME. Rest, eat those immune supporting foods and rest some more.

I saw a great quote earlier today from @blessthemessy:

“Remember fear and anxiety can be contagious, but so can kindness, love and hope. Take care of yourself and each other.”

Be kind to yourself, support your immune system, listen to your body and show grace to those around you who are struggling to know what to do in these uncertain times, even if they are hoarding the toilet paper. 😉

Surviving the Holidays with Health and Happiness

The holidays, they are upon us! Thoughts of the holidays conjure up images of cool days and relaxing in front of a fire with your hands wrapped around a warm mug of something delicious. Joyful time spent with family and friends gathered around the dinner table and, for most of us at least, FOOD. Holiday food brings on ALL the warm fuzzies, with its memories of Grandma’s cheese biscuits and English trifle, Mom’s stuffing and shortbread and Dad’s famous caramel popcorn and nuts and bolts mix. As I set about planning my holiday menu this year, I thought back to the holidays of my childhood. Why does food figure so prominently? Why do I desire these foods at this time of year? And why do we now feel so much guilt associated with indulging in holiday treats? Two possible reasons came to mind. Firstly, for me, all my holiday food memories centre around something that was made, by hand and with love, by someone very dear to me. So is it the food that I feel a connection to or the memories of times spent with these loved ones? The answer seems pretty clear. Don’t get me wrong, if I could wrap my greedy fingers around one of Grandma’s cheese biscuits (gluten and all!)  – fresh out of the oven and slathered in butter – I would! Sure, I could make them myself, but I won’t. It wouldn’t be the same, they wouldn’t be Grandma’s. I don’t need the food to sit and reminisce about all the great memories I have of past Christmases spent with loved ones. Secondly, back in the day, the excess of yummy, but not so good for you, food was the EXCEPTION to the rule. It was truly a special occasion treat. Only at the holidays did we have baking trays and little bowls of nibbles, boxes of chocolate that you would hunt through to find your favourite before your kid sister could nab it. Today, excess is all around us, and holiday treats have become available and consumed year round. They are no longer seasonal treats, but everyday occurrences and we are paying the price for this year round indulgence.

When we are trying to make healthier decisions and eat food that is nourishing for our bodies, navigating the holiday season and its endless parties, dinners and temptations can be stressful. How do you handle it? Do you avoid social gatherings as much as possible? If you do go out, do you only eat off the veggie tray? Do you throw in the towel and just start over in January with everyone else? Hopefully, none of the above!! I’ve compiled a list of tips to help you approach the holidays with a sense of excitement, enjoy the time with loved ones and get out the other side unscathed.

Happier, Healthier Holiday Tips

  • Prioritize Sleep – Even with ALL the stuff that needs doing around the holidays, keeping to a schedule and getting 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep a night is imperative. Lack of sleep can leave us feeling sluggish and more apt to overload on food and sugary treats as we seek out a boost of energy.
  • Don’t Skip Meals – Although it may seem logical to “bank” some calories before you head out to a holiday gathering, all it really accomplishes is making you cranky, over-hungry and on the rails of that dreaded blood sugar roller coaster.  Don’t do it!!  Instead…try this…
  • Eat Before You Go – Pre-party with a nourishing snack before you head out. Getting some good quality protein and healthy fats in before you head out will not only ensure that you have provided your body with some nutrients, but will keep you from succumbing to the temptations of the goodie platters later on. 
  • Skip the High Calorie Bevvies – Alcohol has no nutritional value, is dehydrating, stresses the liver and awakens the craving monster! The mixers used in most cocktails are usually laden with sugar, colouring and other nasty ingredients. If you choose to imbibe, opt for mixers like sparkling water with lime or lemon wedges and ensure you drink water in between cocktails. Kombucha or sparkling water with some berries in a wine glass can feel just as festive! On that note…
  • Stay Hydrated – Not only can we mistake our body’s thirst signals for hunger, but dehydration can also contribute to fatigue, anxiety, irritability and cravings – none of which are things we want to deal with at any time, but especially during the holidays!
  • Don’t Forget the Self Care – Exercise, movement and meditation are important for stress management throughout the year, but particularly during the busy, hectic holiday season. Maintain your routine, it is much easier to keep doing something than to stop and have to start again (you know, that whole Newton’s First Law of Physics thing – an object in motion tends to stay in motion). Schedule it in, commit to it…you will be glad you did.
  • BYOD – Bring your own dish!! Offer to bring something to the party and you can ensure that there is at least ONE thing on the table that is nutrient dense, delicious and will fuel you properly! No one even needs to know it is a “healthier” alternative! In my experience, guests often rave about the dish without realizing they are eating something that’s nourishing. It can be our little secret!
  • Drop the Guilt – If you pay attention to any of these tips – pay attention to this one! NO GUILT! Allow room for some indulgences – Grandma’s cheese biscuits (or apple pie or whatever your special item is) won’t always be there and it’s ok to choose to enjoy it! Balanced with more nourishing meals, you can choose your indulgences, eat with intention, enjoy the heck out of it and then LET IT GO.

So, yes, holidays do bring up images of sugar cookies, gingerbread and other treats. But, what if we widen our focus on those pictures? What do we find? Images of our family and friends, coming together around the table to celebrate the season with us. THIS, my friends, is the true magic of the holidays. The sense of community and connection with those that mean the most to us. The food is just a bit player, bringing us to the table.  This holiday season, use my tips to navigate the gatherings, fill up on quality time with family and friends and, just maybe, save a little room for one of Grandma’s famous cheese biscuits.