Breakfast Five Ways

If you’re one of those people that can’t stand the thought of food “pre-coffee,” you probably don’t spend any time thinking about breakfast which is too bad because it’s yummy and the most important meal you’ll eat all day.  No excuses, for your own good, suck up that first cup and prepare to force down that first bite of breakfast.  I guarantee by the third day, you’ll hit the floor hungry and be a lot more wide awake by the time you get to work.  Now, I have years of experience scrambling to get to work on time which made breakfast in the drive-thru really tempting.  But instead of indulging in a paper wrapped fat bomb, I managed to come up with some breakfast recipes that are fast, easy and offer maximum nutrition. No one wants to just eat the same thing every day (well, some people might, but I think that’s just downright boring), so here are five different breakfasts that I use to make those hectic mornings (heart) healthy and delicious.  You can have breakfast ready in less than 15 minutes and be out the door and on your way. 

Salsa Eggs on Toast (1 serving)

Salsa and Eggs

Scrambled Eggs with Salsa

I like to start my week with eggs, and Salsa Eggs on Toast is a tasty, convenient, high protein way to start the day.

  • 1 egg scrambled (or 1/4 cup egg beaters)
  • 1 slice of whole wheat toast
  • 1 tablespoon of your favorite salsa (I like black bean and corn)

Heap the scrambled eggs on the toast and top with spicy salsa.   For more servings just increase the amounts in proportion.

Blueberry Quinoa Parfait (1 serving)

Blueberry Parfait

Blueberry Quinoa Parfait

This is almost like dessert for breakfast.  Husbands, kids and other household entities will love it too.

  • 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cups vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cups blueberries
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts or pecans, chopped

You can save yourself some time by cooking the quinoa the night before and putting it in the refrigerator.  I use quinoa frequently, so I usually have some on hand.

In a parfait dish or tall glass, layer the quinoa, yogurt and nuts.  You could also use cereal in the place of nuts. Again, adjust the proportions for more or fewer servings.

Avocado Toast with Fruit and Cottage Cheese (1 serving)

Toast with Avocado and Cottage Cheese with Fruit

Avocado Toast with Fruit and Cottage Cheese

If you’re not a big fan of plain avocado, try using guacamole.

  • 1 slices whole wheat toast
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, peeled and mashed
  • 1/2 cup fruit (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese (or plain Greek yogurt)

Peel and mash the avocado and spread on the whole wheat toast.  Sprinkle with lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste (try a few dried red pepper flakes)

Serve open face on a plate with a scoop of cottage cheese and fruit.

Egg, Cheese and Spinach Wrap (1 serving)

Spinach Egg Wrap

  • ¼ cup frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 egg plus or 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 1 ounce shredded pepper jack cheese
  • ½ avocado, sliced or mashed (or use store-bought guacamole)
  • 1 whole wheat tortilla wrap
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Spray a skillet with cooking oil, sauté the spinach until wilted.

Combine the egg and egg white and beat with a fork or whisk.  Add to the spinach and scramble gently.

Egg and Spinach Scramble

Egg and Spinach Saute

Spread the mashed avocado on the tortilla and place the egg and spinach mixture in the center.  Sprinkle shredded cheese on top.

Tortilla with Spinach and Egg

Spinach Egg Cheese on a Tortilla

Fold burrito-style.  Cut in two pieces.  You could even wrap it in some aluminum foil for a take-along breakfast.

 Toasted Walnut and Apple Breakfast (1 serving)

Just the right amount of juicy and crunchy in a high protein bowl of goodness. 


Apple Cottage Cheese

What you’ll need


  • 4 ounces cottage cheese
  • 1 apple chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
  • 1 slice whole wheat bread toasted

Place cottage cheese in blender or food processor, process until smooth.  Stir in fruit and walnuts and spread mixture on toasted bread or eat it with a spoon, it’s yummy either way.

Cottage Cheese Apple and Walnuts

Apple Cottage Cheese Breakfast Bowl

Please feel free to share your own variations and comments are always welcome.


Simple Sandwiches

I was having one of those days when I just wanted something simple, something light, something between two slices of bread, you know, a sandwich.  Now there is an infinte variety of sandwiches using an almost infinite variety of ingredients, but the main determining factor in my house is what I have in the refrigerator, and I can make a sandwich with just about anything that won’t slide off the bread.  Here are a couple of standards that use ingredients that I almost always have on hand.

Avocado-Tomato and Onion Sandwich

  • 1 perfectly ripe avocado, roughly chopped and mashed
  • 1 small onion, sliced thin
  • 1 ripe roma tomato, sliced
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread

Scoop the avocado into a bowl and mash roughly with a fork.  I like mine a little lumpy but you can do yours any way you like.

Slice the onion thinly and then slice the tomato.

Sandwich I

Spread the avocado on both sides of the bread, and top with onion slices on one side and tomato slices on the other.  Sandwich I



Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with a pickle on the side.

Sandwich V




Another favorite of mine:

Mushroom and Cheddar on Whole Wheat Bread

  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced and chopped
  • 1 large shallot, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread

In a large pan, saute the mushrooms and shallot in olive oil until tender.

Mushroom & Shallot Sautee II




Lightly toast the bread and spread with 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard.  Cover one slice of bread with the mushrooms and shallot mixture and on the other place a slice of cheddar cheese.

Mushroom, shallot & cheese sandwich

Put the slices together and enjoy.   It’s pure mushroom bliss.

Cheddar & Mushrooms on Whole Wheat




These are just a couple of the possibilities for creative sandwich making.  About once a week I do refrigerator inventory and pull out anything that has sandwich potential.  It’s a great way to plan lunch.




Living Large in the Produce Section: Nobody Starves on a Vegetarian Diet

One of the things most people worry about when contemplating a vegetarian diet is getting enough to eat.  There’s this myth that if we’re not eating meat, we’re going to be hungry.  It’s not true, but we build our meals around that idea.  Most traditional meals have three main components: meat main dish, starch side dish and a token vegetable of some variety.  On the other hand, vegetarian eating is a lot more interesting and isn’t limited to three dishes.  You can spread the protein part of the meal through several different dishes, and there can be four or even five different dishes in the meal.  It’s about color and texture and taste.  The main thing is that each dish should be healthy, nutritious and even fun.  Below is one of my favorite savory dishes to brighten up the gray days in January.  Add a bean salad, some broccoli with lemon butter, and some spiced tomatoes.  I guarantee no one will leave the table hungry.

Carrot-Tarragon Tart

Carrot-Tarragon Tart
Carrot-Tarragon Tart

I love savory dishes and one of my favorites is a recipe I discovered recently for Carrot-Tarragon Tart.  This is a beautiful dish and although it sounds too fancy for a midweek meal, it’s really pretty easy. I’ve added some of my own touches to this, so feel free to experiment a little.



Lisa’s No Fuss Crust

  • 11/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried tarragon leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons cold milk


  1. Sift flour into ungreased pie plate or tart pan.
  2. In a cup, combine oil and milk and mix until cloudy.  Pour onto the flour and mix with a fork.
  3. When flour is combined and the mixture is somewhat lumpy, use your fingers to press the dough evenly toward the edges of the pie plate and up the sides to cover the plate and form a crust.
  4. Or, you can take the easy way out and use a pre-cut pastry round from the super market.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Bake the crust until set but not browned for about 15 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive or canola oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion (thinner is better)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrots (you can do this in the food processor)
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry (not cooking sherry, use dry sherry, the kind you would drink) or rice vinegar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese (you can experiment with other cheeses – not mozzarella)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 large eggs (in a pinch I’ve used three medium eggs and it turned out just fine)
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon or 3/4 teaspoon dried (if your using dried be careful not to overdo it-tarragon is a strong herb)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté gently, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the grated carrots and 1 tablespoon sherry (or rice vinegar) and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  2. Spread mustard over the bottom of the crust. Sprinkle with cheese and just a tiny sprinkle of dried tarragon and spread the carrot mixture evenly in the tart shell.
  3. Whisk together 1/2 cup yogurt, milk, eggs, tarragon, the remaining 1 tablespoon sherry (or rice vinegar), 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and pour in the filling.
  4. Bake the tart until the filling is firm and the edges are golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before slicing.
  5. You can make this the day before.  Just loosely cover and refrigerate the baked tart for up to a day.

Green Beans with Nuts and Berries

  • 1 14-oz package frozen green beans (fresh is great if you can get it, but most of us use frozen in the wintertime)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sherry or rice wine vinegar
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries and/or cherries
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced (you can use a shallot if you’re so inclined)
  • 2 ounces feta crumbles


  1. Blanch the green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender-crisp, 3 -5 minutes. Remove the green beans from the boiling water, run under cold water for a few minutes to stop the cooking, and then drain, dry and let cool.
  2. Whisk together the olive oil, sherry or vinegar and Dijon mustard in a small bowl. Stir in the salt and pepper.
  3. Add the cool green beans to a large bowl and toss in the walnuts, berries and onion and drizzle in the vinaigrette. Place in a serving dish and sprinkle with the feta cheese.

Broccoli with Lemon Butter

Steamed fresh broccoli is great, or you can use frozen.  In a small sauce pan melt 3 tablespoons of butter, and add the juice of one fresh lemon and pour it over the broccoli (add the zest for some extra kick).

Spiced Tomatoes

Spiced Tomatoes
Spiced Tomatoes


  • 1 15 oz can of diced low sodium tomatoes
  • 2 star anise
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • freshly ground pepper

Use an extra teaball for the spices, or make a bag of cheesecloth.  In a small sauce pan combine the tomatoes, sugar and spices.  Bring to a simmer and let cook for 15-20 minutes or bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. The more it cooks down the better.  Remove the spices and serve either warm or cold as a side dish or as a relish.

Color, texture, taste and nutrition.  Anybody leaves the table hungry, it’s their own fault.  Enjoy!

More Adventures with Zucchini!

It’s the peak of zucchini season and I wanted to find some yummy new ways to use zucchini that don’t involve turning on the oven.  These long, hot days make salad an appealing way to not heat up the kitchen.  This deliciously crunchy zucchini salad is a new favorite of mine, easy to prepare and keeps in the fridge for snacks and lunches.  No zucchini should go to waste, so get chopping.

Zucchini Salad


2 cups of sliced zucchini julienned or whatever style you like (unpeeled please)

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

½ teaspoon minced garlic

4 teaspoons rice wine vinegar (it will be enough)

Freshly ground black pepper

Salt (optional)

½ cup chopped parsley and/or cilantro (my personal favorite)


Add all of the ingredients in a serving bowl and put in the fridge to chill.   It doesn’t get much easier than this.  Makes about 3-4 servings, so if you have more hungry mouths to feed, just make the quantities larger.   For a 1 cup serving it’s about 55 calories and less than a gram of total fat.