{Breakfast Inspiration} Fried Egg, Avocado & Salsa on Toast

One of my favorite coffee shops in Nashville is the Frothy Monkey on 12 South. I could spend an entire day there, eating breakfast, lunch, dinner, and in-between snacks (while working on very important things, of course!).

My go-to breakfast selection is the California–fried eggs on sourdough toast with avocado, sprouts, and salsa on the side. I use to be one of those people who thought salsa should never be for adorning your eggs. But when you have the avocado, the runny egg yolk (this is key!), and the slightly toasted bread, salsa is the perfect addition. But don’t use jarred salsa–ever. If you don’t want to make salsa at home, you can find great salsa in the refrigerated section of the grocery store and these often taste much, MUCH better than what you will find in a jar. One of my favorite brands is from Garden Fresh Gourmet Jack’s Special Salsa.

california breakfast

runny egg

I make this quite often at home because it’s such a satisfying breakfast and so easy to put together. I use Ezekiel Sprouted Grain bread because I love the texture, the health benefits, and because it holds up so well under all goods that go on top. Plus you get the lycopene from the tomatoes in the salsa, potassium and folate from the avocado, and protein from the egg and the bread.

1 slice Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain bread, toasted
5 slices of avocado
1 large egg
Alfalfa Sprouts

1. Coat a small skillet with cooking spray and set on high heat. Once pan is hot, add egg and cook to an over-easy state (once you flip the egg, you can turn the heat to medium to prevent over-cooking the yolk).
2. Place avocado slices on bread and mash slightly so there is an even coating of avocado. Add sprouts to your liking. Top with fried egg, then add salsa.

BAM! You’re done and now you can eat the masterpiece you just created and feel good about it.

{Recipe Redux} Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad

Not only is it finally spring, but also the time for graduation parties, bridal showers, and weddings galore. If you’re struggling to think of a dish to take to the next shower or get-together on your schedule, this month’s Recipe Redux theme will be a great source of inspiration!

strawberry goat salad4

This Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad is perfect for a Sunday brunch or celebratory party because it is so easy to make and always a crowd pleaser. What really puts the salad over the top is the homemade Blackberry Balsamic vinaigrette. It’s so simple to make salad dressing and vinaigrette at home with just a few basic ingredients. I love using fresh herbs, infused vinegars and olive oils in my homemade concoctions. Olive oil and vinegar shops are popping up in bigger cities, which is where I purchased my Blackberry Balsamic, but you can also order it online here. Regular balsamic vinegar would work just fine in place of the blackberry variety, just  add a teaspoon of honey to give a hint of sweetness. The walnuts could be substituted with pecans, and if strawberries aren’t in season, you can switch them out for dried cranberries.

Don’t forget to check out all of the other wonderfully appetizing ideas from the other Recipe Redux members! Just click the blue frog below the recipe.

Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad

6 cups mixed greens
1 cup strawberries, sliced
4 oz. goat cheese
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
3 Tbsp. Blackberry Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Black Pepper, to taste

1. In a large serving bowl, add mixed greens, sliced strawberries, goat cheese and walnuts
2. In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil and black pepper.
3. When ready to serve, drizzle vinaigrette over salad or serve on the side.

strawberry goat salad3

Strawberry Shortcake Skewers

Try saying that three times in a row. Not so easy, huh? I promise preparing this dessert skewer is a whole lot easier. This twist on a classic dessert is perfect for a party with lots of people because there is no assembly involved! The guests get to have all the fun making their own Strawberry Shortcake Skewers and you won’t even have to wash dessert plates! Are you wondering if this could possibly get any better? strawberry shortcake skewers Because it does. Homemade whipped cream takes this basic dessert to the next level. Again, super easy but it will knock your guests’ socks off. You could also add a few more elements to this sweet kabob like brownies, other fruits, marshmallows, and even some melted chocolate for drizzling!

Strawberry Shortcake Skewers

You will need:

pound cake

Strawberries, washed and quartered

Pound cake, cut into 1/2 inch squares (I purchased my cake from Whole Foods)

8 oz. heavy whipping cream, chilled

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

Homemade Whipped Cream

1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until firm peaks form.

whipping cream

The cream is still frothy here, but after a couple minutes, the magic happens….

whipping cream2

The cream becomes firm, forming ripples.

Food on a stick is just so much more fun! Have you made any unusual skewers or kebabs that work well for parties?

Louisiana Bayou Shrimp Boil

Just in time for the Oscars, this month’s Recipe Redux theme is Oscars in the Kitchen! If you’re hosting an Oscar party this coming Sunday night like I am, be sure to jot down some ideas from all of the Recipe Reduxer’s to help plan your menu. When the theme was announced at the beginning of the month, I actually hadn’t seen any of the Oscar-nominated films, so that was step one for me. Beasts of the Southern Wild was at the top of my “must see” list, which worked out well for the purpose of Recipe Redux since food pops up throughout the film and it is set in the Louisiana Bayou, an area with one-of-a-kind cuisine.

I instantly knew what I wanted to do. Have you ever been to a crawfish/shrimp/crab boil? If you said no, put this on your list of things to do for the summer! It is so much fun to stand around a big table with a pile of good food and just dig in with friends!  Fresh seafood, potatoes and corn on the cob, and finger lickin’ good flavor…what more could you want from a meal? I had to make mine spicy since this is a Cajun-inspired meal, so the Zatarain’s Extra Spicy Shrimp Boil was my personal choice, but you can use the regular Shrimp Boil seasoning instead. I significantly reduced the amount of salt from the original recipe, but you won’t miss it if you use the Zatarain’s and the Old Bay seasoning.

2013-02-17 16.40.30

shrimp boil4

Louisiana-Style Shrimp Boil

Adapted from Gourmet: Spicy Boiled Crabs, Shrimp, Potatoes, Corn and Garlic
Serves: 6

2 garlic bulbs, left whole
2 lemons, quartered
1 packet Zatarain’s Extra Spicy Shrimp & Crab boil
2 Tbsp. table salt
1 onion, cut in half
2 lb. red potatoes, quartered
6 ears of corn, shucked and cut in half
2 lb. large shrimp, unpeeled (I used 31/35 count shrimp)
1 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning


  1. In a large stock pot, bring 3 gallons water to a boil and add garlic, lemon, Zatarain’s Shrimp Boil packet, salt, onion, and potatoes and cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  2. Remove potatoes from stock pot with a slotted spoon and place on large serving platter. Cover with aluminum foil.
  3. Return water to a boil and add ears of corn. Boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove corn cobs from stock pot with tongs and place on platter with potatoes. Cover with aluminum foil.
  5. Return water to a boil and add shrimp. Cook for 2 minutes.2013-02-17 17.55.01
  6. Remove shrimp from stock pot and add to platter with potatoes and corn. Sprinkle with Old Bay Seasoning and enjoy right away.

To make it more casual and authentic, serve the shrimp boil on newspaper or on a brown paper sack.  No utensils required for this dish—just use your hands!

For all of the Recipe Redux recipes, click the link below!

Lime-Basil Cookies: Perfect Summer Cookie

I’m all about fresh herbs in the summer months. It’s great to step out on my porch, pick some basil and then make delicious things like these Lime-Basil Cookies. Not the traditional way to use basil, but I’ve never been much of a traditional person either. And lucky for me, these non-traditional pairings of ingredients are one of the hottest food trends currently (so says the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade), which means there are a lot of people exploring some crazy ingredient combinations!

I found this recipe on Big Fat Baker, and she actually adapted it from Chasing Delicious. Isn’t it amazing how we share all these wonderful recipes with people we will never meet or know? I love it. So I actually tweaked the recipe from Big Fat Baker a bit (because I am physically unable to follow a recipe exactly–I’m so rebellious). I cut back on the salt, added a little lime juice, and only added 2 Tbsp. of basil. But if you check out these other two bloggers and their recipes, you can choose which one fits you best, or be a rebel and change it up! I’d love to hear if you make any alterations to the recipe, so please leave a comment!

And P.S.: The lime flavor is more predominant in these cookies, which is why I chose to change the recipe title!

Lime-Basil Cookies

Recipe adapted from: Big Fat Baker

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
Zest of 1 lime
1/2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp very finely chopped fresh basil
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silicon baking mat.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar. Mix until creamy.
3. Add egg, vanilla, lime zest, lime juice, and basil to sugar mixture. Mix well.
4. Add flour, baking soda, and salt to wet mixture and mix until incorporated.
5. Using 1 Tbsp of cookie dough, shape into balls and place on baking sheet, 1 inch apart.
6. Bake approximately 10-12 minutes, then place cookies on cooling rack.

Layered Summer Pasta Salad

On weekends, I try to make life easier by coming up with a list of lunch and dinner ideas, that way I can go ahead and do my grocery shopping and any preparations ahead of time. Planning ahead is the key to eating healthier! This weekend I’m craving my layered summer pasta salad. Simple, colorful, fresh. I was feeling a little adventurous today and decided to add some pea shoots!

Layered Summer Pasta Salad

1 cup whole-wheat penne pasta
1 cup cucumbers, sliced 1/4 inch thick then quartered
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves, torn
1 cup pea shoots, roughly chopped
1/3 cup Italian dressing

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse.
2. Layer ingredients in a clear bowl starting with the pasta and finishing with the pea shoots.
3. Drizzle dressing over salad and mix well before serving.

Recipe Redux: Honey-Sweetened Fruit & Ricotta Toast

Featured in Food & Nutrition Magazine, Nov-Dec. 2013 

It seems as though spring has finally come in Tennessee. Trees are flowering, flowers are popping up here and there, and more and more people are gathering in the parks to enjoy the warmer weather. That means honey bees are hard at work to produce one of the greatest natural sweeteners we have. And this months’ Recipe Redux theme asked us to make either maple syrup or honey the star of our monthly creation.

Honey from a local producer

Honey is really the perfect sweetener for this breakfast/dessert/appetizer because a little bit goes a long way, and it doesn’t over-power the natural sweetness of the fruit. And it goes so well with ricotta cheese….who knew?! If you’re limiting bread in your diet, or don’t have any on hand, this still tastes great mixed together in a bowl!

While it’s still a little early for strawberries in most states, strawberry picking actually begins in December for Florida (which is where these strawberries were grown). If you plan on using peaches instead of strawberries, I suggest waiting until they’re in season (June-August) so you get the best flavor. I only buy peaches at the local farmer’s market because store-bought peaches have just disappointed me in the past. For more variety, I would imagine blueberries, raspberries, and cherries would also be delicious alternatives/additions to strawberries and peaches!

Slice of a hearty wheat bread, toasted (I used Seeduction Hearth Bread from Whole Foods)
Strawberries or peaches, sliced
Ricotta cheese

1. Spread desired amount of ricotta cheese on toasted bread and sprinkle cinnamon on top of ricotta cheese.
2. Place sliced fruit on top of ricotta cheese, then drizzle honey over fruit. Sprinkle more cinnamon if desired.

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Recipe Redux: Coconut Ice Cream with Strawberry Puree

This month’s Recipe Redux is frozen desserts….yummmy! I know we could all use some tasty frozen desserts considering the abnormally high temperatures this summer. I love making use of my Kitchen Aid ice cream maker, so I decided to attempt coconut ice cream again (my first attempt was no bueno). I lightened up a coconut ice cream recipe I found on FoodNetwork.com and added a strawberry puree…because you gotta have some fruit with your dessert! The ice cream is creamy and smooth, you’d never know it was a low-fat version! Be sure to check out the other Recipe Redux links for frozen desserts at the bottom of this post. And in the words of Conan O’Brien, “Keep cool my babies!”.

Coconut-Ice Cream with Strawberry Puree

Ice Cream:
1 cup low-fat milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup light coconut milk
3/4 cup coconut flakes
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt

Strawberry Puree:
1 cup frozen strawberries


  1. Bring milk, cream, coconut milk and coconut flakes to simmer in a saucepan for 10 minutes. Allow to steep for 10 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks, sugar and salt until combined.
  3. Slowly pour hot milk mixture into egg yolks to temper the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Once the two mixtures are combined, pour back into saucepan over low heat. Continue to stir mixture until it starts to thicken and coat the back of a spoon.
  4. Strain mixture into a clean bowl to remove coconut flakes, pressing to release any liquid from coconut flakes.
  5. Chill in refrigerator.
  6. Once completely cooled, churn in a standard ice cream machine.
  7. Blend frozen strawberries in blender and drizzle over coconut ice cream!

Need more frozen dessert ideas? Pop over to these RD blogs!

Watermelon-Mojito Poptails

I’ve had an obession with popsicles this summer. Fruity, savory, creamy….whatever it is, I’ve wanted to try it. But today I had everything I needed on hand to make these Watermelon-Mojito poptails (popsicle+cocktail). Best part, it only took about 10 minutes to throw together!

Watermelon-Mojito Popsicles
Makes: 4
2 cups cubed watermelon (seeds removed)
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped mint
1 oz. light rum
1 tsp. agave nectar

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into popsicle molds. Freeze for at least 8 hours.

*Does any one know how to prevent the fruit and alcohol from separating? The popsicles were still delicious, but it would be nice if they stayed mixed. Please leave a comment if you have a suggestion!

Recipe Redux: Orange-Mint Iced Green Tea

I’d like to introduce you to Recipe Redux–a monthly recipe challenge founded by Registered Dietitians. The goal is to take everyday dishes and make them healthier, while keeping them delicious. And that’s what I’m all about! At the end of each Recipe Redux post, be sure to check out the links to other blogs for plenty of great recipe ideas!

This month’s Recipe Redux theme is Summer Beverages–and I knew exactly what I wanted to do! This is not your typical summer iced tea. Green tea is a lighter, but equally refreshing alternative to black tea. Green tea, which is minimally processed, has a high flavonoid content. Flavonoids are dietary compounds that help maintain normal healthy, heart function. The orange-mint syrup is simple to make and provides a hint of sweetness and flavor.

Orange-Mint Iced Green Tea

Orange-Mint Syrup (makes 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup water
3 mint sprigs
1 Tbsp. orange zest

Dissolve sugar in water in a saucepan over medium heat. Once sugar is dissolved, reduce heat to low and add orange zest and mint sprigs. Let sit for 3-4 minutes, then remove pan from heat and let sit for 2 hours. Store in refrigerator.

Using your favorite green tea, add 1 Tbsp. of orange-mint syrup to 8 oz. of green tea over ice. Enjoy!!

Don’t forget to stop by these blogs for more healthy summer beverage ideas!