Easy as Potato Pie {vegetarian & gluten free recipe}

I wrote this Potato Pie post as part of a series for Tasteful Selections Potatoes, which is sponsoring Katie’s Krops, an awesome hunger-focused nonprofit fueled by kid-run gardens, through January 2016 (details below). 

There’s something simultaneously romantic and nostalgic about gathering for a meal while you’re still in your PJ’s.  And with all the eggs, potatoes, cheese, and bread, breakfast is the clearcut best meal of the day.  The problem with breakfast, though, is that most of us are too tired or too hungry to throw together a hearty meal first thing in the morning.  Oftentimes, I circumvent this issue by having a pre-breakfast snack.  Which, since I’m already starving, ends up being the equivalent of a normal-sized breakfast, and ultimately results in me eating two meals worth of food.  And then I have to go for a run when I really just want to curl up on the couch and drink my coffee dangit.

Kale & Onion Potato Pie

Easy breakfasts are key.  I call this easy recipe “Potato Pie” because it has lots of potatoes and it’s shaped like… a pie.  The concept here is simple:  thinly sliced potatoes, eggs, and whatever vegetables or leftovers you have on hand.  Use of a food processor makes quick work of the potato slicing, and using thin-skinned baby potatoes means no peeling is required.  I prepared this version of potato pie with kale, but there are lots of options.  Broccoli, squash, or mushrooms?  Perfect.  Cheese is always welcome.  To keep things light, I used a mix of whole eggs and egg whites, but if you aren’t on the egg white train, just use a dozen eggs.

The key to making a good potato pie is making sure the fillings taste great on their own.  Season them until they’re good enough to eat solo. Then be sure to season the eggs before you combine them with the potato mixture.

potato pie {gluten free vegetarian breakfast recipe via FerventFoodie.com}

Few things beat sharing breakfast with your loved ones, buy you can add a little more love to your meal by purchasing Tasteful Selections potatoes.  Through January 2016, Tasteful Selections is sponsoring Katie’s Krops, a non-profit organization that donates crops from youth-run gardens to help feed people in need by donating a portion of the profits from specially marked bags of Tasteful Selections’ Ruby Sensation and Honey Gold Potatoes.  So pick up a sack of their potatoes and give this Kale and Onion Potato Pie recipe a try!  If you’re interested in learning more about Katie’s Krops, check out this video.

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Crazy Easy Crustless Quiche with Arugula Salad {as seen on WBTV}

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Now that fall is finally here, it’s time to bust out some comforting cool-weather breakfast recipes.  I’m a self-declared morning person, but when I wake up with a grumbling tummy, the less hands-on time required of a breakfast recipe, the better.  That’s why I love baking eggs in the oven.  Call it a casserole or a crustless quiche (or a frittata if you start the cooking process on the stove top).  The method is simple:  eggs are whisked with a little milk (or half-and-half or cream, whatever you have on hand) and then combined with one to two cups of the fillings of your choice—sausage, leftover veggies, cheese, whatever sounds good–and baked for 30 minutes.  Breakfast done.

Turkey Sausage Crustless Quiche 4To take the dish up a notch, top it with a simple arugula salad tossed with an olive oil and lemon dressing.  Not only does the arugula salad add extra veggies, but the tartness offers a nice contrast the richness of the eggs.  Plus, look how fancy!

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120 Calorie Cheddar-Kale Scones {recipe}

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So, kale.  It gets lots of buzz in the health food world, and it should.  It’s loaded with calcium, vitamins A, C, and K, anti-cancer carotenoids and flavonoids, and it’s been shown to help lower cholesterol.  But, uh, it’s kale, and people aren’t always sure what the heck to do with it.  The good news is the options are vast:  make a salad with a warm vinaigrette, add a bagful to soup or stew, wilt it down with garlic and serve it as a side , throw it in your frittata or fruit smoothie (seriously!), add it to pasta, or make a kale and caramelized onion grilled cheese, if you please.  

A few weeks back, I got an email asking me to make my 2014 the year to KALE UP.  I’m down for healthy food challenges, so I checked out the KALE UP site, to see what this campaign was all about.  Their first blog post introduces kale as your “new friend with benefits” and explains the year to “kale up” means finding easy ways to get kale in your daily life.

I suggest we all start with these 120 calorie savory cheddar-kale scones–they’re a tasty way to score some kale points for the day.

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Restaurant Roundup: Bacon Bros Public House, Passerelle Bistro, & Roost Restaurant {Greenville, SC}

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imageBacon Bros Public House has been open for less than two years, but many people in town have already declared it one of Greenville’s best restaurants.  Located on Pelham Road, a 15 minute drive from downtown Greenville, the kitchen at this meat mecca is headed up by Chef Anthony Gray (who previously served as the executive chef at High Cotton in Charleston), while the front of the house is the stomping ground for general manager Jason Callaway, who worked with Chef Gray at Coal Fired Bistro (also located on Pelham Road).  As a sommelier and mixologist, Jason is the mastermind behind Bacon Bros’ inventive cocktail list as well as the new reserve wine list offerings.  I met these two fellas during my visit to Greenville with Nichole of Gap Creek Gourmet, and was enamored with this duo of fun-loving jokesters.

The food at Bacon Bros is what I’d call farm-to-table, southern-inspired gastrofare–it’s comforting and hearty, and, sure, they’ve got the southern standards covered, but their urbanized approach has upped the ante.  Pimento cheese?  They serve it up with bacon jam.  Mac and cheese?  Theirs has bacon and chiles.  The burgers?  Made with a house-ground mixture of bacon, brisket, and beef chuck.  Jonesin for some pulled pork?  How bout pulled pork shoulder with cornmeal and country ham waffles (yep, there’s hunks of ham right in the batter), sorghum BBQ sauce, and creamy slaw?  It’s awesome, believe you me, and it was my favorite of all the dishes I devoured at Bacon Bros.

Bacon Bros - Pulled Pork w Waffles

When you’re visiting a place with “bacon” in the name, especially one that cures, smokes, and dries all their meats in house, you’d be remiss to pass on the charcuterie offerings.  The term “in-house” used here is literal–there’s a glass-enclosed curing room near the rear of the restaurant, where you can see the Bacon Bros pride and joy:  all-natural, pasture-raised meats from South Carolina farms, which they pitt smoke with South Carolina peach wood.  They even sell packs of their peach wood smoked bacon to-go for $9.  How’s that for bringing home the bacon?

Bacon Bros -- house-cured meat

There are half a dozen “snacks” (or small plates)  on the menu, including tater tots with smoked pork shoulder, sticky bacon caramel popcorn, and cornmeal fried pickles with smoked ranch.  I imagine most people come to Bacon Bros to eat themselves to the brink of meat sweats (I know I was successful in this mission), but if salad is your thing there are several interesting options, like the frisee topped with a poached farm-fresh egg, kale with grilled fig and lardo (cured meat) vinaigrette, or arugula with lamb ham, apples, and pistachios.

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Caramelized Onion & Sausage Frittata {recipe}

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If you’ve checked out my Facebook page, you already know I’ve got a thing for Sunday breakfast.  You’d also know what I cooked this week, and that I sliced half of my thumb off with my mandoline over the weekend.  See what you’re missing?!

But I digress.  Let’s get back to breakfast.

caramelized onion and sausage frittata

 

Six days of the week, I eat plain ole eggs with toast for breakfast, and I’m more than ok with it.  But things change when Sunday rolls around.  That’s when I start to crave something special–maybe a breakfast burrito or home fries or a big fat Belgian waffle.  Despite this urge for decadence, nothing makes me happier than enjoying my lavish breakfast spread from the comfort of my pj’s, in my own house, sipping my own coffee.

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22 hours in New York City

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This week, I had the pleasure of spending 22 hours in New York City, 11 of which were dedicated to work, 8 to sleep, and 1 to my morning get-ready rituals, leaving 2 measily hours for exploration.  Luckily, those work hours included a great dinner at ViceVersa, an Italian restaurant on West 51st.  ViceVersa’s menu is fairly mellow, but with hopes of eating something I could only find in New York, I ordered the Casoncelli, a pillowy pasta stuffed with crumbled veal, raisins, and crushed amaretto cookies, of all things, topped with butter and fantastically salty slivers of pancetta.  Let’s not forget the wine and the delicious garlic and herb house bread.

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Even though time was scant, there were three key New York moments during my trip that made me smile like only an out-of-towner can.

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5 Easy Brunch Recipes that use Yogurt

Breakfast is arguably my favorite meal of the day, and lunch, well, I love that too.  Brunch, though?  I just don’t get it.  Seriously, I need to know–is it breakfast or is it lunch?  Do you eat eggs Benedict or do you eat egg salad?  Pancakes or paninis?  Brunch is a big fat grey area, and I don’t like it one bit.  I’m just one of those people.  In fact, I’m morally opposed to breakfast for dinner.

Don’t stone me.

Despite my aversion, this weekend I stepped out of my comfort zone and invited some friends over for a yogurt-inspired brunch.

Take a look at the spread!

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When preparing the brunch menu, my goal was to cook up a variety of tasty nibblets that incorporated Activia yogurt (since I had some Foodbuzz freebies to use).  Heavy emphasis on tasty, of course.

The mainstay of our meal was my Western Sausage Crustless Quiche:

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Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Breakfast Braid

Morning, friends!  I hope you all are lucky enough to have the day off of work like me.  If not, well then I’ll try not to rub it in too much.  I’ve spent a good portion of the new years weekend in the kitchen cooking up a fury.  Ancho chicken tacos, sausage lasagna, and balsamic glazed pork loins, just to name a few.  This Monday morning (did I mention I have the day off of work???) I wanted to make something special.  So I threw together a delicious sausage and egg breakfast braid.

Isn’t it impressive looking?

Sausage Breakfast Braid (1 of 1)-2

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Breakfast on the Balcony

If only breakfast could start with this EVERY day:

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Mmmmm veggies! 

I’m heading to Dallas for training this week, so the BF and I decided to cook up a special “last” breakfast… Oh, and by “we” I mean ME, of course.  There’s only one morning person in this relationship.  There’s also only one pants wearer.  I’ll let you guess who that might be 😉

It was a crazy bright and sunny morning, perfect for enjoying a little grub on the balcony.  Check out that beautiful tablescape!

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Clearly getting food in our bellies ASAP was at the top of the priority list.

I was especially excited to make breakfast this morning because I’ve been dying to try out my new Oxo Eggbeaters that came in my Food Blog Forum swag bag!

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YES!  I love gadgets!!!  And how cool are these eggbeaters?  The beater section pops off the handle and is dishwasher safe.  Honestly, I’ve never beaten eggs with egg beaters before–I usually just opt for a fork and whisk with all my might til my arm falls off.  Holy cow did these beaters make life a heck of a lot easier.  It was like the parting of the Red Sea…. the breakfast edition.  I swear I could hear angels singing as I beat those eggs to perfection. 

Using my beaten-to-perfection bowl o’ eggs, I made up a big batch of Mary’s special eggs (a list of the goodies I tossed in is at the bottom of the post).DSCF8125

Each serving went onto a low carb tortilla:

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Topped with some low-fat pepper jack cheese and a bit of Frank’s Red Hot:

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I also cooked up a pumpkin waffle using my Trader Joe’s Pumpkin pancake and waffle mix:

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The waffle was good but not fall out of your chair delicious.  Apparently, if you don’t fall out of your chair the recipe is crap in my book.  I’m going to give the mix another shot in pancake form and see if it’s any tastier.

The wraps were fabulous.  You really can’t go wrong with the “special” combo!  I like to pop mine on the George Foreman grill for a few minutes to melt the cheese.

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I mean, really.  REALLY.

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Mary’s Special Breakfast Burrito Wraps (serves 4)

  • 3 large eggs
  • 9 egg whites
  • 3 turkey or chicken sausages (Harris Teeter Hot Chicken Sausage)
  • 1 diced roma tomato
  • 1/4 chopped red onion
  • 4 white mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, thinly sliced
  • S&P
  • Franks Red Hot
  • 4 Low Carb Tortillas (Tumaro’s)
  • 2 slices reduced fat pepper jack cheese (I like Sargento)

Click here to see how I cook these babies up.

Stats on 1 burrito:  285 calories, 15g carbs, 10g fat, 42g protein, 8g fiber

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Whew Wednesday.

HAPPY HUMP DAY!

AND HAPPY WEIGH-IN WEDNESDAY!

ANNNND HAPPY WHAT-I-ATE-WEDNESDAY!

Today was such a particularly packed Wednesday, I think I’ll rename it Whew Wednesday Smile

The day started off with a handful of Barbara’s Peanut Butter Puffins:

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I affectionately call this the Cereal of the Gods.  It really is THAT good.  I also hear Barbara’s now makes chocolate peanut butter puffins.  Don’t worry.  I’ve added finding the new cereal to the weekend to-do list.

After I popped the puffins, I headed out for my interval run (which consisted of a short 2-interval series of 1 minute walking and 9 minutes running).

Post run, it was time for eggs and bacon … sprouted 7 grain bread.  Mmmmmmm Smile

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These are the eggs I make pretty much every day.  I call them my fake out dippy eggs because it’s actually a 3 egg white scramble topped off with 1 dippy egg.

When you poke the yolk it oozes down over the egg whites and tastes just as darn good as a plate full of dippy eggs. Thumbs up

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After the eggs, I headed to work (insert 2 hours of number crunching here) and around 10am it was time for Breakfast #2!

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Overnight oats, my friends. Overnight.Oats.  Yes, I STILL love and adore them.  Yes, I STILL eat them every day.

(insert two additional hours of number crunching here)

2+2 = Lunch time.

Today’s lunch consisted of some leftover ground turkey taco meat that I threw onto a bed of lettuce along with some tomato, onion, black beans and corn:

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If you are looking for a tasty side dish for Mexican food, try out this recipe for Corn and Black Bean Salad.  I made it over the weekend, and it was super tasty and SUPER simple.

Afternoon snack consisted of an un-pictured apple and some cocoa roast almonds….

After work, I headed to Dandelion Market for happy hour with some coworkers:

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The Dandelion Market is a tapas restaurant that serves up a variety of intriguing small plates.  The atmosphere in the restaurant was rustic, yet chic.  Dimly lit and extremely cozy.

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I’d of felt equally comfortable sipping a cup of coffee in a chair in the corner as I did sipping a glass of cabernet at a table near the window.

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Tonight I had the pleasure of sampling two of the tapas.  First was the pepperoni flatbread.  Isn’t it beautiful?

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Don’t be fooled.  This was not your typical peperoni pizza.  This flatbread had cured peperoni, ricotta salada, a rustic tomato sauce, and BASIL.  It was light and delicious, and honestly I think I could have ate three of them.  The basil was the perfect finishing touch.

I also sampled the grilled steak skewers:

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The steak was cooked PERFECTLY medium rare and was incredibly juicy.  But what REALLY made the dish was the sweet and spicy honey soy marinade that came along side:

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Coming from a lady who puts A-1 Steak Sauce on EVERY steak that goes in her mouth, you KNOW it must have been amazing if I devoured the entire plate without even pausing.

Dandelion Market on Urbanspoon

After dinner, I headed to TCBY for some froyo with the Charlotte Food Bloggers!  Now, truth be told I am an ice cream snob.  I worked at the world’s most fantastic locally owned and operated creamery throughout all of high school and college (biased much?), and during these years I had the opportunity to taste, sample, and create some of the most outrageously delicious ice cream concoctions.

So, frozen yogurt?  Meh.  Doesn’t really do it for me.  Which is odd, given that this town is littered with Fro Yo joints.  What DOES do it for me though is the crazy assortment of toppings all these frozen yogurt places have.

Here’s my combo of the evening:

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PB and Cake batter froyo…. with a little cookie dough, some heath bar, a little brownie, mochis, Peanut Butter drizzly drizz, and some blueberries for good measure.

Let’s focus on what’s really important here:

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Who’s with me?

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