Superfood Breakfast: Avocados and Anthocyanins

I don’t know about everyone else, but I find it really difficult to eat when I first wake up. It’s a cup of coffee for me, then off to the gym. It turns out I may actually be doing myself a favor. I recently read a study published in the Journal of Physiology in 2010 that suggests that training in a fasted state (i.e. not eating) can actually be more beneficial that working out on a full stomach. That being said, when I am done my workout, I am usually starving. I need a meal that is rich in muscle-building protein and packed with vitamins.

Today I tried something I have been seeing in the internet world lately: baked avocado egg. I liked the look of it because it reminds me of toad-in-a-hole, or egg-in-a-nest, or whatever-you-call-it… except less carb-y. Avocados are loaded with about 20 different vitamins and hunger-fighting fiber so you will be less tempted to snack during the next few hours.

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I paired it with a fresh, seasonal salad of blueberries (see what else I did with them here), peaches, and purple basil that’s been growing in my planter. All three of these ingredients are packed with anthocyanins, pigments that are mostly found in blue and purple fruits and vegetables. I got to rant a little about them when I told you about my herb planter, but I am going to rant a little more. If you are not making an effort to include anthocyanins in your diet, you may want to give it a second thought. Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that promote cognitive function, good cardiovascular health, and remove free radicals from your body. Also most things with anthocyanins taste good. Dark chocolate, anyone?

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And obviously bacon. Because I love it, as you can tell from this and this. So ok, I am not trying to say it is a superfood. But I have weakness. I am human. As a side note to all the Paleo people out there, you may want to swap that bacon for a pork chop. If you were under the delusion that bacon qualifies as a paleo food, let me just crush that dream for you. If you don’t believe me, go read this article by Dr. Loren Cordain, founder of the Paleo movement, on the un-Paleo qualities of bacon. Interesting stuff.

In case you are interested…

How to Bake an Avocado Egg

1. Half avocado and remove pit.

2. Scoop out about 2 tbsp. from each avocado to create room for the egg.

3. Crack egg into avocado, taking care not to let it spill over the sides.

4. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until egg white had set.

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What do you usually eat after a workout? Share your favorite healthy recipes with me and I may feature them on the blog! Until next time, I hope it is cooler wherever you are than it has been here.

Kerry

Blueberry Scones with Lavender Glaze

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Last Saturday was the Blueberry Festival in Burgaw, NC. Despite the fact that it was over 100 degrees and my Northern blood is still unaccustomed to this Southern heat, I braved the blistering sun for some fresh, local blueberry delights. My two favorites of the day were the cold ones: carbonated blueberry tea and freshly made blueberry custard. The local shrimp burger was also wonderful despite the fact that it was warm. We also came home with a whole flat of blueberries from Lewis’s Nursery and Farms for $20.

When life gives you blueberries, you’ve got to bake. Also because I still have some blueberry jam from last year and a bunch of fresh strawberry jam from the spring, baking seems like my best option! Today I just whipped up a batch of deliciously buttery blueberry scones with a subtle lavender glaze. (Remember my Multi-Level Herb Planter I made? The herbs are going wild and I am trying to find some creative uses for them!) Well, these scones are ah-mazing. They are not super sweet even with the glaze, and the delicate floral notes of the lavender linger in your mouth after the last bite.

Blueberry Scones with Lavender Glaze

  • Servings: 24
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print

Ingredients

For scones:

  • 4 cups AP flour
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups blueberries

For glaze:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • a few sprigs of fresh lavender, crushed to bring out oils
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or fork until mix looks like coarse crumbs. In a seperate bowl, beat eggs and mix with milk. Add this to the dry mixture slowly while mixing. Continue mixing until the dough comes together. Gently knead in blueberries. Using your hands, gently flatten dough until it is about 3/4 – 1 inch thick. Cut with a knife (for triangles) or biscuit cutter (for circles). Place on baking sheets and bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Remove and cool.

While scones are cooling, prepare the glaze. Heat milk over high heat in a small saucepan until it boils. As soon as it boils, remove from heat and add lavender. Cover with lid and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes depending on the depth of flavor desired. Then, remove lavender or strain milk. Slowly pour into powdered sugar (about a tablespoon at a time) until an opaque glaze is formed. Allow to cool for a few minutes before spooning over the cooled scones.

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Peaches are also in season locally, and they go great with blueberries. What is in season near you? Share your favorite recipes featuring local produce and I may feature them on my blog!

Kerry

P.S. A big thanks to A Taste of Home and Beyond the Plate for inspiring this culinary creation. And thanks to Lewis’s Farms for the amazing blueberries!

Literally the Best Pork Ribs Ever

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So it’s been a while since I posted. Life gets in the way sometimes. Between training for a mud race, training for a half-marathon, and a two week trip home to PA, I have been a very busy girl. Oh yeah and that other stuff, like my kid, husband, dog, broken lawnmowers, endless laundry… the list goes on.

Being busy makes me hungry. And when I am hungry I want a really hearty meal but don’t want to invest a lot of time or effort. This recipe is my go-to recipe for busy days. It takes 15 minutes during the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. It can be done in a Dutch oven or crock pot.

So, I thought I would share this customizable recipe with you because maybe you are busy too! Or maybe not and you are just looking for a the perfect way to impress someone with your cooking skills. Because this is really easy to make and you should definitely do it. Now.

The Best Pork Rib Recipe Ever

You will need:

  • About 3 lbs. bone-in country style pork ribs (or similar cut)
  • one small onion, chopped
  • a few tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
  • Liquid (water, tomato juice, beer, etc… more on that later)

Directions:

1. In a cast iron Dutch oven or frying pan, heat a few tbsp. olive oil over medium high heat. Saute onion until soft.

2. In the same pan, lightly brown both sides of the pork ribs.

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3. If you are using a Dutch oven, congrats. Skip this step. If you are using a frying pan, transfer onions and pork into a crock pot.

4. Pour one cup of barbecue sauce over pork.

5. Now is the time to customize it if you wish.

a. If you want to keep it simple, add just enough water to cover the pork.

b. Add one can of tomato juice, then add additional water to cover the pork.

c. Add one can or bottle of beer, then add additional water to cover the pork.

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6. Turn heat on high until liquid begins to simmer. Once it simmers, reduce heat to low and cover. Or if you are using a crock pot, just turn it on low.

7. Cook for 4-6 hours or until the pork is extremely tender and falls of the bone easily.

8. When the pork is done cooking, remove pork from liquid. Set aside.

9. In the Dutch oven, turn the heat on high. Boil of the majority of the liquid until it regains a consistency similar to the original barbecue sauce. If you used a crock pot, you will have to move the liquid to a sauce pan before reducing it.

10. Pour the sauce over the pork.

This time I made mine with some home-canned tomato juice and a southern style barbecue sauce. My favorite sides for it are rice or egg noodles, but this time I served it with cheesy grits and it was amazing!

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Let me know if you give this a shot and what your combinations you tried! I hope you enjoy it as much a my family does.

Kerry

Ultimate Bacon BLT with Fried Green Tomato

I always look forward to the beginning of tomato season because it means I can make fried green tomatoes. If you have never tried one, you should. I usually enjoy them as a side dish with white gravy, but for the past couple of years I have experimented using them in a BLT sandwich.

This version is an over-the-top extreme bacon version that can satisfy even the biggest appetite. With lots of bacon, baconnaise, kale, and of course, fried green tomato, it is a unique variation on the classic. Enjoy!

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Ingredients

  • Bacon (3-4 slices per sandwich)
  • Sliced green tomato (about 2 per sandwich)
  • Fresh kale with stems and midrib removed
  • Flour
  • Egg
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Baconnaise
  • Your favorite roll

Instructions

1.    Begin by cooking your bacon in a pan. While this is happening, prep your tomatoes.

2.    Slice tomato into 1/2 inch thick slices.

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3.    You will need 3 bowls. In the first, put a few tablespoons of flour. In the second, scramble an egg with about a tablespoon of milk. In the third, put about 1/3 cup of Panko bread crumbs (you can use regular breadcrumbs if you wish, but I found the Panko has a much better texture).

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4.    Bread you tomatoes by coating them first in flour, then in egg, then in Panko. This is my go-to breading method for all fried food because it works with mostly everything and makes a nice thick crust. Set aside until the bacon in done cooking.

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5.    Remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towel. Make sure heat is set to medium low, then arrange breaded tomatoes in pan. This heat setting will allow the tomatoes to cook through without the breading burning. Fry until they are golden brown, then flip them. Meanwhile, you can toast your roll if you wish.

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6.    Once the other side of your tomatoes are finished, drain briefly on a paper towel.

7.    Assemble your sandwich: spread some baconnaise on the roll, then stack on the fried green tomatoes, kale, and bacon!

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Of course, you could swap your baconnaise for standard mayonnaise and the kale for any leafy green. 

What do you do with your green tomatoes? Tell me in the comments!

Happy tomato season to you!

Kerry

Homemade Baconnaise

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Baconnaise. Here is just one more reason to love bacon. If I at had you at bacon, you don’t need to read the rest of the intro.

If you are like me, you are always wondering what to do with that quart of bacon fat you are saving in your refrigerator. Maybe not. Maybe you never thought of saving it. I can come up with five reasons without even trying. Savory pie crust, white gravy, literally any fried food, bacon vinaigrette, chocolate bacon cake. It can be used as a replacement for butter or oil. If you already eat bacon, it’s economical and reduces food waste.

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Ok, that was more than five. You get my drift though? This recipe is really easy, so don’t be daunted. If you have a food processor, you can do it. You probably have all the other ingredients already.

Ingredients

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp prepared mustard
  • 1 cup melted bacon fat

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*I recommend using eggs from farm-raised, free range or pastured chickens. These eggs will have a much better flavor since the chickens that laid them will be eating a proper diet including vegetation, grains, and protein (worms, insects, etc.) Chickens are not naturally vegetarian so the flavor of the egg (and possibly the bird’s health) suffers when fed a vegetarian diet.

Directions

  1. Combine egg yolks, vinegar, and mustard in food processor. I used the plastic blade for this.

3-DSC005242.   SLOWLY pour in melted bacon fat through hole at top. You can use the tube attachment or a funnel to make sure it makes it in. This process is called emulsification. The eggs (the emulsifier) help to combine the oil and vinegar into a smooth mixture, which normally wouldn’t combine on their own. Chemistry!! I added in the little bits of bacon that were in the fat, but you can feel free to strain those if you want. I don’t know why you would want to, but I won’t judge you.

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And that’s it! You did it. Feel free to add salt, pepper, or other seasonings as you see fit. Or just enjoy the bacony goodness. This can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week. It is possible to freeze it but it may separate or lose its texture.

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Let me know if you give it a shot and what you use it for!  I have some big plans for mine that I will share with you soon.

Kerry