morning

Shakshusha - a simple & satisfying breakfast dish at last

Breakfast is often my most perplexing meal of the day. Still half-asleep I roll out of bed at 6AM sharp to a house full of screams of “MAMA!” Oliver is a morning person unlike the rest of the household. Even our dog, Ralphie, won’t stroll into the kitchen before 9AM.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! It breaks my heart when I hear people say they DON’T EAT BREAKFAST! Breakfast sets the tone of the rest of the day and for me, cereal just doesn’t cut it, a yogurt is not enough. I need my breakfast to be fulfilling & delicious. I’m a big fan of preparing my breakfast the night before and putting it in the oven in the morning giving me time to doquick yoga routine (if the boys are cooperating that day). But there are only so many things you can make ahead and sometimes a freshly cooked breakfast is what your body needs. I came across this Israili recipe and it looked so intimidating and time-consuming, I didn’t even give it a try. However, it kept popping up in my facebook feed from cooking groups and pinterest and emails and I just thought it was a sign. This recipe was stalking me, it was BEGGING me to try it and how glad I did. It is SUPER simple, SUPER delicious, SUPER filling and SUPER customizable.

This is a basic, simple shakshuka recipe, not spicy and kid friendly. For variety, different ingredients can be added to the tomato base—jalapenos, green chilies, parsley, red pepper flakes, or anything else that sounds tasty to you. I sprinkled my shakshusha with nutritional yeast and served it with a side of Horseradish Leek Sauerkraut (not pictured here, but did I tell you my latest fascination with Farmhouse Culture’s variety of Sauerkraut? OMG, they are just so delicious! I eat it for breakfast, lunch & dinner). Use your imagination!

Serves: 4 (2 adults + 2 kids)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 sweet onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium green or red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp chili powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Himalayan Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5-6 eggs (depending on how many people you are feeding that day)
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh chopped dill or parsley for garnish
  • 1/2 tbsp of nutritional yeast
  • a spoon full of sauerkraut. Get fancy with flavors like Smoked Jalapeno, Spicy Wakame Ginger Kimchi or my favorite Horseradish Leek.
  • side of lox

DIRECTIONS:

  • Add chopped onion to a deep, large skillet or sauté pan with grapeseed oil, sauté for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften. Sprinkle some turmeric and the onions become this beautiful golden color and are infused with anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Add garlic and continue to sauté till mixture is fragrant.
  • Add the bell pepper, sauté for 5-7 minutes over medium until softened.
  • Add tomatoes and tomato paste to pan, stir till blended. Add spices, stir well, and allow mixture to simmer over medium heat for 5-7 minutes till it starts to reduce. At this point, you can taste the mixture and spice it according to your preferences. Add salt and pepper to taste, more sugar for a sweeter sauce, or more cayenne pepper for a spicier shakshuka (be careful with the cayenne... it is extremely spicy!).
  • Crack the eggs, one at a time, directly over the tomato mixture, making sure to space them evenly over the sauce. I usually place 4-5 eggs around the outer edge and 1 in the center. The eggs will cook "over easy" style on top of the tomato sauce.
  • COVER THE PAN! Allow mixture to simmer for 10-15 minutes on LOW, or until the eggs are cooked and the sauce has slightly reduced. Keep an eye on the skillet to make sure that the sauce doesn't reduce too much, which can lead to burning.

Scoop onto plates divided, garnish with some fresh dill or parsley, nutritional yeast, side of lox and some sauerkraut and you’ve got yourself a winning breakfast that will keep you full all the way until lunch.

What's your favorite breakfast dish?

Are you a morning person?

body-clouds-early-morning-823694.jpg

Not me! Yet, we all feel the most alert in the morning, especially after a good night sleep. Here are a few tips to start off your day feeling refreshed:

  • Set your alarm for the latest possible moment so you're not tempted to fall back asleep.

  • Lose the snooze button. You might go back to sleep for a few minutes each time you hit the knob, "but you're getting crappy sleep," Breus says. "You just feel worse."

  • Sit up and swing your legs over the side of the bed.

  • Breathe deeply three or four times to orient yourself to the real world to infuse a short meditation to your day

  • Exercise or stretch with some light yoga poses first thing in the morning to energize your mind and body and boost your fitness. But don't choose exercise over getting the sleep you need.

Since sleep cycles range from 90 minutes, which means you need at least 7.5 hours of sleep each night. So, if you count backwards from when you have to wake up, you can figure out what time you need to go to sleep in order to wake more easily.

Sleep cycles is another reason we feel so disoriented from a nap. To obtain a “successful nap” try to time them in 90 minute increments, otherwise you’ll just wake up cranky. "Most people hit their deepest sleep between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.," says WebMD sleep expert Michael Breus, PhD, D, ABSM, "so it's very hard to wake up during that time."