Brunch Yourself with Reens Greensified Shakshuka

There are few things more enjoyable in NYC than (boozy) brunch with friends and loved ones. The omelettes, hashbrowns, pancakes, waffles, eggs benedict, huevos rancheros, etc. - how could you go wrong? However, brunch often involves long lines, sometimes days wasted, and perhaps more calories than you intended to consume. 

Don't get me wrong, I am almost always pro-brunch. In the dead of winter, though, you can often find me in my kitchen on a Saturday or Sunday morning trying to recreate some of my favorite brunch dishes to enjoy in the warmth of my own home. Not only do I avoid the frigid temperatures, but I save a little money and can control the ingredients. 

I don't know if Shakshuka is trending right now or what, but I've been seeing a lot of recipes lately for it, and I actually had a dream about making it the other night. So then I did. Shakshuka is a Middle Eastern tomato and egg dish often enjoyed in the winter. It's warming, spicy and delicious. The eggs make for a wonderful source of protein to start the day, and the tomatoes are a great source of the antioxidant lycopene, which may help prevent cell damage. I added some kale to the mix, of course, for a little extra green. You also only need one skillet, which is a win in my old Brooklyn apartment world of no dishwasher (besides my husband). So here's a mashup recipe that I created, inspired by the lovely people at Green Kitchen Stories, and the New York Times.

Reens Greensified Shakshuka

Serves 2-4 (depends on hunger levels)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (or ghee)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (I used yellow, but any color would do)
  • 1 jalapeno (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 2-14.5 oz (or 1-28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • 1 cup kale, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4-6 eggs, depending on your skillet size (I used 5)
  • cilantro, for garnish

Preparation:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large cast iron skillet, heat the oil/ghee over medium heat.
  3. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until soft, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the bell pepper and jalapeno. Add cumin, paprika, and cayenne, and combine until everything is evenly coated. Continue to cook 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes, kale, and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the sauce for 15 minutes.
  5. Gently crack your eggs evenly into the skillet over the sauce. Sprinkle eggs with salt and pepper.
  6. Place skillet in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until eggs are set.*
  7. Garnish with cilantro and enjoy! You can serve this with warm whole grain pita, or with avocado toast (which is what I did).

*Note: If you are not using cast iron, please make sure your skillet is oven safe. If not, you do not need to bake your eggs - you can simply cover the skillet you are using with a lid until the egg whites set.

Next time, I will invite some friends over and perhaps we'll also share some bottomless grapefruit mimosas. 

What are your favorite brunches to make at home?

ReensGreens Goddess Dressing

As you guys know, I am pro-DIY salad dressings. While I do often enjoy a good vinaigrette, sometimes I crave a creamy textured dressing, which is super easy to create at home.

Enter the avocado. I'm avocado obsessed. Avocados are not only a source of healthy monounsaturated fats (read: heart healthy), but 1 avocado contains a whopping 14 grams of fiber (about half the daily recommended amount), and 975 mg of potassium, which is more than double that of a medium sized banana. Avocados also offer the perfect creamy texture to just about anything. 

Photo cred: www.talkingfood.me

Photo cred: www.talkingfood.me

I was making salad and tacos the other night, so I decided to make an avocado based dressing to throw on top of both. It's sort of similar to the dressing on the Kale Salad recipe previously posted, but with a creamier, more liquid texture and a few different ingredients. I hesitated to post it at first b/c I sort of made it up as I went along (I have a habit of doing that), but it was too good not to share.

A sprouted corn tortilla topped with ground turkey, sautéed kale, grassfed cheese, greek yogurt, avocado dressing and a squeeze of Sriracha sauce.

A sprouted corn tortilla topped with ground turkey, sautéed kale, grassfed cheese, greek yogurt, avocado dressing and a squeeze of Sriracha sauce.

ReensGreens Goddess Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled (click for quick video on how to do it)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, washed thoroughly
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp himalayan salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 water for thinning
  • 1 jalapeño, finely diced
  • 1/2 shallot, finely diced

Preparation:

  1. In a blender or bullet, combine the avocado, cilantro, lime, cumin, chili powder, and salt and blend. Add water for thinning to reach desired dressing consistency.
  2. Pour mixture into a medium bowl, and stir in jalapeño and shallots and combine until evenly distributed. 
  3. Adjust seasonings to taste.

As I said, this worked great on a simple salad, and also on tacos! So versatile. This will likely become a staple for us.

Baby spinach, baby kale, chopped red bell pepper, avocado dressing and goat cheese.

Baby spinach, baby kale, chopped red bell pepper, avocado dressing and goat cheese.

What is your favorite thing to do with avocados?!

Orange is the New Green (Smoothie)

In honor of today's release of Season 2 of Orange is the New Black (eeee Crazy Eyes!), I present to you a delicious orange smoothie (no oranges, though) that I made this week.

This smoothie is not only replete with vitamins A & C (hello, antioxidants) and fiber (hello...digestion hehe), but also has ginger, which is a great anti-inflammatory and debloater. Not to mention all the electrolytes from the coconut water. It's a great energizing way to start the day.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am ALL about me some green smoothies (Reens Greens, duh), but we gotta change it up once in a while, amiright? 

I love my smoothies to be slushy, so I chopped the carrot and apple, and peeled the grapefruit the night before I made this, and put them in a bag in the freezer, but you don't have to freeze beforehand. You could just add some ice, or not. Totes your preference. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 medium apple, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 grapefruit, peeled
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger
  • 2 tsp raw honey (optional)
  • 6 oz coconut water
  • 6 oz plain water

Preparation:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. If you don't have a fancy shmancy blender, that's fine too; it might just take some extra liquids and a few whirls to get it to a good consistency.

Note: *If you freeze your ingredients the night before, you may need to add additional water to get things going.

I hope you try this one out for yourself, and feel free to kick up a notch, maybe with some cayenne (metabolism booster) or turmeric (another anti-inflammatory spice). Too bad my sleepy brain didn't think of those sooner! I had this after a workout and paired it with a hard boiled egg for a little boost of protein. 

And omg this day needs to end so I can binge watch Netflix in my PJ's already. Any other #OITNB fans out there?!