Brunch at the Wilsons has been a tradition as long as we have been together. We got married in the morning so our reception could be a buffet filled with egg dishes, ham, fruit and blueberry muffins. The cakes were banana and spice to keep with the breakfast theme.
The first morning of our honeymoon we made our way to a delightful house-turned-restaurant with long couches to relax at the tables. Beautiful music played while we leisurely enjoyed delicious handcrafted food that had been expertly prepared. It’s among the best meals I have ever had in a restaurant.
For years waffles and potatoes were staples in our Saturday morning menu. That was until last September, when I changed yet another of my eating habits in pursuit of healthier living. Simpler carbohydrates had to go. I began avoiding anything that would cause a blood sugar spike.
Over this past year I have found that although I have worked hard at eating healthy for a long time, my plan had to fit me personally. That meant not only the whole, fresh foods that I have always loved but also it included trying something new to keep me from getting bored in the kitchen. After all, I always tell my friends, I still like to play with food.
While on this quest of healthy eating, I’ve become enamored with the beauty of sharing food with friends and family. It’s actually given me freedom because what I am creating is healthy. You don’t have to “go off your diet” to eat beautifully. I even eat what I once thought of as dinner food to start my day. One of my favorites is Breakfast Quinoa. Like almost everything I cook, I’ve made it my own.
Eating better hasn’t been a burden as much as it’s challenged my creativity. Our frittatas usually don’t have potatoes anymore and we just use a small amount of high-flavor cheeses (usually goat or sheep) instead of the alternatives. When I’m in a hurry I’ll eat a parfait made with plain Greek yogurt and fresh fruit. We’ve been known to drink smoothies with almond butter for something on the go.
Whatever it is, we serve our meals in the most attractive way possible. We still slow down for brunch, even when the menu is small. The table is set, we use real plates, true flatware and nice glasses. It’s about still treating every part of the senses to a quiet moment of the day. We treat those moments with the respect that relationships deserve.
When it comes to eating, my rules are simple:
• Everything must be made with whole ingredients (avoid processed foods).
• No simple carbohydrates, only complex.
• Limited dairy and grains.
• Lots of vibrant, locally grown produce.
• It must taste, look and smell delightful.
• Most of all, whenever possible, share a meal with someone you love.
Breakfast Quinoa Jem’s Way
The original discovery of Breakfast Quinoa was in the book “Bread & Wine” by Shauna Niequist. As she suggests, I made it my own.
Four chicken apple sausages
Diced red, yellow or orange pepper, optional
2 tablespoons butter or 1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 avocado, optional
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut up sausage to bite size pieces. Sauté onions, sausage and peppers (if desired) in oil or butter. Layer sausage mixture in individual bowls or ramekins (my favorite). Fry, poach or steam eggs leaving the yolk somewhat runny. Layer ½ cup quinoa on sausage followed by the egg. Salt and pepper as desired. If you are adding the avocado, dice it and sprinkle it over the top. Makes 4 servings.
Anything you would put in an omelet could be put in a frittata. We like ours filled with vegetables, mushrooms and onions. We still occasionally put in a small amount of potato but haven’t missed it when we don’t. I don’t measure my vegetables, I just use what seems good to me. When I add tomatoes I put them on when it comes out from the broiler so they warm up but don’t cook. The avocado goes on the plate so it doesn’t get warm. You can add shrimp, bacon, ham or sausage. It’s up to you! Serves 2
1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil
3 or 4 eggs whisked with a teaspoon of water per egg
¼ cup Manchego cheese, shaved
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste
Sauté vegetables until warm but still crisp. Pour eggs over vegetable mixture. Allow to cook for about a minute. Sprinkle cheese over eggs. Place in broiler. Watch carefully, depending on how close your pan is to the broiler, this may only take a couple of minutes. I set a timer and check at 2 minutes then 1 minute intervals after. It will be ready when it is puffy and golden brown.
This can be served hot or even room temperature.
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup berries
Honey, just enough to drizzle)
2 tablespoons granola
Layer ingredients in bowl or ramekin. This is a refreshing treat when you need a light breakfast.