What to eat for breakfast on Passover

Passover is an 8-day Jewish festival in the spring that commemorates the freeing of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. I’ll venture to guess that most people know the story…Moses, 10 plagues, God splits the Red Sea. The story goes that when the Israelites fled Egypt, they had to leave so quickly that there wasn’t any time to let their bread rise. Thus, the bread baked flat on their backs as they escaped. The ‘bread of affliction,’ known today as matzah, is a flat, relatively tasteless, cracker-like form of sustenance that constitutes essentially the only bread(esque) substance that Jews can eat during Passover. Matzah itself contains a simple list of ingredients: wheat and water. Some hippie-dippie types of matzah these days include things like unleavened spelt as well. No forms of leavened wheat, oats, rye, barley, or spelt can be consumed. To increase the complication, Ashkenazi Jews (those whose ancestors are from central or eastern Europe) don’t eat corn, rice, beans, or any other sort of legume (yes, this includes peanuts!). Take a walk around your grocery store and notice all the foods that contain corn syrup, and you will quickly see why these dietary restrictions can become a bit difficult to maintain for eight days.

BUT ON THE BRIGHT SIDE, Passover is a wonderful holiday that reminds us that we should all remember the story of the Exodus as though we ourselves were freed from Egypt, providing a reminder to combat oppression and injustice within our own time. In addition to a beautiful message, the celebration of Passover includes two seders (a fifteen-step extended dinner designed for families and perfect for large groups of friends and loved ones), and seder rituals are passed down through families, creating amazing memories and strong sentimentality.

PLUS – despite the dietary restrictions, there is some awesome food! (more on that coming soon in upcoming posts)

One of the biggest things I hear people struggle with during Passover is what to eat for breakfast?! No oatmeal, no cereal, no granola, no toast, no pancakes, no waffles, no muffins. What’s a hungry girl in the morning to do?!

The day before Passover started this year, I decided to tackle the problem head on and make some matzah granola. It worked out great! The inspiration for the recipe came from this Martha Stewart recipe.

I started by crumbling three pieces of matzah in a bowl.

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Next, I added a 1/2 of pecans, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons honey, and 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil and mixed everything around.

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I spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and cooked for 30 minutes at 300º. When the baking was done, I removed the baking sheet from the oven and immediately mixed in a 1/2 cup of currants:

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I’ve enjoyed the matzah granola with yogurt, milk, bananas, almond butter, and just on its own as a snack!

Passover Matzah Granola
 Ingredients
 - 3 pieces matzah
 - 1/2 cup pecans
 - 2 T brown sugar
 - 2 T honey
 - 2 T coconut oil
 - 1/2 cup currants
 Method
 - Crumble the matzah in a large bowl.
 - Add the pecans, sugar, honey, and coconut oil (melted)
 - Bake for 30 minutes at 300º
 - After removing from the oven, stir in currents and
 allow to cool

How to use your Pinterest Recipes

I have one purpose for using Pinterest and one purpose only. And that is storing recipes. I don’t use the social features, I don’t store craft projects for my future home or outfits for my future babies, I don’t mark the must-haves of this year’s summer or all the things that come in my favorite shade of teal. STRICTLY RECIPES. Okay, and a few workouts and inspirational messages.

I have a panoply of Pinterest recipes boards, including easy dinners, longer dinners, sides, desserts and snacks, things with protein powder, and, of course, breakfast.

Breakfast is often my favorite meal of the day, and I love trying variations of favorites (oatmeal or pancakes, yes please!) or simply having a big bowl of yogurt with fruit and granola. One of the best things about breakfast is that it’s easy to have all the essentials on hand and make a gajillion variations from that. As opposed to lunch and dinner that often recipe more specialized ingredients and I prepare ahead of time, the door to breakfast possibilities feels open to me every.single.morning.

So, my Pinterest breakfast board is bursting with delicious, easy, and quick recipes that I have all the ingredients to about 90% of all mornings. So why don’t I ever cook them (or hardly any recipes in my Pinterest for that matter)? Why?? Why?? WHY?? I don’t know, so it was high time to put an end to that. (breakfasts from my Pinterest found here, btw)

Last week was a great week for breakfast though. The Sunday before the week started, I sat down with my Pinterest and assigned recipes to each morning. I stored the direct link to each of the recipes on my desktop, and in the morning, I opened up that recipe and *boom* was away and cooking. THIS WAS AWESOME. Here are my highly success recipes from the week and the links to their sources.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Oatmeal Smoothie from Edible Perspective
served in a bowl and topped with strawberries

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Five Minute Chocolate Oatmeal from Chocolate Covered Katie
topped with strawberries and almond butter

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Cottage Cheese Pancakes from Healthy Recipes
topped with strawberries and almond butter

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 Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes from Minimalist Baker
topped with strawberries and almond butter

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Yes, there is a chocolate theme. And yes, I feel very proud of myself.

Breakfasts this week weren’t quite as exciting because my diet has been pretty limited due it being the holiday of Passover. But, I’ve still managed to have some pretty good food. More on that coming soon!

Dandelion Greens Egg Bake

I’ve been on an egg kick lately. But who can blame me? They’re a great source of protein, they never get old because you can completely change their form (over easy or hardboiled?), and they’re easy to always keep on hand because they don’t go bad in the fridge. Well…maybe they go bad eventually, but it must take a while. Did you know that eggs aren’t refrigerated in European grocery stores? They must really think that they don’t go bad!

Tonight I decided to make an egg bake to take for lunch with me throughout the week. When I make an egg bake, I like to focus on three components: eggs, cheese, and vegetables.

Today, I decided to go for a dandelion greens and mozzarella bake.
*full recipe below

Start with one bunch of dandelion greens, roughly chopped and sauteed until just wilted:

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Spread the dandelion greens around the bottom of a lightly-buttered casserole dish:

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Add three ounces of shredded mozzarella and 5 chopped green onions:

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Beat 10 eggs in a bowl and then pour over the vegetables and cheese:

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Use a fork to mix things together slightly in the pan, and then cook for 40 minutes at 350º.

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Dandelion Greens and Mozzarella Egg Bakeserves 6
Ingredients
- one bunch dandelion greens
- 3 oz. mozzarella cheese
- 5 green onions
- 10 eggs
Method
- Roughly chop the dandelion greens and saute in olive
oil until just wilted
- spread the greens on the bottom of a lightly buttered
casserole pan
- grate the cheese and distribute on top of the greens
- chops the green onions and spread on top of the cheese
- beat the eggs in a separate bowl and then pour into pan
- use a fork to slightly mix ingredients
- bake for 40 minutes at 350º

Out to Breakfast

A meal out for lunch or dinner with friends or a hot date (read: my fabulous and fun bf) is not so unique for me. Obviously, as evidenced by my extensive list of restaurants visited around the Twin Cities area. A breakfast out though…now that’s something special!

Over the last couple months I’ve gone out to breakfast not once, but twice! IT’S A RECORD!

My first breakfast out was at the Uptown Diner

Uptown Diner is – you guessed it – a staple of Uptown. It serves breakfast and lunch Monday-Wednesday and then stays open all night long Thursday-Sunday. Read: it gets the brunch crowd and the bar-close crowd. Because who doesn’t want a juicy burger and fries and a malt after bar-close? Really though, I wouldn’t know.

I do know, however, know that their hash browns are bomb.

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As is the veggie omelette with fruit:

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And the french toast with fruit and nuts that my friend got looked superb:

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If you want large portions and hearty food, this is a good bet for any meal of the day.

The second breakfast out I enjoyed was at Hazel’s Northeast

Another restaurant with a neighborhood association, Hazel’s is an icon of the Northeast neighborhood, and weekend waits can climb to close to two hours. Luckily we went on a weekday and avoided a rush (but the restaurant was still almost full!).

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We were seated near the open kitchen and were immediately overwhelmed by the multitude of good-looking options presented by the menu:

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The choice was made for hot cocoa, pico omelette, and drunken banana french toast (warm bananas, rum soaked raisins, caramel, and toasted pecans).

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Everything was great!

Both of these locations are top-notch breakfast eateries, and the lines out the door prove it. If you go on a weekend, go early or expect to wait.

Eat Street and Baked Breakfast Sweet Potatoes

In Minneapolis, ‘Eat Street’ refers to 17 blocks on Nicollet that house some of the most unique, authentic, and delicious ethnic food you will ever have. In the past few weeks, I’ve visited two notable Eat Street locations.

The first is Evergreen, which is generally considered one of the best Asian restaurants in the Twin Cities. It has this reputation for a reason.

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The menu is comprised of authentic Asian dishes, so don’t come looking for deep fried lemon chicken. Everything is cooked to order by the chefs (and most likely a family member of the owner if not the owner himself). As soon as we were seated, we were served tea along with our water:

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After perusing the menu, we decided to order steamed vegetable  dumplings, orange chicken, and chow fun noodles. The prune juice was hard to pass up though.

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If you like Asian food, this is must-visit.

The second place along Eat Street I’ve visited in the recent past is Icehouse. Icehouse has been on my list to try since I saw its veggie burger featured in Mpls/St Paul Magazine over the summer. Icehouse is a bit more upscale, and their dinner menu is a bit on the pricey side. The chef was super nice though and offered to make us the veggie burgers (usually offered only at lunch time) for dinner anyway.

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It is no wonder this veggie burger has gotten rave reviews. I’m not sure of all the ingredients but there were mushrooms, spinach, cheese, deliciousness. The fries were top notch too. I would highly recommend both of these eat street restaurants!

And last but not least…here’s a recipe for baked breakfast sweet potatoes! *full recipe below

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet, add one chopped onion, and saute for about five minutes, seasoning with garlic, basil, allspice, and cumin:

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Meanwhile, chop two sweet potatoes.

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Once the onions have begun to softer, combine with the sweet potatoes and add to a 9×9 pan:

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Cover and cook for approximately 30 minutes at 350° or until potatoes are cooked through:

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Baked Breakfast Sweet Potatoes
Ingredients
 - 2 medium sweet potatoes
 - 1 large onion
 - 1 tbsp butter
 - 1 tsp basil
 - 1 tsp minced garlic
 - 1/4 tsp allspice
 - 1/2 tsp cumin
Method
1. Melt butter in a skillet and add onions and spices
2. Cook for 5 minutes or until onions start to soften
3. Chop sweet potatoes and combine with chopped onions
4. Distribute mixture into a 9x9 pan, cover with foil, and 
bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft

Breakfast on the Farm

A few weekends ago, I had a very exciting Saturday morning. The day started with a beautiful bike ride from Lake Minnetonka on the Dakota Rail Regional Trail.

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The final destination was unknown to me when we started, but about 12 miles and 1 hour later, we arrived at Gale Woods Farm.

We had visited Gale Woods Farm a couple of years ago for the second best Valentine’s Day ever (runner up to the zoo). Gale Woods Farm is part of the Three Rivers Park District.

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In addition to being a full-functioning farm that produces meat, eggs, and produce, it also focuses on education, offering a variety of classes and community events. We were there for ‘Breakfast on the Farm’ – an annual fundraiser that features a menu comprised of entirely locally-grown and produced ingredients.

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Breakfast was served buffet-style, and the menu included eggs, potatoes, biscuits, cinnamon buns, and fresh fruit:

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The farm was packed, and we could see the cooks hard at work in the open-air kitchen:

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After finishing our food, we walked around the farm to check out the animals. We saw cows…

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and chickens….

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and sheep…

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We also tried some samples from the garden:

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Lastly, we went to a demonstration on beekeeping and learned about honey production.

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One interesting thing I learned was that the image I have in my mind of a beehive is actually inaccurate. I always thought that beehives looked like this…

[source]

Actually, nests that hang from the tree like that are wasps nests, and true beehives more resemble honeycomb hanging from a tree:

[source]

Poplar Creek B&B

This past weekend, my fabulous family was in town visiting. Rather than staying in Minneapolis as we normally do, we decided to venture up north for a vacation around the boundary waters. We stayed at a small inn called Poplar Creek Bed & Breakfast. The B&B is technically in Grand Marais, MN, but it is about 30 miles outside of Grand Marais proper.

The B&B is quite small – only 3 rooms, and run by a friendly couple named Ted and Barbara. The rooms were spacious and comfortable, and the breakfasts were unquestionably delicious.

Due to some booking overlaps, we had to switch rooms during our stay (we were there three nights), so I can share the details of two of the three rooms. The first night, I stayed in ‘Dorothy’s Room.’ The room had two queen beds, a small bath, a desk, and a small table for two:

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The beds were incredibly comfortable! All of the rooms also came equipped with slippers and robes.

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Don’t mind if I do. 🙂

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For the second and third night, we were put into Ollie’s room. This room was similar in set-up except there was only one bed and there was also a jacuzzi in the room (similar to in Two Harbors!).

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Both Dorothy’s and Ollie’s rooms were located upstairs at the B&B and shared a common kitchen and sitting area:

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Although the rooms were very nice, the real excitement came in the morning at breakfast. Breakfast was a three-course meal with juice, tea, and coffee.

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Breakfast each morning started with a plate of fresh fruit:

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Followed by a breakfast entree:

Day 1: scrambled eggs, tomatoes, and veggie 'meat' patties

Day 1: scrambled eggs, tomatoes, and veggie ‘meat’ patties

Day 2: ricotta stuffed french toast

Day 2: ricotta stuffed french toast

Day 3: egg bake and chicken sausage

Day 3: egg bake and chicken sausage

And, last but not least, a breakfast dessert:

Day 1: baked apples with cinnamon

Day 1: baked apples with cinnamon

Day 2: poached pears

Day 2: poached pears

Day 3: peaches and cream

Day 3: peaches and cream

Both the rooms and the breakfast at Poplar Creek B&B were great. The distance between the inn and Grand Marais proper was definitely an inconvenience though (we weren’t aware of the distance so we hadn’t prepared and brought food with us). During our stay, we went hiking, canoeing, and became very well acquainted with the restaurant (singular) in the area. More on that to come soon!