Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mama Kolz's Summer Breakfast Scramble

The zucchini in the garden are loving our weather. And I'm loving the zucchini. Here's what our children had for breakfast this morning. Feel free to substitute things you may have in your pantry, garden or refrigerator for what I listed. This is your scramble! I can make it Trim, Healthy, Mama friendly, and add bread and jam for my children who are not eating on a diet plan. This would be an S meal on the Trim Healthy Mama plan.

My favorite chickens lay colored eggs. If you don't live near farms -- check your farmers market for the healthiest eggs you can find. Our farmer friend has silly, cheerful chickens who are let out of their pen each morning (where they are safe from Mama Foxes feeding their young kits) to peck at grass and weed seeds and bugs and fruit and watermelon rinds and all the trimmings from the farm wife's vegetables. They look a lot like bowl of eggs.

I use a huge skillet, probably 14 inches across. I add some butter or coconut oil, about a tablespoon, and let it melt on low while I'm chopping a large zucchini into very small dices. I pretend I'm a chef on TV, and I use my bright orange handled Rachael Ray knives that Farmboy bought me for my birthday a few years ago. It's great fun to be me sometimes! In fact, I had so much fun with the basic set, that my husband then bought me this for Christmas - Cool but affordable Japanese Santoku chef knife.

But I digress. After I toss the zucchini into the hot oil or butter, I finely dice a red or white super sweet onion. We grow the candy sweet variety, but do the best you can with the local sweet onions -- the sweeter they are -- the better breakfast tastes. Put 1/2 of the onion into a zipper bag or a storage container an keep it in the refrigerator for another day or the freezer if you're not cooking again soon and toss the second half into the zucchini. Soften and allow the veggies to turn a little golden, and then add in 1/2 cup of diced ham, or a chopped tin of SPAM, TREET, or other canned brand of luncheon meat. I've also used leftover meat from dinner, chopped sausage, or even bologna, salami, etc.  You want about 1/2 cup for flavor. If your meat isn't very flavorful, then a teaspoon of mince garlic is very nice to add. Sprinkle the veggies with some garlic salt or sea salt, and toss it about in the pan, then put the lid on for a moment while you crack open 8 large eggs into a bowl, whisk until smooth, and then pour over your cooked meat and veggies. Stir gently, turn the heat to low, and gently fold inward until the scrambled eggs are done to your likeness. I put the lid on before I think they're finished cooking, and turn off the heat, and get the breakfast plates ready. When I return the eggs are perfect. Scoop into 4-6 portions and serve your family with a smile. I love to top our Summer Scramble with a hearty shredding of Romano cheese made from our goat milk, but a bit of a parmesan cheese wedge, cut off with a fruit peeler into a few curls, makes this very special!

1 T butter or coconut oil
1 large zucchini, small dice
1/2 sweet onion, small dice
8 large free range eggs, whisked
1/2 cup cooked meat of your choice:  sausage, salami, Treet, Spam, Ham, or leftover meats
3 good shakes of Real Salt
Garlic salt to taste

Optional: Curls of Parmesan or Romano cheese for garnish

Melt oil of your choice in a large skillet 10-14 inches diameter. On medium high add zucchini and onion and soften the veggies, then add cooked meat and heat through. Pour in whisked eggs, turn the heat to low,  stir to the center gently when curds form, and right before they look finished and dry enough, turn off the heat and put the lid on. Serves 4-6 depending on how large your zucchini may be.  Excellent served with toast with Dutch Apple Pie Jam. That recipe will follow.

Today the children ate theirs with 3 cherry tomatoes from the garden on the side, and their scramble made with Spam, zucchini, red candy sweet onion, alongside a slice of bread with butter and homemade Dutch Apple Pie Jam. It's a good meal, any time of the day! Enjoy summer while you can.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

MAMA Hacks -- or how I fed my children when I just wanted to get a nap!

This morning I put cherry tomatoes on their breakfast plates, for the 3 year old and the 8 year old. We had Zucchini ham breakfast scramble, and I just tossed 2-3 cherry tomatoes on the plate with it, for them to pop into their mouth at 8 am this morning. Seems extreme to many North Americans but I assure you the rest of the world has more vegetable intake than us and they eat them at breakfast too.

This practice of feeding them the healthiest stuff they might otherwise turn their wee little noses up at began when I had an AHA!! moment one late dinner evening in Griffith, Indiana. I commuted on the train into Chicago's Miracle Mile for my busy jobs with long hours, and I tried religiously to be home by 630pm but that meant they were very hungry when we walked into the kitchen of our ranch style home. In fact after too many nights of take-out, carry-in or take-away dinners, I came up with this Mama Hack.

I knew what I was making for dinner, a two week menu posted on the refrigerator. But the children sat at the kitchen table with big wide blue eyes staring at me as I cut up the ingredients and began cooking. They would ask for bites of the components of dinner as I prepared it. I glanced in  my well-stocked but small pantry, and spied a can of large butter beans. I opened it up, drained the beans, rinsing them off and laid a layer of large beans that look like Lima beans on a small luncheon plate and put it in the middle of the kitchen table for the two kids to snack on while I was chopping veggies for our quesadillas on the menu. When I looked back the plate was empty. My two small children ate a can of beans, one at a time, with their fingers. Well, why not? Beans are protein, carbs, and fiber -- and hold good nutritional value. We'll call that their "appetizer portion".

I made their quesadillas filled with good food, and fried it in a pan while they happily picked up beans and filled their grumbly tummies.  After that I made sure that for each work day we had something ready to go to put on the table the minute they walked in the door from the sitter's home with me. Often times it was a pretty plate of beans, and sometimes it was a bag of raw veggies (like baby carrots, snap peas, or romaine hearts). For the romaine I merely rinsed one, gave it 4-5 quick chops into bite size pieces and then squeezed out some dressing or hummus on a plate and they dipped it with their fingers. Remember, single mama, high food prices in Chicagoland, no access to the farm we're on now, and we'd been out of the house for 12 long hours by the time we walked in.

So if you are in a similar or relevant situation and can use a mama hack, try opening a can of green or butter beans or whatever you think your children may start to nibble on, drain it, and put in on a plate in the center of the table, and pick one up and eat it and say yum, those are good and turn your back. Something good may happen!

Next post:  Kelli's Breakfast Summer Breakfast Scramble