Two Healthy Breakfasts for Late Summer

Tomato season is in full swing and apple season has begun here in Pennsylvania, so I’m alternating between these two delicious breakfasts!  Both are quick to prepare, with minimal dirty dishes.  They make good snacks, too.  You get plenty of vitamins and fiber from the fruit, plus protein and fat to keep you feeling full.

We planted two tomato plants in our front yard this year and had another tomato plant come up by surprise, and they’re all producing well.  We also get both tomatoes and apples from our CSA organic farm share.

Tomato Toast is simply buttered toast with nutritional yeast flakes, a nice thick layer of sliced tomato, salt, and dill.  (Cilantro instead of dill makes a different flavor, also tasty.)  If you’re really hungry, add a scrambled or fried or sliced hard-boiled egg.  An affordable gluten-free variation is a bowl of warmed-up leftover cooked rice or other grain, with butter, nutritional yeast flakes, diced tomato, salt, and dill.

Easy Fresh Apple Yogurt is simply a diced apple quickly cooked with seasonings and stirred into plain yogurt.  Sometimes I add granola or other cereal.  This morning, I made this with a pear instead (because we were given a bag of home-grown pears) and that’s good, too.  This recipe is ideal for people who get an itchy mouth or upset stomach from eating raw apples–a problem I had only while pregnant with Lydia, which is when I developed this recipe.

Enjoy the season, and check out all the great ideas at Real Food Friday and the Hearth & Soul Hop and Waste Not Want Not Wednesday and Works-for-Me Wednesday!

Healthy Alternative to French Onion Dip for Veggies or Chips

Meatless MondayI served this dip at coffee hour last Sunday and got many questions about the ingredients and requests for the recipe, so here it is!  I actually developed this recipe for a coffee hour not long after I joined my church in 1996, when I was not as much into healthy eating as I am now–I had been planning to make the standard “stir a packet of onion soup mix into a pint of sour cream” dip, but then I found that one of my housemates had used the soup mix that I thought was in the pantry, so I had to come up with something….

This dip is healthier than one made with packaged soup mix because it’s much lower in sodium and doesn’t contain artificial flavor, artificial color, or preservatives.  The yeast adds some extra protein and B vitamins–though probably only a trace amount per serving.  UPDATE: I looked up the ingredients of America’s most popular onion soup mix and realized that it would be off-limits for people with several of the most common food sensitivities: It contains wheat, corn (probably genetically modified), soy (also probably GMO), and monosodium glutamate.  Furthermore, the soybean oil is partially hydrogenated=trans fat, and the mix also contains carcinogenic caramel coloring.  Yum yum.  I’m glad I discovered this alternative!

I usually make it with yogurt rather than sour cream because these days I eat lots of yogurt and always have it on hand.  Make sure to read the label of yogurt or sour cream; some brands contain surprising additives.  Buy organic if you can.  I like the organic yogurt from Trader Joe’s, and it’s reasonably priced. To make a large bowl of dip, suitable for a party, you will need:

  • 2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. dried minced onion
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes (Read more about them here!)
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • a squirt of yellow mustard (optional; I add this if the dip seems too bland)
  • dash of soy sauce (GMO-free), or salt to taste

Mix thoroughly at least 1 hour before serving, to give the onions time to soften.  Taste it and adjust the seasoning if desired.

For once, I served a quantity of veggies that was almost perfect to satisfy the crowd and use up most of the dip, so here’s my suggestion for a veggie tray to accompany this dip:

  • 5 enormous carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
  • 1 large cucumber, cut into sticks
  • 3 bell peppers of assorted colors, cored and cut into strips

Visit the Hearth and Soul Blog Hop and Real Food Friday for more healthy recipes!  Visit Works-for-Me Wednesday and Waste Not Want Not Wednesday for more great tips!