5-Ingredient Baked Eggs in Tomatoes on Roasted Corn and Lentils

We’ve been brunching more than usual this summer, taking advantage of our own farm fresh eggs, garden herbs and produce.

I prefer more of a savoury start to the day and find that a breakfast featuring vegetables and eggs – with coffee of course – takes me a lot further in the morning than a sweet carb-y meal.

This extra fuel is essential for keeping up with three kids all summer long; kids who don’t believe in sleeping in and are functioning at one hundred percent by seven-thirty in the morning. Oh, big breakfasts are entirely necessary.

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Planning for the October Unprocessed challenge (Pumpkin Spice Granola)

If I could sum this post up in five words, I would say, in true Joy the Baker fashion,

October Unprocessed. Get into it.”

However I feel I owe you at least a little background, followed by a look at how I’m gearing up for the annual whole foods challenge. The motivation? That has to come from you, but if you are already a regular reader of this blog, I’m guessing that you would be totally down with this challenge. (There I go again with the Joy-isms.)

What is the Unprocessed Challenge?

Andrew of Eating Rules is a terrific guy with a fantastic message about healthy food. His goal behind the October Unprocessed challenge is to try to get as many people as possible off of processed foods and eating whole, healthier foods during the month of October. The thought behind this goal is to show people that they will ultimately feel better after the challenge – and hopefully be inspired to improve their long term eating habits.

What are the ‘rules‘?

“Unprocessed food is any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with readily available, whole-food ingredients.” – Andrew Wilder.

Sounds do-able, right? After all, we’re already on the whole food track here at Simple Bites.

You may remember that we cut our teeth on October Unprocessed for a week last year. There was the menu plan, and the follow-up recap of the week, highlighting a few of our favorite recipes. I also wrote a guest posted for Andrew and shared Seven Ways to Survive October Unprocessed with Kids, which I’ll be putting to practice again this year.

This time around I’m feeling better equipped for taking on the whole month. We’re feeding a baby real food, after all; that is even more incentive to keep our diet unprocessed. Sure, Canadian Thanksgiving is coming up in October, but both this naturally sweetened apple pie and this rustic maple pecan pie are unprocessed, and as long as we have pie, we’re all set.

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How to Cook Apple Pie Steel-Cut Oats in a Slow-Cooker

This week I wholeheartedly embraced the slow-cooker challenge along with dozens of other bloggers. I stewed beans all day, simmered a vegetable stock, and combined ginger, coconut and chicken into a fragrant dinner.

I even used my slow-cooker for breakfast, something I’m going to be doing a whole lot more of, thanks to an ingenious technique discovered via Food 52 for overnight steel-cut oats.

As you’ve read, oatmeal in all its forms is one of my pantry essentials. We use rolled oats in our Overnight Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal, stir steel-cut oats for Brown Butter-Toasted Oatmeal with Roasted Pears, and often cook a pot of quick oats on those hurried Monday mornings.

Of all the varieties of oatmeal, my affections lie with steel-cut oats. However, I am less fond of the 30 or so minutes of cooking time that they require in the morning to reach the perfect creamy, yet toothsome texture. I had tried a few overnight versions, but found that, although convenient, they left the oats with a gummy consistency.

Fortunately, I have come across a completely new method that has – yes, I dare to say it – revolutionized our breakfasts. [Read more…]

Five Simple, Natural Recipes for Homemade Pancake Syrup

Pancakes are somewhat of a religion in our household, but contrary to what most people think, we don’t enjoy them exclusively with pure maple syrup. Yes, around here it is easily accessible and somewhat affordable, but I like to change things up for pancake toppings from time to time.

A favorite of ours is fresh yogurt with apple butter, but we get even more creative than that and today I’m showing you some of those variations. Pictured above from left to right: buttery maple, honey-orange, molasses-cinnamon, vanilla-rice syrup, and blueberry syrups!

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Healthy Winter Breakfasts (Recipe: Maple Vanilla Roasted Pear Parfait)

Eating seasonally can be difficult in the winter, especially if you live somewhere that is covered in snow for 4 or 5 months out of the year and all that’s available locally are potatoes, squash and apples with a long storage life.

Adding berries and tomatoes is much easier in the summer when they’re available straight out of my own garden, just beyond the back door. At the moment, my gardens are buried under three feet of the white fluffy stuff, and it’s likely I won’t see the dirt until sometime in March. However, even amidst the winter wonderland, there is hope for a healthy, ready-to-start-the-day breakfast that will give you the energy and courage (or is it insanity) to head out and embrace the cold.

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