Make Ahead Hot Breakfasts for Cold Mornings (Leek and Ham Frittata)

leek goat cheese frittata

written by Katie of GoodLife Eats

I like starting my morning with something savory this time of year because there are so many sweet offerings to enjoy with the fall and winter holidays. Savory, protein-rich dishes like Frittata help balance out sweets like Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies and Hot Spiced Apple Cider that too often make it past my lips.

Frittatas offer a great opportunity to get creative in the kitchen as well as provide the chance to use whatever contents you have in your fridge.
I find that about 8 eggs, plus a splash a milk can be combined with almost any vegetable, cheese, and/or meat that I have on hand in the fridge for a delicious addition to the breakfast table.

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Our October Unprocessed recap & my favorite links

More often than not, I am in a hurry when shopping for our food, and on a recent outing to the market, I was rushed enough to grab three avocados and toss them in a bag without hardly glancing to note their condition.

Before I could turn away, I felt a hand clamp down on my arm; an elderly lady with soft grey curls and piercing eyes had stopped me in my tracks. Leaning in closely, and not dropping my gaze, she vehement admonished me: “Il faut choisir avec amooooour.” (you’ve gotta choose with love) and sternly launched into a description of how an avocado should look and feel when ripe.

I was so startled by her hand on my arm, that I could only murmur “Oui.” and move on with my basket. But by the time I had rounded a few corners, I was chuckling to myself over the encounter, tickled pink over her surprising ardor. So what if the supermarket lady happened to be a bit of an avocado evangelist and invaded my personal space? I always love witnessing someone passionate for whole foods.

In fact, that kind of passion is similar to what the October Unprocessed online community demonstrated this past month. We brought whole foods into the spotlight, cheered each other on via Twitter parties, mulled over serious food for thought, and daily nourished our families with real food. It was most fun and inspirational.

Today I’ll share a little of what we gleaned from the challenge, as well as a handful of my absolute favorite recipes and articles from Unprocessed participants.

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Our fall chicken harvest (Boo! Contains real life farm-to-table images)

On a cool, cloudy day last week, we harvested our six hens. They went from blessing us with six brown eggs a day to stocking our chest freezer with four quarts of nourishing chicken-vegetable soup and ten jars of beautiful, clear stock.

No, we don’t just keep hens as pets; yes, we use them to their full potential. This post details why and how we harvest our own birds and what works for us in a descriptive, not prescriptive way. This is not a comprehensive tutorial or chicken butchering 101, but a look at our simple cull, by request from readers and followers on Facebook and Instagram.

When I saw that this post would fall on October 31 in the editorial calendar, I thought, “What better day to share a photo essay of chicken butchering than on Halloween?” There certainly are plenty of gory posts are floating around with edible eyeballs, worms, and the like, although this is probably one of the few with actual entrails to be found.

That said, I think the images honor the chickens. And it’s not really that gross; it’s just the prequel to your classic chicken dinner. And it’s probably one of the nicer prequels, if you know what I mean: fresh air, fall leaves, scrubbed stock pots, and a bright orange apron.

Photos begin after the jump.

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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 I discovered and embraced Baby-Led Weaning/Feeding (BLW)

A few weeks ago I sat at the dinner table and watched Clara furrow her brow as she focused on a centimeter square piece of omelet that was sitting on her dinner tray. She reached a chubby arm and closed her dimpled hand over the egg, raking it closer, before clutching it in her tight grip and transferring it to her mouth. It took some effort, but she succeeded, and thoughtfully chewed and swallowed the omelet before looking around for more. I actually blinked back a few tears in awe and pride.

Clara is not quite six months old and is eating on her own like a little champion. She is slow, messy, and doesn’t actually ingest all that much, but gracious me, she is not picky! In fact, quite the contrary, she wants to eat everything. In solid form, too.

How did we get here? No drippy rice cereal? Brown-colored puree? Well, while I was still pregnant with Clara, my doula tipped me off to a method for introducing solids called Baby-Led Weaning, or as I like to call it, Baby Led FeedingI have no intention of weaning Clara yet, but have been supplementing her diet for a month or so now using BLW.

Baby-led feeding is the common-sense practice of giving your baby soft, palatable whole foods and letting her feed herself her first ‘bites’, while continuing to breastfeed. The theory is that babies will experiment and discover food at their own pace, as well as develop new abilities including chewing and keen hand-eye coordination.

I’ve certainly seen firsthand the benefits of skipping purees and moving straight to solids. Not only is it less work in the kitchen, but Clara is continually astounding us with her early ability to chew and participate around the dinner table. And of course I’m hoping in the long run that she’ll be open to a much wider range of food than my boys were.

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