Why, you may wonder, did I fast?
Because I wanted to see if I could. I wondered if I had the physical strength to go without food all day, and if I had the emotional and mental strength to resist eating. I took this personal challenge to an extreme when I went grocery shopping at five - yes five - grocery stores the last few hours of my fast.
On the way to Trader Joe's, I didn't think I'd make it without food. As I drove down the highway, my mind raced down every aisle in the store, exploring potential meal options. Pre-packed salad? A package of hot dogs? A wedge of brie? A pound of pecans? None of it sounded good though, and I really wanted to successfully complete my fast.
A few hours and stores later, as the sun was beginning to set and dinner seemed within reaching distance, I started to feel confident. Energized even.
"I'm going to make it," I told the kids, as if they cared. My fast was just another of their mom's strange food experiments.
We finally got home, unloaded bags and bags of groceries, and I started dinner. The leftover kale chips on the counter would have made the perfect appetizer, but I decided to hold out for a real meal to break my fast. Anyways, I wasn't hungry. I was euphoric.
Dinner was delicious. Broccoli soup, baked yams, spicy artisanal sausage, arugula salad, red wine. I thoroughly enjoyed every single bite and sip. I mmmmed and awwwwed throughout the meal, and had to stop myself from repeating Molly Wizenberg's dad: "You know, we eat better at home than most people do in restaurants!"
Then I stood up from the table, laid down on the wood floor in front of the roaring fire, and fell fast asleep. Fast, feast, fire, floor. Best day ever. Can't wait to do it again this coming Friday.
Let's break this fast talk with an easy breakfast recipe.
Ham and Egg Cups
6 thin slices of ham (or prosciutto) *
salt and pepper
butter for greasing
Preheat oven to 350. Generously grease cupcake pan with butter. Line each cup with a slice of ham, covering the bottom and sides of the cup with the ham to create a well for the eggs. Beat eggs and season with salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture into ham cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until egg is set. Loosen ham and egg cups by running a knife around the edge, and remove from cupcake pan. Serve warm or cold.
*Trader Joe's carries packages of minimally processed rosemary ham. No nitrates or additives. Super thin slices. $2.99. I highly recommend it.
I've also made these in silicone baking cups, but to tell you the truth, I don't know how I feel about baking in silicone. However, they do pop out of the silicone clean and easy.
My daughter loves to eat her ham and egg cups with ketchup "frosting". They're not just for breakfast either. We've packed them for picnic lunches a few times (once we had to stop at In-n-Out for packets of ketchup). They're quite kid friendly, though if I had my way, I'd add sauteed onions, mushrooms, and spinach for a mini, crustless Quiche Lorraine.
I often make pumpkin muffins when I make ham and egg cups, using this recipe from Elana's Pantry with just a few modifications.
Grain Free, Dairy Free Pumpkin Muffins
3 cups almond flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 heaping teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
4 large eggs
2 cups fresh baked or canned pumpkin
Preheat oven to 350. Line or generously grease cupcake pan (recipe makes 18 to 20 muffins). Sift dry ingredients together. Mix the rest of the ingredients in the Cuisinart (or by hand in a large mixing bowl), then add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and mix until incorporated. Scoop batter into prepared cupcake pan, filling each cup 2/3 full. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.
If you can resist eating them hot out of the oven, slathered with butter, cool the muffins and store in a covered container in the refrigerator. They get even better after a day or two.