Category Archives: quitting sugar

Shakshuka…Or how to be more exotic for breakfast.

March 29, 2015

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Shakshuka.  Or how to be more exotic for breakfast.

Remember when I told you a few weeks ago how vongole sound better in Italian?  Well it turns out eggs also sounds better in foreign languages too.  Why say baked eggs, when you can say:


I love the way that word sounds. I love saying it over and over again.



Try it. You’re feeling more exotic aren’t you? What I love more than how this dish sounds, is how this dish tastes! It’s basically a classic North African version of eggs baked in a sauce.

Almost every country in the Mediterranean has a variation of this sexy, little dish.  In Italy, you break a few eggs over tomato sauce and top with some shaved parmigiano reggiano and call it Uova al Purgatorio. The Greeks make Kayiana in which you scramble your eggs in a tomato sauce base, served with “pasto”, a salt-cured and fat-preserved pork with some fried potatoes mixed in. And the Spanish Pisto Manchego take fried eggs which will sit over a base of bell peppers, tomatoes and zucchini all topped with manchego cheese.

Shakshuka is one of my favorite versions. I like the mix of Spanish Chorizo, Greek feta, and wilted greens (for that extra veggie kick) and roasted red peppers for a truly Mediterranean amalgamation of baked eggs.  Here’s how:

Shakshuka – serves 2

2 Spanish chorizo sausage

1 handful or cup of baby spinach or chopped swiss chard

2 small garlic cloves, crushed

1 cup red pepper sauce* (recipe below)

2 eggs

2-3 oz. crumbled feta

pinch of red pepper flakes

pinch of paprika


Pre-heat your oven to 400 F.  First, start by slicing your chorizo sausage and rendering it down in a hot pan.  When the fat from the sausage has been released, that’s your cue to add a handful of spinach and chard and wilt the greens.  Add crushed garlic cloves, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a cup of the red pepper sauce.

Divide the mixture between 2 individual sized baking dishes, or ramekins.  Crack an egg carefully over each one and top with some crumbled feta.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or to preferred level of egg doneness.  When you remove from the oven sprinkle a pinch of paprika over each dish and serve with some toasted pita bread to break your yolks and mop up that sauce.  Enjoy!


Red Pepper Sauce (adapted from Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar Cookbook)

This red pepper sauce can be made in advance and refrigerated for a week (but it’s too good to last that long).  To make the sauce, you will need:

6 red peppers

4 cloves of garlic

425 F oven

40-45 minutes roasted until skin is blackened

Pre-heat oven to 425 F.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and roast peppers for 40-45 minutes, until blackened.  You will want to turn the pepper half way during the cooking process. Also on your baking pan, you can make a small foil packet of garlic cloves, topped with olive oil and let that bake during the second half, after you have turned your peppers.

Remove roasted peppers from oven and place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let cool.  The steam will help loosen the blackened skin from the peppers and make cleaning them easier.  Once the peppers have cooled, peel the skins off the peppers and remove the stems and seeds.  Place your cleaned peppers in a food processor with the softened garlic cloves (skins removed) and blend.  Put in a mason jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

New Year, New Blog…

January 4, 2015


A New Blog for the New Year

Today, it’s snowing in Chicago.  The first snow of the season actually.  A perfect day to put on your heavy winter coat, hat, gloves and boots and march over to a cozy cafe to hang out with some friends, read a book or start a new blog over a cappucino or two…or three.  My plan is to start blogging at least once every week and right now seems to be as good a time as any to start this practice.  However, please take note:


I never liked making new year’s resolutions.  They were always a set up for disappointment because they are too easy to break.  Plus, resolutions are never really original ideas are they?  Isn’t it annoying to go to the gym and find out that hundreds of others had the same resolution as you did, to work out in the new year?  I say skip the resolutions and show up to the gym in mid-February.  Most people will have given up and the gym will be all yours again.

Instead, I say spend the first weeks of January making a list of things or practices that you would like add to your life throughout the year to enhance it and bring you joy.  You might start on the first day of the year with both feet on the ground running.  But what if you started a couple weeks later?  So what?  I say resolve to sit down and make your plan and figure out how to tackle it logically.

Do you want to learn to take better photos with a DSLR camera?  Learn to paint or draw?  Now is the time to research and sign up for a class that will get you there over time.  Do you want to work out more?  Instead of pounding yourself at the gym every day on the treadmill or lifting weights (which is great if that’s your thing), why not commit to a yoga or zumba class once or twice a week.  Small steps are less offensive, more flexible and you are more likely to keep up.  Why burn out by the end of January?  Success comes from having a plan and being consistent.  Also, it comes from not beating yourself up when you miss a workout, or ate something you didn’t plan on.  Accept that you are not perfect and know that tomorrow is a brand new day.

RESET!  Now go!

So, what kind of things should be on your list?  It can be anything, but there is only one rule:  IT SHOULD BRING YOU JOY.  =)  If it doesn’t bring you happiness or make your life better, why do it?

Here are a few things I would like to tackle in the 2015:

1. Learning Italian – I have already taken about a  year’s worth of Italian classes and made some really good friends in class, but now the hard part begins.  The grammar is getting more complicated.  The rules are getting more rigid, and the exceptions to the rules are plentiful.  But I LOVE IT.  It’s always good to keep your mind busy, and learn new things.  It’s how to stay young.  My classes start January 17th on Saturday afternoons.  It will be 4 hours of Italian immersion.  What a great way to escape every day life once a week.

2. Build a Capsule Wardrobe – I saw this concept on Un-fancy and let me tell you, it had my name written all over it.  What a great idea!  How many of us have a closet full of clothes that “will fit in 10 lbs”?  Or a closet full of trends, that are no longer?  Or you just feel like “I have nothing to wear?”  The capsule wardrobe is about minimalism.  It allows you to have about 30-40 pieces of clothes (tops, pants, dresses, jackets and shoes) that you LOVE for every season, with some overlap.  You should be able to mix and match these items and always feel put together and stylish.  I started purging my closet on Friday.  I already feel better.

3. Quitting Sugar – I tried Sarah Wilson’s “I Quit Sugar” program last year and LOVED it.  I lost 12 lbs with hardly any effort.  When has that ever happened?  More importantly, it made me feel good and in control of what I was eating.  It was orderly, well planned and delicious.   I never had to worry about what I was going to eat for breakfast or stress about lunch or dinner, there was already a plan in place.  Eating this way takes out the guess work and reduces the likelihood of making poor choices.  I’m starting the new 8 week program on January 22nd!

So, let’s all have a great New Year and I hope that you will enjoy reading about me as I start on my blogging adventures.  I promise to keep you posted on my 2015 list.  I would love to hear about yours.

Wishing everyone the best for a 2015, full of love, adventure, health and happiness.

– Kallie