The holidays have a tendency of bringing up a lot for people. While some are filled with holiday cheer, others are reminded of lost loves or struggle through their financial woes. As for me, I’ve always been accused of being a bit of a Scrooge. I don’t own a Christmas tree, I do my best to avoid the mad holiday rush and my ears bleed at the sounds of the jingle bell rock. Okay Melissa, tell us how you really feel…. So during a time of year when darkness prevails, is it really possible to add in a little more sunshine?
The other night during a Winter Solstice party here at the Estrogen Den, I decided to duck out to escape the buzz. Choking back the winter air and feeling my nose airs freeze up, I started to think back to the years prior and question why this time of year leaves such a bitter taste in my mouth. Dropping my school bag in the front hallway, I remember several years of being greeted to a father who buried his financial anxiety in his paint stained hands. Then there was last year when I rode the subway with nothing but a garbage bag of clothes and a pillow as I left my suburban home and most importantly, my fiance. Year after year, it was never easy. I simply braced myself for the worst and put my dukes up to change. In fact, I became good at it…a total pro. I rolled with the punches and took it to the mattresses…what can I say? I’ve always been a Godfather fan…or maybe it was just Al Pacino…
So as I stood there losing feeling in my fingers, I remembered a little piece of sunshine. Breakfast in bed.
SUNSHINE MORNING LOVE
2 Ryvita light rye crackers
2 organic eggs
Several pieces of smoked salmon
Large handful of organic spinach
2-3 tbsp goat cheese
1 tbsp kale pesto
Several slices of organic red onion
1 tbsp organic butter
Set Ryvita crackers on a plate and spread goat cheese on both and set aside.
In a pot, bring several cups of water to a boil to blanch spinach. Quickly take spinach out of the water and set aside to cool in a bowl.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, saute thin slices of red onion until caramelized and top goat cheese lined crackers.
Once spinach is cool enough to handle, squeeze out excess water and top crackers.
In the same saucepan used for the onions, crack several eggs and cook up until over medium on medium heat covered.
Top crackers with smoked salmon and eggs and drizzle with pesto.
Serve with a side salad.
This breakfast will likely remind you of a cross between eggs charlotte and eggs florentine, however I’ve subbed in pesto for hollandaise sauce and added goat cheese. Yes, I’ll admit, it’s a little rich, but I’ve also tossed out the English muffin and opted for a crunchy favourite of Ryvita. It not only adds a wonderful texture, but is also a great option for those looking to stay away from wheat. So while wheat tends to reign supreme in supermarkets, the hearty taste of rye should not be overlooked. Dating back to prehistoric times, rye was cultivated as early as 400B.C and orignated from a wild species that grew as weeds among barley and wheat fields. It was scoffed at by the rich and given to poor, but in many Eastern European countries, rye is wildly consumed.
From a western nutritional point of view, rye is high in fibre and rich in lignans that actually have a phytoestrogenic effect on the system. Good news for breast cancer prevention and for those looking to ease themselves from menopausal symptoms…I’ve got a ways to go on that one. From a Chinese Medical point of view, rye fortifies Qi, strengthens the digestive system and arrests perspiration. Paul Pitchford dedicates several pages to this grain in Healing with Whole Foods and says it helps pull out dampness. So while stuffing my face in with damp forming foods like eggs and goat cheese, rye couldn’t be a better way to balance everything out.
So while I have to say that the holidays are not a favourite time for me, I can say that one part about it that I do rather enjoy is the food. No, this isn’t a holiday dish, but it is one that I love during a cold winter morning. However, I suppose I should confess at this point, that what made my brunch a little extra special was the company that sat beside me. Curled up underneath the covers, the Boy Next Door rubbed his eyes of the morning crusties, smiled and mmm’d and ahhed as he was greeted to breakfast in bed. It hasn’t been long, but I can tell you that sometimes when it comes to the opposite sex, it’s a lot better when you have a good referral from a friend. School friend, and hyper little Paella (my nickname for her, and pronounced, Pai-eh-ya) dragged me out one evening on a mission to set me up. And while past set up experiences haven’t proved profitable, I agreed under the condition that I was going out for her, not him. Then there it was, a spark, a connection and a little light that has had me basking in an afterglow ever since. And strangely enough, he lives just minutes away. So while most women would love to dive head first in the deep end when it comes to men, I’m happy to dabble my toes in the shallow end on this one. Sometimes in order to attract good things, it’s better to create space and simply go with the flow.
So while the Winter Solstice is the longest night of the whole year, I have found a little light with my sunshine filled brunch along with the Boy Next Door. Hopeful yet cautious, I enter this New Year with hopes for bigger and grander things for me…work and love alike. Looking back, it’s been a year of getting myself back on my feet, of being comfortable in my own skin, finding myself and dealing with the hardship of the years prior. My spirits have been lifted over the last while and I’m finally able to see the horizon and the greater potentials for tomorrow.
Finally, here comes the sun…