Tag Archives: breakfast

Pantry Shakshuka


The best thing about shakshuka is how simple it is to make. It’s pretty quick, completely satisfying, and can me made with just a few basic pantry ingredients and whatever fresh veggies you have on hand. I’ve made this one with spinach and bell peppers, and it was delicious! However, fresh tomatoes, kale, mushrooms, and squash would have all been great options too.

Here’s what you need from the pantry:

-can of diced tomatoes

-tomato paste

-Italian dry spices (oregano, basil, rosemary, & thyme would all work)

-garlic powder

-olive oil

-bread (I use gluten-free of course, Udi’s is good!)

Here’s what you need from the fridge:


-bell pepper (any color, but I used yellow)



First, dice half an onion. Heat olive oil is a frying pan. Once oil is hot, add the onions and cool them until they’re soft and slightly translucent. Add chopped pepper and spinach (or whatever vegetables you choose) and cook until soft.

Then, add the can of tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste and stir thoroughly. Simmer for another 2-3 minutes. 

Finally, make a dent in the mixture and crack in an egg. Cover the pan and let the egg cook for about five minutes or until the egg white is just opaque. Any additional cooking would affect the yolk. So, if you like it runny, definitely stop the cooking as soon as the white turns solid, but if you like it harder keep it going for another minute or so.

In the meantime, toast your bread. 

Add hot sauce for an extra kick!

Enjoy! Break into that yolk and scoop the mixture onto your toast. If you haven’t tried it before, you’ll be an immediate convert. It’s so savory and comforting, you’ll want to eat it for every meal of the day. Happy cooking everyone!



Heading West: Underwest Donuts

A brave dessert aficionado’s pursuit of all things fried, glazed, and sugary.

Located at 47th Street and 12th Ave, Underwest Donuts is an unassuming doughnut shop. It’s actually inside a carwash, and the shop itself is just a counter where a few friendly employees dole out freshly fried doughnuts to anyone who wanders through.


For such a small shop, there was a fairly extensive choice of doughnuts, and I bought an array to bring back to campus. I ordered three of the “special doughnuts” (pictured below), and one of the regular sugared doughnuts upon recommendation from guy behind the counter. He actually fried the dough and rolled it in sugar in front of me, to emphasize the freshness.

Maple Waffle

The Maple Waffle is one of the newer flavors, and it has a very strong maple flavor, but in a good way that seems to transport you to the Vermont wilderness.

Pumpkin Ginger

The Pumpkin Ginger doughnut was a little strong for my taste; it tasted strongly of ginger.

Dark Chocolate

The Dark Chocolate was my favorite – it had a rich chocolate flavor without being overly sweet.


(Pictured, clockwise from the top: Pumpkin Ginger, Maple Waffle, Dark Chocolate, and Sugared)

Final thoughts: Were these doughnuts amazing? Absolutely. Would I go back? Not a chance. Getting to Underwest Donuts was such a pain – it’s too far West, and to get there you have to navigate the Hell that is Times Square. However, if you’re looking for genuinely good, fresh doughnuts that aren’t downtown, you’ve found your haven.



Underwest Donuts: 47th Street and 12th Ave

Bagels alla Turca!

A bakery with multiple locations around the city, Simit + Smith is one place that’s been on my bucket list for quite some time because its namesake bakery item is a delicious bagel-like bread served in Turkey and the Levant, called simit. Simit is made in the same way as a bagel is (boiled in water and then baked) and has a similar round shape, but it is more like a ring than a fat bun with a tiny whole in the middle, and it is topped with lots of sesame seeds.


You could have cream cheese and lox with your simit at Simit + Smith, but this morning I opted for the more traditional kasseri cheese with tomatoes, cucumbers, and olive tapenade. Heaven. I was instantly transported back home. The simit bread itself was crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. It had a hint of sweetness that was cut through by the savory goodness of the sesame seeds. The tomatoes and cucumbers were fresh and the kasseri cheese salty and rich. A great alternative for kasseri cheese would have been labne, the tart, creamy yoghurt of the Middle East, but they did not offer it at the bakery. Hmmm… Home-made simit and labne? Worth a try!

Greatly recommended for a fresh, somewhat healthier, and definitely much tastier alternative to the bagel and cream cheese breakfast.

Simi+ Smith

Upper West Side

124 W. 72nd St. New York, NY 10023


Worth Street

111 Worth St. New York, NY 10023


Financial District

100 William St. New York, NY 10038


Simple Homemade Granola

Since we’ve covered lunch and dinner, I thought it would be only natural if we paid a little tribute to breakfast. 

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Hands down. There are so many delicious oatmeal and smoothie bowl recipes that I’m dying to share with you, but I realized that there’s one thing we need to do first. This staple is something we all know and love, and is best when piled on top of all of those other delicious recipes I just mentioned. I’m talking homemade granola.

A good granola recipe is something everyone should have, especially my gluten-free peeps out there. The best part? It’s easy, its fast, it lasts for weeks and the recipe is super flexible. This is an eye-ball-it kind of recipe, and as long as you’ve got the base ratio down, you can add however many mix-ins you desire.

Personally, I have a few granola recipes I like to make. However, the one we’re doing today its the easiest to do in a dorm kitchen. It’s protein-packed, and coconut oil-based. Really filling, healthy, and delicious.

Here’s what you need…


  • 4 Hand-Fulls Rolled Oats
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Protein Powder (I used vanilla flavored to make it a little sweeter)

Nuts & Seeds:

  • 1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts
  • 1/8 Cup Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)


  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Dried Dates
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Dried Cherries
  • 1/4 Cup Dried Cranberries


1. PREHEAT… the oven or confectioner’s oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. CHOP… all your dried fruits and nuts as indicated in the list above.


3. MELT… coconut oil for 30 seconds in the microwave. Then mix all the base ingredients in a bowl until completely combined. All oats should be damp.

4. MIX… nuts and seeds into base mixture. Then spread the mixture on cookie sheet.


5. COOK… for 20 minutes on 325 degrees, stirring occasionally.

6. ADD… fruits to mixture once done cooking. This is important! If you add it before, the fruit gets really hard and dry. You could honestly chip a tooth.

FullSizeRender 2

7. If you like your granola sweet, drizzle a little honey, or maybe even some cinnamon on top. Let everything cool, OR eat it hot with some cool milk. Mmmm! 

8. Finally, use this on top of everything! Or eat it dry by the hand-full. It’s a great, filling snack or meal whenever you want.

Essex Street Market


Finally, Spring has arrived! The upturn in the weather has created a perfect excuse to ditch that winter coat and to venture out into the streets once again. Today I went to the Essex Street Market, which was a quaint little old school market down in the Lower East Side. Although a little far from the Columbia area, it’s easily accessible once you get onto the F train from 14th Street. The distance put me off a little, especially on a lazy and rainy Friday like this, but boy was I glad I made the trip.

Essex Street Market may not seem particularly interesting on the surface, and certainly lacks the glamor and sparkle of more well-known markets like Chelsea or Smorgasburg. But that’s just how I like it. It’s small, cramped but not crowded. It has a certain old-school charm. There are, in addition to the fresh produce stalls (which are pretty inexpensive), other speciality shops that sell anything from cheese to baked goods and coffee. Artisan but unpretentious.


I walked one round around the small market before deciding to check out this little eatery at the far corner, called Shopsin’s General Store. It was nondescript and you would have pegged it for a normal market diner place that sells greasy bacon and limp fries, but what I got was probably the best thing I had in New York, ever! The place is tiny and the menu is intimidating with its lack of pictures and tiny words squeezed onto two sides of a laminated piece of paper. The waiters won’t recommend you anything and if you ask them to, they’d say “my friend, we don’t recommend here”. I decided to go for pancakes, because why not?



I had no idea what I was in for. The pancakes came in a large tin cup, leaving me with no idea how to eat them. But when you decide to just dig in, that’s where the fun starts. Underneath the topmost pancake lie four mind-smashing, gut-busting layers of culinary awesomeness. Like rummaging through a treasure chest, you will find delicately tangy ricotta cheese, creamy scrambled eggs, and a crispy bacon “marmalade”, all wedged in between four PEANUT BUTTER CHIP pancakes that were remarkably fluffy and slightly crisp at the edges. For condiments, your personal bottle of maple syrup, and six (!) types of hot sauce to choose from. Sweet, sticky, savoury, spicy, and downright sinful. As Meghan Trainor would say, every inch of it is perfect from the bottom to the top!

The best thing for me was that I completely stumbled upon it. Not knowing that Shopsin’s is somewhat of a Lower East Side institution, I was glad that my food radar led me to this great place that I can now recommend to my friends. It’s not your friendly mom and pop place. It’s an eatery with an attitude. They do not accept parties of more than four, nor do they offer takeout, according to a Yelp review. If you’re up for some banter, the chef will ask you from his tiny kitchen, and the owner of the place walks around chatting with his patrons.

The eatery is only open five days a week (Wed-Sun) and only open for 5 hours from Wednesday to Saturday, and 4 hours on Sunday. And although it wasn’t cheap (my order was $24, before tax and tip), it is something special and worth absolutely every cent.

After that wonderful meal, I couldn’t bring myself to buy anything else in the market, even though everything else looked fantastic. There were tantalising bagels and beautiful baguettes, shops selling speciality sauces, cheap produce and fresh seafood. I decided I might end off my visit with some coffee from the Porto Rico Importing Co., which according to the website, has been operating since 1907!


The bottom line, the Essex Street Market is not one of the top things on any tourist’s list of New York attractions, but is, in my opinion, a true New York gem. It harkens back to an earlier era when prices were cheaper and businesses competed on the quality of their food, and not how well they dress it up, or whether they have a 10% discount if you check in on instagram. It may be small and a little far for Columbia students living near campus, but it’s definitely worth the time and effort, and is an absolute must if you find yourself in the Lower East Side or near Greenwich Village.

The Eggocado | Breakfast Obsession

Breakfast and brunch, when done right and with love, have to be some of the most enticing and delicious meals (yes, I count brunch as a meal). Eggs, butter, carbs, protein-overload – I love it all.

A THING OF BEAUTY IS A JOY FOREVER. (credit to Laura Manach)

After learning about eggocado’s versatility and simplicity, I’ve been experimenting with this 2-ingredient, bursting-with-flavor brunch dish consisting of a single egg nestled in half a carved avocado, seasoned to one’s liking.

After a few minutes of prepping and only 15-20 minutes of baking, you have yourself a nutritious, mouth-watering, and addictive choice to start your day. I truly believe mornings are for decisions, the most important decision of all being how you will choose to go about your day. Your mindset. #Eggocados are a great way to catalyze happy mindsets. It’s also a particularly suitable choice for us broke frugal college students looking for a filling, easy, and spectacularly healthy and quick meal. Want a snack in between classes? The eggocado is your best friend. Feeling savory for breakfast or brunch? Look no further than this green well of happiness.

My first attempt, pairing a slightly-overcooked eggocado with two of my favorite fruits, strawberries and grapes, was mediocre at best. The yolk wasn’t slightly runny as I preferred, it was under-seasoned, and the avocado wasn’t fully ripe, making it underwhelming in terms of flavor and texture. Even though avocado, egg, strawberries, and grapes sound like the last things I’d ever imagine harmonizing together, the acidity from the fruits and the heftier tones of the eggocado melded well.

The next time I tried, I made sure to use specific seasonings, even over-salting a bit to ensure that the flavors were more multi-dimensional. I also chose a particularly ripe and gorgeously green avocado, careful to carve out the pit and its surrounding fully so the egg would “sit” comfortably. This is an important step –the egg may be larger than you think, and it wouldn’t do well to have it spill over the sides of the avocado. Using a blend of sesame seeds, minced garlic, pepper, and some chili flakes, I popped it into the oven and was far more pleased with the consistency of the egg and the overall texture/flavor. I highly recommend this combo, in addition to having bananas on the side; two famously buttery friends mixing perfectly.

Tips for your eggocado:

  • Use a sufficiently ripened avocado. It should be dark green, almost black, and “cushiony” to the touch. Not too hard, not too mushy.
  • Season, season, season!
  • Cut a small bit off the rounded edge of your avocado half, so it sits nicely on your pan/rack/plate, etc. It also prevents your egg from spilling over and away!
  • Try to use a convection oven, rather than a microwave. The oven will distribute heat most evenly, resulting in overall better quality and taste.

Have you tried the #eggocado? What’s your favorite way to prepare it?

Healthy Eating in College? | A Conscious Mindset

Given how outspoken I am about my undying love for food, it’s no wonder people constantly ask if I’m even trying to maintain “healthy eating habits” (whatever this means) especially as a college freshman subject to dining halls (……..) and the greatest food megalopolis on this planet. I thought I’d share some thoughts on how to best practice getting into that healthy mindset when there are so many distractions that can and often do prevent us from doing so. These are just some tips that I find helpful for myself, so I can’t guarantee they’re useful or relevant to you; however, hopefully you’ll at least find it a good read and please let me know your own eating habits that have been working out for you!

  • Eat a big, heaping, delicious breakfast. Seriously, if I was (god forbid) forced to pick my favorite kind of meal, it would be breakfast/brunch, hands down. It’s versatile, energizing, incorporates some of my all-time favorite foods, and cross-culturally delicious (looking at you, 油条, and you, shakshuka). Breakfast/brunch offerings at Columbia generally leave much to be desired, so I usually resort to taking advantage of swipes for “express breakfast” at one of our dining halls (choose any 4 of a variety of individual-container cereals, half-pint milk cartons, mini Chobanis, muffins, etc.), stealing bananas, almond milk, and dried fruit from another one of our dining halls, and whipping up something alongside. Here’s a semi-typical snap of what my breakfast might look like:



Presenting: (1) a bowl of one of my favorite cereals of all time, Kashi’s Go Lean! Crunch (SERIOUSLY life-changing–not too sweet, satisfyingly crunchy clusters of high-protein whole grains), topped with one ripe banana and about five sliced dried figs, served with almond milk, (2) some gluten-free oat-cranberry cookie balls (yummy, filling, and healthy), and (3) one apricot-oatmeal muffin(subbed in gluten-free wheat flour for this).

I also love experimenting, particularly with oatmeal, as it’s quick, there’s infinite variations of it, and filling. Some of my favorite recipes are: apple pie oatmeal,peanut butter banana (the ever-dynamic duo), and a variety of overnight versions, like this scrumptious blueberry banana version or a fig and cinnamon option. If you’re pressed for time, check out this post on the ever-effective overnight oat phenomenon!

Whatever you choose for your breakfast, try to eat it, first and foremost. Your body craves energy and good nutrition, and it craves it most at the start of the day. It prevents you from over-eating later in the day (take it from someone who knows) when your digestive processes slow down, adding instead of burning extra fat.

  • Be conscious of everything you eat. I’m also a big believer in everything in moderation. You can have that brownie, but not that other brownie. If you had a starchy lunch, try to cut down on the rice/pasta/bread products for dinner. It’s better, obviously, to overload on greens and fruit–go crazy if you’d like.
  • Be disciplined during the weekdays and let loose on the weekends. Any and all food crawls you see glorified on this blog happen during the weekends only because a) otherwise I’d explode, b) schoolwork consumes my soul the rest of the week #ColumbiaProblems, and c) again, I’d explode.
  • Listen to your body. Resisting temptation, in whatever form it may be, is one of the most difficult things in the entire world. But you and your body are much smarter than you may believe–be attentive when it’s telling you you’re full (usually before you’re even fully aware), when it doesn’t like something, when you’re feeling lethargic from what you’re eating.
  • Remember that nutrition is not a religion. As this is a food blog and not a health/fitness blog, it’s futile for me to preach that “fat doesn’t equal happiness and neither does skinny,” but nothing, especially not your favorite foods to munch on, should stop you from being your happiest you. An awareness of your health is first and foremost, and a love of your body and the food you eat can only boost the love you cultivate for yourself.

Above all, I think it’s of utmost importance to remember that your body is your own and no one else’s–you have the control and power to treat it right, an immensely remarkable thing. Happy eating! :) 

Overnight Oats: Magic in a Jar

If there is one breakfast gem a breakfast aficionado can’t get enough of (and if I was forced–God forbid–to pick just one) it would be oatmeal.

That understated elegance of that strangely chewy-mushy-sticky texture. The oft-dismissed blandness. Its versatility–you want it classic with a snow-powder sprinkling of brown sugar and nestled among juicy raisins? Check. Baked until it’s crispy and enticing on its edges but still oh-so-gooey and melty towards its center? At this point, you could basically be eating a brownie. A brownie that’s at most 150 calories/massive portion. Want to blend it with its equally superpower friend, chia, into smoothies? It’s got your energy fix covered for that 8:40 you should really try to get to at least once this semester being the certifiably awesome human you are. Maybe honor the power it truly holds over your baking and brunch life by grinding it up and having yourself a beautifully simple, hearty gluten-free oat flour to use in pancakes and muffins. Or simply leave it in its whole, undisturbed glory in crisps, crumbles, and my personal favorite, and healthy addiction, overnight oats.

Not only are overnight oats a testament to the tastiness, convenience, wholesomeness, and, most importantly, downright deliciousness of my favorite grain, but making and eating them leaves one with an unparalleled sense of productivity and satisfaction. The ingredient list is laughably primitive and as you’re spooning (or pouring it straight from the jar, either works) your concoction into your mouth by the truckload you can swear you’re tasting a myriad of flavors you never put in. It’ll save you precious sleeping/dreaming of more food time in the morning; it’s the perfect grab-‘n’-go. It’ll keep you full for hours, and your cute mason jar and its contents will incite the jealousy and hunger, respectively, of all those unfortunate souls around you who have not been #blessed with the joy that is overnight oats.

Additionally, the versatility of oats–the sponge of the grain world–allow you to experiment, which is, in my opinion, one of the greatest rewards of cooking. Peanut butter banana is a classic, as is blueberry banana (which I’ll detail below), but let your creativity take you where it will–try a brownie modification to have an excuse to eat chocolate first thing in the morning or your other favorite candy.

Using mostly ingredients you can find in the bounty that is Ferris or JJ’s express breakfast, you can whip yourself up some breakfast magic that is infinitely less questionable than those geometric shapes in the dining halls. Here they are:

Ingredients overnight oats


From left to right: craisins/raisins, walnuts, rolled oats, blueberry Chobani, honey, one ripe banana, almond milk (or any milk of your choice), chia seeds (optional), and some sliced almonds.

Other than the honey, oats, and chia seeds, everything else can be easily found/stolen from your local Ferris grocery store. 😉

You’ll also need some sort of vehicle to contain your overnight oats (and your excitement). Mason jars are a great choice because they’re sturdy and allow you to shake it up vigorously without worrying about making your entire suite hate you for splattering oats all over the kitchen, and make it incredibly easy to eat these on-the-go. Alternatively, you can also use bowls, mugs, or anything your oat-crazed heart desires.

Measure oats


Measure out 1/3 cup of oats and add it, along with 1/3 cup of almond milk and 1/3 cup of Greek yogurt, into your jar/bowl/cup/whatever.



Measure milk


*NOTE*: for this specific overnight oats occasion, I decided I wanted some more liquid-y oats in the morning, so I added a full 1 cup of milk. This is part of beautiful adaptability of these recipes–tailor it to your liking! 

If you’d like, add in a dash (around 1-2 tbsp) of chia seeds for extra body and texture:

Progress 1


Add yogurt


At this point, mash up half a banana and save the other half for topping in the morning. Banana is by far one of my all-time favorite fruits: scrumptious, filling, good for you, and as versatile as the oats it will complement. Make sure it’s ripe so it adds sweetness and is easily mashable.





Drizzle in some honey (optional, if you like yours more sweet) and make some amorphous design blob if you’re feeling extra adventurous:





Now the best part: SHAKE IT UP! This should be so vigorous that if someone were watching you, they would feel exceedingly awkward. Afterwards, you should be left with one of the most beautiful messes on this Earth:



Refrigerate overnight. Top in the morning to your heart’s desire (I used the other half of my banana, dark chocolate Ghirardelli chips, and a sprinkle of cinnamon). Rejoice in the morning that your day will be made so much better with these oats staring back at you.

I hope you give this fun breakfast idea a try–I know I can’t get enough! Happy eating :)

This recipe was adapted from Hungry Healthy Girl:

  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten-free, if preferred)
  • 1/3 cup yogurt (for this recipe, I used Chobani blueberry Greek yogurt)
  • 1/3 cup milk (unsweetened vanilla almond milk is my favorite)
  • 1/2 of a ripe banana, mashed (reserve the other half for slicing and topping oats before eating)
  • 1 tablespoon Chia seeds (optional, but helps to thicken oats)
  • 1 packet Stevia or other sweetener (optional)
  • toppings of your choice

Sweet Tooth Recipes: Dessert for Breakfast

We’ve all gone through it. One of the most difficult decisions we will make all weekend long: sweet or savory. Do we decide to have the eggs, toast and bacon for brunch or the french toast with berries and whipped cream? Honestly, you can’t go wrong here, so for this sweet tooth recipe, we are going sweet, naturally.

One of my favorite dessert for breakfast recipes is chocolate chip banana pancakes. These fluffy pancakes are perfect for any morning when the wait at Community or Kitchenette is too long or the thought of leaving your apartment is shattered when you see that the temperature has dropped below freezing. With a hearty glass of milk, whip up some delicious pancakes and enjoy this dessert for breakfast.



1 ½ cups Flour

3 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Salt

1 tbsp Sugar

1 ¼ cup Milk

1 egg

Butter for pan

1 Banana

½ cup Chocolate Chips



  1. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, milk and egg.
  2. Place pan over medium heat. Place butter in pan for non-stick effect.
  3. Using an ice cream scooper or spoon, pour batter onto heated pan to create pancakes approximately 3 inches in diameter.
  4. When bubbles in batter have formed, place banana slices and chocolate chips on batter.
  5. Flip pancake. Wait until both sides are golden brown.
  6. Pro Tip: The first batch of pancakes usually looks funny. Wait for the second batch of pancakes when serving them to friends and family.

FullSizeRender-2 FullSizeRender-3


Cooking While You Sleep

Everyone knows that mornings can be a huge issue. You wake up too late, you have to do homework before class, you don’t know what you want for breakfast. For me, it’s generally oatmeal to the rescue. By generally I mean very, very often. Oatmeal is one of those things that keeps you going for the whole day, because it’s full of energy and fiber. Overnight oats are the kind of oats that sound really fancy and impress people because they have the word ‘overnight’ in them and so people assume that they’re the fancy version of instant oatmeal. Luckily, they’re a thousand times better but almost as easy to make. Actually, a lot of the work happens while you’re asleep, so it almost makes no sense not to make oatmeal this way. I used to be really intimidated by them and stuck to the ten minute kind until I figured out how to make them, and then it was like a whole new world of oats had come alive. Breakfast got better, so life got better.

peach topped oats

The magic rule here is the ratio: 1 to 1 oats to liquid – whether that liquid be water or milk (almond, soy, dairy, pick your poison). I usually use water, and use a little bit less liquid because I like my oats really thick, but the consistency is up to you. Put it in a bowl, or a container that you can put in the fridge, and add toppings. Toppings make just about any meal better, and that holds true for oats. Add a few pinches of cinnamon, a small spoonful of maple syrup, a drop or two of vanilla extract, or a spoonful of jam, depending on how flavor-y you want your oats. Then add chia or ground flax seeds, coconut flakes or something of the dried fruit variety – cranberries, raisins, mango or dried banana. I tend to like fresh fruit on top, added at the last minute, so I go with a combination of cinnamon, vanilla extract because vanilla makes everything better and chia seeds. Another favorite is raspberry jam and coconut flakes, which is seemingly not good but is actually very good.

So you have all of it in a bowl. Cover the bowl, and put it in the fridge while you sleep. Everything absorbs and melds together. Wake up, cut up some fruit or throw in some granola, and you’re good to go. Easiest homemade oatmeal ever. And it’s actually good. I like peaches on top, because they give the entire thing a fresh summery feel, but stewed blueberries or pomegranate seeds are other options that can work really well for winter. The fact that you can just put it all in a mason jar the night before and grab n go in the morning is just the flax on top of the whole situation.