Sneaky and Healthy Recipe #3 - My 99 Calorie Omelet

Yesterday I was grocery shopping and I was about to buy a carton of Egg Beaters, you know, the already premixed egg whites in the carton. And after sighing at the price of $5.64 for a quart, I decided to see about making my own. And apparently, it's really easy...and cheap!

What you need:

18 large eggs ($1.56)
3/4 Dry Nonfat Milk (I already had some, but it's only about $2.50 for a small box...which will last quite a while. I'd say this cost about $.30 cents)
4 tsp vegetable oil (which I already had, but this costs about $.02)
Yellow Food Colouring (which I had, but was the equivalent of $.05)
What you do:

Separate the eggs from the yolk. You can do this a few different ways, by shuffling the yolk back and forth between the broken halves of the shell (which I think is the hardest, myself), by breaking the egg into a mesh sieve, (which is easier but not always foolproof) or break the egg into the palm of my hand and let the white slip through your fingers while you hold on to the yolk. You can also buy things like egg separators and such, but I prefer using my hands, myself (and you get to squish egg yolks into the sink, too!) After you have your 18 egg whites, pour in your oil and dry milk, colouring and blend all the ingredients together (I use my stick blender for this). Let the foam settle for a few minutes and viola...instant Egg Beaters.

Now as for the food colouring, yes, it's purely optional. I prefer it, but that doesn't mean you have to use it. I like my eggs to be yellow in the morning, and won't enjoy them nearly as much if they're white.

Each batch makes 12 1/4 cup servings, and cost a total of $1.93. Each serving has 50 calories, 8.5 grams of protein, 2 carbs, and 1.5 grams fat. Now, I use 1/2 cup every morning, so I get 6 servings altogether, which costs $.32, as opposed to a dollar.

So now that you have this batch of runny yellow goop, what can you do with it? Well, I divide mine in small 1/2 cup batches in small plasticware. The best part is you can prepare all your morning omelets at one time for the week and make all sorts of different kinds or all the same. This week, I made 6 of the same, each had a tablespoon each of frozen chopped spinach, chopped onions, canned mushrooms and a sprinkle of salt and pepper in each (which was 99 calories!) Then I just pop on the top, shake them up, and stick them in the fridge. The entire process took took MAYBE a half hour, but now I have no excuse in the morning to skip breakfast (or even worse, go visit the yellow arches on my way to work) because all I have to do now is break out a frying pan.

A quick note on cooking...when you put them in the pan they're going to look watery...real watery. This is okay! They cook up just as well...but they DO cook up quickly, so beware...don't leave the stove for more than a minute or you'll come back with browned eggs.

So enjoy your newfound gift of variety in the morning. Go on, spice it up, veg it up, cool it down...just make sure it's healthy (and cheap)!


The Great Vegetable Hunt

Feed a kid a lump of green, heavy, stringy spinach and you're likely to get a look of disgust. Feed a kid spinach hidden in a dip, a pastry, a sauce or an omelet, and you'll most likely get requests for more. This same argument goes with a myriad of other vegetables...and not just for your kid, but for your husband, your wife, your neighbour, or even you!

Like I've said in my previous posts, I'm a huge fan of vegetables...especially spinach. I love it because it's dense, it tastes good, it's packed full of nutrients, vitamins and fiber and it's easy to add to a variety of dishes...making it easy to hide. Oh...and it's CHEAP! You know those frozen boxes of spinach? Those, my friends, can be as cheap as 79 cents! 79 cents for a pound of already cooked, cut, or even chopped, spinach that will make YOUR life easier and healthier!

So what exactly can you do with this leafy green? Well, I thought I would give you a few of my favourite recipes and a couple ideas. So sit down, grab your fork an knife, and try not to tuck the table cloth into your pants this time, okay?

A few things you can effectively hide spinach in (or at least make it look more palatable):

Spaghetti Sauce
Meatballs (or meatloaf)

Just use chopped spinach for these things...it's small, so even if it's noticed, it's not stringy (thus scary!) After your frozen spinach thaws, make sure to wring it all out, squeeze out ALL the water! I love this stuff because it's so cheap and versatile, but it involves no preparation besides this!

Spinach as a whole leaf is also a great substitute for lettuce. Lettuce, for the most part, is a nutritionally empty food, especially the light versions like iceberg. But spinach, as baby spinach or whole leaf spinach, has more nutrients, fiber and vitamins than lettuce, and is pretty unnoticeable, too. If you are using whole leaf spinach, make sure to cut off the long stems, or your trick will be found out!

Try using the whole uncooked leaves in:

A bed for food like tuna salad, egg salad, etc.

When it comes to washing the leaves, they can be riddled with sand or dirt. The best way to rinse them is to fill your sink with water, put the leaves in, and swish around. The leaves will float, and the dirt/sand/debris will sink to the bottom. Trust me on this one, I once had chicken and dirt and fully learned my lesson afterward. :-)

A pound of fresh spinach yields 96 calories, 352 mg of sodium, sixteen, yes, sixteen grams of fiber, and another whopping 16 grams of protein. It's also rich in Vitamin A, providing 53% of your daily value.

So try something new, or at least trick the kids into eating healthy. Spinach is easy to hide, tastes really yummy, and is healthy, but cheap!