Salmon and Avocado Tower

Something I really like about studying nutrition is that when asked to pick a paper topic, I get to write about something I am obsessed with. (My name is Nicole and I have an infatuation with food). This proves to be a double-edged sword. On the positive side, I get to write about something that truly interests me, and I can call eating a form of “research”. On the “not-too-positive” side, I tend to get a little carried away with the literature searching, which leads to too much reading and not enough writing. This is not a bad thing for the paper itself, but it does make me work down to the wire tweaking edits, which can lead to stress…and stress baking and stress eating.

My avocado paper is a great example of this conflict. I was so excited to write about the heart-health benefits of avocado, that I spent an absurd number of hours researching avocado studies and exploring the California Avocados website. I also made and consumed enough guacamole for 3 people…which is only mildly ridiculous (according to dietary surveys, average consumption is one half of an avocado[1]).

Anyways, after submitting my paper I obviously wanted to eat avocado to celebrate, so I whipped up this little tower of tastiness:


This could be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack. The eggs are a health source of protein, the avocado and salmon give you a dose of healthy fats, and the cream cheese just tastes good.


This is essentially and Eggs Benedict adaptation-without the fattening (albeit delicious) hollandaise sauce. Truthfully, between the creamy avocado and cream cheese, and the poached egg on top, it is so rich I did not even miss the hollandaise. You should also definitely make this dish for its aesthetic appeal. Fancy brunch, anyone?

My next paper topic is explores the effects of caffeine. Watch out Starbucks, I’m coming for you.

Salmon & Avocado Tower (makes one)


  • 1 slice of toast
  • 1 Tbsp cream cheese
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 3 Tbsp canned salmon
  • 1 egg


  1. Poach an egg or prepare an over-easy egg on a skillet.
  2. Spread cream cheese on the slice of toast. Spread avocado on toast and top with canned salmon.
  3. Top the tower off with your prepared egg.


1. Fulgoni VL, Dreher M, Davenport AJ. Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in US adults: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008. Nutr J. 2013 Jan 2; 12:1.


Damper-A Delicious Australian Creation


When I was introduced to the damper recipe I was instantly intrigued:

  • Me: The ingredients make it seem like a biscuit or a scone
  • Recipe Sharer: Yeah it essentially is. And it goes with everything. I’ll send you the recipe directions.
  • Me: Does a mental fist pump. Thank you, that would be great!

According to Wikipedia,  Damper is actually an Australian soda bread and an iconic Australian dish. But to me the recipe sounded like a plain scone. And the truth of the matter is that scones are delectable. And Australia is a wonderful place. So I could only assume that this recipe was going to be wonderfully delectable. I immediately shared the recipe with my friend Shannon and we committed to making damper the next day. We have already made it twice in the last 5 days.


The great thing about a knockout biscuit/scone recipe is that they are a very versatile pastry item. We kept ours original and simply slathered butter and jam onto them. But I can already imagine the possibilities: mixing fruit/chocolate/nuts into the dough, making bomb breakfast sandwiches using damper as the bread, serving them alongside dinner…believe me I could go on.


Another plus about making damper as opposed to other scone or biscuit recipes it that it is relatively low in butter and sugar. It’s not completely exempt of those two items, but we have to take our victories, however small they may be. So without further ado, I give you Damper-the best biscuits with the weirdest name.

Australian Damper (Makes 1 large loaf, or 6 large biscuits)


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1-1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons chilled butter
  • 1 cup milk or half and half


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl add flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Blend dry ingredients together with a fork.
  3. Slice chilled butter and add to the dry ingredients, blending butter in until the mix resembles coarse crumbs. (I used my hands for this part and “massaged” the butter in)
  4. Pour measured milk or half and half into the bowl and mix together until dough just comes together.
  5. To place damper on a baking sheet: (1) Form 1 large loaf with the dough or (2) Use a spoon to “drop” dough onto the baking pan. Do not flatten the dough.
  6. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
  7. Serve with butter, jam, honey, etc. The possibilities are endless!


Strawberry Yogurt Scones

I do not simply turn away from $1 boxes of strawberries. That would just be silly. But, I will say there is usually a reason that said strawberries are being sold for such a reasonable price. Namely: they are 5 seconds away from going bad.

This leaves me with one of three options: (1) Let the strawberries that I don’t consume go bad in the back of my refrigerator, (2) Eat the whole box of strawberries in one sitting, or (3) use the strawberries craftily in a recipe.

I hope you know by this point I chose Option #3. And I decided upon scones as my baking good of choice.


These scones are full of strawberry flavor and light in texture. They store well in the refrigerator and can be reheated whenever a craving for a baked good hits. Scones taste fantastic when warmed and slathered with melting butter. If strawberries are not your fruit of choice, simply sub them out for whatever you have on hand (I personally cannot wait to create a mixed berry version).


Now you never have to pass up a deal on berries ever again!

Strawberry Yogurt Scones (Makes 8 scones)

Adapted from The Sweet {Tooth} Life


1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. cold butter, cubed
3/4 cup plain yogurt (greek or regular)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup chopped strawberries
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Stir together flours, sugar, and salt.  Cut in butter.
  3. In another bowl, whisk yogurt, powder, and soda until frothy.  Stir into flour mixture until just combined.  Add strawberries.
  4. Knead on floured surface 3-4 times and then shape into circle.  Cut into 8 wedges and place wedges on baking sheet.  Bake for 12-14 minutes or until tops are golden.  Serve warm.
Notes:  These are best if eaten within a day or two. If serving the next day, store in airtight container.  To reheat, set scones in a preheated oven (about 350) for 2-3 minutes. Or if you’re lazy like me, microwave for 20-30 seconds.

Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes

No place does brunch like NYC does brunch. Growing up, I never really set aside time on the weekends to eat a nice, luxurious midday meal (unless you count the boxes of cereal I would consume while watching One Saturday Mornings). Once I moved to the East Coast, I was introduced to this great weekend food tradition, and I have accepted it with unparalleled enthusiasm.


I love exploring the popular brunch locations in the city, but I also enjoy making brunch food myself. I recently did brunch at my friend Christine’s beautiful apartment. We decided on banana chocolate chip pancakes, and I knew I had to share this recipe with all of you!


Chocolate chip banana pancakes and a fresh vegetable omelette with feta cheese…so delicious and satisfying!

Just so you all know: you will never need to buy Bisquick ever again after making this recipe. Not that there is anything wrong with Bisquick…but I will say it’s kinda fun to make pancakes completely from scratch and see every ingredient that goes into it. And the addition of bananas and chocolate chips only make this brunch recipe better.


Let’s take these dessert-like pancakes and top them with homemade cream cheese whipped cream: BEST. IDEA. EVER.

Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 bananas
  • Chocolate chips (the more the merrier!)


  1.  Mash bananas in a small bowl using a fork, set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk dry ingredients together.
  3. Beat egg, butter, sugar, and vanilla extract in another bowl. Pour in milk and mix all these ingredients together.
  4. Pour the bowl of wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, and add mashed bananas and chocolate chips. Mix until incorporated.
  5. Heat a skillet and melt butter (or heat oil of choice) on the pan. Over medium to medium-high heat, pour 1/4 cup of batter onto the skillet. Wait for one side to cook for a few minutes and then flip. Repeat with the rest of the batter. Add more butter or oil in between batches of pancake as necessary.
  6. These pancakes taste wonderful on their own or with toppings! My recommendations: freshly sliced bananas, Nutella, whipped cream topping, chocolate sauce, chopped walnuts, or peanut butter.