According to my social media feeds, this past Sunday was National Friendship Day in the U.S. Although I truly didn’t do anything to celebrate this “holiday,” I did stop briefly to consider some of the absolutely amazing women that I have been privileged to call my friends. Research shows that having strong social connections is one of the most meaningful contributors to happiness and life satisfaction. Like most people, I would argue wholeheartedly that my friends are one of the most valuable aspects of my life and I have some pretty fantastic ones. These are strong women who are running their own businesses and nonprofits, some have been published, some have earned impressive degrees, some have run marathons, some have become mothers of beautiful children, many are exceptionally well dressed, and all are passionate about living a full, meaningful, and authentic life. They are motivated and persistent, silly and fun, and most importantly, always there whenever I need a listening ear or some sound advice. And although I am sure that your friends are great too, I would argue that not everyone is blessed enough to have six friends willing to sprint through a shopping mall in silk robes and heels, rattling gates of stores and begging security guards to let us shop before official opening times for last minute wedding essentials ONE HOUR BEFORE YOU WALK DOWN THE AISLE. #SQUADGOALS
Real life proof that my friends are the best of the best!
Although I think it is often rare as an adult, throughout recent years I have continued to meet new friends that I intend to keep close for many years to come forever. However, many of my friends have already been a part of my life for a very long time, since college, high school or even way before that. We have literally grown up together and have been side-by-side through many major changes and stages of life both good and bad. From Barbies and bikes to first crushes and proms, from graduation and exams to college parties and first jobs, to marriage, long distance moves, careers, first houses and a few babies – we are really all grown up now. And although sadly I see many of my friends far less frequently than in years past, we have often discussed our pleasure and amazement at the fact that life seems to just get better and better with time. I have always thought that I was happy where I was when I was there, but with every new season, I am pleasantly surprised to find that things just keep progressing, opportunities expand, and life becomes a little more awesome.
When I was fortunate enough to be in close vicinity with many of my friends, one of my favorite traditions was a Sunday Brunch. To this day, it feels like a little luxury – something that I look forward to and immensely enjoy whenever such an opportunity arises. In the “good old days,” I loved Sunday Fun Days, with their limited responsibilities and obligations, which allowed for hours to be spent in causal or deep conversation over breakfast foods, often with obnoxious laughter, sometimes with occasional tears, but always ending with a feeling of pure contentment. This past Sunday (National Friendship Day!) in London, I loved the chance to be able to sit outside on a sunny patio with Julette for a fabulous post barre brunch featuring poached eggs, smashed avocado (minus the toast, plus the smoked salmon) and Americanos. It was “barre, then brunch” done right.
Feeling inspired by the delicious experience, I decided to approach this week’s breakfasts with my own twist on the ubiquitous avocado toast scene. Like the brunch edition, I smashed my avocado using a lot of lemon to boost the flavor profile, but then also added in some diced cucumber and chopped cilantro/coriander for a unique, refreshing, summery taste. And instead of the traditional bread, I used thinly sliced baked, then toasted sweet potatoes to make a Whole30 and Paleo version which is nothing short of fabulous with the jazzed up avocado and poached eggs. It can be made ahead for the week (the lemon will help to keep the avocado green too!) to make breakfast before work or workout easy, delicious and for me, reminiscent of a fantastic brunch with friends.
- Large Sweet Potato 1-2 each depending on size
- Melted Coconut Oil 2 TBSP
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes .5 TSP
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste
- Avocado 2 each
- Zest from one Lemon
- Juice from one Lemon
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1 TSP
- Minced Garlic Clove 1 each
- Diced Cucumber .5 cup (50 g)
- Sea Salt .5 TSP
- Black Pepper .25 TSP
- Chopped Cilantro/Coriander .25 cup (15 g)
- Preheat oven to 350 F/190 C and line a baking sheet with foil
- Carefully slice the sweet potato into about .25 inch slices lengthwise. If it is easier or your potato is an odd shape, you can start by slicing off the ends to give you a flatter surface to slice
- Brush both sides of the sweet potato with the coconut oil and sprinkle top with salt, black and red pepper
- Bake in the oven for about 15 - 20 minutes, until the sweet potato is cooked through
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes
- Place in toaster at desired setting to allow to crisp up slightly, repeating as needed to achieve desired crunchiness
- Slice and pit the avocados, mashing them in a bowl
- Zest the lemon and add both the zest and juice along with the spices, garlic and olive oil, mixing well
- Add cucumber and cilantro/coriander and stir to combine
- Cook your eggs as desired and then liberally spread the smashed avocado over the sweet potato toast. Top with an egg and some red pepper flakes as desired!