The Most Important Meal of the Day-Gluten Free Brinner

Yes, that’s right.  Brinner.

Just in case you have not seen this fine piece of film, I hereby share with you the clip from the notoriously funny show, “Scrubs.”  It’s totally worth the 40 seconds.

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My friends Kim and Kim (funnily enough, and no I did not plan that) at Cook IT Allergy Free and Gluten Free is Life are also big fans of brinner.  What’s not to like, really?  In the days before my celiac diagnosis, after a stressful day at work I would sometimes go out with some of my fellow therapists for pancakes aka “breakfast for dinner.” Same thing.  Hence-brinner.

Now that I am a gluten avoider, and also a bit more aware of the impact that those carb and sugar heavy meals (pancakes, ya’ll) had on my physiology and my physique, my perspective on brinner choices has evolved.

But not my love of brinner.

It’s kind of hard to beat brinner.

You have many choices when it comes to preparing a gluten free, nutritious brinner.  And really, who’s rules say that “breakfast” foods have to be eaten in the morning anyhow.  Really.

Here’s a short, totally-not-all-inclusive list of some ideas for a celiac or gluten sensitive friendly brinner:

OK, so now on to my particular brinner.  This was a kind-of-a-frittata version of my egg bake.  I used Al Fresco Chicken Sausage and here’s why.  There’s an old joke that sausage means “we don’t know what’s in it either,” but that’s not the case with these babies.  This is the ingredient list on the Sun Dried Tomato, which is the type I use the most.


Nice!  All recognizable as food by my great grandmother.  No nitrates, nitrites, or gluten.  And they are already cooked.

Here are the players:
  • Eggs (I used about 4 whole eggs)
  • Egg Whites (I used about a cup and a half of liquid egg whites.  As I mentioned before, there is absolutely nothing wrong with whole eggs.  The use of the combination of eggs and egg whites is to boost the protein content while keeping fat content manageable.  This is completely your call.  If you are actively “watching your weight,” (watching it go down, I hope, for the most part) keep in mind that CALORIES MATTER, even calories from “good” foods.  You can get fat on perfectly healthy food if you are eating too much of it for your activity level and size.  If you want more information on that, you can read my free nutrition guide.
  • 1 package of Al Fresco sausage, casing removed and chopped into bite size pieces.
  • If you choose, a type of cheese or veggie or whatever other ingredient.  This one was just egg and sausage.
  • Dried Herbs de Provence, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper.
Brinner Gluten Free Style

It's kind of hard to beat Brinner...

The game:
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and mist some liquid coconut oil or olive oil into a cast iron or some other oven safe skillet.  Cast iron is cheap, lasts forever, and makes a wicked weapon.  Get one.
  • Heat the skillet over medium heat.
  • Combine your eggs/egg whites in a bowl, and whisk together for a little froth.  My Mom always added a little water to our eggs, so I do too.  No idea if that actually makes them fluffier, but that is what I was told as a child.  Don’t kill my fantasy.
  • Add your sea salt, herbs, and pepper to taste.
  • Add in your sausage and whatever other ingredients you like and combine until evenly distributed.
  • Pour the mixture into the skillet and let it cook until is looks “set” (give it the jiggle test-it will jiggle in the middle but not the sides.)
  • Using an oven mitt (the handle is hot, don’t forget that bit as I have) slide the skillet into the preheated oven, and let it cook about 10-20 minutes or so until it is jiggle-free and golden brown.
  • Serve with a salad and say yum!  Brinner!!

If you’re new here, welcome!  You may want to check out Gluten Free and Fit 101 and my 5 Tips for Living Gluten Free and Fit-Day 1 is here.

What’s your favorite brinner?  Hit it up in the comments and share your ideas!

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  1. Haha!! Love this! Yay for the Brinner Club! ;) We are having brinner this week the night before we leave to go skiing in Deer Valley. I want to make some healthy breakfast goodies to bring with us so that we have good energy to ski. Figure I can make them the night before we go and eat some for dinner and then pack up the rest to bring and freeze once we get there!
    This kind-of-a-frittata looks awesome! I love things like this. The other night, I took some of my organic machaca beef, farm fresh eggs, spinach, and grape tomaotes – so yummy! Now I will have to try this one! ;)

  2. Oh my gosh, I miss Brinner!! Your “kind-of-frittata” looks delish Erin and now I really want my eggs back!! I so hope that Dr. Vikki can help me heal Luke and possibly help him “outgrow” his egg allergy (dare I hope?). :-D

  3. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Heidi Kelly, Gluten Free Fitness. Gluten Free Fitness said: #GlutenFree Brinner (breakfast for dinner ideas and recipe!) #celiac #gfree [...]

  4. Maggie says:

    Looks like we’ll have to have brinner tonight! I love brinner, especially pancakes with loads of maple syrup (I’m slightly addicted to maple syrup).

  5. Heike says:

    Those were the days … “breakfast for dinner” with your fellow therapists … which included me!

  6. Erin, While I’ve never seen that show (I’m not a TV person) and I’ve never heard the word “brinner” I did laugh out loud at the clip. I probably eat more dinners for breakfast then the reverse because I like packing in some veggies and protein first thing in the morning (is that deakfast). My weakness is the pancake/stress thing as well. OMG, when I’m stressed I have this inner voice encouraging me to eat pancakes or waffles, pastured butter and organic maple syrup. I’ve found the holes in the waffles make perfect “divots” for the syrup. I have a friend who says it’s a Zen thing and that what is not there is more important in the case of waffles than what is there. =) I feel really good while I’m eating them (dopamine rush like no other), then I slip into a sugar coma and am wasted for the next few hours.

    By the way, we really do live in a similar parallel universe or are somehow linked fairly closely with that 6 degrees of separation thing, as it seems we’re often on the same wavelength. Great entertaining post! I just signed up for your email updates so I don’t miss anything over here at GFFitness.

  7. Erin says:

    Hey Kim!
    Brinner is truly an extremely portable meal. I forgot to mention the option of cooking the eggs in a muffin tin to make them even more portable. Grab and go in the truest sense :)
    Yum. Your egg/beef/spinach/tomato sounds delish!

  8. Erin says:

    Hi Heidi!
    I hope so too-eggs are a staple food for me. I think I could eliminate all potential allergens/gut irritants but would really miss eggs. They’re just such a fabulous food so many reasons, and so versatile.
    Anyhoo, how about dinners for breakfast as Melissa mentioned? There’s no reason to have to keep foods in the little boxes we’ve created. You are just the creative soul to come up with some fabulous deakfast!

  9. Erin says:

    Hey Maggie!
    The nicest thing about maple syrup (in my opinion) is that it has such a distinctive flavor, you really need only a smidge to enjoy it.

  10. Erin says:

    Hi Heike!
    Yes indeed! Pancakes at the diner! Seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it?!?

  11. Erin says:

    WE are officially adopting deakfast. Indeed it should be a word, just like brinner.
    I’m a big fan of veggies and protein in the morning too, my everyday breakfast is a bunch of eggs, some ground grassfed beef, spinach, and tomato. Scramble it together in a skillet and call it good. Isn’t it funny (funny peculiar, not funny ha ha) how we have our preconceptions about what foods should be eaten when? Time to explode that, methinks. Deakfast, and if the mood suits, cookies (AKA nutrition orbs) for breakfast!
    Too funny about the waffles. I think it’s a very good thing I do not have a waffle iron. It’s amazing how the 2 minutes it takes us to eat an item can truly affect us for days on end.
    And I know. I’ve stopped being surprised at the similarities now, I just smile and nod :)

  12. AmandaonMaui says:

    It’s so funny that you posted this because lately when I am writing up my meal plan I have been getting frustrated and just wanting to make something simple for dinner. So, last week I made a frittata for dinner! Nummy portobello mushrooms, kale, and onion. Mmm! We did serve it with a little ketchup, but salsa would have been the better option. My partner had a glass of wine with it. How very European of him.

    Actually, in my French language class we do study a little French culture and the textbook said that people in France often eat omelets for dinner. Spiffy! So, we are being trés chic eating brinner.

  13. AmandaonMaui says:

    Oh, one other quick comment. Gluten free people do need to be wary of “natural flavors” because they could be from anything. If unsure, call the company or don’t eat it. I feel like most of the time I can trust gluten free labeling (especially from a respected company), but sometimes I still look it up or call.

  14. [...] –Brinner (thanks for reminding me of the cool name, [...]

  15. Erin says:

    Good point Amanda. To further elucidate the issue, here’s a post from Cheryl Harris at Harris Whole Health. The original post is here:
    Can Natural Flavors Contain Gluten?

    Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD

    The simple answer is yes; however, this rarely happens.

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has pages and pages of rules about the different terms we see on labels. Both hydrolyzed wheat and barley are used as flavoring agents. However, wheat proteins must be declared in the U.S and cannot be hidden under “flavor” or natural flavor.[i] They must be declared by their “specific common or usual name”, and the Food Allergen Labeling Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) of 2006 also states that wheat needs to be clearly labeled.”

    Everyone, please check out Cheryl’s post for additional info on this issue. Again, here’s the link

  16. Erin says:

    Brinner is tres chic! Who woulda thunk it?!?! ;)

    Simple is good. There is nothing wrong at all with simple. Great ingredients, prepared simply-really that is best, most times. Your brinner frittata sounds yum.

  17. I’m allergic to eggs, but it sounds yummy! I miss eggs, but the reaction is similar to gluten. Feeling sick isn’t worth it.

    I love Al Fresco Chicken Sausage.

  18. Erin says:

    Hey Lisa thanks for coming by!
    Egg allergies have got to be tough. In my opinion, that would be considerably tougher to deal with than celiac disease.
    Aren’t Al Fresco products great?! We only have a handful of them around here, but they’ve all been fantastic.

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