Category Archives: Breakfast

Raspberry Yogurt Parfait

 

As spring brings fresh berries to fruit, you may find yourself with a huge bounty and need ways to eat them all up before they go bad or the season ends (tear…).

Not to worry, I love berries and love to find ways to enjoy them. First of all, snap up deals now while you can. Don’t bother thinking you’ll buy too much, that’s not possible. Freeze any you can’t eat within a week in a single layer, then put into a freezer bag.

These frozen berries will last for months, and will be great mind-winter in a smoothie, a fruit crumble, on top of oatmeal, as ice cubes/garnish in cocktails, or in a pie. Try raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries.

But while they are still fresh and at their best, my favorite way to eat them (other then just washed, by the handful) is in a yogurt parfait. The perfect start to the day, healthy snack at any time, or after-dinner treat, a parfait is just tasty.

And with fresh biotic-boosting yogurt, seasonal berries and fiber-rich granola, it is also a super healthy choice. Just steer clear of sugar-laden yogurts or granolas. Best to make it yourself, but if not choose organic, pasture-fed yogurt if you can, and granola with whole ingredients like oats.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup fresh berries
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup raw granola
  • 2 tbsp (local if possible) honey
Step 1: Add the yogurt to a bowl, and sprinkle berries on top. You could put it in a blender and pulse a few times if you want the berries incorporated.
Step 2: Sprinkle the granola on top. You can use plain raw oats too, or a healthy cereal.
Step 3: Drizzle your honey on top. You could also use agave nectar, maple syrup, or no sweetener at all.
Enjoy your bowl full of happiness!

Recipe Review: Overnight Oatmeal from Oh She Glows

 

We all know by now that eating breakfast is a good idea. It gets your metabolism going, and should help keep you from eating everything in sight by 11am. Now, in an ideal world we would all love cooking, be world-class chefs, have a kitchen and pantry stocked with nutritious foods, be able to dedicate an hour every morning to whipping up filling, healthy delicacies, and have a personal dish-washer and house cleaner afterwards.

This is not how the real world works.

Many of you are decidedly *not* morning people, and the thought of heating up a frying pan or dicing veggies before three cups of coffee is repulsive. Many of you have children, and the idea that you will have more than ten free seconds to yourself is laughable. And many just don’t enjoy cooking, don’t want to wake up 20 minutes early to make time to cook, or for whatever reason just don’t want to cook a hot breakfast.

That is totally fine. I have a solution that is far healthier and easier on your wallet than running through a drive through and wasting $8 on a carb-heavy bagel, fatty cream cheese, and overpriced coffee that will just leave you with a mid-morning slump.

At the risk of giving away the secret, I’ll tell you: oatmeal.

Ok, cat’s out of the bag. For those of you who just thought “ugh, I refuse to eat gruel for breakfast”, stay with me.

Oats are a powerhouse food, containing the highest amounts of beta-glucan, a beneficial type of fiber, in any known grain. Beta glucan helps slow digestion, and lowers levels of the ‘bad’ cholesterol. This fiber also helps you feel full longer, by eating fewer calories. They also contain a bundle of trace minerals our bodies need for all sorts of functions.

The FDA claims oats can help lower risk of heart disease, and many publications back up that claim. The only caution against oats is that, although they do not contain gluten, they are often grown in the same fields or near other crops such as wheat or barley. Thus those who truly are gluten-intolerant should be cautious.

Anywhoodles, in order to up your oat consumption without feeling like the little kid from Charles Dickens eating his gruel, there are so many things you can do to spruce up a bowl of oatmeal. And making it yourself at home can also save you tons of money and loads of added calories, sweeteners, preservatives, thickeners, etc. over pre-packaged microwave oatmeal options.

The time-saving factor comes in when you try the recommendation of “Oh She Glows” blogger: overnight oatmeal.

Anyone who has tried using real, raw oats rather than the “instant” or “minute” stuff knows, it takes a looooooong time to cook. So by soaking the oats overnight in the refrigerator, problem solved! The oats are soft and ready to go, you just need to give it a quick blast of heat, then add toppings as desired.

My first go, I followed the recipe exactly. Since then, I’ve experimented with oodles of different toppings. I’ll tell you my current fave at the end of the post!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1-2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/3-1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup almond/soy milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • Optional: cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, sea salt, nuts/seeds/dried fruit

IMG_7211

Step 1: Mash your banana into a glass bowl. Add the oats, flax, and chia. Sprinkle on whatever spices you’re using: I added some cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

IMG_7212

Step 2: Add the milk and water, and put it in the fridge overnight.

IMG_7213

Step 3: Now, while you sleep, the oats and chia are soaking up the moisture and getting nice and soft.

IMG_7214

Step 4: In the morning, add any other toppings you didn’t want to get too mushy, like dried fruits, nuts, or honey.

IMG_7215

I added about 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder, dried prunes, and chopped up almonds for a chocolate-banana feel and a little crunch.

IMG_7216

This is my oatmeal in the refrigerator, working its magic.

IMG_7217

All toppings added and mixed, ready to heat!

IMG_7218

Step 5: Just pop your bowl in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, or an oven set to 350 for 8-10 minutes, and enjoy!

 

Since I’ve tried every nut, fruit, and spice I could get my hands on, my favorite combo so far is:

  • 1/3 c oats
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 4-5 dried prunes
  • 4-5 dried dates
  • 1 tbsp golden raisins
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon

The dates have such a unique flavor, and the combination of dried fruits lends such a sweetness to the finished product. The almond butter gives it a nice burst of flavor too. I cut back on chia and got rid of the flax, because the original recipe was a little too… chewy for my taste. After all, people use flax or chia and water as an egg substitute, so they do make a bit of a gel-like texture.

Your ideal bowl may be something different, mix it up depending on your tastes, what you have available, and any allergies/sensitivities. But this is a quick, super easy, and economical way to start any day off right!

 

Pear & Almond Butter Breakfast Sandwich

 

Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but it is often the most rushed as well. Between snoozing alarms, alarms not going off, or just the fact that you hate mornings, it is often difficult to even think about nourishing yourself in the wee hours of the morning.

That is why I love planning ahead, and when push comes to shove I try to have things on hand that I know I can just grab on my way out the door and create a delicious, nutritious meal once I get where I’m going. Sometimes shoving a few things in a bag is all I have time for.

But I do try to always make or bring my own breakfast. Even a $1 coffee and $1.50 bagel adds up over time.

This is one option I have recently fallen completely in love with. I have had this for breakfast at least once a week for a month or so. Pears seem to be in season, or at least regularly on sale, so that is the fruit of choice at the moment. However, other fruits such as bananas, apples, peaches, or plums could be used as well.

Ingredients:

Step 1: Smear one half the bread or sandwich with nut butter. If using cookie butter, spread that on the other half.

IMG_7584

Step 2: Use a sharp knife to cut the pear or other fruit into round slices. Remove seeds. Place on the sandwich, and cover with the other slice.

One large pear makes enough for two sandwich slims, as well as a few pieces on the side. The cookie butter will make this much sweeter. For a vegan breakfast option, make sure that the butters do not contain any animal products.

Regardless of dietary preference, this is a super tasty, super quick breakfast option. You can just toss the nut butter, fruit, and bread in a bag and assemble later.

Ham & Veggie Burrito

 

Guess what!? It’s my birthday today! That’s right, a few years ago, three days after Christmas and three days before New Years, a doctor handed my mommy and daddy their little tax break. I will be celebrating this day with family, probably with a home-cooked meal and/or some sort of excursion. Maybe swinging by Starbucks to pick up my birthday freebie. Maybe even crazier and beginning my day with a Denny’s Grand Slam! Who knows. YOLO.

In honor of my birthday, I’m writing about one of my favorite things: burritos! Burritos are basically the king of all food types, because there really isn’t much you can’t put into one. Breakfast burritos, vegetarian burritos, dessert burritos. Anything you got leftover, heat it and wrap it up and dinner is served.

Leftover ham lends itself to oh-so-many possibilities! You can check out my article about uses for leftover ham and eggs from a previous Easter for more ideas. Ham is delightful on its own, but there are so many more ways to use it than in sandwiches. The bones and meat make amazing soups, you can put it in stir fry, or make a mean grilled ham and cheese.

This particular inspiration happened when I had a windfall of deli meat leftover, along with some olives and veggies in the fridge. I cooked it all up with some eggs, and made an amazing hot breakfast in under 10 minutes. You could also just wrap all this up with some hummus and/or greens for lunch.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup diced ham
  • 3-5 olives
  • 1/3 cup bell pepper slices
  • 1/4 onion, sliced thin
  • 2 green onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp crumbly cheese
  • 1 tortilla
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

IMG_6218

Step 1: In a frying pan, cook the ham, stirring often, until it begins to lightly brown. Cut the tomatoes and olives in half, and slice the bell pepper and onion thinly. Add all veggies and garlic cloves to the pan, and stir fry for 5-10 minutes, until softened and fragrant.

IMG_6219

Step 2: Scramble the two eggs in a bowl, and add to the pan. Add the cheese (I used feta here). Cook, stirring often, until done.

IMG_6220

Step 3: Scoop onto a warm tortilla. Fold up one end of the tortilla, then roll it up one side to the other.

IMG_6221

That’s all there is to it! The soft warm veggies go great with the salty ham and cheese, and the eggs bring everything together. You can add in other veggies, like spinach, kale, cauliflower, or avocado. Try some sriracha, cooked beans, or hummus too.

Letter Pancakes with Apple Topping

 

This is an awesome idea for pancakes that I read in a magazine somewhere. You could make just about any shape you are capable of, but I think letters are super cute. It is a nice way to make breakfast fun for kids, or surprise a significant other and let them know you’re thinking about them.

The basic pancake batter recipe is simple, I “health-ified” it a bit with some ground flax. You could also use almond meal or whole wheat flour. Extra bits of apple and cinnamon give them a fall flavor. Then top with a homemade apple syrup for a home run.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 1 cups milk
  • 1 whole egg
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1/2 cup syrup

IMG_5468

Step 1: In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients, followed by all wet ingredients except the apple and syrup. Mix well until combined. Take 1/3 cup diced apple, and microwave with 1 tbsp water for 2 minutes. Add to the batter.

IMG_5469

Step 2: Spray a frying pan with cooking oil, and heat it to medium. Using a tablespoon, make the shape you want in your pancake and let it cook 3-5 minutes, just until bubbles start to form.

IMG_5471

Step 3: Pour more batter over top of your shape, and cook another 3-5 minutes. Once bubbles form, flip and cook on the other side for 3-5 minutes, until golden brown. You can see I made my “J” backwards… clearly I have a graduate degree.

IMG_5473

Step 4: Microwave the syrup with the remaining chopped apples for 4 minutes, or heat in a pan on the stove until just simmering. Pour warm syrup over pancakes and enjoy!

Rainbow burrito

 

Burritos are one of my favorite ways to sneak in extra vegetables. Because you can’t really see them, you can put all kinds of rainbow goodies in there and help your heart and health with little effort.

Obviously, sub in 1 cup of whatever veggies you have on hand. This is what I had, and it made a pretty breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 strips red bell pepper
  • 1 slice turkey bacon
  • 1-2 strips orange bell pepper
  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • 1-2 strips green bell pepper
  • 2 med purple cauliflower florets
  • 1 10 inch tortilla

IMG_5307

Step 1: In a frying pan, saute the veggies until soft when poked with a fork.

Step 2: Add the eggs, and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring every so often, until everything is cooked.

IMG_5308

Step 3: Pour it onto a warm tortilla and wrap it up, tucking in the ends. You can add in sriracha or other sauces if you like. Enjoy!

Turkey bacon frittata – SNAP Meal

 

Frittatas are one of my absolute favorite meals for breakfast. You know I love any meal which is cheap, versatile, and lets me use up bits and scraps of food left in the fridge. This is exactly one of those meals. Frittatas take well to every vegetable, meat, or grain you have sitting around waiting to be eaten. Just mix in it, let the eggs bind everything together, and you have an amazing meal that didn’t end up in the trash!

Since I already had turkey bacon, I looked around to see what else would go well in my frittata. 2 pounds of rice and a pound of lentils makes an awful lot, so I added some to add heft. I have a tiny window garden, so some fresh green onions and spinach were added too.

IMG_5167

Helpful tip: You can grow your own green onions from the store. My grocery store regularly has them on sale, three bundles for $1. Just cut the bottom most inch or two off, leaving roots intact, and plant them! Then you will have your own free green onion garden forever after. You can see I have plants in various times of growth.

Now for the fun part.

Ingredients:

  • 4 strips turkey bacon
  • 5 eggs
  • handful green onions
  • handful spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup cooked lentils
  • 2 tbsp margerine

IMG_5166

Step 1: Cook the turkey bacon about 2-4 minutes on both sides, until crispy. Take off heat and let cool on a plate until you can slice it into bite-sized pieces.

IMG_5168

Step 2: Add the rice, lentils, and vegetables. You could add in here any vegetables you have, onion, potato, celery, the possibilities are endless. Cook in the bacon grease, adding margarine if things still stick.

IMG_5169

I used a cast iron skillet here, because this recipe calls for finishing in an oven. If you don’t have cast iron, or don’t have an oven, this recipe is just as perfect for an omelet. When it says “bake in a 350 degree oven”, simply scramble everything together, let cook, then flip to cook the other side. Viola!

IMG_5170

Step 3: Scramble up the eggs in a small bowl. Simply crack them all in, being careful to not add shells. Then with a fork, whisk them quickly. The longer you whisk the more air bubbles you create, and the lighter and fluffier the eggs will be.

IMG_5171

Step 4: Add the eggs to the pan. Make sure all the ingredients are distributed around the pan. Let cook on medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until the eggs begin to set. You will see the edges becoming more opaque and if you run a spatula through it the bottoms will be cooking through.

IMG_5174

Step 5: Put the whole pan carefully into a 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes. Just long enough to thoroughly cook the egg on top. Take it back out and let cool

IMG_5176

This frittata was absolutely delicious! I sprinkled on a little bit of garlic salt, and enjoyed one quarter of it each morning for four days in a row. This can be refrigerated and reheated later. They are quite healthy (unless of course you add four kinds of meat and tons of butter and nothing else) and very frugal. Try it, I bet you’ll love these and make them regularly.

IMG_5175

The cost of the entire frittata was $1.20! Cut into quarters, that is a cost of $0.30 per serving. You can’t do much better than that for this quality meal!

 

 

**UPDATE: The SNAP Challenge is complete, with many lessons learned! All SNAP Meal Recipes listed below:

Apple Mango Muffins

.
Muffins are an awesome breakfast and snack food, when you make them yourself. The problem with most store-bought muffins is that they add in preservatives to keep them fresh far longer than is normal, tons of sugar to make them tasty and your body crave it, and other crappy additives and chemicals to fool your brain and tongue into loving them and wanting more.
.
As I wrote in my vegetable scraps article and all about juicing, fruit and vegetables peels and scraps can sometimes be worked into muffin recipes to make them more nutritious and fiber-full, as well as help reduce food waste. This does depend on the type of scraps you have, so use common sense. If you juice a cucumber, grapefruit, tomato, and celery, that would likely make some weird-tasting muffins. But if you juice all fruit, save that pulp for this recipe.
.
.
Ingredients:
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla flavor
  • 1/2 stick butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/2 cup fruit pulp – (in this case apple and mangoes which I juiced)

Step 1: In a large bowl, combine the wet ingredients (milk, eggs, vanilla, butter, fruit) and mix. In another bowl, mix all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder). Pour the wet into the dry and mix well.

Step 2: Line 2 muffin pans with paper or spray with cooking oil. Pour about 1/3 cup batter into each muffin cup. You can see I also sprinkled a little extra brown sugar on top.
Step 3: Bake in an oven pre-heated to 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until fully fluffed and golden brown.
Step 4: Remove and let cool.
Now you have fresh baked muffins to enjoy! You can freeze these for easy on-the-go breakfasts and snacks throughout the week. The flavor can be whatever you want to add, get creative and try different combinations of fruits, vegetables, or nuts.

Blueberry-Lemon Scones with Devonshire Cream

 

Scones are a popular breakfast, brunch, or tea-time treat. Linked historically to Scotland, Ireland, and England, it is unclear who really deserves the credit of invention. The original scone was made of oats, shaped into a round, cut into 4 to 6 wedges, and baked over an open fire. Nowadays, scones are similar to biscuits, made with wheat flour and baking soda or powder, producing a hard, dry texture.

Finished scones fresh from the oven

Scones can be plain or “fancy”, with added raisins, orange rind, chocolate bits, honey, or other added flavorings. They are usually served with clotted cream, also called Devonshire cream. It’s quite easy to make with just a few things you likely have in your fridge. Check out TheNibble for a history of both. For a very large list of scones you can try, wander over to The Kitchen Project.

Blueberry-lemon scone with Devonshire cream and apricot preserves. It was just as delicious as it looks!

I had been given a boxed mix for scones some time ago, and when blueberries went on sale, I knew it was time. I also had a few fresh lemons, and so it was destiny. If you are feeling brave, feel free to try making your own scones, perhaps using the Pioneer Woman’s recipe.

Ingredients:
1 box scone mix (or your own)
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 fresh lemon (juice + rind)
2 tbsp melted butter or margarine

Devonshire cream:
1 package cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk

 
Step 1: Pour dry mix into a large bowl. Add the milk and eggs, and stir until it becomes smooth.
Step 2: Grate the lemon rind onto a plate, save the lemon as well. Add the blueberries, lemon juice, and rind to the dough and mix well. (Feel free to add a splash of vanilla or almond flavoring here for an extra dose of yummy)
The blueberries marbled the dough with their juices.
Step 3: Take 1/4 cup of dough at a time, and shape into small rolls on a buttered cookie sheet. (You can also do the classic whole round, then cut into triangles. Or make whatever shape you want). Brush the melted butter onto the scones.
Step 4: Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes, until browned all over and solid. They smell delicious!
Now you have fresh, warm scones! You can eat them naked, add some butter and/or honey, or make some cream and serve with jam. Clearly, I’m all for sugar-shock when it comes to breakfast treats. I made these over the weekend, so calories don’t count. 😉
To remind you, here is what you need for your very own clotted cream. It’s best to let it all come to room temperature to mix, then refrigerate for an hour or so. Don’t fret too much if you can’t do so.
Devonshire cream:
1 package cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk
Step 1: Add all ingredients to a bowl, and use a hand mixer to beat together. It should take about 2-3 minutes to become thick and smooth. Add a little more milk if you want it thinner, don’t add as much or beat for a longer period of time if you like thick cream.
These are the jams I had, which were totally perfect for this. Peach preserves and cherry jam. Both were equally delicious. Good together too!
The finished cream, nice and thick. I could seriously just eat this stuff with a spoon it’s so good!
You can add extra sugar if you want it sweeter, or forget it if you like the tang. Try unflavored Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream if you dare.
Blueberry-lemon scone with Devonshire cream and cherry jam. Simply divine!
More photos, just to make you drool a bit.
If you aren’t convinced to make these on a weekend, there’s nothing more I can do here. Just enjoy pining for them I guess.
Of course, I had to have my scone with a strong cup of English breakfast tea. It’s only right.
You can see the bowl of cream is nearly empty… oops.

And this is the cherry scone my s.o. demolished. I think we both had about 4 each. The box recipe made 8-10, depending on how large you make your scones. I need to have a brunch party so I can make these again.

What’s your favorite scone topping?

Breakfast Pancake Burger

.
Yeah, this one is definitely inspired by my adorable carnivore SO. Meat-man loves beef, pretty sure I only trump steak by a few points. Therefore, when we had a grill-out at a park with some friends and came home with some leftover burger patties, he was a happy camper.
.
As I often do on weekends, I woke up early, checked email and Twitter, blogged a bit, and decided what fancy thing I would make for breakfast. I love weekends because there is so much more time in the morning to make something other than pop-tarts or a smoothie. (Don’t get me wrong, I looooooove smoothies.)
.
I decided on pancakes. 
.
About this time, meat-man comes stumbling sleepily into the kitchen, and heads straight to the fridge. Upon noticing the nicely browning pancakes, and seeing the leftover picnic food, his eyes light up. I quickly made the connection too, and though it breaks so many nutrition rules, I had to admit I was curious.
.
Yes, I’ll let you have a pancake burger. For science.
.
It grosses me out personally, and makes my arteries cringe, but if the happy noises and time it took to demolish (about 15 seconds) is any evidence, it’s damn good. So if you’re feeling brave or want to make a man you know speechless with joy, have at this breakfast beast.
.
Ingredients:
2 eggs, scrambled
1 burger patty
Maple syrup
1 slice of cheese
*Not counting this as a less than 5, because individual ingredients (pancake, burger) take several more ingredients to make.
.
Step 1: Scramble the eggs in a small bowl. Add to a hot, sprayed pan, and cook into a small patty themselves by pushing the sides into the middle with a spatula as it cooks.

Step 2: If you haven’t yet, make pancakes, at least 2.

Step 3: Make or reheat your burger patty, and place on top of one pancake.

Step 4: Cover with egg, cheese, and some syrup.

Step 5: Top with the other pancake.

 


This bad boy was about the size of my face.

 

Then when you finish it all, you can go right back to bed in a food coma. If ever I have a restaurant (le sigh) this will totally be a food challenge on my menu.

.

What’s your dream breakfast?