I’m a sucker for breakfast food. I wish I could eat it at every meal.
When on vacation, I love finding the best local breakfast restaurant. Breakfast food makes me so happy that I sometimes become one of those people who take pictures of their plate to share with friends and family. (My brothers make fun of me for this.)
Why do I love it so? I’ve thought about this long and hard. I think it’s because a lot of breakfast foods are dessert in disguise. Pancakes. Muffins. Waffles with strawberries and whipped cream. You can eat these and not feel completely guilty. Other tasty breakfast foods are high-calorie meats: bacon, sausage, chorizo. Yum.
Growing up, I hated vegetables. And I never had to eat vegetables for breakfast. So that made breakfast time extra wonderful.
But now I’m an adult. And I want to be healthy. I still choose the sugary foods for breakfast when I go out to eat, but I have mostly eliminated them from my daily routine. I also learned to eat a few vegetables at breakfast time… A while ago I was a breakfast chef at a bed and breakfast in Houston for six months, and while there I taught myself how to make (and enjoy) omelets.
I thought I’d share what usually ends up on my breakfast plate. I also will include some of the recipes I’ve found.
- Scrambled eggs with a side of fruit
- Homemade granola (recipe below) with plain Greek yogurt
- Plain Greek yogurt with fruit (berries or chopped apple), chopped walnuts, and honey (optional)
- Omelet with sautéed vegetables and cheese (mushrooms, onion, garlic, spinach, zucchini, etc.)
- Old fashioned oatmeal with cinnamon, chopped nuts, fruit (banana or berries)
- In a rush/out of fresh food: Kashi Go Lean cereal with almond milk (optional – add sliced banana)
- Hot Tea
- Green tea is healthiest
- My favorite tea: MarketSpice Cinnamon-Orange tea
- No sugar added!
* Though I love quality orange juice, I only drink it on special occasions or in small amounts. Fruit juices are full of sugar and not the healthiest drink choice.
- Eggs, bacon, and hash browns
- Frittata (recipe below)
- Quiche (recipe below)
- Banana Nut Bread (recipe below)
- Blueberry muffins or scones (recipe below)
- Smoothies are a great breakfast choice for some people. I usually like to have a homemade smoothie as a snack later in the day, though, so I don’t have one in the mornings.
- I choose plain Greek yogurt because it has protein and it doesn’t have any added sugar.
- After reading countless books and blogs about health, including Wheat Belly, I have cut WAY down on my bread intake. Though I love toast, I no longer eat it for breakfast.
4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup chopped dried mixed fruit
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
¼ cup toasted wheat germ
3 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup water
½ cup canola oil or coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup raisins or craisins
In a large bowl, combine oats, fruit, nuts, wheat germ, and cinnamon.
In a saucepan over medium heat, bring brown sugar and water to boil. Remove from the heat; stir in oil and vanilla until mixed. Pour over oat mixture and toss to coat.
Pour into a 15×10 inch baking pan. Bake at 275 degrees for 1 ½ hours. Stir in raisins. Cool and store in an air tight container.
Homemade Energy Bars/Granola
1/2 cup salted dry-roasted peanuts
1/2 cup raisins, craisins or other dried fruit
1/2 cup roasted sunflower seed kernels
2 cups raw oatmeal, quick or old fashioned
2 cups toasted rice cereal
1/2 cup peanut butter, crunchy or creamy
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup OR more peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a large bowl, mix together the peanuts, raisins, sunflower seed kernels, oatmeal and toasted rice cereal. Set aside.
In a medium microwaveable bowl, combine the peanut butter, brown sugar, and syrup. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Add vanilla and stir until blended.
Pour the peanut butter mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until coated.
Spoon it into an oiled 9×13 inches pan. Press down firmly (it helps to coat your fingers with margarine, oil or cooking spray).
Let stand for an hour to harden, then cut into bars.
Note: For less sticky mixture which is better for granola, use less of each liquid ingredient. Also, do not worry about pressing the ingredients down firmly.
Whole Wheat Banana-Nut Bread
Original recipe makes 1 – 9 x 5 inch loaf
1/3 cup vegetable oil (can sub with applesauce)
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed bananas
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
In a large bowl, beat oil and honey together. Add eggs, and mix well. Stir in bananas and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. Add baking soda to hot water, stir to mix, and then add to batter. Blend in chopped nuts. Spread batter into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 1/2 hour before slicing.
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter/margarine, melted
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Combine the first 4 ingredients in a bowl, beating with a wire whisk until smooth. Stir in pecans and flour.
Spoon batter into miniature (1 3/4-inch) muffin pans coated with cooking spray, filling to within 1/8 inch from top.
Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in pans on wire racks for 1 minute. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
Yield: 40 muffins
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup finely chopped pecans
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine sugar and remaining 3 ingredients; gradually add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Place dough on a lightly floured surface; divide in half. With lightly floured hands, shape each portion of dough into a 12- x 1 1/4-in log. Place logs 3 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.
Cut each log crosswise into 3/4-inch slices, using a serrated knife. Place slices, cut sides down, on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, turning cookies once. Cool slightly on baking sheets; remove cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
Yield: 2 1/2 dozen.
Note: When slicing biscotti after the first baking, it’s important to use the gentle sawing motion of a serrated knife. This helps the cookie keep its slender shape for dipping.
Spinach and Potato Frittata
3 Tablespoons canola oil, divided
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 russet potato, thinly sliced
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Nonstick cooking spray
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Put a baking sheet into the oven to preheat.
In a large bowl combine 1 Tablespoon of the canola oil with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the sliced potatoes to the bowl and toss to coat. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and add the potato slices, making sure they are all in a single layer. Transfer to the oven and bake for 8 minutes.
In a skillet, heat the remaining 2 Tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and spinach and saute for another 2 minutes.
In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, milk and remaining salt and pepper. Mix in the cheese and the onion and spinach mixture and set aside.
Spray an oven-proof skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F. Remove the potatoes from the oven and add them to the skillet. Pour in the egg mixture and transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake until the eggs have set, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, directly from the skillet.
Note: Can add meat and veggies. If so, consider adding eggs.
Tomato, Bacon, and Pan-Roasted Garlic Frittata
2 cloves garlic, peeled
10 large eggs, beaten
1 beefsteak tomato, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
kosher salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Heat oven to 350° F. In an ovenproof nonstick skillet, cook the bacon and garlic over medium heat until the bacon is crisp and the garlic is browned, 7 to 8 minutes.
Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, then crumble. In a small bowl, smash the garlic until creamy.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of drippings from the skillet and return to medium-high heat. Add the garlic and eggs and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, without stirring, until the eggs are beginning to set at the edges, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the crumbled bacon, tomatoes, Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Transfer to the oven. Bake until the center is set, 10 to 12 minutes.
Toss the greens with the oil, vinegar, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Serve with the frittata.
Healthy Crustless Quiche Base Recipe
1 cup – 2 cups filling of choice (sauteed veggies/meat)
1 cup greek yogurt (or sour cream)
1 cup 1% cottage cheese (or less)
¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Additional spices/herbs or choice, optional
2 cups grated cheese of choice
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray an 8 by 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Allow fillings to cool once cooked.
Combine the eggs, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, flour, salt, and pepper, in a medium bowl. Stir together, or blend in food processor until the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Pour the mixture into a bowl with the filling ingredients. Add ½ the cheese and mix. Pour the mixture into the baking dish and smooth out the top. Top with remaining cheese.
Bake until set, about 45 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven. It will be puffed up, but will fall slightly as it cools. Allow it to cool, then, refrigerate. Cut it into squares and serve.
Note: Make sure to bake thoroughly!
8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen whole
1½ cups (7½ oz.) fresh blueberries
½ cup whole milk
½ cup sour cream
2 cups (10 oz.) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
½ cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Adjust an oven rack to middle position and preheat to 425˚ F. Grate the frozen butter on the holes of a large box grater. (I like to use my food processor for this – fast and easy.) Place the blueberries in the freezer until needed.
Whisk together the milk and sour cream in a medium bowl; refrigerate until needed. Combine the flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the grated butter to the flour mixture and toss with fingers until thoroughly coated.
Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and fold with a spatula just until combined. Transfer the dough to a generously floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour, and knead with well floured hands, 6-8 times, just until the dough holds together in a ragged ball. Add small amounts of flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Roll the dough into a 12-inch square. Fold the dough into thirds like a business letter (a dough scraper really helps with these steps). Fold the short ends of the dough into the center in thirds, to form an approximate 4-inch square. Transfer the dough to a plate lightly dusted with flour and chill in the freezer for 5 minutes.
Return the dough to the floured work surface and roll into an approximately 12-inch square again. Sprinkle the blueberries evenly over the surface of the dough, and gently press down so that they are slightly embedded in the dough surface. Using a dough scraper, roll the dough up to form a tight log. Lay the log seam side down and press the the log into a 12 by 4-inch rectangle. Using a sharp, floured knife, cut the rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles.
Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with sugar. (If freezing ahead of time, flash freeze on the baking sheet for 20 minutes, then wrap individually and store in a freezer bag until needed.) Bake until the tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.
Note – This recipe is a lot of work! The only way it’s worth it is if you do a bunch at once and then freeze them.