Today I read a research article about how having breakfast as your biggest meal of the day rather than dinner can lead to both better insulin sensitivity and increased fertility
. In the study, they had women consume about 980 calories at breakfast, which was just over half the amount for the whole day. If you use two slices of homemade or other good-quality whole-wheat bread (about 120 calories apiece), one large egg (80 cal), and a one-ounce slice of real cheese (about 100 cal), you're almost halfway there. I love to eat this with a fresh apple (a medium-large apple is about 100 calories).
OK, so that's still not up to the numbers in the study. But it's a great breakfast anyway. Maybe make two?
In less time than it takes to go through the drive-through, you can have a breakfast sandwich you made yourself. At the bargain-hunting prices I pay for food (including making the bread), a two-slice sandwich costs just under $ .30. (The bread costs me about $ .50 for a 1 1/2 pound loaf. See the recipe here.
Dress it up with anything you want on it, or leave it simple. I don't add salt to the egg because the cheese and bread are salty enough for me. For more flavor, add a sprinkle of oregano or other seasoning. You can make it as healthy as you like; I use homemade whole-wheat bread for a breakfast that sticks with me for more than an hour.
Here are the quick instructions: microwave one beaten egg for about 45 seconds, top it with a slice of cheese, put this on top of a slice of toast.
If you want a sausage-and-egg sandwich, before cooking your egg, put one precooked sausage link into the cereal bowl, chop it up with the fork, then add the egg and beat it.
The photos below have more detailed instructions.
Today I have a free e-book offer for you, a cookbook, “The Egg and I.” It has tons of recipes for making omelets and frittatas, along with great tips on mastering eggs in the kitchen.
It's just over 40 pages of recipes for all kinds of omelets plus pages of frittatas
You can get it here
, and you'll get to choose from four formats: PDF, Microsoft Word, HTML, or Kindle.
Here's what Dennis Weaver, the cookbook's author, says:
The difference between a frittata and an omelet is that the ingredients in the frittata are mixed into the eggs instead of folded into an omelet. Usually a frittata is started on the stovetop and then baked in the skillet in the oven. They are sometimes called flat omelets or farmers’ omelets. They are larger and cut into slices to serve.
This is not your ordinary e-Book
! It has 31 different scrumptious omelet recipes. Omelets you won’t find anywhere else plus more than $30 in recipe books. Plus it tells you how to make them and gives video instructions. Start making omelets like a pro. You can
eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The last time we visited my son and his family in Minnesota, we stopped at Keys Café in Saint Paul where I had “The Loon Omelet” which personifies how versatile an omelet can be. The Loon Omelet is made with wild rice, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, Swiss cheese, turkey, and topped with a hot mushroom sauce.
You can even make a party out of omelets, or host the next family gathering with an omelet bar. You’ll learn how here
Omelets are easy, you can make one in as little as five minutes. You can make American omelets, Italian omelets, puffy omelets, and Irish omelets; even an omelet casserole.
Breakfast at your house will never be the same.
Everyone knows you can make bread with zucchini- but what if you have a giant yellow summer squash hiding in the garden?
Both zucchini and yellow squash-- either straightneck or crookneck-- are summer squash, with a similar flavor and texture, and CAN be interchanged in recipes.
My family's favorite quickbread is Lemon Zucchini Bread- so today we got Lemon-SummerSquash Bread. I no longer shred zucchini -or this squash- for recipes, but puree it instead. No more strings. As a bonus, if I'm freezing some for later use, the texture does not change when thawed, unlike shredded squash.
AND, if you're pureeing the squash, you can have the blender (or food processor) mix all the wet ingredients for you.
This bread is great for breakfast.
The recipe is found over here
, though the blender method is below.
Do you love German Pancake but don't have enough time in the morning to bake one?
Try the microwave! The five minutes, above, includes the time to mix the batter; it takes under one minute to cook.
It won't get brown and crispy on the edges, but it tastes pretty close to the same, especially if you happen to have some browned butter or ghee to use at the bottom of the cup.
This version makes 4 individual servings, or cut everything to 1/3 and have one little bit larger serving.
Five-Minute German Pancake
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
4 tsp. melted butter, ghee, or browned butter
Whisk together milk, flour, and eggs until smooth.
Pull out 4 (6 oz.) microwave-safe cups/bowls/mugs. Place 1 tsp. melted butter in bottom of each. Pour 1/2 cup batter in each; microwave until puffy and almost dry on the center top, about 45 seconds. Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with powdered sugar, or use whatever toppings you prefer.
Start with regular bread dough- and turn it into a treat!
I love the flavor combination here- the bright flavor of candied orange peel
, the sweet-tartness of snipped dried apricots, and the hearty depth from pecans. This bread is at its best after a day so the orange has a chance to permeate the whole loafwhen toasted: great with butter, but heavenly with cream cheese. Yum. I like it for breakfast.
This batch was made using 100% whole wheat dough, but use whatever you're making anyway.
Mix up a batch of dough (like this one
). Set aside one loaf's worth of dough. Stretch or roll it to about 8x16 inches. Sprinkle evenly with 1/3 cup diced candied orange peel, 1/3 cup (2 oz) dried apricots, snipped, and 1/3 c. pecan pieces. Roll up starting with the narrow end. Place in a greased 8x4 loaf pan, seam side down. Let rise and bake as usual, adding 1-2 extra minutes to the baking time. Cool and slice.
A few years ago, I opened up the Foods section of my local newspaper and spotted a recipe called "Just-the-Best Cookies". The version there was intended to be a healthier one, having reduced the nuts, coconut, and switching to oil instead of butter. Well, I've reduced the sugar and changed it to use honey, then added back the bigger amount of coconut and nuts, since we know now that healthy fats are, well, healthy! In moderation. And I love the crunch and flavor of coconut and nuts.
We have two breakfast times at my house- one for my highschoolers and husband, who have to be out the door by 6:45, and one for the rest of us, because some of them leave at 8:00 for the elementary school and Jr-High. These cookies make a fantastic, no-work breakfast for that earlier group- I make a batch, put them in a big ziplock bag after cooling, and pop them into the freezer. Then my early group can even grab and go, when needed.
These cookies are high in fiber as well, and lower in sugar than most. Two cookies are about the same nutritionally as one homemade, normal-sized muffin, and much better for you than commercially-made muffins! Two made without raisins contain 16 grams of sugar, which is less than you'd get in a bowl of cereal with milk. Especially if you count the size bowl my teenagers think is a serving. (I keep hiding the bigger bowls...)
Just-the-Best Breakfast Cookies
1/2 c. coconut oil or butter
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. water
2 c. whole wheat flour
2 c. quick-cooking oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 c. chopped pecans or other nuts, optional
1/2 c. chopped raisins, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease or spray two cookie sheets. In a large bowl, beat together coconut oil and honey, then mix in egg, vanilla, and water. Add the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt and mix well. Stir in coconut, nuts, and raisins.
Roll into 1 1/2" balls, a little larger than a ping-pong ball. Place on cookie sheet, flatten slightly, and bake for about 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool 2 minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to a cooling rack. Makes about 36.
To make breakfast bars instead, spread all the dough onto one well-greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for probably 25 minutes. I don't know for sure because the idea popped into my head just now... Cool and cut into whatever size bars you like.
This makes for a very special breakfast, one of my husband's very favorites. It's fun to serve these when I have overnight guests, or sometimes just to surprise my family.
I love the flavor of fresh-ground wheat, so I usually make these using 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour.
If you prefer a fruit filling, use 1-2 Tbsp. jam, jelly, or pie filling instead of (or in addition to!) the cream cheese.
You'll need to plan ahead- mix these up in the evening (10 minutes), stick the dough in the fridge overnight, then shape, quick-rise, and bake in the morning (45-60 minutes).
Easy Danish Pastry
Makes 1 dozen
1 Tbsp. or 1 pkg. instant yeast
½ c. warm water (110-120 degrees F)
2 c. flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
½ c. milk, buttermilk, or kefir
1 egg yolk
Cream Cheese Filling
8 oz. cream cheese
2 Tbsp. sugar or 1 Tbsp. honey
½ tsp. vanilla
1 c. powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp. milk
Combine yeast and warm water, let sit 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Mix the butter in, mashing as needed! Beat the egg yolk with the milk, then add them to the dry mixture. Pour the yeast mixture on top. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate dough at least 3 hours, but not more than 24.
Combine the ingredients for the filling- stir cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
Divide dough into two logs about 8” long; keep one in the fridge to stay cold. Sprinkle counter with flour, then put one of the logs on the flour. Sprinkle it with flour, as well. Roll to a rectangle about 8x14”, then cut into 6 strips, each 14” long. Roll each strip into a rope, then shape into a coil on a greased baking sheet. Put about 1 ½ Tbsp. of the cream cheese filling on the center of each coil. Turn the oven on to 350 F. Cover the rolls and let rise while the oven heats and you roll out the next half. After the rolls have risen for about 20 minutes, bake for 15-20 minutes or until set and golden brown on the bottoms. Mix together powdered sugar and milk for glaze, then drizzle over rolls.
Leftover pastries can be frozen on the baking sheet, then transferred to ziptop baggies for longer storage. Best frozen within 3 months (but OK after that).
Have you ever looked at the gourmet syrups on the store shelf? Have they sounded delicious, but cost more than you're willing- or able- to spend?
Start with one jar-- any size-- of jam, jelly, or preserves. Scoop into a bowl, then fill the now-empty jar about halfway full with water; use a little less if the jam was runny, a little more if it's very thick. Add about 1 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice for each 1-2 cups you now have, to perk up the flavor (optional but good). Whisk together until evenly mixed. Serve warm.
18 ounces of jam will yield 26-28 ounces of syrup.
You can use any kind, homemade or storebought, including the ones made with no added sugar. It's a handy way to use up jam or jelly when you've made/bought way more than y
We've tried blackberry, rhubarb, apricot, elderberry, black currant, blueberry, cherry...
next maybe I'll pull out a jar of lemon-honey marmalade. That should be fantastic with blueberry pancakes!
Oatmeal is a blank slate- nothing much to look at (or taste!) by itself, but it makes a great foundation!
I've been learning about coconut, and have decided it doesn't deserve the bad rap it sometimes gets. Yes, it's high in fat, but it seems to be the kind of fat our body recognizes and can build with. It's also very high in fiber. If you look at coconut flour, which is defatted, ground & dried coconut, it has 6 grams of fiber in a 2 Tbsp serving (shredded coconut has 1/2 to 1/3 that amount). Oat bran has only 2 grams of fiber in 2 Tbsp. All that fiber helps reduce the glycemic load of whatever you're eating, in a major way. This fiber is also a prebiotic, meaning it encourages good intestinal probiotic growth (good bacteria in your gut, necessary to break down food and assimilate vitamins and minerals).
Some people have severe allergies with tree nuts, and coconut is now classified by the FDA as a tree nut. So if you're allergic to almonds, does that mean you can't have coconut? -Most likely you'll be fine. Check with your doctor, but the few people who have been allergic to coconut are... just allergic to coconut, not other nuts. See FoodAllergy.org
for more info.
Here's a breakfast that is filling, with a fun flavor. Adding the macadamias gives it an especially satisfying crunch. You can double, triple, or otherwise multiply this recipe. Coconut-Lime Breakfast Oatmeal
1 c. coconut milk (water or milk is OK, too)
1/2 c. rolled oats
a dash of salt (1/16 tsp.)
1 tsp. lime or lemon juice, optional
2 Tbsp. shredded coconut
2 drops lime essential oil, or 1/2 tsp. lime zest
1/4 c. macadamia nuts, optional
Combine water, coconut cream concentrate, rolled oats, and the dash of salt. Bring to a boil; simmer and stir for two minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in juice, coconut, and essential oil or zest. Top with macadamia nuts. Drizzle with a little honey if you like, but I like it without.
If you use macaroon (fine flake) coconut, it will disappear into the oatmeal, leaving only flavor. Using sweetened shredded coconut will both sweeten it and add a little texture. My favorite is the shaved dried coconut; it adds both flavor and crunch.Other flavor ideas:
Use pineapple, orange, or mango juice in place of part or all of the coconut milk or water.
Or add fresh, frozen, canned, or dried pieces of pineapple, mango, or papaya
I don't know why it is, but pineapple and macadamias go together exceptionally well. Coconut is a natural addition here.
Once you learn the whole rotating-the-pan trick, crepes are EASY. It's actually the same batter as for German Pancakes. How's that for a two-for-one?
I recommend making the blueberry sauce the night before, or not trying to make it until after the crepes are done. You'll need your full attention on the crepe pans.
1 c. milk
1 c. flour
butter or oil for the pan
Makes about 10-12 crepes, depending on size and thickness.
Put one or two skillets (6" or larger) on the stove; heat over high heat. I always use two at a time for this. Nonstick skillets are easiest to work with, since they are lightweight, and will require less- or no- butter. While they're heating, make the batter:
Bowl method: Beat the eggs with half the milk, stir in all the flour. Beat in remaining milk, until mostly smooth.
Blender or food processor method: add eggs, all of the milk, and all the flour. Process until smooth.
Cook the crepes (see below). Leftovers may be stored in a bag or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for months (as long as they don't get freezerburn).
1 Tbsp. cornstarch OR 2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 c. sugar or honey
1/4 c. water
2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries, divided
a pinch of salt
1-2 drops lemon or orange oil OR 1/8 tsp. lemon extract, OR 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, optional
In a microwaveable bowl or a small saucepan, stir together the cornstarch/flour and sugar or honey. Stir in the water and half of the blueberries. Bring to a boil, stirring often if you’re using the stove. Once it boils and thickens, stir again, then mix in the remaining berries. Makes about two cups. Serve warm or cold. If it's not sweet enough for you, add 1Tbsp. sugar, taste it, and repeat as needed. If you want it thicker next time, double the cornstarch.
Keep any leftover covered tightly in the refrigerator. Leftovers can be thinned with water to make a pancake syrup, added to smoothies, stirred into plain yogurt to sweeten it, used as a topping for cake or cheesecake, as a filling for tarts or pies, or stirred in to muffin batter.
Add a teaspoon of oil to the pan, or a tablespoon if it's nonstick. Pick up a skillet with one hand, tip it to one side, and pour about 2-4 tablespoons of batter into the hot pan. Quickly rotate your wrist to make the batter spread in a thin layer completely around the pan. Put it back on the stove (and pour batter into the second pan, if you're using it).
When the edges curl up a little and/or turn brown, work a spatula underneath the crepe and flip it to the other side. This first side should take 30-60 seconds to cook.
The second side is even faster; once it's completely set, with just a few golden spots, slide or flip it out of the pan onto a waiting plate. (see next photo)
You don't need to add butter to the pan every time, only if the crepes start sticking.
When all the batter has been cooked, cover with a clean kitchen towel to keep warm.
You can fill crepes with a thin layer of something strong (like jam, lemon curd, or cream cheese), or with about 1/4" cup of any filling.
-Bananas (sliced, whole, cooked, or raw) with a little brown sugar or caramel
-Apples, sauteed or microwaved until soft- add brown sugar and cinnamon to taste
-Pie filling- blueberry, apple, cherry, apricot, or whatever else
For savory crepes, use the crepes are manicotti shells, tortillas, or egg roll wrappers. Fill with anything you'd put in those. Or make a sandwich wrap with them.