Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Big-Taste (and Budget-Friendly!) Breakfasts

Breakfast is my favorite meal that occurs before 11am. Don't laugh...I'm serious. Forgo that bowl of cardboard squares drowning in milk that you call cereal. Ick...I can't believe you...Try one of these day-brightening and eye-opening morning meals that you'll be glad you did...Trust me...

Cottage Cheese Pancakes:
Toss 1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese, 1/2 cut dry oats, an egg white, a few teaspoons of milk, and a dash of honey, vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg into a food processor and blend until smooth (I like adding sliced banana, dried blueberries, almond meal and ground flaxseed, too!). Heat up a griddle or frying pan, spoon batter onto the hot surface and flip after 5 minutes or until golden brown. Heat until golden brown on the other side, and plate those flapjacks up! Top with fresh fruit (raspberries and blackberries are my favorite!), toasted almond slices, nonfat Greek yogurt and syrup of your choice (I go with Trader Joe's Agave Nectar - nice and maple-y).

Other things you can add into the batter:
Dried cranberries or apricots
Canned pumpkin (Be sure to sprinkle in some pumpkin pie spice, too! Pumpkin doesn't taste that way, normally....)
Chocolate chips
Chopped nuts
Shredded coconut
Tell me what else you add to your pancakes!

Homemade Granola:
Combine 2 cups of whole rolled oats with 1/2 cup of chopped nuts of your choice, 1/2 cup of dried fruit like raisins (make 'em golden or else...), 1/4 of shredded coconut, 1/2 cup of applesauce, 2 T of canola oil, 1 T of ground flaxseed, 2 T of honey, and a pinch of salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Spread mixture out over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees F for 45-60 minutes (depending on how hot your oven gets). Let cool for ten minutes and serve over nonfat Greek yogurt with fresh seasonal fruit and a drizzle of honey.

My Personal Favorite (To Everyone's Disgust...):
This one is simple...REALLY simple...but SOME PEOPLE seem to think that it's absolutely revolting. I think it's innovative, interesting and incredibly savory. All you need to do is prepare a single serving of piping hot, plain, unsweetened oatmeal (quick or whole oats are fine). At the same time, poach an egg in a pot of boiling water with a splash of vinegar until the white is just solid and the yolk is still runny. Serve the poached egg on top of the oatmeal and pierce the yolk so that it runs across the top of the steaming hot oats. Add salt and pepper to taste and voila! A tasty twist on a traditionally sweet way to start the day. It's like eating a poached egg on toast, but only this way, you lose none of the yolk, and gain only savory sunrise satisfaction. My only request? Don't dog it (or feed it to the dog) before you try it.

If you're still with me after that odd breakfast combination, you have my full respect and admiration. That being said, it makes me curious...what do you like to make for breakfast? Whether you have 10 minutes or two hours, everyone has their own way of jump-starting their day, and I want to know yours. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to find someone who I can point to and say, "You think a poached egg on oatmeal is bad? Wait until you hear this..."

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