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Archive for Breakfast

TIP OF THE DAY: Cooked Grains At Breakfast

Poached Egg With Whole Grains

Eggs On Rice

Baked Eggs In A Rice Nest

Poached Egg Grain Bowl

Top: Our most recent whole grain breakfast: poached egg, red rice, baby arugula, sautéed cherry tomatoes and mushrooms (photo courtesy InHarvest). Second: We’ve also eaten our poached egg with leftover white rice and veggies (photo courtesy Gardenia | NYC). Third: You can bake the egg atop the cooked grain instead of poaching it, as in this saffron rice nest (photo courtesy American Egg Board). Bottom: A poached egg with quinoa, broccoli rabe and a sprinkle of pine nuts. Here’s the recipe (photo courtesy Good Eggs | SF).

 

We’re not tooting our horn after all that Valentine candy, but we’re still holding on to our new year’s resolution to eat a healthy breakfast.

We miss the bagels and cream cheese, the cheese danish, the cinnamon rolls, the weekend pancakes dripping with maple syrup. How long we’ll miss them we can’t predict, but so far, we’re still on the wagon*.

Thank goodness, because it’s National Hot Breakfast Month, and we wouldn’t want to let a food holiday down.
 
OUR NEW GO-TO BREAKFAST

We recently featured a grain bowl for breakfast (bottom photo). We’ve been eating lots of them.

We really enjoy the combination of grain, egg and veggies for breakfast; and we especially like the opportunity to use leftover grains and veggies in a most delicious way.

All we need to do is poach the egg; although we’ve skirted that too, by using peeled, hard-boiled eggs that we pick up at Trader Joe’s. (Slice or halve them and heat them in the microwave for 10 seconds.)

The recipe in the top photo was developed by Mike Holleman, a corporate chef with InHarvest Foodservice, a supplier of premium grains to restaurants and other food operations. He used red rice along with more familiar items.

Just put together these ingredients, and hold off on Chef Mike’s creamy salad dressing in favor of a light toss with lemon or lime juice and olive oil:

  • Poached egg (or baked or other style if you can’t poach well—until you pick up an egg poacher or poaching pods)
  • Baby greens and other salad fixings
  • Optional: cooked veggies
  • Whole grain (see the list below)
  • Garnish: fresh herbs (substitute dried herbs)
  •  
    LIST OF WHOLE GRAINS

    Most of us already eat grains for breakfast, in the form of cold cereal or porridge. Here are grains usually used as lunch and dinner sides, that can be part of your whole-grain breakfast.

    If you have leftover beans or lentils instead of whole grains, use them!

  • Amaranth
  • Barley (but not pearled barley)
  • Buckwheat (kasha)
  • Bulgur (cracked wheat)
  • Chia/Salba®† ‡
  • Corn (whole grain corn or cornmeal, yellow or white—not grits†)
  • Farro (emmer wheat)
  • Flaxseed‡
  • Grano
  • Hemp‡
  • Kamut® (khorasan wheat)†
  • Millet
  • Oats (oatmeal, Whole or rolled oats)
  • Popcorn
  • Quinoa
  • Rice: black, brown, red, wild
  • Rye (whole)
  • Spelt
  • Sorghum
  • Teff
  • Triticale (a barley/wheat hybrid)
  • Whole wheat
  •  

    HERE’S MORE ABOUT WHOLE GRAINS.
     
    ____________________
    *The idiom “to be on the wagon” refers to heavy drinkers who are abstaining from alcohol. To fall off the wagon is to end one’s sobriety. The phrase evolved from an expression used in the early 20th-century American temperance movement, “to be on the water wagon” or the water cart, which meant that the person was sober, drinking water instead of alcohol. A horse-pulled water wagon or cart was used to hose down dusty roads. The phrase has evolved to encompass other addictions or compulsions. [Source]

    †Salba is a trademarked name for chia, Kamut® is a trademarked name for khorasan wheat. Grits are refined and are not whole grains.

    ‡These are whole grains that are used as seeds, due to their tiny size. Use them as a garnish, not as a base grain.
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Chocolate Pancakes

    Valentine’s Day falls on Sunday this year, a day of the week when many of us have some extra time to make pancakes.

    What pancakes do you make for Valentine’s Day? Chocolate pancakes, of course! They can be the focus of breakfast or brunch, or served as dessert in smaller portions.

    Two recipes follow: All-Chocolate Pancakes and Dark Chocolate Raspberry Pancakes, which are regular pancakes packed with chocolate chunks.

    You can make either recipe with all-purpose flour, or use half all-purpose and half whole wheat flour for more nutrition and an added flavor element. But first:

    Not into chocolate? Make these Red Velvet Pancakes.
     
    SOME PANCAKE HISTORY

    People have been eating pancake-like foods for a very long time. According to Alan Davidson in the Oxford Companion to Food, the first mention of anything other than bread baked on a griddle is the oldest surviving cookbook, De Re Coquinaria (“On Cookery) by Apicius*.

    The book describes “cakes” made from a batter of eggs, milk, water and flour. They were fried and served with honey and pepper.

    Here’s more on the history of pancakes.

    RECIPE #1: CHOCOLATE PANCAKES

    This recipe was developed by Foodie Crush for GoBoldWithButter.com.

    Ingredients For 8-10 Pancakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/4 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Additional butter, for serving
  • Maple syrup, for serving
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WHISK the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, mix the wet ingredients together until combined.

    2. ADD the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Set the mixture aside to rest for 10 minutes.

     

    Chocolate Pancakes

    Chocolate Pancakes

    Red Velvet Pancakes

    Top: Chocolate pancakes by Foodie Crush for GoBoldWithButter.com. Center: Dark Chocolate Raspberry Pancakes made with a heart pancake mold, from The Baker Chick. Bottom: Don’t like chocolate? Make these Red Velvet Pancakes from Taste Of Home.

     
    3. PREHEAT a nonstick griddle to 325°F and cook the pancakes in batches. Keep them warm by placing a cooling rack atop a cookie sheet in a 250°F oven, until ready to serve.

     

    Ice Cream Pancakes

    Nutella Pancakes

    Dessert pancakes. Top: With ice cream or
    whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Photo
    by Robyn Mackenzie | Fotolia. Bottom: Add
    some Nutella. Photo by Dusan Zidar |
    Fotolia.

     

    RECIPE #2: DARK CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY PANCAKES

    The Baker Chick used heart-shape pancake molds for a special presentation.

    You can also use the molds to fry eggs, shape burgers, etc.

    Ingredients For 6-8 Pancakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (or 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour and 1/2 all-purpose)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chunks or finely chopped dark chocolate
  • 4 ounces fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (more if you like)
  • Optional: pats of butter
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT a griddle or skillet over medium-low heat.

    2. WHISK together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the oil, egg and buttermilk, and whisk together until thoroughly combined, adding a splash more buttermilk if the batter is too thick. Fold in the chocolate chunks.

    3. SPRAY or butter the skillet and pour in the batter. When bubbles form and pop in the batter, carefully flip each pancake, cooking until golden and baked through.

    4. MAKE the syrup: Mash the raspberries with a fork and blend with the syrup. Warm it to your liking.

    5. TOP the pancakes with butter and syrup and serve.

     
    PANCAKE TIPS

  • Have leftover pancakes? Reheat them by toasting them in a toaster oven. The outsides get nice and crispy. In our book, they’re even better than the original batch.
  • Pancake varieties: Check out the different types of pancakes.
  • Syrup: There are 14 different types of syrup—not flavors, but types. See them in our Glossary of Sugars, Syrups & Other Sweeteners.
  • Pancake mixes: Here are our favorite multigrain and whole grain pancake mixes.
  •  
    *“Apicius” is believed to be the pseudonym of one or several writers who authored the book. The manuscript of some 400 recipes is believed to have been compiled in the late 4th or early 5th century C.E. Why the name Apicius? It had long been associated with gourmet preferences, named after Marcus Gavius Apicius, a wealthy Roman merchant and epicure who lived in the 1st century C.E. He is said to have once sailed all the way to Libya to eat some much-praised prawns, only to return home without having found any to his satisfaction. He hosted colossal banquets, which eventually drove him to bankruptcy…and suicide.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: More Uses For Granola…& A Better For You Granola Recipe

    Yogurt Parfait

    Granola Salad Topping

    Spicy Thai Cole Slaw

    Granola Coated Chicken

    Granola Baked Apples

    Top: The original granola add-on: a yogurt parfait from Fruits From Chile. Second: Granola as a salad topping at Nuts About Granola. Third: Spicy Thai coleslaw with granola from Nuts About Granola (here’s the recipe). Fourth: Granola-coated chicken or fish, from SayWhatYouNeedBlog.com (here’s the recipe). Bottom: Baked apples stuffed with granola from Reynolds Kitchen (here’s the recipe).

     

    Granola was originally devised by a doctor in 1863, as a spartan breakfast food. It was packed with fiber, intended to help people with digestive problems.

    Granola was reborn in the second half of the 20th century as a sweet breakfast creal, packed with dried fruit, refined sugars and fats. Most commercial brands of granola don’t qualify as a “healthy alternative” (just read the nutrition labels).

    Even when natural sugars are used—honey or maple syrup, for example—the calorie and carb count is just as high. Although natural sweeteners are theoretically “better” than refined sugars, the body metabolizes them exactly the same way*.

    Thus, today’s tip is to look for a granola that is low in sugars; or to make your own with agave or brown rice syrup, natural sweeteners with low glycemic indices.

    Then, try new uses for your granola: as a crouton substitute on salads, as a coating for chicken or fish fillets, etc. You’ll find ways to use it in every meal of the day, beyond the already-mainstay granola snack bars, cookies, muffins and yogurt parfaits.

    Be sure to try it with vegetables, from sweet potatoes to roasted carrots and other sweet veggies (beets, squash, sugar snap peas, rutabaga) but not corn: It’s overkill.

    Here’s a recipe for homemade, sugar-free granola, plus a way to use it to make crispy chicken breasts or fish fillets.

    RECIPE: SUGAR-FREE GRANOLA RECIPE

    Making your own granola lets you control the type and amount of sweetener and fat, while enabling you to add your favorite flavors: cinnamon, dark chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, vanilla, etc. You can make it organic, raw, whatever you like. Best of all, there is no “correct” recipe. Use whatever you like, in the proportions you like.

    Prep time is 10 minutes, bake time is 20 minutes.
     
    Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole rolled (“old fashioned”) oats
  • ½ cup nuts, chopped or sliced
  • ¼ cup seeds (sunflower or pumpkin seeds, plus chia or flaxseed if you like them)
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar or brown rice syrup
  • 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, other healthy cooking oil or butter‡
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or almond extract
  • 1 large pinch salt
  • Optional: ½ cup unsweetened dried blueberries, cranberries or other fruit†
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 300°F. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, mix well and toss to thoroughly coat the ingredients with the sweetener and fat.

    2. SPREAD the granola in a thin layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until lightly toasted. That’s it!

    3. COOL, then store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Use it within 2 weeks.
     
    RECIPE: CRISP CHICKEN CUTLETS OR FISH FILLETS WITH GRANOLA

    Instead of Corn Flakes, coat your chicken or fish fillets with granola. This recipe from Viki’s Granola uses crisp panko bread crumbs to cut the sweetness; but if you’ve made your own lightly-sweetened granola, you can lessen or eliminate the panko. You may also want to use a granola without added fruit†, although chopped nuts add some nice crunch.
     
    Ingredients

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1/2 cup granola (Viki’s uses its Honey Granola)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1-1/4 pounds chicken cutlets (substitute fish fillets)
  • Canola or vegetable oil for frying
  • Preparation

    1. PLACE the beaten eggs in a shallow dish. Pulse the panko and granola in a food processor and place in a separate shallow dish. Place the flour in a third dish.

    2. SEASON the cutlets with salt and pepper. Place 1/8 inch of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. While the oil heats…

    3. DIP the cutlets first in the flour, then in the egg, then in the panko, shaking off the excess with each addition. When the oil is hot, add the cutlets.

    4. COOK until the bottoms are golden brown, about 3 minutes; then flip and brown the other side. Transfer to a platter lined with a paper towel.
     
    _____________________________________
    *There are natural, low-glycemic sweeteners: agave, glycemic index (GI) is 32, half that of sugar; and brown rice syrup, GI of 20. Agave is 1.4 to 1.5 times sweeter than sugar and honey, so you don’t need to use as much. By comparison, the GI for honey is 58, pure maple syrup is 54 and refined sugar is 60-65.

    †You can keep your granola flexible by not adding dried fruit initially. It’s easy to mix it in when you want it.

    ‡Butter has recently been de-demonized as a bad fat. Margarine remains a demon.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Grain Bowl For Breakfast & Brunch

    Poached Egg Grain Bowl

    A new approach to breakfast: egg with grain
    and veggie. Photo and recipe courtesy Good
    Eggs
    | San Francisco.

     

    A BRIEF BACKGROUND ON BREAKFAST TRADITIONS

    Traditional American breakfasts are echoes of the elaborate breakfasts of the English gentry, which fortified them for a day of sport. They’re much less elaborate today, but regular Brits can still enjoy a heaping plate of eggs, bacon, black and white sausage, beans, kidneys, kippers, mushrooms, potatoes and tomatoes, with a side of fried bread.

    In the late 19th century, the morning fare for wealthy Americans was similar: eggs with cutlets, ham, fried fish, deviled kidneys, black pudding (sausage), cold grouse or pheasant, fruit and pie. The less affluent made do with eggs or porridge.

    No wonder thousands of the well-to-do headed to spa-like sanitariums for rejuvenation. At one sanitarium, a physician named Caleb Jackson changed the way his clients breakfasted.

    In 1863, he developed a healthful, spartan, fiber-filled breakfast—the first cold breakfast cereal. Granula, as he called it, was an early version of Grape-Nuts, whose inventor, C.W. Post, first had it when a patient at another sanitarium.

    To make granula, baked sheets of graham flour dough were dried, broken into nuggets, baked again, and broken into smaller pieces. The resulting dense, chewy grain clusters had to be soaked overnight in milk before serving.

     
    Other spas followed suit; and as prepared, packaged foods became more common, granula paved the way for Bran Flakes (1915), All Bran (1916), Rice Krispies (1927) and Raisin Bran* (1942), eaten with milk and sugar. In 1951 the onslaught of heavily sugared cereals targeted to kids began, producing Corn Pops, Frosted Flakes, Honey Smacks and Cocoa Krispies. Here’s a detailed history of breakfast cereal.

    Around the world, there’s less of a distinction in foods served for breakfast versus other meals.

  • In China, there is a savory rice porridge called congee, but breakfast also can include dumplings, soup with rice and sweet items like fried sponge cake and steamed custard bun.
  • The traditional Japanese breakfast has rice, fish, miso soup, sticky soy beans and nori dried seaweed.
  • A common South Indian breakfast has vegetable stew served with steamed lentil and rice bread, and dosa, a thin crunchy crepe with spicy potato filling. [Source]
  •  
    A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO BREAKFAST

    Today’s tip is for a hybrid breakfast, combining breakfast eggs with dinner items: cooked grains and vegetables.

    This recipe was devised by Good Eggs in San Franciso, as a light dinner entrée: a poached egg with quinoa and broccoli rabe. They call it a grain bowl. But we make it for breakfast, to replace butter-fried or -scrambled eggs and hash browns (or bagels and cream cheese) with better-for-you chow.

    You can replace the poached egg with another style, the quinoa with other grains or legumes, and the broccoli rabe with your vegetable of choice.

    And you can serve it at breakfast, brunch, even for lunch.

    Prep time is 15 minutes, total time is 20 minutes.

    RECIPE: POACHED EGG WITH QUINOA AND BROCCOLI RABE

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts*
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 2 bunches broccoli rabe, stems cut off (substitute spinach)
  • 2 pinches chile flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste†
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa or other whole grain
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter), melted‡
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons dill or other fresh herbs (basil, chervil, mint, roughly chopped
  • Garnish: flake salt, a pinch of chile flakes
  • _______________________________________
    *We substituted chopped pistachio nuts, untoasted. You can substitute other nuts or seeds.

    †If you plan to garnish with flake salt, under-salt the rabe and quinoa.

    ‡We didn’t have time to clarify, so used melted butter.

     

    Preparation

    1. TOAST the pine nuts: Heat a pan over medium heat and add the pine nuts. Toast for 3-5 minutes, tossing them in the pan occasionally to ensure an even color. Remove when they’re golden brown and transfer to a bowl.

    2. RETURN the pan to the stove, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and turn the heat to high. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes. As soon as the garlic starts to turn golden brown, turn the heat down to medium and add the broccoli rabe and a pinch or two of chile flakes.

    3. TOSS the rabe in the oil and garlic using tongs, and sauté together for 5-7 minutes. Add a pinch or two of salt and taste. You want the leaves to be tender and the flavor to be a bit bitter, but delicious. If the rabe still has too much kick for your taste, cook for a few minutes longer. When the rabe is done, remove from heat and set aside. While the broccoli cooks…

    4. SEASON the quinoa. Add the ghee and herbs to the quinoa and stir thoroughly. Finish with a few pinches of salt and a few grinds of pepper to taste.

    5. COOK the eggs. You may have your own way of poaching eggs (we use an egg poacher; the result is less pretty but it’s a lot easier). Otherwise, here’s a technique from Good Eggs.

  • Fill a wide and deep pan about ¾ of the way with water. Put it over high heat and bring to a boil. As soon as the water is boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer. Crack the first egg into a metal ladle and submerge it in the water while holding the handle of the ladle upright. Poach the egg in the ladle for about 5 minutes (more or less depending on your yolk consistency preference.
  • To check on progress, lift the ladle to just above the water level and tip it gently to pour out excess water. Gently touch the yolk with the tip of your finger to get a sense of how runny it will be. When the egg is poached, gently transfer it to a slotted spoon and slide the egg onto a paper towel. Repeat with the second egg.
  • 6. ASSEMBLE: Spoon the quinoa into the bottom of a bowl, then the broccoli rabe, then the egg. Finish with some flake salt, a pinch of chile, fresh herbs and nuts.

     
    BROCCOLI, BROCCOLINI & BROCCOLI RABE:
    THE DIFFERENCE

  • Broccoli is a member of the Brassica family of cruciferous vegetables, which includes bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens and turnips, among other veggies. It has thick stalks and large, dense florets. It grows with large outer leaves, which are usually stripped away prior to hitting store shelves. However, they are edible and delicious.
  • Broccolini, which has long, slender stalks and small, less dense florettes, is hybrid developed in California by crossing conventional broccoli with Chinese kale. Unlike broccoli and broccoli rabe, it doesn not have leaves.
  •  

    Head Of Broccoli

    Raab

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01 data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/broccolini bodecology.com 230

    Top: Broccoli, with thick, shorter stalks and large florets. Photo courtesy Burpee. Middle: Broccoli rabe, which has long stems, small florets and elegant leaves, can look like a bouquet. Photo courtesy Conscious Life Force. Bottom: Broccolini has long stems but no leaves. Photo courtesy Bodecology.com.

     

  • Broccoli rabe or rapini (pronounced robb and sometimes spelled raab) is popular in Southern Italy, where it is often served with pasta or polenta. It looks like a very leafy broccolini but is actually a member of the turnip genus. It is more bitter than broccoli and broccolini.
  •   

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Overnight Oats

    Overnight oats are trending. According to Pinterest, there were 5 million overnight oats pins in 2015, a whopping 211% increase over 2014.

    If your goal is to eat a better breakfast and more whole grains, here’s how it can be ready for you to eat each morning.
     
    WHAT ARE OVERNIGHT OATS?

    Overnight oats are a way of preparing oatmeal by soaking the oats overnight, instead of cooking them. Raw oats are soaked overnight in your choice of liquid: drinkable yogurt or kefir, milk or nondairy milk (almond milk is splendid), water, yogurt/water mix, whatever.

    The soaking turns oatmeal into a cold breakfast cereal, although you can certainly heat it.

    You can use rolled oats, steel cut oats, even instant oatmeal; although given that the latter is ready in a minute in the microwave, we’d focus on the first two.

    The mixture sits in a lidded jar oats overnight (or for at least 6 hours) as the oats absorb the liquid. When it’s time for breakfast the next morning, the oats are plumped up, soft and ready to eat, cold or heated, plain or with the toppings of your choice.

     

    Overnight Oats

    One of our favorites: strawberry overnight oats. Here’s the recipe from A Pumpkin And A Princess.

     
    You can eat the oats at home or grab the jar on your way out the door. It’s that easy!

    Add Your Own Touches

    You can customize the flavors with your favorite ingredients, by adding anything from nut butter to fruit purée to the jar. For example:

  • Apple Cinnamon overnight oats, add 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce plus 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.
  • Banana French Toast overnight oats, add ½ mashed banana ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon vanilla extra and 1 tablespoon maple syrup.
  • Almond Joy overnight oats, with coconut, chocolate chips and almonds.
  • Just About Anything Sweet. We’ve seen recipes for Brownie, Carrot Cake, Cinnamon Roll, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Mocha, Moose Tracks, Peanut Butter Cup, Peanut Butter & Jelly…and on and on. If it gets the kids to eat their oatmeal, go for it!
  •  
    Don’t like sweet? Experiment with savory recipes, from caraway seeds to red chili flakes.

     

    Plenti Oatmeal & Greek Yogurt

    Yoplait Plenti: Apple Cinnamon is one of six
    flavors with “overnight oats” in Greek yogurt.
    Photo courtesy General Mills.

     

    RECIPE: OVERNIGHT OATS

    There is no right or wrong ingredient or proportion: It’s how you like your oats. Here’s a guide for your first batch; you take it from here.

    Ingredients For 1 Serving

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup liquid, or 1/2 cup each water and yogurt
  • Optional: peanut butter or other “custom ingredient,” e.g.
    1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon flaxseed meal or protein powder
  • Optional flavoring: cinnamon, cocoa, coffee, vanilla extract
  • Sweetener: agave, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, noncaloric sweetener, etc.
  • Toppings of choice: dried or fresh fruit, nuts and/or seeds, granola or other crunchy dry cereal
  • Lidded jar or other container
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MIX the oats and liquid in the jar with the optional peanut butter. Tamp down with a rubber spatula or a spoon so that all the oats get moistened.

    2. PLACE the jar in the refrigerator overnight. It’s ready to eat in the morning. If using peanut butter or other nut butter…

    3. BLEND the peanut butter briefly before refrigerating, just enough so that you’ll have swirls of it the next day. (We whisked it briefly.) When you’re ready to eat…

    4. ADD the sweetener, microwave if desired, and add your toppings of choice.
     
    TRY YOPLAIT PLENTI WITH OATS

    Yoplait Plenti has applied the concept of overnight oats to its yogurt cups, combining oats with Greek yogurt. There are 11 grams of protein and 16 grams of whole grain in every cup.

    The six flavors include Apple Cinnamon, Blueberry, Maple Brown Sugar, Peach, Strawberry and Vanilla.

    It’s a brand-new product, so if your grocer doesn’t have it yet, ask or keep checking.

    Learn more at PlentiYogurt.com.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Quick Microwaved Mug-Scrambled Eggs

    Mug Scrambled Eggs

    Mug-scrambled eggs, ready in less than three minutes. Photo courtesy American
    Egg Board.

     

    You should start the day off with a protein-based breakfast. Many of us don’t, opting for toast, a bagel or a bowl of Corn Flakes. Yet, you can have a better-for-you breakfast of scrambled eggs, without turning on the stove.

    For a quick and easy breakfast in less than 3 minutes, try this microwave egg scramble from the American Egg Board, IncredibleEgg.org.

    Just toss the ingredients into a mug! Prep time is 1 minute, cook time is 2 minutes. You can even prepare the mixture the night before, cutting your morning time to

    To blend the ingredients, you’ll need a mini whisk or an Aerolatte or other milk frother. However, in a pinch, a fork will do.

    RECIPE: MICROWAVED MUG SCRAMBLED EGGS

    Ingredients Per Serving

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Optional: minced fresh or dried herbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional garnishes: 2 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese
    or salsa
  • Preparation

    1. COAT a 12-ounce, microwave-safe coffee mug with cooking spray. Add the eggs, milk, herbs and salt and pepper to taste; beat or whisk until blended.

    2. MICROWAVE on HIGH 45 seconds; stir. MICROWAVE until eggs are almost set, 30 to 45 seconds longer. Note: Microwave ovens vary. Cooking times may need to be adjusted.

    3. TOP with cheese and/or salsa; season with salt and pepper.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: A Delicious Vegetable Mix At Breakfast (Ratatouille)

    Fried Egg Ratatouille

    ratatouille-theformerchef-230r

    You can dice your ratatouille fine or chunky.
    A fine dice is a better base for the egg,
    crostini, etc.; a larger dice is better as a side
    dish. Top photo courtesy Elegant Affairs
    Caterers. Bottom photo courtesy
    TheFormerChef.com.

     

    Nutritionists expend lots of effort to get their clients to achieve nutrition goals. Americans are major under-consumers of vegetables.

    There are numerous ways to add good vegetables into every meal (fried onion rings don’t count!) You don’t have to twist our arm to adopt this one: ratatouille at breakfast.

    WHAT IS RATATOUILLE

    Ratatouille (rah-tah-TOO-ee) is a vegetable side dish that originated in the Provence region of France. The classic recipe consists of sautéed eggplant, onions, tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini plus garlic and herbs.

    Sometimes, each vegetable is sautéed separately, then layered into a baking dish and baked. Modern recipes make it easier: We fully sauté groups of vegetables with similar densities, combine them and don’t bake them. can customize the dish as you like—for example, with bell peppers, celery, fennel, olives, onions and yellow squash.

    There are similar dishes in other Mediterranean countries, including tourlou or briami in Greek cuisine, türlü in Turkish cuisine, samfaina in Catalonia and in ciambotta in southern Italy.

    OUR FAVORITE RATATOUILLE RECIPE

    We misplaced our nana’s ratatouille recipe card; but the recipe below, adapted from TheFormerChef.com, looks almost identical.

    Ratatouille is delightfully colorful when you use red, yellow and/or orange bell peppers and tomatoes/cherry tomatoes.

    Regarding the tomatoes: Ratatouille has traditionally been a summer dish, when tomatoes, zucchini and yellow squash are plentiful. While you can find decent squash in the off season, imported tomatoes can be both pricey and lacking in flavor. You can substitute cherry, grape or sundried tomatoes; or use diced canned San Marzano tomatoes. Canned tomatoes don’t need to be sautéed; just drain them and add them to the final heating.

     
    TIP: Don’t throw away the liquid you drain off. You can freeze it into ice cubes for Bloody Marys, or add a bit of gin, tequila or vodka for a mini cocktail treat.
     
    RECIPE: RATATOUILLE

    We make double recipes and microwave the ratatouille (or other sautéed vegetables) from the fridge while the eggs are cooking.

    Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups onions diced (about 1.5 large onions)
  • 1 6 tablespoon garlic, minced (about 3 cloves)
  • 3 cups bell peppers (1 each, red, yellow, green), diced
  • 8 cups zucchini and yellow squash, large diced
  • 6 cups eggplant (about 1.5 lbs), diced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 5 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped and seeded as necessary
  • 3 6 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped (rosemary, basil, thyme)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon ground coriander fennel seeds
  • Optional garnish: capers or caperberries (the difference*)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan or skillet†, over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until they are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the bell peppers and sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Transfer the sautéed vegetables to a bowl and set aside.

    2. RETURN the pan to the heat and add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil. Add the zucchini and yellow squash and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add them to the onions and bell peppers.

    3. Return the pan to the heat and add the final 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the eggplant and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the 1/4 cup of water; the eggplant will absorb all the oil very quickly and the water will help it cook before it burns. When the water is absorbed and the eggplant begins to soften (about 5 more minutes), add the chopped tomatoes to the eggplant.

    4. COOK the tomatoes until they start to break down and the eggplant is soft, but not mushy. Add the rest of the vegetables back into the pan, folding it all together with a large spoon.

    5. Cook for another 5 minutes and add the fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Don’t overcook; you want the flavors to remain fresh and distinct. Plus, if you plan to reheat the ratatouille at a later time, it will cook more then.
     
    __________________________________________
    *Capers are the flower bud of the caper bush, Capparis spinosa. Caperberries are the fruit with seeds inside. Both are brined and thus contribute saltiness as well as flavor to dishes. They are members of the same botanical order as cruciferous vegetables, Brassicales, but a different family.

    †While the pans can usually be used interchangeably, a skillet or frying pan has slanted sides and a sauté pan has straight sides. A skillet has a larger bottom surface area, and its straight sides are better for making an omelet or frittata—even though you may see slope-sided pans marketed as “omelet pans.”

     

    RECIPE VARIATIONS

  • Serve with a poached or soft-boiled egg instead of a fried egg.
  • Mix the vegetables into an omelet or scrambled eggs.
  • Add with cooked eggs to a breakfast burrito or pita breakfast sandwich.
  • Combine eggs and toast: Make ratatouille crostini (toast topped with ratatouille topped with the egg).
  •  
    SUBSTITUTES FOR RATATOUILLE

    Serve any of the following, and don’t hesitate to mix them together.

  • Any leafy green vegetable(s), such as kale, spinach and/or watercress.
  • Shredded Brussels sprouts.
  • Sautéed cherry or grape tomatoes, halved.
  • Cauliflower steak.
  • Sautéed mushrooms.
  • Sweet potato or purple potato hash with beets and leeks (or default to white potatoes).
  •  
    OTHER THINGS TO DO WITH RATATOUILLE

    Ratatouille is a side dish that’s great with grilled fish or seafood on Meatless Monday, or as a side anytime with grilled or roasted beef, chicken, lamb or pork. But you can also:

  • Us it as a topping for pancakes or waffles—savory instead of sweet.
  • Serve it as a vegan main course with a whole grain, couscous‡, polenta, beans or legumes.
  • Use it to top bruschetta, crostini (the difference) or flatbread.
  • Use it instead of tomato sauce, chunky or puréed, on pasta, grains and other dishes.
  • Use as a topping for burgers, grilled cheese and other sandwiches.
  • Use the purée as a base for vegetable soup (add broth to desired consistency.
  •  

    Fried Egg On Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

    Fried Eggs On Toast

    Top photo: Go cruciferous: Place your egg atop sautéed Brussels sprouts, collards or mustard greens. At Olio e Piú | NYC, the Brussels sprouts are mixed with radicchio. Bottom photo: Combine the toast and eggs into ratatouille crostini, or as shown above, with asparagus in season. Photo courtesy Urban Accents.

     
    We’re off to make breakfast: ratatouille and fried eggs (no surprise).
    ___________________________________
    ‡You can find whole grain couscous; but most supermarket products are not whole grain.

      

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    RECIPE: Bacon & Sweet Potato Biscuits

    Bacon Biscuits

    Cooked & Raw Bacon

    TOP PHOTO: Bacon and sweet potato biscuits from PorkBeInspired.com. BOTTOM PHOTO: When you cook bacon for the biscuits, you can make extra for your eggs.

     

    Is there a better breakfast bread than warm biscuits? This recipe, from PorkBeInspired.com, seems especially right for Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings. If you want, you can use a biscuit mix instead of combining everything from scratch.

    Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 45 minutes. Split leftover biscuits in half horizontally and add sliced ham or other sandwich fixings.

    RECIPE: BACON & SWEET POTATO BISCUITS WITH HONEY BUTTER

    Ingredients For 12 Biscuits
     
    For The Biscuits

  • 6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 medium or 2 small orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (14 to 16 ounces total), peeled
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour*
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder*
  • 1 tablespoon sugar*
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda*
  • 1 teaspoon salt*
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
  • 1 cup buttermilk (regular or lowfat)
  •  
    For The Honey Butter

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Salt
  •  
    *You can substitute the flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda and salt for 3 cups of biscuit mix.
     
    Preparation

    1. WRAP the sweet potato with a damp paper towel and microwave on high until very soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, mash with a potato masher and set aside to cool. Meanwhile…

    2. COOK the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until golden and crisp, about 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, then set aside to cool. Carefully set aside 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings from the skillet.

    3. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

    4. COMBINE the flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, salt and allspice in a food processor, and pulse a few times. Add the cubed butter and pulse to make a coarse meal with a few pea-sized pieces. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and gently mix in the bacon, buttermilk and 1 cup of the mashed sweet potato (save any remaining potato for another use—including folding into an omelet to go with the biscuits).

    5. TRANSFER the mixture to a floured work surface and knead a few times to form a dough. Pat the dough to about 1-inch thick, then gently fold in half. Gently repeat 4 more times. Roll the dough out to 3/4-inch thick, then use a floured 2-1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut dough into biscuits, arranging them on the prepared baking sheet. Gather the scraps and repeat to make a total of 12 biscuits. Bake until the biscuits are browned and a tester comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes. While the biscuits bake…

    6. COMBINE the softened butter, honey, and reserved bacon drippings, mixing until smooth. Add salt to taste. Serve the biscuits with the honey butter on the side.

     
      

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    INNOVATION: A New Way To Enjoy Breakfast Cereal

    What’s new in breakfast? How about some of America’s favorite breakfast cereals, served with spicy Chinese food? It’s a unique fusion experience, and it’s DEE-licious!

    The concept is a joint venture between Kellogg’s and innovative Chinese chef Danny Bowien.

    Chef Danny is a James Beard Rising Star Chef Award winner, chef/co-founder of the acclaimed restaurants Mission Chinese Food in New York and San Francisco and Mission Cantina in New York, and co-author of The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook.

    Danny worked with Kellogg’s to create original approaches to breakfast cereal, combining American cereal with popular Chinese dishes from his menu. We were lucky enough to be invited to taste his creations (just $6 each!). They’re a revelation, and an inspiration for all of us to create our own innovative cereal combinations.

    The result:

    The marriage of familiar and unexpected flavors, the sweet and crunchy Kellogg’s cereals with the soft and spicy Mission Chinese cuisine, is a winner! We loved every one.

    In fact, we went home and re-created Danny’s pairings as best we could, with the ingredients we had on hand. Since all the thinking had been done for us, it was pretty easy, although with a less refined result than the master’s.!

    The limited-time specialty breakfast menu is available from December 18th to 20th; proceeds (with a minimum donation of $25,000) will benefit The Bowery Mission, which provides meals to homeless men and women in New York City.

     
    THE BREAKFAST MENU: 5 NEW & NIFTY COMBINATIONS

    Each pairing is a conventional cereal course, accompanied by a Chinese dish.
     
    Corn Flakes + Westlake Rice Porridge

    The Cereal: Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, yogurt and berries.
    Paired With: Westlake Rice Porridge, essentially the wonderful Chinese dish of congee with chunks of oxtail meat, Dungeness crab and a soft-cooked egg.
    Our Home Version: Corn Flakes, yogurt, berries, Cream Of Rice cereal with a swirl of sriracha.
     
    Corn Pops + Thrice Cooked Bacon

     

    Westlake Rice Porridge With Corn Flakes

    Kellogg's Mini Wheats With Cashew Butter

    Frosted Flakes With Matcha Milk

    TOP PHOTO: Kellogg’s Corn Flakes with rice porridge (congee). MIDDLE PHOTO: Kellogg’s Mini Wheats with cashew butter and persimmon jelly. BOTTOM PHOTO: Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes with matcha powder, matcha milk and matcha noodles. Photos courtesy Mission Chinese Food.

     
    The Cereal: Kellogg’s Corn Pops with bacon-infused soy milk, topped with a fried egg.
    Paired With: Thrice cooked bacon with stir-fried rice cakes, bitter melon and chili paste.
    Our Home Version: Corn Pops, bacon and eggs with chili paste-braised tofu (alas, we had no rice cakes).
     
    Frosted Flakes + Green Tea Noodles

    The Cereal: Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes dusted with matcha (green tea powder).
    Paired With: A carafe of matcha-infused milk and a side of matcha noodles.
    Our Home Version: Frosted Flakes dusted with matcha, green tea soy milk and angel hair pasta tossed with olive oil and matcha “pesto.”
     
    Frosted Mini Wheats & Beef Jerky Fried Rice

    The Cereal: Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats on a bed of cashew butter and persimmon jam.
    Paired With: Beef Jerky Fried Rice, peanut-infused milk and a scattering of roasted peanuts.
    Our Home Version: Mini Wheats with peanut butter and fig jam. Next time we’ll make cashew fried rice to go with it.
     
    Raisin Bran + Mapo Tofu

    The Cereal: Kellogg’s Raisin Bran quickly braised in warm almond milk, agave and lime.
    Paired With: Spicy Mapo Tofu—tofu set in a spicy chili-based sauce.
    Our Home Version: Raisin Bran with more of the chili paste-braised tofu and a squeeze of lime juice.
     

    For more ideas on how you can innovate with cereal, visit the Kellogg’s site StirUpBreakfast.com.

    Our fondest wish: that this breakfast menu gets a regular gig.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Christmas Pancakes

    Orange Cranberry Pancakes

    Artisan Maple Syrup

    Top photo: These festive pancakes taste great even if you don’t stack them. Photo courtesy Zulka Sugar. Bottom photo: Start with quality maple syrup and turn it into cranberry-maple syrup. Photo courtesy King Arthur Flour.

     

    We love this festive pancake recipe for the holidays, from Zulka Sugar. It incorporates an array of holiday flavors: cinnamon, cranberry, orange and maple.

    The pancakes and syrup are made from scratch, so it’s a weekend or vacation day recipe in our home.

    RECIPE: ORANGE CINNAMON PANCAKES WITH CRANBERRY MAPLE SYRUP

    Ingredients
     
    For the Pancakes

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoons salt
  • Zest from 2 oranges (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cool
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  
    For the Cranberry Syrup

  • 1½ cups fresh cranberries
  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and orange zest in a large bowl; whisk to combine.

    2. WHISK the eggs in a small bowl, then add the buttermilk, orange juice and vanilla extract. Add the cooled melted butter and stir again to combine. Add the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well. Let sit for 10 minutes.

    3. MAKE the syrup: Combine 1 cup of the cranberries, the maple syrup, sugar, orange juice and lemon juice in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer for 2 minutes. When the cranberries start to pop open, use a spoon to smash some of them against the side of the pan.

    4. COMBINE the cornstarch and a little water in a small bowl, just enough water to make the cornstarch liquid. Pour this into the syrup and bring it back to a boil for one minute. Add the remaining cranberries, turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep warm.

     

    Cranberry Pancakes Stack

    A stack of festive pancakes for the holidays. Photo courtesy Zulka Sugar.

     

    5. PREHEAT a griddle and grease with butter or coconut oil. Pour 1/3 cup batter for each pancake and cook 2-3 minutes or until the pancakes are covered in bubbles and edges are starting to look done. Carefully flip with a spatula and cook another 1-2 minutes or until browned slightly. Keep the pancakes warm and repeat with remaining batter.

    6. SERVE: Place a few pancakes on a plate with 1/3 cup of the cranberry syrup. Serve hot.
     
    ABOUT ZULKA SUGAR

    Zulka sugars are minimally processed from freshly-harvested sugar cane. They are not refined, which helps preserve the fresh flavor and natural properties of the sugar cane. You can taste the difference in a cup of tea.

    Zulka makes granulated, confectioners’ (powdered/10x sugar) and brown sugars. Here’s more about Zulka.

      

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