Archive for ‘Breakfast’

April 24, 2012

Simple, Decadent Dessert for Breakfast—Without the Guilt

I’ve found a new love. And unlike most of my food loves, I don’t have to feel bad about it. To celebrate, I’ve been indulging myself every day for the past week. And, nope, I’m not tired of it. Not even close. It’s incredibly easy to make, the kids love it, and you can have it for breakfast, an after-school snack or dessert. Did I mention it’s good for you? When I first made it for S for breakfast, she said, “You’re going to let me eat this for breakfast?”

First, you start with 0% Greek yogurt. Regardless of the fat content, it’s creamy, dreamy goodness. Your gut will applaud you for bringing in all that good “probiotic” bacteria.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or, if you want to go with the full-fat version, try this (Fage’s whole-milk version is tasty, too, but I didn’t have it in my fridge).

Then, add a handful of frozen berries. If you haven’t heard, berries are chock full of super-healthy antioxidants that fight disease. I like the frozen variety for this “dessert,” because it really helps give it an ice cream-like consistency. However, fresh berries would work just fine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, spice and sweeten things up with cinnamon, vanilla extract and a tiny scoop of Stevia. Or, you could use a teaspoon of honey. The Stevia keeps the sugar content—and the guilt—really low. Take your metal spoon and start stirring and pounding it all together. If you have some early-morning stress, this is a good time to get it out. Smoosh and smash and mix it all up, the same way they do at Cold Stone Creamery when they add your mix-ins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After your first bite, all those cravings for Pinkberry and Red Mango will be banished for good. Now, close the door, sit down and have a moment to yourself. It’s better than Calgon. I promise.

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April 12, 2012

Would You Let Your Child Pack Her Own Lunch?

Last night, I got too involved with Katniss and Peeta. It was past midnight and I was still trying to figure out if there was any way they would both make it out of the Quarter Quell alive. Yep, I’m talking about the second book of the Hunger Games trilogy. As a result, I didn’t get out of bed until 6 this morning. When I stumbled down the stairs, I found S packing her own lunch. A first, for sure.

Here’s what I found:

A gluten-free bagel with Trader Joe’s Cocoa Almond Spread (It’s basically Nutella, but made with almonds instead of hazelnuts.) and bananas. That’s almost healthy, right? Gluten-free and with fruit? LOL. To her credit, she also packed a pear, a granola bar and water. It’s certainly not the lunch I would have made for her, but she saved me the trouble of packing a lunch. For that, she got a big hug and the right to eat what she made. Had I known I didn’t have to make lunch, I would’ve kept sleeping.

Here’s the funny part: when I picked her up from school this afternoon, she told me the chocolate spread and bagel “tasted rotten.” After one bite, she decided to eat only the bananas. I was so floored I almost drove off the road. Now that Nutella sandwiches are off her radar, I clearly need to come up with some sort of arrangement with her so I can sleep in while she makes her own lunch. At least until I’m done with the Hunger Games trilogy.

Would you let your child eat whatever he/she packed for lunch?

February 28, 2012

Spaghetti Squash with Goat Cheese and Parsley

I have a confession to make: the spaghetti squash, which came from my CSA, for this recipe must have sat on my countertop for two months. Secretly, I was hoping it would go bad, so I wouldn’t have to figure out what to do with it. But I realized after two months that it was wishful thinking.

I scrounged through a vegetarian cookbook and realized that I could roast the squash without cutting it first. When I cooked spaghetti squash last year, I cut it in half lengthwise and then roasted it in the oven with the fleshy side down. But getting a knife through the uncooked squash was a huge challenge—one I didn’t want to endure again. So, this time, I poked holes throughout the squash with a fork and put it in the oven to roast at 375 degrees for an hour. After that, it was almost effortless to slice the squash in half. After scraping out the seeds, I dragged a fork through the flesh, pulling the strands apart. Then, I simply tossed it with a few tablespoons of butter, 1 cup of goat cheese, a handful of chopped parsley and some salt and pepper. My squash was so big it must have made 12 cups of spaghetti squash.

Surprisingly, the kids more than tolerated it. S said she liked it, but didn’t love it. Meanwhile, C gobbled his up quickly. But the truth is, C saw the squash as a vehicle for goat cheese, one of his favorites. Although I served it for dinner, I had plenty left over the next day. I decided to pack it in S’s lunch with some deli turkey on the side. It tastes fine at room temperature.  As for me, I warmed up the leftovers and ate it with an over-easy egg for a low-carb breakfast. That runny yolk made the squash unbelievably rich and delicious.

February 21, 2012

Zucchini Patties with Feta

I’m always looking for ways to use up zucchinis, especially in the summer when they’re in season, so when I came across this recipe I had to try it. I couldn’t wait for the summer. And I’m glad I did, because C ate three in a sitting. S was lukewarm on them, telling me she prefers spinach patties. Oh, well. You can’t please everyone all of the time.

I bought so many zucchinis that I ended up doubling the Epicurious recipe.  To make it gluten-free, I simply substituted Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour for the regular wheat flour. Other than that, it calls for eggs, feta cheese, green onions (which I subbed with sautéed white onions and garlic) and fresh parsley and dill. I left out the dill, because I wasn’t sure the kids would like it. Instead, I minced and stirred it into the Greek yogurt dipping sauce that accompanies the zucchini cakes. As it turns out, the kids loved the dill in the yogurt. Next time, I’ll definitely mix it into the patties. I may also try it with Parmesan Reggiano or Pecorino Romano, instead of the feta.

We had them as side dish with dinner, and the next morning C asked for them for breakfast. Even though S thought they were just meh, I packed them in her lunch. I froze the rest, so I could have an easy, healthy snack on hand.

CLICK HERE for the Zucchini Patties with Feta recipe.

 

December 17, 2011

Spinach Patties Everyone Loves

I discovered these spinach patties early last year when we were on a grain-free diet. The original recipe from Epicurious.com calls for breadcrumbs, but at the time I replaced it with more eggs, pine nuts and grated Pecorino Romano. I’ve made these almost half a dozen times and this was the first time I used breadcrumbs. The patties did hold together better, but I don’t think they added much to their taste. Next time, I may try corn meal. It’s a great recipe to experiment with—just don’t leave out the nutmeg.

My kids like these for snack time, breakfast, as well as lunch and dinner. S prefers to have wrap her patty with a piece of ham. Meanwhile, C sees it as yummy finger food that he runs around the backyard with. I like them best for a quick, nutritious breakfast. I just pop them in the toaster oven to warm them up and give them a little crispiness.

Happy holidays! Enjoy your two-week break from packing lunches. I know I will 🙂  It may be my favorite Christmas gift this year.

Sephardic Spinach Patties (from Epicurious.com)

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
2 pounds fresh spinach, stemmed, cooked, chopped, and squeezed dry, or 20 ounces thawed frozen chopped spinach, squeezed dry
About 1 cup matza meal or fine dried bread crumbs
About 3/4 teaspoon table salt or1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Ground black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Vegetable oil for frying
Lemon wedges for serving
1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and, if using, the garlic and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the spinach, matza meal, salt, pepper, and, if using, the nutmeg. Stir in the eggs. If the mixture is too loose, add a little more matza meal. The mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for a day.
2. Shape the spinach mixture into patties 3 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide, with tapered ends. In a large skillet, heat a thin layer of oil over medium heat. In batches, fry the patties, turning, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm, accompanied with lemon wedges.

Sephardic Spinach Patties with Cheese (Keftes de Espinaca con Queso):
Add 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Muenster, Swiss, Gouda, or Cheddar cheese; or 1/4 cup grated kefalotyri or Parmesan cheese.

Sephardic Spinach Patties with Walnuts (Keftes de Espinaca con Muez):
Substitute 1/2 to 1 cup finely chopped walnuts for the matza meal.

Italian Spinach Patties (Polpettine di Spinaci):
Add 3/4 cup raisins soaked in white wine for 30 minutes, then drained, and 3/4 cup toasted pine nuts.

 

December 8, 2011

What’s In Your Kid’s Cereal?

Would you feed your kids a Twinkie for breakfast? How about three chocolate chip cookies? No? Well, you might be giving them the equivalent in sugar if you’re feeding them cereal, according to the Environmental Working Group. EWG’s review of 84 popular cereal brands, just released yesterday, shows that only one in four children’s cereals meets the government panel’s voluntary proposed guidelines, which recommend no more than 26 percent added sugar by weight.

Kellogg’s Honey Smacks leads the list of the top 10 worst cereals, at nearly 56 percent sugar by weight. One cup of the crunchy stuff serves up more sugar than a Hostess Twinkie. But Honey Smacks isn’t alone. A one-cup serving of forty-four other popular brands had more sugar than three Chips Ahoy cookies. Here’s a look at the best and worst cereals.

10 WORST CHILDREN’S CEREALS

Based on percent sugar by weight

1 Kellogg’s Honey Smacks 55.6%
2 Post Golden Crisp 51.9%
3 Kellogg’s Froot Loops Marshmallow 48.3%
4 Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch’s OOPS! All Berries 46.9%
5 Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch Original 44.4%
6 Quaker Oats Oh!s 44.4%
7 Kellogg’s Smorz 43.3%
8 Kellogg’s Apple Jacks 42.9%
9 Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries 42.3%
10 Kellogg’s Froot Loops Original 41.4%

For the full list of all 84 brands, click here.

BEST CEREALS

These cereals are also free of pesticides and genetically modified ingredients:

  • Ambrosial Granola: Athenian Harvest Muesli
  • Go Raw: Live Granola, Live Chocolate Granola, and Simple Granola
  • Grandy Oats: Mainely Maple Granola, Cashew Raisin Granola, and Swiss Style Muesli
  • Kaia Foods: Buckwheat Granola Dates & Spices and Buckwheat Granola Raisin Cinnamon
  • Laughing Giraffe: Cranberry Orange Granola
  • Lydia’s Organics: Apricot Sun, Berry Good, Grainless Apple, Sprouted Cinnamon, and Vanilla Crunch.
  • Nature’s Path Organic: Optimum Banana Almond, Optimum Cranberry Ginger, Corn Puffs, Kamut Puffs, Millet Puffs, and Rice Puffs.

My advice? For breakfast, stick with fruit, oatmeal, eggs and my favorite—bacon. After all, this is a post about sugar, not fat and sodium 😉

November 8, 2011

Breakfast: Egg cupcakes!

Okay, okay, they’re more like little egg frittatas. But they were baked in silicone cupcake liners. Doesn’t that count for something?

The idea for these came about when, K, a friend up the street mentioned that she hadn’t made quiche in a while because her family had gone gluten-free. That inspired me to make a crustless quiche, but I was also wondering how I could turn it into a little handheld breakfast that the kids could eat in the car on the way to school. Sure beats an Eggo waffle, right?

Enter: silicone muffin/cupcake liners. They’re the perfect size for individual servings, and they make clean-up a cinch. Since we limit dairy at my house, I decided to drop the heavy cream you usually find in quiches. That turned my quiche into more of a frittata.

First, I beat 6 eggs with 1 cup of egg whites. (I knew I wanted about one egg to one muffin.) Then, I chopped up five slices of bacon and crisped them in a skillet. I drained the bacon over some paper towels, and then drained all the drippings from the pan, except for 1 tablespoon. Then, I sautéed 3 large handfuls of baby spinach in the bacon fat. After all, bacon makes everything taste better.

I put the liners on a baking sheet and dropped a little mound of spinach in each liner, followed by a sprinkling of crunchy bacon and monterey jack cheese. Then I ladled the beaten eggs over the top. I baked the frittatas at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Next time, I might consider making a well in the spinach and filling it with the eggs.

The results? C happily ate his “cupcake” and S, well, not so much. I froze the rest in a large Ziploc, so I can pop one in the microwave on a hectic morning.

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