CARTHAGE, Mo. —
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We've heard about the magnitude of this meal for decades, so surely the statement holds water.
Breakfast is all about breaking the fast from sleeping. Twelve or so hours pass between dinner and breakfast, so, by all means, you should be ravenous by the time you wake up. Yet, people still skip breakfast, citing lack of hunger or time. It's time to make this significant meal a priority.
If traditional breakfast food doesn't tickle your fancy, branch out a bit. Typical breakfast foods such as cold cereal, breakfast bars and muffins aren't that great for you -- you would be better off with a bowl of leftover chili and an apple, as far as nutrients and energy go. My grandma, who has been making breakfast for a good part of her 86 years, served pizza for breakfast not too long ago. If she can break out of the breakfast rut, so can you.
Logically, the first meal of the day should be the one where you consume the most calories because you have all day to burn them. But this doesn't mean you should visit the breakfast buffet; you still need to eat calories that are rich in nutrients.
Grab-and-go breakfasts are perfect for folks who want to push that snooze button one more time. I love breakfast, but I also love sleep. I can empathize with the internal struggle people have with their alarm clocks, because mine is an energetic 4-year-old who wakes up at the first sign of light. There are lots of nutritious options you can prepare ahead of time and keep in the fridge or freezer for eating on the way to work or school.
Break out of your breakfast rut with these recipes.
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons agave or pure maple syrup (or honey)
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable or coconut oil
1 small strawberry
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Combine dry ingredients and stir. In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients, then mix wet into dry ingredients and stir. Pour crumbly dough into a gallon-size plastic bag and form into a ball. With it still in the bag, roll dough into a thin square. Chill for at least 20 minutes or your pop tarts will be crispy. Meanwhile, grease a baking pan, and make up whatever fillings you desire.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut open the bag and slice the dough into rectangles. If you've rolled it thinly enough and use all the dough, you should be able to get 34 to 38 rectangles. (Cut much bigger rectangles if you want regular-size pop tarts, as opposed to minis.) Put a little filling -- about 3/4 teaspoon -- on half the rectangles, then place remaining rectangles on top. Cinch down with a fork or your fingers. Bake 14 to 18 minutes, depending on how crispy you want the crust. Once cooled, spread on glaze and store in a plastic container for soft pop tarts or a glass container for crispy ones.
For the glaze: Microwave (or heat on the stove) 1 small strawberry for 20 seconds, then mash well until it's like soup. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and stir. It'll seem extremely thick at first, but if you just keep stirring, it'll turn into icing. Here are some filling ideas:
Very Berry Pop Tarts: Simply mash strawberries (or other berries), microwave a few seconds, then stir in a little stevia or powdered sugar. Portion about 1 teaspoon on each of half the rectangles.
PB&J Pop Tarts: Spread a thin layer of your favorite jam on half of the rectangles, then add about 1 teaspoon peanut butter.
Apple Pie Pop Tarts: Stir together chopped apple, cinnamon and Sucanat or brown sugar.
Recipe adapted from chocolatecoveredkatie.com
4 slices bacon, cut into thirds
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
21/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In large skillet, cook bacon just until it begins to crisp. Drain all but 2 teaspoons of drippings. For scrambled eggs, in small bowl beat 3 of the eggs, 2 tablespoons water and a dash each of salt and pepper. Cook eggs in hot skillet over medium heat without stirring until eggs begin to set on bottom and around edges. With a spatula, lift and fold for uncooked portion to flow underneath. Cook until set but still moist. Transfer to a bowl; set aside. Grease 12 muffin cups. In medium bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Combine milk, oil and remaining 2 eggs in bowl. Stir into flour mixture. Fold in scrambled eggs and cheese. Spoon into muffin cups. Cups will be full. Place one bacon piece on each muffin. Bake 15 to 17 minutes. Cool slightly in pan on rack. Run a knife around edges of muffins to loosen.
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens magazine
Cauliflower crust breakfast pizza
For the crust:
1 head of cauliflower
1 cup part skim mozzarella
For the toppings:
1/2 cup basil pesto
4 ounces fresh mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Cut the florets from the head of cauliflower and drop into a large food processor. Process until completely shredded, then add to a skillet and cook for 5 to 7 minutes on medium heat to reduce some of the moisture and cook the cauliflower. Transfer to a large bowl to cool. Once cool, add egg and mozzarella. Mix together until well combined. Spread the crust out into an even layer on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
Next, cover the crust with a thin a layer of pesto. Place chunks of mozzarella followed by a sprinkling of the Parmesan and basil. Finally, toss some chopped sun-dried tomatoes on top. Bake for 5 minutes, then top with eggs and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
Adapted from www.brit.co
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