07 December, 2011

What I Ate Today...For Breakfast.

I am a fan of big breakfasts. In fact, I believe that if you forgo protein in the morning or skip breakfast altogether, that you are doing your body a great injustice. You can never get the same amount of energy from a piece of wimpy toast and coffee as you can from veggies, eggs and fruit! That said, I do not think the stereotypical "American" breakfast of greasy eggs AND sausage AND pancakes AND hash browns with nothing resembling a vegetable anywhere is the way to go either. It's all about hearty, yet wholesome food in moderation. Take this morning's breakfast for example - a crustless quiche (a.k.a. frittata). Sure, it has eggs, Swiss cheese, buttermilk, and bacon in it. But it also has leeks, spinach and carrots. The portion size is logical too. Then there's the side of toasted, multi-grain bread (as a replacement for the quiche's crust) and a fresh Fuyu persimmon as accompaniments. There may be fat, but this meal is better for you than anything McDonald's or Jimmy Dean or even Lean Cuisine offers as excuses for breakfast foods. Oh, and don't forget the frosty beverage that I had this morning - a unsweetened soy milk (my stomach does not tolerate cow's milk well), fresh pear (with skin on), spinach, gooseberry jam, ginger, aloe vera juice, flax and chia seed smoothie! Now THAT is energy in a glass!

Ok, so you may not be as inclined as I am to drink such an elaborate smoothie, but think outside the box when you do make them! They are quick, portable (though they are enjoyed much more if you drink them sitting at a table), and can be very healthy for you. Beware though! I rarely drink fruit juice and never add it to a smoothie because the amount of sugar in such a drink can be higher in sugar levels than a can of soda! That is why diabetics reach for juice first if they sense their insulin levels dropping. When fruit is juiced all of its inherent fiber and other good things are lost, leaving only the concentrated sugars behind. Then there are those evil juice "drinks" that contain only a portion of real fruit so that naughties like high fructose corn syrup can be added instead. EVIL! 

However, if you blend fruit (with its pulp and/or skin) with other delicious ingredients like yogurt, coconut milk, peanut butter (freshly churned though, NOT commercial brands like Jif or Peter Pan), granola, kale, or avocados you get a filling beverage that will also have sugar, but in acceptable levels. When you do need to sweeten up your smoothie a little, try using jams or preserves instead of spoonfuls of sugar or honey. That way you will add flavor and nutrients from the preserved fruit along with added sweetness. If the smoothie is too thick, add water. When I lived in Brazil, there were juice stands everywhere that took the whole pulp of a fresh fruit (or frozen if it was a more exotic type that was hard to ship fresh) and added water or milk to it, with or without added sugar depending on the customer's request. That was where I also saw avocado incorporated into a smoothie for the first time. Genius - seriously, you have to try it!! 

Either way, think of breakfast as the morning activity that will make or break the rest of your day, especially if you sit on your butt a lot or get little physical activity in general. Want more incentive? Try using breakfast time as a way to hang out with your favorite person(s) for a few, precious morning minutes before your hectic afternoon begins, and use your smoothies to clink glasses with. Cheers!

PS...if you want the recipe for the crustless quiche, here it is:

[Ingredients - Unless otherwise stated, everything is fresh] 4 eggs, 1 cup buttermilk, garlic, 4 slices bacon, 1 leek, 1 carrot, 2 generous handfuls of spinach, 1 oz. piece of Swiss cheese (or more if you like), rosemary and thyme, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cook off some bacon and set aside. Leave some of the fat in the pan, and save the rest for use in other dishes.
  • While the bacon is cooking, thoroughly wash the leek. Make sure all dirt is out from between the layers. Cut it in half lengthwise and save the top greens for veggie stock. Turn the rest of the leek flat-side down and thinly slice into half moons. 
  • Wash the spinach and carrot. Roughly chop the spinach and shred the carrot. Add the veggies to the skillet where you cooked the bacon and use the fat to sauté them on low heat. 
  • Crush or finely chop the garlic and put it in a separate bowl. Mince the herbs and put them in the bowl with salt and pepper and the eggs. Whisk the whole mixture. Then shred the cheese and crumble the bacon and mix everything together.  
  • By now the veggies should be cooked and the oven preheated. Put the veggies in a round pie pan or other similar dish and add the egg mixture on top. Gently blend.
  • Put the pan on a cookie sheet (in case it spills over) and place it all in the oven for 40 minutes.
  • Let the quiche cool and settle before cutting into it. Add a little hot sauce for extra yumminess!

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