Hi friends and good morning!!
I had a phenomenal weekend…at home! I organized (a lot!), cleaned, prepped, baked, studied, practiced some picture-taking stuff, and spent lots of quality time with Mark. It was PERFECT!
Saturday night, I was feeling so happy and the house was feeling so clean that I decided to make a really good meal to celebrate! (We usually wing it, eat out, or finish off the week’s leftovers on weekend nights.) I made a pork tenderloin with a balsamic cranberry reduction (sounds fancy but was so easy to make!), steamed green beans and Civilized Caveman’s Double Chocolate Chip Cookies. Mark said that the cookies were the best cookies that he had ever eaten. Now, he may just be a nice husband, but I have to stay, they were probably the best grain-free cookies that I’ve ever made.
On the topic of food, my co-worker recently asked me to recommend some easy, filling, quick breakfast ideas for her and her family. With school about to start, she wanted to find some alternatives to Pop Tarts and instant waffles.
This was a fun challenge for me because I’m used to being able to whip up my own quick breakfast and run out the door, not worry about what little mouths are going to eat, or much less, refuse to eat.
I’ve been playing around with this for the past two weeks or so and have come up with a few ideas:
1) If you have cereal lovers on your hands– how about a muesli-like alternative? Here is the flavor combination I like the best:
1/2 apple diced into small pieces
a handful of sliced almonds
a handful of pitted, chopped dates
a handful of unsweetened coconut flakes
a generous pinch of cinnamon
a pinch of salt
Instead of traditional milk, I poured canned coconut milk over this mixture for a creamy consistency. I thought it was amazing!! Plus, making a huge batch early in the week is a quick fix for hectic, we-only-have-5-minutes-for-breakfast mornings. This is also super versatile; you can use whatever nuts you have on hand, slice a banana on top if you have someone who doesn’t like apples, use fresh blueberries instead of dates…the options are endless!
2) How about some 5-ingredient pancakes? Throw 1 banana, 1/4 cup coconut flour, 1/4 cup coconut cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 4 eggs in the food processor , blend, then cook the “batter” as you would any other pancakes in a greased, stove top pan. OR, if you have a coconut allergy or dislike, how about 1/4 cup almond butter, 1/2 cup applesauce, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. The latter recipe is much more dense, and I found, much more filling. It took me roughly 10 minutes from the time I started putting the ingredients into my blender until they were being shoveled into my mouth. I topped mine with some butter, fresh blueberries and maple syrup. I highly recommend these!!!
3) Bacon & egg muffins?! Yes, they are amazing and you should absolutely make them. This is one of those make-ahead-of-time breakfasts, but they are full of protein, good fat, and can be eaten on the car ride to school and work. I greased 12 silicone muffin thingies (they’re like paper muffin wrappers, but they’re silicone) and placed them in a muffin pan. I whisked together 12 eggs then crumbled a pound of cooked, un-cured bacon (pan fry this prior to mixing with the eggs!) into the eggs along with a couple pinches of salt and pepper. I poured the egg/bacon mix into the 12 muffin thingies and baked the “muffins” in the oven at 350 degrees for about 17 minutes. Once they cooled, I put them in an airtight container and was able to store them for 5 days. I heated mine in the microwave prior to eating.
I love this breakfast option because, again, it’s super versatile- use sausage with or instead of the bacon, add some veggies… whatever you want!
4) Overnight Breakfast Frittata!! The night before, throw leftover (or prepped) veggies into a crock pot. Crack in 1-2 eggs (per person) and some pre-cooked sausage and/or bacon into the crock pot as well. Set the crock pot on low for about 4-5 hours and go to bed. My crock pot has a feature that, when the cook time is up, it automatically sets the crock pot in “warm mode.” This way, I woke up to a warm breakfast- just ready for the eating!
5) How about a smoothie? You already know this, but smoothies are a great way to hide green vegetables in a yummy disguise. This is my go-to smoothie. I pretty much made it up and I sometimes play around with a couple different things (like sometimes I’ll add a spoonful or 2 of almond butter, other times I’ll throw in about 2 cups of kale along with the 2 cups of spinach). This is what I use to make roughly 1 smoothie—it’s usually enough for me and a little extra (maybe a snack later?):
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 ripe banana
- 2/3 cup frozen blueberries
- 2-3 frozen strawberries (or a few raspberries or pieces of pineapple are both delish, too!)
- 2 cup spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup milk of choice (dairy, coconut, almond)
- 2 teaspoons protein powder (optional)
I know it’s cliché to say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I think it is. Not for the common reason of “firing up your metabolism” but so that you can feed your brain good fats (that’s what makes your brain work properly!) and fuel yourself with energy-sustaining foods. A breakfast of sugary cereals and an overload of sugar and grains in the form of granola bars, toast, traditional pancakes and waffles, PopTarts, and Toaster Strudel spikes your (and your kid’s) blood sugar, leading you to crash about mid-morning. Why do you think coffee plays such a big role in most people’s days? We’re spiking our blood sugar all over the place and our body needs something, anything to keep it going. HELLO CAFFEINE! I have nothing against coffee, but isn’t it more fun to drink it because you like it, not because it’s basically sustaining your ability to function?! Bring on the proteins and fats for breakfast!
::I’m stepping off of my soapbox now::
Ok, sorry about that little rant. Actually, I’m not sorry about it, I just hope you take it to heart.
Have a happy, healthy Monday!