Breakfast Bonanza, day 6. “it started with rice.”

In the back of the fridge—along with the peanut butter, ketchup, and jug of soy—there is usually a big ol’ batch of brown rice.

I consider rice to be one of my favorite “go-to” foods.  I like mixing it with salsa and beans, and calling it lunch.  I like mixing my rice with peas and serving it alongside baked cod for dinner.

And, apparently, I like rice for breakfast too.

I like to follow the habit of using up most leftovers within 3 days, so I decided that brown rice was a good candidate for this morning’s meal.

Layer 1: About 1 c. of brown rice

Layer 2: An apple, diced

Layer 3: 1/2 of a smashed banana (I needed the other half for lunch’s almond butter sandwich!)

Layer 4: 2 T. soymilk + cinnamon and nutmeg + ground flax

Stir, stir, stir.  And into the fridge the batch of sweet rice went. 

With busy, early mornings, the overnight soaking method almost always sounds like a good one.  Besides, rice is not a naturally sweet tasting grain, and I’ve found that it tastes best when allowed to chill out with some of the other flavors. 

The following morning, I pulled out the rice concoction, added some extra soymilk to loosen it all up, and gave it a few minutes in the microwave.  As a side note, this would probably make a great chilled breakfast for the summer too.  But that was not  meant for this morning.  No.  This morning, I kind of liked the thought of enjoying a warm, melty breakfast bowl.  You know, that point where the apples begin to soak up the cinnamon, forming a melty layer of ooey gooey sweetness.

 

And then I topped it all off with walnuts and coconut.  Delicious.

Spiced Apple Breakfast Bowl

Usually I’m a stickler when it comes to cooking brown rice.  Nothing ruins rice like cooking it too slow or too quickly (starchy, starchy, starchy!)  But in this case, the starchier rice actually tastes better!  Think of it as being a little like a risotto.  For breakfast.  And not too fancy, making it perfectly suitable for any old morning.

Tart apples and sweet bananas bring balance to the entire dish.  But have fun and create some of your own new tasty combos! 

  • 1 c. cooked brown rice
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger
  • 1 T. crushed flax
  • 4 T. soymilk, separated
  • toppings: walnuts and coconut
  1. Mix rice, apple, banana, spices, flax and 2 T. soymilk together.  Place in fridge overnight.
  2. Next morning: Add 2-3 T. soymilk  and stir together.  Heat in microwave for 2-3 minutes or until hot.
  3. Top with walnuts and coconut.  ENJOY! 😀

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My food service rotation for my dietetic internship has been going really well. 

Today, my preceptor (aka, the school’s food service manager) was holding a beverage sampling for the kids to try. 

And she gave me permission to take whatever I wanted from the kitchen and serve it up to the kids for a taste testing.  I was so excited until I realized that I had about an hour or so to come up with a new recipe that would feed at least 600 kids.

After much searching, I found cans of kidney beans.  Cans of garbanzos.  All natural salsas, fresh bell peppers, peaches, shredded carrots, red onions, corn.  Crushed red pepper.

And lots of garlic to liven things up.

Lo and behold, a spicy bean salsa was born.

I felt a little nerveracked to be feeding the kids something that I made up on a whim, based on what the kitchen had on supply for the moment.  But I made it look as pretty as possible with some catering dishes, served some corn chips on the side for dunking, and called it a day.

The verdict?

The kids loved it.  One girl commented that she hated vegetables but she loved the salsa.  A teacher said the flavors were “lovely and beautiful together.”  One boy made a face that he didn’t like “health food” but went back for seconds after trying it.

Suddenly, I realized how good Jamie Oliver must have felt when people enjoyed his food. 😉  It was such a fun experience, and I found myself sighing with relief by the end.

I have tomorrow off!!  Whatever will I do with myself? 😉  Actually, I have a lot of homework to catch up on, as well as putting together a powerpoint presentation for next week.  AND, I need to find a killer cupcake recipe for my sister’s housewarming party.  Any ideas?

Question: Do you enjoy cooking for other people?  Do you find that friends and family have similair tastes to your own?

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Breakfast Bonanza, Day 4 (don’t forget to layer!)

I went for my first chilly run this morning. 

Yes, the temperatures have previously reached 45.  Even 40.  But today it was a meer 28.  This is also known as “nose burning, bring a kleenex, wear your winter tights” kind of cold.  It was, in one word, blissful.  :mrgreen:

Come January, after I’ve run through my third or fourth blizzard in the dead of winter, I give you full permission to taunt and tease me.  Yes, you may.

“Sarah, you said you like winter running!  Stop complaining!!”

As for now, I am fully enjoying these chilly morning runs.  They feel so refreshing. So invigorating.  Filled to the brim with energy!  Besides, I’m not really cold during these runsThat’s what mittens, wool socks and warm winter tights are for.  It’s all about the layering!

Kind of like breakfast.  Layer after layer after layer of goodness. 

Layer 1: Pumpkin mixed with yogurt.

Layer 2: 1 T. ground flaxseed

Layer 3: 1/2 c. cooked millet

Layer 4: 1 sweet banana, sliced

Layer 5: walnuts, cranberries, coconut.  Just because.

The Mighty Millet Mish-Mash

I’m a creature of habit when it comes to whole grains.  The bulk of my diet is made up of oats, oats, and oats.  But sometimes it’s fun to try something completely new and different.

I was a little unsure of how much liquid I needed to cook the millet, and ended up going with a 2 1/2:1 ratio of water to millet (that would be 1-1/2 c. of water to 1/2 c. uncooked millet.)  It seemed to work out pretty well for me, but I did use the strainer to get rid of some excess water afterwards.

Millet is sweet, soft, and very mild flavored.  It reminded me of quinoa without the slightly “exotic flavor”.  Another plus is that it’s gluten free, making it the perfect grain option for people who have celiacs and/or a gluten intolerance.  I’m a new fan of this humble little grain, and plan on incorporating it regularly into many future breakfasts and side dishes. 

  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
  • 6-oz. plain yogurt

Combine above together and place on bottom of bowl.

  • 1 T. crushed flaxseed
  • 1/2 c. cooked millet, mixed with cinnamon and nutmeg if desired
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • toppings: walnuts, craisins, coconut

Layer the flaxseed, the millet, and lastly the banana on top of your yogurt mix.  Top with walnuts, craisins, coconut and whatever else suits your fancy.  Enjoy!

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Since we’re on the topic of breakfast, have I previously mentioned that I’m slowly weaning myself off of coffee?

 

It’s true. 

During the weekends, I find no greater pleasure than sitting down with my big blue mug, sipping on a dark, roasted coffee with soy.  Filled, filled, filled to the brim with warmth and goodness.  But during the weekday, I find myself guzzling the contents of my mug in 5 minutes flat.  The result is an overheated, slightly delirious, over-caffeinated girl.  Not pretty.

I’d like to save coffee for the weekend, when I can thoroughly enjoy each and every sip.  But since I’ve never been a cold turkey kinda gal, I’m slowly decreasing the amount that I drink each week.  Right now I’m about 3/4 of a mug full, and slowly making my way to half.  We’re getting there. 😉

Question: Are you a coffee drinker?  Do you go for “regular,” straight up coffee?  Do you have a favorite signature drink?  I like my morning cup with soy and no added sweetener, but whenever I go out to a cafe, I always order a grande soy misto with extra foam and a pump of toffee mocha, pumpkin, or cinnamon dolce.  I consider this my signature drink. 😀

Breakfast Bonanza, day 2 (shopping energy!)

I wasn’t always a bargain shopper.

My sister was the one with the willpower.  “I’m going to wait until this goes on sale,” she’d say confidently, placing the prized shirt back on the rack until further notice.  I’d shake my head, tell her she should buy it now while she could, and move on to purchase my own expensive shirt because I couldn’t bear the thought of not having it.  Sure enough, a week would go by, and that same shirt would be half price.  Nicole would just laugh, as she purchased her favorite items.  On sale.  I would groan, realizing that I just dished out an extra $20, when I really didn’t need to.

But this story has a happy ending, because I finally (after many, many, many purchases of overpriced shirts) learned the art of patience.  The art of spending more on favorite items and spending less on others.  The art of balance.

Balance.  This one word seems to apply to everything in life, doesn’t it?

Today’s shopping trip was a full one.  From the time the mall opened to when it closed, my mom and I meandered our way through each and every store, searching for bargains.  I found lots of cute tops that I’ll put to good use with nutrition seminars and presentations.  My favorite find of the night was a $30 dress from JCPenney.  I can’t wait to pair it with a cute belt and some yellow flats. :mrgreen:

And, of course, no shop-till-you-drop shopping trip has ever occurred without the assistance of an energy packed breakfast. 

That would be Breakfast Bonanza, Day 2.

This morning I opted for something simple but amazing.  Whole wheat toasts, smeared in almond butter and pleasantly topped with plump, sweet banana slices.

I’m sure that this is probably the standard breakfast for many healthy breakfast eaters out there, but I never seem to think of it.   Obviously, I’ve been  really missing out.  This is going to be a perfect meal for those busy morning weekdays.

It was also perfect for shopping-till-dropping.  It literally kept me going all morning (and afternoon, and night!) long!

 

I think tomorrow’s breakfast is going to start with a ‘p.’  And end in ‘-umpkin.’  But it won’t involve oatmeal.  Any guesses? 😉

Question: Are you a bargain shopper?  What are you willing to splurge on and where do you try to save? 

Breakfast Bonanza, day one

The sky was extra beautiful last night.

Fierce and burning on one side. 
 

Bright blue and gentle on the other.

This resulted in a gorgeous splash of color.  The leaves were like little mirrors, reflecting the light in all different directions. 

It was stunning.

Breakfast Bonanza…step 1…

Something about the beautiful sky made me feel like baking.  Or maybe I was just looking for any old excuse to turn the oven on.

For my first breakfast bonanza challenge, I had my heart set on breakfasts scones.  With hints of cinnamon.  And orange. 

And a handful of dried cranberries for good measure.

When adding the butter to your dry mix, use a pastry cutter if this utensil is part of your kitchen collection.

If you’re like me, however, and a pastry cutter is still on your amazon wish list, two knives will do just fine. 

Hands work well too.

Cooked to golden perfection.  In fifteen minutes flat.  What’s not to love?

Breakfast Bonanza…step 2…

When it comes to breakfast, I like to focus on eating a good mix of whole grains (with fiber!), healthy fat, and lean protein.  The protein is great for keeping you full all morning long. 

I could have had eggs with my morning scone.  But I kind of, sort of, wanted greek yogurt.  Without the price tag.  😉

You will need: One strainer with very tiny holes, a bowl and a paper towl.

I wasn’t sure how much yogurt I would “lose” with the straining process, so I used two yogurts just to be on the safe side. 

Place paper towl in strainer, pour yogurt on top of paper towel, and let yogurt strain in the fridge overnight. 

(somehow this reminded me of milking a cow :mrgreen: )

Breakfast Bonanza…step 3…

Time.  To.  Eat.

This morning, I topped the greek yogurt with walnuts and a drizzle of agave.  I love how thick and creamy this came out.  Very much like chobani.

I ended up using the yogurt as more of a topping for my scone, because that’s the way I roll. 

Delicious.

Greek Yogurt–serves 1 or 2

If you’re looking for a more affordable way to include greek yogurt in your life, it’s time to make your own! 

  • 2, 6-oz. containers of plain, nonfat yogurt
  • toppings of choice

Place a paper towel in a very small-holed strainer.  Place strainer over a bowl.  (Make sure the strainer does not touch the bottom of the bowl.)  Pour yogurt on top of paper towel and let it sit overnight in refrigerator.  Pop out of paper towel the next morning, and serve with your favorite toppings (fresh fruit, nuts, honey, granola, etc.)  Enjoy! 😀

Breakfast Scones–serves 4

These were subtle in sweetness, perfect for an early morning.  Not to mention the fact that they’re very transportable.  You could easily throw a couple of these into a container with a handful of nuts and a fruit for breakfast-on-the-go. 😀

  • 1/2 c. rolled oats
  • 2/3 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • about 6 dashes of cinnamon
  • zest of one orange
  • handful of dried cranberries (about 2-3 T.)
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk (or 1/2 c. milk + 1 tsp lemon juice)
  1. Mix together first 6 ingredients (oats through cranberries.)  Cut in the butter until you have a mixture of fine crumbs.  Mix in the buttermilk, just until moistened.
  2. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Portion out 4 round scones and bake at 475 until golden brown, about 12-13 minutes.
  3. Eat while still hot or cool on rack.  May be reheated in toaster oven the following morning. 😀
  4. ENJOY!

Question: What is your favorite way to eat yogurt?

In case you missed it, there’s a Breakfast Bonanza occuring from today until November 6.  The idea is to mix things up and try new breakfasts for an entire week.  Feel free to let me know if you’ve made an awesome breakfast (via comment,) and I’ll post your breakfast my official breakfast post next week. 😀

a call for the breakfast bonanza :)

Contrary to the night owls in my life, I love an early morning.

The quiet.  The promise of a brand new day.  The feeling that I’m the only person awake in the entire world (or at least my home town 😉 ).

And, for the most part, my appreciation for the early morning has worked out pretty well  Life requires that I’m up by 5:30.  And, I’m a morning exerciser.  It works.

However, I’ve also noticed a trend beginning to occur.  I get up.  I eat.  I exercise.  I go to work.  This wouldn’t be such an “issue”, and I probably wouldn’t even be talking about it right now, aside from the fact that it involves my breakfast.

We all know that breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. 

We also all know how delicious breakfast can be.  It’s hands down my favorite meal, which is why it’s a shame that I’ve been so repetitive with it. 

Which is also the reason why I’ve decided to start a week long Breakfast Bonanza…

If you’re starting to freak out a little right now (breakfast ba-who?), don’t.  I did this last year, and the results were amazing.  Bloggers upon bloggers, all joining in with the idea of trying a new breakfast for each day of an entire week.  You can go wild and crazy or you can stick with 7 different oatmeal toppings, if that suits your fancy a little more.  Whatever you feel like doing.

The most important thing?  Mix.  Things.  Up.  Break the routine of your breakfast. 

Really, this is kind of a selfish thing for me to do.  I’m mostly looking forward to seeing what you come up with.  Because you’re all invited. 😀

Who: Anyone and everyone, whether you’re a blogger or not.
What: Breakfast Bonanza!  Make a new breakfast for each day of an entire week starting tomorrow (Saturday.)
When: Saturday (October 30) to the following Saturday (November 6)
Where: Post your breakfasts creations on your blog, and let me know via comment if you would like it to be displayed in my Breakfast Bonanza post next week. 😀
Why: Give yourself (and me) some new breakfast options.  And, HAVE FUN while doing it. 

Pumpkin Overnight Oats

I usually mix a bit of milk into my oats before popping them in the fridge.  The following morning is when the yogurt gets stirred in.  But this time, I did the opposite, stirring the yogurt in before the bedtime soak for the oats.  I liked this version best!

  • 1/2 c. old fashioned rolled oats
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 6-oz. plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • toppings: peanut butter, coconut, Natures Path Pumpkin Flax Granola

Mix all ingredients except toppings together.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  The following morning, give it a quick stir and top with your favorite add-ons.  Enjoy! 😀

Question: Do you like early mornings?
AND
Question: Who’s joining me in the Breakfast Bonanza?