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toast-and-jam

Breakfast in Britain

Breakfast in Britain is a bit of a brain twist for Americans. They serve beans (pretty much like the pork n’ beans in a can we know from home) and mushrooms, cooked tomatoes, along with bacon, ham or sausage, or sometimes all three if you get the big breakfast, eggs of your choice and toast, brown or white.

Poached eggs on toast with a mushroom

Granted, eggs and meat are quite familiar in the USA, it’s the beans, mushrooms and tomatoes that throw us. There is also tea or coffee, of course.

Tea cup made in Worcester with Wittard’s English Rose Tea

And sometimes, even a great view!

View from County Arms, Truro, Cornwall

Since I have grown used to my green super smoothies at home, I have readjusted my breakfast thinking when I am traveling. Mushrooms are a super food, so I love that I can have them for breakfast and I quite like eggs, so I have them either poached or boiled, but occasionally fried. I was really impressed one evening at Three Tuns pub, Hay-on-Wye, Wales, when I also had a mushroom risotto with a breaded poached egg on top. Now that was delicious.

Three Tuns Pub Mixed Olive & Fennel Risotto, Creme Fraiche, Deep Fried Poached Egg, Pecorino Crackling

I have had more toast here than a year of breakfasts at home, but the jams are so delicious, it’s hard to pass up, even when making breakfast in my flat. I passed an honor jar jam sale on the street one day and paid 2 pounds, a steal compared to other jams I’ve seen, (or bought) for Ed’s Forest Fruits, which my friend Rachel tells me would be blackberries and currants.

Ed’s Forest Fruits bought at an honor jar table on street
Scrumptious Strawberry and Rose Jam from the Old Stables Tea House, Hay on Wye, Wales

Whatever it is, the fruit is big and chunky and super delicious and so I’ve had toast on more than several occasions. However, for breakfast, most days in my flat, even though there is a blender and I could make a smoothie, I have taken to having salad,

Salad for breakfast? Yes!

sweet potato and fruit.

Delicious for breakfast with a small pat of organic butter

Now that is a breakfast to write home about! Fills me up and tastes great. I am definitely adding mushrooms to the mix when I get home and I may never go back to the smoothie. What?? That’s right, as great as they are, why not have all that yumminess in it’s natural state? We will see, but for now…please pass the jam!

If you like this post, please share, and don’t forget to say what YOU are having for breakfast these days!

 

burrito w cowboy salsa

Friday Foodie: Healthy Breakfast Burrito

Wondering what happened to the Friday Foodie? I was waylaid with a cold and a few other happenings, that kept me off the computer for a few days. But better late than never, right? Here’s the last in the breakfast series:

Breakfast burritos are easy to make healthy, but just as easy to make in a not so healthy manner. Loading them up with cheese, eggs and potatoes, is not so good. Avoiding the fat and cholesterol are important when preventing Type II Diabetes. So try this for a change of pace as a healthy, filling way to start your day.

To remove excess salt, rinse a can of black beans OR any bean of your preference.

rinsing beans

Heat the beans with a couple of tablespoons of low sodium vegetable broth or water. Add a teaspoon of cumin and 1/2 teaspoon of chile powder. I used green chile powder in mine today. I also chopped up some red onion and tossed that in, though you can add any kind of onion. If using green onions, scallions, chop them and layer them on the burrito.

beans w onions cumin green chile powder

I also heated up some brown Spanish rice I had made earlier in the week. (I’ll share this recipe with you in the future.)

spanish rice

Chop some cilantro. I learned a great trick from a colleague, Elizabeth Rider. I keep my cilantro in a jar of water in the crisper drawer. I have had this cilantro for over a week, and instead of getting slimy and brown, it has stayed fairly crisp and definitely fresh.

cilantro

Heat a whole grain tortilla over the gas burner (do not attempt this if you have sensitive finger tips or not sure how to do it. I have touched hot plates, pans, etc. so much as a cook in my life, my finger tips don’t notice the heat.) or heat in a dry pan or on the shelf of a hot oven. Heat until soft, which only takes a few minutes.

heating tortilla on gas flame

Layer tortilla with beans, rice, salsa, cilantro and roll up. I wrap each in foil to keep warm while I made additional burritos and put the fresh food away. This also sets the burrito and makes it easier to eat.

burrito w cowboy salsa

What? No cheese? Yes, no cheese. We are a nation addicted to cheese and it is not healthy for us. I’ll do a post on this soon to give you my reasons. Afraid you’ll miss the cheese? Add more seasoning and salsa and you won’t miss a thing!

Fold up bottom of tortilla first.

first fold in burrito

Then fold in one side, tucking in filling as you go and then fold over the last side.

bean bkfst burrito

What makes this a breakfast burrito? Eating it for breakfast! There is nothing special about breakfast foods, so chose something that is dense in nutrients and full of fiber. This will keep the hunger at bay until lunch. Additionally, by eating breakfast, studies show you will eat 20% fewer calories throughout the day. Pick something healthy and hearty and enjoy a great day!

Friday Foodie: Healthy Breakfast Burrito
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: New Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
A hearty burrito that is great for breakfast, but can be enjoyed for any meal of the day.
Ingredients
  • 4 whole grain tortillas
  • 1 can of black or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2-3 Tbs of vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chile powder (or ½ c chopped green chile)
  • ¼ c chopped onion
  • 1 c Spanish brown rice
  • ½ c salsa
  • ½ c chopped scallions
  • ½ c chopped cilantro
  • optional: sliced avocado
Instructions
  1. Heat beans in vegetable broth over medium/high heat
  2. Add cumin and chile
  3. Stir in onion
  4. Once hot, set aside
  5. Heat tortillas either one at a time over gas flame OR on rack in 400 degree oven
  6. Layer ¼ c Spanish rice down center of tortilla, stopping an inch from the bottom
  7. Layer ¼ of beans down rice
  8. Layer with 2 tbs salsa
  9. Sprinkle with scallions if using
  10. Layer with 2 Tbs of cilantro
  11. Add a few slices of avocado if using

 

 

My-Ultimate-Health

Lining up for breakfast!

 

 

Breakfast IS the most important meal of the day. In continuing my series on breakfast ideas, here are a few that can start your day without spiking the blood sugar levels and keep you full throughout the morning: green smoothie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday’s Green Smoothie!

Oatmeal is by far one of the best choices you can make. Oats are chock full of soluble fiber, which helps remove cholesterol from your body. It also helps bring your blood sugar under control AND aids in the loss of weight. Great reasons to have oats. BUT, you may have grown up like I did covering it with brown sugar and butter or milk and this is NOT the healthy way to eat your oats. Also, avoid the Minute oats or Instant oats (which generally contain lots of sugar and flavorings), as the more broken down the fibers, the less benefit you receive. Old fashioned oats only take five minutes and they are well worth the invested time. Try this recipe, but cut the maple syrup down to 1 tsp if you are pre-diabetic, or you can cut it out completely and add a bit more cinnamon to “sweeten” the oats. My new program will be coming soon and eating a healthy breakfast will be an important component.

banana nut oatmea

Another great idea for oats, chop an apple, peel and all, and add with the oats, along with a teaspoon or two of cinnamon. A few slices of banana can also be added, or a cup of blueberries.

Some not so ordinary ideas for breakfast include a veggie wrap and you can use the cashew cream or hummus, but be careful of commercial hummus. It is often full of fat, so consider making your own following this recipe.

wrap-w-arugula

I also eat salad for breakfast when I am in a hurry or have an early plane to catch. I pick up a salad at Trader Joes, or make my own when possible, pack an ice pack, and I can eat on the plane, passing on the pretzels and cookies. I have had no problem taking an ice pack through security.

The Cowgirl bowl is a good choice too, but I wrote this recipe before I understood the impact dairy has on us. Try it without the cheese and sour cream. Load up on the salsa instead.

cowgirl bowl

Breakfast doesn’t have to be eggs and bacon any more. Branch out and try something new, but above all else, eat your breakfast!

blog closing

Beat Diabetes

What’s your breakfast I.Q?

chocolate smoothie

Eat your breakfast, a common phrase from moms when I was growing up, but a distant ritual of the past for a lot of people these days. Yet mom knew what she was talking about. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. A study presented at the Neuroscience 2012 conference demonstrated that individuals who skipped breakfast, when shown pictures of high calorie, low nutrient foods, were more attracted to these pics than those who ate breakfast. (Don’t you love brain science? They must have so much fun watching our brains light up for whatever they’re testing!)

Additionally, those who skipped breakfast ate 20 PERCENT more calories at lunch than those who ate breakfast! What they found to be the cause of this? You guessed it…the ORBITOFRONTAL CORTEX! What? You didn’t guess this? Really? Okay, me either, but it turns out this is the portion of our brain that processes the reward value of tastes and smells. Thus those pictures must have looked mighty tasty.

Lesson: Eat a healthy breakfast every morning no matter what to keep those lunch calories from shooting too high. This is an important key to keeping your blood sugar stable. I’ll share some healthy breakfast ideas next week, here at My Ultimate Health.

blog closing

Buckwheat blueberry pancakes with strawberry compote

Friday Foodie: Buckwheat Blueberry Pancakes with Strawberry Compote

 

Just in case you missed this last year, I’m running it again, as I think these are simply the most delicious pancakes I’ve ever come up with and are the perfect breakfast for Easter morning.

I LOVE pancakes and buckwheat has become my new favorite. Buckwheat has a distinctive nutty taste that is perfect for pancakes. This is a great recipe for the Easter weekend, especially since strawberries are starting to appear in the grocery and be worth eating.

I use oat flour and buckwheat in this recipe. To make oat flour, simply run oats through a blender until pulverized into flour. DO NOT use instant oatmeal. You can use old fashioned or quick oats.

       

Use a whole grain cereal such as this Nature’s Path Organic multi-grain flake.

Beat the egg whites until they are stiff and form peaks when the beaters are removed from the bowl. (The vegan variation is listed in the recipe.)

Fold the egg whites into the batter.

Fold in the blueberries.

Scoop batter up in a 1/3 cup measure and cook on a hot griddle or skillet, set at medium heat. Be sure and put griddle onto heat while preparing batter.

Make a delicious strawberry compote and serve warm over pancakes.

Use any high quality balsamic vinegar, but a fruity one, such as this Vanilla & Fig by the Temecula Olive Oil Company, is fantastic.

Sorry this is a bit blurry, but when you heat the strawberries, they will stick a bit to the pan. By adding the tablespoon of water, and stirring, the pan will be deglazed. Then pour this into the strawberry mixture to give it a bit more syrup.

Delicious!

My little Easter bunnies some 28 years ago! I love you boys!

Enjoy these delicious pancakes with someone you love. This recipe makes enough for 2 – 4 people depending on how hungry and whether or not an accompanying dish is served. Try spreading almond butter on pancakes instead of butter. This with the compote is incredible!

Enjoy and have a wonderful Easter!

Buckwheat Blueberry Pancakes with Strawberry Compote
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
A healthy pancake made with buckwheat flour, seeds and grains served with a strawberry compote
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbs. raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tbs. millet
  • 1¾ cups buttermilk (vegan use almond or coconut milk)
  • 2 eggs, separated (*for vegans, use 2 Tbs ground flax seed mixed with 6 Tbs. warm water. Allow to sit for ten minutes then add in place of eggs.)
  • 2 Tbs. frozen unsweetened apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 cup bran flakes cereal (one low in sugar, high in fiber)
  • ⅓ cup oat flour
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 ½ tsps. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup blueberries, optional OR 1 cup banana slices, optional
  • Ingredients for: Strawberry Compote
  • 1 pound of fresh strawberries
  • 1 or 2 tsps sugar (just enough to release juices from berries)
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar (a fruity balsamic, such as pomegranate or fig/vanilla, is excellent)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbs water
Instructions
  1. Place a small non-stick skillet on medium/high heat.
  2. Add the sunflower seeds and stir occasionally for 2 mins or until lightly toasted and remove to cool.
  3. Add millet and stir for a minute or two until toasted. The millet will pop a bit as they open up.
  4. Remove to cool and set aside while assembling other ingredients.
  5. While preparing pancakes, place griddle or skillet on burner set to medium and allow to heat.
  6. Place egg yolks in a bowl and beat slightly.
  7. Add buttermilk, bran flakes, and juice concentrate.
  8. Mix.
  9. Beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside.
  10. In a large bowl, measure flours , baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  11. Add the millet and sunflower seeds.
  12. Pour in the buttermilk mixture and stir with a fork until blended and just moist.
  13. Do not over stir.
  14. Fold in egg whites.
  15. Fold in berries.
  16. Spray skillet with nonstick cooking spray or brush with canola oil.
  17. (If using spray, remove skillet from heat source and spray over kitchen sink.)
  18. Using a ⅓ cup measure, scoop out pancake batter and pour onto skillet.
  19. Allow to set until bubbles form, turn and cook other side.
  20. As pancakes are ready, place in warm oven on heat proof plate while preparing remaining pancakes.
  21. *Vegan variation: Add flax seed mixture to liquids and proceed. Though the batter will not be as fluffy as that lightened with egg whites, they are still delicious.
  22. Instructions for Strawberry Compote:
  23. Wash and hull 1 pound of strawberries
  24. Quarter the berries and sprinkle with sugar.
  25. Allow to set for 15 minutes so the berries will begin to release their juices.
  26. Place in skillet over medium heat and stir until sugar is completely dissolved.
  27. Add vanilla and balsamic.
  28. Stir until strawberries are heated through.
  29. Remove from heat and pour berries into a bowl.
  30. Add water, return to heat and stir to release anything that stuck to pan.
  31. Add this mixture to berries.
  32. Keep warm and serve over pancakes.

 

 

Green Eggs and Beans

Friday Foodie: Green Eggs and Beans

This is a super simple breakfast that is unbelievably delicious by itself or served on toast or tortillas. I came up with this idea after laying in bed one morning thinking about a recipe I had seen with eggs cooked in salsa. I decided to experiment and see what I could come up with and this is the result: Green Eggs and Beans! It’s a healthy, hearty way to start your morning!

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread a can of refried black beans or pinto beans in the bottom of a ten inch oven proof skillet. (Use a deep dish pie pan if you don’t have an oven proof skillet.) I rubbed just a hint of olive oil over the bottom of the skillet to keep the beans from sticking. A non-stick spray is fine too.

Pour a jar of salsa verde over the top of the beans. Make four indentions with a spoon, pressing the indention down into the beans, but don’t go to the bottom of the skillet.

Carefully break the eggs, one into each indention.

eggs in salsa verde wells

Bake ten to twelve minutes, just until the whites turn white.

eggs cooked

As soon as the whites actually turn white at about the ten to twelve minute mark, remove from oven and spread with green onions and an ounce of good quality shredded cheddar cheese. Too much cheese and you end up with a not so healthy dish.

Return to oven for two to ten minutes, depending on how hard you like the yoke of the egg. I like mine runny, but overcooked these a bit. Next time I would have a total of no more than fifteen minutes from start to finish.

Green Eggs and Beans

Serve by itself, on toast or on crisp corn tortillas. Sheer morning yumminess!

Green eggs and beans on toast

Have a great weekend! Enjoy!

Friday Foodie: Green Eggs and Beans
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: New Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 - 4
 
Super simple hearty skillet breakfast of beans, eggs and salsa verde.
Ingredients
  • One can refried black beans or pinto beans, non-fat variety
  • One jar salsa verde
  • Four high quality eggs
  • Four scallions chopped
  • One ounce high quality cheddar cheese, shredded
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Prepare ten inch oven proof skillet with non-stick spray or thin coat of olive oil.
  3. Spread beans on bottom of skillet.
  4. Pour salsa verde on top of beans.
  5. Make four indentions in the salsa, pressing down into the beans, but not to bottom of pan.
  6. Gently crack one egg into each indention.
  7. Bake just until whites turn whites and eggs are set.
  8. Remove from oven and spread with green onions and cheese.
  9. Return to oven and cook for another three to ten minutes, depending on the desired doneness of the eggs.
  10. Serve alone or on top of toast or on a bed of crisp corn tortillas.
  11. To crisp corn tortillas, cut into wedges, bake on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees, for five to ten minutes, being careful not to burn.

 

Beat Diabetes

3 Steps to Kickstart Your Morning

It’s a beautiful mornin’! Or is it? How did you start your day today? Rushing? Yelling? Slamming down some coffee? Late for work? Starting the morning in this way will not lead to anything positive. Establishing a regular morning routine, one which includes a healthy breakfast, can mean the difference between a day filled with chaos or one full of peace and productivity. Here are three steps to starting the morning in a fantastic day making way:

1. Set the alarm 20 minutes earlier than your norm. Make your drink of choice and have a seat with a spiritual read or take time to meditate. This simple act gives your brain a positive message to think on while you proceed through the rest of the morning routine.

2. Eat a healthy breakfast. This is still the most important indicator of a successful day. We have been hearing about this for years BECAUSE IT WORKS! If you don’t eat breakfast, your brain will stall out and your energy wane, long before the lunch whistle blows and you won’t be impressing your boss (whether that’s yourself or someone else) with dull, uninspired work.

3. Leave the television OFF! Yes, OFF! What is the worst thing that could happen if you don’t listen/watch the infotainment news of the morning and wait until you turn on your computer at work to see the headlines? The BEST thing that can happen is your mind can dwell on positive thoughts generated by your morning read AND give you the time to think creatively before you switch into DRIVE mode.

By kickstarting your morning with a regular routine using at least these three simple steps, you can find your productivity rising and your smile styling all day!

Need some help KICKSTARTING your morning routine? Contact me: jane@janeannthompson.com