Breakfasts

Hopefully you’re already convinced of the importance of breakfast.  If it’s the implementation of the healthy breakfast that’s Pancakesgot you hung up, read on.  Consider making a Big Batch of Pancake Mix or French Toast and Fruit Compote on the weekend, and then reheat during the week.  These pancakes reheat fabulously in the toaster.  Or while cleaning up after dinner one night, make Yogurt Parfaits or Overnight Oatmeal for the next morning.  On a rushed morning, throw together a Banana Nut Butter Wrap in less than 2 minutes and eat in transit.  If you’d rather drink your breakfast, there’s always the Fruit Smoothie with more variations than I could ever describe.

 

Big Batch of Pancake Mix

8 c whole grain flour

½ c sugar

2.5 T baking powder

4 t baking soda

4 t salt

Mix these ingredients together and store in an airtight container until ready to use.

For the whole grain flour, I’ve been using 5 to 6 c whole wheat flour and 2 to 3 c oat flour.  Experiment with your favorite flours, using as much whole grains as possible.

To make pancakes, mix 1 c pancake mix with 1 c liquid and 1 flax egg.  Carbonated water makes fluffier pancakes, but non dairy milk and water work as well.  For the flax egg, mix 1 T ground flax seeds with 3 T water and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes to gel.  Using ¼ c batter for each pancake, one cup of pancake mix makes about 9 pancakes.  It’s hardly worth the effort to just make one batch, so make at least 2 or 3 batches and freeze the leftovers with wax paper in between each layer.

On school days, my kids can either eat pancakes fresh out of the toaster like a cookie, or if we have compote, I’ll cut the pancakes up for them and serve topped with compote to help speed up consumption.

 

Fruit Compote

In a small pot, add approximately ½ c fruit per serving (diced if necessary), ½ t sugar per serving if the fruit is not sweet enough on its own, and 1T water per serving.  Cover and bring to a slow boil, then stir and reduce heat.  Continue cooking until fruit is desired tenderness, probably 10-15 more minutes.  If compote isn’t thickening, then remove lid to allow for evaporation.  Compote will further thicken upon refrigeration.

This recipe works great with any type berry, mixed berries, peaches, apples, etc.  Always make more than you think you’ll need as the fruit reduces by half when cooked, and it always goes faster than you’d expect!

 

Yogurt Parfaits

½ c non dairy yogurt per serving

½ c grains per serving

½ c fruit per serving

Alternate layers of non dairy yogurt, grains, and fruit.  Refrigerate overnight to soften grains.

Suggested grains include homemade or prepared granola, oats or oat groats, or prepared cereal such as GrapeNuts.  Most fruits work well here but remember to include berries as antioxidant powerhouses!

 

Overnight Oatmeal

½ c dry oats per serving

¾-1 c non dairy milk (or water) per serving

Pour dry oats into a mason jar or other container and add non dairy milk.  The non dairy milk should more than cover the oats- if not, add more.  While in the refrigerator overnight, the oats will soak up the milk and soften.  If the oats are not as soft as you’d like, heat the oatmeal or include more non dairy milk the next time.  Add fruit and enjoy!

Using a small mason jar makes this an easy breakfast on the go, even if you want to heat the oatmeal a bit when you get to work.  One container and no mess!

I also keep single serving size jars of dry oats in my office, which makes it really easy to add hot water and let sit for a few minutes before eating.

 

Banana Nut Butter Wrap

1 tortilla or piece of bread

2 T nut butter (peanut, almond, sunflower seed, etc)

1 banana

Spread nut butter on tortilla.  Peel banana and place in center of tortilla.  Wrap up and enjoy!

This is a great post workout breakfast on the go.

 

Fruit Smoothie

Here’s my philosophy on smoothies- you can’t really screw it up.  Even if it doesn’t taste great, it’s probably still healthy and you can just chug it.  As long as you can figure out why that variation didn’t work, you can be sure not to repeat it.  In all the years I’ve been making daily smoothies, I’ve really only screwed it up once.  And my family won’t ever let me forget it.  So don’t try to add chickpeas to a smoothie, and you’ll be fine.

The purpose of the smoothie is to get everything you need in one tasty drink.  So we include the following basics in most smoothies (listed below per serving):

1/8 c oats

1 T chia, ground flax, or hemp seeds

1 frozen banana, sliced

¼ – ½ c frozen fruit

¼ c frozen greens

1 c water, OJ, or milk

Add ingredients in the order shown and process according to your blender’s instructions.  If your blender can’t handle this amount of frozen fruit, then use fresh bananas.  Blend until desired consistency has been reached and enjoy!

A few tips:

  • Freeze fruit in slices.
  • Keeps lots of different fruits in your freezer for variety in your smoothie.  Stock up when fruit is on sale and process it immediately for the freezer.
  • While spinach goes undetected in most smoothies, kale and collards aren’t bad either
  • If you’re using a bag of frozen spinach, then use less than recommended.  Consider buying fresh spinach in bulk and immediately freezing it (it compacts greatly once frozen) or freeze it once you realize it’s not fresh enough to serve to guests.
  • Fruits such as strawberries, pineapple, and cherries are great thickeners
  • Store any leftover smoothie in a mason jar or immediately freeze in ice cube trays.  Once frozen, pop out and store in an airtight container.  Smoothie cubes are a great way to start the next day’s smoothie.  Frozen cubes can also be packed in a mason jar to defrost by lunchtime.
  • Gradually increase the ratio of greens to fruit in your smoothies.  Also experiment with adding other vegetables and notice how great you feel on the ‘truly’ green smoothie days.

For a chocolate smoothie, use non dairy chocolate milk or 1T cocoa powder per serving.  Chocolate hides the taste of greens quiet well, so throw in extra greens!