The key to motivation in the morning is to get out of a same-old-foods rut and kick-start the day with new, creative ideas. Taking just a few minutes to have something to eat can really make a difference to your day. You can incorporate a healthy breakfast into your everyday routine. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Mediterranean Breakfast Sandwich
- 4 multi-grain sandwich thins
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon snipped fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
- 1 medium tomato, cut into 8 thin slices
- 4 tablespoons feta cheese
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Split sandwich thins; brush cut sides with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil. Place on baking sheet; toast in oven about 5 minutes or until edges are light brown and crisp.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil and the rosemary over medium-high heat. Break eggs, one at a time, into the skillet.
Cook about 1 minute or until whites are set but yolks are still runny. Break yolks with a spatula. Turn eggs over and cook until the yolks are solid. Remove from the heat.
Place the bottom halves of the toasted sandwich thins on four serving plates. Divide spinach among sandwich thins. Top each with two of the tomato slices, an egg and 1 tablespoon of the feta cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with the remaining sandwich thin halves. Serve or wrap in foil for a to-go sandwich.
Homemade Oat Squares
Serve the oat squares in cereal bowls with low-fat milk.
- 1 ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)
- 1/4 cup oat bran
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons almond butter
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Nonstick cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Place oats in a food processor. Cover and process until finely ground.
Add oat bran, flour, brown sugar, almond butter, the water, honey, baking soda and salt.
Cover and process until combined.
Coat a 9 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
Press oat mixture firmly into the prepared baking pan. Cut mixture into one-inch squares with a sharp knife.
Bake about 30 minutes or until golden.
Turn off the oven; let oat squares dry in the oven with the door closed for 30 minutes.
Remove squares from the pan; break apart. Cool completely.
Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ½ cup sliced fresh mushrooms
- ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
- 3 ounces diced mozzarella cheese (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 green onion thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 whole wheat pita breads
- 1 cup fresh chopped Roma tomatoes
- Grated Parmesan cheese for topping
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a medium skillet, heat oil. Add mushrooms and bell pepper; cook for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in green onion, garlic and black pepper. Divide mixture in half.
Place pitas on a parchment or foil covered baking sheet. Top each with the mushroom mixture. Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese and tomato.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.
- 2 slices regular bacon or turkey bacon
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup sliced green onions (2)
- 2 cups coarsely chopped, stemmed fresh kale or spinach leaves
- 5 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Four 10 inch high-fiber whole grain flour tortillas, warmed
Coat a large skillet with cooking spray. Cook bacon in the skillet until crisp. Remove to a paper towel, cool and chop; set aside.
Heat the oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add peppers and green onions; cook about 2 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
Add kale or spinach; cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes more or until the kale begins to wilt.
In a medium bowl combine eggs, cottage cheese, Italian seasoning, black pepper and chopped bacon. Pour egg mixture over the vegetables in skillet.
Cook over medium heat. As mixture sets, run a spatula around the edges of skillet, lifting egg mixture so the uncooked portion flows underneath. Continue cooking and lifting edges just until the egg mixture is set.
Slide egg mixture from the skillet onto a cutting board; cut into quarters.
For each wrap, place one egg portion in the center of a tortilla. Fold in opposite sides; roll up. If desired, secure with wooden skewers or wrap in foil for a to-go breakfast.
Breakfast Fruit Parfaits
Prepare the granola in advance, so it is available for a quick breakfast assembly.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 4 cups regular rolled oats (not quick cooking)
- 1/3 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup toasted unsalted nuts of your choice (I like sliced almonds)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 2 ½ cups cubed seasonal fruits, (in winter, use mangoes, kiwifruit, papayas, bananas and/or pineapple)
- 2 cups lime, coconut or a favorite desired flavor of Greek yogurt
- Additional nuts and coconut to sprinkle on the top
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly coat a 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.
In a medium bowl combine oats, the 1/3 cup coconut and the nuts.
In a small bowl combine honey, oil and brown sugar. Drizzle honey mixture over the oat mixture. Stir until the oats are coated. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring twice. Line a large baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Spread the baked granola onto prepared baking sheet and cool.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
To make parfaits:
Place about 2 tablespoons of the cubed fruit in each of eight 6 to 8 ounce glasses. Add 2 tablespoons of yogurt to each glass. Add 1 tablespoon of the granola to each glass. Repeat layers, but do not stir. If desired, top with additional coconut and nuts. Serve immediately or cover and chill for up to 4 hours.
PEACH BREAKFAST PARFAITS:
Prepare granola as directed, except stir 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon into the honey mixture. Assemble parfaits as directed, except substitute chopped, peeled peaches and use peach or honey-flavored Greek yogurt.
BERRY CHEESE PARFAITS:
Prepare granola as directed. For parfaits, substitute 1 1/2 cups mixed fresh berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or sliced strawberries) and omit the yogurt. In a medium mixing bowl place 12 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature, 3 tablespoons honey and 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Beat in 1 to 2 tablespoons milk to make a soft consistency. Assemble as directed above, substituting the cheese mixture for the yogurt. Top with sliced almonds.
CHERRY CHEESE PARFAITS:
Prepare granola as directed. For parfaits, substitute 1 1/2 cups frozen and thawed sweet cherries and omit the yogurt. In a medium mixing bowl place 12 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature, 3 tablespoons honey and 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Beat in 1 to 2 tablespoons milk to make a soft consistency. Assemble as directed above, substituting the cheese mixture for the yogurt. Top with sliced almonds.
When it comes to giving this holiday season, be creative and make a truly personal gift for your friends and family. Homemade mixes are also one of the best Christmas gifts. There’s nothing like a homemade food gift, beautifully packaged along with recipe cards, to add warmth to the holidays.
Makes about 8 cups
- 1 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 3 cups raw almonds, sliced
Adjust the oven rack to an upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, salt and cinnamon in large bowl. Whisk in oil. Fold in oats and almonds until thoroughly coated.
Transfer oat mixture to prepared baking sheet, spread across sheet into a thin, even layer (about 3/8-inch thick). Using a stiff metal spatula, compress oat mixture until very compact.
Bake until lightly browned, 50 minutes, rotating pan once halfway through baking. Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 1 hour. Break into pieces of desired size and package in decorative containers for gifts.
Apple Tea Mix
- 2 tablespoons loose green tea
- 2 tablespoons snipped crystallized ginger
- 1 teaspoon whole allspice
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 6 dried apple slices
- 6 3-inch cinnamon sticks
In a small bowl combine tea, crystallized ginger, allspice and cloves. Divide tea mixture and dried apple slices among six paper tea filters. Tie the tops of the filters with kitchen string, tying a cinnamon stick at the top of each. Place filled tea filters inside six decorative heat-proof mugs.
Attach the following directions for serving:
To Make Spiced Apple Tea: Add 6 to 8 ounces of hot water to one mug. Add a tea bag and let steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and discard the tea bag. Place cinnamon stick in the mug and serve.
Hazelnut Brownie Mix
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 ounces milk or dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup chopped, toasted hazelnuts
- 1/3 cup mini marshmallows
In a 1-quart decorative jar layer sugar, cocoa powder and chopped chocolate. In a small bowl stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Spoon over chocolate in the jar. Top with hazelnuts and marshmallows; fasten lid.
Attach the following directions for making brownies.
To Make Brownies:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over the edges of the pan. Grease the foil; set pan aside.
In a large bowl whisk together 2/3 cup melted butter and 3 eggs until well combined. Add the contents of the jar to the butter mixture; stir until well combined. Spread batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes. (Moist crumbs will remain attached to wooden toothpick inserted near center of brownies). Cool brownies in the pan on a wire rack. Use foil to lift uncut brownies out of the pan. Place on a cutting board. Cut into bars.
Coconut-Pecan Muffin Mix
Makes: 1 gift (4½ cups)
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- One 7-ounce package sweetened shredded coconut (2 2/3 cups)
- 3/4 cup pecans (chopped)
- 12 muffin paper cup liners
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugars and salt. Mix in the coconut and pecans.
Transfer the mix to a resealable decorative paper bag. Wrap with ribbon and affix with a label and a gift tag with the baking instructions.
Copy the following instructions on a gift tag or label to include with your gift:
“Heat oven to 350º F. In a large bowl, whisk together 3 large eggs and ¾ cup canola oil. Add the muffin mix and stir just until combined. Divide among the cups of a 12-cup muffin tin lined with the paper liners. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.”
4 dozen truffles
- 1/2 pound semisweet chocolate
- 1/2 pound good-quality bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream or whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
- 2 tablespoons coffee flavored liqueur
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Coarsely chop both chocolates and set aside.
Heat the cream and instant coffee in a saucepan, stirring to blend. When bubbles start to form along the edge of the pan, remove from the heat. Scatter the chocolate over the cream, stirring gently until melted. Set aside for 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the liqueur and vanilla. Stir gently, just until evenly blended. Scrape the chocolate into a shallow bowl. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours or up to 1 week.
Using a teaspoon or a melon baller, scoop up enough chocolate to make balls 1 inch in diameter. Place the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Thoroughly combine the cocoa and powdered sugar in a bowl, making sure all the lumps are removed. Roll the balls in the cocoa mixture, shaking off the excess, then transfer to wax paper. Place each truffle in a candy paper cup and package in a decorative gift boxes.