Have you ever heard this saying?

"Eat Breakfast Like A KING,
Lunch Like A Prince, and Dinner Like a Pauper"


After fasting all night, breakfast should be the most important meal of your day. Yet most of us tend to skimp on this essential meal, dashing to begin our daily grind... It's much healthier to eat heartily at the beginning of your day, and enjoy a light meal in the evening.

To make eating breakfast more appealing, lets share our favorite recipes and those we find that seem particularly appetizing.

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Market-Fresh Breakfasts

by Eve Turow
NPR - May 18, 2009

"Typical American breakfasts don't often include vegetables. Not so in other countries. I remember the shock of my first breakfast in Israel. Groggy-eyed and jet-lagged, I wandered into the hotel dining room to find a large bowl of tomato and cucumber"

Biting into my morning sandwich of perfectly toasted pita bread, yellow and red heirloom tomatoes, onion and cucumber, I knew spring had arrived.

As the season slowly flows into summer, winter greens and root vegetables give way to a bounty of fresh produce, expanding the options for lunch, dinner and, yes, even breakfast. Walk into a farmers market and find the multicolored array of white and purple splatter-painted eggplants, yellow blooming into red on bell peppers like the inside of a tulip, and heirloom tomatoes swirling with purples, greens and deep reds — new colors and shapes revealed with every slice.

I fill my bag at the market but find it hard to leave anything behind. I pause, my hand wavering above a small basket of mushrooms, eyeing the purple asparagus standing tall beside it, tapping my foot, trying to decide. I finally tear myself away.

I start snacking on my produce on the walk home when it hits me: I don't have to wait until lunch to eat my vegetables.

Typical American breakfasts don't often include vegetables. Not so in other countries. I remember the shock of my first breakfast in Israel. Groggy-eyed and jet-lagged, I wandered into the hotel dining room to find a large bowl of tomato and cucumber salad, eggplant and chickpea dips, and a tomato stew with eggs known as shakshuka. Peering into the bowl of rose-red tomatoes and clear cucumber pieces, I thought, "Salad for breakfast? What are they thinking?"

Then I tasted it. The cool crunch of the cucumber woke my taste buds, and the tomatoes released a refreshing juice. I spooned baba ganoush and hummus onto my plate, swooping it into my mouth with the warm pita bread. Perfection.

Pickled vegetables are a breakfast staple in Japan, and morning meals across India incorporate a handful of different spices and vegetables including tomatoes, onions, peppers and peas. Ethiopia's traditional breakfast dish, ful — variations of which are eaten all over North Africa — is made with fava beans, tomatoes and onions. And a traditional Turkish breakfast buffet includes not only bread and cheese, but also tomatoes, cucumbers and olives.

So I decided it was acceptable for me to incorporate vegetables into my breakfast. I could bake an egg in a tomato shell instead of a ramekin, or top my bagel and cream cheese with roasted eggplant, onion and bell peppers or avocado and tomato. Oh, the possibilities.

Besides satisfying my possibly abnormal enthusiasm for fresh produce, eating vegetables early in the day provides vitamins and minerals. One cup of tomatoes has over half the recommended daily vitamin C, and bell peppers provide a day’s worth of vitamins A and C. One cup of broccoli has 5 grams of dietary fiber, while a medium artichoke has 10 grams of dietary fiber, 40 percent of the recommended daily allotment. As sources of antioxidants and dietary fiber, vegetables are a perfectly sensible way to start your day.

In most American restaurants, adding vegetables to breakfast means a vegetable omelet or substituting tomato slices for a side of hash browns (but who really wants to eat plain tomatoes instead of fried potatoes?). There are so many more interesting options.

I look forward to exploring the possibilities. When I go to my farmers markets each week and gaze at the selection before me — the pink and white radishes or purple cauliflower — I'll be tasting tomorrow's breakfast in my mind.


Summer Squash And Red Pepper Tarta With Basil Crust

This is a traditional Argentine dish. I've added basil to the crust and roasted the vegetables instead of sauteeing them. You can also prepare this dish with pre-packaged puff pastry dough (breakfast should be easy, after all) and simply sprinkle the basil in the tart before adding the vegetables. Best of all, slice the tarta and freeze it in sections for a quick meal to go on a hectic morning.

Makes 6 to 8 servings


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks

1 large egg yolk

1 tablespoon ice water, plus more if needed


2 large red bell peppers

2 large summer squash

Olive oil for drizzling

Salt and pepper to taste

1 to 2 tablespoons fresh basil as garnish

2 large eggs

Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the butter with a pastry blender, food processor or your hands until the dough looks like coarse crumbs. Once it reaches the desired consistency, add the egg yolk and ice water, working it into the mixture. Pinch a section of the dough together between your fingers: If the dough is still crumbly and does not bind, add more ice water, a small amount at a time. You want the dough to bind without being too damp or sticky. When the dough has reached the right consistency, roll it into a ball and flatten it into a disk (this will help the dough cool faster). Then wrap the disk and place it in the refigerator for at least 30 minutes, ideally one hour.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Slice the bell peppers into quadrants and the squash into rounds 1/4 inch thick. Cover a baking sheet with foil and lightly drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Spread cut vegetables on top of seasoned foil. Drizzle again with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven for approximately 20 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften, turning them over halfway.

While the vegetables roast, take the dough from the refrigerator. Lightly flour a kitchen board and roll out the dough into a 10-inch round. Drape the dough over a rolling pin and transfer it to a 9-by-9-inch baking or pie pan. Press the dough into the pan and trim the edges.

When the vegetables are done, lower the oven temperature to 400 degrees Prick the bottom of the tart crust with a fork and place it in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until crust begins to brown. If it begins to puff, cover with foil and add pie weights, dried beans or rice to hold it down (or just push it down with an oven mitt or kitchen towel!).

Pile the vegetables into the pre-cooked tart crust, beginning with the red peppers, breaking the curled edges to let the pepper lie flat. Once the red peppers are arranged, whisk 1 egg and pour evenly over tart. Then place the squash slices and whisk the other egg and pour over the tart. Place the tart in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes. If the edges of the tart begin to brown too quickly, cover them with aluminum foil. Once the egg is cooked through, the tart is done. Cool on a rack and garnish with basil before serving.


Sweet Corn And Blueberry Pancakes

I know corn is not technically a vegetable, but it provides key nutrients and is a staple of fresh summer produce. This recipe is adapted from one in Gourmet Magazine (March 1993).

Makes about 12 pancakes

1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal (available at specialty food shops and many supermarkets)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus additional melted butter for brushing the griddle

1 large egg

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 cup fresh corn (approximately 1 large ear, corn trimmed off cob)

1/2 cup blueberries

Maple syrup or apple butter, for serving

Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking soda and sugar. In another bowl, whisk together the melted butter, egg and buttermilk. Stir corn and blueberries into the liquids mixture. Combine dry and wet ingredients. Heat a griddle or flat pan over moderately high heat until it is hot and brush it lightly with the additional butter. Drop the batter by a 1/4-cup measure onto the griddle. Spread the batter slightly, thinning the pancakes, to form 3 1/2- to 4-inch cakes. Cook the cakes for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden. As they finish, transfer them to a heatproof platter and keep them warm. Continue to add butter to the pan between batches. Serve with maple syrup or apple butter.


Eggs Baked With Spinach And Feta In Tomato Shell

This is one of my favorite breakfasts. It is quick, healthy and delicious. If you slice through the middle, you will see the red of the tomato, green of the spinach and white and yellow from the egg all piled on top of one another. It is great for entertaining or even a multitasking morning: Finish getting ready as they bake away in the oven. The recipe is adapted from 60-Minute Gourmet by Pierre Franey (Times Books 1992).

Makes 4 servings

4 large ripe tomatoes

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 medium eggs

4 tablespoons feta cheese

1 pound spinach

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut off tomato tops and set aside (may be used later as garnish). Run a paring knife around the inside edge of the tomato and scoop out insides, creating a tomato shell. Sprinkle the insides with salt and pepper and turn the tomatoes upside down on a towel to dry and drain out any excess liquids.

In the meantime, steam or sautee the spinach. To steam, fill a pan with a thin layer of water and bring to a boil. Turn off the burner, add the spinach and cover the pan until the spinach wilts. Drain out excess water once the spinach is cooked. Stand the tomatoes right side up in a pan, and place approximately 1/4 cup spinach into the bottom of each, pressing down to make room for other ingredients. Break an egg inside each tomato shell. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and feta cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Do not let the yolks become too firm. Serve immediately.


Israeli Tomato And Cucumber Salad With Pita Bread

Try this with a number of toppings that you can mix and match, or just choose one: hummus, baba ganoush, tahini. Though it isn't traditional, I like to make pita sandwiches filled with this salad and chive cream cheese for the morning.

Makes 6 servings

3 medium tomatoes, cubed into bite-size pieces

1 large cucumber, preferably with skin thin enough not to peel such as an English cucumber, cubed into bite-size pieces

4 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts, or 1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 bell pepper (optional)

Combine all ingredients, stirring to evenly distribute lemon juice and olive oil. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve with slices of warm pita bread.


About The Author

Eve Turow is a native Chicagoan currently residing in Washington, D.C. Often she can be found wandering the stands of D.C. farmers markets. She has previously written on the topics of food and travel for a local publication in Buenos Aires, and semi-regularly blogs about food, music and travel at Bacchus & I.

Breakfast Baking: Better Fast Food

by Julie O'Hara

Breakfast has long been touted as the most important meal of the day. It gives you energy and keeps your appetite in check until dinner. Unfortunately, almost no one has time to eat it. One solution to the modern breakfast dilemma isn't faster fast food, but a mainstay of home baking — the quick bread.

The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion (Countryman 2003) defines a quick bread as "a bread leavened with baking powder, baking soda, or eggs (rather than yeast), and put immediately into the oven, rather than rising on the counter first."

All you really need to know, however, is in the word "quick." These baked goods are quick to assemble and quick to bake. They can be sweet, savory, full of fruit and nuts, or plain. They include scones, muffins, biscuits, soda breads, batter loaves and corn breads.

Whether you're a parent rushing kids off to school, an urban dweller dealing with the vagaries of public transportation or a student with an 8 a.m. class, fitting in even a bowl of cereal seems difficult. It's more likely that you will grab a bite at a doughnut shop, drive-through or gourmet coffee bar en route to your destination. As greasy crumbs fall down your shirt, or your hands get sticky with icing, you'll wish you had planned ahead for something better. You'll wish you had made some quick bread.

Quick breads are the friend of the busy breakfast lover. You can bake a batch of muffins or scones in the evening or on the weekend and freeze them to preserve their just-baked freshness. This really works. Pull one out of the freezer before bed or a couple of hours before you want to eat and grab it on your way out the door. Even if you can't help eating on the run, at least you can add some whole grains and nutrients to your homemade goodies instead of buying food that is just dessert masquerading as breakfast. Even commercial bran muffins — at least the ones that taste good — are guilty of fat and sugar overload.


Banana-Raspberry Muffins with Almonds

Whole-wheat pastry flour is lower in protein than regular whole-wheat flour, resulting in tender baked goods that are still high in fiber. A small amount of unbleached all-purpose flour helps add structure.

If you don't have whole-wheat pastry flour, use half all-purpose and half regular whole-wheat. Ground flax seeds are available at health food stores and many supermarkets.

Makes 12

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

3 tablespoons canola oil

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon almond extract (1 teaspoon of vanilla extract may be substituted)

3/4 cup mashed ripe banana (from 1 to 2 bananas)

3 tablespoons ground flax seeds

1 rounded cup fresh or frozen (not defrosted) raspberries, cut in half if large

2 to 3 tablespoons sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

In another bowl, lightly whisk the egg with the oil, buttermilk, extract and mashed banana; add to the flour mixture and stir until flour is barely moist. Gently fold the flax and raspberries into the batter.

Use a scoop or a quarter-cup measure to fill prepared muffin cups with batter, reaching almost to the top. Sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and edges of muffins are golden. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Eat warm or at room temperature.

To freeze, cool completely and transfer to a zip-top freezer bag. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator or for 1 to 2 hours at room temperature.

Breakfast baking not only adds nutrition to the morning meal, but it also adds cash to your wallet. Money gurus tell us that cutting out the daily $4 latte is one ticket to financial freedom. Add to your coffee windfall the cash and calories you'll save when you give up that Texas-size blueberry streusel muffin, and soon you'll be rich and thin.

If breakfast baking sounds good in theory, but you question your culinary know-how, fear not. All you need is three basic principles: measure flour correctly, mix with a light hand and don't overbake.

First, fluff up the flour and lightly spoon it into a measuring cup without shaking the cup, which causes the flour to settle and means you'll end up with too much flour and dry baked goods. Then level the flour off with the back of a knife.

Second, be gentle when mixing by hand, and stir just until ingredients are moistened. This prevents a tough texture.

Success with the third principle depends on approaching the task with a suspicious mind. All ovens and baking pans behave differently, so keep a watchful eye, checking a couple of minutes before the shortest suggested baking time. Muffins and scones are done when a toothpick comes out clean and any coloring leans toward golden, rather than burned.

Use the following recipes to start on your way to a life of better breakfasts. They are free of buttery crumb toppings (no greasy shirtfront) and glazes (no sticky fingers), so you can travel without incident. They are moist and filled with flavorful add-ins, so no honey, jam or knives to spread them are required.

They're also sturdy enough to eat with one hand, so you're free to carry your reusable mug of home-brewed coffee in the other. And if you get all the way to your office (or class, or volunteer site) before eating your meal, don't be surprised when co-workers — even the inveterate breakfast skippers — demand samples.


Mango Colada Muffins

Made from a naturally light-colored variety of wheat, the white whole-wheat flour in this recipe behaves and tastes like unbleached all-purpose, except it contains a healthy dose of fiber without appearing too "health-foodish." King Arthur's white whole-wheat flour is available at some supermarkets and health food stores. Whole Foods Market carries both the King Arthur and Bob's Red Mill versions, which can also be ordered from the manufacturers' Web sites. You can substitute unbleached all-purpose, if necessary.

The creaming technique of beating the butter and sugar produces a small, cake-like crumb, which is kept tender by the yogurt. Look for dried pineapple rings in the bulk bins at specialty stores, so you can buy just as much as you need.

Makes 12 to 14 muffins

2 cups white whole-wheat flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 6 pieces

3/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (6-ounce) container low-fat yogurt, pina colada, pineapple, coconut or peach flavor

1 1/2 cups (1/2-inch) diced mango (from 1 1/2 to 2 firm-ripe mangoes)

1/2 cup diced dried sweetened pineapple

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons shredded sweetened coconut, divided

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In another large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat on medium speed until combined. Add the yogurt and beat until combined. The mixture will appear grainy.

Stir in the flour by hand, or use the lowest speed of a stand mixer, until combined. Gently fold in the mango, pineapple and 1/2 cup of the coconut. Use a scoop or quarter-cup measure to fill the prepared muffin cups almost to the top; sprinkle with the remaining coconut. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and edges are lightly golden. Repeat to bake any remaining batter. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Eat warm or at room temperature.

To freeze, cool completely and transfer to a zip-top freezer bag. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator or for 1 to 2 hours at room temperature.


Oat Scones with Dried Cherries and Walnuts

Commercially made scones often contain more butter than is necessary and end up greasy. These scones get their moist, tender texture from buttermilk and a judicious amount of butter gently worked into the dough by hand. The quick-cooking oats provide a subtle nutty flavor and create a dense scone without the grainy texture of rolled oats. Toasting the walnuts (spread on a baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees for 8 to 11 minutes) is essential to bring out their flavor. White whole-wheat flour is used for its nutrients and mild flavor, but unbleached all-purpose may be substituted. Have all ingredients measured and ready. Once the butter comes out of the refrigerator, it is important to get the scones in the oven as quickly as possible.

Makes 8

1 3/4 cups white whole-wheat flour

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 large egg

1/2 cup buttermilk plus up to 1 tablespoon, if needed

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/3-inch cubes

3/4 cup quick-cooking oats (not instant)

1/3 cup roughly chopped dried cherries

1/3 cup walnut halves, toasted (see note above) and chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, 1/2 cup buttermilk and vanilla.

Add the cold butter cubes to the flour mixture and use your hands to work them into the flour, breaking up and flattening some of the chunks as you go, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until you have some shaggy pieces and some small chunks of butter remaining (you can also do this with a pastry blender). You will still have plenty of loose flour, not a cohesive dough.

Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir for a few seconds to barely moisten the flour. Add the oats, cherries and walnuts, and stir gently just until ingredients are combined. The dough will be thick and will not come together into a ball. If you still have some dry oats or bits of flour at the bottom of the bowl, add up to 1 tablespoon of buttermilk, a few drops at a time, so that all of the ingredients are just moistened. You don't need a wet dough in order to pat it together in the next step.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat it together into a ball with floured hands, kneading once or twice. Flatten the ball into a thick disk and roll it into a circle, about 8 inches in diameter and 3/4-inch thick. Lightly dust the dough and work surface with flour as needed to prevent sticking. Cut the dough into 8 wedges with a large, floured knife and transfer the cut scones to the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch of space between the scones.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until bottoms are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

To freeze, cool completely and transfer to a zip-top freezer bag. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator or for 1 to 2 hours at room temperature.

Hear an interview with Julie O'Hara


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