Friday, July 29, 2011

Good Morning!

      Stretch, yawn, rub your eyes, throw the alarm clock across the room...and wake up! Breakfast generally doesn't get the attention it deserves at my house. I'm not exactly a morning person, especially not before I get some caffeine in my system and Chris would like to ignore the fact that time before noon exists. On the other hand, the kids are up early and are energetic and cheerful and noisy every morning. So having breakfast foods that are quick and easy to prepare and don't require much thought is very important here. With back-to-school right around the corner it's time for us to start re-training ourselves to get up and be productive in the morning and part of that is getting everyone back in the habit of eating a little breakfast before we scatter our separate ways for the day.
      There are some very easy ways you can save yourself some time and energy in the mornings by just working ahead a little. The next time you make pancakes, make a double (or bigger) batch and freeze them in zip-lock type bags. They reheat nicely in the toaster and the same goes for waffles. Muffins are also fairly simple and if you take time to mix up your own, you can make them as healthy and flavorful as you want. They also freeze in zip-lock bags well to reheat in the microwave. A blend of chopped, frozen fruit and some almond milk run through the blender makes a terrific smoothie and it can easily be a meal on the go if you put it in a travel mug! I added a new recipe to my repertoire last night; a breakfast casserole cooked in my trusty sidekick "The Crock Pot" overnight so it was ready to serve when we got up this morning. YUMMY!
     Since I'm a type-2 diabetic these recipes have been tested to be adjustable for a carb conscious diet and now I get great results from them every time. Hopefully they will help make your mornings a little less stressful so you can have more good mornings!

 The Best Fruit Muffins

 1 1/2 C All Purpose Flour (Whole Wheat is fine but doesn't rise as well)
 3/4 C Ideal Sweetener
 1/2 tsp Salt
 2 tsp Baking Powder
 1/3 C Vegetable Oil
 1 Egg
 1/3 C Milk
 1 1/2 C Frozen Blueberries    (or 1 1/2 C any fruit, drained if using canned)
 1/8-1/4 C Brown Sugar for Topping

     Pre-Heat Oven to 400. Grease muffin pan or use paper liners.
     Mix dry ingredients first, mix oil, egg and milk in a separate bowl then add to dry ingredients. Stir until just blended then fold in fruit. When using frozen fruit or berries, keep frozen until ready to use and toss them with cornstarch to keep them from sinking to the bottom of the muffins! Sprinkle tops with brown sugar and bake for 15-20 minutes (until golden brown on top). Makes 6 large to 12 medium size muffins.

Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole
(note: I use a very large, 5qt Crock Pot but this works just as well halved or quartered for smaller appetites.)

5 med Potatoes, sliced in rounds - Can substitute thick slices of zucchini for a major cut in carbs
1 med Onion, chopped
1 Green Pepper, chopped
1 lb Bulk Pork Sausage, any flavor, Cooked and Drained
2 C Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
12 Lg Eggs
1 can Evaporated Milk (or almond or soy)
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper

     Spray Crock-Pot with non-stick spray. Beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper together. Layer in the crock-pot  in this order : Potatoes, Onions and Peppers, Sausage, Cheese, repeat. Next pour egg mixture in. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top, cover and cook on low 8-10 hours.

 Favorite Freezable Pancakes (makes a large batch, perfect for freezing ahead!)

 4 C All Purpose Flour (can mix half and half with whole wheat)
 4 tsp Baking Powder
 1 tsp Salt
 2 cans Clear Soda (Sprite, 7-Up, Etc-I've even used Diet Crush Orange Soda in a pinch! Diet works just as well)

Mix flour, baking powder and salt, add soda and mix gently until batter is mostly smooth and pourable. I use a 1/4 C measuring cup to pour batter on my electric griddle, set to 350. Turn when edges start looking cooked. This makes thick, fluffy pancakes that hold up well going from freezer to toaster. Have fun experimenting with flavored sodas to create a unique breakfast treat!

 Go Go Gadget Smoothies

1 C Frozen Chopped Fruit, any kind. If using frozen mixed berries there's no need to chop. 
1 C Almond Milk (or Soy)

 Put it in a blender, cover and puree until smooth!  The almond milk adds a kick of protein to help your body digest the carbs from the fruit. My favorite flavor combinations cover all my bases on getting what I need to get into my body in the morning.

1 C Frozen Raspberries (8 grams of fiber!)
2 TBSP Peanut Butter (8 grams of protein! Can also use almond butter for less fat)
1 C Almond Milk (only 3 net grams of carbs per cup and no cholesterol!)

Now, on those mornings where I need a little extra motivation, I put this one in the blender and go!

1 C Chilled, Fresh, Strong Coffee (I prefer mine strong enough to dissolve the spoon, but adjust to taste)
1 C Almond Milk
1/2 TBSP Cocoa Powder
2 TBSP Ideal Sweetener  - I strongly recommend dissolving sweetener and cocoa in the coffee before chilling, tends to get grainy if not.
1 C Halved Frozen Strawberries

If I have this I add a slice of Whole Wheat Bread with 2 TBSP Peanut Butter to get my fiber and protein.

Thanks for reading and have a good morning!


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