Tuesday, June 1, 2010

BREAKFAST FOODS FOR THE SINGLE EATER

Frankly one of the hardest things about the day for me is making breakfast.  Everyone says that if you want to loose weight, or just plain be healthy, the best thing you can do for yourself is eat breakfast.  I've also heard that the best thing you can do in order to loose weight is to add fiber to your diet.  So, I'm attempting to do both on a daily basis.  Realistically, a bowl of Cheerios sounds pretty good for me but it doesn't really cover the fiber part of the deal.  Even the whole grain ones don't do it. 

For a few months now I've been working on a small number of really easy, really portable, fairly healthy, breakfasts that I can make or assemble ahead of time and just pick up and run out the door with and then eat at my desk.  That means no bowls of cereal because the boss tends to not appreciate the milk dribbling down my chin while I'm trying to work. Armed with these few criteria, I have been trying out things and have come up with a short list of "go to" breakfast meals that I will share because I'll bet I'm not alone in this particular quandry.

One of my favorite email newsletters comes weekly from Eating Well magazine.  I used to subscribe to the magazine until I gave up all subscriptions in an attempt to save myself some money.  Their email version is packed with great, healthy eating ideas and recipes and I've found some to add to my regular cooking portfolio. 

This breakfast bar came to me via the newsletter a few months ago and I've really fallen in love with it.  It's easy to make, delicious to eat, portable and nutritious.  BINGO!  The perfect breakfast.  I change this up just a bit by modifying the dried fruits, and today I added a few chocolate pieces for a little added sweetness.  I'd dried some of my own raisins this week with a bunch of left over, shrivelled up grapes, and tossed those in for the sweetness.  At about 25o calories per bar I can add a glass of lowfat chocolate milk to this and have my breakfast.  One of the best things this recipe did was to introduce me to a new product: Almond Butter.  I'd never had this before and it's really very good.  I also change up the type of honey from time to time.  I've become very fond of buckwheat honey for it's strong, almost molasses flavor and aroma.  It give this bar a bit more ooomph than plain clover honey.

You make these a lot like Rice Krispie treats.  Add the melted ingredients to the dry and mix very well.  Make sure you compact these VERY tightly into the pan or they fall apart when you take them out.

ALMOND HONEY POWER BAR

Makes 8 bars

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray and line with a strip of waxed paper or parchment to facilitate easier removal. 

Spread the following onto a sheet pan and toast for about 10 minutes:
   1 cup old-fashioned oats
   1/4 cup slivered almonds
   1/4 cup sunflower seeds
   1 Tbls. flaxseeds
   1 Tbls. sesame seeds (I skip these and use pepitas instead)
  
In a saucepan, mix the following and melt over medium heat:
   1/4 cup almond butter
   1/4 cup turbinado sugar
   1/4 cup honey
   1/8 tsp. salt
   1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large bowl, mix the following:
   1 cup unsweetened whole-grain puffed cereal (they recommend Kashi's 7 Whole Grain Puffs)
   1 cup mixed dried fruits (currants, raisins, dried cranberries, dates, dried apricots, whatever you like)

Add the toasted ingredients to the cereal and mix well.  Add in the melted items and stir THOROUGHLY.  Pack tightly into the pan and put in the refrigerator until well chilled, overnight is good.

Remove the bar from the pan and cut into 8 bars.  Store sealed tightly in a plastic bag in the fridge to keep firm or on the counter for a softer texture.

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