The Five Minute Breakfast

Healthy, quick and a bit unconventional!!!

I’ve never been a breakfast lover.  As a kid I didn’t like cereal, eggs or pancakes.  My favorite was a liverwurst sandwich which was not my Mom’s idea of a good morning start.  I like a breakfast that is simple to make and easy to clean up.  That way I have more time in the morning to get ready for the day.

For most of my adult life, I would rely on a cheese sandwich for my morning meal.  It was quick to make and very portable.  I could eat it in the car as I was driving to work.

About 20 years ago I discovered fruit-based breakfasts.  Ed and I were at Esalen in Big Sur, California.  Every morning their breakfast table would include a sumptuous array of fresh seasonal fruits.  I would load up my plate with three or four fruits and add a hard-cooked egg for protein.  It was simple and very satisfying.

When I got back home, I began to have fruit plates for breakfast, but substituted a handful of nuts (almonds or walnuts) for the egg.  It was portable, nutritious, tasty and quick!

To keep myself from getting into a breakfast “rut” I sometimes cook rice, oat groats or steel cut oats in broth.  I season them in a savory fashion with onion, garlic and soy sauce as I do not care for most breakfast sweets (other than fruit).  They can also be cooked in coconut or almond milk or fruit juice and sweetened with honey or agave. Fresh or dried fruits and nuts make for a delicious concoction.

Several years ago I discovered “congee”, a savory rice gruel.  It has become a favorite breakfast food.  I cook half a cup of brown rice in about 5 cups of water (or broth).  I add a chopped onion and a generous amount of garlic and cook it for 1.5 – 2 hours until the rice has broken down and the fluid has a creamy texture.  Often I’ll add chopped spinach, grated carrot, bits of leftover chicken and grated ginger.  I use salt, soy sauce and sesame oil to enhance the flavor.  I store the congee in the refrigerator.  A serving takes a microwave minute to warm up.  When I have leftovers (even soggy salad) I will add them.  Just writing this up makes my mouth water!!

This week I am breakfasting on cold steel cut oats cooked for about 35 minutes with onion and garlic and stored in the refrigerator.  I could cover it with milk or broth and microwave it.  But I discovered that I love eating it as cold “paste”.  So that’s another very fast breakfast with very little clean-up.  I cook oat groats in a similar fashion, but they take up to two hours to become soft and chewy.  A friend with cholesterol issues found that she had lowered her numbers by eating oat groats every day.

I also love smoothies for breakfast but they take more prep and clean-up time.  Yes, I am lazy in the morning!!!!  I make smoothies with my blender.  I always use banana, apple and some fluid such as fruit juice, almond milk or cocoanut milk.  Favorite additions to that base are watermelon, cantaloupe, blueberries and spinach.  Any or all work.  For extra protein, I add yogurt or protein powder, and I always use a few ice cubes to create a nice chilled drink.

Using these approaches my breakfast has been transformed into an enjoyable morning event!!

Art Boards for Free!!

I was reminded recently by Arizona Artist, Cory Celaya, of the use of recycled hard book covers as art supports.  I’ve been doing this for a long time.  I use them for small works and have worked on them in a variety of media: graphite pencil, acrylic paint, collage, and even encaustic!

For collage, the covers can be resurfaced by collaging on pages from the book itself.  Pick covers that are in decent condition.  You don’t want “dog-eared” corners on your finished work.  Remove the text block and cut away the spine.  You’ll have two boards to finish. Use white glue (Tacky is my favorite) watered down to the consistency of cream.  Cover the front being sure to wrap around the sides.  While still wet, wrap the cover in waxed paper and place under a weight.  A brick wrapped in contact paper or felt will work well.  When dry, add a coat of gesso to provide a nice surface to receive your next layer.

If I want a “fine art” surface to work on for drawing,watercolor or encaustic then I usually will cover the board with Velin Arches or 90# watercolor paper.  I place the cover on the paper and draw a light line around the cover.  Next I add 3/4” margin all around.  Using a 45 degree angle I cut off the corners leaving about two cover thickness to cover the corner.  I paint the paper with a thin coat of the diluted glue and lay the cover on the page.  Then I glue the two long sides, tucking in the corners.  To finish I glue the short sides, cover with waxed paper and weight down.  It’s important to have a bone folder to make sure that you get all the air bubbles out before you turn the corners , and again before you wrap the board in waxed paper.

Platinum Patti

Meet “Platinum Patty”

my  birthday doll

Last year I learned about a fiber artist who celebrates her birthday by  making a doll.  I decided I would do the same and made a doll from the gift wraps that were used on presents my sister sent me.  I called her “Sallie Fran”.

This year was a landmark birthday so Ed (my husband) and I decided to celebrate by spending a week by the sea.  We traveled to Oceanside where we had rented a condo at North Coast Village.  I brought along a little bag of stuff that could be used to make a doll.   On my birthday I birthed “Platinum Patty” at the dining table. I had hoped to incorporate beach items in the doll, but the beach at Oceanside is quite clean and the beach-combing rather scant.

Her arms and legs are wrapped fabric rolls.  Her hair is a scrubbie – to represent my every greying hair.  And the yarns chosen to adorn her were from the lovely packages friends had prepared for me.  The little book contains a special affirmation I had written to help give focus to my future.  The cover of the book is from paper gift wrap given to me on my birthday.