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!!