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Breakfast is Served


first [furst] – noun: 1. that which precedes all others in time, order or importance. (See also: breakfast)

breakfast_4Whether you sit down to a bowl of cereal and milk, or a blackberry Brie omelet, breakfast with loved ones during the holidays can be more than just a meal— it can be a time to recharge, reflect and create lasting memories.You may have spent days, weeks, even months plotting and planning your annual holiday feasts. But lost in the creation of elaborate dinners is a hearty and healthy breakfast.

Breakfast is often forgotten during a time of year filled with sophisticated

hors d’oeuvre recipes and everything stuffed—from stuffed turkey to stuffed mushrooms. As we routinely loosen our belts during this holiday season, the furthest things from our minds is fasting, but that’s exactly what our bodies are doing each night as we sleep. After all, the word breakfast is a compound of “break” and “fast,” referring to the conclusion of fasting since the previous day’s last meal.

Eating a good breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day. Nutritional experts have referred to breakfast as the most important meal of the day, citing studies that find that people who skip breakfast are disproportionately more likely to have problems with concentration, metabolism, and weight. When you skip breakfast, you are likely to become tired when your brain and body run low on fuel. By mid-morning, you might grab a cup of coffee or wolf down a sugary snack.
breakfast_1Skipping breakfast is a common strategy for losing weight, especially during the holidays, but not a smart or effective one. Many people believe that they will lose weight if they skip meals, but that just isn’t true; the body expects to be refueled a few times each day—beginning with breakfast.
Breakfast meals vary widely in different cultures around the world, but often include a carbohydrate such as cereal or rice, fruit and/or vegetable, protein, sometimes dairy, and beverage. Eggs are usually associated with breakfast, to the extent that many Americans consider egg dishes out of place later in the day.
Waffles with fruit and sausage patties are a contemporary hearty breakfast, and would likely be enjoyed on a weekend or special occasion. A more typical combination of food for a hearty breakfast consists of eggs (fried or scrambled), one type of meat, and one or two starchy dishes (commonly hash browns and toast). A basic breakfast combination would be a starchy food (such as toast, pastry, breakfast cereal, oatmeal, pancakes or waffles) either alone or served with fruit and/or yogurt.
A healthy breakfast should contain some protein and some fiber. Protein can come from low-fat meats, eggs, beans or dairy. Fiber can be found in whole grains, vegetables and fruits. A good example of a healthy breakfast might be something simple like a hard-boiled egg, an orange, and a bowl of whole grain cereal with low-fat milk.
Stay away from the sugary cereals, syrups, pastries, and white breads because they are digested quickly and will leave you hungry and tired in a couple of hours. Protein and fiber satisfy your hunger and will keep you feeling full until lunchtime.
breakfast_31Smells Like Breakfast
So hopefully now you’re convinced that breakfast is something you need to include in your holiday plans. But what if you are simply not hungry at that time? Many adults complain about this problem and it is usually just a matter of training.
Your body tends to like routines and it gets used to going without food in the morning and simply stops creating the desire for food. All it usually takes is a week or two of eating a small breakfast to get your body wanting food first thing in the morning. If you are one of those people though who cannot stomach food first thing, then a liquid option such as a smoothie might be perfect for you.
It’s easy to get into a breakfast rut. But breakfast doesn’t have to be ordinary fare. Menus can be creative and include variations from the norm, especially during the holidays, when family and friends are more open to try new things, to stray from their comfort zone.
Slow cooker breakfasts are a simple and exciting way to jazz up the holiday season! When you know you have no time for food preparation in the morning and you feel like you cannot face another bowl of cereal or instant oats, it’s time to take out your slow cooker and whip up a breakfast casserole the night before. It will be warm, ready and waiting the moment you wake up.
With your slow cooker you could make a Southwest-themed breakfast with peppers, chilies, cheese and sausage. Prepare all the ingredients with your favorite Southwest-inspired recipes and layer them in your slow cooker. Plug the slow cooker in before bedtime and have sour cream or fresh salsa ready in the fridge. A hearty and hot Southwest breakfast could be just what you need to pick you up in the morning.
Or check out your fresh food section at the grocery or your favorite fruit market for the freshest fruits in season. Apples, peaches and pears make for great warm breakfast cobblers using your slow cooker. You can use just one kind of fruit or mix it up! Combine fruit slices or chunks with granola and cinnamon, place in your slow cooker and drizzle with a honey-butter mixture. The cobbler will cook through the night and will greet you with its sweet smell in the morning. Wake up! Breakfast is served.
Sun-Dried Tomato Strata (serves 12)
18 half-inch-thick slices day-old bread, crusts trimmed (Italian and sourdough bread work great)
2 cups milk
8 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup half-and-half
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups shredded fontina cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (drained well and cut into thin slivers)
1/3 cup packed, shredded fresh basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a deep 9×13 baking dish by spraying the inside generously with cooking spray.
Place the bread slices in a large bowl. Pour the milk over the bread and soak for 15 minutes, turning bread slices over after 5 minutes.
In another bowl, stir together the beaten eggs, half-and-half, mozzarella, fontina, and Parmesan.

Place one third of the bread slices in the bottom of the baking dish. Scatter on a third each of the sun-dried tomatoes and basil, then spread on one-third of the egg-cheese mixture. Repeat with two more layers each of the remaining bread, tomatoes and basil, and egg-cheese mixture.

Bake 1 hour until bubbly and golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting into portions and serving.
Blackberry Brie Omelet (serves 4)
8 large eggs
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons butter,divided
4 ounces Brie cheese (sliced, with rind removed), divided
6-ounce package of Driscoll’s blackberries, divided
4 teaspoons honey, divided
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, water, salt and black pepper until well blended.
Heat an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter and coat bottom of the pan.
Pour 1/2 cup egg mixture into pan. When the egg starts to bubble push toward center with spatula, and tilt pan to allow uncooked portion to run underneath. Continue around the edges until eggs are set. Reduce heat to low. Place 1 ounce sliced Brie cheese and 1/4 of blackberries on half of the omelet. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon honey. Fold omelet over, cover, cook 1 minute or until cheese melts. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 4 omelets. Serve warm.

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