Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rise and Shine

Mom was always right when she said that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. It gets our minds and bodies ready for the day and actually improves our mental functioning (and you thought you only needed coffee for that!) If we have a satisfying breakfast full of protein and fiber, it keeps us satisfied until lunch and prevents us from becoming famished and overeating. There is actually research that says people who eat a balanced breakfast every day actually weigh less than those who don't eat breakfast. The reason? Well, eating breakfast gets our metabolism revving and prevents our bodies from thinking we are "starving" and hoarding the calories we do consume (which is usually more if we don't eat breakfast). So for those of you who don't eat breakfast because you aren't hungry, or don't have time, or . . . I encourage you to start the habit because your body will thank you.

Here are some of the things I eat for breakfast, along with some other quick "on-the-go" ideas:

  • Bowl of non-fat plain yogurt with some whole grain cereal and fruit (try Wallaby brand because it's not as "tangy" as most yogurts).
  • Simple bowl of whole-grain cereal with skim milk and fruit.
  • Instant oatmeal (if using the packets get lower sugar) made with skim milk. I like to add a tbsp of peanut butter for satiating power, banana, lots of cinnamon and toasted walnuts.
  • Bull's eye - simply cut a circle out of a piece of bread and saute and egg in the middle and top with a little shredded low-fat cheese.
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a glass of milk
  • Any good ol' cereal bar, make sure it has at least 200 calories and enough protein to hold you over if that is all you will eat.
  • Cottage cheese Toast - I like to take a piece of toast, put peanut butter and jelly on it, top it with a scoop of cottage cheese and some fruit. It sound's weird but is really good!
  • Turkey and Cheese stuffed in a pita pocket (who said it has to be "breakfast foods"?)
  • Banana boat - stuff one banana, some peanut butter, jelly, etc into a hot dog bun
  • The possibilities are endless!
Please let me know of your favorite breakfast food!

Every once in awhile, Chris and I really enjoy having the traditional breakfast on the weekends. The kind of breakfast that holds you over well after lunch time. You know what I'm talking about . . . eggs, bacon, the whole she-bang. Well, I recently tried a great Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancake recipe from www.pinchmysalt.com and it was to die for. So if you love pumpkin during the holidays, you should really try this recipe along with the other must-haves like scrambled eggs, bacon or turkey bacon, etc. Insteat of maple syrup we like to mixed pumpkin butter and cinnamon into non-fat greek yogurt which is really good.

Another great weekend breakfast recipe that we love, and also works well for company because you can make it the night before, is the Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole from CookingLight. I've tweaked it a little bit and have used a couple great products from Trader Joe's.

I hope you enjoy these because we sure do, yum!

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes


Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole



12 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)


  • Cooking spray
  • 12 ounces maple chicken breakfast sausage (from Trader Joe's)
  • 2 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 2 cups egg substitute
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 3 large eggs
  • 16 oz (about 1/2 loaf) Garlic focaccia bread from Trader Joe's (you could use 16 1-oz slices of your favorite bread)
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) finely shredded reduced-fat extrasharp cheddar cheese


1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage to pan; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring and breaking sausage to crumble. Remove from heat; cool.

2. Combine milk and next 6 ingredients (through eggs) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.

3. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes. Add bread cubes, sausage, and cheddar cheese to milk mixture, stirring to combine. Pour bread mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking or 3-quart casserole dish coated with cooking spray, spreading egg mixture evenly in baking dish. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

4. Preheat oven to 350°.

5. Remove casserole from refrigerator; let stand 30 minutes. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes.

Sometimes I like to saute some vegetables along with the sausage like zucchini or mushrooms too.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 184 (33% from fat)
Fat: 6.8g (sat 3.2g,mono 1.5g,poly 0.8g)
Protein: 15.9g
Carbohydrate: 14g
Fiber: 0.6g
Cholesterol: 76mg
Iron: 2.2mg
Sodium: 636mg
Calcium: 181mg

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