butterscotchblastoff

Kick start your day with a good breakfast

No bread–day 2

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This looks pathetic, but tasted delicious. The egg was fried to perfection in unsalted butter, as was the grilled tomato. Really, a grilled tomato is one of the best things in the world. No English or Irish fry-up is complete without it. For years, until their cuisines were improved by new chefs with an interest in quality ingredients and a wider variety of techniques, the only thing worth eating on a trip to either exquisitely beautiful country was breakfast.

Eat Move Sleep by Tom Rath reinforced my own doctor’s advice to consume less bread: “According to one expert, eating two pieces of whole wheat bread increases your blood sugar more than eating two tablespoons of pure sugar…. As one of the world’s leading researchers on obesity put it, the next time you consume buttered toast, consider that the butter may be healthier than the bread.”

Rath’s book is filled with safe, sensible advice on nutrition, exercise, and what too many experts ignore–at our peril–how to sleep well. So, that’s my rant for this evening. Good night!

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No bread for Lent…

except for the host at Mass, of course. This self-denial has a secondary advantage. (I never claimed to be a terrific Catholic–well-meaning, maybe, but good? No). I eat way too much bread: a piece of whole wheat under melted cheese for breakfast, two pieces of whole wheat in my sandwich at lunch, and whatever’s in a break basket at a restaurant for dinner. (This week, it was the most luscious naan at Sahib in Curry Hill: 104 Lexington @ 27th Street. Note to self: remember this place, the food was delicious!)

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Crunchy peanut butter on crisp, sweet apples is a satisfying combination.

My own doctor has said, “Make bread a treat.” Well, for 40 days, I’m going to take a break from bread altogether. Who knows? I may learn to love tuna salad on crispy greens, hummus on kale chips, and a slice of cheese without the salt and crunch of a cracker. It’s worth trying: 40 days should be more than enough to change a habit.

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Falling Temperatures

Happy Fall! 43 degrees F this morning…perfect! The corgi and I couldn’t be more comfortable. For twelve years old, she’s pretty frisky–especially when there’s kibble dust to be Hoovered up.

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And I got oatmeal: oats for fiber, almonds for protein, raisins for iron, and I read somewhere that cinnamon fights inflammation. I’m reaaaaady to ruuuuumble!

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Ready for October Unprocessed!

C Street, Seaside Park, NJ

C Street, Seaside Park, NJ

Just came home from another wonderful week on the Jersey Shore: swims in the clear, warm ocean, pints of beer at Bum Rogers Crabhouse, plates of scrapple at Betty & Nick’s, ears and ears of fresh corn and slice upon slice of juicy, sweet tomatoes from local farms.

I’m at a serious transition moment at my day job. How I wish I could make a life that included scenery like this every day.

The beach at Brighton Avenue

The beach at Brighton Avenue

With the chance to stop and watch the little fish.

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In the past week, with time to think and read, I’ve had 10 solid ideas for potential cookbooks: now I start the research to write the proposals. If anything, it brings me in contact with other creative people who love food and eating well. There’s Andrew Wilder, for example, whose blog EatingRules.com encourages us to join his crusade “October Unprocessed.”

I’m excited to try it. Why don’t you?

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If only…

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I had those abs today. But alas…time and gravity will have their way with us!

Why, if God made whole wheat healthy, can’t I eat it every morning?  A simple piece of toast with a little butter and a slice of cheese or a tablespoon of peanut butter? How bad could that be?! But no, God had to make our metabolisms slooooooow down as we age, so the pleasures of our youth put unnecessary pounds on our bones. Not fair!

I try to be creative at breakfast since I’ve forsworn bread and butter. A thick slice of grilled tomatoes does go well with a poached egg. Eating peanut butter on apple slices brings you right back to that long-ago rush to get the school bus. Good jam mixed into oatmeal is a treat. Any other suggestions?

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Home or Away?

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Yes, it’s Saturday, and a holiday weekend no less, but I have to spend a few hours at the office. In that neighborhood, we have a Crumbs Bake Shop, a Pret-a-Manger, a Chipotle, a Europa Cafe…which to choose for something delicious? Hmmm…burrito or Girl Scout Chocolate PB Creme cupcake?

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An egg-and-bacon breakfast baguette or blueberry yogurt parfait?

Each of these choices is over 400 calories (a fully loaded burrito is more like 900!) If I make a poached egg on a grilled tomato with whole wheat toast, it’s only 350.

Say it with me now: It’s always best to eat at home!

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For lots of delicious ideas for breakfasts under 400 calories, go to 3 Fat Chicks!

 

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Hungry Before Noon?

What do you eat to keep yourself going until lunchtime? I always have protein in the morning, but somehow salty protein works better for me than sweet. This morning I had yogurt, blueberries, and a small handful of lightly salted nuts and I am counting the minutes at 11:30am until I can have my soup and salad. This doesn’t happen when I have cottage or hard cheese, eggs, and meats. What’s up with that?

I think it’s the carbs that boost your energy in the short-term: low-fat yogurt has 45 grams of carbs per serving  (39 of them sugars) while shredded mozzarella has 0. The cheese has a lot more saturated fat (20% vs. 8% for the yogurt). I’m not a nutritionist, so this could be wildly off the mark, but I think I’m on to something.

Here’s a valuable article from Weight Watchers that explains how to build a better mix of nutrients in the morning:

“It’s important to combine some protein along with some complex carbohydrates to provide sustained energy throughout the morning,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, a Long Island–based dietitian in private practice. Opt for no-fuss choices like a slice of cheese on whole-wheat bread, egg whites on toast, whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk, even half a turkey sandwich .

¡buenos días

¡buenos días

Read the whole piece for more sensible advice to keep us from feeling starved.

 

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Don’t Blame the Eggs!

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In honor of this Wall Street Journal article on the incorrect science that drove us away from eggs and animal fats to carbs, I made a frittata with hot sausage, onion, zucchini, and a sprinkling of grated Pecorino Romano cheese. Delicious!

“Too much whole-grain oatmeal for breakfast and whole-grain pasta for dinner, with fruit snacks in between, add up to a less healthy diet than one of eggs and bacon, followed by fish. The reality is that fat doesn’t make you fat or diabetic. Scientific investigations going back to the 1950s suggest that actually, carbs do.”

Too much of anything is a mistake. Enjoy a whole variety of foods, in moderate portions, and all should be well.

 

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Early Birds

The chicken’s  not the only early bird who improves breakfast.

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The New Zealand kiwi lends its name to a small, brown, fuzzy berry with loads of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, among other nutrients.  Eat as much as you like since there’s almost no fat and very few calories.  My neighbor gave me a half-dozen last night and I couldn’t wait to slice into one this morning to release that delicious scent and see that glistening green flesh.

And it’s so easy. If you’re not eating it with a spoon straight out of its natural “bowl,” the berry’s rough protective skin, you can slice it for a fresh fruit tart. Its unique flavor keeps the tart from being too sweet.

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Since I really don’t like my breakfasts sweet, I combined kiwi with celery, cucumber, and yellow pepper for a refreshing breakfast salad was as much crunch as granola. Sprinkled with lemon juice and a small handful of chopped walnuts, this was as refreshing as a dip in Mission Bay outside of Auckland. Cheers!

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What Can You Do With a Crumpet?

Well, we Americans call them English muffins (I know, I know…purists will have a long list of the differences, but I’m just looking at them as a simple bread not a clash of cultures).

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One of my lifelong loves, the English muffin can be doctored up in every way imaginable. This morning, I bought six whole-grain muffins, so let’s embark on a kitchen experiment: “What Can You Do With a Crumpet?”

This morning, I created “The William Tell.”

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Toast the muffins. Fry half a dozen apple slices in butter until soft. Spread the muffins with grainy mustard, place the apple slices on top, drape with Swiss cheese and broil until the cheese is bubbly. If you’re looking for a healthy, quick, savory breakfast sandwich, you’ve hit the bull’s-eye!

 

 

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