Most Saturday mornings for the last three months or so, I’ve been dragging myself out of bed to run some ridiculous number of miles, training for a 25K at the beginning of March. This weekend, however, I knocked out my thirteen miles on Friday morning due to my running partner’s scheduling conflict, so I had Saturday morning free (and by “free,” I mean “as free as possible when two small girls begin climbing into bed begging for food at 7:00 a.m.”). So, instead of running, I dragged myself out of bed to cook up a big, healthy breakfast, imagining that Ellie Krieger was my family’s personal chef.
I started by making Pumpkin Pie Muffins. They contain a few semi-unusual ingredients I had to shop for beforehand (unsulfured molasses and buttermilk, which I don’t usually have on-hand), but the actual mixing was not too tedious. It did make a complete mess of my counter:
This was my very first attempt at baking with whole-wheat flour, and these muffins turned out spectacularly! The whole-wheat flour combined with the spices and brown sugar to give them a dense, dark, just-sweet-enough flavor. Everyone in my family loved them; my girls requested them for breakfast again the following morning.
Luckily, there were leftovers. (And I know it’s not even fall, but I do love all things pumpkin, and I’m thinking that these muffins could turn right into some great cupcakes with a smear of cinnamon-cream cheese frosting for a special occasion.) At just 200 calories and 7g fat per muffin, I think it’s a great breakfast choice with a surprising amount of protein and essential vitamins. Four forks, for sure!
While the muffins were baking (20 minutes), I started on the Broccoli and Cheddar Frittata. I’d never made a frittata before, either, so I had no idea how long it would take. Turns out, it’s surprisingly quick and easy – much faster than a quiche – mostly because it does most of its cooking on the stovetop and just finishes in the oven. First, I chopped up the veggies:
I sauteed them in a little olive oil right in the pan I planned to use for the frittata:
Finally, I dumped the already-whisked eggs (four eggs, four egg whites, a little water) plus some salt and pepper on top of the veggies. (Deviating from the recipe, I also added a few slices of prosciutto because My Husband Needs Meat.)
Here’s where, if you own a fancy frittata pan, you cover the eggs with the top pan. Here’s also where, since I don’t, I found an old random saucepan cover that mostly fit over my saute pan. I covered the eggs and cooked it for eight minutes, took the lid off, dumped 1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese on top, and popped it (uncovered) under the broiler for one minute. The timing of all this worked out perfectly, since the muffins had just come out of their 20 minutes in the oven!
The sad part is, nobody in my family was a huge fan of this healthy breakfast item. My husband wished that the veggies were smaller, so I’d probably use shallots instead of onions next time and chop the broccoli more finely. My four-year-old ate one tiny slice under duress, methodically picking out the broccoli as she went. My two-year-old refused to take more than the requisite “taste” we require our kids to have of every item on their plate. And I liked it, didn’t love it, and think the most redeeming thing about a frittata is how quickly it can be made, especially compared to a quiche, which has to bake for so much longer. Two forks out of four here, at best.
Lastly, I whipped up the easiest thing on our breakfast menu, Blueberry Blast Smoothies. I’ve made smoothies before but never used plain yogurt. I questioned whether something made with just four ingredients (and sweetened with only 1 t. honey per serving) would be sweet enough or creamy enough to win my kids over, but it was. It took about 30 seconds in the food processor to create frothy, yummy smoothies with so much less sugar than what we’d get from the “drinkable yogurts” my kids are always clamoring for at the grocery store. I used fresh blueberries (because organic ones were on sale last week) and felt great about the fact that all four of us gulped down some excellent calcium, protein, and vitamins A, K, and C with our breakfast.
And so it was that less than an hour after dragging myself out of bed, the coffee was hot, the dishwasher was loaded, and our tummies were full of all sorts of breakfast goodness. I watched the girls dance around to a jazzy little Rosemary Clooney song and thought how satisfying it was to start a Saturday morning in the kitchen, trying something new.