Our Easter sunrise tradition

 On weekends I love to take an early morning run.  Wake up just before dawn, slip on my shoes, and head out into the cool, heavy air, down the dimly lit streets.  I hit the dirt path and lake area right when the light breaks over the horizon, filling the sky with pale pinks and yellows and oranges as the sun burns up the misty dew.

This Sunday I will skip the run for something even better.  We will celebrate as a family, as we have done for over a decade each Easter morning.  And as my family did when I was growing up as well.

Every year there is a steaming thermos of hot cocoa and a bag of bagels.  Fluffy cream cheese, raspberry jam, and wet wipes to clean little chins.  Sam and I will have our travel cups of coffee and a big blanket for sitting while we wait. And read.  And eat.

Then early in the morning, while it is still dark, we gather our family and walk to our spot.  Just as the women went to the tomb two thousand years ago.  The load is a bit heavy, and the dark is a bit troublesome – just as it was for them.  But we have hope and light hearts.  We know how this story ends.  They had heavy hearts and no headlamps.

We spread the blanket and sit down, just as the sky brightens.  We read  Mark 16, then Luke 24, and then John 20.  We read the story of the most magnificent Son Rise, so long ago, that rocked the world and forever changed that fate of humanity.  The rock, the angel, the empty tomb.  We pour cups of hot cocoa to warm us in the chilly air.  We pass out bagels; the hole in the middle reminding us of the empty tomb.  We spread them with both cream cheese and jam.  It’s best that way.  And the sun will rise.

Pack List:

  • blanket
  • headlamps
  • wet wipes, paper plates, napkins, knives to spread jam and cream cheese
  • sliced bagels
  • raspberry jam or fruit spread
  • whipped cream cheese
  • hot cocoa
  • Bible with post-it notes in John 20, Luke 24, and Mark 16

 

 

oatmeal breakfast scones

oatmeal sconesA fresh scone, good jam, and a cup of tea.  To me, that is about the perfect way to start the day, and after trying this recipe, my kids seem to agree!

Somehow I ended up with a Canadian Lentils recipe book, and when I saw this recipe I knew I just had to try it.

I did tweak it a bit because following recipes exactly just isn’t my thing; and then I tried a few other variations, and I have a couple more in mind but so far I haven’t hit a bad variation yet so I’ll just share them all with you!

First, in order to make this quickly, you have to have red lentils on hand.  HEB sells them in the international isle.  I cook up a big batch, separate out what I want for this and the pumpkin bread recipe, and then add chicken stock, cumin, coriander, cilantro, and fresh spinach to the rest.  Served over rice it’s a cheap/quick/health/filling meal.  But I digress.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup cooked red lentils (1/2 a cup works well too)

11/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups whole-grain white wheat flour (or regular whole wheat flour)ingredients

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/4 cup sugar

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup butter, cut into little pieces

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 1/2 cup milk with 1 tbsp vinegar mixed in (set aside to turn into “buttermilk”)

3/4 cup jam (I like E.D. Smith’s raspberry cherry apple from Costco)

1) mix vinegar and milk; set aside

2)preheat oven to 375 degrees.

3) combine dry ingredients in a bowl, blend with a fork

cute little helpers make it more fun!
cute little helpers make it more fun!  You can see the leftover lentils that I’m about to add…

4) Using a pastry cutter or food processor, combine butter and coconut oil with dry ingredients.

Add vanilla to “buttermilk”, then stir in the milk mixture and lentils until just blended.

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5)  Divide in 2 parts.  Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet, lightly flour it, then make one giant rectangle, about 9×12.  Spread jam on top, then gently drop small pieces of the remainder on top of the jam until they are evenly spaced and you can lightly smoosh them together.  Sprinkle a tbsp of sugar on top if desired.

6) Place in oven and bake for about 35 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned and middle starts to crack and look done.various ways to cut scones

7) Allow to cool at least for 10 minutes, then cut into thirds.  Alternate the angle you cut to make triangles, or just keep the knife straight for biscotti-style scones.  I prefer making 24 servings, 8 slices per third.

Overnight Oats for Breakfast

Breakfast. Don’t we all want something quick, healthy, easy to clean up, and ideally it tastes good too? We do a fair amount of oatmeal in our home. In the winter I like it hot, and in the summer we eat granola. When I stumbled on a recipe for bircher muesli I had to try it! I’m a huge fan of soaking grains, especially for my little ones who may not be chewing their granola fully and not getting all the nutrients available.
The strawberry sauce was amazing, but without the chia seeds I couldn’t get the oats into a texture I liked. My daughter ate it, my son only took a bite. He’s fairly sensitive to weird textures.  With the chia seeds it was better, but still not quite what I wanted.
Then I saw this recipe on a friend’s Facebook page, so I gave it a whirl. I am loving it. The acid from the yogurt and fruit give the oats just the right texture, and I love the fact that my kids are getting probiotics from the yogurt as well as all the minerals from the oats.  I’ve been adding a tablespoon of chia seeds, and using whatever fruit or homemade jam we have around.  The pictures and instructions on The Yummy Life cover it all, so head over here if you want to try this fabulously quick and healthy breakfast.

Favorite Breakfast Foods

When I was growing up my dad would make us breakfast on Sunday night.  We would enjoy eggs, pancakes, or some other fun food that was typically reserved for morning fare.  In college and as a single adult I loved breakfast so much I would sometimes eat it twice – once in the morning and then another one at night instead of a dinner.  Now as a mom and wife I get to cook a “real” dinner, but when we decide to have a big brunch after a morning workout or Saturday morning chores, these are the recipes I typically go to.

Whole Wheat  Belgian Waffles(adapted from the Betty Crocker 10th edition):

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups King Arthur Whole-Grain White Wheat Flour (found at Krogers and HEB)
  • 1 3/4 cups skim milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tsps baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

heat waffle iron.  In a large bowl, beat eggs until fluffy with a wire wisk.  Beat in remaining ingredients until just smooth.  Follow directions on waffle maker for amount of batter and time of cooking.  Serve with peaches, yogurt, and berries; toasted nuts and berries or syrup; yogurt and granola; or peanut butter and syrup.  Or just eat them plain as a snack like our 1yo likes to do!

Omelettes:

I use two eggs per person for omelettes, and yes, I prefer the real eggs to any of the fake mixtures.  I’ll adapt the rest of the day to make up for the saturated fat in those yolks!  For the omelette portion, whip up two eggs, and pour into a pre-heated skillet sprayed with a canola-based cooking spray.  Cook on medium heat while turning the pan and lifting the edges.  I like to flip it for a dry middle, but you can leave the middle a little runny if you like as well.  omelette fillings we like are below:

  • gruyere cheese, smoked salmon, and asparagus
  • swiss cheese, canned salmon, and spinach (cheaper version of #1)
  • salsa, shredded cheddar cheese, tomatoes, bell peppers
  • mushrooms, broccoli, and bell peppers (steamed) with cheddar cheese
  • any leftover steamed veggies from the night before

Granola

 
  • 2 ½ lb old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups wheat germ
  • 2 ½ cups coconut flakes
  • 1 ½ cups walnut pieces
  • ½ cup almond slices
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients, then spread thinly onto cookie sheets and place into a 250 degree oven.  Stir every 20 minutes for 2-3 hours.

I like this one with my homemade yogurt…

best of breakfast

Was your mom right in saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day?  Scientific studies seem to show eating in the morning has a positive impact on kids’ academic performance, the athlete’s morning workout, and can even help the dieter stick to her program and lose a few more pounds!  While 96% of Americans believe their moms that breakfast is important, only two out of three make time for breakfast…and of those, 40% are eating on the run.  In our hurry to start the day, we don’t make time to fuel up for the day.  What you eat is as important, if not more important, that when you eat.  As a breakfast food lover, I have found that the bagel and coffee will leave me hungrier than if I just didn’t eat anything, while the full-up farmer’s breakfast of pancakes with syrup, eggs, bacon, and juice can leave me stuffed and lethargic.  After 30 years of highly scientific experimentation (er, a lifespan of eating a wide variety of breakfast foods) as well as looking into what non-biased research seems to indicate about the morning meal, here is what I have found..

Slow down on sugar:  while Lucky Charms may be more appealing that oatmeal, high sugar breakfasts tend to lead to an energy crash and more hunger than something with fiber or protein.  My rule of thumb is to look at the nutrition label  – if there is more than twice as much sugar as fiber then leave it at the grocery store.  If there is as much or more fiber than sugar it’s a winner!

Fill up on fiber:  Fiber is a wonderful calorie-free filler that most Americans do not get enough of. Oatmeal, whole-grain breads, and nut butters will keep you fuller for longer than a low-fiber cereal, bagel, or donut.  Choose something with at least 3 grams, but preferably 5 grams of fiber per serving if you tend to get hungry quickly.

Go for the protein:  Still hungry after eating that bowl of oatmeal with a few raisins?   Try adding some yogurt or milk, or eating a hard-boiled egg on the side.  Protein is digested more slowly than carbs and has the same amount of calories per gram, so it stays in your digestive system and fills you up longer.

Not convinced you can slip a meal into your morning routine?  Here’s some ideas that may help!

Super Speedy (45seconds to 2 minutes): 

  • hard-boil 7 eggs and have one each morning along with a piece of fruit or glass of juice
  • eat one 6oz container lowfat yogurt with grapenuts, ground flax, or wheat germ for fiber
  • drink a glass of milk and eat a lowfat, high-fiber granola bar or a banana

Slightly Speedy: (5-10 minutes)

  • toast 100% whole wheat bread, bagels, or frozen waffles and spread with peanut butter and jam or syrup
  •  eat a bowl of Cheerios or any of the Kashi cereals with 1% milk and a small piece of fruit
  • lowfat yogurt with granola and a piece of fruit

Weekend specials (20-40 minutes)

  • omelettes with mixed veggies, ham, and cheese,
  • poached egg with cheese and lowfat ham on a whole-wheat english muffin, one orange
  • whole-grain waffles or pancakes with berries and toasted nuts
  • scrambled eggs and toast with fruit preserves, sliced oranges on the side
  • check out my Favorite Breakfast Foods for more weekender recipes