You've heard it before--"Breakfast is the most important meal of the day." Ever wonder why? Studies show that people who eat breakfast have an easier time concentrating, are less likely to overeat during the course of the day, and have more strength and endurance in the late morning. There is also evidence that eating breakfast revs up your metabolism and increases the rate at which your body burns calories all day long.
If you don't have time to eat because you don't want to sacrifice sleep time, you may be onto something. The scientific literature on sleep points out that getting enough shut-eye also plays a big part in how a person feels and performs. To be alert, think clearly, and feel energetic, it may be necessary to eat breakfast and get a good night's sleep. The following fast-food breakfast ideas can help you do both.
Breakfast on the Go
* Spread a bagel with natural-style peanut butter.
* Morning is an ideal time to eat beans. They are protein-packed powerhouses that provide energy for hours. Cover a warm flour tortilla with refried beans, spoon on salsa, and roll it up for an easy carry-along meal. Top whole-grain toast with a helping of baked beans or chili.
* When you make whole-grain pancakes or waffles, make more than you need; freeze the extras and reheat them in a toaster for a fast meal.
* Cook more for dinner to create on-purpose leftovers, and eat them for breakfast.
* Whip up a fruit smoothie.
* Sip a cup of warm miso soup.
* Just about any fresh fruit can be eaten without utensils on the run.
* Enrich ready-to-eat cold cereal by adding sliced fresh fruit and nuts or seeds.
* Make a pot of hot cereal in the evening and refrigerate it. In the morning, spoon out a portion and reheat it in the microwave.
On those days when time permits some inventiveness in the morning, or there is a chance to share the pleasure of breakfast with friends, you'll find plenty to eat in this chapter.
Irish Oatmeal with
Apple Raisin Topping
PREPARATION TIME: 20 MINUTES
MAKES 2 SERVINGS
Corporations spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each day advertising rolled oats, so it's no surprise that's what most people choose. Fabulous Irish oatmeal is one of breakfast's best-kept secrets.
2 cups water or soy milk
1/2 cup Irish oatmeal (steel-cut oats)
1/8 teaspoon salt
Apple Raisin Topping (recipe follows)
Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. When the water boils, add the oats. Cook, uncovered, on medium, stirring occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes, or until creamy. Add the salt, lower the heat to medium-low, and continue cooking for 10 minutes (or to desired consistency), stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. To ensure a rich, nutty flavor, avoid overcooking. Remove from the heat and set aside for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with Apple Raisin Topping.
VARIATION: For variety and something extra, add 1/4 cup well-rinsed quinoa to the pot when you add the oats. Quinoa contributes a unique flavor along with extra calcium and B vitamins.
Apple Raisin Topping
PREPARATION TIME: 15 MINUTES
MAKES 2 SERVINGS
There is no more heavenly aroma in the world of cooking than apples mixed with cinnamon.
1 apple, quartered, cored, and cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup raisins
1 teaspoon brown or white sugar, or natural sweetener
2 tablespoons orange juice, apple juice, or water
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a medium pot, combine the ingredients; bring to a low boil and simmer on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the apple pieces are soft, stirring occasionally.
Steel-cut oats--also called Irish oatmeal--are made from unprocessed oat groats that have been cut into pieces with steel blades. They take about 20 minutes to prepare. When you want oatmeal with amazing flavor and a chewy texture, steel-cut oats top the list.
Rolled oats--also called regular or old-fashioned oats--are made from oat groats that have been steamed and flattened with giant rollers. They take about 10 minutes to prepare and make a substantial, creamy bowl of oatmeal.
Quick-cooking oats and instant oats take only a few minutes to prepare, but they turn into something more like wallpaper paste when cooked, and they're better left on the supermarket shelf.
Walnut and Fig Old-Fashioned Oatmeal
PREPARATION TIME: 10 MINUTES
MAKES 1 SERVING
A bowl of steaming oatmeal is the ideal medium for topping with sliced fresh fruit or bits of dried fruit. Bananas are a good choice because they're cheap and available year-round. This recipe includes dried figs, a fruit high in calcium.
1 cup water
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 or 2 chopped dried figs
1 to 2 tablespoons toasted walnuts, chopped*
1 to 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup (optional)
Bring the water and salt to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Stir in the oats and reduce the heat to low. Cover and gently simmer for about 5 minutes, until the oatmeal is smooth and creamy, stirring occasionally to keep the oats from sticking. Remove from heat and stir in the figs. Cover and let rest for 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon the oatmeal into a bowl, sprinkle with walnuts, drizzle with maple syrup, and serve.
*NOTE: Place the nuts in a small, dry skillet over medium heat. Stir the nuts or shake the pan constantly for 3 to 5 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly browned. Remove the nuts from the skillet immediately to stop the cooking process. Nuts can be toasted ahead of time and will keep in an airtight container for one to two weeks in the refrigerator, or for one to three months in the freezer.
3-Minute Microwave Oatmeal
For 1 serving of regular or old-fashioned oatmeal, put 1 cup water and 1/2 cup oats in a large 4-cup or larger microwavable container. Oats get rowdy in a microwave and can boil over, so make sure you use a big container. Cook on high for 21/2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the microwave and let it sit until it's cool enough to eat. Stir before serving.
If you're wondering whether a container is microwave-safe, there's an easy way to test it. Pour 1 cup of water into the container. Place it in the microwave on full power for 1 minute. If the water gets hot and the container stays cool, it is safe to use. If the container gets hot, it may contain lead or metals and shouldn't be used in the microwave.
PREPARATION TIME: 5 MINUTES
MAKES 1 SERVING
Pineapple and the peppery taste of fresh ginger combine for an unusual breakfast. The oatmeal is made without turning on the stove, and it is steeped in nondairy milk.
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup canned, unsweetened crushed pineapple
1/2 cup nondairy milk
1/2 to 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
In a medium bowl, combine the oats, pineapple, nondairy milk, and ginger. Stir well, cover, and refrigerate for several hours, or overnight. Serve the oatmeal topped with additional fresh fruit, such as bananas, strawberries, or sliced peaches, if you like.
The Pots Come Clean
Soaking the pot you use for cooking oatmeal (or soaking any pot used to cook grain) will make it easier to clean later; it's even faster than cleaning it right away.
Tofu Scramble Asian-Style
PREPARATION TIME: 25 MINUTES
MAKES 1 SERVING
Serve this calcium-rich scramble with toast or a muffin and a cup of jasmine tea.
1 teaspoon light miso
1 teaspoon warm water
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Splash of dark sesame oil
4 ounces soft tofu
11/2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
2 cups stemmed, sliced Swiss chard (about 2 or 3 leaves)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
Red pepper flakes or Tabasco sauce
In a small bowl, mix the miso with the warm water until smooth. Stir in the soy sauce and sesame oil. Set aside.
Place the tofu between two plates and rest a heavy book or weight on the top plate. Press for 15 minutes, then drain the expressed liquid from the bottom plate.
Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet over moderate heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring as needed to keep them from burning, until they are fragrant and golden. Set aside.
Wash the chard and do not dry. The water that clings to the leaves helps them cook. Stack the leaves and roll them lengthwise into a long cigar shape, then cut the leaves crosswise to produce ribbons of greens.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet on medium heat. Add the onions and sautŽ for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they begin to soften. Add the garlic, ginger, and chard. SautŽ until the greens begin to wilt. Cover and continue cooking for about 5 minutes, until the greens are just tender. Crumble the pressed tofu into the vegetables. Cook the vegetables and tofu, uncovered, for 4 to 5 minutes without stirring, until the moisture evaporates. Turn the mixture and cook for 2 more minutes. Turn off the heat.
Pour the sauce over the scramble and gently stir. Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds. Add a shake of red pepper flakes or a few drops of Tabasco sauce if you like.
Excerpted from Student's Go Vegan Cookbook by Carole Raymond. Copyright © 2006 by Carole Raymond. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.