My Breakfast Challenge

I have always been breakfast challenged.  I’ve heard for years that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  But, I’m not a morning-person to begin with, and so preparing and eating a nutritious breakfast has never come easily to me.  Then there’s the question of what to have for breakfast.  I come from the midwest, and so I was raised to believe that a high protein breakfast has contains eggs and bacon.  And don’t even get me started on the butter …

I don’t think this is what my trainer means when he talks about the importance of a good breakfast, and making sure I get enough protein.  So, what am I to do?

Fortunately, my love-affair with both quinoa and wheat berries has come to my rescue.  Earlier, I this week, I posted a quinoa breakfast recipe.  Yesterday, I decided to take advantage of the cooked wheat berries in my freezer to put together a breakfast that features wheat berries. The protein comes from both the wheat berries and the plain yogurt served with them.

I found a promising  recipe online, but as is usually the case I had few of the ingredients on-hand.  The recipe here is based on this, but with a lot of substitutions based on my own tastes and pantry.

To start, combine in a small bowl:

  • 1/3 c. plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp honey (or to taste)

I like the tartness of plain yogurt, so the next time I make this, I’ll probably use less honey.  Next in a small non-stick skillet add just enough butter so it coats the bottom when it’s melted – less than 1 tsp. (this is really just to add a little flavor).  Then saute:

  • 1 tart apple, cored and sliced into wedges about 1/4-inch thick (I like gala apples)
  • large pinch ground cinnamon
  • dusting of nutmeg (freshly grated is best)

I didn’t peel the apple, but again this is a matter of taste.  I don’t go overboard on the cinnamon and nutmeg (you can see the picture below) – it gives the apples a pretty color and makes the kitchen smell great while the apples are cooking.   Once the apples are starting to soften just a bit, add:

  • 1/3 c. fresh cranberries.

Continue cooking until the cranberries start to burst and become somewhat softened.  Then add:

  • 1 cup cooked wheat berries (see the note below on cooking them)

Continue cooking until the wheat berries are warm (assuming you didn’t make them fresh that morning).  Then I spooned it into a bowl, and topped it with a dollop of the yogurt mixture and a few dried cranberries.

Here are a couple of notes on this:

First, the recipe made above made enough for two meals.  I saved the leftovers (with the wheat berry mixture stored separately from the yogurt mixture) in the fridge and had it for breakfast this morning, cold. If anything, I liked it even better cold.

Next, about cooking wheat berries. A lot of web sites say that you have to soak them overnight before cooking them.  I’ve done it both ways (soaked and un-soaked), and haven’t found any difference in the final product.  Just boil the wheat berries in plenty of salted water (maybe three times as much water as wheat berries) for about an hour, until they are chewy but no longer hard.

I typically cook a huge batch, and then freeze any leftovers I’m unable to use in a few days. For today’s recipe, I just took a bag out of the freezer, defrosted slightly and then cooked til warm.

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