Thursday, April 01, 2010

Breakfast Is Big

You know it's true. And it's one of my challenges--skipping breakfast is so much easier, and I am, above all, a total lazypants. We all know that a morning meal is important in any weight-loss program, to keep you energized and keep that metabolism running hot, and it's especially important on a low-carb eating plan, because in addition to the usual concerns, you're also trying to spread your carbohydrate consumption evenly out over the course of a whole day, starting early.

So what it boils down to, for me, are shortcuts. Which are really not shortcuts, in that I'm doing the full prep. I'm just doing them at other times besides the rush of mornings. I do as much prepare-ahead stuff as I possibly can for lunches and breakfasts, because I'd much rather be sleeping in the early morning hours than...well, than anything. I have a lot of breakfast foods that I prepare in advance and freeze or refrigerate for use during the week.

Bacon. You know it, you love it. It is not the enemy. I take a pound of thick-cut bacon at a time, put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes to make it easier to cut, then cut the slices into 1.5" squares. Spread those out in a heavy skillet on medium-high heat, and they cook perfectly. I store them in a sealed container in the fridge, and just grab a few of those little square pieces to round out a breakfast. Sausage also lends itself well to cooking ahead of time and freezing. I'm lucky right now to have a freezer-full of wild forested pork, courtesy of my brother-in-law, which made the cleanest, best-tasting sausage I've ever had. I highly recommend having a brother-in-law get attacked by nice plump wild boars while deer-hunting.

bacon shortcut

Mornings are just about the only time of day I actually use the microwave. It's perfect for cooking eggs in an instant. I can make a yummy little mini-omelet in about a minute in the microwave, or just a nice scrambled egg...and in my fridge there are those lovely bits of bacon or sausage, deli ham, several varieties of cheese, freeze-dried chives, and various veggies that can all be tossed into an egg scramble. I use a coffee mug to cook eggs--a quick blast of nonstick cooking spray, then crack an egg (or two) right in there, scramble, and nuke for 30 seconds. Scramble again, add extras if you want, and nuke another 20 seconds or so to finish.

I have always liked making pancakes or waffles in large batches and then freezing them for quick reheating on school days. It's a good idea to freeze them before bagging/wrapping them, so that they don't stick together. I've had to re-think what pancakes are made of, since my old favorite buttermilk pancakes don't exactly make that 10-net carb cutoff. I've gotten good results with Bob's Red Mill Low-Carb Baking Mix (Bella loves these with pecans and raw honey), but so far, my favorite LC pancakes are these, made with almond flour.* I served them to my daughter with homemade applesauce, and was hailed as Mom of the Year for most of the week. Hmmm, maybe that made me just Mom of the Week. Whatever.

almond flour pancakes

Almond Flour Pancakes
1 cup almond flour
2 large eggs
1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons oil (Coconut oil does beautifully in these)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Sweetener equivalent to 1 Tablespoon sugar--the granulated Splenda works measure for measure, or 1-2 packets, or a few drops of stevia to taste. The latter is the way to go for zero additional carbs--Splenda adds some carbohydrate. These babies come in at just under ONE gram net carb each, or about 6g effective carbs for the entire batch.

Mix everything together and cook them just like regular pancakes. They require some care in flipping, as they're a bit delicate. I'm going to try this recipe next with cream, since the carb count on them is so low. I've also seen suggestions for using sparkling water to fluff them up a bit, though I haven't tried that.

I try to round off breakfast with a veggie and fruit smoothie; Today, for example, Bella had a peanut butter sandwich and a smoothie. She loves smoothies, and so do I. Hers are a bit "juicier," since I have to really watch the juice in mine--mine generally have just a splash of juice with a good bit of water to dilute it. Today's smoothies, for all of us, contained orange juice, key lime juice, water, stevia, frozen strawberries, frozen blueberries, frozen raspberries, spinach, carrots, coconut oil, and chia seeds. They were a big hit!

breakfast smoothie

*A note on almond flour: In my grocery store, a 1-lb. bag of almond flour runs about $10. You can order the kind I use from Honeywell for nearly half that, plus $4.49 shipping on any size order. You can also get it from Amazon, though it costs a couple dollars more, not including shipping.

EDIT: I've already gotten some questions about some of the more unusual ingredients I've mentioned here, so I added links to the actual products/brands I use. I pretty much get everything from Amazon, because I have a Prime account that gives me free shipping (and that Prime membership pays for itself by February each year--look into it). The exception today is with the almond flour, which, as noted above, can be gotten cheaper directly from the source.


  1. Smoothie sounds wonderful I might have to try it! Thanks!!

  2. My mouth is watering after reading this post. I really wish my mom would get on board with that whole idea of you adopting me. Otherwise, we at least need to be next door neighbors and have lovely breakfast together.

    *tiny sigh*

    Hope Bella is recovering from her monkey bar incident!

    Hugs for both of you. :)