Dessert for breakfast
With today's fast-paced lifestyles, it's no wonder that busy moms can be tempted to rely on high priced, sugar-coated cold cereals that are low in nutrition. Oatmeal, and that other old stand-by hot cereals are both nutritious and frugal, but reliance on them for more than one or two breakfasts per week is almost certain to cause rebellion in the ranks.
Healthy, easy, frugal and good!
How about dessert for breakfast? Feeding your children (or your husband or yourself, for that matter) dessert for breakfast doesn't sound very healthy, does it? How about feeding your children fresh fruit, cottage cheese, eggs and plain yogurt for breakfast, accompanied by whole-grain bread? That sounds a lot better, doesn't it? But your child wouldn't eat fresh fruit, cottage cheese, eggs and plain yogurt for breakfast? I bet she'll really enjoy the Banana Cheese Pie recipe given below.
And it gets even better. Besides being both healthy and frugal, the four "dessert for breakfast" recipes below can all be made the night before. Three of them only take a very few minutes to prepare, and the fourth -- the muffins -- can be frozen and popped in the microwave when you're ready for warm, fresh muffins.
Banana Cheese Pie
I use my food processor to make this nutritious and tasty but light pie but if you don't have a food processor, you can use a blender. In that case, you'll probably need to mix the ingredients in a bowl first, then blend them in two or three batches. A stick blender could also be used.
2 medium-sized ripe bananas 1 cup non-fat or low-fat cottage cheese
1 cup plain non-fat or low-fat yogurt
Juice of 1/2 lemon (1 tablespoon of lemon juice)
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch pie pan lightly with cooking spray or oil the pan. Put all ingredients in a food processor and process until very, very smooth, turning off the processor and scraping down the sides occasionally. Pour mixture into the pie pan and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool, then refrigerate several hours, at least, or overnight.
Old Fashioned Bread Pudding
The ingredient list calls for bread cubes, but I just tear the bread up into little pieces with my hands. This is simple and fast. Whole wheat bread makes a more nutritious pudding, but a mixture of white and whole-wheat is good too. Bread pudding is equally good warm or cold.
2 slightly beaten eggs 2 1/4 cups milk (lowfat milk is fine)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups bread cubes
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a round glass casserole dish lightly with cooking spray, or oil it. Combine eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Whisk until well blended. Stir in bread cubes, brown sugar, and raisins. Pour mixture into a round casserole dish. Place casserole in a large shallow baking dish and pour hot water into the baking dish to a depth of about one inch. Bake about 45 minutes or until knife inserted in the middle of the pudding comes out clean. Let cool, then refrigerate.
Custard is the best little "forgotten dessert" around. Our grandmothers made custard often, we should. It's easy, fast, healthy, inexpensive and very good. As desserts go, custard has an almost Zen-like simplicity. I use little glass custard cups, but if you don't have these, you can use a larger casserole dish.
2 cups milk (lowfat milk is fine) 1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
A sprinkle of nutmeg or cinnamon
Preheat oven to 325 F. Mix all the ingredients (except the nutmeg or cinnamon) very well with blender, stick blender, electric mixer or whisk. (I use my stick blender for this. It's fast to grab, use and wash.) Pour mixture into four custard cups or a casserole dish. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg or cinnamon. Place the dish or cups in a baking pan of hot water. The water should be approximately one inch deep. Bake about 45 minutes (little custard cups) to one hour (larger casserole) or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool, then refrigerate.
This recipe makes about 30 muffins. You can bake, cool, then freeze them, and reheat in the microwave when you want to serve fresh hot muffins. I microwave the frozen muffins about 30 seconds for each muffin. They're best eaten warm, and spread with ricotta or cream cheese.
3 cups bran -- (plain wheat bran, not a cereal) 1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup honey
2 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup oil
2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray, or oil them. In a large bowl, mix the bran and boiling water, and let it stand. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, honey, buttermilk and oil. Add this mixture to the bowl with the bran and water. Stir the flour and baking soda together, and stir this into the bran mixture. Stir, then add the raisins, and stir again. Fill the muffin tins and bake for about 15 minutes. Let stand in the muffin tins for a few minutes, then remove, and let the muffins cool on a rack.
You will have noticed, I hope, that the recipes I've shared with you are all very lightly sweetened, fairly low in fat and have substantial amounts of healthy ingredients. If you want to lower the fat contents even more, you can substitute two egg whites for each whole egg called for in the recipes -- except the custard. The custard needs the whole eggs.
If you look through your own dessert recipes with a critical eye as to their nutritive value, you may find other "dessert for breakfast" recipes that your family will enjoy. And don't forget muffins and quick breads! I've found that quick breads and muffins are the very best way to get "white flour people" to begin enjoying healthy whole grain foods.