Friday, October 03, 2008

Rise and Shine

I'm not a person who obsesses over weight. I hate diets and diet talk, am not up to date on the latest weight-loss novelties, and most health-related jargon goes in one ear and out the other. My sister insists it's because I don't have to worry about my weight, but I insist right back that's not true. Even if I hadn't inherited my mother's metabolism--she's about 105 soaking wet--I would still eat whatever I wanted. Anyone who knows me can attest to my 'cherry on top' approach to eating. Yes, I want whipping cream on my Cafe Mocha, butter and cream cheese on my bagel, and bacon with everything.

However, as gluttonous as that sounds, I do watch what I eat, but not in a calorie-counting way. I'm not indifferent to the importance of a balanced diet. I could name you off ten 'power foods' in a flash (blueberries, avocado, pomegranate, tomatoes, kale...) I almost never eat fast food, stay far away from overly-processed foods and eat balanced meals prepared from scratch.

Still, I always get The Question. Sometimes it's asked in an accusing way, sometimes wistful, sometimes puzzled, but there it is:

"Why don't you weigh like two hundred pounds?"

People know how many sweets I consume, that I am a former chef and, yep, my world pretty much revolves around food, and they assume I should weight at least 50 lbs more than I do. How do you answer that? I never know. Sometimes I even feel apologetic, especially if the question is tinged with accusation.
"I'm sorry?"
Maybe I will say that sometime.

You know, I realize that weight is a huge (sorry, terrible pun, but I use that word for everything) issue for many people, and I don't mean to make light of it (someone stop me already!). It's just no fun to always have people telling you how unfair it is that you are not fat.

Now, I don't want to offend anyone and so I will stop while I am ahead and tell you what got me going on all of this in the first place.

This month's Saveur is entirely devoted to breakfast! Awesome.
Thumbing through it I was skeptical at first, a write up about the southern U.S. chain Waffle House? An article on McDonald's Egg McMuffin? But I picked up a copy anyway, huge breakfast lover that I am, and was glad I did, for it transported me for a breakfast tour around the world that was most enjoyable, and supplied me with so many breakfast recipes that I wished it was Saturday every day so I could try them out.

Inspired by the issue, I decided to show you what I have for breakfast every morning. Perhaps THIS healthy start to my day has helped to keep my weight down, perhaps not.

Nope, not sugary cold cereal, not buttery Danishes, and no greasy fry-up, but oatmeal porridge is my standard breakfast five days a week. It's not always with roasted peaches and cinnamon sugar, as pictured, but with a variety of seasonal toppings. My dining room table perpetually has a tray with plenty more add-ons for the hot cereal: wheat germ, coconut, honey, craisins, granola and whatever else suits my fancy.
The weekends are for the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes and the Raspberry Chocolate Muffins, but during the week the babies and I wake up together over stone-cut oats.

Seriously though, I grew up eating hot cereal and vowed to keep it up so that my children would also. My husband was raised on cold cereal and our pantry is stocked to meet his needs, however this is about to change. Noah is plenty old enough to realize Daddy's Honey Nut Cheerios are more fun than his oatmeal. On the rare occasion he is up before Danny has to leave for work, one can usually find him sleepily trying to climb up on his dad's lap for of bite of 'cheewios'.

Ah, this is fascinating, stuff isn't it?

OK, so if anyone is still reading, tell me, what do you eat for breakfast?


Erin Phraner said...

Bravo! I'm with you on the weight banter. I am a foodie as well; I work at a food magazine, I bake constantly, my life revolves around food but that doesn't mean I have to be overweight.

My roommates used to be so bitter. I'd make things and then they'd end up eating all of it. Especially when there were sweets lying around they felt uber unhealthy because they'd polish them off in an afternoon. I think when you're so involved in food you have a greater appreciation for what you put in your body. Where as I can make a batch of cookies, savor one or two and be totally satisfied, some other people will just eat mindlessly until the plate is empty. When you're excited to cook with fresh, healthy and hearty ingredients there's no need to worry about a handful of indulgences here & there. Your homemade meal are much more healthful than some of the processed junk other people are eating. I'd rather have full fat cream in my body than some of the chemicals floating around on the back of food packages. I'm sorry, now I'm the one who needs to stop herself. I just agree with you, that's all I'm saying.

Now for breakfast, earlier this week I made a huge pot of old fashioned oats. I added in a can of pumpkin puree for some extra vitamins and a yummy fall flavor. I let the oats cook for a long time adding in cinnamon, vanilla and just a pinch of brown sugar.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Well I am talking about diets etc but I have been told that eating porridge for breakfast will keep your weigth down. I switch it up with a breakfast including a tomato and Canadian back bacon for protein...because they say that eating protein for breakfast will keep your weight down.

Karolina Beaudet said...

Your breakfast looks delicious!!! I eat healthy breakfast too, organic muesli with cold skimmed milk in summer (I usually drop a few grapes into that) and warm oat meal porridge in winter are my favorites. I haven't had muffins or pancakes for breakfast even once in my life, but that's probably cause I was lucky enough to be raised in Poland where we simply don't eat such stuff.

abigail @ Paper and Cake said...

i wish i ate breakfast. im one of those crazy people that can't stand eating in the morning - for as long as i can remember. give me a giant cup of coffee, and food maybe around 10 or so and i am set!

breakfast for dinner on the other hand, mmmmmm! my grandmother used to make swedish pancakes for sunday night dinner once in a while, now THAT is breakfast!

Anonymous said...

Isn't "saveur" an Aussi mag? I think I scanned one while at the doctor's, and certain ingredients in the recipes seemed completely antipodean. I mean, really, who cooks with wallaby? (kidding!)

Kajal@aapplemint said...

Love my food, love my breakfast !
Usually we have turkey/chicken salami sandwiches in whole where bread, sometimes egg whites, different kinds of omelettes, leftover grilled chicken sandwiches, oats, granola, toast n cheesepread, sometimes croissants n jam .... need to start you day well ..everyday !!!
Glad you started eating breakfast :)

Deborah said...

I wish I had your metabolism - but I don't tend to obsess over my weight - I'm an "all things in moderation" kind of girl.

I wish I loved hot cereal breakfasts, but I haven't been a fan since I was a kid. I usually have a couple of scrambled eggs in a tortilla with hot sauce.

Anonymous said...

Good luck at getting Danny off the cold cereal! I've been trying for at least five years with Nick... I THINK I'm making some headway - not sure. My kids are pretty hooked on hot cereal (not always oatmeal, but always whole grain), and they have yummy things on it - butter, honey(not sugar), blueberries, nuts. But they do love a bite of "Daddy's cereal" - Honey Bunches of Oats. I tell them that Daddy's cereal does not help them grow, which is why Daddy can eat it and they can't Actually, that works pretty well. Now that I'm pregnant, I often have eggs for brekkie, with whole grain toast. Poached are my fave, I don't usually get more complex than this during the week - but I love making scones, waffles, pancakes occasionally - whole grain of course! I just can't help myself. Upbringing, or conscience - call it what you like.

Patricia Scarpin said...

I know that weight issues can be such a pain (I need to get rid of 6 pounds asap), but I also think that some people stress over things that don't really matter - I mean, they worry about it aesthetically and not from a healthy point of view.
My breakfast is a cup of latte - non-fat milk - and a slice of bread with jam.

your oatmeal looks so good, I should try it!

Angelica said...

Eat everything, but not everyday -- that's my policy. Life's too short to worry that much about your weight, but it's always good to try to eat healthy. But not too healthy, that's just boring.

I love oatmeal porridge, and eat it with lingonberries and milk. If I don't have enough milk for the porridge, I eat filmjölk (tastes like buttermilk/Kefir, but has the thickness of plain yoghurt) with either crispbread, berries or a little bit of preserves.

amycaseycooks said...

I also have to explain why I love to cook/eat and not overweight. I think part of it is that I make real food (not a processed frozen dinner) with vegetables, meats, pastas, and rices. If you make and eat real food, I think you are much better off.

April said...

I know what you mean about the "why are you so thin? It's not fair!" Commentary, I've gotten that my whole life. My brother and I both got our father's freakish metabolism. Sorry - I have no control over my genetics people!

On to breakfast - I'm currently pregnant so it's 2 eggs, whole wheat toast and chai for me every.single.morning. When I'm not pregnant I usually have just the toast and chai; but man, I'm HUNGRY right now.

Anonymous said...

I love breakfast. Nearly without fail it's a soft-boiled (not too soft) egg, whole grain toast, black coffee.

I love steel-cut oats with pecans,a touch of maple syrup, and a splash of cream. I love granola and yogurt. But I can't seem to get through the day if I don't have an egg!

missweb said...

I hated oatmeal but found that Jazz would eat it so now we're all eating it! Thanks for the topping inspirations. Just a heads up, the pancakes are linked to your awesome muffin recipe that is now a staple in our freezer in every fruity variety. Pear chocolate is our fave this week.

Aimée said...

Hi berry- Well said!

Hi Val- Well, there's proof now!

Hi Karolcia- OH we love muesli too! I have to make some soon.

Hi abigail- That's popular around here, too. For a while Noah would only eat pancakes....

Hi Michel--I think it's US, but I could be wrong.

Hi Kate- Ohh, we should do a breakfast date sometime! We could have an eating contest, I can pack away a 'trucker's breakfast 'so fast.

Hi Deb- Mmm, breakfast burrito, now I'm getting hungry.

Hi Haidi- Thanks for the tip about growing vs. not growing. i'll be sure to try it out!

Hi Patricia- Good point!Mmm latte.

Hi Angelica- I like your policy. Very wise.

Hi eat- There's a lot to be said for real food!!

Hi April- Congrats on the pregnancy! How exciting.

Hi Carolyn- I hear you. We often enjoy an egg or two for lunch.

Hi Cara- Thanks for the tip, sweetie. It's fixed. Sounds like you guys are 'muffin mad!':)

test it comm said...

Homemade peaches and cream oatmeal sounds good.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

i good homemade stuff, watch your portions a bit, maybe talk a walk every day, and you don't have to obsess about weight.

i hope that issue is still on newstands when i go back to the states at the end of the month! although i eat granola and yogurt most mornings, i love hot oatmeal--so satisfying, it's one of my favorites!

Cheryl Arkison said...

I need that magazine! I would eat breakfast for every meal of the day if I was single - and still do even with a family.

We are oatmeal fans here too. But I am also partial to a grilled cheese with a fried egg tucked inside. Or a couple of scrambled eggs wrapped up with whatever leftover veg is around, some cheese, and my dad's spicy salsa in a whole wheat tortilla. In the summer I love some fresh fruit with greek style yoghurt and honey with some homemade granola on top.

I'm currently experimenting with waffle recipes. The Monster loves her High Fibre eggos, but I am trying to get rid of all boxed items coming into the house. So far she is happy with whole grain bread with butter and homemade jam as an alternative.

Melanie Anne said...

I agree that oatmeal and fruit is a wonderful breakfast! It is healthy, easy and economical! Your pictures are lovely! It made me crave a bowl of warm oatmeal! Do you make your with spices, sugar or vanilla?

Baked, By Anna said...

I am a cold cereal devotee. But half the time when I am headed to the's an all-natural energy bar and a banana. Then I have cereal for lunch! (I could eat breakfast at every meal, I swear.)

Penny said...

I also eat oatmeal few days for breakfast, love it! I like making baked oatmeal and keeping it in the fridge for a fast breakfast.

I think it's awesome you can eat what you want and not gain weight.

Gretchen Noelle said...

I have to say that hot whole grain porridge is truly one of the best ways to start the day. I know I eat better all day long when I start like this. I admit though, I get bored with the same thing every day, so I make porridge out of barley, whole wheat, millet, quinoa, oats and anything else I can dream up. Your bowl looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

Yoghurt banana drink with honey is my fav

Anonymous said...

Thank you Penny for the baked oatmeal suggestion, I think this may become a new staple in our house! Topped with some cottage cheese and fruit it is the perfectly balanced breakfast.

My breakfast favorites, are a cup of hot tea and homemade wholewheat bread with raspberry jam :)

Ashley said...

I eat oatmeal almost every weekday for breakfast, and often I will have it for lunch, and although it is the instant variety, it is still good :) I tried the starbucks oatmeal.. what a bowl of goo, lol. I never have enough time in the morning to sit and finish a whole cup of coffee let alone eat breakfast, I make mine in a little cup when I get to the office (after walking with my DS a mile to school and then almost a mile back to catch my bus to work) I dont' have time to obsess about my weight but I do watch what I eat.

Anonymous said...

I'm totally a breakfast person--not eating breakfast=cranky. The day just hasn't begun right if breakfast and a cup of strong coffee isn't involved. This morning's was simple--cold cereal with a fresh peach sliced over. I make hot oatmeal with dried fruits & nuts in the colder months and on weekends, sometimes will make pancakes, french toast, omlettes, bacon & eggs, or huevos rancheros.

Tonight I was in need of comfort, so I made your lemon ricotta pancakes with whipped cream for dinner. Mmmm!

Loving your blog, by the way, I've just recently discovered it. :-)

Emily said...

Of course I'm still reading!

Guess what I eat? Oatmeal. Yep.
I like to mix peanut butter and honey in mine, then top it with banana, and sometimes granola for crunch.

I think peach sounds even better!

Shayne said...

I was not a big breakfast person until I was pregnant with my daughter and had to eat to keep from being sick. Now that I have kids oatmeal is often what is served up (I am not a lover but the kids love it and I can eat 1/2 a cup with granola) If it is not oatmel we will have cheerios (plain) or pancakes with oatmeal in them or plain yogurt with a tablespoon of jam and topped with granola. wow I guess oats find there way into breakfast almost every morning. I have tea with my oats and the kids have milk. and yes I weigh less now that I have a small breakfast every day

Anonymous said...

I also opt for oatmeal 5 days a week! To mine, I'll add a hefty spoonful of peanut-butter, a full chopped banana and a sprinkling of flax seeds. So yummy! I'm actually looking forward to tomorrow morning already!

Anonymous said...

I don't love just has kinda a gooey consistency. I usually have a bagel with cream cheese, toast, or the aformentioned evil cold cereal!

Aimée said...

Hi Kevin- Thanks.

Hi Steph- You gotta get your hands on that magazine.

Hi Cheryl- Mmm, Waffles.

Hi Melanie- Oh yeah, spices and stuff, but no sugar. Try to limit that for the kiddies!

Hi Anna- A breakfast aficionado!

Hi Penny- Brilliant. I've had that somewhere, but can't remember. i'm going to try it soon.

Hi Gretchen- Wow, you've got it down to a science!

Hi Yoga- One of my favorite combos.

Hi Michelle- Of course you make your own bread. When are you getting a blog??

Hi Ashley- Sounds like a healthy lifestyle!

Hi Rachael- Welcome aboard and thanks for reading!!

Hi Em- I am so doing the PB thing. Yum.

Hi Shayne-Oatmeal with granola is a great combo.

Hi Gillian- Again with the peanut butter. I must try this!

Hi Mira-Well, evil for children. Also, I'm hungry by 8 am if I have cold cereal.

Zoe Francois said...

Keep up your fight for hot cereal, they will come around to your view! I love it and feed it to my kids as well.

Thank you for visiting my website. I'm so thrilled to have found yours!


Michele Humes said...

I go through distinct breakfast phases. Right now it's cream of wheat, which I tasted for the first time 2 mornings ago; honey and dried cranberries are the toppings of choice.

Personally, I do find that big, grainy breakfasts like cream of wheat and oatmeal porridge are likely to cause sharp hunger spikes within a couple of hours, perhaps because of the way my metabolism handles sugars and starches.

I've been through rhubarb compote + yoghurt phases; eggs on toast phases; instant ramen phases. The only consistent trait is that they rarely last longer than four days.

Anonymous said...

Good for you on your weight thoughts!

I usually eat whatever quickbread I've made or whatever bread we ate with dinner the night before. If there's none of that, I sometimes eat sea salt soy chips!

Jade said...

So Warm!!! This is the perfect comfort food!! This is an old family fave, me and my Grandma's love this breakfast! Well next to grits and mackarel this is the best. Especially when you need something quick and warm!! MMMM our favorite oatmeal to use is called Irish Oatmeal.

LyB said...

I'm so bad at breakfast. It's usually a muffin and a coffee or a piece of toast and a coffee. Always coffee though. :)

BellyWoman's Rant said...

Beautiful post Aimee. I personally do not enjoy breakfast, which they say adds to weight gain. Blah! I like a latte and then eat my lunch early, like about 11. See, I look at wheat and dairy and it jumps to my belly, leading to belly fat which leads to heart problems. I like steel cut oats with coconut, real butter and cereal cream. I don't like the whining and gaging of my children as they attempt to swallow such yummity. I recently got a recipe for Baked Oatmeal and I cannot get the same results as the lady who gave it to me. I can cook and am even good at it. I just can't get it to work. I was hoping to find a cheap, non-gag producing healthy breakfast for this massive family of mine. Maybe earplugs will be the solution!

Anonymous said...

I too have the same opinion just like you regarding issues of my diet.


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