Ok, so I was supposed to be writing about something else but this caught my eye and hey, I’m all about what to do with your backyard harvest so happy National Hot Breakfast Month!

Seriously. Not sure who came up with it, but, every month has some food designation and February is NHBM (and, food-specific, grapefruit, cherry, (sweet) potato, chocolate, avocado, banana, beans, barley, exotic vegetables, and star fruit month).

You know you’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? It really is. The word itself describes its function, breaking an hours-long fast – taking in nutrients after what should be the longest period of not doing so.

The body needs fuel. Breakfast provides the protein, nutrients, and carbs it needs to function.

What the Current Science Says

Separate from other heart disease risk factors, routinely skipping breakfast increased the risk of developing atherosclerosis, a narrowing of the arteries caused by plaque buildup or inflammation. – Journal of the American College of Cardiology. October 2017.

I thought it interesting that a British study stated, “even if net energy intake is reduced, extended morning fasting may not result in expected weight loss due to compensatory adjustments in physical activity thermogenesis.” In other words, if you’re skipping breakfast to lose weight, your body is making an endrun around you, holding on to what it has. So you may as well eat.

A Spanish study found that students who ate breakfast reported less stress and depression.

So then, since breaking your fast has been shown to increase
your body’s use of fat, increase your energy, and boost brain performance and
mood,

What are You Having for Breakfast?

Did you can, freeze, or (freeze)dry last year’s harvest? Then here are some suggestions for a hot and nourishing breakfast, featuring commonly (and a few not so commonly) grown produce.

It’s FEBRUARY and (mostly) cold (it is, after all, the Mid-Atlantic with its yoyo weather pattern). So we’re going to get through this post with a single mention of smoothies. There, done.

But there’s always soup. And I could totally go for a pot pie for breakfast. Let’s check out a few ideas, shall we?

On a Raft

Raft is old diner-speak for toast. And there are so many
variations on layering veggies and proteins on a piece of toast. It’s quick and
relatively simple, depending on how far ahead the toppings are prepared. If
you’re carb-conscious, you can play around with types of bread to lower the
amount of carbs (anyone for cauliflower bread?) Consider this batch:

Open-Faced Roasted Eggplant & Herb Salad Pita Sandwiches from Eating Well magazine
Garden supplied: parsley, onion, herbs

Beets & Goat Cheese Toast from EatingWell
Garden supplied: beets

Beets are a good source of:

  • niacin,
  • 288 mg potassium;
  • fiber
  • vitamin A
  • folate
  • calcium
  • magnesium

This and a berries-marscapone recipe feature dairy. If that’s a concern for you, Maya Sozer over at OneGreenPlanet has a simple recipe for a cashew-and-coconut marscapone which would boost the protein count of this meal.

Avocado and __________

I’m including avocados, not because avocado toast is such a thing these days, but because they are chock full of nutrients that can really give your day a great kickoff. And, although avocados aren’t generally aren’t thought of as a Mid-Atlantic crop, it is possible to grow them indoors in containers.

But if you have to purchase your avocados, you can freely embellish any recipe with herbs, onions, or veggies from your harvest. Then get even more creative with white beans, salmon, or other seafood.

Of course, you don’t have to use traditional sliced bread. Think tortillas, flatbreads, crackers, or pizza dough made traditionally or from nuts, seeds, or vegetables (cauliflower thins, anyone?) Go further outside the breadbox and think sliced sweet potato or any squash. Like this:

Sweet Potato Toast with Creamy Coconut, Raspberries, and Pistachio
Garden supplies: raspberries, sweet potato

I was inspired by a recipe from Eating Well but, once I started on it, I got carried away. I thought this would be a good way to put to use the coconut butter (pureed coconut meat) that’s been sitting mostly idle on the shelf so, here is my

Sweet Potato Toast with Creamy Coconut,
Raspberries, & Pistachios

~2 tablespoons Nutiva Coconut MannaTM

1/4 cup softened cream cheese

4-5 drops orange-flavored liquid stevia from VitaCost

1/2 t powdered ginger

1 medium oven-roasted sweet potato

fresh raspberries

unshelled pistachios

Lacking the upper body strength to slice a raw sweet potato,
I put a light coating of coconut oil on a medium potato and roasted it on a
grate in the convection oven at about 375F.

While that was baking, I whisked together the cream cheese,
coconut butter, stevia, ginger powder, and a hint of salt.

(I’d started this in our smallest blender, which required
adding a little water to help with the processing. Because the amount of
ingredients was so little, I couldn’t get a good blend, so I put the mixture into
a small bowl. I started with a silicone whisk but that felt like it was going
to break apart so I switched to a stainless steel whisk).

I washed the raspberries and let them dry, then shelled the pistachios.

Once the sweet potato was cooked through, I took it out of
the oven, removed the skin, and cut a slice lengthwise.

The slice went back into the oven on broil for a few minutes.

Arrangement:

I put the sweet potato slice on a plate, then topped it with
a generous dollop or two of the coconut-cream cheese, a layer of raspberry, and
a sprinkle of pistachios.

I used the remaining sweet potato for a salad and berry-potato-cashew
bowl.

One potato, three breakfasts!

Oatmeal and Other Traditional Hot Breakfasts

Can there be breakfast without oatmeal? “NO!” some would say.
Oats are a wonderful source of fuel but there is new research that suggests a low-glycemic
breakfast works better for diabetics. Oatmeal is definitely not
low-glycemic; the glycemic index is 66 for instant and rolled oats and 44 for
steel-cut oats.

Hot Breakfast Staples Garden supplied
Oatmeal berries, avocado, squash
Creamed grain (wheat, rice, buckwheat, amaranth) berries, herbs,
Eggs herbs, greens, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli
Pancakes/waffles/scones/muffins berries, squash, tomatoes, beets, flowers

If you’re trying to cut back on grains in general, consider using
nut flour for a creamy bowl or high-protein, low-carb pancake/waffle/scone/muffin.
(Pictures forthcoming)

Or swap out the wheat flour in this Avocado Pumpkin Bread with Dark Chocolate Chips and Almonds, courtesy of the California Almond Growers, with a grain-free nut blend. I may try this with packaged pumpkin, fresh avocado, and plain almond flour…

A Hot Panful

My Cheesy Herb & Spinach & Green Onion Frittata

Toasts and cereals are relatively quick; but if you want to
take more time with breakfast, there are quiches, casseroles, frittatas, and more.
These can be made in the oven, on the stovetop, or in an instant pot.

Homegrown eggs

If your growing space already includes poultry, how cool are you? If it’s something you’ve thought about, a good starting point is this earlier post on egg types. Then eggs can be added to your garden supplied list (or, technically, farm/yard supplied list).

Spinach-Mushroom Quiche from Eating Well
Garden supplies: onion, spinach, thyme, garlic, and
(possibly) mushrooms. Two notes on this recipe:

  1. Mushrooms are chock full of nutrients and health benefits, as noted in Chapter 3 of my Basement Garden series and are relatively easy to grow.
  2. Although spinach has lost its high standing as a super iron source, it still packs a potent punch of other important nutrients like:
  • vitamin A – normal vision, immune system, reproductive health, heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs
  • vitamin B6 – brain and cognitive health, metabolism (helps your body change food into energy), create red blood cells
  • vitamin C – skin health (forms collegen which is used to make skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels), assists wounds to heal, repair cartilage, bones, and teeth, and helps the body absorb iron
  • vitamin K – bone health, blood clotting, wound healing

Make Ahead Veggie Breakfast Casserole from Primavera Kitchen
Garden supplied: red onion, broccoli, cherry tomatoes,
spinach, parsley, and (possibly) mushrooms

Green onion, baby spinach, eggs, herbed cheese – the basis for the frittata pictured above.

Instant Pot Breakfast Casserole from Recipes from a Pantry
Garden supplied: cauliflower, red bell pepper, spring onion

Veggie Instant Pot Breakfast Casserole from Peas and Crayons
Garden supplied: red bell pepper, yellow onion, spinach, garlic

Salads

Not the cold ones, and not for lunch – they could be, but we’re talking fast-breaking hot foods here, so heat it up!

Sweet Potato Breakfast Salad with Almond Butter Protein Dressing by The Full Helping
Garden supplied: sweet potato, romaine/spinach
(You can see my take on this salad in the 1-potato/3-breakfast picture above. I didn’t have any dates so I threw in a small handful of cashews to make the dressing creamy.)

Wild Alaska Salmon & Warm Vegetable Salad by Alaska Seafood
Garden supplied: shallot, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers,
artichokes, (lemon), watercress/spinach/arugula

Save the Bay! Eat Blue Catfish

The folks at the Chesapeake Bay Office of the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) would be really happy if more folks included these invaders on their menu.

Would it help to know that, unlike most catfish, blues like the upper levels of the water so there’s no beat-the-mud taste to contend with?

It does? Awesome! Then try these:

Fried Blue Catfish by Miss Homemade
To incorporate more from your garden, consider making a hash of the potatoes suggested as a side, then add celery, bell peppers, onions, and herbs. Serve it and the cornmeal-breaded fish strips or nuggets on a small bed of greens to cram in more garden veggies.

Eggs Benedict with Shrimp & Catfish Cakes from The Catfish Institute
Garden supplied: onion, celery, green onion, garlic,
parsley, (lemon), asparagus

This is probably the most labor-intensive recipe, but for a seafood lover, this should be a pretty spectacular brunch item!

Explore, Enjoy, Be Nourished

National Hot Breakfast Month will be over before we know it;
so, let’s not limit the quest for a garden-grown hot breakfast to one month on
the calendar. I know I’ll be populating our new Recipes category with more kitchen
adventures.

What about you? What’s your favorite hot breakfast?

Nutty Butternut Soup from my Soup and Souping article

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