Monday, February 11, 2013

Reader Request: Breakfast Suggestions

It is Monday night- blogging night at the One Hot Stove headquarters- and I have a bit of a weekend hangover, blinking and wondering how it got to be Monday already. Because this was an exceptionally fun and memorable weekend. Back in high school, I had a close knit group of friends and three of us were particularly close. Happily, when I moved to GA, I moved within 90 minutes of one of them. This weekend the third friend narrowly escaped the mega snowstorm of Boston and flew down to sunny GA. All of a sudden, too many years later, we were together again. And the hours flew by while we drank too much wine and dissolved in giggles and nostalgically ate a whole chocolate cake that I baked specially for the occasion. This was in loving memory of the cakes I attempted to bake in high school while these two ate most of the batter before it made it into the oven. The hosting friend plied us with wonderful food and hospitality- misal pav for breakfast, ravioli and butternut squash soup for dinner- and I came back thoroughly sated and in need of a nap.

But I committed to blogging every Monday and here I am. Promises are promises, right?

When I posted a breakfast casserole recipe a few weeks ago, Vasudha asked for some breakfast suggestions. She said, "Breakfast is the meal that I struggle most with...Could you post some more suggestions for hot, non-sweet, (ideally baby-friendly) breakfasts? The only four that I actually manage to make before we all head out the door between 8 and 8.30 are bread and eggs, poha, upma, and vermicelli upma. We are now so. very. bored. Would love suggestions, especially now that the baby wants to eat whatever we do."

Vasudha, it sounds like you are cooking fresh breakfast every morning. If you're OK with reheating food, it is very convenient to make certain breakfast dishes ahead of time. I personally find that mornings are much easier if I have breakfast ready to just heat and eat. For instance, you could make idlis on the weekend and refrigerate/freeze them; they reheat beautifully in the microwave. Or have dosa batter and sambar ready, so that a fresh uttapam can be made in minutes.

If you eat eggs, there are a multitude of options beyond fried eggs/omelets/scrambles and bread. I love making this egg-potato dish or assorted egg-vegetable casseroles on the weekend and carving out a generous wedge for breakfast all week. Another savory option: Breakfast burritos with scrambled egg/tofu, beans and vegetables all rolled into a whole wheat tortilla. I've read that these freeze well too.

Oatmeal is one of those breakfast foods which can be put together in minutes. When I don't have breakfast options already lined up in the fridge, I'll turn to the pantry and make peanut butter oatmeal (old fashioned oats, almond milk, pinch of salt, peanut butter and a drizzle of maple syrup). This is a barely-sweet breakfast that appeals even to someone like me who decidedly does not enjoy sweet breakfast foods (unless we're talking about cookies and biscotti to be dunked into chai, in which case, come to mama). I've seen recipes for savory oatmeal but haven't been brave enough to try them for myself.

Even if you are sticking to the tried and true Indian breakfast favorites of upma and poha, you can make interesting variations on the theme by adding different vegetables/beans (eg. poha with corn or sprouted peas), trying different regional recipes (tamarind poha, for instance, is very different from the Maharashtrian onion-potato poha I'm used to) and different grains- quinoa upma, anyone?

One final suggestion: write down 8 distinct breakfast dishes that appeal to you and your family and make 2 every week (during that week, you'll make a big batch and eat each one 2 or 3 times). That way, you'll have different breakfasts in the rotation for a entire month and it won't get boring.

My baby daughter eats everything that we do, but she loves this breakfast oatmeal so I make it especially for her. The apples and oatmeal are a no-added-sugar breakfast that is very filling and the prunes get the system going if you know what I mean. So, if on some days you're making a breakfast that doesn't seem very baby friendly, this might be a good option.

Lila's Breakfast Oatmeal

Never said it was a pretty food
but I know folks like to see pics of recipes so here ya go
2 apples
2 pitted prunes
1/4 cup old fashioned oats

  1. Wash, peel and dice the apples. Chop the prunes into quarters.
  2. Place apples and prunes in a saucepan and add enough water to cover the apple pieces.
  3. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer until the apples are tender (test with the tip of a knife or a fork). 
  4. Add oats, stir and cook for 2 more minutes. Mash with a potato masher (or puree with an immersion blender for a smoother puree).

Cool and store in an airtight non-plastic container in the fridge. This makes 3 to 6 servings depending on the age and appetite of the baby. Warm gently before serving.

If you have any suggestions for Vasudha, please share them in the comments! What strategies are you using to treat yourself to a filling breakfast on busy mornings?

52 comments:

  1. Pongal is another interesting food, which can satisfy a breakfast, brunch, luch or dinner. Lightly roasted( just heated ) rice and half the proportion of moond dal ( that oo lightly roasted ) are given a slight run in the mixie so that they are broken, bou not pounded, along with jeera and little pepper corns. This is the instant pongal mix. any time , you can just cook it in a PC, in 3 times water, to make a beautiful pongal. Alittle hing, ginger pieces, curry patta can be added in the tadka.

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    1. Great idea! I'm going to make this pongal mix right away.

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    2. thats so nice of you Nupur, my aunt, who is an expert in making home made mixes is visiting me this week end, will take all those recipes that are possible from her and mail you

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    3. Nirupama, what a great idea. Please share other mix ideas as well. Looks like they'll make for nice homemade gifts too!

      Priya

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    4. she has shared with me 3 more ready mixes, more kuzhambu (kadi, tamilnadu style) ,heatless than half a tsp of oil and slowly fry around 10 green chillies, chopped, keep them aside,after swtiching of the stove,, just add 1 tbsp pf dhania seeds and 2 tsp of jeera seeds, they should not be roasted, just the heat shd be felt, powder everything in the mixie along with 1 cup of roasted gram ( pottukadalai, putnalu), can be stored, mixed with curds, along with boiled veggies to make a beautiful more kuzhambu, taadka in coconut oil with mustard and curry leaves

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    5. Another fantastic recipe- thanks!!

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  2. nupur, regarding poha, as you say, soaked poha can be stored in a fridge , and can microwaved in different forms to get tasty variety poha as you say

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    1. I don't store soaked poha in the fridge (because the poha that I buy takes only a couple of minutes to soak) but I do often cook poha and then just reheat it over the next few days.

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  3. I can imagine what fun it must have been for you over the weekend :) Its always like that when you meet friends you've known for years. You should consider writing a book, not just recipes, but all these little tips you give and all the options and alternatives. Its so useful Nupur, you're seriously doing a great job with this, though I wish you'd blog more often..

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    1. Thank you for saying that- you're very sweet. Honestly, a week goes by so fast that even blogging once a week is taking some discipline!

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  4. That must have been one awesome weekend! I was lucky to share 2 such wonderful weekends back in Cali. with my school friend, sadly we are now in different states but we do hope that our paths will cross again, I am hoping she will move to TX :)

    My 2 c for Breakfast ideas from some options I have on my blog -
    (Microwave- your version) Sabudana Khichadi - all ready in about 10 minutes, if you chop potatoes quickly! Soak sabudana the previous night.

    Thalipeeth- in those rushed mornings, just add minimum spices ( salt, red chile pwd.) and slap 'em on the skillet!

    When I make aloo paratha, I make extra filling, keep some aside. In the morning, stuff some potato mixture between 2 slices of bread, add cheese for kids, grill, serve with ketchup.

    'Phodnichi poli' if you have left over rotis/ fulkas, not exactly very nutritious, but will do in a hurry. Add some chopped veges ( peas, carrot to boost the nutrition)

    Avocado Parathas/ Methi theplas or Parathas.

    Appe, if you have dosa batter on hand, they make a good lunch box item too.

    Parfait, if you have time to cop fruit -ideal for summer!

    Besan Cheelas, quick and filling and gluten free!

    Though these may not be the best option, Cutlets ( made ahead and frozen)- sprouted moong stuffed cutlets sound good?

    Date and nut snack- these are instant energy and breakfast on the go.

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    1. Thanks for sharing these great ideas! I do adore cutlets for a mid-morning snack at work, and why not, they would make for a tasty breakfast too.

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  5. Hello Nupur,

    Thanks...Breakfast is a meal I struggle with as well. I live in India.. and u know how it works - different varieties of hot breakfast...

    Some of the things that work for me ... and I try different things to break the monotony...

    1) Idlis / Dosas (Batter ready the previous night so less of a struggle)
    2) Poha / Upma / Tikhat Sanja
    3) Veggie Patties
    4) Eggs and Bread
    5) Sandwiches / jusy change the stuffing
    6) Thalipith
    7) Upvaas Stuff - Sabudana Khichdi / thalipith / vari sanja
    8) Theplas of various kinds (best way to feed the family diff veggies)
    9) Tomato Omelette with chapatis

    I try and rotate these around and also experiment with diff variations, so that the family does not feel that they are being fed the same thing :-)..
    I know its all the same stuff - just thought I'd list it down..

    Thanks,
    Meenal

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    1. These are all great ideas. I forgot to mention tomato omelet- that takes just minutes to make too.

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  6. I make tadka (similar to upma tadka) and then add old fashioned oats to it and store it in a container. Every day I soak a cup of this mixture in some water for 5 min and then heat it for a min in the microwave oven, add 3-4 spoons of curds , mix well and eat.

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    1. That sounds good, actually, I need to try oats upma one of these days.

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  7. Thank you so very much for taking up my question, Nupur, and for all the great suggestions in the post and the comments. I'm excited about trying them all out!

    Vasudha

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    1. I hope this helps a bit, Vasudha. Thanks for your question.

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    2. thanks vasudha, your request has made all of our brains work fast. And nupur, i ve ready made thalipeeth bhajini,bought from pune., the thalipeeths i made were not soft but stiff why?

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  8. Hi,
    The one thing I always have in my freezer are idi appams. My family love idi appams turned into upma as shown to me by a Tamil friend. The tadka has cashews, chana dal, urad dal, red chillies/green chillies, haldi, curry leaves. I made the upma once with a mix of red rice and white rice idi appams and didn't use haldi.
    Another popular breakfast is savoury bread pudding which I make with stale or leftover bread, eggs, cheese, peppers, onions, coriander, ginger, mushrooms and lots of spring onions. We all prefer savoury breakfasts to sweet ones so upma, tikhat sheera, Malvani phodnicha bhaat, thaalipeeth, sabudana khichadi, spicy French toast, kanda upar eeda...
    Ujwala

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  9. Interesting topic,..
    My fav breakfast is
    Poha,
    Bread omelet
    Sandwich
    Egg roll
    Idli

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    1. All sound perfectly delicious to me!

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  10. You weekend sounds so much fun! I wish you have many more such friend-filled weekends. :)

    We both prefer eggs for breakfast, we leave home for work at 6:30am. I make a simple egg white omlette sometimes with finely chopped veggies (whatever is at hand), sometimes plain with cheese (using different kinds of cheese for variation) and wrap it in a freshly made roti. I make dough overnight, chop veggies overnight, shred cheese. It takes less than 10 mins to put things together. The mornings go smoothly if this 'homework' is done previous night. :) I carry roasted peanuts, seasonal fruit and some milk or tea to work to keep me going till lunch.

    We treat ourselves to more elaborate breakfasts every weekend to break the egg routine.

    - Priti

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    1. I ate an omelet every single morning the whole time I went to school. These days, I like eggs for dinner (egg curry, pulao, etc) so I'm mixing it up at breakfast. You definitely have a good system going there.
      How come you're leaving out egg yolks? That's where a lot of the nutrition is.

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  11. besan chilla with lots of veggies in it, sandwiches made with left over sabzi from dinner are regulars at our house. If you don't have besan, substitute with moong daal atta. I recently tried chillas with red rice atta and they turned out very good. You can get creative with what you put in the atta (spinach, peas, carrots etc). For weekends, one breakfast we enjoy is dhokla. Buy a packet of ready-made mix and you are ready to go in ten mins. But I have to say our fav breakfast dish (when i have the time) is Nupur's Jhatpat Appe.

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    1. I love love love wraps with leftover subzi! Thanks for sharing your breakfast ideas.

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  12. I almost never cook in the mornings (takes up way too much time for me)..so for most days we eat oatmeal or homemade granola with milk, almond butter and dried fruit. On days when I get sick of eating oatmeal (which is 1-2 times during weekdays) I make a sandwich on the ciabatta bread squares, with hummus and sprouts or with falafel patties or leftover veggies from dinner or just butter and jam. Weekend breakfasts are grand with poha or upma or dhoklas or outside.
    -neha

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    1. Your breakfast sounds fantastic and pretty close to what I tend to eat, Neha.

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  13. I am already making a list if all the awesome suggestions given here..nice post!
    We occasionally make multi-grain pancakes with fruits using the mix sold at Target.

    I also make Zuccuni pancakes served with brie & ketchup. (def a weekend dish tho)

    Other fav's

    1. Grilled cheese on raisin bread
    2. Butter & jam sandwich.
    3. Various assortment of cereals with milk

    4. Bhugga (as they call it in Marathi) - stale roti, bajri bhakri or pav stir fried with onion n spices..this tastes amazing with dahi or ketchup.

    5. Gool -sheera with banana & various dried fruits

    6. sabudana wada with dahi

    7. For my little one I like to make nachani peaz, sheera etc. (also called as ragi) - this stuff is extremely rich in iron.

    8. Daliya with nuts & jaggery



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    1. Great ideas- you had me at grilled cheese with raisin bread!

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  14. hi Nupur,
    Struggling like others, finally our family, we have found couple options that work very good for us. We usually have boiled eggs that we boil and keep in the eggs carton and every morning, eat an egg with a cup of protein shake or fresh fruit. Easy and simple and filling breakfast.Also, I make bread sandwich curry over weekends, and next morning, just toast bread and make sandwiches hot and fresh and eat.I make 2-3 varieties of sandwich curries and so we feel we are eating variety every day. I also make oatmeal some days, load it with fresh fruits like strawberry or blueberry etc and nuts like walnuts etc. If kids are older, we also do protein shake with a fresh fruit..trust me this keeps good energy to last atleast a good 4 hrs. I make poha with chick peas and carrots grated and eat with fresh avacado slices..my son loves it for any meal :-)
    I am sure I'll use some ideas shared here as well...new entries are always welcome !!!
    Thanks,
    Mina.

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    1. Love the idea of your sandwich curries! And poha with veggies is wonderful, and the avocado would make an unusual but tasty topping.

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  15. Since I eat according to the paleo/primal principles which avoids processed sugar, grains (and in general is low carb high fat), my breakfast is usually eggs (anyway)in ghee or coconut oil with a coconut milk fruit smoothie.
    Sometimes I'll have tea or coffee with heavy cream (from pasture raised cows) its yummm!!
    Sometimes "Notmeal" which is ground soaked nuts and dates with coconut/almond milk
    One savory dish I like is breakfast "tacos" (scrambled eggs, avocado and salsa wrapped in lettuce)
    On days that I feel like eating Indian food, I usually have sabudana khichdi with dahi or besan chila or sprouted moong dosa with coconut chutney!
    -Anuja

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    1. Sounds delicious- especially your breakfast lettuce wraps!

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  16. One of the best topics Nupur. Breakfast must be the most popular meal of the day. I can have breakfast item anytime. We make poha very frequently in my place and the one I love is Karnataka style - with rasam powder, tamarind and shredded coconut. I've yet to try making it with chick peas or sprouted peas.

    Btw, after you posted the blog about grilled cheeese sandwiches in oven, I've made them so many times with slight variations (veggies, basil pesto, etc.). Thanks for the idea.

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    1. The Karnataka style poha is awesome- my sis taught me that recipe but I need to make it more often. So glad the oven sandwiches worked for you.

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  17. Oats Thalipeeth or Dosa can be made in jiffy even on busy mornings..
    I have blogged about those here and here http://theworldaccordingtorujuta.blogspot.in/2012/09/oats-thalipeeth.html
    http://theworldaccordingtorujuta.blogspot.in/2012/09/oats-dosa.html

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    1. Sounds delicious, but your oats dosa calls for only 3/4 tbsp. oats. Is that a typo?

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  18. 1) Rice sevai - Soak it in hot water for few mins, drain, and then you can make lemon sevai, tomato sevai or just make it like upma. It is done within 10-15 mins.
    2) Rava idlis - Roast rava and mix with curd. Season it with pepper, cumin, greenchilly and cashew (all sauted in ghee or oil). Add it with the rava-curd mix. Leave it for 15 mins. Then make idlis. You can make the batter the previous night also. Just 15 mins work. Store bough rava idli mix is also very good. It is actually perfect for the morning run!

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  19. one thing Im making these days is egg salad sandwich - takes all of 5 mins - i boil an egg while Im doing other things and then peel and mash with a fork, add a small teeny tiny dollop of mayo, some brown mustard, shredded cheese salt and tons of pepper and sandwich it in a couple of slices of bread. I also often send this sandwich to daycare for my son for lunch.
    Parfaits are another fav with whatever berries I can get my hand on and flax seed granola and a little honey..
    this is a great post with all these great ideas.
    for idlis I wanted to say that they are pretty easy to make fresh in the mornings if you get the microwave idli maker - takes about 5-7 mins and you can just put them in and walk away - to me thats a zero effort breakfast.

    Archana

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    1. Archana- for some reason, I seem to get the best results with idlis when I use freshly fermented batter. Which is why I tend to make batter and idlis on the weekend. Leftover batter goes towards dosas. Egg salad sandwich would be a fabulous breakfast for me!

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  20. Hey Nupur,
    That looks yum. Btw, do you think you could add a 'Pin it' button so that I could pin it on to Pinterest. I have found so many new ideas there and spread word abiut your wonderful site....hope you don't mind :)
    Thanks!
    Manju

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    1. Manju- What I've done is to put the "Pin It" button on my browser toolbar, which lets me pin from any website. Would you consider doing that? Feel free to pin from my blog; as long as you follow basic pinning etiquette (mentioning the source and not copying text into the pin), I'm always grateful!

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  21. I'd totally eat Lila's breakfast oatmeal!! Looks yum!

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    1. LOL you're absolutely right. Bit too mushy for me, but adding a few walnuts would make it fantastic.

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  22. Hi Nupur,
    I make big batch of quinoa in the rice cooker or pressure cooker. I cup quinoa and 2 cups water works great, after cooling the quinoa; refrigerate it and small portions can be used in different flavors over the week. I usually pack for lunch but can make a hearty breakfast too. Some ideas are:
    Puliogare quinioa: MTR Puliogare mix + curry leaves + roasted peanuts
    Mexican quinoa: Canned black beans, corn, cilantro, stir fried peppers and taco seasoning
    Basically anything that can be made with rice can be substituted with quinoa like mint pulse, peas pulav etc.
    Love reading your blog,
    Thanks,
    Anu

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    1. Thanks for sharing these terrific ideas, Anu!

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  23. Its Monday! Your posts take away all the blues from my Monday's and make it seem more of a Sunny Yellow! :)

    I tried a new breakfast so thought of posting this update. I made White Khatta Dhokla (got the flour from Indian store, added sour yogurt, green chilli-ginger paste) and it turned out great for a weekend breakfast with some pudina-cilantro chutney. The leftovers were crumbled this morning and a quick upma (but more like poha in preparation) was made in minutes that vanished in no time!

    My cousin sister is visiting me just for one night next week and we are meeting after 5 years. I am mightly excited to say the least!

    - Priti

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    1. How fun to have your cousin visiting- bet you're making good food for her :) Dhokla sounds like a fantastic breakfast.

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  24. Nupur I made your microwave dokla today. What a lovely tasty recipe! And all in under 10 minutes. I did not even oil my pan. My microwave is 900 watts and I cooked it for 3 minutes. Rested for 2 minutes did the tadka and voila...... This is a recipe I will be making again and again,each time thanking you !!

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