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School is right around the corner and summer is winding down. For many this means getting back to a regular routine and for many a more hectic life. But a hectic life should not mean skipping breakfast. According to Steve Dowshen on kidshealth.org, “Breakfast is indeed a very important meal. A good breakfast fuels you up and gets you ready for the day. In general, kids and teens who eat breakfast have more energy, do better in school, and eat healthier throughout the day. Without breakfast, people can get irritable, restless, and tired.”
Eating breakfast may even help with weight loss according the Mayo Clinic. Eating breakfast helps reduce hunger later in the day so the “quick fixes” such as trips to the vending machines can be avoided. A habit of skipping breakfast may lead to an increase in the body’s insulin response, which actually increases fat storage and weight gain.
Eating breakfast refuels the body and provides energy. The energy assists with increased physical activity during the rest of the day. www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-and-nutrition.
This week’s column provides some recipes for breakfasts, many that can be made ahead of time so they are ready to “grab and go.”

Blueberry Power Muffins
with Almond Streusel
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour,
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups vanilla low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup 2 percent reduced-fat
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
Cooking spray
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup slivered almonds,
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Preheat oven to 400°.
To prepare muffins, lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, oats, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine yogurt, milk, oil, vanilla, and egg, stirring with a whisk. Add yogurt mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moist. Fold in blueberries. Spoon 2 rounded tablespoons batter into each of 30 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.
To prepare streusel, combine 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, almonds, brown sugar, and butter. Sprinkle evenly over batter. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Robin Vitetta-Miller, Cooking Light, July 2003.

Quick Breakfast Burrito
Pico de Gallo:
1-1/2 cups chopped tomato
(about 1 large)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Dash of crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 eggs, lightly beaten
Dash of ground red pepper
Cooking spray
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 ounce can diced green chilies
(4) 6 inch corn tortillas
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded
Colby-Jack cheese
To prepare Pico de Gallo, combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl.
To prepare the burritos, combine chopped fresh oregano and the next 4 ingredients (through the ground red pepper) in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray. Add egg mixture, 1/4 cup onion, and green chilies to the pan. Cook for 3 minutes or until eggs are set, stirring frequently. Remove pan from heat; stir egg mixture well.
Heat the corn tortillas according to package directions. Divide the egg mixture evenly among tortillas. Top each serving with 2 tablespoons shredded cheese and about 1/3 cup Pico de Gallo.
Heather Demeritte, Scottsdale, AZ, Cooking Light, August 2009.

Homemade Granola Bar
Ashley Rodriguez of Not
Without Salt
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely
1/4 cup flax seeds
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup dark brown sugar,
lightly packed
1-1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dried fruit, chopped
(apricots, dates, cranberries,
blueberries, raisins, etc.)
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the flax seeds.
Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.* Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dried fruit and stir well.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting. Wrap in individual servings and store in your pantry.

Five-Grain Cereal with
Apricots, Apples and Bananas
1/3 cup flaxseed
1-1/4 cups steel-cut (Irish) oats
2/3 cup dried apricots, coarsely
2/3 cup dried apple, coarsely
2/3 cup dried banana chips
1/2 cup cracked wheat
1/2 cup uncooked regular grits
1/2 cup oat bran
1/3 cup wheat bran
3/4 teaspoon salt
13-1/2 cups water
Place flaxseed in a spice or coffee grinder; process until coarsely ground. Combine flaxseed, oats, and remaining ingredients except water in a large bowl, stirring well to combine.
Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add cereal; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook 2 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Serve immediately.
“Store this dry cereal in a zip-top plastic bag in the freezer to keep it fresh. To make the cereal a batch at a time, add 1/2 cup dry cereal mix to 1-1/2 cups boiling water for each serving.”
Lora Brody, Cooking Light, January 2003.

Kicked-Up Quesadilla
Ashley Rodriguez of Not
Without Salt
2 flour tortillas (regular or
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar
Several thin slices of a Granny
Smith apple
Sprinkle an even layer of cheese over one tortilla. Scatter the apple slices on top of the cheese and top with the remaining tortilla. Microwave for 30 seconds or until the cheese melts. For a crisper tortilla, use a large skillet and crisp for 1-2 minutes on both sides, until the cheese is melted. Cut into 6-8 wedges.

Crepes On-The-Run
Ashley Rodriguez of Not
Without Salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
Additional butter, for coating the
Blend all of the ingredients until completely incorporated (an immersion or regular blender works well for this). Let batter chill in the fridge for at least one hour. (This allows the bubbles to subside, making your batter nice and smooth.) Your batter can be made up to 48 hours in advance.
Heat an 8”-10” non-stick pan over medium-high. Add butter to coat. Pour a scant 1/4 cup of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly (you want a very thin even layer of batter -- adjust amount of batter according to the size of pan you are using). Cook for 45 seconds and flip. Cook for another 20 seconds.
Refrigerate any leftover crepes in a re-sealable plastic bag with a sheet of wax paper between each crepe to prevent sticking. Well-sealed, they can be frozen for up to one month.
When you are ready for breakfast, children can help fill their crepes with ham and cheese, fresh fruit and cream cheese, Nutella and bananas, peanut butter and jam or any combination that appeals.
Roll up crepes like a burrito or fold in quarters to make a simple, portable meal. Makes about 15 crepes

Ashley Rodriguez of Not
Without Salt
2 pieces of whole wheat bread
1 teaspoon butter, softened
1-1/2 tablespoons jam
Lightly butter both pieces of bread. Spread the jam over the butter onto just one piece of bread leaving 1/2 inch border around the edges. Top with the remaining slice of bread. Cut off the crust and seal the two pieces of bread together using the tines of a fork. Slide into the toaster; then “pop” breakfast is ready.
*Optional: Add thinly sliced fresh fruit such as bananas or strawberries for a fresh flavor. Try adding peanut butter or cream cheese for an added boost of protein. Chocolate fiends could even try a teaspoon of chocolate hazelnut spread instead of butter.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
Ashley Rodriguez of Not
Without Salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup oil
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups shredded zucchini
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, oil and buttermilk. Add in all of the dry ingredients, including spices. Mix thoroughly. Stir in zucchini. Fill the prepared muffin tin liners about 3/4 of the way. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out mostly clean. Makes 12-15 muffins.
The COOK OF THE WEEK 3rd Edition Cookbook is available. Cost per copy is $10.70, plus $4.80 shipping/handling. Order a copy today by sending a check or money order, along with name and shipping address, to: Humboldt Independent, 512 Sumner Ave., Humboldt, IA 50548.