Lifestyle

Mother’s Day breakfast served with love

Granola, yogurt and fresh fruit parfaits with homemade granola. - Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter
Granola, yogurt and fresh fruit parfaits with homemade granola.
— image credit: Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter

Nothing I’ve ever done or will ever do will mean more to me than being a mother. I also feel deeply blessed to have had a mother who was as loving and nurturing as mine. Falling on May 9 this year, Mother’s Day is a perfect opportunity to honor the woman in your life who nurtures, loves and sacrifices for her children, even if her biggest sacrifice is sleep.

Usually the last ones to go to bed, some mothers are up at the crack of dawn to head off to work, to work out or to do both before most of us have pushed the snooze button for the first time. For many moms, breakfast is a cup of coffee and a protein bar on the fly, even on the weekends.

I don’t naturally rise early and never have, although I wish I did. I’m more the type who will seize any opportunity to lounge around shamefully late on weekend mornings and have never felt comfortable skipping any meal.

My ideal Mother’s Day would start off with leisurely relaxing around the house and having a yummy breakfast served to me with lots of love and special attention. After all, every mom on Mother’s Day should be treated like a queen — all day long — especially when the majority of the year we feel more like a lady-in-waiting.

Here are some of my breakfast faves that I hope husbands and partners will join with the children to prepare for mom. Even if you don’t know your way around your own kitchen, let alone have confidence in your ability to cook, I promise each one of these recipes is easy and fun to make, especially when done together with the youngsters.

One thing I’ve always loved is granola, but couldn’t find a store-bought kind I liked enough to stay with. I found myself often disappointed because most of them are too sweet and also pretty pricey. A few weeks ago, I had several girlfriends over for dinner, and one of them, Lisa Katsman, treated me to some delicious granola that she lovingly makes from scratch. She had originally gotten the recipe from her girlfriend, Lorna, and has since made it her own by adding some other ingredients.

Making granola can be a bit of a free-for-all: You can delete or add whatever suits your taste the most. A great practical idea is to buy the ingredients at stores such as Whole Foods, PCC Natural Markets or Madison Market, which have bulk sections where you can purchase only the amount you need of each ingredient, instead of spending money on larger amounts.

I’m happy to say my search for the perfect granola has ended now that Lisa has inspired me to make my own for one of my favorite wholesome things to eat for breakfast: granola with yogurt and fresh fruit. Layering the breakfast in a glass is a fun way to serve this, made even more special when the granola is homemade. Even if you don’t have time to make granola from scratch, any brand you enjoy will do just fine.

Granola, Yogurt and Fruit Parfaits

Granola (either your favorite brand or homemade from the recipe below)

Mom’s favorite berries (I used blueberries and strawberries)

A small banana

Mom’s favorite yogurt (this mom prefers plain)

Rinse the berries, drain and pat dry. If using strawberries, cut them into small pieces. Slice the banana and cut the slices in quarters, then mix the banana with the berries. Take a large or medium glass and drop a little yogurt in the bottom, cover with some of the fruit mixture, then some granola. Repeat this layering order until the glass is full. Chill until served.

Lisa Katsman’s Granola

Yields 7 cups

Ingredients: (make sure the seeds, nuts and wheat germ are raw and unsalted)

2 ½ cups rolled oats

½ cup wheat germ

½ cup sesame seeds

½ cup sunflower seeds

½ cup coconut (large flakes and raw)

½ cup sliced almonds

½ cup soy flour

½ cup powdered milk

¼ cup flax seeds

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

½ cup raisins

½ cup honey

½ cup vegetable oil (not olive oil)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees with the rack placed in the middle of the oven. Place the oats, wheat germ, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, almonds, flour, powdered milk, flax seeds, cinnamon and raisins in a large bowl and blend well. In a smaller bowl, stir the oil, honey and vanilla together, then pour into the dry ingredients and stir or toss with your hands until everything is evenly mixed. Fingers work best for that part. Spread out onto a large baking pan and bake for 40 minutes or until well toasted. After the first 20 minutes, stir to evenly toast. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Most women love muffins, particularly when warm out of the oven and with the added plus of being low fat and low sugar. I found this great recipe that uses vegetable oil and applesauce to give these muffins a wonderful flavor and moist texture. Even if you’ve never baked muffins before, I encourage you to give these a try, especially if mom’s a muffin girl. They’re truly delish!

Low Fat Applesauce Muffins

Yields 10 to 12 muffins

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

A pinch of salt

1 egg (slightly beaten)

1/3 cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup applesauce (unsweetened)

1 medium apple (peeled, cored and finely chopped)

1/3 cup vegetable oil (not olive oil)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack placed in the middle of the oven. Grease muffin pan with oil or an oil spray. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; stir all together with a fork to blend. In a separate, larger bowl, thoroughly mix the egg, sugar, applesauce, oil, vanilla and chopped apple. Combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, careful to blend well but not over mix. Fill muffin cups to ¾ full. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean and the tops are just lightly golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Eggs for breakfast are a long-standing favorite, especially when they’re done in a unique way. This egg dish makes a nice presentation because it’s cooked and served in a ramekin or custard cup. It’s a layered blend of baked egg, melted cheese, fresh spinach and turkey bacon to deliver a scrumptious taste experience and a great little meal. You’ll hit one out of the ballpark for mom with this easy-to-prepare recipe!

Baked Eggs with Turkey Bacon, Spinach and Cheddar Cheese

4 servings

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and ground pepper

4 cups baby spinach (fresh)

4 tablespoons dried bread crumbs

2 slices turkey bacon (or Canadian bacon)

4 large eggs

½ cup shaved or grated, aged cheddar (like our local Beecher’s Flagship brand)

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees with the rack placed in the middle of oven. Butter four 6-ounce ramekins and set aside.

Remove the spinach stems and pat dry to remove extra moisture. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the spinach, season with a tiny bit of salt and toss until it’s slightly wilted, which will only take about a minute or so. Remove from heat.

Cut each slice of turkey or Canadian bacon in half and then into small pieces and place into the bottom of each ramekin. Place even amounts of cooked spinach on top of the bacon and sprinkle one tablespoon of dried bread crumbs over the spinach. The bread crumbs will absorb extra moisture that is released from the spinach during baking. Crack each egg one at a time into a small bowl to make sure it doesn’t contain any pieces of egg shell, and slip the egg into the ramekin on top of the bread crumbs; season with a tiny amount of salt and pepper. Don’t forget: there’s salt in the cheese, so go easy with the seasoning or it will taste too salty. Cover equal amounts of cheese around the yolk of the egg.

Bake for a total of time of 15 to 18 minutes, or until the whites are just set and the yolks are still runny. You can also cook them in a toaster oven for about 5 to 7 minutes. Serve with mom’s favorite toast and whatever spread she prefers.

For extra deliciousness, remember: whatever you prepare for mom, serve it with the sweetest words of love and appreciation for all she does and all she is.

Enjoy and Happy Mother’s Day to everyone, especially my fellow mamas!

P.S. My previous article that appeared in the April 14 issue mistakenly omitted the 2 teaspoons baking powder in the Lemon Cornmeal Cake recipe’s list of ingredients. So sorry about that! Thank you to those who alerted me to this.

Cynthia Shifrin can be reached at either cyns0117@aol.com or (206) 232-3722.

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