Thinking Outside the Box, Literally

Life is full of clichés and the one about breakfast being the most important meal of the day is one that holds true. Breakfast boosts lagging blood sugars and fuels us for the day. Given the fact that this is the first food we feed our starving bodies and brains, it would make sense to choose something really nutritious. That’s another reason why I don’t serve breakfast cereal often.

“What do you eat for breakfast then?”

Around here we have very loose ideas of what breakfast food should be. So we’ll eat whatever is around that fills and fuels us for the day. Here is a list of some non-typical weekday breakfasts we might eat to start the day:
-egg fried rice
-pasta with butter and garlic or pesto
-frozen dumplings
-bean and cheese quesadilla
-leftovers from last night’s dinner. This could be just about anything: pasta, noodles, pizza, soup, stir fry, steak and potatoes. Anything.

But we also eat some typical breakfast foods:
-frozen homemade waffles, pancakes or muffins
-French toast
-eggs, omelettes
-homemade granola or muesli with yogurt
-hot cereal (not the instant kind): any combination of oats, barley flakes, quinoa flakes, triticale flakes…

And I’ll round out the breakfast with milk, fruit and sometimes even veggies or a fruit and yogurt smoothie.

“How do you find the time to make breakfast?”

Honestly, boiling up some water for pasta or stir frying rice and eggs takes about as much time as putting the kettle on and making a Bodum-full of coffee.

You get the idea. Pretty much anything goes as long as we have a balanced meal (yes, including all the proverbial food groups) and avoid falling into the clutches of highly processed breakfast cereal. Can your household do without cereal? Think outside of the cereal box and strip away your notion of what breakfast food should be and you’ll come up with a ton of new, quick, more-nutritious-than-cereal alternatives to start your day.

Flemish Asparagus and a Glass of Cava

There are celebrities, then there are celebrities. Real celebrities. The people in your life that are not necessarily famous but shine brighter than any Hollywood star. I’m lucky to have folks like that in my life. People I can embrace and soak in all their generous energy and grace.

My sister-in-law is one of those celebrities. She’s one of those people that gives endlessly, asks for little and is grateful for every moment. A true star in every sense. Because we don’t live in the same city, time with her is precious and we can never have enough time to fit in all the things we want to do together.

We did, however, have a chance to sit down to lunch late last spring…in Antwerp. Belgium. Two sisters who live a continent and an ocean apart. How often does this opportunity arise? We had to celebrate with a plate of Flemish asparagus and a rosy glass of cava. Perfect food for celebrities.

Flemish Asparagus
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed
2 hard cooked eggs, finely chopped
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 or 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Salt, pepper

Lightly steam asparagus to your liking. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on white asparagus, you’ll need to cook them longer until they’re very tender.
In the meantime, melt the butter in a small saucepan over low to medium heat. 
Once your asparagus is plated, add the hard cooked eggs to the butter and warm gently. Season the butter mixture with parsley, a squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Adorn the asparagus generously with the egg and butter sauce, garnish with paprika if you like and serve right away. Cava optional but highly recommended.

Serves 2 as a meal, 4 as a side dish