to start the day

salmon breakfast

Sometimes I eat better when we don’t have that much in the refrigerator.

We’re still emerging from jet lag, organizing the pantry before we add more to it, slowly making our way back to our kitchen. (Lu said this morning, “I don’t like our kitchen anymore. Couldn’t we have the kitchen we had in Italy?” Well sure, honey. I want a kitchen the size of our house as well.) When I went to make breakfast this morning, I found we were out of eggs.

Hm. What to make?

I sauteed up the last of the multi-grain salad Danny made for lunch yesterday. (Millet, quinoa, brown rice, plus mung beans and asparagus.) We have about 35 full-grown spinach plants going crazy in the garden right now — I know, it’s kind of a problem — so I cut down an entire bunch and sauteed it in good olive oil with a pinch of salt. (I love how spinach wilts so dramatically from an enormous bunch to a small green lump.) And then I crumbled in some leftover seared salmon and plopped some of the ricotta I made last night, mostly so I’d have fresh whey to make bread.

Lovely way to start the day.

We receive lots of questions about what to eat for breakfast, gluten-free. It’s as though we can only imagine pancakes, waffles, cereal, toast and eggs. Folks, think of breakfast as the first time in the day to eat well. If food is what keeps making our bodies, why not eat well every time we eat? Who says we need eggs and bread products for breakfast?

20 comments on “to start the day

  1. Little E's Kitchen

    YUM! I am so jealous of your spinach plants. We live in Texas and the weather is too hot for spinach right now. We are going to give it a try in the fall. My husband and I are very new to gardening. Hopefully we don’t end up with a bunch of dead plants! Haha

    1. Claudia

      Erin, when I lived in Tucson, Arizona, swiss chard did really well. If it’s too hot down there for spinach, even in the fall, think about other greens that you’ll love.

  2. Jenn Sutherland

    Growing up, my favorite breakfasts were ofte scrounging leftovers from the fridge – a scoop of bean salad, cole slaw, cold chicken – it’s so easy to forget that you don’t have to eat the proscribed breakfast foods. Coming home from Italy, about all we had in the fridge was eggs and a bit of celery. But cooking up a quick pot of quinoa with a lump of frozen pesto from the freezer made for a very nice breakfast the next day with a poached egg, and some slivered celery tossed with lemon and olive oil. Simple, clean and delicious.

  3. Stephanie

    I’d totally eat this salad for breakfast! Even if I wasn’t eating gluten and soy free! I like savory things for breakfast, not sweets. I always feel shaky by lunchtime if I eat too much sugar at breakfast.

    You said, “It’s as though we can only imagine pancakes, waffles, cereal, toast and eggs.”
    As I am going gluten and soy free, one of my biggest annoyances is finding mostly recipes for sweet stuff, like cakes, cookies, donuts, pancakes, etc. I never ate much of that in the past, I don’t bake, and in fact don’t like sweet things for breakfast (waffles being the only exception but I can’t find soy and gluten free waffles that are premade, only mixes, and I have to order those from Amazon).

    1. melané fahner

      I just read a beautiful recipe for buckwheat waffles on simply recipes: divine stuff and gluten and soy free

  4. Linda

    Don’t you have an egg allergy, too? I thought I had recalled reading that. Just kind of interested since I think I may be the same (as well as gluten intolerant).

  5. Margaret

    I’m curious about how you are using whey in bread. Are you pre-soaking your flour with it? When I used to make gluten bread, I made a soaker (flour, milk, whey) and a sponge (flour, water, whey, a bit of yeast) and let each sit overnight before combining them the next day with salt, more yeast, fat and honey to make bread. I haven’t quite figured out how to translate this to gluten free baking.

  6. Matt Walton

    People do get very caught up on what’s appropriate to eat for breakfast, and really the answer is ‘anything you fancy’. It’s a good time to eat, especially if you’re going to work. Today I had a banana/yoghurt/berry/oat/orange juice/honey smoothie. Yesterday was a banana/yoghurt/honey/milk/oat smoothie and a bacon roll. Wednesday I had two pitta breads, warmed under the grill then smothered with tomato puree, grated cheese and olive oil and grilled again to make almost-pizzas. With a smoothie.

    Yeah I’ve got a thing about home-made smoothies at the moment, if only because the noise of the blender wakes me up.

    And they’re delicious, of course. Having so much fun experimenting.

    Tomorrow is also a busy day as I’m working all morning, teaching aikido to children and adults and loving the joy the children bring into the dojo. So I’ll be eating something large for breakfast, I don’t know what yet. Freezer raid, maybe. There’s a pizza in there, some frozen scampi, portions of bolognese sauce, cheese sauce with sausages…

    Don’t ever let anybody tell you that you can’t have pizza for breakfast.

  7. Jen

    Amen to that! We’re big fans of ‘whatever’s in the fridge’ breakfasts. I did have eggs today, along with half of a leftover baked sweet potato and some strawberries. Sometimes I have hot cereal. Sometimes I warm up some fresh corn tortillas, fill them with avocado slices, sprinkle the whole thing with salt and chili powder, and enjoy my avocado tacos. My husband ate leftover beans and rice the other day, but only wanted a banana this morning. (Good) food is food. Who cares if it’s traditionally ‘breakfast’ food?

  8. Jacqueline

    I agree about how a few items can force one’s creativity! Illness does that for me too–I become exceedingly efficient and creative when I don’t feel like cooking but I must.

    One quick question: How do you keep your homemade ricotta so light and creamy the day after you make it? I used Heidi’s recipe (from 101 Cookbooks) but find it becomes too tough the next day. We try to eat it all up the day I make it.

    Blessings on the journey right now…I sense you are in a season of “reaching.”

  9. Merrissa

    I stopped eating eggs for a couple of years because I thought I had an allergy that was causing migraines (now I think it may have just been a reaction to the stress I was under). In the past couple of months, I have reintroduced eggs to my diet, but in those years where I feared even the slightest trace of egg in my food, vegetables and whole grains were the basis of my breakfasts. My boyfriend at the time thought I was crazy, making sauteed vegetables for breakfast, but it truly did give me a better start to the day than the egg-free waffles and pancakes I would sometimes make. And looking at cultures across the world, there are a wide variety of “traditional” breakfast foods, from spicy soups to salads. Thank you for the reminder, now that I am eating eggs again, perhaps I am overdoing it.

  10. Nancie McDermott

    One huge gift of spending time in Asia is the startling, amazing realization that much (most?) of the world does not consider “Breakfast!” a separate, unique type of meal. It’s another meal. It’s simpler than the other two, but not composed of foods reserved for morning consumption. Rice + ________ is the basic equation, but big ol’ bowl of rice noodles in soup with any savory items you could imagine? That’ll work. Lovely reminder that we get to make this up as we go along. To the opening act of our opportunity to eat well, Morning Version.

    1. Wendy Bussell

      I agree! The North American continent, I believe, is the only place that segregates their food. In all other plcaes, even the UK, you will find beans and vegies on the plate for breakfast.
      We eat what we want when we want it as long as we have it available. Meatloaf has been seen for breakfast, as well as, fried spaghetti, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole. You name it, if it is leftover it is fair game.

  11. Patti Cheatham

    Just had to mention this…I have those same dishes that are in this photo! Love it!

  12. Monica

    Sing it, sister! I have always been a ‘food for breakfast’ kind of girl! this morning I had stewed cannellini beans and a bit of roasted pork (pork and beans! But way better) and I often have soup for breakfast, especially on the colder mornings. One of my favorite ‘comfort’ meal dinners is scrambled eggs. Eat food and be well, it’s a good idea! Welcome home, I can’t wait to read about your trips!

  13. Zoe

    I know you said, who needs eggs? But at least on the subject of savoury breakfast, I love going to my
    local Vietnamese restaurant for a late breakfast of one fried egg, side pho broth with an extra yolk (their idea) and rice.

    Er, and one iced coffee + condensed milk.

  14. Patrick

    Australians also tend to have very set routines for eating and it took me a long time to work out that you don’t have to eat eggs , bread and cereals for breakfast, actually a lot of the time I don’t even eat breakfast and make my first meal of the day an early lunch of veges and some variety of meat.
    It took a bit of getting used to but I feel better and have more energy.

  15. Judy

    I make a delicious oatmeal smoothie for breakfast a few times a week. No sugar, just oats, soy or almond milk, walnuts, fresh fruit in season, cinnamon, flaxseed meal, coconut flour, about 5 drops of vanilla flavored liquid stevia and crushed ice. Tastes like ice cream and is especially refreshing in warmer months. Other days I love spinach, beet greens, kale or other greens scrambled with eggs and low-fat aged cheddar cheese. Zucchini, yellow squash and asparagus are alternate veggies for the scramble. When I don’t feel like preparing, I eat leftover fish or chicken with leftover veggies.

  16. Kathleen

    This morning was just one of those mornings, and I wanted toast. Toast with cinnamon sugar and butter, and toast with pb&j. So I did. 2 pieces of each. But then, when its gf bread its not quite the same as a full, regular big honking slice of bread is it. I had it with a big pot of herbal blend tea that had mate and guarana in it – you know, for a kick. My 11 month old daughter had some of the roast pumpkin, coconut and ginger soup I made last night, so I didn’t feel TOO bad about it all!
    I find myself quite amused by how genuinely concerned people are about what I eat. Not about the presence of gluten in my food, but about how much of their diet is off limits to me. Yes, it costs more to constantly substitute. So I usually don’t. Lunch today is kale, sauteed in butter with pecans, ham, cranberries and a bit of honey and sea salt. Dinner is roast veg wedges and rump steak. It’s not hard, I’m probably healthier then most and I don’t miss out (that much).

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