Breakfast Refresh

Cereal police

For most people, a new year usually starts out with lofty resolutions.  I will lose weight, find a partner, read every noteworthy book, change my entire life.  Hmm, good luck with that.  Just kidding!!  I think positive changes are crucial to leading a happy life and one of the best things you can do for yourself.  I am a firm believer in small adjustments that eventually add up—they don’t necessarily have to coincide with a new year.

One of my goals, is to honor my creativity, whenever possible.  I’ve been thinking about ways to manifest this in my daily life and I came up with this: breakfast.  Hear me out.  Yes, I love food.  But I sometimes find myself eating the same thing, every day.  Breakfast gets your day going.  If you cobble the same meal together every day, you probably aren’t putting much thought into what you are doing.  (Sometimes a necessary relief!)  My challenge is to be present and let my morning breakfast creativity hopefully lead to a more present and creative state of mind, day, life…No going through the motions!

Whether or not you have this thought process for eating a more interesting breakfast, these recipes are a great way to refresh your routine.  Cereal may be just what you need some days, but these options, offer an alternative that might get you out of bed with a little extra bounce in your step.  Are you a sweet or savory breakfast type?  Do any of you have breakfast recipes you would like to share?  Here are eight ideas to get you started.


Overnight Coffee Chocolate Chia Breakfast Pudding

Serves 2-4 (from



  • ½ cup brewed coffee (chilled)
  • ½ cup full fat canned coconut milk
  • 1 heaping tablespoon almond butter (or other nut or seed butter)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup chia seeds


Directions: Blend brewed coffee, coconut milk, almond butter, vanilla extract, maple syrup, and cocoa powder in a blender.  Place the blended mixture into a resealable large jar (or 2 smaller jars) then add chia seeds. Seal jar and shake.  Place in refrigerator overnight or for at least 3+ hours.  Serve and enjoy!

Chia pudding

Hot Cereal with Apple Butter and Walnuts

Serves 1 (from



  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 3 tablespoons hot wheat cereal (not instant)
  • 3 tablespoons apple butter
  • 1 teaspoon light-brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts


Directions: In a small saucepan, bring milk to a simmer; gradually whisk in wheat cereal.  Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring frequently, until cereal has thickened and is cooked, about 2 minutes (adjust consistency with water, if necessary). Top cereal with apple butter, sugar, and walnuts.



Fried Buttery Polenta

Serves 6 (from Food52)



  • 3 ½ cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsps cinnamon
  • 1 ¼ cups polenta (dried, or yellow corn meal)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • butter (for frying)


Directions: Combine 2.5 cups water and salt in a saucepan-boil. Mix polenta with remaining water until water is dissolved, and stir in cinnamon, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add to boiling water. Stir constantly and reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring, until thickened.  Pour mixture into a loaf pan, and refigerate over night.  In skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Slice polenta in ½-inch slices and fry on each side until golden and crispy. Serve with warm maple syrup.

Apple sandwiches


Apple Sandwiches

Serves 4 (from Williams-Sonoma)



  • 10 tbsps peanut butter
  • 1 granny smith apple (cored and cut into 10 rings, each about 1/4 inch thick)
  • 5 tbsps granola
  • 2 tbsps raisins


Directions: Spread 2 Tbs. peanut butter onto half of the apple rings. Sprinkle each with 1 Tbs. granola and a few raisins. Cover each with one of the remaining apple rings to form sandwiches. Makes 5 apple sandwiches.


Quinoa and Eggs

Serves 1 (from Shape Magazine)



  • ¾ cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 4 to 5 baby portobello mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 cup roughly chopped spinach
  • ½  cup chopped bell pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese (optional)
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil (optional)
  • 2 eggs, cooked to preference


Directions: Place quinoa and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 9 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook an additional 3 minutes until water is absorbed. Add spinach and let wilt. Stir in pepper and cheese (if using), and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil, if desired, and toss. Divide among bowls or plates and top with eggs.


Avocado toast

Avocado Toast



  • ½  avocado
  • 2 slices of toast (thick multi-grain is my favorite)
  • squeeze of lemon
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • red pepper flakes (optional)


Directions: Toast bread to preferred darkness.  Coarsely mash avocado in bowl and add lemon.  Spread avocado over toast.  Serve open faced and sprinkle with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.



Brussel Sprouts Hash

Serves 4 (from How Sweet It Is)



  • 4 slices bacon (thick-cut, chopped)
  • 1/2 red onion (diced)
  • 1 sweet potato (peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 11 Brussels sprouts (stems removed and sliced)
  • pepper
  • salt


Directions: Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add bacon. Cook until crispy and fat is rendered, then remove with a slotted spoon and let drain on a paper towel. Slightly reduce the heat under the skillet and add onion and sweet potato, tossing to coat. Cook until sweet potato has softened, about 6-8 minutes, then stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add sliced brussels sprouts and stir to combine, cooking them until soft and caramel-y, another 5 minutes or so.  Serve with cottage cheese or toast.


Brussel sprouts hash

Casamiento y Platanos

Serves 3-4(from Latinaish)



  • ¾  cups green pepper, diced
  • 1 large roma tomato, diced
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup cooked beans
  • 1/2 cup bean broth (the liquid from cooking the beans)
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 platano, (should be yellow with many black markings)
  • oil for cooking


Directions: Add the green pepper, tomato and onion to oil in a medium pot. Cook over medium heat until onion and green pepper become tender. Add in the rice, beans and bean broth. (If you prefer a drier Casamiento, use a little less bean broth.) Mix until combined. Remove from heat. Add salt to taste.  Serve with platanos.


PlatanosUse a sharp knife to cut off the ends of the platano. Slice through the peel length-wise to remove. Slice the platano in circles or quarters length-wise. Fry in a tablespoon or two of oil, flipping to brown both sides. Remove to a plate covered in a paper towel to drain. Serve with crema. (If you don’t have Salvadoran crema available near you, sour cream will do.)


All images via Flickr

Cereal image courtesy of cathy.scola 

Chia pudding image courtesy of ljguitar

Apple sandwiches image courtesy of digital style_surat

Avocado toast image courtesy of Carolyn Coles

Brussel sprouts has image courtesy of the Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

Casamiento image courtesy of 52 Stations


Wendy Cortez

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