Thursday, February 26, 2009

Our daily bread - breakfasts

Throughout Lent, I'll be posting recipes, menu summaries, and Notes from the Frugal Side. I'm not going to list every mouthful I take, though, because I would lose all my faithful readers. Suffice it to say that my breakfasts and lunches are nearly always repetitious, boring, nourishing, and--to me--satisfying. They will look like Lenten penance to some, but I always eat that way. It's easier than thinking, planning, confecting, and cleaning up after a varied meal.

Mr Neff and I place a very high value on eating dinner together, at the dining table, on a tablecloth or at least place mats, and no TV on. Dinner hour is a time to share and bond. It's as important now that we're empty-nesters as it was when the kids were at home. Without shared dinners, our primary means of communication would be e-mail. Which, as I've pointed out many times, is a very Protestant means of communication--all word, no real presence.

At breakfast, by contrast, if we show up in the kitchen at the same time, one of us apologizes.

My usual breakfast is a couple of tablespoons of ground flaxseed (cheap at Trader Joe's) mixed into 1/2 cup plain yogurt and topped with a sliced banana. When I'm feeling festive, I sprinkle lots of cinnamon on it all. I also drink a large mug of English breakfast tea with milk.

Mr Neff's usual breakfast is a smoothie. He used to make it in the blender, but now he has one of those little hand blender things that's lots harder to operate and therefore more amusing to the masculine mind, like driving a stick shift. Here's what he puts in his smoothie:
  • 8 ounces orange juice
  • 2 Tablespoons flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup raw oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 2 generous spoonfuls plain yogurt
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen fruit--berries, mango, whatever (cheap at Aldi)
David also drinks a large mug of coffee and milk.

He thinks that some mornings during Lent, he will instead have a bowl of oatmeal with milk and a banana.

Daily bread
Breakfast and lunch--the usual for me; Mr Neff had a business lunch. I'll reveal our typical lunch habits tomorrow.
Dinner--broiled salmon filets (cheap at Aldi), leftover sweet potatoes and onions, leftover brussels sprouts and pecans, frozen peas. Dessert will be blackberries (cheap at Trader Joe's).

Housekeeping hint
If your freezer needs cleaning but you can't bear to start, try turning an opened bag of frozen peas upside down on the top shelf and listening as the peas ping from shelf to shelf, some settling on each level, some streaming out the bottom onto the floor for little dogs to gather, some rolling under the refrigerator or back behind the shelves where mechanical parts grind away in darkness.

Hey, it worked for me.

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