Take your breakfast toast to the next level with these easy toppings
It doesn’t matter what you add to it: smash an avocado onto toast and it will be delicious. Everything from a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of red pepper flakes to caramelized onions and oven-roasted tomatoes makes insanely good avocado toast.
Smashed or sliced bananas are the perfect all-natural toast topper. Add a few chopped nuts for protein and a pinch of cinnamon for spice and you have the perfect sweet and salty breakfast-on-the-go.
Tastier than cream cheese, this tangy toast-topper makes a great base for blueberries and honey. Or take your toast in a savory direction by adding smoked salmon, sliced cucumber, and capers.
For a breakfast toast that tastes like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (but better), try topping your toasted bread with unsweetened nut butter and smashed raspberries or blackberries.
This is the best way to eat eggs and toast on the go. Take either a soft-boiled egg or a poached egg and smash it on top of toast. All this delicious breakfast needs is a sprinkle of coarse salt and you’re out the door.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.
4 Breakfast Charcuterie Boards That Are Worth Waking Up Early For
Epic charcuterie boards have become a mainstay on social media, as images of fancy cheeses and meat roses are just around every corner. Hot cocoa boards are another popular twist𠅎specially this boozy beauty from our Test Kitchen. But what if you could channel big board energy into an exciting update for breakfast? Breakfast charcuterie boards are a stunning new trend we are so excited about, and we&aposve rounded up a few of our favorites from Instagram.
A short clarification …
HTE is of course talking about freshly toasted crumpets (either homemade or shop bought). There may be people who eat them cold in some form but they need help, not encouragement.
The number of crumpets per serving very much depends on how filling your toppings are. If simply applying a spread, two crumpets is a sensible serving, leaving you the option to, later, chuck a third in the toaster.
Any more than three crumpets, however, and the law of diminishing returns kicks-in. By that point, you are less eating than looking for a comfort that will never come. Crumpets are a brief fillip in the face of the awesome, yawning awfulness of existence – but eating 12 will not fill that void. In fact, the aftermath of self-loathing will only make things worse.
30 Low-Calorie Breakfasts to Keep You Full All Morning, According to Dietitians
Kickstart your day with a satisfying breakfast packed with high-quality protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
If you&rsquore trying to slim down, maintain your current weight, or quit your drive-thru coffee-and-donut habit, you might be tempted to skip breakfast or drastically cut down (hello, tiny yogurt cup!). However, a healthy, low-calorie breakfast shouldn&rsquot be torturous or unfulfilling. After all, if you deprive yourself in the morning, you&rsquoll likely overeat by the time lunch rolls around.
While the definition of &ldquolow-calorie&rdquo depends on multiple factors including your weight, height, and activity level, a good target range for a low-calorie breakfast is 300 to 350 calories if you&rsquore headed for a desk job, or 350 to 450 calories if you have a more active morning ahead, says Susan Bowerman, R.D., C.S.S.D., senior director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife Nutrition.
To keep hunger at bay, make sure you&rsquore getting in the optimum balance of macronutrients as well. Cereal with skim milk and a banana might fit your calorie target, but it won&rsquot provide the high-quality protein, fiber, and healthy fats you need to stay satiated for hours, notes Lauren Harris-Pincus, R.D., author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club.
Aim for at least 20 grams of protein (think: about ¾ cup of cottage cheese or Greek yogurt or 3 eggs), 8 grams of fiber (a cup of raspberries, blueberries, or oatmeal), and about 10 grams of healthy fat (1 Tbsp of nut butter, 2 tsp of olive oil, or ⅓ of an avocado).
If that sounds like more than you were expecting, remember: Your breakfast should be about the same size as lunch and dinner, and it&rsquos easy to underestimate how much you need to eat in the morning, especially when you&rsquore cutting calories, says Bowerman. Ready to treat breakfast like the most important (and delicious) meal of the day? Read on to discover 30 dietitian-approved, low-calorie breakfast ideas that will keep you full all morning long.
Favorite asparagus recipes, with alexandra stafford (plus how to grow it)
O NE DIMENSION of my friendship with Alexandra Stafford is a years-long ongoing barter. She shares her cooking expertise with me and my extended family, and I give Ali and her husband gardening advice. It’s a pretty sweet deal, and so the other day Ali, creator of the indispensable alexandracooks.com website, and I got to swapping asparagus wisdoms, because ’tis the season.
On her website, or her extremely popular Instagram account @AlexandraCooks, her YouTube channel, and of course in her online cooking classes, Ali Stafford is always teaching. It could be a technique that provides the aha we need to unlock the secret to a recipe, or how to use the best of-the-moment recipe ingredients in inspired combinations, especially vegetables and herbs. And if you haven’t tried her no-knead bread recipe that’s the foundation of her cookbook, “Bread Toast Crumbs,” well, you need to.
Learn ways to dress up roasted asparagus, an asparagus risotto recipe and a raw asparagus salad, too, among other delicious ideas, and even how to grow it. The hardest thing about that: the wait, until it’s ready for its first harvest.
Plus: Enter to win a copy of the book by commenting at the bottom of the page.
Read along as you listen to the May 17, 2021 edition of my public-radio show and podcast using the player below. You can subscribe to all future editions on Apple Podcasts (iTunes) or Spotify or Stitcher (and browse my archive of podcasts here).
Ali on my sister’s podcast this week, too
M Y SISTER MARION TEACHES memoir-writing, and also has a podcast, and guess who her guest was this week? Alexandra Stafford, on the subject of becoming a food writer, and the stories we all have to tell that derive from our experiences with food. Read it or listen to it at this link.
Asparagus: growing, cooking, eating, with ali stafford
Margaret Roach: Hi, Ali. You’re baking some bread over there?
Alexandra Stafford: Always [laughter].
Margaret: I know. You’ve got my whole family baking bread [laughter].
Ali: It’s so fun. It’s so nice to hear. I love seeing all of your niece’s creations and your sister’s and brother-in-law’s. It’s so fun.
Margaret: Well, as I mentioned in the introduction, you’ve been a constant source of cooking wisdom for me. And then in this last year, this crazy year, my family, in all our different houses, I had bought every one your virtual cooking classes during the pandemic, and we’d all meet up there and learn to cook. And then we’d have our family’s sort of reunion on Zoom after and so forth. And wow, my brother-in-law’s baking your bread and making your recipes and my niece, whose diet not so long ago was college dorm food, I think [laughter].
Ali: Amazing. I love seeing hers, I think, in particular, the most. She’s so funny.
Margaret: Yeah, you’ve got to converts, so thank you. I’ll give a link to your classes, your whole cooking school that you’re doing virtually, and also let’s give away a copy of “Bread Toast Crumbs,” because it’s so great. So we’ll do that, too. So: Asparagus, has it been showing up at the farmer’s market?
Ali: It has. I went to the Schenectady Greenmarket on Sunday for the first time in ages. It actually made me sad thinking about how long it had been since I was there last, but it was a beautiful day, and I have to say it felt so alive. I mean, there were a ton of people out and the farmstands, I feel like they were teeming with asparagus. There were a lot of ramps, rhubarb, all the tender… the baby spinach, baby Swiss chard, baby kale. Just so much good stuff. It was so fun. I came home with two huge bags loaded with stuff.
Margaret: I think you already subscribe to a CSA probably, so boy oh boy, I bet you have a lot of vegetables in the fridge right now.
Ali: I do. My CSA doesn’t start until June, and then it goes… Yeah, this is my in-between season because if you do the winter season, I think you get your… It’s three 40-pound deliveries of root vegetables, and you get your last one in February. So I’ve been without a CSA coming in regularly for a few months now. So this was a real treat.
Margaret: Interesting. Well, I remember, I don’t know, a week or two ago—I’ve lost track of time as we all have this last 14, 15 months [laughter]—but I remember your sharing an anecdote about someone bringing you some fresh asparagus from his garden, and that you had never eaten raw asparagus before.
Ali: No. Yes, so it was one of your readers and he lived near me and he emailed me a few weeks ago saying you had done a newsletter, I think, telling people how to prepare their asparagus beds for… Something about weeding, I think, and getting them ready for the season. And he emailed me and said, “As promised, I’m going to bring you some of my asparagus.”
So he dropped off about a pound of asparagus, and it was one of those revelations that when you see something like that, just so fresh, it’s so almost impossible not to just taste it raw. But it’s not something I would experience in the grocery store.
So I made it right away—I had had my eye on this salad from Joshua McFadden’s “Six Seasons” cookbook [affiliate link] for a long time, but it’s a raw asparagus salad with toasted walnuts, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, olive oil, lemon, pepper flake. And it’s so good. It’s really addictive. It serves four, and Ben and I just polished it off, no problem.
Margaret: Ben being your husband, who’s the budding gardener.
Ali: Yes, exactly, yes. We’ve been thinking of you because he’s pulled out your book a lot, too. He does all the gardening. I really don’t take much part in it except for watering and stuff, but he’s started tomato seeds and he’s started a lot of lettuces in the basement, and they’re looking really good. So he’s almost ready to transplant them.
Margaret: When I saw you—I think it was on Instagram—and what’s one of the great things about… Well, there’s many great things about your Instagram, but one of them is that you do these little video things, especially in your Stories and so forth, and you just really cut to the heart of the technique thing.
And so if you said to me what you just said, “Joshua McFadden’s raw asparagus salad,” and you named the ingredients, I’m thinking I’m chopping up the asparagus crosswise, do you know what I mean? Because for a lot of things you would do that. You just have chunks. But that’s not [laughter].
Ali: No, you want to cut these as thinly as possible, and slicing them on the bias really helps with that and give you these kinds of long, angular shapes that are really nice for this purpose. It is a little tricky. I think I’ve heard from a couple of people since I posted that, that they have to work on their technique with cutting it thinly. I think as long as you cut it pretty thinly, it’s fine. In fact, I have tried making this when I’ve just shaved it with a peeler, and it’s actually too thin. So even if your slices are a little bit thicker than ideal, it will still be fine. So I just tell people not to worry and push on.
Margaret: Push on, yes. And it helps to have a sharp knife, too, which I think is one of the… A lot of us think—regular folks who aren’t professionals—a lot of us think we have poor knife skills, which maybe we do, and I probably do, but we also sometimes don’t care for our equipment as well as someone who’s in the business knows that you have to, because…
And it’s the same way if I as a gardener, I know when it’s the pruning shears that are out of shape, and when it’s me who’s doing the wrong thing. Do you know what I mean? I know what it’s meant to feel when it’s working.
Ali: So no, a sharp knife is super-helpful with this, because otherwise you’ll just basically end up really bruising the asparagus and cutting these not-so-pretty shapes.
Margaret: Yeah, so do you sometimes just roast asparagus, or what else do we do with asparagus? And being a gardener, of course, I know to eat it fresh, because some of it never makes its way into the house from the garden [laughter].
Ali: I’m sure. I feel like, honestly, as the season gets on, I get lazier and lazier, and I end up just roasting it at maybe 425 degrees with olive oil and salt. But I just pulled out my “Canal House Cooks Every Day” [affiliate link] for some more inspiration, and they have a recipe, very simple, 400 degrees, toss asparagus with olive oil and salt and pepper, roast it at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Then out of the oven, shave it with either Parmesan or pecorino. And it’s a very classic preparation. And drizzle it with an aged balsamic, a syrupy balsamic. It’s so simple, but so delicious. I could eat the whole pan just like that. [The recipe.]
And if you don’t want to buy expensive aged balsamic, you can just take store-bought balsamic vinegar, a quarter-cup, put it in a little sauce pan, and simmer it until it’s reduced by about half or even maybe a little bit further, until it’s syrupy, and that will work just as well. But so simple and just a little bit different than roasting it with olive oil and salt and pepper.
And I often will just squeeze… I mean, the balsamic serves this purpose, but if I don’t do the balsamic thing, just squeeze some lemon, and that’s really delicious.
Margaret: Have you ever seen an ingredient called saba?
Ali: Yes I have. And I always forget what it is. It’s a grape must, or something with grapes. Similar to the reduced balsamic.
Margaret: It’s similar to what you just said would happen if you reduced the balsamic. It’s almost a thick and almost a syrupy, and it has that flavor also. And I never see it anywhere anymore. When I used to live in New York City, in some of the specialty markets they had it, and it was so delicious because it’s that thickened thing. The balsamic, it can get very watery. Anyway, total digression.
Ali: Joshua McFadden actually in his book has a recipe for roasted cabbage and he calls for drizzling it with saba out of the oven, and I never have it. So I do that trick, the reduced balsamic instead. But yeah, I’ve got to find some.
Margaret: Yeah, it’s good stuff. We’ll ferret out the source, we will, we will [laughter]. So one of the things I just do with it besides roasting it, what you said, and besides eating it raw in the garden, which I said, is sometimes… It looks nicer if you do it, if it’s for company or whatever, if you do it in a fluted, ceramic tart pan, but it could just be a baking dish, a regular-sized 9-by-whatever Pyrex type of baking dish. And I just lay the spears in and chop parsley over them, and scramble two eggs real quick—not scramble as in cook, but beat two eggs and pour that over. And then put Parmesan, grated Parmesan over it, and just put it in the oven and just bake it until it’s like… And it’s just a little bit of egg, you know what I mean? It’s just to hold it together. And it feels special, but it’s not special [laughter]. [Get the Asparagus Parmesan Bake recipe.]
Ali: Yeah, totally. I feel like egg is one of those things that’s just a good match for asparagus, for whatever reason, and in so many forms. It could be a poached egg, a fried egg, hard-boiled egg chopped up. Or as you said, almost quiche-like. It’s just they go together.
Margaret: So when you get it at the farmer’s market or whatever, and you bring it home, do you store it in the fridge? Everybody has their two cents about this.
Ali: So your reader, Richard, who dropped off the asparagus to me, he dropped it off in these two cups, with a little bit of water, so the spears were standing upright. And I feel like I’ve read about storing it like that over the years, and just never did it. And I find, I think also, my fridge is always so loaded that storing it in the fridge like that has always seemed like it would be a little bit precarious.
So I’ve just been storing it at… I stored his at room temperature. Of course I ate it almost immediately, so it wasn’t stored for that long. But some of the asparagus that I brought home from Sunday, from the farmer’s market, they’re still standing upright in their glass. I just put it in a Mason jar with a little bit of water. And I just started at room temperature and they’ve stored beautifully. Now that’s not a super-long time, but it’s a decent amount of time, and they don’t look as if they’re showing any signs of deterioration.
So I think if your kitchen is cool enough, you probably could just keep it at room temperature, and if you have space in your fridge, you could store in the fridge. And I’ve been reading in a few of my cookbooks, they have suggested that upright method, and then if you don’t want to do that, you could just wrap it in a damp cloth and then stick it in a bag and store it in your vegetable bin.
Margaret: Because of the tipping-over thing with the water vessel, I use a tall vessel, but I only put a little bit of water in the bottom, and I put it in the door of the fridge, do you know what I mean? Where a milk container or a pickle jar would go so, that it holds it in there so it doesn’t go flying in the rest of my very disorderly fridge.
Ali: No, that’s totally smart. And my kitties have been trying when… When I’ve had it at room temperature, my cats have been going after the jar, so getting it into the fridge would actually be ideal.
Margaret: Yeah, and I usually loosely put a plastic bag, a lightweight plastic bag over it or something, and that just makes it last extra-long. So any other inspiration food-wise for asparagus?
Ali: I have a few favorite recipes that I make every year. Mark Bittman has a risotto recipe [above] that’s really nice, especially if you love asparagus and you like things like risotto. You use the asparagus two ways. So you blanch the stalks for about 5 minutes until they’re pretty over-cooked. You set those aside and you eventually puree those. And then you blanch the tips, the really pretty part just for a minute, and set those aside. And then you end up stirring the puree into the risotto at the end, and then you fold in those beautiful little tips at the end as well.
And the original recipe, I think, either calls for chicken stalk or vegetable stalk. I use the water that I blanch the asparagus in for it. So it’s just a super-asparagus-y flavor. So again, Parmesan, some pepper and just really nice this time of year.
Margaret: I’d like that [laughter].
Ali: I mean, there’s so many good things. I sent you a picture of my focaccia gardenscape [above], which was very pretty, but that was not quite a success. I was wondering, I shaved the stalks and used that as the grass of the focaccia gardenscape and then kept the spears long, and I used some spring onions from the farmer’s market as well.
And I have shaved asparagus and put it over pizza dough, and then five minutes in the oven, it’s totally fine. But 25 minutes in the oven, it was a little… Some of it was great, like the little tips that got charred, tasted great, but everything else tasted a little stringy and a little burnt, and the top of the focaccia didn’t get totally cooked. So it was a fun experiment. I’ve seen so many of those focaccia gardenscapes over the year, and I’ve been meaning to try, so it was fun, but not a huge success.
Margaret: So if people haven’t seen them, it’s kind of like decorating the surface of your focaccia in the pan. And in this case, it’s almost like you made a forest or a garden, using asparagus as the trees or the grass, or however you want to think of it, and like you said, some spring onions up in the sky and so forth. So you decorated it.
Margaret: But it was beautiful [laughter].
Ali: Thank you. It was fun. It was fun. Another just really simple thing people can do if you’re just trying to add vegetables to a pasta dish is… And again, this is the revelation you have after you’ve eaten it raw, which is that it needs very little cooking time. But in the last minute of when you’re cooking pasta, just throw in cut up asparagus spears in 1-inch pieces, drop it in the pasta cooking liquid, it cooks for 1 minute, and then drain it. And then you can, whatever sauce you’re using, you just you have this extra vegetable component, which is nice.
Margaret: And I love it with green beans. At green-bean season I do the same thing, which is just at the last minute while the sauce is bubbling, for that last minute before I toss it on the pasta I put in 1-inch pieces of green beans and boom. And it’s just this extra thing and it’s so delicious.
Ali: No, exactly.
Margaret: I’ve been trying to convince, or I am trying to convince, you and your husband Ben to plant asparagus and make room in your emerging, getting-bigger-all-the-time garden for asparagus. And it’s a bit of an investment crop, as you probably know. I had a 30-year-old plot and over, say, the last between year 25 and 30, it was petering out and petering out, and I was in denial and in denial because you have to do the work. It’s kind of a big space.
And last spring, in early pandemic mania mode [laughter], I was like, “Oh, I can redo my asparagus this year.” So I ordered 50 dormant crowns. They come in packs of 25, and you buy them in the winter to be delivered first thing in the spring, as soon as your area thaws. Earliest spring is when they’re planted, these bare-root crowns.
And they come in packs of 25. So if you want two different varieties—I love the purple, but I also wanted some of the green. So you end up with multiples of 25. It’s too much for one person, but whatever. I went a little out of my mind [laughter].
And it’s pretty easy. You have to dig this trench, which is 12 inches deep and 12 inches wide, approximately. And you space these crowns, which look octopus to me, in the bottom of the trench, 18 inches apart. So it’s 12 deep, 12 wide, 18 apart within the row. And you cover them with a couple of inches of the soil that you’ve mounded up on the edge of this trench that you’ve made. Just a couple or few inches.
And then once they sprout you backfill a little bit more and again, and again, and again until you’re up to level. So it’s really a pretty easy thing and the trench doesn’t have to be perfect. There’s lots of theories about when it’s O.K. to pick from a new planting, and some people say, “Oh, you can pick a few spears the first year.” But I decided to wait, so it was really hard. I had these 50 plants. And they sent up a spear or two or three, and I didn’t pick them, and I’m going to let them all go to ferns. [More on how to grow asparagus.]
Ali: So that’s what you do, you let them flower, or what did you say, go to fern?
Margaret: The spears will… They’ll make foliage, like fronds. They’re not actually ferns, but they look fern-y, and they make these big, tall, beautiful—on very thin wands, these ferny-looking foliar things. And that’s how the plant—by conducting photosynthesis—nourishes the roots below and gets more robust, and the row starts to spread and you get more shoots the next year, and more shoots the year after that. If you cut off the fronds, those fern-y things, if you cut off… They’re not fronds, again, I shouldn’t keep saying that.
But if you cut off the foliage, it diminishes the sustenance that’s going down to those roots, which is where your spears are going to come from. So you don’t want to do that. Just you don’t want to cut off the foliage of a daffodil bulb after the bloom is done, because you want that foliage to feed the bulb for next year. So I didn’t pick any. I was really well-behaved [laughter].
Ali: Good job. That’s so hard. I think I would have a really hard time doing that because it’s two to three years that you’re supposed to wait as a general rule?
Margaret: Yeah, I’m going to pick in the second year after planting, which would be the third year it’d be in the ground, but it would only be its second anniversary. So I’m going to pick next year. Have you ever had the purple kinds? I love the purple ones.
Ali: I think at some point I have seen them at the farmer’s market, and had a hard time resisting buying them because they’re so pretty, but just occasionally. Not a lot.
Margaret: Yeah. I used to grow ‘Purple Passion,’ which was, I think, the original purple. Now there’s one called ‘Sweet Purple,’ and the sweet being indicative of the fact that they do seem to taste a little sweeter even. They’re delicious, and they’re beautiful.
So anyway, I hope you guys are going to make room for one and plan for it this winter and put in an order and… It’s good to have the space ready before the order arrives.
Ali: And actually in some ways it’s actually less maintenance if you don’t have to pick them the first year [laughter], if you just let them go… In some ways that would actually be something we could handle.
Margaret: Right. It’s an investment, and you just have to keep it weeded so that it doesn’t compete. That’s all. So in the last few minutes you were naming all these other things that are were at the market. Swiss chard, did you say?
Ali: Yes, this is my favorite time, I feel like, actually for salad, because the kale is so tender, the Swiss chard is so tender, and you can use really any dressing you want on these greens, but they taste… I mean, I came home from the market and the kale, it tasted so sweet, and I love Swiss chard, too. I know it’s not everybody’s favorite, but eating Swiss chard raw was also a revelation. I feel like everybody knows… The kale salad craze made everybody know that they could eat kale raw, but you can do the same thing with Swiss chard. Just remove the ribs and you can save the stems for something else. You can saute them.
Almost the way you chiffonade basil, just thinly slice the Swiss chard leaves. And then the dressing I use, it’s from Merrill Stubbs, from Food52, it’s a really lemony dressing and very similar actually to many of the recipes in Joshua McFadden’s “Six Seasons.” There’s toasted bread crumbs and Parmesan, a little crushed red pepper flakes, and it’s such a good salad. It’s so good. [Get Ali’s Swiss chard salad recipe.]
Margaret: So the only vegetable ingredient is the Swiss chard?
Ali: It is, yes. It’s just the Swiss chard. But you could do it really with any of the tender greens would work. And I love all those tender greens, too, just for things similarly to the asparagus trick of just dropping them in the water, and you can just pile them in a colander and then dump the pasta water over it, so you’re not really cooking it, you’re just blanching it in the hot water, and then you just have this… You can add a pound of vegetables to your pasta really quickly.
Margaret: Among early greens, do you like sorrel, the lemony taste of sorrel leaves [below]? Have you eaten those?
Ali: Again, I don’t see it that often, and I haven’t had it a ton, but when I have had it, it’s been delicious.
Margaret: O.K., because that’s another one that is as old as my old asparagus plot and my rhubarb. Those three things are 25, 30 years old, and they’re perennials all of them. I mean the asparagus does peter out eventually because we pick it, but that’s another one that I want to get you guys, you and Ben to grow, is some sorrel. Because that’ll come back every year, and boy, when those greens come up, it’s practically just as the snow melts, and they are so lemony and delicious and wonderful.
Ali: I had no idea that they were perennial. That was amazing.
Margaret: Yes. The green one is, yes. The one that has red veins in it is very pretty, but it in our northern climate, it doesn’t tend to last as many years. But yes. So sorrel, we’re making a row. I’m going to come over and we’re going to do it [laughter].
Ali: Oh my gosh, that would be amazing. I would love that.
Margaret: Rhubarb, sorrel, and asparagus.
Ali: Oh my gosh. That would be a dream, truly.
Margaret: Well, Ali, thank you for the cooking inspiration. I’ve got to go now and buy some asparagus, because I’m not going to pick mine, and I hope I’ll talk to you again soon.
Ali: Yes, definitely. Thank you for having me.
Get all ali’s asparagus recipes & more
(Photos except sorrel and pruple asparagus are from the Alexandra’s Kitchen website used with permission.)
Enter to win ‘bread toast crumbs’ (or win my book over at ali’s)
I’ LL BUY A COPY of Alexandra Stafford’s “Bread Toast Crumbs” cookbook for one lucky reader. Over on her website, Ali is giving a way a copy of my book “A Way to Garden,” so click over to her post once you comment here and enter there, too. All you have to do to enter my giveaway is answer this question in the comments box below:
What’s your favorite way to eat asparagus?
No answer, or feeling shy? Just say “count me in” or something like that, and I will, but a reply is even better. I’ll pick a random winner after entries close at midnight Tuesday, May 25, 2021. Good luck to all.
(Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)
Prefer the podcast version of the show?
M Y WEEKLY public-radio show, rated a “top-5 garden podcast” by “The Guardian” newspaper in the UK, began its 11th year in March 2020. In 2016, the show won three silver medals for excellence from the Garden Writers Association. It’s produced at Robin Hood Radio, the smallest NPR station in the nation. Listen locally in the Hudson Valley (NY)-Berkshires (MA)-Litchfield Hills (CT) Mondays at 8:30 AM Eastern, rerun at 8:30 Saturdays. Or play the May 17, 2021 show using the player near the top of this transcript. You can subscribe to all future editions on iTunes/Apple Podcasts or Spotify or Stitcher (and browse my archive of podcasts here).
If You Live Alone, You're Not Really Alone If You Hate Doing These 7 Things
Dear, girls who live alone: This one's for you. Right now, you're probably reading this while meal prepping for the week or laying in bed, trying to figure out how to fix your broken coffee machine. You're dialing up your best friends and parents, asking for advice, and you may be rolling your eyes because the "real world" can be tough at times. Take a deep breath, and know this: If you live alone and hate doing these things, then you're actually not as "alone" as you may think. *Mind blown.*
That's right. There's a whole community of people who know the same struggles as you. They know what it's like to lose WiFi in the middle of the night, and write out rent checks in full. They know that cleaning is an all-day affair sometimes, and that putting on a great playlist is #necessary.
They also know, though, that there can be a lot of perks to living alone and navigating adulthood by yourself. For one, you have all the space in the fridge for your snacks, and never have to worry about making too much noise or hogging the television remote. You feel proud every time you check laundry off of your to-do list, and do what needs to be done if something in your apartment breaks. That deserves a round of applause, and the comforting reminder that these seven things you hate are so normal and relatable, too.
First things first: Let's talk about cleaning. As an adult who lives on her own, you probably own a vacuum cleaner, Swiffer, dusting rags, and disinfectant wipes. You have certain brands that you like to buy, and scents like lemon or lavender that make your space feel like home. The only downside? You have to take care of all the messes by yourself.
Sure, you secretly love getting organized and hitting the virtual refresh button. But, you could do without washing the dishes after every single meal and scrubbing your microwave when your bag of popcorn explodes.
Now, I know that my touching anecdote was referencing making homemade peanut butter, but it should also be stated that you can make any nut butter of your choosing (or a combination of multiple different nuts). As long as your nuts are unsalted, shelled (where applicable), and the skins are removed, then you can get as creative as you like with your homemade nut butters. Cashew, walnut, pistachio, almond, and hazelnut are all great options. The method is exactly the same across the board.
The first thing you&aposll want to do before blending your nut butter is to toast your nuts. As far as how many nuts you toast, 2 cups will yield you about 1 cup of butter, which is a great starting point if you&aposve never made it at home. You can always scale up or down your recipe, just keep in mind that you don&apost want too many nuts, which can overwhelm your machine.
To toast the nuts, heat a large, dry skillet over medium heat, and spread the nuts in the pan. Toasting nuts not only brings out a deep, nutty flavor, but it helps to extract some of their oils, which is helpful when it comes time to blend &aposem up. After about 5 to 8 minutes (stirring regularly), the nuts should be fragrant and take on a golden-brown hue, and they should have a subtle glisten to them. Once they&aposre oily and toasted, go ahead and dump them into your food processor or blender.
Cinnamon Toast the Right Way
It&rsquos time we stop skirting the issue here, people!
This is the best way to make cinnamon toast. Studies have proven it.
slices bread (whole wheat is great!)
sticks salted butter, softened
vanilla extract (more to taste)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Smush softened butter with a fork. Dump in sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg, if using. Stir to completely combine.
Spread on slices of bread, completely covering the surface all the way to the edges.
Place toast on a cookie sheet. Place cookies sheet into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil until golden brown and bubbling. Watch so it won't burn!
Remove from oven and cut slices into halves diagonally.
Oooooh. You&rsquore getting ready to get a taste of Me, Opinionated. Be sure to take a photo! You won&rsquot see it very often.
Lucky for you, I won&rsquot be revealing my expert views on the environment, the stimulus, the new health care legislation, or whether Standard Poodles ever should have been cross-bred with Golden Retrievers. Instead, I&rsquoll be tearing apart the all-important subject of&hellipcinnamon toast. It&rsquos time we stop skirting the issue here, people! We&rsquore all friends here, and I can no longer remain silent.
Did you know there&rsquos a right way and a wrong way to make cinnamon toast? It&rsquos true. And unfortunately for my marriage, I happen to have always known the right way to make cinnamon toast. My beloved husband, on the other hand, was always under the mistaken impression that the way he&rsquos always liked to eat cinnamon toast is the right way to make cinnamon toast. But there&rsquos only one problem: his cinnamon toast is not only the wrong cinnamon toast, it&rsquos absolutely, positively the wrong cinnamon toast. It&rsquos the most wrong cinnamon toast that there can be. It&rsquos the wrongest. The most wrong. The Wrongalongadingdong.
It&rsquos sure a good thing I came into the picture. There&rsquos no telling where that fella would be without me!
Before I show you THE right way to make cinnamon toast, I&rsquom going to review a few different approaches so that we can do a compare/contrast at the end of this post. We&rsquore going to crack the lid off of this if it&rsquos the last thing we do!
The 32 Best Keto Breakfast Ideas to Power Up Your Morning
You've probably heard of the keto diet, the trendy weight loss plan that advocates for cutting down carbs and upping your fat intake. (That means no to pastries and pasta, and yes to meat, eggs, and heart-healthy oils.)
So if your morning routine of the past involved bagels, toast, or oatmeal, trying to come up with keto breakfast ideas can feel like a rude awakening. With so many carb-heavy a.m. foods, it's arguably the hardest meal to find ketogenic diet-approved substitutes for&mdashespecially when you're staring right in the face of a donut on your morning coffee run.
Sure, regular bacon and eggs are okay, but you can only whip them up for so many days before things start to feel repetitive. The good news? Due to the strong community of keto food bloggers out there, there are plenty of creative keto breakfast ideas in existence that'll help you add some diversity to your diet and give you something to look forward to waking up to.
More good news: Just because you're on a keto diet doesn't mean that you have to sacrifice flavor for the sake of meeting your macros. The recipes we collected all have one big thing in common: huge amounts of deliciousness. (And, fine, they'll help power you through your workouts too).
And, so, here's a buffet's-worth of keto-friendly a.m. recipes to inspire your keto breakfasts for days (and months) to come.
Loaded with protein-packed ground beef, sharp cheddar, vegetables, and everyone's favorite taco add-ons (salsa and sour cream, anyone?), this skillet from Peace, Love, and Low Carb is like eating nachos for breakfast &mdash minus the chips. The best part: It can be meal prepped ahead of time for a week's worth of breakfasts. (Just leave the toppings off and add them after you've heated up a serving in the morning.) Who says tacos only belong on Tuesdays?
Instead of a complicated keto bread recipe, this breakfast sandwich from Hey Keto Mama gets creative and simple by using spicy pork sausage patties in place of an English muffin or bagel. An egg plus a sriracha and cheese mixture are sandwiched in between, along with any veggies of choice (a slice of tomato and spinach would fit right in). To lighten it up, swap in turkey sausage patties and use just egg whites instead of the whole egg.
This is one of the speediest keto breakfast options around, especially if you mix the dry ingredients together ahead of time (Healthy Sweet Eats' recipe is made up of hemp hearts, almond flour, shredded coconut, flaxseed meal, and chia seeds). It can be made on the stovetop or in a microwave, and from there, the topping options are endless.
Put leftover pulled pork to good use with this hash creation from Cast Iron Keto &mdash after all, something about the combination of pulled pork and runny egg yolks just feels so right. Brussels sprouts, lacinato kale, red onion, and turnip give this recipe a boost of veggies for added fiber and nutrients.
Cinnabon's got nothing on these keto-friendly treats from Gnom-Gnom. With only two grams of net carbs and 102 calories each, they taste more indulgent than they really are. Crafting the dough (made with almond flour and coconut flour) is a relatively involved process, but you can whip it up and keep it in the fridge for up to five days before you're ready to make (and eat) the cinnamon roll knots.
Minus the salt and pepper, there are only four ingredients in this simple breakfast bowl from Keto Connect. It starts with radishes as a satisfying stand-in for breakfast potatoes, and sausage, cheddar cheese, and eggs are all layered on top. Since the egg cooks separately, you can fry it up exactly the way you like it.
Typically smoothies are out of the question for keto dieters. However, this one from Food Faith Fitness gets its sweetness from monkfruit instead of regular fruit. Plus it packs in plenty of fat with peanut butter and avocado.
This recipe from I Breathe I'm Hungry proves that corned beef isn't just a St. Patrick's Day standby. You can use leftover corned beef or canned corned beef, but either way, you'll end up with a crispy, unique breakfast. Pair it with eggs in the morning, and save the leftovers for lunch or dinner.
Let's face it: Eggs make a lot of appearances in keto-friendly recipes. And, hey, eggs are great! But every once in a while, you need a break. Enter this eggless breakfast bake from Kalyn's Kitchen. Red and green peppers give the recipe a colorful touch, and turkey breakfast sausage delivers a solid dose of protein to start the day.
If you miss traditional breakfast burritos, give this high-fat keto version a try. The Skinny Fork uses egg as the wrap, which is then stuffed with bacon, turkey, and cheese. Add avocado to up the fat intake.
Yes, you read that right. Meat. Bagel. It's basically ground pork cooked into the shape of a bagel (or a donut, however you'd like to think of it). After it's cooked, cut it in half and fill it with lettuce, tomato, avocado, and onions for one hell of a breakfast sandwich. They also freeze up nicely. Meat lovers, you've got Ditch The Wheat to thank for this creation.
A stack of pancakes might sound like the opposite of a keto-friendly breakfast, but where there's a will, there's a way. These ones from A Big Man's World are made with the perfect combination of almond flour, coconut flour, and eggs for a result so fluffy, you'll hardly be able to tell they're low in carbs. The blueberries add a touch of sweetness (but they contain sugar, so be careful about the portions).
This is a classic breakfast for a reason: It's delicious, and the steak and eggs each pack a monster punch of protein to keep you fueled up till lunch. Next time you're grilling up steak at night, cook a little extra with incredible keto breakfast leftovers in mind. Tasteaholic's take uses sirloin, a leaner cut of beef, but feel free to use what you have on hand.
This creation from Health Starts in the Kitchen just might be the perfect brunch recipe. Made with coconut creamed kale, roasted red peppers, cherry tomatoes, and a touch of mozzarella, these individual dishes demand to be savored on a weekend morning.
This filling bowl is so delicious even the most devout carb lovers will be a fan. My Health Delish tops spinach with eggs, tomato, bacon, and avocado for a tasty way to start the day.
You won't even miss potatoes in this hearty skillet. Cast Iron Keto substitutes turnips for the starchy vegetable, then loads on avocado, egg, and jalapenos. Serve with salsa for a spicy kick.
Hot pockets get a healthy, low-carb upgrade with these winning creations from Joy Filled Eats. Packed with ham, cheese, and egg, they're designed to be made ahead of time and then frozen. When you're running late, just pop one into the microwave and you've got a filling keto breakfast on the go.
If you feel like you're going overboard with animal products on the keto diet, this chia pudding from Julie's Lifestyle provides a change of pace &mdash it's vegan, made with coconut milk for creamy texture and decadent flavor. It's also incredibly satiating: Chia seeds are a great source of fiber, and protein powder and healthy fat filled-MCT coconut oil will keep you satisfied all morning.
These breakfast egg muffins from Hurry The Food Up just might be the ultimate meal prep food. They take only 25 minutes to throw together, and three muffins provides 20 grams of protein for under 300 calories. You can also change up your mix-ins with different cheeses, vegetables, and seasonings. Freeze them for later or keep them in your fridge for the week &mdash chances are, it won't be long before you need to make another batch.
Photos reprinted with permission.
If you can't shake a hankering for a good old-fashioned McDonald's Egg McMuffin, this keto-friendly take on the classic from Peace, Love, and Low Carb will scratch that same itch. Use mason jar rings to cook the eggs into perfect bun-like circles, then layer it up with sausage and cheddar cheese. To upgrade way past drive-thru status (and add a dose of healthier fat), throw some avocado in there.
Impress any brunch guest (whether they're low-carb eaters or not) with this keto Dutch baby, which is basically a big pancake, but better. Created by Cast Iron Keto, it's made in a cast iron skillet, and believe it or not, there are fewer than 10 ingredients (which can be rare when it comes to bread-like things on the keto diet).
Like chili, but with a fried egg on it. This recipe is also made with breakfast sausage patties instead of ground beef or turkey to give it a morning twist (and pack in the protein). Pair this recipe from I Breathe I'm Hungry with your usual favorite chili toppings, like sour cream or chives. (Hint: It's also a perfect recipe to break out for early morning football tailgates.)
Broccoli and cheese is a winning flavor combo, so there's no reason it should be confined to lunch and dinner fare. This breakfast casserole from Kalyn's Kitchen makes it A.M.-appropriate&mdashplus, it's a great way to get started on your daily veggie intake first thing in the morning. Prep it for breakfast on Sunday and enjoy it all week long.
This recipe is like having last night's cake for breakfast &mdash except it's fiber-filled chia seed pudding instead. This dessert-like breakfast from Healthy Sweet Eats is hardly a disappointing substitute, though. Fresh cherries add sweetness, while whole almonds add crunch (and more fiber). Plus, it's made with strongly brewed coffee to give you an extra jolt of caffeine with your usual cup of java.
Mmmm&hellippancakes. This stack by Peace, Love and Low Carb is keto-friendly, so you can whip these pancakes up anytime. There are only 8 grams of net carbs a serving, along with 5.4 grams of fat and 7.4 grams of protein. For added fat, include toppings like plain unsweetened Greek yogurt, cream cheese, ricotta, or nuts, like chopped walnuts or pecans.
If there&rsquos one thing keto dieters miss when they're trying to enjoy brunch, it&rsquos those damn roasted potatoes. Yet you can dig into these "potatoes"&mdasha.k.a. turnips&mdashby Cast Iron Keto. They have so much flavor from paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and only 4 grams of net carbs&mdashyou won&rsquot even miss the real thing. Pair with eggs, fish, or meat for extra protein, and you&rsquore set. (Though there is some bacon already!)
Everyone loves a bagel, lox and eggs for breakfast. While lox and eggs are keto-approved, bagels can cost you 48 grams of carbs or more depending on the seasonings or flavor. These keto bagels by Keto Connecthave only 3 grams of net carbs a serving and don&rsquot skimp on flavor, thanks to everything bagel seasoning. This blogger uses cream cheese, almond flour and cheese to provide good protein and fat, with 10 grams and 15 grams respectively.
If you&rsquore sensitive to coffee in the morning, swap it for matcha, which will still give you that caffeine fix in a milder dosage. Plus, matcha has a great flavor that works well with sweet and savory items, like nuts, fruit and seeds. This breakfast bowl by Gnom Gnom uses chia seeds, nut milk, and coconut to provide 10 grams of fat and keeps carbs low at 0.5 net grams. For a smoother texture, add avocado.
These portable egg muffins by Food Faith Fitness can be eaten on your morning commute, so you don&rsquot need to worry about finding enough time to sit down to breakfast. Each muffin has 109 calories, and there&rsquos 6.7 grams of fat and zero net carbs a serving. Plus, there&rsquos tons of protein from the ham, eggs, and feta cheese to hold you over for hours.
This savory frittata recipe by Ketogasm is loaded with nutrients to power your day.It&rsquos hearty and filling, without taking you past your carb limit. Each serving has 333 calories, 26 grams of fat, 20 grams of protein, and only 1 net gram of carbs. This bloggers uses spinach, mushroom and uncured sausage, but feel free to play around with your vegetables of choice or swap sausage for chicken or steak.
Lasagna? For breakfast? Don't pretend like you wouldn't have a leftover slice if it was sitting in the fridge.
Especially a lasagna with only 11 grams of net carbs. This pizza lasagna by Food Faith Fitness is the perfect keto-friendly makeover on the classic recipe.
8. Creamy Eggplant Toast
If you love Middle Eastern flavors, you’ll dig this toast. Slice up a small eggplant lengthwise (about 1/2 pound of eggplant) and sprinkle salt over it. Let it sit for 20 minutes, then blot off the salt and bake for 20 minutes at 400°F. Purée it with a small garlic clove. Spread the purée over the toast, and top with tomato, lemon juice, capers, cucumber, parsley, and a very generous drizzle of tahini.
If you don’t feel like roasting the eggplant, you can always use baba ganoush instead.
18 Easy No-Cook Breakfast Ideas That Taste Amazing
Breakfast may be heralded as the most important meal of the day, but it’s also one of the most difficult to prioritize.
Who has time to maximize sleep, meditate, cook, shower, and get out of the door looking and feeling like a rockstar in the morning?! Kudos if you do no shame if you don’t.
If you fall into the latter camp, these no-cook, easy breakfast ideas are for you. They’re made with only a handful of ingredients, requiring no stove or blender time.
Best of all, they’re still super healthy and delicious. These no-fuss dishes will at the very least make breakfast your favorite (and fastest) meal of the day.
1. Blueberry muffin granola greek yogurt breakfast bowl
We’re all about making our own granola. It’s cheaper, healthier, and way more delicious.
These breakfast bowls are loaded with Greek yogurt (hello, protein), fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, homemade granola, and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
If you don’t have time to make granola in advance, feel free to use store-bought. Just keep an eye out for the amount of added sugars.
2. Kefir bowl
Greek yogurt isn’t the only option for protein-packed, breezy breakfast bowls. This recipe uses kefir, yogurt’s tangier, slightly sweeter cousin.
Use an unsweetened variety to keep sugar in check, and also because the added fruit will give it plenty of flavor.
Blend the banana and berries the night before to keep things cook free, or simply add the fresh fruit as a topping. We love topping with granola for extra fiber and a bit of crunch too.
3. Cottage cheese with tomatoes and pepitas
For a more savory breakfast, opt for cheese — cottage cheese. Top the chunky goodness with halved tomatoes, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), a dash of pepper, and touch of olive oil.
This dish is also great for those who love heat because it’s extra tasty with hot sauce. Spice things up even more with flavored salts or peppers, like truffle salt or citrus pepper.
4. Cherry pistachio ricotta bowl with honey and cacao nibs
Ricotta for breakfast? We didn’t believe it either… until we tried this dreamy breakfast bowl.
The fun twist on yogurt uses part-skim ricotta as a base and is topped with cherries, pistachios, and a drizzle of honey.
If it feels a little too heavy, top a portion of the cheese on an English muffin or toast, and save the rest for later.
5. Almond milk fig chia pudding
Chia pudding may sound decadent, but it’s actually healthy. Even better: It takes mere minutes to assemble.
Prep the night before by mixing chia seeds, almond milk, and vanilla extract in a glass container. Come morning, the pudding will be thick and creamy.
To make it a full meal, layer with coconut yogurt, sliced figs, and gluten-free granola. Super fast, super simple, and since it’s in a jar, you can eat it on the go.
6. Apple cinnamon overnight oats
The only thing better than piping hot apple crisp is a healthier version that you can eat for breakfast. Don’t believe us? Try this recipe.
Toss oats, cinnamon, maple syrup, unsweetened almond milk, and a dash of vanilla into a mason jar. Then shake it, let set, and top with chopped apples in the morning.
If you’re hankering for heat, feel free to pop in the microwave. Simple but unforgettable.
7. Chia oatmeal breakfast bowl
Once you master the base of overnight oats, you can manipulate the flavor and texture as much as you please.
We love that this recipe goes heavy on the chia seeds, adding extra texture and a bit of protein and fiber too.
The cacao nibs give a nice crunch and fresh fruit and granola give it a great look — not that we need to Instagram everything.
8. Peanut butter banana overnight oats
It’s hard to beat nut butter-infused oats in the morning. This recipe uses mashed banana, Greek yogurt, and peanut butter to pump up the oats, and the result is heavenly.
Top with sliced banana, a dollop of peanut butter, and chopped nuts if you want. If peanut butter isn’t your jam — or rather, your nut butter of choice— use cashew or almond butter. You switch up the fruit, too.
9. Avocado toast with cottage cheese and tomatoes
Open-face sandwiches are a speedy breakfaster’s dream come true. We all know avocado toast, but this recipe opts for cottage cheese.
Avocado lovers, don’t despair yet: The whole-grain toast is also topped with tomato and, of course, avocado, then lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. We love using lemon pepper to give it a little extra something.
10. Smashed blackberry and goat cheese toasts
We like to call this Adult Toast: thick bread topped with goat cheese and bursting berries.
The recipe calls for simmering the berries, but it’s just as simple (and flavorful) to smash them with some vanilla extract and top sans extra sugar. Feel free to substitute any seasonal, squishy fruit and use any kind of bread.
11. Honey drizzled pistachio and avocado bagel toast
This recipe spices up the classic cream cheese sandwich by going open-face and layering with sliced avocado, chopped pistachios, and a drizzle of honey.
If you’re looking for something a bit lighter, give the other half to your partner, roommate, or friend — or simply make one slice. Trust us, you’ll see.
12. Bagel with wasabi cream cheese, smoked salmon, avocado, and pickled ginger
Wasabi cream cheese is kind of genius. Simply mix 1 to 2 teaspoons of wasabi paste with plain cream cheese and voilà, a spicy, creamy spread is at your disposal.
The wasabi adds the perfect bite to the bagel and lox, and the pickled ginger and scallions give just the right crunch and hint of added flavor. We know: Bagels and lox will never be the same.
13. Smoked salmon, orange, and avocado salad
Salads are good any time of day — even breakfast. To start your day on a smoky, citrusy note, try this light, protein-packed mix.
Start by making a small pile of greens. Next, top with smoked salmon, sliced oranges, and avocado. Now lightly drizzle the homemade dressing.
As with all of these recipes, we recommend doing any heavy(ish) lifting the night before. In this case, that means whisking a few ingredients together for the dressing.
14. Granola crunch apple-peanut butter sandwich wraps
Sometimes the easiest way to feel like a kid again is to eat like a kid again. This wrap can be thrown together in a jiff and eaten just as fast (so long, slow mornings).
Simply spread nut butter on a whole-wheat wrap. Next, layer with sliced apples, granola, and dried berries, then roll it up. It’s crunchy, healthy, fun, and most importantly, fast.
15. No-bake breakfast cookies
Yes, breakfast cookies are a thing. And yes, we love them and can vouch for their nutritional value. For a fuss-free morning, make a fresh batch at night (or on the weekend), and it’ll be as easy as picking them up and chewing come morning.
Start by combining the wet ingredients — honey, peanut butter, and vanilla extract — and slowly work in the dry. We love adding all kinds of extras, like chopped nuts, cacao nibs, goji berries, and pumpkin seeds.
16. Chocolate peanut butter banana sushi
Bananas look good dressed up in pretty much everything — and by look, we mean taste. These fun sushi-inspired rolls are dunked in peanut butter and coated in mini chocolate chips and nuts.
To make it even easier, slice the banana, top it with your nut butter of choice, and dunk the nut butter-covered side in your favorite topping.
17. Apple slice cookies
Breakfast cookies, apple cookies… we’re clearly all about that cookie. Though these apple slices may look like a snack for kids, they’re just as good for adults — if not better.
And don’t worry about slicing perfect O’s. These are just as beautiful, and just as flavorful, sliced as wedges and topped with your favorite nut butter and fixings. We’re big fans of shredded coconut, cranberries, walnuts, and almond butter.
18. Easy breakfast yogurt popsicles
Now this is a freezer meal we can get behind. All you need are popsicle molds, yogurt, berries, granola, and a little breakfast spirit.
Perfect for hot days or mornings when you’re in serious need of a pick-me-up, these pops taste like a serious treat. Have fun mixing in different fruits and using spices to flavor your yogurt.
Mornings are already hectic enough without having to worry about a breakfast that’s delicious and nutritious. With these cold breakfast recipes, you’ll be satisfied and out the door in no time.