CEBU, Philippines - They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
For one, breakfast breaks the long fast that our body just had as it went on a brief hibernation during the evening, although with less physical activity, the energy that our body would use will also be less, just enough for it to fulfill its nightly obligations, mainly repair and other metabolic processes.
Another important point that many breakfast advocates would bring up is that the meal serves as our fuel for the day. It's like filling up your car before taking it out for a spin.
The same goes with our body. Food serves as our body's fuel and breakfast is a great opportunity to fill up in order to meet the demands of the day's activities. In fact, studies* reveal that people who eat breakfast are able to cope with the day's stressors better than those who skip breakfast.
Start your day right with these wonderful easy-to-whip vegetarian breakfast ideas:
One of my favorite breakfast fares is scrambled tofu. It is easy to make, and rich in protein, which is good, since protein is actually an upper, just what we need to start the day. Carbohydrates, on the other hand, despite it being the body's first energy source, are actually downers. For your carbo load, pair your scrambled tofu with a cup of steamed black or brown rice.
A block of tofu, crushed
3 tablespoons of cream of mushroom or cream of asparagus soup powder dissolved in a
a cup of fresh milk or evaporated milk (for vegans, use coconut milk)
½ cup of crushed pineapple
Salt and pepper to taste
Your favorite spice (I love curry, so I sometimes add curry powder to this recipe)
A dash of hing (or you can use crushed garlic)
Vegetable oil or butter
1. Heat oil in pan.
2. Stir in the hing and curry powder.
3. Add the crushed tofu. Stir.
4. When some of the tofu would start to turn brown, pour in the milk and cream of mushroom mixture.
5. Let it simmer for a bit, then add the crushed pineapple.
6. After a minute or two, take out from the fire and add salt and pepper to taste.
Homemade Granola bars
Granola bars are not only great for breakfast, they are also a nutritious and delicious snack item. This fiber-rich food is a complete meal in itself, especially if you load them with nuts and fruits. They are also very easy to make, although this recipe would require the use of an oven, to ensure that your granola bars would be shaped into bars; otherwise, you'd just have muesli, which would be our next breakfast recipe.
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup mixed nuts (almonds, peanuts, cashew nuts, and walnuts)
½ cup dried mango, chopped
½ cup drained crushed pineapple
½ cup mixed dried fruits, chopped
1 cup honey
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup sun dried raisins
2/3 cup soy-based butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Salt to taste
1. Pre-heat oven to 175 degrees C.
2. Roast oatmeal, desiccated coconut, and mixed nuts until slightly browned. Mix and then add the fruits.
3. In a saucepan, mix butter, honey, sugar, and vanilla extract. Allow to simmer.
4. Pour in mixture to the dried ingredients. Mix and transfer in a baking pan, buttered and lined with wax paper.
5. Bake for at least 20 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Let it cool for at least 2 hours and then cut into bars.
Muesli was first introduced in 1900 by Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner for patients in his hospital. Today, this is a staple for weight-watchers and health conscious individuals.
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup mixed dried fruits (mango, raisins, papaya, pineapple), chopped
½ cup mixed nuts (peanuts, almonds, walnuts, cashew)
3 tablespoons desiccated coconut
¼ cup ground flaxseeds
1 piece banana, sliced
½ cup mango, sliced
1 cup orange juice or soy milk
Pinch of cinnamon and salt to taste
1. Mix all dry ingredients and roast briefly.
2. Soak dry ingredients in orange juice or soy milk for at least two hours. Overnight soaking is more preferable.
4. Mix in the sliced fresh fruits.
5. Add cinnamon and salt to taste.
Pakora is a Northern Indian dish. Basically, it is vegetable coated in besan or garbanzos flour batter. The flour itself contributes to the flavor of the dish. These days, even breads are made into pakoras to make for a delightful and healthy snack. In this recipe, we use milk for a creamier and indulgent dish. Should you choose, water would do fine.
Halved sliced bread or any stale bread cut into bars
1 cup Besan flour (Garbanzos flour), dissolved in
1 cup milk (or coconut milk) or until mixture is to the right consistency, not too watery, yet not too thick
1 small bundle of wansoy (cilantro), finely chopped
Sili espada, chopped (optional)
A dash of hing
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat oil in pan.
2. Add the wansoy, sili espada, hing, salt, and pepper into the batter.
3. Coat the bread one at a time.
4. Deep fry until golden brown.
*Breakfast makes you brainy: Morning meal “reduces stress and spurs mental and physical performance”, The Daily Mail, 11 March 2012. (FREEMAN)