How we treat breakfast often changes based on our environment or situation. Travelling, it might mean the small yogurt cups on ice and a banana from a fruit basket in the hotel lobby. Perhaps it’s the box of granola bars you packed to tide you over in case your flight was delayed. Breakfast could possibly be a giant bowl of salty ramen because morning happens to arrive at 3 pm in another time zone.
Travelling or living internationally, I’m inclined to consume what I observe the natives eating, or at least what the travel book tells me they eat. Ten years old in Scandinavia I remember a scene where my family is sitting at the table inside a red vacation cottage hours away from Stockholm. I am happily pouring filmjölk, a bracingly soured yogurt similar to Kefir, over muesli not because I enjoy it’s tanginess but because that’s what my friends at school eat.
Twenty years later I am still motivated by the actions of my peers. Sure, I’ll go see some band at a weird venue far away requiring two bus transfers and a long walk to get to because everyone else is going. Witnessing lots of people in my neighborhood carrying mats and wearing Lululemon no doubt encouraged my recent foray into yoga. I certainly don’t want to feel left out. And yes, I will wait over an hour to eat at a place because social media posts and pictures have extolled the tastiness of something swaddled in bacon and bathed in truffle juice.
However, my weekend breakfast ritual remains sacred— untainted by fad, trend and criticism. The two of us waking when we want the cat wants and eating what we like is in the fridge.
Today, weekend breakfast means eggs, vegetables and meat all wrapped in tortillas or piled on toast. The eggy piles are then doused in sriracha, the garlicky burn waking us up. Sometimes we’ll make fancy waffles, ‘fancy’ indicating that we spruce up the bisquick batter. Occasionally we have fruit juice. There must always be coffee.
For a night owl, the morning, as pretty and bright as it may be, doesn’t incite me to jump out of bed and seize the day. Every weekday the alarm goes off (intentionally chosen is the most offensive sound option available on my phone setting). I punch the snooze button HARD (even though it’s a touch screen) and sink deep into my sheets and mattress. A quick dream about turning into Rapunzel locked in a quiet tower where sleep can be entered on a whim, until my conscious or my morning-adoring partner compels me to stagger to the shower. Once there, with hot water pounding my skin, coming to my senses is natural enough. But damn, that half hour between the alarm sounding and my muscles fighting to actually leave the bed feels like a year…a very, very difficult year.
Breakfast during the week is a quick first meal of the day, but should also be a pleasurable one. The hope being, if I fill my mornings with luxuries like sweet whole milk, tart blood oranges, oatmeal with flaxseed and walnuts, a pot of coffee spiked with cinnamon; then I might begin to enjoy them. Homemade blueberry muffins, slightly sweetened and generously enriched with some wholesome things are my latest effort towards cutting the tether between myself and my bed.
These muffins might not turn me into a lover of the morning but they do make yanking myself up a little less dramatic. Getting to the point of mornings being cheerful probably involves some behavior modification, an adjusted mind-set and/or some small children. When I’m lying in bed, feeling like road-kill because it’s 6:30AM in the morning, I’ll remember that I have these muffins to eat once I do join the world.
1 ½ cup rolled oats
1 cup milk
½ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp honey or agave
½ cup yogurt (vanilla or plain) or sour cream
1 egg (slightly beaten)
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Squeeze of lemon juice
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp salt
¾ cup walnuts (coarsely chopped)
¼ cup flaxseed
1 tsp baking powder
½ tbsp. baking soda
1 cup fresh blueberries
muffin or cupcake liners
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Fill a muffin pan with liners and lightly spray each liner with the cooking spray.
Measure oats into a food processor or spice grinder and pulse a couple times, breaking the oats into smaller pieces. Doesn’t have to be a fine flour, unless you prefer for the texture of the muffins.
Add oats to a small bowl and pour milk in to soften the oats. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine the brown sugar, honey, yogurt, vanilla, egg, oil, lemon juice and mix well.
In a food processor or spice grinder add flaxseed and grind until a powder.
In a medium bowl add the flour, salt, walnuts, flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda. Stir until fully combined.
Pour the oats and milk mixture into the brown sugar, yogurt, egg mixture. Mix well to combine. Slowly add the dry ingredients, about ¾ cup at a time, to the wet mixture, stirring just until flour is incorporated into the wet mixture. Fold the blueberries in*.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin liners. Should be enough to make approximately 12-16 muffins.
Bake for about 22-25 minutes. I usually rely on the toothpick test.
*If using frozen blueberries, make sure to toss them with a little bit of flour before adding. This prevents berry juice from ‘bleeding’ into the batter.