Seniors & Aging

Seasonably sweet: Summer produce boosts breakfast variety, taste

Creamy French toast sandwiches a layer of low-fat cream cheese between eggy challah bread. Top it with honey and garnish it with fruit. Or, make your own berry sauces from scratch.
Creamy French toast sandwiches a layer of low-fat cream cheese between eggy challah bread. Top it with honey and garnish it with fruit. Or, make your own berry sauces from scratch. COURTESY PHOTO

A healthy breakfast is the foundation of a healthy diet. Skip the sugary cereals and opt instead for a meal that better balances fiber, complex carbohydrates and protein. Foods rich in fiber aid in good digestion and contribute to feeling satisfied. Carbohydrates are needed to help fuel our activities. Protein builds and maintains muscles and organs.

When preparing morning meals, pick produce that is grown locally and minimally processed. In general, dark-colored foods have the most nutrients — think deep-red raspberries or bright-orange carrots. Choose a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables for optimal nutrition.

Whatcom County is a huge producer of a variety of fresh berries and fruits that are picked at the peak of ripeness and delivered to local markets and farm stands. The following recipes will help you best enjoy them, bringing a delicious start to your day.

Berries & cream French toast

This decadent version of a breakfast classic is too good to save just for special occasions.

For each serving:

2 slices bread*

1 tablespoon (or more, if desired) softened low-fat cream cheese

1 egg

1/3 cup vanilla soy milk

pinch each of cinnamon and nutmeg

1 teaspoon butter

1/4 cup berry sauce (recipes follow)

*Choose a bread with a sturdy texture, neither too hard nor soft, such as challah or sourdough. Try Great Harvest Bread Co.’s whole-wheat challah.

Spread one slice of bread with cream cheese and top with other slice.

In a bowl just big enough to hold bread, mix the egg, milk and spices.

Heat a fry pan or griddle and melt butter in it.

Dip bread in egg mixture for several seconds.

Flip over to coat both sides.

Cook until slightly golden on both sides. Top with berry sauce.

Besides breakfast, these sauces are wonderful on pound cake, cheesecake and ice cream. Extra sauce freezes well and adds a taste of summer to your recipes year-round.

Blueberry sauce

4 cups blueberries

1/3 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan.

Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 30 minutes.

Raspberry sauce

4 cups raspberries

1/2 cup water

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan.

Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 20 minutes.

Strain with a fine mesh strainer to remove seeds.

Scrambled eggs with fresh herbs and chevre

This elegant breakfast entree would also make a lovely light supper. Serve with a scone and either fruit or salad.

Take it a step further: Plant your own herb garden and you’ll have herbs at your fingertips for months. Most herbs last long into the fall and many are perennials, returning year after year. A few patio pots will hold a nice assortment of culinary herbs.

For each serving:

2 eggs

Salt and pepper

1 teaspoon butter

1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs*

1 ounce chevre, crumbled

*Use any combination of tarragon, dill, parsley, thyme, oregano.

In a mixing bowl, scramble eggs with salt and pepper to taste.

Melt butter in a nonstick saute pan.

Add eggs and cook over low heat. When eggs are two-thirds cooked, add herbs and chevre. Cook until eggs are to desired doneness.

Berry nice smoothie

Berries are one of nature’s super foods. Fat free and high in fiber and vitamin C, they are a good source of folic acid and also contain some of the highest levels of antioxidants of fruits and most veggies. Recent studies have shown antioxidants may help protect us from diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

To freeze berries, wash gently and dry thoroughly on paper towels. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or waxed paper and arrange dry berries in a single layer, not touching. Freeze. When frozen, berries should be transferred to plastic freezer bags. Frozen berries work well in most recipes that require cooking with no need to thaw.

Ingredients

1/3 cup soy milk (plain or vanilla)

1/3 cup orange juice (or any 100-percent juice)

1/2 banana (if using fresh berries, use a frozen banana. If using frozen berries, use a fresh banana)

3/4 to 1 cup mixed berries: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries

Blend together in a blender or directly in a glass if using a hand or immersion blender. Makes about 12 ounces.

Dutch oven pancake

This impressive dish is easy to make and fun to serve. In the fall it can be made with sauteed apples: Just pour the batter right over them and bake as directed. Although traditionally made in a cast-iron skillet, any heavy ovenproof pan or casserole dish will work.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter

1/3 cup soy milk (plain or vanilla)

2 tablespoons sugar

3 eggs

1/3 cup flour

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Note: Make sure you preheat the oven or the pancake won’t puff as well.

Spray an 8- or 9-inch pan with nonstick pan coating. Wrap handles with foil if not oven proof.

Combine all ingredients and whisk until smooth. Pour into pan and put into hot oven.

Bake 18 minutes or until puffed and golden. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Serve topped with fresh berries or other seasonal fruit and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

Whole-wheat scones

Whole-wheat pastry flour has all of the fiber and nutrition but produces baked goods with a lighter texture than regular whole-wheat flour. Try to use it in place of at least half of the white flour in your favorite recipes.

Although they’re best served fresh, these scones freeze well. Reheat thawed scones in a hot oven and serve warm.

Ingredients

1/4 cup yogurt (plain, lemon or vanilla, or substitute buttermilk)

2 tablespoons egg substitute*

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon orange zest

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

* If you use real egg, scramble one egg then measure 2 tablespoons.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Stir wet ingredients together.

Mix in dry ingredients. Stir to combine. When mixed well, knead in bowl for 30 seconds.

Spray cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Pat dough into 5-inch circle on the cookie sheet. Cut into three equal parts (triangles). Using knife, push apart so there is a quarter-inch of space between scones.

Bake 20 minutes. Slather with berry butter.

Berry butter

Make this with ripe, local berries. Picked before they have fully ripened, berries shipped from out of state are never as sweet as our beautiful Whatcom County berries.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter, softened

2 tablespoons strawberries, mashed

honey (optional)

Mash butter and berries together.

You may wish to add a touch of honey if berries are not sweet enough.

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