Rise and Shine

I’m not a person who obsesses over weight. I hate diets and diet talk, am not up to date on the latest weight-loss novelties, and most health-related jargon goes in one ear and out the other. My sister insists it’s because I don’t have to worry about my weight, but I insist right back that’s not true. Even if I hadn’t inherited my mother’s metabolism–she’s about 105 soaking wet–I would still eat whatever I wanted. Anyone who knows me can attest to my ‘cherry on top’ approach to eating. Yes, I want whipping cream on my Cafe Mocha, butter and cream cheese on my bagel, and bacon with everything.

However, as gluttonous as that sounds, I do watch what I eat, but not in a calorie-counting way. I’m not indifferent to the importance of a balanced diet. I could name you off ten ‘power foods’ in a flash (blueberries, avocado, pomegranate, tomatoes, kale…) I almost never eat fast food, stay far away from overly-processed foods and eat balanced meals prepared from scratch.

Still, I always get The Question. Sometimes it’s asked in an accusing way, sometimes wistful, sometimes puzzled, but there it is:

“Why don’t you weigh like two hundred pounds?”

People know how many sweets I consume, that I am a former chef and, yep, my world pretty much revolves around food, and they assume I should weight at least 50 lbs more than I do. How do you answer that? I never know. Sometimes I even feel apologetic, especially if the question is tinged with accusation.
“I’m sorry?”
Maybe I will say that sometime.

You know, I realize that weight is a huge (sorry, terrible pun, but I use that word for everything) issue for many people, and I don’t mean to make light of it (someone stop me already!). It’s just no fun to always have people telling you how unfair it is that you are not fat.

Now, I don’t want to offend anyone and so I will stop while I am ahead and tell you what got me going on all of this in the first place.

This month’s Saveur is entirely devoted to breakfast! Awesome.
Thumbing through it I was skeptical at first, a write up about the southern U.S. chain Waffle House? An article on McDonald’s Egg McMuffin? But I picked up a copy anyway, huge breakfast lover that I am, and was glad I did, for it transported me for a breakfast tour around the world that was most enjoyable, and supplied me with so many breakfast recipes that I wished it was Saturday every day so I could try them out.

Inspired by the issue, I decided to show you what I have for breakfast every morning. Perhaps THIS healthy start to my day has helped to keep my weight down, perhaps not.

Nope, not sugary cold cereal, not buttery Danishes, and no greasy fry-up, but oatmeal porridge is my standard breakfast five days a week. It’s not always with roasted peaches and cinnamon sugar, as pictured, but with a variety of seasonal toppings. My dining room table perpetually has a tray with plenty more add-ons for the hot cereal: wheat germ, coconut, honey, craisins, granola and whatever else suits my fancy.
The weekends are for the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes and the Raspberry Chocolate Muffins, but during the week the babies and I wake up together over stone-cut oats.

Seriously though, I grew up eating hot cereal and vowed to keep it up so that my children would also. My husband was raised on cold cereal and our pantry is stocked to meet his needs, however this is about to change. Noah is plenty old enough to realize Daddy’s Honey Nut Cheerios are more fun than his oatmeal. On the rare occasion he is up before Danny has to leave for work, one can usually find him sleepily trying to climb up on his dad’s lap for of bite of ‘cheewios’.

Ah, this is fascinating, stuff isn’t it?

OK, so if anyone is still reading, tell me, what do you eat for breakfast?

Chocolate-Raspberry Oat Muffins

I am not generally accustomed to letting Noah eat in front of the TV, in fact, our soon-to-be three-year-old isn’t really allowed to watch television; however, the Bejing Olympics have caused us to bend the rules a bit these last several days.

Is anyone as enraptured by the games as I am? These athletes (or ‘af-leaps’ as my son calls them) are so hard core! They are all normal people like you and I, but their endurance, strength, focus and drive is stunning to watch.

The morning Alexandre Despatie of Montreal won his silver medal in diving was so exciting, I couldn’t turn off the TV. For the first time in my history as a mother, I dragged the high chair into our office/TV room and served Noah his oatmeal poolside–er, television-side.
His brain can’t rot during six rounds of dives now, can it?

The silver medal performance inspired the afternoon’s game for Noah, as a row of surprisingly buoyant pillows laid in a row across the floor made up a diving board onto the sofa.

These muffins are another great way to get your morning oats without the mess of a bib, bowl and spoon for the little ones. Plenty of butter keep them moist and the oatmeal add a delightful texture. As you can see, I am carrying my much-loved combination of raspberries and chocolate a step further than dessert and bringing it into my breakfast menu. These feel almost like dessert for breakfast, what could be better than that?

Feel free to change up the add-ins of these buttermilk oatmeal muffins to suit your taste. Prefer blueberries to raspberries? No chocolate for you? Try adding some dried fruit or nuts instead.

Chocolate-Raspberry Oat Muffins
Makes 12

1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1/2 cup brown sugar
½ cup melted butter, cooled
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen

In a large bowl, combine oats and buttermilk and let stand one hour. Preheat oven to 400F and prepare muffin tins.
Stir the egg and the sugar into the oat mixture, followed by the melted butter. Pile all the ingredients together over the oat mixture, leaving out the berries, and stir the batter until just combined.
Fold in berries carefully without over mixing.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins and place in oven. Bake until golden brown and firm to the touch, about ten minutes.

More Chocolate and Raspberry recipes:

Chocolate and Raspberry Ice Cream Sandwiches

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberries