Okay, so I've switched up my breakfasts quite a bit. Insted of toast and some eggs and some sausage, or instead of a bowl of cereal, both of which are about 500 calories, I've been eating a massive pile of pan fried vetables in the morning.
I know. It sounds like hell, right? But god help me if I'm not actually enjoying it. Each morning I look forward to breakfast now. I think I may be channeling the ghost of my 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Powers, who seemed singularly obsessed with teaching nutrition. Either that or the only time I paid any attention to her is when she was holding food in front of the class. If I recall there was quite a bit of hyping up of and eating of popcorn as an example of a healthy snack.
Anyway...back to the veggie breakfast...the cool thing is, I have a tremendous pile of food on my plate and have to refrigerate half of it because I can't possibly eat that much. So that's a nice change. I like when my brain is not locked in an epic battle with my stomach, both of us struggling for control of my hands as it reaches for and pulls back from a bag of cheetos, then reaches again. So there's that. Being full really helps with the brain/stomach armistice.
Ultimately when I'm done calculating how many calories are in my newfangled breakfast it amounts to about 112 calories. Not bad. 224 if I eat the whole massive, heaping pile of veggies.
So there's the choice between a 500 calorie breakfast that isn't particularly filling to a 200 calorie breakfast that stuffs you so full you don't feel like eating for the rest of the morning or most of the afternoon. It's really not much a a brainer. That is to say, it's a no-brainer.
Okay, okay...I think I'm at an advantage because I genuinely enjoy cabbage. I really do.
But for the folks out there who are reeling in horror and disgust at eating a heaping pile of pan fried veggies in the morning, I have three suggestions:
1. Butter. Lots and lots of delicious butter. Fry the veggies in butter. Let's say you use a whole tablespoon of butter. That's 100 calories right there by itself and you're only adding about 150 more calories to it with tons of veggies.
2. Cultivate a love of hot peppers. Make the food SPICY. Somehow, for me, it makes the food something I look forward to as much as salt, fat, carbs or anything else might. If not more. Except it's not going to load the foods up with calories. In just a couple weeks I've kind of become a fiend for the hot peppers.
3. Eggs. Add a couple eggs to the veggies. It helps to drop a fried sunny-side-up or two on top of the pile of veggies. Something with a little more fat and protein. Mmmm...and it doesn't really add that much more in the way of calories. You're still looking at a very filling 350 calorie breakfast instead of a 500 calorie breakfast, and that's good.
Now...here's how I do it. I usually start with cabbage. Cabbage is relatively cheap as vegetables go: about $1 to $2 for a large head of cabbage. Cheaper if you can get them on sale. If they're on sale, I buy a lot...cuz you can preserve it just about forever in the fridge or even out of the fridge.
Alright, so I slice off a large chunk of cabbage, about 1 or 2 cups worth, and shred it into thin pieces. That's about 22 calories per cup. Not bad.
I drop maybe a half a tablespoon of butter onto a hot pan and drop the cabbage in and let it sit there and let it fry until it's soft and nice and brown on one side.
That's when you add in some jalapenos which can be had for 50 cents for a half dozen of 'em at the store. I also add hot sauce or salsa. It's fantastic.
I like to add some onions if I have 'em. Mixed greens if I have 'em. I always, always have canned of pickled beets on hand so I add a few or those.
Peas. Canned peas give the veggies a bit more of a meaty tone to it. So I like to add peas.
But anyway, just throw a bunch of veggies into the pan and fry those up until they're soft.
And that's it. When they're soft, put 'em on a plate and eat it. Sometimes I add the sunny side up eggs, sometimes not.
I know, it sounds weird. But I actually look forward to these breakfasts.
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