Healthy Breakfast Oatmeal Cookies

Having a two-year-old at home who wakes up bright and (verrrry) early, excited to announce the breakfast item his heart is set on, I have become quite adept at flipping crêpes and cooking one-egg omelettes in a dazed half-sleep.

Beyond crêpes and eggs and bananas, my son is also quite keen on cookies for breakfast — who isn’t? — and although I have no qualms against yogurt cake and madeleines and buckwheat speculoos at any time of day, my motherly, nutrition-conscious instincts push me to try and offer things that match the request (“Gâteau ? Gâteau ?”) but provide a little more in the way of quality early-hour fuel.

We can all benefit from a nutritious and portable breakfast cookie, whether it’s eaten on the train ride to work, or while pushing a toy version around the living room.

This led me to create these two-bite cookies, made up of wholesome ingredients — rolled grains, coconut, almond flour, chia seeds — and no added sugar, relying on the sweetening power of mashed bananas and dried fruit instead.

They are extremely easy to make, and if you have a toddler underfoot you can even enroll him/her to mash and dump and stir and scoop (practical life activity, people, so Montessori!).

But naturally there is no reason to constrict these to the realm of kid food: we can all benefit from a nutritious and portable breakfast cookie, whether it’s eaten on the train ride to work, or while pushing a toy version around the living room.

The formula is very forgiving, and entirely open to variations: in different incarnations of these cookies I have switched the rolled grains around to use quinoa or rice or millet, I’ve added in finely chopped nuts (especially pecans!) or cacao nibs for crunch, and I once made a version with a touch of cocoa powder thrown in, all to great results.

Join the conversation!

What’s your favorite easy-to-carry yet nutritious breakfast option? And if you have a young child, what’s breakfast like at your house?

Healthy Breakfast Oatmeal Cookies

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June 2014 Desktop Calendar

At the beginning of every month in 2014, I am offering a new wallpaper to apply on the desktop of your computer, with a food-related picture and a calendar of the current month.

As a new feature this year, the desktop calendar is available in two versions: a US-friendly version that features Sunday as the first day of the week, and a French version (shown above) that complies with international standards, featuring Monday as the first day of the week.

Our calendar for June is a picture of Zucchini Pasta with Almonds and Lemon Zest, one of my favorite quick pasta dishes, and a most satisfying way to welcome the first local zucchini when it makes its exciting appearance on market stalls.

Instructions to get your calendar are below.

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May Favorites

The clean fifteen by Montreal graphic designer Simon L'Archevêque and urban nutritionist Bernard Lavallée. Reproduced with permission.

The clean fifteen by Montreal graphic designer Simon L'Archevêque and urban nutritionist Bernard Lavallée. Reproduced with permission.

A few of my favorite finds and reads for May:

~ The clean fifteen and the dirty dozen, prettified by Montreal graphic designer Simon L’Archevêque for Bernard Lavallée’s Nutrtionniste Urbain.

~ I took part in a filmed discussion on food blogs (in French; I start talking 17 minutes in).

~ Bee collapse mystery: scientists may have found the culprit; now you can sign the petition to ban it in the EU.

~ Behavioral science is interested in how you eat your sushi: favorite first or favorite last?

~ The resurgence of home fermenting. I myself have enthusiastically experiemented with sourdough bread, yogurt, kefir (tibicos), beet kvass, kombucha, and fermented pickles. What about you?

~ If it drives you nuts how often you’re advised to throw out perfectly fixable appliances, Repair Cafés are for you.

~ The tasting menu at Dovetail in NYC, in 60 beautiful seconds.

~ Eyes are bigger than your stomach? This Swiss all-you-can-eat restaurant will fine you for it.

~ A French crowd-funding platform devoted to food-related projects.

~ In which I learn that my favorite number is, in fact, the world’s favorite favorite number.

~ How to make a salad with a pair of scissors and an exacto knife, by the talented Jessie Kanelos Weiner.

~ Easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs in the pressure cooker.

~ What happens when you request a doggy bag in France.

Cucumber and Avocado Quick Nori Roll

It all started a month ago with this photo on Gena’s Instagram feed. Gena is the author of the excellent blog Choosing Raw, and she has long extolled the virtues of the vegetable nori roll as a quickly and easily assembled snack: her site offers almost a dozen examples, including this latest version.

The process is not unlike that which leads to maki, but here you forgo the seasoned rice altogether — this saves time and effort, and also means you don’t have to plan ahead — in favor of fresh vegetables, lots of them.

I was so inspired by that latest shot that I went out and got some cucumbers and sprouts the very next day to make my own, and I have been weaving variations on that theme about twice a week since then — that’s how enthused I am.

Although Gena likes to apply a thick layer of some sort of spread — think hummus or cashew cheese — directly on the nori sheet, I start with the sliced cucumbers as I prefer my nori to stay as crisp as possible* — the drier, the crisper — and find it most pleasing to bite into the crunchy layer of cucumbers first.

Having played around with various ingredients, I have now determined the foundation I like to build on (cucumber, avocado, sprouts, sesame), and will add whatever little things I have on hand — leftover chicken or fish, tofu, spread or dressing, crudités, greens, and herbs. I have a great fondness for the mango and jicama version I make as an affectionate nod to the maki served at Bob’s Kitchen.

These make for a lovely item to add to the mix when we’re composing a lunch or dinner from sundry elements (see “leftovers night” in my Menu Planning Tips & Tricks). You could offer them as finger food as well, cut into maki-style slices, and I’ve been known to fix myself a nori roll as a refreshing afternoon treat, too.

* For optimal texture, I like to eat the roll the moment it is made, but of course it’s fine to let it sit while you make the others, or if you’re packing them for lunch at the office or a picnic.

Nori Roll

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Fasting Against Jetlag

Sprouted Trail Mix: The Snack That Broke My Airplane Fast

Sprouted Trail Mix: The Snack That Broke My Airplane Fast

As the traveling season gets nearer, maybe you have some lovely, exciting plans to fly someplace distant across several time zones. In that case you’ll have to contend with jetlag, and if you do, I want to share a cool tip I first heard about from my friend Adam, who himself picked it up from Jason Kottke.

The advice is simple: you should fast for 12 to 16 hours before breakfast time at your destination.

The reasoning is that the digestive system plays a significant role in our body’s perception of time. This voluntary fast is meant to mimick an overnight fast (minus the midnight munchies) and helps to set the body’s internal clock to the new time zone.

I happened to read about this just before we left to spend some time in San Francisco in the fall, and since we were about to embark on a round trip of 12-hour flights with 9-hour time differences, I was quick to recruit myself as a guinea pig to test the technique.

And I’m thrilled to report it worked really well: I sailed through the time difference with just about the same effects I get from taking the metro, even though I got virtually no sleep on the plane, thanks to a very sweet, but very alert little boy sitting on my knee.

It was very easy to put in practice, too.

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