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One of my favorite things...Breakfast!!

I absolutely love making breakfast. Maybe part of it is that I am a "morning person" and my creativity and energy are at their highest first thing in the morning. By the time dinner rolls around, I'm on the downside of the energy and brainpower curve. That explains why I also do much of my dinner prep at the same time I am prepping breakfast. And why I rely on menu planning so much. I'm just not going to be at my best in the kitchen by late afternoon.

I'm not devoted to any particular type of breakfast. I enjoy them all. OK, not all. I'm not a huge fan of cold cereal. And I can't really get behind the traditional English breakfast...sorry, to my English friends. But carb-loaded waffles or pancakes or muffins served with fruit and nuts and real maple syrup. Bowls of plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and other add-ins, a drizzle of honey, a spoonful of oats. Breakfast pastries. Bacon. Oatmeal (steel cut rules) or grits (I like them both ways - sweet and savory). And of course, eggs. Let's talk about eggs.

Eggs for breakfast is pretty much our go-to. We like them fried. My husband is a "break the yolk and cook them hard" sort, my youngest child eats them runny, I like that gelatinous in-between. We eat them plain, sprinkled with cheese, or my favorite -- the look-in-the-fridge-and-put-something-together experiment. So here are two simple ideas to get you started with those eggs...

Breakfast sandwiches

Breakfast sandwiches are a great "to-go" option. They are versatile and can be tailored to individual tastes. Here's a run down on what comprises a breakfast sandwich and a few suggestions to get you started.

- Bread (english muffin, scone, toast, bagel, biscuit, tortilla ...)

- Meat (sausage patty, ground sausage, bacon, ham ...)

- Egg (fried, poached, scrambled ...)

- Cheese (cheddar, swiss, monterey jack, feta ...)

- Extras (avocado, tomato, fresh herbs, flavorful spreads, veggies, mushrooms ...)

Try a biscuit or english muffin with avocado, fried egg, green chilies, bacon, and cheddar. Try a sausage patty, cream cheese, and honey drizzled apple slices on a brioche bun or croissant. Try a tortilla wrapped around scrambled eggs with onions and peppers, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and chorizo. The combinations are only limited by your ingredients at hand.

Breakfast Bowls

Breakfast bowls are trendy right now. But oh my gosh are they tasty! I like the riot of textures, colors, and flavors in a bowl. Choose a selection of items that complement each other from what you have on hand. Here are some suggestions.

- Starchy vegetables (little new potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, beets ...)

- Peppers (sweet bell, jalapeño, ...)

- Onions (sweet, shallot, green, ...)

- Mushrooms

- Tomato

- Avocado

- Spinach

- Meat (bacon, sausage, ham, smoked salmon ...)

You cook up all the meat and veggies in one pan (I use a cast iron skillet) making sure to start with items that need more time to cook and adding items that cook quickly at the end. Split the meat and veggie mix up between the bowls, top with a couple poached or fried eggs, and sprinkle with cheese and fresh herbs (cilantro or chives or basil or thyme...). A quick note on poaching really isn't that hard. It sounds intimidating, and you likely won't get perfect looking little buggers unless you have special egg poaching contraptions, but they sure are posh (and tasty). Bring a pot of water to a boil and add a tablespoon or so of white vinegar. Have a few coffee cups or custard bowls ready and crack one egg into each. When you are ready to poach, quickly tilt the egg bowls into the boiling water and slide out the eggs. Reduce the heat to a gentle boil and set the timer for 4 minutes. After four minutes, fish your eggs out with a slotted spoon. You'll likely have some tailing whites - just use the spoon against the side of the pan as you are lifting the egg out to cut off that unsightly part.

I could certainly go on about eggs and breakfast in general, but I think two suggestions is enough to start with. Go on and give them a try and have fun being creative! What a nice way to start the day!

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