The Magnolias Are In Bloom

July 19, 2012

We have a large magnolia tree in our front yard.  When it blooms,
the whole yard smells like lemon pie and I keep the windows open.

They aren't easy to pick, they are usually up too high,
but these were within my reach.

I made a gorgeous arrangement in my beautiful Arte Italica pewter soup terrine,
with Shasta daisies, roses and nicotiana.

Now I'm going to sneak in my thoughts on breakfast.  For the last ten years we have added more veggies to our diet, a health choice, but since we were already eating so many, the only way we could bring more in was to include them in our breakfast.  So we thought, why not?  If we like certain foods for lunch and dinner, why wouldn't we like them for breakfast too?   It does take a bit of getting used to, but we love it now and rarely go back to a traditional American breakfast.

I make breakfast stir fries a lot, with chopped up vegetables that are in the garden or fridge, with just a tiny bit of olive oil and salt and a dash of chopped herbs.  We have salads too, also lentils and vegetables, but mostly we have vegetable soup and I also juice. 

Beet tops and all go in.

I juice almost every morning, or maybe half the time.  This is pretty typical of what will go in the juicer and will make two glasses.  I don't peel anything, just wash and toss it in.  I'm sad if I don't have a lemon or two or an inch or two of ginger root.  Both add a snap of flavor that we love.  I will juice anything and everything but some concoctions taste better than others.  I have learned to never juice green beans (what was I thinking?).  If you are new to juicing, it may be good to add an apple the first few times to make it sweet.  Juice only what you will consume in the next 10 minutes, the nutritional benefits don't have a long shelf life.  My exception is when the apples come in.  Once a year I juice apple/carrot/lemon/ginger juice and freeze about a dozen quarts and we enjoy it all winter.

Juicers are not created equally and I think the Juiceman brand is by far the best.  Everything goes in the dishwasher except the motor and it does the best job of extracting the juice as the pulp comes out very dry.  The big con to juicing is that you don't get the fiber of the vegetables, but you do get the concentrated fresh nutrients and that is hard to beat.  We get our fiber in other ways.  By the way, juicers only last for me about 2-3 years.

Now is the time for me to come clean and tell you about our morning soup.  My friends and family think we are a bit cracked, but we love this.  I use a Magic Bullet and it has lasted for YEARS.   Almost every morning I stuff it with leftover veggies from the night before if any, and add fresh ones.  This morning I picked green beans and Swiss chard and stuffed that in and then had two slices of tomato left from last night and added a garlic clove.  Add a bit of water and into the microwave it goes for 5 minutes or so.

After cooking it will sink down a bit and there is just enough room to
add a dash of salt and any other spice or herb that seems right,
and then a good dollop of non fat Greek style yogurt.

Then you screw on this blade thing and turn it upside down onto the motorized base and whirl it into a cream soup.  If I have any leftover chicken or meat from the night before I'll chop it up and put it in the bowl for texture and more protein.

We also love carrot, ginger and red bell pepper soup, celery and spinach soup, squash and corn soup, the possibilities are endless and it's always seasonal.

That is usually enough for us. We will change things up a bit and have oatmeal and fruit or yogurt with fruit or an egg. And like I said, we love salads, stir-fries and lentils too. Occasionally I will make green smoothies.

I found these vintage Pyrex individual soups with lids at a garage sale.

When the kids come to visit, they know what we do, they see what we do, but they have no interest in sharing what we eat in the morning.  They think it's too strange.  We still love a big old breakfast and when the kids come my husband likes to make fried eggs and bacon, or sausage and pancakes, French toast, so all that's good too!  But our everyday routine, is mostly, well, soup.

As a footnote, we do get our blood sugar checked when we get our checkups and we are good with all that.  My husband takes vitamin supplements, I never have.  My husband has slight heath problems with his heart and high blood pressure and cholesterol and I have food allergies and sensitivities and I hope our diet enhances our wellness.  I don't get on a soap box, still people ask me if I'm trying to live to 100, but that's missing the point, I just want to feel better while I'm here.

I'd like to know what you think, maybe you do something similar to create a healthier diet?  I'd love to know and hope you'll comment.  Thank you so much for reading.  I'm really not a health nut, just the food planner and chief chef of an empty-nest couple trying to do our best!

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  1. Wow . . . you are an inspiration to us all. I generally skip breakfast, because breakfast foods have too many calories, besides the fact that I usually get up too late to actually sit and eat breakfast before work. I think I'll give your breakfast soup a try. Us empty nest-still working couples should be watching our quality of life too, so we can make it to retirement!

  2. Hi dear Kristen, It is very nice that you shared your breakfast.. I like this so much. It is important to learn new things about all life styles.. I like this. Your breakfast soup seems so healthy and delicious.. It is very important to live healthy and make somethings to be healthy... At this point I am not so careful for my breakfast. I only drink 2 cups of coffee with milk on the mornings and go to work.. That is bad. I have very high hypertension and heart disorders. But you know I quit smoking. This is good for me. When I will be retired I will try to be more healthy.. Ohh I wish..:))
    Happy sunny days...:))

  3. Kristen, your breakfast is awesome!
    I got a Vitamix blender and want to start making similar meals, but yesterday I remembered France and my friend, who loved all things French, so I had a cup of coffee with a croissant and a little piece of chocolate.
    My breakfast usually consists of oatmeal.

  4. DEar Kristen, I've nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award. Come and take a look!
    All best wishes..:))

  5. I'm inspired! I like savory foods best, so the thought of veggies for breakfast appeals to me. And breakfast "soup" sounds amazing!

    Your magnolias are so lovely and the arrangement is very appealing.

  6. Yummy juicing and soup recipes. I'm so glad that I found your blog through Beck to Vintage. :)

  7. I stopped eating a "conventional" breakfast about a year ago, and it was very liberating! I usually eat whatever vegetables are left over from the night before, with an egg and fruit. I'm trying to stay away from too much bread or cereal. I love juicing and you are right, adding that little piece of ginger makes all the difference!
    I will have to try your carrot/apple mixture. Sounds yummy!


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