Pear, Raspberry and Brown Rice Breakfast Bowl

Pear, Raspberry and Brown Rice Breakfast Bowl
I am most definitely a morning person.  I'd way rather meet you for breakfast than stay up until Midnight, trying to keep my eyes open and maintain any feeble attempts at witty conversation as the night wanes and dawn inches closer.

There is no better way to start the day than by having a good breakfast.  Even though getting up at 6:00 AM nowadays means that I am rising long before the sun does, a good, warm breakfast is something to look forward to and makes exiting the warm sheets to the injustice of bare toes on a cold floor just a little easier.

I like to have whole grains as the base for my breakfast and then topping them with some combination of warm or cold, raw or cooked fruit followed by nuts and yogurt.  Many mornings this means cooking up a bowl of old fashioned oatmeal - the kind with large flakes that have not been chopped before they are rolled. (read this article by the Kitchn for a clear explanation on the difference between various types of oats)  These are quick to make: 15 minutes max and I am sitting down to eat.  If I really want to treat myself to a fine start for the day, I use a whole oat groats; but this means I either need to plan ahead or plan more time in the morning.

The great thing about whole grain kernels (think wheat berries, spelt berries, barley pearls, brown rice kernels, and the less common whole oat groats) is that they reheat really well. The same goes for steel cut oats, a morning treat I absolutely love. So although the grains may take 30 - 45 minutes to cook, you can do that well in advance and either refrigerate them if you will be consuming them soon, or, even better, cook up a huge pot, spoon the cooked grains into unlined muffin tins, and then pop the frozen grain pucks out, freeze them in a zip-lock bag or plastic container, and you'll have a quick breakfast that you can thaw and enjoy in minutes.  If you fill each muffin cup to the top, you'll have 1/2 cup servings (approximately 250g) ready to go.  If the grains are a bit dry when you reheat them, add a small amount of water or milk to loosen them up and they will look and taste freshly cooked.

Whole grains are an excellent food choice for those who want to live a healthy lifestyle.  An article published in Harvard School of Public Health's Nutrition Source, Health Gains from Whole Grains says that an increase in the consumption of whole grains reduced the risks for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and Cancer.  Further, because whole grains contain a lot of fiber, your digestive health also vastly improves as a result.  In a chart published in the same article, it is recommended that 25% of our daily diet should consist of whole grains.  (For more information, read about the Healthy Eating Plate).

Unlike your average breakfast of cold cereal, which is largely made from refined flours, whole grains are minimally processed, so they retain all the marvelous benefits that are so good for us:  complex carbohydrates, key vitamins and minerals.  This article by the Mayo Clinic explains why.

This breakfast bowl calls for brown rice, but feel free to substitute the whole grain of your choice. The chewy, nutty satisfying grain pairs really well with this lightly sweetened, warm pear-raspberry topping. If you are reheating grains, the topping can be quickly made while the grains are warming up.

Now sit on down and Carpe Diem!

Pear, Raspberry and Brown Rice Breakfast Bowl
Pear, Raspberry and Brown Rice Breakfast Bowl

1 cup / 2.5 dl brown rice

2 cups / 500 ml water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup / 3/4 dl milk (non-dairy milk works well here too)
1 large pear, peeled and cut into large dice
1 cup / 2.5 dl fresh or frozen raspberries
3-4 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup / 1 heaped dl crushed pecans
1/2 cup / 250 ml plain, unsweetened greek or turkish yogurt

Combine the rice, water and salt into a saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a full bowl; reduce heat to low; cover; and cook for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, drain the rice in a strainer, return it to the pot, add the milk, bring it to a boil, reduce to medium, and allow it to simmer as the milk absorbs for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the topping.  Combine the pear, raspberries and maple syrup in a small pot.  Bring to a full boil, then remove from heat.  Add the vanilla extract, stir to combine, and set aside until the rice has finished cooking.

To serve, divide the rice between four bowls.  Divide the pear & raspberry sauce over the top.  Add a large spoonful of yogurt to each bowl, then top with crushed pecans.  Serve warm.

4 servings.

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