Adding Grace and Quick Breakfasts

May 18th, 2011 / Comments 6

My placid, morning routine of brewing a pot of tea, enjoying a cup of yogurt and a fresh scone while reading the newspaper changed last Thursday when Gracie came to live with us.

Gracie w rocks Adding Grace and Quick Breakfasts

Busy, busy.

Gracie, a nine-week old golden retriever puppy, is many things, but placid in the morning is not one of them. Her early morning needs forced me to figure out nutritious breakfasts that I can put together quickly and eat while I’m on the run with her.

gracie dog house Adding Grace and Quick Breakfasts


On Thursday, a toasted whole-wheat English muffin, topped with a generous slather of whole milk ricotta cheese, a handful of chopped pecans and a drizzle of honey was reminiscent of the Sicilian ricotta pastries I have been missing. It gave me the energy boost I needed to take Gracie to meet our closest four-legged neighbors, the alpacas. They found her as fascinating as she found them.

On Friday morning, Charles entertained Gracie with her new chewy-stringy-thingy, a toy we hope will satisfy her rug-fringe chewing needs, while I made Morning Pizza for two. I topped toasted slices of crusty bread with ricotta cheese, slices of fresh plum tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of oregano and salt and pepper, and heated them under the broiler for a minute. Gracie patiently worked on her digging technique while we ate breakfast.

Saturday morning, we woke before Gracie. I made a fried egg for Charles. Rather than over-easy or sunny-side-up, I made an egg-in-a-nest that celebrated Gracie’s arrival. I used a cookie cutter shaped like a large dog biscuit to cut a hole (the nest), in the center of a slice of bread. I heated two teaspoons of butter in a small frying pan over medium heat, put the pieces of bread into the pan and cracked an egg into the nest. When the bread was toasted and the egg had begun to set, I turned them over and continued cooking until the egg white was cooked. Charles ate breakfast and read the newspaper while Gracie watched our neighbor ride around the meadow on his lawn mower.

gracie on rug Adding Grace and Quick Breakfasts

Mmm, chewy-stringy-thing.

We got off to a slow start on Sunday. Gracie was very busy chasing a ball and slipping and sliding on the kitchen floor while I assembled Granola Sundaes to go. I filled two mugs with alternating layers of frozen blueberries from last summers’ harvest, dollops of plain yogurt and scoops of granola. If I hadn’t been so busy sorting out toys and distractions for Gracie, the yogurt and granola might have been homemade but with a frisky puppy in my life, I’m lucky if I get a shower before dinner, never mind having time to make yogurt or granola.

By Sunday afternoon, I was running out of steam and realized that I needed an instant breakfast that I could grab, unwrap and eat while Gracie checked out the Canada geese nesting on the pond. I sent an email to my daughter-in-law, Alison, with four photos of Gracie and a request for her breakfast bar recipe. I made them while Charles and Gracie had their mid-afternoon naps in preparation for a late afternoon romp with the boys who live next door. Here’s how I made them:

Alison’s Breakfast Bars

I preheated the oven to 250º and oiled a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. I stirred together two and a half cups of rolled oats (not instant), one cup of shredded coconuts, one cup of dried cranberries, half a cup of sunflower seeds, half a cup of pumpkin seeds, two tablespoons of ground flax seeds, half a cup of slivered almonds and half a cup of chopped walnuts. I heated fourteen ounces of sweetened condensed milk on high in the microwave for one minute before I added it to the oatmeal/nut mixture. When the ingredients were combined, I spread the mixture into the oiled pan and then used a spatula to compress the bars and make the surface even. I baked the bars for one hour. After they had cooled for fifteen minutes, I cut them to make sixteen chunky bars.

Alison said that she varies the recipe, by using dried apricots, figs or cherries instead of the dried cranberries, substituting peanuts for some or all of the almonds and walnuts and by stirring in a couple of tablespoons of almond butter or crunchy peanut butter into the heated sweetened condensed milk.

I put the individually wrapped bars in a bowl, on the kitchen counter, next to Gracie’s collar so that I could grab one as we headed out for our Monday morning sunrise stroll.

Download and print breakfast bar recipe with an ingredients list here.

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• 6 Responses to “Adding Grace and Quick Breakfasts”

  • Lucia says:

    Congratulations on Gracie! She is very cute. And thank you for sharing the breakfast bar recipe. My husband eats breakfast bars and I would prefer to know exactly what the ingredients are.

  • Drick says:

    Gracie is adorable… so glad she found you… all three are lucky… the bars sound great, something I should make for my mornings, I tend to run out of energy before I know it…

  • Diana O'Leary says:

    So happy you have a new puppy. I plan on making your fiddlehead pasta this week. I made my own verson of Tuscan chicken soup and it was good. Diana

  • Char Gardner says:

    I envy your energy level — adding a pup to all else you are doing!

    • Carol says:

      Chalk it up to forgetfulness….I’d forgotten how much energy puppies are packed with. She is trying to help with the garden, digging holes, pulling and eating weeds(?), etc.

  • Candela says:

    She is beautiful,adorable !! I’m happy for you and your family, and Gracie will keep you in shape !! 😉
    Saluti .

  • • Leave a Reply to Char Gardner

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