Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Fruit-and-yogurt cups for quick, healthy breakfasts

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This first week back to school hit like a whirlwind!

After a deliciously long and lazy year-end break, it's back to routine this week. It always takes us a few days to regain our rhythm under the best of circumstances. Pile on an unusually busy few weeks ahead, toss in some curve balls, and I know I need to simplify where I can and focus on keeping our energy and spirits up.

To that end, I'm trying to keep our fridge stocked with homemade grab-and-go yogurt cups. The base is a simple fruit compote that simmers briefly while I do dishes or prep lunches. Once it's cool, I fill eight half-cup containers with fruit compote and yogurt.

I stash the cups in the fridge next to a jar of granola and a shaker filled with flaxseed meal for fresh, crunchy toppings. And that's breakfast for two for most of the school week, done in minutes. (I'd happily make enough for all four of us if the kids would eat it. They'll come around.)

This time of year, my favorite is warmly spiced Persimmon Compote, but follow the same template with fresh or frozen berries or stone fruits — this week's stash is made with frozen blueberries.

To make it, just combine chopped fruit or berries with a bit of water and a squeeze of honey in a saucepan. Bring just to gentle boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Combine a spoonful or two of cornstarch in a small bowl with water and stir it into the cooked fruit until it thickens, then finish with a squeeze of lemon.

Once it's cool, spoon it into individual containers and top with yogurt. I like creamy non-fat Greek yogurt, with its extra protein boost.

Too much work? Swap jam or just honey for the compote.

Feeling ambitious? Make your own yogurt.

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