PARIS -- My mornings go like this: alarm goes off at 5:30, throw back a coffee while I check overnight e-mails, quick shower, hop on the metro for yoga on the other side of town, do yoga, jump on the metro to go back to the apartment, grab breakfast, walk Rosedog. After all of that, my workday can begin.
The "grab breakfast" part is always something to go, because I'm on the run and usually running late. I've learned to pack something -- banana, almonds, dates -- when I go to yoga, so I can have something to eat right afterward. By the time I get to the apartment, I'm still hungry and needing to grab something before I hop in the car to take Rose to the park for her walk.
This is very often a blueberry-mango smoothie, but lately I've been wanting something more.
Enter the peanut butter oatmeal bars and the do-ahead breakfast baguette, two take-along, protein-packed breakfasts that satisfy people who crave sweets in the morning, like me, and those who can dive right into the savory. (I like to save -- and savor -- eggy things for lunch or dinnertime, which is completely acceptable. No rules! You can have your breakfast baguette any time you want!)
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I happily nibbled on one of the peanut butter oatmeal bars after yoga last week while waiting for the train to Brussels. Between the peanut butter, walnuts and oats, I felt satisfied -- and oh so smart for stuffing one into my carry-on.
I just wish I'd packed two, so I could've eaten one on the way home the next day. Now that I've learned the value of the PBO bar, I'll be traveling with these all the time. Next time I make these I plan to add chocolate chips, because as everyone knows now, chocolate is a great antioxidant.
I'm loving breakfast more and more each day.
Ellise Pierce is the Cowgirl Chef and author of "Cowgirl Chef: Texas Cooking With a French Accent" (Running Press, $25). www.cowgirlchef.com; @cowgirlchef
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 big handful baby spinach
One pinch nutmeg
Sea salt and pepper
1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled
1/3 of 1 baguette, sliced lengthwise
1. Put olive oil in a skillet and turn the heat to medium. Add the spinach, nutmeg, salt and pepper and give it a stir. Let this cook only for a minute -- until the spinach begins to lose its shape just a little (we don't want to overcook it).
2. Whisk together eggs with about a tablespoon of water and a pinch of salt and pepper and pour this over the spinach; let this cook. Fold in feta toward the end.
3. Layer this onto the baguette, wrap it up and pop it into the fridge for breakfast the next day. Eat it as is, or pop it into the microwave for just a few seconds.
Nutritional information per serving: 764 calories, 34 grams fat, 82 grams carbohydrates, 31 grams protein, 449 milligrams cholesterol, 567 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber, 41 percent of calories from fat.
Peanut butter oatmeal bars
4 cups whole oatmeal (not quick)
1 cup dried apricots, dates or your favorite dried fruit, chopped
1 cup walnuts, toasted then roughly chopped
1 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup honey (or less, depending on your taste)
1. Mix everything together in a bowl, then press into an 8-by-8-inch glass dish lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for a few hours or until firm.
2. Slice into bars and wrap each one in plastic wrap and keep in the freezer till ready to eat -- they'll stay nice and firm that way.
Nutritional information per bar, based on 9: 503 calories, 25 grams fat, 61 grams carbohydrates, 17 grams protein, no cholesterol, 138 milligrams sodium, 8 grams dietary fiber, 42 percent of calories from fat.