December 1, 2011

Back to breakfast

I hope that you all had a satisfying Thanksgiving!  I know I had!  And now, I’m recovering…  Although, every year I try to avoid overeating at Thanksgiving, I always end up doing just the opposite…yes, overeat.  So, after an entire weekend of overeating, I’m trying to manage my eating habits a tiny bit (I’m already wondering how long that will last).  And for me that starts with the basic breakfast. 

I’m not a devoted breakfast eater, unfortunately.  Most of the time, one or two cups of coffee in the morning will do the trick and fill up my tummy for a couple of hours.  I know what you’re thinking… not a healthy breakfast!  I agree.  And the funny thing is that I do feel much better if I eat something in the morning, but what can I do?  I think it’s called laziness…  So, as I said, after a long weekend of indulgence, I’m trying to follow a healthier eating pattern especially since I have the perfect morning treat – ricotta parfait

I love parfaits!  They are creamy, crunchy, sweet, and, most importantly, they fill you up.  Not to mention that they look very pretty with those layers of colors and abundance of flavors.  For me, a parfait represents the perfect boost of energy to get my morning started.  Of course… coffee, too.  What I also like about this particular Ricotta Parfait recipe is that one of the main ingredients is jam; and I love jam.  I don’t like to make it myself, although I probably should, and I’m convinced it would taste so much better, but I do love Sarabeth’s preserves.  Adrian might even say that I’m obsessed with Sarabeth’s.  He’s probably right, but I can’t help it.  

These jams are phenomenal!  From strawberry-raspberry and strawberry-rhubarb, to pineapple-mango and peach-apricot, they are all superb.  I buy my Sarabeth’s preserves from Marshalls, TJ Maxx or HomeGoods stores.  In fact, every time I walk into one of these stores, I look for a Sarabeth’s jar.  The scary thing is that I feel just like Mel Gibson in the movie The Conspiracy Theory – whenever he sees a copy of The Catcher in the Rye book, he has to buy it.  I feel the same with the Sarabeth’s jams – whenever I see one, I have to buy it.  The problem with me, as opposed to Mel Gibson’s character, is that I don’t stop with one jar of jam; I buy them all (the good thing is that they don’t get too many jars).  So, you can easily imagine that I have enough jam to last me for at least six months.  Anyway…I think you get the picture!

Ricotta Parfait
Adapted from Ricotta Parfait by Giada De Laurentiis

Serves:  4 servings
Special equipment:  4 parfait or sundae glasses


·         1 cup ricotta cheese
·         ½ cup plain yogurt
·         ½ cup jam, divided (recommended: Sarabeth’s Strawberry-Raspberry)
·         2 cups granola, divided
·         ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted


To toast the sliced almonds, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 6 to 8 minutes until lightly golden.  Cool completely before using.    

In a small bowl, whisk the ricotta cheese and yogurt together until smooth.  In each parfait glass, layer 2 Tablespoons of the ricotta mixture, 1 Tablespoon jam (please use any kind of jam you like; I found that a tart berry preserve works well with the creaminess of the ricotta and yogurt mixture) and ¼ cup of granola.  Repeat the layers.  Spread the remaining ricotta mixture on top and garnish with toasted almonds before serving.

What I sometimes like to do is to substitute the layers of granola with layers of toasted almonds.  The parfait gets a nutty aroma from the toasted almonds, which I love.  And, by the way, almonds are very good for you, too.  Also, having a layer of granola, one of almonds, and finishing with more toasted almonds, is another good option.  In the end, whichever combination you choose, it will work beautifully.  Poftă Bună! (Bon Appétit!) 

P.S.:  Happy National Day, Romania!

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