Brick Store's Yard Sale Breakfast

*This post is only moderately heart healthy! Everything in moderation, including moderation!

This morning Brick Store hosted their second Yard Sale Breakfast. What is a yard sale breakfast? Well, for this internationally recognized beer bar it is a chance to sell off their extra glassware while also serving an exceptional selection of breakfast-centric beers. (Think: beers made with coffee or maple). Oh, there are also pancakes.

Oliver and I set our alarm for 6:30am and by 7:00 we were on our bikes with a thermos of coffee in the pannier. Knowing a late arrival would jeopardize our place in line we took the seven mile ride at a fast pace. Even so, when we arrived there was already a queue around the block and our Twitter beer friends were on their second tastes of shared bottles. When the doors opened at 8:00 we high tailed it to the Belgian bar upstairs. Breakfast was the typical American fare (pancakes, sausage or bacon, grits or fruit) but the beer and comardiere were fantastic. I started with a Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout then moved to the Terrapin Wake n Bake and finished up with a Great Divide Espresso Yeti. In addition to seeing some (but not all) of our favorite Twitter beer geek friends we also met some awesome, like-minded new friends. By 11:30 most of the beer list had been 86ed and we knew it was time to head home. Thanks to the Brickstore for providing an awesome alternative/pregame for the East Atlanta Beer Fest!

Next up: finding something green and fiber-rich to eat...

Happy Saturday everyone!

Weekend Eats

The leftover pork from last week's lettuce wraps was used in two more dinners. Once on a bed of homegrown lettuce with poached eggs. Another time as part of a stir fry with a side of aparagus and half a sweet potato. 

Sunday morning we walked down to the Grant Park Farmer's Market for a loaf of sourdough. Oliver needed it to make his extra amazing breakfast sandwich. Fried egg, homemade mayo, chili sauce (made for the lettuce wraps), homegrown spinach, bacon from YDFM and a few slices tomato (not quite in season yet). I ate every bite! YUM!

Perfect sunny Sunday

For breakfast Oliver made three flavors of crepes: blueberry, blackberry and banana. Each one perfectly light and naturally sweet. After breakfast we walked up to historic Oakland Cemetery. Founded in the decade before the Civil War, the cemetery has picturesque rural garden design and is a lovely place to wander around for a few hours. Notable residents include Margaret Mitchell (Gone with the Wind author), Bobby Jones (golf legend) and the "Lion of Atlanta" - resting place for 3,000 unknown Confederate dead.

Sunday Brunch

Sometimes I wonder if Oliver is trying to sabotage my weight loss goals - but when sabotage is this fresh and homemade what kind of person would dare complain? This morning he baked English muffins to serve with the fresh, local eggs  we picked up yesterday. He then whipped up some creamed spinach to eat on the side. Heart healthy? Not so much. Real food? Completely. 

Now he is in the backyard brewing a double IPA. I plan to spend the day working on some new items for Etsy and getting ahead on a blog post or two. Dinner will be stuffed poblano peppers!

Sunday's Brunch

Sunday was a thankfully slow and relaxed day around the And Topher Too house. We slept late. Enjoyed an hour of exercise at a very empty gym. Then I read the New York Times while Oliver worked on our taxes. I'm sure I should've done something more productive - but it was cold and raining and I decided to indulge the desire to do nothing. 

Given the quantity and timing, breakfast became more of a brunch. Scrambled eggs, spinach with mushrooms, potatoes with onions and peppers, avocado,  a bit fried deli turkey and a giant slice of whole wheat sourdough toast. The fridge is now empty except for spinach and eggs - just enough for lunch. Looks like Monday night will a YDFM night!

Learning to cook: Oatmeal

This morning Oliver got up early to go help our next door neighbors with the computers at their restaurant. They offered to cook him breakfast while he was there which meant I was own my own for food at home.You'd think that after Sabrina's fantastic guest blog post that I'd have tried cooking oatmeal on my own. And who knows, if Oliver wasn't around all the time maybe I would have tried sooner. Regardless - today was the day. I did it! It REALLY is easy. I can't believe I thought it was going to be hard. (The hardest part was finding where Oliver keeps the oatmeal).

Later today we're heading to Oliver's cousin's daughter's birthday party. These family celebrations always have a lot of delicious foods. I consider them "special occasions" (they truly occur only a few times a year)  so I usually allow myself to eat whatever I want while we're there. But because I'm currently watching my weight I'm prepared to exercise an extra dose of moderation (especially if faced with the buffalo chicken dip). For now, it's gym time. Hoping everyone enjoys their weekend!

Starting small: Cereal suggestions for a healthy heart

Start small and be reasonable. That's a good way to build a lifetime of heart health. Change one thing at a time (eating habit or exercise regimen) and do it until it becomes a habit. Then pick your next change. 

Sugary breakfast cereal was the first habit I broke. I was a Honey Bunches of Oats addict; I would happily eat it twice a day. But I did some research into heart health and began to understand the importance of fiber as well as the opportunity to get it everyday with breakfast. My goal was to find a cereal high in soluble fiber and relatively low in sugar. My final selection was Kashi Go Lean Crunch.

Why Kashi and not Cheerios? Because Kashi Crunch has THREE times the amount of soluble fiber as Cheerios. Also when I compared their second and third ingredients I decided Kashi was closer to "real food".

Side by side comparison:
The first three ingredients in regular Cheerios: whole grain oats, modified corn starch and sugar. If I were shopping today, not knowing what was implied by the second ingredient and seeing sugar as the third ingredient would have told me all I needed to know. The box would be back on the shelf and nowhere  near my basket. But as a beginner I looked up modified corn starch

Modified starch...are prepared by physically, enzymatically, or chemically treating native starch, thereby changing the properties of the starch. Modified starches are used in practically all starch applications, such as in food products as a thickening agent, stabilizer or emulsifier; inpharmaceuticals as a disintegrant; as binder in coated paper.

Whoa! Thickening agent/stabilizer/disintergrant/coated paper binder? Not with my breakfast thank you!
The first three ingredients in Kashi Go Lean Crunch: Seven whole grains & seasame (it takes four lines to list them), soy protein concentrate and evaporated cane juice (aka: less processed, less refined sugar). I wondered about 'soy protein concentrate' so I looked it up too. Kashi's website describes it as "protein directly from soybeans". Suspicious of something called "concentrate" I continued to look for information on other websites. I was surprised and happy and to discover most research agreed that soy bean concentrate retains most of the fiber of the original soybean... at least it's from real food.

For more information about fiber, both soluble and insoluble, I recommend the American Heart Association's website. I linked to it earlier in this post but I also suggest looking through it further on your own.

One more thing! Some grocery stores make picking a heart healthy cereal more complicated then it needs to be because they separate the cereal into TWO aisles in very separate sections of the store. Keep that in mind if you go looking for Kashi. It tends to be kept in the health food section.