One of the hallmarks of a good weekend is good breakfast. I always eat something in the morning, but Monday – Friday breakfast is on the run or at my desk. Though I love breakfast foods – from cereal and milk or oatmeal to waffles or egg white omelets with gooey cheeses and fresh vegetables, my weekday morning meal is often rushed, inhaled at some point between a 8AM bus and a 10AM meeting.
I like starting the morning with something healthy and filling – quick-cooking oatmeal with a sliced banana and a touch of maple syrup, whole-grain cereal with skim milk or greek yogurt topped with granola and fresh berries. Since my job is busy and my days are usually full of meetings, lunch is sometimes unpredictable so breakfast has to be solid.
Which means I have to save the scones, muffin and bagel breakfasts for the weekend. I don’t have time to make eggs when I’m pulling tights on at the same time I’m packing my lunch or drinking coffee while I blow-dry my hair. On the weekends, there’s nothing better than waking up leisurely, knowing that you don’t have anywhere to be if you don’t want to, and checking email/catching up on news and my reader from the week while enjoying coffee and breakfast. If I’m not going out for brunch or to an early yoga class, I like to take my time on weekend mornings. That means bagels, omelets, a chocolate chip scone the size of my face that I can barely finish, yet 2 hours later I find myself starved.
When bagels are on the menu, they can’t just be any bagel. It has to be a good bagel. I don’t do Lenders, I’m not that impressed with Einstein. And I’ve learned that the right bagel needs the right cream cheese. An everything bagel is delicious with a thick layer of plain cream cheese and a tomato. A plain or an egg bagel screams for vegetable cream cheese. And cinnamon raisin bagels? Butter, all the way.
On Sunday morning, I had some leftover pumpkin in the fridge and was feeling a little adventerous so I concocted pumpkin cream cheese that was a perfect fit for a thick, fluffy wheat bagel. You could also modify this to make a pumpkin dip like Alanna from A Veggie Venture.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese
8 oz bar of 1/3 less fat Cream Cheese
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 T pumpkin pie spice
Beat cream cheese with pumpkin on medium speed or until well blended, scraping down sides. Add pumpkin pie spice gradually, beating on low until well blended.
You could use full-fat cream cheese for a richer taste, but I didn’t think it was needed. I think adding a little cinnamon to this would really put it over the top. If you like a sweeter breakfast, you could add light brown sugar or powdered sugar before you blend in the pumpkin pie spice. I love the pumpkin flavor, so I didn’t want to hide it too much.