How very continental

Posted on Thursday, July 29, 2010 | By 2 |
I pride myself on making delicious healthful food and feeding those in my nearest vicinity.  So you can imagine my shock when my honey, who has been working really hard the last few weeks on launching a big project at work, told me that he's been picking up breakfast at Starbucks every morning.  After I got over my initial shame at letting this over-worked lad subsist off of mass-produced, plastic-wrapped pretend food, I became excited by the opportunity. To be fair, he wasn't eating big old apple fritters, but the Power Protein Plate (shown above).  At $4.95 and only 330 calories, it's probably the best you can do at any "fast" food place.  However, I can do better!  Cheaper even!  I zipped my lip (because I prefer to surprise and delight than to build something up and then let down) and started planning in my head. During my lunch break I took a trip to our local quasi-artisan corner market and picked up some goodies.  I spent $42 on 3/4 lb of Sopressata, which I had sliced tissue paper thin; 1/4 lb each of a Pecorino Romano and a sharp cheddar; a little back of Fra'Mani pre-cooked breakfast sausages; two apples; a pear; a pound of dates; some fancy seed crackers and some fancy sour dough rye crackers.  Combine all of that with what we already had at home: backyard plums, backyard avocados, homemade yogurt, fresh farm eggs (which I soft-boiled), various leftover cheese blocks, peanut butter and whole almonds and you've got yourself a gourmet breakfast, kids!  On top of it all, I'm guessing it probably comes to about $2 a day in artisan deliciousness. When I got home I quickly browned some of the pre-cooked breakfast sausage links in the skillet and then aired out the house so I could sneak some pieces into his pack in the morning without the scent giving me away.  I cut up the cheeses, filled the tiffin side-kick container with fresh yogurt, and put everything into the tiffin that wouldn't suffer overnight with the plan of cutting the apple and adding crackers in the morning; then I stashed it all where he wouldn't find it.  That night I was like a little girl on Christmas eve, I couldn't wait to sneak the goods into his pack the next day. While he showered the next morning I cut up an apple (I added lemon juice to keep it from browning) and put the pack all together in the To-Go Ware carrying bag then hung it on the doorknob for him to grab on his way out.  I was positively giddy! To stave off the cheese factor, I won't re-print the entire text I received the next morning when he opened his breakfast, but I will say that it was well worth the effort!  This morning I packed the third installment of continental breakfast and I've found that it's really simple to include variety each day with a simple mix of different items.  Try what I used or get creative based on what you like!

Good luck surprising someone you love!!