Radishes? For breakfast?

I have been eating vegetables for breakfast every morning this week. No, really, I have! And I feel very pleased with myself for getting in so much fiber and nutrients before 10 a.m.

I don’t generally like to eat sweets for breakfast; I prefer savory foods. So no matter how fabulously inexpensive and nutritious plain oatmeal and fresh fruit sounds when I’m grocery shopping on the weekends, the truth is I just can’t choke it down in the mornings. That stupid cardboard tub of oatmeal sits lonely in my cabinet at work.

My usual breakfasts consist of either a piece of raw fruit and some cheese, a plain fruit smoothie and a slice of cheese, leftovers from the night before, a bagel with cream cheese, or beans and cheese on a tortilla (a breakfast burrito without the egg). Or, like this week, vegetable sticks with homemade hummous.

My highly scientific research ā€” consisting of a focus group of myself ā€” indicates that brightly or unusually colored vegetables cut into little bite-sized pieces with hummous really DO taste better than the standard carrot sticks, celery sticks, broccoli and cauliflower with oily Ranch dip that seem to be the standard American choice for raw vegetables, or “crudites” if you want to get fancy about it, and I do. Why is eating fun-looking food more fun? I have no idea. Ask any child under the age of 10, they can probably give you a better answer than I can!

This past weekend I bought some maroon-colored carrots (carrots such as “BetaSweets,” pictured at right and available at Whole Foods, Central Market, or other organic groceries, have 40% more beta-carotene, higher sugar content, cancer-fighting anthocyanin, and a much smoother texture than orange carrots… plus they just look NEAT when they’re cut open!), radishes, snow peas, and a variety of bell peppers. I cut them into sticks (except the radishes, which got sliced in my food processor, and the snow peas which needed no alterations) and tossed everything into a Ziploc bag.

Then I made some hummous, which sounds really intimidating but is ridiculously easy and very healthy. Here’s how I make it: Rinse and drain one can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and dump into the blender. Add about 3 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste, available in jars in the health-food section of most grocery stores), about 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, a half teaspoon of garlic salt, and blend it all up. You’ll probably need to add a bit of water if it’s too thick. Scrape down the blender and add water just until the blender begins to blend it consistently without you having to poke at it with a spatula.

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