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A sweet surprise

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Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2008 12:00 pm | Updated: 5:05 pm, Wed Aug 15, 2012.

By Laura Kaae

Killeen Daily Herald

Nathaniel Hawthorne once said, "Life, within doors, has few pleasanter prospects than a neatly arranged and well-provisioned breakfast table."

I wonder what Hawthorne would have said had he been treated to a breakfast of chocolate and strawberry french toast with a cup of hot coffee, or better yet, a glass of cold, bubbly sparkling wine – all served to him in bed.

Few mornings are as special as those when a significant other takes a few extra minutes to make you a meal.

Making breakfast in bed for your favorite person in the world doesn't have to be difficult. With a few simple tips, the most important meal of the day can also become the most romantic.

This Valentine's Day, give your special someone your heart and your thoughtfulness with a breakfast tray that will tell her, "I care for you enough to get up and make this before the alarm went off and the sun came up."

Now that's love.

Do's and don'ts of breakfast in bed

Do:

Get an early start. Get everything set up as much as possible the night before. Make sure you have enough time to make breakfast and get ready for work.

Make breakfast easy. Scrambled eggs with toast and jam set on a beautiful tray are just as thoughtful as a difficult-to-make dish. Don't stress yourself out – cook what you're comfortable making.

Make the tray beautiful. Use a cloth napkin, light a votive candle and pour some bubbly or hot coffee. Place a single flower in a vase or small glass.

Set the mood. Play soft music, dim the lights and make sure the dog (or child!) isn't going to pounce on your creation.

Don't:

Don't test your cooking skills. If you've never made more than cereal before, don't make today the morning you attempt eggs benedict. Bring cereal with cold milk and a side of yogurt, fresh fruit or toast. It's not so much what you make as it is about showing the person you care.

Don't forget a card. Write a note of appreciation for that person, or a simple "I love you" under the plate.

Don't wake the person up by holding the tray in front of them. Your loved one may get startled and spill your creation all over themselves, you and the bed. That's a definite mood-killer. Wake him up with a kiss. Once he's awake, tell him to sit up – you have a surprise. Then bring in the tray.

Don't forget that Valentine's Day is a work day. If you're planning your surprise breakfast on a work day, mind the time. You don't want her to feel rushed when she's trying to get to work early.

Looking for something unique to present to your loved one for breakfast? These three recipes offer more than just your average pre-packaged breakfast bar for a morning meal. Don't forget to double-check your ingredient list the day before!

This recipe for chocolate- and strawberry-stuffed french toast fromfoodnetwork.com first appeared on the show "Healthy Appetite" with Ellie Krieger. If there is any food that will win over your sweetheart, it's probably going to include either chocolate or strawberries. This recipe has both and can be prepared quickly, before your significant other wakes up.

Stuffed French Toast

Ingredients:

3 eggs

1 1/4 cups nonfat milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

8 slices of whole-wheat sandwich bread, crusts removed

1 (8-ounce) container strawberries, hulled and sliced

4 teaspoons bittersweet chocolate chips

Cooking spray

2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla. Set aside.

Place 1 tablespoon of ricotta in the center of 4 of the pieces of bread and spread around slightly. Top with about 6 slices of strawberries and a teaspoon of chocolate chips. Cover each with another piece of bread to make a "sandwich".

Spray a large nonstick skillet or griddle with cooking spray and preheat. Carefully dip each of the "sandwiches" into the egg mixture until completely moistened. Then place on the skillet and cook over a medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until the outside is golden brown and the center is warm and chocolate is melted.

Transfer to serving places. Top with remaining strawberries and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.

Warm and gooey (and we're not just talking about feelings for your wife here, either!), this recipe from "500 Treasured Country Recipes From Martha Storey and Friends" by Martha Storey is sweet and a heathy choice for breakfast.

Maple-Nut Oatmeal

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups skim milk

2 cups old-fashioned oats

1 tablespoon butter

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup chopped, unpeeled apple

Directions:

Bring milk to a low boil; stir in oats. Add butter and salt and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and add maple syrup, raisins, walnuts, and apple. Mix well. Serve in individual bowls with warm milk and a tablespoon of maple syrup or brown sugar on top.

Servings: 4-6

Adapted from www.bedandbreakfast.com, this recipe makes 10 servings, so you'll be able to treat your lover again tomorrow morning, too.

Potato-Bacon-Cheese Frittata

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped

3 large potatoes, cooked and cubed

7 bacon slices, cooked and chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil or bacon grease

1/2 teaspoon Veggie Magic by Paul Prudhomme

1 tablespoon parsley, dried flakes

salt and pepper

8 eggs, large

3 tablespoons whipping cream

1/8 teaspoon salt

pepper

1 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Directions:

In large frying pan, add oil and saute onion with parsley and seasonings until lightly browned. Add cooked cubed potatoes and saute until golden brown. Add bacon and mix in gently. (At this point, you can keep mixture refrigerated until morning. Warm potato mixture before adding eggs.)

Whisk eggs, cream, salt and pepper together and then add 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Add potatoes and mix in gently.

Pour into greased quiche pan. Bake uncovered at 350F for 25 minutes. Top with ? cup shredded cheddar cheese and bake for 20 minutes more. Total cooking time: 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Let sit for about 2 minutes and serve. Garnish with parsley.

Servings: 10

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