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Breakfast Time! 

Don't forget to start your day with a nutritious, delicious meal

click to enlarge For more than 25 years now, Kris McIlvenna has been putting out fresh food for guests and diners at the Greenbriar Inn. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • For more than 25 years now, Kris McIlvenna has been putting out fresh food for guests and diners at the Greenbriar Inn.

If your New Year’s resolutions include weight loss, be forewarned: Skipping meals nearly always leads to overeating later. A better plan is to consume smaller meals — every three to five hours — that yield a steady metabolic burn.

To help you do that in a creative way, this year in InHealthNW, each issue will feature a local chef’s take on one meal of the day, as well as a snack, dessert and, finally, a special, healthy holiday beverage in our November 2012 issue.

First up, breakfast.

You may think that skipping breakfast is no big deal, but research shows those who forego their first meal of the day end up eating more at lunch and snacking more. Plus, “breaking the fast” from not eating all night is imperative for adult performance, while children’s growing bodies and developing brains rely heavily on the regular intake of food. Luckily, breakfast foods are some of the most nutritious and delicious around.

Helping guests start their day happy is a big part of Chef Kris McIlvenna’s job as co-owner of the Greenbriar Inn Bed and Breakfast. After working in the brokerage business, McIlvenna and her husband, Bob, decided to switch gears by purchasing and renovating the 1908 historic home in Coeur d’Alene, a move that marked the start of McIlvenna’s culinary career in 1985.

“Cooking relaxed me when I was in the brokerage business, so later in my career I thought opening a B&B would be more emotionally rewarding,” McIlvenna says.

But she acknowledges that her new career choice has proven equally demanding. “The service industry is very rewarding, but getting the details correct is crucial.”

Part of the fun — and crucial to success — is the ability to listen.

“In this business, you must like people, and be fascinated with their stories,” says McIlvenna. Many of the Inn’s clients are well-traveled and have no problem sharing a table for a meal.

“These folks are open to communal seating at breakfast, knowing those connections might lead to future ventures,” she says.

To broaden the business, McIlvenna has added a catering business and a restaurant. “I decided I would never do fried foods. Everything is prepared from scratch,” she says.

That philosophy is on display in the restaurant on the mansion’s main floor, 315 Martinis & Tapas. “The fresher the ingredients,” McIlvenna says, “the more remarkable the dish.”

French Toast Grand Marnier

Bed & breakfasts offer creativity and a touch of home for their clientele. This French toast dish is a Greenbriar Inn favorite. Using low- or non-fat cream cheese will make it lower in fat and calories.

4 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup skim milk
½ cup flour
1 small can mandarin oranges
16 slices French bread, about one-inch thick
8 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
Powdered sugar and fresh berries

In shallow bowl with a wire whip, combine eggs, salt, milk and flour, almond and orange extracts. Spread one side of bread with cream cheese. Lay oranges on top of one piece and place another slice on top, like a sandwich. Dunk sandwich into egg mixture and fry in non-stick skillet, on medium heat, with lid on. Bread should be lightly toasted until cream cheese melts. Garnish with powdered sugar and fresh berries. Serve with marmalade, honey or maple syrup. Yield: 8 servings

NUTRITION: calories 382, fat 13 grams, carbs 50 grams, protein 15 grams, fiber 2 grams

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