Every week, I look forward to Sunday brunch. Whether I eat in or out, I allow myself to be a little decadent.
I might opt for the greasy goodness of bacon or the sweetness of obscene amounts of maple syrup poured over pancakes made from my grandma's recipe (and an entire cube of butter).
It's a nice little respite from the rest of the week, during which I try to be healthy and eat (bacon, at least) in moderation.
But sometimes a Monday comes along that feels entirely too dreary and depressing.
At times like this, I find it's a good idea to call on a weekend tradition to lift my Monday mood.
If you need a little mood lift tonight, try this brunchy recipe from Martha Stewart Living magazine. Serve it with orange juice and a rose and pretend you've still got one glorious weekend day stretched ahead of you.
If you don't want to totally blow your diet with your trip to fantasy breakfast land, substitute low-fat cream cheese and skim milk, and cut out some of the bacon.
It will still be delicious and I promise you'll feel better about the week ahead.
Yield: 6 servings
13 slices bacon
2 cups whole milk, plus more if needed
1 cup white-corn grits
2 ounces cream cheese
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
freshly ground pepper
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
12 ounces baby spinach
6 large eggs
Put bacon into a large skillet; cook over medium-high heat, turning once, until crisp, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Let drain on paper towels.
Reserve 6 slices, and coarsely chop 7 slices; set aside. Pour grease from skillet into a bowl, and wipe skillet cleat; set skillet and grease aside.
Bring milk, 2 cups water, the grits and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat to low. Cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in cream cheese, butter and reserved chopped bacon. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon bacon grease in reserved skillet over medium heat.
Add garlic; cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add spinach; season with salt and pepper. cook, stirring until spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes; set aside.
Bring a large shallow saucepan of water to a boil. Reduce to al simmer. Crack 1 egg into a small bowl, then slide it into simmering water.
Quickly repeat with remaining eggs. Cook, gently turning eggs with a slotted spoon, until whites are opaque but yolks are still soft, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.
Serve with grits, spinach and bacon. (If grits have become too thick, reheat, stirring in more milk as needed).