Photo by Mikaela Todd.

This week I went back to the bare basics. I think it had a little something to do with the new year and starting over, or maybe it’s just because I’ve eaten my way from Mexico to California this past month, but I’m glad to have my simple Santa Cruz lifestyle back again.

In either case, the best way I could think of celebrating the simplicity in my life was by making breakfast. I felt it was sort of like waking up after a really long day.

When I began my research into the perfect breakfast food, I thought I would try to find something with a lot of protein, as this was something I lacked over winter break. There were no happy or sustainable farms near my house and thus meat was in short supply. What could I expect? I live in Orange County.

Surprisingly, it’s not hard to find high-protein vegetarian food, and I found it in a place I would have never suspected: I found it in bagels. So what did I do? I made them myself.

It was quite a process, but actually turned out to be very cheap, which is good for a college student on a budget … me. All you need is bread flour, sugar, salt, vegetable oil, instant yeast and warm water — all pretty common baking items. And not only are these bagels way cheaper than getting store-bought ones, they taste 20 times better. They’re also fresh, which is good, because usually I have no idea if the bread I buy is years old by the time it reaches my table.

Besides tasting delicious, bagels are an extremely practical breakfast food because of their high protein content. One plain bagel generally contains almost 20 percent of your daily protein intake. There is also a high amount of carbohydrates and sodium in them, but the good seems to outweigh the bad each time I take a first bite.

Of course, you don’t have to make your own to enjoy the benefits of bagels. There are many great brands out there, so if you’re low on time, head on down to your favorite grocery store and get in on this scrumptious snack.

Recipe: [Link]