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Healthy Valentine's breakfasts on a budget

February 11, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
According to market analysts, we spend $17 billion on Valentine's gifts, like flowers, candy and jewelry. This year, how about a cost-effective way to show you care by heading to the kitchen.Since Valentine's Day falls on Sunday this year, Ashley James, the executive chef at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, created a breakfast fit for a king or queen that's looking for health along with taste.

"Valentine's is such a special day, and how could it be better with breakfast, so how beautiful to make for your partner. I thought of some spicy tostados," James said.

Spicy eggs on tostados, to be exact. Plus, some interesting pancakes with a twist.

"These pancakes are a little bit different, because they're made with whole wheat flour. They have flax seeds. They have 72 percent bitter chocolate," James said.

They also contain extras like cinnamon, bran, vanilla and more.

"So you can have those delicious pancakes with not so much guilt," said James.

After combining most of the ingredients, the batter takes a five-minute rest to absorb liquids. Dark cocoa pearls are sprinkled and petite spoonfuls cook on a lightly sprayed hot oil griddle.

That's when dried cranberries and pistachios are infused, then flip to add a finishing touch.

"We're using an agave syrup, and we're going to be infusing it with some fresh pomegranate," James said.

Along with the cakes of fruit and fiber, he whipped up eggs with sauteed onions and tomatoes, and a dollop of either creme fraiche, sour cream or even Greek yogurt. Whole eggs or just whites may be used.

Soft scrambled with a handful of spices and topped with cilantro, they're spooned onto their own little baked corn tortillas, which makes them easy to eat and perfectly portioned.

You can also have toast with a bit of juice and something sparkling.

"What could be better to start your Valentine's Day off?" James asked.