I am a big breakfast person. I want my kids to have a healthy, filling (and typically hot) meal each and every morning. And cereal is rarely on the agenda. (Not that we never eat it; I just save it for Sunday dinner so I don't have to cook on my rest day ;) But the rub is I don't want to spend a lot of time each morning preparing breakfast. I like to get up early but I want to spend that time drinking a cup of coffee or hot tea and reading, not in long prep time for a meal.
I think breakfast is a dying animal though. As a sort of experiment, I asked 10 friends what they gave their kids for breakfast and of the 10 every single one said pop tarts, cereal, frozen waffles and/or oatmeal from a packet. Sorry, but ewwwww! Below are some things we cook at our home and how I prepare them to try and minimize cook time on busy mornings. If you have other great ideas please leave a comment or better yet link a post on your blog. I am always looking for new ideas so we don't get bored!
Breakfast burritos: whole wheat tortillas filled with scrambled eggs, cheese and sausage or bacon (we use the all natural sausage and bacon to avoid nitrates/nitrites). Potato would also be a yummy addition...or substitution for the meat if you want to go vegetarian.
How I make it work: Burritos are our standard Sunday breakfast because we are out of the house by 7:45 am. We can throw these in the microwave and eat 'em in the car! Once every six weeks I cook a big batch of crumbled sausage and freeze it in one cup servings. I also cook a package of bacon and freeze it as well. Then each Saturday night I make scrambled eggs and add the defrosted sausage or bacon. I make up the burritos and wrap each one individually in wax paper. The next morning we throw each one in the microwave for 30 seconds and breakfast is served. :) I usually make enough so that we have these on Monday morning as well. When we eat 'em at home we add salsa and a side of fresh fruit. Yum!
Golden Pancakes/Egg Crepes: these are officially called golden pancakes (see the recipe in an old post) but the first time I made these Thatcher declared that he would call them Egg Crepes. ;) Of everything on our breakfast rotation these are probably my boys all-time favorite - and I love that they are full of healthy protein! I roll them up and the boys eat them like crepes. Haddon loves his filled with almond butter and dips them in maple syrup. I like mine with jam. Thatcher prefers his plain, and Beckett is just a syrup guy!
How I make it work: I make the batter the night before. It just takes a few minutes to throw all the ingredients in the blender and then refrigerate. In the morning just heat the pan and make your pancakes.
Pumpkin Oat Pancakes: These are not just my favorite breakfast but one of my favorite foods. Period! They are the standard pancakes in our house and so much more tasty than plain ones. Your kids will never know that you found a great way to sneak in all that beta-carotene. ;) See the recipe here in an older post.
How I make it work: Every 4 to 6 weeks I make a double or even triple batch of these for a Saturday brunch or dinner. I freeze what is left in sets of four pancakes each with wax paper between each so they don't stick together. Then in the morning when I wake up I take a set out and let them defrost. I like to heat them up in a skillet on the stove rather than in the microwave because they crisp back up and taste like you just made them.
Yogurt Parfaits: We don't do too much dairy in our house. The boys drink almond milk but we do some cheese and a little yogurt. And these are a fun way to enjoy that yogurt. I just layer homemade granola (recipe below), organic greek yogurt and frozen blueberries in a fun clear glass cup. My boys love it and it's our standard "breakfast in a hurry" around here.
***This is a good basic recipe and I love it as is. But you can make lots of additions or substitutions to make it your own. Add a cup of dried fruit, change the amount/kind of nuts, add more/less sugar, delete cinnamon, etc....Also this will stay fresh kept on the counter in an airtight container for at least 2-3 weeks, although it rarely lasts that long around here!!!
4 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 - 2 cups chopped raw almonds
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup oil (I use grapeseed but any mild oil would be fine)
1/4 cup honey (generous 1/4 cup ;)
1 tsp vanilla (good mexican vanilla is my favorite)
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a bowl mix oats, almonds, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon.
2. In a saucepan warm oil and honey. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
3. Pour liquid over oat mixture and stir gently with wooden spoon. Spread in a baking pan.
4. Bake 40 minutes, stirring carefully every 10 minutes.
5. When finished allow it to cool completely and store in airtight container.
* If you want to add fresh fruit add it after granola has cooled. Sometimes we add dried cranberries, especially in the fall!
Oatmeal: Simple, traditional, classic, healthy and yummy! I like steel cut oats better than rolled oats. Thatcher likes his with melted peanut butter drizzled all over the top. I like mine with tons of cinnamon and walnuts added. Dh likes his plain. Best of all, it just costs cents per serving.
How I make it work: Easy, I make it the night before and then stick the whole pan in the fridge. In the morning when I wake up I put the pan back on the stove to reheat (add a little more milk if needed) and we're ready to go. I make ours with almond milk and a little honey. Serve with a side of blueberries or other fresh fruit and breakfast heaven!!!
Egg Puffs: These are my mil's creation. One time she was staying with us and came up with these and the boys love them. You basically scramble up some eggs, pour the mixture into greased muffin tins, add some cheese and/or some breakfast meat (my boys love ham - I usually use Hormel Natural Choice ham to again avoid nitrates/nitrites) and bake at 350 until the centers of each puff no longer jiggles.
How I make it work: I make these at night once the kids go to bed. When dh and I are hanging out and visiting I'll make enough of these to last for 2 breakfasts. The boys like them best in mini muffin tins because they love to pop the whole thing into their little mouths at once!
We make lots of other things for breakfast as well: peanut butter toast with turkey bacon and fresh fruit, french toast, over easy eggs with toast and fresh fruit and yes an occasional bowl of cheerios. :) But I just wanted to give a few recipes and ideas of things that can most easily be made ahead.
I hope someone gets inspired to revamp their breakfast menu. Leave me a comment if you have other ideas. We can always use some inspiration!