My school-morning breakfast menu has become particularly inspired this year. I have been pleasantly surprised that it requires much less effort than I anticipated. Now that I'm not working, it's easy to manage the morning routine but if I'm making a hot breakfast from scratch and hot lunches, things can get a little crazy. Either something is going to get burned or I'm going to realize too late that I didn't give the kids a cheerful, encouraging start to their day.
Breakfast doesn't have to be complicated but it does need to offer lots of nutrients. The University of Michigan conducted a research study in the 1960s in which three groups of rats were each fed one of three diets – cornflakes and water, the cornflakes box and water and rat chow and water. The box-eating rats died, of course, but the first of that group died on the same day that the last of the cornflake-eaters died. What's more is that, before dying, the cornflake-eaters deteriorated into schizophrenic behavior, bit each other and went into convulsions. The box-eaters, on the other hand, became lethargic and died in the normal manner of the malnourished. This study was intended as a joke but discovering that there was more nutrition in a cereal box than the cereal itself is definitely not funny. (Read more here.)
Many of the frozen options you find at the grocery can be easily made at home for much, much less. I enjoy the convenience of using throwing something in the toaster as the kids come to the table with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that their food is full of fresh, organic ingredients.
For the toaster, I make waffles, pancakes and french toast which I cut into strips for easy dipping and easy portioning. I double these recipes whenever I happen to be making them and end up with a week's worth of quick breakfasts for very little extra effort. After freezing for a half hour on a cookie sheet, I transfer to airtight storage, separated by wax paper. My kids have the option of pure maple syrup, a few sprinkles of powdered sugar or neither if I've added chocolate chips to the waffles/pancakes.
When I've got more time, I'll mix the dry ingredients of a muffin recipe at night. The next morning, I add the oil, egg and milk. The yummy baking smells never fail to bring them to the table early! Two of my kids' new favorites are chocolate chip (I omit the topping) and cinnamon roll (for which I consider the topping purely optional and time-dependent.)
As a side note – all of my baked goods get a couple of tablespoons of ground flax seeds mixed in. They're rich in Omega-3s which the modern diet often lacks. It doesn't affect the taste or texture. Around here, no one has ever noticed. :)
Whether you have kids or not, what's your breakfast routine like? Have any favorites? Please share!