Friday, July 31, 2009

Breakfast for Champions: Tips and Tricks

Published also on full tummies

So you want to provide a nutritious breakfast and save money this school year. And you don't have much time in the mornings. Hmmm... That can be a daunting challenge. Did you know that the following can all be frozen ahead of time?
  1. Muffins
  2. Egg McMuffins (yes, they can!)
  3. Breakfast burritos (scrambled eggs, sausage, salsa wrapped in a tortilla)
  4. Scones
  5. Quiche (bake/freeze crustless quiche in muffin cups for individual servings)
What about simply making something the night before? The following can all be made or assembled the night before:
  1. Oatmeal (premeasure oats/water)
  2. Quiche mixtures (re-stir and pour in pan in the morning)
  3. Muffins (dry ingredients and wet kept separate until morning)
  4. Pancake mix
  5. Hard-boiled eggs
I use all of the above strategies, but what has helped me the most is having a breakfast routine. Lots of people follow a "if it's Monday, it must be spaghetti" type of plan for dinners, each weeknight consisting of roughly the same type of thing each week. I use that same idea for breakfast, and it helps keep variety in our menu while making it easier to get breakfast on the table (and saving me from scrambling every morning with three fussing kiddos). Every week isn't exactly the same, but here's a rough idea:
  • Sunday: hard-boiled eggs, muffin/breakfast cookie, fruit (all is made ahead of time; this is our busiest morning)
  • Monday: cold cereal with milk, fruit
  • Tuesday: something egg related
  • Wednesday: oatmeal
  • Thursday: muffins, cheese stick or smoothie, fruit (our second busiest morning)
  • Friday: cottage cheese pancakes or egg sandwiches
  • Saturday: pancakes or eggs, sausage, and homemade biscuits
If I ever plan to serve quiche for dinner, I automatically make sure there's enough for the next morning's breakfast. I frequently keep frozen egg mcmuffins, breakfast burritos, or something similar for my husband to grab on his way to work. I'll be posting the egg mcmuffin and breakfast burrito recipes soon at full tummies.

What's your best breakfast strategy? Have a favorite recipe? Link to it in a comment.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Teabag: Piggy-Back Ride

Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.
Deuteronomy 33:12

In a recent conversation with a friend, we were discussing relying on God to take care of us vs. a man (like husband) to meet all our needs. So I found this verse, "...rests between his shoulders." The only way I can imagine that is a piggy-back ride. And that means, He is doing all the work! Giddy-up.

Breakfast for Champions: What Makes a Good Breakfast

Simultaneously posted on full tummies.

Breakfast has become recognized as the most important meal of the day--and that means a nutritional breakfast, not a breakfast that subsists merely of a pop-tart, bowl of Frosted Flakes, or a Toaster Strudel. Perhaps you made vows at the end of last school year to start this school year off right: no more racing out the door, grabbing a McDonald's coupon on the way to the car.

I don't have school-aged children I'm trying to get out the door on a deadline, but I do face 3 very hungry urchins every morning and am looking to save time and money like most of you. Here are some tips to help you start this school year off on a better breakfast note--it will help your budget, your children's attention span, and your mornings!

First, it's important to know what constitutes a healthy breakfast. My general rule of thumb: some grains (preferably whole), some protein, and some produce; my kids generally also drink milk in the mornings, not juice. Those three categories plus the milk can appear in many forms, and sometimes you have to think outside the box. The following are some examples of breakfasts we eat in our household (some are fast, some take more time to prepare/eat):
  1. eggs, toast, fruit
  2. quiche with spinach, muffin
  3. muffin, cheese stick, fruit
  4. cottage cheese pancakes, fruit, some dry cereal as an "appetizer"
  5. regular pancakes, sausage, fruit
  6. granola, yogurt
  7. smoothie, muffin or dry cereal or toast
  8. oatmeal with milk, fruit
  9. egg sandwich, fruit
  10. hard-boiled eggs, breakfast cookies*, fruit
*sometimes we do eat cookies for breakfast--homemade oatmeal cookies are about as sweet as a nutrigrain bar or a pop-tart, have no corn syrup in them, and more whole grains.... Who knew!

Check out the full tummies breakfast index for some more ideas. What's your favorite breakfast to feed your family?

Tomorrow I'll post some ideas for freezer-friendly breakfast treats as well as a new way to plan your breakfast "menu" for the week. Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Summer Days

Summer's full upon us, and Carrie and I have been busy traveling and enjoying all the summer activities we can! So, when we're busy (and hot), what do we eat?

It's easy to cave into convenience and eating out when you're on the road, playing in the pool all day, and so forth. But there is no easier season than summer to eat fresh, local produce with minimal effort. A reminder of some classics that keep you cool, take minimal effort, and celebrate the season:

  • BLT (add some fresh basil!)
  • Watermelon (can be anything from a snack to a dessert)*
  • Peaches (sliced with some cream--an amazing dessert)
  • Grilled food (meat/seafood, veggies, corn on the cob,--even peaches and pizza crust can be grilled!)
  • Pasta with quick sauces and summer veggies (tomatoes, zucchini, etc.)
  • Cold salads (pasta, lettuce, chicken, tuna, tomato-basil-cucumber--there are lots of summer salads)
  • Cold meats (ham and chicken are both good cold)
*In our family, eating watermelon is serious business. Here's how we ate it growing up: my dad would quarter a smallish watermelon. Then, each of us would get a quarter 'melon on a plate, a fork and knife, and a large napkin. Mmmmm.... that's a lot of melon and it makes a great end to a simple meal. Of course, it's best cold.