A Month of Breakfast

standard October 2, 2011 Leave a response

Eating breakfast before 8:00 am used to make me feel sick. I was never hungry that early but had no other time to eat before my day started. Running, however, has made my body wake up starving every morning. I always eat a banana before my work out and make breakfast first thing when I get back. Since I don’t have a lot of time to make breakfast before starting work for the day, its nice to have various foods prepped and ready to go. And since it is ten times cheaper to make breakfast foods from scratch, I usually only buy cereal or oatmeal when I am heading out on a work trip.

My Breakfast Staples:

  • Oatmeal mix
  • Granola
  • Muesli
  • Muffins

I love baked goods, so healthy muffins or scones are always a staple for me. And the fact that they hold up well in the freezer and heat up in the toaster oven in 10 minutes, coming out looking like they were just baked, is a big plus.

Granola and muesli are go-to cereals in the summer. Just add some fresh fruit and almond milk, and you’ve got a healthier breakfast than any box cereal. Most granola recipes can be made with half the sugar the recipes call for too, without losing the taste or texture.

Right now, my favorite breakfast is oatmeal. I no longer have to cook it in the car, but I still do not have time to stand over the stove stirring it each morning.  I make a dry mix every so often so I can just scoop out 1/4 cup and start cooking without having to get out a ton of separate ingredients each time.  A batch can be mixed up with quick cooking oats to make the morning cooking process faster, or if using rolled or steel-cut oats, a larger batch can be made for the week in the slow cooker or on the stove and portioned out in containers for each morning.

I prefer steel-cut or rolled oats, so making it up in advance is always key for me. After I have the oatmeal cooked up and in the fridge, I can easily heat a serving for breakfast with a splash of almond milk and any additional mix ins, such as pumpkin or diced apples. I usually have nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and spices already in my dry mix to make it easy, but sometimes I keep it plain so I can mix it up depending on my mood for that day.  After heating the oatmeal and milk for about a minute in the microwave, I stir it all together and heat it for another minute. Then top it with almond butter, jam, or a sprinkle of sucanat, and you have made from scratch oatmeal in 2 minutes!

This weekend I made up a month’s worth of breakfast foods in an hour. Here’s how:

  1. Oatmeal mix – 2 cups of rolled oats with nuts, dried fruit, and cinnamon mixed in. One cup of mix will cook up to make 4 servings, so I will get 8 breakfasts out of the mix.
  2. Granola – I doubled the recipe I used, making 8 cups of granola at a 1/2 cup serving each, for 16 breakfasts.
  3. Oatmeal raisin muffins – recipe made 10 large muffins, which I stored in the freezer to last throughout the month. Toasted back up and smeared with apple butter, one is definitely enough for a weekend breakfast with coffee.

Total comes to 34 meals. And since each of these uses similar ingredients, most of which are found in the bulk bins at the grocery store, they can all be made fairly cheaply. And without the additives, preservatives, and sugars of store-bought breakfasts. 🙂

Friday Night Bake Night

standard February 19, 2010 2 responses

Friday evenings have turned into grocery shopping night, when possible. Since I decided that next week’s meals will be planned from all the leftover items in the fridge instead of buying food to fit the meals, it was a quick trip. I made sure to get some rolled oats so I could have a baking fest this weekend.

On the To-Bake List:

  • Dinner 1st: Spaghetti with Roasted Tomato Sauce and Quinoa-Goat Cheese Meatballs; recipe from Clean Eating, January 2010. I did not expect ground beef to mix well with flaxseed, quinoa, and goat cheese, but these were delicious! Especially with the roasted tomato sauce.

Spaghetti with Quinoa-Goat Cheese Meatballs

  • Oatmeal – I made a batch of mix a couple weeks ago, and it’s already  gone. Delicious!
  • Granola – Attempt #1 was not too good. Attempt #2 is cooling now and looks and smells much better than the 1st try! I did a lot of research on granola recipes, and the best one was straight out of the classic Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. I modified the recipe a little to combine it with another one I had found online. Most granola recipes require brown sugar and vegetable oil and since those are not eligible ingredients in my food, I needed to find a suitable substitute. I used pure maple syrup and extra virgin olive oil – apparently as long as there is a sugar component and a fat component, you can use whatever you want. Who knew?

Maple-Almond Granola

  • Muesli

Muesli with Cranberries and Walnuts

  • Apple Drop Biscuits for Saturday morning breakfast
  • Black Bean Brownies for Girls Night on Saturday
  • Oatmeal-Cherry Cookies for Bible Study on Monday

Goodness! It might be a bit much to do all this at once, but the ingredients for oatmeal, muesli, and granola are all so similar it went pretty quickly. And now we’ll have hot and cold breakfasts ready for the next month.

Now I get to sit and find recipes for next week’s dinners that will use up the leeks, parsnips, turnips, and mushrooms sitting in my fridge. I’m excited for the challenge. Any suggestions for meals to use up these veggies?