I'm Committed to Breakfast.

February 24, 2011

{a mom cannot live on coffee alone}
One of my rather uninteresting New Year's Resolutions was to eat a proper breakfast every morning.  YAWN.  As in a big boring (and I guess tired, too) yawn.  I decided the resolution needed to be made and stuck to because mornings around here can be......intense.  All the kids are usually up by 5:30 (hello darkness my old friend), and they wake up with enough energy and immediate hunger and other needs to leave the idea of easing into the day with a snuggle with one's hubby and a cup of coffee while chatting on the sofa a laughable, very (veryveryvery) distant memory to this mom.

I admit it: I have edgy, cranky, irritable, impatient, tired in the a.m.  I would have a gorgeous espresso (or two) expertly extracted by the mister, yes, but that made things worse in some ways too (thus the edgy, cranky, state).  What I had been overlooking was a proper breakfast.  Not a piece of toast at 9 a.m. after the kids were dropped of at school.  Something sooner and more substantial and including PROTEIN.  For someone who loves to eat and cook and think about food as much as I do, it shouldn't seem like much of a hurdle, but I don't know.  Breakfast, I'm sorry, but I'm just not that into you.

So, I decided to make a list of some of things that have been doing the trick for me, and I ask that you, in return, give me a few ideas if you have them.  I have a feeling all of our expectations are about the same: fairly simple, pretty healthy (but I am not above occasional indulgence at breakfast!), somewhat interesting.

Steel cut oats with butter and maple syrup

TJ's European wholegrain bread with almond butter and a drizzle of honey (sometimes I put butter on too if I'm feeling sorry for myself)

Greek yogurt with sliced almonds and maple syrup

Half an avocado smashed on a piece of toast with flaky sea salt

Whole wheat toast with butter and Marmite (I feel compelled to eat this with a cup of PG Tips with a touch of milk and sugar...I feel so civilized and well, British!)

Strauss whole milk yogurt (the runny kind) with chopped oranges (I'm loving the blood oranges right now) and almonds

Kristina's awesome buttermilk flaxseed pancakes (I like to eat them plain, out of hand)

These oatmeal muffins (buttered, of course)

An egg or two over easy and some buttered toast "soldiers"

Juju's homemade granola and yogurt and whatever fruit we have

OK, so what about you?  What do you eat for breakfast??  What am I missing?

31 comments:

  1. First time poster--I was inspired to hear about your resolution progress. I love that you haven't 'forgotten' about them as many of us do by now.

    I too have three under 5 (well, 4 actually) and sometimes have to be tempted by the thought of breakfast before being able to get out of bed to all the shrieks and giggles. Brekkie over here can be: Siggi's Skyr yogurt, homemade Lara bars, bowls of polenta with or without homemade jam stirred in, any number or flavor of homemade quick breads that I pack with flax, wheat germ or something hearty, slathered with nut or regular butter. Lots of cafe breves alongside these items and on the days after birthday or dinner parties, a slice of the dessert served the day before. Because I have to face cleaning up with plenty of motivation!

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  2. You have covered most of my go to breakfasts. I have a couple of egg twists that I enjoy. Lately I've been making a big pot of beans at the beginning of the week, so i've been eating those with my eggs (Rancho style or italian). Also, I've been making a quick bistro salad in the morning with a ton of greens with salt/pepper, olive oil topped with two eggs.

    Sometimes I like to brulée my oatmeal or creme of buckwheat. I also like raw coconut flakes with almonds on my greek yogurt.

    Baked apples. This was one of my favorites growing up. My mom spoiled me with amazing breakfasts that only a great cafe could ever come close to. Only the servers wouldn't rub my back to wake me up to the smell of sourdough waffles. Or would they?

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  3. Marmite AND pg tips?! A girl after my own heart! I can't get the hang of breakfast either, I always run out of the house and then don't eat 'til lunchtime (which is usually marmite on toast and pg tips...)!

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  4. Lots of great ideas on your list! I love inspiration that makes me branch out a bit! Something I've been doing a lot lately (my girls are 6, 4 and 1... and husband) that everyone is liking- and seems a bit decadent- is quiche. And it's an easy one because I have picky eaters. Just eggs, milk and cheese (on a store bought, but organic, crust... so that makes me feel a little better). Even on the mornings my kids are up by 5:30, I've always tried my damned-ist not to feed them right away. Often milk or juice can tide them over. I don't want their bellies to get in the habit of eating that early and start waking them! So I preheat the oven right when I wake (375 degrees. Take a crust out of frig to soften. Whip up 4 eggs, 1 Cup milk, sprinkle about 1 cup ANY kind of cheese on crust, pour egg/milk mix over the top. Bake 45 minutes. Voila! And I serve with berries.) It's so easy, and it feels sort of like a weekend brunch on a school day :) ...And it bides me a little time so during the baking time I MIGHT get to have 4 sips of my coffee before it's cold... I know what you mean when you say 'easing into the day is a distant memory'...

    Oatmeal with a little milk and brown sugar on top is a pleaser too...

    I'll be trying lots of your ideas this week. Thanks again :)

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  5. wow, i'm eating lunch right now but I'm getting hungry for breaky. you all eat so well! One of my favorite times of the day is sitting down to breakfast with my little guy. I never used to eat it (with all the negative effects), but am now a total convert to sitting down for a real meal every day, even if it's just 10-15 minutes. With a squirmy toddler who recently swore off his high chair.

    anyway, breakfast manages to happen every day because we plan ahead *and* we pretty much eat from the same template each day, with seasonal tweaks. There's always some greek yogurt: with fresh fruit in summer, homemade granola and dried fruit in winter... plus maple syrup and cinnamon. Sometimes, some cooked quinoa finds its way into the yogurt, too.

    Another daily must is homemade bread, toasted... topped with goat cheese and avocado smash when avos are in season. + maybe a dash of hot sauce? right now, it's goat cheese, herbs de provence, sundried tomatoes, olive oil, S&P. (the best!) we switch to fresh tomatoes in summer. every once in a while, I make egg tacos, throwing in any leftover potato/veg/bacon. recently, I slow-cooked some grains for a cold-morning porridge-breaky, but the little guy wasn't having it. I loved it tho!

    totally stealing Desi's beans idea, and I really need to try Kristina's pancakes. breakfast is my friend :) and strong coffee.

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  6. We used to eat in the kitchen and I would just keep dishing out food as fast as my two kids could eat it. Now we eat more like we do at dinner. my four year old helps to set the table and therefore gets exactly what he wants. and the kids love to help with espresso and coffee. But sometimes all of that help is chaotic.

    Sometimes I set the table including cereal boxes and bananas and coffee prep the night before. It takes me 20 minutes in the morning with everyone chiming in, but only 5 minutes at night.

    As for the what... I started making this muesli. it's like granola but healthier and easier to make. And sometimes I reheat brown rice in a pot with a little more water, and then mix in a spoonful of tahini and grind some salt on top.

    Also, I saw a recipe a while ago for steel cut oats in the crock pot, so they'd be done when you wake up.

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  7. oops! forgot to include the muesli link.

    http://honestfare.com/muesli-i-cant-stop/

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  8. I couldn't make it through the morning without breakfast but I do like to start with a few cups of coffee slowly, just to ease into the morning a bit! Most days I make oatmeal with either bananas, brown sugar and raisins, or apples, cranberries and almonds, sometimes I have Orangette's granola with fresh fruit and a little milk. The very best mornings are when I have leftover homemade pizza I can eat cold straight from the fridge, though!

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  9. I can relate, my staple breakfast is typically a slice of whole wheat toast with a smear of peanut butter, yet I can never figure out why I am starving by 10am. I don't have much to add...just a few twists on what you are already doing: a whole grain english muffin toasted with a fried egg and a little sharp cheddar, french toast made with hearty nutty bread, and smoothies. My typical smoothie includes frozen blueberries and strawberries, banana, spinach, a splash of orange juice and greek yogurt.

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  10. My go-to breakfast (when I make it a priority--I have 3 kids, too ;) ) is Greek yogurt with agave syrup, flax seed & fruit or a fruit smoothie made with almond milk, flax & yogurt (for protein). But first, whether right or wrong, always a latte!

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  11. love your list and it's very similar to what we eat for breakfast. i also make egg quesadillas, frittata's with any veggies i have on hand, and smoothies.

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  12. Sometimes a liquid breakfast can be easier to cope with - I make a smoothie out of half a frozen banana, a handful of frozen raspberries, some lowfat organic yoghurt and some organic apple juice.

    I love that you love Marmite, but I have to request you drink better tea than PG Tips. A recurring joke in New Zealand is that they fill the teabags with whatever they can sweep off the factory floor.

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  13. That's a fantastic list. I pretty much have the same thing every morning - oatmeal with blueberries, bananas, walnuts and a sprinkle of brown sugar.

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  14. Breakfast is my favorite and it sounds like you are off to a great start with your list. I personally love an over easy egg with a toasted english muffin, add in some cheese or proscuttio to make it a little more indulgent. I also like shredded wheat with honey and soy milk. My favorite is a soft taco tortilla with a scrambled egg and whatever other fixings I can find. Jevan's been making Cream of Wheat on cold mornings with berries. Good luck!

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  15. I've never been much of a breakfast person until I had my kids (1 & 3 yrs old). But now the energy I need for nursing & and for keeping up with their pace has meant that I've had to make peace with breakfasts too.
    I love seeing your list & hearing about your lack of inspiration. It's nice to hear I'm not alone in this. It really is super hard to come up with something that will please everyone... and to decide & start it before the coffee kicks in too!
    I'm big into things I can get started the night before. It gets it going & takes the guesswork out of the morning. I love the overnight steel cut oats recipe I found on OhDeeDoh & on weekends we regularly make Orangette's oatmeal pancakes. My little girls always try to eat their weight in these pancakes, they're seriously good. The soaking also makes the grains more digestible.

    Oatmeal:
    http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/good-questions/good-question-a-foolproof-recipe-for-oatmeal-078557

    Oatmeal Pancakes:
    http://orangette.blogspot.com/2010/01/very-definition.html

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  16. I love your ideas! Smoothies in the Vitamix make it so very easy on me and the kids and they really have no idea that there are avocados, carrots and kale/spinach amongst the pineapple, mango, blueberries, etc. My mom bought these little silicone egg cups at the farmer's market for me. They make poaching eggs simple, fast and perfect to plant on top of a TJ's ww english muffin with spinach and topped with smoked provolone. So easy. Lately though, I've been taking easy street with popping raisin bread in the toaster. Two slices and an espresso later I'm good to go. For what it's worth, any time I feel like complaining when my kids wake up early, I count my lucky stars when I remember what time your kids wake up. I don't know how you do it, but you do it well!

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  18. Yay yay yay! I love these ideas....egg tacos, muesli, smoothies, beans...all sound so good!

    Sarah, I am all for being enlightened in the tea department -- what do you recommend??

    Mel, I need an egg poacher because I hate doing it in a pot of simmering water. Or else I need to learn how to make soft-boiled eggs. As for my kids' wake up time, at least they are in bed by 6!!

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  19. mmmm ... a yummy breakfast staple in our house that I did not see on your list is smoked salmon on toast smeared with cream cheese or advacado. if you desire ... red onion and tomato and capers! quick, easy and good for you:) ~patricia

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  20. I love breakfast!! It seems like you're pretty covered here but have you ever tried oat bran instead of oatmeal? cooks up super fast and I much prefer the texture...stir in a little applesauce, agave and fruit - so easy!

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  21. ok, my acupuncturist told me several moths ago that the key to curing all of the crappiness i had been feeling was a proper, protein-packed start to the day. she says it must be within an hours of waking, preferably less. she turned me on to rice protein shackes made with almond milk and frozen berries. super quick, and not half bad. also hard boiled eggs. xoxo

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  22. Sometimes I forget too with our busy mornings but I love breakfast. So usually a piece of toast with nut butter, yogurt with granola, my sweet husband will often make eggs for us in the morning, sometimes I'll eat leftovers from dinner (weird I know) but I like savory in the morning or last resort cereal.

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  23. An automatic egg cooker is one of my favorite inventions! My mom still uses hers, and it was a wedding gift from the 70's :) Poached, soft or hard boiled, and perfect every time. Some toast soldiers and you are money!

    I also add some boiling water to plain rolled oats, add a little honey, walnuts, raisins, whatever...don't cook, just stir until the right consistency and it's delicious!

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  24. Your breakfast list sounds great! I have to admit though - I'm a total creature of habit in the morning. I always have a bowl of cereal, some juice and some coffee (tea right now though, since I'm 7 months pregnant). I don't think very clearly in the morning until I eat, so having a good old standby that I don't have to think about works best for me. Weekends are a whole other story... ;)

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  25. Having client's on the East Coast and Australia I often have very early morning conference calls that last well into the early afternoon. I need easy go-to breakfasts I can grab before the workday begins. Some of my quickie favorites:

    1) Smoothie -- I love this as it's super easy (especially with my magic bullet), fast, and I can throw a bunch of healthy and filling stuff into it to fill me up but I can't even taste! My favorite ingredients: Blueberries, Banana, whole orange, flax seeds, vanilla yoghurt, omega 3 oil, spinach, dash of agave syrup, cinnamon, and ice.d

    2) Whole grain toast spread with goat cheese and topped with smoked salmon (with a dash of pepper and lemon juice)

    3) My Fall/Winter favorite to fill me up is Pumpkin Oatmeal:

    1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
    1 cup milk or soy milk
    1/4 cup pumpkin puree
    1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or more if you like more spice)
    Dash of salt
    1 Tbsp chopped nuts (I like sliced almonds)
    1 Tbsp dried cranberries
    Honey or maple syrup to taste

    1. Place milk, oats, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    2. Remove from heat and place in bowl. Stir in nuts and cranberries. Sweeten with honey or maple syrup to taste.

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  26. Great ideas in your post and in the comments! I find that protein-rich breakfasts do the trick for me, so am working on weaning myself off sweet breakfasts and focusing on eggs and cheese instead. Whole grains, too.

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  27. Jora, my favourite tea is Dilmah. I'm not sure if you can get it in the States, but it's really tasty - just make sure you let the bag brew for a good couple of minutes before imbibing.

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  28. mmm. Love this one. Sounds like you've already got a great list going. My additions:
    1) Homemade maple nut granola from cookusinterruptus (feeding the family) either with milk and whatever fresh fruit we have on top or organic plain yogurt and a dash of maple syrup.
    2) Soft boiled (5 minute) eggs with homemade whole grain toast soldiers. These are so fast and easy and will really take you through your morning!
    3) A muligrain warm cereal. When we were in the U.S. I bought the Red Mill brand one with like 10 grains in it... great stuff with all the goodies thrown in (I love dried cranberries, creme fraiche, toasted walnuts and either brown sugar, agave syrup or maple syrup)! A spoonful of flax seed oil added also really helps it go a long way!

    Thanks for the fun post!

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  29. We don't eat grains or dairy so our breakfasts tend to be some version of eggs/meat/veggies in a pan. Favorite combos are canned wild red salmon/scallion/dill/egg/lemon and leftover bbq chicken/bacon/egg/salsa/lime. And fruit on the side of course. Our 20 month old baby eat the same as we do, plus goat milk & yogurt, and lots more fruit. The best practical breakfast is really frittata because you can make it ahead. I have a great recipe here: http://www.goodbyesmallheart.com/what-we-eat-frittata.

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  30. I totally butter my almond butter toast, regardless of whether I'm feeling sorry for myself or not. Makes it soooooo delicious! Everyone else thinks I'm crazy... but I know what they're missing out on.

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  31. I have 3 kids under the age of 5 and both my husband and I work full time, so mornings are CRAZY, and I really don't have time to make anything. SO, about once a month I make a large batch of breakfast burritos (varying the flavorings/additions depending on what's in season--a combo of: veggies, meats or cheeses--tofu, beans or rice---whatever I have). I wrap them all individually in a zip-lock or saran and freeze them. WAY cheeper than buying the pre-made organic ones at our local grocer, and WAY better, quite frankly.

    I saute the filling, scramble a dozen or so eggs at a time, combine them, and wrap in a tortilla. To make: wrap in a paper towel, microwave each side for a minute and 30 seconds.

    I can eat it in the car because it's neat and tidy or I can eat it at my desk. This is more of a solution for my breakfast, as the kids often times just want toast or cereal, but it works well. Having a dozen or so in the freezer is like money in the bank!

    -Kristen Huntington

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