You’ve probably noticed, if you follow me on Instagram @nocrumbsleft, that I love feeding my family, and although who doesn’t indulge in the occasional amazing restaurant meal, I truly prefer that my family eat food I’ve prepared. You know how people have a stack of to-go menus in their kitchen drawer? Well, we are not those people. And breakfast can be tricky on schooldays. Ideally my daughter leaves the house in the morning nourished with food I’ve prepared, but as kids get older it is harder to get them to eat before school. Some kids aren’t hungry first thing in the morning, but I know by the end of first period a kid’s stomach is going to rumble. So we have tried it all, in our quest for the best breakfast, from a full farm breakfast to a breakfast smoothie to our current selections. I’ve been persistent because I know that when I infuse my kid’s food with a little bit of love, even if she eats just a few bites, her day is improved on a cellular level. For those of us who may have a mother that just does not cook, you will still get that same love–in a different way. I had the best mother in the world, who shored us up with her love, while never actually making us a thing to eat. (She did however absolutely infuse our lives with joy and music and magic though.) And whether it’s because of or despite that, I take such pride and joy in making a difference in my family’s day by sending them off well fed. I know that if kids eat food that’s prepared with their mother’s love, over time it will make a real difference in their lives.
Mornings can be crazy for families, so how do we put together a quick nutritious and delicious meal before walking out the door? Here are three great ones, including my favorite: oatmeal.
There is just nothing more soulful and delicious in the morning than oatmeal–I have always adored it. Last year I was the happy recipient of an oatmeal sampler: mason jars full of every variety–steel cut, rolled oats, quick oats, big flake and oat groats to name a few. I love perfectly prepared Irish and steel cut oats–but is it just me or does it actually take so much longer to prepare these than the directions claim? Because who would buy it if it said, “Cooks in 185 minutes.” The label says 18 to 30 minutes and no matter what, mine always runs out of water and has the texture of sand. Thus began our oatmeal quest, which resulted in the best preparation ever: make it the night before! Rather than trying to hurry it up, why not do the opposite? In the morning your oatmeal is properly cooked and all you need to do is gently reheat. It’s hearty and it’s easy and it comes out perfect every time. (This process allows the oatmeal to actually slow cook with the stove off. It begins to cook for at night, and like magic it’s good in the morning.)
There are so many wonderful ways to vary this oatmeal: nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit of the season, shredded coconut, with milk or coconut milk, brown sugar or maple syrup. Let your family choose–everyone can have it their way.
Here’s breakfast in under 6 minutes (after slow cooking all night):
1 cup of steel cut or Irish oats
3 cups water
pinch of salt
a saucepan and lid
Night before: Heat 3 cups water, salt, and 1 cup oats to boil. When it boils, cover with lid, turn off stove, and leave untouched till morning.
TIP: DONT OPEN OR MOVE OR TOUCH. YES, I’M YELLING!
Good morning! Preheat oven to 250 and place a mason jar (which is tempered glass) inside. Remove lid to pot and stir oats. Consistency may vary so don’t despair if it’s different from yesterday’s. Reheat on medium low, stirring, and here’s the fun part: add milk if desired and your unique combination of fresh fruit and nuts. I freeze and pit cherries at the height of the season, so I take 4 cherries out of the freezer and add them while reheating. Stir through, cover, and let it reheat on medium low.
At minute 4, remove mason jar from oven with oven mitt. At minute 4:45, stir oatmeal again and and put in jar. It’s a fun and easy option to take breakfast to go if time or appetite dictates. The heated jar keeps oatmeal warm well into first period.
Here’s breakfast in under 3 minutes:
1 T butter
2 T goat cheese (or your desired cheese, grated)
Handful (4-5) tortilla chips, crushed
Heat 1 T butter in medium hot frying pan then crack two eggs directly into pan. Stir eggs to thoroughly blend, then immediately add chips and cheese, still stirring. Cook till finished, another minute or less. Top with salsa if you feel adventurous. No salt necessary.
Here’s breakfast in under 8 minutes:
Avocado Toast with Poached Egg
2 pieces whole grain high quality bread
2 or 3 eggs
I love this dish, and you won’t be putting it together in a fancy ladies’ lunch kind of way as the name may imply. Fill egg-poaching pan with hot salted water then cover to boil. You now have three minutes to crack 2 eggs in separate small prep bowls, with slotted spoon nearby for easy egg removal. Place 2 slices of bread ready in toaster but don’t press yet. With sharp knife cut avocado down the center and peel skin off. Your water is now boiling. Slip the eggs into the water and immediately push the toast down. Set egg timer for 2 minutes. I like to gently move the eggs underneath to assure they don’t stick, as I don’t use nonstick pans. TIP: Consider poaching an extra egg in case one yolk breaks while cooking. Your toast is done! Place toast on plate and smash one half avocado on toast. No time to be dainty here! Your egg timer is going off, but if necessary, eggs can cook an extra 20 seconds. Remove eggs, place on toast. And you know I love adding a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper.
Another breakfast in under 3 minutes:
English Muffin Delight
An easy toasted English muffin with peanut butter and jelly is my daughter’s personal favorite. If you can’t get the staggeringly good Model Bakery English Muffins (St. Helena, California), then use English Bay; slather on peanut butter and jelly in abundance.