Thursday, March 04, 2010

Breakfast on a Budget

I just saw a Yahoo story that was titled "Supermarkets Suffer in this Recession".  We have been laughing because Walmart's profit fell recently, and we figured that our not spending much grocery money there has made an impact!   They too must have felt our budget slashes!  I imagine we aren't the only ones cutting back on food spending.  We have never been huge convenience food eaters, but we usually have some in our house.  Take cereal for example.  My kids don't like it for breakfast, but they like it as an after school snack.  I have seen one of my kids go out the door hungry because he just couldn't stomach the cereal for breakfast, but then come back in the afternoon eating a large bowl of it.  We no longer buy cereal. That  was the first area I cut out to slash our budget. 

This lack of cereal eating puts a strain on me.  I hate cooking breakfast.  There I said it.   I don't even like to eat it, why would I want to cook it?  I have various reasons for not liking the making of this meal.  The state of the kitchen is at the top of the list.  If the kitchen is still messy from the previous night's dinner, I don't want to cook in a dirty kitchen.  If the kitchen is spotless clean, I don't want to cook in it first thing in the morning and mess it up!  Most of my kids have to be out the door by 7:30 a.m. which means I have to be in the kitchen and cooking by 6:30 a.m. to have them fed in time to walk out the door.  That is yet another reason that I don't like to cook this meal.

What do we eat for breakfast?  Well, oatmeal would be at the top of my list... you know, it is quick, cheap, hot, and QUICK.   It is a one bowl miracle.  Some of my kids won't eat it.  My husband doesn't even like it.  There goes that idea right out the window.   I have to feed him too!  We eat a lot of eggs.  Everybody likes eggs here.  Pancakes are another good standby.  I keep Self Rising flour and buttermilk in stock all the time.  This way I have the basic ingredients for homemade pancakes or biscuits.  If I make either of these for breakfast, we usually have leftovers that the kids snack on after school.  I make a lot of breakfast casseroles.  In keeping with the thought of saving money, I try to avoid recipes that require lots of extra special ingredients.  If the recipe calls for canned crescent rolls, I am not making it right now.  I make homemade muffins often.  I am always on the lookout for a good muffin recipe.  I keep homemade granola in the pantry.  My kids snack on this, and some of them will eat it with milk for breakfast.  I am no longer buying bagels.  I can make large biscuits to replace the bagel sandwiches, and my kids haven't complained at all.  One of their favorite breakfast items is a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit sandwich.  I also make breakfast burritos.  I use lots of my homemade bread from the previous night's dinner to round out the next morning's breakfast.  French toast or cinnamon toast can be made with a loaf of whole wheat or sourdough bread.  My family enjoys breakfast bowls...which is nothing more than fried potatoes, scrambled eggs, cheese, and some meat layered in a large bowl.  My kids have also discovered my mom's Egg Shakes.  These are simple and quick.  I started making these for my power lifter son when we had our own fresh eggs.  After we lost our chickens, he still drinks them with grocery store eggs.  All of my kids drink them with grocery store eggs which I know you aren't suppose to consume raw, but we do.  Crack two eggs into a large glass.  Add some good vanilla, some sugar to taste, and a little bit of milk.  Stir with an immersion blender (also known as a stick blender).  Add more milk and stir again.  Fill the rest of the way with milk and drink.  You can add bananas too if you like. 

All of these ideas require effort on my part.  I have to plan ahead.  Before I go to bed, I usually know what I am going to make the next morning.  Sometimes I will go ahead and set out the casserole pan that I will be using or measure out the dry ingredients for the recipe.   I might even brown the sausage the night before if I need crumbled sausage for a casserole.  Ideally, these are things that I would do every night to make breakfast cooking easier the next day.  The truth is that I am not an evening person.  I struggle just to make sure the kitchen is in order before going to bed. Sometimes I will bake a batch of muffins in the afternoon.  Of course, I have to hide them until the next morning!  Also please keep in mind that I save money by having farm raised meat in my freezer.  I have enough sausage to last awhile.   I don't buy much bacon any more.  We all miss it, but we can make do with all the sausage.   I also try to keep sweet breads and homemade biscuits stashed in the freezer.  The biscuits do lose something after they are frozen, but if we are in a time crunch they can be a life saver. 

I will also share soon about some of the ways we handle snacks in our house now that the budget is so tight. 

grace and peace,


TX Doodler said...

Julie, I am truly loving your new blog layout & how organized the side bar is! I'm learning so much from your recent posts & frugality.

To save money & health, we make homemade pancakes & waffles(from scratch) all the time. I've never used buttermilk. (Jo loves pancakes, will devour them & not quit-I worry about his weight)We always use 2% milk or nonfat powdered milk, thinking I'm keeping the family trim. Is there a big taste difference with buttermilk? Will your "resident health nut" eat them? Is there more nutrition in them?

Also, do you have a recipe post for your buttermilk biscuits? I buy the frozen pillsbury's from time to time. I'd love to learn how to make them from scratch!

Marci said...

Great post Julie. Lots of good ideas!!

Anonymous said...

I thought I was the only mom had issues with breakfast. I too don't like it and I'm not a fan of cooking it for the same reasons you stated. Thanks for your suggestions! I keep cereal but my kids don't really like it either unless it's snack time. Hmmm now I think I'm going to rethink buying more cereal. Thanks again :)


Andrea Cherie said...

Oh Julie. I think I could have written this post!

I am not a "big" breakfast eater, I usually snack as I cook for Jason. He too hate's cereal :( and usually grumbles when there's oatmeal served. (QUICK! Yes!!). I have had to gently remind him that if he's going to cut my grocery spending, which he's done recently, he will have to have oatmeal 2 times per week. I can't fund omelets, pancakes and breakfast tacos EVERY day! One of my saving graces is that I love to freeze pancakes. Those are an easy toaster oven re-heat!

Paige said...

Excellent ideas! Saving money but eating so much better is such a satisfying feeling. Dan and I nearly always comment on how cheap our meals is--and how healthy they are. For regular meals, I normally cook the same as I did at home with the family, but we pack up leftovers for lunch--I can't tell you how much we've saved over our co-workers and class-mates in the past two years! Usually they buy lunch--at the tune of $5+ a person. We're saving $50 a week by just taking leftovers with us! Over the past two years, that's $5,000 in two years (no joke....)

Also, I've crunched the numbers to make my own hot chocolate mix in bulk for Dan as he normally drinks it daily in the winter on the job-site. We're not coffee drinkers, but instead prefer tea and hot chocolate. To dress up the cheap-o black tea bags, I'll often mix 4 or 5 regular tea bags with 1-2 chai or earl grey tea bags for a little twist on the standard iced tea.

Breakfast is the one area, though, that I'd have to say that we splurge a bit on, but home-made muffins, banana bread and your great Coffee cake bread make great, quick, affordable breakfasts and snacks!

TnFullQuiver said...

Thanks for the nice comment about my blog. I appreciate that! You can click on the biscuit link in this post and find one of biscuit recipes. I use a large glass in order to make large sandwich type biscuits. If I am not serving breakfast sandwiches and I want smaller biscuits, I will use a regular biscuit cutter. I plan on posting my buttermilk pancake recipe soon. I actually have two pancake recipes, but they both use buttermilk. One is for regular pancakes, and the other one is for whole wheat pancakes. My kids like them both. The buttermilk does change the taste and texture of pancakes as well as biscuits. I understand the concern about weight. I battle that one myself. Mayfield puts out a lowfat buttermilk product. I use the regular buttermilk because I like the baked goods that it produces. My "resident health nut" will eat my pancakes. He is especially fond of the whole wheat ones. (I grind wheat berries to make those). He loves them when I add fresh blueberries to the batter. Another note, buttermilk ain't cheap. One half gallon will last me at least a week. It costs about $3.89 here. But on the upside, nobody drinks it so it is always available when I am ready to use it. Hope this helps!!!

Thanks! Also i wanted to thank you for offering to fix my header for me. I may take you up on it soon! I am getting really frustrated with trying to figure it out. Hope you enjoy your day!

Trust aren't alone in this whole breakfast thing. I was doing the happy dance this morning because I had homemade muffins in the cookie jar that i made yesterday. I didn't cook breakfast, and it made my day! And answer me this, why do these kids ONLY want cereal for snacks and not use it for its intended purpose??? Go figure!

Andrea Cherie,
I like your way of thinking!!! I will also freeze homemade biscuit sandwiches, homemade waffles, and cinnamon rolls. I used to freeze homemade pancakes, but the kids take them out the same day I freeze them and devour them. I figured it wasn't worth the ziploc bag!!

Leftovers are a blessing. Michael has always taken leftovers to work with him. A lot of people at his work came to know me through the dinners I made. We still eat leftovers for lunch...when there are leftovers, I should say! Send my love to all! I still haven't had my good long converation with your momma yet. maybe I can catch her this weekend!!! I need my "Dawn fix"! It has been way too long.

grace and peace,