Thursday, March 04, 2010
Breakfast on a 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,