Thursday, May 15, 2014

Breakfast Outside of the Box

Are you in a breakfast rut? Sick of the same-old or maybe even skipping breakfast all together these days?

Let's chat...

I'm gonna give you our breakfast rotation because we like to mix it up. And let me be honest, if we skip our breakfasts over here at the Martin household, it ain't pretty. Especially for this hangry Mama. (btw- did you know hangry is a legitimate term? Yep, hungry-angry. It's for real. Just ask my husband- very real...)

Soooooo... here are some of our fave breakfasts and some thoughts on why cereal isn't one of them. Check out Put Down That Box! It's worth a quick read.

Oatmeal Bar
Plain, organic, steel-cut oats. I usually cook them in advance and keep them in a glass container in the fridge and reheat in the microwave as needed. Then I mix in some unsweetened applesauce to cool it down and add some flavor.

The "bar" can be whatever toppings you want! We usually stick to raisins, almonds and a mix of cinnamon and brown sugar. The kids love to choose and put on their own toppings. Sometimes, on busy or lazy nights, we even do this for dinner! Shhhh... our little secret ;)

Banana Oat Bars and Smoothies
This is a great one for the mornings you might need a portable breakfast. Make these Oat Bars in advance, cut them up and freeze them. Take them out the night before or nuke 'em and BAM.

Banana Oat Bars
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. cinnamon1 tsp kosher 
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar (or just use extra honey)
1/4 cup raw honey
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp. ground flax seed
1/4 cup warm water
2 ripe bananas, mashed (great part for kid helpers!)
(I eye-ball the honey and applesauce. Approximates are fine!)
*to make gluten-free just use your fave gluten-free flour and gluten-free oats

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir, or better yet, use a stand mixer.
Pour into a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
Let stand for 5-10 minutes to harden a little bit.

This is our kale and pineapple smoothie, what we call a crocodile smoothie :) Get the recipe: 

Peanut butter and Jelly Toast
My personal fave. Natural or Organic Peanut butter only please! There are SO many added oils and sugars in Jif and other similar types. 

I was buying organic for a while because peanut butter is something we consume just about daily. However, the price was just too high for our budget and we switched to plain old natural. Smucker's is by far my favorite, but Kroger's natural peanut butter is fantastic and the price is right!!! The first time I open a new jar it's a bit runny, but I dump off the oil on top, stir and after it sits in the fridge a while the consistency is just right. Delectable! 

We do only use organic jelly to avoid the high fructose corn syrup and because grapes and berries are often sprayed heavily with pesticides. 

Cook 'em any way you like or hard boil them to take with you! We usually have buttered toast and fruit with ours. Tip: My kids know they have to eat their eggs, or at least get a good start on them before I will even put the toast in the toaster. Otherwise, they'd just chow down on the carbs! Now they have grown to love their eggs. 

And like peanut butter, not all eggs are created equal. Stick with pastured eggs if you can. Buy them at at farmer's market or ask around to see if someone you know has chickens or knows someone who does. For more on eggs, see 100 Days of Real Food-Egg Labels: What to Look For 

Overnight No-Cook Refrigerator Oatmeal
Oatmeal again? Yep! I will admit, the kids don't really like this one. I think there is too much texture going on for their little senses. But the grown-ups like them and the raspberry and mango varieties are delicious! Get the instructions at The Yummy Life

Well, that takes you through about 5 days of breakfast. On Saturdays we'll usually do pancakes and chicken sausage. I've tried about a dozen whole wheat pancake recipes and found this one fit the bill: Sour Cream Whole Wheat Pancakes. I double the recipe and use plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. 

Sundays are usually fairly busy mornings since I work for a church, so sometimes we do give the kid's cereal and milk. Gasp! ;) It's quick, easy and of course they like it, but they are far hungrier on these days than when they have a good, solid breakfast. We just do plain, organic O's or Frosted Mini Wheats, organic milk and a banana.

Hope this helps to refresh your breakfast rotation!