Kitchen Hacks 2 - Breakfast of Champions

As I’ve noted before, one of my kids wants to eat IMMEDIATELY upon rising, while the other usually needs some time to wake up first. While the adults in our house need and want a high-protein start to the day, the kids like as many carbs and sugar as I’ll let them have – in fact, I’m really regretting letting them try Honey Nut flavors of cereal, because that’s all I hear about now!

Here are some of the ways I’ve learned to make mornings easier on me, and better for everyone.

Get a jumpstart on morning scrambles:

* Use the microwave to precook potatoes. I HATE waiting for potatoes to cook all the way through for a scramble – it seems to take forever! I’ve learned that cutting a potato into ½ inch cubes, drizzling with a bit of olive oil, and microwaving for 4 minutes with a cloth or plate over the bowl to hold in the steam is the perfect potato hack. Stir the potatoes at 2 minutes, and they will be evenly cooked, soft and ready to brown up in a skillet.

* Precook breakfast meat and keep it at the ready in the freezer. I often buy several pounds of breakfast sausage (usually chicken or turkey breakfast sausage, as well as chorizo and occasionally leaner brands of pork) and cook it up in patties, and crumbled. Frozen in zipper bags, these pre-cooked sausages are healthier than the cooked links and patties you can buy at the store (and cheaper too), but just as convenient. Bacon works this way, too – I bake it on rimmed cookie sheets until it’s not-quite-crisp, then freeze. When you’re ready for bacon (a couple of slices, or some for everyone), just put the frozen slices in a 300-degree oven for a few minutes.

Oatmeal Bar!

* I like to cook up a large pot of whole grain breakfast cereal at night, and refrigerate portions in bowls (including one with a lid to be microwaved at work for me). Thick rolled oats are our favorite, but steel cut oats, mixed grain cereal, or even brown rice porridge will work.

* In the morning, set out a selection of toppings so each person can warm their cereal in the microwave when they are hungry, and make a customized breakfast just the way they like it. I like to offer toasted nuts and seeds, dried fruit, coconut flakes, Greek yoghurt, nut butters, fresh berries, ground flaxseed, and sometimes a bit of honey or maple syrup.

* Add ¼ – ½ tsp of powdered Sencha or Sei Mee Tea Adaptogen blends to start your day on an extra-healthy note. The sweet, nutty, and varied flavors of the toppings can help soften the stronger flavors of the blends, allowing the warm, spicy notes to shine through.

* Once a week, I toast several different types of nuts and seeds, let them cool thoroughly and store them in several small covered glass containers on the kitchen counter. Toasting smaller amounts keeps them fresh (toasted nuts go rancid quickly) and keeping them visible and accessible means healthier snacking all week, and the oatmeal bar is always ready to go! I vary the type of nuts each week to keep things interesting – walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pepitas, cashews, almonds, pistachios…

My Favorite Oatmeal

1 cup cooked thick-rolled oats, heated with 3 Tb milk

1 oz chopped toasted almonds

1 tsp ground flax seed

¼ cup chopped dried pear or apple

¼ cup Greek yoghurt

1 tsp honey

½ tsp Sei Mee Tea Anti-Inflammatory Blend

1 Tb chopped candied ginger