Monday, May 26, 2014

I'm Not Making Breakfast Again For At Least 2 Weeks!

No more daily breakfast making for me! (Don't worry- my children will still be eating [marginally] healthy breakfasts.)

I hadn't been on a hunt exactly, for a better method to handle our Tribe Breakfasts, but I suppose I'm always a bit on the alert for improvements. One thing that constitutes "improvement" (in my book, anyhow) is something that takes less time without any serious depreciation in quality. Also, since I consider one of the job descriptions of a Mama is to work yourself out of a job, anything that promotes my childrens' autonomy is also an improvement. Hence, my quitting daily breakfast making.

I've been on a menu rotation for a while now (oatmeal with peanut butter on Mondays, eggs and toast on Tuesdays, scones and sausage on Wednesdays...) and it served us well. I was able to budget pretty closely because I knew what we would be eating/spending every week, I knew what the children were eating and that I had approved it, and there was no more sleepy-eyed, pre-coffee panic of what to make. But, even though I tried to make things quick and painless so that we could get our day going, it still took time.

Also, even though I planned fairly simple meals and my children are old enough to be cooking, it still worked better for me to be making breakfast while they did all their morning chores. Don't misunderstand - here we teach that teamwork is valuable and necessary for success; but this goes along with the whole autonomy thing. The more autonomy they have, the more time I have to do other fun things with them or things that can (hopefully) make more money for us.

So today we had a big kitchen day and made enough breakfast items that are either shelf stable (premeasured cereal and oatmeal), refrigerator sasfe (individual yogurts on sale, energy balls) or good frozen and reheated (muffins, breakfast burritos, crepes). It worked out conveniently that I had one recipe for each child and that they were pretty age appropriate. The 4 year old measured cereal into baggies, the 5 year old measured oatmeal, brown sugar, and cinnamon into baggies, the 6 year old made granola bars, the 7 year old made energy balls, the 9 year old made muffins and the 11 year old made crepes. I'll be putting together the breakfast burritos tonight.

There is a "menu" stuck to the fridge with magnets with a list of the things we made today and the reminder to choose any two items. On the containers are instructions for the warming up or preparing (for example, that you only add 1/2 cup of milk to your baggie of cereal), and another sheet of instructions posted in the kitchen in case there is confusion. The plan is that each child, upon finishing their morning chores will go ahead and get their own breakfast without having to wait on the others to finish their chores, and that I will have that 45 minutes I used to spend cooking to do something else. (Probably exercising for the first while, I've got 20 lbs I want gone!) Granted, these foods aren't perfect as far as my dietary ideals, but I'm learning to pick my battles. If I start noticing that health is less than optimal, then we'll head back to the drawing board, but for now, I'm excited to give this a try!

Are you interested in giving it a whirl? I got the idea here, and after giving it a try, I"m so impressed with how thorough the instructions are and how easy it actually was to pull off. For only $2.99, I'm convinced it's one of the best things I've bought in the line of meal planning and cookbooks. And it's enough food for a family of 4 to eat for about 3 months! There is a list of everything you'll be making, a shopping list of every little thing you'll need, simple recipes that my children had no trouble following, and directions on how to freeze and reheat things. It also kicked off my own creativity and I've been adding to the list all day of things we could make ahead and freeze like this. Sausage biscuits, cinnamon rolls, green smoothies, stacked pancakes... (that recipe should be showing up here sometime soon!) Once I can get together a plan like the one linked here, I'll share it with you, so then, if you juggle things right, you can have breakfast made up to 6 months in advance!

For now, head on over to the plan I followed and give it a try. Let me know how it goes for you, and what you might like if (when) I make one like it. And enjoy all that morning time!

---disclosure: if you buy the menu and isntructions through this link, I'll get a few cents of the sale. The price isn't any higher for you (and at $2.99 its SO crazy worth it!!), I just get a small cut. Thanks!


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