How We Do Hot Breakfasts on School Mornings

posted by Andrea | 01/31/2018
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Over the past 5 years, I have often mentioned that we eat a hot breakfast almost every single day of the week.

In fact, up until the start of this school year (September, 2017) the kids and I usually ate 2 breakfasts every morning — with the 2nd breakfast being a fairly large, hot meal around 8:30 or 9:00am.

Our hot breakfast routine worked wonderfully for our family, even while Nora was in preschool, as we still had time to eat a hot meal before loading everyone up to bring her to school 2 mornings a week.

However, this past summer, I wondered if it would be possible to do a hot breakfast, even with Nora leaving the house around 7:00am to catch her bus 3 mornings a week (now 4 mornings a week after Christmas break).

Plus, I knew Clara’s arrival in late September would make mornings a lot more challenging!

Recently, I’ve had several readers ask if we’re still doing a hot breakfast every morning — and if so, what we eat and how we make it work with an earlier school schedule.

So now that we’re already a few weeks into 2nd semester, I figure it’s time I share the 2 main reasons we’ve managed to enjoy a hot breakfast, even on school mornings!

1. We do NOT all eat at the same time.

Dave wakes up at 5:30 (sometimes earlier) and eats soon after. He then gets ready, does some school work, wakes Nora up at 6:30, get’s Nora’s hot breakfast going (see notes on this below), wakes me up around 6:40, and then leaves for school.

I finish getting Nora ready and out the door by 7:00… which is right around the time the boys wake up.

I get them dressed and let them watch a 15 minute show while I quickly get dressed and ready. Then we eat our hot breakfast together around 7:30am.

Clara wakes up whenever she feels like it πŸ™‚

On Saturdays and Sundays, we do all enjoy a hot breakfast together, but during the week, it’s just not practical with the ages of our children and how early Dave needs to leave.

2. I prepare the food ahead of time.

As with almost everything in my life, I find it’s easier and simpler to have a hot breakfast when I plan ahead and have things ready to go in advance.

Preparing for our hot breakfasts means…

  • I ALWAYS have a variety of fruit washed, cut up, and ready to go in the fridge so we can simply scoop it onto plates when serving breakfast.
  • I fry up several pounds of bacon and sausage at one time and pre-portion it into a few different freezer bags. I take one bag out every few days (or as needed) so we can enjoy hot meat most mornings with almost no mess or extra time.
  • I make a big batch of waffle mix or pancake batter every other night as it will last our family for 2 mornings. Then all we have to do in the morning is put a scoop of waffle batter in the waffle maker or pour pancake batter on the griddle (or pop already-made pancakes in the toaster).
  • I always have eggs and cottage cheese in the house (read why I add cottage cheese to our eggs in this post). It’s so easy that even Dave can make eggs for the kids!
  • Sometimes I make cinnamon rolls, oatmeal, or a quiche the night before so we can just reheat those.
  • I even go so far as to fill water bottles and juice cups the night before!

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I realize this might sound a little (or a lot) over-the-top, but mornings with 4 young children who need me to do almost everything for them are not my idea of a good time. And if I don’t get breakfast on the table quickly, the kids get crabby and whiny and clingy — making it even more challenging for me to make breakfast.

Plus, if I have everything ready to go, Dave is able to quickly pop sausage or bacon in the microwave while the waffle batter cooks or while pre-made pancakes heat in the toaster.

This means he can enjoy a hot breakfast AND get Nora’s breakfast going WHILE I SLEEP!Β 

If I have everything ready to go the night before, our breakfast is on the table ASAP with almost no effort from me, which means the kids are full and happy and I have one less thing to worry about when I’m still a little tired myself.

After they eat, the boys are happy to run back upstairs and play together (Nora is at school already) while I clean up the kitchen and get Clara up, changed, dressed, and fed.

Then we move on with our day.

Honestly, our entire day runs smoother simply because I have breakfast ready to go!

It’s definitely not a perfect system, nor do I expect this method to work for every family, but I DO know from lots and lots of personal experience that my life runs smoother and my family is happier when I plan ahead (for breakfast and everything else too!)

Those 2 benefits are more than enough for me to continue planning ahead whenever and wherever humanly possible.

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The point of this post is certainly NOT to advocate for serving your family a hot breakfast!

But rather, to show that a very stressful period of my day is GREATLY simplified because I take 10-15 minutes every night to plan ahead for breakfast.

Maybe you have a different period of the day that is stressful for you — if so, take some time to think through that part of your day and consider if there are any ways you might be able to plan ahead in order to simplify and destress that part of your day or your life.

It might take a bit of time to come to your solution, and you might need to spend a few weeks tweaking your new system or routine, but once you finally have something that works for you and your family, I’m positive the results will be worth any time and effort you spend putting them in place.

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My family and I love a hot breakfast, and I’ve figured out a way to get that for us with little to no time, effort, or stress in the mornings… I’d consider that a win-win situation for sure!

Oh, and if you’re wondering what griddle I use (I always get questions on this), we currently have an older version of this griddle. We’ve had it for 12 years, use it daily, and love it (maybe a little too much)!

It’s starting to show quite a bit of wear and tear so I currently have this ceramic griddle in my Amazon shopping cart. I haven’t made the purchase yet, but I’ll let you know when/if I do!

Filed under: FoodTips and ToolsMisc.

 
 

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33 comments

  1. Lee Winemiller Cockrum

    02/08/2018

    I’m impressed that Nora is ready for the bus in 1/2 hour, including eating a hot breakfast! I hear so many people complain about how their kids won’t get ready without constant redirecting etc. It is great to hear that you are raising your kids like I was brought up

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, she actually has enough time to look at a couple books too! It’s a pretty slick process, Dave wakes her up, she gets dressed and goes to the bathroom while he heats up her breakfast (she has her clothes in the bathroom ready to go the night before). Then I do her hair, she brushes her teeth, and puts her snow gear on. She can do it less than 20 minutes!

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  2. Kevin

    02/06/2018

    Hi, I am curious on why you picked the one you have for the ceramic replacement griddle. I am thinking of getting a ceramic one and noticed the Presto 7062 which seems to have better reviews than the one you mentioned and is the same brand as the one you are replacing that has had a good long run. I see it on Target for $40.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    it doesn’t look like the one you mentioned is available on Amazon — so that’s probably why I didn’t buy it πŸ™‚

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  3. Lea

    02/03/2018

    Can you explain a little more about how you reheat the pre-cooked meat? Any time I try doing that it ends up either way overcooked or a very strange texture, so I must be doing something wrong!

    We often make both pancakes and waffles ahead of time, warming them up in the toaster. Those or toast with scrambled eggs (I make mine with milk instead of cottage cheese) are a common breakfast at our house.

    thanks for sharing,
    Lea

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I just zap the meat in the microwave for a few seconds or set it on the griddle while I’m making the other foods. It always seems fine to me and no one complains!

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  4. Leanne

    02/01/2018

    the black and white photo is precious… <3

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I know — it was taken after Clara’s newborn photo session when the kids were eating lunch πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

  5. Trina

    02/01/2018

    I am also interested in what waffle iron you use. I love waffles and have been afraid the waffle iron would not clean up after a few uses. Sounds like a non-issue for you, so I’m curious. Thanks for sharing your life with us. I find you so inspiring!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    This is the waffle maker we use: http://amzn.to/2Fz0W7E

    [Reply]

  6. Jennifer

    01/31/2018

    Your waffles look so crispy! I have yet to find the perfect Belgian waffle maker. Which one do you have? Love all of your tips!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Here the link to our waffle maker: http://amzn.to/2Fz0W7E

    [Reply]

  7. Mary

    01/31/2018

    Another tip for making morning pancakes even easier…if you make the pancakes ahead of time, cut them before putting them in the fridge! I just zap them in the microwave for a few seconds.

    Does the bacon taste right re-heated? I love crispy bacon and don’t want to sacrifice that.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    have you ever put whole pancakes in the toaster??? they are SOOOOOO much better than in the microwave (in my opinion) and require almost no effort. Plus, they cut really easily because they are a little bit crispy.
    Also, the reheated bacon is fine for our family — we are not picky at all though!

    [Reply]

    Tammy Reply:

    We always cut our daughters pancakes with a pizza cutter. Makes quick work of the cutting process!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    we often use scissors to cut most of our children’s food!

    [Reply]

  8. Katie

    01/31/2018

    My 6 year old gets on the bus at 7, so he’s up at 6:15. We either make eggs and toast, sometimes bacon, or oatmeal (not instant) – all of which (except the bacon) can be made in 5 minutes. On the weekends we do big batches of pancakes or waffles or french toast and freeze them – they can also easily be popped in the toaster on a school morning and accompanied by a fried egg.

    Another make ahead tip is to do steel cut oats (which can take up to 40 minutes) on the weekend, and freeze in muffin tins for individual servings. They can easily be heated up in the microwave in 2 minutes, add some milk, some fresh fruit or syrup – and another quick breakfast with no dishes to clean up.

    It’s super important that my son have some protein to get him through to his late lunch at 1pm, so a hot breakfast for him is important to me!

    [Reply]

  9. Cathy

    01/31/2018

    I have a 12 year old and have made a hot breakfast a priority over the last year for her and it has made such a difference in mood and focus. I prep things, too so she can put the pieces together herself. Pretty much what you do–container of a meat, container of hard boiled eggs, pancakes that can be heated up (or toast), cut up fruit. She can pull it all together.

    When I left it totally up to her it was cereal–which led to a hungry cranky middle schooler LOL. Middle school is like doing toddler/preschooler all over again!! It has also made me eat breakfast, too–which means a happier mama.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes! I joke with Dave that our kids are totally different people after they eat breakfast. So I feed them as soon as possible every morning!!
    I’ve also been known to be “hangry” if I get too hungry πŸ™‚

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  10. ShellyL

    01/31/2018

    My kids would love that. They love waffles and I always think it’s too messy to make them. We’ve tried the frozen ones and they taste a bit like cardboard. I’ve never owned a griddle. How difficult is clean-up and how do you manage that now that the kids are awake and active? Is a griddle hard to clean?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    waffles are SO easy if you have the batter made ahead of time. Just dump a scoop on the waffle maker and you have waffles a minute later!
    If you want me to be really honest, I’ll let you know that we actually DON’T even clean our waffle maker. The waffles come out perfectly with nothing stuck to the waffle maker so I just let it cool and put it back in the cabinet.
    As for the griddle, if I’m just doing pancakes or french toast, I simply wipe it down with a damp cloth or paper towel. If I’m cooking bacon or something greasy, I’ll spray it with vinegar or use a soapy sponge before wiping it down.

    [Reply]

  11. Jo

    01/31/2018

    Thanks for sharing this post – I’m a big breakfast eater so this was fun to see! We eat a lot of these homemade frozen breakfast burritos: https://tasty.co/recipe/frozen-breakfast-burritos

    They are relatively easy to make (and modify – I leave out the potatoes and add more eggs) and so easy to pop in the microwave in the mornings for my family to eat “hot” breakfast. Great easy food gift to someone as well.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, we love the frozen breakfast burritos. They were one of the recipes I posted “way back when” πŸ™‚
    https://andreadekker.com/breakfast-burritos-from-the-freezer/

    [Reply]

  12. Ashley

    01/31/2018

    I also have littles, and it’s AMAZING how much smoother mornings go when we take the time to prep the night before. It’s really those little things that take just a minute or two that make for more chaos–like filling up cups! When we’re really on top of things, we fill the kettle (for French press coffee), bring fire wood in (we build a fire in our word stove almost every morning during cold months), and make sure the coffee press and blender are washed and ready to go for the next morning. When we have to go somewhere in the morning, the extra step of not only having everything packed but actually IN the car is a big difference maker too

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, yes, and yes! if we have to go anywhere on-time in the morning, I have all the bags packed and sitting right by the door in the mudroom. I also make sure the car is stocked with anything we’ll need — stroller, grocery bags, things to return, etc. etc. Everything is done the night before!

    [Reply]

  13. Kate

    01/31/2018

    I make scrambled eggs almost every morning (just in a small skillet on the stove). Sometimes with that we have muffins (from the “day-old” bread section at the store) or cinnamon rolls (from a can) or toast or brown n serve sausage. Or sometimes instead of eggs I make oatmeal in the microwave. My kids might have a banana too. I do think about what I’m going to make the night before but nothing requires any prep ahead of time. I’ve also found that our mornings go better if I just decide myself and make the breakfast, verses asking the kids what they want that morning. They can never decide!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh yes, I always decide what we’ll eat — if I let the kids decide, it would take forever!
    I also put all the food on our plates and then just hand them the plate so they can eat and be done. This might sound like I’m micromanaging things, but my kids are SUPER SLOW eaters so anything to get the morning moving is a bonus for me!

    [Reply]

  14. Jen

    01/31/2018

    I have (older) boys who love hot breakfast too, and I’ve figured out a way to make a work by planning/prepping ahead, etc. I work from home now so my mornings are mostly free for breakfast prep, but I wouldn’t call yours a breakfast–I would call that a buffet!! LOL!! My boys wouldn’t know what to do if they had all those choices every morning!

    I have also decided that the pre-cooked bacon from Costco/Sams/etc is worth every single penny. We LOVE it!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — some days it is more of a buffet than others!
    we usually have fruit, meat, and eggs along with some sort of starch (pancakes, french toast, waffles, muffins, etc.)

    [Reply]

  15. Dee

    01/31/2018

    Great tips! I’ve been make a batch of waffles on Sunday to last us till Wednesday, then I’m off till Friday so I make a new batch to last till Saturday. Like you we have fruit usually just strawberries or bananas) washed and ready to go for the week.

    My extended family wonders how we don’t get tired of waffles everyday, I just tell them it’s that or cold cereal. I try to make nice big breakfast on the weekends excluding waffles, I find that helps

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    exactly! We don’t eat waffles every morning, but I do know people who have cereal EVERY SINGLE MORNING. So if they don’t get bored of cereal, then we don’t get bored of pancakes, waffles, and eggs!

    [Reply]

  16. Annette Silveira

    01/31/2018

    I don’t know why anyone would feel that planning ahead the way you do is over the top. It’s obvious that planning ahead keeps you in control of your days and allows you to make conscious decisions instead of allowing crisis to create undesirable circumstances. Thanks so much for continuing to show how structure and planning can be great benefits.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — you’d be surprised. Some people think we’re crazy, but then again, they probably never tried it and are just used to super chaotic and stressful mornings!

    [Reply]