Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Easy Breakfast Ideas

Before reading any further be warned, when it somes to frugal breakfasts on the run, planning is everything. I'm a reformed "let me just grab a bagel and coffee on the way" kind of a gal. Back when I was commuting to work, I padded in extra time to hit the gas station and get the coffee and bagel bacause I "had no time" for breakfast at home. At that time, it cost me $2.19. I worked three days a week. If you do the math you'll discover, I was spending $341.64 a year on my little splurge. You could argue its not that much but I personally wouldn't throw out a check for $341.64.

For those of you with spouses, here's another morsel of food for thought. My hubby had a similar habit but he commuted 5 days a week. That same $2.19 per day adds up to $569.40 per year for him. Together we were spending in the ball park of $911.04 per year on a breakfast that packed little or no nutritional punch.

Climbing out of the rut took planning and a fair amount of trial and error. Oatmeal may be one of the cheapest and most nutrient dense breakfasts around when prepared with soymilk and fruit but its useless if you have no time to eat it. Everyone loves my homemade granola but the time it takes to chew a bowl of it makes it impractical for weekdays. As our family has grown extra time has become less and less available. We need things that can be eaten in the car or on the way to the school bus without leaving a trail like Hansel & Gretel.

I try to make a batch of something on Sunday to get us through a week of breakfasts. Whatever I make also doubles as a healthy afterschool snack. For the six of us, I usually make 4 loaves of banana or pumpkin bread or about 8 scones to get us through the week.

Here are my favorite recipes:

Raisin Oatmeal Scones (this is from The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyzyn with a few slight changes)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup uncooked oatmeal
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup soymilk with 2 tsp vinegar whisked in

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix dry ingredients and cut in canola oil and raisins using a fork. Stir in soymilk mixture until just combined. Divide dough in half and form two circles about a half inch thick on a greased baking sheet. Cut into quarters and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

variations: add a hanful of walnuts with the raisins and a drizzle of real maple syrup over the top

Banana Bread (from the Compassionate Cook by PETA with a few changes)

1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup soy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the canola oil and sugar, then stir in remaining dry ingredients. Add remaining ingredients (sometimes I whirl these in the blender to avoid banana chunks.) Pour into an oiled loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Bread or Muffins (this is from a local pumpkin farm, Secor Farms, again with some minor variations from the original)

Combine:
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup soymilk
let stand for 5 minutes.
Beat in:
1 cup cooked pumpkin puree
2 Tbs flaxseed meal whisked with 4 Tbs water
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar

In a seperate bowl combine:
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice (ginger will work in a pinch)

Gradually add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture. Mix until well blended.
Optional add ins:
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup rasins or dates

Turn batter into greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. For muffins bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Makes 12 muffins.

1 comment:

Tommy Goat said...

Thanks, FVM ! !

The Pumpkin Oatmeal Bread looks especially tasty . . I have access to all the free bagels and pastries I can eat in he mornings at work, I am ususlly starving by 1 or 2 in the afternoon, and not so good for the waistline . .