Monday, August 20, 2012

Back To School: The Morning Edition

Summer's over. It's time to pull the kids out of your hair so you can send them off to an institutionalized and overly structured learning environment. No more mid-day Monday play dates. No more cracker crumbs piled onto the floor RIGHT after you just mopped the damn floor. No more screaming at you from across the house begging for impromptu tea parties and dress-up/make-over sessions at 8:30am. Now the stress is compounded all to a 45 minute period of trying to get the kids ready for school without a huge fight which hopefully will result in, at the very least, enough breakfast to hold them over until lunchtime and shoes that match.

To make the ass-crack-of-dawn ritual a little more relaxed than the average mom's hellacious early morning circus, I highly suggest: Putting out clothes before bedtime...this includes you mom! I go to the gym ritually every morning but sometimes I'm left searching for a sports bra or clean shirt to sport when I sweat my ass off, so put out kids clothes and your clothes! And, unless you want your child to succumb to the disgusting processed shit that is otherwise affectionately called a 'school lunch', make your kids lunch in the evening and have it ready and waiting in the fridge for the a.m. Lastly, plan breakfast. Know exactly what to reach for when you wake up. If it's toast or cereal, put it out on the counter. Or try one of my 10 kid-friendly breakfasts!

1. Granola Parfait
Kids get excited if their food is served to them in a non-traditional way. Find a pretty glass and layer fresh fruit and berries, granola and non-dairy yogurt.

2 c quick cooking oats
1 c chopped pecans
1/2 c flaxmeal
1/2 c dried fruit (i used blueberries)
1/3 c almond or other oil
1/3 c maple syrup
2 Tbsp brown rice syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Mix all together and spread out onto cookie sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for 35 minutes. Make the granola days in advance and use as needed for a quick and yummy breakfast.

2. Toast & Egg

Butter bread and throw in the toaster to brown. Remove and use flower (or other) cookie cutter in the center. Put into a buttered or oil sprayed skillet and break egg into the center. (You can also mix the egg with non-dairy milk first and then dump your yellow egg mixture into center). Note: To it DHN style: ONLY free range or local 'backyard chicken' eggs!

3. Banana Burrito

Wrap a banana with your favorite nut butter, raisins and apples in a whole grain tortilla.

4. Smoothie!

Kids love smoothies and its also the perfect way to sneak in some extra healthy goodness.

Avo Mint Smoothie (pictured)
1/2 avocado
4 sprigs mint
handful baby spinach leaves
1 banana, frozen into chunks
3/4 c non-dairy milk
agave nectar or stevia to taste

My Kids Favorite! Banana Peach Smoothie
1 Banana
1-2 c frozen peaches
1 Tbsp flax meal
3/4 c non-dairy milk or more to thin out
(optional - pineapple chunks or juice)

Grasshopper Smoothie
1 avocado
4 sprigs mint
handful or 2 spinach
1-2 Tbsp raw cocoa powder
frozen banana
non-dairy milk to thin out (3/4-1c)
agave or stevia to taste

5. Tofu Scramble Biscuit Cups

Make these a day or more in advance. These can be frozen and defrosted overnight then popped into the toaster oven.

Biscuit mix
2 c unbleached flour (ww is fine)
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c vegan butter
1 3/4 c non-dairy milk

Tofu Scramble
2 c mixed veggies (i used onions, mushrooms and shredded broccoli stems. think: carrots, peppers, onions, shredded potatoes, zucchini, etc)
1-2 cloves garlic
1 package firm tofu
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp tamari or liquid aminos
2 Tbsp mustard (yellow, Dijon, spicy...whichever your kids prefer)

For biscuits, mix dry ingredients together. Cut in butter and mix in milk. Knead a few times and separate into 12 balls. Flatten each one and put each in a muffin tin, pressing it up the sides.

For the tofu, using cooking spray or water, toss your veggies and garlic into a skillet and cook for a few minutes until softened. Add tofu, crumbling it into the skillet with your hands. Add turmeric, tamari and mustard. Mix through. Fill each dough lined muffin cup with the tofu mixture. Top with vegan cheese (optional).

6. French Toast Kebabs

Make your own french toast by tossing bread cubes into an egg or vegan banana/'milk' mixture and cook until browned. Skewer each with fruits and berries. Hint: Make french toast STICKS ahead of time. Freeze and pop into toaster over in the morning for a fast on-the-go breakfast.

7. Bagel Sammie

Spread vegan butter onto halved bagel and toast. Sandwich with a tofu 'egg' slice and vegan cheese. You can also add tempeh bacon and baby spinach leaves.

Tofu 'Egg'
1 Block tofu
1/4 c mustard
1/2 tsp turmeric

Slice tofu into 'sheets'. Mix mustard and turmeric. Coat drained and pressed tofu in mustard mixture and marinate (optional) or just spread on and throw into a skillet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray on medium-high heat. Cook a few minutes on each side until slightly browned on edges and crispier.

Bacon Tempeh

Marinate sliced tempeh in tamari, Worcestershire and liquid smoke for several hours or overnight. Heat in skillet until browned.

HINT: Make tofu ahead of time and keep in airtight container in the fridge. Pop into toaster over in the morning. OR keep them marinating in the fridge and throw onto skillet in the a.m. to cook quickly before assembling sandwich.

8. Sweet Potato Haystacks

These are a more savory breakfast item. Serve with maple syrup or a maple/butter/cinnamon mixture.

Sweet Potato Haystacks
1 sweet potato, shredded
2 green onions, diced
1 clove garlic
1 egg
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all in a bowl. Use your hands to form several haystacks onto a cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

9. Crispy Breakfast Squares

Crispy Breakfast Squares
8 c crispy cereal (we used a mix of puffed brown rice cereal and an organic cheerios type cereal)
1/2 c flaxmeal
3/4 c raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c brown rice syrup
1/2 c favorite nut butter
1 tsp vanilla

Mix cereal, flax, raisins and cinnamon in bowl. Heat brown rice syrup, nut butter and vanilla in a small saucepan until melted through. Add wet to dry and mix until well coated. Press into a 9x13 pan and let sit in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours. Make ahead, cut into even squares and serve quickly on the way out of the door.

10. Strawberries N' Cream Oatmeal

Strawberries N' Cream Oatmeal
1/2 c quick cooking oats
1/2 c non-dairy milk
1/2-3/4 container non-dairy strawberry yogurt
1/4 c sliced strawberries

Heat all together in small saucepan.


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