What do you feed your family when you want a quick, stick-to-your-ribs breakfast? Over deployment, we decided to prioritize eating breakfast together each morning. We also decided we’d like those to be “real” breakfasts: no wandering into the kitchen alone to drowsily gulp cereal and browse the internet. That might sound silly (and I have nothing against cereal), but understand that Carl can easily work 80 hours a week as an Army doctor. He sometimes works three weeks at a stretch without a day off. I also work full time. We don’t take time at home together for granted, and we try to milk any extra minute for all it’s worth. If you won’t see your spouse again until a midnight hug at the door, those few intentional moments at a candle-lit breakfast table can carry you through.
Our mornings already run with military precision to fit in exercise, showering, dressing, breakfast, chores, and a walk before Carl leaves for work and I sit down at my desk. We get up at 5:15 (unless it’s an ICU week, when that shifts back to 4:00ish) and the Man usually arrives at work around 6:30 or 7:00 (unless it’s an ICU week, when that shifts back to “good grief, it’s the middle of the night, why are we up?”). That means we have, no joke, three minutes to prepare breakfasts on most days. I’ve been brainstorming a list of breakfasts that can be prepared in moments, or prepared in advance and reheated quickly. Do you have any suggestions or favorites of your own? The rules are:
- Must be filling and contain protein. Carl sometimes doesn’t have two minutes for lunch, let alone snacks. The food needs to carry him through the day if a patient decides to crash.
- Carl only eats sugary items on Sundays (I do the same, with few exceptions). That means syrup, jam, honey, sweetened quick breads, etc. are usually out.
- Healthy – no pop-tarts, etc.
- We eat fruit with every breakfast (even if it isn’t listed)
- We brew coffee the night before and ice it overnight.
- Usually we don’t have time to heat a frying pan (let alone the oven), unless it’s a slightly slower morning
Here’s the list so far:
- Sausage bagel, biscuit, or muffin sandwiches, with sausage patties cooked in advance. Meat reheated and bagel toasted in the morning.
- Smoothies – frozen berries & bananas, plain unsweetened yogurt, splash of milk, packet of Sweet & Low. Carl loves these.
- Cottage cheese with fruit
- Baked sausage and apples, prepared in advance and reheated.
- Crockpot Oatmeal, started the night before, plus nuts & dried fruit
- Fried oatmeal, made with leftover oatmeal (frying pan – extra three minutes)
- Waffles with peanut butter (waffles prepped in advance, then toasted)
- Bean and cheese or hard-boiled egg tortillas (eggs boiled in advance). With scrambled eggs on slower mornings.
- Muffins (e.g. bran) baked in advance.
- Breakfast casserole (baked in advance and reheated)
- Parfaits (yogurt, fruit, and granola or oats)
- Bagels with cream cheese or peanut butter
- Ham and cheese biscuits, bagels, or english muffins. With a fried egg on slightly slower mornings.
Meals taking an extra five minutes:
- Eggs and toast or bacon
- Cheese quesadillas
- French toast topped with fruit
Breakfasts that contain sugar or require more time like pancakes, omelettes, waffles, coffee cake, or Eggs Benedict are reserved as weekend treats.