Breakfast for us is both a complicated and simple event. We keep our breakfast meals relatively basic, but we all eat different things at different times.
More often than not I feel like I’m running a short-order cafe in the morning. Luckily, as the children grow older, they can do more and more in the kitchen. So, it’s important to make sure we have everything we need at hand and organised!
We also see breakfast as in important part of the day and make time for it even if we have a very early start, so we like to make sure breakfast is an enjoyable meal and not something we throw together to ‘fill the belly’.
These are all the foods, drinks, and ingredients I make sure we always have around so that our breakfast experience is a 10 out of 10 everyday! Some might overlap with my basic ingredients or fall into one of my shopping list categories, if that’s the case I always first buy the things for breakfast and then I go back to the other two lists and decide if I’m going to also be using the breakfast things for those or not.
I have a section of the pantry and another one in the fridge dedicated to breakfast. Many of these things are used throughout the day for other meals and as snacks, but having them grouped for breakfast makes mornings (when we’re all sleepy and hungry) run smoothly.
The breakfast pantry is right next to the fridge, and right on top of the microwave and kettle. Usually, on top of the microwave is the toastie machine which can also make paninis, toast bread, and bake waffles. Right now, we don’t have one because our old one broke and we haven’t been able to find one as good as that one yet. Keeping things organised this way, means we don’t need to be going from one end of the kitchen to the other to grab what we need.
The cups and plates are usually out on the drying rack from the previous’ night washing up and easy to grab. And the stove is right behind the pantry, so all we have to do is turn around if we’re cooking something.
Bread is our go-to when it comes to breakfast. Very rarely do we eat something that is not bread, and if we do, we usually have some bread with it too!
Usually bake my own bread, using a very simple recipe of flour, sugar, salt, yeast and water. If we buy bread, it’s always seeded wholemeal bread. When we’re feeling fancy, I’ll make (or we’ll buy) brioche or some other flavoured bread.
We usually make the wraps ourselves as and when we want them. Sometimes, we prepare a larger batch and have them ready to be baked. We mostly have them with eggs (often with greens) that we cook flat on a crepe pan, or with cheese (and sometimes deli meat and/or greens) as quesadillas.
I am lactose intolerant so to keep things simple we all eat margarine (usually vegan). It is cheaper than butter, but it can be quite unhealthy so we make sure to buy one with no trans fats.
Every now and then, we’ll buy salted butter (my daughter’s favourite), especially if we’re planning on making a traditional buttercream.
During summer we forage for blackberries and buy other seasonal berries. The rest of the years, we buy them frozen. They are cheaper and they last longer than fresh ones.
We add them to porridge or have them on their own.
And, I always make jam from scratch. It’s very easy and it tastes so much better than the store-bought sugary stuff! I buy a large bag of mixed frozen berries, throw it in the slow cooker (sometimes with some apples) and after a few hours I turn it off and add either some sugar or some chia seeds (or both for good measure!) so it becomes jammy. The residual heat is enough to melt the sugar.
Dulce de leche
Depending where you live, dulce de leche could be called manjar, cajeta, arequipe, or milk caramel. It’s basically milk and sugar boiled together to make a very sticky caramel spread. It can be made at home but it takes forever, and it’s readily available at supermarkets all over the UK so we usually just buy it.
Whenever I fancy myself a proper cook, I will make it with condensed or evaporated milk to make the process go faster.
We use it as a spread on buttered toast. It’s very, very sweet, and a thin layer goes a long way! When I’m not looking, my kids eat it by the spoonful (I’m sure it’s fantastic for their oral health!).
PB&J. Need I say more?
We also add it to porridge, smoothies, and my son is extremely partial to wraps with peanut butter and banana.
Mostly we fry them (with no oil in a non-stick pan) and eat on bread or in a wrap. We’re just exciting that way! Usually, I add some grated cheese on top.
My son is a fan of scramble with cheese and a few greens.
Hard melty cheese
I buy it in a large block and grate it at home (or make the children grate it themselves). That way it’s cheaper and it doesn’t have that weird potato starch around that makes it melt weirdly. We often buy extra mature cheddar or a vegan cheese that will melt (my daughter is a fan of pepperjack and mexicana vegan cheeses, while I prefer smoked).
We mostly use it for toasties with or without deli meat and/or greens, on top of eggs, or for quesadillas.
Most often that not it’s chorizo slices. If not, smoked ham, pepperoni, pastrami, or luncheon meat. And very rarely bacon. A lot of times we also eat vegetarian or vegan alternatives.
We love greens! Especially the children and me, my husband will leave them at the side of the plate. If I go several days without serving the children a salad they complain and say I’m not feeding them properly.
We use greens in sandwiches, wraps, and quesadillas. We usually vary the kind of green depending on what’s available and what strikes our fancy when shopping, but often it’s baby spinach, pea shoots, lamb’s lettuce, rocket (arugula), watercress, or mixed Italian salad.
Porridge! Great for those cold wintery days, which is about half the year here in the UK. I prepare it in the microwave for speed and easiness (and less clean-up!) and top it with milk, seeds, peanut butter, jam, and/or sprinkles.
My husband liked other kinds of porridges too, so sometimes we have other West African porridge bases instead of oats (things like tiger nut powder or Hausa koko powder).
With oats I also prepare muesli or granola to have with milk or with yogurt.
We’re boring cereal people and buy a bran, nuts, and fruit cereal. Cereal is not really a common breakfast for us, but handy to keep around just in case someone fancies it, especially on hot summer mornings (so, about 4 times per year).
Seeds or nuts
Most often than not chia or linseeds to add to porridge. But we rotate through all sorts of nuts and seeds, we like them all.
We keep 3: soya for me and my kid’s drinks, cow’s for my son and husband’s porridge and cereal, and evaporated for my husband’s drinks. We’re a complicated family!
I also use cow’s milk to make yogurt.
For my daughter and me mostly. When it’s hot we usually have it cold (we prepare it with water from the fridge).
And my daughter has got into the habit of adding a little bit of coffee to her morning porridge.
Drinking chocolate powder
Mostly for my son and husband, they have it every day no matter what! I sometimes have it cold during summer or as a treat before heading to bed.
Selection of teas
We all like tea and drink it throughout the day as well as breakfast.
We always have black tea, peppermint, berries, chai, chamomile, lime blossom, and ginger and lemon. And some other random ones that we come across and sound interesting.
During Christmas we always get a tea advent calendar.
(Just in case it’s not clear yet, yes, we like in England!).
Sugar and sweetener
Sugar, for my kids’ drinks and for sweetening porridge.
Sweetener, for my drinks and porridge. I’m just not the biggest fan of the flavour of sugar! But I love sweet things.
To top my kids’ porridge! I also use it to top their drinks if I add whipped cream to them and on top of pancakes or waffles too.
We usually change the sprinkles with the seasons and celebrations. For winter we usually have snowflakes, for spring flowers, for Halloween and Christmas some sort of holiday-themed sprinkle. For every other time, the children choose whatever they want. For a while, my son had a dinosaur-themed pack, and my daughter a unicorn-themed one.
Sprinkles are not a must-have, but they make breakfast fun and they can be creative when they choose the sprinkles and put them on top of stuff.