As part of a video recording, I was asked how I encouraged the boys (henceforth known as the little weasels) to come to the dinner table. Without missing a beat, the 10 year-old piped up that ‘Mommy just puts it on a plate and brings it down to us in front of the TV.” ^Mortified. But also… kind of true. We try to have at least three meals a week around the table but sometimes that path of least resistance reigns. Everyone always praises family dinners, but as I grew up an only child with parents who would quickly divorce, the ‘family dinner’ was often laboured, strained and uncomfortable. Maybe my childhood angst is now being brought to my own table. From that moment, I decided to develop 36 questions to ask your family at dinner.
Anyone else’s roses in bloom? It’s spring, and as days get longer we experience the perfect time for al fresco meals—and that idea needn’t just extend to grand family dinners where your kids must exhibit perfect manners. Family dinners have actually always been slightly intimidating to me, and I’ve always slinked away from the judgmental moms who ask with disdain why we are at the park eating takeout and NOT HAVING A FAMILY DINNER at the table. So, if dinners are difficult, you can imagine how breakfast suffers.
There’s a joke in my house about me not being a morning person. But it goes further than that. I’m so groggy in the morning that I probably should have padded walls in the hall and a bathrobe made of bubble wrap so that I don’t hurt myself on the way to the coffee maker. Unless I make it the night before I always measure wrong. One friend laughed and told me it was ‘simply’ the miles to kilometers ratio for portioning coffee to water. That didn’t help much.. If I had a few million dollars I wouldn’t hire a cleaning lady or a chef. I’d hire somebody to place my coffee beside the bed in the morning so that I could wake to the scent and avoid EMI – early morning injury.
When McCafé first launched I had the opportunity as an all-access-mom to work behind the counter at a McDonald’s restaurant where I could act professional and run the barista machine. Incredible. Perfect every time (it was the machine), full of flavor and float-on-a-cloud aromas. I got slightly addicted. But then I ran into the issue of having to jump in my car in the morning in a half-awake state in order to reach the drive-thru for coffee. Not a wise move. The last time I tried I drove over my purse whilst backing up. I remember at university McDonald’s used to deliver to our residence. MMMM. Can you imagine fresh-brewed McCafé in the morning delivered all steamy and rich after you’ve been up all night writing a paper?
Though I still do a fair amount of last-minute writing, pigs can’t fly and I’m no longer in a university residence, but a thrilling coffee solution has fallen into my kitchen. McCafé is now sold in every major grocery retailer in Canada. To keep in your pantry! McCafé at HOME! In Canada, 65% of coffee is consumed in the home. I suspect that stat is about to go up… And if you have a fancy coffee maker you’re still golden – it comes in K-Cup, Tassimo T-Discs, or Ground. BOOM.
Now if McDonald’s could just teach my kids the miles to kilometers ratio…
I love this recipe for a very quick breakfast frittata. It looks especially divine with fresh chives drizzled throughout!
10 tiny tomatoes chopped in half
3 slices cubed bread
1/2 cup chopped ham
1/2 cup grated cheese
1/4 c milk
1T olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients in a bowl as you heat oil in a skillet on medium heat. Pour egg mixture into skillet and cook 4 minutes. Try not to touch it as it cooks. Using two spatulas, gently flip over your frittata and cook another 2 minutes.
Cut and serve.
Once every month I make these schoolday frozen breakfast burritos with the kids as kitchen helpers. Wrapped in plastic and frozen in a big bag, they can be pulled out the night before and refrigerated. Pop them onto a panini maker or in the microwave to heat. On mornings when we are late for school (that would be most mornings), I wrap the ends in tinfoil and call them ‘hand snacks’ so the kids can eat them on the way to school. You can add as many vegetables as you like and eliminate the sausage to make them vegetarian-friendly.
1/2 cup milk
1 pound sausage meat
1 small onion
1 cup grated cheese
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup chopped parsley or cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
To Make 10:
1. Using 7 eggs and milk, scramble eggs in a pan.
2. Using the same pan, sautee sausage meat with diced onions.
3. Cool all ingredients.
4. Arrange 10 flour tortillas on the counter and spoon an equal amount of all ingredients onto the top quarter of each tortilla.
5. Roll each, folding over the bottom of the wrap half way through.
6. Immediately wrap with plastic or parchment paper.
After a fruit-filled tropical March break, the family is completely hooked on two things: peaches and coconut water! Getting back into the school routine wasn’t easy, but breakfast is proving to be less stressful (and more healthful) than it was prior to the vacay. With a chill still in the Canadian air, I had resigned myself to using expensive, imported fruit. But then I was given a revelation: canned peaches are amazing! Their nutritional value is not only on par with fresh peaches, but they actually have 1.5 times more antioxidants and their Vitamin C levels are 3.5 times higher than fresh. California Cling Peaches are canned within 24 hours of delivery to the cannery, which ensures that the peaches maintain superior taste and nutritional value. The way to find them is to look at the various peaches in the stores to make sure they say Made in the USA – those are the California Cling Peaches. With this new information, I found a recipe that has quickly become a stable in the house (and at the office!).
Tropical Peach Breeze Smoothie
1 can 14 oz / 398 mL California cling peaches (slices)
½ cup coconut water or plain or vanilla almond milk
½ cup Greek vanilla, honey or peach yogurt, preferably 0%
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp ginger
Honey or agave syrup (optional)
Prep: 5 min Total time: 5 min
Drain peaches reserving 2 tbsp (30 mL) juice. Place peaches, reserved peach juice, coconut water or almond milk, yogurt, vanilla, ginger and nutmeg in a blender. Blend until smooth. If you wish sweeten with honey or agave syrup.
Makes about 2 cups (500 mL) for 2 smoothies.
We all know that breakfast is important, but did you know that today is extra-special? It’s World Nutella Day! In honour of February 5th, here is a strawberry mini panini recipe. This delicious celebration was started by two fans in Italy in 2007 and has spread, like Nutella on toast, worldwide. In a throwback to the brand’s Italian roots, Nutella is sharing a Nutella and Strawberry Mini Paninis breakfast recipe. These delicious paninis are filled with fresh strawberries, creamy ricotta cheese and, of course, Nutella.
Truly the most important meal of the day, breakfast should not be skipped – especially for kids heading off to learn at school. We’ve put together 12 healthy breakfast ideas, some of which can be made in advance and frozen. Moms need to save all the time possible in the morning!
Smoothies are a fabulous option and a great way to add fruit and vegetables to the diet. We like to ‘hide’ spinach in smoothies and disguise it with dark fruit like blueberries.
Mini quiche are great to make in mini muffin tins and an easy place to throw in tiny peppers, cheese, bacon and herbs.
Shaped pancakes are fun to make in huge batches and keep in the freezer. You can pull out a few at a time for the kids and heat.
Breakfast wraps (we call them ‘hand snacks’) are fun with scrambled eggs, cheese and salsa. Wrap the end in tinfoil and they become a great portable breakfast option!
Oatmeal from scratch is easy when you add mil to the oats and finish with with cinnamon and brown sugar.
Homemade muffins are fantastic for hiding pureed or grated veggies such as zucchini and carrot. Here are our zippy zucchini ones.
Whole grain waffles that you can pop in the toaster make a great start to the day. Try to opt of real maple syrup over the artificially flavoured ones..
Poached eggs on whole wheat toast are a favourite in our household. You can skip the hollandaise to save a few calories. And a ton of time!
Granola with a few hidden chocolate chips at the bottom of the bowl helps my kids eat everything. Wink.
Scrambled Eggs and Smoked Salmon on brown toast is a great way to start the day, and packs a ton of lean protein.
Ham and Eggs is a great way to begin a day and the protein boost will help the kids retain the juicy tidbits they learn at school.
Cut up fruit with Greek yoghurt dip is a healthy snack, and you can make fun patterns with different shapes of fruit – a sailboat scene for instance. Sprinkled with chia and hemp seeds, it packs a ton of omega 3’s. Enjoy your breakfast!!
What you will need:
Almond slivers (optional)
Shaved coconut (optional)
These delicious and moist pancakes are perfect for an outdoor spring brunch or re-heated for a quick weekday breakfast. Kid-approved for flavour and fun, and mom-approved for nutrition, this fruit-infused recipe is sure to be a winner at the breakfast table. Using Mott’s Fruitsations Unsweetened Blueberry Delight and Unsweetened Country Berry fruit snacks in both the batter and the topping boosts the nutrition and sweetness naturally, and provides one full serving of fruit per 111 g cup. Mix-up your “fruit-ine” and substitute different Fruitsations flavours to change the recipe and delight your taste buds. Swap traditional maple syrup for the Creamy Fruit Topping for an extra burst of flavour and nutrients.