How many of us remember mother in the mornings before school, devotedly serving us hot buttered biscuts for breakfast? How many of us would like to have had a memory like that? What's more how many of us would like our children tdo have a memory like that?
The reality in our family is a little more like this: Cold cereal or fresh fruit -- unpeeled and unsliced -- serve as breakfasts most mornings. If they're lucky, I just might manage to heat some hot cereal or slice some cornbread, but it's usually a lick and a promise that I'll do better just as soon as I catch up at my desk.
But when I do don my apron, it is inevitably to rediscover that it takes only about 15 minutes to mix together some French toast batter, or pop a batch of baking powder biscuts into the oven.
There are some breakfasts that definitely need to be saved for leisurely weekend mornings, such as pancakes or waffels, but I always seem to prepare too many, so another weekday breakfast which is easy to fix is warmed-up pancakes or waffles,. I use the toaster or the oven, but I suspect that a microwave unit would be nicer. Since toasted pancakes tend to a little dry, I layer them with yogurt and pureed fruit before serving. Heating them in a stack inside a wrapping of aluminum foil takes a little longer, but produces a moister result.
Reheated waffles lend themselves nicely to becoming cinnamon toast (butter, honey, and cinnamon), or the base for a honey breadcrumb, sunflower seed and butter struesel topping. (Leftover waffels at lunch time become pizzas.) Since my family includes a couple of meal skippers, especially in the morning, I often cut the waffles into segments (some waffel irons produce attractive heart-shaped pieces when you do this) rather than placing an entire waffle on a plate. Psycologically, four small pieces arranged on a plate seem to be less intimidating to the sleepy child than one large one. Provide molasses, maple syrup, yogurt for toppings, chopped nuts and sliced fruit for garnishes.
Hot muffins take slightly longer to prepare than simple biscuts, because there are usually more ingredients to find, blend, and put away. However, if you use double acting baking powder, as most cooks do, the batter can be made the night before, left at room temperature (the muffins rise better if the eggs are at room temperature before being heated) and slipped into the oven to bake while you shower or make lunches.
Any of these whole grain breakfasts, good ways to start the day, should be complemented with dairy products and/or nuts and seeds to give the highest quality protein to the meal. A glass of milk is a good way to do that, with a handful of sunflower seeds, but peanut butter spread on a muffin and a slice of cheese works just as well. If you don't manage to create something from scratch, even just setting a plate, a bowl, a cup and a spoon out will leave the impression that Mother Was There that morning, and seeing to it that the cold granola, or grape nuts, or Cheerios was topped with yogurt or accompanied by a slice of whole grain toast and peanut butter, is a good subistitute.