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Cost-Cutting, Time Saving, Energizing Breakfast Ideas

Frugal Parenting (featured column)
by Rachel Keller

If you’ve read my article, Tips for Cutting Costs at Breakfast, you know that breakfast does not have to break your budget. Yet many choose to skip breakfast for lack of time or to save calories. Skipping breakfast, however, does not save you calories. After a long night of fasting, you need breakfast to increase your metabolic rate and help you burn more calories throughout the day. If you starve yourself early in the day, you grow hungrier as the day progresses and eat most of your calories in the evening.

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Don’t skip breakfast because you think it’s boring! Instead, try some of these fabulous, frugal, and quick breakfast recipes/ideas to whet your appetite and provide energy for your morning workout.

* If you like cold cereal, who says you have to eat only one type of cereal in your bowl? Try mixing a couple varieties for a unique taste.

* Add sliced strawberries, bananas, peaches, blueberries, raspberries, or any other fruit you enjoy.

* Sweeten your cereal by adding yogurt to it rather than extra sugar.

* Try heating your "cold" cereal for a unique hot cereal.

Recipe Ideas for Hot Cereal

* Try making your hot cereal with milk or juice rather than water. Milk makes oatmeal taste creamier and apple juice sweetens and flavors the hot cereal.

* For an extra special treat (or if you don’t have milk), try a scoop of ice cream in the oatmeal. The ice cream gives the oatmeal a creamy taste and helps prevent burns in children by cooling down the oatmeal. Be creative and try different flavors of ice cream.

* Add fruit, raisins, nuts, wheat germ, or yogurt to your hot cereal.

* You can even eat oatmeal without cooking it for a different texture and taste. Since we purchased an oat roller, we enjoy eating freshly rolled oats in cold milk or even just plain.

Peanut Butter Cookie Cereal

My children love this cereal. (Even the baby eagerly eats it!) We make it with freshly ground flour for optimum nutrition and best taste.

3 c. water
3/4 c. whole wheat flour (or bulgur or cracked wheat)
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. peanut butter
1/2 tsp. salt

Pour the water into a medium sized saucepan. Carefully stir in the flour with a whisk or a fork. Stir until the flour is dissolved. Add sugar, peanut butter, and salt. Bring to a boil on medium heat. (Once it boils, stir almost constantly to prevent scorching on the bottom.) Reduce heat and stir for 3 to 5 minutes. The cereal will thicken and become smooth. Serve with milk. Depending on your family’s appetite, this recipe will serve 4 to 5 people.

Bagels, Toast, and Muffins

Bagels, toast and muffins don’t take much preparation. Prepare the homemade muffins the night before while baking dinner to save time. Make extra muffins and freeze them. Then pull them out of the freezer for an easy breakfast.

Orange-Nutmeg Pan Toast

If you workout in the early morning, try this dish afterwards for a great boost in energy. This recipe makes 4 servings.

1 egg
1/2 c. skim milk
1 tsp. grated orange peel
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 T. water
8 slices French bread, cut 1/2 inch thick
1 T. confectioners’ sugar

Beat together the egg, milk, water, orange peel, and nutmeg. Dip the bread in the egg mixture to coat one side; then immediately turn the bread. Let the bread stand for 10 minutes. Brown both sides of the bread slices. Sprinkle with sugar and serve.

Jam Muffins

These whole-wheat muffins are high in complex carbohydrates and a great choice for fitness buffs!

2 c. whole-wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 lowfat milk (1% fat)
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. honey
1 tsp. grated lemon or orange peel
2 T. strawberry, raspberry, or apricot jam
2 T. wheat germ

In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine the milk, egg, oil, honey, and peel, and add to the flour mixture, stirring just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Line 12 muffin pan cups with paper liners and fill the cups 1/4 full of batter. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon of jam into each cup and top equally with the remaining batter. Sprinkle the batter with wheat germ. Bake the muffins on the middle rack of a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until browned on top and firm to the touch. Yields 12 muffins.

Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins

Buttermilk, a low-fat milk product, is more easily digested than whole milk, and is less likely to cause stomach cramps than the slowly absorbed fat in whole milk.

5 c. flour
5 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. sugar
2 c. buttermilk
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 lb. butter or 1 cup oil
1 pint fresh blueberries

Sift together dry ingredients. Mix together milk, eggs, and butter, and add to the dry ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moist. Gently fold in blueberries. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or 2- 2 1/2 minutes for six muffins on medium high setting in the microwave. Yields about 3 dozen muffins.

I experimented with this recipe, and have successfully made them in the microwave, as well as the oven. You can bake 6 at a time on medium high for about 2 - 2 1/2 minutes. Rotate the plate once. Watch the muffins carefully, as microwaves vary. They are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. The muffins in the microwave taste very moist, but they lack the light brown appearance of oven-baked muffins.

I hope you enjoy adding these recipes to your breakfast menu. To find some more great recipes, read Tips for Cutting Costs at Breakfast.

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Copyright © 2006 by Rachel Keller. All rights reserved.

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