I’ve long been on a quest to make the most of my mornings. Mine aren’t particularly stressful, and that’s by design. One of my favorite benefits of homeschooling, for instance, is the bit about not having to go anywhere in the morning!
I get up quite early – always by 6, and often at 5 – so that I can do those important-but-not-urgent tasks that will get pushed aside when my husband and kids get up. Lately my morning routine has consisted mostly of writing. That time is so precious to me.
The thing is, the other members of my household wake up and expect breakfast. I’m not happy to serve them something like cold cereal or instant oatmeal, because those things are junk food. So that means I have to cook! I would be happy to have le petit dejeuner, but sadly my family doesn’t agree.
So, a couple of months ago I started experimenting with making breakfast the night before.
And my mornings were transformed. Seriously. After keeping a time log, I found I was spending 45 minutes cooking breakfast for my crew most mornings. I’ve now shaved that down to 5 minutes or less, while still serving up a hot breakfast. I’m about to let you in on my secrets!
1) I cook dishes that soak overnight
Some examples: baked oatmeal, which tastes like an oatmeal cookie but manages to be healthy. Baked oatmeal softens the palate of the most hardened oatmeal-hater! Steel cut oats, soaked overnight, cook in a couple of minutes (as opposed to 45) in the morning. The cool thing about soaking oats is that is renders them more digestible. Oatmeal used to leave me hungry after 30 minutes, but I can go for hours on a bowl of soaked oats.
Breakfast casseroles and overnight French toast are another example. Breakfast casseroles are super filling and you can use virtually anything (along with eggs of course) to make them. Overnight French toast is much easier than pancakes, waffles or traditional French toast that has you standing over the stove flipping things for a half hour or more.
2) I began using my rice cooker and slow cooker to make breakfast
These are two workhorse appliances in my kitchen. But we mostly think of them in terms of dinner, not breakfast. Turns out, your rice cooker can make perfect breakfast rice (substitute milk for the water, add raisins or orange rind for flavor) and oatmeal, or any other grain… without burning. I can’t count the times I’ve burned breakfast when I got distracted with something else. The slow cooker can make beautiful frittatas and casseroles that require no fussing or hovering.
Of course, I have many more ideas. So many in fact that I bundled them up into a new ebook:
The Busy Mom’s Make-Ahead Breakfast Cookbook has many of the recipes that are my family’s favorites and a bunch more, along with additional tips and ideas for making breakfast the night (and days) before.
I don’t know why this is so, but it seems to me that the same task done in the morning takes more time than if you do it the night before.
Even something as simple as picking out clothes for the next day. Have you noticed this?
We’re all in the kitchen in the evenings preparing supper and cleaning up afterwards, and I’ve noticed that it takes no time at all to whip up a hearty breakfast casserole or ingredients for muffins, when it would take me three times as long to do that in the morning when I’m sleepy and uncoordinated (and trying not to make noise to wake the little ones!).
It makes mornings more peaceful and more productive for me, and I hope it helps you too. Go check out The Busy Mom’s Make-Ahead Breakfast Cookbook
What are your favorite ways to save time making breakfast?