When I was a new mom I had dreams of sitting around the table every morning, with Daddy leading devotions to smiling children memorizing Bible verses set on a backdrop of a hearty home cooked breakfast. I had no idea at the time that we would welcome one baby after another and that I’d have 12 years of rough mornings. We’d be up all night taking turns with a colicky baby and Darren would peel out of bed barely rested, just in time to throw on clothes and dash to work where he had a loaf of bread stashed for breakfast toast.
If there was a tiny baby, I was morning nursing instead of morning baking and the times I was pregnant, I was holding down the sofa on my left side, because standing made me black out. I could talk to the kids from there and give them instructions and help with their schoolwork. Even so, I never gave myself permission to let go of the dream. I’d dust myself off and hope for tomorrow, and along the way feel like a failure.
I’m not sure I ever made peace with the difference between what I thought I should be doing and our reality, but what we had to do to survive ended up with some awesome results. The children learned how to make their own breakfast at an early age. The older ones would help the younger ones, while I nursed the baby and looked on. At the beginning the older ones were 5 and 7….and the younger ones were toddlers. Usually they ate store brand Cheerios, or graham crackers and milk, peanut butter toast, or scrambled eggs. But sometimes they broke out the waffle iron and cooked French toast in it. It was easier to cook that way than trying to flip it over (though they learned that eventually too.) And more often than not they brought me a plate of whatever they made with a proud smile that said, “I did this myself.” They learned a few scriptures by heart too, just not during breakfast.
I’ve learned a few things looking back on this season of life.
To embrace the beauty in my reality.
To let what’s possible define what’s perfect.
To embrace simple meal times
One of the easiest ways to simplify breakfast is to cook a big batch of something at the beginning of the week and live off the leftovers for a while. This works with eggs, pancakes, muffins, oatmeal….almost everything. Adapt it to your needs. Only want to heat up the griddle once? Then cook the whole batch of pancakes ahead. Prefer your pancakes fresh? Then keep a big batch of batter in a labeled pitcher in the fridge ready to cook a few at a time.
Here is one of my favorite big batch recipes:
Always Ready Bran Muffins
3 cups unprocessed wheat bran
1 cup hot water
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
½ cup butter or coconut oil
2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups buttermilk
In an electric mixer bowl, cream butter, sugar and eggs. Add hot water, molasses, and bran. Mix well.
Add salt and baking soda. Then add flour alternating with buttermilk until all is combined. Chill in the ridge overnight.
In the morning: fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
The batter will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks and can be used for snacks or a quick breakfast on busy days.