Variety Is the Spice Of Life!

I know the last few posts have been a lot about organizing and feeling pulled together, and not much about Haiti specifically. Though, if you can step back and come in the back door, it’s all about Haiti. Haiti and life here, is what drives me to this place because it’s what helps keep my sanity.

So, yesterday I mentioned that I’ve been working on more variety, especially with breakfast. As I said, we eat a lot of eggs in the morning because they’re easy and one of the more inexpensive food options here. We get a flat (30 eggs) for about $4.50 – about $1.80/dz. I usually try to have about 2 flats in the house per week, which I use for meals and baking, unless we have visitors. If that’s the case I get more accordingly.

I also mentioned yesterday that Olivia doesn’t really like eggs because of some bad experiences with an early morning gag reflex. She will eat the white part if they’re poached or hard boiled, and will eat quiche. This is one of those things we don’t force because she has good reason to not want to eat them. In her case if we’re just having eggs & bacon, for example, I’ll cook her bacon and pop a piece or two of bread in the toaster and give her jam and peanut butter on it.

I only actually started planning breakfast meals a few months ago. I was getting bored with eating almost the same thing every morning, and so was everyone else. I also wanted to lower our grocery costs a bit, so while we splurge a bit and regularly have bacon in the house, I wanted to cut back on how much we used.

While I wanted more variety with breakfast, let’s face it, it’s breakfast. Breakfast is not supper, so variety is good, but it doesn’t need to be a different thing every morning. What I ended up doing was coming up with two weeks worth of meals and I just alternate them. It looks like this:

Breakfast Menu JPEG

OYO (On Your Own)
On weekends Chris still wakes up early, but he lets me sleep as long as I want to, which usually is only until about 6:30-7:00 am because my body is so tuned to getting up early. The point is, I don’t have to be up at a certain time and can catch up on a bit of rest, especially if Alex has been up a lot during the night through the week. We start work at 6 am, so there’s no room for sleeping in even if I’ve been up multiple times and am working on 5-6 hours of sleep. (As and aside, he slept for the ENTIRE night last night!!! First time in a long time. I think he was so worn out from being down in the yard all day that he slept like the dead. In fact, I checked him a couple times to make sure he was still breathing because he hadn’t even moved around in his bed!)

On weekend mornings I try to make sure there’s easy stuff around, like cereal, that Chris can just throw together for the kids so they don’t turn into little crazy people.

Oatmeal
Yesterday I mentioned that we don’t eat a lot of oatmeal, even though I know it has great health benefits. The problem is that it doesn’t keep either Chris or I feeling full for very long. It’s not a huge problem, but if I know we’ll be traveling, for example, I’ll choose to swap this out with something that I know has more protein in it just because it’ll help us stay full longer.

Breakfast Sandwiches
We love breakfast sandwiches! You can change them up in so many ways. Bread (toast), biscuits, English muffins, croissants… so many options just in the outsides. Sometimes we have them with just a scrambled egg and a bit of cheese. I might put some bacon in it, or if we’ve had deli meat in the house I might fry a slice of ham to go along with the egg and cheese. I like mine with a few slices of raw onion too. Pretty versatile, and also an easy meal to take on the go if you have to. Just wrap it up in a paper towel.

Poached Eggs On Toast
We love Eggs Benedict, but let’s face it – high calories! I do make it from scratch as a special treat from time to time. Because we couldn’t get English muffins here until I started making my own, I substituted a piece of bread. When I wanted to do a healthier version I discovered that a poached egg or two on a slice of toast with a smear of cream cheese was delish! If we have it (as in, we’ve done a grocery run in Port) I might saute some fresh spinach and do a slice of toast and cream cheese, the spinach, then the poached eggs with salt, pepper and a sprinkle of dill. I like my eggs a bit soft and I like to cut them up so the yolk runs. SO good. This is actually one of my favorite breakfasts, and I was really excited when my parents came because my mom brought me a second egg poacher insert so I can cook eggs for all of us at once.

Breakfast Bake
This can be any kind of breakfast bake, with any ingredients I have around the house. Maybe it’s more like a fritata one week, and baked french toast the next. It’s flexible.

I save the Breakfast Bake and Pancakes for Friday’s because Olivia doesn’t have school, which means a bit more time in the morning and less running around and managing. It means I can spend more time focusing on breakfast.

Waffles
Waffles? There aren’t any waffles on the list… Ah, yes grasshopper, you are correct. But, we eat them!

I had been wanting a waffle iron for years, so I finally bit the bullet and got one before Christmas. I don’t plan to make waffles on any given morning because it’s time consuming. Waffles are one of those meals you make when you have time to sit and visit and no where to go. Each one takes about 5 minutes to cook, so it’s a time commitment. That said, what I DO do is make up a double batch of batter and spend a few hours every couple of weeks cooking them all up, then I let them cool and I break them into quarters, dump them in a big Ziploc bag and freeze them. In the morning when I need something else for Olivia, or on weekends when we want a quick breakfast for the kids, I just take the bag out of the freezer, pop a quarter in each toaster slot and push town the handle. The toaster makes them nice and crispy again, just like a waffle should be. The kids love them and so do we. So, while they aren’t on the rotation, we do actually eat them as a supplement instead of toast, or on their own as a meal.

So that’s my basic Breakfast Menu Plan. I will say that it changes regularly based on the season we’re in as a family. If something isn’t working, I ditch it and replace it with something else. Because the ingredients are simple and stuff we have on hand most days, if I feel like changing it up I do. Even things like Daylight Savings affect it because it means adjusting the start of our work day. My whole goal is to have some place to start so that when I get up bleary eyed I don’t have to be grasping for ideas or trying to think. Chris and I are working together to eliminate stress first thing in the morning so we can all have a good start to the day, and this is part of that.

~Leslie