Mary Ann Lienhart-Cross
Food & Nutrition
We have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and too often, when people are extra busy during the holidays, they skip it. Since there is already enough added stress with the holidays, you should not omit breakfast.
No doubt about it, food is a major part of the holidays. You look forward to having family and friends over but it does makes for extra food preparation. None of us want to spend all our time in the kitchen while everyone else is visiting or, worse yet, doing food preparation after everyone else has retired for the evening. Also, when it comes to breakfast you have the challenge of people getting up at different times with some who like to eat right away and others who don’t. Plus there are some people who like a big breakfast and others only want juice, milk or coffee.
Here is an idea that you might want to try: set up a breakfast buffet area with an assortment of plates, silverware, glasses and cups. This is one of those things you can do the night before and also where you can ask others to assist. The night before, you can also ask the early riser to make the coffee or tea. Here you have some options: your coffee maker might already have a timer built into it, or you could plug the appliance into a timer. Whatever way the beverage gets made, the early risers will probably appreciate being able to enjoy a cup as soon as they get up.
Some other ideas to consider are buying several of the little individual boxes of cereals for people to help themselves to their favorite variety. Make sure to have some fresh fruits like bananas and oranges, and also some dried fruits nearby such as raisins, cranberries or cherries. All of these items can be set out the night before.
If you want to provide several hot beverage choices, you can keep water hot in a crock pot or other glass container like a teapot. Try not to use a coffeepot, as even the water heated in it will have a coffee taste and any other beverages that are prepared with this hot water will have the coffee taste. For the heated water, you can set out an assortment of beverages such as hot chocolate, tea (both regular and herbal) and coffee. Don’t forget all the holiday flavored creamers.
Have some fun festive signs that direct guests to the refrigerator for juices, milk, yogurt, cream cheese, fruit salad, cheese and other breakfast items. You can also have a variety of breads and bagels by your toaster. By the toaster, have a cutting board and knives. If you don’t want bread or toast, how about muffins? You can make a variety of them ahead and store them in the refrigerator or freezer. Don’t forget to set out the honey, jams, jellies and peanut butter by the toaster or on the table.
When you want to have hot foods, overnight breakfast casseroles are great. There are all sorts of wonderful overnight sausage breakfast casseroles, French toast casseroles and of course, eggs and ham. I really like to use hash browns in the sausage ones instead of bread. Don’t forget the overnight coffee cakes. You can add some fresh apples or dried fruit to them. Another favorite is overnight cinnamon rolls or anything that is yeast bread. There is just nothing like warm yeast bread, especially with a cup of hot cocoa or mulled cider.
Plan now to plan ahead and ask others to help; you can be a hostess who enjoys the company verses a short order cook. Enjoying company and the conversation over good food is what having company is all about.
Mary Ann Lienhart-Cross is an Extension educator in consumer family science. Write to her at 17746 E. C.R. 34, Goshen, IN 46528; call 533-0554; or email email@example.com.