From the Farmer’s Market: Back to School Breakfasts

Who doesn’t love lazy summer mornings, sleeping a tad later and not worrying about feeding the kids’ (and ourselves) breakfast? Alas, the end is near. Just next week we’ll be setting our alarms and rummaging for healthy breakfasts to start our days on the right track. And as much as the kids will try to convince you otherwise, artificially sweetened cereals won’t cut it. What we need is quick, easy Back to School breakfasts!

As I wandered around the farmer’s markets and farm stands these last few weeks of summer, I couldn’t help but think about breakfast. Piles of zucchini triggered images of homemade bread, stacks of colorful carrots muffins, tart apples could so easily become a moist coffee cake and orange pumpkins would be yummy in spiced pancakes.

My kids like to start their days with something a bit sweet – a piece of banana bread, a crumbly muffin or pancake with maple syrup. That works for me, especially if I have my freezer stocked and ready to defrost and serve. Farm fresh ingredients – carrots, apples, pumpkin, zucchini, pears, peaches, blueberries – along with some whole wheat flour and all natural ingredients will result in a tasty, satisfying breakfast.  All it takes is a few baking dates and a bit of freezing knowledge to stock your freezer with a variety of easy, healthy and different breakfasts. A few seconds on defrost in the microwave and you’ll be starting your kids day with something bed and breakfast worthy.

Here’s a bit of what you need to know about baking and freezing:

  • After baking muffins, breads, pancakes – cool completely before freezing.
  • Wrap extremely well in various layers to seal out excess air – aluminum foil, plastic wrap, an extra freezer bag.
  • Package in individual amounts – single muffins, small loaves of bread – so that if one of your children prefers a peach muffin and the other blueberry, it’s easy-to-please.
  • If freezing pancakes, place between layers of parchment paper before placing in a freezer bag so that they don’t stick together.
  • Make sure to squeeze out the excess air from your bags so that no air can get to the food and cause freezer burn.
  • Label your food well! There’s nothing like disappointing someone early in the morning.

Here are my favorite farm fresh breakfasts for back to school:

Carrot Muffins
Zucchini Bread

Apple Coffee Cake
Pumpkin Bread
Pear Muffins
Fig Bread
Farmers Market Pancakes
Blueberry Muffins
Peach Muffins

Now all you need is to carve out some time to do some baking. If you can’t spare any now, wait until the kids are in school or use the weekends. If you recruit a friend to help, you’ll be getting some much needed girlfriend time while getting something accomplished.

Farm Fresh Peach Muffins
Makes 24 Muffins

For the batter:
1/3 cup 2% milk
6 tablespoons melted salted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour (or all white or half and half)
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
2 large peaches, peeled and diced into small pieces

For the topping:
3 tablespoons salted butter
½ cup white flour
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare the mini muffin pan by spraying with baking spray. Or, you can use mini cupcake liners which will hold the muffins together better. To make the batter, whisk together the milk, melted butter, vanilla and egg. Set aside. In another bowl, stir the flour, sugar and baking powder together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a wooden spoon. Fold the diced peaches into the batter.

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, butter and cinnamon with your fingers to form the crumble topping.

Distribute the batter among the baking tins and sprinkle a generous amount of crumble topping on each. Bake for 15 minutes on the center rack in the oven. Gently lift the muffins out of the pan and cool on a rack. Repeat until all batter is used.

To freeze the muffins, cool completely and then transfer to an airtight container. Lay wax paper between the layers. For extra protection, wrap the container with aluminum foil.