Well, here we are. The school year is in full swing. Fall soccer season is knocking our (smelly) socks off. I have completely forgotten which way is up.
I already lost track of which way is south because when people give me directions they are not allowed to use ridiculous phrases like, “Turn east and you’ll see our house on the north corner.” What kind of foreign language are they even speaking? When giving me directions, people may only use phrases like, “turn right” or “turn left” or better yet “turn toward the sign with the monkey.”
In summary, September is always a very busy month for our family, and I am extremely directionally challenged. However, as long as I do everything I can to keep our food simple, I handle myself okay in the kitchen (which, as it turns out, is located in the northeast corner of our house).
Stashing prepared food in our freezer (found when you take a south at the stove and head due west toward the toaster) is only helpful if said prepared food doesn’t get lost in the back and freezer burned. I’ve discovered a couple of tricks during the past couple of years that make freezer cooking much better for our family, and my favorite is this:
Stir together breakfast baked goods, but freeze them before baking. Pull out desired amount of said frozen goods and bake them fresh on the morning you plan to serve them.
When doing this, I get baking messes out of the way so I don’t have to measure and mix on busy school mornings. But we can still eat the goodies fresh out of the oven.
Take, for instance, my “famous” Giant Breakfast Cookies. I mix up a double batch (because why make one batch when you can make two?). I scoop the dough onto cookie sheets and freeze the cookie dough balls. Each morning when we want hot, fresh Breakfast Cookies, I simply pull out some frozen cookie dough balls and bake them while I scramble eggs and slice strawberries. We all eat a fabulous breakfast and I’ve hardly worked at all.
I do the same with muffin batter, freezing it in muffin cups, unbaked, and pulling them out to bake as needed. Homemade Poptarts are perfect frozen unbaked as well.
This is all wonderful, seeing as I must use all my energy after breakfast to try and understand what my phone means when it tells me to “head north toward Highway 2” as I’m trying to locate a soccer field in another city. For the love of my brain cells, JUST TELL ME TO GO STRAIGHT OR TURN RIGHT. Well, anyway…
My most recent “Mix and Freeze” breakfast food discovery is this: I can mix up big batches of these Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars, freeze them unbaked, then pull out squares and bake them as needed.
See? I line my 8×8 inch pans with parchment paper, press in the dough, and freeze. I even freeze it in layers (though learned the hard way that it is important to keep parchment paper between the layers). Once frozen, I transfer the unbaked dough to gallon-sized freezer bags. If I think about it the night before, I’ll pull out a square to thaw in the fridge so I can bake it the next day. Otherwise, I simply pull out a frozen square in the morning, put it into a pan and bake it with a few minutes of extra baking time.
Where has this tip been my whole life? (Probably hiding somewhere between the east and the west, but of course, I could never find it.)
Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars
- 1 cup melted butter
- ¾ cup sucanat or ½ cup honey
- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 2 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground hard white wheat)
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- Stir together melted butter and sucanat.
- Add eggs, baking soda, salt, and vanilla, mixing well.
- Stir in oats and flour until well combined.
- Fold in chocolate chips.
- Spread mixture in a 9×13 inch baking dish (or two 8x8 inch baking dishes).
- Bake in a 350° oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
- To Freeze Dough: Line 8x8 inch pans with parchment paper, press in the dough, and freeze. Once frozen, transfer the unbaked dough to freezer bags. Thaw dough squares in the fridge overnight to bake the next day. Or pull out a frozen square in the morning, put it into a pan and bake it with a few minutes of extra baking time.
I highly recommend making and freezing bacon ahead so that within thirty seconds, you can serve hot, sizzly bacon with these bars. Any fruit will go with these as well, and with that, breakfast is served.
May your mornings be pleasant, may your breakfast be tasty, and may you never tell me to head south on 6th street.