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Saturday, May 26, 2012

The frugal breakfast solution

People ask me all the time, when they hear how little we spend on groceries, just what do we eat. So I thought I'd share, starting with breakfast. I think it was Jane Brody (author of the Good Food Book) who said breakfast should have a couple of components, some carbs (preferably complex) to get you started in the morning and some protein to fuel your day.  I keep that in mind when planning a frugal breakfast for my family.

This is what we eat on non-holiday mornings:

sunseed butter on toast
Most days we have whole grain toast with sunflower seed butter (see recipe:  ) 

great oatmeal
On weekend mornings, one day I make oatmeal, the other I make waffles or pancakes.  Both days I do double batches ( for ideas on what to add to oatmeal, see ). The leftovers get packed up, ready to heat-and-eat (minus the milk on the oatmeal and the syrup on the pancakes or waffles), and put in the freezer.  

better pancakes and waffles
When I make my weekend pancakes/waffles, I add pureed pumpkin, applesauce, mashed bananas, blueberries, banana slices, and/or chopped nuts, and use whole wheat flour.  They are chock full of nutrition and flavor.  To pack these to-go, I use shallow round containers (like what hummus or bleu cheese crumbles come in), and stack a few pancakes.  I add butter, but let everyone top with syrup as they please.  For the waffles, I have square Ziploc type plastic containers.  These are deep enough to stack 2 waffles each.  Again, I add butter to each, but not the syrup. These keep in the freezer for a weekday.

homemade muffins
One morning or afternoon a week, while I'm waiting for something else in the kitchen, like making a pot of soup, I make a batch or two of muffins, about 12 each batch.  I use a very simple recipe that has infinite variations, only limited by the imagination.  For those interested, I've written it out and it's here 

homemade granola
In weeks when I don't bake muffins, I make a large batch of granola.  I use a variation of a recipe from Jane Brody's Good Food Book.You"ll find the granola recipe here.

On special days, like birthdays and holidays, I often make quick and easy donuts or homemade cinnamon buns .

It's a lot of variety for our family. What you don't see is packaged cereal.  I don't have anything against packaged cereal.  I just don't have an inexpensive option for buying it.  (I have, on occasion, found cereal on the clearance shelves of my local grocery store and will buy it then, so it's not like we never have cereal.) Many people have stores with double coupons (or triple even), discount stores with a selection of cereal, generic brands that are priced low, or a supply of cereal coupons, all which make buying cereal more affordable.  It just so happens that I don't have those options here, for one reason or another.  So, this is my frugal breakfast solution.


  1. Grace (Lili's daughter)May 26, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Thanks for writing this! It really is surprising how much nutrition goes into the breakfasts you prepare-- I always think of healthy food as being fruits or vegetables, but a lot of the time I seem to forget the fact that a body needs carbohydrates and protein as well. And also, I can attest to the quality of the muffin recipe, especially the carrot muffins. They were so good--it was like having carrot cake for breakfast! :)

    1. Thanks, Grace,
      I try hard to do my job well.


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