This June, my husband and I are hosting the highly anticipated reunion of my family. Coming from as far away as New Mexico and British Columbia, my two parents, three siblings, three siblings-in-laws, three nieces and two nephews will join our family of four. If you count it up, that’s seventeen mouths to feed, and I couldn’t be happier.
We haven’t all been together since summer of ’07; three years (and several grandchildren later) is just too long to be apart. Obviously, we have much to celebrate.
Since the countdown is actually weeks (2!) and not months away now, I’ve started the menu planning. Yes, I like to feed people. A lot. And I like to be organized. That means stocking the pantry and freezer, jotting down a loose menu plan, and reserving another side of local beef.
The sudden influx of house guests might leave some people feeling overwhelmed, but with proper planning, it can be quite manageable.
I’ve already outlined several ideas for do-ahead dinners in this post on warm weather batch cooking, and most of our lunches will be picnic-style, so all that is left to think about is breakfast. I love a big breakfast, after all, it’s the most important meal of the day!
Here’s what will be joining the strawberries in the freezer in preparation for our breakfasts…
Do-Ahead Breakfast Ideas for the Freezer
Scones are a necessity. Blame it on my British half, but if I don’t have scones to serve to overnight guests, I feel my breakfast is second-rate. Plus, we’re going to need something to help transport all the homemade jam.
Three types will do the trick. These recipes all freeze marvelously when raw, which ensures fresh hot scones in the morning as they are baked from frozen.
- These Basic Cream Scones, most likely with currants.
- These slightly more decadent Lemon-Ginger Cream Scones.
- These much more substantial Oat Scones.
Fresh Fruit, Frozen
Cubed fruit such as bananas, berries, mango is essential to have in the freezer for the occasional smoothie breakfast on the go or when you just don’t feel like having carbs. This dairy-free, sugar-free Coconut-Milk Raspberry Smoothie is my latest blended breakfast favorite, so you can be sure I am stockpiling cans of coconut milk too.
I love bacon as much as the next person, but cooking bacon is not always simple as it requires careful attention while cooking and can make a mess in the process.
When I want to turn out a really efficient and easy hot breakfast, I will cook my bacon in advance and freeze it. I bake it at 350°F on a foil-covered baking sheet, where it cooks nice and flat, until crispy. Then I drain them on paper towels, put them in Ziplock bags and then toss into the freezer for easy, no mess, bacon & eggs (the bacon part, anyhow).
When I’m feeling really celebratory, I’ll glaze the bacon with pure maple syrup during the last few minutes of baking. Oh boy.
Home-made Buckwheat Pancake Mix
Whether you’re cooking for two or twenty-two, it can’t hurt to have homemade pancake mix around. If you store it in the freezer, it can keep for several months, available round-the-clock for whenever the pancake mood strikes – and in our house, that is fairly often.
I can’t think of anyone I’d rather cook stacks of pancakes for than my pre-school aged nieces and nephews, so I’ve made up a huge batch of buckwheat pancake mix. The recipe is large, yielding 12 cup of mix or approximately 84 pancakes, but why not go for it? You can give a few jars away, toss some in the cooler for that weekend camping trip, or invite the extended family over and score some brownie points with your nieces and nephews.
Recipe: Buckwheat Pancake Mix
Makes 12 cups of mix.
- 4 cups buckwheat flour
- 4 cups whole-wheat flour
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup Turbinado sugar
- 2 Tablespoons salt
- 2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Baking Soda
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Using a sturdy wire whisk, mix ingredients together thoroughly.
- Using a funnel, scoop mix into jars and top with a lid. Label and store in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use.
- 1 cup buckwheat pancake mix
- 1 cup buttermilk OR 1 cup milk with 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 egg
Combine well and ladle on to a hot griddle. Flip pancakes when bubbles start to appear.
Yields approximately seven 5-inch round pancakes.
Do-Ahead Breakfast Ideas For the Pantry
Granola is the closest thing to cold cereal that my brother-in-law will find in my pantry, and we all need a help-yourself, no-cook breakfast once in a while.
Chai-Spiced Granola with Dried Apples and Almonds is in the works for my pantry stash. A double recipe will make about a gallon and keep for up to a month in an airtight container – if it lasts that long. I somehow doubt mine will.
Although this recipe for the best. muffins. ever. is very freezer friendly, I prefer mine fresh from the oven—no matter how hectic the morning. So I won’t be making and freezing any muffins ahead of time, but I’ll be sure to have all the ingredients on hand for my favorite flavor combinations.
Dark chocolate and raspberry? Yes please!
Not every morning of our reunion will involve maple-glazed bacon, warm currant scones, and berry smoothies, there will also be a small army’s supply of oatmeal to balance out the specialty items over the two-week celebration. Little tummies (and bigger ones, too!) need the fiber and protein that oatmeal offers, not to mention it is practically a comfort food among the little cousins.
I’m partial to my Butter-Toasted Steel Cut Oats, and will be stirring those up by the vat-full.
None of this would be possible if it weren’t for coffee. The late nights, the early mornings with the kids; a family reunion promotes burning the candle at both ends, but thankfully, we have coffee.
Not just any coffee, either; one of our favorite companies, Greeley Road Cafe, prides itself on fresh roasted fair trade coffee, organic beans, and slave-free production. They are an exemplary company; read more about their coffee and cause on the Greeley Road Cafe blog.
Q: Do you lean toward letting a traditional breakfast slide over the summer, or will you stockpile some of these suggestions and invite your friends over for brunch?