Ideas to spice up any breakfast

Bored with breakfast? Here’s how to change that

lf-spiceupbreakfast
From decadent cinnamon rolls to cheesy egg casseroles, this year’s holiday has really opened my eyes to the morning meal’s potential. Hildy Maxwell | Cavalier Daily

As the holiday season has gone on, there is one thing I’ve noticed — how much breakfast I’ve been eating. Is it just me or do breakfasts get A LOT bigger during the holidays? I’m not sure why this happens — whether it’s the colder weather or the overload of family time –– but breakfast becomes yet another opportunity to celebrate. From decadent cinnamon rolls to cheesy egg casseroles, this year’s holiday has really opened my eyes to the morning meal’s potential. 

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and –– as the saying goes –– the most important one as well. I’ve never been a “grab a granola bar and go” kind of girl. I’ll set my alarm just a little bit earlier if it means being able to whip up a few eggs or some oatmeal. I look forward to weekend brunch all week. And although it’s great to hit the Villa or The Pigeon Hole on a lazy Saturday morning, cooking in your apartment can be just as awesome — you get to stay in your pjs. 

Are you a breakfast skipper, late sleeper and/or just not a morning person? Bored with breakfast? Maybe love it but need a change? If so, here are a few of my top breakfast ideas for those mornings before your 9 a.m. — and no, you won’t have to wake up any earlier. 

In the mood for savory? Avocado toast — yes, yes, I know it’s basic — is a delicious and quick option. Toast up any of your favorite bread, smear on some avocado and top with anything you like! Some of my favorite toppings are Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel seasoning and a fried egg, olive oil and balsamic drizzle with sliced cherry tomatoes and — if you’re feeling fancy — a slice of smoked salmon and a lemon squeeze. 

Overnight oats and chia pudding are two sweet choices that I love because you can make them the night before — even in a large batch — and have them ready for the next day or two. Like the avocado toast, these two are totally customizable. You can spice up the basic recipe with whatever flavors your stomach desires. 

For overnight oats, combine one-half cup of oats, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, two-thirds cup of milk of your choice and some sweetener. I have personally found that honey, maple syrup and agave blend the best. I also sometimes like to add a drop of vanilla extract or a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir all of this together in a resealable container and leave in the fridge overnight to soak. You can top your oats with anything from nut butter to granola and fresh fruit. One of my favorite toppings is apples sautéed in butter and cinnamon with a handful of cinnamon-flavored granola. 

Chia pudding is just as simple to throw together as overnight oats, but its gelatinous texture is not for everyone. I usually like to use coconut milk since it gives a creamier texture but any milk will work. Combine 1 ¼ cup of milk with one-quarter cup of chia seeds and a tablespoon of any liquid sweetener. Shake in a tupperware container or mason jar and leave to sit in the fridge for at least two hours. My favorite way to make chia pudding is by adding cocoa powder to the mixture and layering it with plain greek yogurt and fresh strawberries.

Now onto brunch — if you feel like hosting, here are some dish ideas that are sure to please all your friends and make your apartment smell heavenly. 

Big tray meals are your best bet for easily feeding a group with minimal work and dishes to wash. Frittatas are easy to throw together in a big pan with beaten eggs and any leftover veggies and meats sitting in your fridge. Giada De Laurentiis has a few awesome frittata recipes you can find on Food Network's website. French toast casserole is another simple dish for which you can easily find a recipe almost anywhere online. Banana, zucchini and pumpkin breads are quick and easy to put together and are great plain, toasted with butter or made into french toast. 

If you’re into baking, or feeling like pulling out the big guns for a special occasion, homemade cinnamon rolls will never fail to impress your guests. Served with some scrambled eggs and bacon, you can’t go wrong with freshly baked cinnamon buns — unless they’re the Pillsbury ones which vaguely remind me of cinnamon-studded hockey pucks. 

Cinnamon rolls are definitely an endeavor, and most of them are made the day before, so I only recommend adding them to your brunch spread if you have some extra time. You can always save time by using store-bought dough –– like Immaculate Bakery rolls –– but be sure to squish these guys nice and close together in the pan to maximize the gooeyness. While there are millions of roll recipes out there, I recently ran across one that ticked all the boxes for me. The Vanilla Bean Baking Blog’s cinnamon rolls are doughy-on-the-outside, crisp-and-flaky-on-the-inside swirls of heaven drenched in cream cheese frosting. You can find the recipe here

Say goodbye to mornings of chalky protein bars and hungry stomachs. Whether you’re hosting Sunday brunch for all your friends or simply looking to up your weekday breakfast game, I hope you’ll give some of these foods a try! 

Hildy Maxwell is a Food Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at life@cavalierdaily.com

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