The SPC Breakfast Planner

Strawberry Scones

From the moment I fin­ish my break­fast each day, I start think­ing about my next morn­ing meal. Ok, you got me, I start wor­ry­ing about din­ner but, once I've got that under con­trol, I go right back to think­ing about break­fast. Hands down, it's my favourite meal. So it's no won­der I always want to get it right. After all, if I don't have a good break­fast, then my day is off to a rot­ten start. I'm not sure if my daugh­ter feels the same way (I guess I should ask her) but, like other things, I assume she shares my feel­ings about the meal. (Obvi­ously, she hates walk­ing into class late too. I did.) There­fore, I try to make sure her break­fast is gives her enough energy for the day and has some­thing that I know makes her happy.

Eas­ier said than done, right? Dur­ing the week, going beyond the cereal bowl can be as dif­fi­cult a task as get­ting a 7 year-old to brush their teeth, I mean really brush them. It's why we give you our SPC break­fast plan­ner. We've got recipes you prob­a­bly expect like muffins as well as a few you prob­a­bly don't (good morn­ing, chia pud­ding!). We've also bro­ken every­thing down into cat­e­gories you under­stand: Grab And Go, 10 Min­utes Or Less and While You Sleep. So take what you need to sat­isfy your family's idea of the per­fect break­fast as well as get you out the door. I, for one, will be mak­ing the scones this week­end. After all, we're try­ing to get out of the house, on-time, with­out inci­dent, every sin­gle morn­ing too. Read more

Weekday Breakfast Week: Toad in a Hole


This post was orig­i­nally pub­lished when Scar­lett was a wee four years old. How­ever, it con­tin­ues to ring true today. I still have "brush your teeth" and "get your coat" on a morn­ing loop but I also rely on this easy break­fast, even now that our morn­ings are way more hec­tic. (What was I think­ing back then call­ing those days "hec­tic." Rookie.) Along­side some fresh fruit, Scar­lett always feels sat­is­fied by this morn­ing meal. (In fact she had it today with sliced apples and blueberries.)

This week we'll be chat­ting break­fasts, espe­cially easy bal­anced morn­ing meals that will make you feel good about send­ing the babes out into the world. We'll see you back here late this week with recipes and strate­gies that will help you get out of your cereal loop. In the mean­time, go forth with this Toad in the Hole. It's a fam­ily favourite.

Scar­lett has got­ten to a fun age where she loves to hear sto­ries from what she calls the "old days." In other words, she likes when we tell her about places she vis­ited, things she liked to eat, or toys she had when she was a baby. The "really old days" are when we tell her places we vis­ited as kids, meals we enjoyed, or toys we had back in the day. (Her responce to a Sit'n Spin: "What's so fun about get­ting dizzy?" Not sure.) Once we offer our tale of "the really old days," it usu­ally means we bet­ter be pre­pared to man­age the oblig­a­tory requests: "When can I have a jeep and drive around play­ing Whites­nake?" (Clearly, that was my hus­band.) Read more

The Lunch Lifesaver, Part 2: Batch Cooking for Sanity


We're at the end of week two of school here in Toronto, but I know some of you have been back for a few weeks. How is it going? We had a cou­ple of bumpy days last week but that was about the bus. I've been pretty pleased with how the packed lunch thing is pan­ning out. Despite my fears, Julian is adjust­ing to los­ing the three-course, hot lunch he had for years at day­care and hap­pily fin­ish­ing up the packed bento box I've been send­ing him to senior kinder­garten with. And it really doesn't feel like much more work to pack two lunches rather than one.

My real trick is doing as much prep on the week­ends as I can. It's my goal to make two or three things on the week­end and two of those are with school lunches in mind. Once you start this habit of cook­ing ahead each week­end, you'll start to build up your freezer as part of your arse­nal in a way that is life chang­ing. So a cou­ple of days a week I'm really just assem­bling a lunch rather than mak­ing it. And talk­ing about assem­bling, I make sure that I have lots of pack­able ingre­di­ents for snacks — things that won't smush. Even though I use a bento box, which keeps lunch ele­ments from touch­ing each other, there are foods that just don't travel or keep well. Look­ing at you, rasp­ber­ries. But grapes, car­rots sticks, pep­pers cut into strips, cucum­ber rounds, cherry toma­toes, cel­ery sticks, etc, all make it through the day well.

Okay, here's the lunch plan for next week, with a few things you batch cook on the week­ends. Let us know how it's going for you, what you'd like to see and what your kids like or don't like. We love hear­ing from you! Read more

The Lunch Lifesaver (Paediatrician's advice, school week menu and grocery list!)


Scar­lett has a friend in her class who comes to school with sea­weed for a snack and packs her own salad for lunch. On the other end of the spec­trum, she has a friend who usu­ally car­ries a hand­ful of pre-packaged snack items down to the lunch room and he once had half a gin­ger­bread house packed in his sac. (His brother had the other half.) School lunches mean some­thing dif­fer­ent in every house­hold. In other words, I know some moms who fret end­lessly about cre­at­ing a nutri­tional tri­fecta of foods each day while oth­ers place it at the bot­tom of their to-do lists. We all have the things we fall down on (don't talk to me about baby­ing too much) but build­ing a healthy rela­tion­ship with food is a life­long gift we give to our chil­dren. How­ever, don't panic over that state­ment. I think we can all agree that school lunches are not only tricky to plan and exe­cute but who doesn't need a lit­tle help. So we put together this lit­tle lunch pack­age we like to call the "life­saver." We spoke to one of Toronto's most trusted pae­di­a­tri­cian, Dr. Paul Munk, for nutri­tional tips, orga­nized a menu of our favourite lunches and cre­ated a gro­cery list. You can use some of it, try all of it, but, for good­ness sake, don't worry your­self sick. Take it one day at a time and remem­ber, if it all goes to hell in a lunch pail, you always have next week. Read more

Strategy: Snacks For Sanity


Raise your hand if you're already tired of think­ing about school lunches. I thought so. Well, have no fear. Tomor­row we will bring you a great menu plan of lunches for next week. We'll even throw in a shop­ping list. How­ever, today, we want to talk about snacks. My daughter's school snacks (she requires two a day) are an equal form of stress for me. As easy as it would be for me to get pre-packaged items (don't get me wrong, I do that some times too), I like to try to come up with my own, home­made snacks. Although, home­made some­times means sliced cucum­ber. You can call that home­made, right? Read more