Get the latest summer forecast and weather knowledge from Cindy Day
Want to become a member? Check out the benefits here.
Thanking our essential workers
SaltWire's cartoonists bring heart and humour to the news.
Visit SaltWire.com for more of the stories you want.
SaltWire Selects: Stories worth sharing today
What you need to know about COVID-19: September 18, 2020
Feeding families can be time consuming and costly, and it becomes even more onerous when kids return to school and family schedules get extra busy.
I love the idea of using the last few weeks of summer to get organized for fall, and I’ve got some great tips for prepping food for busy mornings, school lunches, and family dinners.
Getting everyone to school (on time) with healthy food in their bellies isn’t easy. My kids are getting older, but mornings are still chaotic for us. Cereal is a staple in our house, but I like the idea of prepping some heartier options, too.
Recently, I starting making my own pantry pancake mixes. I mix up the dry ingredients for pancakes, put the mixes in mason jars, and store the jars in my pantry. Having all the ingredients ready to go makes it a breeze to whip up a bunch of pancakes in the morning.
To make my pantry pancake mix, mix the following dry ingredients in a bowl, and use a funnel to put the mixture into a jar:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 white sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
Then, when you are ready to make the pancakes:
- Dump the contents of the jar into a bowl, and add 1/4 cup melted (cooled) butter, 2 cups buttermilk and two eggs.
- Stir (just until most of the lumps are gone).
- Add approximately 1/4 cup batter to a buttered/heated skillet.
- Cook pancakes on one side until bubbles appear, flip, and cook the other side until lightly browned.
Pancakes are fantastic served fresh, but you can freeze them too. Let them cool, put them in a freezer bag, and place them in the freezer. When you are ready to eat them, pop them in the microwave for about 30 seconds or reheat them in the toaster.
French toast, baked oatmeal cups, omelet muffins, and smoothy packs are also great freezer foods to have on hand for speedy breakfasts.
Prepping for school lunches can be challenging too, so now is the time to start collecting ideas for main courses, fruits and veggies, and snacks/treats. My kids love taking French toast and pancakes in thermoses. I make them in the morning, cut them up, and pop them in a thermos while they are still warm.
Other fun options for kids’ lunches include: smoothies, DIY lunchables (little containers holding cheese, meat, crackers, fruits and veggies), pasta salad, pizza muffins, wraps, cereal, and mini kabobs (made from toothpicks, ham, cheese, and grapes).
This year, with COVID-19 concerns at school, it will also be important to ensure children have an easy-to-clean lunch bag, a wipe for their desk, and a labelled water bottle.
Lastly, prepping for dinnertime madness is key for busy families. Plan ahead for quick supper solutions by doing a little meal planning. Having options readily available in your freezer and pantry limits the need to eat out, which is good for a family’s health and budget. For example, a batch of homemade biscuits in the freezer can always be paired with canned soup on a busy weeknight.
With a few weeks of summer left, now is perfect the time to do a little back to school food prep. You’ll be very thankful when the chaos of September hits.
Gina Bell writes the East Coast Mommy column, which runs every second week. Follow her blog at www.EastCoastMommy.com or contact her at email@example.com.