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Morning-Time Sanity Savers

Kids are back in school full swing, pumpkin spice coffee and donuts have officially been released (and given away free), and Saturday we watched Duke eek out a win against Baylor. A little more than my Baylor Line jersey reminding me of 1999, and it was fan-tastic, you guys.

I also (finally) got my Fall garden in, a little late, and again, with fingers crossed that something actually grows. North Carolina is notorious for one amazing September week of crisp Fall weather, followed by one or two weeks of hurricane season rains, and then, blammo, it’s winter.

But this year is looking up.

And I am looking inward.

At the scary dark places of my house that are hiding hoards of stuff that just needs to go.

I’m in clean-out mode like I haven’t felt since pregnancy, and it has me itching to up my efficiency game.

Remember my magic muffins post from 2015?

2015 was the season for hearty muffins. This gave way to the hearty pancake season of 2016.

And now? I’m in breakfast bread mode.

I swear I don't plan these things, but I'm gravitating away from high-prep, tedious clean up to high-efficiency, high-yield food. Click To Tweet

You know I’m a slacker sucker advocate for sleeping-in, so much so, that last year my girls ate breakfast and lunch at school every day, and many days of the week I didn’t even see them off to the school bus.

Hashtag parent hacks, hashtag winning.

Well, after much complaint from one kid about cafeteria lunches and the other kid about cafeteria breakfasts, I concluded that I could (and should) probably be able to handle the task of feeding all four of my children. Daily. Three times a day. Plus snacks.

You know. Because I am a stay at home mom after all.

Listen. It’s really hard. It’s really hard to keep food in the mouths of what often feels like four baby birds, forever with mouths open, cheeping for more food. It was hard all summer and guess what? It’s still hard.

So I’m forever on a quest to make it easier. (I’m forever on quests, period, but especially quests of life ease.)

Stick with me here.

The easiest yummiest breakfast or snack yet.

Breakfast breads. Pumpkin bread. Banana bread. Dreams of zucchini-straight-from-my-garden that has become zucchini-from-the-grocery-store-because-I-grew-exactly-one-zucchini-total-this-year bread.

I know what you are thinking. Doesn’t that have a lot of sugar and fat? I thought you didn’t eat anything you wanted even though you can, you skinny….

No but seriously, you know I tweaked it to make this stuff healthy. Healthy-er. Healthy-ish.

Basically, this is an all-in-one meal that will perk me up in the morning, not give me a headache, and keep me and my kids full until our ten o’clock mandatory-no-matter-what-we-had-for-breakfast morning snack. It is a little sweat, a little nutty, and a lot hearty. And if it isn’t sweet enough, no shame in smearing it with some butter and honey, or sprinkling a little extra cinnamon sugar on top. I won’t tell.

My kids love it so much, I feed it to them again when they get off the school bus, with a Cutie, outside, and make them compost the peels.

You should know by now that when it comes to cooking, I rarely use recipes. Also, I kind of fabricate measurements, so, in the recipe below, hold me to exactly nothing if yours doesn’t turn out. Generally speaking, when it comes to measurements, I eyeball everything, which is why I had to hold my tongue in Eliott’s 5th grade classroom while her teacher gave a lesson about “things that cannot be estimated” last Monday.

It turns out she is not lying when she says she does not bake.

Anyway, I said I was upping my efficiency game, and I wasn’t lying. I decided to go ahead and make several loaves at once, and I’ve documented the process for your enjoyment. You will notice that instead of one big bowl, I actually went ahead and used four different bowls.

The thing about doubling or tripling recipes is that it is even harder to figure out how much of everything should go in, when I don’t even measure in the first place. So though it goes slightly against efficiency mode, this time I went ahead and just made 4 separate batches. I do have a plethora of loaf pans, however, and so all of them were baked simultaneously. Also, I ended up with some leftover batter, with which I made pancakes.

Waste not, want not.

All ingredients out.

2c. flour
2c. oatmeal
½c. sugar (white or brown or both)
¼c. ground flax seeds
¼c. wheat germ
1t. baking powder
1t. baking soda
½t. cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and/or allspice
2c. milk
2 eggs
¾c. pumpkin, banana, or zucchini purée
1t. vanilla extract

Optional add-ins: any chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds, raisins, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, fresh apple chunks, poppy seeds, chia seeds.

Optional subs: any non-dairy milk substitute; any gluten-free flour alternatives; any other squash family (or similar) purée.


Preheat oven to 350°

1. Mix dry ingredients.

Like my bowls? They’re 60% off on Amazon right now!

2. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

I blend zucchini with milk in the Ninja first.

3. Stir until well blended but don’t over stir.

Pumpkin bread on left; zucchini bread on right.

4. Fill prepared loaf pans.

Prepped pans with parchment paper and well-greased sides makes for easy removal and cleanup.

5. Bake until knife comes out clean (about 55 min for large loaf pans, 45 min for small).

Let the smell of fresh baked bread fill your entire kitchen.
The UnderToad’s Kitchen Efficiency Tips
  • Get out all ingredients first and put each away after adding it. This keeps me on track for what I’ve used, you know, since I go sans recipe.
  • Prep loaf pans with a piece of parchment paper on the bottom, and well greased sides only (I used coconut oil but any kind of oil, lard, or butter works.
  • Allow bread to almost completely cool before removing from pan. Just slide a knife around all four sides and the bread should pop right out, with a nice parchment paper base easy for sliding in and out of the gallon ziplock I used to freeze extras.
Did I say easy cleanup? Just kidding.

No but seriously.

Enjoy. Enjoy that extra 10 minutes of sleep tomorrow morning. Enjoy that minute your kids burst through the front door and declare they are starving this afternoon. Enjoy that cup of coffee tomorrow at 10am, when you realize you haven’t had anything to eat yet.

Maybe your kids don’t need pumpkin bread. But you need pumpkin bread.

Pumpkin Bread

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