JOPLIN, Mo. —
The biggest shock to the change in routine, which happens every time school starts after summer vacation, happens in the morning.
That's when the clock transforms from a helpful suggestion to a stern order. And because grumpy kids in the morning can be about as regular as the clock's blinking colon, parents search for ways to make each second more efficient.
One of the ways to do that is with a fast, easy-to-make breakfast. And there are plenty of ways parents can do that -- all it takes is a trip to the coffee shop or doughnut store for inspiration.
Joplin Avenue Coffee Company offers several smoothies as part of its menu, including the Dirty Monkey, a protein-packed drink with whey protein, peanut butter and a banana.
Smoothies offer plenty of preparation options. They can be made the night before school and served in the morning straight from the fridge, and their cold temperature fills up stomachs without sapping away energy during warmer days.
A variety of different fruits and flavors can be used, and healthier additives such as whey protein can pack in more nutrition without affecting flavor. Smoothies are also easy enough for older children to make themselves.
Peanut butter smoothie
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup peanut butter
Mix all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately or chill for 1 hour.
Some breakfast sandwiches can be easy to make. College Station Daylight Donuts and Coffee offers a sausage roll, which is a sausage link wrapped in sweet dough. Owner Marshall Spurrier said the sandwiches, which resemble pigs in a blanket, are a popular item at his store.
A home version can be made easily and quickly in the mornings for a hot, portable breakfast.
Easy sausage roll-ups
1 package breakfast sausage links
2 containers refrigerated crescent rolls (16 rolls)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
Syrup, honey or jam
Prepare sausage links according to directions. Unroll crescent roll dough and place a link on the end of each triangle. Roll dough around the link and place seam-side down on a baking tray. Mix cinnamon and sugar, and sprinkle evenly over rolls.
Bake rolls according to package directions. Serve hot and, if table space is accessible, with syrup, honey or jam.
A willingness to bake the night before can provide kids with a breakfast square that can be served quickly the next morning.
Cinnamon raisin oatmeal squares
1 1/2 cups instant or old-fashioned oatmeal*
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
11/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup milk
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with butter or cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together oatmeal, whole-wheat flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon until just combined. Stir in egg, butter, milk and raisins with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow 5 minutes to cool before cutting into squares. Squares will keep in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in foil for up to 5 days.
* Using instant oatmeal will yield a softer oatmeal square. Using rolled oats will yield a heartier, grainy square.