Back-to-School Breakfasts!

As I mentioned in my last post, it’s back-to-school time in most of the United States, which means a lot less time for the luxuries of summer – like laying by the pool, late nights on the computer, and sleeping in. (Or, if you’re a foodie like me, less time research and try new recipes, less time to blog, and less time to work off all those yummy calories!) Breakfast doesn’t – and shouldn’t – be a luxury that goes by the wayside when school starts again.

I work as an adjunct college instructor (that’s part-time for all you non-academics) and a tutor at a local community college. I’ve been blessed with an awesome schedule this semester, teaching 4 of my 5 classes online and being able to fit in my tutoring hours in three days, which gives me a four-day weekend every week. Woo hoo! I can only hope this happens again (insert big, relaxed-from-sleeping-in-the-last-two-days-even-though-it’s-the-first-week-of-class smile here). But, the days I do have to go to campus involve early mornings and a fairly long commute. Throw in daily workouts, and I’m up WAY before the sun. So, what’s a vegan to do about breakfast on a crazy busy morning? Slurp down a smoothie on the way out the door. Duh.

My favorite smoothie is a simple one. It doesn’t have a fancy name or taste like a pie or a cookie. It’s just a nice, fruity smoothie that fills me up and gets me out the door. You can, of course, jazz it up however you’d like, but if you’re wondering where to start, START HERE.

Veggie V’s Start Here Smoothie

1 c non-dairy milk

1 frozen banana, chunked

1/2 c frozen fruit

1 scoop protein powder

1 TBSP chia seeds

Put everything in a high-powered blender and whiz, whirl, and whip away!

TIP: Put the light, fly-away stuff in first (like the protein powder and chia seeds) so it gets weighed down by the heavier stuff (like the frozen fruit). Totally delicious and refreshing. Ah…what a way to break the fast.

My favorite combo of non-dairy milk and fruit is unsweetened vanilla hemp milk and blueberries, followed closely by unsweetened chocolate almond milk and pitted cherries. I’ve found  I don’t need sweetened non-dairy milks because of the sweetness of the banana and the other fruit.

I’m currently using a brown rice protein powder, but I have some hemp powder to try when I’m out of my current flavor. I used to be a soy protein all the way kinda girl, but after reading a bunch of research on soy isoflavones, I decided to go a different way. That’s not to say you should use soy protein, I still eat tofu and miso and other soy products, but the I’ve found other protein powders work just as well for me – and they’re a little bit cheaper. Big bonus! Of course, you don’t have to use protein powder at all. The smoothie will never know ;-)

As for chia seeds, if you’re not familiar with them, be ready for a little gooyness. They gel up (which explains why they’re often used as an egg replacer in baked goods) and become almost like tiny tapioca balls. I love that they add some bulk to the smoothie and provide a little crunch. The Omega 3’s aren’t  a bad bonus either ;-) Of course, you don’t have to add the chia seeds. You could try some flax, or nothing at all. Your smoothie won’t be offended.

Last fall I became addicted to a pumpkin spice recipe I found at My Vegan Weight Loss Journey. I made a few modifications to Katy’s recipe, and the resulting Pumpkin Craisin Muffins became my goto, on-the-run breakfast. They freeze beautifully and heat up in the microwave just as well. If I’m eating one as a snack, a little Earth Balance is a tasty add-on. Yum!

A few weeks ago I discovered a new goto quickie breakfast – Angela’s Blueberry Almond Chia Squares from Oh She Glows. These also freeze and heat-up well, but I usually end up just letting the square thaw out in my bag at work; that way, it’s ready when I am (for breakfast 2.0, or second breakfast). I just ate my last square this week, so I’ll be making a new batch this weekend. I’m thinking of some alterations, which I’ll share later (with a photo – taken before I eat the last one!)

My last back-to-school breakfast is an internet favorite. Almost every vegan food blogger has a version of soaked oats in their recipe repertoire. Sometimes they’re called vegan oats, or overnight oats, or raw oats, or uncooked oats, or…the list is as endless and the awesome combinations of flavors. I just call mine DELICIOUS. (I’m one funny, breakfast-lovin’ vegan!)

Veggie V’s Awesome Oats

1 c oats

2 c non-dairy milk

1/4 c chia seeds

1-2 tsp vanilla

2 TBSP maple syrup

Optional: frozen or fresh fruit of your choice, diced (something firm like berries, raisins, apples, pineapples, or mangos work best).

Combine everything in a bowl so it has enough room to grown, stir, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours or over night.

This amount makes 2 normal servings or one giant serving for a breakfast lover like me (I love, love, love oatmeal! Always have). I have a hot version of Awesome Oats (inspired by Hungry Girl) that I’ll share with your when I get excited for fall.

If you like your oatmeal a little looser, don’t use the chia seeds. Contrarily, if you like it a little firmer, use less non-dairy milk and/or more chia seeds. But remember, the chia seeds add a little gelliness to the mix.

I love taking a big bowl of awesome oats to work for a late breakfast or even for lunch. I’m sure you could even eat this during a long commute (provided you’re not driving!) because it really gels up and isn’t sloppy at all.

With all these tasty, back-to-school breakfast ideas, there’s no excuse to skip. Just grab and go!

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