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PUBLISHED: 5:08 PM on Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Get a jump start for the day with a good, hearty breakfast

You might not be quite ready to face the culinary day, but kids (and you) need a good breakfast before heading off for school.

Paula Cornelius and her husband Steve, the parents of three boys, 16, 14, and 10, decided two years ago to switch from cereal and Pop Tarts to a hot breakfast.

"I think maybe they walk out the door armed a little better for the day," Cornelius said.

She and her husband scramble eggs, fry bacon, stir up sausage gravy for biscuits, make pancakes or French toast. Cornelius said she always considers the afternoon or evening before what she will prepare the next day. Leftover bacon might go into the freezer with biscuits for another day, she said.

The family is often scattered in the evening and can't eat together, she said.

Occasionally the family eats cereal, and sometimes they pick up a breakfast burrito, said 14-year-old Sawyer Cornelius.

Cereal fades away more quickly than eggs and bacon, he said.

"You don't get quite the energy you get with real meals. I get real energy from when she (Paula Cornelius) cooks, and that makes a lot of difference," he said.

Paula Cornelius' sons are hearty eaters, but not all children are.

For kids uninterested in breakfast, Leesa Wood Calvi, an extension agent for family and consumer sciences, said getting them in the habit of eating early is part of overcoming resistance.

"Once they develop a routine where they're accustomed to having a little to eat in the mornings, their body will need it," Calvi said.

Breakfast means literally to break the overnight fast, which lasted about 12 hours, she said.

"The most important thing is protein, and that can be as simple as a glass of milk or a carton of yogurt. We need the protein for brain function," Calvi said.

Any kind of protein food works, whether it's a slice of cheese, a cheese sandwich, milk or yogurt, she said.

Nutty Pear Toast

Yield: 1 serving

1 slice multigrain bread, toasted

1 tablespoon light cream cheese spread

1/4 of a medium pear, cut into thin strips

1 teaspoon maple-flavored or pancake syrup

1 tablespoon walnut or pecan pieces

Spread toast with cream cheese spread. Arrange pear slices over cream cheese spread. Drizzle with syrup; sprinkle with nuts. Serve immediately.

Jazz up the toast by sprinkling raisins on top.

Banana Wheat Muffins

Yield: 20 muffins

These can be eaten for breakfast or lunch as a dessert.

Streusel topping:

1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

Muffins:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

3 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin pan with baking cups; set aside.

For streusel topping, in small bowl, combine walnuts and brown sugar. Set aside.

For muffins, in large bowl, combine all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In separate bowl, beat milk, oil and eggs. Add to flour mixture all at once; stir until moistened. Do not overmix.

Gently stir in bananas and nuts.

Evenly distribute batter into lined baking cups. Evenly sprinkle streusel topping over each muffin. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool muffins in pan 5 to 8 minutes.

Deluxe Crockpot Oatmeal

Yield: 4 cups

2 cups milk

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup quick cooking oats

1 cup finely chopped apple

1/2 cup raisins and/or dates

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or almonds

Grease the inside of the slow cooker. Put ingredients inside pot and mix well. Cover and turn on low heat. Cook overnight or 8 to 9 hours. Stir before serving.


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