Back to school for most kids means new shoes, a cool backpack and an unspoiled 64-pack of crayons. It also means getting back to a morning routine. This year, make breakfast a requirement in your house. All you need is 15 minutes, plus these quick and easy breakfast ideas, tips, tricks and hurry-up secrets.

FRUIT SHAKES

Start with the basic recipe, and then customize with what’s in the refrigerator. Pour 1 cup juice, 1 cup water, 1 egg (optional), 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 cup crushed ice in the blender. Blend until smooth. Customize your shake by adding fresh fruit, yogurt, protein powder, leftover pudding, applesauce — even leftover Jell-O.

Keep peeled banana slices in plastic bags in the freezer. Add them to any fruit shake or just plain milk.

MONKEY MILK

Blend together a frozen banana, 1 cup milk and a few drops yellow food coloring (optional).

PURPLE COW

Blend grape juice and milk.

5-MINUTE BACON AND EGGS

When you bring home bacon, cook all of it (fry, bake or microwave); drain well; and then place the strips into a zip-type freezer bag and into the freezer. In the morning, remove a few strips (they won’t stick together in one big clump, as you might expect). Microwave for 30 seconds or until sizzling. While the bread is in the toaster, scramble the eggs.

FRESH-BAKED MUFFINS

On the weekend, make your favorite muffin recipe and fill muffin tins lined with paper cups. Now instead of baking them, stick the entire pan into the freezer. Once frozen, put the muffins into zip-type plastic bags and store in the freezer. In the morning, let the oven preheat while you’re in the shower, and then put as many muffins as you’ll need back into the muffin pan. Bake according to recipe instructions, adding about 5 minutes. Yum!

LEFTOVERS

What was left over from last night’s dinner can easily become breakfast.

Here’s an idea: Place scoops of mashed potatoes on a greased cookie sheet. Dig a little well in the center of each one, and crack an egg into each one (or, for you scrambled eggs lovers, beat the eggs first). Bake for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees F or until the egg is to desired doneness. Add salt and pepper to taste and you’ve just made bird nests.

Dress up omelets with last night’s meat and vegetables. And if pizza or spaghetti was good enough for dinner, it will be just fine for breakfast, too.

ON THE GO

While eating on the run is not, shall we say, ideal, it’s better than skipping breakfast altogether. If you must, make it to-go. Even when your adolescents insist, “If I eat anything, I’ll puke!” stand firm. Breakfast is one of the best tools you can give your kids to ensure their academic success.

Mary invites questions, comments and tips at EverydayCheapskate.com, “Ask Mary a Question.” This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of Debt-Proof Living, a personal finance member website and the author of the book Debt-Proof Living, Revell 2014. To find out more about Mary visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

© 2019 CREATORS.COM

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