Thursday, April 25, 2013

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10 Tips for an Easy Low-Stress Family Breakfast (#FinishRiseandShine)

Thank you to Finish for providing a complimentary product sample for us to base this review upon and for providing a gift card so we could purchase supplies and ingredients for our #FinishRiseandShine breakfast.  All opinions expressed are my own.

With Mother's Day and Father's Day coming up, you may be aspiring to surprise your spouse or your parent with a family breakfast.  If the idea of preparing a big breakfast by yourself (or with your children for that matter) seems daunting to you, then you must read on to see how easy it was for us to make this tasty family breakfast for the Finish Rise and Shine Challenge.  Simply following one or more of these tips will make your meal preparations that much easier.

Tip #1:  If you are planning on serving bacon as part of your family breakfast, make it the day before and store it tightly covered in the fridge.  I usually line a cookie sheet with tin foil and bake the bacon in a single layer. The next morning, you can just reheat it quickly in the microwave.

Tip #2:  Choose one easy recipe to make in the morning.  Checkout my recipe for Easy Bacon & Scallion Cornbread.  If you have prepared the bacon ahead of time, the prep time for this cornbread is less than 10 minutes and it will bake while you prepare the rest of the meal.

Tip #3:  Serve microwavable breakfast sausages.  If you have bacon waiting to be reheated, just cook the sausages in the microwave for 1 minute less than called for.  Then add the bacon to the plate and microwave for an additional minute.

Tip #4:  Choose one or two beverages that everyone in your family enjoys.  My husband had coffee, but our 3 children and I had hot cocoa.  It was easy to make with just a little hot water.  We usually only give the children half a mugful because they can never finish a whole one.  I highly recommend that you try your hot cocoa with a dollop of vanilla ice cream in it.

Tip #5:  Use dollar size microwavable pancakes.  They are quick to heat up and you won't be required to cut pancakes for each child.

Tip #6:  Just so you are not feeling too guilty about all the grease and salt, fill a bowl with fresh fruit.  We served large strawberries, but grapes or blueberries would work well also.

Tip #7:  Fill your plate with some of everything in case your family eats all the food before you even get to sit down at the table.

Tip #8:  Remember to take a photo of your family enjoying this meal you've prepared to preserve the memory.  Also, there is no need for them to know how easy it was for you to put this breakfast together, so you can show them the photo in the future to remind them about how much you slaved over a hot stove for them.

Tip #9:  Leave the breakfast dishes for later and go enjoy time with your family.

Tip #10:  Before you go to bed, load all the dishes into your dishwasher, so you can let it run overnight.

(Click any photo to enlarge)

What made this last step possible for me is the Finish Quantum Power Gel.  To be honest, when I agreed to take the Finish Rise and Shine Challenge to leave our breakfast dishes until bedtime, I was extremely skeptical.  Our dishwasher is old and I always rinse off the dishes before I load them.  My regular detergent is actually the bottled Finish Gel.  It works pretty well, but there are some things it will not get out, such as dried hot cocoa, lipstick on stoneware, and sometimes dried melted cheese.  I had very strong doubts that this little Finish Quantum packet I popped into the detergent well would get out the dried cornbread mix, the dried syrup that nearly fused our stacked plates together, and especially the dried hot cocoa inside the mugs.

Can I tell you how floored I was the next morning?  Everything came off the dishes . . . even my arch nemesis, the hot cocoa.  Not only that, my dishes actually shined!  All I could think about was how much time and water I could save from now on just by using the new Finish Quantum.

What is your arch nemesis when it comes to getting your dishes clean in the dishwasher?  I'd love to know what it is and if you are able to get it clean without rinsing and only using the Finish Quantum Power Gel.  Get your FREE sample of Finish Quantum (1 per household), take the #FinishRiseandShine Challenge, and share your results on the Finish Dishwashing Facebook page.