Thursday 28 September 2017

Spending family time together at breakfast with Ready Brek

Please excuse my disappearance over the past few months.  We've been busy moving.  Packing up our lives and moving 200 miles across the country.  It's entailed a house sale and purchase; a new job; a new school and countless hours of soul-searching about leaving friends and family behind, but we did it for the promise of a better work-life balance and more family time together.

It's working out pretty well.  The Other Half has swapped his daily 3-hour-plus commute for a round trip of about 40 minutes and it has enabled us to finally be able to all sit down together and eat as a family EVERY DAY - both breakfast AND dinner.  There was no chance of having breakfast together previously, with him up and out every morning long before I'd even stirred.  It meant the morning struggle of juggling all the family chores (you know, feeding the dog, walking the dog, getting breakfast, clearing breakfast, making packed lunch, asking child to get ready for school, asking again, asking for a third time, the inevitable hunt for a missing pencil case/football boot/water bottle etc etc) all fell to me, and tempers were often frayed.  Now I have someone to share these tasks with each morning things are so much calmer!

Having breakfast together has become a real pleasure so I was delighted when Ready Brek asked me to put their cereal to the test.  Now, I clearly remember the TV adverts for this from my childhood, with the kid skipping off to school with the Ready Brek glow - central heating for kids.  For some reason we never had it in my house growing up - it will go down in the annals of family history along with other items I was deprived of - the Mr Frosty slush maker and that money box that dispensed little miniature chocolate bars... bitter - moi?

Anyway, we all enjoy porridge and even though I've avoided gluten for well over a year now, I've found that normal porridge oats are fine for me.  Gluten and my stomach don't get on, but thankfully oats cause me no problems at all (oats are naturally gluten free but may be mixed with other cereals in the processing stage which is why you'll find gluten-free oats for coeliacs).

Ready Brek is a great choice for kids and provides them with slow-release energy to get them through the school day.  Many children's cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals, but unfortunately they also tend to come loaded with added sugar and salt.  Ready Brek contains no added salt or sugar and provides Vitamin Bs, Vitamin D and Calcium.  It is finely milled making a super smooth and creamy texture and is so quick and easy to prepare.

Like the Three Bears, we all take our porridge differently, and we've been experimenting with different toppings to come up with our favourites.  I like that I can prepare the toppings in advance and keep in the fridge, or use store cupboard items and then just make one big pan of Ready Brek - we all get what we like but essentially I'm just making the one breakfast.

Since moving to Somerset, I've been staggered at the amount of apples around. I mean, I knew it was famous for cider but seriously, practically every field is an orchard and every single garden contains at least one apple tree.  It means you can wonder down the road, happily picking up windfalls, or help yourself to some from the many buckets outside people's homes offering them for free.  I have a very sweet tooth in the morning, so I like my Ready Brek with some spiced stewed apple and a drizzle of maple syrup.

The quickest and easiest way to make up a batch of the apple sauce is as follows:

Peel, core and chop one large cooking apple.
Please in a non-metallic bowl with a sprinkle of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon, all spice and nutmeg and a splash of water.  
Cover with cling film and microwave on high for 1 minute.
Remove from microwave and stir.  The apple should be soft and fluffy, if not, cook for a further 30 seconds.

The Old Man likes to be super-healthy with his breakfast, usually eating nuts, seeds and fruit so his winning combination was blackberries and chia seeds. We've been blessed with an abundance of blackberries this year and I'm frantically picking them to freeze or make juice and jam with before the end of September when legend has it the Devil pees on them and makes them all inedible!  

For his, I cook up some blackberries with a little sugar, much like making jam but before taking it to the furious boil and setting point.  The cooked blackberries keep well in a covered pot in the fridge for a week or two.

Like me, Ruby also has a sweet tooth in the morning.  Her absolute favourite topping is a spoonful of chocolate hazelnut spread and a handful of toasted hazelnuts for some added crunch.

The only problem is our happy family breakfasts are now filled with banter about whose breakfast is best!  What do you think?  Which would you choose or do you have your own idea?  I'd love to hear in the comments.

And you can check out how some other bloggers like their Ready Brek in these posts:

The Mummy Sphere makes banana breakfast muffins with hers
Pink Oddy has lots of suggestions including overnight oats, smoothies and flapjacks

This is a collaborative post with Ready Brek.