Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Breakfast at school and some muffins

Elementary students will eat free this year

Breakfast will involve a very different routine this year for public school elementary students.

All students in grades kindergarten through five will be offered a free breakfast in their classroom.

That’s approximately 6,800 students, said Cindy Bailey, director of child nutrition.

I have a granddaughter starting kindergarten next week, and we’ve been talking about how she will eat lunch in her classroom each day. It’s the same routine she’s used to at daycare.

On Saturday, at the Back-to-School Fair, we got to sample two of the breakfast items she will be eating — blueberry bread and a goody bun (think honey bun) made with whole grains. I’m happy to report that both were delicious!

Each morning by 7:30, lunchroom staff will deliver breakfast to the classroom in insulated bags to keep the entree warm. Children will go straight to their classrooms starting at 7:40.

Those students who want to eat will choose between an entree, fruit, fruit juice and milk and will eat it at their desk. The option will be three out of four foods, with 1/2 cup of fruit required as one of the choices.

The teacher will take note of which students participate.

At 8 o’clock, breakfast will be over, and the teacher will put the insulated bags in the hallway for pickup. A student helper will take breakfast trash to specially marked trash cans centrally located on the hallways. Lunchroom staff will pick up the bags and trash cans within 15 to 20 minutes, Bailey said.

The entrees will rotate between such items as cereal, cinni minis, breakfast pizza, sausage biscuit, pizza bagel and sunrise sandwich, which is flat bread with eggs, cheese and turkey sausage. Fruit is an option each day and could be a flavored applesauce, strawberries or peaches in a sealed cup.

Bailey said cafeteria staff will notice which items are popular in each class and tailor what they send down each day. For instance, one class might choose more fruit cups than fruit juice.

If a child says he only wants milk, teachers will encourage him to eat something as well, Bailey said.

"The whole point is to provide a healthy, nutritious meal to the students so that they are full and can concentrate now on instruction.”

The free breakfast meets nutritional guidelines for whole grains and low-fat and has appropriate calories for the age group, she said.

Bailey was pleased with how well the foods were received Saturday morning at Jones Elementary during the Back to School Fair. Breakfast food was also sampled at five elementary schools last year for student acceptance.

Elementary school students are offered a free breakfast and lunch this year through a U.S. Department of Agriculture program that assists high poverty communities. The program is known as Community Eligibility Provision and is a provision of the Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act of 2010. Elementary school students will continue eating lunch in the cafeteria.

I love breakfast foods and think I would enjoy every entree on the menu. But these items won’t be served at my office or yours! As families are gearing up for back-to-school for the whole family, I thought I’d share two recipes that my sister and I use all the time. I have probably shared versions of these muffin recipes before, but here they are again, updated slightly by my sister, Susan.

I just finished eating a chocolate chip muffin, which is one of my very favorite morning snack treats. And I cooked a small ham Monday, so I will be making ham and cheese muffins before the week is out! There is no telling how many times my mother, aunt, cousins, sister and I have made these ham and cheese muffins in the last 20-plus years!

lisa@wilsontimes.com | 265-7810

Ham and Cheese Muffins 

1 3/4 cups self-rising flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 beaten egg

3/4 cup skim milk

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 pound thinly sliced deli ham, stacked, cut in strips then squares (or ham cubes if you have leftovers)

1 cup cubed or shredded sharp cheddar cheese (can use more, if desired)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin pan with baking spray.

Mix dry ingredients. Make well in center and add egg, milk and canola oil. Stir until moistened, then mix in ham and cheese.

Scoop into muffin tin.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Makes 1 dozen muffins.

Chocolate Chip Muffins 

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour*

11/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teasoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

1 beaten egg

1/4 cup canola oil

3/4 cup skim milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare muffin pan with baking spray.

Mix dry ingredients to combine. With spoon, make a well in center and add egg, oil, milk and vanilla. Stir until moistened, then mix in chocolate chips.

Scoop into muffin tin. Sprinkle a little sugar on top if desired.

Bake at 400 for 17 minutes.

Makes 1 dozen muffins.

* I use self-rising flour and omit baking power, baking soda salt. When I made these this week, I used original almond milk.

Susan Hoffman/Lisa Batts

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