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Alice Henneman, MS, RD, UNL Extension in Lancaster County
Do you look forward to having my family stay over, but trying to feed everyone in the morning is such a hassle. Everyone's getting up at different times, some like to eat right away and some don't. Others like a big breakfast and others only want coffee.
Consider setting out a help-yourself buffet for whenever they're hungry. Rather than try to get everyone seated at the same time in the morning, sometimes, it's just easier to take them as they come. Especially if there are younger folks who stay up late and get up late.
Here are some ideas to get you started -- modify as works best for you:
- Set up a buffet area with an assortment of plates, silverware, glasses and cups. It may work best to do this the night before.
- "Train" early risers the night before how to make coffee (or tea) in your kitchen. They'll probably appreciate being able to enjoy a cup right away when they get up. And you can catch a few extra winks.
- Consider buying several of the little individual boxes of cereal so people can help themselves to their favorite variety. Unopened cereal keeps quite a while so you can always use it later. If needed, set sugar nearby. Also, include little "mini" boxes of raisins. They're great on cereal or by themselves. They can also be set out the night before.
- In the morning, if your guests have several hot beverage preferences, keep water heated in a large coffee pot. Then set out an assortment of beverages, such as individual packets of hot chocolate, tea (both regular and herbal) and coffee (perhaps include some flavored coffees).
- Keep the milk and juice(s) in the fridge. Direct people as needed.
- Set out bananas -- good for topping cereal or just eating out of hand.
- Put a variety of breads and possibly bagels by your toaster. (It may be best to keep your breads wrapped so they don't dry out.) Include a cutting board and knife. Set fancy jams and jellies nearby. Peanut butter is another possibility. The "squirt" type of margarine may be easiest and least messy to use. Include some pastries or a coffee cake if you like. If people come to your buffet more than a couple of hours apart, refrigerate your spreads between uses.
Become the hostess with the mostest rather than a short-order cook for company. Enjoy leisurely coffee and conversation as guests visit your breakfast buffet. After all, isn't that what having company is all about!