Friday, January 29, 2010

Ask-a-Muse: Breakfast for the Office

The Muses were recently asked this question:
Dear Muses:

My team at work has a Friday breakfast schedule in which we rotate bringing breakfast for about 15 people on Friday mornings. While everyone likes bagels and donuts, these options get a little boring. What do the Freelance Muses suggest bringing to a Friday work breakfast that is
1. Relatively inexpensive (preferably $20 or less)
2. More exciting than bagels
3. Relatively easy to transport
4. Quick to make the morning of, OR ok to sit overnight (if made on Thursday)

Stumped in South Carolina

We’re sorry lovely – we can't answer this question. You’ve put far too many restrictions on us.

Just kidding! Who do you think we are, losers? Lazy ladies? Limited lackeys? Think again.
Your question immediately conjures up the idea of a breakfast casserole - which honestly isn’t our favorite. Casseroles, when done well, are warm, gooey, delectable concoctions. But far too often they’re mushy masses that do nothing but gag our texture-sensitive peeps.

Here are our ideas:

A crock pot of oatmeal
Since we just mentioned our texture-sensitive friends, you may immediately write this off as a no-go. But particularly in the winter, who doesn’t love a bowl of hot steamy goodness? Not only that, but this fiber-rich substance staves off hunger for hours and is kind to your waistline (since we all know that even the best of us have allowed the running shoes to hibernate ‘til spring…) The best part is that since you are serving the oatmeal out of a crock pot, it is not allowed to congeal into a solid mass.

Consider bringing a few garnishes along in little Tupperware containers or baggies to suit a variety of taste palettes, and allow folks to serve themselves buffet style. A few ideas:

Brown sugar
Chopped toasted almonds or walnuts
Figs, apricots or craisins
Soy milk

Breakfast pizza
One half of the Muse team could eat pizza until she expanded to the size of the bloated, floating Violet in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Breakfast pizza is a fun brunch item, since it combines a breakfast concept (fruit) with a lunch concept (of course if you want to eat real pizza for breakfast, I’m certainly not going to argue).

We’d like to share with you this favorite recipe courtesy of Food Network’s Giada DeLaurentiis.

The mascarpone cheese and fruit may cost you a little more; perhaps this is more of a special occasion Friday. Like for when you get promoted because of your Friday morning culinary spread.

Along the same lines as oatmeal – healthy and hearty. But if you have the energy to make it yourself, please, by all means do it! Everyone will appreciate the effort. Perhaps bring along some fresh fruit and yogurt so that your co-workers can make themselves little parfaits. We like this recipe.

Cinnamon Rolls
Let’s diverge from the healthy route for a moment. Who doesn’t love gooey, warm cinnamon rolls that make you want to slap your mama?! Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman, has a wonderful, easy-to-transport recipe complete with a photo tutorial.

Or you can try this recipe from Fine Cooking which requires no yeast or rising but the buns turn out just as soft and delicious.

Photo thanks to The Kitchn

And if you have a morning when you’re feeling less than ambitious, never underestimate the value of fresh fruit. Everyone (except possibly a freedom hater) loves the cold delight of fresh fruit in the morning, and it is always the perfect accompaniment to muffins or bagels and coffee. Get creative with your presentation and have fun with it - display the fruit in a brightly-colored bowl, use another piece of fruit to garnish it (star fruit is super fun), or arrange on a platter with a few fresh flowers.

We hope to have helped!

The Freelance Muses


  1. I really like the oatmeal and granola ideas. I would freak out get excited if someone offered either of those spreads at work for me. You muses are good!

  2. I'm loving the oatmeal idea. People love "dressing" up their own food. -No longer stumped in SC.