There are two types of breakfast eaters: creatures of habit who can eat the same thing day after day, and those who get bored with routine and like to mix things up in the morning. I’m admittedly in the first camp: I go through phases where I relish eating the exact same dish day in and day out; something about the repetition of the morning routine makes me feel calm. In college, my go-to was a bowl of plain greek yogurt with strawberries and bananas… then there was my steel cut oats with cinnamon and blueberries phase. I’ve had chia pudding periods and avocado toast addictions. Most recently, there were a few months where I alternated between smoothies and smoothie bowls pretty much every day. The only challenge? Everyone else in my family is of the “mix it up” variety, so I’m always on the hunt for slight tweaks on our go-to breakfasts that add flavor without adding any extra prep time to our mad-dash mornings. Keep scrolling for my two favorite updates for this fall.
*photos by kristen kilpatrick
This post was in partnership with McCormick. To learn more about McCormick as well as some simple tips and recipes to put to use, click here!
First, the breakfast food that is everywhere but that’s still impossible to get tired of because it’s so darn delicious: avocado toast. There’s something about those flavors that come together to form the perfect bite, and I’ve been upgrading ours with a pure spicy kick of McCormick Crushed Red Pepper Flakes.
- Toasted bread — I prefer a seeded, grain-y variety
- Fried eggs
- Chopped cilantro
- McCormick Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- A squeeze of lime
Tips that’ll result in your best avocado ever:
- Give the avocado a gentle squeeze: it should be slightly soft but not squishy. Don’t use your fingertips as it can bruise or dent the avocado.
- Pick the cap off the top of the avocado, if it comes off easily and is green underneath, you’re in for creamy, avocado goodness. If you pick it off and it’s brown underneath, that’s a sign of what the inside of the fruit will look like as well. If the cap is hard to take off altogether, your avocado probably isn’t ripe enough to eat.
- Slice the avocado lengthwise. Using a chef’s knife, carefully whack the pit and twist to remove. Although it might seem safer, don’t use a smaller knife here as it has a greater chance of slipping or bouncing off of the pit.
- Cutting the avocado in halves, or quarters will make it easier to peel and then slice into perfect slices.
- If you’re not planning to use the entire avocado, leave the pit in to preserve freshness when storing
- If the avocado has already been cut and smashed, squeeze on a little bit of lemon or lime juice to prevent browning
- Prepared or not, always wrap tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator
How to fry a perfect, sunny side up egg every time.
- Pour a generous amount of oil into the bottom of a non-stick pan and heat over medium heat for 2-3 minutes
- Crack the egg directly into the pan and turn the heat down to low after 20-25 seconds
- Allow the egg to cook on low heat until the white is set and the yolk has reached desired doneness — 2 1/2 minutes for runny, and 3 minutes for set.
- Serve immediately using a nonstick spatula
Fun toppings to spruce up your avocado toast:
- Fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and Italian seasoning
- Corn, cotija cheese, lemon pepper and hot sauce
- Smoked salmon, cream cheese and sesame seeds
- Honey, pistachios and cinnamon
- Cucumber, dill and garbanzo beans
Next up is one of my favorite things for fall: a warming bowl of healthy, comforting steel cut oatmeal, with the flavor turned way up by adding apples, dried cherry, McCormick Cinnamon, and McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract.
- Steel-cut oats
- McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
- Dried cranberries
- Chopped apple — Granny Smith is great for this
- Milk or almond milk
- Brown sugar
- Chopped walnuts
- McCormick Ground Cinnamon
I much prefer the chewy texture of steel-cut oats over rolled oats — plus they’re healthier since they’re less-processed than rolled oats and have a lower glycemic index (causing less of a blood sugar spike.)
The upgrade here is to cook the oats with an autumnal mix of chopped apples, dried cranberries, and vanilla – the apples cook right along with the oats so they get really soft and sweet, and the cranberries plump up so deliciously.
Here’s my go-to recipe for this version (it can easily be adapted with other fruits and toppings!)
- In a pot, combine 1 cup steel cut oats with 3 cups water and 1/4 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer.
- Add chopped apple, dried cranberries, and 1/2 tsp. McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract. Partially cover and cook 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Remove from heat and add toppings to taste: milk or almond milk, brown sugar, walnuts, and McCormick Ground Cinnamon.
This keeps really well in the fridge for up to 3 days — just add a little milk when you reheat if it thickens up too much.
Other topping ideas that’ll kick up your basic bowl of steel cut oats: