Quinlan and I have a morning routine on my days off. It goes something like this:
7:30 rise and shine
7:35 diaper change + brief chat on how her night was
7:45 back into the big bed, nursing + snuggles
8:55 read book, tear pages out
9:20 bored with books, destroy living room
9:30 do something cute, send photo to Oma
9:45 find thumb, start to fuss
9:55 rocking chair + oversized fuzzy blankie
10:15 reunite with crib
This works pretty well for us and provides ample opportunity for me to sniff her head, blow raspberries on her fat cheeks, and remind her how much her sweaty little pea-pod feet actually stink. But somewhere along the way, the 8:30 section got pretty boring. Breakfast should never be boring.
It was easy to overlook the first meal of the day because, for a while there, Quinlan only nursed and I would nibble on a piece of toast or a bowl of cold cereal or skip it altogether. It's a little different these days as she gets bigger and hungrier and demands tiny morsels in front of her high-chair for pinching in between chubby fingers. So I thought about it, and with the help of Marion Cunningham, I started to think about breakfast differently. She even has a guide for Breakfast Table Civility and Deportment:
Clean up before you come to the breakfast table, wash your face and comb your hair.
You don't have to get dressed.
Clean fingernails, please.
Sit up straight and try to be cheerful.
Because everyone is defenseless at breakfast, there should be no contentiousness or crossness.
Don't talk with your mouth full.
Remember, guests always receive the choicest portions.
Of course, most of that goes out the window when you're feeding a tiny tyrant and the new motto is Get Food in Baby, Take No Prisoners. But after multiple mornings of applesauce or yogurt, we were both yawning. I'd set the little bowl in front of her and she'd nibble at it, but I could tell she was bored. I wanted to get things moving in the morning for us, to be intentional about our first meal together, and to give her new foods to explore and taste. And so, Breakfast with Quin was born.
If you follow me on Instagram, you've gotten a sneak preview of our crack-of-dawn adventures: buttered raisin toast, smoothies of all sorts and colors, buttermilk pancakes, scrambled cheesy eggs, and blueberry oatmeal to name a few. Perhaps I put too much pressure on myself to make something extravagant every morning, like I couldn't drum up the stamina to do more than sloshing milk over some boxed cereal. But eating with Quinlan gives breakfast a refreshed sense of purpose and now my morning feels bland without it.
This morning we made a Dutch baby pancake, also called German pancakes if you know them by that name. They're quite a bit different than regular pancakes - you start by melting a nub of sweet butter in a cast iron skillet until it's starting to turn brown and nutty on you. Meanwhile, you throw a couple of eggs, flour, and milk into a blender and whir it all up into a thin, pale yellow batter. The mixture goes into the skillet and the skillet into the oven where it puffs up like magic in a matter of minutes. When it's ready, the edges will be crisp and deep brown, slouching in all different directions, crumpled and craggy looking. The center will be delightfully eggy, barely sweet and just waiting for you to slosh over a good amount of fresh lemon juice and a shower of powdered sugar. No pancake syrup here.
I munched the crispy bits and let Quin have the custardy middles, a compromise we reached after some deliberation and a few Cheerios. It's up to you, just be sure you have it on the table in a prompt manner or you'll end up with some very unhappy campers, as you can see below.
Dutch Baby Pancakes with Lemon + Sugar
Adapted from Molly Wizenberg
2 tablespoons butter
4 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly squeezed lemon juice
powdered sugar, for topping
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Melt the butter in a skillet (or a similar size cake pan) over low heat, taking care to coax the butter up the sides with a pastry brush.
In a blender, blitz together the eggs, flour, milk and salt until combined. Pour the batter into the hot pan and slide it into the oven.
Bake for 18-22 minutes or until puffed and golden and crisp at the edges. The moment it comes out of the oven, splash over the lemon juice and a few shakes of powdered sugar. Cut into wedges or just tear it apart at the table, right in the skillet. Either way, serve hot.