Canadian Firefighter Magazine

Recipe Rescue: October 2018

By Patrick Mathieu   

Features Health and Wellness Nutrition

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is not just an old adage that mom or dad would use to try to get you to eat something before running out the door first thing in the morning.

Breakfast kickstarts your metabolism, helping you burn calories throughout the day. It also gives you the energy to get things done and focus at work or school.  

 So why do so many skip the most important meal?

It can happen if you’re at a busy fire house or rushing to get yourself or your children out the door. That’s a mistake. You need food in your system long before lunch time.

If you don’t eat first thing, you may get so hungry later on that you snack on high-fat, high-sugar foods. Could you imagine fighting a big fire first thing in the morning with no fuel in your system?


Breakfast also gives you a chance to get some vitamins and nutrients from healthy foods like dairy, grains and fruits.

When you wake up, the blood sugar your body needs to make your muscles and brain work their best is usually low. Breakfast helps replenish it.  

Enough of the science, though. The real question is: how do you make sure breakfast is easily accessible to yourself, your family, your kids and your crew?

Following are a few of my favourite tricks, tips and a recipe to make sure you keep the body fueled and ready for the day ahead:

  • Take whatever day may be a down day for you, whether it be on the weekend or a weekday and prepare your breakfast items for the week. Have smoothie items already chopped and bagged, and have certain components already cooked, like boiled eggs or oatmeal and pre-mix pancake or waffle mixes, so all you have to do is add wet ingredients.
  • The night before a big day, why not get breakfast going so you can wake up to a warm meal without any work? Use your slow cooker to get the hard work out of the way the night before. Delicious things like oatmeal and egg casseroles are all great recipes to make in the slow cooker.
  • Overnight oats are a game changer for a quick grab-and-go breakfast. Just add oats, milk, and whatever else you can think of or find in a mason jar and stick it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, the oats will be perfectly tender without having to heat them.
  • Stock your freezer with homemade waffles, pancakes and other morning staples. Waffles and pancakes freeze surprisingly well. Just throw them into Ziploc baggies and stick them in the freezer. That way, you can just grab and heat them either in the microwave or toaster and enjoy without having to do any actual cooking.
  • Make one big breakfast casserole, quiche or frittata on the weekend and eat them throughout the week. These eggy dishes are the perfect items to cook and reheat and you can always dress them up with different toppings like avocado, sour cream, or pico de gallo or hot sauce.
  • My wife is a nurse and her favourite trick while on shifts is to quickly cook omelets and scrambled eggs in the microwave in a matter of seconds. Mug omelets = amazing. Just throw everything in a cup, microwave for a minute or so, and breakfast is done. You can customize the recipe to your liking, adding cheese, veggies or whatever else you typically put in your eggs. And since all the prep is done, this comes together in a flash
  • Breakfast bars are easy, filling, and pretty darn easy to make. Even the busiest of mornings have time for a breakfast bar. Simply make a big batch on your down day and you are set up for success.
  • Repurpose your dinner leftovers. Think beyond scrambled eggs and pancakes and start getting creative with how you repurpose your leftovers. Rice can be transformed into a hearty breakfast bowl and roasted potatoes can be chopped up into a hash. Mixing and matching leftovers can save you some serious time, cut down on food waste and give breakfast an exciting new touch.

Peanut Butter and Banana Breakfast Bars


  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups vanilla almond milk
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 medium banana, quartered and diced
  • ½ cup shredded coconut

How to:

  1. Place rack in the centre and heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease an 8-by-8-inch square pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. In a separate large bowl, combine the milk, applesauce, egg, honey, peanut butter, and vanilla.
  3. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and stir to combine. The batter will be very wet. Fold in the diced banana and coconut and then pour into the prepared baking pan.
  4. Bake for 35 minutes or until thickened and golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool, cut into bars and serve or package for later use.

Patrick Mathieu is an acting captain at Waterloo Fire Rescue in Ontario and author of Firehouse Chef: Favourite Recipes from Canada’s Firefighters. Contact Patrick at  

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