Now that summer is coming to a close, I’m feeling, as I always do, terribly nostalgic. The sibling rivalry, trail of wet towels, dirty dishes, and inherent chaos of having three kids around 24/7 quickly fades, and all I remember is fun and family time. The highlight was a big and (for us) fairly exotic trip that included a good stretch in Turkey. It may not surprise you to know that cuisine plays heavily into vacation planning over here, and Turkey did not disappoint. But as I think about all of foods we ate – crazy fresh seafood, luscious eggplant dishes, and savory kebabs — it is the simple breakfast I had each morning that resonates most.
Everywhere we went, breakfast inevitably included perfectly ripe tomatoes and crisp cucumbers, along with hefty slices of feta cheese. Each morning I piled all of those goodies on a slice of toast, drizzled it with olive oil and gobbled it down along with tiny cups of Turkish tea. I have no idea if this is how the Turks do it, but it satisfied me for the two weeks we were traveling in their fine country. I never tired of it or veered off course.
Since coming home, I’ve enjoyed my tomato/cucumber meal a few times (though I have to confess, it’s not quite the same without the Turkish coast out my back door). This humble little breakfast has given rise to a whole line-up of open-faced sandwich ideas. As I prepare to send the kids back to school next week, I’m thinking this will be our new “quick and dirty” school day breakfast.
Toast can be the starting point for nearly anything and can be tailored to kids’ tastes. Having just one slice of bread instead of two leaves room in pint-sized appetites for the protein, fruits, vegetables, and whatever else you dream up to put on top. Paired with a glass of milk, it makes for a pretty balanced start to the day. It also allows you to get a little playful by making smiley faces with the toppings or using cookie cutters to make shapes.
Here are 10 ideas to get you started. I’d love to hear your take on the open-faced breakfast, too, so please share in the comments section of this post.
1. Smashed avocado, toasted sunflower seeds and tomato slices on toasted multigrain (as pictured above)
2. Fried egg, cheese and baby spinach on toasted levain
3. Almond butter and banana on toasted English muffin
4. Cream cheese, chopped walnuts and sliced apple on whole wheat raisin toast
5. Tomato or tomato sauce and melted Cheddar on bagel (breakfast pizza!)
6. Peanut butter and jelly on toast (as pictured below)
7. Cream cheese, cucumber and smoked salmon on hearty German bread
8. Scrambled egg and avocado on toasted English muffin
9. Melted Gruyere, ham and baby spinach on toasted Rye
10. Tomato and sliced cucumber on crusty bread with crumbled feta (Turkish style)