Start the New Year With Hearty, Nutritious Breakfasts

Pancakes and sausage are a tasty combination for a hearty breakfast on a winter morning. Check out easy breakfast ideas in the column and read about the history of locally made Capps’ sausage. Photo by Ann Cipperly PHOTO BY ANN CIPPERLY

By Ann Cipperly

Nutritionists say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and if a New Year’s resolution is to eat better, breakfast is a good place to start. Research has shown that children perform better in school if they have eaten a good breakfast. While mornings can be hectic getting ready for work and children ready for school, several recipes can be started the day before and be ready to bake in the morning or cooked all night in a crock pot.

Planning ahead will help mornings go smoother. Set the breakfast table the night before. Have the coffee ready to go or on a timer. A hot pot quickly brings water to a boil for tea and hot chocolate mixes.

Oatmeal and grits can be cooked all night in a crock pot and be ready to serve the next morning for a hot breakfast. Arrange the topping the night before except for cheese or cream. Another option is the overnight refrigerator oats in mason jars, which will be ready to grab and eat. Pancakes can be frozen and warmed in the microwave.

For a hearty dish with eggs, the Make Ahead Scrambled Egg Casserole with Cheese can be prepared the night before and placed in the oven first thing the next morning while everyone is getting dressed. If your family likes bacon, the easiest way to prepare it is by baking. Check directions on package and line the baking sheet with foil for quick cleanup.

Keep nutritious whole wheat breads on hand to quickly toast and top with almond butter or natural peanut butter. Be sure to check labels, look for ones that are simply ground roasted nuts and avoid any with sugar, palm oil and other added ingredients.

Our daughter-in-law, AJ, makes yummy biscuits using three ingredients. The butter is frozen and grated so that it is easy to incorporate into the flour. To make it even quicker, the grated butter can be kept in the freezer. If she doesn’t have buttermilk, she adds vinegar to milk. We enjoy these biscuits with Capps Sausage for a delicious morning treat.

Locally made Capps sausage is the most popular breakfast meat in our area. While the family had been making sausage on their farm for years, the history of the business goes back to the early 1960s. Billy Capps’ father, Bill Capps, had taken some of his hogs to market and was offered such a small amount that he decided to take them back home and make sausage.

Billy grew up helping to kill hogs and making sausage that had been started by his grandfather years before. It was part of life on the farm.

When Billy and his father started making sausage to sell, they used the grandfather’s method, but then switched to a recipe from a friend. Bennie Edwards, who had retired from his own meat business in Phenix City, shared his recipe for making sausage.

It wasn’t much different from the grandfather’s recipe, except that his seasoning was different. Billy made changes in the seasoning, which became a family secret that has been patented. A company in Calera makes the seasoning that gives the sausage its unique flavor.

A small seed shed on the Capps’ property was converted into a shop. Billy and his father began selling sausage during the Christmas season in the early 1960s, and it continued to grow every year. In the beginning, they purchased more hogs to raise for making sausage.

While Billy and Jane’s son, Trey, helped some growing up, he never thought he would go into the sausage business. After graduating from Auburn University in 1998, he decided to get involved in the family business. When Billy retired, Trey began operating the business.

The Capps stopped killing hogs 40 years ago, as the pork had to be from a USDA inspected slaughterhouse. Since it was too expensive to have their own slaughterhouse, they began purchasing the pork for making sausage.

Before the shop opens in the fall, Trey begins purchasing 2,000 pounds of Boston butts at a time from a USDA inspected plant that delivers. The bones are removed, and then the pork is cut up and seasoning added. The meat is then ready to grind.

It is stuffed into casing and smoked, starting at two in the afternoon until early the next morning. Smoked links are available hot or mild. Small breakfast links are stuffed into sheep’s casing instead of natural hog casing.

They also make a fresh link, which is not smoked and is mixed with jalapeño peppers and cheddar cheese. Other sausage products include fresh breakfast links and fresh patties that are offered hot or mild. Trey does not add water and cereal as some large commercial companies will do.

While the majority of customers will buy a few pounds at a time, two customers will buy 1,300 pounds for Christmas gifts. Some of their customers come from out of state.

The Capps’ sausage shop is open the second weekend in October until the last week in April on Friday and Saturday 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. until noon at 555 Lee Road 100, Opelika. Customers can call ahead to place an order at 334.750.8970.

Look over the recipes and create scrumptious breakfasts to give everyone in the family a great start to the day.


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