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Archive for the ‘Breakfast/Brunch’ Category

I really enjoy baking quick breads and muffins to freeze in individual servings for a quick breakfast or snack option. Last week I found myself with a past its prime banana and a little bit of leftover canned pumpkin puree so I thought I would combine the two to make banana pumpkin bread.

Since I typically end up eating this kind of thing for breakfast, I wanted to put a healthier spin on the bread. Since bananas provide so much natural sweetness I was able to reduce the amount of sugar that I used. I also subbed half of the flour for whole wheat and used plain Greek yogurt in place of some of the oil. Easy swaps that make a difference in the overall nutrition stats. I did still top it with a pumpkin glaze but it was worth it!

The bread was very easy to put together and didn’t even require the use of a mixer. I think I had it in the oven in under 15 minutes. Once it cooled I topped it with the glaze and then let the glaze set. I then sliced the bread into individual slices that I wrapped in saran wrap and placed in a gallon bag. I placed the bag in the freezer so I can grab a slice whenever I need a quick breakfast.

All it needs is a quick 30 seconds in the microwave. Sometimes I like to pop the slice into the toaster for a minute or so too for texture. It’s extra delicious topped with butter, jam or nut butter!

Healthier Banana Pumpkin Bread
(Recipe adapted from Nancy Creative)

Ingredients:

FOR THE BREAD
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or go up to a tablespoon if you really want it spiced)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 very ripe medium banana, mashed with a fork
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

FOR THE GLAZE
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon pumpkin puree

Directions:  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 5 loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt.

In large bowl, mix together pumpkin, banana, yogurt, oil, eggs and brown sugar. Add in half of the flour mixture and mix well before adding in the other half. Continue to stir gently until everything is well combined.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let the bread cool for about 10-15 minutes in the pan before removing it to cool completely on a wire wrack.

For the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, milk and pumpkin and spoon over loaf once cool.

Yield: 8 servings

And here are the nutrition details…

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I have been on a baking kick lately. In the past couple of weeks I’ve baked these oatmeal maple scones twice, a hummingbird cake, peanut butter chocolate chip bars, pita bread and no-bake chocolate peanut butter oat cookies. The time in the kitchen has been relaxing and let’s face it…my sweet tooth is pretty out of control.

When I’m in the mood for something sweet and to bake my go-to is usually cookies or brownies. I wanted to branch out a bit so I flipped through a cookbook that was given to me as a gift a few months ago, Flour. It’s full of amazing recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery and Cafe. I haven’t made scones in forever and had all the ingredients on hand for their oatmeal maple scones.

I expected the scones to be good but they were literally one of the best things that I have ever baked. So good that I had to make them again for my grandmother when I went to visit her the next week. I love anything that is oatmeal based and the texture of these scones is perfect. The edges are slightly crunchy but the centers are soft and the toasted pecans and golden raisins add a contrast. The scones are sweetened with maple syrup and include a maple glaze that is a great final touch.

The scones will keep at room temperature in an air tight container for a few days and they also freeze well. They might not seem too exciting but I promise you won’t regret making them for a breakfast (or anytime) treat!

Oatmeal Maple Scones
(Recipe source Flour)

Ingredients:

FOR THE SCONES
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins or dried cranberries/cherries/etc
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces
1/3 cup heavy cream (or half and half)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cold egg

FOR THE GLAZE
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1-2 tablespoons water

Directions: 

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or a hand mixer), combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pecans and raisins on low speed until combined well. Add butter pieces and beat on low speed for about 30 seconds or until butter is broken down but with pebble sized pieces still visible.

In a separate small bowl, whisk cream, maple syrup, vanilla and egg together. With mixer still on low speed, add wet ingredients to dry mixture and beat for about 30 seconds until just combined.

Remove bowl from mixer and scrape down sides to make sure that all dry ingredients have been incorporated. Using a 1/4 or 1/3 cup measuring cup, drop rounded scoops of dough onto a baking sheet 2 to 3 inches apart. You should have 9 scones.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until tops are golden brown. Start checking at the 30 minute mark. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for about half and hour.

Make the glaze while the scones are cooling. Whisk together sifted powdered sugar, maple syrup and water. Once the scones have cooled, brush tops with glaze.

If you keep the scones for more than one day or freeze them, they can be “refreshed” by heating in a 300 degree oven for about 5 minutes.

Yield: 9 scones

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I have been getting so much inspiration from Southern Living this summer. I’m not sure if maybe they’ve had a change in their food department or have just been focusing more on improving/freshening their food features but the recipes they have been publishing have been wonderful! I have a long list of things that I’d like to try from recent issues.

This Spiced Peach Carrot Bread was a “must make ASAP” and given the constant presence of peaches on my counter during the late summer months, I had all the ingredients on hand. I really enjoy quick breads and loved the idea of peach and carrot bread in lieu of the usual banana base.

I made some modifications to the original recipe. I doubled the spices, replaced some of the oil with Greek yogurt and added vanilla extract. The bread turned out beautifully and it’s so easy to prepare. You only need one bowl and no mixer! It was great on its own and it was especially tasty topped with almond butter for breakfast. This will definitely become a yearly summer staple.

Enjoy the last of the summer peaches (before we are bombarded with all things pumpkin and winter squash!) and make this recipe.

Spiced Peach Carrot Bread
(Recipe adapted from Southern Living – July 2011)

Ingredients:

3/4 cup chopped pecans
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped fresh peaches
3/4 cup grated carrots
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9 x 5 loaf pan with cooking spray.

Toast pecans either in the oven in a shallow pan for 8-10 minutes or on the stove top in a pan over medium heat. Stir occasionally. When they are fragrant and slightly darkened in color, they are ready. Allow to cool.

Stir together flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the peaches, carrots, oil, yogurt, milk, eggs, vanilla and pecans and stir until just moistened and combined.

Pour batter into prepared baking dish and bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack to completely cool.

Yield: 1 loaf

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Let’s get the important facts out of the way. This coffee cake has three sticks of butter in the cake and another half stick in the topping. If you find this shocking you may want to leave now! ;)

That said, this is the perfect coffee cake for the holidays. I made this last Thanksgiving for breakfast (you just have to go all out on Thanksgiving!) and my family loved it. I am a big fan of fresh cranberries in baked goods and this cake had just the right amount layered throughout. The streusel topping was a nice finish and the toasted pecans added so much.

This Cranberry Coffee Cake would be a lovely treat anytime during the holiday season – take it to work, bring it to a friend or serve it for houseguests. I guarantee it will be a hit…just dont’ tell anyone about the three and a half sticks of butter.

One Year Ago: Good Eats Roast Turkey on the Big Green Egg

Cranberry Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping
(Recipe source Cuisine at Home)

Ingredients:

FOR THE STREUSEL
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons orange zest

FOR THE CAKE
1 cup fresh cranberries
2 1/4 cup sugar, divided
Zest of 1/2 orange
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray. Line pan with parchment paper so it hangs over edges to create handles and spray again with cooking spray.

FOR THE STREUSEL
Melt butter and stir in flour, pecans, dried cranberries, sugar and orange zest. Set streusel aside.

FOR THE CAKE
Pulse fresh cranberries, 3/4 cup sugar and orange zest in food processor and set aside.

Whisk together flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder in bowl and set aside. Whisk together eggs and egg yolk and set aside. Using hand mixer, cream butter and remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar in large bowl. Add flour mixture and egg mixture alternately to butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Transfer half of batter to prepared pan; top with cranberry mixture and then top with remaining batter, smoothing each layer. Use a knife to swirl batter and cranberries and top cake with streusel.

Bake 55 to 70 minutes or until streusel is golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 20 minutes before serving.

Yield: 16 servings

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Dinner tonight was supposed to be broiled mahi, roasted asparagus and sweet potato parsnip puree. There was a midafternoon change of plans when Brandon informed me that he just did not feel like eating fish tonight. He is fighting a cold (that I may or may not have given him…oops) and was in the mood for something simple and comforting. I decided to do a spin on breakfast for dinner and made a healthier version of a traditional breakfast casserole.

This casserole features whole wheat English muffins, a few veggies, faux sausage, eggs and cheese. I got the idea for this dish from the Whole Foods website but winged it in the kitchen. The original recipe instructs you to let this sit overnight in the fridge but a one hour soak worked for us. I was able to quickly assemble this before yoga this evening and Brandon put it in the oven so that dinner was ready when I got home from class. Easy and delicious.

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to cheese, sausage and bacon laden casseroles this holiday season I encourage you to try this recipe! I think you could further lighten it by using a mixture of eggs and egg whites and reducing the cheese. But we loved it just the way it was…a little cheese never hurt anyone!

One Year Ago: Buttermilk Biscuits and Jeweled Rice

English Muffin Egg Casserole
(Recipe inspired by Whole Foods Market)

Ingredients:

4 whole wheat English muffins, halved
2 meatless sausage patties (I used Morningstar)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium tomato, chopped
3/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup spinach, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
5 eggs
1/3 cup skim milk
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
Lots of salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Prepare an 11 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray. Line with English muffin halves and set aside.

Defrost sausages in microwave and crumble. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add tomatoes and mushrooms. Cook for 3-4 minutes and then add sausage and garlic. Cook for another 2-3 minutes and then stir in chopped spinach and dried basil. Season generously with salt and pepper and then spoon over English muffins.

While mixture is cooling on English muffins, whisk together eggs and milk and season with salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over English muffins and top with cheese. Let rest at least one hour or up to overnight in the fridge.

Remove casserole from fridge while you are preheating oven to 350 degrees. Cook for 40-50 minutes, or until set and cheese is slightly browned.

Yield: 6 servings

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Recently, I’ve had the baking bug. I attribute it to our staying in town on the weekends. We went through a four-week stint where we traveled every weekend. All of that traveling made my weeks crazy trying to cram everything in and prepare for the next weekend’s travel. I have loved being home on the weekends and back in the kitchen. Over the last couple weeks I’ve baked pumpkin chocolate chip bars, homemade crackers, peanut butter chocolate chip bars, pita bread (twice!) and these muffins.

The inspiration from these muffins came from a can of Libby’s pumpkin puree in my pantry that was calling my name. I came home one night and it was rainy and cool. I immediately headed to the kitchen and started paging through my favorite cookbooks for pumpkin muffin recipes. I found a Pumpkin Apple Bread recipe in The Gourmet Cookbook and decided to adapt it to be a bit healthier and muffin form.

The modifications I made included halving the recipe, subbing some of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat, reducing the sugar, cutting back on some of the oil in favor of applesauce and omitting the streusel-like topping in favor of a small sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon. The muffins turned out great, even with the modifications! Usually Brandon can immediately tell when I’ve “healthified” things but he was totally on board with these and ate them every morning for breakfast.

I think my favorite thing about these muffins is the addition of  diced apple. How perfect is it that this recipe includes two of the best Fall baking ingredients!? These are a great change from my normal banana muffins and I will be baking them again this season!

One Year Ago: Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Apple Muffins
(Recipe heavily adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook)

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Very small pinch of cloves (1/8 teaspoon)
1/2 (of a 15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
Extra brown sugar and cinnamon to sprinkle over the muffins before baking

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin with liners (or cooking spray).

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. In a separate medium bowl, mix together pumpkin, oil, applesauce, sugar and eggs. Add wet mixture to flour mixture and stir until combined. Fold in apples.

Divide batter between muffin tins, filling about 3/4 (or a tad more) full. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over the tops of muffins. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Muffins will keep for 3-5 days out or freeze well for a couple of months.

Yield: 12 muffins

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I blogged about making Shaksuka on my healthy living blog a few nights ago. I was surprised that it received a lot of positive feedback and quite a few people have indicated that they would like to make this dish.

A very quick overview of Shaksuka for those who didn’t read my post earlier this week. Shaksuka is a vegetarian dish of Moroccan/Israeli/Egyptian origins. It’s traditionally served as a breakfast item. It’s a spicy tomato broth with poached eggs. The dish is very quick and easy to make and also healthy. I served the Shaksuka with homemade pita bread for dipping. I had the leftovers the next night for dinner and the flavors were even better after they had a chance to develop.

I followed a recipe from Smitten Kitchen with a few modifications. First, I used three jalapeno peppers because I was looking for heat in this dish. I find jalapenos to be pretty hit or miss with the spice level but luckily the ones I picked up at the store were nice and hot. Second, I reduced the garlic to two large cloves. I knew that the five the original recipe called for would be way too much for us. And last, I added turmeric in with the spices. While reading about Shaksuka online I noticed that turmeric was a common ingredient but SK’s recipe didn’t call for it. I have a whole jar in my pantry and love finding ways to use it due to its known anti-inflammatory powers.

This is a fun dish for vegetarians and those who love to try new ethnic recipes.

One Year Ago: Incredulada Enchiladas (one of my”biggest hit” recipes!)

Shaksuka
(Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients:

2-3 tablespoons olive oil
3 jalapeño chiles, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon paprika
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
Kosher salt, to taste
6 eggs (I only used 4 because there was just no reason to use 6 for the two of us)
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Warm pitas, for serving

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a 12-inch skillet (that has a lid – don’t use it now) over medium-high heat. Add jalapenos and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, turmeric, cumin and paprika, and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is soft, about 2 more minutes.

Put tomatoes and their liquid into a medium bowl and crush with your hands or place in food processor and pulse a few times. Add crushed tomatoes and their liquid to skillet along with 1/2 cup water. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Season sauce with salt.

Crack eggs over sauce, cover skillet and cook until yolks are just set, about 5-7 minutes. Using a spoon, baste the whites of the eggs with tomato mixture, being careful not to disturb the yolk. Sprinkle shakshuka with feta and parsley and serve with pitas, for dipping.

Yield: 4 servings

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