Breakfast


Blueberries are in season right now, which means they are not only delicious but they are inexpensive. I love the taste and health benefits of blueberries – they are low in calories and packed with antioxidants. I have been eating a lot of them on cereal and in yogurt but I’ve been looking forward to baking with blueberries. Over the weekend, I made Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins from Cooking Light.

I followed the recipe as it was written except I used fresh blueberries. The muffins turned out really tasty and moist – especially when fresh. Even a few days later, the muffins were delicious heated in the microwave. Each muffin is under 200 calories so it’s a guilt-free treat or breakfast food.

I looking forward to including more fresh fruit in my recipes before the summer is over. This time of year is the best for fresh berries, you just can’t go wrong.

Enjoy!

Last Sunday, for Mother’s Day, I hosted a brunch at my parents’ house. Actually, my first blog post was from our Mother’s Day brunch last year! I guess it was my little blog’s first birthday too. 🙂

 This year’s theme was “Queen for a Day.” I decorated the table with colorful glitter, jewel rings and sparkly wands. Five moms were present (my mom, grandmother, two aunts and cousin) and they wore crowns for the day. It was a fun theme!

Now, onto the food. Last year, the menu consisted of both breakfast and lunch foods plus dessert. This year, I focused on mainly breakfast but didn’t forget about dessert.

My family members brought delicious additions for the brunch including fruit salsa, pecan rolls, fruit salad and pineapple upside-down cake. Here’s the menu, based on what I made:

Appetizers

Homemade Granola with Vanilla Yogurt (I’ve made this before – it’s so easy!)

Banana Nut Muffins (I replaced half of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat and added chopped walnuts to the batter)

Entrees

Cheesy Crustless Quiche (I replaced the all-purpose flour with gluten-free flour)

Hashbrown Casserole with Bacon, Onion and Cheese

Spiced Bacon Twists (I made these last year, they are always a hit!)

Scrambled Eggs from the Oven

Simple French Toast (See recipe below. Thanks, Sara!)

Dessert

Heavenly Chocolate Mousse

The meal turned out really well. I was able to prepare the granola, muffins, quiche, hashbrown casserole and chocolate mousse ahead of time so I wasn’t stressed during the morning. All I had to do in the morning was cook the casserole, warm the quiche and make the bacon twists, scrambled eggs and French toast. Check out my great results!

Quiche. I’m not really a fan of quiche normally, but this quiche turned out great! It was a different texture than traditional quiche and was  full of savory flavors. I will definitely be making this quiche again, it’s a go-to recipe and has a nice wow factor. 

The hashbrown casserole also turned out exceptional, I really loved it. The flavors of the bacon, cheese and onion really blended well together and I enjoyed the bold flavors. Another go-to recipe for sure! It was just so tasty!

My friend Sara made a delicious French toast for her St. Patrick’s Day brunch and I knew I had to include it in this spread. It’s different from any other French toast I’ve had and when she said it was an easy recipe, I was even more excited to give it a whirl. Here’s the recipe:

French toast

1.5 c. brown sugar
1.5 stick butter
1.5 tsp. cinnamon  
1 large loaf of bread, crust removed and sliced in half                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 6 eggs, beaten                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 c. milk (2%)

1/2 c. maple syrup

1. Melt brown sugar and butter on the stove. Mix with cinnamon and pour on the bottom of a 13″x9″ pan.

2. Layer bread in pan. Combine eggs and milk and pour over bread.

3. Bake at 350* for 45 minutes.

4. Pour maple syrup over French toast and serve.

The chocolate mousse was divine. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll enjoy this treat. Even for a chocolate lover like me, it was too rich for more than a few bites. Delicious. I made this mousse the night before our brunch and let it sit overnight. It turned out creamy and decadent. Topping it with whipped cream, a raspberry and a mint leaf gave it a restaurant-quality presentation.

I hope you try some of these recipes for an upcoming brunch, or nice weekend breakfast. You won’t be disappointed.

Have a great week!

Finally, a new recipe! I have been traveling for work with little time to cook (more about that later) but I have a yummy recipe for you today. As I’ve mentioned before, I rarely cook a big breakfast. I normally stick to toast, cereal or oatmeal but a bigger breakfast is always a treat. This morning I made Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes with Cinnamon and Fruit.

Whole wheat pancakes can sometimes be dry and bland but this recipe is great for fluffy, moist pancakes. While I followed the recipe for Cooking Light’s Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes, I also added a teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the batter. The cinnamon/vanilla flavor enhances these already-tasty pancakes. I served these pancakes with fresh fruit which was a perfect addition to my weekend meal.

 

This batter seems very versatile and could easy be used for making waffle or pancakes with chocolate chips or blueberries. I don’t think I’ll ever grow out of loving chocolate chip pancakes…it’s a real treat for breakfast. I say, the more chocolate chips, the better.

While I haven’t been cooking lately, I have been eating out quite a bit. Last week, in Chicago, I had one especially memorable meal at Ditka’s. I ordered an 8 oz. filet with blue cheese which was extremely moist and cooked perfectly. For dessert, I enjoyed decadent homemade ice cream. If you’re in Chicago or Pittsburg, I highly recommend it.

I won’t be cooking much this week but hope to get back to my old ways soon. With the spring here, we’re starting to see fresh vegetables in Boston. It will be great to buy local again soon! I’ll be back with another recipe ASAP.

Enjoy your week!

How’s your week going? It’s been a busy one for me. I actually accepted a new job (!!!) so I’m working to transition everything from my current position. Lots to do! But it’s going to be a good change for me. 🙂 Now…let’s talk food.

I normally turn to carbs for breakfast. Cereal, toast, waffles, I love it all. It’s not that I don’t like eggs, I do, but I don’t crave them like I do carbs. Plus, eggs take a little longer to cook and I usually don’t have that time during the week. If you do have time to cook in the morning, I have a great oven scrambled eggs recipe for you.

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers Program, I was given the opportunity to try Eggland’s Best eggs for free. They actually gave us a coupon for a dozen eggs. I don’t know when the last time I bought a dozen eggs at a time was! I just don’t go through 12 eggs too fast. But now I have a reason to!

Eggland’s Best is focused on producing quality eggs and have strict standards for their business. Their hens are fed an all-natural, all-vegetarian diet. Eggland’s Best produces eggs of all sizes and offers cage-free and organic varieties. I like that.

I’m pretty basic when it comes to eggs. I like scrambled or fried eggs, omelets and egg salad. I also use eggs for yummy things like French toast (love those carbs!) and as toppings on salads.  Eggs are pretty versatile, no?

These scrambled eggs are super easy to prepare. You just scramble them up with a little milk and pop them in the oven. In 15 minutes, you have nice and fluffy scrambled eggs! Using the oven means you don’t need to watch the eggs on the stove top. It’s a nice change from the traditional method.

 Oven Scrambled Eggs

Servings: 1 (just double the recipe for two servings!)

Ingredients:

1 large egg (I used Eggland’s Best)

2 large egg whites (I used Eggland’s Best, just separated the yolks)

2 Tbsp. skim milk

Ground pepper, to taste

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 375*F. Spray small casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.

2. Combine, egg, egg whites, milk and pepper. Stir with a fork until well blended.

3. Pour egg mixture into the casserole dish. Bake for 10 minutes.

4. Remove dish from oven and break up eggs (scramble!). They will still be a bit wet.

5. Return egg dish to the over for another 5 minutes.

6. Add additional black pepper and enjoy!

These were delicious and a nice break from my normal weekday breakfast. Eggland’s Best eggs tasted great.

Are you a carb-craver like me when it comes to breakfast?

I’m having my cooking club over tonight for a Mediterranean feast. Be sure to check back for some yummy recipes tomorrow!

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When I was at work today, someone called me to see if I were snowed in and eating my last Ritz cracker in the dark. First of all, Boston hasn’t been hit with much snow (phew!) and secondly, I don’t think I’d EVER run out of food around here. Our cupboards are very well stocked. I guess I’m a closet foodie at work – some of my co-workers don’t know that I actually like to grocery shop.

I hope, where you are located, snow hasn’t come your way and you’re not eating your last cracker, either. If you need a snack tonight, I have a good one for you. 

Bread. I just love carbs and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Pasta, crackers, BREAD. While I tend to eat a lot of bread and pasta, I like to stick with the whole grains. I almost never buy white bread or pasta. I hope that doesn’t sound snobby.

When it comes to snack breads though, I consider it a treat. Pumpkin bread seems to be a staple food during the autumn. Cranberry bread reminds me of the holidays, and chocolate bread? Don’t even tempt me!

But there are plenty of ways to lighten these type of breads. I’ve made a healthy pumpkin chocolate chip loaf in the past and no one knew it was “lighter.” My Raspberry Pecan White Chocolate Loaf is another good example. It contains fruit, whole grains, egg whites and canola oil (instead of butter). It’s just sweet enough to be eaten for breakfast, as a snack or for dessert.

Raspberry Pecan White Chocolate Loaf

Makes one 9×3 inch loaf

Ingredients:

1 c. white flour

1 c. whole wheat flour

¾ c. brown sugar

1 ½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. Salt

2 egg whites

¾ c. Fresh orange juice

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ c. Canola oil

1 c. frozen raspberries

½ cup chopped pecans, toasted (optional)

¼ c. white chocolate chips (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*.
  2. Spread pecans on single layer of a baking sheet and bake (toast) for 3-5 minutes. I did this in my toaster oven so I could make sure they didn’t burn.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Stir the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt until well blended.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk eggs well. Add orange juice and vanilla extract to the eggs and mix well.
  5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients in the large bowl. Mix in oil and stir until combined.
  6. Add raspberries, nuts and chocolate to the batter. Stir until well combined.
  7. Spray 9×3 inch loaf pan with cooking spray
  8. Pour batter into the pan and spread evenly.
  9. Bake at 350* for 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into bread.
  10. Let cool before removing bread from pan and cutting.
  11. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite snack bread? I honestly can’t decide. This one is very good but I also love banana bread (with cream cheese) and pumpkin chocolate chip bread, too! Tough decisions, I tell you.

Have a good Wednesday night, everyone! I’m going to finish my Ritz crackers. Kidding.

Having more than cereal or toast for breakfast is rare for me. During the week, I’m always eating breakfast just before running out the door. On the weekends, breakfast is sometimes more leisurely, especially when it includes a visit to a diner or other local restaurant in Somerville. Kelly’s Diner is one of my favorite places with Sound Bites and the Neighborhood Restaurant rounding out my top three.

This past weekend, however, I made Ellie Krieger’s Peach French Toast Bake at home. I didn’t have a chance to participate in Craving Ellie in My Belly last week but still cooked one of Ellie’s recipes from her cookbook, The Food You Crave. So far, all of the recipes I’ve tried have been winners – including this one. 

Not only did this dish taste great, it was extremely easy to prepare. The recipe suggests you prepare the French toast the night before, allowing it to sit chilled over night. Sunday morning, I just pulled my dish from the fridge and popped it in the oven. In about 35 minutes, I had a hearty (but healthy) breakfast.

I halved the recipe and followed the exact instructions otherwise. The French toast came out great in my opinion but I did find that one side of the “toast” was cooked a bit more than the other side. I didn’t mind, but if you prefer a more evenly baked French toast, I would suggest turning the bread over about 15-20 minutes into the baking process. That would be sure to brown all sides. Once out of the oven, I immediately added a little maple syrup and breakfast was served. Delish!

I am looking forward to trying this dish again and again. The combinations of bread and fruit are endless. I’m thinking of trying cinnamon raisin bread topped with apples. I bet it would be amazing!

What’s your favorite kind of French toast?

Happy weekend! This week flew by for me because I was preparing for a work event taking place next week. My busy week resulted in a lack of blog posts but I just made some yummy pancakes that I thought I would share with you.

I love the weekends because I have time to make a better breakfast than I do during the week. What’s your favorite weekend breakfast? This morning I threw together some Whole Wheat Banana and Dark Chocolate  Pancakes – that’s a mouthful!

I wasn’t sure how they’d come out because the batter was fluffier than I expected but they turned out nice and tasty! I didn’t notice a difference in flavor by using whole wheat flour vs. all-purpose which was a bonus, because whole wheat is much healthier. And, the addition of dark chocolate chips adds some yummy antioxidants. 

Whole Wheat Banana and Dark Chocolate Pancakes

Makes 3-4 pancakes

Ingredients:

1/2 c. whole wheat flour

1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 egg, beaten

1/2 c. skim milk

1 Tbsp. canola oil

Preparation:

1. Mix the dry ingredients until well blender. 

2. Add the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well.

3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix well. The batter will be fluffy.

4. Grease a skillet and add about 1/4 c. of batter for each pancake.

5. Once the batter is on the skillet, add sliced bananas and dark chocolate chips.

6. Cook pancakes for about 3 minutes on each side.

7. Enjoy!

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