Category Archives: Breakfast

Sunrise Muffins

I’ve wanted to make these muffins ever since I bought Allison Fishman’s You Can Trust a Skinny Cook–mostly because the recipe involves putting an entire orange (peel, pith, and all) right into the blender.

That just appeals to the green monster-making side of me–and I’m so used to using and washing the blender every day that I don’t mind breaking it out again.  Combine that with the chilly, rainy weather that woke me up this morning, and sunrise muffins became a necessity.

Sunrise Muffins (makes a dozen muffins)

  • 1 orange (I actually used a tangelo), sliced into eighths
  • 1/2 C orange juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 C vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour (I used whole-wheat pastry flour, with excellent results)
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 dried fruit (I used a dried berry mix–cherries, blueberries, cranberries, and strawberries)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and line muffin tins with papers.

The fun part: in the blender, combine the eggs, oil, orange juice, and sliced orange sections, and blend until smooth.  While blending, mix the remaining ingredients except the dried fruit in a medium bowl, and create a well for the orange mixture.  Pour it in, mix until a smooth batter forms, and fold in the dried fruit.

You may regret tasting the batter at this point because it is so gosh-darn, finger-licking, re-taste, save-a-little-extra-in-the-bowl-who-cares-if-the-muffins-are-tiny good.  Anyway, divide the (remaining) batter evenly into the 12 muffin tins.  Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.  Cool on a rack.

I love how golden these are, thanks to the orange–they really do look like a sunrise.

And the taste.  Wow.  I wasn’t expecting anything magical from these muffins, but these really served to remind me that basic can be best!  They are sweet and tangy but also have the perfect amount of salt.

A teaspoon of salt can do so much for a basic muffin.  I ate one muffin.  I want to eat many more muffins.  Morning can’t come soon enough.

Oh, and for those who are interested, these muffins are only 175 calories each!

In case these muffins aren’t enough to brighten your day, here’s some of my absolute favorite new photos from an apple-picking session I went on with my mom and younger sister Kristen a few weeks ago:

5 Comments

Filed under Breakfast

Cookie Dough Green Monster

Top o’ the mornin’ to ya!

I don’t have class until one today, so I woke up early, made a giant mug of chamomile tea, straightened up a bit, then had a giant green monster.  I’ve been craving fruits and veggies for a few days, so I knew it was time for a hearty dose of spinach for breakfast.  In cookie dough form.

This green monster has a special ingredient–you may have guessed it based on the above picture.  Drumroll, please!

Yes, oatmeal.  You all know by now that I love oatmeal in any form, and old-fashioned oats were on sale at Waldbaum’s yesterday–buy one get one free, basically.  It cost $4 for two of those big oats containers–yay!  We haven’t had anything other than steel-cut oats for a while, so I was excited to get back to these guys.

Cookie Dough Green Monster

  • 1 C skim milk
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/3 C uncooked old-fashioned oats (though you could use quick oats, too)
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • 2 T vanilla Carnation Instant Breakfast (ugh–still trying to get rid of these)

Using the standard layering order of green monsters, I added milk, instant breakfast, oats, spinach, and banana on top.

I had a few very ripe bananas lying around last week, but I knew I wouldn’t have time to make anything with them.  Rather than throw them away, I peeled ’em and froze them in large chunks.  This is perfect for green monsters, ’cause I don’t need to add ice to have a cold smoothie, and no wasting old bananas!

Blend for a few minutes until smooth, and enjoy.  I made one for Fritz this morning, too, in an attempt to help him get over a summer cold.

The Carnation Instant Breakfast isn’t my favorite thing in the whole world, but it did give a nice vanilla cookie dough flavor with the oats.  It was a little sweet for my taste, so once I’m finally rid of these things, I’d probably just add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and skip the added sugar.  If you need it at little sweeter, you can use sugar, honey, vanilla protein powder…

I love the flavor of the blended oats.  They give the green monster a really nice texture and doughy taste.

I also tried blending some granola in a green monster the other day, but it also turned out to be too sweet.  Similar texture as the oats, though, which I did like.  My bananas lately have been extra ripe, so the sweetness factor is already pretty high.  Other things to try in this particular mix: adding cinnamon for an oatmeal-raisin cookie dough, and cocoa for a chocolate chip cookie dough.  Yum!

In other news, guess who’s been feeling better lately?

Have a good day today!

19 Comments

Filed under Beverages, Breakfast

Refrigerator Review: Spinach and Pasta Frittata

When a woman leaves her husband alone in their apartment for a week while she goes to visit her parents, several things will appear to be true upon her return:

  1. The kitchen table, counter, and stove top will have clearly not been wiped down since she left;
  2. Her cat will have apparently contracted some kind of UTI or bladder issue, and will now be lingering piteously around the cat box;
  3. The vet bill for said cat will cost $192; and
  4. The refrigerator will be full of half-finished man foods that need to be used ASAP or they will go terribly, terribly bad.

Despite ridiculous vet bills (wish I could just give him some cranberry juice and leave it at that) and leftovers I’m not sure what to do with (a lot of cooked spaghetti, 1/2 lb of uncooked ground turkey, and wilty spinach), it’s really nice to be home.  So when the opportunity came to cook Fritz a nice meal while impressing him with my ability to turn what he calls “an empty fridge” into something delicious, I jumped on it.  I want to be a leftover magician.

Hello, frittata.

Spinach and Pasta Frittata

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 T butter
  • 1/2 lb ground turkey (you could also use chicken, beef, sausage, whatever)
  • 1/2 t smoked paprika (alright, I’m obsessed)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 handfuls spinach (1/2 C cooked spinach)
  • 1/2 lb-3/4 lb cooked whole-wheat spaghetti
  • 5-7 eggs, depending on how much pasta you have
  • 1/3 C skim milk
  • 1/2 C grated cheddar cheese

I didn’t take an “ingredients shot” this time, because, let’s be honest–it’s really difficult to make a pile of leftovers look appealing.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Melt the butter in an oven-safe pan (we are gonna cook the entire frittata in this pan) over medium heat and saute the onion until soft and translucent.  Add the ground turkey and cook thoroughly, then flavor it with the salt and paprika.

Next, toss in two handfuls of spinach and stir in until they are wilted.  Add the spaghetti on top, and combine.

Crack the eggs into a separate bowl, and add the milk and cheese.

Whisk until light, and pour over the top of the spaghetti mixture.

Bake in the oven on the medium rack until the eggs no longer look runny, and the edges are brown and crispy, about fifteen minutes.  I also turned on the broiler for the last few minutes to get a nice, browned top–it’s always nice to have a little crunch!

This came out really nicely.  The best thing about a frittata like this is that you can literally make it however you want–add different vegetables, meat, spices, sauces, whatever!  It’s perfect for a leftovers dinner or even a leftovers breakfast.

The smoked paprika also gave it a nice smoky flavor that I now want to eat in everything.  I’m obsessed.  I can’t stop.

Fritz took one look and said, “that looks gourmet!”.  He also said that it didn’t taste “leftover” at all.

Success.

Henry, who has been traumatized from his visit to the vet, has taken refuge in a pile of cardboard by the door waiting to be recycled.  I spotted him by the tail–poor baby.

We also just watched the movie Funny People, which I actually liked a lot despite its large quantity of genital-based humor.  Adam Sandler is so nice to watch when he is playing a serious character, and I thought it ended up being quite moving and thought-provoking.  Anyone else out there enjoy that movie?

9 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Entrees

Tropical Mini Muffins

Are you guys sick of me miniaturizing everything that I bake yet?  ‘Cause I’m not.

Mini baked goods are fun, because I can eat three of them and it’s not a big deal at all.  It’s also nice because I don’t have to choose–do I want an English muffin or a tropical muffin?  Oh yes, I can have both.  Twice.  But if you aren’t a mini kind of person, it’s no big deal.  I’ll still like you.  And I’ll still probably eat two of your muffins.

Tropical  Mini Muffins

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 3/4 C crushed pineapple in juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t orange extract
  • 1/4 C canola oil
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
  • 2 T wheat germ

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a muffin or mini-muffin tin or line with paper cups.  First mix the wet ingredients (banana, pineapple, canola oil, egg, and extracts) until blended.  It’s okay to have chunks of banana–I actually prefer that.  Next, add the dry ingredients (everything else) and mix until everything is just blended.  Easy, right?

Pour into muffin cups (they should be 3/4 of the way full, but I filled them all the way ’cause I only wanted to make one batch!) and place on the middle rack to bake until they are golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.  Make sure a toothpick comes out dry (but not too dry).

Mini muffins are also cute for looking good in photos.  Unless you pour too much batter in the cups and then your muffins are top heavy.  Still better than having to bake two batches, though.

These were good–super moist.  Fritz was a huge fan, because he could eat a banana-bread based food three times a day for the rest of his life and be perfectly content.  I thought the pineapple chunks were a nice treat, and the orange extract was just barely noticeable.  It could also be left out–no big deal.

Since this recipe made 24 mini muffins, and I’m gonna be gone for the week, I stuck half of them in the freezer so Fritz doesn’t feel the pressure to eat all of them in a couple of days.  I don’t like to force feed him just so food doesn’t go bad (except for vegetables, but that’s for his own good).

I think these muffins took Fritz back to his South African tropical days.  He ate four of them rapid fire when they were out of the oven (but it’s okay!  They are mini!).

So on Friday we drove to Brooklyn to say goodbye to our good friends Bre and Zev since they are moving on Tuesday.  It was lots of fun to see them, and as usual, lots of food and alcohol was consumed–and nonstop talk ensued.  Like I said before, it’ll be really sad to see them go.  We need to start planning our visits upstate right away.

And poor Henry was stuck at home, looking longingly in the direction of Brooklyn.

5 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Desserts

Whole-Wheat English Mini-Muffins

Happy Sunday, friends!  I love Sundays–because I’ve finished running errands earlier in the weekend, I have the entire day to relax and make a yeasty bread that needs to rise twice.  Due to my love (obsession?) with breakfast, I decided to make some whole-wheat English muffins.  And then I made them mini.

That way, you can have two, each with a different topping.  It feels more exciting that way.  But if you want, you can use the same recipe and make regular-sized ones.

Whole-Wheat English Mini-Muffins (adapted from Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads)

  • 2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 2-2 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
  • 2 packages yeast (4 1/2 t)
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 1/4 C skim milk, warm
  • 3 T butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • Cornmeal

There should also be an egg in there.  At the time this photo was taken, my egg was warming from fridge-temp to room-temp in a hot water bath.  Good tip, by the way–’cause you always want to bake with room temperature eggs, but who really has the foresight for those things?

In the mixer bowl of your beloved KitchenAid (or in a regular large mixing bowl, if you are less lazy), combine the 2 1/2 C all-purpose flour, the yeast, salt, and sugar, and stir to blend.  Warm the milk (don’t boil, but do make sure it’s almost hot), and add the butter directly to it to melt.  Pour the milk/butter mixture into the flour mixture and mix for about 2 minutes.  Add the egg and beat until smooth.

Mix in the remaining whole-wheat flour, 1/4 C at a time, until the dough is a “shaggy mass” (thanks for that descriptor, Bernard).  Change to the dough hook and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.  If you need more flour, add it in small amounts until it’s not sticky–but don’t go overboard.

Wrap the bowl in plastic and allow the dough to rise until it is doubled in size, about an hour.

Punch down the dough and knead briefly, then let it rest for ten minutes.  Spread a small handful of cornmeal over the work surface, and roll the dough out until it is about 1/4″ thick (I kept mine a bit thicker, but I would roll out to 1/4″ next time for flatter muffins).  Cut into rounds–for my mini-muffins, I used a wine glass that was about 2 1/2″ across, but use a cookie cutter that’s about 4″ across for regular-sized muffins.

English muffin army.

Place a towel over the rounds and let them rise again until doubled in size, about another 45 minutes.  Turn the oven to 45o degrees 20 minutes before you estimate they will be done rising so that it can preheat.  Gently lay the muffins on a cookie sheet and bake on a middle rack for about 10-15 minutes, flipping them halfway through.  They’ll be a nice golden brown on the top and bottom when they are done.

Allow them to cool on a wire rack before tearing them apart and slathering them with butter and jam.  Once they’re cooled, stick ’em in the toaster the way you’d do with any English muffin.

Yum.  Not as many nooks and crannies as I expected, but that’s probably due to two things: 1) I used half whole-wheat flour and 2) I didn’t roll them out as thin as I should have, so they might have risen a bit differently.

Either way, still delicious (and they really taste just like an English muffin!).  You also can’t detect the whole-wheat flour at all.

I can’t wait to have one with peanut butter and one with raspberry jam for breakfast tomorrow–PB&J at its finest!

What’s your English muffin topping of choice?  Are you a PB&J kinda person like me, or a traditional butter and jam muffin eater?  Cheese?  Fresh fruit?  Honey or golden syrup?  Or an eggs and bacon guy like Fritz?

13 Comments

Filed under Breads, Breakfast

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls

Today was such a beautiful day!  Fritz started opening up the pool and we grilled chicken for our dinner salad today–summer’s on its way!  Even finals can’t get me down on a day like today.

Unlike winter midterms, it’s easier to not care about my finals because the weather is just so darn nice.  Which is probably not a good thing (but only three weeks to go ’till I’m a third year!)

I took a nice long study break to make a recipe that I found on FoodGawker (or TasteSpotting…I can’t remember which) for sweet potato cinnamon rolls.  The site is called So Good and Tasty, and there are some beautiful photos on there that you should go check out!

Rejoice with me.  They came out fluffy, sweet, orange, and fluffy.  Did I say fluffy already?  Lightest, finest (is that a word?) cinnamon rolls ever–you would never guess they are made with whole-wheat flour.  Or sweet potatoes, for that matter.

When I say you should make this recipe immediately, I really mean it.  I’m not cryin’ wolf.  Go make them.  This is a “healthy” treat that actually tastes incredibly decadent.  The best part?  It makes enough that I froze two more batches of unbaked cinnamon rolls, all ready for the lucky person that sleeps over next (Eber–that might be you!).

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls (makes 16-24 rolls)

  • 1 C milk, warmed
  • 4 t yeast
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 2 C mashed cooked sweet potato (hello, microwave!  I used 3 1/2 small sweet potatoes)
  •   2 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
  • 2- 2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 t salt
  • 6 T butter, softened
  • 1/2 C cinnamon sugar (I didn’t measure how much I used–this is a rough estimate)

Combine the milk, yeast, and maple syrup in a bowl and set it aside until the yeast gets nice and foamy.

Keep an eye on it, though.  Don’t be like me.

In the mixer, combine the sweet potato, olive oil, salt, egg and 1 C of flour (I started with the wheat flour).  Mix until fluffy (see?  this is where the airiness begins!).

Add the yeast combination to the mixer bowl and mix on low until it’s all blended.  Starting with the rest of the whole-wheat flour and finishing with the all-purpose, add the flour slowly until the dough forms a ball and cleans the side of the bowl–it’ll still be sticky.  Switch to the dough hook.

Let the dough knead for 8-10 minutes until it’s smooth, adding more flour if you need.  Cover the bowl and let sit for an hour or so until it has doubled in size.

Divide the dough in half.

One at a time, roll the dough out to a rectangle that’s about 16 inches by 10 inches.  Spread the softened butter over the top and cover with cinnamon sugar.  Starting at the long side, roll it up tightly and press the seam together.  Cut gently into sections–8 if you want giant rolls or 12 if you want smaller ones.  I did both–12 big ones and 6 small ones.

Arrange in an oiled baking dish (I put 6 large ones in a pie pan, and 6 small ones in a muffin tin), leaving space in between each one.

Cover, and allow them to rise until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown–be sure not to overbake, because they’ll dry out fast.

While they are cooling, mix together some icing by combining a little milk, vanilla extract, and confectioners’ sugar until it’s nice and thick.  Drizzle over the top and serve warm.

SO GOOD!

So good, they needed capslock to properly describe them.

One last thing–how can I get any studying done when there’s a cat sleeping on my orthopedics notebook?

11 Comments

Filed under Breads, Breakfast

Royal Honey(moon) Wheat Scones

I’m a little late for the royal wedding, I know.

I also didn’t watch it (but I kinda wish I did).  So when the urge struck me to bake, I decided to make some scones.  Honey-ey and wheat-ey ones.

And then I named them after the royal honeymoon.

Aside from their delightful taste, a nice thing about this recipe is that it only makes 6 hearty-sized scones.  A lot of times when I bake I suddenly realize I have 5,843 muffins or 635 cookies that are just begging me for some lovin’.  And really, I only was craving one or two cookies.  So if you want lots of scones, either halve the size of each scone or double the recipe (or both!).

Royal Honey(moon) Wheat Scones (adapted from In Great Taste by Evelyn Lauder)

  • 1 1/4 C whole-wheat flour (I used 1 C whole-wheat flour and 1/4 C buckwheat flour)
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1/2 C water
  • 3 T honey
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, mix all the dry ingredients.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir “vigorously” (the recipe says so!) until combined.

As you can see from my “ingredient” picture, I started off making barley flour, but my grinder wasn’t feeling up to the job so I switched to buckwheat/whole-wheat to save myself some time and energy.

Let the dough rest for a few minutes, then pat out on a floured surface into a circle about an inch thick (I told you, these are hefty scones!).

Using a glass or biscuit cutter, cut into rounds.  Reroll the scraps, and cut again.  I had exactly enough dough for six big fat scones.

Place them on the parchment paper and stick ’em in the oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.  Let them cool on a wire cooling rack.  If you have been cooking for years and somehow still don’t own a wire cooling rack, find some other adorable gadgets to cool the scones off on.

These were 4/$1 at a garage sale I went to a few years ago.  Score.

Enjoy these scones with a warm cuppa tea or coffee.  Or…just eat them plain!  They are faintly sweet with the honey and have a light nutty taste.  They are also surprisingly fluffy for something made with all whole-wheat flour (hello one whole tablespoon of baking powder).

Oh and…Got Milk? (Thanks for the mugs, Dad!)

And if you haven’t had enough Henry updates lately (because how can you have enough Henry updates?), here’s a nice montage of him lounging around in his ultimate favorite spot of all time–inside a cardboard box.

Any cardboard box.

3 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Desserts