Tag: breakfast

Breakfast Smoothies: Worth Getting Up For

 

Let’s face it: breakfast can be a battle. Unfortunately, coffee just isn’t enough.

On the weekend it’s easy, there’s time and more resources. Be it a leisurely dunking of bread in egg for French toast or a quick trip to the nearest brunch hot spot, the weekend makes breakfast feel more, well, possible. Sadly, the work or school day is the day that we need the most fuel, and we need it the fastest. Light, nutritious, easy, convenient, we ask a lot of breakfast, and in turn, if we can get it right, we’re rewarded with better physical and cognitive function throughout the morning without pangs of hunger or fatigue.

To ensure a great breakfast we have to do two things: make time and make good choices. (more…)

Blueberry Breakfast Cookies

 

Breakfast.

Super important, right?

Right.

We know it’s true. But sometimes it’s just not … fun. Or easy. Or quick. Or satisfying.

Sometimes you want to skip it all together. Sometimes you just want cookies for breakfast. I know I certainly do from time to time.

This little recipe was borne of one of those mornings. It was a drizzly Saturday and while by espresso brewed, I stood with the refrigerator door agape and looked at my options. Eggs? No. Yogurt? No. Leftovers? No. Uninspired by the fridge I turned to the pantry. The usual cereal suspects caught my eye but nothing leapt out. Then I spied some cookies, which we almost never have in the house. No! Bad idea. Unless … What if I made a health(ier), breakfast inspired cookie that actually had some nutritional value? Hmm…

 A little of this, a little of that, and they come together in no time at all. Make them big (1/4 C of dough!) so they feel like a meal, but with the added bonus that you do less scooping (I hate scooping cookies. Too tedious.) They’re packed with goodness and really tasty thanks to the unexpected perfection of cinnamon and blueberries. I don’t know about you, but that’s everyting I want my breakfast to be.

 

Blueberry Breakfast Cookies

preheat oven to 350°

¼ C butter or margarine, softened

¼ C apple sauce

¾ C brown sugar or coconut sugar*

1 egg

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

¼ C plain yogurt

1 C whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ C raw quinoa

2 Tbsp flax seeds

½ C rolled oats (not instant)

1 Tbsp cinnamon

1 C fresh blueberries

Combine the first 6 (wet) ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. Mix well until fully incorporated.

In a second bowl, combine all the remaining (dry) ingredients, including the berries. Stir gently to combine.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix carefully so as not to burst the berries.

Scoop into generous ¼ C cookies and place on a parchment lined baking tray. This recipe will make 10 large cookies, and they do spread slightly so be sure not to crowd your baking sheet — I find that 2 batches of 5 works best.

Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350° until puffed and brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking tray before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. Once fully cooled, store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

*I used coconut sugar, which doesn’t taste of coconut and is almost as sweet in taste but is glycemically low.

Whole Wheat Carrot Muffins

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a fun and heartwarming holiday like I did. It was a busy one though, and the week between Christmas and New Year can be so hum drum, food-wise,  because there are always so many left overs to deal with. For all my culinary creativity Christmas leftovers aren’t to be played with. I don’t do much more with them than eat them reheated, make a turkey soup and possibly have some cranberry sauce on toast like jam. Also, like so many others, New Years brings the reminders of resolutions, aspirations and goals, not the least of which is eating well. As we all know, breakfast is a big part of that, but for those of us that like to get up and out the door in the morning, often without stopping for the proverbial “most important meal of the day”, a hearty muffin can do the trick and keep you going until elevenses or even lunch.

These particular muffins are about as healthy as a muffin can be with all the fiber and flavour you could possibly want. I have made them based on these Bran Muffins with Oats and Berries but with a few twists. They are very moist, gently spiced and only slightly sweet. In fact much of their sweetness comes from the cherries and carrots, not to mention the wholesome good intentions you will include as you make time for breakfast … a small but important accomplishment.

 

Whole Wheat Carrot Muffins

Preheat your oven to 375° and grease  a 12 cup muffin tin. No need to pull out the automatic mixer, these muffins come together quickly the old fashioned way – by hand!

1 C oats

1 C wheat bran

2 C whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 Tbsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

1 Tbsp ground ginger

¼ C light brown sugar

¼ C vegetable oil

1 C plain yogurt

½ C milk

1 egg (lightly beaten)

1 Tbsp vanilla

2 C grated carrot

¼  C chopped pecans or walnuts

¼  C dried cherries

In a medium bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients, including spices, and set aside.

In a large bowl mix together the oil and light brown sugar, add in the egg and once it is incorporated mix in the milk, yogurt and vanilla. Add the grated carrot and incorporate it fully.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing quickly and thoroughly. Stir in the nuts and fruit.

For regular-sized muffins, scoop the batter by mounded ¼ cupfuls into a well greased muffin tin. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. This recipe will make 18-20 regular-sized muffins.

Cinnamon Raisin Baked Oatmeal

I have always admired ‘morning people’ because I have never really been one. I’m not a sleep-all-day type either, but I do not have a magical internal clock that rouses me, energetic and alert, every morning. In fact, the snooze button gets a lot of use and I have been known to spend far too much on really, really comfortable bed sheets.

But  sometimes on the weekend I cannot help but purposely get up early before everyone else because I love the quiet stillness of the house in the early morning. I like to get up, putter around, make some tea, and catch up on some online reading — nothing too strenuous. Not surprisingly, I also capitalize on such quiet, solo mornings by cooking, blogging and taking pictures – thank goodness for the huge kitchen window and the moody softness of morning light.

So much of life is spent hurrying, worrying and just trying to get up and out the door. A weekend morning of solitude can be a welcome reprieve after (or before) a hectic work week. In the summer, early mornings are nice to spend outside before the heat hits, but now that fall has really arrived, the coziness of foggy mornings keeps me inside and gets me thinking of something warm and sustaining for breakfast.

Cinnamon Raisin Baked Oatmeal

Preheat oven to 350°

Butter for the baking dish

1 ½ C rolled oats (not quick oats)

2 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

1 C raisins

3 C milk

1 tsp vanilla

3 Tbsp pure maple syrup

Butter a 8×8 inch baking dish. Add oats and spices. Top with raisins. Stir together milk and vanilla and pour over oats. Bake for 40 minutes until tender and browned. Serve immediately with milk and more maple syrup or brown sugar as desired.

English Muffins

Recently we were strolling through Gourmet Warehouse when Rob picked up a package of four English Muffin ring molds. He gasped and then decisively (and excitedly) put them in the cart. It wasn’t until we got home and he opened up the box to read the enclosed recipe and instructions that we learned that English Muffins are a stove top creation. Before that moment I had never considered how an English muffin was made. I would have presumed, if pressed, that they were baked. Not so!

Weeks went by, no English Muffins were made. In fact, I believe the original recipe was lost somehow, (hence the adaptation of Alton Brown’s recipe below). Lucky for us, this morning was the morning. Rob got up, made some coffee and began measuring and mixing. I followed along with the camera so I could share the marvels of English Muffins here with all of you.

They turned out very well. Not as pale and picture perfect as store bought, but the flavour and texture were great. Definitely worth making again!

A couple of notes:

1) Don’t overfill the molds! They really rise and puff. Aim to get about 10 from this recipe.

2) Watch the heat. Ours got quite dark. Golden brown is the goal.

3) A tip from Alton Brown: if you don’t have ring molds, very clean empty tuna cans with the top and bottom removed will work just as well.

English Muffins

adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe from foodnetwork.com

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup hot milk

1 envelope dry yeast

1/8 teaspoon sugar

1/3 cup warm milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

In a bowl combine 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, butter, and 1 cup hot milk.  Stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved and the butter is melted. Let cool.

In a separate bowl combine the yeast and 1/8 teaspoon of sugar in 1/3 cup of warm milk and rest until yeast has dissolved. Add this to the first milk mixture. Add the sifted flour and beat thoroughly with wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and let it rest in a warm spot for 30 minutes.

Heat a griddle or frying pan to medium.

Once the dough has proofed and risen for 30 mins. add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and beat thoroughly.

Place ring molds onto the hot pan and spray everything lightly with vegetable spray. Scoop a scant 1/4 cup of dough into each ring and cover with a greased pot lid. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes.

Remove the lid and flip rings using tongs. Cover with the lid and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a cooling rack, remove rings and cool. Split with a fork and toast in the toaster as you would bread, as necessary. Best eaten almost immediately.

(We opted to have ours with scrambled egg, sausage and cheese)