Vanilla Bean Popovers + 5 Scrumptious Popover Links

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He sat up in bed, hair tousled, fuzzy, sleep still in his eyes and said: “I had a dream about…popovers.”

“What? Popovers?” My voice raspy, on auto-pilot, not fully connected to the day ahead.  I turned over, pulled the sheets up over my head and thought about the last time I ate a popover.

Jordan Pond House.  Acadia National Park, blue sky, a few clouds, 70 degrees.  Riding a tandem bike with my son and getting lost on trail that should have dropped us at the parking lot where we started.  

“Mama, why is this taking so long?  I’m hungry.” 

Um, ya me too buddy.  My thighs are burning, I feel old.  I guess 30 plus miles of running a week is different than biking for two on a rocky trail with a slight incline.  Damn it.  I can’t wait for a cold beer. 

“Almost there!” I say, lying.  We backtrack, yet are still lost.  I stop a family that looks like they know this space, a space, a place that is so foreign to me.  We turn down the trail the nice, athletic family gestured towards.  There is an opening, a light at the end of the trail and finally I see Jordan Pond House. 

We reunite with Bubba, my oldest and my newest inside the restaurant.  We cheers with bottles of Maine Lunch IPA and blueberry soda.  Giant popovers, still warm sit in front of us with plenty of salted butter and strawberry jam on the side.    

“It’s after 7,” he says and gives me a quick kiss.  His cheek is smooth, morning stubble washed down the drain.  He smells like Dove soap.  I wish I could carry his smell with me all day and take a hit of it when I need more of him.

I pull on a fleece and head downstairs.  The kids sit at the island arguing about ??? and sort of eating a healthy breakfast.  Another gray January morning here.  I pour a cup of coffee, stare out the kitchen window and think of blue sky, mountains and popovers.

Vanilla Bean Popovers

recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

makes 6 large popovers

Ingredients:

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 + 1/2 cups whole milk, at room temperature

1+1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 vanilla bean, scraped

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup raw sugar for dusting

cooking spray for pan

Directions:

Allow eggs and milk to come to room temperature.  (If you forget to set them out, place eggs in a bowl with warm water for 10 minutes and gently heat the milk until just warm to the touch.)

Pre-heat the oven to 450F.  Place popover pan or muffin pan in the oven on the lowest rack.  Measure out your dry ingredients and set aside.

When the eggs and milk are ready, whisk them together in a large bowl until well combined.  Add the vanilla and continue to whisk until frothy.

Next add the dry ingredients and whisk until all the ingredients are incorporated and the texture of the batter is like heavy cream.

Take your popover pan out of the oven and coat with cooking spray.  Fill cups about three-quarters of the way full.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350F and bake until the popovers are golden brown and dry, about an additional 20 minutes.

Turn the popovers out on a wire rack.  Grab a paring knife and make a slight hole on the side of each popover so the steam can escape.

Brush melted butter over the tops of the popovers and sprinkle with raw sugar.  Serve immediately.  Popovers are best the day they are made.  Enjoy!

5 Popover Links You Need To Check Out!

This popover found only at Jordan Pond House in Acadia National Park started my popover obsession.

Looking for a savory popover that requires no mixer? Head to Damn Delicious for Chungah’s easy garlic Parmesan popovers.

If you have a sweet tooth head to Joy the Baker for her cinnamon sugar popovers or try Martha’s tried and true dark chocolate popovers.

Hate to fail? King Arthur has a recipe for never-fail popovers that promises to…never fail. 🙂

 

Overnight Oats with Pumpkin Granola and Apple Crunch + 5 Overnight Oats Recipes

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oats1605Three months ago I carved out one morning a week for myself and volunteered as a chef’s assistant at the Boston Public Market. The kids were up, fed and dressed by 7am; bright-eyed, sort of, for our saint or, rather, sitter who agreed to come at such an ungodly hour.

Showered and caffeinated by the time our sitter walked into the house, I was ready for my morning.  Bubba and I drove into the city together, alone.  Sometimes we chatted. Other times there was nothing left to say so we just sat, quietly, listening to the radio, his hand reaching for mine while I stared out the window.  The traffic which normally would stress me didn’t phase me at all.  We were together and still.  Nothing left to do but wait..for the next part of our day to start.  A quick kiss and we parted for the day.  He off to his world I know nothing of and me running to the kitchen.

I spent my time at the market prepping food, discussing recipes and chatting with other volunteers.  I didn’t reach for my phone or check the clock. I was present, in the moment, happy to be away from favorites, my one and only(s) for just a few hours.

When my shift ended I walked straight to my favorite vendor: Mother Juice.  Every week, without fail I ordered the same damn thing: overnight oats with almond milk, banana and dates, topped with almond butter, granola and fresh fruit.  Being someone who likes food, you would think I would try something new each week.  Nope.  I craved the oats.  Licked the spoon when I was done.  I couldn’t get enough of them.  If someone offered me an another bowl, I would say yes without a bit of hesitation in my gut.

The banana and dates made the oats slightly sweet.  And then a surprise as I swirled my spoon around: bits of almond butter covered oats!  I was as delighted as a child who finds the hidden marzipan in the holiday cranberry stollen.  Yet, the texture blast that followed is what really sold me on the oats: crunchy granola topped with fresh, bright berries.  Amazing!

My weekly shift in the Kitchen ended two weeks ago, but my craving for overnight oats remains strong, just as my need for some time away. The delicious, creamy oats satisfied my hunger.  But the time just sitting with Bubba and then, alone soothed and sustained my soul. I made my version of overnight oats with some inspiration from a few fellow food bloggers. It’s a start, it’s a step, it’s something.

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Overnight Oats with Pumpkin Granola and Apple Crunch

Oats recipe from Oh She Glows

Apple Crunch adapted from Green Kitchen Stories

Pumpkin Granola adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen

Serves 4, 2 generously

Ingredients for Oats:

2 large bananas, mashed until smooth

4 tablespoons of chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup old-fashion rolled oats

1 + 1/2 cup milk of your choice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Using a small bowl, mash the bananas until smooth.  Add the chia seeds and cinnamon and stir until well combined.

Add the oats, milk and vanilla.  Stir.  Store in an air-tight container and refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours.

When ready to use, stir the oat mixture.  If the mixture is too thick, add a little milk.  If it is too soupy, add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and refrigerate until it is thicker.  Oats, stored in an air-tight container and refrigerated, will last up to 2 days.

Ingredients for Pumpkin Granola:

2 + 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/3 pumpkin puree

2 cups old-fashion oats

1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped

3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds or pepitas

1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 325F.  Using a large mixing bowl, whisk together olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon, maple syrup and pumpkin puree.  Add the oats, almonds and pumpkin seeds and stir until well coated.

Spread the oats on a baking sheet, leaving some of the clusters intact, so you will end up with yummy, crunchy clusters.  Bake granola for until golden brown, about 40-45 minutes. **Be sure to stir the granola once or twice during baking time.** Remove from the oven and allow the granola to cool completely.  Add cranberries and a sprinkle of sea salt.  Mix and store in air-tight container for 2 weeks.

Ingredients for Apple Crunch:

1 large apple, small dice

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup raw almonds

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of ginger

pinch of cardamom

sprinkle of sea salt

Directions:

Chop apple and set aside.  Heat coconut oil and maple syrup in a skillet.  Add apple, pumpkin seeds, almonds and spices.  Cook, stirring often, until the apple are soft and the nuts and seeds crunchy, about 8 minutes.  Remove apple crunch from pan and store in an air-tight container at room temperature until ready to use.

Assembly, Finally!!

Grab a jar or bowl, whatever suits you and add the oats.  Next add a dollop of almond butter (optional, but yummy) followed by a handful of granola.  Lastly, top this bowl health with heaping spoonful or two of apple crunch.  Sit down and enjoy!

*I like my oats at room temperature.  They taste great cold, room temperature or warm.  You decide!*

5 Overnight Oats Links!

New to overnight oats for breakfast? Head to the Food Network’s blog for a tutorial by Min Kwon of the food blog The Adventures of MJ and Hungryman.

Peanut butter lovers everywhere must check out Minimalist Baker’s recipe for peanut butter overnight oats.  Yum! Have a nut allergy? Use Sunbutter instead!

Steel cut oats can also be made the night before for a healthy and hearty breakfast.  Head to the Lemon Bowl for overnight refrigerator steel-cut oats. 

The kitchn’s recipe for blueberry pie overnight oats is on my must make list.  Pie crust topping, fresh blueberries, oatmeal? Yes, please!

If you don’t want to follow a recipe, head to Food 52 for their tips on how to make overnight oats without a recipe.

Cranberry Maple Breakfast Cake + 5 Quick Breads for Christmas Morning!

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Yellow sticky notes decorate our refrigerator most days; notes to myself, to do lists, don’t forget this, don’t forget that, pick up here, drop off there.  When the holidays come my lists double.  Before I went out last night for dinner with two of my oldest, dearest friends I wrote yet another list and stuck it on the fridge.

“Why so many notes, Mama?” C asked.

“Because I have a lot to remember.” Me.

“You better not forget!” C said as she shoveled another bite of Annie’s mac and cheese into her mouth.

I thought about what she said on my drive into the city.  What about if I did forget my list? What if all the balls I keep juggling in the air came crashing down?  Would they be ok?  Would I be ok? I think so, I hope so.  After all, they are just lists.

cbc015When I feel overwhelmed, I bake. I stop my busy mind and focus on the present.  I accomplish something, sometimes with great results and other times, not so much.  A few days ago, I baked a breakfast cake and it was delicious.  I found a recipe in Joanne Chang’s Flour Cookbook (love her!) and altered it a bit.  Her recipe calls for maple-pecans. I know what you are thinking: why take out maple pecans? They sound amazing.  I agree!  My older boy has a nut allergy, so we are a nut-free house.  I replaced the pecans with dark chocolate chips and orange zest.  The ratio of the dark chocolate and tart cranberries was perfect.  The maple syrup infused the tender, buttery cake and the orange zest just worked, subtly complimenting both the chocolate and cranberries.

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The icing on this holiday cake made me swoon.  A little confectioners’ sugar and a few tablespoons of maple syrup bring this breakfast/anytime of the day cake together in one perfect bite.  Enjoy and happy holidays!

Cranberry Maple Breakfast Cake With Maple Glaze

Makes 3 mini-loaves or 1 9-inch loaf

recipe adapted from Joanna Chang’s Flour

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups cake flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 6 pieces

1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk, at room temperature

2 eggs

1 teaspoons vanilla extract

zest of one medium orange

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/2  cup dark chocolate chips

1 cup of fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped

Maple Glaze:

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 or 3 tablespoons of maple syrup

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.  Butter and flour mini loaf pans or 9×5 inch loaf pan and set aside.

Using your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or hand-held mixer, beat together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes.  The mixture should look like sand.  (Beat for about 5 minutes if using a hand-held mixer.)

In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, orange zest and 1/3 cup of maple syrup.  Once thoroughly combined, add half of the buttermilk mixture to the flour/butter mixture and beat on medium/high-speed for about 1 minute or until light, fluffy and pale.  Stop the mixer and scrap the sides of the bowl.  On low-speed add the rest of the buttermilk mixture.  Be sure the buttermilk is fully combined with the flour mixture!

Fold the chopped cranberries and chocolate chips into the batter.  Pour the batter into prepared pans and smooth out the top.  Bake the mini-loaf pans for about 35 minutes, but I would start checking them at 25 minutes.  (If using a 9×5 inch pan, bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes.)  Let cool in the pan for about a half hour.  While the bread(s) are cooling, make the maple glaze.

In a small bowl whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and maple syrup.  Spread or pour the glaze over the still warm bread.

The cake will last, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days at room temperature.  I think the cake tastes better the next day because the flavors really soak in!  Make this now and it will be perfect for Christmas morning.  Enjoy!

5 Quick Bread Recipe Links For Christmas!

Need a citrus kick to get you through the holidays?  Check out Two Peas and Their Pod’s recipe for lemon almond bread.  Sounds like the perfect quick bread to make all winter long!

Cranberry season is almost over so grab a bag and make Cake Duchess’s cranberry streusel quick bread.  I love a good streusel topping and this one looks delicious!

Love banana bread? Check out Zoe’s bakes Nutella swirled banana bread, Joy the Baker’s brown butter banana bread and Cookie + Kate’s banana trail mix bread.  Choices, choices…

 

Pear + Apple Breakfast Granola Crisp + 5 Feel Good Fall Breakfast Recipes!

 

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I can see my breath in the cold, fall air.  The field is dark except for a small area in the east where the sun just begins to warm the dew covered grass.  I walk slowly over to the light and turn my face to the sun, bright spots dance underneath my eye lids.  The sun feels warm, but the wind is brisk and unrelenting.  My running shoes are wet, my toes numb.  The numbness creeps up to my thighs and settles in.  When I open my eyes I see the others undressing, shoving warm layers into clear plastic bags.  They nervously eat Power Bars, set their watches and stretch.  I stare blankly at the grass, not fully present.

“Time to head over.” Who said that? I remove my jacket, shove it into my bag and re-tie my running shoes.  I follow the crowd to the starting line.  I’m not ready.

“Oh c’mon, Kel.”  I hear you Papa.  Three long years later and I still hear you on my runs.

The blow horn sounds, ready or not, my legs are moving.  I feel ok. The numbness is subsiding.  Suddenly I feel great, I am cruising…then I hit mile 5 and I feel a stabbing pain in my knee; my thoughts snowball, my mind takes over.  I can’t do this.  This is too painful.  What am I trying to prove?  Stop!

Breathe.

One foot in front of the other. Finish what you started. “C’mon you old donkey.” Papa…again.

Mile 10.

Almost there. 3 miles is nothing compared to the 10 I just ran.  One foot in front of the other…Bubba and the kids stand near the finish line.  I smile, relieved to see their sweet, familiar faces cheering me on.  The gnawing pain in my knee remains, but my mind is stronger.  I keep going.

Finish line. 

I hear Papa laugh, a proud laugh and then he is gone…again.

The race is over and I have a medal to show for it, a medal and some dam strong determination.  I hobble past the Gatorade and food stations.  Bagels, bananas and Power bars are everywhere. I don’t want any of it.  Anxious to head home, I stop and look for my favorites.

“Mama! Good job Mama!” Bubba gives me a kiss.  I hug the kids.  We head home. The race is over, one foot in front of the other, and I finished.

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I took a few days off from running and attempted to make caramel apples. I failed.  My first attempt the caramel tasted like sugar soup.  Gross!  My second attempt I overcooked the caramel, but coated the apples anyway.  I thought for sure caramel would pull out C’s slightly loose tooth. “Mama this tastes good, but I can’t eat it. It is too hard!” Failed again.

My thoughts snowball: Why am I keeping this blog? Who cares? There are too many food blogs out there! What do I have to say that is fresh? Nothing! 

Breathe.

I move on and attempt to make a whole grain cookie.  I fail. The cookie is flavorful, but way to moist; it’s texture like a dense, squat muffin.

Try something else. Don’t give up!

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I find a recipe for a breakfast granola crisp and feel inspired.  I see perfectly ripe pears and apples sitting in our fruit bowl.  I make the crisp, adapting it slightly: maple syrup instead of honey, brown sugar in place of white sugar and white whole wheat flour and oats for the topping.  I pull the crisp from the oven, the juices still bubbling.  The granola topping is golden brown and crisp.  The ambrosial smell of baked apples, pears and cinnamon fill the kitchen.

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After the crisp has cooled a bit, I take a bite.  Success!  The granola topping is crisp and subtly sweet with hints of maple.  The fruit is warm and syrupy.  I add some Greek yogurt for protein, but could have just as easily eaten straight from the pan.  I feel satisfied with the recipe and ready to share it.  I’m so glad didn’t give up! One foot in front of the other…

Pear + Apple Breakfast Granola Crisp

A slightly sweet fall fruit crisp with a crunchy granola topping makes breakfast feel like a treat.  

recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

serves 6-8               

1 1/2 pounds of apples, (apples you like to bake with) peeled, cored and cut into medium size chunks

1 1/2 pounds of Bartlett pears cored and cut into medium size chunks

2 tablespoons  lemon juice

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon cinnamon

A pinch of kosher salt

1 stick/8 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

2 cups oats ( I used Bob’s 7 grain hot cereal mix.)
optional: ( I did not use the ingredients listed below because we have a nut-allergy in our family, but I bet they are a delicious addition.)

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/2 shredded coconut sweetened or unsweetened

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 400°F.

Using a large bowl mix together apple and pear chunks with lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and pinch of salt until evenly coated. Scoop the fruit into an 8×8 metal baking pan and set aside.

In a small bowl combine the flour and oats (almonds and coconut too, if using). Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with the maple syrup.

Stir the dry ingredients into the melted butter and maple syrup, add a pinch of salt and continue to stir until clumps form. Sprinkle granola evenly over the apple and pear mixture.

Bake in the oven for about 45 to 50 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and soft.***Check the granola topping at 40 minutes. If the granola browns too fast, place a piece of aluminum foil over the dish.  Remove the foil the last few minutes of baking to allow the granola to crisp.***

Allow to cool to room temperature. Serve with yogurt and a bit of honey or agave nectar. Enjoy!

The crisp will last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days.

5 Feel Good Fall Breakfast Links

Looking for a healthy, slightly sweet pumpkin bread?  Head to Sprouted Kitchen for Sarah’s recipe: pumpkin bread with toasted walnuts and cinnamon swirl.  I can’t wait to make this!

I love pears and I have a container of steel cut oats sitting in my pantry.  Minimalist Baker’s recipe for caramelized pear steel cut oats is on my must make list this week!

If eggs is more your thing at breakfast, try an apple omelet with cheddar and thyme. Be sure to check out What Should I Eat For Breakfast Today? other recipes too!

Want to eat waffles, but need an easy gluten-free option?  Cookie + Kate has the recipe for you!

Check out my pumpkin streusel millet muffins! They are sure to be a crowd pleaser!

 

 

Pumpkin Streusel Millet Muffins + 5 Can’t Miss Pumpkin Muffin Recipes

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Some days are best started with a muffin.  Some days require more than a vegan protein smoothie or cold, high fiber cereal to make you feel good.  (No, I don’t eat vegan, high protein smoothies, but I think about it!)  Eating a muffin for breakfast is like giving yourself a present before you start the day.  All I need to start my day is a little kindness, a little comfort, a little something sweet and coffee.  Lots. Of. Coffee.  What do you need?  How about a pumpkin streusel millet muffin?

Since it is officially fall, I embraced pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in my kitchen this week.  I thought of making Joanne Chang’s pumpkin muffins with ginger kissed pepitas, but then I saw a bag of millet sitting in the cupboard.  “Use me.”  So I googled pumpkin millet muffins and sure enough Whole Foods had a recipe.  Shocking, I know.

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I adapted the recipe slightly by adding whole Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and 1% milk in place of whole milk.  So healthy! Right?! I had every intention of keeping these muffins healthy, but butter and sugar got the best of me and I added a streusel topping.  The muffin has a moist crumb and a mellow pumpkin flavor.  The cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves made my house smell like the holidays, but I didn’t feel like I was eating potpourri.  The toasted millet adds a nice and unexpected crunch to the muffins.  The streusel topping hooks you immediately because, well, because it is butter and sugar.  Bubba and the kids loved them and I bet your favorites will as well. Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Streusel Millet Muffins

recipe adapted from Whole Foods Market

makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

1/2 cup millet, toasted

1 egg

1/2 cup whole Greek yogurt

1/2 cup milk ( I used 1%)

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted

1 cup canned pumpkin purée

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.

Using a large skillet toast the millet over medium/high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The millet should be golden brown and starting to pop. Remove from heat, transfer to a plate and allow to cool completely.

In a large bowl, whisk together egg, yogurt, milk, butter, pumpkin, sugar and brown sugar and set aside. Using a medium size bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and millet.  Gently, fold the dry mixture into the egg mixture until just combined.  Scoop the batter into muffin tins and sprinkle the streusel topping (recipe below) on each muffin.  Bake the muffins for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean.  Cool muffins in the pan for 5 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Muffins are best the day they are made, but taste pretty good the next day too!  Enjoy!

Streusel Topping

recipe from My Recipes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened

1/2 sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Directions:

Beat butter until fluffy and add sugars. Add flour, cinnamon and nutmeg and beat until just combined.  Use immediately.  This is a great topping for muffins, coffee cakes and quick breads. Enjoy!

5 Can’t Miss Pumpkin Muffin Recipes

Can’t decide between a pumpkin cupcake or a pumpkin muffin? Head to Flourishing Foodie for Heather’s pumpkin spice chocolate muffins with maple cream cheese icing.  Yum! I want to eat one now.

If you are toffee lover, check out Two Peas and Their Pod recipe for pumpkin toffee chocolate chip muffins.  Sounds like the perfect way to treat yourself on a rough morning!

I love snickerdoodles, so Heather Christo’s recipe for snickerdoodle pumpkin muffins is on my must make list.

Sometimes it is best to keep it simple, and that goes for muffins too.  Biscuits and Such has a recipe for pumpkin muffins that sounds fantastic.  Check it out!

Want/need/gotta have a healthy breakfast option at your next brunch?  Pinch of Yum has a recipe for maple glazed pumpkin muffins that is healthy and delicious!

 

Sweet and Savory Corn Fritters + 5 Corn Recipes for August!

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Our fantastic sitter came over last week. I left her with a few instructions and bolted out the house like a swarm of bees were chasing me. I didn’t have an appointment or a plan. I sat in my car for a few minutes, not sure what to do or where to go. Almost lunch time and tired of Sunbutter and jam sandwiches, I took myself out to lunch. Did I eat by myself in a restaurant and read a book? Nope. I drove to Whole Foods. I wandered around the prepared foods section for a while, finally settling on a salad for lunch. I thought about sitting in the café area, but decided against it; way too many people. I headed to my car. So I am sitting in the parking lot, alone, eating their spicy Thai kale salad and listening to Here & Now on NPR. I know there is so much to make fun of in that sentence. It gets better: I am wearing Birkenstocks, now fashionable, but not so when I bought them, and drinking organic green tea. I am a cliché. Did I picture this for myself 10 years ago? No. Am I ok with it? Yup. I can appreciate and laugh at both Whole Foods and kale salads. I like to eat alone because I NEVER eat alone. Birkenstocks are so dam comfortable I could walk across the state of Massachusetts in them without complaining my feet hurt. I like NPR, enough said.

Kathy Gunst was on Here & Now discussing how to use the vegetable of the month: corn! I love corn but, my ears didn’t really perk up until she mentioned corn fritters. My grandmother made corn fritters and served them with warm maple syrup. I loved them; so sweet and so deep-fried.

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When I got home I looked up her recipe and found both a sweet and savory version of a corn fritter. Savory sounds interesting. Oh, and instead of a deep-fried treat, she prepared them as you would a pancake. Perfect! I feel less guilty about serving them to my family for dinner. I adapted her recipe by swapping out some of the flour for whole wheat flour, and using 1% milk instead of half and half. I felt like I made a healthy choice. Then I added bacon. Why? Because it was sitting in the fridge and it felt left out. You don’t need to add it, but it tastes dam good with corn and syrup. Just sayin’.

The sweet corn fritter is just as you expect: sweet, comforting and addictive. The savory corn fritter has a surprising burst of herbal and lemon flavor. A healthy drizzling of lemon-herb butter highlights this flavor profile even more! The kids loved the sweet corn fritters. Bubba and I ate the savory fritters. If you don’t feel like making the lemon-herb butter, pour warm maple syrup over the savory fritters. Bubba did and said it was delicious. Take advantage of fresh corn this month and make these fritters. Enjoy!

Sweet and Savory Corn Fritters

recipe adapted from NPR’s Here & Now chef Kathy Gunst

makes about 10 small fritters

Ingredients for Sweet Corn Breakfast Fritters:

1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup white whole wheat flour

Pinch of kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup milk (I used 1%.)

1 tbsp. sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 cups fresh corn kernels, removed from 2 cobs

Maple syrup

Canola oil or vegetable oil for pan

Optional: 1/2 pound of bacon, cooked and chopped

Directions:

(Pre-heat your oven to 200F. As you cook the fritters you can place them on a baking sheet in the oven to keep them warm until you are ready to serve.)

Whisk together the flours, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the milk and sugar and whisk until very smooth. Add a little more milk if the batter looks to dry. Beat in the egg and gently fold in the corn.

Using a large skillet or griddle, heat a few tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Using a small cookie scoop or spoon, drop 2 tablespoons batter into the hot oil. Gently flatten the batter with the back of your spatula to form a pancake. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. *When lots of bubbles form in the batter it is a good time to flip the pancake.* Serve immediately with lots of maple syrup and some chopped bacon or transfer to pre-heated oven until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Savory Herb Corn Fritters

recipe adapted from NPR’s Here & Now chef Kathy Gunst

makes 10-12 small fritters

Ingredients:

2 cups of fresh corn from about 2 large cobs

1 large egg, whisked

1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup white whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 cup whole milk

Pinch of kosher salt

the zest and juice of one lemon

a bit of fresh ground black pepper

1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

1 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped

1 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped

1 tbsp. canola oil, plus more for frying

Optional: 1/2 pound of bacon, cooked and chopped

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix together the corn kernels and egg. Add the flour, baking powder, milk, salt, pepper, parsley, basil, chives and 1 tsp. lemon zest and stir until combined. Add 1 tablespoon of canola oil and beat well.

Heat your skillet or griddle over medium-high heat and add a bit of oil for frying. Using a small cookie scoop or spoon, drop 2 tablespoons batter into the hot oil. Gently flatten the batter with the back of your spatula to form a pancake. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. *When lots of bubbles form in the batter it is a good time to flip the pancake.*

Serve immediately or transfer to pre-heated oven until ready to serve. Eat with a heaping spoonful of lemon-herb butter. Enjoy!

Lemon-Herb Butter

Ingredients:

1/2 stick unsalted butter

pinch of kosher salt

1 tbsp. parsley, chopped

1 tbsp. basil, chopped

1 tbsp. chives, chopped

1 tsp. lemon zest

juice of 1 lemon

fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

Melt the butter with the herbs and simmer over low heat for a few minutes. Add lemon juice, zest and black pepper and simmer for another minute.

Drizzle over cooked fritters when ready to serve. Enjoy!

5 Corn Recipes To Try Before Corn Season Ends!

I like soup in the summertime. It is a nice break from the grill. I especially love corn soup, so Cooking Classy’s summer squash and corn chowder is on my meal list this week. Check it out!

Looking for an easy and light pasta dish that the kids can help you make? Try hello, Wonderful’s recipe for pappardelle with leeks and corn. Yum!

I love fast and healthy meals. I need to throw this quesadilla recipe into our rotation before corn and zucchini season are over!

If your garden is overflowing with cilantro head to Food 52. Their recipe for sweet corn fritters with sriracha-lime Greek yogurt sounds amazing!

I am a big fan of corn bread and the kids love it too. I need to try Spoon Fork Bacon’s recipe for Buttermilk Cornbread with Bacon, Lime and Chili butter. I didn’t know you could do that to butter. Wow!

Zucchini Bread + 5 Zunchini Bread Recipes To Make This Summer!

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I apologize for the brevity of this post. I have a long list of things to get done today before we leave for our family vacation. Packing for a family of 5 is no easy task!

This week we received a beautiful zucchini from our farm share.

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“What are you going to do with that, Mama?” C. “Want to try zucchini bread?” Me. “Zucchini in bread: gross!” C.

I made the bread despite C’s objections, and I am so glad I did! I came across a recipe for zucchini bread in my latest Cook’s Illustrated. The recipe promised a light and moist snack bread, which intrigued me. Most zucchini bread I’ve made comes out pretty dense and often times soggy. This bread is a welcome change from the bread I normally eat. It is light and moist, low on oil and it even contains a bit of whole wheat flour. It sorta feels ok to eat several slices of it in one sitting!

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Place the shredded zucchini in a clean dish towel and twist tightly to release as much liquid as possible. This steps guarantees your bread won’t turn out soggy!

zb0014 zb18You don’t need your mixer for this recipe. All you need is a whisk and two bowls. Easy! Whisk the wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately and fold the wet zucchini mixture into the dry mixture. Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of raw sugar over the top. The sugar will give you a nice, crunchy top. Who doesn’t love that?

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C couldn’t get past zucchini in the bread to eat it. G and Bubba loved it. One piece is left sitting on our counter, well wrapped and still fresh. I plan on eating it with my left over coffee I never finished this morning.

Zucchini Bread

makes 1 loaf

Slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated July 2014

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs zucchini, shredded

11/4 cups light brown sugar

1/4  canola oil

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

11/2 cups un bleached, all-purpose flour

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

11/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tbsp. raw sugar

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 325F. Grease a loaf pan (I used cooking spray.) and set aside.

Shred the zucchini using the large hold of a box grater and place in the center of a clean dish towel. Gather the ends and twist the towel to remove as much liquid as possible from the zucchini. Twist a few times. Set zucchini aside.

In  a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Fold in zucchini. In a large bowl, whisk flours, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg. Fold zucchini mixture into dry mixture until just blended. Do not over mix or you will have rubbery bread!  Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake for about 60-70 minutes or until the top springs when pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with only a few moist crumbs. (Check bread at 55 minutes, just to be sure.) Allow bread to cool in pan on a wire rack for a half hour. Carefully remove bread from pan and let it cool completely. Serve at room temperature. Enjoy!

*Bread will last well wrapped for several days. Also I think it tastes especially good with a bit of cream cheese!*

5 Zucchini Bread Recipes To Make This Summer!

Looking for a healthy chocolate zucchini bread? Weelicious has the recipe for you. I love this site, check it out!

Need a vegan recipe? How about a vegan zucchini bread with coconut and chocolate chips? How Sweet It Is has the recipe for you.

I never thought of putting molasses in a zucchini bread recipe until I came across whole wheat molasses zucchini bread by Kitchen Simplicity. It sounds healthy and looks delicious. Oh and it is chock full of walnuts and chocolate chips. Yum!

My mom makes the best lemon poppy seed bread. My sister claims her bread is better. I can’t decide, I love both of them. In fact, I love most quick breads so when I came across a recipe for lemon poppy seed zucchini bread it went immediately onto my must make list!

Looking for a zucchini muffin recipe? Simply Recipes has one for you and it sounds tasty!