Buttermilk Scones with Strawberry Jam + 5 Summer Scone Recipes

sjbs056Our CSA with Warner Farm started this week and we are very excited. We joined this csa a couple of years ago and it has really changed how we, as a family, look at food. The kids enjoy picking up our share each week and guessing the names of the different vegetables. They may not eat the Swiss chard or kale or beets we receive, but they can identify them! Bubba and I can taste the difference and eating the fruits and veggies from our share feels like a treat. It is a treat.

The other day C said “the Swiss leaves are pretty.” I love that she can see beauty in food.

G saw me rinsing the swiss chard and asked “can I help you, Mommy?”

“Sure buddy.” He rinsed the dirt from the leaves and patted them dry. “Why is there dirt?’

“Because it grows in the ground..”

“Like our carrots.” “That’s right, buddy.” (Keep asking questions G.)

I think their favorite part of our weekly share is the fruit. They usually eat most of the fruit in the car on the way home, which is less than 10 minutes away. This week we received 2 quarts of beautiful strawberries.

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“Mama, they taste better than the grocery store strawberries.” Kids are so smart. By the time we reached our driveway little green strawberry tops littered the back seat. We are still learning about picking up after ourselves. As I unpacked the vegetables, they continued to eat the strawberries, and little red mustaches formed around their mouths. It was close to dinnertime, but I didn’t stop them. I was so happy to see them eating these well cared for beauties with such joy. After their bellies were full, they went outside to play. I set aside the remaining berries and decided to make strawberry jam. This was my first time making strawberry jam and it was super easy. I’ll still buy jam, but maybe in the summer when the berries are ripe I’ll make my own.

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The kids and Bubba love this jam. I think in season strawberries work really well, because they are naturally so sweet and flavorful. The fresh lemon juice balances the flavors and adds brightness. The jam is perfectly sweet, but I think you could reduce the sugar a bit and it would taste just as good.

After the kids went to bed I made buttermilk scones, just the dough, and popped them into the freezer. The next morning the baby was up at 5:30. (Though not ideal, I can handle 6; 5:30 is just to early.) A few minutes later G and C wandered down the stairs, still sleepy. I quickly sipped my coffee and asked them:

“What do you want for breakfast?”

“Jam, mama.”

Jam sounds good and easy. Can I give them a jar of jam and a couple of spoons? No, dam it, they’ll be hungry again in an hour. I’m so tired. I need more coffee.

“Want to try a scone?”

 

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I placed the frozen scones on a baking sheet and baked them for about 20 minutes. The house smelled amazing! The scones came out golden brown and tender.

They each ate a scone, warm and covered with jam. “So good.”

I love when their bellies are happy.

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Strawberry Jam

Makes about 2 cups

recipe barely adapted from All Recipes

Ingredients:

2 cups of strawberries, mashed

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice

Directions:

In a large bowl, mash the strawberries until you have about 2 cups of berries. Grab a heavy saucepan and  mix together the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice.

Stir over low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Increase heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil for about 10 minutes, stirring often. The mixture should reach 220 degrees F.  For more information on making sure your jam sets ups head to the Kitchn.

Transfer to hot sterile jars, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch space from the top, and seal. Process in a water bath. For information about canning head over to The Pioneer Woman.

If you plan on eating the jam right away like we did, just refrigerate. The jam will last for several weeks.

Enjoy!

 

Buttermilk Scones

Makes 12 triangular scones

Recipe adapted from Baking with Julia

Ingredients:

3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

21/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. kosher salt

11/2 sticks very cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 cup of buttermilk

the zest of 1 orange

1 egg yolk for brushing

1/4 cup raw sugar for dusting

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingers, add the cold butter pieces. Work the butter in until it looks like wet sand. It is ok if some large pieces of butter remain. They will add flakiness to the scone.

Pour in buttermilk and add orange zest. Mix with a fork until the batter is just moistened. If the dough looks too dry, add another tablespoon of buttermilk.

Gather the dough into a ball and place it on a lightly floured surface. Knead it several times and then cut the dough in half. Roll each half of the dough into a 1/2 inch thick circle, about 7 inches across. Brush the dough with the egg yolk and sprinkle with raw sugar. Cut the circle into 6 triangles and place on prepared baking sheet. (At this point you can freeze the scones. Wrap each scone with plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. The scones can be frozen for up to a month. When ready to bake, no need to thaw them. You may just need a little extra cooking time.)

Bake the scones for about 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. (If frozen 15-18 minutes should do it.) Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature with jam or whipped cream and don’t forget the coffee or tea!

**You can freeze baked scones. Wrap them air-tight and they will last for a month. When ready to serve, defrost at room temperature, unwrap and reheat for 5 minutes at 350 F. **

5 Summer Scone Recipes

Strawberry and rhubarb season calls for strawberry-rhubarb scones! Oh Lady Cakes has a recipe with rye flour and sweet cream. They look and sound delicious!

If you love blueberries, try Pinch of Yum’s bakery style blueberry scones. The sugar topping looks heavenly!

On a whole wheat kick? The Law Student’s Wife has a recipe for healthy whole wheat rhubarb scones. It looks like her recipe is a great base for any scone mix-ins.

Looking for a unique scone combination? How about mixed berry scones with crème fraîche and lavender. Sounds interesting. One of my favorite blogs, The Vanilla Bean Blog, has the recipe.

I love peaches so Joy the Baker’s recipe for peach cobbler scones is on my must make list!

Blueberry Buckle + 5 Coffee Cake Links You Should Check Out!

 

bb0019“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

The door bell rang the other day. A casually dressed woman with short, dark hair stood at our door. She wore a pretty, white summer skirt and a black top. She was tan, tan enough that I thought: you don’t live around here. We don’t see that kind of sun. I said hello and she smiled easily. She seemed comfortable standing on our porch, like she had stood in that exact spot many times before. She quickly blurted out: “I don’t mean to bother you, but my grandmother lived here. She passed away in 68′ I have so many wonderful memories of this house.” She told me she lived in North Carolina (that explains the tan) and was up visiting a friend. Her daughter and grandson were waiting in the car. Before she could ask, I asked her: “Would you like to see the house?” She smiled so widely that her eyes smiled as well. “Yes. I’d love to!”

Her daughter and infant grandson joined us. We walked through the house, pausing in each room. She seemed overwhelmed with memories. She touched the banister as we walked up stairs not for support, but because she had to feel it again. She told me how much she loved the curve in the stairs as a kid. She pointed out her grandmother’s room, which is now N’s room. “I loved her bedroom.” As we walked downstairs she touched the knob at the bottom of the banister, and said “I can’t believe this is still here.” We stepped out, on to the wrap around porch. She looked around and smiled. Tears welled up in her eyes. It seemed the memories were too much for her to carry around anymore. Before she left she said, “If you find pink irises, my grandmother planted them. After she passed, I took some and planted them at my house. I still have them. They remind me of her.”  She and her daughter thanked me. “Enjoy this house!” she said just before getting in her car.

I never caught her name, but I have thought about our meeting every day for the last week. I thought of my grandmother and her house: the smells, the rooms, the big yard, her garden and the countless dinners. I picked up the phone and called her because I can: “Hi, Jer. Hi, Kel.” We spoke only briefly, but it was nice to hear her voice. I need to see her and be in her house again, soon. Someday, I will be that woman, asking to see my grandmother’s house.

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The recipe I have today is for a coffee cake called Blueberry Buckle. This recipe originally appeared the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook. My grandmother, Jerry, made this a lot when I was a kid. In fact, my oldest and dearest friends have tried her blueberry buckle. This is the kind of coffee cake people remember, and for good reason. It is dam good! I tweaked this recipe only slightly by reducing the sugar a bit and adding lemon zest for brightness. If you don’t have a lemon on hand, leave it out. This cake is just as good without it. Enjoy!

 

Blueberry Buckle

Recipe adapted from my grandmother, Jerry, and Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook

Makes 9 3 inch squares

Ingredients for Cake:

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup white whole wheat flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 egg

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract

zest of 1 lemon

2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries (if frozen do not thaw)

Ingredients for Crumb Mixture:

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 375. Grease  and flour a 9 inch square baking pan and set aside.  In a medium bowl whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt. Add the blueberries and gently toss to coat. Set aside. Using your fingers, combine the ingredients for the crumb mixture in a small bowl and set aside. You will top the cake batter with this mixture before it goes into the oven.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl once or twice. Add the egg and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Add the lemon zest and vanilla extract. Slowly add the milk.

Gently fold the dry ingredients plus the blueberries into the wet ingredients until combined. A few flour streaks is ok. Do not over mix! This batter will be dry and tacky. This is ok too.

Spread the batter evenly into your prepared pan. Sprinkle the crumb mixture on top of the cake and bake for 40-45 minutes. I baked my cake for 45 minutes,  and it was perfect, but start checking at 40 minutes.

Allow to cool in pan on wire rack. Once cool, cut into squares and serve at room temperature or slightly warm. Cake will last well wrapped in an air tight container for a couple of days. Enjoy!

5 Coffee Cake Links You Should Check Out!

If you are a butterscotch lover, you should check out this sweet treat over at The Galley Gourmet.

Looking for a coffee cake that uses Greek yogurt instead of sour cream? Oh, and do you want a cinnamon streusel filling and a cream cheese glaze? Head over to Two Peas and Their Pod for their amazing Yogurt Coffee Cake recipe.

Need a gluten-free option for your next brunch? Head to Bakers Royal for a gluten-free blueberry coffee cake recipe. Have I mentioned how much I love Naomi’s photography? She is incredibly talented both as a photographer and baker!

Take advantage of strawberry season and make a strawberry and cream coffee cake. Averie Cooks has the recipe for you.

Want a traditional coffee cake in muffin shape form? The Sugar Hit has a great cinnamon coffee cake recipe for you.

 

 

Baked Vanilla Bean Doughnuts with Chocolate Glaze + 5 Delicious Doughnut Links for Mother’s Day!

bd037The conversation went something like this:

Bubba: “What do you want to do for Mother’s Day?”

Me: “I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about it.”

Lie. Lie. Lie. Of course I thought about it! Just tell him already!

Ok.

“I want to sleep in. Then I want a large cup of coffee, but more importantly I’d like to drink that cup of coffee while it is still warm. Drink, not chug. Then I would like to go to the bathroom by myself without one of the kids bursting in because they need something. Maybe while I’m in the bathroom you can take the kids, yes all 3, to Mamadou’s and pick up some delicious, buttery, chocolate croissants for breakfast. After we eat the croissants and open cards and give lots of hugs and kisses and I think about how lucky I am to have such an awesome husband and 3 sweet kids; I want to be alone. Yup, alone. I want a quiet minute or hour. Take them to the park, please!

Maybe I’ll go for a run or take a shower without rushing. Maybe both? I’ll call Mom and wish her a happy day. How did you do it? And she’ll laugh and say “I just did it.” I’ll call my grandmother and sister. I’ll ask my grandmother the same thing and she’ll say “I don’t remember, but I did. You will too.” Jamie: “I don’t know how you do it.” She’ll laugh and say “I don’t know how you do it, Kel.” After I get off the phone, the empty house will feel odd. I’ll wander around it aimlessly. Now what? Laundry? Prep dinner? No, I know organize the office! No, c’mon its Mother’s Day. Relax. Sit on the deck and read? Maybe? Try out my new donut pan and bake a dozen, warm and sweet vanilla bean doughnuts? Yes!

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But wait, if I eat a croissant for breakfast, can I have a donut for a snack? Sure, it’s Mother’s day.

I’ll think: I should bake donuts everyday. This is so easy. Then I’ll remember: I’m not alone everyday. Oh ya.

Ok, these sweet bites are ready to go in the oven. I love this pan.

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All done and ready for the chocolate glaze. Dam, this house is quiet. When are they coming back? Oh wait. I hear crying. They’re back. It’s N. No it’s G. No it’s N. He needs to nurse. Ok, buddy. I’m here. Ouch! Daddy! I need a band-aid. I better grab one. Don’t grab a pink princess one. My goose doesn’t like pink or princesses anymore. Mama! Are you here? I’ll sing my song now. “Mama, mama let me say: have a happy mother’s day!” G. My sweet boy. Bubba: “smells good in here! What did you make? Wash your hands! Everyone needs to wash their hands before they can help mama.”

Deep breath.

“Mama, can I help you?” Sure.

bd0014 bd0011I love their little hands. Someday, baby N, you’ll help too. I love their excitement when they see rainbow sprinkles. Rainbow sprinkles! Making them happy is easy. It won’t always be easy. Enjoy this.

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Bubba smiles and asks ‘Did you get a minute?”

Yup. I got a minute.

Our house is loud again and that’s ok. They finish decorating the donuts and ask “can we be your taste testers?” They gobble up the donuts leaving a ring of chocolate around their little mouths. I wipe them clean, give them a kiss and we head outside.

Baked Vanilla Bean Doughnuts with Chocolate Glaze

doughnut recipe adapted from Ina Garten

chocolate glaze recipe by Joy the Baker

makes 1 dozen

Ingredients for Doughnut:

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp.  kosher salt

1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten

1 1/4 cups whole milk

2 tbsp. unsalted butter, browned

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

Ingredients for Chocolate Glaze:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

4 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

pinch of kosher salt

3 to 4 tbsp. milk

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Directions for doughnuts: Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease donut pans and set aside. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, milk, browned butter, and vanilla bean seeds. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Do not over mix!

Pour the batter into a Ziploc bag. Twist the top of bag so the batter doesn’t leak out and then trim the bottom corner of the bag. Pipe the batter into the baking pan about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for about 17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the donuts cool for about 5 minutes and then tap them out on to a sheet pan.

Directions for the glaze:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and salt. If you still see lumps in the sugar use a sifter!

Add 3-4 tablespoons of milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix together until completely incorporated and smooth. The glaze should be, thick but pourable.

Once the donuts are cool, dip them top side up into the chocolate glaze and place on a wire rack set inside a sheet pan. Decorate with sprinkles and allow to set for 30 minutes before stacking them. The donuts taste best the day they are made, but will still taste good two days later. Enjoy!

5 Doughnut Links for Mother’s Day

Want to eat a glazed doughnut filled and topped with funfetti? Head to Sally’s Baking Addiction for her baked funfetti donuts recipe. Just looking at her donuts makes me happy.

Glazed chocolate doughnuts are my favorite. The Faux Martha’s recipe for Baked Glazed Chocolate Doughnuts is on my must make list!

Should you make French toast or bake doughnuts for Mom this weekend? Tough call. How about French Toast Cake Donuts with maple glaze? Bakingdom has a delicious recipe for you. Check it out!

Want the real, fried, fluffy dough topped with a maple bacon glaze? How Sweet It Is has a recipe for mini maple bacon doughnuts. My mouth is watering!

Cheesecake doughnuts with salted caramel. Yes, you read that right. Head to Gourmet Traveller for the recipe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Challah French Toast with Mascarpone + Blueberry Meyer Lemon Compote + 5 French Toast Links for Easter Brunch!

 

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If you love French toast you must try this recipe! Is it the challah bread that makes this recipe stand out or the blueberry Meyer lemon compote? I’m not sure if it matters! The combination of the two along with the slightly sweet and tangy mascarpone makes this breakfast a treat. Give it a shot this Easter. While your family happily scarfs it down you can quietly sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee. A bit of silence and a cup of coffee in my hand is my idea of a perfect morning.

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Challah bread is so pretty and so damn delicious. I bought this bread at our local Whole Foods. This bread is perfect for French toast, because it is sturdy and won’t fall apart when you cook it. Also, it is spongy so it will absorb the custard really well. If you want to make your own bread head to King Arthur Flour for the recipe. Are you worried you might screw up the French toast on Easter morning? Head to Bon Appetit for the 7 most common French toast cooking mistakes. Read and learn…I did.

cft0025I made a blueberry Meyer lemon compote, because I feel like I need more compote in my life. No, just kidding. I saw a chef make a compote on Chopped and I thought: I should try that. So I did. I used frozen blueberries, but I can’t wait until blueberries are in season. Fresh blueberries will really make this standout. The Meyer lemon juice and zest adds a nice brightness and acidity to the sweet berries.

cft0031I love mascarpone because of its subtle flavor. I added a little lemon juice, lemon zest, confectioners sugar and salt to the cream cheese. I then stuffed the French toast with it. I wouldn’t eat this everyday, but a decadent breakfast once in a while is necessary. Treat yourself…and your family!

cft0046The kids and Bubba loved it. Happy spring and happy Easter!

Challah French Toast with Mascarpone and Blueberry Meyer Lemon Compote

Serves 4 or 8 large pieces

recipe barely adapted from Ina Garten

Ingredients for French Toast:

6 large eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

1 tsp. Meyer Lemon zest

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tbsp. agave nectar or honey

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 large loaf challah bread

unsalted butter

canola or vegetable oil

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, lemon zest, vanilla, agave nectar, and salt.

Slice the challah in 3/4-inch thick slices. Soak as many slices in the egg mixture as possible for about 5 minutes, turning once. I did 3 at a time.

Over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. of oil in a large sauté pan or skillet. Cook the soaked bread for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until nicely browned.

Place the cooked French toast on a sheet pan and keep it warm in the oven until ready to serve.

Fry the remaining soaked bread slices until it’s all cooked. Add more butter and oil to pan if necessary.

Serve hot with mascarpone cheese and blueberry lemon compote. Enjoy!

Ingredients for Blueberry Meyer Lemon Compote:

recipe barely adapted from Ellie Krieger

2 cups frozen blueberries

3 tbsp. water

1/4 cup sugar

zest and juice of one Meyer lemon

Directions:

Mix 1 cup of the blueberries, water, sugar, lemon juice and zest in a small saucepan. Cook the berries over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add the remaining cup of blueberries and cook for 8 minutes longer, stirring frequently. Serve warm. If you have any leftovers; save and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Use the compote as a topping for vanilla ice cream or Greek yogurt!

 Ingredients for Mascarpone Sauce:

1 8 ounce container Mascarpone, slightly softened

Confectioners’ Sugar, to taste ( I used about 2 tbsp.)

pinch kosher salt

zest and juice of one Meyer lemon

Directions:

In a small bowl mix together the Mascarpone, 2 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar, pinch of kosher salt and the zest and juice of one Meyer lemon. Mix until smooth. Spread a heaping spoonful on a piece of cooked bread, top with another piece of cooked bread. Pour as much compote as you like all over it and enjoy!

5 French Toast Recipes to Try for Easter!

One of my favorite food blogs is Dash and Bella. I love the recipes, writing and photography. Check it out if you haven’t already! Phyllis’ recipe for Baked Baguette French Toast is on my must try list. The photo alone will make you want to save your baguette scraps for next weekend’s brunch!

Need or want a vegan French toast recipe? What’s Cooking Good Looking a recipe for vegan eggnog French toast. I think I will make this next Christmas. Yum!

Need to prep breakfast the night before? Head to How Sweet It Is for Cinnamon Sugar Sourdough Bake with Whipped Greek Yogurt Cream. Yes. You read that right. Whipped. Greek. Yogurt. Cream.

French toast can be healthy! Cookie and Kate has a whole grain banana baked French toast recipe with a peanut butter drizzle. Sounds amazing! If you want to avoid peanut butter, because of an allergy sub in Sunbutter. It tastes just as good!

I love chocolate and bananas together. I love oatmeal. This recipe by FoodieCrush is making me drool.

 

 

Maple Quinoa Granola with Almonds and Dried Cranberries + 5 Granola Snack Links You Should Check Out!

mqg0022My life is a bit hectic lately. Three kids, 6 and under. I have three kids 6 and under. I say it, I type it, but it is hard to believe. Three little people who depend on me and Bubba entirely. Most days I feel overwhelmed and exhausted. At times I find myself fantasizing about sitting on a beach, alone with a good book and an ice coffee. I dream about the sun on my face and the sound of the waves crashing near me, and then I am catapulted back to reality by the sound of little voice saying “mama.” Mama I need you. Mama can we have breakfast now? Mama the baby is crying again. Mama…I gather what energy I have left and take care of them. 2o years from now I may miss this time or parts of this time at least. Or maybe 20 years from now I’ll feel relief; relief my life is more my own again. Maybe the only thing I will miss is a small voice saying “mama.”

One thing I won’t miss is eating sandwich crusts, stale Pirates Booty and half eaten apples. I am constantly eating their leftovers instead of giving myself a real snack. Before N was born I occasionally made granola. It is the perfect snack food for me. I eat a handful and it keeps me going for a while. After my 6 week post-partum check and weigh in, I decided eating more healthy snacks is necessary. I need to take care of me, so I can take care of everyone else.

I found a recipe for Big Cluster Maple Granola by Smitten Kitchen and altered it a bit. This is one thing I loved about granola. Make it however you like it! I added quinoa because it is time to get cozy with this super food. Quinoa is not going anywhere so I will embrace it! Any nut or dried fruit will work here. I had raw almonds, golden raisins and dried cranberries on hand. I love the maple syrup; the real stuff not the imitation junk. I recommend using real maple syrup in this recipe. I used 1/2 cup of syrup, but add 1 cup of maple syrup if you prefer a sweeter granola. The granola takes about 50 minutes to cook and an additional hour to cool completely. It will last in air tight container, at room temperature for up to two weeks.  Maybe make a double batch and take some to a new mom. She’ll thank you for it!

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Maple Quinoa Granola Clusters with Almonds and Dried Cranberries

recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

makes about 7 cups

Ingredients:

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup quinoa, pre-rinsed

1 cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup toasted wheat germ

2 tbsp. coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 large egg white

1 1/2 cups dried cranberries and golden raisins (any dried fruit will work here. if in large pieces, chop small)

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 300. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Combine all ingredients except for the dried fruit and egg white in a large bowl. Toss to combine ingredients evenly.

Whisk the egg white in a small bowl until frothy. Pour egg white on granola mixture and stir to combine thoroughly. Spread the granola on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown, rotating the pan the tossing the granola half way through baking. Once brown transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool completely. Once the granola is completely cool, break it up into chunks, big or small, whatever you prefer. Gently add dry fruit.

The granola will last in an air tight container at room temperature for up to two weeks. Enjoy!

5 Granola Snack Links You Should Check Out!

Do you love chocolate? You should try chocolate granola! What Should I Eat For Breakfast? has the recipe for you.

Need a gluten-free granola option? Cannille at Vanille has a delicious, basic, gluten-free granola recipe for you.

Nut-free. Sugar-free. Vegan granola bar? Yes, it exists. Oh She Glows has a great recipe for soft and chewy granola bars.

Sometimes I can’t decide whether I wan to eat a granola bar or a cookie. Barbara Bakes has a solution: Granola Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars! Problem solved.

One of my favorite Girl Scout cookies are the Samoas. I have no will power when that little purple box is around; so good and so damn hard to resist!  Averie Cooks has a recipe for No-Bake Samoas Cookie Granola Bars. Wow!

 

 

Steel Cut Oats with Poached Pears, Pomegranate Seeds and Almonds + 5 Healthy Breakfasts for 2014

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“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”  Alfred Tennyson

A box of steel-cut oats sat in my pantry for far too long. They kept staring at me, begging me to make something with them, but I avoided it. I am a bit intimidated by steel-cut oats. I know they are healthy, but they seem like too much work at 6:30 in the morning with two kids begging for breakfast and a dog whining to go out. This past weekend I decided to give them a shot. Maybe the new year motivated me or maybe the bitter cold, but either way I set out determined to make a tasty and hearty breakfast. I researched recipes and found one on the vegan food blog Oh She Glows. The recipe mentioned making it ahead and reheating them for up to 4 breakfasts. Perfect. The kids won’t touch it, but Bubba and I will have a hearty and healthy breakfast for two days? Sounds great!

sco0002Here are the very intimidating oats. I know that sounds crazy! I am so glad I gave them a shot. The oats are packed with fiber, protein and iron, so I feel good eating them. 1 cup will serve 4 people. If cooked properly the oats are creamy, warm and comforting: perfect for cold, gray winter days.

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Nearly every morning we eat some sort of fruit with breakfast. This week it is pears. I found a recipe for poached pears by David Lebovitz. This recipe is so easy and the result is soft and sweet pears with just a hint of vanilla and cinnamon.

sco0027Seeding a pomegranate is difficult, but the Kitchn has a great tip that makes the whole process a lot easier and less messy. The seeds are a nice addition to the pears and chopped almonds. They add a little tartness which I enjoy.

sco0045The steel-cut oats taste best served immediately. If you want to save the oats for the next day; allow them to cool to room temperature and then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. When ready to eat, add a little milk and reheat in a microwave or on the stove. Give them a shot this winter. Your body will thank you!

Make Ahead Steel Cut Oatmeal with Poached Pears, Pomegranate Seeds and Almonds

recipe adapted from Oh She Glows

serves 4

Ingredients for Oatmeal:

2 cups of water

2 cups of milk (I used 1 percent)

1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats

2 large bananas, mashed

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

1 tbsp. ground flax seeds

3 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)

1/2 cup chopped, raw almonds (optional)

Directions for Oatmeal:

Combine water and milk in a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil. Add steel-cut oats and a pinch of salt. Stir and reduce heat to low.

Stir in mashed bananas and flax seed. Simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When oats are creamy and soft, remove from heat. Stir in cinnamon and vanilla extract. Top with poached pears, pomegranate seeds and chopped almonds. Serve immediately. If making ahead, allow oats to cool to room temperature and then transfer them to an air tight container and refrigerate. When ready to eat, add a little milk and reheat in the microwave or on the stove. Enjoy!

Poached Pears

recipe barely adapted from David Lebovitz

serves 4

Ingredients for Pears:

2 cups of water

2/3 cup of granulated sugar

2 Anjou pears, peeled, cored and sliced

1 vanilla bean

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 cup golden raisins

Directions for Poached Pears:

In a medium sauce pan, heat water and sugar until warm and the sugar has dissolved. Add vanilla bean and cinnamon stick. Add sliced pears and keep water at a low boil for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow pears to cool in the liquid. While still warm, add the raisins. When ready to use as a topping for the oatmeal, strain pears and raisins, reserving the liquid in a separate bowl, and add to the cooked oatmeal. Refrigerate any leftover pears in their liquid for up to 5 days. Reheat gently on the stove. Enjoy!

5 Healthy Breakfasts You Should Try in 2014

If you are a fan of smoothies, try Martha’s fruit and oat smoothie recipe.

Looking for a delicious gluten-free scone recipe? Head here.

I love pancakes and I don’t plan on giving them up now or ever. Brooklyn Supper’s buckwheat pancake recipe with poached clementine syrup is definitely on my list of recipes to try this year.

Tacos for breakfast? Head here for the super-food packed recipe.

I know I should eat more kale this month and maybe try a detox smoothie, but I want a muffin. This pear and hazelnut muffin looks delicious.

Cranberry Orange Muffins + 5 Holiday Breakfast Recipes You Should Try

COM104I love a good breakfast but I don’t eat a great breakfast often. Usually my breakfast is a quick bowl of cereal and a cup of barely warm coffee. Sometimes I eat the kids’ left over oatmeal. it is cold and mushy but still tastes good…to me. Our mornings are rushed despite their early rising time. Why? I don’t know. I am still trying to figure out how to make our mornings less chaotic. Will there be a time when they get dressed right away instead of 3 reminders that it is time to get dressed? Will there be a time when I don’t have to remind one them that they need to put pants on? Will our crazy dog stop eating the toilet paper off the roll? Yes, but not today, not anytime soon.

This week I am sick of eating cereal and cold oatmeal so I made muffins: cranberry orange muffins. A few years ago, I purchased Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything: the basics. This is a great go to cookbook for new cooks. He literally teaches you the basics of cooking with lots of pictures and easy to follow text. I used his basic muffin recipe and came up with a moist and not too sweet cranberry orange muffin that tastes great with a cup of coffee, even if it is barely warm!

COM75 COM57

I love seeing bags of cranberries displayed at the grocery store almost, as much as, I love the holiday cups at Dunkin’ Donuts. I love the when the holidays arrive… and I love when they leave.

The combination of cranberries and orange zest in this muffin is perfect. The cranberries add a subtle tartness to this mildly sweet muffin while the orange zest delivers a nice freshness. Oranges and cranberries work as well together as oranges and chocolate. Maybe next time I will add chocolate chips.

COM90

I separated 2 large eggs. The yolks went into the batter immediately. I beat the egg whites until they formed stiff peaks and gently folded them into the prepared batter which made the muffins lighter and less dense.

COM97

I baked the muffins at 375 for about 20 minutes. They taste best, slightly warm, the day they are made, but they will keep for a couple of days stored in an air tight container at room temperature. Maybe toast the day old muffins and top them with a dollop of cinnamon honey or orange butter. These muffins come together quickly so making them the morning of a holiday gathering or celebration is possible and your house will smell great!

Cranberry Orange Muffins

recipe inspired by Mark Bittman’s Muffins, Infinite Ways

Makes 12

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour

1/2 cup cornmeal ( I used stone ground)

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. of ground cinnamon

3 tsp. of baking powder

3 Tbsp. canola oil (3 tbsp. of melted butter will also work)

2 eggs, separated

1 cup of whole milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tbsp. orange zest

1 cup of fresh cranberries ( You can also use frozen cranberries here. Do not defrost them.)

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 375 and line a 12 tin muffin pan with paper or foil cups. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, cinnamon and baking powder. Set aside.

Separate your eggs. Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and add the milk, oil and vanilla extract. Beat until well combined. Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, on the second highest setting, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Turn your beater upside down. If the peak holds you are all set. If they fold over, keep beating them. Set aside.

Form a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients except for the egg whites. With a wooden spoon or spatula mix the ingredients by folding them until all the dry ingredients are just moist. If the batter seems too dry add a little more milk. Next fold in the cranberries and orange zest. Gently, fold in the egg whites until they disappear into the batter.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Remove pan from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from pan and allow to cool for a bit longer before serving or to room temperature. I think they are best served warm with a cup of coffee or tea. Enjoy!

5 Holiday Breakfast Recipes You Should Try

We head to Philly in couple of weeks to spend Thanksgiving with my in-laws. Emails are flying around about what to make and who should make it. We put so much emphasis on the big meal, as we should, but what about the most important meal of the day? I found 5 mouth-watering breakfast recipes and I hope to try all of them this holiday season. Check them out!

Maybe go for a run or a hike before diving into these breakfast buns. You’ll feel less guilty.

I make these salty sweet treats on Christmas morning. Try them, you won’t be disappointed.

If you really want to start your day off right this holiday season, make this healthy breakfast.

We love pancakes in our house. Maybe I’ll top them with this syrup.

If you like eggs, prosciutto and squash separately, maybe try them together. Find the recipe here.