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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

A Dose of Fall Comfort Food: Butternut Squash + Apple Soup plus 5 Must Try Fall Desserts

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Last week I was sick. I felt awful, really awful. Luckily, Bubba was able to work from home for a day to help deal with the kids. It was the first time in I don’t know how long I had an actual sick day. I napped, I didn’t make any meals or clean any dishes, Bubba did the laundry and took the kids to the park and I watched an episode of Barefoot Contessa. Yes, an entire episode not recorded, in the middle of the day! That never happens.

After my fever broke I felt better, but I needed something comforting to eat. A couple of days before I got sick, we went apple picking. So on my counter I had a bunch of apples and a butternut squash from our CSA staring at me. “Make something with me!” they seemed to scream. Ok fine, but what? My mind felt hazy and my body still ached a bit. I grabbed my new favorite cookbook, Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach, and looked up butternut squash. This was not the time for creativity, I just needed a good recipe for something soothing. (All of her recipes are good. If you are looking to buy a new cookbook, buy her book. You’ll love it!) I found Butternut Squash and Apple Soup. Perfect, just what my body needs now.

The soup has a bit of spice to it which I love. The apples add a subtle sweetness which works well with the butternut squash, and a pinch of cayenne gives a little heat. The combination of the apples, squash and thyme simmering together made our house smell like fall. I served the soup with crusty bread and chopped chives sprinkled on top. G tried the soup and wasn’t impressed. C refused to try the soup but she did dip a piece of bread in it and said it tasted “ok.” I’ll keep working on her and G. Bubba loved the soup. At least one other person in our family loved the soup.

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The apples are a mix of Macintosh and Honey Crisp. Honey Crisp is my favorite.

_KH10032One two-pound butternut squash, two apples, two small onions or one medium and a sprig of thyme are the main ingredients.

_KH10036Peel the squash. I love the golden orange color on the inside.

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Scrape out the seeds and chop into 1 inch cubes.

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Bring the apples, onions, squash, broth and seasonings to a boil and then allow to simmer for about a half hour. Check every ten minutes while simmering and add more broth if necessary.

_KH10061Serve with crusty bread and top with chopped chives, walnuts and crème fraiche. Use all toppings or just one! Take a big bite and feel better.

Butternut Squash + Apple Soup

Recipe from Dinner: A Love Story

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 small or 1 medium onion

A large glug of olive oil

Leaves from one sprig of fresh thyme

1 Tbsp. curry powder (optional but I used it)

1/8 tsp. cayenne

1 2 lb butternut squash, peeled, cut in half, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes

2 apples peeled, cored and cut into any size chunks (Macintosh or Fuji work well here. I used Macs. Do not use Red Delicious.)

31/2 cups or more of chicken broth. (If you are not using homemade chicken broth, buy low sodium so you can add the amount of salt you want. Store bought chicken broth tends to be too salty for me.)

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Toppings: chopped chives, chopped walnuts or sour cream. Try crème fraiche instead of sour cream for a topping even creamier.

Directions: 

Brown the onion in a large dutch oven or stock pot for about 3 minutes. Add salt, pepper, thyme, curry powder and cayenne and stir. Add squash and apples and chicken broth. Be sure the broth covers the ingredients by about 1/2 inch.

Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes. Check the soup every 10 minutes and make sure it stays at the same level. If it doesn’t, add more broth. After 30 minutes, check to see if the squash is tender. Continue to cook until tender if it is not. Remove soup from the heat and puree it using a blender or immersion blender. If you using a traditional blender be sure to puree the soup in batches and keep the lid slightly open so it doesn’t explode. Serve hot with as many suggested toppings as desired. Enjoy!

5 Must Try Fall Desserts

I love to bake. When the seasons change I get excited to try new recipes. I plan on trying the recipes list below and I’ll let you know how they turn out.

I spotted these pumpkin bars on Two Peas and Their Pod and I must try them very soon.

Caramel apples are a must eat in the fall but what about adding bacon to them? Check out the recipe here.

I love cupcakes. This cupcake will satisfy your need for anything pumpkin.

Apple pie with caramel? Yes! Get the recipe here.

A fall dessert that won’t pack on the pounds? It exists here.