Category Archives: breakfast

So Granola

I failed to post in 2014. I cooked and baked a lot of things, but I didn’t always get (or remember to get) great pictures. I resolve to do better in 2015 and what better way to prove it than a recipe for homemade granola! Right? Right.IMG_0223

Brent is on a yogurt kick and did not like the fancy, organic, $10 million dollar granola I got him so I decided to make my own.

This was my first time making granola, so I’m the worst hippie ever. I decided to go with a very slightly adapted America’s Test Kitchen recipe because they obsessively test recipes and I trust them. Bonus: this was a no stir recipe. Not a bonus: they don’t publish their recipes without a subscription so I watched a video of the recipe 10 times. Pro tip: write the recipe down as you hear it on the video, like so:

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But, let me make this easier for you.

Homemade Granola
serves 9+  //  recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients
5 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup pure maple syrup (the real stuff!)
4 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 or 1 cup almonds, chopped
1 cup walnuts, chopped

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. Measure out 5 cups of oats. Chop nuts to desired size (I used a food processor to make this easier.) Add to the bowl of oats. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, mix oil, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla and salt together.

4. Add oats and chopped nuts to the oil/sugar/etc. mixture and stir well to coat.

5. Line a large pan with parchment paper, dump the granola out.

6. Using a spoon or a potato masher, smash down the granola on the pan as much as possible. This will help to create big chunks!

7. Bake at 325 for 40 minutes (it can go to 45 minutes depending on your oven). Rotate the pan once at the 20 minute mark. Take the granola out when it looks brown around the edges and on the top, not too brown!

8. Let the granola cool for an hour on the pan. Then, break it into whatever size chunks you want.

This stuff was tasty. And inexpensive to make. You can use whatever nuts you like and the original recipe also called for adding in raisins or other dried fruit after the granola cooled. Brent is a raisin hater, so I respected his hatred and left this plain. I did try a tiny bowl with some raisins, and it was delicious.

Store for up to two weeks, you hippie.

Cinnamon Crunch Skillet Bread

I saw a recipe on Pinterest that was described as a cross between monkey bread and cinnamon roll. The sound of it reminded me of my favorite Great Harvest bread Cinnamon Chip. I knew I would have to make it ASAP.

I tried to make this for/with my pals the other day but failed to read through the entire recipe to note that the dough required an two periods of resting time totaling about 1.5 hours. (Bolding that, in case you are like me!) Oops. So, make this recipe a day ahead, or start it early if you are a really nice early bird and want to make a delicious breakfast treat. Maybe just don’t make it when you invite people over who are really hungry!

This recipe IS super easy, but the way it was written, it looks elaborate. I’m going to break it down step by step.

Cinnamon Crunch Skillet Bread
serves 8+  // recipe adapted from Seasons and Suppers

STEP ONE: Make the dough
Ingredients
3 cups all purpose flour
3 Tbsp. white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. fine salt
3 tsp. instant or dry active yeast
1 cup milk, warmed to 105-110° F.
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil or melted butter

Step One Directions:
1. Proof the yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water, if you are using dry active yeast.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.
3. Add the warmed milk, vegetable oil and proofed (or instant, which I love) yeast.
4. Knead with the dough hook until dough is smooth, adding more flour by the Tbsp. as necessary. I did not have to use any more flour.
5. Remove dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise to doubled, about 60 minutes.

STEP TWO: Roll the dough out20131117-141019.jpg
Ingredients
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Sept two directions:
1. Clean your counters! Grease a 8-10″ oven safe cast iron skillet.
2. Divide dough into two pieces and roll into a rope about 3 feet long.
3. Liberally brush with melted butter mixed with the vanilla.

STEP THREE: Coat the dough in brown sugar20131117-141038.jpg
Ingredients
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Step three directions:
1. Pour the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture evenly alongside the buttered ropes and then roll the ropes in the mixture until evenly covered.
2. Pinch the end of the ropes together and then twist them together, pinching the other end once all twisted together.
3. Place twisted ropes into the skillet, starting from the centre and winding it around. (If you have some melted butter left over from brushing, feel free to drizzle it over the dough).
4. Cover the skillet with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, it takes anywhere from 30-45 minutes.

STEP FOUR: Make the ‘crunch’ part of the recipe, bake! 20131117-141049.jpg
Ingredients
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, cold
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Step four directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Prepare the streusel topping by combining dry ingredients and cutting in the cold butter with a fork. Set aside.
3. Once dough is doubled, sprinkle with streusel topping and bake for for 40-45 minutes, covering it with foil after 25 or 30 minutes if is dark enough.

STEP FIVE: Make the icing/glaze
1 cup powdered/confectioners sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 tsp. vanilla
pinch of alt

Step five directions: 
1. Add the milk to the powdered sugar. Stir well until smooth.
2. Add in the melted butter, vanilla and a tiny pinch of salt.
3. Pour evenly over bread once it has cooled a bit. Truth be told, I only used HALF of the icing, and then took half in a bowl for everyone to spoon over their bread.

STEP 6: Look at how fancy the recipe you just made is! Eat!
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I took this to a football (watching) party. NOT your typical football snack, but why not. These photos are a little blurry as I was running out the door. Sorry, but football waits for no one, apparently.

The dough was light and sort-of reminiscent of a croissant. The top was crusty and the bottom was gooey. This would taste best a little warm and fresh out of the oven with some coffee.

This is my 100th post. I’ll take my medal any time.

Pumpkin muffins

I invited Kate, Meg and Anna over to hang out and bake something elaborate yesterday. I had what I thought was the perfect recipe… except I failed to read the entire thing before we got started. After I realized it would take about 2.5 hours from start to finish and we were all getting hangry, I quickly (and secretly) googled muffin recipes and found this one. And it was a winner.20131116-203733.jpg

Pumpkin Muffins
serves 12+ // recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Muffin Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 cup to 1 1/3 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15 ounce can, not pumpkin pie filling, which is sweetened and spiced)
1/3 cup vegetable or another neutral cooking oil
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

Topping
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put liners in 12 standard-sized muffin cups.

2. Stir or whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spice in medium bowl.

3. In a larger bowl, or in your stand mixer bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs and 1 1/4 cups sugar.

4. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until just combined. Divide batter among muffin cups (each about 3/4 full).

5. Stir together topping, tablespoon of sugar and teaspoon of cinnamon. Sprinkle over each muffin.

6. Bake until puffed and golden brown and wooden pick or skewer inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 22-27 minutes.

7. Cool in pan on a rack for 3-4 minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool to warm or room temperature.

pumpkin muffins

you will see the other recipe I started in the background, hanging out.

This recipe is so easy I made it from start to finish in about 30 minutes. The muffins are moist and fluffy, with a nice but not too sweet pumpkin flavor. My recipe turned out to fill more than the 12 muffin tins so I made a tiny little loaf of pumpkin muffin-bread. It worked perfectly.

I feel like these might even pass for cupcakes if you put enough frosting on them. In other words, they are delicious.

Stay tuned for that time-consuming, elaborate recipe tomorrow… which turned out to be just as easy. Oops.

Cranberry Walnut Bread

I am my mother. I was making this recipe for Cranberry Walnut Bread when I realized this for about the 1,000th time in my life.

Every year my mom would make cranberry walnut and banana bread for her work’s bazaar to raise money. It was once a year and I remember she would spend what felt like an entire weekend baking.

So what did I find myself doing last night? Making Cranberry Walnut Bread for a work bake sale to raise money for United Way. I participated in the bake sale last year and knew I’d participate again when I found fresh cranberries from Wisconsin at the farmers market.

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Looks a little too much like Christmas…

Cranberry Walnut Bread
serves 16 // recipe modified from Ocean Spray
Ingredients
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 T. canola oil
¾ cup orange juice
1 egg
1/3-1/2 orange, w/peel, ground in food processor
2 cups fresh cranberries, rough chopped (approximately)
1 cup walnuts (I like to use walnut pieces)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 and combine all dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

2. Whisk egg in orange juice, add oil and orange mixture to orange juice mix. Add to dry ingredients. Stir until mixed.

3. Add cranberries and walnuts.

4. Place in pans coated in a non-stick spray, filling the pans a little less than 3/4 full.

5. Bake at 350 until done. If you have a big loaf that serves 15 this could take 50-55 minutes. The smaller the loaf the less amount of time it takes.  The small loaves took about 30 minutes, the large loaf took almost the full 55 minutes. Make sure you stick a cake tester (or knife or toothpick) in the center to check if it’s done, if it comes out clean, take it out! Theses are awesome as muffins for breakfast too, the muffins took less than 20 minutes.

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This recipe is very easy to double, so I did. This bread is so delicious; not overly sweet, has a hint of citrus, and makes a good dessert or breakfast. Thanks to my boss and co-worker who purchased it so my bread wouldn’t be the last baked good left on the table.

Homemade Applesauce

I love apple picking. In college I went with my pal Anna and last year I went with a pregnant Kate and (a regular) Meg. It’s always a fun time.

This year Brent, Maeby and I went apple picking on the last Sunday in September on a whim after a fun brunch and a trip to a farmers market. We had plans to go the day before but got rained out. Glad we went, as we took a detour into a row of grapes, came home with a ton of funky looking apples and a ring on my finger!

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Anyhoo, Brent has always wanted to try Homemade Applesauce, and when my co-worker Sam alerted me to The Pioneer Woman’s latest recipe, I knew I had something to use up the last of our “engagement apples.”20131020-161749.jpg

Homemade Apple Sauce (adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

Ingredients:

  • 6 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and cut into slices
  • 1 cup water (or, apple juice or apple cider)
  •  Juice o 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, more or less depending on how much cinnamon you like

Directions:

1. Wash, peel, and chop up your apples. You can put them in the large pot you will be cooking the applesauce in, squeezing the lemon over them as you go if’d you don’t want to look at brown apples.

2. Combine all ingredients in a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes. It will look something like this when done:

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3. Carefully puree in a food processor or blender (don’t fill too full; split into two portions if needed) until smooth.

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Store in single portion servings in the fridge and eat or use it in a recipe! It takes a few minutes to peel the skins off of the apples, but honestly this was one of the easiest recipes I’ve made in a long time. Brent liked it, I liked it, The Pioneer Woman liked it (well… her recipe…)… we’ll see if Kate’s baby enjoys it!

Pumpkin Scones

I ate a Starbucks pumpkin scone once about six years ago (I worked there right after undergrad for a few months, the discount was dangerous) and every year since, when the new pumpkin treats come out wayyyy too early, I think “oh I should try to make those.” Also, who remembers that they ate a scone six years ago!?

After these past few weeks of Starbucks Pumpkin Spice torment, coupled with this silly early Minneapolis fall weather, I found a copycat recipe to make. Iowa Girl Eats calls these Starbucks Clone Pumpkin Scones: 

Ingredients
(recipe modified from IowaGirlEats)
2 cups flour
7 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 Tablespoons milk
1 egg
6 Tablespoons cold butter or margarine, cubed

For the plain glaze: 
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon milk

For the spiced drizzle:
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon milk
pinch of pumpkin pie spice

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees then line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Please use parchment paper, it works miracles.

2. In the bowl of a large food processor (or in a large bowl) combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Pulse or whisk to combine. Add cold butter and pulse until well incorporated and mixture is the texture of cornmeal. Alternatively, use pastry cutter to blend butter in. I didn’t have either of these so I* used two knives to cut the butter into the flour. Worked like a charm. (*by I, I mean my Mom. She bought me a dough blender later in the day.)

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, milk and egg. Add to flour mixture and pulse until just combined. Alternatively, stir until the dough comes together in a ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead 4 or 5 times to bring the dough together, then flatten into a circle 1″ thick. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough in half, then cut each half into thirds.

4. Place the wedges onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 14-16 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.It works best if you can cool your scones in front of an open window with a fall breeze.

5. When scones are cool, whisk together the plain glaze ingredients, then spoon on top and spread slightly. I didn’t want these to be too sweet, so I did a spoon drizzle and just put a little bit on. Let harden for 10 minutes, then whisk together the spiced drizzle ingredients and drizzle on top. Let harden completely, about 1/2 hour, before serving. Store in an air-tight container or ziploc for 1 day.

These were very delicious, a little less dense than Starbucks but more clean and fresh tasting. I think these could use a bit more icing, but I was attempting to keep these sort of healthy (310 calories, 12g-ish fat each compared to Starbucks scones at 480cal, 17g fat).

The recipe is only supposed to make 6… but I somehow wound up with 4 regular size scones and two giant scones, so I turned the recipe into 6.5 servings. Who cares, these were delicious. 6.5 is the perfect amount of scones to make; I’ve gifted three, split one and will enjoy the rest later in the week with a cup of coffee, of course.

Worse at breakfast.

I’m bad at lunch breaks, but I’m worse at breakfast.

Considering I spent years of my life studying nutrition to become an RD (before just turning that scary Chemistry ridden major into a minor), I know that breakfast is seriously important. It helps with weight loss or maintenance, helps you focus, gives your body fuel and numerous other awesome things. I know this, but I consider myself a failure when it comes to morning eating.

I spend my mornings getting a skim latte (iced please!), or eating a string cheese, or maybe having a piece of fruit with my latte. My problem is not only am I not hungry, but I get full pretty quickly and I’d rather eat later in the day. However, I know how important it is, so I’m attempting to get better.

One morning, I was looking around my office and saw this.

No, not all the booze. That’s old news. Look a little closer and you will find this:

Leftover from a work weekend in Nisswa. I decided to bring milk in the next morning and make a good breakfast with the raisin bran, considering it isn’t just sugar flakes. I never eat or buy cereal at home but raisin bran is awesome.

I knew cereal would be in the mix, so I needed something else. I, again, had to be a little innovative considering I was just trying to use random stuff I found around my (pretty nicely stocked) office. Then I stumbled upon this row of breakfast looking goodness:

So I decided to create a breakfast mocktail by adding these two guys together, which you can see is trophy worthy:

The above is a combo you must try. Take a glass and fill it with half oj half plain seltzer water. You just cut out 50% of the calories in a regular glass of OJ and it tastes way better. A little morning fizz is great.

all together on my desk

There are so many awesome healthy things for breakfast: smoothies, oatmeal, cereal, fruit, eggs…and all of these can be made and eaten quickly.

Do you eat breakfast? Why or why not… and what are you eating?!