Category Archives: brunch

Note to Self…

This morning, hardly awake:

First thought – DKM. Dropkick Murphys. YES! That was it! go back to sleep.

Second thought – Bran muffins. I want some bran muffins. go back to sleep.

Third thought – I think I’ll sleep in today. I’m a little tired and it looks crappy out so I probably won’t be going anywhere anyway. shut eyes.

Fourth thought – The phone would ring immediately after I declare I’m sleeping in, wouldn’t it?

_________________

So, basically I must have been driving myself crazy in my sleep because I still hadn’t thought of what DKM was before I went to bed. There were a couple bloggers who guessed it [e-mail me to redeem your prizes], which just made me laugh and remember waking up with “Shipping Up to Boston” in my head moments earlier.

And no, it’s not just because of the Bruins that I love that song. I mean, just listen to it. First thing in the morning, preferably. And do some Irish jigs around your butcher block in the kitchen while preparing your breakfast.

In a leprechaun hat, preferably.

Not that I would know anything about any of that scenario.

I would know something about flaxy French toast, though. So I’ll talk about that, instead. I’ll leave it to your own imaginations as to whether I was tap dancing around my kitchen while making this, though.

 

Being that I looked out my window and saw this yet again:

Really wet, heavy snow. Read: Sloppy and slippery. House arrest once again.

I decided to make something a little more time consuming for breakfast. I have pancakes down to a science so I can make them quickly in the morning, which carries over to mornings when I have more time, too. Having nowhere to go, I decided to put a little more thought into breakfast this morning.

I’ve been wanting to make French toast for a while now, but wasn’t sure if the mini slices would be enough for keeping me full. Today, I knew I’d be home all day. Worse comes to worse, I eat an hour later, right?! Surprisingly enough, it was difficult for me to finish it all! Don’t worry, though – I took one for the team and did.

Yes, it really is possible to get that same French toast texture without eggs! Making it with flax sounds strange at first, I admit. I mean, I think I was legitimately grossed out when I first heard of it, so I don’t blame you if you are, too.

But I mean, really. Have I ever lied to you? -insert shifty-eyes here-

Buttering/Earth Balancing your pan is critical to making any sort of pancake or sandwich – and French toast is no exception. You don’t need a lot, but you can’t even compare the flavor to that and just using non-stick spray.

And please, no need to be “neat” about it. We’re not after pretty awards here, we all know the ugly food is the best.

Huh, maybe that’s why I’m always disappointed whenever I go out to eat…

If you’re patient and give it enough time – the outside still gets crispy while the insides are still moist and flavorful. I’m sorry if you hate the word moist. I do, too – but really, what else can I say? Damp? It’s not juicy not is it soggy.

The Mixture I used (approximately, anyways…about that measuring thing…)

  • 2 T. milled flaxseed
  • 1/4 c. + 2 T. coconut milk
  • 1/2 t. coffee extract (vanilla would work just fine, I just so happen to be the person who is all out of vanilla, yet has plenty of coffee, peppermint and coconut extracts. I would.)
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground nutmeg

Mix all with a fork, allowing to sit a few minutes. Add more milk if necessary. Poke each piece of bread a few times before dipping each slice in and saturating. Transfer to a greased pan, allowing extra of the flax mixture to remain on the bread. Cook about 4-5 minutes on each side, until crispy.

Garnish with grilled banana and figgy peanut butter and jelly sauce. And chia seeds and honey-roasted almonds if you’re feeling feisty.

Note to self: I miss you terribly. (speaking of “bring me back” songs…)

Er, wait, what I meant was – note to self: make French toast more often.

And about those bran muffins?

They were not just a groggy early-morning sentiment, my dears. They were happening.

I promise these were muffins for me, not Teddie. I kept thinking how much he would love them. Carrots, applesauce, molasses, cinnamon and sunflower seeds? The kid would be in heaven.

I used these almost-forgotten about pressed dates that Mo sent me way back when. I got a kick out of the “serving size: 1 package,” as I imagined myself just plopping down on the couch and nommin’ on the brick like so:

om-nom-nom

The recipe I used was Kelsey’s. And they are fantastic! It’s a good thing I didn’t actually read the recipe before I printed it off and trekked into my kitchen, though. It requires the use of a food processor, which is usually a big no-no for me. For some reason, I detest cleaning the processor in addition to regular baking dishes. Or in general. Same goes for garlic presses.

Life’s tough.

I realize this is probably old-news, but my new trick is using an ice-cream scoop. I used to just spoon it in, but then I’d have really ugly muffin tops. This leaves them nice and smooth!

And perfectly sized! Well actually my mini-muffins are perfectly sized since I usually just want a little somethin’ somethin’ when it comes to muffins, but that would have required me refilling the tray about ten times.

Which wasn’t happening.

I am very picky about my bran muffins – a lot of bran muffin recipes use more oat bran than wheat, and are too sweet for my liking. I like my bran muffins to be dense, moist and…well…wheaty! These are just the ticket.

Another added bonus: they didn’t require any bananas. I love bananas, and have a great branana muffin recipe – but I’m down to my last banana and you guys know what happens when I lose my bananas. I think I might hide the last one, just as an extra precaution. You know…in case someone else might want it, heaven forbid.

But if I haven’t convinced you to make bran muffins or flaxy French toast…maybe I can convince you to do this:

Toast up some good bread…smother one slice with cashew butter…smother the other with a bit o’ butter/earth balance…throw on some good dried apricots…drizzle a smidgen o’ maple syrup…and chow down. Heavenly.

(but what’s with me saying o’ instead of “of”? Am I really feeling that Irish today?)

And I’ll leave you with this scandalous picture:

I had sausages with dinner! I love sausages…

What’s something you openly admit to having high standards about? I am definitely a bread snob!

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Filed under baking, banana, bran, bread, breakfast, brunch, carrots, chia seeds, cooking, dates, dinner, food, french toast, healthy living, muffin, muffins, recipe, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian

Rye Peanut Butter & Banana Pancake Sandwich

I don’t think I’ve ever before finished a meal and thought “oh-my-gaw that was so good I need to go blog about it STAT.”

In fact, I feel a little geeky admitting to this, but that is what just happened. And hence, what I’m doing.

Maybe it’s just an unusual day. I mean, I also don’t usually have breakfast for lunch as often as I admit it to be a good idea, and I also don’t usually have not a veggie in sight by now.

I also don’t usually have a beverage other than water with meals, but apparently since I was already having something sweet for lunch, I decided a sweet beverage was necessary, too. Hey, it’s all or nothing, right?

Another oddity? I usually have some idea as to what I want for lunch. Today I had none. Zero, zilch, nada. I have no bread, my oven is in use rendering me sweet potato-less, and not many vegetables. I didn’t feel like a grain.

And gosh darn it, the more I thought about it, the more I just wanted some pancakes again.

So I compromised.

I’d make pancakes. But! It wouldn’t be such a bad thing because, I’d just be using it as my bread.

Yes, I do realize that this is essentially the same thing as what I would eat every morning, but I’m telling myself it’s different because it was eaten in more of a sandwich-form.

Yes, I do realize my logic is flawed.

Due to an ongoing project with rye flour which you will soon see, my plan hatched rye “bread” with peanut butter and banana. If I had caraway I would be in heaven – how cool would that be?

Alas, I don’t. I made do.

My peanut butter was Jenny’s peanut butter and jelly sauce, a sauce I’ve been having a pretty steady love affair with but have neglected to blog about. I’ve actually been gathering pictures for a full on devotion to it, but I guess this came first. Such is life.

Rye Peanut Butter, Banana and Honey Pancake Sandwich

for one

For the Pancake “Bread”:

  • 1/4 c. rye flour
  • 2 T. oat bran
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 T. milled flaxseed mixed with 2 T. warm water
  • 1/4  c. almond milk
  • earth balance/butter/cooking spray, for greasing the pan

For the Bananas:

  • 1/2 a banana, sliced in half lengthwise
  • earth balance/butter/spray for greasing pan

For the Peanut Butter & Honey sauce, adapted very slightly from Jenny’s Peanut Butter Jelly Sauce

  • 2 T. (heaping) peanut flour
  • 2 T. almond milk
  • 1/2 – 1 t. honey, depending on your tastes
  • pinch of salt** (see note)

Preheat a large nonstick pan and a small nonstick pan over low-medium heat.

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, bran and baking powder. Add in the flax egg and almond milk. Grease your preheated non-stick pan lightly and bump up to medium heat, and divide the batter into two pancakes. Spread out a touch, and cook until the sides are starting to firm up. Spray the tops lightly with spray and flip. Cook another 4-5 minutes, or until lightly golden. While the pancakes are cooking, grill your bananas: place in the smaller non-stick pan and cook until golden brown on both sides.

For the peanut butter and honey sauce, whisk all ingredients until smooth. Note: I didn’t add salt when I mixed my sauce, but as I was eating, found myself looking for that pinch of salt that classic peanut butter has. I ended up sprinkling salt on my sandwich (try that for feeling weird) and found that salt was juuuust the ticket to what I was looking for.

To assemble, place one pancake on your plate and spread the peanut butter sauce. Place the grilled bananas on top of that, followed by the other pancake. If desired, spread a dab of fig jam on the top pancake.

As you know, I desired. When don’t I desire fig jam?

Caraway, here I come.

A sneak peak at some things in progress:

hmmmmm!!!

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Filed under almond milk, banana, breakfast, brunch, food, food blog, healthy living, lunch, nut butter, pancakes, recipe, vegan

Super Strata

mmm….the smell of gingerbread in the morning!
Gingerbread Oats, that is!
Thinking about a gigantic bakery gingersnap cookie my mom brought home with her the other day, yet left me with just a tease of a taste, I decided I could make my own gingersnap cookie this morning! I love how I always make my favorite desserts into breakfast, haha. And I think I may just like them better – because oats are involved!
To make this yourself, just replace your water with brewed coffee (if I was really on-the-ball, I would have brewed some of the Green Mountain Gingerbread coffee I have. I didn’t think of it ’til after!), whip in half a banana (more for sweetness and volume – you can’t much taste it)lots of cinnamon, ginger, and ground clove, splash of vanilla extract, and 1 tsp dark molasses. Top with crystalized ginger, raisins, chopped walnuts, banana, and Chia-Seed Yogurt “icing”. I added a teaspoon of organic light brown sugar, as well…I thought it would need the added sweetness, but it turned out being unnecessary, lol. 
Another winning bowl! Next time I’m adding even more ginger, though 🙂
After getting ready for work (Involving packing an amazing lunch involving a sundried tomato & feta turkey meatball wrap, an orange, carrot sticks, oat bran pretzels, and a kashi bar) I was so on the ball that I prepared tonight’s dinner! 
Any guesses what I made? Anyone? Anyone?
Turkey Meatball and Apple Strata!
If you’ve never had strata before…you’re seriously missing out. Seriously
It’s funny, because up until now, Strata has always been a once-a-year occasion: Christmas morning. In my mind, Strata=Christmas Brunch. Nothing else! My mom has always made up a huge, cheesy, sausage breakfast strata. This year was the first year I joined the fun, and made up a healthified version to go along with hers! Our “showdown” was tons of fun, but none of us could choose between the two. The traditional was, of course, delicious (be it greasy!) and mine was healthy and delicious. 
It’s funny because it’s not necessarily as much as a holiday meal as my mind has ingrained it to be. And after seeing Brandie make it so many times recently (re: not a holiday, Jess!) I realized I, too, should be enjoying this delicious dish during the week! Preferably multiple times 🙂
My favorite thing about strata is how versatile it is. You could make it differently every time, but my favorite – which I just discovered this past Christmas, during my mom and I’s strata showdown – incorporates sausage and apples, and feta! Another awesome thing about strata is that while it easily can be a “guilt” meal, it doesn’t need to be. It’d be great to bring to a get-together. No one would be any the wiser! (Okay, that, and – how cool is it that I could throw this together in 15 minutes before work, refrigerate for the day so the bread soaks up the egg, and just call home when I left work for mom to pop it in the oven? Pretty cool…)
Sausage and Apple Strata for One or Two

Ingredients:
-2 slices Spelt bread, lightly toasted and cubed (or whole wheat, day old french, etc. Use what you’ve got!)
4-5 Sundried Tomato and Feta Turkey Meatballs, crumbled (alternatively, it’s very good with chicken sausage)
-1 apple, chopped
-1/4 c. scallions, diced
-1/8 c. red onion, diced
-1/8 c. red pepper, diced
-crumbled feta or shredded mozzarella
-2 eggs or 1/2 c. egg beaters
-1/3 c. almond milk/soy milk/milk
-salt and pepper
-garlic powder
-1-2 c. baby spinach leaves
-raspberry dijon mustard, 1 tsp or so, to drizzle on top
Destructions:
In a large liquid measuring cup, combine milk, eggs, cubed bread, scallions, red onion, red pepper, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and spinach.
Pour this mixture into a greased mini-casserole dish.
Over this, crumble your meatballs or other pre-cooked sausage, followed by the chopped apple, and then the feta/cheese of choice.
Garnish with a few dices of scallion and drizzle with some raspberry dijon mustard.
Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight/over”work”.
When ready to bake, bake at 350* for 30m covered, then uncover and bake at 425* for an additional 10m.
Oh. mah. gaw. So good! Just like Christmas morning 🙂 haha.
I had half with a biiiig salad. Tomorrow’s my late night at school, so this will be the perfect leftovers! It reheats quite well – might just get better with age!
If you don’t care for feta, it would be really good with provolone or mozzarella, I bet. Some nutmeg in there with the spinach might have been nice, too.
And I am now enjoying a delicious bowl of pumpkin yogurt chia pudding. Greek yogurt + pumpkin + chia seeds + cinn & nutmeg + almond milk + cheesecake pudding mix = amazing. The end.
In addition: It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Fun Flickr Photo Feature!


Check out Rowena R. on flickr!
Amazing use of lighting, and I love the color and post-processing. Subtle but effective – sometimes “over photoshopped” images run rampant these days, but it’s all in how it’s handled! 
She is undeniably talented…definitely something to strive for – amazing motivation in her stream. So, take a look-see!
Alright bloggies. That is all from this end of the world…but not before I thank you all for another FoodBuzz Top 9! Too cool…I hope everyone makes that French toast now 😛
Question? Do you have any meals that remind you of certain occasions or holidays, yet aren’t necessarily widely received as such when you really think about it?

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Filed under apple, brunch, foodblog, gingerbread, health food, healthy living, meatballs, oatmeal, recipe, sausage, strata, vermont

A Little Love

Brr. I. Am. So. Chilled!
I just got back from running errands, and while I may have been inside most of the time, that wind chills you right to the bone the second you step into it! That, and, one errand involved Price Chopper…and it is always freezing in there. Makes sense, I guess.
You would think, however, that with my heart-warming [pun intended] breakfast, I would have stayed warm and fuzzy regardless!
Yeah, I made myself a Valentine’s Day breakfast a week early. What of it?

There’s something amazing about waking up early on the weekends. I don’t think I’m a real college student. How many college kids say that?
I really hate sleeping in. During the week, I don’t bound out of bed at 6:00 to go to work, but it’s not a problem, either. On the weekends, however, I’ll gladly wake up at 6 or 7, and just leisurely go about starting my day. And I love doing something  a little different for breakfast on the weekends!
So maybe this Almond Butter & Banana Stuffed French Toast isn’t that unique to most, I’ve never had stuffed French Toast before. And mind you, yesterday was my first grilled almond butter and banana experience.
And oh, this was delicious. I realize now that my food presentation needs work but hey – I do what I can. It’s sort of sad to think about myself making such a love-themed breakfast for myself, but again. Oh well. haha. At least my mom came back from her haircut in time to give me a funny look. She’s not a “breakfast person,” so unfortunately I can never treat her to breakfast…
But! Just because I am a relatively sad excuse for a college student, doesn’t mean you are – and maybe you want to treat your honey to a heart-healthy shmalentine’s day brekkie?
Because I think you should.
Of course you all know how to make French Toast. I won’t go into those details. But here’s just some added fun-stuff I did!
For the Stuffed French Toast
 2 slices of this amazing Organic Spelt bread by the Vermont Bread Company [okay, okay. you can use any bread. But this is GOOD Spelt bread!]
1 T. All-Natural Almond Butter
1 Banana
2 Eggs [if you are an egg-beaters user…PLEASE use at least one real egg white! I like egg beaters and all – but when it comes to French Toast, it’s just not the same!]
3 T. Almond Milk
1/8 t. Cinnamon
1/8 t. Nutmeg
Dash ground cloves
1 t. Vanilla
1/2 t. Wheat Germ
1/2 t. Chia Seeds
Spread 1 teaspoon almond butter on one side of each piece of bread (if you’re going to make a pretty heart shape, do that first of course) and arrange your banana slices on one side – I used half on the sandwich, half to garnish. Sandwich together and poke outsides a couple times with a fork.
Whisk together eggs, milk, spices, vanilla, and wheat germ. Place sandwich in mixture and begin preheating a non-stick, sprayed pan. Allow sandwich to soak a minute before flipping, poking both sides again with your fork.
Sprinkle Chia seeds over outside of bread and cook until golden on both sides.
For the Pumpkin “Sauce”
1/4 c. Plain Greek Yogurt
1/8 c. Pure Pumpkin Puree
1/8 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. nutmeg
 2 t. Maple Syrup
1 t. Chia Seeds
Stir together and plate with French Toast, along with remaining banana and almond butter, and cute little apple heart! [p.s. apple = amazing dipped in this.]
So, after playing with my food – I got to work meal planning!
This week, I’m going to try something new – planning my meals in advance, and in some cases preparing in advance! I’ve been pretty good this week about cooking up new things, but when I don’t have a game plan, it’s so much easier to just come home and make a veggie and bulgur stir fry or panini or something. Which, I obviously love, but I enjoy cooking new things, more.
So, I put together 5 meal ideas, and figure I can interchange them a little bit if I’m not feeling up to something one night, but at least I have ideas now! I think I just have so many recipes stockpiled that I can never make up my mind on what I want! Organizing them is a project for this weekend, as is setting up a recipe page on here.
After browsing online for coupons (I was so savvy at the grocery store today!) I finally went into town to clean the office, run to Rite Aid, and then the grocery store.
Holy SuperBowl Sunday Shopping. Everyone and their brothers had to stock up on beer! It was also full of people leaving their carts in the middle of the aisles. Don’t you hate grocery shoppers that do that?! I’m sorry if you are one of them. But please. Don’t do it. Love you.
However, I jumped past my exciting Rite Aid find!
I know wht you’re thinking. 
And no – I didn’t find that delicious salmon with blueberry glaze at Rite Aid.
Nope! Not the mashed sweet tater, either.
Clean Eating’s new issue!
I love this magazine. So much information on new foods, and awesome recipes too. You know what I hate about it, though?
It only comes out once every two months!
I was jonesin’ for the new issue.
What’s your favorite magazine?


So, naturally, my lunch was consumed while browsing that 🙂 Dericious and nutritious!

And a Sobe LifeWater. Has anyone else tried these?
Normally I’m not a flavored water fan at all, especially the “naturally sweetened” ones, because they’re almost too sweet! But these are actually pretty good! I’m a huge water drinker, but lately have been finding it kind of boring (though I think it has more to do with not wanting to drink something cold when the weather is so cold!) so this was a nice change for my lunch time today 🙂
I do, however, hate that they advertise the 0 calorie count. I hate buying things that state in huge bold letters how many calories they contain. It makes me feel…I dunno. Superficial? I’m weird.
Anyways. That is all for now. I’m off to get some homework done, hopefully start on a recipes page, organize my recipes I’ve saved over months and months, and then start dinner. Can’t wait for tonight’s menu!
What are your plans for this cooollddd Saturday afternoon?

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Filed under almond butter, banana, breakfast, brunch, foodblog, french toast, health food, healthy living, lunch, pumpkin, recipe, salmon, spelt, sweet potato, vermont