Tag Archives: breakfast

Breakfast is Served

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Good Morning, and Happy Friday to you all! Are you ready for the weekend? Do you have any big plans? I think we’re just going to lay low and relax again ~ most everyone we  know is busy, so we are going to enjoy the fact that we aren’t!

And what better way to fuel a weekend than to start with breakfast. We aren’t big Every Day Breakfast people around our house; in fact the only one of us that eats his breakfast almost every day is the cat, and lately even he has been off of the idea. Nick and I are coffee with coffee people in the morning, rarely taking in more than that. One of us might muster the gumption to fry an egg every now and again, but only on the weekends. It’s such a bad habit to not eat breakfast, but neither of us wakes up hungry. He goes to work, I go about my day, and the next thing we know, lunch is upon us and our tummies are rumbling.

I’m trying to get myself to eat breakfast, as I have found that I’m less hungry later in the day when I do, thus preventing me from mowing an extra helping of dinner down. I could just eat yogurt and berries and granola, or even just yogurt and berries, but I get tired of it. Even with the endless combination of fruits and nuts and whathaveyou that you can stir in to yogurt, it just gets old. I do eat toast every now and again, but meh. We don’t have a real toaster and sometimes I don’t want to turn on the oven just to toast a slice of bread (note to self: buy toaster). And I do love oatmeal, but with the weather as hot as it has been, the last thing I want to start my day with is something hot.

Lately, I’ve taken the Swiss approach and made my oatmeal the night before (the Swiss call this Museli). There’s no cooking, and the ingredients you can add are endless. Thinking beyond the canister I searched around the internet and found this blog, which is written by the cutest little gal and is chock full of yummy vegetarian things. I’m nto a vegetarian, but for breakfast, it’s something I can get behind.

One of her overnight oats recipes floored me. Chocolate. Oatmeal. No way. For breakfast? What could me more indulgent for breakfast than ChOcOlAtE?! I was hooked. I was also down a couple of ingredients for her version, and wanted a couple bites more than what hers prepared (as I am a bigger girl, I wanted a bigger brekkie. Can you blame me?) And so, Raspberry Chocolate Smash was born.

You can make a couple of these at a time, so you have breakfast for a few days made in one short assembly line. I love my vintage Pyrex fridge dishes for this application, but  if I didn’t have them this would SO be one of those Food In Jars projects. And who doesn’t love eating things out of mason jars these days? It’s almost as fun as food on a stick.

Raspberry Chocolate Smash
Makes 1, multiply by the number of jars you’re assembling

1/3 c. old fashioned oats (you can use Instant, too, I haven’t found a huge difference in texture, but the old fashioned are more hearty. Don’t use steel cut!)
1/3 c. milk (what ever fat level you’re comfortable with, or almond, soy, coconut, etc.)
1 1/2 t. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t. chia seeds (optional, I had some laying around so I tossed them in. They add great mouth feel.)
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. maple syrup or honey
1/4 t. cinnamon
6-8 raspberries

Combine oats through cinnamon, stirring until well mixed. Gently stir in raspberries. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Stir just before eating.

Toast and Jam

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Well, how has your summer been so far? Are you crossing off summery Bucket List items left and right, or are you taking a more relaxed, lazy approach? I’m doing a bit of both this year – being blessed with the time to relax and do more than I’ve been able to do for many summers. The weather has been mild and not too hot for the most part here on the West Coast. There’s been camping, barbecues, playing at the river, and of course some jam making.

Oh, the jam making. I was blessed with two HUGE boxed overfilled with the most beautiful plums. Not sure what kind they are? I don’t think they’re Santa Rosas, anyone with more fruit identification skills out there have any idea?

They’re juicy, with creamy yellow- to red fleshy interiors. And they aren’t free stone (bummer). Not being free stone they are a bit of a (read: complete) pain in the ass to process, as you have to cut them off the pits in order to glean any kind of flesh from their little bodies. But darn they’re tasty.

I’ve processed about 15 pounds of them so far, and have about, oh, 30 left hanging around, as evidenced by that picture above. Nick said to me very seriously yesterday that no one expects me to process all of these plums, we can use what we want and dispatch the rest. The only thing holding me back from canning them all is the sheer number of jars that it would take to can this many plums. (Those of you in the immediate area, the plums that are going to land on your front porches in the next 24 hours are not from me). I’ve already blasted through a flat of pints and a flat of half pints making Cinnamon Plum Jam and a batch of Savory Plum Chili Sauce, both of which came out great.

The Cinnamon Plum Jam was a new one for me this year. I found this blog a few weeks ago, and when I read this recipe I knew I had to make a cinnamon-laced plum jam of my very own. I know many of you out there are pectin purists, which translates that you don’t use any. Hats of to your skills! I am impatient and can’t handle stirring over a hot cauldron for the amount of time it takes to process fruit without pectin, so I use it the majority of the time. I plan to get out my big girl pants and make a pectinless version with some of these plums, but for now I made the recipe on my pectin box and dropped two 3″ cinnamon sticks into my hot lava jam boil, fishing them out before I canned it up. The result was a lightly scented and flavored jam of the most luxurious taste and texture. Just look at this:

The ultimate jam test, though, is how it tastes on toast. I am deeply in love with toast; heavily slathered with salted butter, seared under the broiler and not in the toaster, rendering the outside crisp and leaving the inside soft. And folks, I’m proud to announce that I found THE BEST bread recipe, which gave me the most amazing toast I may have ever had. No kidding.

Ordinarily and up to now, sourdough toast is my favorite. Being blessed with true San Francisco sourdough in my Outer Bay Area existence has spoiled me and mine with some of the best bread on the planet (should I ever have to give up gluten, well, perish the thought). This new bread is gently sweet, with a nice light crumb. Nick and I agreed that it smelled like graham crackers when it was cooling on the rack. Waiting for it to cool was the longest hour of my life.

The best part about this new loaf is that it’s a no-knead loaf, with only one rise. These two caveats make this a great loaf even for a beginning baker, especially one with yeast terrors. You literally mix it up, plop it in a greased loaf pan, let it rise, and bake it off. And for singletons and/or couples who don’t eat a lot of bread, it only makes one normal sized loaf. Between the ease of the recipe and the yield this might be the perfect sandwich loaf. The recipe has a lot going for it.

Those of you that do bake bread are going to see that it’s 100% whole wheat and doesn’t call for vital wheat gluten to help with the rise, which struck me as odd (and made me excited, since I’m too cheap to buy a bag and thus have none). The bread rose like a champ on my counter,  gaining lofty altitudes high above the edge of the loaf pan. It rose a bit more in the oven, with a gently browned crust, and popped right out of the loaf pan after a brief respite on the counter. In short, even in the long version of the story, this bread is perfect. And the toast this morning? Heavenly.

No-Knead 100% whole Wheat Bread
from King Arthur Flour website

Makes one nice loaf

1 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup melted butter or vegetable oil (mmm…butter)
3 tablespoons molasses, maple syrup, dark corn syrup, or brown sugar corn syrup (I used dark molasses)
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk (I used nonfat and it worked just fine)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 cups King Arthur whole wheat flour, white whole wheat preferred

Heavily grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan. This loaf tends to stick, so be sure to grease the pan thoroughly with non-stick vegetable oil spray.

Combine bine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Beat the mixture vigorously for about 3 minutes; an electric mixer set on high speed works well here. You should have a very sticky dough. It won’t be pourable, but neither will it be kneadable. Scoop it into the prepared pan. (Take some care to level it out and push it into the corners of the pan. It may fight a bit, but you risk an uneven loaf if it isn’t leveled out.)

Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let it rise for 60 to 90 minutes; it should just about rise to the rim of the pan, perhaps just barely cresting over the rim. (I let mine go a full hour and it rose about 1/2-3/4″ above the pan.)

Preheat oven to 350*F. Uncover the bread, and bake it for about 40 to 45 minutes, tenting it with aluminum foil after 20 minutes. The bread is done when it’s golden brown on top, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers between 190°F and 195°F. Remove it from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out onto a rack. Brush with melted butter, if desired; this will keep the crust soft (I didn’t bother, and the crust was still soft the next day). Cool the bread completely before cutting it.

Don’t wanna.

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I woke up in a good enough mood this morning, which was quickly whisked away on the outrageously blustery wind that decided to start whipping down the street at about 9:00. I had a great plan of things to do today to keep me busy, including recovering my sewing table and chair with a new piece of fabric (hammered leather looking, mmmm gorgeous), organizing our bedroom closet, and cutting out a pattern for a dress that I’m going to make myself for my birthday (pray for me – it’s a fitted dress and has buttons, and I’ve never tried to deal with either of these things before).

Well, I covered the table and chair, I made a mess out of the bedroom and don’t even want to touch the closet. I took a shower and put away my staple gun, and sat down in front of my computer. What’s wrong with me?


Unload the dishwasher, eat a snack, make some tea, back in front of the computer. Wind is whistling around the eaves, house is cold and quiet, and the cat is FINALLY sleeping after knocking over a HUGE glass of water off of one of our nightstands (he has a penchant for drinking other people’s water, even though his gets changed every single day). Luckily we have hardwood floors so I could deploy a bunch of towels and not deal with a damp rug. Unluckily hardwood floors mean that the water splashes Ev-E-Ry-Where.

I’m bored. I sort of have that feeling that you get as a kid, when you go to Mom and say “I’m booooorrrreddddd” and she tells you to go clean your room. I have a boatload of stuff to do, I just don’t want to do it. And I told myself I can’t cut out that dress pattern until I clean up the bedroom. I haven’t even made the bed yet, and now it’s completely covered with stuff. Sigh.

What can I do that will warm the house up without cranking the heater, make it smell yummy and homey in here so I don’t feel so lonely, and net me something tasty to eat?  The winner, hands down, was a recipe that I found on Epicurious. What made it even better was that it was a Molly Wizenberg recipe, and everything she makes is amazing. Have you been to her blog, Orangette? Or read her book? OK, if you do nothing else today but read this blog post, go check out those two things. You too will have a monster crush on her when you’re done.

Anyway. I had everything I needed to make this granola, sans coconut which I wouldn’t add anyway because Nick isn’t a fan (though I did use coconut oil in place of vegetable, but you can’t really taste it much with everything else). It makes a nice 5 cup batch, and it makes the house smell so, so, SO good. I used a mix of almonds and pecans, and my dried fruit choices were dried pineapple and dried cherries.

My house is warm, it smells wonderful, and I think I can face cleaning up the bedroom now.

Everyday Granola
by Molly Wizenberg

3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut*
3 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup assorted dried fruit

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Mix first 7 ingredients in large bowl. Stir honey and oil in saucepan over medium-low heat until smooth. Pour honey mixture over oat mixture; toss. Spread on prepared sheet. Bake until golden, stirring every 10 minutes, about 40 minutes. Place sheet on rack. Stir granola; cool. Mix in fruit. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Store airtight.

* Available at specialty foods stores and natural foods stores.