Tag Archives: breakfast

Super Addictive Granola Bars

9 Jan

Happy 2017, y’all! It’s chilly out there, but I found a great way to keep the kitchen warm: turn on the oven and make some divine granola bars. The inspiration came from Smitten Kitchen and I’ve followed her recipe fairly closely, omitting the corn syrup. For the mix of dried fruit and nuts, foodNURDling and I used 1 cup of raisins, 1 cup of peanut and cashew pieces and then made up the rest with dried dates, dried apple slices and peanut butter chips. The thing I like most about this recipe aside from its versatility is that it’s not overly sweet; the bars aren’t shiny like the store-bought ones. There’s still LOTS of sweet stuff in these but you won’t feel the need to brush your teeth right after eating them.

A note that you will want to cool these suckers down completely before cutting them. They’re a bit crumbly and will fall apart if you cut them while they’re still warm!

Ingredients

1 2/3 c quick rolled oats
1/3 c oat flour
1/2 c sugar
1/2 ts salt
1/2 ts cinnamon
2-3 c dried fruits and nuts – suggestions: peanuts, walnuts, cashews, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, dried cranberries, dried apples, dried dates, dried apricots, dried cherries, raisins, pepitas, chocolate/peanut butter/butterscotch chips…
1/3 c peanut/nut butter
1 ts vanilla
6 tb melted butter
1/4 c maple syrup
1 tb honey
1 tb water

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Line a 9x9x2 baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease/spray the parchment paper and any exposed parts of the pan.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients together, including the fruits & nuts. In a separate small bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. Pour the the wet into the dry and mix until thoroughly combined.
3. Spread the mix into your prepared pan and press firmly to make sure they are molded right to the pan. If you find the mix very sticky, you can place a piece of plastic wrap on top and press on that. Voila!
4.Bake for 30-40 minutes. You want a bit of a crispy edge to the bars, so don’t be afraid to leave it for the full 40 – you can always check at 30 and decide if they are right for you. They’ll be soft to the touch in the middle but they’ll set when completely cool.
5. Allow to cool completely in the pan on a rack. I placed the whole thing in the fridge after 15 minutes and left it there for another 30. Once cool, cut them into squares with a serrated knife and place them in an airtight container. They freeze well if you’re not going to eat them all in a few days.

bars

Right out of the oven and smelling deeeeeeelish.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins!

4 May

That recipe title needed an exclamation mark. Two kinds of chocolate in one muffin? Get excited!

Makes 12.

Ingredients

1 3/4c all-purpose flour
2 ts baking powder
1/2 ts baking soda
2 tb cocoa powder
3/4c white sugar
1c + 1/4c chocolate chips
1 egg
1c milk
1/3c vegetable oil
1 ts vanilla

Directions

1. Line or grease a muffin tin and preheat your  oven to 400F.
2. In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients, including 1c of the chocolate chips.
3. In a smaller bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.
4. Combine the wet into the dry, bearing in mind that you want the batter to be a bit lumpy.
5. Evenly distribute the batter into the muffin cups and then top with the remaining chips. Bake for 20 minutes until the muffins have risen and darkened.

 

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

5 Jun

If your eyebrow is raised archly at the prospect of zucchini in a muffin as mine initially was, let me assure you that it’s delicious. Or, perhaps more accurately, it makes the muffin delicious. The actual flavour disappears entirely because the zucchini is so finely grated. Instead, you get wonderfully moist muffins that have a punch of goodness and just a handful of chocolate chips. This is my current favourite muffin recipe – I make it nearly every other week and always eat one before I put them away for breakfast the next morning.

These would be good with half a cup of chopped walnuts if you were so inclined!

Makes 12.

Ingredients

1 1/2c all-purpose flour
2/3c white sugar
1 ts baking soda
1 ts cinnamon
1/2 ts salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/4 c milk
1 ts vanilla
1 c zucchini, finely grated
1 handful chocolate chips – feel free to be as stingy or as generous as you like

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350F and line or grease muffin cups.
2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.
3. In a smaller bowl, combine the egg, oil, milk and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and then toss in the grated carrot.
3. Stir everything together until just combined and then spoon into the muffin cups.
4. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean. Leave for 5 minutes then pop onto a rack to cool off completely.

muffin

Wicked Easy Fruit Muffins

11 Nov

Friday night used to be about heading out after working and having (at least one too many) drinks with friends, getting home sleepy and happy and then sleeping til 10am the next day. Now Friday night is about getting foodNURDling fed and to bed, making something for myself and, if I’m not too gassed, making muffins for our Saturday morning breakfast at 8am.  I’ve made a number of variations on the maple oatmeal muffins and wanted to test out something a little different…also, I was out of oatmeal. I did, however, have fruit and sour cream. I can make something of this, I figured! Since I had already planned to make cinnamon apple oatmeal in the slow cooker, I tossed blueberries into the muffin batter and the results were delish. You could use any fruit your little muffin-baking heart desires: apple, peach, raspberry, strawberry, etc. The results are fluffy and springy muffins on the inside with crisp tops that will be snarfled up by everyone who gets their paws on them.

Makes 12

Ingredients

2 c all-purpose flour
3 ts baking powder
1/2 ts baking soda
1/2 ts salt
1 ts cinnamon
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 c sour cream
1/4 c butter, melted
1 c fruit (berries, peeled & chopped apples/peaches, etc.)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400F and line your muffin tins with cups or butter.
2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour – cinnamon). In a smaller bowl, combine the wet ingredients (sugar – butter).
3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the contents of the second bowl. You may find that the batter is a bit dry. If so, feel free to add a little milk or more sour cream. When everything is almost combined, add in your fruit and finish.
4. Spoon out the batter into the muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes.
5. Allow to cool 10 minutes and then dig in!

Photo: The aforementioned blueberry muffins. I may just have to have one before bed...

Maple Oatmeal Muffins

2 Jun

It’s Friday night, 9pm. I have just finished off a quick dinner after putting the foodNURDling to bed and gardening for a bit. Thoughts turn to the weekend and what I’m going to eat for breakfast. Out of bagels, not in the mood for slow-cooked oatmeal and wanting something more substantial than cereal, I hit upon muffins. I hadn’t tried out a new muffin recipe in a while and wasn’t really enthused at the idea of cheese muffins (though they are pretty fabulous, if I do say so myself). I scoured the interwebs for inspiration and found it: maple oatmeal muffins. The recipe is pretty basic and lends itself to creativity: you could add chopped pecans or walnuts, chocolate chips, flax seed for a health boost or, as a friend suggested, crumbled bacon. That last option is one I will be exploring in the near future, no doubt.

Makes 12.

Ingredients

1 c rolled/quick-cooking oats
1/2 c milk
1 c flour
2 ts baking powder
1/4 ts salt
1/2 ts cinnamon
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 c butter, melted
3/4 c maple syrup

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 400F and pop liners into your muffin tin (or butter/spray each cup).
2. In a medium bowl, mix the oats & milk. Let stand 5 minutes. Meanwhile,  stir together the flour, baking powder, salt & cinnamon in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle.
3. Add the egg, butter & syrup to the oat-milk mixture. Combine thoroughly and then add to the dry mixture. Stir until JUST combined.
3a. if you’re going to add walnuts, pecans, bacon or chocolate chips add a 1/2c at this stage and then top with the remaining 1/2c.
4. Spoon into the muffin tins. Pop the tray into the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

IMG_6109

Banana Chocolate Muffins

9 Dec

With the apple walnut muffins in the freezer – and all the cooking tools cleaned and ready to be dirtied up again – and overripe, frozen bananas in the freezer waiting to be used in something, what was a girl to do but make banana chocolate muffins?!  I even had cocoa powder in the cupboard from making the double chocolate cake cookies! Destiny.

This recipe was adapted from Nigella Lawson’s. I added some oat bran and removed some all-purpose flour to healthy-up these suckers just a smidge. No doubt, they’d be tasty with a few chocolate chips or nuts thrown in!

Makes 12.

Ingredients

3 ripe/overripe bananas
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 c brown sugar
1/3 c oat bran
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
3 tb cocoa powder, sifted
1 ts baking soda
1/2 ts salt

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a muffin tin with paper cups or use cooking spray/butter.
2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Beat in the oil, followed by the eggs and sugar. Whisk in the oat bran.
3. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and carefully fold them together until just mixed.
5. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin and bake 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin is clean when removed. Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing the muffins from the tin.

Banana Chocolate Muffins

Apple Walnut Muffins

9 Dec

So I’m home and I have some time to kill before the arrival of the foodNURDling. How am I spending that time (aside from lounging on the couch)? Baking! Figuring it might be a good idea to stock up on some easy, quick snacks that can be stored in the freezer, I decided to make a couple of different kinds of muffins: apple walnut and banana chocolate. I considered making double batches, but there’s only so much room in the freezer and I should probably save some room for actual food…

Note, you could substitute walnuts for pecans, or use a combination of both.

Makes 12 – 15.

Ingredients

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 ts baking powder
1 ts baking soda
1/4 ts salt
1 1/2 ts cinnamon
2 eggs
3/4 c sugar
1 1/2 c apples, peeled and finely chopped or grated (I used Granny Smith apples)
6 tb butter, melted
1/2 c walnuts, chopped

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 400F. Line a muffin tin with cups or use cooking spray so the batter does not stick.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and soda, salt and cinnamon.
3. In a separate, large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar. Stir in the apples and any accumulated juices. Let the wet mixture stand for 10 minutes.
4. To the wet mixture, add the melted butter and walnuts.
5. Add the dry mixture to the wet  and fold until just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX.
6. Spoon the batter into the cups and bake 14 – 16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Let the muffins cool for a couple of minutes before you remove them from the pan.

Apple Walnut Muffins

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins w/ Streusel Topping

7 Aug

Yay! The heat finally broke! That means I can get back in the kitchen and turn the oven on without melting for the first time in weeks. I was in the mood to bake on the last day of the long weekend and decided to make up some muffins. We had bananas in the basket, chocolate chips in the cupboard…decision: made.

Feel free to use more chips than I did: there’s really no such thing as too many.

Makes 12.

Ingredients

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 ts baking soda
1 ts baking powder
1/2 ts salt
1/2 c chocolate chips
3 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 c white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 c butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar

For Streusel Topping
2 tb all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease or line the muffin tin.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together the bananas, white sugar, melted butter and egg.
4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in. Stir until everything is just combined – do not over mix!
5. To make the streusel, mix the brown sugar and flour together in a small bowl. Cut in the tablespoon of butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.
6. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, filling to about the 3/4 mark. Sprinkle each muffin with streusel.
7. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean when you remove it.

Basket o’ Muffin-y Goodness

Candied Bacon

6 Apr

About a month ago, I came across an article that contained a recipe from one of the best BBQ restaurants in Toronto. This recipe? Oh yeah. It was for candied bacon. I posted it on Twitter with the comment, “I want to make this.” Pretty quickly, replies of “I want to eat that,” came in and a small brunch was planned for a few weeks later.

This recipe is almost silly it’s so simple. You really only need a few ingredients and you’re likely to have them kicking around anyway. I make a package and a half and it fed 6 of us. In all fairness, though, I likely could’ve made four packages for the 6 people and it would’ve disappeared just the same.

Ingredients

1 lb smoked bacon
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c water
black pepper
chile flakes – optional, but recommended

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
2. Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small sauce pan. Make sure you stir it in order to dissolve the sugar. Once boiled, remove from heat and cool.
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the bacon out in one flat layer with some room in between each slice.
4. Brush the cooled sugar mixture on the bacon.  Add a generous amount freshly cracked black pepper and, if desired, sprinkle on chile flakes.
5. Pop the bacon in the oven for 30 minutes, turning once at the 15 minute mark.
6. When cooked, drain off the excess grease and serve!

Picture c/o The Star

Belize 2012 – Day Eight: How to Do Nothing…Perfectly.

1 Apr

Aside from the beautiful scenery, the amazing aquatic adventures and the relaxed atmosphere, the thing that J and I remembered most about Caye Caulker was the pineapple grilled cheese sandwich we had for breakfast at Amor Y Cafe on our first morning there. It sounds a little weird, I’ll grant you that. Let me make the case for it, though: the cheese is mild and a little salty; the pineapple is juicy and sweet; and the bread is light as air, buttered and just toasted enough to get a nice crunch without being overly crisp. The cheese is gooey and when you bite into this gloriously simple sandwich, the cheese oozes out and mixes with the fresh juice from the pineapple slices. It was so good J spent the better part of the following year perfecting the Toronto-made version. (I was more than happy to be the guinea pig for these taste tests and even happier when he figured out the key to recreating it.)

So when we found ourselves back at the caye, we knew we had to head to Amor Y Cafe as soon as we could. They’re only open for breakfast and are busy from the time they open til they close at midday. The service is always friendly, if not always terribly expedient; but, you’re in Caye Caulker. Nothing moves too quickly there anyway. There is a fairly large breakfast selection and you can order any of the sandwiches to go, should you want a snack for later. We chose seats at one of the tables that’s right on the street – a great spot for people watching – and ordered our coffees.

The most important meal of the day.

We did, for just a moment, ponder ordering something aside from the pineapple grilled cheese, but quickly dismissed those thoughts. We put in our orders and soaked up the atmosphere. We recognized a few people from neighbouring businesses that we’d met last year, including the guy who gave us the most epic directions ever. (“I know where you need to go. See those two girls over there? Yeah, turn left at them and then walk til you see some trees…”) Not much later, our highly anticipated meal arrived. I must tell you: it was as good as we remembered. Maybe a tiny bit better.

Grilled cheese heaven.

Did I mention this thing is enormous? It’ll keep you going for a while.

Leisurely breakfast finished, we parked ourselves beach-side with some books and magazines. We were to meet J’s cousin and her friend some time in the early afternoon but had not been able to communicate exactly when. No matter: we sat in a lovely, shady spot between the two water taxi piers and spent a couple of hours doing…nothing. When the scenery looks like this, that’s a perfectly acceptable – and recommended – activity:

When they arrived in the early afternoon, we changed into our bathing suits and headed up to the Split. We spent the rest of the daylight hours watching the parasailers perform their stunts, swimming, drinking from our bucket o’ beers and generally enjoying ourselves immensely. When dinner discussions arose, we suggested heading back to Syd’s. Syd’s, however, was closed on Sundays (ah, travelling in a Catholic country. Gotta remember what day it is or you may find yourself outta luck) so we needed another option. That ended up being the Rainbow Grill, a restaurant with an enormous open-air dining room right over the water. Hard to beat that. I went for the curry chicken; J was feeling the chicken burrito. Both plates were gigantic but as we hadn’t eaten lunch (unless beer counts. And it could.) that was no problem. We polished those suckers off with no problem.

We parted ways after dinner, heading back to our respective hotels. We made plans to meet up around 10am for breakfast and said goodnight. Another fabulous day on a beautiful island with wonderful people.

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