Monday, September 30, 2013

Apple Cider Cakes

And so ends Better Breakfast Month. I have had plenty of fun with these. And there are so many more ideas I have! There should be more breakfast in the coming months. But dinners will start again soon!

These little cakes are a cross between a muffin and a cupcake. It is eggless, so it doesn't rise very much at all. So it's kind of like a little dense hockey puck of a cake. But it is moist and full of the best cider flavors. Great for breakfast, or a little afternoon pick me up.

I made this in a cupcake pan, but it would work very well in as a round or square cake too. If you would like to have something that rises more, substitute in 2 eggs for the apple sauce.

Apple Cider Cupcakes

1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 pinch salt
2/3 cup Apple Cider
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup apple sauce
5 tbsp Vanilla Olive Oil

Preheat your oven to 350degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or spray it with oil.

Stir the cider, applesauce and oil together until smoothly combined. In a separate bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until you have a smooth batter.

Divide the batter evenly over your pan filling each well no more than 3/4 full. If you have extra batter, a couple mini muffins will never go to waste.

Bake about 30 minutes, a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. These may take a little longer, the applesauce makes them supremely moist!

Cider Frosting

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter softened
2 pkg (8oz each) cream cheese
3 tbsp apple cider

Blend the butter and cream cheese together. Stir in the cider and then slowly incorporate the powdered sugar.

Top off with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Honey Vanillla Cornbread with Balsamic Berry Compote

I was going to make a corn pancake, but I don't have a cast iron skillet. Now I know this is silly. Food blogger without essential cooking tools...

Anyway, since the recipe for corn pancakes and cornbread is extremely similar...cornbread for breakfast!

Honey Vanilla Cornbread

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Vermont Maple Sea Salt
2 eggs
1 cup water or milk
1/4 cup Vanilla Olive Oil
1/4 cup honey

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9x9 pan for thicker cornbread, you can use a 9x13 if you want it nice and thin.

Stir together the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls. When the oven has come to temperature, stir the dry ingredient mixture into the wet slowly. Mix gently to just combine. Do not over mix the batter, it should be just moistened and still a little lumpy.

Turn the batter into your pan and bake immediately 20-40 minutes. Shorter time for a larger pan, longer for the smaller. The very edges should start to pull away from the pan and be browning. A toothpick inserted in the center of the pan should come out clean.

Balsamic Berry Compote

1 1/2 cup mixed berries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 tbsp Raspberry Balsamic
1/4 cup sugar
4 tbsp water

Place all the ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer together to reduce about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep it from burning. You can serve this right out of the pan, or toss in the fridge overnight and it will gel up a bit more like a loose jam. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cinnamon Pear French Toast

This is a basic french toast. You can scale it up or down for as many people you need it for. If you want to cut back on your cholesterol, use just egg whites. This is great for breakfast, brunch, lunch, a snack, dinner, another snack...

Cinnamon Pear French Toast

3 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tbsp Cinnamon Pear Balsamic
10 slices bread

Whisk the eggs, milk and Balsamic together in a large bowl. One at a time, dip the bread in and let it soak for a few seconds on each side.

Heat a large pan or griddle up to medium low and cook the toast gently until it is browned. Flip and do the other side. 1-2 minutes per side.

Serve warm with powdered sugar or syrup, or more Balsamic!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pumpkin Alfredo

I know that this isn't breakfast, but it is related to my recent pumpkin waffles. I had a half can of pumpkin left over and I needed to use it up. So, what to do with a half can of pumpkin? I thought about making pumpkin-cider donuts, but I am saving that for my husband's birthday. And if I make it now, I have to come up with something else for him. So I looked around the fridge and noticed some sour cream. So there we have it, Alfredo!

Pumpkin Alfredo

1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp pumpkin pie spices
1 pint mushrooms
1/4 cup White Wine Jelly
2 tbsp Salonika Olive Oil
1 pkg pasta, any kind
Himalayan Pink Salt
Black Pepper

Heat the olive oil to medium in a high sided saute pan. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of the salt. Stir to coat with the olive oil and cover. Let them cook for about 6-7 minutes.

While the mushrooms are reducing themselves, cook your pasta in lightly salted water. When it is done, rinse in cold water and set aside in a large bowl.

After the mushrooms have reduced well, add the wine jelly and the spices and the pepper. Stir around and then stir in the sour and heavy creams.

Let that simmer for 1-3 minutes. Now stir in the pumpkin, making sure that everything is well combined.

If you have a large enough pan, pour the pasta into it and toss. If you don't, let it cook for another minute to fully heat the pumpkin too and then pour the sauce over the pasta.

*If you don't have wine jelly, substitute with regular wine and add 2-4 minutes to the cooking time to simmer off the alcohol.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Waffles

This was my first time making waffles. I know, why did I wait so long? I must have been crazy. These were so much fun I made a double batch and froze most of them. This is better breakfast for more than this month alone!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Waffles

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup canned pureed pumpkin, not pie filling
1/3 cup Vanilla Olive Oil
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp ginger powder

Whisk all ingredients together and let sit for five minutes. Start warming up your waffle iron.

When it comes to full temperature, pour on some of the mix. How much depends very greatly on the size of your machine. Finding the balance of just enough mix for each waffle and how long to cook it can be tricky. I don't mind slightly lopsided waffles. It just depends on you and your machine. My machine cooks waffles to the perfect crispness in about 5-6 minutes.

If you don't have anyone waiting to eat these up as soon as you get them off the iron, you may want to heat the oven on low and keep your finished waffles in there until you are ready to serve them.

You can serve them with syrup, some balsamic, or just powdered sugar. Have fun!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Egg and Artichoke Bake

I made this for my mom. She loves artichokes to no end. And now I find out that my husband likes them too! This was as much a surprise for him as it was for me. But it means I have to buy more artichokes. More fun food for me! This serves 2 very well, double it for more.

Egg and Artichoke Bake

1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
3 tbsp white wine, or broth
3 cups watercress
1 cup spinach
1 can quartered artichokes
4 eggs
4 tbsp heavy cream
2 tbsp Meyer Lemon Olive Oil
     plus more for the pan
Black pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Rub down a small pie pan with olive oil.

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil to medium heat. Add the onion, the thinner the slices, the better. Add a little salt and saute for 6-7 minutes, until it is soft and starting to caramelize. Put in the watercress, spinach and the white wine. Let cook for about 3 minutes. The greens should be wilted, but not mushy.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with a little black pepper. Quarter the artichoke pieces and mix into the watercress and onions. Put all that into the casserole pan. Pour the eggs over top and stir a little to make sure everything is well distributed.

Bake for around 10 minutes. Check after 8. When it no longer jiggles, it's ready. The larger your pan, the thinner this is and the less time it takes to cook.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Mushrooms and Rice

Now, this isn't your traditional breakfast. But it is filling, tasty and nutritious. Who is to say that breakfast has to be eggs!

Mushrooms and Rice

2 pints sliced mushrooms, any kind
3 cups brown rice, cooked
1 bell pepper
1 sweet onion
1 bunch spring onions
2-3 strips crispy bacon, crumbled
Salt and pepper
3 cups spinach
4 tbsp Bacon Olive Oil,
     Or Blood Orange Olive Oil

Add 2 tbsp oil to a large saute pan and heat to medium. Dump in the mushrooms and stir until coated with oil. Saute until they are reduced in size and well cooked, about 7-8 minutes. Add in the spinach and a little extra olive oil if needed and a pinch of salt. Toss together and let the spinach wilt, about 3 minutes.

While that is cooking, dice the veggies. When the spinach is fully wilted, add in the onions and the bell pepper. Stir to combine, then add the rice and black pepper. Stir to distribute the rice, add the rest of the oil if things seem a little dry.

Cover and cook about 3 minutes. Everything should be well heated through.

I suggest using our newest salt, the Vermont Maple Sea Salt. It is lightly sweet with a nice and strong maple smell and syrupy aftertaste, it just hit the shelves this week! Come in and try it today!

For a fun option, treat this like fried rice and add a couple chopped scrambled eggs! Great for breakfast or a nice side dish to anything. I may just eat this for all three meals today!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Lucky Lentil Salad and a Coupon

Since tomorrow is Friday the 13th, I am giving you a reason to eat lucky.

Lentils are lucky. Thought to bring prosperity, they are typically eaten during New Years celebrations. But why not now! We can all use a little luck, and everyone could use a bit of prosperity. Besides, this is tasty as all get out. Happy Friday the 13th!

And don't forget, after the recipe is our new coupon!

Lucky Lentil Salad

1 lb green lentils
1 cup sweet onion
2-3 tbsp fresh tarragon
1 green bell pepper
1 tbsp five spice powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp bacon bits (optional)

In a large sauce pan, cover the lentils with 2-3 inches of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook. Check after 15 minutes for doneness, they should be tender, but not mushy. Rinse and set aside.

While the lentils are cooking, finely dice the bell pepper and the onion. Combine the olive oil with the spices and whisk to combine.

Toss the lentils and veggies together in a large bowl, adding the olive oil mixture slowly until well distributed. Drizzle on the balsamic 1 tbsp at a time. This is a taste and see method. A little over 3 tbsp seems to be perfect, but my husband liked the full 4 tbsp.

Eat lucky!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Banana Coffee Cake

I was going to to make a crumb cake, but I ran out of brown sugar! So lets call this a coffee cake!

Banana Coffee Cake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup Vanilla Olive Oil
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tbsp Honey
3 mashed bananas
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
2 tbsp White Coconut Balsamic, for glazing

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x9 pan and set aside.

Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl. Slowly stir the dry into the wet. It doesn't have to be well beaten, just stir it all together until there are no more dry lumps.

Pour into the pan. Use a spoon to spread the batter and make sure that everything is level. Bake for 40-50 minutes. A skewer inserted in the center should come out clean.

Let cool for at least 10 minutes before you brush on the Coconut Balsamic.

If you have extra brown sugar laying around, you can turn this into a crumb cake easily. Just take 1/4 cup of flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tbsp Vanilla Olive Oil and mix them together until the mixture resembles crumbs. Distribute the crumb topping over the cake before you bake it and then drizzle the Coconut Balsamic over everything after it cools. Have fun!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Leek and Apple Hash

You can use either fresh or frozen for this, it's not too big a deal. And I intend to use more apples in my hash browns. It's like you mixed little caramelized something's in....

Leek and Apple Hash

1/2 an apple, diced finely
1 leek, rinsed and finely sliced
1 or 2 carrots finely diced
2 cups finely shredded potatoes
3 tbsp Bacon Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large saute pan to medium high heat. Add the leeks and the carrots and toss to cover in the oil. Saute for 2-4 minutes, the leek will become more translucent, like an onion and the carrots should start to soften up.

Add the apple and cook another 2 minutes, stirring often. Add in the other tablespoon of oil and sprinkle the potatoes over top and lightly mix everything together. Spread it all out in the pan in an even layer.

Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 3 minutes a side. The potatoes should be on the golden side of brown.

Sprinkle with salt and a little pepper and serve!

I know that not everyone is in to the Bacon Olive Oil. Don't worry. Just sub in your favorite flavor, Garlic would be nice, or Blood Orange. Go with the Persian Lime if you are feeling crazy!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Orange Pancakes

My mom loves to eat breakfast. And she loves to cover these pancakes in balsamic vinegar. She uses Blueberry and Pear mostly, but I though I would play up the orange flavor with the Mandarin Orange Balsamic. Since my husband isn't in to pouring straight balsamic on his pancakes, I whisked it with some maple syrup, but feel free to use the balsamic straight up.

Orange Pancakes*

1 cup all purpose flour 
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup milk (I love Almond Milk in pancakes)
1 large egg

4 tbsp maple syrup or honey

Whisk the pancake ingredients together gently. I use a really big bowl and put all the dry stuff in, stir it around and gradually whisk in all the wet ingredients. You don't want to over mix it, but break down the large lumps.

Heat a large flat pan or griddle to medium. Lightly oil your cooking surface. Scoop out some pancake mix, 2-4 tbsp each and drizzle it in a pile onto your pan.

After about 1-2 minutes, the tops of each pancake should have little bubbles in it and some should be popping. Flip them and brown the other side. 

It depends on what size you want your pancakes to be, but if you use 2-3 tbsp per pancake, you should end up with about 12-15 pancakes.

Whisk the syrup and the Balsamic Vinegar together, and drizzle away.

*If all you have is box mix at home, fret not! Just use milk instead of water and toss in a couple tablespoons of the Blood Orange Olive Oil. The milk has a little more body than water, so you may need to add a bit extra to get the right consistency. But it turns out fantastic just the same.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Eggs in Tomato Sauce

Welcome to Better Breakfast Month!

I know, it is already 4 days into the month, but that doesn't mean that we don't all still need to eat breakfast. This is a super easy 20 minute meal that makes a statement. It's super pretty, so you could make this for a weekend brunch with friends, or just a little fun eating for you.

This is based on a Mid Eastern dish called Shakshuka. Basically tomatoes, spices, greens and meat baked with eggs. I didn't add any meat to mine, I just didn't think it needed it. Play with the ingredients as you like, some recipes around the web call for cheese on this too. I kept this simple, with stuff I had around the fridge.

This makes eggs with yokes that are still a little runny, so if you don't like that, lightly scramble each egg before sliding it into the pan. If you don't, it does really look like it's looking at you.

Eggs in Tomato Sauce

2 eggs
3 cups fresh spinach
5 medium tomatoes
     or 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 onion
1/2 bell pepper, any color
pinch of paprika
pinch of cumin
Salt and Pepper
2 tbsp Garlic Olive Oil
1 tbsp Citrus Habanero Olive Oil

Preheat your oven to 400degrees. If you have a smallish, oven safe pan, use that for everything. If not, no worries.

Dice the onions and get them into a saute pan on medium high heat with the garlic olive oil and a pinch of salt. Stir occasionally, for around 3 minutes. Put in the spinach and stir around to wilt down. Season with the cumin and paprika.

Dice the tomatoes and bell pepper and put in your oven safe pan or small casserole dish. Stir in the onion and spinach mix. Make sure that everything is well distributed.

Make a couple small wells for the eggs and gently crack them into the mixture. Bake for 8-10 minutes. The egg whites should be set and the yokes still a bit runny. So no massive jiggling when you move the pan.

Drizzle with the Citrus Habanero Oil and a little pepper. Serve with some bread and enjoy!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Garlic Chicken Pasta

We have all kinds of great pasta at the store. I love all the neat shapes. One of my husband's favorites are these large twists. They hold sauce well and and really nice and fork-able.I needed a quick dinner last night so I threw all this together in a pan. I think I'll make it again sometime!

Garlic Chicken Pasta

1 pk chicken breasts, chopped
1/2 sweet onion, diced
2-4 strips bacon
1 pkg large twist pasta
4 tbsp Garlic Olive Oil, divided

Cook the pasta according to package directions and rinse. Toss with 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large bowl and set aside.

Cook the bacon in a large saute pan until crispy, set aside on paper towels to drain. In the same pan, add the diced onion and saute on medium high heat, stirring occasionally until they start to brown, about 4-5 minutes.

Add the chicken and the rest of the olive oil if you need it. Cook for about 3 minutes on high heat, stirring constantly so that the chicken gets browned on all sides and lightly caramelized. Reduce the heat to medium, crumble the bacon and add it to the pan. Cover and cook until the chicken is done, another 5-10 minutes.

Toss together the pasta and chicken and serve.

After today, it is Better Breakfast Month! A month long celebration of all things breakfast!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Labor Day

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone!

I hope everyone is enjoying this nice weather. I think it's hot out there, but I get to sit in the air conditioning all day, so there is that.

Well, we are open all day on Monday, so if you are missing something for your grilling needs, go ahead and drop by.

Recipes resuming in a couple days! Have a safe holiday!