Tag Archives: breakfast

You don’t have to hug a tree to love granola

31 Mar

I love granola. I mean what’s not to like about sweet crunchy whole grains mixed with fruit and nuts. I make granola a lot at work. I serve it to the kids to mix with yogurt and fruit. It holds up well without going stale and it can be flavored in so many ways. Since today is a very rainy day I figured it was a good day to play with the food in the house.

If your pantry is anything like mine, you have a few items in there that are partially used. I always seem to have a 1/4 cup of chocolate chips or a handful of nuts. I also seem to have an assortment of dried fruits left over from different recipes. Granola is great what to use up all those odds and ends. As with most things, granola is a technique. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can tweak the ingredients to customize your mix.

Here’s the basic formula for granola:

2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 350. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss until the mixture is crumbly and the syrup has been evenly incorporated. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes. Be sure to stir the mixture every 5 minutes to prevent burning.

Below is a table of combinations to give you an idea of how you can mix and match flavors to make a personalized granola…

Basic Base Dry Goods Syrup Flavor 2nd Flavor Additives
oats no additional maple cinnamon brown sugar dried fruit
oats wheat germ agave pumpkin

pie spice

vanilla powder pecans
oats coconut honey cinnamon brown sugar dried fruit
oats shredded wheat honey nutmeg clove white chocolate chips
oats puffed rice agave espresso powder vanilla powder chocolate chips

Today I made a tropical granola… here’s the recipe:

2 cups oats
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
pinch of cinnamon
3/4 cup shredded coconut

Added after the base was toasted and cooled:
1/2 cup dried mango, torn into small pieces
1/2 cup banana chips
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts

I followed the above technique and viola, a yummy granola! I would also recommend using macadamia nuts instead of the peanuts or omitting the chocolate chips for a slightly healthier granola, but ce la vie… This is what you get what you’re cleaning out the pantry

Always thinking of the next meal


Starbucks Cinnamon Chip Scones

11 Feb

I love the cinnamon chip scones at Starbucks. I was looking around the web and all of the recreations were just missing the mark. None of them even came close to looking like the ones at Starbucks. Although some of the recipes that were posted elsewhere seemed to be decent recipes, just not the ones I was looking for.

It was up to me to figure this out on my own. Here’s what I came up with…

Starbucks Cinnamon Chip Scones

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of allspice
1 stick of butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup cinnamon chips
1/2-3/4 skim milk
1 egg, for egg wash

for glaze: 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon water

sift together the dry ingredients and work the butter in until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add in the chips and toss together. Slowly add the milk until the dough just comes together. Roll the dough out into a square that is approximately 1 inch thick. Cut into triangles and brush with egg wash. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Let scones cool completely and then drizzle with glaze.

These are pretty close to the ones at Starbucks. They are a little less dense, but not disagreeable. I think next time I’ll try buttermilk instead of skim milk and see how it comes out.

Always thinking of the next meal


Snowed in, liquored up

8 Feb

If you don’t live on the East coast, you might not know, but we were hit with 22 inches of snow on Saturday. To make things even more interesting, we are hearing predictions of another foot to a foot and a half this coming Wednesday. Ah winter, you make me miss Florida.

In any case, when you’re cooped up in the house all day, after all the cleaning, cooking, napping, TV watching and Wii playing, you need a drink. Thankfully we were stocked! It’s easy to make a dry martini, but it makes it more fun to come up with cocktails that add a little excitement to the snowy day. I’ll admit that our happy hour started a little before 5, but it was 5:00 somewhere, right?

I started the night with lemon basil martinis. They are refreshing and light. It’s a great one to stimulate the appetite too.

Lemon Basil Martini

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon basil, roughly chopped
2 oz lemon vodka
2 oz water

shake all the ingredients with ice

The the next martini I made is pictured above and I called it a breakfast martini…sounds weird, but I promise you it is fantastic!

Breakfast Martini

2 oz vanilla vodka
2 oz banana rum
1 tablespoon real maple syrup
pinch of cinnamon

shake all ingredients with ice

Give these a try on the next snow day, they are sure to cure cabin fever

Always thinking of the next meal


Eggs, versatile and delish!

2 Feb

For me mornings mean eggs. Both me and the hubby love them. We like them anyway you can cook them. Ryan likes them a little more well done than I do, but that’s one of the best things about eggs, they cook so fast, so you can make everyone happy in a quick minute.

This morning I made one of our favorites, eggs in a basket. I’m not really sure of the origin of this easy, delicious meal, but it’s one that is sure to impress. Here’s the recipe:

Eggs in a basket
serves 2

2 slices bread
2 eggs
2 slices cheese, we use American but cheddar or swiss would be great
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat a griddle on medium heat and add in the oil
2. remove the center of the bread from each slice leaving about 1 inch from the crust, you can reserve the centers if you want to, but it’s not necessary
3. Add the bread into the pan and allow to toast slightly.
4. Crack an egg into the center of each slice and season
5. Let the egg set for about 3 minutes
6. Flip the bread and add the slice of cheese and finish cooking

If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, that this will definitely make you feel like a king. Eggs have gotten a bad wrap recently, and I’m feel the need to dispel the myths. Eggs, like everything else, are fine in moderation. If you cook them in healthy oils, like olive oil, they can be a great addition to any diet.

If you are watching what’s going into your belly, just substitute use 2 egg whites for 1 whole egg.

Always thinking of the next meal


Cinnamon = Happy

6 Nov

IMG_0954One of my favorite memories from being a kid is when my Mom would make cinnamon rolls for breakfast. It was always on the weekends, but even on those days when you didn’t want to get up, that smell of freshly baked sweet buns would lure you from the deepest dream.

With Ryan coming home and knowing that the weekend holds lots of work for me, I wanted to have some special treats ready. Cinnamon rolls obviously have a special place in my heart and I love building that same love for my husband. I decided that even though it wouldn’t be the same as making them first thing in the morning, something was better than nothing.

I started with a basic cinnamon roll recipe and make some tweaks. Just as a note, there is NOTHING low fat, low calorie, low cholesterol, or low anything. These are real cinnamon rolls people. There is real sugar, real butter and real flavor. Those rolls in the dairy section can’t hold a candle to the flavor of love that homemade anything comes with.

Here’s the recipe:

Katie’s Cinnamon Rolls

3 3/4 cups flour
1 cup skim milk, warmed to 120 degrees
3 tablespoons butter, melted into the milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2  cup sugar
2 packets dry active yeast

1/2 cup butter, room temp
1 cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons water

Mix all the dough ingredients together and kneed for 8-10 minutes or until the dough comes together into a ball. Set aside in a lightly greased bowl to rise for 2 hours. Meanwhile, combine the cinnamon and brown sugar in a bowl.

When dough has doubled in size, punch it down and roll into a 11×15 rectangle. spread the butter all over but leave a 1 inch border on one of the long sides. Evenly roll the dough onto itself. Slice into 12 pieces and arrange into a buttered baking dish. Allow to rise another 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes, or until golden brown.

Let cool for 15-20 minutes and the then drizzle with the combined powdered sugar and water. Serve warm from pan.

Always thinking of the next meal


Breakfast of Champions

25 Oct

On the weekends, Ryan and I love to have big breakfasts. (Actually, we don’t always wait for the weekends.) We love having eggs in the morning and our favorite way to eat them is wrapped is a nice, soft, toasty tortilla. That’s right, a breakfast burrito.

This tradition of Tex-Mex tastiness started when I was little. My dad would get up in the morning and start making breakfast. I was usually up soon after, but sometimes my dad would resort to creatively cruel ways to wake my brother. (i.e. banging on pops and pans, letting the dog into his room, or even the unexpected ice cold shower) Anyway, he always called these breakfast burritos, huevos rancheros, but I know better now.

Of course the concept of these burritos is fairly simple. Take a burrito, add eggs and viola, breakfast burrito. But it does have a little bit of science to it.

First, make sure you have good tortillas. As Ryan and I have learned the hard way, a bad tortilla means your burrito may crack and break while you are trying to roll it, or worse, it breaks all over you while you are trying to eat it. We stick to Mission brand when we can or we use the small corn tortillas if that’s what we have.

Second, have your ingredients ready to go inside the burrito before cooking the eggs. Let me be the first to say that rubbery, over-cooked eggs are not tasty. Cook your bacon ahead of time, chop and cook; onions, peppers, zucchini, and corn, and if you are using beans make sure they are rinsed and ready to go. Next, the cheese. This is a very important element to the burrito. Ryan likes his with American cheese, but I’m partial to an extra sharp cheddar. In the spirit of the Tex-Mex, queso fresco or queso blanco would be lovely as well.

Start with your warmed tortilla on a plate, add the cheese and other ingredients. Top with the eggs. (we scramble ours, but fried eggs are good too, but over easy tend to make a mess) Add any topping, roll and serve.

Really you can fill these bad boys with anything your heart desires. The more creative the better. Try some chirizo, or leeks. I love some fresh pico de gallo in mine or left-over grilled chicken. Toppings here are also important. Just before wrapping, finish your burrito off with ketchup, salsa, BBQ sauce or hot pepper sauce. Again, it’s what ever you like on your eggs. Again, before rolling make sure you tortilla is warm. A cold tortilla is more likely to break while rolling.

This breakfast is nicely complemented by hash browns, french fries, roasted potatoes, or our favorite, tater tots.  Not feeling that hungry… if you’ve done the burrito right it can be plenty on its own.

Not an egg person? Try a sweet version. Peanut butter, bananas, walnuts, and honey make a great combination. Or try nutella with toasted hazelnuts and fresh strawberries.

Anyway you make it, breakfast burritos are a great start to any morning.

Always thinking of the next meal


Daily Grind Fitness Gig

23 Aug

So today was our first official, non family related gig. It was for the great people at Daily Grind Fitness (www.dailygrindfitness.com). We were asked to provide breakfast and lunch for 30 people during a personal trainer certification session. We arrived and didn’t realize that the gym was on the second floor of the building. We were destined to get our exercise today. After a lot of help carrying things upstairs, we started setting up the tables for breakfast. Here’s what was on the menu:


with strawberry honey butter, herbed cream cheese, and orange cinnamon cream cheese


Lowfat Maple Oatmeal, Lowfat Apple

Almond Poppyseed Scones

Fresh Fruit

Strawberries, Pineapple, with fat free yogurt dip

Orange Juice, Cranberry Juice, and Freshly Brewed Coffee

IMG_0761 While the morning seemed to be sailing by, it was not without its bumps. I had ordered bagels at Panera, specifically asking for them to be arranged on a black tray (to match with the color scheme of course!) When I arrived at the bakery they had my order in a large box. Not only was there no tray, but I was told by the manager they stopped using trays years ago. I know it was only a minor set back, but at the time I was frantic. Thank God I had extra serveware at the gym.

Another lesson that we learned was to always have extra tongs/spoons/knifes and just about anything a guest could want, whether or not you were asked to bring it. That means, if coffee is ordered you must have: half and half, sugar, creamer, sweet and low, splenda, equal, skim milk, 2%, decaf, half caf, regular,  regular strong brew, regular weak brew, and a lot of patience. Ok so I’m exaggerating but you would not believe how much coffee we went through!

IMG_0768We rented the plates, linens, mugs and silverware and everything worked out great. I got everything at Taylor Rental and it couldn’t been easier. Everything looked beautiful and seamless. It was actually kind of funny that everyone kept saying how nice the plates were. The clients were the ones that suggested the rentals and although I was a little skeptical at first I think they did add a lot of class to the event.

Before we knew it the event started and Ryan stayed at the gym to maintain the food and make sure there was enough coffee. I ran home to assemble the wraps for lunch. Here’s the lunch menu:

All American Wraps

Turkey wrapped with tomatoes, lettuce, light mayonnaise, cranberries, and sharp cheddar cheese

Niçoise Wraps

Tuna, tomatoes, olive tapenade, hard boiled eggs, spinach, lemon caper dressing

Italian Chopped Salad

Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, roasted red peppers, chickpeas,
Balsamic dressing

Sweet Potato Chips

Sparkling water and Arnold Palmers

(iced tea and lemonade mixed)

IMG_0770By far the biggest hit of lunch was the turkey sandwich. People were surprised by the cranberries. I thought the tuna was really good, but I think I made a marketing error. I put “pan bagnat” on the name card. All that is a Niçoise style tuna, but well, not everyone knows that. Although people ate them, they were no where near the popularity of the turkey. The salad was good. A bit on the boring side for my tastes, but the clients seemed happy. Oh, and my biggest surprise was how well the sweet potato chips were received. Ryan thinks that I’m just used eating them so they don’t seem that different to me, but it was cool to see something so simple make such an impact.

I think the event was really great. I met a lot of people who will hopefully give me a call and want have me cook for them. I’d love to cook for the Daily Grind crew again too. Maybe next time we can shoot for the first floor 😉

Always thinking of the next mealIMG_0765


P.S. if you want to know what a nerd I am look at the timeline I put together for the event. For the record this was the original timeline and we did not stick to it entirely, but it was a good starting point:

5:45 – wake up
6:00 – coffee/breakfast
6:15 – load car
6:40 – leave for gym
7:00ish – Arrive at gym
7:05 – unpack car
7:15 – start set-up
7:30 – pick up bagels at Panera/get ice
7:45 – Continue set up
8:00 – brew coffee/ice beverages
8:15 – put out food


9:30 – go home
10:00 – arrive home
10:05 – assemble salad
10:30 – Assemble wraps
11:00 – Load car
11:15 – leave for gym
11:45 – arrive at gym
11:50 – set up lunch
12:00 – lunch is served
1:00ish – break down and leave