First full week back to work = a fresh week to start a great series with a yummy little ingredient I’ve been seeing a LOT of lately – Quinoa – reminds me a little bit of Cous Cous, but much heartier and packed with protein. I’ve come to learn too that it’s a great base for a lot of fantastic recipes too – Quinoa bites in particular. A while back, I tried these delicious Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bites from Miki’s Kitchen and they were a perfect, healthy snack for anyone out there that is as Buffalo Chicken crazy as I am. Bites are perfect really – they’re small – they’re cute – you can eat them with your fingers, and it’s generally assumed that you can have one or two extra, cuz’ hey! They’re bite sized!
Why else am I pushing Quinoa? Well, due to it’s protein punch package, it’s considered a power food which I’ll be needing a lot of lately as I begin (or, more like “focus” on) my Half Marathon training schedule. There I said it out loud. Some of my besties from home and I are headed down to Disney in just a few short weeks to do the Princess Half Marathon – and while I can’t WAIT to get down there, catch some rays, eat some Dole Whip, and hopefully get a glimpse of Mickey & Minnie, there’s that whole 13.1 miles to get through first, and I’ve got a ways to go training wise. So come on Quinoa, help a sistah out will ya?
Ok first up, Quinoa Bites for breakfast, the most important meal of the day! And this combination of quinoa, apples and a sweet sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar will start your day off just right 🙂
Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bites
*yields about 26 bites
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup quick oats, uncooked
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 cup chopped apples
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) In a large mixing bowl, add your cooked quinoa and quick oats. In a separate smaller mixing bowl, combine your cinnamon, nutmeg and sugars and then add the spice mixture to the quinoa and oats. Then add the maple syrup, apples and eggs and mix until just combined.
3) Spray your mini muffin pan (24 count) with non-stick cooking spray. Make sure to spray the top of the pan as well. The quinoa bites will overflow out of the cup a little bit, so you don’t want the tops to stick.
4) Fill each muffin slot with 1 tablespoon of the mixture and bake for about 15-20 minutes.
Oh yummmm – these were like little hearty mini muffins packed with deliciousness and nutritiousness – the best of both worlds!
Very VERY bad idea to be reliving this post from Saturday as I sit here at my desk eating my 100 calorie, whole grain VitaMuffin top.
Dave and I are very different when it comes to breakfast: he lives for it, and myself, I could probably live without it. On a Saturday morning, it’s always a struggle to decide what the first meal of the day is going to be. Dave usually wants to get up and use every pan we own to make a 5-course breakfast, whereas myself, I like to go out, get an iced coffee and a breakfast sandwich from my most favorite breakfast spot in the neighborhood – Magnificent Muffin. It’s a tiny, hole in the wall that I first was drawn to some years ago by the constant line out the door. And besides the fact that you can probably only fit about 5 average size humans in there at a time, the line is legit. Because their breakfast sandwiches are made-to-order, served hot off the griddle, and their muffins are in fact magnificent – it’s not even false advertising. And, the best part, every order comes with a side of sass from the owners – free of charge.
But this past Saturday, I was antsy to try this recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes that I found from Cozy Kitchen. Trader Joe’s has a really great Pumpkin Pancake & Waffle mix that I’ve used in the past to make PCCPcakes. But I tend to agree with the ladies at Magnificent Muffin – fresh ingredients and a side of sass make EVERYTHING taste just a little bit better.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes
*Modified from Cozy Kitchen
*yields about 8 pancakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 & 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1) In a medium bowl, sift together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.
2) In a small bowl, measure out the buttermilk then add the egg and lightly beat.
3) Mix in the pumpkin puree with the egg and buttermilk and mix until completely blended. Then add the melted butter and mix again.
4) Add half the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix lightly. Then add the other half and mix until the batter is just combined (there will be small-medium lumps). Add chocolate chips.
5) Heat your griddle over low/medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray or butter. Use about 1/4 cup of the batter and place in a round circle on the skillet. Cook until small bubbles form on the surface of the pancake and then flip over. Cook on opposite side for about a minute, or until golden brown.
6) Serve warm with LOTS of maple syrup.
OMG – the pumpkin – the chocolate – the syrup. I would highly recommend serving a nice, salty side with this like sausage or bacon, just to have a good balance of salty and sweetness (if that’s your thing). And, these literally took all of 10 minutes to make, so it was a GREAT Saturday morning breakfast!
Donuts are pretty awesome. I know it takes like 7 days or something crazy like that for them to digest, but the 7 days is so worth it. A big tube of dough, fried to perfection, often covered with fun toppings like frosting, sprinkles or BUTTERCRUNCH (clearly this is my favorite) or even stuffed with creams and jellies. Even the straight up old-fashioned with no frills is like a little piece of heaven.
My friend Ash has a slight obsession with donuts. She’s done all kinds of research to find the best donut shops in the Boston area and beyond – not your ‘cookie cutter’ donut places like Dunkin or Honey Dew, but small, independently run places where the minute you walk in the door, the smell of donuts cooking away in the fryer stops you dead in your tracks. And if you’re lucky enough, the one they pick off the tray for you is still warm. (Linda’s Donuts and Ohlin’s Bakery in Belmont for all you Boston area readers – do it – go – now).
But Ash, being the teeny weeny little thing that she is, has the will power of a saint, and after hours and hours of donut research and spreadsheet compiling, instead of hunkering down on the couch in her drawstring pants with a baker’s dozen of the finest donuts the shop has to offer, she finally goes, selects the perfect donut, tears a crumb size piece of it off, eats it ever so delicately, and boom – she’s done with the donut. It’s witchcraft, I swear.
I myself also feel like a donut is a treat – it’s not a 5-day a week kind of breakfast. It’s a “Ooooh, I could really go for a donut” kind of breakfast. And Apple Cider Donuts, fresh out of the fryer, after a long day of apple picking, are one of fall’s gems. And, you can make them at home!
Apple Cider Donuts
*Modified from Sugar Crafter
For the donuts
1 cup apple cider
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
5 1/2 cups flour, divided
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Vegetable oil, for frying
For the topping:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1) In a small sauce pan, boil the apple cider down until it is reduced to 1/4 cup. Allow to cool. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs.
2) Beat in the buttermilk and reduced apple cider.
3) In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 1/2 cups of the flour, the baking powder and soda, and the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
4) Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until combined. The dough will be very sticky.
5) Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead, adding in the additional flour (you may not need the full 2 cups – I think I used about 1.5), until the dough is no longer sticky.
6) Roll out the dough to a 1/2″ thick rectangle, cutting strips about 1/2″-1″ wide (depending on how large you want your donuts to be). Take each strip and roll it between your palms until it becomes rounded on the edges, and then form into a donut shape.
7) In an electric fryer or a deep pan, add 3″ of vegetable oil. Fry 5 or so donuts at a time, trying not to overcrowd them in the oil. Turn them several times, until they are browned and cooked through. The larger your donut, the longer it will take for the dough to cook through (I think I undercooked 2 batches until I finally got it right – I’d say at least five minutes). As long as you keep turning them in the oil from time to time, they will eventually cook through. They’ll be quite brown on the outside when they’re finally done, but don’t worry! They’re not burned! Just cooked to perfection 🙂
8) Dip them in the cinnamon/sugar mixture immediately.
9) Serve warm
As with most things, these are best fresh out of the oil, but are equally as good the next day! (Just ask Dave, who ate 2 for breakfast – but he doesn’t like sweets – riiiiiiiiight :))
What a BANNER WEEKEND it was!
Here’s my weekend cliffs notes:
1) It was the most perfect fall weather, the kind that you dream about in the throws of winter, when it’s dark at 4:30 and the snow starts to pile up outside your window. Sunny, blue skies, big puffy clouds, and just the right temp to blow the dust off your favorite fleece jacket.
2) An outside beer festival – 3 blocks from our apartment – and a truck with beer taps attached to it. Nuf said.
3) An ENGAGEMENT! Now, it should be said that I get excited for random strangers when they get engaged. Being able to relive that feeling of excitement that you only get to experience once in your entire life, why it might be almost MORE exciting than when it happens to you! And it couldn’t be more true than for Dave and I, and two of our bestest friends, Meghan and Adam, who took a weekend off from home renovations and got engaged on Saturday afternoon, under a willow tree in the public gardens after a quick swan boat ride. Move over William Shakespeare.
4) A brunch with my best friends from High School. We grew up together in a small town, shared the ups and downs of our adolescence together, went off and did our own things through college and post-college, and now, 10+ years later, it’s like picking up where we left off in homeroom. Only people have babies now. Minor detail 🙂
All week, I thought to myself “Ooooh so many amazing fall recipes to make for brunch! Which will I choose?” And after tossing in my sleep trying to nail down the perfect one, I decided on these Pumpkin Donut Holes. I went out and bought all the stuff. I couldn’t WAIT to show up on Natalie’s doorstep with them Saturday morning…
But, I showed up with store-bought muffins instead.
You know those weeks where the days just get away from you? Welp – it was one of those – and the store bought muffins were delish – but not as good as these bad boys. The recipe looked so good that I couldn’t not try them, even if I missed my brunch deadline.
If you don’t have the ingredients for this, run – don’t walk – to get them – because these donut holes are like crack – dipped in butter and coated with cinnamon and sugar.
Pumpkin Donut Holes
From Domestically Speaking
1 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 pumpkin puree
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1) Preheat your oven to 350 and spray a mini muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2) Combine all the dry ingredients in one bowl and whisk till combined.
3) In another bowl, mix together the oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and mix till it’s just combined (you don’t want to over mix).
4) Fill your mini tins with about 1/2 tbsp. of batter.
5) Bake for 10-12 minutes.
6) While they’re baking, melt your butter and in a small bowl combine your sugar and cinnamon.
7) Once the donuts have cooled a bit, dunk them in the butter and then the cinnamon/sugar mixture. If you want to make them a little less sugary, you can just dip the top in the butter and cinnamon/sugar.
This recipe AND this weekend – definitely one for the books 🙂
I know everyone’s sad about Summer being over and all but how can you be sad when FALL is the next season on deck? Augh, the leaves! The crisp air! The apples! The pumpkins! The pumpkin beer! I’m getting giddy just thinking about it and all the amazing foodstuffs that come with it!
This recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffins is a recipe of my mom’s. I can’t really remember when she started making these, but when she did, they became one of my most favorite fall treats of all time. I remember she’d send me back to college with them after a weekend home, and after eating about 1/2 dozen myself, I would then contemplate sharing them with others. And then when I had my own apartment and my own kitchen, I started making them myself. And now, it’s not really fall in my mind until I’ve made a batch – and that’s exactly what I did this past weekend. After some yucky rain and humidity, Sunday was a gorgeous fall day, blue sky with a little chill in the air – the perfect day for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins. I have no idea of the origin of this recipe, all I know is that it proves that some of the best recipes of all time are scribbled down on a piece of notebook paper.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
*Mom’s Recipe 🙂
*yields about 2 dozen muffins
2 cups sugar
1.5 cups vegetable oil
3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. salt
1 – 15oz. can of pumpkin puree
1.5 cups mini chocolate chips
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Cream together sugar, oil and eggs in a standing mixer or electric beaters.
3) In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Slowly add to the sugar/oil/egg mixture until combined.
4) Add the pumpkin puree and mix well.
5) Fold in the mini chips.
6) Scoop 1/4 cup of muffin batter into a greased muffin tin or cupcake papers. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes and let cool.
It’s arguable that this could almost be considered more of a ‘cupcake’ than a ‘muffin’ but really, who cares? They’re the perfect start to a cool fall morning 🙂
Enjoy and happy fall to all!
It’s Saturday morning, and it was a late night watching the opening cermonies! But WOW – truly amazed by everything that went on. I myself was even scared at the 100-foot Voldemort. I imagine there were many children (annnnd maybe 30 year olds) having nightmares last night!
There’s this great place near my work called Russo’s – it’s like a farm stand on steroids. Fresh fruit and produce, with an amazing bakery, flowers, and a killer prepared foods section. They really encourage buying local, which is awesome because it gives local vendors from the boston area a chance to showcase their stuff. And I would like to shake the hands of the bakers at Our Daily Bread (which sadly, apon googling, I found out has closed :() who created the Chocolate Babka that was the base of this morning’s french toast. It was like a thick, texas toast, with thick swirls of chocolate throughout. OMG. It’s been sitting in the freezer, just waiting to be utilized for a mind-blowing french toast breakfast, and today was the day. And what a day it was!
French Toast with Goat Cheese Drizzle
1 Loaf of thick bread
(Challah works really well – or any kind of thick country-style bread)
1 -1/2 cups milk
1 tbsp. cinnamon
4 0z goat cheese
2 tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cinnamon
1) Turn an electric skillet or non-stick skillet to high heat.
2) Slice the bread into 1/2″ – 1″ thick pieces. Set aside.
3) In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs milk and cinnamon.
4) Dip each piece of sliced bread in the egg/milk/cinnamon mixture. Place on hot electric skillet for about 3 minutes, and then flip over and cook other side for 3 minutes (until golden brown).
5) To make Goat Cheese Drizzle: Place goat cheese, maple syrup, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon in a small saucepan over medium heat until goat cheese in completely melted, stirring continuously.
6) Drizzle goat cheese compote over french toast slices and top with sliced strawberries.
The goat cheese drizzle was the perfect compliment to the rich and chocolatey slices of french toast. Even if you used regular bread as the base for the french toast, it would still be delightful! This drizzle would probably also be good served as little ‘fruit appetizer’ dip with all different types of fruits.
Did I feel a little guilty stuffing my face with french toast as I watched the best athletes in the world do their thing? Maybe a little bit, but I think they would have gladly joined me on the couch and done the same 🙂
Scones are kind of a funny thing – they seem to contradict everything that is known to be delicious about a baked good. They’re kind of crumbly – kind of dry – they usually have fruit in them like raisins or cranberries (raisins are what the ‘bad houses’ give away on halloween and cranberries go on a string with popcorn on a christmas tree) but I LOVE scones! Love them! I think I started to get into them when a group of gal pals and I invaded Ireland our Junior year of college to visit some other gal pals that were studying abroad there. Irish people know a scone – they know how to make it good, raisins and cranberries or not.
But when I have a scone, I like when it’s more like a ‘dessert’ than a breakfast pastry. So I found this recipe for Cream Scones from Martha Stewart, and turned it into what I call an Almond Joy Scone – the crumbly buttery base of a scone with chocolate chunks, coconut and toasted almonds.
Is it bad to drool when you type?
Almond Joy Scones
3/4 cup, plus 1 tbsp cold heavy cream
1 large egg
2 cups all purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for work surface
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine salt
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
3/4 cup sliced, toasted almonds
3/4 cup milk chocolate chunks
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2) Whisk together 3/4 cup cream and egg in a bowl.
3) Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal with a few pea size pieces of butter still remaining. (I ended up just using my hands to blend the butter into the flour – it seemed to work better than the knives)
4) Stir in chocolate, toasted almonds and coconut into the flour/butter mixture. Then, mix in the egg/cream batter with a fork until just combined (dough should still look crumbly – try not to overwork it)
5) Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and pat it into a square or circle until the dough is about 1″ thick. Take a glass (or a round shaped cookie cutter) that is about 1.5-2″ in diameter. This will yield about 12-14 scones (you can re-roll the dough scraps after you get the first round of scones cut from it to make more). You could also cut them in wedges too, or squares. Whatever your favorite shape!
6) Transfer cut scones to a parchment paper lined or greased baking sheet – brush tops of each scone with remaining tbsp. of cream, and bake until golden brown, about 16-18 minutes, rotating the sheet in the oven half way through.
These are so yummy – you could eat them for breakfast with a nice cup of hot coffee…or for lunch with a diet coke….or for dinner with a glass of red 🙂 ENJOY!!!!