Posts Tagged ‘breakfast’

Purple Goodness in a Glass

March 29, 2012 2 comments

Around our house, smoothies make a quick, healthy breakfast, lunch, snack, or dessert.  We pick blueberries every summer at MaryMac Farms and then freeze the berries for use year-round.  Smoothies are one of our favorite ways to enjoy the berries.  This smoothie recipe can be a base for other smoothies – add some extra frozen bananas, peaches, strawberries, or cherries.  Yes, we keep all of those in our freezer! 

Helpful hint:  We also have lots of bags with little cubes of things in the freezer. When we have extra yogurt, fruit juice, wine, pesto, lemon juice, fresh herbs, apple cider, and tomato paste, I freeze it in ice cube trays. Then pop them out and store them in resealable bags.

  • Yogurt:  I like to buy large containers of organic Greek yogurt, but we never seem to finish it.  The cubes are perfect for smoothies.  Frozen flavored yogurt cubes make good mini popsicles (just add a toothpick when it is almost frozen).
  • Fruit juice: We usually don’t finish a bottle of juice either.  Hate to waste it, so it gets frozen. Perfect for smoothies or depending on the juice, great in iced tea!
  • Wine:  Leftover wine doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, I freeze it.  The wine cubes are perfect for finishing up a sauce or gravy.
  • Pesto:  When the basil in the garden is going crazy, I make pesto and freeze it in ice cube trays. Oil the trays first for easy removal.  Just thaw a cube and toss with fresh, hot pasta or mixed vegetables.
  • Lemon juice:  When I make limoncello, I have almost 4 cups of lemon juice!  There’s just so much fresh lemonade we can drink. So, I freeze some in ice cube trays and some in larger containers for making lemon bars.
  • Fresh herbs:  To freeze fresh herbs (like basil, parsley, chives, and mint), just rinse, snip if they are large, place in an ice cube tray, fill the tray half full with water, freeze, fill trays with water, freeze, and then store them in resealable bags.  If you initially fill the trays with water, the herbs tend to float and they might get freezer-burned.  This method, though it takes more time, prevents freezer damage to the herbs. Another method is to freeze fresh herbs in olive oil.
  • Apple cider:  We get local apple cider from Scott’s and then freeze some in cubes for drinking hot in the winter.  It is also great with tea (hot and iced). And sometimes I eat the cubes in the summer, another popsicle-like treat.
  • Tomato paste:  Freezing is great when you need just a little tomato paste and have leftovers from the can.  It is much cheaper to buy cans of tomato paste than those little tubes. Oil the trays before filling to hopefully prevent them from staining. 


Blueberry Banana Smoothie

1 banana (fresh or frozen)

1 cup frozen blueberries (fresh or frozen)

½ cup juice (I used tangerine, cranberry, apple, orange, etc. juice is fine too)

¾ cup plain yogurt or kefir (any kind works – soy, coconut, regular)

Optional add-ins:  protein powder, dash of cinnamon, ground flax seeds, shredded coconut, (ice cubes if you use fresh fruit, I like the cold), flax seed oil, almond butter, ginger, cayenne, etc.

Pour contents into blender container.  Cover with the lid (otherwise you might end up with purple goodness all over the place!). Blend until smooth and purple.  Enjoy!

Servings:  2 snack-sized servings or 1 meal-sized serving




Fruity Crock Pot Oatmeal

February 29, 2012 2 comments

The second Monday in February is National Oatmeal Monday and October 29th is National Oatmeal Day.  So depending on your perspective, this blog post is either a few weeks late or several months early!  Either way, hope you like oatmeal as much as we do.  We eat a lot of oatmeal.  We like rolled oats, steel cut oats, granola, oatmeal cookies, oatmeal bars, and even instant oatmeal (nothing wrong with Kirkland’s organic instant oatmeal packets in a pinch).

Our favorite type of oatmeal is steel cut oats, especially in the winter. Unfortunately, they take a little longer to cook so they are usually saved for weekends. But with this recipe, you can enjoy them any day of the week.  They cook in a crock pot while you sleep!  Or for something different, you can make them in the morning and have delicious oatmeal for dinner.

I tend to like oatmeal that has texture and bite to it, while Matt likes it creamy.  This oatmeal turns out creamy, with a tapioca-like consistency.  If you use dried cherries, they make the oatmeal reddish brown (dried blueberries make it an interesting purplish brown color). It’s not the prettiest oatmeal, but it is tasty and hearty.

Update:  I had an aha moment while storing the leftover oatmeal:  this oatmeal is a little too creamy and sticky (for my taste, though Matt seems to like it just like it is).  To change the texture, next time I will rinse the oats a few times in a strainer before I add them to the crock pot.  I do this sometimes with basmati rice and it seems to keep the rice from clumping together. I think the oatmeal would benefit from this step, so time to update the recipe…

Fruity Crock Pot Oatmeal

1 cup steel cut oats (I like McCann’s Irish Oatmeal)

½ cup dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, apples, apricots, figs, dates, or blueberries)

4 cups water

½ cup half-and-half (or milk, soy milk, coconut milk, or almond milk)

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons maple syrup, honey, or agave (optional)

2 tablespoon butter or vegan margarine (optional)

¼-½ teaspoon cinnamon

few grates of fresh nutmeg

pinch of salt

Optional toppings:  chopped fresh apple, bananas, shredded coconut, raisins (I think they get too squishy if you cook them overnight), almonds, pecans, walnuts, fresh blueberries or peaches, butter, brown sugar, honey, apple butter (my brother’s favorite oatmeal topping!), half-and-half, maple syrup cinnamon, etc. The possibilities are almost endless!

Rinse the oats in a strainer under running water.  Drain.  Put the oats into the crock pot.  Add the remaining ingredients (except for the optional toppings).  Stir well. Cover with the lid. Cook on low for 5-8 hours. Stir. Serve.  This is great as-is or served with some of the optional toppings. 

Note about the photo:  I’m not much for breakfast foods in the morning (I prefer them around lunch or dinner). So the idea of taking an appetizing photo of brown oatmeal in the morning, before coffee, was daunting and not very appealing.  This photo is bad!  Sorry. But please do not let it dissuade you from making the oatmeal.  It tastes better than it looks (it would have to!).

Post 1/13 – Panettone French Toast

January 6, 2012 11 comments

January 6th has different meanings for different folks.  For some, it signifies the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas and is a holy Christian festival.  For others, it means it is time to take down the tree and burn the Christmas greens.  Some take a humorous view of Epiphany and use it as a time for the Great Fruitcake Toss.  A cheeky way to close out the holidays by lobbing fruitcakes at people dressed like kings for a food bank fundraiser in Manitou Springs, CO.  In many countries, it is a chance for children to get gifts in their socks or shoes.  In parts of the Southern United States, Epiphany is the start of Carnival season.  Love the internet!

For me personally, epiphany is about revelations.  Specifically, revelations about this blog…I am a bad blogger.  I’ve hinted at it before, but it is true.  I sometimes get intimidated by a blank page, especially a blank computer screen, and I almost always dislike rejection.  Ok, I always dislike rejection.  I submitted a blog post to two professional sites and they were rejected.  The reason:  because the photography was not up to their standard, the composition was “too tight.”  It seems their standards are very subjective.  I could’ve submitted them again, but I just let it go, and haven’t put myself out there.  Then, I realized that this blog is not a means for me to be published, it is a way to share recipes and little stories with friends and family.  These stories and recipes might one day become a self-published cookbook, but that’s not even the real goal.  Connecting and sharing my love of cooking is the goal.

I am testing new recipes and working on my photography.  I used an Amazon birthday gift certificate to buy a food photography book and a recipe-writing book.  Yes, there are books about these specific topics, actually lots of books.  I narrowed it down to these two titles:  Food Photography – From Snapshots to Great Shots and The Recipe Writer’s Handbook.  Both are good books.  Also, I bought a new tripod for only $6 at our church’s recent fundraising auction!  That has helped tremendously with my photos, still need to work on composition and styling, but at least they aren’t quite as blurry.  

I don’t really make New Year’s resolution, but I do have goals.  This year, one of my goals is to write 50 blog entries.  I will kick-start my goal with a Baker’s Dozen Blitz of Blog posts!  Yep, 13 posts in 13 days, starting today. 

Speaking about resolutions…I know most folks make resolutions to eat healthier, lose weight, etc. in the New Year.  Sorry, but many of these first recipes are not very healthy.  Several are dishes I cooked over the holidays and used them to practice my food photography.  More healthy recipes will be coming soon.

Post 1/13 – Panettone French Toast

This is a perfect recipe for using leftover Panettone and Eggnog.  We had both ingredients available after our holiday festivities.  Thought it might be a good idea to combine the two.  Luckily, it worked.

1 lb. loaf panettone bread, parchment paper removed

6 large eggs

1½ cups eggnog (or milk, cream, half & half – any combination)

Pinch of cinnamon (optional)

Dash of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

1 teaspoon of vanilla (optional)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Powdered sugar, for dusting

Trim the bottom crust from the panettone.  Use a serrated knife to cut the loaf into ¾ inch thick slices.  If you slice it crosswise, you get nice rounds that can be cut into two.  Thought of this too late and sliced it like a regular loaf of bread.  The slices weren’t as pretty but they tasted fine!

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs.  Add the eggnog (or milk, cream, ½ & ½) and beat until frothy.  If you want, whisk in vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Butter a large nonstick griddle over medium heat.  Dip slices of panettone into the egg mixture, turning to allow both sides to absorb the custard.  Grill the soaked panettone slices until they are golden brown, about 3-5 minutes per side.  You can keep the French toast warm, in a low, preheated oven, while you grill the rest of the panettone.  

Serve with a little extra butter, maple syrup, and powdered sugar, if you want.  Otherwise, they are delicious plain.