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Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

This recipe bakes up into an incredibly moist bread, that lives up to its  easily thrown together name, with a yummy swirl of cinnamon tucked inside. The crumb topping? Yes, sir!! A drizzle of glaze? Oh my!!

But still, even with all that, for me, it’s still none too sweet ( I know, I know some of you are wondering if there ever could be such a thing) and therefor goes hand in hand with my morning cup of coffee. Talk about the best part of waking up! Which I will will totally be pairing with my spiffy Nikon camera lens coffee mug that the hubs surprised me with 🙂

image

Ain’t she spiffy?!

Ok, back to today’s recipe… I love quick breads. They’re easily one of my favorite things, and ways, to bake. Why, you’re probably wondering? Because just like the name implies, they’re quick and easy, there’s no proofing or yeast of any kind involved, and no portioning batter out into cupcake liners and/ or special pans. All of which can get a bit messy. Plus, they’re easy to double so you can put the extra loaf in your freezer (if it makes it that far!).

But we don’t stop there. This dense, delicious loaf is perfect for sharing. Sharing is caring, right? So make a loaf, and make another to spare. You’re sure to bring an unexpected bit of ‘sweet’ to someone’s day.

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

 Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

 2 cups flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 cup sour cream
3 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Cinnamon Swirl:
2/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon

For  Crumble Topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp cinnamon

For Glaze:
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tbsp water

Directions

1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.
2. Add the oil and mix until small lumps begin to form. Add the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Mix JUST UNTIL batter forms (do not over mix). The batter will be lumpy, and that’s okay.
3. Mix together the 2/3 cup sugar and 1 tbsp cinnamon.
4. Pour and spread 1/3 of the batter into the prepared loaf pan (Line a 9x5x3 loaf pan with foil and lightly grease) . Sprinkle 1/2 of the cinnamon sugar mixture over top.
5. Pour and spread 1/3 of the batter over the cinnamon sugar layer. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar over top.
6. Pour and spread the remaining batter over the layer of cinnamon sugar. Set aside to prepare crumble topping.

For crumble topping:
1. Mix together the flour and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in the butter until a crumble forms (I like to use my fingers about halfway through the “cutting”).
2. Sprinkle the crumble over top of the bread batter.

Bake:
Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

For the glaze:
Use a fork to whisk together the water and the powdered sugar until thick glaze forms. Drizzle over the freshly baked bread

recipe adapted from Something Swanky

Sous Chef Sunday: Cake Batter Monkey Muffins

After almost 5 years, we’ll probably only two where he’s paid attention, the youngest son has finally grasped the concept of birthdays. Yes, you have one once a year. He’s also gotten down not just the names of the  months of the year, but there order and that there’s not a random sequence to them. Yes, your birthday is in August. Yes that’s after June and July. So naturally for the past, oh 3/4’s of a year or so, ha know since the day after his birthday last year there’s been a count down to his next big day this August. He introduces himself to people with his name, quickly followed by the fact that he’s now 5 & 3/4.

Cake Batter Monkey Muffins

Our everyday birthday cake banter has really had us all craving just that. But that’s a ways away. So I figured who needs to wait and wait and wait all the way until their special day just for a taste of birthday cake? Not us, not anymore. Not when we can have cake batter monkey muffins anytime of the year. Not to mention, what morning isn’t just a wee bit brighter with a naughty little bit of cake for breakfast? Some days the sons can have their cake, and eat it too! We’ll just save the homemade butter cream frosting for the party part.

Cake Batter Monkey Muffins

Cake Batter Monkey Muffins 2 

1 can jumbo refrigerator biscuits, NOT flaky
1 cup funfetti cake mix dry, or yellow/vanilla cake mix with some sprinkles mixed in
3 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla
Vanilla Frosting

Directions

1. Spray a muffin tin/cupcake pan generously with cooking spray.
2.  In a small pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Transfer the melted butter to a small bowl and add the vanilla. Stir them together, and set it aside.
3. Add the cake mix and brown sugar to another small bowl, and stir them together until evenly incorporated.
4. Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut each biscuit into four pieces.
5. Working with four pieces of dough at a time, dip them into the butter mixture, coating them completely. Using a fork or slotted spoon, remove them from the butter mixture (allowing any excess to drip off) and transfer them to the cake mix bowl. Coat each piece completely in the cake mixture. Place four coated pieces into each muffin tin, repeat the process until all eight tins are full.
6. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden, and the centers appear set being careful NOT to overbake them!! Allow the cooked muffins to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before running a butter knife carefully around the edges and removing them from the pan.
7. Place a dollop of frosting on the tops of the still-warm muffins and top with sprinkles.
8. These are best served warm, but can be reheated in the microwave for about 10-20 seconds and served within one day.

recipe adapted from Chef In Training

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Chips

Today I’ve just got to tell you guys about one of our favorite Summertime treats. I’m sure just about everybody has heard of chips and salsa, right? In the past few years, I’ve seen more and more interesting variations and takes on them. Well The Sons have their own take on chips and salsa. Except our versions twists the ‘average’ version into an interesting dessert that anyone can love.

Fruit Salsa & Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Chips

Whatever ideas you brought to the table about chips and salsa, let em go. One bite and your taste buds will be blown. It’s full of fruit, oh-so-sweet, and coated with a light and tasty glaze.

Fruit Salsa & Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Chips 2

And we’re not just bringing our new favorite summer salsa to the table. Nope, we didn’t stop there. We’re also pairing it with some Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Chips.

Seriously.

Dessert. perfection.

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Chips

Fruit Salsa & Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Chips 3

recipe adapted from Spend With Pennies

For the Chips

10 (10″) flour tortillas
cooking spray
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

For the Fruit Salsa

2 granny smith apples
1 lemon
2 kiwis
1 lb strawberries
1/2 lb raspberries, optional
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp preserves, strawberry or raspberry

Directions

1. In a small bowl, stir the cinnamon & sugar together to combine and set it aside.
2. Working with three tortillas at a time, spray each side lightly with cooking spray and then sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar on each side. Stack the tortillas together and cut into 12 wedges using a pizza cutter. Repeat until all tortillas are done.
3. Place the prepared chips on an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 11-12 minutes, or until crisp.
4. Peel and finely chop the apples. Squeeze two teaspoons lemon juice over the diced apples and toss to coat.
5. Finely dice the strawberries and the kiwis. Gently stir to combine all the ingredients, keeping in mind that (if using them) the raspberries will break up some but that’s ok.
6. You can either serve the salsa as is at room temperature or chilled. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Banana Berry Breakfast Bake

How’s that for alliteration? Betcha can’t say that 5 times fast. Good thing it’s easier to throw together than it is to enunciate! I used to be able to get the sons’ to gobble up some oatmeal at breakfast time. Now, they take one look at it and you’d think I served them gruel. Well, I guess technically speaking I did, BUT we’re not in any kind of feudal conservation mode so it’s not a thin, runny mess and it’s usually pleasantly seasoned. Anyway, I blame the hubs for this irritating breakfast expectation since he’s spoils us all with 5 star, 4 course brunches on the weekends. He says he’s making up for all the cereal, fruit, and yogurt (grab and go style) breakfasts we eat during the week since I don’t ‘do’ breakfast. Sorry (not really), but I’d rather conserve my gusto, my get-up-and-go, for lunch and dinner. Still, every now and then I get an itch to do breakfast for actual breakfast, not for dinner, and surprise the hell out of everyone. Gotta keep em on their toes and all. This was my latest expedition into AM meal territory. Think oatmeal 2.0, or some equally revamped sounding name. The hubs has taken to calling it oatmeal pie (in his best Cartman from South Park accent) mostly just to annoy me, but if the name fits…

Oats done right with fresh strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and a hint of chocolate. What meal isn’t made better with the addition of chocolate?! Enjoy a healthy start to your day that’s full of nutrients and ready to keep you fueled til lunchtime, that’s scrumptious enough remind you of dessert.

Banana Berry Breakfast Bake

 Berry Banana Oatmeal Bake

 2 cups oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ cup chocolate chips
1 cup strawberries
2/3 cup blueberries
1 ripe banana
2 cups milk
1 large egg
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla

Directions

1. Spray a 8×8 casserole dish generously with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, mix oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, half the chocolate chips, & half the berries. Stir until evenly incorporated and pour into the prepared casserole dish. 3. Sprinkle the other half of the berries & chocolate chips on top of the mixture. Then, slice the banana & add to top.
4. In a separate bowl, combine milk, egg, butter, & vanilla. Whisk thoroughly. Pour this over top of the oatmeal mixture, making sure the all oats are soaked evenly.
5. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Then, remove the casserole from the oven and sprinkle a tablespoon of brown sugar over the top of the casserole for added sweetness. The extra sugar is optional. Bake for an additional 5 or 10 minutes or until the top of the casserole is golden brown.

English Muffins

I grew up eating English muffins all the time. For breakfast, for a quick after school snack. Shoot, I can’t tell you how many times my Grandma made us English muffin pizzas for lunch. Now, here we are years later, I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve made them for the sons for lunches.

Morning, noon, or night the sons love an English muffin. They love them for breakfast in our freezer breakfast sandwiches. The love them smothered with jelly. They love them toasted with BLT fixins for lunch. I could even serve them English muffin pizzas for dinner, and they’d be perfectly content. The possibilities go on and on. English muffins are a beautiful blank canvas to top with whatever you are feeling that day.

 English Muffins 2

This recipe couldn’t get any easier and is perfect for any baker, regardless of their experience level. I also love that this recipe doesn’t have me suffer through long rise times, and before I know it I can be opening one of these, hot off the griddle, with a fork and digging in. While their insides aren’t filled with all the signature fissures of a store-bought English muffin, their texture is still craggy enough to trap and hold plenty of butter and jam — which is the point, after all.

English Muffins

English Muffins

3 2/3 cups flour, plus more for kneading
1 envelope active dry yeast (or instant yeast)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
2/3 cup plain yogurt, Greek or regular
fine cornmeal
oil

Directions

1. Whisk together flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Add water and yogurt, and mix into a soft dough. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, until smooth, adding more flour if it gets sticky. Let dough rest for 5 minutes.
2. Roll dough out to a thickness of about ¾ inch. Cut out 12 circles with a 3 inch round cutter. Sprinkle a baking sheet with semolina, and cover each side of muffins with it. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for about an hour, until almost doubled in size.
3. Heat a flat griddle pan until hot and brush with oil. Add the muffins and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 12 minutes, six minutes on each side, until firm and golden brown. Turn only once. Serve with butter and jam.

Hot Ham & Cheese Sliders

These sliders. If you’ve seen them floating around the web, but haven’t given them a try yet, now’s the time to get to it. They really are that good. After my first bite, I could’ve kicked my own self for dragging my feet for so long.

Ooey, gooey finger-lickin’ good. Yes, that’s exactly what these sandwiches are. Prepare for the deliciousness. I think we can all agree that when cheese is involved with any meat, it’s pretty much a wonderful thing. Ham and cheese may be a beloved classic, and most definitely a wonderful thing, but add in the poppy seed mustard butter onion sauce thing and it’s umm, wow! The sauce is what really knocks this one out of the park.

 Hot Ham & Cheese Sliders

So they’re yummy, and super simple to assemble, two things that don’t always go hand-in-hand in the kitchen. Doesn’t that just make them perfect for even your busiest days or nights?

The sons’ and the hubs drool over these things now, even the leftovers (if there are any the next day, which is rare). Are you thinking it sounds great, but bummed because you don’t have tiny any pretty petite buns on hand? If you’ve got some kind of larger bun, you’re in luck. I’ve made these on kaiser rolls, dinner rolls, and once even on hamburger buns with the same drool-worthy results.

Game day, brunch, a regular party, dinner, even a hot lunch. Whatever the occasion these bad boys will be the stars of the show.

Don’t want any pressure? Great. The sandwiches can be made up to a day in advance. Just don’t fix and sauce ’em until you’re ready to heat and serve. Otherwise, you’re going to end up with mush. And I haven’t met a ‘mush’ yet that I actually liked.

Hot Ham & Cheese Sliders

Hot Ham & Swiss Cheese Sliders

24 Hawaiian rolls or slider buns
24 pieces of ham, regular or honey flavored
24 slices of Swiss cheese
2/3 cup mayonnaise

Poppy Seed Mustard Sauce:
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1½ tbsp yellow mustard
½ cup butter, melted
1 tbsp minced onion
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

Directions 

1. Spread the mayo onto both sides of the center of each roll. Place a slice of ham and a slice of cheese inside of each roll. Close the rolls and place them close together into a large baking dish, or onto a heavy cookie sheet.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients until evenly combined. Pour the sauce as evenly as possible overtop all of the sandwiches. If you don’t want to use all of the sauce that’s ok. Just make sure to use enough to cover the tops of the rolls. Let sit 10 minutes or until butter sets slightly. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is nice and melted. Uncover and cook for 2 additional minutes or until tops are slightly browned and crisped. Serve warm.

Breakfast Eggrolls with Sausage Gravy

We’ve said it before, and well say it again. And probably again, again at some point in the future. We love breakfast. Any day, anytime. For actual breakfast. For lunch. For dinner. We also love egg rolls. Because… eggrolls.

One evening the hubs and I worked some crazy kitchen magic and created this most amazing hybrid. Breakfast eggrolls, with creamy sausage gravy for dipping. It had to have had some divine inspiration behind it. But, like always with eggrolls and sons … there was one small problem.

“Frying things is like giving your kids an ice cream cone: they love it so much and watching them eat it is a blast, but when it’s all over, you’re left looking at the aftermath of the F5 dairy tornado that engulfed your child and everything within a 5 foot radius and now you have to use an entire Costco pack of wipes to clean up the evidence so Mama doesn’t realize you took the boys for ice cream at 10am…after a trip to the donut shop.”

One of my favorite parenting, true story, first world problem quotes ever. We’ve all been there. And sometime we have the fore-thought not to go there again. Other times, well hind-sight is 20/20. But fried things taste so good, despite the weather forecast of caloric hurricanes and grease storms. Luckily, I figured out a way to get that same delicious, delicate crisp on our homemade eggrolls AND manage to avoid any messy aftermath.

Breakfast Eggrolls with Sausage Gravy

 Breakfast Eggrolls

1 lb. ground pork sausage
4 tbsp flour
4 cups milk
3 cups shredded hash browns
3 – 4 eggs
2 tbsp water
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

egg roll wrappers
cooking spray

Directions

1. In a large skillet, brown sausage. Drain the cooked sausage. Remove a 1/2 cup of the cooked sausage to a mixing bowl. Add flour to the skillet and brown a little in the sausage fat. Slowly add in the milk, stirring continuously, while it thickens. Salt and pepper the gravy, to taste. Keep on low heat so that it stays warm while making the egg rolls.
2. Mix the eggs and water and then scramble the eggs in a small skillet until just set. Don’t worry, they will finish cooking when baked. Add the scrambled eggs to the reserved sausage.
3. Add the potatoes and cheese to bowl with the cooked sausage and eggs. Stir in a 1/2 cup of the reserved sausage gravy. Season with salt and pepper and stir well one last time to blend everything together.
4. To make egg rolls, take a egg roll wrapper and put about 1/3 cup of the potato sausage mixture just below the center. Fold over one half to make a triangle. You should have about a 1/2 inch of the bottom part of the wrapper still exposed. With you finger brush a little water along that edge to help seal the egg rolls. Then fold in 2 sides forming the egg roll shape. Then roll up the rest of the way into a sealed egg roll. If you’re having trouble, use the package pictorial as a guide.
5. Spray the outside of the egg rolls with cooking spray. Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy on the outside.
6. Serve with a bowl of sausage gravy for dipping.

‘O Christmas Tree’ Pancakes You’ll Flip For

For both kids and the adults, Christmas morning is a culmination of all the anticipation of the holiday season, and all the preparations that got you to that moment, that makes everything feel magical. But in all the excitement of  the kids who’re waking up, parents running on fumes of sleep, spending time with family and opening gifts, you still need to eat. But, not everybody wants to cook. I still think Christmas morning breakfast should be as special as the day itself. In my case, it’s also got be quick to prepare or easy to make-ahead so I’m not stuck in the kitchen away from the rest of the family for half of the morning. This right here, fits the bill.

 O Christmas Tree! snack for the kids

Pancakes. Breakfast Sausage. Whipped Cream. M & M’s. What do all these things have in common? They all make up this fun food idea that kids will go ga-ga for.

This isn’t only for Christmas morning though. It’s also perfect for any day leading up to the big day. If you’re a morning person, you can easily have this on the table and enjoyed before the school bus arrives. If you’re anything like me and the mornings have you stuck at the cross roads between hectic and harried, no worries. This makes an awesome after school snack too. Options, I like options. 🙂

‘O Christmas Tree’ Pancakes You’ll Flip For

O Christmas Tree Pancakes

favorite pancake batter
green food coloring
M&M’s
whipped cream
sausage links

Directions

1. To make, heat a flat griddle until warm but not too hot. If you heat the pan too hot, the pancakes will brown too quickly and you will lose the color.
2. Cook pancakes, as many as desired. One regular sized pancake will make one Christmas tree.
3. Once the pancakes are cooked on both sides, cut them into quarters using a pancake cutter.
4. Layer the pancakes on a plate starting with the top and making three layers.
5. Cook the sausage links and add one, halved length-wise, for the trunk of the tree.
6. Arrange some M&Ms for the ornaments and add a whipped cream ‘star’ and you’re ready to serve.

Candy Cane Fruit & Cream Cheese Danish

Candy canes are very famous holiday treats that everyone loves. Well, most everyone. I’ve never been a big fan, but they’re like a holiday staple or something. Like the rock hard, year old candy in Grandma’s Christmas candy dish, or the fruit cake. That being said, I couldn’t resist the idea of a candy cane-inspired breakfast danish for Christmas morning last year.

Totally easy to throw together too, so I didn’t have to miss a single moment, or capturing one, that morning. It was so good, that nobody minded finishing it for lunch either. It was the perfect thing to sit back with, well that and a strong cup of coffee, to finally relax and just enjoy the sons’ joy last year. This is definitely going to be a repeat item this year.

 Candy Cane Fruit & Cream Cheese Danish

Candy Cane Fruit & Cream Cheese Danish

Candy Cane Fruit & Cream Cheese Danish 2

2 cans of crescent rolls
1 8 oz package cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 can cherry or strawberry pie filing

For Glaze (optional)

Powdered sugar
milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

1. Set two roll sections aside for candy cane stripes. Lay out remaining crescent roll sections in the shape of a candy cane making sure to overlap the edges slightly. Use a knife to cut out your candy cane shape. Mix together your cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Spread on top of your candy candy shape.
2. Spoon pie filling on top of cream cheese filling.
3. Using the remaining two roll sections, cut off long strips and lay them out on top of your filling to create a candy cane look. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until the bread is golden brown.

Glaze:
Mix together ingredients alternating between powdered sugar and milk until desired consistency is obtained.

Drizzle over baked candy cane and enjoy!

Cabernet Cranberry and Blueberry Sauce

It’s that time of year when you want to make something to let your family and friends know how much you appreciate them. So this week and next I’m going to be posting some recipes that I will be giving to our friends and family over the holidays. The first of which is this relish/sauce/jam/pot of liquid gold. Also, be on the look out for some crafts and festive fun food ideas for the kids too.

Cabernet Cranberry and Blueberry Sauce 2

This is completely different from a traditional ‘relish’, which is usually thick and tart.  It’s more like a savory jam. Slather this on a warm yeasty roll, or a piece of toast and your in business. Are your kids asking for pancakes and waffles for breakfast? Here’s your generic syrup alternative. Add a little elegance to your morning. That might even make me a morning person. On second thought, probably not, but it sure is something I’ll look forward to in the morning.

Are you planning to have cranberry sauce with your holiday meal? Kick the can!

Averie put it best: “If you’ve never made cranberry sauce using fresh cranberries and your only experience with it is from a can, and you think you ‘don’t like cranberries’, I don’t blame you. That’s like saying you don’t like cheese if your only experience is Cheeze Whiz. There’s just no comparison.” This is like drinking wine and eating jam all in one, with texture, sweetness, tartness, and juicy berries in full force.

And the options don’t even end there. This makes a perfect marinade for pork chops or pork tenderloin. I bet it would even taste fantastic over vanilla ice cream! You’re going to have trouble a.) keeping your spoon out of the jar, and b.) stopping coming up with things to pair this with.

Move over boring cranberry sauce! Goodbye creepy canned jelly. Cranberries are so much better with blueberries & wine. Make your own sauce in 30 minutes.

Cabernet Cranberry and Blueberry Sauce

Cabernet Cranberry and Blueberry Sauce

recipe originally from Averie Cooks

one 8-ounce bag, or about 2 cups, fresh cranberries
6-ounces frozen, unthawed blueberries, or about 1 1/2 cups, or fresh blueberries
1 cup cabernet sauvignon (or another favorite red wine)
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon, or to taste
1 tsp ground cloves, or to taste

Directions

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium to large pot, and stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a full boil. Be sure your pot has room for the liquid to triple in volume so that it won’t overflow as all the juices from the berries are released.
2. Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce gently simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until reduced and thickened slightly, and most of the cranberries have burst. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before transferring the sauce to a heat safe container.
3. Allow sauce to cool down to room temperature before refrigerating. Sauce will keep in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks.

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