Category Archives: Breakfast

Strawberry Banana Coffee Cake

I can’t seem to stop shoveling strawberries in my mouth.

Anyone else having this problem?

Okay. Good. Glad we are on the same page.

I love when you can tell the true changing of the seasons by how produce tastes. I took one bite of a particularly vibrantly colored, delicately sweet and meaty strawberry about a month ago and said, “You guys! It’s officially spring!” The Dude and Monkey looked up from their plates with little to no interest and continued on with their respective lunches.

Oh well. I’m not sure what kind of grand response I was expecting from my exclamation.

Okay that is a lie. I was actually hoping for a little mini fiesta break, like in that commercial for the taco shells.

The one where they are lamenting over the round taco shell and the little kid says in subtitles “why not make it flat on the bottom?” and then the commercial cuts to a little party where they fling him up in the air and throw confetti.

So yeah, that is what I was hoping for. A quick springtime party with confetti and a mariachi band.

Digress much?

So when I can hold on to a few strawberries without eating them, I actually really really love to bake with them. (Remember these little cookies?)

Here is my latest strawberry concoction. A lovely little coffee cake, if it pleases you.

Oh and yes you may notice that there does not appear to be a large amount of strawberries on this cake…well…I’ll be honest with you. I ate too many before I baked up this batch for the pictures. Woopsie. (P.S. It is also the reason that I have all of two pictures of the cake in this post. Hey. This is real life. And strawberries get eaten in real life.)

This cake is sweet and dense, offering a nice contrast to the crumbly struesel layer all over the top. And the nutmeg and cinnamon thing going through it all? Sign me up! I love the way that nutmeg tastes with strawberries. The spiciness stands up so well to the smooth sweetness of the fruit.

Love it!

Happy Spring, ya’ll!

Strawberry Banana Coffee Cake

1/2 cup (heaping) diced, fresh strawberries

1/2 tablespoon sugar

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup (about 1 medium) mashed black bananas

2 eggs

1/2 cup honey

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl combine strawberries and sugar. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes, while mixing the other ingredients.

In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine bananas, eggs, honey, vanilla, butter, and milk.

Dump the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined.

Pour batter into a well greased, 8×8 baking dish.

Drain strawberries and scatter them over the top of the cake batter. Gently press strawberries into the top of the cake with the back of a spoon.

Sprinkle struesel (recipe below) over the top of the cake. Note: I only used about 3/4 of the mixture to top the cake.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Streusel Topping

1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes

In a small bowl stir together the cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and flour.

Then using your fingers or a fork, quickly work the butter into the flour and sugar until it becomes the consistency of cornmeal and only small pea-sized chunks of butter remain.

Hot Cross Bun Pancakes

Brace yourselves. I’m about to do something really mean.

“Hot Cross Buns.”

“Hot Cross Buns.”

“One a penny. Two a penny.”

“Hot Cross Buns.”

Hahahahaha! Now that song is going to be stuck in your head for the rest of the day, like it has been stuck in mine ever since I made these Hot Cross Bun Pancakes last week.

Okay. Okay. I’m sorry.

I’ll make it up to you by leaving you with this amazing recipe that you should make for your fam on Friday morning. They taste every bit as spicy, sweet, and festive as the buns but are waaayyyy less work.

And look on the bright side. At least with the song on constant replay in your head, you aren’t as likely to forget to make them.

Hot Cross Bun Pancakes

1 cup all purpose flour or whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon orange zest

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3-1/2 cup raisins

1 cup milk

2 eggs

1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

In a medium bowl mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, orange zest, baking powder, and salt.

Stir in raisins. Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together milk and eggs.

Add melted butter to milk and eggs, whisking the entire time until combined.

Dump the dry ingredients into the wet and stir until combined.

Spoon pancakes onto a preheated griddle or pan and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until bubbles have formed.

Flip and cook about 2 minutes more.

Transfer pancakes to a warm oven until ready to serve.

Pour Vanilla Glaze onto pancakes in a cross shape. Serve immediately.

Vanilla Glaze

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons milk

Combine powdered sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons milk in a small bowl. Continue stirring in milk 1/2 tablespoon at a time until desired thickness.

Gluten Free Samoa Pancakes

I’ve got something I am pretty excited to share with you this weekend.

How about some pancakes? How about some pancakes that don’t weigh you down and make you feel all blah? How about some pancakes that are actually hearty and keep you full for longer than an hour? How about some pancakes that taste like Girl Scout Cookies?

Well, come on over here and let fix you some!

Now don’t be all weirded out by the whole gluten free thing. This is absolutely no different than making regular pancakes, except that we are going to make our own fancy pants healthy “flour” first. You could by all means buy your own oat and coconut flours at the store, but I assure you this is a much cheaper way to go. Trust me, this takes about 60 seconds and then you are off mixing up a pancake batter.

Measure out 1 1/2 cups of old fashioned oats, and 1/2 cup of dried coconut (NOT the shredded, unsweetened stuff that you find in your baking aisle. Regular shredded coconut has too much moisture still in it to be ground into a flour. What you want is DRIED or DESSICATED coconut. It is a bag of really small dried flakes of coconut. You are probably going to have to walk over to the health foods area of your grocery store, but it is worth it. So go find it!). Now all you do to make the flour is dump the oats and coconut into a food processor and pulse until it is the consistency of cornmeal.

See? Nothing to it.

Then we simply proceed like normal pancakes. We mix all of the dry ingredients together in one bowl. Then the wet in another. Then mix them all together. Now at this point, you are probably going to notice that the batter is pretty runny and you might feel inclined to mumble a bad word or two to me about how this pancake batter looks more like a crepe batter and you knew this gluten free thing wasn’t going to work out. Well to that I would say, “Hold your horses! And please go pour yourself another cup of coffee, because you are kind of cranky this morning!”

You definitely need to let this batter sit for at least 5 minutes before you start to fry them up. You need to give the oats a chance to do their oat thing where they start soaking up the liquid in the bowl and get all thick and gluey. So seriously just give it a minute. Set your pan to preheat, warm up your coffee, and straighten up the kitchen, then come back and get started on the pancakes.

Turn your pan to medium low heat and then cook them for 3 minutes. Right before you are about to turn them, sprinkle on a few chocolate chips. Flip them over and cook for another 2 minutes. At this point, I like to place them in a pan that I have sitting in a 200 degree oven to stay warm until all of the pancakes are made.

Look at this. I kind of blew The Dude’s mind when I busted out a stack of cookies, and a plate of pancakes.

Hahaha. Poor kid. I tried to be fast so she could get in there.

These pancakes are moist, and slightly chewy from the coconut. They are slightly rich from the coconut oil and dark chocolate chips. I don’t know how else to convince you to make these. They taste like Samoas!!!

Totally irresistible.  I am kind of in love.

Gluten Free Samoa Pancakes

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

1/2 cup dried or dessicated coconut

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

2 eggs

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 200.

In a food processor or blender, pulse oats and coconut until a coarse powder (similar to cornmeal) has formed.

Pour flour mixture into a bowl with baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.

In a separate bowl combine milks, vanilla, maple syrup, and coconut oil.

Whisk in eggs.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and let sit for at least 5 minutes to thicken.

Spoon the batter onto a pan at medium/low heat. Cook for 3 mintues. Sprinkle on some chocolate chips, and flip over. Cook for 2 minutes more.

Keep pancakes warm in a 200 degree oven until ready to eat.

Ding Dong!

Baked Oatmeal Cinnamon Toast

A few months back, I did something pretty outrageous for a busy mom of two small children to do.

I outlawed cereal in this house.

Yes, when you are all bleary eyed first thing in the morning, haven’t even had a sip of coffee yet, but have two kids who are depending on you to feed them, you just want to throw something at them fast. And I’ll be the first one to admit, it doesn’t get any faster than cereal and milk.

When I really thought about it honestly though, cereal (especially the ones you can get kids to eat the easiest) really aren’t that great of a way to start the day. And I wasn’t even feeding them the “bad” kinds. I knew better than to be feeding them the ones that are obviously just sugar, but even the varieties that are touted as healthy are really just a bunch of empty calories. Still, I kept ignoring that little voice that kept trying to tell me that this probably was not the best way to start the day.

But then I realized we were all starving about an hour after breakfast. Amazingly, right around the same time I would start trying to think of a way to sneak out of whatever game I was playing with the girls to go grab a handful of nuts or something, The Dude would start asking to eat again. And once she was able to communicate it, Little Monkey Mode would do the same.

Well I don’t know if there many things more annoying to a mom who is cranky from a blood sugar drop than two whiny kids who are also cranky from a blood sugar drop and asking to eat again when she just cleaned up the kitchen from breakfast. Then said mom looks at the clock and realizes it is only 8:30. So she  starts banging around in the cabinets to find something else for everyone to eat while hearing herself say something brilliant like, “Ohmagosh! How can ya’ll seriously be hungry again already? We just ate?”

And that is why the cereal madness had to stop. Tasty and easy as it may be, I basically just figured it was a waste of everyone’s time to eat it.

So a couple of nights a week, I will whip up a quick oatmeal to bake the next morning while I am working out before everyone else is awake. We never eat the entire pan, which has turned out to be a good thing because I have figured out a really tasty way to eat those leftovers.

Basically, I am going to break down a method for you rather than a recipe, but I will tell you the basic formula for my baked oatmeal because I rarely make it the same way twice.

I let the oatmeal that I am making depend on the mood that I am in that evening or what kinds of things I think the girls would like, or what types of fruit or veggies I think that they haven’t had enough of at the time. But the formula roughly consists of 2 cups of oatmeal, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup of liquid (some type of milk or leftover smoothie…yes that’s right smoothie…), 1/2 cup mashed up fruit or veg (banana, applesauce, pumpkin…), 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt or silken tofu, 1 egg, and 1 to 1/2 cup of dried fruits (apricots, raisins, cranberries, cherries…).

I will pour the mixture into a greased 8×8 pan, cover with tin foil, and place in the refrigerator until the next morning. I will bake it for about 30 to 40 minutes at 350.

You might notice that my “recipe” is not very sweet. This is because I have weaned us off of a lot of real sugary foods. But to make The Dude feel special, I will usually let her dip her squares into a small cup of maple syrup.

Plus, I don’t feel bad about dousing it in cinnamon sugar the next day. Here is how we do that.

Cut your remaining pieces into desired sized squares. Then cut down the middle into two thin slices with a sharp, serrated knife. (This is why you just about have to use leftover oatmeal. It needs to be a little firmer to work well.)

(wow this shot looks rather violent huh?)

Then spread on some butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Place these puppies under the broiler until the sugar is melted and bubbling with the butter, and the edges of the oatmeal are turning brown and starting to crisp.

Holy smokes! Do you see that crispy edge?? Now this is some seriously tasty, non-blood sugar crashing, non-cereal breakfast, friends!

P.S. If you would like a more concrete baked oatmeal square recipe than the one I gave you, here are a couple of good basic ones that I really like a lot. (They happen to be vegan, but that is really just a coincidence…)

Mama Pea’s Baked Oatmeal Squares

On The Glow Basic Oatmeal Squares

Baked Eggs in Ham Cups

So I know I have mentioned it a couple of times already, but my sweet Hubs is a bit CrossFit obsessed.

I mean seriously.

Like to the point where he is voluntarily trying to kill himself to submit his workouts to The Open. And where the subject of the Paleo diet (the CrossFit recommended eating plan), which used to be a totally hypothetical discussion wherein we would end the chat laughing about how ridiculous it would be for us to try to eat that way since he doesn’t eat veggies and I don’t really care if meat is on my plate or not, has now become a real thing that we are trying to do at least one night a week.

So it has turned into sort of a fun new cooking challenge for me. Sure, it is frustrating too because now I have three picky folks to try to feed with a long list of restricted ingredients. But I am trying to make it work. And while I have had a few massive fails. (You know who you are, freaky guacamole/chicken fiasco, from a few nights ago!) Here is one that was definitely not a fail.

This recipe is basically all protein and contains not a single grain, dairy, or legume item (Phew!). If you served it up along side a heaping pile of fruit salad or veggies of choice, you would be doing pretty darn well. Or if you just want them to snack on, they are perfectly delicious at room temperature.

I feel like I should mention here that there really may be something to the urban legend you hear from celebrity chefs about how if you get your kids to help you make something, then they are more likely to eat it. When I made these, I knew that The Hubs and I would like them, but I honestly didn’t think that The Dude would be into it. Ever since she started school, she has gotten terrible about shunning foods that she used to love (eggs being one them). But I had her help me with every step including stirring the egg mixture and I am proud to tell you that she ate an entire egg cup! So maybe kids really are more likely to eat stuff if they have some ownership on it.

Here’s what we did.

I separated out some thin deli ham for The Dude and let her place them in the cups for me while I cracked some eggs in a bowl.

Then I said, “Look! Do you see that over there?!” to distract her while I went through and pressed the ham into the cups neatly.

Then I added the salsa, salt, pepper, paprika, and cilantro to the eggs, handed over the whisk, and let her have a go.

Then I poured the mixture evenly into the ham cups (a bowl with a spout or measuring cup makes things quite easy here) and baked those bad boys up.

Paleo meal (or snack) is served folks!

Baked Eggs in Ham Cups

makes 6 cups

6  slices thin deli ham

3 eggs

1 tablespoons salsa

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375.

Place one slice of ham into 6 ungreased tins, creating little cups and set aside.

Place about 1/4 inch of water in the remaining wells.

In a medium bowl combine eggs, salsa, paprika, cilantro, and salt and pepper.

Pour egg mixture into each ham cup about 3/4 full.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Allow to cool in the muffin tins for 2 minutes and then gently lift out with a fork and place on a cooling rack until ready to eat. (The water that bakes out of the ham can make it soggy if you leave them in the pan.)

Serve warm or at room temperature.

P.S. I would just like acknowledge for anyone who noticed, that yes I was gone for a couple of weeks (It really bothers me for some reason when people start off their blog posts with “sorry I have been MIA recently…”). Believe it or not, I still haven’t burned out of this little hobby of mine yet. Rather, someone with whom I was extremely close and has been one of my best friends since I was a teenager passed away a week and a half ago. It was the first time that someone I had a very strong relationship with died, and it has obviously left me reeling. Basically, I just needed a little time to get some motivation to get back in the normal swing of things. I will probably devote a whole post (or ten) to her at some point when it will be something I can write about without it sounding like some sort of a weepy obituary. In the meantime I will just  keep on squeezing my kids every chance I get, telling the people I love that I love them, and cooking up a storm. I urge you to do the same.

P.P.S. Sorry. I couldn’t end the post on such a sad note. This is supposed to be a fun place. So here is my favorite picture of The Dude from this little photo shoot.

Now if you will excuse me, I gotta go give that silly face a kiss.

Cherry Almond Butter Breakfast Cake

My mom was always the coolest. Whenever we had some leftover, she let my sisters and I  have cake for breakfast.

I guess she figured that cake really wasn’t any worse for you than most sugary cereals out there. I actually agree with her on that one, yet I have never given The Dude cake for breakfast. Mainly because there is no amount of coffee in the world that could help me power through Sugar Dude first thing in the morning. Scary thought.

This weekend though, I decided I wanted to be cool like my mom. The Dude stumbled into the kitchen, rubbing her sleepy eyes as I was feeding Monkey some breakfast. I gave her a big hug and asked her what she would like to eat, “Monkey is having cake. Would you like some too?”

“Waaaahht?! Cake for breakfast?!

Needless to say, she was game; and I felt like the cool mom. Mission accomplished.

This here is a cake you don’t have to feel bad about feeding to the wee ones.

I am billing it as a breakfast cake because it runs circles around cereal (or leftover birthday cake, for that matter) in terms of nutrition. But really, it is great any time of day. It makes a nice mid day snack, or a grab and go lunch for anyone who has to chase around after kids who have boundless energy.

It is full of fruit, oats, whole wheat flour, Greek yogurt, flax seed, and as promised, the fabulous almond butter that we made over the weekend.

You will notice that for this recipe, I let my oats soak for a little while before I combined them into the batter. Basically I did this because The Dude has texture issues. Many times, if she sees oats peeking through baked goods, she picks them out and declares that “nuts are yucky.” I have never been able to convince her that the oats she sometimes finds are not in fact nuts. So a lot of times what I will do is soak them in milk for a bit before I bake with them. It helps the oats dissolve into the batter and adds a bit of softness to the whole wheat which can sometimes be a little grainy.

Here are my oats pre-soak.

And here they are after about 45 minutes.

And just a little heads up, this is not a very sweet cake so I made a little sweet drizzle to go over the top.

Come on now, even though it is healthy cake we have to have a little bit of fun. I mean…I am the cool mom after all…

Cherry Almond Butter Breakfast Cake

1 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup almond milk (regular dairy milk is fine too)

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons milled flax seed

3/4 cup almond butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/2 tablespoon vanilla

1 cup dried cherries

Stir together oats and almond milk in a small bowl and let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and flax seed. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine almond butter and brown sugar.

Fold in Greek yogurt and vanilla.

Stir softened oats into the almond butter mixture.

Add the dry ingredients to wet.

Fold in the dried cherries.

Press batter into a greased 8×8 in pan (it tends to be pretty thick and sticky, so you may want to press it down with your hands) and bake for 30 minutes.

Let cool completely before drizzling with glaze (2 tablespoons powdered sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons almond milk) and cutting into squares.

Blueberry White Chocolate and Bean Smoothie

This recipe reminds me of that episode of Friends where Rachel cooks the traditional English trifle for Thanksgiving.

Do you remember it? Monica lets her make the dessert all by herself. Then just as she is getting ready to serve it, everyone asks her what is in it. So she starts going through the list of ingredients. It all sounds pretty basic at first with custard, jam, etc. and then she says, “…and beef sauteed with peas and carrots.”

I love that. It makes me laugh every time (Oops. Did I fail to mention that I was a big Friends nerd?)

This smoothie recipe kind of looks that way. We start off with blueberries, white chocolate chips, Greek yogurt, and milk. And then toss in a little spinach and white beans.

Wickawhatwhat?

Now the spinach probably isn’t that much of a shock. Spinach is very easily hidden behind berries in a smoothie (come on, Moms…evil laugh with me!), and people have been doing that for forever. But I agree, the white beans do sound a little nuts. Let me tell you though, it is awesome. It makes the smoothie unbelievably creamy.

I tried to tell you that I wanted to get more protein in us at every meal. And since the girls and I eat a smoothie for lunch at least once a week, I wanted to see if I could go a little bit above and beyond the Greek yogurt.

And if you are worried about the taste, the proof is in the trifle. Check it.

Do these faces look grossed out to you?

Now I realize that the white chocolate seems a little extravagant, but you aren’t really using that much. They add a nice sweet richness to it. Plus, look at what happens when you tell your Dude that there is white chocolate in her smoothie.

Love it.

Blueberry White Chocolate and Bean Smoothie

serves 2

1/4 cup frozen chopped spinach

1 cup frozen blueberries

1/4 cup frozen white chocolate chips

1/4 cup canned white beans, drained and rinsed

6 oz Greek yogurt (I used strawberry but whatever flavor you have on hand should be good)

1 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Place all ingredients in the order listed into the blender. (The spinach always goes in first, just in case The Dude walks in and sees what you are making. It will get hidden first.)

Blend on high for about a minute until no lumps remain.

Serve immediately.

This may have a few wonky ingredients, but it definitely does not taste like feet.