Tag Archives: breakfast

March “Make-It-From-Scratch” Madness: Almond Cranberry Granola Bars

11 Mar

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Hi everyone! After a week’s vacation (to lovely Las Vegas, Nevada — post pending! It involves Celine Dion, drinks on the 64th floor, and taking a cab through the In-N-Out burger drive-through. This one’s gonna be epic, kids.), I’m back and ready to mangia with you! Here’s to my March Blogging Resolution: To recreate my favorite goodies and childhood dishes from scratch, with a healthy twist.

Today’s nominee? Granola Bars! I love a good, chewy, nutty granola bar as much as the next semi-healthy home cook. They’re great for mid-afternoon snacks to stave off my “hangry” episodes. (“Hangry” = hungry + angry. It ain’t pretty, folks.)

But I’ve noticed that a lot of commercial granola bars have … a LOT of sugar. Like, 20% of your daily value — whoa! And while I’m not jumping on the “Oh my gosh, not sugar: Isn’t it POISON???” bandwagon / train / other vehicle of transportation, I’m still aiming cut my consumption of the sweet stuff.

… which is why, on Pinterest and elsewhere, I’ve been hunting for homemade granola bar recipes. Why not try it? The worst that could happen might be … some really sticky granola. Oh well. There are worse tragedies in the world. (Like if Cool Ranch Doritos didn’t exist. Or lemons. *Shudder*)

These Almond Cranberry Granola Bars get their sweetness from honey, while the dried cranberries and chopped almonds add substance and a fruity tang. Yum! Enjoy them as much as I did — THT and I consumed that entire plate within about 48 hours.

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Almond Cranberry Granola Bars — adapted from Andie Mitchel’s recipe at www.canyoustayfordinner.com. (Check out her blog — so inspiring and delicious!)

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup chopped or sliced almonds
  • 1 cup Rice Krispies or brown rice cereal
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped (you can also blend raisins and cranberries.)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (kosher or table are both fine)

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 13″×9″ baking pan with foil and spray liberally with Pam or other cooking spray.
  • Toss the oats on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once or twice, until browned. Remove the oats and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Stir in almonds, Rice Krispies & dried fruit. Reduce the oven temperature to 300° F.

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  • Combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla extract and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for about 1 minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.

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  • Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the pan; you may need to wet your fingers slightly with water. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the bars appear to be golden brown. Cool for about 2 hours before cutting into individual bars.

Mmm! So chewy and good! Enjoy these bad boys, as hopefully the first of several March “Make-It-From-Scratch” Madness recipes and dishes. Have all y’all ever made your own granola or granola bars? How’d they turn out?

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Pinterest Challenge: Ham and Egg Cups

17 Dec

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It’s been quite some time since I examined my Pinned recipes (which number in the hundreds … oy!), but an easy-looking dish caught my eye. Ham, egg, simple preparation? I’m in! It’s time for … another Pinterest Challenge!

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Cranberry Orange Walnut Muffins

9 Dec

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Early morning cranberry muffins? Don’t mind if I do.

When we were hosting Thanksgiving a couple of weeks ago (already? Pfft. It isn’t 2-ish weeks until Christmas or anything … nope … ), I jumped on the cranberry train pretty quickly and without much hesitation. Cranberry sauce, cranberry bread, cranberry, well, everything, if my fall-flavored taste buds had anything to say about it.Inspired by Mom’s Cranberry Bread recipe, I concocted these Cranberry Orange Walnut Muffins, pirating the BHG muffin recipe (as I often do) by adding that oh-so-seasonal trio of flavors.

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Fluffy, Tasty, Griddle-y? The History Teacher’s Family Pancakes

26 Oct

First, before I address those pancakes — and trust me, my dears, I WILL address those pancakes — I have to point out something so hilarious and wonderful that I just can’t keep it to myself. Apparently, to celebrate the upcoming release of the first film in the new “Hobbit” trilogy (inner nerd-girl says “Yessss!”), Denny’s is putting together a Middle Earth Menu.  In case you’ve ever wondered what was actually on the Second Breakfast or Elevensies menu (C’mon, you know you’ve thought about noshing on lunch with some hobbits whenever you get the mid-morning munchies.), mystery solved. #dennysforthefirsttime?

Image sourced from l-o-t-r.tumblr.com. “I don’t think he knows about second breakfast, Pip.”

And now, back to the breakfast goods! This week, I’m serving up some breakfast for dinner in my good ol’ galley kitchen for The History Teacher and myself, and THT has a family pancake recipe that just can’t be beat. (Except by my mom’s, especially for nostalgic value. Sorry, baby!) For your viewing and eating pleasure, here are some delicious pancakes whose ingredients and directions are so simple, you’d be crazy not to give ’em a try. (Even for dinner!)

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Tyler Florence’s “Family Meal” Banana Bread

10 Oct

First, before I delve into the beauty that is Tyler Florence’s banana bread (seen above, in all of its bready, banana-y glory), I want to thank all of YOU! My blog has almost reached 3,000 page views, and I want to say a serious and sincere thank you to everyone who’s supported GKG since it launched in June. You guys — friends, family, fellow bloggers — are the best. I love you for reading, eating, commenting, and peeking. Thank you!

Now, where was I? Oh, right … the most decadent banana bread I’ve ever made. True story. (Cue Barney Stinson?)

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Slow-Roasted Tomato Frittata: Nothing, What’s-a-Frittata With You?

15 Sep

This post’s punny title was brought to you by The Lion King. Thank you, Nathan Lane’s Timon, for filling my childhood with wit and grub-eating. And fart jokes. “Pumbaa! Not in front of the kids!” “Oh, sorry.” ba-DA!

As you lovely readers have probably gathered from this recipe and other mentions, I’m kind of a big fan of Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook My Father’s Daughter. In hindsight, I think this comes from her approach to food and the kitchen — meals are, in their own way, the heart of a home, and the food you make can and should reflect that special, homey, come-together quality. Use good ingredients, be healthful (and let yourself indulge), and have fun. If you do, you’re usually left with something pretty darn tasty.

Which is what I found when I adapted Gwyneth’s Slow-Roasted Tomato Frittata for dinner last week. Oh my heavens, this was one tasty meal. And so, so simple — it’s perfect for a weeknight supper, and a great way, if you’re cooking for one, to make enough food to portion out and eat for several meals.

The basic principles of frittata are, as outlined so cutely by Harrison Ford in the final scene of “Morning Glory,” pretty simple, as all beautiful Italian dishes should be:

  1. Get your pan really, really hot.
  2. Add butter.
  3. Add eggs and other fixins.
  4. Bake until the frittata becomes a fully set, crust-free quiche-esque pillow of tasty eggness.

Gwyneth adds another ingredient to the mix — her slow-roasted tomatoes, a staple in her recipe book. To slow-roast your tomatoes, follow these easy steps:

  • Slice tomatoes in half and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper

  • Roast for 3-5 hours in a 275 degree oven, or until the tomatoes are caramelized, almost free from moisture, and a deep red color.

Oh yeah. Need some ice for that burn … BURNING AWESOME.

The frittata uses slow-roasted tomatoes (which you could easily subsitute for sun-dried or just thinly7 sliced fresh tomatoes), mozzarella cheese (Gwyneth uses smoked; I used the shredded cheese I had on hand), and fresh basil. The basic recipe is easy to tweak, easy to cook, and easy to enjoy. Try it for brunch with friends, or just a simple Tuesday supper. Happy eating!

Slow-Roasted Tomato Frittata, adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow’s My Father’s Daughter — serves 4-6, or 2 with leftovers!

You’ll need:

  • 1-2 shallots or 1/2 white onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk (or 1/2 cup unflavored soymilk)
  • 2-6 slow-roasted tomato halves — adjust to taste — or 2 medium raw tomatoes, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 3/4 cup (ish) shredded mozzarella cheese, or 6-8 oz. sliced mozzarella
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves, torn

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat the oven to 375
  • Heat butter and olive oil over medium heat in a 10-inch oven-safe skillet. (I used cast-iron, which is probably your best bet.) Saute the onions until soft and slightly brown, about 6 minutes. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

“Hissssssss.” — The Onions

  • In a medium bowl, beat the eggs & milk until well-combined. Pour over the onions in the hot pan. Add tomatoes, cheese and basil to your liking. (The eggs will definitely still be funny in the middle!)

Ready to bake! Mmmmm.

  • Let the frittata cook for about 5 minutes, until the edges are set (ish). Move the pan to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until fully set.

Are you folks fans of eggs for dinner? Do you prefer a crusty quiche to a lighter frittata? What else might you add to the inside? Get creative!

PS: To easily make this a vegan recipe, omit the butter before frying up your onions; use soymilk and egg subsitute; and indulge in some delicious soy cheese, rather than traditional mozzarella. To add a carnivore’s twist, add pan-cooked and crumbled pancetta, cubes of cooked chicken, or even slices of ham. Mmm! Love breakfast like whoa.

Healthyish Morning Muffins

23 Aug

I shall call thee … STUDMUFFIN. Clearly, breakfast should be sexy. Duh.

Quick: What’d you have for breakfast this morning? If you can’t remember, that probably means one of three things:

  1. After noshing on your tasty breakfast, you were abducted by aliens, and Will Smith has already wiped out your brain with that white-laser-thingy.
  2. You didn’t eat breakfast – like the History Teacher tends not to do, tsk tsk! – and were too busy being in the opposite state of a diabetic coma all day to remember, well, anything
  3. Your breakfast was probably really, really lame. Or, at least, kind of forgettable, which is just as tragic.

We’ve played around with breakfast ideas before here at GKG, and while I love me some quinoa oatmeal and basic banana muffins as much as the next not-vegan-or-vegetarian-but-still-into-health-food person, it’s time to branch out into the wide world of Health Food. Based on Better Homes & Gardens’ master banana bread recipe (which I’ve virtually memorized by now … signs I could never go low-carb? Um, yes.), these muffins are packed with extra nutritional surprises – nuts, raisins, wheat flour, and even flax seed*. Depending on how fully you pack your muffin tins, this recipe will make 14-18 muffins. Enjoy!

*Flaxseed – ground into meal for this recipe by the lovely folks at Bob’s Red Mill – has loads of health benefits. They contain excellent doses of fiber, lignans (fancy term for a type of antioxidant) and omega-3 fatty acids. If you’re not sure how you feel about flaxseed, try this recipe; you’ll barely taste that nutty flavor. If you’re feeling daring, sprinkle a tablespoon onto your morning bowl of cereal (like I do), and see how you like it.

Here’s what the package looks like, if you get lost in a health food store and find yourself in a forest of alfalfa sprouts and tempeh.

Healthyish Morning Muffins, adapted from Better Homes & Gardens – makes 14-18 muffins

*Note: Extra tips for healthy ingredients are in parentheses.

Image sourced from simplyrecipes.com. Not an exact replica, but yours will look pretty close to these beauties. NOM NOM NOM.

You’ll need:

  • 1 ½ cups white all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup wheat flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed meal (you can skip this if it’s too hard to find)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ½ cups mashed ripe banana (2-3 bananas)
  • 1 cup sugar (or ½ cup sugar and ½ cup Stevia In The Raw)
  • ½ cup cooking oil / melted butter (or applesauce)
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts or almonds
  • ¼ cup raisins or other dried fruit (cranberries or blueberries are particularly good)

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare muffin tins by spraying with Pam or greasing with oil / butter. In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices, and flaxeed meal in a bowl. Leave a small well in the center.
  • In a medium bowl, combine beaten eggs, mashed banana, sugar, and oil / applesauce. Add all at once to flour mixture, stirring until just combined (should still be lumpy). Fold in walnuts and raisins. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins using a ¼ cup measuring cup or a large serving spoon.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the muffins are nicely browned. Cool in muffin tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then, remove muffins and allow them to cool completely on wire rack. Enjoy!

These are delicious when topped with butter or margarine and strawberry or blueberry jam. They’re also delicious if you split and broil them briefly (no more than five minutes), then top with peanut butter for a PB-and-banana kick.

What are your favorite breakfast baked goods? Are you guys muffin people, or are you happy with a classic bagel & shmear? Or is the best breakfast of all a simple, steaming hot bowl of … nothing?