Posts Tagged ‘breakfast’

It’s rhubarb season!  And as my friend Susan will tell you, “everyone should eat more rhubarb.”  Why not, when it’s so easy to make this sweet little cake highlighting summer’s best?

I’ve seen this described as rhubarb “tres leches” cake, and although it actually only contains dos leches, the fruit and cream do sink to the bottom and create a delectable custard.  We demolished several slices with friends recently and continued picking at pan scraps and “shaving” off corners to make the rest “more uniform.”  I take that as a good sign.

When the sight of neon pink and green stalks at the market finally proves irresistible, be sure to make this cake.  Enjoy!  And happy summer!

Yellow cake:

-1 1/4 (scant) c. all-purpose flour
-1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
-1/2 tsp. salt
-3/4 c. sugar
-1/4 c. oil
-1 egg
-2/3 c. milk
-1 tsp. vanilla extract

Fruit & custard layer:

-2 c. chopped rhubarb (about 3 large stalks)
-1/2 c. sugar
-1 c. whipping cream

1.  In a medium bowl, toss rhubarb with the 1/2 cup sugar.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour an 8-in. round baking pan or large glass/ceramic baking dish.

2.  Prepare cake batter: whisk together flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a medium bowl.  In a larger bowl, mix eggs, vanilla extract, oil, and milk.  Slowly mix dry ingredients into wet until thoroughly combined.

3.  Pour cake batter into prepared pan.  Scatter chopped rhubarb and juices evenly across the top.  Pour the cream over top.


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What in the world makes these “Avatar” muffins,  you ask?

Let’s just say that if James Cameron’s blue characters were looking for the perfect camouflage muffins to eat on the go, they needn’t look further.   Oh, alright, fine: I made these muffins with weepy frozen blueberries, which dyed the batter a swirly blue.

Image via thefilmtalk.com

But I like to think these blueberry muffins are lovable in their imperfection.  Just like your best friend or that favorite chipped coffee cup you refuse to toss out. You know which one I mean.  Simple, straightforward, and good.

These blueberry muffins are homey and comfortable—ideal for savoring over a cup of coffee and the morning newspaper. They’re moist, fluffy, and just sweet enough without veering into dessert territory.  Plus, they’re loaded with lots of bright fruit (you know how I feel about getting color into our diets).  If you want to ramp up the nutrition even more, you could substitute whole wheat pastry flour or quick-cook oats for a bit of the white flour.  Should you prefer non-Pandoran muffins, just use fresh blueberries, which bleed less than frozen.

(Adapted from Alton Brown via Thyme for Food)

-11 oz (2 1/4 c.) all-purpose flour
-2 tsp. baking powder
-1 tsp. baking soda
-1/8 tsp. salt
-3/4 c. sugar (I used demerera/raw)
-1/2 c. vegetable oil
-1 egg
-1 egg yolk
-1 c. plain yogurt (approx. 1 3/4 containers)
-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp. almond extract, optional
-2 c. blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 12-count muffin tin.  Alternately, you could fill the muffin tin with liners and then spray those with baking spray.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Remove 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture and toss with the blueberries in a separate bowl.  (This reduces sinking while baking.)

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, egg and yolk, yogurt, and extracts.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring just until barely combined. Do not mix completely, or your muffins will be tough and flat.

Stop stirring!

5. Fold in the blueberries and any residual flour just until evenly dispersed. Do not overmix.

6. Drop the batter into the 12 muffin cups, filling to the top. Bake 17-20 min., or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


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I love savory food for breakfast, especially when someone else cooks it.  This morning my husband hit it out of the park with skillet-fried mashed potato pancakes.  They were awesome—fluffy, crispy, and golden all over.  Two bites in, I was already insisting he transcribe the recipe to share with you.

Hungry yet? (more…)

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I won’t say too much about these bars, other than that they are delicious.  You already know that soft, fluffy baked goods drizzled with cream cheese icing are my Kryptonite.  The next time you have a couple of overripe bananas, you know what to do.

Just don’t come knocking.

You can double this recipe and bake it in a 13×9-in. pan.

-2 eggs, room temperature
-1/2 c. granulated sugar
-1/3 c. raw sugar
-1/4 c. vegetable oil
-1/4 c. plain yogurt
-8-oz. bananas (weighed after peeling—about 1 1/2 medium bananas), mashed
-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-1 c. all-purpose flour
-1 tsp. baking powder
-1 tsp. ground cinnamon
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. baking soda (more…)

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“Did a bad, bad thing…”

Every single time I think about these pumpkin bars, the chorus from that Chris Isaak song runs through my head.  I’m not kidding.

Don’t make these.

You won’t be able to stop yourself.  One minute you’re pulling them out of the oven, and the next thing you know, you’re left covered in orange crumbs, your fingers sticky with cream cheese icing, wondering what the hell just happened.

Try to eat just one.

Paula Deen gets credit for this recipe, which makes perfect sense when you consider her other devious creations.  I decided to lighten these pumpkin bars up with some yogurt in place of half the oil.  The substitution worked perfectly, and I’m certain you’ll love their moist quick-bread texture.  I tweaked Paula’s recipe, using fresh pumpkin, fresh ginger, and some raw sugar, but feel free to check out the original recipe, too.

Be strong!  (Next up will be a healthy, savory vegetarian main dish to atone for these sins.)

You hedonists can double this recipe and bake it in a 13×9-in. pan.

-2 eggs, room temperature
-1/2 c. granulated sugar
-1/3 c. raw sugar
-1/4 c. vegetable oil
-1/4 c. plain yogurt
-8-oz. homemade pumpkin puree or canned Libby’s pumpkin puree (NOT
pumpkin pie filling)
-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-1 c. all-purpose flour
-1 tsp. baking powder
-1 tsp. ground cinnamon
-1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
-1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated (or 1/4 tsp. dried ginger)
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. baking soda

Making pumpkin purée is almost as easy as opening a can… (more…)

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Apple cake

This lovely cake comes from Smitten Kitchen, a very famous food blog with beautiful photos and recipes that sometimes work.  I approached this recipe with a fair dose of skepticism (not to mention, blog envy) and about 2 lbs. of apples.  And I’m so glad I did.  After a few recent baking failures (including this week’s zucchini bread with raspberries; trust me—don’t go there), my baker’s ego was a little tender.  So imagine my delight when my husband’s coworker came over for coffee and remarked, “Ach, so this is the famous apple cake your husband talks so much about!”

apple cake side view

I could have kissed her right there. Instead, I made a mental note to add this cake to the short list of go-to recipes for dummies (i.e., me). (more…)

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bananaToday I found a great food blog while surfing the internets and using the google.  This easy recipe for banana bars especially caught my eye—probably because living abroad makes me homesick for good, simple American cooking.  Don’t these sound devilish?

I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but I’ll have to break it out when I have a couple overripe bananas to part with.  Thanks to Kristen of Dine & Dish for sharing.


-1/2 c. butter
-2 c. sugar
-3 eggs
-1 1/2 c. mashed, ripe bananas (approx. 2 large)
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-2 c. flour
-1 tsp. baking soda
-1 pinch salt


-1/2 c. butter
-8 oz. cream cheese
-4 c. confectioners’ sugar
-2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Beat together wet ingredients.
2. Combine dry ingredients and stire into creamed mixture.
3. Spread in a greased 15×10×1-in. pan.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

For frosting: cream together butter and cream cheese, gradually stirring in sugar and vanilla. Spread over cooled bars.

Image via Dried Fruit Guy

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I’ll never forget the first (and last) time I made biscotti.  I was a budding young bakestress of 16, eager to whip up some of those exotic-looking cookies I’d seen at the new Starbucks in my town.  I slaved all afternoon, digging out the anise seeds from the pantry depths and laboriously stirring the thick dough, toasting almonds, baking, slicing, and baking again.

They were a disaster: dense, rock-hard, anise-heavy, floury, and altogether not very good.  At first, I thought it was me, but the store-bought variety were equally disappointing.  What exactly about this stuff was supposed to be appealing?

I’d given up on enjoying toasted treats with my tea until recently.  My colleague Elena brought in sukhariki, or “Russian Biscotti.”  I didn’t expect much, but hey, I’d skipped breakfast and couldn’t afford to be picky. 

Russian biscotti

What a revelation!  Light and crisp, the sukhariki were closer to super-toasted raisin bread than their doughy Italian cousins.  Elena explained that the name simply means “dried bread” in Russian, but these were something special.  Thin-sliced and toasted to an appealing dark amber, studded with raisins, and dusted with sugar, sukhariki were the perfect crunchy complement to breakfast tea. (more…)

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Oh, hello there.  Yes: You.  Would you like a slice?

lifted slice of cake

Well, yes, I supposed it is a bit decadent; two sticks of butter will do that.  But it also contains fruit!  Lemons!  Strive for five!

Still not sold?  How about a closer look:

whole cake

What if I told you this was the moistest, heartiest lemon cake you’ve had in a long while?  That it’s brushed with a simple syrup of fresh-squeezed lemon juice and sugar?  That the yogurt gives it tang? Or that that it tastes even better after sitting overnight?


Just a sliver?  Oh, alright…

cake slice

Too big? My hand must have slipped.  You can thank me later.


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Have I mentioned that I’m incredibly spoiled?

Saturday morning I lounged over a cup of tea (reading food blogs, natch), while my dearly beloved made these:




Raspberry pancakes—a treat on Valentine’s Day, or any day 🙂 (more…)

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A box of Kashi chewy granola bars runs more than $4.00 where I live.  Surely one could make them at home for pennies on the dollar, and they’d probably taste better, too.  Here’s one recipe I’m considering, courtesy of Cooks.com:



-1 c. brown sugar
-1/4 c. sugar
-1/2 c. butter
-2 Tbsp. honey
-1/2 tsp. vanilla
-1 egg
-1 c. flour
-1 tsp. cinnamon
-1/2 tsp. baking powder
-1/4 tsp. salt
-1 1/2 c. oatmeal
-1 1/4 c. crisp rice cereal
-1 c. chopped nuts
-1 c. chocolate chips
-1/2 c. wheat germ

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13-in. pan.

2. In a large bowl, beat brown sugar, sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add honey, vanilla, egg; mix well.

3. Gradually blend in flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. By hand, literally, stir in remaining ingredients.

4. Press firmly in bottom of prepared pan. Bake at 350F for 20 to 25 minutes or until edges are light golden brown and center appears set. Cool, cut into bars.

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Not all at once, mind you.  Eating breakfast at the office is new to me.  For a year and a half, I was getting up early every morning to prepare breakfast pour deux.  It was stressful rushing to make something, sure, but I felt deliciously self-righteous starting my day with an over-easy egg or Cheerios and banana.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right?

Well, this past November, I took a new job requiring me to be at the office at an ungodly hour.  I’m the only one getting up this early in my household.  So there went any romantic breakfast ideas, along with my resolve.

Fortunately (but not for my thighs), my new gig is at an events-centered office with free food on a nearly daily basis.  Namely: mini croissants, muffins, bagels, juices, coffee with cream, cookies, carrot cake, and more.  If I don’t eat that, I starve until lunch.

It only took, oh, 2 months for my conscience to kick in.  Yesterday, I rushed down to CVS, breathless (remember the croissants?) and full of resolve to find something healthier to eat.  Yes, at CVS.  (Guess I wasn’t hired for my good judgment).  Anyway, absent any fresh food, I tried to find things that were high in fiber and whole ingredients and low in my new dietary staples of icing, marzipan, and white flour.

That was the idea at least.  Right now, one of my desk drawers resembles a mini bomb shelter packed with dried fruit and nuts, popcorn, Kashi granola bars, (generic) Fig Newtons, Triscuits, peanut butter pretzels, and Fiber One cereal. 

Hopefully, supplemented with whatever fresh fruit I can pilfer from food service, I can cobble together a decent, pastry-free breakfast.  Maybe I’ll even start bringing yogurt cups.  That might just be too wholesome.

How do the rest of you manage breakfast?

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Snapshot by Brooke Bready

To be honest, when I made this gluten-free cake for my friend’s birthday, I didn’t expect much (especially given my track record with baking).  Luckily, I was wrong.  This coffee cake rocks! It tastes 100% normal—tender, moist, and most importantly, scarffable.  I haven’t tried this recipe with wheat flour yet, but if you have a celiac or gluten intolerant friend, they (and even you) will love this.  We kept sneaking slices long after brunch was over.

For the Streusel:
-1/4 c. dark brown sugar, packed
-1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

For the Cake:
Dry Ingredients
-1 1/4 c. white rice flour
-3/4 c. cornstarch
-1 tsp.baking powder
-1 tsp. xanthan gum
-1/2 tsp. baking soda

Wet Ingredients
-1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
-3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
-2 large eggs
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-1 c. sour cream

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2.  Prepare the streusel: In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and ground cinnamon. Set aside.

3.  Prepare the cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside.

4.  In a large bowl, cream together butter and granulated sugar until light, about 30 seconds. (Use high speed on a hand held mixer or medium-high speed on a stand mixer.)

5.  Add eggs, one at a time, mix until well combined.

6.  Reduce mixer speed to medium-low, add whisked dry ingredients, vanilla extract, and sour cream. Mix until a thick batter forms, about 45 seconds.

7.  Spread 1/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. (Batter will be thick. Use a spatula to evenly spread the batter in the pan.)

8.  Sprinkle streusel over the batter. Spread remaining batter over the streusel.

9.  Bake cake for 55 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

10.  Remove pan from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Recipe courtesy glutenfreebaking.com

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Credit: Chow/Amy Wisniewski 

This recipe, a variation on one I originally found on Chow, is a nice change from the traditional pumpkin bread.  The sweet potato gives it a subtle earthy flavor.  And pecans?  Well, what don’t they improve?  This would be awesome with a maple syrup glaze or cream cheese icing.

-1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
-2 tsp. kosher salt
-1 tsp. baking soda
-1/2 tsp. baking powder
-1 tsp.pumpkin pie spice
-1 c. sweet potato flesh scooped from 1 lg. sweet potato, cooked in the microwave
-2/3 c. granulated sugar
-1/3 c. packed light brown sugar
-4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
-1/4 c. plain yogurt
-2 large eggs, at room temperature
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-1/2 c. whole milk
-1/2 c. whole pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

1.  Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a 9x5x3 in. loaf pan with butter and flour; tap out excess.

2.  Combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and pie spice in a medium bowl, set aside.

3.  Beat sweet potato flesh, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until well combined. Add butter and yogurt and mix on low speed until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated, then mix in vanilla.

4.  Gradually add 1/2 of the flour mixture, then 1/4 cup of the milk. Continue alternating until just combined. Do not overmix. Fold in nuts.

5.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to 60 minutes.

Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack to cool completely.

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