Category Archives: Breakfast

Ratatouille Quiche

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It’s just a matter of time until my 30th birthday and that 31 Before 30 list doesn’t look any smaller. REB told me to re-purpose or rewrite certain things on the list, but I told that would be cheating and I couldn’t live with myself [dramatic moment]. I’ve come to the realization that I am not going to even be able to tackle half the items on that list.

But that’s life. And life has taken over. Everything.

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I’ve made myself too busy for words and I’ve literally dug myself into a hole. Deadlines at work, working longer, later hours, being a grouch at home, obligations on weekends… I need to learn to say “no” to people. But I also have this compulsive need to please people, so this hole I dug has become home.

So in an effort to decompress and not think about anyone but myself, I looked at my bucket list and decided I was going to tackle something. Making a meal entirely out of farmers market finds. Done.

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I have been waiting almost a month to share this recipe with everyone, and I am so happy I finally get to!

I went to the market a while back with a plan of what I wanted to make, and then completely changed it when I walked by several tables with the most delicious looking peppers, eggplant, squash, zucchini and tomatoes. I instantly thought of ratatouille, but then thought that would be more appropriate for a fall-time dinner. The only way I could think to lighten and “summer” it up was to make a quiche and pair with a light, refreshing salad. So that’s how this quiche came to be.

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Aside from some basic ingredients (like balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper) and crust (because I am not a baker and I hate making pastry shells, so I bought a frozen whole wheat crust), everything for this meal was from the market.

This quiche was perfection. It wasn’t too heavy and I paired with a side salad of fresh arugula and basil. The basil was purchased at the farmers market, but also from my friends who have a community garden. They had an abundance of basil and were generous enough to give me some leaves!

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 I may not get everything done on that list, or even come close to crossing a few more items off between now and the big 3-0. But, it was at least still a fun experiment to try and I did get to cross off some things! So that makes me pretty happy. And I get to eat something delicious here and there when my life hasn’t taken been taken over by work. That’s always a good thing in my opinion.

Ratatouille Quiche
 
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Author:
Recipe type: quiche, vegetarian
Cuisine: brunch, French
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 frozen whole wheat crust (take it out while you are prepping and cooking, so it’s ready to use when you’re done – does not need to be fully thawed)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup eggplant, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 cup zucchini, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 cup summer squash, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 cup bell pepper (red and/or green), cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ½ cup red onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh Thyme, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup Gruyere cheese (or similar), shredded
  • 5 large eggs
  • ½ cup skim milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a large skillet or pan heat 1 teaspoon olive oil until hot
  3. Add eggplant, zucchini, summer squash and onion and cook 8-10 minutes until softened and tender
  4. Sprinkle salt, pepper and fresh thyme, and stir
  5. Transfer cooked vegetables to a bowl and set aside.
  6. In a separate, large bowl, beat eggs
  7. Add milk and whisk until combined
  8. Place prepared crust on a baking sheet (will prevent any spills!)
  9. Pour cooked vegetables into crust
  10. Sprinkled with shredded cheese
  11. Carefully pour egg mixture on top of vegetables
  12. Bake for 30-40 minutes until eggs are cooked, or when knife inserted in middle comes out clean.
  13. Serve immediately

 

 

Daddio

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I know I always talk about how my mom is my rock, my best friend and I don’t know what I would do without her. While all that is very true, it doesn’t mean I don’t feel the same way about my dad.

He is one way rad dad.

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Growing up he was pretty strict with both my sister and I – more so with her than with me. I did get away with a lot more, but he was still very strict about schoolwork, having fun vs. studying, being prepared for college and figuring out what I wanted to do with my life.

And it always amazes me how after almost 30 years, he still remembers the tiniest details about my likes and dislikes. I wanted to make sure he knew I remembered one of his likes: blueberries. So I made him scones; the kind he can enjoy with his morning coffee while talking to my mom, or afternoon tea, or sneak a snack in, in between his classes at the university.

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While baking them, I kept thinking about how he and I were when I was growing up. There were a lot of times I wanted to be a stupid, rebellious teenager (and I was at times I’m sure) because I wasn’t allowed to go to dances, or go see my friends band play in downtown Flint while all my other friends went. But when I think back on it now, I realize, “Hmmm…so he didn’t want his 15-year-old daughter hanging out in downtown Flint at 10:30 p.m….and I thought that was weird?” If anyone knows Flint, it’s not horrible, but it’s also not the safest place, especially if you’re rather new to the area, like we were.

But that didn’t mean he didn’t have a sweet spot for kids, because he did! When I look through old albums and see pictures of he and my sister, or he and I, it melts my heart. He really was – and still is – a loving, caring, sweet dad who just wanted the best for his daughters.

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I have really fond memories with my dad, like when he taught me how to skip stones, introduced me to photography, how we’d sing along to The Carpenters in the car on family road trips to national parks, and when I’d take his video camera and conduct interviews with our friends at parties (a journalist from the ripe young age of 8!)

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Regardless, I want to make sure he knows that despite being strict and and the fact that we didn’t always get along when I was growing up because I was a typical pain-in-the-ass teenage girl, he shaped me into the person I am today. I wouldn’t be as neat, clean, a bit of a perfectionist, motivated or driven in my job or life the way I am if it weren’t for the values both he and my mom instilled upon me. I’m a better person because of him and he and I have really grown to appreciate the things we both do.

Blueberry Lemon Scones with Lemon Glaze
 
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Scones bursting with blueberries with a light, refreshing lemon glaze drizzled on top.
Author:
Recipe type: scones, breakfast, baking, blueberries, lemon
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • FOR THE SCONES:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus 1 teaspoon for sprinkling on scones
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 cups blueberries
  • 1 tablespoons lemon zest (1-2 lemons)
  • 1 cup half & half, plus 1-2 tablespoons for brushing on scones
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • FOR THE GLAZE:
  • ½ cup confectioners sugar
  • Juice of two lemons (5-6 tablespoons)
Instructions
  1. FOR THE SCONES:
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  3. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large, mixing bowl
  4. Add the cold butter cubes and mix with hands or pastry cutter. The mixture should look like a crumble when you are finished
  5. Fold in blueberries and lemon zest
  6. Make a well in your mixture, and add the half & half
  7. Mix well – the mixture will be very sticky!
  8. Pour mixture out onto a well floured board or surface
  9. Using your hands press out the dough into a rectangle
  10. Cut lengthwise once, then horizontally three times. You should end up with 7-8 squares. Cut the squares diagonally so you end up with 10-14 triangles
  11. Place scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  12. Mix 1 tablespoon half & half with vanilla extract, mix and brush on each scone
  13. Sprinkle the scones with some sugar
  14. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and blueberries are bursting.
  15. FOR THE GLAZE:
  16. Mix the confectioners sugar with the juice of 2 lemons. Mix well until kind of runny. If too thick, add more lemon juice. If too thin, add more sugar until consistency to be pourable.
  17. Drizzle glaze over scones once they have completely cooled

 

Quick Quiche

When people ask me what my favorite meal of the day is (and yes, I do get asked that – ha), it’s always a pretty easy answer for me: brunch.

I could eat brunch any and all the time. I love it. I love the idea of having a nice big cup of chai, and then eating an assortment of pastries, breads, having quiche, crepes, French toast or some kind of Eggs Benedict that is Aparna-friendly. Throw in a bloody Mary and I’ll be the happiest person you know.

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To go along with that, one of my absolute favorite things to do is eat brunch al fresco. I love when it’s so nice outside and REB and I eat outdoors either at our house or downtown.

If you haven’t taken a look at the weather map lately, you should be happy. Unless you live in the Midwest. It’s the second week of April and we’re getting our yearly dose of you-thought-it-was-spring-but-we’ll-throw-snow-back-into-the-mix-because-obviously. Damn weather. It’s making my dreams of eating brunch outdoors a nonexistent one.

So to give Mother Nature a metaphorical F-U, I made quiche (I don’t know how that’s a metaphorical F-U, but just roll with it). I also made it without a crust because I didn’t have any and didn’t feel like going to the store to find a ready-to-use one that doesn’t list lard as an ingredient, and I certainly didn’t feel like making a crust. So maybe it was a Frittata, except I didn’t cook the eggs in the pan before I baked it. OK so maybe it was just an egg pie, but I’m calling it a crustless quiche, kthx.

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Regardless of what I call it, I can call it delicious. Because it was. I ended up using things in the fridge and pantry because 1). They were about to expire and 2). I didn’t feel like venturing out into the cold mess that was outside my patio doors in order to try and make this creative. We were also starving so phone pictures will have to do. The idea was quick, people. I definitely made sure it was and was in my belly in record time.

I hope this weather lets up and the snow really doesn’t show its face. I’m kind of over it and more than ready to start wearing all the skirts and dresses I put in perfect view when I open my closet, and took great pleasure in shoving the sweaters and other crap into the back corner.

Maybe Michigan will play nice and give us one great, warm weather day.

That’s probably asking too much though.

Crustless Quiche
 
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A quick and easy crustless quiche full of veggies
Author:
Recipe type: quiche, eggs, vegetarian
Cuisine: Brunch, Breakfast
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • ½ cup sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed/warmed and squeezed dry of liquid
  • ½ cup feta cheese crumbles
  • ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 5 large eggs
  • ½ cup Light soy milk (or regular milk is fine)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Nonstick spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a medium or large sauce pan or skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook 2-3 minutes until they just start to soften. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Next add the sun dried tomatoes and cook 3-5 minutes.
  3. While the veggies are cooking, thaw or warm frozen spinach. You may need to microwave it. When it’s warmed through (and mostly unfrozen), place in paper towels and squeeze to let out as much water as possible.
  4. Spray a 9-inch pie dish with Nonstick spray liberally. Spread spinach evenly on bottom of pie dish.
  5. When vegetables are done cooking, pour mixture over the spinach and spread out evenly.
  6. Next add feta cheese in even layer over the vegetables
  7. Beat the eggs in a bowl and add soy milk. Whisk to combine. Next add the black pepper.
  8. Pour the egg and milk mixture over the vegetables and make sure it covers all of them.
  9. Sprinkle the top with mozzarella cheese.
  10. Bake the quiche for 35 minutes until cooked through. Then heat under the broiler for 2-3 minutes just to brown and melt the cheese more.
  11. Serve immediately.

 

 

Pancake Wednesday

Happy weekend to you all! So I realized last week that when I posted the WIAW post, I never actually shared the recipe I used for the red velvet chocolate chip pancakes! Miss Diana reminded me about it so I thought it would be nice to do that now.

I apologize in advance for the photos not looking as good as they could look! But even if they don’t look good, it doesn’t mean they didn’t taste good. Because they did. Kthx.

I found a recipe online and decided to use that and it worked pretty well. Although it made quite the mess in my kitchen.

I’ve never made pancakes from scratch so the first 5 didn’t turn out great at ALL. But once you get into it, it’s not so bad and they seemed to turn out OK! I can honestly say that it isn’t my cup of tea though. It just takes a long time and in the end we realized that while they were delicious, we still liked French toast more.

If you’re adventurous and have time on your hands, make these pancakes!

Recipe adapted from Recipe Girl.

Here’s what you need:
•1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
•2 tablespoons cocoa powder
•2 tablespoons granulated sugar
•1/3 cup powdered sugar
•1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
•1/2 teaspoon baking soda
•1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1 teaspoon salt
•1 1/2 cups buttermilk
•2 large eggs
•1 teaspoons vanilla extract
•2 tablespoons white vinegar
•1 tablespoon red food coloring
•4 tablespoons melted butter (I used unsalted and it was fine)
•1/4 cup chocolate chips

Start by mixing your dry ingredients (the first 8 ingredients) in a bowl and whisk until there aren’t any lumps. Next in your stand mixer or a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients (buttermilk through food coloring) until it’s smooth. Add the dry ingredients and stir/mix until smooth and there are no lumps. Add the melted butter and fold to combine.

Heat your pan or griddle until hot. You can use non stick spray or butter to help grease the pan. Drop rounds on the pan – I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup to get the same size pancakes. Let them cook 2-3 minutes per side. You’ll know when it’s time to flip when you see bubbles form on the top. Before you flip, sprinkles a few chocolate chips on the pancake, then flip and cook the other side. You could also fold the 1/4 cup of chocolate chips into the batter before pouring out the pancakes. It’s up to you!


You should get about 15 or so pancakes! Serve it up with butter and syrup, or you could make a glaze or frosting and eat it as dessert. Brinner (breakfast for dinner) is one of my favorite types of meals. REB and I try to do that at least once a week! Enjoy!

What is your favorite breakfast food?
Do you ever have brinner?

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Cinnamonamonamonamon buns

Gooey, delicious, and guaranteed to be horrible for you, these cinnamon buns are amazing.

I can’t in any way take credit for this recipe. My future bro-in-law makes these buns and they are to DIE for. He uses the recipe off King Arthur Flour’s web site. And since that just so happens to be the flour we use, of course we had to try this recipe. He did offer some alterations and some tips for us that is different than the actual recipe, which I’ll talk allllll about here.

Warning: Butter WILL be your best friend in this recipe. So if you’re on a diet, I suggest turning away now. …But I hope you don’t, because it’s so delicious! Also, this recipe will make you lethargic. True story.

OK, so now that I’ve done my part and given you the warnings, we can go ahead and talk about how to make these rolls of heaven.

Cinnamonamaonamonamon buns starring:
The Dough:
•4 1/2 cups King Arthur All-Purpose Flour (or all-purpose flour if you don’t use this brand)
•1/2 cup of granulated sugar
•1 3/4 teaspoon salt
•1/3 cup unsalted butter, cut up
•2 large eggs, room temperature
•2 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast (we just used Red Star-brand active dry yeast)
•1 cup milk (lukewarm – just stick it into the microwave for 20-30 seconds. This is to help the yeast react properly)

The Filling:
•1 cup packed brown sugar (we used dark – more depth of flavor)
•1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened (just leave it out for 1-2 hours)
•3 tablespoons ground cinnamon

The Icing:
•3 oz. plain cream cheese (we used the 1/3 less fat neufchatel cheese, which isn’t as bad for you and has a lot more flavor)
•1 1/2 cup powdered (or confectioners) sugar
•1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
•1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (that’s 1/2 a stick)

Start to make your dough by adding the milk, a little bit of the sugar (like 1/8 teaspoon) and the yeast to your mixer bowl. With the paddle attachment, start mixing the ingredients.

If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can use a hand mixer, or a wooden spoon.

Next, add the flour, rest of the sugar and the salt. Let the entire thing combine until it’s “cohesive” as the site would suggest. Then you can take it out and knead on a well oiled surface for 5-8 minutes. Or, you can attach the dough hook to your KitchenAid and knead it that way for 4-7 minutes on low-to-medium speed.


This is how the dough will look when it’s all nice and combined


Put the dough into a separate bowl, so you can clean out the metal mixer bowl and oil it. Then put the dough back into it and turn it around to oil it well. Next, turn on your oven to the lowest temperature (100 or 150ºF for maybe 1-2 minutes and then turn it off). Instead of just covering the dough with a towel or something, we put ours in the oven to rise. Just cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the oven for 60 minutes so it can rise.

Go do your laundry, or play a video game or something for the hour while you wait for the dough to rise. It’ll go by quick, though!

When the dough is ready, oil a surface (or a few cutting boards in our case) and dump the dough ball onto it. Roll it out to 16 x 21 inches.


With your softened butter for the filling, spread it all over the dough. I know how horrible this looks, but believe me, you want it to look like this. It was a bit overwhelming, not going to lie. Now, I guess you could melt the butter first and then pour it onto the dough. Our butter was soft enough, so this worked just as well.


Then you want to sprinkle the entire thing with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Get it all on there, too!



From the shortest end, start rolling the dough up into a tight log.

Cut the roll log into 12 pieces and place into a lightly greased 9 x 13 baking dish. It’s easiest to the cut the log into half, and then each half into six pieces.


Once you get all the pieces in your dish, you have to let them rise again. Cover the dish with plastic wrap, proof your oven again (set it to the lowest temperature for 1-2 minutes) and then turn the oven off, place the dish in there, and let them rise for 30 minutes.


It may not look like they’ve risen a ton, but they have.

Next, set your oven to 400ºF, and bake the rolls for 15 minutes. They won’t take long! So once the rolls are baking away, you can make your icing. You want to make the icing while they’re baking so that you can spread it on each bun as soon as they come out of the oven.


Mix the cream cheese (softened), butter (softened), powdered sugar and vanilla extract. You just use a fork and mix it well and you’ll end up with the most amazing cream cheese icing. Zomg. It took a lot not to eat the lovely forkful REB held up for me…

Moving on…



Spread the icing on the buns as soon as they come out of the oven. They’ll be all golden brown when they’re finished. The icing will instantly melt on top of each of the rolls. Must…contain…self.

If you notice one is missing, it’s because I snagged to take a photo of it. …or eat it. Ahem.



It’s OK to be jealous. Enjoy!

Holla!!! Use Challah!

Happy Hallmark Holiday…day! Ah, it’s that time of year again when people run out and waste money on chocolates and cards and flowers to show how much they love their significant other.

REB and I don’t really do the whole “Valentines Day” thing. But, one of the ways I show him how much I love him is to cook for him. And today was no different.

I made French Toast for brunch. But instead of using boring old Texas toast or thinly sliced bread, I used Challah (holla!!). It is beautiful bread and incredibly heavy on the stomach, so you don’t need a lot to get full!

What you’ll need:
•1 loaf Challah bread (can be found at any grocery story bakery or specialty bakery…or make it yourself if you’re bold!)
•3 eggs, beaten
•1/2 cup Skim milk
•1/2 teaspoon “really good” vanilla extract (as Ina would say)
•1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
•1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (the thing that makes them go “hmm…what IS that?” as goat woman would say)
•1/2 tablespoon honey

First I made the whipped cream.

Have I mentioned how much I love my KitchenAid Mixer? …Because I do. A lot.

Next, I prepared some strawberries to top REB’s toast. I didn’t use them all, because I’m using the rest for chocolate covered strawberries for later (^_^) Have I also mentioned how much I love REB? Ugh. I’m full of love and smiles today.

Beautiful. Luscious. I love strawberries. I thinly sliced 2-3 strawberries and added a sprinkle of granulated sugar so they’d macerate a little.

Onto the challah. Holla!! (Let me know when you’re sick of that, by the way. …not that I’ll stop). Isn’t it pretty and golden? Mmm!

Cut the Challah into about 1/2-to-1-inch thick slices. If you buy the bread a day in advance, it’ll be a little more hard than the day you buy it. I prefer it this way because the bread is SUPER moist…and can make for mushy French Toast. Blech!

The French toast batter is just the beaten eggs, milk, cinnamon, honey, nutmeg and vanilla. Stir well and then add two pieces to it like so. Let them soak for a few minutes, then turn them so the other side can soak.

While they soak it up in the pool, add about one tablespoon of butter to a skillet or deep frying pan. Let the pan get nice and hot before you add the toast pieces

I was going to cut each of the bread pieces into heart shapes to be super romagical in light of V-Day, but it was a little too hard for me to do since the bread isn’t as wide.  I’m glad I didn’t. I didn’t want to waste a whole piece of bread by cutting out little heart shapes and leaving the rest.

Goooolden and delicious!

Now that’s what I call French Toast! Have I mentioned I’m amazing? Just putting it out there now…

Ta-da! Love love love. Can you feel it?

I did add the macerated strawberries…and then it got kind of messy since the cream was melting! Oh well.

This was mine. I like it a bit more simple. I do kind of regret not putting strawberries on it though…next time!

Clearly REB was upset that he didn’t get heart shapes, huh? Glad he liked it.

Next up: Chocolate covered strawberries!