Apricot & Coconut Granola

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Granola is one of those foods that I pass in the grocery store and pick up like I’m going to buy it, and then set it back down.  I always talk myself out of it because I know I can make it at home.  The problem is that I never actually get around to making the granola.  Making granola isn’t not complicated and the ingredients are customizable.  Get after it!  For maximum crunchiness and zero burned spots, stirring this every so often in the oven is key.  Chewy and tangy apricots meet sweet coconut and crisp almond slivers.  They’re held together by a mixture of brown rice syrup, honey, olive oil and warm spices.

More nutritious, easy and a dang good breakfast, my granola beats the pants off it’s store bought cousin.

Apricot & Coconut Granola

Ingredients

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup sliver almonds

¼ cup whole flax seeds

3/4 cup dried apricots, sliced

3 tablespoon olive oil

4 tablespoons brown rice syrup

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground ginger

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Pre heat the oven to 400°F.

Line a 9×13 pan wil foil.  Add oats, almond and flax seeds to pan.

In a small sauce pan, combine the oil, brown rice syrup, honey and spices.  Place over low heat for 5 minutes, until the mixture becomes a syrupy consistency.  Pour the warm mixture over the oats in the pan.  Mix together with a large spoon until all ingredients are uniformly coated and sticky.

Place pan in oven and stir mixture every 10 minutes to ensure even crunchiness.  The granola should take 20-30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and stir in sliced apricots.  Allow granola to cool completely before storing in a container.

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Solo Oat Pancake

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I think I’m not alone when a week day rolls around and pancakes sound great for breakfast.  I think I’m also not alone in my time being precious in the morning.  Who has time to whip up a batch of pancakes during the week?  Between getting ready for work, packing my lunch, trying not to trip over the cat as I feed him, I’m pretty happy if I get some peanut butter and jelly toast for breakfast.

Joy’s got the solution for that midweek pancake craving though, with her Single Lady Pancake.  I mix up the dry ingredients the night before and then in the morning, all I do is add the wet ingredients.  A quick cook in a pan and I’m eating a pancake for a weekday breakfast.  For health reasons, I’ve been trying to limit gluten as much as possible in my diet, so I modified the “Single Lady Pancake” to be gluten free.  It’s worth noting that Bob’s  Redmill All Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour is amazing.  Almost every time I’ve used it, I’ve had great results with the final product.  It has almost the same consistency as a glutenous product and it tastes good too.

Solo Oat Pancake

Ingredients:

1/3 cup Bob’s Redmill All Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour

2 tablespoons rolled oats

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

pinch of sea salt

a sprinkle of cinnamon

1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons of unrefined coconut oil

¼ cup + 2 teaspoons unsweetened almond milk

1 medium banana

Preheat a small pan over medium heat.

Combine the dry ingredients, flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt in a bowl.  Whisk the wet ingredients together in another bowl, coconut oil and almond milk.  Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to combine throughly.  Slice banana into thin slices.  Reserve about a third of the slices for topping the pancake.  Add the remaining slices to the batter.

Add about a teaspoon of oil to your preheated pan.  Add pancake batter and spread out with the back of a spoon.  When the surface starts to form bubbles, and a quick peak underneath the pancake shows a golden brown color, flip with a spatula.  Cook until other side is golden brown as well.

Sprinkle pancake with remaining banana slices, as well as any other toppings you like.  I’m partial to maple syrup, blueberries and slivered almonds.DSC03861

If I had buttermilk like Joy calls for in the original recipe, I totally would have used it.  This pancake is perfectly light and fluffy, chewy from the oats and just all around a delicious treat.  Happy Thursday!

Oatmeal Pancakes

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My favorite cookbook growing up was Cooking From Quilt Country, Hearty Recipes from Amish & Mennonite Kitchens.  Yes, I definitely had favorite cookbooks when I was little.  The thing that made this one particularly special was the pictures in it, in addition to the recipes.  Every few pages or so, there are beautiful, full page pictures of women, men and children living their lives on their farms and cooking.  My favorite picture was of a girl that was probably 10 or 11.  She was standing in a wagon, filled with hay bales and was directing her horse to move forward.  Her lips were pursed, making a kissing noise, reins gathered in her hands and her wispy blond hair escaped from her white bonnet.  She stood there, tall and defiant on those hay bales and it made me want to drive a horse around on a wagon.  I wanted to stand tall on hay bales and cook the food this girl was eating.

My family loves this cookbook; it’s the cookbook that’s stained on our favorite recipe’s pages and the spine is cracked so it automatically opens to the most used recipes.  The oatmeal pancakes are one of the first things we made out of there, and I still request these when I go home.  They are perfectly fluffy and rise tall and proud on the griddle.  Oats make these pancakes hearty.  Buttermilk adds a nice tang.  Have lots of syrup on hand when you make these; they soak up a lot of it!

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Oatmeal Pancakes

recipe from Cooking From Quilt Country

Ingredients:

2 cups rolled oats

2 cups buttermilk

½ cup all purpose flour

½ whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Heat a large, flat pan, or a griddle over medium heat.

Combine oats and buttermilk and let sit for as long as possible.  The original directions say to let these sit overnight, but we never had the foresight to do that.  A good 15 or 20 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients should suffice.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, eggs, butter.  Add the oat and butter milk mixture to the eggs and butter and stir.  When fully combined, add wet ingredients to flour mixture.  Stir until well combined.

Lightly grease your preheated griddle.  Drop spoonfuls, 3/4 to 1 cup of pancake batter on hot griddle.  Flip when the underside turns golden brown.  Repeat with the remaining batter.  Serve with maple syrup and a steaming cup of coffee.

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Brown Butter Banana Bread

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My literary heart fills with glee at the title of this post. I love a good alliteration. Besides having an awesome title, this banana bread also tastes awesome. If you’re not on the brown butter train, get on it! It adds depth, and nuttiness to this bread that plain butter won’t. Oats add texture and cinnamon and nutmeg add warmth.

For months, I’ve been trying to perfect my banana bread recipe and you know what the secret is? Butter. Oil doesn’t give the bread the moistness it needs like butter does. Plus, butter tastes better, especially browned!

Slightly adapted from Joy the Baker’s Brown Butter Banana Strawberry Bread.

Ingredients:

6 ounces unsalted butter

2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup oats

½ cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup buttermilk

1 ¼ cups mashed bananas, about 3-4 medium bananas

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan and set aside

Melt butter in a small pan. It will start to crackle and foam as it gets hotter; once this stops the butter starts to brown. Swirl the butter in the pan to prevent it from burning and when the butter turns brown and starts to smell like nuts, remove from heat. Transfer to a small bowl to prevent butter from continuing to cook. You should end up with about half a cup.

Combine flour, oats, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In another bowl, combine eggs, vanilla extract, buttermilk, bananas, and cooled brown butter. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined.

Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake for 50 – 60 minutes, until the top in golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

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Buttermilk Waffles with Macerated Strawberries

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My husband-to-be’s favorite breakfast is waffles, hands down.  When I asked him on Sunday morning, which would he rather have, waffles or oatmeal pancakes, I knew the answer before I even asked it.  We usually have an arsenal of frozen waffles in the fridge, which he will eat at any point during the day.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, waffle time is any time.  His parents gave us a waffle maker for Christmas though, so it’s time to elevate our waffle.   It’s time to make waffles that are crisp and buttery on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside.  Waffles that are worthy of Sunday breakfast, because if the weekend is only two days long, we better be living like we want waffles from scratch!

This recipe is my mom’s, the one that I’ve eaten countless times at home.  Try using the leftovers the next day to make yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch.  Everyone in high school was always jealous of my fancy peanut butter and jellys.  Happy Monday!

Buttermilk Waffles with Macerated Strawberries

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of strawberries
  • 1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Method:

1. Plug in your waffle iron so it can start to heat up.

2. Dice strawberries into a small dice, about ¼ of an inch.  Combine strawberries with sugar and stir.  Set aside until after the waffles have finished cooking.

3. Place butter in a small dish.  Melt in microwave, but keep a careful eye on it.  Butter likes to explode in the microwave.

4. Combine the dry ingredients, flour, baking soda, nutmeg and salt.  Combine the wet ingredients, buttermilk, eggs and the melted butter.  Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until uniform.

5. Ladle spoonfuls of batter on waffle iron and cook until the waffles become a golden brown color.

6.  Serve waffles with macerated strawberries on top and a drizzle of real maple syrup.

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Chai Spiced Cinnamon Rolls

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We’ve made it, us 9 to 5-ers.  It’s Thursday and we’re on the home stretch, inching closer to Friday.  Here’s some weekend inspiration for you-chai spiced cinnamon rolls.  Treat yourself, since you made it through the work week and all, and take a little while in the kitchen to whip these up.  These rolls use a traditional cinnamon roll dough, but the filling is made with some non-traditional ingredients.  Cardamom, ginger, black pepper, a little sprinkle of nutmeg and of course cinnamon all make for a warm and slightly spicy roll.  Drizzle with a little lemon icing and you’re on your way to a perfect weekend breakfast.  I bought the leftovers to my coworkers on Tuesday and it made for a happy weekday breakfast too.  Here’s to the weekend and it’s leisurely breakfasts!

Adapted from the Joy of Cooking.

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • ¼ cup warm water.  (Slightly hotter than bath water.)
  • 1 package of active dry yeast ( 2 ¼ teaspoons)
  • ½ all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
  • 2 – 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour

Filling:

  • 1-2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar

Glaze:

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1 – tablespoons milk

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Method:

1. Combine the yeast and warm water in a mixing bowl.  Set aside and allow to stand until yeast has dissolved, about 5 minutes.

2. Add ½ cup flour, sugar, milk. eggs, butter and salt.  Using the paddle attachment, mix until throughly combined.  Exchange the paddle for the bread hook.  Put your mixer on low speed and half a cup at a time, add the remain flour.  (I used all 2 ¼ cups of flour, but it’s super dry where I live.) The dough is ready when it no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl and forms a uniform ball.

3. Place dough in a greased bowl and allow to rise until double it’s size, about 1 ½ hours.  While the dough is rising, combine the filling ingredients, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper and brown sugar.  Reserve melted butter.

4.  Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Turn the risen dough out onto a floured surface.  Using a rolling pin, roll it to a 16 x 12 inch rectangle, or something close to that.  (I just eyeballed my measurements.)  Brush with melted butter and then sprinkle filling on.  Roll up into a cylinder, starting from the longer end of the dough.

5.  Cut the log in half, then cut the halves in half.  You should have four pieces now.  Cut those four pieces into four pieces.  Arranged in a  greased cake pan, or in a rectangle pan,  so that the buns are touching.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size again.

6.  Uncover and bake rolls for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown on the top.  Combine glaze ingredients, powdered sugar, and lemon zest.  Add milk slowly, until the glaze runs off a spoon.  Drizzle the glaze over the top of the rolls.

 

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Parmesan & Hickory-Smoked Black Pepper Biscuits

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We opted against going out to breakfast this weekend, mainly because sleeping in trumped eating.  We like to go nice and early to avoid the brunch crowds, but that usually means we’re dining with older folks and couples with small children.  Not a bad environment and it’s always funny to watch little kids eat.  I watched one little girl last weekend shovel handfuls of whipped cream off of her pancakes and directly into her mouth.  It was only when most of the whipped cream was gone that her mom noticed what she was doing.  Highly amusing.

Our favorite breakfast place has outrageous buttermilk biscuits and I was hankering for one Sunday morning.  These biscuit are savory like none other.  Sharp salty parmesan cheese meets smoked hickory pepper.  They’re tender, laced with butter and highly addictive.  They’re also delicious with a side of eggs or as a vehicle for fried egg sandwiches.

Inspired by Joy’s Cheddar and Black Pepper Biscuits and lightly adapted from The Joy of Cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ – ¾ cup milk (Your choice on the percentage.)
  • 1 ½ cups parmesan cheese, grated on the large grate in your cheese grater
  • 1 tablespoon of hickory smoked black pepper (Mine’s from Sur La Table.)

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Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

2. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

3.  Cut the butter into small chunks with a sharp knife.  Add to flour mixture and either with a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut butter into small pieces, sightly larger than peas.

4. Add cheese and pepper to the mixture.  Slowly, ¼ of a cup of a time, add milk to mixture.  When the dough just comes together, you’ve added enough milk.

5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface.  Roll out to ¼ to ½ an inch thick.  You can also pat the dough out with your hands-that’s what I did!  Get in there with your hands!

6.  Cut biscuits out with a biscuit cutter (or a cup if you’re cool like me) and arrange them on a baking sheet so that the biscuits are touching each other.

7.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.

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