Archive for the 'breakfast' Category

Vegan French Toast

frenchtoast

Why can’t all weekends be three day weekends?  This one included ALL the things I want in a weekend: friends, trail running, great food, tons of family time, a new water sport, and a BIG race added to the agenda.

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This is the hummus wrap from Cafe Del Soul in Mill Valley. Why can’t they open in the East Bay?! It shares a parking lot with San Francisco Running Company, so it was the perfect stop after the race.

Some members of my tri club belong to a private lake that’s just over a mile from our house, and they had a barbecue and swim on Sunday night. I put on the wetsuit for the first time since Wildflower, and swam a mile. Then I decided to try stand up paddle boarding. It was fun, but I’m pretty sure I’d fall immediately if I tried it in the ocean.
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On Monday night, Mike and I sat down to schedule our future races, and I somehow ended up on the Ironman website. Then I somehow ended up looking at Ironman Texas, and next thing I knew, I was registered.

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I knew 2014 was going to be the year of my first Ironman, and I had been pretty certain I was going to sign up for Wisconsin.  But seeing this in May, and the fact that registration was already open and just BECKONING me to sign up, I went for it.  It’s going to be ungodly hot and humid but I’m really excited!

French toast is one of the weekend breakfast staples around here.  But now that Mike’s vegan, and I’m in the middle of a little vegan experiment (again…hoping to last more than two days this time), we needed a way to figure out how to make it without eggs.

Ellie still gets the real thing, but this weekend I tried coconut milk, and it worked really well.  I think the key is to oil the pan well, and let it cook until it starts to brown (otherwise it will just be mushy bread).  I definitely recommend using hearty bread, not regular grocery store sandwich bread.  I used homemade whole wheat that was a couple of days old.

I don’t have a specific recipe, but more just an idea of what to do: mix about 2/3 cup full-fat coconut milk with 1 tsp vanilla and a nice big pinch of cinnamon.  Heat about a tablespoon of grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil) until a drop of water sizzles. Dip the bread in the coconut milk and cook for a few minutes on each side, until nice and brown. Top with whatever you want… I used mashed banana and it was delicious.

 

Crumb Cake

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I have been slacking SO much in the running department.  If it weren’t for early morning runs with Aron, I’d probably only run once a week.  I think I’ve just gotten so into cycling and swimming that running has lost some of its appeal.

With a trail half marathon coming up NEXT WEEKEND, I figured I should probably try and do at least one double digit run to get myself ready.  Alyssa mapped a route, I made crumb cake for afterwards, and Mike agreed to hang with Ellie at the beach while we ran through Golden Gate Park and the Presidio.  It was perfect. (FYI, running quickly regains appeal when there are good friends, food, and coffee involved).

coffee

Overall this week of training was pretty perfect.  I jumped into a 12 week plan which seems totally manageable.  There will be a little bit of re-arranging workouts, but I think this is going to help me be strong and ready to go on race day (less than 11 weeks away!)

I’ve now been using Training Peaks for a couple of months and I LOVE it. It’s super straightforward and you can see everything in list form, on a spreadsheet, or as a pie chart, and entering data is really simple.  Nobody is paying me to say any of this, but I’m going to make myself an unofficial Training Peaks ambassador.

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Week one: 9 hours and 50 minutes of fun!

I FINALLY did my first brick! (Well, first since 2008).  I ended up doing 2 hours on my trainer so I could finish really early in the morning, and then I headed outside to run for 15 minutes.  I was shocked how good my legs felt.  I am also quite ready for today’s rest day.

This cake is just a nice simple breakfast treat, easy to make with things most people keep on hand all the time.  I halved the recipe and put it in an 8″ square pan, but the recipe as written will make a 13 x 9 pan and feed a decent crowd.

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Recipe from Martha Stewart via Baked Bree

 

Chocolate and Cherry Scones

First things first, it’s Pizza Friday! This was last week’s pizza, but it was a good one. Roasted eggplant, roasted red peppers, feta and mozzarella over pizza sauce.

I’m trying a new combination tonight, and if it’s good it will be on the blog in the next couple days.

It’s been a pretty domestic week around here.  I did some laundry, cleaned some counters, and got re-acquainted with my pastry blender.

I also ate way too many Girl Scout cookies, but I don’t wish to discuss that at this time.

I spent lots of time in the kitchen with my little helper.

She was of great assistance while making these scones, which, by the way, are actually kind of a scone-biscuit hybrid. They’re a little softer and less crumbly than scones, and they’re awesome.

My preferred scone-shaping method is the one I learned while working at a bakery. You pat the dough into a circle and cut it into 8 wedges. These were HUGE, though, so you might want to make two circles. Or, you could use a biscuit cutter (that’s what Joy did.) Either way, they’ll come out of the oven delicious.
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(adapted from Joy the Baker)

Cinnamon Rolls


I’m slightly starting to freak out that my Mom’s leaving on Tuesday. I have gotten completely spoiled and I’m kind of in denial that I have to do this baby thing all by myself from 9-5 on the weekdays now.

We took Ellie for a walk in Golden Gate Park again, and I had no idea that Spreckels lake has turtles! I’m clearly easily amused right now, but I thought that was amazing.

Friday night I decided that on Saturday, I would make cinnamon rolls.

I don’t know why I felt this urgent need, since I’ve never made them before, but I browsed foodgawker, found this recipe, and went with it. Ellie helped. (And clearly, finishing the cinnamon rolls was more of an urgent need than drying my hair. I have priorities.)

These were surprisingly easy… for some reason I thought cinnamon rolls would be way more complicated. They take a few hours from start to finish, but are TOTALLY worth it!

Recipe:
(from Cook, Bake & Decorate)

1 cup whole milk
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup butter, melted
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted

3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it’s about 105 degrees.
Stir the yeast and a pinch of sugar into the milk in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add the sugar, butter, salt, eggs, and flour and mix well. Knead with the dough hook on medium speed for about 4 minutes, or until the dough is smooth.

Shape the dough into a ball, place in a bowl (the mixing bowl is fine) and cover with a damp towel. Let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until dough has nearly doubled in size.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon and mix well.

Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and lightly flour a rolling pin. Roll the dough into a 16×21 inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.

Brush the dough with 1/3 cup melted butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar-cinnamon mixture.

Roll the dough up starting with the longer side and cut into 12 rolls.

Arrange the rolls in a lightly greased 9×13 inch glass baking dish. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for about 30 minutes.

While the rolls are rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.

While the rolls are baking, make the frosting. Beat together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Spread the frosting on the rolls while they are still warm.

Maple-Blueberry Cake


This weekend started off so perfectly. Mike came home Friday night with little surprise for me:

Yep, that would be an animal style grilled cheese from In N Out. This is only the second time I’ve had fast food this pregnancy and it was exactly what I wanted.

Now that I’m within 12 days of my due date, I’ve been thinking about the whole impending giving birth thing. I didn’t take a birthing class, and I haven’t read all that much (or seen The Business of Being Born – am I the only expectant mother that hasn’t? Because it kind of seems like it). HOWEVER, I have come to the conclusion that I want an epidural, and here’s why:

1. I’m a badass and I don’t need a natural birth to prove it. I’ve run marathons and a trail ultra, I’ve done a half Ironman, and I’m still hitting the gym and lifting weights at 38 weeks pregnant. I don’t need to withstand the pain of a natural birth to prove to myself that I can handle it. I put myself through plenty of painful things on my own, thanks.

2. I’m pretty stoked on modern medicine in general. Modern medical technology made me able to run thanks to the 3 titanium screws in my hip, and it’s done a ton for other people too. I like the advances that have been made in pain management and I want to use them.

3. I take Tylenol when I have headaches. This is going to be infinitely more painful than that. Therefore I want drugs. Strong ones.

I have absolutely nothing against people who choose to give birth naturally. The beauty of this country in this day and age is that we get the choice…and this is mine (I choose my choice!) And now that I’ve posted something (possibly) controversial for the first time, lets talk about this cake.

I bought probably the last blueberries of the season last week and wanted to bake something amazing. Blueberry Boy Bait has always kind of appealed to me, but I wanted to incorporate maple flavor as well. So I took a recipe for that, cut half the butter, replaced some sugar with maple syrup, and added extra blueberries. It tasted kind of like pancakes (and Mike wanted me to call it Pancake Cake), with a hint of maple and plenty of berries. Divine.

Recipe:
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

cake
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 maple syrup
3 large eggs
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup blueberries

topping
1/2 cup blueberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a 13 x 9 pan.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter and brown sugar together in a stand mixer until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Mix in the maple syrup.

Add half the yogurt and mix on low until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl, add the flour mixture, and mix on low just until all traces of flour disappear. Stir in the remaining yogurt.

Gently fold in the blueberries using a rubber spatula. Spread evenly in the pan.

Sprinkle the half cup of blueberries for the topping evenly over the cake batter. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl, then sprinkle evenly over the cake.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.

Whole wheat berry pancakes


This was the first thing I made in our NEW kitchen! I’m still trying to get used to the fact that we have plenty of cabinet space for all our stuff, and that Mike and I can both be in the kitchen at the same time without running into each other constantly. It’s pretty luxurious.

Our first night in this place was Friday. However because the kitchen was pretty much a complete disaster…
we decided not to cook. I realize it doesn’t look that horrible in that picture, but what you can’t see is that pretty much every kitchen item we own was in a box in the living room, so cooking wasn’t really an option.

We got pizza delivered and celebrated the move with bubbly…water.

Saturday we spent the ENTIRE day cleaning the old apartment then took a much needed break at the San Jose Earthquakes v. New York Red Bulls game.

When you’re used to watching English Premier League games the MLS looks…kind of weak. But it was fun, and the fireworks after the game were awesome.

This morning we made a little more progress unpacking and I made some patriotic pancakes for a little early Independence Day cheer. These are just buttermilk pancakes, but using half whole wheat flour makes them hearty and the berries add enough sweetness that you don’t really need syrup…a dollop of yogurt and some fresh berries are pretty much perfect.

Recipe:

makes 8-12, depending on size

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sugar or evaporated cane juice
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp butter, melted
about 1/2 cup mixed blueberries and sliced strawberries, plus extra for serving

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.

Stir the eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter together.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix gently (it’s fine if the batter stays a little lumpy).

Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat and spray with nonstick spray. Ladle a little batter onto the griddle, then sprinkle with a few berries. Let cook for a few minute, or until the bottom is golden brown. Flip and cook an additional minute or two. Repeat with remaining batter and berries.

Serve with plain yogurt and berries.

Brunch Ideas (and Starbucks Giveaway!)


A few weeks ago I got an email about a brunch workshop, presented by Starbucks new line of naturally flavored coffee. Normally at 10 AM on a Monday morning, I’m timing my kids running laps, but thanks to summer break, I was free to go learn about the wonders of popovers and making edible artwork bowls out of chocolate. Being a teacher and a food blogger definitely has perks!

For those who have cable and love food, you might remember Paul McCollough from Season 3 of Next Food Network Star. Since I only fit half that description (the loving food part), I didn’t know who he was, but I can say now that I’m definitely a fan! The two other bloggers were Lisa and Shauna, who were both incredibly sweet and lots of fun.


I was obviously thrilled to see a GIANT tray of organic berries front and center in the kitchen.

We made edible chocolate bowls for them by spraying balloons with PAM, dipping them in melted chocolate, then letting them set in the fridge.

Once the chocolate is hard, you pop the balloon and have a pretty chocolate bowl to fill with berries! I’d seen this done before, but I’d never seen them with white chocolate too. All you do is drizzle some melted white chocolate over the dark chocolate before you dip, and it makes a really cool design.

Obviously I don’t eat bacon, but for a lot of people it’s a brunch essential. We made maple-coffee bacon by making a paste of brown sugar and maple syrup and brushing it over strips of bacon.

Then we sprinkled them with some of the ground coffee and baked them (on a rack over a sheet pan) in the oven for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Next, we made popovers, which are incredibly simple but look SO impressive! 5 eggs, 1 2/3 cup half and half, 1 2/3 cup flour, and 1 t salt, whisked together then baked at 450 for about 30 minutes. Paul said you can also make them in a mini muffin pan if you don’t have a popover pan, so they’re not quite as big and filling.

Obviously popovers are pretty much a vehicle for butter… so we made two different compound butters.

Bacon butter. Seriously. Kind of a heart attack waiting to happen, but Paula Deen would be proud. You just finely chop some of that maple-coffee bacon and stir it into some softened butter.

Unpictured, but amazing: Marmalade butter. Marmalade is one of my favorite things (my grandpa used to make ridiculously good marmalade and I fell in love at a very young age), so I loved this butter. You just stir some marmalade, orange zest, and lemon zest (to taste) into softened butter. It was insanely good on those popovers!

Eggs are pretty much a requirement when it comes to brunch. We made a scramble (way lower maintenance and easier to serve a crowd than omelets) with spinach (sauteed in butter first), sundried tomatoes, crumbled veggie sausage patties, and sauteed mushrooms. Once all the ingredients are prepped, you just gently heat some beaten eggs, let them firm up a little, and then stir in the other ingredients.

The mix was seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried onion. You can obviously use fresh garlic and onion, but Paul said the flavors of the dried stuff were mellower and a little easier to take at breakfast time. The last thing I want is to have my face knocked off by too much garlic bright and early in the morning, so I loved this idea.

After about an hour of cooking, we sat down to eat! (And yes, that’s pasta on my plate. If you’d rather make this a more lunch-friendly dish, you can sub cooked pasta for the eggs).

Delicious!

So now the best part… I mentioned that this was presented by Starubucks new Natural Fusion coffees. This is not that old-school artificially flavored coffee – Starbucks grinds the beans with cinnamon or vanilla or a mix of spices that magically tastes like caramel. And they want you to try it!

Two winners will get to try a variety of Natural Fusions coffees – all you need to do is comment telling me your favorite breakfast or brunch food. You have until Thursday, June 30th at 10 PM PST, when I’ll pick two comments at random, and your coffee will be on its way. Good luck!

FTC disclaimer: Starbucks is providing the coffee and the workshop was presented at no cost to me.



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