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.

ironmantx

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.

pie

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.

Cherry Almond Breakfast Cake


One of my favorite purchases in months was $3.99, and I found it at a huge restaurant supply shop in the Inner Richmond. It kind of makes my kitchen look like a murder scene, but it’s totally worth it.

Never again will I repeatedly almost cut myself while bludgeoning cherries with a paring knife in an attempt to remove their pits!

I’m really not sure what I’m going to do with myself when cherry season is over. I’m actually kind of shocked I managed to restrain myself enough to have a few to bake with, because normally cherries don’t even last 24 hours around here. Anyway, if you find yourself with uneaten cherries and a desire to bake, this is a pretty excellent choice. I happily ate it for breakfast and snack for a few days and am ready to play around with other fruits (the original recipe was made with blueberries).

I’ve continued my pursuits of domestic arts this week – currently laundry is hanging on a rack in the living room, I made crepes for dinner last night, and I made this hat and booties yesterday for Mike’s boss, who’s having a baby boy in about a month.

I may be starting to realize that having summer off is not such a bad thing after all! The gym is empty when I go around 1:30 PM, I can grocery shop any time I want, I can hit up the mid-week farmers market (well, I could, but I haven’t yet… it’s on the list. And it’s also on Thursday mornings which means I just missed it yet again. Oh well.)

Recipe:
(adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates via Eat Live Run)

streusel topping
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp chilled butter, cut into small chunks

cake
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick butter, softened (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
3/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups plain yogurt
2 cups pitted and quartered fresh cherries

To make the streusel: Combine all ingredients except almonds and butter in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or rub between your fingers until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the toasted almonds and mix well.

To make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a 13 x 9″ baking pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

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

Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts

Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the yogurt, mixing gently after each addition. Fold in the cherries.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan and top with streusel. Bake for about 55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before cutting into squares.

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Sunday included a few of my very favorite things:

A race!

(Never mind the fact that it was THE HILLIEST 5K EVER and it took me 30 minutes and I walked up one of the hills – seriously I didn’t walk any of the hills during the Boston marathon and I had to walk at mile 2 of a 5K?!?! Still, super fun, especially since there was Easter candy at the end!)

Browsing at my 2nd favorite bookstore, Green Apple Books

(2nd favorite, because nothing beats Powell’s in Portland)

Trading in old books and getting this AMAZING new cookbook!

(So far, the one recipe I’ve tried leads me to believe that this cookbook is going to be in very heavy rotation)

And sweet potato pancakes!

(A cooking experiment that worked out quite nicely!)

We’ve been keeping roasted whole sweet potatoes in the fridge for various purposes (most notably, making this hummus) but on the way home from the race I decided I wanted to see if I could make some sweet potato pancakes with one of them. I mashed it up, added milk, an egg, sugar, and spices, and they were DELICIOUS!

A little moister and denser than your usual pancake, they had so much flavor I didn’t even need syrup, which says something because I love Grade B maple syrup so much I’m sometimes tempted to drink it by the glass. They’re also divine topped with a little plain yogurt.

Recipe:

makes about 12 pancakes

1 medium sweet potato, roasted, cooled,  peeled and mashed (about 1 1/3 cups)
1 large egg
1 cup lowfat milk
1/3 cup evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
butter, for cooking the pancakes

Whisk together the spices, salt, baking powder and flour.

In a separate bowl, mash the sweet potato until smooth, then stir in the egg, milk, and sugar and mix until smooth. Gently stir in the flour mixture.

Melt some butter in a wide frying pan or on a griddle. Ladle about 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake into the pan and spread to an even thickness. Cook until golden brown on the bottom and then flip and heat until cooked through. Serve hot.

Rainbow Chard Smoothie


What is better than spinach in your morning smoothie? (No, the correct answer is NOT “everything.”)

RAINBOW CHARD. It’s beautiful, and it blends perfectly into a Green Monster! If you want to read all about the amazing phytonutrients it has to offer, you can do so here, or you can just skip over that, grab a handful, and toss it into the blender with some frozen bananas and almond milk and whip up one of these beauties. Isn’t everyone trying to have a healthy start to 2011?

I’m sure you’re dying to know about the thrilling New Years Eve Mike and I had, because we’re such live-on-the-edge party animals.

The day started at about 1 PM with coffee on the couch. I had been up since 7, but Mike is taking full advantage of his week off of work and returning to his nocturnal tendencies.

We’ve been thinking about moving a little further down the peninsula, so we jumped in the car and drove down El Camino Real (Hwy 82), which goes from the Southern end of San Francisco down into San Jose. We didn’t have any particular destination in mind…just wanted to check things out. But of course when we saw this, we had to stop!

Not only because we needed to replenish our supply of tahini, but also because we can never resist Middle Eastern food. Which would explain why we seek it out everywhere we go, including in Bangkok and on our honeymoon in Italy. It’s an obsession, but at least it’s a decently healthy one.

The store had pretty much anything you’d ever want for Middle Eastern cooking — bags of zaatar, containers of labne, huge bottles of olive oil, a bunch of bread, all sorts of beans, grape leaves, cheese, and spices. There was also a halal butcher shop and deli. We ordered a falafel plate and zaatar bread to share.

The falafel was just okay and the tabouli had too much onion, but I LOVED the hummus and baba ghannouj!

The bread was pretty good too. As soon as the guy working saw my camera come out, he brought us a spinach pie on the house, which was really good, but we devoured it before I took a picture.
Mike, who is obsessed with any and all beverages, was excited to try a new soda we’d never seen before.

It tasted kind of like a blue raspberry Icee, and I loved it! Apparently it’s originally from the UK and is made with grape, blackcurrant, and raspberry. Deeelish.
Although there are a couple tables in the deli, I don’t recommend staying to eat if you’re not okay with seeing a whole lamb get butchered while you’re eating. Just a warning.
Mid East Market
1776 El Camino Real
San Bruno, CA 94066

After that we drove around Burlingame and Millbrae a little bit and realized we’re really happy in Daly City, so I think we’ll be here for awhile. You just can’t beat the cheap rent and short BART ride into San Francisco. It helps if you really like fog…

We were planning on going out for Burmese food in the city, but our super late and filling snack made us re-think that, and we ended up sitting on the couch watching the last season of Mad Men until I decided it was time to go to bed at 10 PM. Try not to be too jealous of my amazing life!

It was kind of nice to wake up without a hangover on New Years Day for the first time in at least 5 years! Which brings us to this smoothie, which I enjoyed while putting together PowerPoints and lesson plans for next week at school. I’m ready to be back…I miss those crazy 8th graders!

Recipe:
1 frozen banana, cut into 1″ pieces
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop protein powder of your choice (soy, hemp, etc…)
3 Tbsp carob powder
1 Tbsp instant coffee
2 tsp chia seeds
2 tsp flax seeds, ground
4 large rainbow chard leaves, rinsed, dried, and roughly chopped

Optional toppings: cacao nibs, bee pollen

Combine the banana, almond milk, carob, coffe, chia, and flax seeds in a blender, and blend for about 30 seconds. Add the chard leaves and blend until smooth. Serve topped with bee pollen (unless you’re vegan) and cacao nibs (if you like).



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