Breakfast

Tangelo Sweet Rolls

DSC_0384

It has been a very long time since I lasted posted, and (unsurprisingly) a lot has happened. My husband and I are expecting our first child in October!! It is a very exciting time for us, and the first trimester was a roller coaster of nausea for me. Our cooking has been minimal the past few months, as I have been living off of my cravings for subways sandwiches and mashed potatoes!

I have also been craving  citrus fruits way more often than I ever did before! Perhaps I need the calcium? Either way, we found a way to make citrus fruits unhealthy and sugary and delicious- put them in sweet rolls! These are essentially cinnamon rolls with a fruity filling instead of the more traditional nut and spice filling.

DSC_0397

Typically these kinds of sweet rolls are made with oranges, but we made them with tangelos (the zest and juice). I preferred the tangelo flavor because it is tangier. Also, the rind is much brighter in color, which makes for great photos when you add in the zest!

You can serve these for breakfast, dessert, or as a snack! It does make a large batch, and they don’t stay moist for too long- so I recommend making these when you’ve got lots of hungry mouths to feed!

DSC_0355

The recipe was inspired by an orange roll post from Lemon-Sugar, who uses traditional citrus and no zest! It was super easy to make, even in our small kitchen with no mixer. It is rather time consuming, but these tasty treats make the wait worth it!

Enjoy!

DSC_0379

Tangelo Sweet Rolls

(makes roughly two dozen rolls)

Ingredients

for the dough
2 1/4 tablespoons instant yeast
1 3/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup salted butter, melted
1/2 cup honey
5 1/2 cups AP flour
2 tsp salt
2 eggs


for the filling
1 tablespoon tangelo zest (from about 1 tangelo)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed tangelo juice
1/2 cup salted butter at room temperature [especially if you don’t have a mixer, it’s best to take this out as early as possible so that it can completely soften]
1 cup sugar

for the icing
1 teaspoon orange extract
1/4 cup freshly squeezed tangelo juice
1 tablespoon tangelo zest
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

DSC_0278

First, make your dough. Preheat the oven to 200° F and after it has preheated, turn it off. Combine the warm water with the yeast to proof your yeast- you may even wish to add a pinch of sugar for the yeast to feed off of. Let the yeast proof for about ten minutes. I usually proof yeast in the oven, but it was very reactive and I just left it on the counter this time around!

While the yeast is proofing, melt the butter in the microwave. I did probably one minute on 50% power, just enough to get it melted, but no more. Whisk the honey into the butter.

In a large bowl, measure out four cups of AP flour. Combine with the salt. Fold in the proofed yeast.

When the honey-butter mixture has cooled down a bit, whisk in the eggs. Then, add this to the larger flour mixture.

Fold it all together with a rubber spatula. In different environments dough will form in a unique way. My recommendation is to keep folding until it all comes together in one big heap. If you can stick your finger to it and pull away dough (meaning, it’s super sticky), add a bit more flour. Add 1/2 cup at a time, and do not go over 6 cups! We needed about 5 1/2 for ours, thus we added 1 1/2 cups to the original dough. Work it as little as possible in between additions. You do not want your dough to get tough and you don’t need it to lose all stickiness. It should be pretty sticky, but it should at least all stay together even when you put a finger on it.

DSC_0299

Butter the bowl well and cover it in plastic wrap. Place it somewhere warm- either your oven or maybe even a microwave! Let it rise for 1 hour.

DSC_0300

While the dough is rising you can make the filling, which takes like two minutes. With the remaining 58 minutes you could watch your favorite show or go to the gym to make up the the insane number of calories you will be consuming from these rolls. William and I chose the former. 🙂

To make the filling, start by washing and zesting a tangelo. We got one tablespoon of zest and 1/2 cup of juice from a single tangelo. Juice the tangelo and strain the juice into a bowl. Combine 1/4 of the juice with all of the zest in a bowl. Add in the sugar and room temperature butter. Blend them together until a paste is formed.

DSC_0310

DSC_0313

DSC_0318

When the dough has finished rising, and is about doubled, prepare a large work surface by covering it in parchment paper and sprinkling it with flour. Punch down the dough while it is still in the bowl. This gets all of the added air out and allows for the rolls to cook more evenly. Spread the dough carefully into a large rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick.

DSC_0326

Take your filling and drop spoonfuls across the entire sheet of dough. You will then need to spread the filling with your hands. Your dough should be sticky and the filling is a bit granular from the sugar, so the process will take some time and patience. Spread the filling generously across the entire rectangle of dough.

DSC_0327

DSC_0331

DSC_0337

Next comes William’s favorite part! Rolling the dough. This is not an easy task, but it’s fun- don’t let yourself get frustrated with any mess you make, it will all be tasty and beautiful in the end! You need to roll the rectangle into a very long cylinder. Try to keep it as tight as possible, gently pressing down and squeezing the dough when necessary. If you need to stretch out the dough to help this process, you can, as long as you don’t poke too many holes in it!

DSC_0341

When all is said and done, hopefully you have a giant cylinder of dough snaking its way across your countertop!

DSC_0342

Butter several pans. [We really like using round glass or ceramic pans for rolls, it seems like they cook better in these and the heat more effectively reaches the center of the pan, fully baking all of the dough.] Using your sharpest knife, cut 2-inch slices and carefully place them in the pan. It helped having two people in the kitchen for this. When you move them, you do have to be pretty careful to keep them together and not let any filling fall out.

DSC_0343

When all of the rolls are cut and in their pans, let them rise for another half hour.

DSC_0344

Preheat your oven to 375°F. When you bake the rolls, be sure to bake them all on one rack, to insure even cooking. We did 20 minutes on the top rack, and 5 minutes on the bottom rack. During the last five minutes we also needed to cover them with tin foil so that the tops would not be too browned.

DSC_0345

DSC_0349

I will say, the baking is always a little stressful for me. We do not have the best oven, and it doesn’t seem to heat things very thoroughly. This can be especially problematic with breads, and sometimes the center goes uncooked. This technique of moving our pans around worked very well for us and they were all perfectly cooked!

DSC_0346

DSC_0351

While the rolls are baking, you can make the icing. It’s super easy! In a medium sized bow, whisk together another 1/4 cup of juice, and another tablespoon of zest, along with a bit of orange extract. We did need to zest one more tangelo for this, but if you have a really good plane grater, you might not find it necessary! Combine this with the powdered sugar and cream. You may need to add additional cream (1 tablespoon at a time) to get the consistency that you like.

DSC_0335

I prefer fairly thick icing, as it photographs better and coats the rolls a bit better.

DSC_0353

DSC_0356

When the rolls come out they are ready to be glazed and served! [Do not skimp on the glaze, yes, you have enough to cover them!!]

DSC_0358

DSC_0359

Enjoy!

DSC_0367

DSC_0371

DSC_0381

DSC_0398

DSC_0402

Advertisements

Mini Breakfast Casseroles

DSC_0318

The process of creating a miniature breakfast casserole was simple. We love breakfast, breakfast foods are delicious and easy to cook. We love miniature versions of things, they’re cute, this is just a fact. When these two ideas are joined together they yield a wonderful, flavor-packed, and easy-to-make breakfast delight.

An additionally exciting note is that with breakfast casseroles, you can truly tailor them to your own taste preferences. It’s honestly really hard to go wrong with flavor combinations when it comes to these. The final thing to keep in mind is, to have fun while making them because these little breakfast dishes aren’t just adorable, they’re delicious too!

 

Mini Breakfast Casseroles
(makes 4)

Ingredients
Two, thawed hash-brown patties (we love to use Trader Joe’s brand frozen patties)
2 tablespoons yellow cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons white cheddar cheese
8 strips Morningstar veggie bacon (this could be substituted with real bacon if desired)
4 eggs
splash of milk (we used around 2 tablespoons)
1 Serrano pepper
4 tomatoes
1/3 cippolini onion
salt and pepper to taste

To start, preheat your oven to 350° F.

We made these using four small to medium sized ramekins. Grease the bottom and sides of your ramekins with either butter or some type of cooking spray. Then, cut your hash-brown patties in half and squish them into the bottom of your ramekin. Dust them with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Place these in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, we want these to start getting crispy so they add a nice textural note to your little egg nests.

While the hash-browns are baking, this is a perfect time to start prepping your filling. Dice the tomatoes, the pepper, and the onion. You can either grate your cheese or just chop it into small cubes. Whisk your eggs together with the milk and set them aside in a bowl.

DSC_0224

DSC_0239

Once your hash-brown filled ramekins have been taken out of the oven, you can start the assembly. First, place two strips of bacon in the shape of a cross on top of your ramekin and then push them in so that they are both touching the inside of the ramekin and the top of your hash-brown.

Single ramekin with bacon

All ramekins with bacon

Second, distribute your filling (tomatoes, pepper, and onion) evenly among your four ramekins.

DSC_0242

DSC_0244

DSC_0246

Third, pour your whisked eggs into each of the ramekins making sure to fill them evenly (that way they all cook at the same speed).

DSC_0248

Finally, top with your grated cheese!

DSC_0279

Place the ramekins back into the oven for another 20-22 minutes or until the egg is fully cooked. Take them out and enjoy!

DSC_0311

DSC_0320

DSC_0337

4-Ingredient, Vegetarian Sausage Balls

DSC_0305

Growing up, my family ate a ton of breakfast foods. One of the things we commonly ate on special occasions were sausage balls. These are tiny bites of absolute heaven. Cheesy goodness and spicy sausage held together with a little breadiness from a Bisquik box. Little did I know at the time- those were basically the only ingredients in the entire snack!

Now that I no longer eat actual sausage, I still like to revisit recipes like this from my childhood. Recently, I began experimenting with the creation of a vegetarian sausage ball. I was looking for a super easy way to make these nostalgic treats for an only slightly healthier diet.

DSC_0304

Perhaps the most amazing thing about these is that they can be frozen! They can be frozen for long amounts of time and then, for long amounts of time, you have a stash of delicious sausage balls that you can reheat at any moment for a quick, but still tasty breakfast! Every time we make ours we make them a little bit bigger. If you make them about the size of a golf ball, you don’t get as many servings out of it, but you can truly have a single one for a solid breakfast on-the-go. It’s a great option for busy families who still like to do some meal prep and have food that feels more homemade!

DSC_0300

This is such an incredibly easy recipe- it only calls for 4 ingredients (one of which is water, I mean, does that even count?)!

4-Ingredient Soy Sausage Balls
(makes about 27, medium-sized balls)

Ingredients
1 lb soy sausage (I always use Morningstar’s regular brand, and simply use 12 patties)
3 1/2 cups Bisquik
1 lb extra-sharp cheddar cheese (I highly recommend shredding cheese off of a block for this, it makes the moisture content more accurate so you will not need to add as much water as you will if you use pre-shredded cheese)
1/4 cup water

DSC_0151

First, microwave all of the soy sausage patties on a plate for 4 minutes. You want them to be soft and easy to tear apart, but not to the point of being fully crisped or cooked. Chop the patties into a crumble. You can chop them as finely as you like. It really depends on your preference.

DSC_0166

Combine the cheese and Bisquik in a large bowl. Stir together carefully. I like to use my hands because it can be a messy process and I prefer to have complete control over it!

DSC_0163

Add in the sausage crumbles. Mix together entirely. It helps to have a very large bowl here, and to use your hands as you stir.

DSC_0170

DSC_0175

Finally add in the water. It will not seem like enough water at first, but keep working the “dough” until it finally comes together. You should not need to add more than a 1/4 cup of water if you use freshly grated cheese. If you are using packaged, shredded cheese, it will be drier than the fresh kind. As a result, you will want to add additional water. I recommend doing this by the tablespoon until your dough comes together. You want to avoid adding too much water. The dough will be fairly dry, but still cohesive enough to keep shape.

DSC_0196

DSC_0199

DSC_0207

Cover a baking tray in parchment paper. Form the balls, trying to keep them as regularly shaped as you can. It’s up to you how large or small you make them. We have never done larger than roughly 1/4 cup sized. Arrange them on a baking tray. Rest the baking tray in your freezer for 15-20 minutes.

DSC_0208

DSC_0209

DSC_0214

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Bake for 20 minutes! They do stick to parchment paper and aluminum foil, so you will just need to let them cool and then peel them off carefully!

Any balls that you would like to freeze, you can plop them all in a large plastic bag and put them in the freezer! When you are ready to eat them later, simply follow the baking instructions listed here!

DSC_0281

Enjoy!

DSC_0286

DSC_0288

DSC_0292

DSC_0295

DSC_0296

DSC_0306

 

 

 

 

 

Cauliflower Tortillas and Breakfast Burritos

cauliflower tortillas

About 8000 years ago someone amazing figured out that if you grind up wheat you can get flour out of it and make delicious things. The original tools used to perform this task were made of stone, and they continued to be made of stone until the 19th century when Europe’s Industrial Revolution instigated the use of metal in mills to grind wheat. Unfortunately, these “modern” processes also take away flour’s greatest, most nutrient-rich components (the germ and bran of the wheat). As usual, I am convinced that the Romans had everything solved perfectly as they used animals or water to power a stone which ground the wheat, leaving the nutrient-dense parts intact… but that is a story for another day!

cauliflower tortilla

Alas, here we are, with a new, cautionary tale every day that demonizes flour and gluten. While I do detest this slander and mourn the loss of my favorite ingredient’s good name, it has lead us to some interesting and exciting discoveries. When we ask the question: what can I use instead of flour, we get many answers (some more disgusting than others). So far, my absolute favorite answer is: cauliflower!

We have made muffins and pizza crusts out of cauliflower with great success. Our most recent use of this oddball veggie is for tortillas. For anyone concerned with calorie or carbohydrate counts, flour tortillas are basically a no-go. They are extremely compact and therefore calorie-dense, it’s just not worth it. However, these cauliflower tortillas make for a darn good substitute. They are only 28 calories per tortilla, with 1.5 grams of fat and carbs, but a whopping 2.3 grams of protein! While they do break apart more easily than traditional flour tortillas, they are much more moist and flavorful. If you’re okay eating your burrito open-faced, it shouldn’t be a problem at all.

cauliflower tortillas

As for the process of making them, as far as I can tell they do require a blender. You need to rice the cauliflower, and although I’ve read that you can do that with a grater, it sounds messy and frustrating to me. With the food processor, it doesn’t take but an hour or so to make and bake them, totally worth it!

Cauliflower Tortillas

makes 6-7 tortillas

Ingredients
1 head cauliflower
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

additional items
blender
cheese cloth or tons of paper towels
parchment paper

cauliflower tortillas

Loosely chop the cauliflower, discarding the green stems and leaves.

Place the cauliflower in a blender with one cup of water. Blend it until it looks almost like disintegrated styrofoam floating in the water (that’s a weird simile, but that’s what it will look like). Scoop the cauliflower out and drain it on paper towels or through a cheese cloth. You want to get it as compact as possible. Place it on a plate and microwave it for ten minutes.

When it is done cooking, take it out and carefully drain it again. I took my time with this, as the cauliflower was still very hot from the microwave. I used a combination of paper towels and a cheese cloth to get it (again) as compact and dry as possible.

Measure out two cups of the mixture (this should be essentially all of the riced cauliflower). Combine it with the eggs and spices in a medium-sized bowl.

The mixture should look like thick grits. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and carefully shape six or seven tortillas. We used a heaping 1/4 cup of mixture for each tortilla and pushed it into a circle with the bottom of the measuring cup.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake the tortillas for ten minutes. After the first ten minutes, very carefully peel up each tortilla and flip it over. They are fairly fragile, so you want to use the biggest spatula you have! Bake them for ten more minutes or until they are dry and browned! Let them cool thoroughly before enjoying them!

Try not to stack them before they are cooled, as they will stick and break apart. You can treat these like any tortilla, except they don’t wrap up as well because they break apart. If you want to add some extra crispiness and a buttery flavor, you can heat them up in a skillet with some butter! We made breakfast burritos and just enjoyed them open-faced, more like tacos! (Pictured below: open-faced breakfast burrito. Scrambled egg whites with soy sausage, shallots, shredded pepper jack cheese, chipotle mayo, and parsley. All on a cauliflower tortilla!)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Squash Blossom Frittata

 

frittata

I love frittata for weird reasons. I find that there is a bit of nostalgia in this lovely, Italian dish. I remember Auburn tailgates and family brunches that always included a frittata of some sort, and although I could seldom partake (they usually included sausage), I always loved how neat and beautiful they looked in their pan. Frittata is an Italian word that means “having been fried”. Oddly enough, we don’t really fry this dish– it’s baked!

frittata

The frittata is such an incredibly elegant dish to have for breakfast, and it is SO easy. This particular frittata variation is inspired from one of my new, most favorite Southern cookbooks: Root to Leaf by Steven Satterfield. I really recommend this book for anyone interested in new and delicious Southern cooking with a bit of a twist.

The cookbook follows the seasons, so each recipe features a local and seasonal ingredient. Squash blossoms are intriguing, though, because they can be summer or fall ingredients as you eat with the seasons. Right now, the squash blossoms we eat from the farmer’s market (even in California) are from mostly summer squash (zucchini) plants. In a few month’s time, we will see pumpkin squash blossoms, as the seasons transition!

frittata

As a vegetarian who is interested in eating natural and whole foods, I am so in love with this concept of eating with the seasons, and I commend Satterfield on his creative use of vegetables. Although the cookbook is not vegetarian, it is based off of a food philosophy that advocates for more vegetables and less meat overall (think Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food— which just so happens to be one of my favorite books of all time).

Being able to pick these ingredients up at the farmer’s market, and then make the dish the same day is especially useful when dealing with something like squash blossoms. They go bad very easily, so you truly need to make the frittata within a day or two of buying them.

frittata

 

Squash Blossom Frittata
serves 6-8

Ingredients
8 eggs
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/4 red onion (1/3 cup chopped)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sliced mozzarella or ricotta cheese
2 green onions
8 squash blossoms (cleaned and washed)

frittata ingredients

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

First, whisk together the eggs and whipping cream in a medium-sized bowl.

Chop the red onion and add that into the egg mixture along with the salt and pepper.

In a large, heavy pan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the egg mixture into the pan and stir continually over low heat for about 7 minutes or until the mixture is warm, but not cooked.

Remove from heat and add in the sliced cheese. Sprinkle the white parts of the green onions into the pan.

Next, arrange the squash blossoms in the pan. Make sure their insides have been cut out and the stems cut off. Coat them in the egg.

Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes.

Serve immediately topped with added cheese and green onion.

Enjoy!

Lemon Poppy seed Pancakes

lemon poppyseed

I love lemon poppy seed muffins, but I associate muffins with a quick and simple, continental breakfast. Pancakes are great because they are fancy. If you’re making pancakes, it means it’s going to be a nice, slow-paced morning. I adore these mornings when you can have a good breakfast, spend time with family, and take it easy at the start of your day! Usually, this is a luxury reserved only for weekends. However, because I am a teacher, I also think of nice breakfasts and brunches as being a summer phenomenon. Those relaxing, vacation-esque days when you don’t necessarily have anything to do except savor life: that is what pancakes are for.

So, to mark the end of summer and the start of a new school year, I decided to post a yummy take on pancakes with lemon and poppy seed flavors. To shake things up a bit, I used almond flour and Chobani’s lemon yoghurt as my foundation. The pancakes are moist and lemony, but with the almond flour and yoghurt they also have much more protein than a typical pancake, keeping you fuller for longer!

lemon poppyseed

I know that many people will read Greek yoghurt as a strongly flavored, tart, and unpleasant addition to pancakes. I can see all the health nuts squealing with glee and the foodies rolling their eyes! I promise that this is a bona fide pancake: it’s sweet, it tastes like a dessert, it probably has a ton of fat, and it’s absolutely delicious! (As a side note, if you are interested in other fun ways to use yoghurt in typically unhealthy dishes to add protein or tartness, check out Chobani’s recipe site! It’s a fun page to explore and get creative with your ingredients! It’s also just beautiful to look at!)

lemon poppyseed

I’ve found that I tend to hate pancakes the most when they taste too dry or too caky. Yoghurt really helps with this, and it keeps the pancakes moist even a few hours after you’ve cooked them, so they reheat really well.

lemon poppyseed

 

 

Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes
makes about 12, medium pancakes

Ingredients
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces Chobani lemon yoghurt
butter for cooking

lemon poppyseed

 

I like to start this process by measuring out all of my ingredients and setting them up. This is fun because you can have the entire family help with different ingredients, and then when you’re done, all you have to do is combine everything to make the batter!

lemon poppyseed

 

Then, mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Juice and zest half a lemon. This should produce enough for the batter.

lemon poppyseed

 

Combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, eggs, vanilla extract, and yoghurt in with the dry ingredients. Stir to combine!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After you have finished making the batter, it is time to get cookin’!

Place a medium-sized skillet over medium-low heat. Melt about 1/4 tablespoon of butter for cooking per pancake. I use 1/4 cup to measure my pancakes and this recipe makes roughly 12 pancakes of that size. Cook the pancakes on their first side until you see air bubbles coming up through the middle. Flip and cook until done on the other side. If you like your pancakes more golden than brown (like me), you may need to clean the pan after every few batches to prevent the excess butter from browning!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Top with syrup, butter, fruit, or whipped cream and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Five Days of Smoothie

A few weeks back, William and I tried a smoothie cleanse. We were kinda sorta committed to it (at best), so it obviously didn’t end up being a full cleanse. However, we did get into the habit of drinking smoothies for breakfast each day. We have found that often, smoothies give us more nutrition than a typical quick breakfast and they keep us full for longer. They are easy to make, and what I love most is that you know exactly what goes into them. These smoothies can be easily altered to fit your taste preferences, dietary restrictions, or nutritional needs. Each one takes about five to ten minutes to make. We calculated servings off of pint-sized mason jars (so one serving is about 2 full cups of smoothie).

I decided to post all five recipes together because they are all so simple. Essentially, you throw all of the ingredients into the blender and enjoy your smoothie! There are a few places that require more planning. For soaked oats and chia seeds you’ll want to cover them with hot water in a small dish and let them sit for about half an hour to an hour. This is more important for the chia seeds because it gives them the gelatinous texture they need to act as a binding agent for the smoothie. Oats can be included without being soaked beforehand resulting in a thicker smoothie. Also- whenever a recipe calls for frozen fruit, it is actually not required that it be frozen. If you are planning to drink the smoothie immediately, you might want to stick some of it in the freezer a few hours before you make it so that you can enjoy a cold smoothie. However, if you are planning to make it the night before, it will be refrigerated and cooled overnight anyway, so there’s no need to freeze anything!

Enjoy!

smoothie

Vegetarian Dirty Grits

Dirty grits with hot sauce

Honestly, this first came about as a warm, filling, sick person, comfort food.  However, as the sickness subsided, we noticed the depth of flavor and the pure deliciousness that we had stumbled upon. There are so many different ways to make grits and with this hodgepodge creation, all of the ingredients just clicked.

Another thing to note is that there is a level of flexibility granted to the dish as well; if you want to make it carnivore friendly, you can easily add real sausage or use chicken broth during the cooking process. Aside from having a multitude of options for toppings, this recipe’s leftovers can easily be used to fry up some amazing grit cakes!

DSC_0103

Ingredients
(makes about 3 entree or 9 appetizer servings)
1 cup grits
3 cups water
1 Knorr veggie broth bouillon cube
1 slice Swiss cheese
2 slices Monterey jack cheese
1 slice cheddar cheese
1 slice Colby jack cheese
1-2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
cracked black pepper
kosher salt

optional items
Morningstar breakfast sausage patties (cooked)
hot sauce

 

dirty grits ingredients

To start, add your water and the bouillon cube to a pot over high heat until it begins to boil. Feel free to help the bouillon cube dissolve by crushing it with your spoon and stirring the pot.

veggie broth

While this is heating up, start preparing your cheeses by tearing or chopping them into smaller pieces. This will make it easier for them to melt and to be evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

DSC_0070      DSC_0078

Once the broth begins to boil, add in your grits and immediately turn down the heat to low so that it simmers. Be sure to keep stirring continuously; if this mixture boils or is not being stirred it will sputter and hot grits will go flying everywhere.

grits closeup

After this has cooked for about five minutes, add in your butter and stir for another two. At this point the mixture should become fairly thick. Add in your cheeses and mix thoroughly.

cheeses added to grits

Once the cheese has been completely melted, remove the pot from heat and let it cool. While this is happening add in salt and black pepper as they are a necessity in almost everything delicious.

season the grits

Finally, you should chop your sausage to adorn  your portion of the grits.
DSC_0089      DSC_0090

Add in any additional toppings you would like and enjoy!

cheesy grits

 

 

 

 

Oatmeal Banana Breakfast Bars

banana bars

On the Daniel Fast, breakfasts are usually not too difficult. We have found a few fruit bars that suffice, and we usually have tea. However, we still often miss a good, filling, and hearty breakfast. We are such breakfast people- eggs, biscuits, bacon, hash browns— you name it! Because of this, the lack of warm and “carby” breakfasts has been a struggle.

banan bar

This recipe is SUCH a health nut recipe! I never would have thought I’d enjoy it. It is egg-free, sugar-free, and has no leavening products. It has no dairy products— yes, that includes butter! Every recipe we saw was not quite Daniel Fast friendly, so we had to do a ton of reworking. To add a nice crunch, William had the brilliant idea to include chia seeds! We also added a few spices on the second round of baking and tried baking it for less time at a higher temperature, which resulted in more flavorful and crunchier bars.

banana bar

Also, there is SO much you can do to make this recipe your own! If you’re not on the fast, try adding in some honey or agave for some additional sweetness. You could also add chocolate chips for a more versatile (and kid friendly) bar!

banana bar

One final note: if you are not planning on adding refined sugars, try to use extremely ripe bananas. I am talking about the ones that are on their last leg that nobody ever wants because of all the bruises. The riper bananas have a higher natural sugar content and this will help with the sweetness of the bars. Although the bars will go bad faster, you can always refrigerate or even freeze them to increase their “shelf life”.

banana bars

Banana Oatmeal Bars

makes about 24 small bars

Ingredients
6 large, overripe bananas
6 cups oats
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup water
1 tablespoon coconut oil

banana bar

First, mash the bananas with a fork. To be precise, you want 3 full cups of mashed banana.

banana bar

Add this banana to a large bowl, along with the oats.

banana bar

Next, add the flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and kosher salt. You can buy pre-ground flaxseed, but we have a giant package of whole flaxseed and we just ground it with our coffee bean grinder! However, if you do it this way you will not need a full 1/4 cup of whole flaxseeds to get the 1/4 cup of ground.

banana bar

Everything needs to be mixed together slowly in the bowl.

banana bar

It will take a bit for the oats to be completely coated by the banana, but keep working with it until it is all the same consistency.

banana bar

banana bar

Next, coat a 9×13 pan with the coconut oil. This is important to keep the bars from sticking during cooking, and it also produces delicious, crispy edges that almost taste buttery! Pour the mixture into the pan, and spread it around with a rubber spatula. You want it to be even across the entire pan, because the bars will not rise at all during baking.

banana bar

From this point on, you have two baking options.

For a softer and more cake-like breakfast bar (similar to the Quaker Oats banana nut bars): bake the bars for 40 minutes at 180° F.  After the first 40 minutes, take them out and let them cool for 10 minutes. Carefully cut the bars into 24 squares and flip them. Bake for another 40 minutes.

banana bar

For crunchier, more granola-esque bars: bake for 30 minutes at 360° F. Take the tray out and let it cool for 5 minutes. Cut the bars, and flip them. Bake for another 20-30 minutes.

banana bar

Either way you bake them- after the second round of cooking, take them out and enjoy! They are delicious right out of the oven, but can even be eaten cold in the morning. You can save them in an airtight container, and they will last about a week at room temperature.

banana bar

Enjoy!

banana bar

Scrumptious Smoothies: Banana Almond Oatmeal

banana almond oatmeal

 

I recently purchased a blender/food processor combo. This is quite possibly the best culinary purchase I have ever made- I kid you not! I am in love with the ability to make soups, sauces, dressings, and smoothies so easily!!

 

I would definitely recommend this tool for your kitchen, as it provides a function that is not really possible manually and it also doesn’t take up too much counter space. This is not a kitchen “gadget,” as I would say. Gadgets are unnecessary. They just take up space in the kitchen- things like mixers and garlic peelers and whoopie pie molds. I mean, let’s be honest- how often are you really going to use those things? How much time to they actually save you?

 

I am not at all into excess. My kitchen is necessarily Spartan, as I just don’t have much room to store things. But ,but, but,the blender is soooo necessary. It really opens up the possibilities for your kitchen, and is functional in a way that I never suspected, but will never take for granted again!!

 

So, in honor of my new purchase, I am doing a smoothie series. These are easy smoothie/drink recipes that can be made in a blender. They are all absolutely delicious and I am convinced that it would actually be difficult to go wrong with fruit in a blender!!

banana almond oatmeal

Banana Oatmeal Smoothie
(adapted from the NYT)

 

Makes 2 smoothies

Ingredients
2 tablespoons chia seeds
8 tablespoons water
2 bananas
4 tablespoons oats
6 tablespoons boiling water
2 cups almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons almond butter
2 teaspoons agave nectar

banana almond oatmeal

Do Ahead: Put your chia seeds in a large ramekin, and cover with the water. Let them soak in the refrigerator for 3 hours. Peel the bananas and put them in the freezer for 3 hours.

Hint: peeling the bananas is really really necessary. I did not do this the first time and a frozen banana is not easy to peel.

banana almond oatmeal

 

First, take your soaked chia seeds from the refrigerator and your banana from the freezer to let them warm up a bit.

banana almond oatmeal

Put the rolled oats in a ramekin with the boiling water and let them sit and cook for about 15 minutes.

banana almond oatmeal

 

Slice the bananas, and place them into the blender with the almond milk.

banana almond oatmeal

Add in the chia seeds, vanilla extract, almond butter, and agave nectar.

banana almond oatmealbanana almond oatmeal

 

Check on the oatmeal and make sure that it is cooked.

 

Add the oatmeal into the blender.

banana almond oatmeal

 

Blend everything together on high speed, until the mixture is smooth.

banana almond oatmeal

Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for later consumption!

banana almond oatmeal

 

 

 

 

If you’re looking for a good blender, I use the cuisine art duo, (food processor/blender combo). To get the best bang for your buck, you can also check out Comparaboo’s page on blenders.