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Breakfast Hack: Microwave Poached Egg

1 May

Yep. You read that title right. A poached egg. In the MICROWAVE!

I need to eat breakfast during the week. If I don’t, I have a serious crash and get mega hangry. Or I want to eat lunch at 11:00 am. Which doesn’t really work for me when I won’t be eating dinner until 6 or 7 on a weeknight. Getting up for work, I’m not ready to eat breakfast at 7 or 8. I like to eat it later on, because it keeps me satiated and allows me to eat lunch a little later.

I was making up scrambled eggs at home since the chickens are officially back into the habit of producing, but reheating them in the microwave left them a bit dry and rubbery. I found a post over at The Kitchn, which talked about poaching an egg in the microwave. I love me some poached eggs, so this news was amazing to me! Saves me some calories by not having to use butter to cook them, and I can have freshly made eggs for breakfast – on demand!

On the third attempt, I got a perfectly poached egg to smear over my multi-grain toast. Seriously. This egg poached better than the ones I make on the stove top. The trick I discovered is using already hot water, then microwave the egg for 60 seconds. If you read the post over at The Kitchn, they say to put the microwave at 50% power. Our work microwave lacks power, so I don’t do any adjustments and it works out great. If you have a newer microwave, I’d suggest starting at 50% power for 60 seconds and see where that gets you on the egg front. If it looks like it needs more cooking, give it another 30 second burst. I like a slightly runny yolk but a set white. The hot water sets the white without overcooking the center.

I think this is a great option for people who work in an office, or at any job where a microwave is available to heat up meals. Even college kids would benefit from this little trick!

image

Microwave Poached Egg

Tools:

Coffee mug

Small plate/saucer

1 egg

1/3 cup hot water

Put a splash of hot water in the bottom of the coffee mug. Crack your egg into the cup. Add in the rest of the water.

Put your egg filled mug into the microwave, and cover the top of the mug with the saucer – do NOT skip this part! It helps to steam the egg and prevents a hot mess if your egg explodes! ( I only had one incidence where the egg had a mini explosion, and it was before I was doing hot water and have started the microwave for another 30 seconds.)

Microwave for 60 seconds at normal power for older microwaves, 50% power for newer.

Once your egg is cooked to your liking, enjoy! I eat mine over a piece of multi-grain toast with some pepper and garlic salt. Add in some precooked bacon, and you’ve got a protein filled breakfast!

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When the garden gives your zucchini, make Chocolate Zucchini Bread!

12 Aug

 

 

One of the joys of having a vegetable garden is that you know exactly what went on in the growing of those veggies. The other joy is getting virtually free food, right from your own back (or side) yard, from space that would otherwise be grass or weeds. This year, I planted about 10 total squash plants.  A mix of crookneck, zucchini, and what I THOUGHT were yellow squash but turned out to be mislabeled croocknecks. Production was going pretty good once the bees started pollinating the flowers, but the plants are all now starting to die and will need ripped out and replaced with a second crop of squash – the butternut variety! But for right now, I still have a bin full of the zucchini and crooknecks, so I decided to whip up another batch of Chocolate Zucchini Bread. The first batch was delicious, and since it was such a hit, I decided to make another batch. Hopefully this round lasts a little longer.

This bread is moist and has a nice crumb without being soggy like some zucchini breads. The chocolate flavor from the cocoa powder is rich and deep without being overpowering. All in all, I’d say this bread is a winner in my book and will probably be made just one more time before I run out of zucchini.  The picture doesn’t do it justice. Seriously. You should make it just so you can see the loveliness that is this bread with your own eyes.

Enjoy!

chocolate zucchini bread

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

makes 2 loaves

adapted from Simply Recipes

  • 4 cups shredded zucchini
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour – I use King Arthur brand
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups Zulka Morena Pure Cane Sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup butter, melted

Place your shredded zucchini in a colander or sieve placed over a bowl and let drain for 30 minutes.

While your zucchini is draining, preheat your over to 350 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans with butter and a little flour to prevent sticking

In a small bowl, add your flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and kosher salt. Whisk together until well blended, with no lumps.
In a large bowl, add your eggs and sugar, whisking until smooth. Add your vanilla extract, whisking until incorporated. Last, add your butter, and whisk until smooth.

Add your shredded and drained zucchini to your wet mixture, stirring to combine. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, stirring to combine completely after each addition.

Spoon the mixture into your 2 loaf pans, evenly divided between the two. Smooth out the tops with the back of your spoon so it’s level.

Place pans in oven for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely before slicing. Try not to devour it.

I don’t know how long this bread will last, other than a week since that is all the longer it took for the hubs to devour both loaves. Since it makes 2, you can store one in the freezer for later consumption. Just wrap in a double layer of plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn and store. To thaw, remove from freezer and place in fridge overnight.

The DIY Life: Homemade Sweet Cream Coffee Creamer

14 Jun

I’m slacking lately on the posts. Between the garden, weekend obligations, and a ginormous amount of work, ain’t nobody got time for blogging. But before my anniversary camping trip, I decided to grace you all with an easy to do from scratch post.

The hubs and I love to have a morning cup of coffee, english breakfast tea or chai tea. Something about a warm beverage jest feels like it helps to slowly melt away your sleepiness and get you ready for the day! That being said, when you have two people drinking a cup of coffee on average 5 days per week, you can really go through creamer. I admit that I have been purchasing the Sweet Cream varieties in the refrigerated section at the grocery store. 😦 I decided to stop that since only one or two options contain actual dairy ingredients, and all contain additives that aren’t found in homemade versions. This is so simple to make that I can’t believe I was spending $3.50 weekly when I could spend that same amount for enough creamer to last us at least 2 weeks and not be full of artificial ingredients!

This recipe isn’t exact in taste as the store-bought, but that is because I don’t have any chemical taste enhancers. The next batch I make I think I’ll add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to boost the flavor profile.

sweet cream coffee creamer

Sweet Cream Coffee Creamer

1 14oz can organic sweetened condensed milk

3 12oz cans organic evaporated milk (not fat-free or low-fat)

Add all of your cans to a medium saucepan and heat of low heat for roughly 5 minutes, until the milks have combined. Let cool and place inside a container that you can easily pour from. Store in the fridge and use to sweeten your coffee and tea!

Breakfast Deliciousness – Strawberry French Toast Bake

8 Apr

Breakfast is that one meal you should really eat each day. My mornings are usually a rush to get  myself showered and presentable, get the dog fed and outside for potty time, and make sure the chickens have food and water. I could rush less if I got up a little earlier, but I’d rather sleep in a little longer. Those precious extra minutes help to make me a pleasant human. Otherwise…you don’t wanna know. That being said, breakfasts on a weekday consist of cereal, a couple of eggs and an english muffin and coffee, or recently, a smoothie.

Saturday and Sunday I usually put in extra effort for breakfast. Percolated coffee. Bacon or sausage. Fresh made pancakes or Belgian waffles. Biscuits and gravy. Quiche. Not all of those items at once, but a mixture of them, making breakfast more of an event rather than just food for nourishment. Enter in the invention of my Strawberry French Toast Bake. I like to keep a couple of baguette cut into sandwich sized chunks in the freezer. They freeze nice, thaw quickly, and are great for impromptu guests or invites to a party where I will take an appetizer. And, they make for amazing french toast. I had a whole one, unfrozen just hanging around and was in the mood for french toast. But I wasn’t in the mood to soak those little rounds and make a bunch of 3 bite french toasts. I wanted something quick, simple, and hearty. I also wanted something with berries. Whenever strawberries go on sale, I buy a bunch and then cut some up into cubes, freezing them for later uses. The berries took it to another level. Served with some bacon it was a very filling breakfast. This recipe will easily serve a family of 6. Hubs and I had it for breakfast on a Sunday, and then throughout the week. It’s fantastic. A must make.

strawberry french toast closeup

Strawberry French Toast Bake

2 cups frozen chopped strawberries, thawed and excess liquid drained

12 eggs

1 1/2 loaves baguette bread, cut into slices and torn in half

1/2 cup milk

sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg & ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla

Grease a baking dish (I used a heart shape that was roughly 9×9).

In a bowl, combine eggs, milk, spices and vanilla, whipping to combine. Sprinkle some of the strawberries on the bottom of the baking dish. Add in your bread chunks. Scatter the rest of your strawberries all over the top. Pour on the egg mixture, being sure to coat all of the bread.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While your oven is preheating, you’re going to let the bread soak up all that egg mixture.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until top of the french toast bake is golden brown, and the center is set. Serve immediately with butter and maple syrup.

strawberry french toast

German Pancakes with Wine-y Strawberries

18 Mar

Have I ever mentioned that I am a big fan of dessert? No? Well let me clear the air – I am a big fan of dessert. I feel so liberated now. Whew. So, on to the german pancake. I have been eyeballing this treat for some time, but never gotten around to making it.There are SO many recipes out there. Some that are super simple with few ingredients, others that are multi-layered, therefore making something that should be simplistic complicated. It’s called a pancake for goodness sakes! I had a hankering for dessert one day and figured what better time to try one out than right now? But wait. I would totally need a topping of some sort. What a surprise – I had frozen chopped strawberries portioned out into 2 cup servings from when they were fresh and on sale. Ta-da! And I wanted them to be juicy and warm on my warm german pancake. So Wine-y Strawberries were born!

I found the german pancake recipe in one of the old church cookbooks from my Bubba’s collection that were saved and given to me. It was as simple sounding as I was looking for and fairly quick to whip up. I cheated and didn’t sift the flour or really measure out any of the other ingredients. It turned out to be delicous as is. I don’t know the name of the cookbook since the cover has long since been MIA. But it’s got some good old fashioned recipes in it. Along with some weird sounding ones that I wouldn’t feed to an enemy. The recipe makes 2 pancakes, but hubs and split one because I didn’t want to force myself to eat a whole one. He had the other one the next morning for breakfast. Said it tasted great all by itself at room temp and a day old.

This pancake is a nice canvas to add anything you want as a topping, from the sweet to the savory. Just omit the vanilla for a savory dish. It would be good topped with some goat cheese, spinach and artichokes. Mmmm.

German Pancake

Serves 2

adapted from an old church cookbook

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon sugar

2/3 cup milk

2/3 cup flour

2 tablespoons butter, divided

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor or blender, add the eggs, salt and sugar and process/blend until a light yellow color. Add the milk, vanilla and flour and process/blend again until combined.

Grease 2 8 or 9 inch cake pans and divide the batter in between them. Add a tablespoon of butter to the center of the pancake.

Cook for 20 minutes. At 20 minutes, rotate your cake pans and turn down the oven to 350 degrees, cooking another 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and plate up, topping with Wine-y Strawberries. You could also top these with some jam or preserves, fresh berries and whipped cream, or just eat them like a pancake and douse it in maple syrup.

Wine-y Strawberry Topping

2 cups frozen strawberries, chopped (if using fresh, see note)

2 tablespoons sweet read wine

1 tablespoon sugar

In a small saucepan, place the berries, wine and sugar, stirring to combine everything together. Over medium-high heat, cook the berries until the are bubbling and the juices & wine start to cook off and thicken a little. Turn off heat and place the hot berries on top of your german pancake. These would also be a good topping for regular pancakes or even a chocolate sheet cake. Yum!

Note: if using fresh berries, chop them and place them in a small bowl. Add the 1 tablespoon of sugar, stirring your berries to coat and let sit for 10-15 minutes. This will get the juices in your berries to come out, helping you increase your sauce to berry ratio. Then just add the juicy berries to your pan with your wine and cook as directed above.

Raspberry Almond Breakfast Quinoa – Filling, GF, Vegan – and 4 days worth of breakfast!

13 Mar

Let’s face it. If you are a working stiff Monday – Friday, you can be hard pressed to eat a breakfast that is healthy, filling, and easily prepared the night before. Skipping breakfast is not an option for me, and it shouldn’t be for anyone else either. Breakfast is the meal that gets our motors running, our brains firing on all cylinders. Your body NEEDS fuel.  My fellow working stiffs need me to eat breakfast. Otherwise, by 11 am, hunger has mixed with anger, making me hangry…and things can get ugly. So unless I’m not feeling well, I eat breakfast. I’m trying to lose some weight, tone up, and make some adaptable life changes. Eating healthier. Now, I’m not doing a gluten-free diet. I am trying to cut out white pastas & breads, white rice, “whole wheat” pasta’s & breads that aren’t really all that more nutritious than plain old white bread. I’m working to incorporate more whole grains, more quinoa. I’m lucky in that I don’t HAVE to do GF. That my stomach won’t be in an uproar if I eat a sandwich on wheat bread. But I know so many people out there don’t have a choice but to be GF. And since so many people are having to adopt a gluten-free lifestyle, it makes gluten-free food items more readily available to the general population. A welcome side effect. Now, back to the recipe. I’ve been experimenting with quinoa, using it in place of rice and pasta where I feel it’s a good substitute. But everything I’ve been using it in thus far has been a savory dish. I wanted to try it in a sweeter option, like something for breakfast. I wanted to incorporate fruit, since I know that I’m not eating enough servings of it each day. I wanted the recipe to taste good, be healthy, but not lack flavor. I wanted it to be something I could make a big batch of, and reheat throughout the work week. Raspberry Almond Breakfast Quinoa was born. It’s quick and easy to make, has a small list of ingredients, and is a healthy, portable, filling breakfast option! I get 4 packed pint jars worth.

If you aren’t into using almond milk, you could totally replace it with your regular milk. I think chocolate almond milk would also be a tasty sub. Raspberries aren’t your thing? Try blueberries or strawberries in the same ratio. Or do a mix! Use fresh if you have them. I’m using berries that I froze over the summer. Based on the ingredients I used, this recipe is around 125 calories per serving, with maybe 2 grams of fat. You can also sprinkle on some cinnamon, or unsweetened cocoa powder for an extra flavor boost!

raspberry almond breakfast quinoa

Raspberry Almond Breakfast Quinoa

1 1/2 – 2 cups frozen raspberries

1 cup organic quinoa, rinsed thoroughly

1 1/4 cup organic vanilla almond milk

slivered almonds, about 1/4 cup – optional

Stevia to sweeten

In a medium saucepan, add your almond milk and 1 cup of the raspberries. Cook over medium heat until the raspberries start to soften and break apart. Add your quinoa, letting the mixture come back up to a boil. Simmer on low for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside for 10 more minutes. Once the mixture has cooled slightly and thickened, sweeten with Stevia to taste. I used about 1 1/2 teaspoons Stevia powder for mine to get it to the taste I wanted. Portion your quinoa mixture into pint mason jars, filling right up to the threaded part of the jars. Top each jar with the other cup of raspberries, sprinkling each jar with slivered almonds. Seal jars and store in fridge. You can reheat this on the stove, in the microwave, or enjoy it at room temp. Either way, it’s good!

raspberry almond breakfast quinoa closeup

Breakfast Idea: Bacon Egg & Cheese Mix/Spread

28 Jan

I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – I LOVE BREAKFAST! I can’t help it. It’s the best meal of the day in my opinion, and breakfast for dinner is really a treat. But back to this spread. It’s cheesy, it’s got some zing from the mustard powder, smokiness from the bacon, and the mayo helps bind it all together and up the creamy quotient. Another plus is on it’s own it’s Gluten Free (obviously you’ll have to put it on GF bread or crackers to keep it that way)! It’s yummy, quick, and can be used in a variety of ways listed below.

egg spread broiled

Bacon Egg & Cheese Mix/Spread

adapted from The Pioneer Woman

12 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

12 slices bacon, cooked and chopped

2 cups freshly grated cheese ( I used Colby Jack)

1/2 cup Hellman’s Light Olive Oil Mayo

1 heaping teaspoon mustard powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

6 slices bread of choice

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until just combined. Refrigerate 1 hour to let flavors meld. (If freezing, skip this step)

egg spread premixeggspread mixed

I have used this recipe 4 different ways, all with great results:

1. Frozen – Top english muffins with mixture and freeze individually. Remove from freezer letting thaw overnight for use the following day. Place under broiler for roughly 5 minutes, until golden brown and warmed through.

2. Microwaved – for 30-60 seconds and topped on crackers.

3. Traditional – top a toasted piece of bread or english muffin with the mix, and place under broiler for about 5 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.

4. Appetizer – follow original directions, but chop the egg and bacon a bit finer. Heat is a small crock pot and serve with crackers, melba toast, or slices of baguette bread. Yum!

With breakfast being the most important meal of the day, I feel that you need variety! A cold bowl of cereal just won’t cut it to cover 7 days a week! I hope you guys enjoy this breakfast treat as much as we do!