maple granola

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Since I’ve been working a regular job with regular hours, finding breakfast foods that are healthy, filling, and quick to throw together in the morning is something I’ve been working on. I’m pretty much a zombie until I make it to my office, so I need breakfast foods that don’t require a lot of mental energy to transform into something edible. I’ve tried fried eggs on multigrain toast, for example, but frying eggs without breaking or overcooking the yolk is too much to ask of myself when I’ve just rolled out of bed.

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So this granola, from the wonderful Smitten Kitchen cookbook (which has been receiving very deserved praise from various corners of the internet since its publication a few months ago) turned out to fit my breakfast needs in pretty much every way. I can make a batch during the weekend that will get me through about two weeks. It takes no effort at all to pair with some yogurt on my weekday mornings. It has lots of healthy stuff, from oats to coconut flakes to pecans to dried cherries, and very little added sugar (some maple syrup to make it sweet, but really not very much at all). I’ve been eating it for breakfast for months now, and I’m still not sick of it.

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It’s so, so easy to make – you basically throw everything into a bowl, give it a few stirs, spread it on a baking sheet and bake for a little under an hour, and, voilà, you have breakfast ready for two weeks, minus the cost, additives, and excessive sugar of anything you might buy pre-made at the grocery store. Writing this is even making me ready for my alarm clock to start bleeping obnoxiously at 6:30 tomorrow morning (which is definitely weird) just so I can enjoy my granola again.  Read the rest of this entry »


maple bacon biscuits

So this is another post that starts with that trip to City Bakery with my friend Mimi. As we were enjoying our hot chocolate, vegan chocolate chip cookie, and pretzel croissant (mm…), Mimi informed me that the maple bacon biscuits City Bakery served at breakfast were amazing and something I needed to try. A week or so later, I took her advice, and I was not disappointed.

After slowly savoring a biscuit at City Bakery, I did some internet searching to see if their recipe was floating around in the ether. It wasn’t, but I did find a recipe from a bakery out in California called Huckleberry. I finally gave these a try yesterday, and they were so very delicious – the biscuits themselves were soft and flaky with a crisp top, the maple syrup added just enough sweetness, and then there’s the bacon – bacon, as far as I’m concerned, doesn’t need an elaborate description to make it sound tasty. Bacon speaks for itself. So instead of making biscuits, frying up bacon, and drizzling both with maple syrup (mm, also sounds good), you can enjoy all three parts in one tasty breakfast treat!

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quiche lorraine

This is perhaps not the light post-holiday fare one wants after stuffing oneself for several days, but I’ve got quite the backlog of posts at the moment, and since the picture has festive Christmas tree lights in the background, I’m going to go ahead and get it out of the way before the holidays are gone entirely. In any case, we can all start eating more healthily after New Years, right? I know I am certainly craving a big plate of vegetables, preferably not drenched in butter or cream.

This quiche is primarily composed of butter and cream, and yet it feels light when one eats it. Many recipes for quiche lorraine floating around the internet include cheese, onions, leeks, all kinds of things. This recipe is the classic: eggs, cream, and bacon. Julia Child says that a true quiche lorraine includes only those ingredients, and I trust pretty much anything she says (well, I don’t trust her crust recipe because it involves shortening and shortening freaks me out, but that’s another thing). You can serve this with a salad, fruit, and/or vegetables of some sort, but I definitely recommend serving it with brussels sprouts that are prepared simply – the flavors complement so well that I think they are made to go together. You should also be sure to have a glass of crisp white wine.

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german apple pancakes

American-style pancakes may be delicious, but they can also often be quite heavy, and you may find yourself (or at least I find myself) in need of a change. Even better, these German pancakes, unlike their American counterparts, are cooked primarily in the oven, and thus do not require you to stand over the stove flipping pancake after pancake. While these pancakes are baking away without requiring any attention from you, you can fry up some bacon and make the coffee to complete this leisurely weekend breakfast.

You start by sauteeing apples in butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon until they are soft, then pour in the pancake batter and transfer the pancake to a hot oven, where it puffs up and gets a little curly around the edges, as you can sort of see in the picture below. Some of those edges may look a bit burnt, but they are in fact caramelized and consequently the best part of the pancake, which is crispy on the edges, and custard-y in the middle. The original recipe recommends serving with caramel sauce or maple syrup, but I thought the pancake was perfect on its own.  Read the rest of this entry »


apple and cheddar scones


I just recently discovered the wonder of apple and cheddar combinations, thanks to a delightful apple cheddar scone I had at a local bakery, Made with Love. After trekking to the bakery several times in just a few days for these delightful scones, I finally decided I’d better learn to make them myself. The recipe I chose, from the SmittenKitchen, came out perfectly – a little crisp on the outside but soft and tender on the inside.

A brilliant thing about making scones is that, unless you have enough people around to eat the whole batch, you can bake just as many as you need, and freeze the rest for another occasion. A little bit of work one afternoon means that you can have fresh scones for breakfast for the next few days, instead of the usual cold cereal or oatmeal.  Read the rest of this entry »


cranberry pecan muffins

Cranberry muffins in the dead of summer may seem a strange choice, but I discovered some forgotten bags of cranberries in the freezer, and in the interest of not throwing out everything before I move, I decided to do something with them. I also conveniently happened to have some pecans and some buttermilk that was on its last legs lying about, so muffins seemed clearly written in the stars. I made these last weekend, when I was still in the “Hey, I’m moving soon so I should use up this leftover food” stage, rather than the current “JUSTTHROWALLTHEDAMNSTUFFAWAYNOW!!@&#%” stage.

So, “real” moving sucks worse than a lot of things. I made it out of my apartment yesterday, and I have all the aches and pains to prove it today, including a slowly mending pulled back muscle from lifting boxes improperly during a fit of rage at the landlady. I knew I was a messy cook (as my mother noted when I was at home a few weeks ago), but there was stuff splattered on every wall, cabinet, baseboard, door, and appliance (maybe the ceiling too?) in the old kitchen, which I somehow never noticed when I was actually living there. I’ll blame some of them on spilled drinks at parties, but oof, scrubbing each and every one off was not so fun. Now we’re on to stage 2, in which we pack, clean, and move everything out of Mark’s apartment, which will be followed by stage 3, in which Mark drives a big scary moving truck with all of our life’s possessions in it to Jersey City. From there, it all becomes a lot easier (we hope).

In the meantime, this recipe hearkens back to a less stressful stage of moving, when it still seemed worthwhile to do something creative with odds and ends that wouldn’t survive the move, before I became exhausted and vindictive towards all items too troublesome to pack. You may want to save these till autumn, when they will be more in tune with the seasons, but in any event they are lovely and tender, tangy from the buttermilk, tart from the cranberries, and, er, nutty from the pecans (ok, I’ve been “helping” Mark finish off some alcohol while writing this, so my command of adjectives is failing at the moment).  Read the rest of this entry »


blueberry muffins

Here’s another breakfast recipe involving blueberries (hey, they’re in season right now). Blueberry muffins were one of my favorite breakfast foods as a child – granted, they were always Duncan Hines, and we used to slather on the margarine, before it came out that margarine was evil. These muffins aren’t quite as simple as the ones from the box mix, but they are still a one-bowl recipe. They are definitely superior in taste and texture – they have a tender crumb that is given a little extra flavor by adding lemon zest. They pair very nicely with your morning coffee.

This is the first time I’ve made blueberry muffins with fresh blueberries (since box mixes always include canned berries), and, as you can see from the picture, they turn into lovely bursts of jammy goodness. I got these beautiful berries at the Market on Broadway, which I highly recommend to anyone in Columbus. They had a nice selection of locally produced fruits and veggies, and some tasty-looking baked goods. I’m a bit sad I’ve only just learned about this farmers’ market’s existence.  Read the rest of this entry »