Category Archives: Breakfast/Brunch

Protein-Packed Omelet

You know what is fantastic in an omelet?
Cottage Cheese!
Now, friends.  Don’t be afraid.
It truly is amazing.
Don’t knock it until you try it.
Okay?
When you are looking for some serious protein to start your day,
this will be a fabulous and delicious solution.
I promise!
Let’s Cook!

Omelet with Salsa and Cottage Cheese

Serves 1

2 large eggs
1 Tb water
Cooking Spray
1/4 cottage cheese
2 Tb Salsa
1 tsp chopped jalapeno (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Break eggs into a bowl and add water.
Beat until smooth and one color.
Spray a medium non-stick skillet with cooking spray.
Heat skillet over medium-low heat.
Drain any extra liquid from cottage cheese.
Add eggs to skillet.
Let it cook for 2 minutes.
Be patient!
Lift the side of the omelet and tip the skillet.
This will let the uncooked egg run to the side and cook it.
Add cottage cheese, salsa, and jalapeno to half of the omelet.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Fold opposite half over and continue to cook for 1 additional minute.
Slide omelet onto a plate and enjoy!

Desayuno

Ahhhh, Breakfast. It is your taste bud’s first impression of the day. It is one of my favorite meals…along with lunch and dinner.
And snack time.
I never understood the large amounts of people who skip breakfast each and every day.
I have never skipped breakfast.
The one time I did, I was at acting camp, and I started to faint during warm-ups.
Although everyone probably thought I was acting.
I once had a roommate who HAD to eat breakfast food before anything else.
That meant if we went out for lunch and she hadn’t eaten by then, she would eat a quick bowl of cereal before we left, or just order breakfast food or lunch.
To me, breakfast is not abut what you eat, but about when.
Before 9 AM.
I can eat anything for breakfast.
Sushi? Yes.
Octopus Salad? Yes.
Tacos? Yes
You name it, I probably have had it for breakfast.
I’ll be honest though, actual breakfast food is what I crave.
I love cereal. I love eggs. I love pancakes.
When we go out, I order omelets.
When we stay in, I make blueberry wheat pancakes.
This particular weekend we had tacos on a Saturday night. That could only mean one thing for the next morning…
Southwest Scramble Breakfast
serves 2
4 eggs
4 Tb Milk
1/4 c chopped red and yellow pepper
1/4 c chopped onion
1 chopped canned green chili pepper
2 Tb Olive oil
1/2 c cheddar cheese
1 handful of cilantro
2 dollops of sour cream
1 spoonful of salsa
Crack eggs and whisk with milk. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat olive oil in a pan.
Add Onions, peppers, and Chile pepper.
Cook until onions are soft and translucent.
Turn heat down to medium-low.
Add eggs.
Immediately begin to move eggs around in the pan.
Continue to do so until eggs are not wet, but still glossy.
Split in half and plate.
Top with cheese, salsa, sour cream.
Sprinkle with cilantro.
Serve with refried beans and guacamole.
muy bueno.

Being Flaky

Okay, okay. I know it has been a while. About 3 months you say? Wow. I have gotten lazy. What can I say? I thought about making a New Years resolution to keep up my blogging, but we all know resolutions are just made to be broken. So here I am, back again. Hopefully the start of some momentum that will keep me up with the writing. I guess only time will tell…

Now that the holidays are over, I always go through the emotional dilemma about what to do with all of the Christmas cards we received. Nowadays most of them are picture cards, so easily throwing them in the recycling bin does not happen without a great deal of deliberation. I feel like I could really hurt some one’s feelings if they saw their family picture in the garbage, but I truly don’t know where to put it. I have a pile of my own pictures starting from last summer that I have yet to place in a picture album.

How about the family update that comes with some of those letters? I love hearing about the family and all of the things every person has been up to the last year, but sometimes they make me feel pretty useless and really, really lazy. One update we received recently started about the couple’s work for Habitat for Humanity, then went on to talk about how they have been in the works for 3 years to adopt a child from Africa, and finished by casually mentioning that the husband had donated a kidney for a friend in need. I swear, this is a true holiday letter we received! These saints are friends of my husbands and have every right to brag about what they have been up to the last year. However, as I listened to my husband read the letter out loud I felt myself shrinking into a thumb-sized person wearing a tent sign reading “DID NOTHING FOR HUMAN KIND THIS YEAR!”

I don’t send Christmas cards because I feel I am doing something good for the environment. No, let’s be honest. I have never sent them because I am pretty lazy. BUT IF I DID, this is how my family update letter would read:

My life is great. I have so much to be thankful for. My family is happy and healthy, my daughter is growing and talking up a storm. She goes to school twice a week where she has learned her shapes, colors, and how to talk back to her mommy. We are so proud.

The great husband is just that, a great husband. Working hard, spreading his time out wisely, and giving me a foot massage almost every night. (No joke!)

I am happy to be here in Cincinnati. I miss my sister and friends like crazy, but they are special enough to me that when we talk, it is like no time has passed. And last but not least, I have conquered my arch nemesis and culinary school…PARISIAN CROISSANTS!!! I have finally mastered the art of laminated doughs…3 years later! I couldn’t be more proud of myself. These moist and flaky bundles of heaven are worth the 3 years of trying at home. Sold at around $3 a piece in a bakery, you save yourself some major buckage by making these yourself.

This recipe was taken from the notes I took from chef Heidi Hedecker’s Intro to Baking and Pastry at Kendall College.

PARISIAN CROISSANTS

1 lb Water
8 oz. Milk
2 oz Compressed Yeast (or % oz. instant yeast)
4 1/2 oz. Sugar
3/4 oz. Salt
2 lb. 12oz. Bread Flour
1 lb. 8 oz. Cold Butter for Roll in
1 Egg

Add dry ingredients together in a mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook. Warm the milk to approximately 90°F (32°C). Stir in the yeast.
Add the milk-and-yeast mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir until combined, then knead on medium speed for 10 minutes.

Place the dough in a large floured bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour.

Prepare the butter while the dough is rising. Place the butter in an even layer between two large pieces of plastic wrap and roll into a flat rectangle, approximately 8 inches x 11 inches (20 centimeters x 27.5 centimeters) and chill.

After the dough has risen, punch it down. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle, approximately 1/2 inch (1.2 centimeters) thick and large enough to enclose the rectangle of butter.
Place the unwrapped butter in the center of the dough and fold the dough around the butter, enclosing it completely.

Roll out the block of dough into a long rectangle, approximately 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) thick. Fold the dough in thirds, a single book fold. This completes the first turn.
Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for approximately 20 to 30 minutes.
Repeat the rolling and folding process two more times, chilling the dough between each turn. When finished, wrap the dough well and chill.

To shape the dough into croissant rolls, divide dough in 3 lb pieces. Roll out 8 ” wide, 1/4″ thick.

Cut the dough into uniform 3 oz triangles making sure to cut a divot into the middle of the large end. Starting with
the large end, roll each triangle into a crescent and place on a paper-lined sheet pan.

Brush lightly with egg. Leg rise until doubled, but do not allow the dough to become so warm that the butter melts.
Bake at 375°F (190°C) until golden brown, approximately 12 to 15 minutes.

Sometimes I forget how smart children are…and conniving. My husband has been away for work the better part of the last 2 weeks, which has left me a lot time spent with my daughter without a break. Don’t get me wrong, I feel very lucky to have the luxury to to stay home with her. Although, sometimes a mama just needs some adult time outside of the house.

You see, Quinn probably knows that somethings up. There are some boxes and clutter that weren’t there before, Dad has been quite busy, and Mom has been quite stressed. I can tell that she senses that there are more major changes on their way. Her way of coping with all of this has been to test me…hard. She knows the rule of keeping food at the table, but she likes to secretly walk away with it and get my attention when she is finally on the couch, leisurely eating away. This morning while my back was turned, she managed to get her smoothie down off the table and spill it all over the chair in the living room, then called my name to show me how she was splashing in it.

Yes, this is partly my fault. I was busy making breakfast, and the eyes in the back of my head were obviously resting.

Of course there are many moments when she just makes me laugh and know that she is still just a child and all she knows is how to love and have fun.

-Like when she sees a furry dog and says “ROAR” because she thinks it’s a lion.

-When she dances or cries while watching her reflection in the wine refrigerator door. (Apparently I did a lot of this when I was little, but my reflection was in the side of our metal toaster.)

-Or when I have the news on and she hears Barack Obama’s name and starts to yell out “OBAMA! OBAMA!” while shimmying her shoulders up and down.

(DISCLOSURE:I am not brainwashing my child here. She just likes the sound of his name.)

-Or when she sees any stranger that makes eye contact with her and stops in her tracks and says “Hi!” If they are lucky and stick around a few seconds, they too can see some sort of dance routine.

Yes, this is my daughter these days. Challenging, yet loving all the same. She wakes me up every morning by yelling from her crib, “Down? Down? Down?” Then when I walk in the door she immediately tells me she is ready for breakfast by saying “MMMMMMMMM!”

Breakfast is her favorite meal of the day. Mine too. I am one of those people that must have breakfast every single day.

Breakfast Sandwich

serves 1

1 whole wheat English muffin, toasted

1 slice Halloumi cheese*

1 large slice of tomato

1 fresh egg at room temp.

Cooking spray

Bring a small pot of water to a simmer. In a pan, heat cooking spray over high heat. Place cheese and tomato in the pan. When tomato and cheese are nicely browned, flip over and cook until opposite side is browned as well.

Stir the pot of water quickly so there is a small tornado, or a vortex, in the middle. Quickly crack the egg and pour it into the middle of the vortex. Cook for 4 minutes. Remove egg with a slotted spoon and place on English muffin. Assemble sandwhich as desired.

*Halloumi Cheese is a fantastic Greek cheese that can be grilled or fried without totally melting. It becomes hot and soft, but stays intact making it perfect for sandwiches.

Cupcakes for Breakfast

Our balcony has been neglected the last month or two. The weather started to turn cold, our plants and herbs began to die, and the wind had blown things around. It was time to venture out there and see what the true damage was. I looked around. The theme to Sanford and Son popped into my head. It was a disaster. How could we have let such a small space get so disgusting? I tied on my gloves and went to work.

10 minutes later I was finished.
I know, I know, ten minutes is nothing. You’re right, but it is only a 4′ x 8′ balcony. What do you expect?

In that 10 minutes I had worked up an appetite for breakfast. I bought a tube of biscuits awhile ago that I had yet to use. They were tempting me to try something new and different, so as long as I was having an adventurous day, I decided to go for it. Here is what I came up with:

Savory Egg Cupcakes

serves 4

1 tube biscuits
4 eggs
1/4 Italian cheese blend
Cooking Spray
4 Tb Pesto

Preheat oven to 450F.

Remove 4 biscuit dough rounds from tube and roll each one of them out into a round on a floured surface. The round should be about doubled from it’s original size.

Spray a cupcake pan with cooking spray. Place one dough round into each of the cupcake molds.

Crack eggs into a bowl. Place one yolk and a tiny bit of white into each mold on top of the dough.

Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle cheese on top. Let cool for 2 minutes. Remove egg cupcakes from muffin pan and serve atop a tablespoon of pesto.
Here is what I did with the remaining biscuits from the tube:

Roll rounds into balls and place them next to each other, touching, on a greased cookie sheet. Drizzle melted butter on dough. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 450F for 10 minutes.

Tree Hugging Goodness

I remember one of the best things about babysitting people’s kids when I was younger was checking out what kind of food they had. Most of the time, the family had way more junk food than my mom had in the house, so after the kids went to bed I tied on the feed bag and ate my way through the boredom.
There was one family though that had no junk food at all. It was never a ton of fun babysitting there. They had all natural foods like nuts, berries, Muslix, and granola…and no cable TV! I always called them the hippy family. Looking back I realize they weren’t hippies, just healthy and outdoorsy. Not too much of a rare thing to see in families these days, but back then I had never seen it before.
Now I have a family of my own and I think I would truly disappoint a babysitter looking for goodies. As an adult, I love things like nuts, berries, Meuslix, and granola. Especially homemade granola. It’s not just for hippies anymore. My sister Colleen and I decided to wing it and try to make our own. It turned out pretty great if you ask me. This version turned out chewy, not really crunchy so it can also be made into bars.

Granola
4 c Oats (not instant)
1 stick butter
1/2 c dried cherries
1/4 c almond slivers
1/4 c pistachios
1 1/2 c honey

In a large pan, melt butter. Add oats and continuously move around over medium-high heat. You will do this until they begin to toast and turn a light brown color, about 15 minutes.
Pour toasted oats into a bowl, add nuts and cherries and stir well. Slowly pour in honey while stirring. Continue to stir until honey is evenly distributed.
Spread granola out on wax paper and refridgerate for 2 hours. Store in zip lock bags.
To Make Bars:
Pack granola into a small baking dish that is sprayed with cooking spray. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Cut into bars and serve. You can also individually wrap bars and keep for later.

The Great Pumpkin

For my entire life my absolute favorite season has always been the fall. I love the color of the leaves, the crispness in the air. I get excited to break out my long sleeve shirts and sweaters, and hide my tanslucent white legs with jeans! Halloween and Thanksgiving are such festive holidays that bring people together for laughter, fun, and food.
I know, I know, it’s only September, but there is a chill in the air. This means fall is on it’s way.
The flavors of fall are another selling point for me. I love root vegetables, apples, and most of all pumpkin. I know I wrote this not too long ago, but I warned you that pumpkin would be coming up a lot here in the next few months.
What’s more comforting on a cool fall morning than a slice of warm pumpkin bread with butter? Not much. Here is another one of my favorite ways to use pumpkin.
Moist Pumpkin Bread

2 eggs
1 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c butter or margarine, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, sift dry ingredients. In a mixing bowl, beat sugar and butter until creamy. Add eggs one by one while still mixing. Add vanilla. Slowly add dry ingredients. By hand, mix in pumpkin. Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes. Cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from pan. Serve warm with butter