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Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

Struffoli

How much do you love these right now?

They are marble size fried balls of dough that comes out to play at Christmas time in most Italian home. The dough is simply made with some flour, eggs, butter and some aromatic. Traditionally a few teaspoon of orange or lemon zest is added to the dough. For this recipe, I swap the zest for some grounded cinnamon, ginger and a dash of nutmeg to spice up the dough nice and merry.

What tempted me most about making this is that after frying, the entire ball is coated in honey! This makes my head spin with excitement. The honey coat also gives out a pretty shine and helps each morsel adhere to each other. I imagine them hugging together tightly.

The best part about waking up on Christmas morning is getting my hands all sticky by breaking off each piece and having them with my morning coffee. And getting those tiny bits of sprinkle stuck under my teeth is just half the fun.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis. Click here for the recipe.

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Breakfast Couscous

Sometimes I can get a little difficult when it comes to having breakfast. Mainly, because I am picky about what to have in the mornings but mostly because I can’t decide on what to have. Yes, I can be such a brat when it comes to breakfast. I love my breakfast sweet. Like, jam on toasted English muffins, blueberry pancakes, Danish pastries, French toast and… you get the picture, right? Bottom line is I like it sweet. So, when I found out that you can have couscous for breakfast I was totally sold!

Making couscous can’t get any easier and especially when you pair that up with some fresh berries and then drizzle it with some maple syrup and if you’re feeling a little crazy, how about a splash of fresh cream? It’s kinda like having oatmeal only it’s not. It’s breakfast couscous for the sweet tooth.

Breakfast Couscous

1 ½ cup skim milk
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of vanilla beans
Pinch of salt (optional)
1 cup dry couscous (whole wheat)
1/4 cup raisins

Topping
your choice of fresh berries
maple syrup
fresh cream

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, honey, cinnamon, vanilla beans and salt. As soon as it comes to a boil, stir in the couscous. Turn off the heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes then stir on raisins. Then finish it with your favorite toppings and serve it warm.

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Blintzes always look so irresistible simply because it’s made from a thin like crepe pancake which I like and then stuffed with a cheese filling, which I love. You can fry this babies up or simply brush them with some melted butter and bake till it crisped up and served it with some fresh whipped cream or fresh fruit. Now, you may enjoy this either sweet or savory and most of the time the filling is cheese and sometimes with chocolate.

I love making this for breakfast and sometimes I even serve this as a dessert.  This kinda reminds me like a delicate version of a burrito only you can’t really fold it up like an eggroll. The idea is to tug in the sides so that the creamy cheese filling don’t ooze out while you fry or bake it. I usually place it on a sheet pan line with silpat or a non-stick baking paper then lightly brush it with some melted butter and pop it in a preheated oven on 400 degree F for about 20 minutes or until it is nice and crispy.

Making your own crepes can be sometimes be daunting and it can also be a lot of fun. Usually the first crepe is always the one that lets you down (kinda like your first love) and after you get pass that, the rest would be a breeze. I normally make the batter a head of time and let it rest in the fridge for an hour or so; that way the crepes will develop a better texture. You can start making the crepes ahead of time and then stack it on a plate and then you want to cover it with a clean dish towel to prevent it from drying.

As for the filling, you can add almost anything you want. My favorite is a mix of ricotta, cream cheese with a couple of egg yolk, vanilla beans and powdered sugar. I have also tried using cottage cheese with a mix of blueberries and sometimes, banana and some chocolate. Yes, it is all pretty darn yummy.

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I need to stock up on my stash of granola bars. Yes, I am running low and now I have a sudden craving for some chocolate granola bars. I just need to have my fix for something decadently healthy and after searching through my pantry, I realized that I have pretty much all the ingredients I need to make my own bars from scratch. Yes! These chocolate granola bars are so good and can be very addictive. You can pretty much add anything you want to this mix.

I normally make my granola bars with a variety of dried fruits and nuts and that is delicious as is. But since I am on my chocolate high, I decided to infuse the granola with some vanilla bean and some natural dutch cocoa powder to it. This makes a great snack anytime and perfect for your breakfast-on-the-go.

Chocolate Granola Bars

2  1/2 cups oats
1/4 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup almonds, chopped
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup dutch cocoa powder
1/2 cup honey
4 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix together the oats, wheat germ, sunflower seeds and almonds in a sheet pan. Toast them in a preheated oven for 10 minutes on a 400 degree F oven or until nice and toasted. Let cool in a large bowl and set aside.

Line a 7×11 inch baking dish with a non stick baking paper or use a cooking spray. 

Heat the brown sugar, cocoa powder, honey, butter, vanilla, and salt into a saucepan and bring to a simmer or until the sugar is melted. Then add this to the oat mixture. You want to toss everything together till it is nicely incorporated.

Place the mixture on to you prepared baking dish. Press and pack down your granola so it will be nice and compact. This will prevent your bars from crumbling.

Let the bars set for 3 hours on the baking dish. Then place the granola onto a cutting board and cut it to whatever size you like.

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There is something so comforting about a cookie bar. You sort of get the feeling that you’re eating a granola bar only it’s not. It’s decadent, chewy and above all it is pretty darn good. I would use just about any excuse to just turn my oven on, even in this crazy hot summer heat. I would do it even if I have to stick my head in the freezer every once in a while. It would so be worth it. I made this into drop cookies before but I personally prefer this in a bar version so much more. Plus, it makes dunking a whole lot easier!

Oatmeal and Cranberry Cookie Bar

Ingredients
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon grated orange zest
3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup white chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Greased and line an 8 x 8 pan.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg, then stir in the vanilla and orange zest. Combine the flour, baking soda,cinnamon and nutmeg; stir into the butter mixture.

Stir in the oats,cranberries and white chocolate chip (if desire). Press cookie mixture into a greased 8×8 pan

Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. Allow to cool then cut into bars.

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What I love about these bars is that it’s made from fresh raspberries and it is so easily put together.  If you’re like me, and have been making these in the past with raspberry preserve than you might want to try this version. It takes a little more than twisting a jar but the end results is nevertheless very rewarding.

The lemon juice and the zest really bring out the sweetness of the fresh berries. You can even try this recipe with different kind of berries or even mix it up. I like having this with my morning cup of coffee and it even taste wicked warm out of the oven with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Raspberry Crumb Bar

1  1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1  1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup unsalted cold butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 8 inch square pan, and line with greased foil.

Combine whole wheat flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and rolled oats. Rub in the cold butter using your hands or a pastry blender to form a crumbly mixture. Press 2 cups of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Spread the raspberry filling to within 1/4 inch of the edge. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the top, and lightly press it into the filling.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool before cutting into bars.
For the raspberry filling:
3 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Make the raspberry filling: In a medium bowl, mix together sugar, honey, lemon zest, vanilla, corn starch and lemon juice. Then, toss in the raspberries gently using your hands until the raspberries are evenly coated.

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