Playing with Pancakes

As many of you may know, I am absolutely obsessed with breakfast, so it is only natural that I love pancakes.  Over the past few months I have been really interested in how different types of pancakes are made, and I have been looking at all kinds of recipes to try and find a pancake that is unique, and somewhat healthier than the traditional buttermilk pancake.

While looking on Pinterest one day, I came across a banana pancake recipe that was literally just a mashed banana and an egg.  I immediately ran to the kitchen to try it out, seeing as bananas and eggs are both a huge part of my diet.  The pancake came out well, but I found it to be way too moist.  It was hard to flip it without it falling apart.  But after that pancake adventure, I decided that I would continue to make that banana pancake, but each time I made it, I would alter the recipe a little, just to see what would happen.  After about a week of pancake experimenting, I finally had a solid recipe that I was very happy with and that is what I am sharing with you now.  I just love how versatile a pancake can be!

Here is my recipe for Banana Oat Pancakes

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Ingredients

1 cup Old Fashion Oats

1/2 banana, mashed

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 egg

1/4 cup milk

2 Tbsp Honey

1 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

coconut oil for pan

 

Directions

Mix all ingredients together until just combined.  Heat pan on medium and add coconut oil.  Use a 1/4 cup measure to spoon batter into the pan.  Wait for bubbles to appear around the edges of the pancake, about 1-2 minutes, and then flip.  Repeat with the rest of the batter.

And that’s it! Easy, right? And so delicious (and healthy!)  I encourage everyone to play with this recipe too, and let me know if you come up with something even better.  After I made this, I thought adding cinnamon and a little nutmeg might make it even better!

Keep experimenting and Enjoy!

 

Pumpkin Oat Streusel Muffins

It’s only November 8th and I am already seeing Christmas EVERYWHERE! No. Not okay. Christmas doesn’t come until AFTER Thanksgiving.  In my mind, it’s still fall, and that means more baking with pumpkins, apples, cinnamon and nutmeg.  I had some leftover pumpkin in the fridge, so I started looking up recipes.  I don’t know if I have said this before, but I get most of my recipes from foodgawker.com.  That’s where the creative cooks live.  It is a website that is very focused on the visuals of food, which is always important.  My favorite part about it, however, is that almost all the recipes are from food blogs.  I am able to find all kinds of creative recipes that I would not normally come across if I just did a Google Search.

I narrowed my search down to two muffin recipes and decided to combine different aspects of them.  The result was this AMAZING muffin that I will absolutely be making again.  Did I mention that the apartment smelled like pure heaven?

Here is the recipe for Pumpkin Oat Streusel Muffins

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Ingredients
Muffins

½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup pumpkin puree
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
¾ cup quick oats
1½ cups flour

Streusel Topping

1/3 cup oats
1 tablespoon flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks

Directions
  1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Cream butter and brown sugar in a bowl. Add pumpkin and eggs and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, add salt, baking soda, baking powder, spice, and oats. Add flour and mix until combined.
  4. Slowly fold dry mixture into wet mixture.  Stir until just combined
  5. For the streusel topping: in a small bowl mix together the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix in the butter with your hands until the mixture is crumbly.
  6. Divide batter evenly between 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over each muffin.
  7. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until lightly browned on top or toothpick inserted comes out clean

Muffin recipe adapted from jensfavoritecookies.com

Streusel topping recipe adapted from twopeasandtheirpod.com

This is the last month to enjoy fall so I suggest you do so by making some of these muffins to share with your friends. They are good, trust me! I am on my third one.  Enjoy!

Apple Chips: Just in time for fall!

Okay, fall is by far my favorite season of the year, and living in New England, that means beautiful fall foliage, sweater weather, scarves, boots, pumpkin spice lattes, cider donuts, and apple picking.  Two weeks ago I went apple picking for the first time with one of my friends.  It was an absolutely beautiful day and the contrast of the red Gala apples against the stunningly blue sky and the bright green leaves was just incredible.  But even better was picking and eating tons and tons of apples (my apple of choice was Fuji).

Once I got home, I wanted to make anything and everything apple related.  I started out by making a batch of applesauce, then an apple oat bread that was not my favorite because I’m pretty sure i didn’t put enough sugar in it AND undercooked it (whoops).  I then used my applesauce to make one of the best banana breads ever to enter my kitchen (recipe here).  After these adventures I decided that I wanted an apple snack.  I came across the idea for apple chips on Pintrest one day when I was putting off doing an assignment for one of my classes.  These things are so easy to make and they taste so yummy!  I have to admit, I finished them in about 2 days, so I will definitely be making more!

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Apple Chips

Ingredients

  • 2 Apples (I used Fuji, use your favorite variety)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (add more to your liking)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl until combined
  3. Wash and dry the apples. Thinly slice the apples using a mandolin, to 1/16 inch. If you are using a knife, try to slice the apples to no larger than 1/8 inch. Remove the seeds from the individual slices.
  4. Spread the apples slices onto the lined baking pans making one single layer
  5. Use a pastry brush to lightly cover each slice of apple with a little bit of honey (I found it easier to melt the honey for 10 seconds in the microwave so it was easier to spread)
  6. Gently sprinkle each apple slice with a thin coating of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Turn over the apple slices and apply honey and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar.
  7. Bake for 1 hour, then flip the apples (I used my fingers to turn the apples), and bake for an additional hour. Depending on the thickness of the apples, continue to bake for additional time if needed until crispy. To test the doneness, remove the apples from the oven and allow to rest at room temperature for 5 minutes. If the apples are not crunchy, continue baking the chips. Make sure to check the color of the apples, as too much time will cause them to burn if not monitored continually.
  8. Once the apples are cooled and have become crisp, store chips in an airtight container for up to 1-2 weeks. However, they are so addicting they may not last that long!

Recipe adapted from jessicagavin.com

I found that even though some of mine were not completely crispy, they were still incredibly delicious!  How can you go wrong with apples, cinnamon sugar, and honey?  The only suggestion I have is to ALWAYS have a timer on for this recipe.  Because the apples are in the oven for so long, it is easy to forget that they are there.  This is an easy way to cook and do work at the same time!  I hope you love these as much as I did! Enjoy!

Breakfast Pizza

Ok, I know, I haven’t posted in over 6 months! How dare I!  But last semester was long and challenging…but good news, I GRADUATED!!  And now I am officially a grad student.

So then why did I not have oodles and oodles of time to cook over the summer?  Because I worked at a wonderful camp called Birch Trail for 9 weeks.  Yes, it was amazing.  No I did not cook anything while I was there. But it was a great summer!

But onto the important part…the food!  As some of you may know, my all-time favorite meal is breakfast.  I love eggs, bacon, sausage, waffles, pancakes, french toast, hashbrowns…the whole 9 yards.  But I wanted to try something a little different when cooking at home.  I got the inspiration for this breakfast pizza from a restaurant I went to with some of my friends over Labor Day weekend called the Armsby Abbey.  Although I did not end up ordering the breakfast pizza there, I made a mental note that I had to try making something similar when I got back to my apartment.

So without further ado, here is my version of the Breakfast Pizza

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Breakfast Pizza
Ingredients
1 bag prepared whole wheat pizza dough (I got mine from my local gorcery store)
1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
3 thick slices Canadian bacon, cooked, chopped
3 eggs
2 medium tomatoes, diced
green onions, sliced for garnish
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
  2. Divide pizza dough into three sections and roll each section into a ball.  Roll out each portion of dough into a 9-inch circle
  3. Prepare the toppings. Slice the mozzarella, chop the bacon, scallions, and tomatoes.
  4. Place one 9-inch circle of pizza dough on a greased baking sheet and spread the mozzarella in an even layer on the dough. Top with the bacon. Crack an egg in the center of the dough and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the crust is golden and the whites of the egg are cooked. Remove pizza from the oven and top with fresh tomatoes and sliced green onions. Repeat with remaining 9-inch dough rounds.
  5. Enjoy (with others, or by yourself…like I did) 😉

Recipe adapted from cherryonmysundae

I promise that I will try to post as much as possible this semester.  Every time I make something I take a picture of it (yes, I’m one of those people), so I might as well put it on my blog too!

I hope this inspires some of you to look at breakfast in a different way! Enjoy!

Korean-inspired Pizza

Well I’m back, and I want to apologize fo my long hiatus.  But as you can imagine, I was on winter break and preoccupied.  This recipe actually comes somewhat from an experience I had while I was traveling to India this past December.  We always take Korean Airlines to India which means that we have a layover in Seoul, South Korea.  During our 3 hour layover there, my dad convinced me to get a kimchi noodle bowl.  It was just about the best thing I have ever put in my mouth.  Don’t get me wrong, I have definitely had kimchi before, but this just reminded me how much I loved it.

Then after coming back from India, I had my wisdom teeth out and was in front of the TV for a week which obviously meant I watched the Food Network.  On one show, a restaurant’s specialty was a Korean pizza.  It then clicked in my head that kimchi would taste delicious on a pizza with a few other ingredients, and I decided to make it as soon as my mouth was healed enough to enjoy it!

So with all that in mind, here is the recipe for Bacon Kimchi Pizza:

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Ingredients
  • 1 ball store-bought pizza dough
  • Organic tomato sauce (about ½ of a 15 oz. can)
  • Freshly grated low-moisture mozzarella cheese (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup kimchi, coarsely chopped
  • 4 strips crispy cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 3 scallions, root ends trimmed
  • drizzle of sesame oil
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 500°F and place a rack in the lowest possible position. Lightly grease a pizza pan or rimmed baking sheet with non-stick spray or olive oil OR if you own a pizza stone, place it in the oven before you turn it on, and let it heat up.
  2. Stretch pizza dough into a round shape large enough to fit your pizza pan or to fit on pizza stone. Use flour or cornmeal to make the dough easily slide from the wooden pizza board to the stone in the oven.
  3. Start by spooning on the tomato sauce. Using the back of the spoon, spread the tomato sauce evenly over the dough. (Less is more when it comes to tomato sauce.) Next, sprinkle cheese then chopped kimchi and crumbled bacon over the pizza. Thinly slice white and light green parts of each scallion and scatter on the pizza. Thinly slice remaining dark green stalks on a bias and reserve.
  4. Transfer pizza to the preheated oven and cook until the crust is golden brown (on a pizza pan about 11 – 13 minutes, on a stone 5-6 minutes). Remove pizza from the oven and let cool for a few moments.
  5. Finish with a sprinkling of sliced scallion greens and a small drizzle of sesame oil. Cut pizza into even slices and serve hot.

Recipe adapted from kitchenkonfidence.com

Hope this encourages some of you to use delicious ingredients in new ways!  It certainly made me think out of the box! Enjoy!

Shrimp, Mushroom, and Asparagus Risotto

Rice is a staple food in many cultures and is a very versatile ingredient.  Growing up with an Indian (and jewish) background, we had a lot of rice with our meals.  But surprisingly it wasn’t until college that I actually made rice by myself.  It’s a pretty easy process, and if you have a rice cooker (which I have not yet invested in) it’s even easier.  It’s a great grain to eat with sauces too because it soaks it right up.

Risotto is also a type of rice (Arborio Rice) but unlike many other types of rices, it is much more starchy.  This scared me a little because I wasn’t sure what that mean cooking-wise.  I had only really eaten risotto in restaurants before this, so I was cautious around the idea of making a risotto dish.  But my roommate Liz seemed to know the basic process, so I decided to give this recipe a try.

Here is the recipe for Shrimp, Mushroom, and Asparagus Risotto:

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Ingredients

  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound white mushrooms, chopped
  • 10-15 spears of asparagus, chopped
  • 12 oz uncooked shrimp
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat.
  2. Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the mushrooms and asparagus and cook until mushrooms are soft, about 3 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until barely firm.  Remove all contents from pan and set aside.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet.  Add rice, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 minutes. When the rice has taken on a pale, golden color, pour in wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Add 1/2 cup broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. After the rice is done, turn heat to low and add the mushrooms, asparagus ,and shrimp back to the rice.  Cook for about 3 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, add salt and pepper, and serve.

This recipe ended up being a lot easier than I anticipated.  It took a little longer than regular rice, but because of the chicken broth, the rice was a lot more flavorful then I expected.  This is now one a go-to recipe for Liz and I because the steps and ingredients are simple and the result is delicious! Enjoy!

It’s Soup Season!

Fall and winter are always the best time to make and eat soup and there are two reasons why.  One, it’s cold out, so a bowl of soup warms you up from the inside out.  Two, it’s cold and flu season, and what better remedy for a sore throat and headache then a piping hot bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup?  As I am in college, I wanted this to not take too long, and I came across this recipe that is very time flexible   Now I have my very own batch of chicken noodle soup that I made all by myself, and on this cold day of November, it’s the perfect comfort food!

Here is the recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup:

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INGREDIENTS:
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1-3 garlic cloves, to taste
1 1/2 pounds (about 6) chicken thighs, preferably bone-in
1 bay leaf
1-2 quarts chicken stock
1/2 pound noodles
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1-3 teaspoons salt

EQUIPMENT 
6-quart soup pot
Long-handled spoon
Pasta pot

DIRECTIONS

1. Cook the Vegetables: Warm a teaspoon of oil over medium heat in the dutch oven or soup pot. Add the diced onions, celery, and carrots with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables just start to soften, 3-5 minutes. Clear a space in the middle of the pan and add the garlic. Cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds, then stir the garlic into the vegetables.

2. Sear the Chicken: Remove the skin from the chicken thighs, but leave the bone in. (Boneless chicken thighs are also fine in this recipe, but the bones add richness to the broth.) Move the vegetables to the edges of the pan and warm the remaining teaspoon of oil in the middle of the pan. When hot, add the chicken thighs, fitting them into a single layer. It’s ok if they are snug. Cook without moving for about 3 minutes, until the underside is seared golden. Flip the thighs and sear the other side until golden.

3. Add the Broth and Simmer: Add the bay leaf and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the pot. Pour in one quart of the broth, reserving the remaining quart for later. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30 minutes.

4. Shred the Chicken: Move the pot off the heat and transfer the chicken to a plate with a slotted spoon. Use two forks to pull the meat apart into shreds (or chop into cubes). Remove and discard any bones. It’s ok if the meat is still a little pink in the middle at this point.

5. Cook the Pasta: Bring a separate pot of water to a boil for the pasta. When boiling, salt the water generously and add the pasta. Cook until the pasta is barely al dente and the drain. 

6. Finish the Soup: Return the shredded chicken to the soup and bring to a simmer. If the chicken wasn’t quite finished cooking, continue simmering until it has cooked through.  If a thinner broth is desired, add additional chicken broth. Remove the bay leaf, and taste the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.  Spoon some of the pasta into a bowl and spoon the soup over the pasta and serve.

**REMEMBER** If you add the pasta directly to the soup, it will keep absorbing moisture, which often makes the pasta soggy.  To avoid this, store the pasta separate from the soup and serve it with the soup in individual portions.

Recipe courtesy of theKitchn.com

With a bowl of this homemade soup in hand, all you need is a blanket and a good movie, and you are ready for the fall and winter months! Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie for Breakfast

I have always loved the amazing taste of pumpkin pie.  It reminds me of beautiful fall days and getting together with family and friends for the holidays.  But the problem I always have with pie is that it is served as dessert.  Being such a foodie, I am usually too full from an amazing dinner to have room in my stomach for pie.  I can’t fully enjoy my pie if I’m already stuffed full from a previous meal.  So this is the solution…have it for breakfast!!  That way I can start the day with the delicious flavor of pumpkin and I can fully enjoy the taste of it because I will not be suffering from the food coma of a prior meal.

Because this recipe is the breakfast version of pumpkin pie, it is in the form of a muffin (a traditional breakfast food) but it still has all the flavors and spices that a normal pumpkin pie would have.  It’s perfect for a crisp fall morning when I’m running to class and don’t have enough time to sit down and eat a bowl of cereal.

Here is the recipe for Pumpkin Pie Muffins

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Pumpkin Pie Muffins
Makes about a dozen

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and eggs. Mix until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda, salt, and flour.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, and mix on low until just combined.
  5. Divide the batter among lined muffin tins, filling each cup ¾ full.
  6. Bake for 17-22 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out with just a few crumbs.

Recipe courtesy of SnixyKitchen.com

Although pumpkin pie is a classic fall food, it is sometimes fun to present those flavors in a new way.  I chose muffins because breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  I hope you enjoy these muffins as much as I (and my roommates) did! Enjoy!

Not-Your-Typical Mac and Cheese

I have always loved cheese.  Growing up, cheese and crackers were a regular snack in my family.  Now that I’m in college, I can’t exactly go out and buy all those nicer cheeses because I just don’t have the money, so I try and find other ways to fit it into my eating habits.

Traditional boxed mac and cheese is a college staple.  All you have to do is heat up some water, add it to the pasta, and pour in the cheese powder.  But…CHEESE POWDER?? That is definitely not what I want to be eating.  If I am going to be eating cheese, it should at least be real and not have orange food coloring in it!  So this recipe is my solution.  Yes, it takes a little longer than instant mac and cheese, but it is so worth it.  It has other ingredients like broccoli and chicken that make you feel better about what you are eating too.  You also get REAL cheese in your macaroni, not some fake powdered nonsense.  So get rid of your boxed college food, and get cooking with some real cheese!

Here is the recipe for the Broccoli Sundried Tomato Mac and Cheese

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Serves 4

Ingredients:
8oz large macaroni noodles
3 cups small broccoli florets
2 large chicken breasts (about 1lb), cut into bite-sized pieces
salt & pepper
2 teaspoons oil (I used oil from the sun-dried tomatoes)
6oz Laughing Cow Lite Cheese Wedges (I used Garlic & Herb)
3/4 – 1 cup milk
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

Directions:

  1. Cook macaroni noodles in a large pot of salted, boiling water. Add broccoli to the pot 3 minutes before noodles are done cooking, then drain well and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Remove to a plate and set aside. In the same skillet, add cheese, milk, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, and pepper, then stir until cheese is melted, and sauce is thick. Add cooked chicken, noodles, and broccoli to the skillet then stir well to combine. Add more milk if sauce isn’t creamy enough, then serve.

Recipe Courtesy of http://iowagirleats.com/

For this recipe, I thought that Laughing Cow was a great idea because it is creamy, lite, and it is a really good melting cheese.  It also does not cost too much, and to top it off, only 35 calories a wedge! Enjoy!

EXTRA! Here is a little example of the prep process!