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

Image

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!

 

Advertisements

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!

Image

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

Image

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:

Image

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!

Pear Tart: A Holiday Treat

Well, I’m home for the holidays, and that means lots and lots and LOTS of cooking and baking with my mom.  This is a time of year I look forward to because the food is abundant and the company is wonderful.  My mom and I are usually baking up a storm in the kitchen, my dad is on the computer commenting occasionally on the smell wafting into the room, and my younger sister does not miss a beat to tell us what to make next.  Toby, our west highland terrier, is the best vacuum cleaner we could ever ask for and cleans up any morsel we drop on the floor.  All in all, a somewhat chaotic scene, but I wouldn’t ask for anything else.

This particular recipe is one of my favorites that my mom makes.  It’s a great winter dessert and is perfect after a big holiday dinner.  I always make sure it gets made when I come home from school because it is one of my favorite desserts.

Here is the recipe for Caramelized Upside-Down Pear Tart:

Image

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 large firm-ripe Bosc pears (2 pounds total)
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  •  Pastry dough (1 store-bought, or homemade)

DIRECTIONS

Peel and halve pears, the core (preferably with a melon-ball cutter). Heat butter in a 9- to 10-inch well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides, then stir in sugar (sugar will not be dissolved). Arrange pears, cut sides up, in skillet with wide parts at rim of skillet. Sprinkle pears with cinnamon and cook, undisturbed, until sugar turns a deep golden caramel. (This can take as little as 10 minutes or as much as 25, depending on pears, skillets, and stove.) Cool pears completely in skillet.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round and trim to a 9 1/2- to 10 1/2-inch round. Arrange pastry over caramelized pears, tucking edge around pears inside rim of skillet. Bake tart until pastry is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on rack 5 minutes.

Invert a rimmed serving plate (slightly larger than skillet) over skillet and, using pot holders to hold skillet and plate tightly together, invert tart onto plate. Serve tart warm or at room temperature.

Recipe courtesy of epicurious

When my mom and I make this, we always make the pastry dough, but if you don’t have enough time to do that, store-bought dough is just as good.  I know Trader Joes has frozen pie crusts year round.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much and my family and I do! Enjoy!

Calling All Vegetarians!

So this past week, I was looking for something new and exciting to make.  I decided on something burger related because I was craving that at the time.  But as I browsed through burger recipes, I came across this little gem.  Although I am usually beef or turkey patty kinda girl, this bean burger caught my attention.  It might be because I grew up in a house with a vegetarian (my dad), or it could be that I am subconsciously moving away from my obsession with meat (don’t worry, I’m still a bacon addict) and onto an interest in just interesting and different recipes.  This recipe is for a parmesan, kale, and white bean burger.  Yes, I have never bought kale in my life, and my mom’s jaw dropped when I told her that I had used kale in a recipe.  But HEY, you gotta try new ingredients sometimes, right?  Anyways, they turned out really well, and I chose to eat them with mixed greens and a horseradish sauce.  To tell you the truth, I have no idea how I came up with the idea of putting horseradish sauce on it, but it worked out quite well, so I was very pleased with the combination.

Well enough talking from me! Here is the recipe for Parmesan, Kale, and White Bean Burgers

Image

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large leaves kale, stems removed, leaves chopped
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups cooked white beans (or 2, 15 oz. cans rinsed and drained)
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 2 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs

DIRECTIONS

In a skillet set over medium heat, cook onion and garlic, in bit of oil, until softened. Add kale, water and spices. Cook until kale is wilted.

Mash beans in a large bowl with a potato masher or the back of a fork. Add kale mixture and remaining ingredients, mashing as you go. Season mixture with salt and pepper.

Divide and form into 6 patties. Cook on the grill or the stove top over medium heat, until both sides are browned and patties are heated through.

Serve over a bed of lettuce and drizzle with horseradish sauce (recipe below)

HORSERADISH SAUCE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3-4 tablespoons prepared horseradish

DIRECTIONS

Mix sour cream and horseradish together until blended.

Recipe courtesy of kitchensimplicity.com

This was a recipe that I stepped out on a limb for, and it ended up being really delicious; in the end, a good risk taken.  So go ahead, buy your first (or 100th) head of kale and take the leap of faith.  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:

Image

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!

Halloween Popcorn

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays.  It is the one day (or multiple days in college) of the year when you can dress up as anything you want and no one will question why.  I take a lot of time to figure out my costume and I have never in my life bought a costume.  I always put it together from pieces of clothing I own or sew it myself.  It’s more fun and creative that way.  The other thing I love about Halloween is the candy (who doesn’t).  Just like all the trick-or-treating kids, I can’t wait to get my hands on some candy.  But eating that much candy is obviously not very healthy, so I came up with something just as tasty but consisting of less sugar.

Here is the recipe for my Halloween Popcorn

Image

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bag kettle corn or salted popcorn, popped by bag instructions
  • 1/3 cup candy corn
  • 1/4 cup semi sweet mini chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cover a baking sheet with wax paper and spread out the popcorn so that it is in one layer
  2. Put the candy corn in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals siring after each interval. Once the candy corn has melted, use a spoon to drizzle it over the popcorn.
  3. Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 30 second intervals siring after each interval.  When the chocolate has completely melted, add the vegetable oil to the melted chocolate.  This will help the chocolate drizzle better over the popcorn.  Use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the popcorn.
  4. After both the melted candy corn and chocolate have been drizzled over the popcorn, let the popcorn sit for about 20 to 30 min so that the candy and chocolate hardens.
  5. Once hardened, remove from baking sheet, break into smaller pieces, and serve!

This is a nice easy (and healthier) way to enjoy Halloween candy without actually consuming that much candy! A win-win situation all around.  It is also really quite cheap and one batch of this only costs about $1.50 to make! I ended up serving this at a small Halloween party I threw for my friends, and it went FAST!  So let the kids have the candy and help yourself to some Halloween popcorn! Enjoy!

Cheesy Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts have always been a weird food to me.  When I was younger, it was one of those taboo foods that I just wouldn’t eat.  But as I’ve gotten older and a little more willing to try things out of my comfort zone, I’ve warmed up to the idea of them.  My mom is an amazing cook, so she introduced brussels sprouts into my diet in a variety of different ways.  But I have never actually cooked them myself.  After having brussels sprouts in a few different ways, I realized that they can be overcooked very easily, and when they are overcooked they turn to mush…fast!

When I decided to make brussels sprouts for the first time, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t overcook them.  Obviously I asked my mom for a few tips because she is the expert, but I wanted to figure it out on my own as well.  I chose to use this recipe because, 1: I love cheese, and 2: because I was not ready to eat brussels sprouts plain…yet.  I wanted some type of sauce or other flavor to contrast the flavor and texture of the brussels sprouts.

Here is the recipe for Cheesy Brussels Sprouts:

 

Ingredients:

  • About 1.5 pounds of Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 3-4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • black pepper to taste

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 425°F

  1. Clean and trim stems of Brussels sprouts. Cut in half. Place all halves flat-side down on a baking sheet and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper
  2. When the oven is pre-heated, put the brussel sprouts in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the bottoms of the brussels sprouts are browned.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pan, melt butter then add flour and quickly stir with whisk to combine and remove clumps. Turn off heat.
  4. Add milk, salt, cheese, mayo and black pepper. Stir until cheese is melted.
  5. Add Brussels sprouts and combine with cheese mixture. Pour into baking dish and turn down the oven to 350°F.  Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until brussels sprouts are tender but not mushy and cheese sauce is barely bubbling.
  6. If desired, sprinkle extra cheese on top of the brussel sprouts.
  7. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve.

Recipe adapted from Whiteonricecouple.com

I was so impressed with how these turned out.  I realized that whatever I wasn’t cooking I was missing out on.  Now I’m going to try and challenge myself to work with ingredients that I am not necessarily familiar with.  That way I can discover all kinds of new recipes!

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

Image

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!