Muffins are an awesome breakfast and snack food, when you make them yourself. The problem with most store-bought muffins is that they add in preservatives to keep them fresh far longer than is normal, tons of sugar to make them tasty and your body crave it, and other crappy additives and chemicals to fool your brain and tongue into loving them and wanting more.
As I wrote in my vegetable scraps article and all about juicing, fruit and vegetables peels and scraps can sometimes be worked into muffin recipes to make them more nutritious and fiber-full, as well as help reduce food waste. This does depend on the type of scraps you have, so use common sense. If you juice a cucumber, grapefruit, tomato, and celery, that would likely make some weird-tasting muffins. But if you juice all fruit, save that pulp for this recipe.
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1 tbsp vanilla flavor
1/2 stick butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup fruit pulp – (in this case apple and mangoes which I juiced)
Step 1: In a large bowl, combine the wet ingredients (milk, eggs, vanilla, butter, fruit) and mix. In another bowl, mix all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder). Pour the wet into the dry and mix well.
Step 2: Line 2 muffin pans with paper or spray with cooking oil. Pour about 1/3 cup batter into each muffin cup. You can see I also sprinkled a little extra brown sugar on top.
Step 3: Bake in an oven pre-heated to 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until fully fluffed and golden brown.
Step 4: Remove and let cool.
Now you have fresh baked muffins to enjoy! You can freeze these for easy on-the-go breakfasts and snacks throughout the week. The flavor can be whatever you want to add, get creative and try different combinations of fruits, vegetables, or nuts.
Scones are a popular breakfast, brunch, or tea-time treat. Linked historically to Scotland, Ireland, and England, it is unclear who really deserves the credit of invention. The original scone was made of oats, shaped into a round, cut into 4 to 6 wedges, and baked over an open fire. Nowadays, scones are similar to biscuits, made with wheat flour and baking soda or powder, producing a hard, dry texture.
Scones can be plain or “fancy”, with added raisins, orange rind, chocolate bits, honey, or other added flavorings. They are usually served with clotted cream, also called Devonshire cream. It’s quite easy to make with just a few things you likely have in your fridge. Check out TheNibble for a history of both. For a very large list of scones you can try, wander over to The Kitchen Project.
I had been given a boxed mix for scones some time ago, and when blueberries went on sale, I knew it was time. I also had a few fresh lemons, and so it was destiny. If you are feeling brave, feel free to try making your own scones, perhaps using the Pioneer Woman’s recipe.
1 box scone mix (or your own)
1 cup milk
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 fresh lemon (juice + rind)
2 tbsp melted butter or margarine
1 package cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk
Step 1: Pour dry mix into a large bowl. Add the milk and eggs, and stir until it becomes smooth.
Step 2: Grate the lemon rind onto a plate, save the lemon as well. Add the blueberries, lemon juice, and rind to the dough and mix well. (Feel free to add a splash of vanilla or almond flavoring here for an extra dose of yummy)
Step 3: Take 1/4 cup of dough at a time, and shape into small rolls on a buttered cookie sheet. (You can also do the classic whole round, then cut into triangles. Or make whatever shape you want). Brush the melted butter onto the scones.
Step 4: Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes, until browned all over and solid. They smell delicious!
Now you have fresh, warm scones! You can eat them naked, add some butter and/or honey, or make some cream and serve with jam. Clearly, I’m all for sugar-shock when it comes to breakfast treats. I made these over the weekend, so calories don’t count. 😉
To remind you, here is what you need for your very own clotted cream. It’s best to let it all come to room temperature to mix, then refrigerate for an hour or so. Don’t fret too much if you can’t do so.
1 package cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk
Step 1: Add all ingredients to a bowl, and use a hand mixer to beat together. It should take about 2-3 minutes to become thick and smooth. Add a little more milk if you want it thinner, don’t add as much or beat for a longer period of time if you like thick cream.
These are the jams I had, which were totally perfect for this. Peach preserves and cherry jam. Both were equally delicious. Good together too!
The finished cream, nice and thick. I could seriously just eat this stuff with a spoon it’s so good!
You can add extra sugar if you want it sweeter, or forget it if you like the tang. Try unflavored Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream if you dare.
More photos, just to make you drool a bit.
If you aren’t convinced to make these on a weekend, there’s nothing more I can do here. Just enjoy pining for them I guess.
You can see the bowl of cream is nearly empty… oops.
And this is the cherry scone my s.o. demolished. I think we both had about 4 each. The box recipe made 8-10, depending on how large you make your scones. I need to have a brunch party so I can make these again.
Yeah, this one is definitely inspired by my adorable carnivore SO. Meat-man loves beef, pretty sure I only trump steak by a few points. Therefore, when we had a grill-out at a park with some friends and came home with some leftover burger patties, he was a happy camper.
As I often do on weekends, I woke up early, checked email and Twitter, blogged a bit, and decided what fancy thing I would make for breakfast. I love weekends because there is so much more time in the morning to make something other than pop-tarts or a smoothie. (Don’t get me wrong, I looooooove smoothies.)
I decided on pancakes.
About this time, meat-man comes stumbling sleepily into the kitchen, and heads straight to the fridge. Upon noticing the nicely browning pancakes, and seeing the leftover picnic food, his eyes light up. I quickly made the connection too, and though it breaks so many nutrition rules, I had to admit I was curious.
Yes, I’ll let you have a pancake burger. For science.
It grosses me out personally, and makes my arteries cringe, but if the happy noises and time it took to demolish (about 15 seconds) is any evidence, it’s damn good. So if you’re feeling brave or want to make a man you know speechless with joy, have at this breakfast beast.
As you may or may not know, I love this website called SparkPeople. They have trackers for all sorts of things: water intake, workouts, food intake, weight, recipes, etc. It’s a great community and getting bigger. People are really supportive, and there are so many inspiring weight loss stories! All for free.
Anyway, a lot of my recipe inspirations come from there, and when I saw this Strawberry Cheesecake Shake appear in my inbox the other day, I knew I had to try it. See, I ordered some Whey Protein Powder on Amazon, and love it. BulkSupplements has some great, clean supplements, and the best price-per-ounce out there. (I have their anhydrous caffeine powder too, for really slow mornings!) As with all supplements, you need to be safe, and use your best judgment. Ask your doctor if you aren’t sure what or how much to take.
Anyways, I like this protein powder because it is just powdered whey (like from milk) so there is no added sugars or calories or flavors. I can put it in anything. And this shake calls for protein powder, so I think: perfect breakfast! The claim is that this tastes like strawberry cheesecake. Really? Does anything “healthy” taste like the unhealthy food it claims to mimic? I’ve had way too many promising sounding yogurts turn out to be chalky and awful. But stick with me…this one’s a winner. With only 3 ingredients (if you don’t add the extras) and about a minute to make, this one qualifies for my “Less than 5” too I think. Ingredients: 1/2 cup milk (I used vanilla soymilk) 1/2 cup cottage cheese 1 1/2 cups strawberries (fresh or frozen) *2 tsp almond flavoring (optional, or vanilla) *2 squirts liquid stevia — use the sweetener of your choice. Honey, splenda, sugar, naked… *1 tbsp whey protein * = all optional, add to taste or don’t add, your choice
Step 1: Blend the milk and the cottage cheese together until smooth. This is the important part, make sure there are no cheese chunks left. Pulse in the blender for 30-60 seconds, then dip in a spoon. If you pour it off and no chunks are left, you’re good, continue.
Step 2: Add the sweetener, flavoring, protein powder, and strawberries. You could use any fruit here really, peaches would be good, or raspberries. Strawberry-banana is always a solid bet.
Blend for 1-2 minutes, until smooth and creamy.
Step 3: Pour into a container and enjoy! I took this for breakfast, and I swear to you it really does taste like a liquid strawberry cheesecake. The protein from the cottage cheese and the whey powder made it extra filling, so I wasn’t the least bit hungry until lunchtime. This would be a good post-workout snack if you cut it in half too. Enjoy!
Servings Per Recipe: 1
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 2.7 g
Cholesterol: 10.5 mg
Sodium: 518.6 mg
Total Carbs: 36.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.2 g
Protein: 19.4 g
(Note: Adding protein powder will increase the protein level and likely calorie count)
Omelets are an always popular breakfast item. Usually reserved for the weekends or a restaurant, I wanted to show you how easy they can be. As explained in my Ham & Greens Frittata post, the difference between and omelet and a frittata is that a frittata has all the ingredients mixed into the eggs, it is all cooked together, and not folded up. An omelet is partly cooked, and then the ingredients are added in and the eggs are folded around the other ingredients. Most are intimidated by the flip, or fold technique. However, with a few simple tricks you can make a fluffy protein half-moon like a pro chef in no time.
Ingredients: 3 eggs (large, fresh, and room temperature if you can) 1/2-1 cup chopped veggies of choice Meat and or cheese if you like Vegetable spray, olive oil, or here I use coconut oil for the pan
Step 1: Add 1 tbsp coconut oil (olive oil, etc) to a warm frying pan. Saute and veggies or fully cook any meat you are adding. Set to the side to keep warm.
Step 2: Break all three eggs into a bowl and lightly whisk. You can use one or two whole eggs and the rest egg whites if you are concerned about cholesterol, or use egg substitutes. They should work just the same.
Step 3: Now the (not so) tricky part. Pour the eggs into the pan. You can wait to add the other ingredients until the last minute, or just add them on top of the eggs like I did. When the egg starts to cook (you will know by the change in color and texture) push it down the sides of the pan with a spoon or spatula. Mix up the egg in the center a little too. This helps to get the egg to cook on the bottom.
Step 4: Wiggle the pan around as you use the spoon or spatula to push the cooked egg to the center, and tilt it to get the uncooked egg to run up the sides. Repeat until most of the egg is cooked. Then, using a spatula or spoon, flip the egg in half, covering the fillings. It’s a great idea to add a sprinkle of cheese first for a gooey inside at the end!
Step 5: Let cook for another few minutes, then flip and cook a few more. This is just to ensure that all the egg inside heats enough to cook fully.
Sprinkle with a bit of cheese, and enjoy! You can use whatever type of vegetables or beans you like here. Onion, mushroom, greens, zucchini, and peppers work great
Of course, for the carnivore in the house I had to make a ham & bacon one too. All breakfast meats are amazing in omelets as well. Get creative, try any combination that sounds good. And don’t worry about not getting the half-flip perfect. Worst case scenario, you still have some delicious scrambled eggs. Either way, break an egg and enjoy!
Frittatas are an awesome brunch staple, because they are easy to make and infinitely customizable. This would be a great Easter brunch option! They are the perfect answer to a vegetarian source of protein. Add in tofu, beans, and whatever veggies you want, but the eggs do the heavy lifting in the protein department. One typical large egg contains 6 g of protein, which is 12% of the recommended daily allowance for an adult (source: USDA). It also has keratin for your eyes, vitamin D, A and B, with only 70-80 calories. There aren’t many other protein sources with as complete nutrition for such a low per calorie count.
What’s a Frittata anyway?
Frittatas are most similar to a crust-less quiche. So if you love quiche but want to cut down on carbohydrates, calories, and saturated fat without sacrificing taste and versatility, a frittata is perfect for you. There is some confusion as to the difference between a frittata and an omelet. The main difference is that omelets traditionally have the egg mixture cooked and folded around a filling which is added on top at the last minute, whereas a frittata is all mixed and cooked together, not folded over. A frittata is also traditionally baked in the oven for all or part of its cooking time. Your best choices for a perfect frittata are cast iron or a non-stick oven-safe frying pan. Now, if you have never tried a frittata, it may be intimidating. Or perhaps you have tried before with little luck. They turn out too dry, tough, overly browned, stuck to the pan, or too bland. That’s ok. There are a few tricks to the perfect frittata every time. Whatever pan you use, make sure to spray with cooking oil or spread some olive oil around so the eggs don’t stick. You need more for stainless steel than for non-stick or cast iron. Then make sure to cook any meat thoroughly first, then the veggies, then add the eggs. The rest of the tips are below.
Ingredients: 6 large eggs 1/2 cup spinach 1 cup cooked asparagus 4 slices deli turkey Cheddar cheese Spices (Mrs. Dash & garlic salt) Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400. Cook any meat you’re using first (bacon, sausage, chorizo), remove it, and drain any fat. Then cook your veggies until slightly softened. You want them to still have a little crunch, as they will be cooked further.
Step 2: Add the meat or tofu and heat until warm. Season liberally here, as you will lose some flavor. I used a Mrs. Dash seasoning mix and generous amounts of garlic salt.
Step 3: Spread the contents of the pan into an even layer. You can sprinkle on a little cheese to let it melt here. Then beat the eggs in a separate bowl until fluffy and pour over the veggies and/or meat. Tilt the pan around so the eggs spread all the way to all edges. Let it cook just until it begins to set and is hard around the edges.
Step 4: Put the whole pan into the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. When you cut a hole in the center and no raw egg is left, pull it from the oven. Let cool 5-10 minutes, then cut into wedges like a pie and serve.
It turns out only gently browned but cooked through. The eggs are springy and light, and it is super filling without feeling heavy.
Frittatas have so many uses! If you’ve had a late day and are starving but don’t want too complicated of a dinner that you can make fast, just throw whatever veggies into it, have a nice glass of wine with it, and there’s a 20 minute dinner. If you’re having friends or family over for brunch or lunch, add a light salad. If you want to make a nice weekend breakfast for yourself or your family, just make some toast. Frittatas are so versatile.
Enjoy, and Happy Easter!
(Easter Sunday is the 20th, in case you didn’t know. I had to look it up too, don’t worry.)
Since it is March 14 (or 3.14) it is international Pi Day, the day to celebrate the number pi. The Roman symbol above is how we write pi in math class. It is defined as the circumference of a perfect circle divided by its diameter, or the distance around the outside divided by the distance perfectly halfway across.
Conveniently, Albert Einstein was also born on March 14th. But as for the number, possibly it’s biggest (and only) claim to fame is that it is infinite. There is quite literally no end to the digits if you calculate it out exactly.
The digits of pi have inspired people to memorize strings of thousands of numbers, competitions, “the million digits of pi”, create poetry and music with these numbers. There is even a PiDay organization with a website that has all kinds of fun facts and stories about Pi.
A clever t-shirt showing how “PIE” in a mirror is 3.14 Pi!
In honor of this unique number I’m posting a special recipe, for pie of course!
Because blackberries were on sale this week, that is the fruit I chose. However, you can use any berry or fruit you like, including frozen.
2 pie crusts (I cheated and store-bought. If you’re baking-savvy or brave, you can try making your own pie crust, like this one from Pioneer Woman)
4 cups blackberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp milk
3 tbsp butter (or Country Crock)
Step 1: Let the dough thaw for 10-20 minutes on the counter top, if it broke at all smush it back together with your fingers.
Step 2: Combine all ingredients but butter and milk in a large bowl to coat the berries with flour and sugar. Pour into your bottom crust. Place little chunks of butter around on the top.
Step 3: Place the other crust on top, and make sure to cut some hole to vent. I of course had to go full-nerd and cut “3.14” into the pie.
Step 4: Brush the top with milk (or egg) to make sure it gets nice a golden. Bake on a baking sheet in the middle of the oven at 400 for 12-15 minutes, until nice and bubbly and golden.
Cut yourself a nice slice along the radius and enjoy!
This is so amazing warm out of the oven, topped with vanilla ice cream or cool whip. It’s warm and sweet and melty… MMMM! It is also amazing as breakfast with a cup of hot coffee. =) And because you desperately need to know the millionth digit of Pi: 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510582097494459230781640628620899862803482534211706798214808651328230664709384460955058223172535940812848111745028410270193852110555964462294895493038196442881097566593344612847564823378678316527120190914564856692346034861045432664821339360726024914127372458700660631558817488152092096282925409171536436789259036001133053054882046652138414695194151160943305727036575959195309218611738193261179310511854807446237996274956735188575272489122793818301194912983367336244065664308602139494639522473719070217986094370277053921717629317675238467481846766940513200056812714526356082778577134275778960917363717872146844090122495343014654958537105079227968925892354201995611212902196086403441815981362977477130996051870721134999999837297804995105973173281609631859502445945534690830264252230825334468503526193118817101000313783875288658753320838142061717766914730359825349042875546873115956286388235378759375195778185778053217122680661300192
Just kidding. But if you really do want to know all one million go here. Are you doing anything to celebrate Pi Day?
Sometimes in life, our good intentions drive us to over-buy on produce. Then we have cabbage rotting in the crisper, wilted kale and celery, oranges drying out on the counter, or brown-spotted bananas on the table. But this is not always a bad thing. Wilted veggies can be put in the freezer to become vegetable stock at a later date. Fruits that aren’t moldy can be juiced or put into smoothies. And my favorite thing to do with mushy, old bananas is to make banana bread. This is why I never worry about buying too many bananas, because I know the ones that get old and turn brown are going to be made into a delicious breakfast or anytime treat! If I only have one, I put it in the freezer until I accumulate 3 or 4 bananas. Then it’s game on. For this version I got the basic recipe from Simply Recipes and added some extras of my own. Ingredients:
3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
1 egg, beaten
1 cup sugar (can easily reduce to 3/4 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (or blackberries)
1/2 cup dried cherries
Step 1: Mash the bananas in a bowl. Add the wet ingredients: egg, butter, vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, blueberries and cherries. Pour the wet into the dry and mix well.
Step 2: Spray an oven-safe bread pan with oil, and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until browned on the outside and a fork comes out clean in the middle.
This bread is soft on the inside with a perfectly crunchy top crust. The blueberries and cherries are chewy sweet surprises in every bite! I think this bread is perfect for adding all sorts of fruit goodies, you could use any berry you like. Healthify it with whole wheat flour, or add flax seeds. Use splenda or nutrisweet instead of regular sugar. Use applesauce instead of an egg to make it totally vegan. The possibilities are endless!
And for only 228 calories a slice, this is a great grab-and-go breakfast or evening snack to ward off a sweet tooth without breaking the calorie bank.
Amount Per Serving
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
I always say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However I also understand mornings can be the busiest time of the day. This is why I have become quite talented at whipping up fast, hot, filling breakfasts in under 30 minutes. Sometimes, I even make several breakfasts I can leave in the fridge or freezer, then reheat and run out the door.
If you have a few minutes to spare in the AM or some time on Sunday to get ahead for the week, this a perfect idea to make filling your belly in the mornings easy. I made two, but you can scale this to whatever size you want. . Ingredients: 2 tortillas 2 eggs, scrambled 1/4 cup cooked beans (I used canned kidney) 1/2 cup veggie (sliced zucchini featured here) 2 slices cheddar cheese
Step 1: In a sprayed or non-stick skillet, cook the veggies (I’ve used peppers, onion, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, squash, carrots…). Add the beans just to heat them, then pour in the beaten eggs.
Step 2: Cook the eggs until fully done. Sprinkle on some salt or other seasonings if you like.
Step 3: Heat the tortilla for 10-15 seconds in the microwave, then add the cheese and half the egg mixture. Fold both ends of the tortilla in, then roll it up. I ate one that morning and saved the other for the next day.
Please do get creative, you could add refried beans, black beans, spinach, sriracha… the possibilities are endless so you never get bored. These are also a quite affordable source of some major protein.
While maple syrup is delightful, sometimes you feel a little bolder at breakfast time. When I get bored or simply want something unexpected, I make up my own syrups. Since I had a huge amount of leftover pineapple upside down cake and sweet potato pancakes from breakfast at Snooze in Denver (which could be a huge post in its own right, seriously GO THERE, it’s amazing), I decided to make a pineapple-y syrup to go with them. This would be a great syrup to make and have breakfast in bed for Valentine’s Day (or the Saturday following).
1/2 can pineapple chunks
1/4 cup pineapple juice from can
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
Step 1: Put all ingredients into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then simmer 5-20 minutes, until it thickens to your liking.
These were the sweet potato pancakes, so those got extra love: melted marshmallows!
Step 2: Pour over pancakes. Stuff yourself silly, and smile. I bet this would taste great over my Perfect Pancakes too.
What’s your favorite way to top pancakes?
The fusion of food, fun, frugality, and curiosity.