Tag Archives: breakfast

Easy Homemade Granola

11 Jun

Over the course of the last year, I started getting into the habit of making my own granola bars, and then of making my own cereal, so after hearing from multiple people just how easy it is, and a few months of being frustrated at how quickly I ran out of my cereal base, I decided to make my own granola at home, too.

Once again, I don’t see myself going back:

  • Fast
  • Easy
  • Large batch
  • On-hand ingredients

What’s not to love?

I really just perused a few recipes online and tweaked them based on what I had, and was ultimately very happy with the super-easy results.

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup sugar (I used turbinado, because it’s what I had, but brown sugar would probably be yummy, too)
  • 1/4 cup milled flaxseed (optional, but replace with additional oats if you’re cutting this out)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Note: I opted not to incorporate any extras like nuts or dried fruit, because I wanted to be able to use the granola interchangeably (some morning I feel like almonds, some I feel like pecans) but you could easily add those into this recipe and get it all done at once.

How You Do It:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry.
  5. Stir.
  6. Spread evenly over baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour (or until browned and crunchy), stirring every 10-15 minutes.

It’s that simple. And truthfully, as per usual Marissa, I got distracted during the baking and only stirred the granola once. Came out just fine. A few tips: use a rimmed baking sheet if you have one, to make your life easier while stirring. Use a rubber spoon or spatula to mix, spread and stir the granola. This helps chunks of the granola bake together, and if you’re gentle when you remove it from the sheet,  you can maintain some of those, should you be a fan of clusters of oats.

Store the granola in an airtight container, and so far, mine is going on two weeks and still crunchy!

What are you favorite uses for granola — or granola recipe variations? Leave a comment and let us know!

Smoothies Galore!

28 May

My sister recently requested a post with some smoothie recipe ideas, and once summer comes around, between the heat and a more regular workout routine, I put away a lot of blended fruit.

Let’s start with the basics.

Smoothies basically consist of the following components: liquid, fruit, blending agent and ice (though that last one’s optional — I’ll get to that!). There can also be a few extras, or a sweetener in some cases. Once you get that ratio figured out (and it’s easy to tweak this on the fly), it’s incredibly easy to experiment with different combinations of flavors.

Liquids: My favorites are either orange juice or non-dairy milk. I use OJ because I’m not a big fan of drinking it, and it’s a good way to squeeze in an extra serving of fruit a day. Non-dairy milks (my favorites are vanilla soy or almond milks) are a great way to add protein to a smoothie, and I don’t even like the taste of them on their own. Mixed into a smoothie, they are delicious. I’ve also used apple cider, sparkling pomegranate juice and regular milk.

Fruit: You can really make a smoothie with any kind of fruit (this week, I’m using watermelon and cantaloupe!), but I find berries to be my favorite. Other easy ingredients are bananas, mango and pineapple. The best part — if you prepare your fruit properly, and freeze it, you can skip adding ice to your smoothie (which always leads to some liquid separation issues).

Either buy bagged frozen fruit, or buy fresh and freeze it on your own (I often do this with pints of berries). Doesn’t take a lot of extra effort — just peel and chunk the fruit, then portion it into smoothie-sized servings.

Blending Agents: I use Greek yogurt almost exclusively here, though regular yogurt and ice cream serve the same purpose. Sometimes I will add rolled oats or ground flax seed, both of which give smoothies a nice creaminess, but neither will quite blend liquid and fruit on its own.

Extras: Here’s where the real fun comes in. Almost anything can go into a smoothie, and extras can really add some nutritional punch. Some surprisingly good additions I’ve tried include oats and flax seed, as mentioned above. Nuts like almonds and walnuts add protein and calories to make a smoothie more filling. Sweets and spices like honey, agave syrup, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, or cinnamon can add variety to even the same base recipe on a daily basis. My personal favorite indulgences include peanut butter and nutella!

And yes — you can even add spinach and other green veggies!

Here are some of my favorite smoothie recipes, which will give you an idea of how to use a variety of ingredients. Try them out, an then mix and match as you see fit!

My Berry Almond Power Smoothie

(never home)maker’s Chocolate Spinach Smoothie

Martha’s Strawberry-Flax Seed Smoothie

Watermelon Lime Summer Cooler

And this morning’s invention: Raspberry Nutella Smoothie

  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup frozen raspberries
  • 2 heaping tablespoons Nutella
  • 1/2 cup honey-flavore Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon flax seed meal

Homemade English Muffins

7 May

In my ongoing quest to make as much of my food from scratch as possible, I periodically re-evaluate to check myself — what am I buying and eating from the store that I never thought to attempt to make myself? This is how I figured out how to make my own cheez-its and my own granola bars, among other things.

I bake quite a bit, especially breakfast foods at this point. I tried this delicious cinnamon bread last week. But another breakfast favorite — the English muffin — is one I’d never tried to make, and haven’t actually eaten in quite a while, for this reason. This weekend, I had a big craving, though,  so I gave them a shot.

I used this recipe, which I decided was credible because it came from the Brits themselves, but I converted the measurements for you all, helpfully, below:

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 package active dry yeast (1-1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour [I used whole wheat flour, so I made sure to sift it a little extra air]
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon of water
  • cornmeal for dusting

Process:

  1. Combine the butter and sugar in a small sauce pan, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Add the milk, stir it and remove it from the heat.  Stir in the yeast and the egg.
  2. Combine the flour and salt in mixing bowl.  Add the milk mixture and stir till it’s all well combined.  Cover and set aside for 1-1/2 hours, or refrigerate overnight (removing it from the fridge an hour before cooking).
  3. Heat a griddle or a skillet over medium heat.  If you’re using rings, butter them.  Stir the dissolved baking powder into the batter.  Dust the griddle or skillet with corn meal.  Scoop-pour about 1/4-cup portions onto the griddle, free form or in rings.  Cook for about seven minutes.  Flip them and continue cooking till done, 7 to 10 more minutes. [Mine were free-form.]
  4. Serve with butter, jam, peanut butter, bacon, eggs, etc!

Five Ingredients or Less: Quick, Healthy Breakfasts

16 Apr

A spin on our traditional recipe post this week. I thought you all might appreciate knowing some of the simple ways of reforming your eating into a whole foods diet. This doesn’t always have to require a complete overhaul, as some things are incredibly easy to make at home.

So let’s start with the most important meal of the day: breakfast.

Despite all my efforts over the last few years towards eating better, some of my breakfast staples still relied on premade stuff, especially oatmeal and cereal. These meals are so fast and easy, I always just thought it would make more sense to buy them.

But then I started to think about what was really in all those foods, and where they came from.

My go-to oatmeal is Quaker Oats individual instant packages which contains several preservative ingredients. My favorite healthy cereals are all Kashi-brand — better than Frosted Flakes, for sure, but still a subsidiary brand of Kellogg’s (who makes Frosted Flakes) and still containing GMO-soy products and synthetic processing.

I decided to try and find a way to make my own cereal and oatmeal at home. To make it taste just as good, to keep it easy, and to keep it whole.

SO. EASY.

Here are my secrets…

Marissa’s Fruit & Nut Cereal

  • About a cup of naked granola (I use Back to Nature brand, but Bear Naked also makes some flavored varieties. Your local co-op may even make their own and sell it in bulk.*)
  • A handful of whole or slivered raw almonds (raw is important so you don’t get salt in your cereal — yuck!)
  • A few tablespoons of dried cranberries

*You could even go the extra step and make your own granola –it’s just rolled oats baked with some sweetener to crisp them up.

That’s it! I eat this almost every day now. It’s easy, delicious, and completely customizable. Switch out the nuts and fruits, add flax seed or puffed rice or bran flakes. Whatever you like best!

Homemade Cinnamon Spice Oatmeal

  • One serving’s worth of quick rolled oats, water and salt (cook according to package directions)
  • One heaping teaspoon of brown sugar
  • A liberal sprinkling of cinnamon
  • A swirl of maple syrup

Like my technical directions there? I recommend microwaving the oatmeal and then mixing in the spices for maximum flavor. Cinnamon spice is my favorite oatmeal flavor, but it’s super easy to figure out the Quaker recipes. I’ve also tried a teaspoon of honey, mixed with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and a splash of vanilla almond milk for “chai spice” oatmeal; or a tablespoon of cocoa powder and chunky peanut butter for mocha-nut oatmeal. Add chopped apples, bananas, berries, etc.

Both of these are delicious and incredibly easy, plus made with ingredients you can buy in bulk, so likely even cheaper than buying boxes. An added and unexpected bonus? These servings keep me fuller much longer into the morning than store-bought versions! Suffice it to say, I’m never going back.

Now I just have to tackle homemade English muffins…

What are your favorite easy, whole food breakfasts? Have you figured out your own versions of store-bought meals? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Marissa’s Vegan Cranberry Carrot Ginger Muffins

20 Feb

A few weeks ago, I woke up with a strange craving. I wanted cranberry muffins. But I also wanted morning glory muffins. I had carrots in the house and for some reason, the idea of eating some of them for breakfast would not get out of my head.

To the internet I went!

I didn’t actually know what was in morning glory muffins, despite how much I enjoy them. And while all the recipes I found sounded delicious, I didn’t have any pineapple, coconut or raisins, and I wanted something with a bit more spice. So I searched for carrot ginger muffins, and found this delicious-looking recipe.

And so began my very first “invented” recipe.

My modifications from the original recipe were pretty simple, actually. I used a “flax seed egg” as detailed in the original post, and vanilla almond milk instead of dairy milk, making the recipe fully vegan. But where I got really crazy was that instead of using a 1/2 up of raisins, I used a 1/2 cup of my homemade cranberry sauce.

This was a little risky, because the cranberry sauce is basically a liquid ingredient, so to balance the additional moisture, I slightly increased the amount of flour in the recipe to 2 1/4 cups. The muffins did take 18 minutes, the upper end of the cook time of the original recipe, to set fully in the center. They needed a few minutes on a wire rack to firm, and the texture of the muffin overall stayed moist, for the entire week or so it took me to eat my way through the batch.

But… it worked! And they were really delicious! I was so excited with my kitchen innovation that I texted my pastry chef little sister, who was very proud of me for both my ingenuity and my vegan baking skillz.

Ok, so I used another recipe as a base, and I’ve certainly modified recipes before. But with the exception of substituting applesauce for eggs, I usually don’t modify baked goods, knowing there’s a good deal of chemistry involved.

And I have certainly never done something so adventurous as add a completely different flavor and liquid ingredient before. So when these muffins turned out deliciously, I cannot express just how proud I was.

As I’ve told you all before, I spent most of my life thinking of myself as a total failure in the kitchen. Learning I could learn to cook was a huge victory for me — cooking well is all bonus, as far as I’m concerned. Never did I think I could come this far. Never did I think I would have the knowledge — or the guts — to try something outside the box when it came to baking.

Having it turn out well is the ultimate prize for an awkward clumsy nerd turned-food advocate, because it means what I say is true. Anyone can do this. Trust me. When you settle in to enjoy two warm, soft muffins that are your idea and your recipe with a cup of coffee on a winter Saturday morning, the burned cakes and smoke-alarm fries and leek tarts will all have been worth it.

Brinner Grows Up

31 Oct

We all remember those magical evenings when we were kids when our parents let us have “backwards” days, where we got the special treat of  breakfast for dinner, or “brinner”.

For you Scrubs fans out there, you know I didn’t exactly invent the term brinner. Turk feels me.

And yes, we here at We*Meat*Again definitely believe you that bacon ice cream is the way to go.

There are so many brinner possibilities. You can go for the full-out inverted day, and eat waffles or pancakes with maple syrup. You can have a nice omelette or breakfast burrito and take the more savory route. Or you can really mix it up and use breakfast as the inspiration for a totally dinner-worthy meal.

In one of their early autumn issues, my favorite food magazine Cooking Light did just this, and had a feature spread of sweet/savory re-invented brinner delicacies. And one in particular struck me as the perfect grown-up autumn treat: Ciabatta French Toast with Warm Apple Maple Syrup.

I actually think I picked this recipe to try first because I already had all the ingredients needed for it — since I always keep a bag of apples and apple cider around during autumn — and because I’ve recently been won over to french toast.

I’m not a big egg fan, and I usually prefer savory breakfasts, so I’ve always ranked french toast near the bottom of my breakfast charts. But then this summer, my friend Rachael and I got together for dinner and cooked Ashley & Stephen’s basil pesto french toast. It was the perfect mix of sweet and savory and convinced me to give french toast another shot.

This recipe was surprisingly easy to cook up. First, prep the french toast by stuffing the Gruyere into the crusty bread. I actually did this step, dunked the bread and then cooked the french toast, keeping it warm while I made the sauce, rather than vice versa as the recipe suggests. This meant I had a nice warm maple syrup topping.

What really makes this recipe is the combination of shallots and Gruyere cheese. Without enough of those savory elements, I think this would be a delicious but very sweet fall-flavored breakfast french toast. But the melted Gruyere cheese and the tangy crunch of the shallots balanced this out perfectly. I ate two piece for dinner and the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Brinner is for me, one of those things that reminds me I’m really a grownup and I can do whatever I want. I could eat breakfast for dinner every night if I wanted to! I don’t, usually, but this recipe convinced me to indulge the kid in me just a little more often. And for the record, this brinner would be killer with a side of bacon.

Back to School Breakfast

22 Aug

Sunday morning, I woke up feeling jittery. I am about to begin a new college semester, but this year will be the first one in which I am not a student — but a full-time professor, instead.

I’m thrilled, but nervous. I also know I’m about to be busier than I’ve ever been. And just to top it all off, my first class is Monday morning at 8:30 AM. So I wanted to spend some time Sunday getting a system in place that would allow me to run smoothly for the week.

I made myself a print schedule, including work outs and writing time. I made lists of dinners to stick on the fridge. I put together a bag of stuff to store in my office like snacks and a pair of comfy socks for lounging in (I like to wear cute, uncomfortable heels when I dress up).

And I baked.

Sunday morning, before I even had breakfast, I thought I would find a recipe for muffins or a quick bread — something healthy I could grab for breakfasts, to go with a smoothie or some fruit, without a lot of prep.

Instead, I found this delicious recipe for Apple Walnut scones that I tweaked a bit to accomodate the ingredients I had.

I traded the apple juice in the recipe for orange juice. And I didn’t have any currants or raisins, I doubled the dried apples. I used soy milk with lemon juice in place of the buttermilk. I also didn’t have any baking soda, so I learned a cool trick for using baking powder instead (use twice as much baking powder as baking soda, and eliminate the salt in the recipe).

Check out these giant scones — and this is them pre-baked!

I was feeling so pumped up, so proud of myself for being ambitious and baking and, frankly, still pretty amped about the school year, that I decided to invent a totally amazing smoothie to go with my scones while they baked.

There’s my powerhouse, back to school breakfast. These scones were amazing — the lightest, most moist scones I’ve maybe ever had, with a subtle, not-to-sweet flavor. I think they’d be great with a drizzle of honey.

Get your year (or work week, for those of you poor bastards without summer vacations) started right with this smoothie:

  • 1 cup vanilla soymilk
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries (though any type of berry would work)
  • 2 tsbp. sliced raw almonds (I’m sure whole would be fine)
  • 2 tbsp. honey — just for a little extra sweet.
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