Mixed berry sauce

What’s my inspiration?

Whenever I have leftover berries that are still good, but not fresh enough to eat plain, I simply toss them into a ziplock bag I keep in the freezer.  I then use them for smoothies in the summer.  I had a huge bag full of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.  They were taking up prime freezer real estate so I decided I better do something with them, especially since the warm months made for frozen smoothies has past.

I had stuff to make pancakes and whipped cream on hand, so I figured making a berry sauce would be my best option.  I used a very simple approach to this sauce and it was incredibly tasty!  This isn’t has healthy as eating fresh berries due to the sugar in the sauce, but it’s a fun weekend treat.

What you need:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen berries (any kind you like!)
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon water

What you do:

  • Put the sugar and water in the saucepan and bring to a boil.  Boil stirring frequently for 5 minutes.
  • Add berries to the sugar/water mixture and bring back to a boil.  Simmer, stirring frequently, in the pot for 10 minutes or until sauce starts to reduce and thicken.
  • Mix together corn starch and water in a small bowl, stir into berry mixture
  • Simmer for 5 more minutes, or until sauce is desired thickness.
  • Remove from heat and enjoy over pancakes, waffles, or even ice cream!
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Ooooey Gooooey Caramel Rolls

What’s my inspiration:

So here is the deal, I am not a breakfast person.  I eat breakfast 100% of the time because I know it’s good for me and I’d pass out if I didn’t eat something.  But it’s just not my thing. Growing up, my mom and I would eat toast with a little Miracle Whip and a slice of deli meat on top.  1/2 sandwich for breakfast = Yum!  But the traditional breakfast food just doesn’t do it for me and makes me feel like crap (Eggs, bacon, etc.).  It’s not that I don’t like the taste of bacon and eggs, I do, it just seems to weigh me down.

Once and a while on the weekend, I’ll make something special for breakfast.  Breakfast burritos, omelets, yada-yada.  Today, I found this caramel roll recipe on where else but Pinterest.  Caramel rolls are something I can get on board with for breakfast.  But let’s be honest, it would give a person too much cushion on the booty if you ate them every day.  No thanks.  But, for a special occasion or once in a while, these are incredible!  They were beyond quick and easy to make, and they were really good.  The syrup and butter allowed the caramel sauce to remain a nice consistency so it didn’t get overly hard or chewy.  It was the perfect.  Embarrassingly, we ate the entire batch over the course of a day.  So if you make these, be prepared to eat them all and maybe just go for a long walk to justify the guilt.  They are amazing, the best I have had!

What you need:

  • 1 tubes refrigerator buttermilk biscuits (8)
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup pancake syrup
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans, optional

What you do:

  • Coat a pan with non-stick spray.
  • Combine the melted butter and syrup in a small bowl and set aside.
  • In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts (if desired).
  • Place about half of the syrup mixture in the bottom of the pan.
  • Sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture on top.
  • Lay the biscuits on the bottom of the pan, overlapping edges (closely together)
  • Top with remaining syrup and sugar mixtures.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
  • Enjoy!

Banana bread french toast

Source: Melissa’s Kitchen

What’s my inspiration:

Wait for it…leftover banana bread! Yup.  I love banana bread but sometimes we can’t eat the entire loaf during the week.  I had some delicious banana bread on hand (no doubt due to the extra bananas I put in it, super moist!) and was contemplating if I could make it into anything else.  Then I had a rare moment of creative kitchen genius, I decided to make it into French Toast!  So away we went.  I can’t even tell you how yummy it was.  I was worried it would be way to sweet.  But oddly enough, the  egg/milk coating seemed to cut the sweetness a little bit.  It was delicious and easy.  So give this a try and you won’t be disappointed.  Heck, you could even try it with almond, lemon or apple bread too.  But I’m guessing banana is the best.  Enjoy!

What you need:

  • Thick slices of banana bread (try this recipe)
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Powdered Sugar
  • And obviously, coffee to go with it!

What you do:

  • Mix together eggs and milk (the amount of eggs/milk depends on how many serving you are making)
  • Generously coat banana bread in egg mixture
  • In hot skillet, fry banana bread until coating is crispy
  • Plate and sprinkle with light coating of powdered sugar and serve with coffee (or juice, if you aren’t a coffee lover)

Peanut Butter- Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Source: Christa Michels
Yield: 2 loaves (or muffins)
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 50 min

My lovely co-worker and fellow baker Christa brought these OH SO YUMMY muffins into work last week.  They were truly a treat.  They had just a hint of peanut butter and the white chocolate chips were a nice touch.  Don’t be fooled by these muffins though, they were yummy enough to be served as a dessert if you ask me!

What you need:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 
3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3)

  • 1 cup milk
  • 
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips

What you do:

  • Flour: You can use all-purpose flour instead of whole wheat flour
  • Milk: Try using light soy milk
  • Chocolate Chips: Try using White chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Spray two 9×5-inch loaf pans (or muffin tins) with nonstick spray.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  • In another bowl, combine mashed bananas, milk, peanut butter, vanilla and egg. Add to flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Pour batter into prepared pans.
  • Bake 50 to 55 minutes (give it a check at 40 minutes), or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

Breakfast Bake: Bacon, Tomato & Cheddar, Oh my!

Source: Food and Wine Magazine / Grace Parisi

What’s my inspiration?

Sunday Brunch with the family!  When my brother Nick comes home to visit, he often flies back home on a Sunday afternoon.  Since our condo is right on the way to the airport I invited some family over for brunch.  I rarely cook a big breakfast on the weekend.  Usually, Chris and I just get a mocha from Caribou or split an eggwich from Key’s Cafe.  Plus, I’m just not a huge breakfast fan.  However, I found a fun recipe I wanted to try in what else but Food & Wine Magazine, and this was the perfect occasion to try it.

This non-traditional breakfast bake serves 8 people, which is exactly how many people we had. Besides me accidentally turning the oven off ½ way through baking, everything else went smooth.  It was a super tasty and very hearty dish.  We ate around 11am and I didn’t get even somewhat hungry until dinnertime.  I’m sure that didn’t have anything to do with the high calorie count J The best part about this dish is you can make almost all of it the night before. And yes, I committed the cardinal sin of trying something new for the first time when guests were over.  Next time around, I will prep the dish the night before so I’m not so rushed in the morning.  Oh, and I will also make sure NOT to turn the oven off ½ way through the baking.  That was a bit of a blond moment.  It happens!

I served this dish with fresh fruit, coffee, Orange juice, and chocolate chip, pecan, banana bread.

What you need:

  • 1 pound bakery white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (16 cups)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound sliced applewood-smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • One 28-ounce can whole Italian tomatoes—drained, chopped and patted dry
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 pound extra-sharp cheddar, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Salt
  • 8 large eggs
  • Hot sauce, for serving

What you do:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly oil a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. In a large bowl, toss the bread with the olive oil and spread on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, tossing once or twice, until the bread is golden and lightly crisp.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain; reserve 2 tablespoons of the fat in the skillet.
  • Add the onion to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and crushed red pepper and cook until any liquid is evaporated, about 3 minutes.
  • Return the toasted bread cubes to the bowl. Add the contents of the skillet, along with the bacon, shredded cheeses, chives and broth. Stir until the bread is evenly moistened. Season with salt. Spread the mixture in the baking dish and cover with lightly oiled foil.
  • Bake the bread mixture in the center of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the top is crispy, about 15 minutes longer. Carefully remove the baking dish from the oven and, using a ladle, press 8 indentations into the bread mixture. Crack an egg into each indentation. Return the dish to the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny. Serve the breakfast bake right away with hot sauce.

Make Ahead:

  • The recipe can be prepared through Step 4 and refrigerated overnight.

Banana Nut Muffins

Source: Adopted from Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book

What’s my inspiration?

A couple of weeks ago, I cleaned out my freezer top to bottom.  I couldn’t stop laughing as I pulled out banana after banana.  The total you ask?  I’m a little ashamed to admit it, but there were 22.  Yup…22 whole bananas in my freezer.  Crazy?  Maybe a little.  However, I hate to waste food that can be frozen and re-made into a tasty treat.  That day, I vowed to make more banana related items on a more frequent basis.

The bananas started to pile up again and I was sick of making banana bread.  This time, I went with muffins.  I ended up having to make these 2 times, 2 nights in a row and not because we ate the first batch.  I screwed them up the first time.  I fully admit I am more of a cook than a baker because I don’t really like following recipes exactly.  The first time I made these, I forgot the brown sugar in the streusel and they tasted like burnt flour on top.  Yuck.  The second time around was much more successful.  Lesson learned?  Yes.  When baking, follow the directions exactly or it won’t turn out!

What you need:

  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chopped nuts
  • 1 beaten egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup cooking oil
  • 1 cup mashed banana

Streusel Topping (Optional):

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped nuts
  • Mix flour, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs.  Stir in nuts – set aside.

Tips:

  • DO NOT use paper baking cups for these muffins
  • Have left over bananas from the week like me?  Throw them in the freezer and thaw for recipes.  They taste amazing!
  • Nuts: Use any kind you like.  My favorite is pecans!
  • I highly recommend the Streusel topping – its delicious.
  • I bet you could add a few chocolate chips to these.  Yum!

What you do:

  • Grease 12 – 2 ½ inch muffin cups – set aside
  • Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nuts.  Make a well in center of mixture – set aside
  • In another bowl combine egg, milk, oil, and banana.  Add egg mixture to flour mixture.  Stir just until moist.  Batter will be lumpy.
  • Spoon batter into muffin cups filling each 2/3 full.
  • If desired, sprinkle muffins with streusel topping
  • Bake in 400-degree oven for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.
  • Cool for 5 minutes; remove from muffin cups and serve!

Cold Press Coffee

Have you ever had a cold press from Caribou or another favorite coffee shop?  Did you know you can make them at home and it’s super easy?  If not, here you go!  This is a great summer coffee option when you need the caffeine but don’t feel like a hot coffee.  And be warned…these baby’s are very caffeinated since they sit overnight.

French Press

Directions:
• Add 6-7 heaping tablespoons of ground coffee into a French press (Caribou’s Fireside or Caribou blend is my favorite!)
• Add a few ice cubes and fill with water
• Refrigerate overnight (if no room in the refrigerator, OK to keep on counter)
• Strain coffee and serve over ice
• Add your favorite flavor or cream