Tag Archives: breakfast

Coconut Chai Cake

Last month I was putting together an Indian-inspired dinner with friends and wanted to make a little somethin’-somethin’ sweet for dessert.  I wanted it it to compliment the spices I was using, and be quick and easy.  A few days earlier, The Fat Free Vegan had posted the perfect little cake recipe! She makes it for breakfast, and indeed it would be heavenly for first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee, but I also found it to be the perfect not-too-sweet bite after an evening meal.   Whips up and bakes in a flash; so moist it needs no frosting.  The only problem is waiting to eat it until guests arrive….


Gather up your ingredients!


  • 1 cup strong chai tea ( I used a coconut chai–perfect!)
  • 1/3 cup uncooked quick (not instant) oatmeal
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger (use more for a spicier cake)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut, 2 TBSP reserved  ( I used an unsweetened, large-flaked coconut I usually have on hand for making granola.)

Preheat oven to 350F, spray-oil an 8×8 pan, and make a strong cup of tea by steeping 2 bags in 1 cup of boiling water until it is cool/room temperature.


Combine the dry ingredients (oats, flours, soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and sugar) in a medium bowl.

mix dry

Add the wet ingredients (tea, applesauce, vinegar, almond and vanilla extracts and all but 2 TBSP of the coconut.  Mix until just combined.

add wet

Pour into the prepared pan and top with reserved coconut.

pour into prepared pan

Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a pick comes out clean when inserted near the center, and the coconut topping is nicely toasted.  The scent that will envelop your kitchen is just heavenly! Good luck not touching the cake until your guests show up!


Cut into pieces and enjoy warm or at room temperature.


So easy, so yummy.  I might just need to bake another one for tomorrow’s breakfast….

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Breakfast Pizza

Pizza is always a good choice for breakfast, no?  I love it when there’s leftover pizza in the fridge.  Sometimes I even heat it up.  But what to do when there is no (gasp!) pizza and you’ve got a pizza kind of cravin’ in the morning?  Make this super easy, fairly fast and yum-yum-yummy pizza with traditional breakfast-y flavors!  (This recipe is adapted from one featured on a package of Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sausage once upon a time.)

  • 1 tube crescent rolls
  • 1 pound browned sausage–breakfast sausage or Italian or whatever you like!
  • 1/2 can diced green chiles (optional)
  • 2 0r 3 handfuls frozen hashbrowns
  • 2 0r 3 handfuls shredded cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • splash of milk
  • salt and pepper
  • a sprinkling of parmesan

Preheat oven to 375F.

Open the crescents, separate them, lay them equally spaced on a regular pizza pan and smoosh them into a crust, complete with a lip on the edge. (This will keep your eggs from oozing over the side.  Do NOT use a pizza stone for this, unless you enjoy cleaning oozed, burned eggs from the bottom of your oven.  Trust me.  🙂 )

Brown sausage.

Drain sausage and spread evenly over the crust.

Add green chiles if desired.  This was the first time I’d used green chiles in this recipe; they are a nice flavor addition.  However, I used a whole can and it made the crust a bit soggy, so go with just the half-can if you choose to use them.

Sprinkle hashbrown shreds over the top–they can be frozen still.

Then layer on some cheese.

Beat eggs with a splash of milk, salt and pepper.

Pour eggs evenly over pizza, being careful near the edges.

Top with a sprinkle of parmesan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes; until eggs are done, cheese is melted and crust is golden.

Cut with a pizza cutter and enjoy!

Yummy!  Experiment with the idea: meat free, bacon instead of sausage, mushrooms, jalapeno slices, huevos-style with a sprinkling of black beans, top with avocado slices…..mmmmmm!

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Green Chile and Cheese Strata

The grocery store I shop most often has a couple of clearance areas.  One has dented cannned goods and seasonal leftovers, the other has baked goods nearing their expiration date.  I just can’t resist half-price artisan breads; so wonderful to have them on hand for soups and such.  Sometimes this results in leftover partial loaves, which are perfect for yummy breakfast stratas!

Stratas are super easy to make and are super flexible ingredient-wise, but must be put together the night before you plan to serve them.

For an 8×8 strata:

  • approximately 1/2 loaf leftover bread 
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 can chopped green chiles (I’d use two cans if you don’t use pepper jack cheese.) 
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used pepper jack–yum!)

Start by thinly slicing the bread.

Layer half of the bread, tearing it to fill in holes, in a buttered 8×8 pan.

Saute the onions in a bit of oil until translucent.

Stir in green chiles.

Spread half of the green chile mixture over the bread.

Next, spread half of the shredded cheese.

Follow with another bread layer, then chiles, then cheese.

Whisk together eggs and half and half.  Pour over the layers as evenly as possible.

Cover with plastic wrap.  The wrap needs to touch the surface of the strata.

Place another 8×8 pan on the plastic wrapped surface of the strata and weight with a couple cans of veggies or dried beans.  This allows the bread to become thoroughly saturated with the custard.  Refrigerate over night.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Bake strata 50-60 minutes, or until puffed, pulling away from the edges and golden.

Cut into squares and enjoy the melty, yummy wonderfulness.

Oh yeah.  The perfect breakfast bite. 

Stratas are great for overnight guests, great to take for a potluck brunch, and awesome left over.  Microwave cold pieces of baked strata for a quick breakfast the next day!

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Leftovers (Fajita, Potato, Mushroom) Quiche

Earlier this week I made fajitas and mushroom burgers and steak fries.  I ended up with enough fajita filling for a couple fajitas–one serving, a serving of steak fries, and 7 mushrooms.  I needed to make dinner for three, hmmmmm, what to do?  Lucky for me, I had a box of two premade pie crusts, half and half, and eggs.  Pie crust+half and half+eggs+leftovers=quiche!  Woo-hoo!  Dinner for 3 plus breakfast the next day!

Have a look at what you have for leftovers.  If it sounds like a yummy combo to you, you’ve got quiche!  Here’s the basic quiche recipe.  I made two quiches, so doubled the recipe.

I used about 1 cup fajita filling, chopped a bit, 7 or 8 steak fries and 7 mushrooms, sliced.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Start by sauteing the mushrooms in 2 TBSP butter.  As a rule, I only use pre-cooked add-ins in a quiche.

Cut up the fajita stuff and the potatoes and added to the mushrooms to heat through.

Line two pie pans with the premade crusts and sprinkled a half cup of cheese in the bottom of each and divided the fajita-mushroom mixture between the two pans, topping with another half cup of cheese each.

Mix the custard according to the quiche recipe, divide between the two pans.

Bake 45 minutes or until golden and a knife stuck in the center comes out clean.  Wait 5-10 minutes, cut into wedges and serve!  Since my leftover quiche was sort of Mexican-flavored, I topped it with a small dollop of sour cream and an avocado slice.

Everyone loved this quiche, and it didn’t seem like leftovers! 

As pretty as it is yummy, and a great way to stretch a food dollar. 

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Sunday Waffles (Søndagsvafler)

We’ve had a Waffle Weekend here this weekend!  Mr17 wasn’t here for waffles last weekend, so it was only fair to make the Norwegian Waffles for him to try yesterday.  Then today, I just couldn’t resist trying the other waffle recipe in The Best of Traditional Norwegian Cuisine: Sunday Waffles (Søndagsvafler).  The description at the start of the recipe got me sucked in: 

 “If you want a special treat with Sunday coffee, try these waffles.  Right from the waffle iron, spread with good jam they are <<heavenly>>.”

I decided to get brave and try them the way my mom liked to serve them–with a dollop of sour cream and a strawberry slice. 

Oh yeah.  Totally yummy!  Most likely you have what you need already in your kitchen.  Makes about 20 waffles.

  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 TBSP sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled

Mix flour, sugar and baking powder in a bowl.

Make a hollow in the dry ingredients and pour in 2/3 of the milk.  Whisk the batter smooth, then pour in the rest of the milk and whisk to combine.  (Note–somehow my phone ate the pictures of the hollow and the smooth batter.  I borrowed a hollow picture from Norwegian Waffles.)

Add egg yolks to the batter with the melted, cooled butter.

Beat egg whites stiff and fold them into the batter.  Your bowl and beaters must be completely free of any oil for the whites to whip up. 

Folding is just very gentle stirring. 

I use a spoonula to lift batter from the bottom over the whites until mostly smooth.

Heat the waffle iron.  Grease the waffle iron with melted butter for the first waffle only.  Ladle in the batter to fill the center–these waffles will rise and fill your waffler.  It may take a waffle or two to figure out just how much batter you need per waffle.  Feel free to eat the ones that aren’t perfect.  🙂

Fry each waffle until golden.

These are best still hot, fresh from the iron, but are also yummy at room temperature.  Place a dollop of sour cream and a strawberry slice on each waffle section, and pour yourself a nice cuppa.

Mom liked to break the hearts apart from each waffle and serve them that way as finger food at her holiday parties.

We decided we really like the texture of these waffles; sort of like a warm, crispy on the outside, yummy cloud.

Michael had his with butter only, Mr17 had his with ligonberry preserves and whipped cream, I had a couple with ligonberry and a couple with sour cream and strawberries–yummy!  What’s your favorite waffle topper?

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Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Lemony Apricot Scones

The other day, I was reading about giving your body a break from certain things to start the new year.  The idea is that after the holidays, your body has been bombarded by too many heavy foods and needs a break.  Dairy tops the list,  along with gluten, of don’ts.  Eating more fruits and veggies tops the list of dos. 

With these healthy recommendations in mind I give to you, dear readers, a yummy way to start your new year:  Gluten-free, dairy-free lemony apricot scones!  Adapted from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook.

You may need to go to a large grocery store or health food store for some of the ingredients.

  • 3 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 3 TBSP agave nectar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP fresh lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.

In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

In a blender, combine grapeseed oil, agave nectar, eggs, apricots, lemon juice and zest.  Process on high for about one minute.  (The recipe wants you to blend until smooth, but I wanted pieces of apricot in the scones, so didn’t blend as long.)

Stir the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture until thoroughly combined.

Drop the batter in scant 1/4 cups 2 inches apart, onto prepared baking sheets.  You will get 16 scones.


Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden and a toothpick comes out with just a couple moist crumbs.

Let the scones cool until they can be handled, on the baking sheets, and serve!

Yummy!  So light and fresh tasting!  Just the thing to treat yourself without guilt.  Yummy with tea or juice.  Won’t your coworkers love you for sharing this healthy breakfast with them one of these days?!

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Cinnamon-Swirl Banana Bread

I confess.  I am an eater of green bananas.  Not so green that they won’t peel, but just at that stage where they are still firm and almost crisp.  I will not eat them when they start getting spots.  I do not like anything banana flavored, except banana bread and banana muffins.  I especially dislike banana runts.  Yes, they are cute; looking like tiny bananas and all, but….blech.  Mr17 LOVES banana runts….I just don’t get it.  😉

I guess I’m picky where bananas are concerned, but I love, love, love this banana bread.  It’s what spotted bananas dream of becoming.  Just look at the sparkly sweet and spicy crust, the bands of cinnamon and sugar running through it….imagine that warm, fresh-from-the-oven banana bread smell, but even better because of the cinnamon….

I made a double batch the other day, because of the number of spotted nanners I had.  These ingredients are easily cut in half, as they appear in The Better Homes and Garden Cookbook under “Banana Nut Bread.”

Makes 2 loaves:

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups mashed ripe banana
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (pecans are yummy, too!)

For the cinnamon sugar topping and swirl:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F.  Liberally grease 2 9x5x3-inch loaf pans.

Cream together butter and sugar.

Add eggs and beat well.

Sift together dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt); add to creamed mixture,

alternately with banana. Blending well after each addition.

Stir in nuts.

Mix reserved sugar and cinnamon.

Pour half the batter into prepared loaf pans, top with half the cinnamon mixture.

Pour in the rest of the batter, spreading over the top of the cinnamon layer.

Top each pan with the remaining cinnamon mixture.

Use a knife to swirl through each loaf.

Bake 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.  Remove from pans and cool on racks.

Here’s where the recipe says to wrap and store overnight.  Yeah.  That’d probably be best.  This banana bread cuts better when fully cooled or even chilled.  But who can wait when your kitchen smells so gosh darn yummy?!  Not me.  I had to have a slice warm from the oven with butter melted in to it. 

If you look closely, you’ll see the cinnamon swirl  It’s much more defined, you guessed it, when you slice AFTER cooling. 

I dare you to resist the tempting aroma and wait.  I double-dog dare you!  Don’t you think this banana bread would be perfect for breakfast? Or dessert?  Or to make as a gift for your BFF?  (Especially when you make two loaves–one for her, one for you!)

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Breakfast Birdnests

Our favorite coffee shop closed last summer, and ever since we’ve been on the prowl for a new one.  Our current favorite (fairly close, small, good coffee, good food, friendly staff) is Coffee Crumbs and Cones.  They have an outstanding breakfast item called a birdnest.  It’s a jumbo muffin-sized parcel of eggy hash brown-sausage-jalepeno yumminess; I haven’t been able to order anything else when we go there. 

The other day I saw a recipe for something that looked similar to a birdnest, and BING! I knew I could adapt the recipe to try and mimic the yumminess of a CC&C birdnest.  Michael thinks I got pretty close!  They are super easy and reheat beautifully in the microwave. Here are a few fresh from the oven this morning.

Here’s how I made them, but you can vary the “mix-ins” to suit your taste.

  • 1/2 a 30 oz package frozen hash browns, thawed. (That’s around 3-4 cups)
  • 1-1 1/2 cups mix-in  (I used ground pork browned with bell peppers, onion and jalepeno)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese, divided (Again, your choice–I used Mexican blend)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 12 tsp (4TBSP) butter for the muffin tin

Preheat oven to 475F.  Place 1 tsp butter in each well of a 12-muffin tin.  

Place tin in the oven for a minute to melt the butter, and then use a paper towel to swirl the butter up the sides of each well, leaving the majority in the bottom.

In a bowl, place hash browns, mix-ins of your choice, 1/2 the cheese, and eggs.

Stir until combined.

Divide evenly among the prepared muffin wells.

Schmush them (technical cooking term meaning press down on the hash brown mixture) a bit and top each with cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden and sizzling!  Voila!  Quick, easy and yummy!

Use a knife to cut around the edge of each and lift from the pan to a plate.

Mmmmmm.  Have a bite.

These birdnests could be made smaller (less hash brown mixture per muffin well), baked for half the time, topped with an egg and baked for the remainder of the time.  They could be completely vegetarian by mixing in your choice of sauteed or steamed veggies–think about the veggies you like in quiche.  You could mix in ham or steak or…..you get the idea!  Whatever you think is yummy!

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Aloha Coconut Scones

In honor of an upcoming vaca to the Big Island, I made coconut scones for breakfast this morning.  The original recipe comes from Sunset magazine; a picture on the page captioned, “Baked-in jam makes coconut scones a perfect breakfast treat.”  I think if you were to ask anyone eating breakfast here today, they’d agree!

So what is a scone?  Essentially, fancy biscuits.  The dough is constructed of similar ingredients, in a similar fashion to biscuits.  Totally easy, totally yummy!

I had everything I needed in the kitchen already this morning:

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 3 TBSP sugar, divided
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup cold butter, cut into chunks
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup jam

Preheat oven to 375F.  Butter a cookie sheet or line it with a silpat.

In a large bowl, mix flour, coconut, oats, 2 TBSP of the sugar, baking powder, and salt.

With your fingers or a pastry cutter, rub or cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs or a meal.


In a small bowl or measuring cup, beat eggs and milk to blend.

Stir all but 1 TBSP of the egg mixture into the flour mixture just until evenly moistened.

Scrape dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and pat into an 8-inch round.

Carefully slide the round onto a buttered (or silpat-lined) baking sheet.  Cut into 8 wedges, leaving wedges in place.

Brush with remaining egg mixture and sprinkle with remaining sugar.


Make a 1-inch diameter depression on the wide end of each scone, fill each depression with jam.  (I used lingonberry–for a touch of Scandinavian yum!)


Bake 18-20 minutes, until golden brown.  Recut scones and serve warm (highly recommended!) or move to a wire rack and cool completely.


Two to a plate?  Yes, please.  These are toooo yummy to stop at just one.  Sometimes scones can be a bit dry, but Aloha Coconut Scones are light and moist and fluffy.  Wear your lei, put on some Hawaiian music, brew up some Kona coffee and there you are–breakfast on the Big Island!  Yummy!

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Zeb’s Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pecan Biscotti

Fall somehow compels me to cook, bake and consume pumpkin.  My friend Kellie (aka Zeb) is also a pumpkin lover, but cannot tolerate gluten.  While catching up on one of my fav food blogs, I spied a recipe for pumpkin biscotti–and a grand culinary convergence occured in my kitchen!  In the back of my mind, I remembered a gluten-free flour mix that could be substituted one-for-one in place of wheat flour….I just knew I could use it and make the pumpkin biscotti gluten-free!

First, I needed to make the flour blend.  In Gluten Free and Easy, the author, Robyn Russell shared a blend she spent years developing: 2 cups white rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch (produces a tender, moist crumb), and 1/3 cup tapioca flour (lends a springy texture, promotes browning and makes a crispy crust).  I made a double batch and stored it in a canister.

 You can find the ingredients for the rice flour blend at natural foods stores and larger supermarkets.  While you’re there, pick up some xanthan gum (pricy but goes a long way); it’s a great gluten substitute–holding particles together in baked goods, and helps keep them moist.  (NOTE:  I’ve been told Natural Grocers Bulk flours are made in a facility that also processes flour with gluten.  If you have a high level of gluten intolerance, be sure the flours you select are clearly marked gluten-free.)

  • 2 1/2 cups rice flour blend
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (the inspiration recipe used 3 cups of whole wheat flour, I wanted to get some of that whole-wheat nuttiness and texture, so instead of substituting one-for-one, I used almond flour for part.)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (Not pumpkin pie filling.)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped (The original recipe had walnuts; Mom just sent me fresh pecans from New Mexico, so I just had to use some!)

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

Add rice flour blend, almond flour, xanthan gum, sugar, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, nutmeg, cloves and ginger to the bowl of a mixer (or large mixing bowl).  Mix until thoroughly combined.

Add eggs, vanilla and pumpkin puree.  Mix well.

Add pecans and continue mixing for a few minutes, scraping down the blade as needed, to be sure pecans are distributed evenly and the batter/dough has an even texture.

Using your hands, form the dough into a loaf on the baking sheet (think biscotti in your head for the proper width).  The dough will be sticky, and your loaf will not be perfect.  No problem–the biscotti will be yummy!  I promise!

Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and firm in the middle.  Cool for 15 minutes.

Transfer loaf to a cutting board, and using a serrated knife, cut 3/4 inch slices.  Lay them on their sides and return to the baking sheet.  Reduce temperature to 300F and bake an additional 30 minutes or so–until they are as dry as you like, and golden brown.  Flip them over about half-way through the baking time.

(I cut off the rounded ends of the two end pieces so they would lay flat and ate them….shhhhh!)  Your kitchen will be smelling all pumpkin-spicy wonderful!

Cool completely on wire racks.  This will also help dry the biscotti.

Now.  Go put on your flannel jammies (you know, your favorites–the ones with the cowboys on ’em) and a big pair of wooly socks. Pad on out to the kitchen and brew yourself a cuppa; maybe sprinkle it with a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg.  Set out some of these yummy biscotti.  Dip.  Crunch.  Sip.  Yummy!  Not too sweet, nice texture, just the thing with your coffee.

Pack some up and share the taste of fall with your pumpkin-loving friends; maybe drizzle them with melted white chocolate?!   I’ll be making these again soon–they’re super easy and don’t seem to last long!

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