Archive for the ‘breakfast’ Category

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

~ Anne of Green Gables


Every year I think to myself that I am not ready for the holiday season to begin.  That I am not ready for pumpkin flavored drinks and breads and desserts.  That I still want to wear shorts and short dresses and flip-flops rather than rain jackets and boots and jeans.  And then it hits me…every year.

I suddenly find myself looking forward to the chill in the air, the gray rainy days, and pulling on a sweatshirt for our morning walk.  I remember the coziness of watching football under a blanket on the sofa.  And, find that the sight of pumpkins and mums puts an immediate smile on my face.  I remember just how much I love fall, particularly October, and this love of the season starts to show itself in my cooking and baking.  Cinnamon and nutmeg start to move toward the front of the spice shelf.  Pumpkins and apples and butternut squash start to find their way into muffins and breads and sauces.

I made these muffins a few weekends ago for Jack’s soccer team snack.  They were practically inhaled by the children.  They are moist and sweet (In fact, I almost think I can cut back on the sugar which I may try to do…an excuse to make them again.) and satisfying by themselves as breakfast or a snack, but even better paired with a scrambled egg or a hunk of good cheddar cheese.  Baking them at a lower temperature for a longer time than a normal muffin will produce a very moist final product which I think you will appreciate.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Makes 18 muffins


For the muffins:

3 cups flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tbsp. and 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

4 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup olive oil

2 cups sugar

2 cups pumpkin puree

For the filling:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

For the streusel topping:

½ cup sugar

¼ cup and 1 tsp. flour

4 tbsp. butter, cubed

1 ½ tsp. cinnamon


To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip until smooth. Form into a skinny log on parchment paper, making sure that the diameter is small enough to fit into the well of a muffin pan. Wrap the log up tightly and freeze until slightly hardened, 1-2 hours.

To make the muffins, combine the flour, spices, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Mix well and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, vegetable oil, sugar and pumpkin puree. Mix until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix on low speed until just combined.

To make the streusel topping, combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix together with a pastry blender or two forks until crumbly.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Spray the muffin pan with nonstick spray or lightly grease it with oil or butter.  To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well halfway with batter. Remove the cream cheese log from the freezer and slice into equal slices. Place a slice in each muffin well. Divide the remaining muffin batter evenly among the muffin cups, on top of the cream cheese. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the top of the batter. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.

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One of the pleasures of deciding to stay at home this year is the opportunity to bake more often.  I decided that with the start of the school year, I would bake more breakfast foods since some mornings can feel so rushed and having breakfast already prepared can be such a lifesaver.  I also really love a good breakfast pastry and when you make it yourself, it feels less indulgent and, perhaps, even healthy.

To kick-off the school year, I baked a dozen lemon ricotta muffins.  I think I was channeling some of my yearning to travel back to Italy after seeing so many Instagram feeds during the summer featuring beautiful beachside Italian towns like Positano.

The muffins are light, sweet, as well as tart, and very moist.  The use of ricotta cheese helped to increase the protein in the muffins, which makes them a little more substantial and doable as a breakfast choice.  We have been eating them as more of a lunch or snack option, however, and they work great for that too. I have to say that when I walked home still teary eyed from the first day of Kindergarten drop-off, I was happy to sit down with a cup of coffee and one of these muffins as a late morning comfort snack.


Lemon Ricotta Muffins


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
3/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons sugar in the raw


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; make a well in the center. Combine ricotta cheese with water, olive oil, lemon rind, lemon juice, and egg. Add ricotta mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
Place 12 muffin-cup liners in muffin cups (we went with a Star Wars theme- Jack’s choice); coat with cooking spray. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Sprinkle sugar in the raw over batter. Bake at 375 degrees for 16 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in the pan on a wire rack.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

Some things of interest from around the web this week:

Have you read this book?  I read it several months ago, but cannot stop thinking about it. Harrowing, yet beautiful.

The xtracycle is at the top of my wish list.

I am loving this new blog series by a great group of mama bloggers. So relevant for us right now.

Ranch style homes are my jam and this one is spectacular.

Have a great weekend! xxo

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IMG_0633 It shouldn’t be a surprise to any of you that vegetarian dinners are a given in my home. I have many recipes posted here that feature beans as the primary protein or pasta with vegetables as the main course.  I like meat.  We eat meat.  But, we don’t eat meat very often and, in fact, most of our dinners at home each week are vegetarian.

I also love a savory breakfast dish for dinner. This frittata just sort of happened and I’m glad it did because it was very good.  It’s also easy to prepare, which is so helpful with all of the after-school fall activities that are starting to fill the calendars.  Plus, the leftovers are wonderful the next day for lunch.

I cooked the potatoes in the cast iron skillet during afternoon nap time.  I simply covered the skillet with foil and popped it into the refrigerator once the potatoes were finished to wait until I was ready to prepare dinner.

IMG_0636Dinner prep is then very quick. And, bonus, it’s a one skillet meal, so clean up is also easy, which leaves you more time to enjoy your glass of wine.

Potato and Spinach Fritatta


2 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed and cubed

1/4 cup olive oil

4 large handfuls of kale

2 large handfuls of spinach

4 scallions, thinly sliced

6 large eggs

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Place the potatoes with olive oil in a cart iron skillet and cook until tender and browned, about 45 minutes.  At this point, you can put the potatoes in the refrigerator until you are ready to finish dinner, or immediately continue to next steps.

Add kale, spinach, and scallions to the potatoes in the cast iron skillet and cook over medium heat for 3-; minutes, or until the kale and spinach have wilted.

Heat your broiler

Beat the eggs with salt and pepper, and pour them over the vegetables in the skillet.  Cook over medium until the eggs are mostly set. Then, placd the whole skillet under the broiler, until the top is bronzed and the eggs are just set throughout, approximately 5 minutes, but this could vary due to how hot your broiler is.

Let cool slightly before slicing into wedges.IMG_0644

I thought I would start signing off on Fridays with links to things that have piqued my interest throughout the week.  So, here are some points of interest from around the web:

This weekend I’ll be staying at the wonderful Sleeping Lady Resort and attending their Harvest Dinner! I’m so excited!

Such amazing moves by these companies, but will employees actually utilize their awarded time off?

Breast milk is an important food, but also a potent medicine for your baby.  I love to think about how I’m shaping Rigby’s taste preferences  and also helping him fight off nasty germs.  Baby spit backwash is a real thing.

Thoughts on quality time.  It really does make a difference if you spend more time than just having dinner with those you love.

I love roasted chicken, but actually roasting it myself seems like such a daunting task. This recipe may have just convinced me to give it a try.

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This is a delicious smoothie and It really tastes like carrot cake! In fact, it reminds me, slightly, of the best frozen yogurt mix-in from Angora that we used to order in Boston to be delivered to our front door. Yes, free delivery of frozen yogurt of which I very rarely strayed from the carrot cake mix-in, although cinnamon and blueberries was a close second choice. Oh, those were the days of late nights and delivery service!

Anyway, back to this healthy carrot cake smoothie. I can’t wait for you to try it and tell me what you think! One note, if your banana isn’t frozen, add a handful of ice.

Makes 3 Good-Size Smoothies
2 large frozen or non- frozen bananas

2 cups vanilla unsweetened almond milk

1 cup organic carrot juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup raw almonds

4 pitted medjool dates

Combine all ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth.

Recipe adapted from Goop

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When you give your toddler the choice between a locally baked ooey-gooey cinnamon apple breakfast bread or baking your own biscuits, and he chooses baking your own biscuits despite how appealing you made the ooey-gooey bread sound…then, you march straight to the kitchen, roll up your sleeves, and start searching for ingredients for your baking project. After sighing and thinking it would have been so much easier to buy that loaf of bread, you smile and cherish the thought that you have a little food lover on your hands!


I’m so glad that he chose the biscuits. These were fun to make together and very easy (bonus!). I love how rustic looking they turned out and how scrumptious they tasted slathered with butter and topped with raspberry jam. They were the perfect accompaniment to our sautéed greens topped with fried eggs dinner.

And, just as soon as he finished the last biscuit, he said “We can make these again soon. Right, mama?”

Blueberry Biscuits
minimally adapted from Pink Pistachio

2 cups white whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup blueberries

2 cups organic whipping cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Add blueberries and toss gently in the flour mixture until coated. Gently fold in the whipping cream (it should look lumpy- the key to light and fluffy biscuits, like pancakes, is not overworking the dough).

Lightly flour your countertop and knead you dough (about four turns) into an 8×8 inch square, about 1 inch thick. With a pizza cutter, carefully cut the dough into 12 biscuits making sure not to cut all the way through (leave the dough as one large piece).

Transfer the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and cake tester comes out clean. Serve warm with butter and jam.

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A date night wasn’t part of tonight’s plan. But it’s been part of our weekly plan since the beginning of January and it hasn’t ever really happened…work excuses, colds to heal, late bedtimes for Jack, and on and on…so, tonight seemed as good as any to make it happen. It actually seemed a bit more than necessary after seeing Jack kick and scream in David’s arms when being hauled off for bedtime and then hearing him loudly protest to David about not wanting him to read bedtime books.

As I was making dinner, I kept hearing our beloved three year old scream from upstairs, “I don’t want you to come home anymore”…”I only want to see Mama”…”I don’t like you”. That’s when I knew that we needed a little respite. The night called for a proper dinner…with candles and wine and even a bite of chocolate. With linen napkins and matching silverware…with our places set at the table. So, our easy dinner of egg and arugula sandwiches turned into what I think we would claim as our first official casual at-home date night of the year. And, it was good. We sipped our white wine, talked about David’s day of snowboarding, of our plans for the year…we enjoyed our food and our berries and our dark chocolate peanut butter caramel truffle. We enjoyed the peace the meal brought to the end of our day and realized that it’s not exactly all about what’s eaten, but how it is served that might matter most of all…

Egg, Cheddar, Maple Turkey, and Arugula Sandwiches

Lightly toast bread of your choice. Then, cover with slices of a good, sharp cheddar cheese and broil until bubbly and browned.
Add a few slices of maple roasted turkey to the cheese toast and warm.
Cover turkey with a large handful of arugula.
Place fried egg on top and serve immediately.


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Soft Boiled Eggs

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Despite being stuck at home on a rainy Saturday by myself, I’m having one of the most indulgent of weekend mornings. The type where you find yourself still in your pajamas after 11, when you linger over a second or third cup of coffee- a coffee you even had the time to steam milk for- and read your favorite sections of the NY Times AND catch up on all of the blogs you follow, a morning that finds you hungry and with time to make something extra special for yourself.


My boys went away for the day to help my sister-in-law and her boyfriend move and, while I feel rotten that I could not help pack and carry boxes and furniture for them in an attempt to chip away at the huge debt we are in with them after they helped us move for a whole weekend with very little advanced warning, it is indulgently nice and unexpected to be in a quiet house with no set agenda in spite of my sore throat and pounding head and face ache and sniffles…


I was craving a savory breakfast and after reading yesterday about how to cook perfectly soft-boiled eggs, this is the breakfast I knew I wanted to eat. I brought 1/2 inch of water to a boil in a small sauce pan, turned the heat down to medium low, gently placed 2 eggs in the bubbling water, covered the pan, and waited 6 1/2 minutes for the hot water to warm and set the whites while leaving the bright yellow yolks perfectly runny.


While the eggs were cooking, I sautéed some spinach with sunflower seed oil and freshly minced garlic and toasted some whole grain bread. For one slice of the bread, I broiled some extra sharp cheddar cheese and for the second, I smeared it with unsalted butter. When the eggs were finished cooking, I cooled them with cold running water, then peeled away their shells, which come off quite easily because of the springiness of the whites. I placed the whole eggs on top of the spinach and then cut them open to let the yolks run freely across the plate.

It was perfectly indulgent and delicious without being fussy. A good start to my day of rest and healing.

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