Fancy Breakfast Friday: Freezer Burn Smoothies

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Last Friday kind of snuck up on me.  It had been a big week.  I made a giant birthday cake.  I sent Luke to school with donuts on a Tuesday and I was home from my second trip to the grocery store at 6:15 that morning because I had screwed up the gluten free option.  I bought a cookie that was right in the middle of all the gluten free options after reading, “no eggs, no soy, no dairy, no GMO, vegan”.  But Luke read the actual ingredients to me and sure enough, wheat was the first thing on there.  Long story short, I never came up with an idea for FBF.

So Friday morning I just had to dig through the freezer to see what was in there and what did I find?!?! Home grown, organic, garden strawberries from last summer.  They looked a little worse for the wear, but nothing a smoothie couldn’t solve.  It was about a cup of strawberries, and I also found about 4 frozen cherries in a bag as well from… sometime.

So I made a smoothie out of strawberries, cherries, a banana, about 1/4 cup of yogurt and a packet for vanilla Skoop protein powder.  Then I added enough milk to smooth it out.  Actually probably significantly less milk than I needed because it was very grainy from the fruit and the protein powder.  Jack loved it, but Luke’s more refined palate wasn’t thrilled. He drank it anyway.  I also made them a side dish – oatmeal for Jack and an egg for Luke.

I saved a tiny glass for myself and this photo op.

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Fancy Breakfast Friday: Date Bars

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I started following Smitten Kitchen on Instagram lately, and I have been making a lot of her recipes as a result.  I think I was initially drawn to this one because it looked like chocolate in the middle.  I was wrong.  It’s filled with dates.  I made it anyway.

If I had to predict, I would have said Luke wouldn’t like it and Jack would love it.  Mostly based on the fact that Luke is slightly less into oats, and Jack would eat raw oats for every meal if I hadn’t recently read that raw oats aren’t that great for your *digestion*.  I was wrong about that too, Luke had seconds and Jack didn’t even finish his.

For once in my lifetime, I was making a recipe that called for an 8X8 pan, which is the size I have. (And the reason so many of my other 9×9 and 10×10 breakfast recipes can be challenging.)  So I’m not sure why I didn’t have nearly enough oat mixture to make a top and bottom layer.  I did the thinnest layer possible on the bottom and then added the date layer.  Then I added a giant handful of oats to the remaining oat mixture, and then I had just enough to cover the dates.  So I would definitely add more oats if I were to make this again. I probably won’t make it, because the leftovers were too crumbly to take in a snowboarding pocket, and I think they have just been languishing in the fridge.  Of course, I did also make a giant cake this week so maybe no one was desperate for a healthy dessert item when there was cake to be had.

I served the date bars with bacon and the whatever the kids wanted on the side.  Luke had an egg and Jack had… oatmeal.

Fancy Breakfast Friday:Cinnamon Sugar Popovers

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Last Friday’s FBF was a pile of uninspired smiley face pancakes.  It’s been done to death, but this time I made a triple recipe and took a bunch to the 3rd grade Valentine breakfast party.  No photos were taken, but here’s the recipe.

We had a very lazy President’s day weekend because Luke had an extremely high fever and Jack had a head injury. (A “let’s just rest for a couple days since Luke is ill anyway” type of injury, not a diagnosed concussion or anything.)  I spent some time browsing Pinterest and I saved this recipe for a future FBF.  Then Luke’s illness miraculously improved to the stage where you have a burning desire to make homemade donuts.  I’ll make a pop tart from scratch, but for some reason I draw the line at frying donuts.  There are a lot of reasons why I don’t feel like helping/allowing Luke to make donuts but I summarized them with this reply to his request: No.  To soften the blow, I suggested that he go ahead and steal my FBF thunder and make these popovers.  He did, and they were amazing.

These popovers were the tallest popovers made in my kitchen by far.  I also love that this recipe makes 6, since I have a 6-popover pan.  My only complaint was that Luke only divided the batter 5 ways, so there were a couple that were just slightly undercooked.  This is definetly something that I (we) plan to make again.

 

Fancy Breakfast Friday: Snowboard Muffins

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Last week Jack had a surprise 4-day weekend, so one day he helped me make some muffins and the next day we all took off for a getaway weekend to Crested Butte.  You know that old wisdom that if kids help you cook then they will be more invested in eating the food, etc etc?  Not so with healthy-ish muffins.  Jack ate some, but then said they were too healthy for him.  I thought they were very good, but I may even cut back on the sugar next time.  With Jack’s help, they were pretty easy to make, and they made 24, which I loved.

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We had some for FBF with an egg and some bacon, and then I packed the rest up for CB and I was able to make delicious meals in the hotel room.  They boys had oatmeal with apples, bacon, a muffin and some orange juice.  Sometimes with an egg as well.  We just had a microwave and a one burner stove to work with but I did everything in the microwave. (And the muffins and bacon were pre-made.)

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Normal people may go out to breakfast when on a getaway weekend, but it’s hard to stay up till 10 pm drinking tequila, and then get up at 7:00 and help your teen get ready and out they door so he can try to get on the first chairlift.  I need my beauty sleep.  And I don’t recommend facing teen angst on an empty stomach.

I got this recipe from my friend Laura as part of my Christmas present.  Here is a link to the recipe!  I’m glad I found that because I can’t find the printout and I want to make it again.  Plus I’m in the middle of making next weeks FBF and I am running out of time. (Spoiler alert, it’s a million pancakes for the 3rd grade Valentine’s Party.)

The things I changed from the linked recipe are: I used craisins instead of raisins.  Used 1/4 cup of oil instead of apple sauce.  I just used 4 normal sized carrots instead of measuring the carrots.  The apples and the carrots just got sent into the food processor on “shred”.

I took my fancy camera to Crested Butte but there was too much precipitation for art photography.  And unlike last time, the view from our window was not great.  This is from my iPhone.

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And here’s the random photo of the week:

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Did you ever imagine someone could take such tiny bites from a sandwich?  From what I could tell, aside from those “bites”, Jack had just milk and two pistachios for lunch the other day.

One of my favorite things about making muffins is saying, “I haven’t had my muffin yet, MATT”    Try it, it’s fun.

Fancy Breakfast Friday:Clementine Cake

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Do you ever have that situation where everyone in your family loves clementines until that one day that they don’t?  I buy bag after bag and I can’t stay ahead of the demand, and then one day someone gets a bad one in their lunch and then suddenly people are choosing apples or bananas instead and you are stuck with 5 lonely clementines in your fruit bowl.  You can pack them in a lunch but you know you are going to see them 7 or 24 hours later, depending on when the lunch bag gets cleaned out.

No? Just me?  Well I had my sweet revenge and turned those sorry clementines into a delicious cake last week.  The recipe is here on Smitten Kitchen, and yes it does involve boiling the clementines for 2 hours, but that is not hard.  It also calls for ground almonds… and I have to admit,  I used homemade almond flour that has been in my freezer since my friend Ann Marie was making almond milk last summer and giving me her extra almond-flour-by-product.  I’m not sure how long home made almond flour is supposed to last but as far as I’m concerned, if it was in the freezer, it’s fine.  I also used some of this flour in this raspberry cake.

I had planned to share some clementine cake with Ann Marie, but… we just ate it all instead.  (Sorry!)

The cake was good!  I had to make Luke an egg/cheese bagel to go with it, but that’s a story for another day.

I made this cake the night before, because it’s obviously a time consuming process.  But it was very fresh and moist tasting in the morning, and for the next several days.  Very good with some strong coffee.  This cake is gluten-free if you are into that sort of thing.

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I didn’t do a very good job of putting my photo shoot props back in place, which led to this picture happening:

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That puppy will use the oddest things for a pillow.

 

 

 

DIY: Candy Hearts

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Have you ever thought, “What is the craziest thing I could make from scratch, instead of easily buying it for less than $5”?  If the answer is yes, then I have a couple things to share with you.  The first is DIY candy hearts, and the second is homemade hostess cupcakes.  I have a draft blog post written for the hostess cupcakes from so long ago, the cultural references are no longer valid.  Everyone go re-watch a couple years of Mad Men and I will share the hostess cupcake post.

In the meantime, get to work on these candy hearts because Valentine’s day is right around the corner, and this is a multi-day thing.

There are quite a few recipes out there, but here is what I did – this is mostly adapted from this Food Network recipe.

1 1/4 -ounce packet unflavored gelatin powder
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 cup boiling water
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1 -pound boxes confectioners’ sugar (about 8 cups), plus more for kneading
Assorted food coloring
Assorted extracts (such as peppermint, strawberry or almond) – I used just peppermint because that’s what I have in my house.*
Cooking spray
Food decorating pens – I bought these.
Parchment Paper

*I may branch out if I make these again.  Our grocery store remodel was a couple years ago, and I just now ran across the extract-secret-hiding-place.

Steps:

Throughout this process, you want to keep the dough covered and work quickly enough that it doesn’t dry out.  On the other hand, they won’t be totally dry for a couple days, so don’t stress too much.

Add the the gelatin, corn syrup, salt and the half cup of boiling water and whisk together. Do this in the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, or in that same bowl with a regular whisk.

Once the gelatin is dissolved, switch to the paddle attachment.  Turn the mixer on low – medium and add the vanilla and then slowly add the confectioner’s sugar.  You can add a cup at a time, adding more as the prior cup gets incorporated.

Take the dough out of the mixer  when it is smooth and tacky.  If you plan to do 4 colors, separate it into 4 sections. I did white, purple, green, and pink.  Roll the white into a disk and cover with plastic wrap.  Keep all sections of dough that you aren’t working on under plastic wrap.  Add the food coloring to the other sections, as well as the extra flavor.  All I did was add a little peppermint with the green food coloring. You can mix the color in the mixer, or by hand as you knead the dough.  I did it by hand because my mixer doesn’t handle very small amounts of dough very well.  I added a couple drops of color, and rolled the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap, kind of folding it over itself a couple times.

As you get the color mixed in, start to roll the dough out to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.  Roll it between two pieces of parchment paper. You may need to add extra powdered sugar so the dough doesn’t stick to the paper.  Cut the dough with cookie cutters and leave to dry on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray.

Repeat for each color.

Leave the hearts to dry.  I read that it takes 24 hours, but ours took a little longer.

Write your messages when the hearts are dry.

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Don’t think they will look like the hearts in the box or the hearts on pinterest.  Don’t be discouraged.

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Fancy Breakfast Friday: Activist Muffins

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I have been taking solace in baking lately.  If I get elbow deep in some dough, I won’t try to read the latest news on my phone.  After I took the boys to see Screenagers last night,  I deleted Facebook and Twitter off of my phone and made a plan to cut way back.  We definitely have a “do as I say, not as I do” situation going on.  Screenagers was a very interesting documentary about screen time, the brain, teenagers, rules, self control, and learning. It was good.

So how did these muffins turn out?  Ok.  I should have soaked the oats in milk longer.  I kind of threw these together and they were actually pretty good, but nothing to write a blog post about.

If you must know... Follow the oatmeal version.

The cake was amazing.

I also made this fancy appetizer for a party, which was in the latest Sunset Magazine.  I recommend making this.

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