I went back to work full time after New Year, and all my hopes for keeping up with this blog have been dashed. To all of you bloggers out there who are parents and have full time jobs and still manage to post regularly, I salute you! I have no idea how you do it – my day consists of working, nursing, and getting all the housework done after the baby goes to bed. Where the blog fits, I have no idea. For that matter, where cooking fits is a bit of a mystery as well.
Tonight after bedtime, I decided it was high time to resuscitate one of my favorite recipes – Whole Grain Blueberry Muffins, which are healthy enough that they can be considered a legitimate breakfast food, and which a friend recently pointed out also contain flax and oatmeal, both of which helps with milk production (TMI for you non-moms out there, right?). My other favorite blueberry muffin recipe can’t pass for anything other than dessert, and doesn’t help with nursing, so it’ll have to wait for another day – and I have to applaud my own fortitude on that front, because I found that recipe first while digging for this one, and talked myself out of it.
These muffins are ridiculously easy, especially since I discovered that I’d already ground a bunch of oats, so I didn’t even use the food processor this time. I just mixed all the flours, blended the dries, whisked the wets, combined, folded in the blueberries, and baked. As easy as muffins! They’re sitting on my stove now, cooling from the oven, and they smell delicious. Almost delicious enough to make me excited about tomorrow morning – but no, I’d still rather stay in bed (which, needless to say, is no longer an option either now that I have a 4 month old).
What are your favorite week-day breakfast foods? How do you get through the work week morning routine?
It’s a nasty day outside – cold, wet, grey, miserable – and I’m sitting inside in the almost-dark thinking about Thanksgiving and all the intense cooking and eating in the next few days. Most years, my sister and I go all out and make a feast, regardless of how many people we’re expecting. This year my sister can’t come home and I have a newborn, so Thanksgiving will be in the capable hands of my in-laws and I’m only a contributor. I am contributing my famous Caramelized Brussels Sprouts (easy), and a pumpkin cheesecake (easy). Which is making me think about all the incredibly easy recipes there are out there and how, even with a new baby, I should be cooking more.
Potatoes are one of the most versatile and comforting foods there is. They can be prepared in so many ways, some healthy, some not so healthy; they can be simple or supplemented with delicious additives (like ranch dressing – thanks to Hidden Valley ads during Agents of Shield on HuluPlus, I’ve been craving mashed potatoes with ranch dressing for weeks). Every time someone fixes them for me, I remember how much I love them and how I should make them more often. Potatoes last a really long time, so they aren’t one of the “emergency – eat these now” vegetables, which also makes them a good stand-by.
This “recipe” could not be easier. It’s so easy that I wouldn’t even call it a recipe – I’d call it a cooking style. (I do actually apply this general style to almost all the veggies I cook – it’s excellent for broccoli and brussels sprouts also.) Since there’s no real measuring, you can make as many or as few potatoes as you want. These potatoes make a great side dish for dinner, or a simple substitute for fancier hash browns at breakfast. And if you’re like me and you like to use your hands rather than utensils, the olive oil is great for your skin!
Easy Roasted Potatoes
- Cut up some small potatoes, however many you have or want (I had about five yukon gold here).
- Toss them in some olive oil, salt, and chopped rosemary (or whatever herb/spice you have around).
- Spread them on a baking sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes, until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. (You should be able to stick a fork straight in with no trouble.)
- Serve hot.
In honor of fall, the day before Halloween, and almost-Thanksgiving, here is the first in a three (possibly more) part series about apples!
A few weekends ago we went apple picking!
We thought we’d just get a few pounds of apples. Turns out they’re heavier than they look! Two bags (we had to each have our own, of course) ended up being a little over 18 lbs. Whoops! So, of course, that meant I got to make things with them!
First up, applesauce! I love applesauce. A lot. But I especially love cinnamon applesauce. And the problem with store-bought cinnamon applesauce is that they don’t make a “natural” version without added sugar. So I decided to make my own.
I have recently started on a mission to eat healthier meals. Breakfast is a big challenge for us, as I believe I discussed in my “Gourmet” Breakfast Sandwiches post, because all I want to do in the mornings is sleep, so actually preparing something is not really a viable option. Whatever we eat on a weekday morning has to already be put together. The most I will do is put it in the toaster and spread butter, or spoon it into a bowl.
When I found this recipe on Real Simple, I was excited to try it out. (Fortunately I didn’t read the reviews – not very positive!) The ingredients weren’t things I had in my pantry already, but they were easy enough to find. I even found the Flax Seed at Giant, which was a surprise. I don’t believe in nuts, so I skipped the pecans entirely and used extra flax seed and extra oats instead. For the blueberries, I found frozen Maine blueberries, which are smaller and sweeter and taste delicious in a muffin. (more…)
This cookbook is one that I would never have picked up on my own (except for the fact that I am actually a bit in love with Gwyneth Paltrow), but I read a surprising and wonderful review of it somewhere, possibly the NPR book list, and then I found a copy at the Friends of the Library book sale this fall. Finally flipping through it now, I found quite a few recipes that I am excited to try, the first of which is one of two pancake recipes in the book.
I was initially inspired by these because they involve making the batter the night before, so all you have to do in the morning is cook. Since Calin and I never get up in time to do anything real in the mornings, I thought it might be nice to try these so add some excitement to a weekday breakfast.
One beautiful Friday morning my coworker brought us all cinnamon rolls. We ate a bunch of them, but couldn’t finish them all, and when go home time came around, there were still a few left. Nobody else wanted them, so I took them home to make cinnamon roll french toast.
It’s actually the perfect use for day old cinnamon rolls, because most french toast recipes tell you that day-old bread actually soaks up the batter better anyway. What I didn’t take into account was the icing. It got very sticky, and made a total mess of my poor cast iron skillet. (more…)
Our wonderful friend (and my surrogate daughter) Jill gave us a crêpe pan as a wedding plan. Until last week, I have loved it from a distance, too intimidated to use it. Thanksgiving, however, is (at least in my family) all about trying new and possibly incredibly difficult and irrational things, so I figured this was my best shot. Besides, you need a good solid breakfast if you’re going to be cooking and eating all day. (Ahem.)
The recipe was surprisingly easy. I found it in How To Cook Everything, which is tied for my favorite cookbook. (Tied with The New Best Recipes, which equally surprisingly did not have a crêpe recipe.) Anyway, Mark Bittman provided incredibly simple instructions for how to make the perfect crêpe, minus the fact that he shows you how to roll them instead of how to fold them like the French crêpe stands do. Fortunately, I’ve been to France often enough and recently enough that I could handle that part on my own. (more…)