Category Archives: Breakfast

Parmesan French Toast with Caramelized Onions

Lately, there has been quite a proliferation of breakfast options on this blog. With some rare exceptions and the typical eggs and toast, most of my breakfasts consist of sweet options – oatmeal, cereal and pancakes. I woke one more morning wanting savory French toast, and I was determined to make it happen.

And, I did.

Starting with a wonderful loaf of going-stale bakery bread, I put together a recipe that I know will make its way into my breakfast repertoire on special occasions. When, I have a breakfast/brunch menu consisting of the usual sweet options (scones, muffins, fruit etc.), I plan on using this recipe to balance and offer guests a surprising and delightful twist on a classic.

I also paired this with perfectly caramelized onions. I also thought about poaching an egg on top, but stuck to the onions. There are quite a bit of options here.

Parmesan French Toast
– Serves 4

Ingredients;

  • 1 cup half and half
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 8 (1/2 inch) slices of going-stale (about 2 day old) brioche or country bakery-style bread.

Directions:

  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the half and half, eggs, Parmesan cheese, salt and black pepper.
  2. Soak the slices until fully absorbed. Take your time with this. You want the bread to be soaked.
  3. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium heat.
  4. Once the pan is hot, cook the bread on each side until golden brown.
  5. Serve warm with caramelized onions (recipe to follow).

Caramelized Onions

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 2 large yellow or white onions, sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp white sugar

Directions:

  1. Using a thick-bottomed pan, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat.
  2. Stir occasionally to keep the onions from burning.
  3. After the onions have become a bit translucent, add the salt and sugar.
  4. Cook over medium heat until it’s caramelized.
  5. Watch your stove and the heat. If the onions are browning too fast, reduce the heat a bit.
  6. This process takes about 30 minutes. Do not rush it as it is completely worth the effort.

7 Comments

Filed under Bread, Breakfast, Vegetarian

Cardamom Clementine Pancakes

Try saying that name five times fast.

Let’s say this together – hiatus. This is the longest I have ever not blogged. Why? Many reasons. Mainly, it’s been a whirlwind around here. In addition to the craziness that happens with running a business, house, husband, baby, extended family and my own sanity, we had to put down our family dog of 18 years and, for the first time ever,had a judge dismiss one of the most important cases of my career. So between Monday through Friday, I was doing damage control upon damage control, while maintaining as much control as possible.

Then, Saturday morning came. And, per usual, I embarked on my pancake project. One may guess that I was setting myself up for failure. However, this Saturday, I put aside the worries and disasters of the week for our now-typical Saturday breakfasts.

I therapeutically mixed the ingredients with hopes of nothing more than avoiding another failure. The pancake stars aligned and we have another winner. Starting with a solid recipe for a base and adding ingredients purposely yielded a beautifully light and flavorful pancake.

I absolutely adore cardamom and drink it often with my regular cup of chai. I was inspired to the same flavor and combined it with the refreshing juice of clementines. The pair work wonderfully together and the proportions of each allow you to enjoy the flavor of both without being overpowered by one.

Cardamom Clementine Pancakes
adapted from Barefoot Contessa

– Makes about 10-12 pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups of flour
  • 3 tbsp turbinado sugar (you can use regular sugar)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (you can use cow’s milk)
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • juice of one clementine
  • zest of one clementine

Directions:

  1. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cardamom powder, and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, almond milk, eggs, vanilla extract, clementine juice and zest.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
  4. In a non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium heat.
  5. Ladle 1/4 cup worth of batter onto the skillet. Cook each pancake 3 minutes on each side.

5 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Pumpkin Pancakes

Binks, the baby, and I are sick.  Binks started the chain of events in the household, followed by me and now the baby.  So, what I decided on a sore-throated morning was I absolutely without a doubt wanted pumpkin pancakes.  Binks silenced any thoughts about telling me to not make said pancakes after a quick flashback into the past.  So, in my weary state, I was determined to make pancakes.  And, if they flopped, Binks was warned to take cover.

Pumpkin, in the food blog world, is seasonal.  Copious amounts of pumpkin recipes come up around October and die off after the new year.  I say, “why?”  I say let’s enjoy this fruit all year.  I say this with love and knowledge of three cans of pumpkin sitting in my pantry that I would like to use up.  I dare you to tell me that pumpkin pancakes were not a fabulous idea.  I dare you … and you have been warned to take cover.

Pumpkin Pancakes

–  adapted from Martha Stewart Living
–  makes about 10 pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of cloves
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 6 tbsp canned pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp melted butter, cooled

Directions:

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves).
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg.
  3. To the egg, add and mix the vanilla, milk, pumpkin, and melted butter.
  4. Using a wooden spoon (you don’t want to over mix), just fold the wet ingredients into the dry to make sure everything is incorporated and smooth.
  5. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat.
  6. Once the pan is hot, melt butter in the pan.
  7. Once the butter is melted (don’t let it burn), add 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake.
  8. Cook each pancake for 3 minutes on either side.

How do you deal with a cold?  Do you engage in any illogical behavior?

5 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Vegetarian

Banana Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar Streusel

We recently visited Binks’ cousin’s son.  She had him less than a month after I delivered.  However, we wanted to wait a good amount of time as she was recovering from a C-Section, her entire family (including her parents) were recovering from the flu (yes, with the newborn there), and her baby developed a sinus infection.  That and scheduling issues allowed us to visit him when he was a little older than one month.

And I was not going to go empty handed.  I made one of my favorite muffins.  These bakery-style muffins are adored by everyone in my family and I was 90% sure that she would enjoy it as well.  I was right.  Perfectly moist and full of banana flavor, the muffins also come with a beautiful crumbly cinnamon-y topping.  A beautiful presentation with very little effort.  The recipe allows you to gather ingredients you likely have in your pantry with some very ripe bananas.  If you’re at all like me, you have very ripe bananas at least once a month.

Banana Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar Streusel
adapted from Allrecipes

Ingredients:

For the muffins:

  •  2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 medium-size very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
For the streusel topping:
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp butter

Directions:

  1.  Preheat oven to 375F.  Line 12 muffin cups with liners.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  In another bowl, beat the bananas, vanilla, brown sugar, egg, and melted butter until everything is incorporated.  Mix the wet mixture into the dry until everything is wet and fully mixed.  You do not want to over-mix.
  3. Using an ice cream scoop or spoon, spoon the batter into the muffin liners.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the streusel topping until it resembles coarse bread crumbs.  Sprinkle liberally over all of the muffins.  You should have enough to have a good amount on each muffin.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 19-20 minutes, until it passes the toothpick test.

4 Comments

Filed under Bread, Breakfast, Muffins

Spinach Pesto Omelette

If you’ve been reading, I’ve hit you up with quite a bit of sugar lately.  If you don’t believe me, look here, here, and here.  I swear I eat more than dessert.  In fact, my favorite thing to eat lately have been eggs.  Eggs are an absolute staple in my diet.  It’s easily accessible and cooks quickly.  In fact, an omelet is my go-to breakfast when I want something different from the usual yogurt bowl with granola or cereal.

And these days, when I eat breakfast around 10:30 a.m., this omelet offers acts as the perfect brunch option.  I prefer this delicious meal with a buttered piece of sourdough toast.  As I eat my first meal of the day later than what constitutes breakfast, the spices and full-flavor of this omelet makes a satisfying brunch.

The funny thing about this omelet is that while eggs lend itself wonderfully to versatility (adding whatever ingredients you want depending on what you have in store), I made these eggs exactly the same way for more days than I would like to admit.

Spinach Pesto Omelet Recipe
Yield: 2 servings 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 (10 oz) package of frozen spinach, drained and squeezed dry
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste (you may not need so much salt as the Parmesan is pretty salty)
  • 2 tbsp basil pesto (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, grated

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, spinach, garlic powder, onion powder, pesto, salt and pepper.  In a separate bowl, mix the cheeses together.
  2. Heat non-stick pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Once pan is hot, heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat.
  4. Once pan is hot, pour egg mixture into pan.
  5. Cook for 3 minutes over medium-high heat.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium-low
  7. Once the bottom of the eggs have cooked (the top will still be under-cooked), add cheese to the top.
  8. Cover pan with lid.  Let steam for 5 minutes.
  9. Lift cover and fold omelet in half.
  10. Cook for another 2 minutes, until fully cooked through.

11 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

French Toast Casserole

I love French toast.  Remember?  Love it.

I love bread pudding.  Remember?  Loves it.

Now, French toast + bread pudding = this.

This = french toast casserole.

Math is good.

Math is delicious.

This was by far the best breakfast I’ve had in a long time.  The cinnamon-y nutty topping is the best part.  Perfectly eggy. Not mushy.  Perfectly spiced.  With a splash of the boozy.  Meant to be shared.  Your family and/or friends would love you for it.

French Toast Casserole
adapted from Paula Deen

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb day-old challah bread
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Praline Topping Ingredients

  • 1 stick of butter (1/4 lb)
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts – only b/c that’s what I had on hand.  Next time, I’ll try pecans
  • 2 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
Directions:

  1. Slice challah bread into 1 inch slices.  Arrange slices into a buttered 9 x 13 flat baking dish in two rows.  I overlapped the slices a bit.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, milk, sugar, vanilla, Grand Marnier, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  3. Make sure it’s all combined.  Pour mixture over the bread slices to evenly cover all the bread slices.  I had to spoon some of the mix over the bread after pouring to ensure even coverage.
  4. Cover the pan with foil and refrigerate overnight.
  5. The next day, preheat the oven to 350F.  Take off the foil.
  6. Prepare the praline topping by mixing all the praline topping ingredients and blending well.
  7. Spread the praline topping over the bread evenly and bake for 40 minutes, until the bread puffs up and gets golden brown.
  8. Serve warm.

Note:  I don’t think you need maple syrup as it is sufficiently sweet on its own.  However, if you want to, use hot maple syrup.

8 Comments

Filed under baking, Bread, Breakfast, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Cravings

Yesterday, when Lindsay asked what I was craving, I could have written an essay about it.  Why not a blog post?

While I never got sick during the first trimester, I had serious cravings and aversions.  Prior to finding out I was pregnant, Binks (and even I) thought I was just being weird.  I did not want any bacon or be near it – pork in general.  Meat was just hard for me altogether.  I could not stand the smell or sight of mushrooms.

What I lacked in aversions, I sure made up and keep making up for in cravings.

Pickles

I cannot get enough.

Yep that is mustard and pickles.  Together.  It’s a fabulous thing.  Try it.  I eat a pickle everyday.  This is my pickle of choice these days.

Turns out pickles actually quell sugar cravings, which makes sense because I do have a huge sweet tooth.  Body – 1; me – 0.

Spicy Food

I ate spicy food before, but this is another issue altogether.  I can drink this stuff:

I cook a lot with this:

I don’t know why I crave spicy food.  I don’t know any reason behind this except to know that spicy food does rev up your metabolism a bit.

Cereal/Granola

I could eat this morning, noon and night.  I limit it to just breakfast because pickles don’t go with cereal.

I love to drown my cereal in the almond milk – which is something I did previously anyway.

I love granolas/cereals – it makes me feel like I’m eating a dessert and I swear to the heavens that the vanilla macaroon granola I picked up at Sprouts tastes like a cookie.  So, I’ve been eating cookie cereal.  My favorite these days is Cascadian Farm’s Dark Chocolate Almond Granola.  Again, tastes like cookies!

And, it keeps me full.

Cold Crazy Breakfast Bowls

To the exclusion of cereal, I’m in love with smoothie bowls and yogurt bowls.

This purple goodness is a mixture of prepared banana oatmeal, blueberries and almond milk.  Topped with Justin’s Maple Almond Butter.

That my friends is Noosa Blueberry.  If you haven’t tried Noosa yet, you need to.  I don’t know what they do to make it delicious, but it is.

Miscellaneous

Other cravings include:

Justin’s nut butters.  If you notice my pictures above you seethat I use it often.  I wish it were a mental thing but it’s not.  I have other Natural Peanut butters and nut butters but something about this one sets it above the rest.  So much so that I’m contemplating buying a $10 jar.

Bananas.  Maybe I’m needing potassium but I find every which way to sneak in bananas – usually at breakfast.

Coconut.  As seen above, I love the stuff.  And let me tell you coconut sprinkled on banana slices – O.M.G. dessert for sure!

Actually coconut has been not just a dietary supplement but an all-over body routine lately.  I use it on my face as a mask and I notice a huge difference.  I’m working on different anti-inflammatory (natural) masks and once I get together a palatable ‘recipe’, I’ll share!  I also use coconut oil on my stomach for stretch marks.

Being from Kerala, coconut is used often and widely.  Not for nothing.  Coconut is a power house of nutrition and other health benefits.

Are all my cravings healthy?  No.  I frequently crave and sometimes eat (sometimes because these are not every day foods):

(1) potato chips – Kettle Sea Salt & Vinegar.  ‘Nuff said.

(2) french fries – Always and forever

(3) fried chicken – This will never go away

(4) pizza – With garlic powder, red pepper flakes and Sriracha sauce for toppings.  I dare you to try it.

(5) Magnums – Shall we go there again?

Pregnant or not – tell me what you crave – a healthy craving and a not-so-healthy craving.

16 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Pregnancy, Uncategorized

More Protein Please!

With the pregnancy, I’ve been hungrier than ever.  The best way I keep myself filled and fulfilled?  Protein.  Lately, my oatmeal and smoothie breakfasts have not been able to keep me full long enough.  I must admit that my oatmeal bowls are heavy on the fruit but I totally forget to incorporate protein.

So, recently when a vendor came to visit and do a little ad blurb, she brought breakfast.  The best kind – the Central Market kind.

{Cranberry Blueberry Muffins}

Plus fresh strawberries and pineapple

Talk about delicious

And this is no ordinary muffin.  Usually muffins are stingy on the fruit but not this one.

So, why am I talking about protein and showing you pictures of carbs galore?

Because yesterday’s breakfast was given a protein makeover.

Fage yogurt (because, to me, there is none better), Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter (Nutella’s serious competition), and the fruity muffins.

I split the Justin’s nut butter with Binks.

Okay, I cannot even describe how delicious this bowl of goodness was.  I savored this meal for a good 30 minutes, which definitely beats my usual 30 second inhalation of my morning cereal.

With combos like this, incorporating more protein will not be so difficult!

How do you incorporate more protein into your breakfast? 

13 Comments

Filed under Bread, Breakfast, Vegetarian

Detoxing After Ranch Attack

After the crazy week of vacation and adjusting to being back at home and work, I needed a detox.  And, I usually do this when my eating and exercising have not been up to par.  I mean come on, I just told you about my ranch and hot sauce covered cheese steak sandwich and my love of french fries at every meal.

Detoxing is in order.  After eating all those heavy meals, I don’t just naturally go back to eating healthy.  It takes time and it takes a plan.

I have been using Amazing Grass products for a while.  When, I read about and had the opportunity to participate in the 2 Week Challenge, I jumped at the chance. When, I heard about the different Amazing Meal flavors, specifically the Pomegranate Mango Infusion, I did a cart-wheel in my head.

Once you sign up for the 2 Week Challenge, you get a daily inspirational email (for two weeks) and then a meal plan.  The meal plan starts out each day with a smoothie.

And, I wouldn’t want to start it any other way these hot summer days.

I have to say this was by far the prettiest smoothie bowl I have ever made.  It was just as delicious.

In the Mix:

  • 1 scoop Amazing Meal Pomegranate Mango Infusion
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats

On Top:

  • Shredded coconut
  • Blueberry granola

I enjoyed every bite.

Obviously.

What do you do to detox?  When do you usually do it?  Have you tried the Amazing Grass challenge?  Notice any changes?

10 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Favorites, Vegan, Vegetarian

San Fran: Day 2 – How I Budget My Vacation

This trip to San Francisco has been a dream trip of mine.  I have been planning this trip since Binks first went to San Francisco and said he wanted to move there eventually.  That was 3 years ago.

Just like my wedding, all dreams come with a price, and this girl has to budget her dreams.  I’ll be gone from May 12th – May 18th and that means a lot of hotels, a lot of eating out, a lot of gas, a lot of excursions and a lot of miscellaneous.

Tip 1: Save on hotels.

During this trip, I’ll stay at 4 hotels.  In total, I have paid $120.  How?  Well, when I had my dream wedding (at a Marriott), I accumulated a lot of rewards points that I used up for this vacation.  Every hotel night has been ‘paid for’ by my Marriott points.  The only hotel I have paid for is my hotel at Monterey.

And, I used Priceline for that.  Priceline is my best friend when I don’t have points saved up.

Tip 2:  Book hotels that offer free breakfasts. 

Especially when breakfasts include delicious oatmeal with toppings for a waffle bar.  I loved this bowl with some chocolate chips, strawberry sauce, walnuts and a banana.  Delicious!!

Tip 3:  Balance overspending with left over breakfast.

That title makes no sense.  I know.  On day 1, we ate out for breakfast (at the airport), lunch (Boudin), and dinner (Firenze at Night).  We spent more than we expected to spend.

So, in an attempt to balance out that damage to the wallet, I made some lunch with breakfast items.  Meet my lunch for Day 2.

My favorite sandwich – the pb&j, with half a muffin that I shared with Binks.

Tip 4:  Pack snacks.

Tip 5:  Take advantage of natural (free) sights to see.

Meet my close encounter with death – the Twin Peaks.

I climbed up one and thought, I’m going to die – either of loss of breath or the wind blowing me onto the road below.  But, just looking at the second Twin made me think, I had to conquer that beast.  Once, I did, the view was worth a million bucks.

Mind you, we splurge on things here and there, but it’s all about the balance to ensure that we aren’t left with nothing when we get back to reality.

What do you do to save money on trips?  What do you splurge on?

10 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Cookies, Vacation