Posts tagged breakfast

as promised, now i’ll tell you a bit about the friendly toast in kendall square/cambridge - the spot that jane and i grabbed lunch during our quick trip to boston. obviously after lunch here, we saved room for those kick*ss cupcakes, though!

i’ve been to this restaurant 2-3 other times and always opt for breakfast food, since that’s the best meal of the day! during my most recent visit, i ordered an egg white omelette with avocado and goat cheese. two of my favorite foods rolled into one dish? perfect. i got homemade cinnamon toast and potatoes as sides, but left the potatoes because they were a little spicy for my liking. the bread was deeelish, though!

jane was craving a grilled cheese, so she ordered from the lunch side of the menu. i’m telling you, this menu is filled with some very interesting combinations that i would never think to pair together (like the mr. haegar: “a messy melt of dill pickles, cheddar, plum tomatoes, dijon mustard and horseradish mayonnaise on grilled oatmeal bread”). everything that comes out of the kitchen always looks good, though, and they have lots of options for different appetites. there are gluten free items, vegetarian dishes, food for meat lovers and simpler things for picky palates. next time i think i’m going to go with the PUMPKIN PANCAKES!

anywho, as you can see in the pictures, the best part about this place is the decor! everything is straight out of the 50/60s and the walls are painted bright with tons to look at. sometimes it feels like sensory overload, but the advertisements, products and decor makes me feel like i’m in an episode of happy days. i love it!

the friendly toast | kendall square | 1 hampshire street | cambridge, ma | 02139

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fried matzah/matzo brei

so those of you that don’t celebrate (read: endure) passover and all it’s crazy food restrictions might not really understand this post at all. but trust me, when nearly every one of your favorite foods is off limit for over a week, you start appreciating some pretty odd holiday treats.

this one has been one of my favorites since i was little and despite not keeping matzo/matzah* year-round, i LOVE that it’s always on the menu at zaftigs in coolidge corner! theirs tends to be a little more on the savory side, but since this is my recipe, i get to do what i want.

*that’s the thing about jewish foods/holidays… something gets lost in the transliteration. is it matzah or matzo? hannukah? hannuka? chanuka? chanukah? etc etc etc. i’d love to take a jewish spelling test. i’m pretty sure there’s no way you’d ever get a single thing wrong based on the 1000 variations of every word.

3 boards of matzo (for the record, streits is my favorite brand)

4 eggs

water + 2 Tablespoons water

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

pinch of salt

2 teaspoons butter

[this recipe yields enough for two main courses or 3-4 side dishes]

rinse the matzo under warm water for about 30 seconds each. you don’t want it to be disintegrated/soggy, but not crispy or crumbly, either. then go ahead and break it apart into chunks and put in a large bowl.

whisk together the eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and 2 Tablespoons of water and once they’re well-blended, pour them over the matzo into the bowl. mix it together and let it soak for about 2-3 minutes while you melt the butter in a large skillet. you don’t want them to get too soggy, so don’t let the bowl sit too much longer.

let it cook on a medium-high heat for about 3-5 minutes until all the egg is absorbed and cooked through, but it’s not all dried out. scoop it out and serve it with cinnamon sugar, maple syrup or whatever you like.

think of it as matzo french toast. also… it makes great leftovers!

click here for a printable version of the recipe!

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peanut butter, banana & honey smoothie

hello, hello. happy monday. i don’t know about you, but i’m all for going back to the weekend. basketball games to watch, minimal work to do. ahhh… i miss my comfy bed already.

whenever bananas are past their prime in my apartment, i feel bad just tossing them, so i always throw them in the freezer and save them for a rainy day (read: banana bread or banana scones. i need to make some banana muffins!)

i’ve also been tossing fresh bananas in my smoothies for ages now. but mixing the two? frozen banana in the smoothie? hmmm… a suggestion from food frenzy and peanut butter fingers led me to the conclusion that frozen bananas in a smoothie make it taste like ice cream! i was sold.

looking for a treat last night (while watching my new obsession, party down, on netflix), i decided to go for it. my only wish is that i had something to thicken the shake/smoothie up a little bit (protein powder, xantham gum) so it’d almost be soft serve-ish. even so, it was delicious as it was! it’s also one of the easiest things i’ve ever made. the worst part was feeling all frost bite-y when i had to get the peel off the icy banana!

1 frozen banana

3/4 cup skim milk

1 Tablespoon honey

1 Tablespoon peanut butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

[this makes one delicious serving!]

now get ready for the incredibly complicated instructions…

first, put everything in the blender. then blend.

pour and enjoy!

 

mmmm. so cold and delicious. and not bad for you, in the grand scheme of desserts!

click here for a printable version of the recipe!

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chocolate peanut butter baked oatmeal

are you noticing a trend? i really love chocolate and peanut butter together (as seen here and here). well i’m always looking for new things to make my breakfasts quick, easy and different. i’m a huge fan of making things at the beginning of the week (breads, scones, muffins, granola). try as i may, i’m just NOT a morning person, so the quicker i can grab something on my way out the door, the easier my morning goes.

i had heard a few times about baked oatmeal and began to get curious about the breakfast. i love how oatmeal sticks to your ribs and keeps you full for so long, but sometimes i just don’t have time in the morning for the water boiling, mixing, heating, yadda, yadda and let’s be honest… if you don’t wash those dishes immediately, that oatmeal’s going to be stuck on there for a long, long time. so anyways, this seemed like an interesting alternative - baking the oats, mixing in some fun flavors and then eating the creation hot or cold. consider it a mix of a cake/muffin/granola bar/bowl of oatmeal. you can see why my interest was piqued!

i had seen recipes a few places, but sadly i forgot where they were. i finally kicked my butt into action after seeing a pumpkin version of the breakfast treat on julie’s blog, peanut butter fingers. she found the original recipe on chocolate covered katie - a blog i hadn’t previously read but certainly do now! that’s one of my favorite things about blogging - whenever someone links to someone else, i find a new one to read and love!

i didn’t have any pumpkin on hand, but i definitely will bookmark that idea for the fall when i want pumpkin EVERYTHING! based on the ingredients i had around, i made a chocolate peanut butter variation and it tasted like DESSERT! i also thought that i could use their recipe/serving size but for some reason was SO FULL halfway through that i’m going to say each recipe/loaf is enough for two servings. you might disagree, though :)

1/2 cup oats

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 Tablespoons sweetener (sugar, honey, Splenda, i chose agave nectar!)

1 1/2 Tablespoons natural peanut butter (i went with Teddie’s crunchy)

1/3 cup chocolate soy milk

1/2 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

[like i said, this recipe yields 1-2 servings… i think 1/2 this loaf, a banana and some milk makes a totally awesome and well-rounded breakfast!]

also, the instructions couldn’t be easier! first, preheat your oven to 375 and spray your ramekins or mini loaf pan with nonstick spray.

in a small bowl, combine alllll the ingredients and stir together until they’re well-mixed.

pour the mixture into the ramekin/loaf pan and bake in the 375-degree oven for 15-20 minutes. before removing, broil on high for 2-3 minutes.

slice it in half and serve hot or cold!

mm mm good!

click here for a printable version of the super simple recipe. thanks julie and katie for the idea :)

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chocolate chip pancake muffins

i can’t believe i’m just finally getting around to blog this tasty little breakfast treat! i made them back when we had our valentine’s day brunch and then proceeded to have a few for breakfast every morning for the rest of the week.

rewinding a bit, you might remember i finally got over my fear of flapjack-making when i created a batch of lemon blueberry pancakes back in january. that doesn’t mean, however, that i magically became a pancake PRO. i still need to be careful when flipping, only do a few at a time and ease my way into become a whiz in the art of hotcake creation.  if you have a bunch of guests over, it’s no fun to stand in the kitchen, flipping one or two at a time while everyone else is enjoying breakfast without you!

when i stumbled upon the original recipe on (no surprise), baked bree, i loved the explanation and the concept made so much sense to me: make pancake-flavored, maple-infused, chocolate chip-filled muffins that taste like pancakes but can be whipped up in advance and allow you to socialize instead of slave away! genius! bree always comes to the rescue. at least in my kitchen :)

so next time you’re having company over for brunch or want to prep a week’s worth of breakfast in a flash, remember these little guys!

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons sugar

2/3 cup 1% milk

1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg beaters)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 Tablespoons maple syrup

2 Tablespoons melted butter

3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

[this recipe yields about 3 dozen mini muffins or a dozen regular-sized]

to get started, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and generously spray a 24-cup mini muffin tin with nonstick spray or line with cupcake liners. (i opted for festive pink liners!)

in a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar). add in the milk, eggs, vanilla and maple syrup. stir until just combined and fold in the chocolate chips.

i went with mini chips so they didn’t overwhelm the mini muffins, but you can use regular-sized chips if that’s what you’ve got on hand!

spoon into the muffin tin and bake in the 350-degree oven for 8-10 minutes until they’re golden brown on top. let them cool for a few minutes before taking them out of the tin.

feel free to drizzle with some maple syrup or eat them as they are! i went for plain because i didn’t want a sticky mess, but either way would be equally delicious.

click here for a printable version of the recipe!

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whole wheat banana scones

imagine my surprise when i came into the office on wednesday to find a bunch of bananas on my desk. literally a cluster of 5-6 bananas, just hanging out on my desk. i consider where i sit to be a pretty high-traffic area, so had someone accidentally left them in passing? were they missing a snack? was it a hint that i needed more potassium in my life? for a few hours, it was a mystery.

then, i got a text message from our field hockey coach later that evening that she and her family were going away for a few days and she didn’t want them to go to waste. how thoughtful! a lovely ingredient, perfect for a recipe i’d been wanting to make and they were all for me! so thanks, shan :) i’ll whip you up a batch of these when you get back as a thank you!

for some reason, i always remember thinking scones were dry. i made a few tweaks to the original recipe i found, including more milk and bananas and a little less flour. i loved the result and am going to stick with my edited recipe creation.

i loved these fresh with peanut butter, hot with butter or as leftovers plain, quick and easy to grab on my way out the door in the morning. no fuss, easy to make and so delicious! i highly recommend you make some for a lazy saturday breakfast or sunday brunch this weekend.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 Tablespoons cold butter

2 large ripe bananas

1/4 cup skim milk

when you’re done collecting, it’s onto the doing!

preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

in a large bowl, whisk the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. make sure everything is well-combined.

add in the cold butter and using a knife, pastry cutter or your fingers, chop it up until it’s a pebbly consistency. i didn’t do a very good job of this so there were bigger pockets of butter, but it wasn’t the end of the world, so just do the best job you can.

add the milk to the mixture and mix it in, then, in another bowl, mash the ripe bananas and mix them into the larger bowl.

once your mixture is about half blended, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface or cutting board. knead it until everything holds together and is well-mixed. don’t over-knead, though, or you’re in for some dense, tough scones.

form the dough into a 3/4 inch thick circle (sort of like a big disc) and cut it into eight triangles, like you’re cutting a pizza or a pie.

put the wedges onto your parchment-lined baking sheet and pop into the 425-degree oven for 13-15 minutes. the scones should turn golden brown around the edges and be firm on top.

i loved using natural peanut butter, which is more drizzly than the more processed kinds, but i think i’d enjoy these with ANYTHING on top! i recommend storing them in the fridge rather than on the counter, FYI.

click here for a printable version of the recipe!

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mocha frappe

i admit, i used to have a problem. a coffee problem. i would go to dunkin donuts with my old roommate daily. sometimes more than once in a day. as our only escape from the office, we’d walk across the street, grab an iced coffee, maybe a bagel, and mosey on back to our desks. this became a problem because although dunkin donuts isn’t expensive, it isn’t incredibly cheap.  i was spending upwards of $20 a week there. that’s over $75 a month! almost $1000 a year! if you know my current job, you’d know that this type of spending was completely unacceptable.

after a trip to california this summer, i declared i would be going on a spending diet. since then, i can count on a single hand how many times i’ve gone shopping for clothes and for a solid 4-5 months, i never went out to dinner more than once a week. i’ve strayed a bit from my strict confines, but the one thing that i have been completely steadfast on is backing away from dunkin donuts. i am only allowed ONE coffee/bagel a week from dunkin donuts and i choose that treat to come on fridays.

this year, i declared fridays to be TGIDDF for two reasons: 1) thank god it’s dunkin donuts friday and 2) thank god it’s dress down friday. yes, i have a self-declared dress down day at work and i get to wear jeans. so there!

when life gets excessively monotonous, i think the best way to spruce things up is celebrate little made-up holidays and achievements. every week that i make it through, i say YAY! FRIDAY! TIME FOR A TREAT! it really makes me appreciate my medium iced hazelnut, skim milk, two splendas so much more than when i was taking it for granted every. single. day.

well, that was just a really long backstory to tell you that for the first time this year, it’s friday and i didn’t stop at dunkin donuts. but that doesn’t mean no coffee for me. instead, i enjoyed my very own mocha frappe. cut out the coolatas; forget about frappuccinos. i’ve got a healthier, cheaper and all-around better alternative.

i originally saw this recipe on deliciously organic, but as always, made a few tweaks of my own. if you prefer carmel or peppermint or anything, start experimenting and make your own version - the possibilities are endless!

3/4 cup strong, hot coffee

3/4 Tablespoon honey

1 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tablespoon maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup skim milk

1/2 cup plain ice cubes

once you’re done collecting, it’s time for the doing.

brew your coffee and while it’s still hot, mix in the honey until it’s dissolved. pour the coffee into four ice cube slots in a tray and freeze until solid. keep the remaining coffee/honey mixture cooling in the fridge.

two things. one: do you like my primitive way to brew coffee? my coffee maker broke months ago and since i don’t drink as much anymore, i decided to wait to buy a new one until i’m ready for a KEURIG (!) of my own. shockingly, using just the caraffe from the coffee maker and filter and then pouring hot water into the top, it worked 100% just fine.

two: if you like this drink, in the future i’d suggest just filling up more than the four ice cube trays and then you can make one of these frosty, delicious beverages on a moment’s notice!

once they’re frozen, you can get moving on the rest of the steps. the next step is to make the chocolate “sauce.” mine wasn’t very saucy but i think part of the reason was i used a maple agave blend instead of just maple syrup, so it didn’t hold very well. still tasted fine, though!

melt your butter in a small saucepan and once it’s melted, remove it from the heat and let it cool. into the cooled butter, whisk the cocoa powder, maple syrup and vanilla extract until it’s well-combined. set aside.

break out the old blender and drop in the coffee cubes, chocolate sauce, skim milk and remaining coffee that you cooled in the fridge (about 1/4 cup) and 4-5 plain ice cubes. blend until the ice cubes aren’t clunking around anymore.

pour into a tall glass and if you’d like, top with whipped cream, dark chocolate shavings, chocolate sauce or just a straw!

click here for a printable version of the recipe!

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lightened up monkey bread

i have to be honest and say that i’ve never had monkey bread before. so this lightened up, individually-portioned version is fantastic to me - i don’t have any more gooey, buttery, fattening version to compare it to! polling my friends, i’ve found that this is a christmas morning tradition for many, but researching online, i found that it’s also (like many delicious holiday treats) not all that healthy.

i won’t say the original nutrition facts, but just know that this version, adapted from a hungry girl email i saved back in 2009, is just 1/3 of the fat and calories compared to the original. ONE THIRD! they’re sweet, gooey, satisfying and a real treat. luckily, they’re portioned in muffin tins, so it’s perfectly sized.

i reduced the amount of butter and made sure to get reduced fat crescent rolls, but let’s be honest. there’s really no redeeming nutritional value to these little guys. but considering the alternative, they’re a great once-in-a-while treat and so far, they’ve been a huge hit in my office!

my favorite part about the whole process was how AMAZING my ENTIRE apartment smelled while i was baking. even better than anything i’ve ever baked before. deee-licious!

3 Tablespoons Splenda, divided

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided

1 1/2 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons sugar free pancake syrup

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

1 package reduced fat crescent rolls

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

such simple collecting! let’s get to doing so you can start eating!

get started by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and spraying a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

in a small bowl, mix 1 Tablespoon Splenda and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. set it aside.

pop open the crescent rolls (i included a photo of this because i really appreciated that they gently popped open all by themselves. as a kid, i used to love pressing the spoon on the seam whenever we made these at home. it was like a treat to let it POP! but for some reason, in recent years, i’ve really hated this task! i get serious anxiety waiting for it to pop. sort of like buddy the elf with his jack in the box. serious. anxiety. anyways, it was great that both rolls of dough just effortlessly and quietly opened up as i unraveled the outer layer.)

for those of you unfamiliar with buddy’s toy testing fiasco, watch this and feel my pain.

next sprinkle the baking powder on top and smooth it evenly across and into the dough with your fingers.

separate each of the crescent triangles and cut them into three even-ish slices. then, take each slice and roll it into a little dough ball. make a pile of these and set them aside until you’re finished with all of them. you should have 24 (eight crescent triangles * three slices = 24 dough balls).

drop them (in small batches) into the Splenda/cinnamon mixture that you made earlier and toss them around until they’re lightly coated. drop four into each of the muffin tin openings. don’t press them down, let them just fall as they may.

next, put the remaining Splenda and cinnamon, butter, syrup and brown sugar in a small saucepan. constantly whisk/stir while you heat over medium to medium-high heat  until the butter is melted and ingredients are well-mixed.

then spoon even amounts of the melted mixture into the muffin tin, over the dough balls.

bake in the 350 degree, preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until they have risen, are golden brown and are firm. they will be very gooey, so let them cool for a little bit (10 minutes or so) before removing them from the tin with a fork or spoon.

side note: the sauce bubbled up and was all over my pan and i thought, “OH NO, this will be a MESS to clean up!” i was so pleasantly surprised that it came off easily by dragging a fork over the spills. it all picked right up and had the taste/consistency of a caramel!

also note, i doubled the batch so i could share the wealth with more of my coworkers, so that’s why there are more than six on the plate. the others were already in the fridge (minus one that was already in my stomach at the time of photography!)

click here for a printable version of the recipe!

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classic almond & raisin granola

if you haven’t noticed, i’ve been having a serious greek yogurt obsession lately. rather than eating identical breakfasts daily, i like to dress up my bowl of yogurt with different fruit, crunch and other accessories. one of my favorite granolas to eat is the low fat vanilla almond version from trader joe’s. well, there aren’t any trader joe’s terribly close to me, so i only go there every couple of months to stock up on some favorite staples. i don’t have any granola left over from my last trip and was really craving some, so i took matters into my own hands and created my own!

i love the way it turned out and have eaten it by the handful as a snack, as a crunchy layer in yogurt parfait and as a bowl of cereal. the great thing about granola is once you’ve got the basic steps down, you can add other dried fruits, introduce new spices or add sweet treats.

anyways, i’m a huge fan of how this turned out and was surprised at how easy it was!

2 cups rolled oats (not instant oatmeal!)

1/2 cup wheat germ or milled flax seed

1/2 cup whole almonds, roughly chopped

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

1/3 cup sugar free maple syrup

3 Tablespoons honey

2 Tablespoons water

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons canola oil

1/2 cup raisins

done with this version (or your own!) of the collecting? onto the doing.

to prep, preheat your oven to 275 degrees and give the almonds a rough chop. rather than suggesting you use sliced or chopped almonds, i went this route because i, personally, wanted to recognize the almonds and even be able to pick them out one by one in the granola.  if you have a different “style” almond or walnuts, etc. on hand, make use of those, instead!

in a large bowl, combine the rolled oats, flax seed, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and almonds. stir it all together and set the bowl aside.

originally i wanted to use wheat germ, but couldn’t find it in my grocery store. while standing in the aisle at the store, i whipped out my phone and looked for a substitute. i read that milled flax seed was okay to use (the purpose of this ingredient is to create a sort of mortar to hold things together). my friend morgan happens to be allergic to flax seed, so i know that if she was making this recipe, she’d go for the wheat germ - you can use whichever you can find! told you it was flexible :)

in a saucepan, combine the oil (put that in first so the other sticky sweets don’t stick to the bottom), maple syrup, honey, brown sugar and water. whisk it all together and let it come to a simmer over a medium-high heat.  after a couple of minutes, take it off the heat.

pour the oat mixture either onto a parchment-lined baking tin or a 9x13 baking dish sprayed with nonstick spray. i sort of forgot this step and ended up with some very baked-on granola at the end of the day. luckily it came off easily after it soaked for a while, but i think the spray or parchment would save you some frustration.

drizzle the maple mixture over all the oats and mix it together to make sure everything is coated. then, get your hands dirty and scrunch everything together to make some clumps and add more texture to the granola.

look how camouflaged my messy hands were!

pop that into the 275-degree oven for 20 minutes. then give everything a little bit of a stir and add the raisins (didn’t add them earlier so they wouldn’t get too dried out). once the rainsins are in, put it back into the oven for 10-15 minutes until it’s all darker and golden brown. let it cool for at least 10 minutes so it sets a bit before you try to serve.

mmm! i think the cereal version was my favorite way to serve it. what’s your favorite way to enjoy granola?

click here for a printable version of the recipe!

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