because what is life without good food?

Posts tagged “Eggs

New Recipes at SumptuousSpoonfuls.com

I know I promised I would post the recipes here every time I post a new recipe on my blog’s new home … but it’s getting away from me … so much to do with the transfer of domains and all the other things going on in my life … I did export and import all of the email subscribers from here over to there … are you getting emails from my new blog? If not, please go add your email address on my new blog: www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com  … seriously, please, go now! I don’t want to lose you.

Okay, now let’s talk new recipes … here’s what’s new on my blog: click on the pic or the title to see the recipe … I hope you’ll visit me at my new site!

Tropical Kiwi Monster Protein Kale Smoothie

Tropical Kiwi Monster Protein Kale Smoothie

Apple Pie Wontons

Apple Pie Wontons

Curried Chicken Salad in Crispy Wonton Cups

Curried Chicken Salad with Grapes in Crispy Wonton Cups

Havarti Cheddar Kale Omelet with Bacon

Havarti Cheddar Kale Omelet with Bacon


Savory Breakfast Quinoa with Harvest Vegies

and some blue cheese crumbles and a few sunflower seeds too …

Savory Breakfast Quinoa with Harvest Vegetables & Blue cheese

Ann from Fountain Avenue Kitchen posted this beautiful recipe this morning. She started out her morning with this lovely breakfast … only to have it fall and land on the floor, breaking the plate. Oh how I can relate! I have mornings like that. Days when everything seems to tumble and break. She didn’t seem too upset about it … she was just glad that there was another serving left … I was mourning the loss of that beautiful square plate! And it wasn’t even mine.

But her breakfast quinoa sounded really good and it just so happens I had a bit of cooked quinoa in the fridge and an over-abundance of fresh vegetables in the house. So I made this for myself, and served it on a square plate … in honor of my friend Ann who gave her plate to bring me this recipe.

Savory Breakfast Quinoa with Harvest Vegetables & Blue cheese

Savory Breakfast Quinoa with Harvest Vegetables & Blue Cheese

Adapted from Fountain Avenue Kitchen. I didn’t have the same ingredients on hand so I switched out the vegies and the cheese. Feel free to mix up the vegies and cheese to what you like/what you have on hand.

For each serving:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 3/4 cup cooked quinoa (hot!)
  • about 2/3 cup fresh chopped summer squash and/or zucchini (or other vegetables)
  • About 10 cherry tomatoes (or 1 small garden fresh tomato, chopped)
  • a sprig of tarragon
  • a few basil leaves
  • 1 egg
  • a tablespoon or so of blue cheese crumbles & a few roasted sunflower seeds

Mix the olive oil and the garlic in a small bowl and let it sit for a few minutes to infuse the olive oil with the garlic flavors while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

Once you have everything together, toss the summer squash with the cherry tomatoes in the garlic and olive oil. Toss in the basil and tarragon as well. Set them on a small baking sheet and roast for about 10  minutes at 400 degrees or until the squash is crisp tender.

While the squash and tomatoes are roasting, heat a frying pan on medium heat and fry up an egg to your liking. I prefer them over easy, but do what makes you happy.

Now, when the squash and tomatoes are roasted, mix them with the hot cooked quinoa. Put a bed of the quinoa mixture on your plate, top with a few blue cheese crumbles and sunflower seeds, then when the egg is cooked properly, slide it on top of the quinoa.

Enjoy!

Savory Breakfast Quinoa with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Squash and Blue Cheese

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe LinkyWeekend Potluck and Totally Tasty Tuesday.


Happiness & a Mushroom Tomato Skillet Frittata

Smoky Mushroom & Tomato Skillet Frittata

Last night my facebook page zoomed past 10,000 “likes” when I wasn’t looking. I was out having a glass of wine with my friend, talking out all the things we needed to talk about, sharing things we probably wouldn’t ever tell anyone else.

How did it zoom by without me so quickly? I think it’s because I’ve been doing an A-Z health challenge on my facebook page. Every day there is a letter, you choose one thing that starts with that letter and share the health benefits of your chosen thing. A was Avocado, B was Basil, C was Cilantro, D was Dill. E was Eggs. F was Flax. Yesterday was G and I chose Garlic. Somewhere along the way I invited my foodie friends to join in and share facts or recipes on my page. That’s when things really got fun. Suddenly I wasn’t talking to myself anymore … everyone was joining in and we had such a spread of beautiful recipes and wonderful conversations going on everywhere.

10,063 likes on facebook

Today is the letter H and because I’m so HAPPY, I’ve asked everyone to share what makes them happy. And I thought I better take a minute to share what makes me happy. Each and every one of you that comment, visit, or like me on facebook or Pinterest or twitter: you make me happy. You are what makes all of the time and effort I put into this blog worthwhile.

What makes me happy?

Snuggling, hugs, curling up with my cat, the many shades of green leaves on the trees, joking with my son, hearing my daughter sing, seeing her dance, visiting my parents, talking with my sisters, playing with my nieces and nephews, going for long walks and hikes in beautiful, natural spaces, a text or visit from a friend, yoga, a genuine smile. Art. Live music. Singing. Beautiful architecture. History and Books. Sunrise on the lake.

Beautiful morning at Big Stone Lake

Thunderstorms and rain, rainbows, blue sky, clouds, flowers, sunshine, seeing a deer or beautiful bird or a bat flying in the sky. Dragonflies and butterflies. Mountains. Plants. ANYTHING purple. Looking at the stars somewhere away from the city where you can see so many more of them. Riding on a boat, canoeing, sailing. Swimming. Camping. Dancing. The sound of waves and the feel of water and sand on my toes. Opening the windows and feeling a slight breeze through my house. Travelling. Meeting new people and seeing new things, trying new foods and seeing the world from a different perspective. Coming home. Breathing freely. Being healthy and so grateful to be alive.

A hot cup of chai on a chilly morning, dinner on the patio, a really good smooth dark chocolate. Having a drawer full of different wonderful cheeses, a bottle of wine and several lovely dark beers in my refrigerator. Picking berries, vegetables, herbs or flowers and eating them fresh. Hot soup and the smell of fresh bread baking on a cool or rainy day. Thai food. Or Mexican or Greek or anything funky and ethnic. Baking cinnamon rolls with my daughter, making up new recipes with my son. A beautiful salad. Little toasts! Pizza. Cold sweet ice cream on a hot day. Cooking. Having a handsome man cook for me and rub my back or my feet. Growing herbs. Foraging. Writing and reading and sharing with all of the wonderful foodies that have graced my life with their presence.

Smoky Mushroom & Tomato Skillet Frittata

Smoky Mushroom Tomato Skillet Frittata

Cheese is one of those things that send me into a happy oblivion. Dofino cheese noticed this and sent me a bunch of cheeses. One of the cheeses they sent me was this smoked havarti which is very creamy and has an intense smoky taste, which blends so well with mushroom, tomato and eggs and a bit of smoky bacon.

  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • 2 cups mushrooms
  • 1/4  – 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh spinach or swiss chard
  • A small handful of fresh herbs (basil, oregano, thyme)
  • 2 – 4 eggs (depending on how fluffy you want your frittata … I used 2, but it was a little flat)
  • 1 slice lean bacon, fried crisp, cooled and crumbled or chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (sharp cheddar, smoked havarti, & asiago, mixed)

Directions:

  1. In a skillet pan, melt the butter, then add the mushrooms. Sautee for a few minutes, add the tomato & onion. Cover and cook for a few minutes, then uncover and sautee until the onions are soft. Add the spinach and sautee briefly until wilted.
  2. Put the vegies in a bowl, mix with the herbs, and set aside. Clean out the pan. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs with a spoonful of water for each egg. Sprinkle with Red Robin Seasoning (or just salt) and freshly ground pepper.
  3. Heat the skillet to medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Pour in the eggs and let them cook for just a moment to start setting up. Quickly spread the vegie mixture over the eggs, sprinkle with bacon and top with the shredded cheese. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and let cook till the cheese is melted. Remove from heat and serve immediately in wedges.

Smoky Mushroom & Tomato Skillet Frittata

What makes you happy? I would love to know!

This recipe was shared at Share It SaturdaysScrumptious SundaysRecipe of the WeekKatherine Martinelli’s Tomato Bloghop and Everyday Mom’s Meals.


Whiskey Green Tomato Cake

Whiskey Green Tomato Cake

Last week my aunt from Florida came to visit. I don’t know how many stops she had planned on her trip, but one of them was to visit my parents … I suspected she would go see mom, but I didn’t really know until it was my turn to see my aunt.

My daughter and I drove down to meet my aunt and her artist friend for dinner. It was then that my aunt told us she had been to my parents’ place and my dad had made this green tomato cake for dessert … what?!? … my dad made a green tomato cake?! What the … ?

I thought it sounded really odd, and then when we went to see my parents this weekend, dad mentioned his green tomato cake. Mom said that it was more like a bar than a cake and Dad said the recipe he used just had too much green tomato in it. I could see the wheels turning in his head … I asked him to tell me about this green tomato cake … and he had already figured out how to make it better. I looked him in the eye and said “let’s make a cake!” … and so my dad and I set to work making a green tomato cake.

We started with our favorite carrot cake recipe, which is from The Jack Daniel’s Cookbook, but by the time we finished, I don’t think you’d even recognize the original recipe. Nonetheless, my dad was totally right (he usually is) … the cake turned out absolutely amazing. Both dad and I had two pieces of it for dessert after brunch (I NEVER have two pieces of cake …) and then later, on my way home, I brought some to my friend and had another piece of cake with her. Three pieces of cake in one day. This is totally a record for me. I’m not a cake person (unless it’s like some kind of of amazing decadent chocolate cake), and this cake isn’t even chocolate! … but it is SO worth it. The tart green tomatoes taste so much better than carrots in this (kinda pretty awesomely healthy) moist and flavorful cake.

The green tomatoes came from mom and dad’s garden. They fell off the vines while Mom was trimming the tomato plants. There was a whole bucket full of them. Their tomato plants are just thick with fruit … there will be LOADS of tomatoes this year. Only a few are ripe yet; the rest are yet to come.

Green Tomatoes for the Whiskey Green Tomato Cake

My very favorite part of the day? I got to cook with my dad. The big bonus was that it turned out to be something totally jaw-dropping awesome.

Whiskey Green Tomato Cake

Highly Adapted from The Jack Daniels Spirit of Tennessee Cookbook

  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup whiskey
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup applesauce
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups chopped green tomatoes (about 2 large green tomatoes)
  • 3/4 cup walnuts

Heavenly Frosting:

  • 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 oz. light cream cheese, softened
  • 4 oz. powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon whiskey

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the raisins in a cup with the 1/4 cup of whiskey to plump them up.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients, then make a well in the center and add in the wet ingredients. Whisk up the eggs and  other wet ingredients together, then stir to incorporate them into the batter. Add the raisins & whiskey, green tomatoes and walnuts and stir just until everything is mixed up well.
  3. Pour the cake batter into a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan and bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. While the cake is cooling, make the frosting by mixing the butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and whiskey until smooth. Let the cake cool, then frost it with the Heavenly Frosting.

Whiskey Green Tomato Cake

This is a post for #tomatolove.

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Click here to see all the other great #tomatolove posts…

This recipe was also shared at Scrumptious SundaysMade it by MondayThursday’s Treasures, Katherine Martinelli’s Tomato Bloghop and Foodie Friends Friday.


Egg on a Salad with Sundried Tomato Ranch

Egg on a Salad with Avocado, Sweet Onion, Hosta Flowers & Sundried Tomato Ranch Dressing

Let’s re-define the idea of egg salad, shall we? I mean, who decided that “egg salad” should be a bunch of chopped hardboiled eggs with mayonnaise on bread? Excuse me, but how is that a salad? I don’t mean to knock the traditional egg salad sandwich … there’s a comforting charm in a well-made egg salad sandwich, but I have to tell you, when I think salad, I think greens. To me, a salad really needs greens before it deserves to be called a salad.

Yesterday I redefined the whole concept of “egg salad” in my mind. I put a fried egg on my salad. Really, it’s nothing new, but it’s new to me … it’s been done before … I’ve seen it, but the idea of putting a fried egg on a salad sounded completely crazy to me. A fried egg? on a REAL salad? With greens? Seriously?

Egg on a Salad with Avocado, Sweet Onion, Hosta Flowers & Sundried Tomato Ranch Dressing

It sounded so completely weird to me until I made this sundried tomato ranch dressing. And my friend Melissa said to me: it would be great on eggs. Oh. my. gosh. YES! A fried egg, over easy, with that beautiful bright yellow messy, runny yolk … and toast … and crunchy green salad … oh let’s toss on some avocado too … oh yes! It’s brilliant! I could eat this forever … I made it again today. It’s like the quickest meal ever. And it’s SOooooo goood!

It is the sundried tomato ranch dressing that makes this brilliant. Without it, it’s just eggs oozing all over my greens and yeah not really that exciting at all … but add that dressing and some crunchy toast and I’m happy as a clam.

(Are clams really happy? I sure hope so, cuz otherwise it would make NO sense to say “happy as a clam” … then again, we don’t really know that they are happy, so why do we say that?)

Whatever. This egg salad made me happy. Like giggly from my toes to my nose kinda happy. I will never, ever, think of egg salad the same way again.

Egg on a Salad with Avocado, Sweet Onion, Hosta Flowers & Sundried Tomato Ranch Dressing

Egg on a Salad with Avocado, Sweet Onion & Sundried Tomato Ranch Dressing

I got so excited talking about the salad I forgot to tell you about the flowers! They are hosta flowers … the flowers of hostas, like hosta leaves, are edible. You probably have some growing in your yard. They taste like salad. And they are insanely beautiful, on or off a salad.

  • Mixed spring greens with spinach (or whatever greens you’d like to use …)
  • Green bell pepper, chopped
  • Sweet onion, sliced and chopped
  • Avocado, sliced and/or cut into chunks
  • Organic hosta flowers (or other edible organic flowers … totally optional but they look pretty! make sure yours aren’t sprayed with nasty lawn chemicals before eating, though)
  • Eggs, 1 for each salad
  • Thin slices of french bread or baguette, toasted
  • Sundried tomato ranch salad dressing (recipe here)

Directions:

  1. First mix up the dressing and set it aside.
  2. Make a good bed of greens in your salad bowl and tuck in some onion, avocado, and bell pepper. Add a few flowers if you like, around the edge, leaving a good space in the center for the egg.
  3. Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and heat to medium heat. Crack a fresh egg into the pan and season with Red Robin Seasoning (or salt) and freshly ground pepper. Cook it sunny side up or over easy, whatever you prefer.
  4. Toast the bread while the egg is cooking, then spread the ranch dressing on the bread slices.
  5. When the egg is done to your liking, set it gently on top of the salad. Top with the ranch (or serve on the side), and serve with the toast.

Fried Egg on a Salad with Avocado, Sweet Onion & Sundried Tomato Ranch Dressing

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic ThursdayFit & Fabulous FridayFoodie Friends FridaySummer Salad Sunday and Manic Monday.


Herbed Baked Eggs in a Bread “Bowl” with Avocado

topped with Havarti and Gorgonzola cheese & a Balsamic Sundried Tomato “Ketchup”

Herbed Baked Egg in a Bun with Avocado, 2 Cheeses & Balsamic Sundried Tomato Ketchup

It wasn’t very long ago I saw this great idea for baking eggs in a bread bowl … just hollow out some hard rolls, crack your egg in there, add some seasonings and voila! A beautiful breakfast. But you know me, I couldn’t stop there. I added some herbs and some cheeses and a gorgeous sundried tomato vinaigrette (a recipe I got from my friend Melissa at ChinDeep), which I had intended to drizzle over the baked egg, but I added some extra sundried tomatoes so the vinaigrette turned out kind of thick, more like the consistency of a ketchup. I’ve never liked ketchup on my eggs, but I loved this balsamic sundried tomato ketchup!

It took me a few tries to get this right. The first time I didn’t hollow out enough of the hard roll and then I overbaked it and the yolk was hard and dry. I wanted a runny, messy yolk that you could sop up with the bread. So I tried again, and this time I got the yolk just about right, but the hard roll got way too brown on top. I had cut just a tiny bit of the top off, and our toaster oven is too small; it over-toasted the top. It was delicious, but definitely not photo-worthy. The third time I finally got it right. Perfectly sized hole, perfectly brown crusty hard roll, perfectly cooked egg. The texture of the egg white was amazing, and when I tore into the yolk and it ran all over the plate, my heart just jumped with joy. A perfectly-cooked egg with toasted bread and avocado is pure pleasure in my book.

Herbed Baked Egg in Bread Bowl with Avocado & Balsamic Sundried Tomato Ketchup

Herbed Baked Eggs in a Bread “Bowl” with Avocado

  • Hard rolls
  • Eggs
  • Fresh basil & oregano
  • Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Shredded Havarti cheese
  • Crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • Avocado slices
  • Balsamic Sundried Tomato Ketchup (recipe below)

Cut tops off the hard rolls and hollow out the bottom half so there is enough room for an egg to fit in there. Set the hard rolls on a baking sheet sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Crack an egg into each roll.

Egg in a Hard Roll

Sprinkle with fresh basil, oregano leaves, the seasoning and fresh ground pepper. Top each egg with a Tablespoon or two of shredded Havarti cheese, then a sprinkle of Gorgonzola (maybe 1/2 Tablespoon per egg?). Bake at 350 F for about 15 minutes or until the white is set but the yolk is still soft. (If you want your yolk cooked through-not runny, let it cook another 5 minutes.)

In the last 5 minutes of cooking, put the tops of the hard rolls in the oven alongside to toast them.

Remove from oven. Set each egg on a plate, top with avocado slices, garnish with fresh basil or oregano leaves and serve immediately with plenty of the balsamic sundried tomato ketchup.

Herbed Baked Egg in a bread bowl with Avocado and a Balsamic Sundried Tomato Ketchup

Balsamic Sundried Tomato “Ketchup”

Adapted from ChinDeep

  • 1/4 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup minced  sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • water, as needed

Soak the tomatoes in the vinegar and wine for 15 minutes or so to soften them up, then put all ingredients into a food processor or handi chopper and blend till mostly smooth. Add water as needed to get it to the desired consistency.

This recipe was shared at Scrumptious SundaysEveryday Mom’s MealsEgg Blog Hop and Manic Mondays.


Basil Green Tea Gelato

Basil Green Tea Gelato

Do you love basil? I love basil. My mother has suggested maybe my dad and I love basil a little too much. How could that possibly be?

I have seen people put basil in sorbets and syrups and even cookies, so for #icecreamlove this month, I had this brilliant flash of inspiration: I wanted to make ICE CREAM with BASIL in it! I thought I was SOooo clever … but well, I googled it and it turns out that’s not an original idea. Sigh. But then very few ideas are. I mean with 7 billion people on this earth (currently, plus how many before us?), it’s highly unlikely that none of them ever had the same flash of insight.

I made my brilliant basil ice cream anyway. But I put green tea in mine too. Because it just felt right to add green tea.

I don’t really know whether to call this an ice cream or a gelato. I chose gelato because Saveur calls it a gelato and hey, they’re Saveur, they should know.

If you are a basil lover like me, you will love this gelato. It has a wonderful sweet basil taste. It IS very clever, even if it wasn’t my own brain child. I totally ♥ this gelato … er, ice cream? oh whatever …

Basil Green Tea Gelato

Basil Green Tea Gelato

Kinda sorta adapted from Saveur and Eats Well with Others

  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 cup fat free half & half
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream (for a lower-fat version, use skim milk in place of 2%, more fat free half & half and less heavy cream … I would recommend 1 1/2 cups fat free half & half and 1/2 cup whipping cream)
  • 1/2  – 3/4 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup, but if you want it sweeter, add more sugar … )
  • 2 eggs
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 green tea bags

Put the basil, milk, half & half, whipping cream, sugar, eggs, and salt in a blender and blend till smooth. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat till the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is hot to the touch (like as hot as a tea you would drink). Put the green tea bags in the pot and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes or so to let the tea steep.  Chill the mixture in the fridge until it’s cold. If you want, you can strain out the basil leaves by straining the mixture through a fine sieve or cloth. (I decided to strain it this time, but I’ve seen others leave the specks of green.) Either way, take the tea bags out and freeze it up in your ice cream maker.

Enjoy immediately, or freeze it in the freezer for a couple hours to firm it up some more.

Basil Green Tea Gelato

This post is an #icecreamlove post powered by Linky Tools

Click here to see all the other wonderful ice creams everyone is making this month …

This recipe was also shared at Weekend Potluck, Manic Mondays and Melt in your Mouth Mondays.


Mulberry Rhubarb Baked Oatmeal Crumble

Mulberry Rhubarb Baked Oatmeal Crumble

Is this baked oatmeal breakfast or dessert? I styled it like a dessert, with a pouf of whipped cream on top because it TASTES like a decadent fruity dessert, a lovely warm fruity crumble with a crunchy topping and a fruity sauce on the bottom. But really (if you skip the whipped cream) it is a quite healthy breakfast full of fruit, fiber, and protein. I love breakfasts like that.

This is something I’ve been meaning to try ever since Ann at The Fountain Avenue Kitchen posted her Strawberries & Cream Baked Oatmeal. When I met mom and dad for lunch last Sunday, they brought me some rhubarb. To me, that seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out this “baked oatmeal thing”. After trying this delicacy, I may never go back to eating regular oatmeal again …

Mulberry Rhubarb Baked Oatmeal Crumble

Mulberry Rhubarb Baked Oatmeal Crumble

Adapted from Nutmegs, seven

  • 3 cups rhubarb, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (100g) old fashioned oats (not instant oats)
  • 1/3 cup (30g) almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup (60g) brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (250ml) milk
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the top:
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons flaked almonds
  • 1/2 Tablespoon or so of raw (Turbinado) sugar
  • 1/2 – 1 cup mulberries (or other berries)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 F. Spray a small casserole dish or 8×8 inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Scatter the rhubarb over the bottom and toss with the sugar and vanilla.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, mix together the oats, chopped almonds, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, milk, egg white and almond extract.
  3. Sprinkle your oat mixture over the rhubarb evenly, then pour the milk mixture over the oats as evenly as you can. Sprinkle with mulberries, raw sugar and 1 1/2 Tablespoons of flaked almonds.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes or until the dish has set and turned a lovely brown and crunchy on top. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

If you want to serve it for dessert, serve in wedges with a little dollop of whipped cream. Or just scoop it out in warm spoonfuls into a bowl for breakfast with your coffee or tea in the morning.

Mulberry Rhubarb Baked Oatmeal Crumble

This recipe was shared at It’s a Keeper ThursdayFull Plate ThursdayFit & Fabulous Fridays and Weekend Potluck.


Spicy Smoky Corn Pudding

with smoked Gouda and bacon

Spicy Smoky Cornbread Pudding

So what do you do with leftover cornbread? My kids both love it, but they will only eat it when it’s fresh. Of course it’s best when it’s fresh and hot, but it’s still good later! … especially when it’s grilled cornbread. I opened up the container that I stored it in and I could smell that smoky grilled taste all over again … ah! It made a wonderful breakfast.

But still I am only one person … and I tire of the same thing over and over … what if we just work a little bread pudding magic on it?

Spicy Smoky Corn Pudding

Spicy Smoky Corn Pudding

  • 2 cups cubed cornbread (the pudding will have a smokier flavor if the cornbread was cooked on the grill)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped jalapenos (more or less to taste … you can substitute other peppers for the jalapeno if you prefer)
  • 3/4 cup corn (I thawed out some frozen corn, but you could use fresh corn)
  • 1/4 cup smoked gouda cheese, cut into small cubes (or shredded)
  • About 1 Tablespoon bacon, cooked crisp, and crumbled
  • Chopped chives, basil, baby spinach, garlic scapes or other herbs of your choosing (about 1/2 cupful total? I just went out to my garden and started picking random things … my spinach is pathetic … only a few baby leaves to be had, but there are plenty of chives and basil and garlic!)
  • 2 eggs

Directions:

  1. Spray a small casserole dish or large oven-safe bowl with cooking spray, and put the cornbread in the bowl. Pour the milk over the bread and let it soak for 15 minutes, stirring a couple times to make sure all the bread gets soaked.
  2. Sitr the jalapenos, corn, cheese, bacon, and herbs into the cornbread mixture.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth, then fold them into the cornbread mixture.
  4. Bake at 350 for 20 – 25 minutes or until the pudding is “set” (springs back when you touch it lightly right in the center). Let set for just a few minutes, then serve while it’s still hot.

Spicy Smoky Corn Pudding

This recipe was shared at Weekend Potluck.


Crunchy’s Cornbread on the Grill

Crunchy's Cornbread on the Grill

It was terribly windy yesterday, but my daughter wanted chicken cooked on the grill, and how could I possibly say no to that? We don’t get many evenings when we can stay home and grill. I asked her what she wanted with her chicken and gave her a couple options. When I mentioned the cornbread, that won hands down.

I’ve been wanting to try cornbread on the grill ever since A Little Bit Crunchy A Little Bit Rock & Roll posted her recipe for it. My nickname for her is “Crunchy”. It’s kind of like pizza on the grill … it’s a little unexpected, something you might not think about grilling. I really love trying those sorts of things.

Crunchy's Cornbread on the Grill

(Ooops! My foot’s in the picture … shh! don’t tell anyone … maybe they won’t notice … )

Crunchy’s Cornbread on the Grill

Recipe from A Little Bit Crunchy A Little Bit Rock & Roll

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup bread flour
  • 3/4 cup corn meal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • A sprinkle of nutmeg (1/8 teaspoon-ish … I didn’t measure, just sprinkled some on)
  • A dash of cinnamon (1/2 teaspoon or so … again, didn’t measure)
  • A teaspoon or two of honey (it was sitting there on the counter, so just drizzled a bit in, for fun … probably about a teaspoon)
  • A slosh of vanilla (I tried to pour in just a teaspoon, but my hand lost control and I over-did the vanilla. Ooops. I would recommend about a teaspoon … not as much as I used. It was still tasty, but a little too vanilla-ish.)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Directions:

  1. Fire up your grill and push the coals over to make a “hot” area and a “cooler” area. Set your 10-inch cast iron skillet on the grill so it will get good and hot while you mix up the batter.
  2. Mix up all the dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredients except for the butter and stir to mix everything into a smooth batter.
  3. Put the 2 tablespoons butter in the cast iron skillet and set it back on the grill to melt. Once the butter has melted, put your oven mitt on your hand, take the skillet and swirl around the butter to coat the bottom of the pan, then pour most of the butter into your batter bowl and stir it into the batter, setting the cast iron skillet back on the grill. Pour the batter into the skillet, cover and let cook for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once.
  4. Now it was terribly windy, right? So my grill didn’t get that hot. The chicken was taking FOREVER to cook … the asparagus was just lukewarm.  The cornbread cooked up okay, except the middle part wasn’t getting done. So I cheated a little and stuck the cornbread in my oven at 350 to finish. It only took about 5 minutes for it to finish in the oven and it still had that lovely smoky grilled taste. And while the cornbread was cooking in the oven, the chicken and asparagus finished up nicely too. If you get your grill nice and hot, you probably won’t need to cheat and use the oven …

My girl and I both loved the cornbread. She had a big wedge of it and polished it right off … along with her chicken, and ran off to play with her cat in the yard, leaving me on the patio with her big plate of crumbs for company.

Crunchy's Cornbread on the Grill

This recipe was shared at Thursday’s Treasures.


Morel Mushroom, Havarti & Chive Souffle

Morel Mushroom & Chive Souffle

I actually intended to make a “puffy baked omelet”, but what I made turned out more like a souffle than an omelet. Which seems to me is a very happy coincidence, because it happens to be National Cheese Souffle Day today. The bonus is it is very easy to make; took me about 10 minutes to put it together (but I did cheat a little … I already had the mushrooms sauteed in my fridge).

Those big brown lumps in my souffle? They are not the prettiest things, I know, but they are a rare treat … an elusive and highly prized possession. Morel Mushrooms. My dad and sister and brother-in-law go hunting for them every year. I used to go along, but after the last long bout of poison ivy last summer (which I got despite all my protective measures and extensive after-the-hunt washings), I’ve decided that these mushroom hunts are not for me. I will let them go on the hunt … and hope they feel like sharing their treasures. I feel so lucky … they didn’t get that many this year, and Dad shared about half of his small stash of morels, so I wanted to make something  that really focused on the mushrooms.

Morel Mushroom & Chive Souffle

Morel Mushroom, Havarti & Chive Souffle

This makes a small souffle that I was able to eat most of all by myself in one sitting … if you’re sharing, you probably want to double or triple or even quadruple the recipe.

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons snipped chives + 2 chive flowers (or just use extra chives if you don’t have the flowers)
  • 1/3 cup cooked morel mushrooms (I sauteed mine in a teaspoon of butter with garlic scapes and red robin seasoning … if you don’t have morels, you can use other mushrooms, but if you can get your hand on some morels, I highly recommend them)
  • 2/3 cup shredded Havarti cheese
  • Chive flowers for garnish

Directions:

  1. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites, putting the yolks in a little bowl, the whites in a slightly larger bowl.
  2. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then beat in the cream of tartar.
  3. Now take the bowl with the yolks and whisk in the flour, baking powder, water and chives. Season with a little Red Robin Seasoning (or salt) and some freshly ground pepper.
  4. Carefully fold the yolk mixture into the whites, along with about 2/3 of the cheese, and sprinkle with chive flowers (removing the bottom stem that holds the tiny flowers together).
  5. Spray a flat oven-safe bowl, mini casserole, or individual ramekins with cooking spray and slide or spoon the puffy egg mixture  in.
  6. Tuck the mushrooms into the fluffy egg mixture and top with the rest of the shredded cheese.
  7. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until the eggs are set (they spring back when touched lightly in the middle). Let the souffle settle for about 5 minutes before eating. Garnish with fresh chives and/or chive flowers.

Morel Mushroom & Havarti Chive Souffle

This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s Meals, Mealtime MondayManic Mondays, and Tuesday Talent Show.


Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros

The other day, I woke craving Huevos Rancheros. From my favorite restaurant in Albuquerque: Charlie’s Front Door. Oh Charlie’s how I miss you! … but of course I’m not there, I”m here.

I can’t make Huevos like Charlie’s Front Door does. They have this green chile sauce they smother it in that is just flipping amazing. I am not even going to try to replicate that … I just want to tell you, if you happen to get to Albuquerque, please stop in and visit Charlie’s Front Door … they have so many dishes there I would almost kill just to taste them one more time … the Jocoque and the Indian tacos are ooooh so good …

Don’t get me wrong! I CAN make a pretty mean Huevos Rancheros.  AND it’s a healthy, filling Mexican meal you can make in minutes, so it’s doable even on a busy workday. And the awesome advantage of these is you can have them just about anywhere, anytime. All you need is tortillas, eggs, cheese, and a few basic Mexican toppings.

Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros

(per serving)

  • 1 small tortilla (corn or flour … whole wheat is good … I didn’t have any corn so had to use flour)
  • Refried beans (or whole beans … I just happened to have some very tasty spicy chipotle refried beans on hand)
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 or 2 eggs (how much space do you have on your tortilla? how much protein do you want?)
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • Toppings: Salsa, chopped onion, avocado, tomato, jalapenos, green chile sauce, cilantro … (did I miss anything? what else could you use?)

Heat a skillet pan (or cast iron skillet) over medium heat and spray it with cooking spray. Put a tortilla in the pan and let it toast until it’s golden brown on the bottom. Flip it over.

Huevos Rancheros

Slide it out of the pan briefly and on the toasted side, spread it with refried beans and sprinkle with a bit of sharp cheddar cheese. Put it back in the pan with the un-toasted side down. Crack an egg (or two) over top.

Huevos Rancheros

Now cover, and cook on medium low heat until the egg white is cooked and the cheese is melted and bubbly. Check it periodically to make sure it isn’t burning the tortilla on the bottom.  (If your egg covers the cheese and beans, you can even flip it to cook the egg “over easy” … I wouldn’t recommend that approach if you have any cheese sticking out, though.)

Huevos Rancheros

Slide your lovely cheesy egg tortilla onto a plate and garnish with your choice of toppings. The bottom of mine was a little crunchy. That’s totally okay in my book. I love crunchy! … by the way, I added a big, messy slather of my sister’s salsa after I took the pictures …

Huevos Rancheros

Now, if you’ll excuse me, things are starting to get a little messy over here …

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous Fridays, Weekend PotluckEveryday Mom’s Meals, Scrumptious SundaysMoosewood MondayFrugal Days, Sustainable Ways and Mealtime Mondays.


Asparagus Cellantani Carbonara

Asparagus Cellantani Carbonara

I know carbonara is supposed to be made with spaghetti, but I was just dying to use my cellentani … I have to admit … I bought this pasta because I thought they were beautiful. I mean look at those wild swirls! And I loved the name. Cellantani. Isn’t that a romantic name? It makes me dream of wild, romantic nights in Italia. I wanted these gorgeous corkscrew pasta shapes on my table, and imagined what I might pair them with.

Asparagus Cellantani Carbonara

Asparagus Cellantani Carbonara

Adapted from the Foodie Physician.

Makes about 2 servings.

  • 1 cup dry cellantani pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh asparagus
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic + the garlic scapes, snipped
  • 1/2 cup chopped cooked lean ham (or canadian bacon, something salty like bacon, but leaner)
  • 1/2 of a medium tomato
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan + a little extra to sprinkle on top
  • Fresh basil & oregano leaves
  • Freshly ground pepper & sea salt

Directions:

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil. While the water is heating, wash the asparagus and set it on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle with Red Robin (or Red Magic) seasoning … or your favorite seasoning mix …  and spray with cooking spray. Roast the asparagus in a 400 degree oven for about 8 minutes or until crisp tender. Tend to the other things, but when the asparagus is done, take it out of the oven and set it aside.
  2. When the water is boiling, add the pasta to cook.
  3. Now, while they are cooking, peel and chop the garlic, then chop the tomato and ham.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese.
  5. When the pasta is nearly done, skim off 1/4 cup of the hot pasta water. Add about a tablespoon of the hot water to the egg mixture and whisk.
  6. Strain the hot cooked pasta in a colander.
  7. Take the hot pan you cooked the pasta in and over medium high heat, add the oil, chopped garlic, and ham and sautee for just a couple minutes, then add the tomato and asparagus and sautee briefly to cook out the juices from the tomato. Add the hot cooked pasta and the egg/cheese mixture. Remove from heat and stir. The egg should finish cooking from the heat of the pasta and make a nice light creamy sauce. If the sauce needs more liquid, add a little of the hot pasta water you saved.
  8. Sprinkle with herbs, more parmesan and the reserved garlic scapes, season with salt & freshly ground pepper, and serve immediately.

Asparagus Cellantani Carbonara

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Full Plate ThursdaysTastetastic Thursdays and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Ham & Asparagus Strata with 3 Cheeses

Ham & Asparagus Strata with Havarti, Blue, & Parmesan Cheeses

What do you do when you have a bunch of leftover ham from Easter dinner, some fresh asparagus, and half a loaf of old bread that?

Make Strata. It’s hot, it’s comforting … it’s wonderful. You can make it ahead of time and bake it when you’re ready to eat it, or you can cook it right away. Strata works well for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s a very flexible dish too … toss in more of this and less of that, play with different cheeses or vegetables or meat … pretty much whatever you have on hand that you want to toss in. Strata doesn’t care. Strata will make it all good.

Ham & Asparagus Strata with Havarti, Blue, & Parmesan Cheeses

Ham & Asparagus Strata with Havarti, Blue, and Parmesan Cheeses

  • 5 cups of bread cubes (any kind will do … I used a bit of French bread + some Spinach Peasant Bread)
  • 2 cups of milk (I used 2%, but skim or whole milk works fine too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups of chopped asparagus
  • Red Robin (or Red Magic) Seasoning (or salt) & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 1/4 cup diced ham
  • 4 eggs (to cut the fat/cholesterol, use Egg Beaters or substitute egg whites in place of some – or all – of the yolks)
  • A small bunch of fresh chives, snipped (about 2 Tablespoons?)
  • Several fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 fresh garlic scape, snipped
  • 1 Tablespoon blue cheese crumbles
  • 1 cup shredded Havarti cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray and put the bread  cubes in the pan. Pour the milk over the crumbs and let sit for 15 minutes or so, gently stirring it up every once in a while to make sure all the bread gets a chance to soak up plenty of milk.
  2. Now, while your bread is soaking, put a bit of extra virgin olive oil in a pan, swirl it around, heat to medium high heat, and sautee the onion, garlic, and asparagus briefly or until the onion just begins to look a little cooked. The asparagus should still be crisp. Season lightly with the seasoning (or salt) and pepper, being careful to go light on the salt because we will be adding ham and cheese later …
  3. Add the wine to the pan with the vegies and sautee for just a couple minutes longer or until most of the liquid has evaporated. The asparagus should still be a little crisp, if possible. If not, don’t worry over it too much. Strata doesn’t care.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs well, then toss in some chopped chives, basil leaves, and garlic scapes, then stir in the ham as well.
  5. Fold the egg/ham mixture into the milk-saturated bread in the casserole dish.
  6. Pour the vegies over the casserole too, and fold those in as well.  While you’re doing that, sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles.
  7. Mix the Havarti & Parmesan cheeses and separate in half. Take one half of the cheese and sprinkle that half over the casserole, then fold it into the mixture, making sure that cheese taste gets permeated into the whole dish.
  8. Use the reserved half of the cheese to sprinkle on top. (You can pre-make the strata to this point and keep it in the fridge till you’re ready to bake it.)
  9. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 60 to 80 minutes or until the strata is set (till it springs back when you touch it and isn’t all runny when you cut into it).  If you are starting from a refrigerated strata, you will have to cook it a while longer.
  10. If you want to serve it in wedges, let it set up for about 10 – 15 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve garnished with fresh basil leaves or fresh chives or pretty little wild purple violets. Or scoop out servings with a spoon while it’s steaming hot and don’t bother with the garnish. Either way, it’s yummy. Strata doesn’t care.

Ham & Asparagus Strata with Havarti, Blue Cheese, and Parmesan

This recipe was shared at  Totally Tasty TuesdaysTalent Show Tuesday and Full Plate Thursdays.


Cherry Almond Clafouti

Cherry Almond Clafouti

I’m guest posting over at Lauren Kelly, Nutritionist’s blog today … sharing one of my favorite desserts … but I like to eat it for breakfast. It’s a good thing it’s healthy. It’s a warm, comforting custard-style French dessert. Bonus points if you can pronounce it correctly. (I can’t!)

Pop on over to Lauren’s blog for the recipe and to learn about the health benefits of this delicious dessert.

Cherry Almond Clafouti

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous Fridays, Weekend PotluckStrut your Stuff Saturday and Crazy Sweet Tuesday.


Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

I was having a serious chocolate craving and nothing I had on hand was going to cut it. I was tempted to make something like a chocolate pudding cake until I saw this recipe from Rock Recipes for Chocolate Pecan Banana Bread. I couldn’t help but fiddle with the recipe, though. I reduced the fat, increased the amount of cocoa, reduced the sugar and then added honey and Nutella and substituted hazelnuts for the pecans (to go with the Nutella!).

It was just what I needed to satisfy that intense chocolate craving. Yes this is DARK, decadent chocolate. My favorite. Mmmm.

Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

Adapted from Rock Recipes

Wet ingredients:

  • 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons applesauce
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract

Dry ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons dark cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Extras:

  • 1/2 cup good quality chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  • Raw sugar, extra chocolate chips, and/or toasted chopped nuts (for topping)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mash the bananas with a fork, then add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix well.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.
  4. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and pour the batter into the pan. Sprinkle with raw sugar, toasted chopped nuts, and chocolate chips, if desired.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Double Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckMidnight Maniac Meatless MondaysTuesday Talent Shows, and Katherine Martinelli’s Bread Bloghop.


Heavenly Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Brownies

Heavenly Chocolate Brownies with Pretzels & Caramel

It was Thursday, and every Thursday I have to pick up my daughter from school and take her to dance lessons. She is always STARVING right after school because they feed her lunch very early in the day, so I have to bring her a snack. Usually I try to make it healthy, and yes, I did bring her an apple and some corned venison, but I thought brownies would be a nice treat to top it all off.

There’s more to this story: for Christmas, my kids both got Ghirardelli milk chocolates with caramel filling in their stockings. Now they love milk chocolate – and they love caramel, but for some reason, they are not so fond of the caramel filled chocolates. So my daughter and I came up with this idea to break up the caramel chocolates and put them over brownies with some pretzels. We have been meaning to do this … but didn’t have a recipe for brownies that we liked and haven’t really had time … well, you know how life goes sometimes. You get so busy with things that little projects like this get swept to the wayside.

So I found a recipe for brownies from the Southern Lady Cooks and thought it was time to try out our idea.

Heavenly Chocolate Brownies with Pretzels & Caramel

Heavenly Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Brownies

Adapted from the Southern Lady Cooks.

I added the chocolates before I baked them, then put the pretzels on top, but they completely melted into oblivion. I think the right way to do this is to put the pretzels on before you bake the brownies, then right after you take the brownies out of the oven, sprinkle with chopped caramel-filled chocolates (or caramel bits and chocolate chips) and a bit of sea salt. That’s my plan for next time I make these, anyway.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter or margarine or 12 tablespoons, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Broken pretzel bits
  • 5 squares of Ghirardelli caramel-filled milk chocolates, chopped
  • Coarse sea salt

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar and salt. Add the eggs, butter, and vanilla. Mix well with a spoon. Pour into a sprayed 8 x 8 inch baking dish and spread out evenly. Sprinkle pretzel bits over the top. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven 35 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Right after you take them out of the oven, sprinkle the chopped chocolates over top so that they melt onto the brownies and sprinkle with a bit of coarse sea salt. Let the brownies cool a bit before you try to cut them. Makes 9 to 12 brownies depending on size you cut them.

Part 2: the brownie saga continues …

Of course, after I made the brownies for my daughter, then my SON wanted brownies. But he didn’t want any of that caramel or pretzel stuff on HIS brownies.

So I asked my foodie friends on facebook what their favorite brownie recipe is and wow did I get a great list of brownie recipes! Here’s the list: I made the Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter for him.

Here’s a shot of the boy’s browned butter brownies. Really, I am not sure which recipe I like better … but my daughter and I really really really love the pretzels and caramel chocolates on top. I was worried the pretzels would get soggy, but they don’t! They stay nice and crunchy (for a day or two). The boy can have his plain chocolate brownies. We’ll do the pretzel thing.

Browned Butter Cocoa Brownies

This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s Meals and Thursday’s Treasures.


Layered Spinach, Swiss, Bacon & Basil-Flower “Pie”

Layered Swiss, Spinach, Bacon & Basil Flower Pie

This isn’t really a pie. Nor is it a quiche. Perhaps it’s more like a “breakfast bake”, but in a much smaller sort of way. It didn’t happen in a huge pan for a big crowd, like breakfast bakes normally do. It was just a way to use up the end of a loaf of bread and some basil flowers and make a nice lunch for myself in the process. Actually, it wasn’t just a lunch. It was my lunch, mid-afternoon snack and dinner, all in one bowl. I just kept happily munching on this all afternoon and evening.

Growing basil indoors in the winter is a wonderful experience … you can have fresh herbs all winter long, and pretty little purple flowers will grace your life right there in the middle of all that winter white and gray-ness. The trick to keeping your basil going all winter is to water it well, and cut off the flowers. If you don’t cut the flowers, the basil plant thinks it is “done” and dies off. The super lucky thing about having to cut off basil flowers is they are VERY pretty, and very edible, and very delicious.

Flowers from my basil plant

Layered Spinach, Swiss, Bacon & Basil-Flower Pie

  • Several fresh sprigs of basil, with flowers (if you have flowers. if you don’t have flowers, don’t worry, basil leaves will work just fine … or if you must, you can substitute dried basil)
  • 2 very thin slices of bread
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons of bacon crumbles (bacon, fried till crisp, then drained well on a clean towel and crumbled into bits)
  • About 1/2 cup of shredded swiss cheese
  • About 1/4 cup of freshly shredded parmesan and/or romano cheese (I used a mix of both)
  • About 1/2 cup of frozen spinach, thawed, use a towel to “sponge” out the excess moisture and chop it into pieces
  • 1 small potato, peeled and diced, then cooked
  • Chopped green onion
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • 3/4 cup of low-fat milk
  • Red robin seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt)
  • Freshly ground pepper

What I did here was take the last slice of my Speckled Pepperoni Cheese Bread and cut it into two thin slices. I sprayed an oven-safe bowl with cooking spray, put one of the thin slices in the bottom of the bowl and sprinkled it with bacon and basil flowers.

Layered Swiss, Spinach, Bacon & Basil Flower Pie Step 1

Then I topped it with about 1/2 of the spinach, some potato and cheese, and some more basil flowers / leaves.

Layered Swiss, Spinach, Bacon & Basil Flower Pie Step 2

Then I topped it with the other slice of bread and repeat the whole layering process (spinach, potato, cheese, basil flowers) and on the top I added a bit of chopped green onion.

Layered Swiss, Spinach, Bacon & Basil Flower Pie Step 3

Now in a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, egg white, and milk, then sprinkle liberally with Red Robin Seasoining and lots of freshly ground pepper. Mix it all up well, then pour it carefully into the bowl, pouring sort of around the edge so the bowl fills in with the egg mixture.

Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or so or until the egg is set. Touch the egg lightly, it should spring back when you touch it.  If there’s any liquid oozing out, let it bake a little longer.

Layered Swiss, Spinach, Bacon & Basil Flower Pie

I wanted you to see the layers of this delicious and very lovely “pie” …

Layers of the Swiss, Spinach, Bacon, & Basil Flower Pie

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Crunchy Beef, Bean and Egg Breakfast Tacos

Crunchy Beef, Bean, & Egg Breakfast Taco

This is no ordinary taco … Do you see what’s inside there? I tried to get up really close and personal, but I know it’s still a little hard to tell … okay, yeah, I know the name of this post kinda gave it away … there are eggs in that taco! Oh I put taco meat in there, too, and refried beans, and cheese … ooh can’t forget the cheese. Yes, salsa too, and peppers and onions. And even though it’s for breakfast, I added the lettuce and cilantro. I would’ve added tomatoes too if I had had some readily available, but then again, there are tomatoes in the salsa.

Crunchy Beef, Bean, & Egg Breakfast Tacos

  • Taco shells
  • 1 egg (or more depending on how many tacos you want to make … 1 egg makes about 2 tacos), beaten, sprinkled with Red Robin Seasoning (or just salt & pepper)
  • Taco meat (I use a seasoning mix to make my taco meat … but I don’t actually use beef, I use ground venison. It’s leaner and tastier and you don’t have to wonder whether it was free range or grass fed …)
  • Refried beans (canned or make your own, whatever … most of the time I try to make my own, but sometimes I use the canned kind)
  • Sharp cheddar and/or other shredded Mexican cheese
  • Chopped onion & bell pepper (or use a hotter pepper like jalapeno if you prefer!)
  • Your favorite salsa
  • Chopped lettuce and cilantro and tomato (if desired)

Directions:

  1. Heat the taco shells in the oven till they’re crispy. Heat the refried beans in a pan or in the microwave.
  2. Add a couple tablespoons of taco meat per egg to the beaten egg. Heat a sautee pan over medium heat and add the onions and peppers and sautee briefly to soften the onions a bit.
  3. Pour the egg and meat mixture over the onions and peppers and then top with shredded cheese. Lower the heat to medium low and scooch the egg mixture around in the pan, sort of scrambling it a bit, but leaving the cheese on top. Cook until the cheese is melted and the egg is done.
  4. For each taco, spread one side of the crisp taco shell with refried beans, then add the egg mixture. Top with salsa and lettuce.

Crunchy Beef, Bean, & Egg Breakfast Taco

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysNewlyweds Recipe LinkyTastetastic ThursdaysMidweek Fiesta and It’s a Keeper Thursdays.


Black Cauldron Chocolate Imperial Stout Cake

Black Cauldron Chocolate Imperial Stout Cake

It was my birthday last weekend and I started out my day by baking a birthday cake, because I was wide awake early in the morning and I had a bit of time just for myself  … because it was my birthday and I really wanted chocolate … because I wanted something extra special. Birthdays are really important to me. I think part of it is simply the celebration that you are still alive … that in itself is such an incredible gift … but the other part is a birthday is a special day just for you. I think so many of us spend so much of our lives for other people that we really need a day just to stop, sit back and honor ourselves.

Anyway, I was baking my cake and the recipe doesn’t use all of the bottle of stout … which means I have a bit left. I mentioned this to my sweet man who was messaging me to wish me a happy birthday … and just before I am about to drink the last bit of stout, he says to me, “Do you have any grapefruit?”  Yes, I said … why? … “I’ve heard dark beer poured over grapefruit is really good in the morning … You’ll have to tell me if it’s true … I think it’s something about the citrus and the beer counteracting each other and the final taste being sweet.”

So it is 8:04 a.m. and not only am I baking a chocolate stout cake and drinking Imperial stout, I just poured beer all over my grapefruit. And, strangely, it was good. I don’t think I would purposely open one of my good dark beers to pour over a grapefruit, but it was good.

Beer on a grapefruit?

This stout is special, by the way. I didn’t use Guinness in my cake. Guinness is the beer everyone seems to use in these kinds of recipes, but I am not all that crazy about Guinness and I think it’s partly because Guinness considers itself a “man’s” beer–hey, I’m a woman and I drink dark beer too! I stumbled across an Imperial stout that honors ancient women brewsters: Black Cauldron Imperial Stout from the Grand Teton Brewing Company.  You have to read the story behind this beer. It is heartwrenching and a beautiful tribute.

So while this cake might appeal to men, it is a tribute to women. If you make it for your sweetie on Valentine’s Day, take a moment to remember those women brewsters and to honor yourself (whether you’re male or female … we all need to honor ourselves).

Black Cauldron Chocolate Imperial Stout Cake

Black Cauldron Chocolate Imperial Stout Cake

from Recipe Girl

Chocolate Stout Cake:

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup Imperial stout beer
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • About  3/4 cup of dark chocolate chips, chopped

Chocolate Imperial Stout Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup Imperial stout beer
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. and place rack in middle of oven. Grease and lightly flour 9-inch cake pan (or use 8-inch pan if you’d like a slightly taller cake.)
  2. Prepare cake: In a small saucepan, combine cocoa powder and stout. Heat over low-moderate heat until smooth and warmed. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on low- medium speed, beat butter until creamy. Gradually add sugar and beat until pale yellow in color. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Add the yogurt and the cocoa /stout mixture and beat on low until fully mixed.
  4. Add the flour mixture in three parts, beating well after each addition. Beat the batter for a minute or so after everything is added, till the batter is good and fluffy.
  5. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake 35 – 55 minutes or until cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. While cake is baking, prepare the sauce: Mix sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over low heat until smooth. Allow to cool.
  7. When the cake is done, poke holes in it, and spoon 3/4 of the sauce over bottom of cake, allowing sauce to seep into cake. Slide a knife around the edges and invert the cake right side up onto your serving platter.
  8. Poke holes in the top of cake and spoon the remainder of sauce on top of cake. Try not to waste any of that precious sauce like I did … poke LOTS of holes so it all seeps into the cake because it is SO good.
  9. I topped it with whipped cream and berries and a drizzle of chocolate sauce. I think I went a little overboard with the whipped cream, but oh it was amazing like that.

Black Cauldron Chocolate Imperial Stout Cake

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysWonka Wednesdays,  Newlyweds Recipe LinkyWednesday EatsFoodie Friday Trick or Treat Tuesdays and Gooseberry Patch Pies & Cakes.


Spicy Mexican Avocado Cheesecake (Appetizer/Dip)

Spicy Mexican Avocado Cheesecake Appetizer

This cheesecake doesn’t get eaten like a cake … it is really a dip. A spicy, creamy, avocado dip. Perfect for a party. I know, New Year’s is over and everyone is done partying and onto their New Year’s Resolutions (which often somehow don’t seem like very much fun). Well, for me, January is a party month because it’s my birthday month. So I hope you will pardon me while I continue the celebration of life …

You see, when the crust from my sweet avocado cheesecake made enough for two cheesecakes (a larger one and a smaller one), but the filling only filled the larger one, I remembered this: when I was mentioning the avocado cheesecake to my foodie friends on facebook, a couple thought maybe it would be a savory cheesecake. I embraced that savory cheesecake idea and consulted my friend Google to find me one. It wasn’t long till I found a recipe and with the help of my sister’s blender, in just a few minutes, the 2nd cheesecake was in the oven.

Spicy Mexican Avocado Cheesecake

Spicy Mexican Avocado Cheesecake (Appetizer)

Adapted from Frugal Foodie Family

Makes 1 small 5-inch cheesecake. If you want a larger cheesecake, make a double batch of the filling.

Crust:

For the crust, remember that mini-crust from my sweet avocado cheesecake? I used that crust for this … I thought the sweet with the hot spicy filling would go well, but honestly it was a little too sweet for this savory filling. I think it would work better if you cut out the sugar and use a salty or cheese cracker in place of the graham crackers. Or try the tortilla crust from Frugal Foodie Family. Cut the recipe in half to make this smaller cheesecake.

Filling:

  • 4 oz. fat-free cream cheese
  • 4 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1 reduced fat cheddar cheese stick (or a bit of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese)
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted
  • 1/4 cup lowfat greek yogurt
  • 1 egg and 1 egg white
  • 1 jalapeno
  • For topping: greek yogurt, shredded cheese, salsa, onion, bacon, olives, tomato, lettuce, corn, black beans … basically anything Mexican! I threw together a few things I could find in my sister’s kitchen
  • Crackers or tortilla chips for dipping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Make the crust. Crust options:
    1. Use 1/2 the batch of the walnut crust except cut out all the sugar and use salty or cheese crackers in place of the graham crackers.
    2. Use 1/2 a batch of the tortilla crust from Frugal Foodie Family
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine all the filling ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture over crust and spread evenly.  Place pan on a baking sheet and bake about 20 minutes or until set.
  3. Cool to room temperature and chill.
  4. Top with your desired toppings.  I spread the top with greek yogurt, then a layer of salsa, then shredded cheese, lettuce, onion, and corn.
  5. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.

Spicy Mexican Avocado Cheesecake DIP

This recipe was shared at Cast Party WednesdaysIt’s a Keeper ThursdaysFull Plate Thursdays,  Tastetastic ThursdaysFoodie Fridays, and Katherine Martinelli’s DIY blog hop.


Ham & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich on French Bread

Ham & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich on Toasted Gruyere-Basil French Bread

Perhaps I needed some protein … perhaps I was pulled into the thought of him having eggs and bacon for dinner the other night … perhaps my gruyere-basil french bread was just aching to be a beautiful sandwich … in any case, yesterday I was compelled to make myself a breakfast sandwich.

This is not really a recipe, is it? Ah well, I will tell you anyway …

Ham & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich on Toasted French Bread

  • French Bread
  • 1 egg
  • Extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • Lean ham slices

Directions:

  1. Slice off a hunk of your french bread and then slice horizontally.
  2. Beat 1 egg with a tablespoon of water, sprinkle with Red Robin seasoning and pepper, cook in a frying pan coated with cooking spray, folding over the edges to make a rectangular shape that fits your bread.
  3. Take the bottom half of the french bread and carefully place the egg on the bread … then top with slices of extra sharp cheddar cheese. Place it in the toaster oven (or oven) to broil for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.
  4. While the cheese is melting, toast the top half of the bread along with slices of  lean ham in the hot frying pan.
  5. Remove the cheesy bottom half of the sandwich and top with the ham and top half of the bread. And enjoy …

Ham & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich on Toasted Gruyere-Basil French Bread

Oh my … that looks good. Hmm … another for breakfast today, perhaps?

This recipe was shared at Favorite Breakfast Recipes.


New Mexican Breakfast Burritos

New Mexican Breakfast Burritos

In New Mexico there is a special kind of magic. The skies are bluer, the sunsets are so more intense. The ground is mostly brown, but if you look closely you will see so many subtle, beautiful colors.

And in October, the whole sky fills with color when people all over the world come to Albuquerque for the International Balloon Fiesta. I am lucky to have experienced this beautiful event many times, and I have to tell you the story of how we used to do the fiesta.

At my office, we organized ahead of time, assigned each person something to bring. We would meet at a park near the festival. My boss would bring a campstove, and we would sip New Mexican champagne and drink coffee and Bailey’s while the burritos cooked in the dark before dawn. Then after we had eaten our fill of the spicy burritos, we’d pack up the cooking things and walk together to the fiesta.

We also had some fantastic brunches in New Mexico. I think I need to start a brunch club here … I miss those …

New Mexico Style Breakfast Burritos

Breakfast Burritos, New Mexico Style

Warning: These burritos take a little prep time. You NEED green chile stew to make these properly. My method here is for cooking the burritos at home … if you are cooking these up on a campstove, just wrap all the ingredients in a tortilla and serve with napkins to wipe up all the messy juices.

  • Large flour tortillas, warmed
  • Bacon or breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled (use lowfat sausage or bacon for healthier burritos)
  • Scrambled eggs (add 1 T. of water for each egg to keep the eggs moist)
  • Fried potatoes (or just cooked and diced if you want to cut down the fat content)
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese (lowfat or vegan cheese works too, but doesn’t melt quite as well)
  • Green chile stew (here’s my recipe for green chile stew)

First prepare your ingredients. Start with the green chile stew. Make that up ahead of time and reheat it on the morning you want to eat your burritos. Cook up your bacon and/or breakfast sausage (we would always have both on hand and we’d let people choose). Scramble your eggs. Fry up the potatoes. Shred the cheese.

Got that ready? Ok, let’s get started.

Warm the tortillas in a tortilla warmer or in the frying pan you used to cook up all those yummy ingredients. For each burrito, take a tortilla and add some scrambled eggs and sausage or bacon:

Assembling the Burritos: put the eggs and sausage or bacon on the tortilla

Top with potatoes and some shredded cheese and warm briefly in the microwave to melt the cheese. Sometimes I add a little chopped onion and maybe a bit of roasted green chile here too. Fold over the “short” edges.

Folding the burritos up

Next fold in one of the long sides:

Folding up the burrito

and then roll up the other side and flip it over, so the folded side is on the bottom.

Breakfast burrito: All rolled up!

Now, pour green chile stew all over the burrito and top with shredded cheese. Warm in the microwave till the cheese is melted.

If you are doing a bunch of these for a crowd, you can put the rolled burritos in a casserole dish, cover with green chile stew and cheese (like a tray of enchiladas!) and bake in an oven briefly to melt the cheese.

Breakfast Burritos with Green Chile Stew and Cheese ... mmm

Oh look at that beautiful burrito! Doesn’t it just make you hungry? Now it’s ready to bite into …

Breakfast Burritos, New Mexico Style

These burritos are very hearty and filling, and you can make them as spicy or mild as you like by using mild or hot green chiles in the stew.

This recipe was shared at Recipe of the Week: Mexican Cuisine and Katherine Martinelli’s Mexican Blog Hop.


Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

with Toasted Pecans

Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Bars with Toasted Pecans

Now if you ask me, THIS is the way to eat your oatmeal.

When I saw these gorgeous bars that Kay from And Then I Ate It shared, I stashed away the recipe because I knew right then and there that I wanted to make them. I just needed to find a time to make them.

Today was the day. This is gonna be my breakfast every day this week … well, that is, if they last that long.

Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Bars with Toasted Pecans

Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Bars with Toasted Pecans

Adapted from And Then I Ate It! I made quite a few changes … just can’t leave a recipe alone!

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups oatmeal (any type is fine)
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup pecans, toasted
  • ¼ cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter until pale yellow. Add sugar and beat until well blended. Add the egg, maple syrup and yogurt and beat until fully incorporated. I used my beaters to get them mixed fully because the yogurt and the butter were being persnickety.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix only until they are combined.
  4. Add the oatmeal, cranberries, nuts and chocolate chips and fold in uniformly. (I use cashew pieces since they are about 1/3 of the price of whole cashews)
  5. Add the thick batter evenly to a well sprayed 9 x 9 inch pan (she used a 7” x 11” pan, but I don’t have a pan that size …).
  6. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. It should still be soft to the touch but firm enough to be cook.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes. (The wait will kill you! They smell soooo good!) With a sharp knife cut into bars. You may need to wipe the blade to get clean cuts. Remove bars from pan and store in an air tight container.

Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Bars with Toasted Pecans

This recipe has been shared at Tuesday Talent ShowTotally Tasty TuesdaysTastetastic Thursdays, and Full Plate Thursdays.


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