Eggnog Pancakes

Eggnog Pancakes

Well, the holidays are in full swing – I wish I could say I was ready for them.  Every year I am behind, but this year things are a little out of control.  They are so forgone, that this weekend I completely forgot about the Rocky Rods, that my friends and neighbors look forward to each year.  Needless to say, I am going to have to make it up to them in other ways.  Maybe some Valentine’s Day treats instead?  I just couldn’t fit it all in, and in order to avoid a complete nervous breakdown, I had to prioritize, and unfortunately they didn’t fall to the top.

Something else that completely slipped my mind – my annual holiday post highlighting my favorite gifts for the season.  So here I am, with my list.  Every year it is so easy, and this year was no exception.  I created this list in about 5 minutes – and if it helps just one of you with holiday shopping this year, it was completely worth it.

  1. The Nutra Ninja Blender Duo – wow, this blender blew me away…I was not really a blender person before I used this – I love the smoothie cups it comes with, not only do the smoothies blend perfectly, clean up is a cinch.  I cannot recommend this one enough…
  2. Artic Chill Cocktail Muddler – this is a must if you are a cocktail maker – particularly if you like making drinks with fresh herbs like mint – I have also used this with peaches and cherries, and it does wonders.  Before I had one I used the back of a wooden spoon – I had no idea was I was missing.  It is the grooved nylon tip that does all the magic…
  3. Lori’s Salt Caramel Syrup – I am not much of a syrup person, that was until I tried this stuff.  I seriously could drink this in a glass, it is that good.  Oh, and put on top of these eggnog pancakes?  Just stop.  We were all licking our plates in delight.
  4. Lemon and Lime Juicer – I didn’t realize how easy it could be to use fresh lemon or lime juice before I got this contraption.  There is no reason to ever buy bottled lemon or lime juice again – this makes it so quick and easy, and seriously your food will taste better using fresh juice.
  5. Large Cookie Spatula – this has been on my favorite holiday gifts list ever since I started this.  I use this for just about everything – cakes, roasts, anything that has to be moved, and requires a large surface area to do so. I have even got my husband to start using it…

You can thank my mother for the recipe – when I was in Madrid a couple of weeks ago, she woke up at 6am, just to make these for my girls before they went to school.  They loved them so much, I had to give them a try.  They are a perfect holiday treat – particularly if you have some eggnog that you are looking to use up.  Fortunately school break is coming up, and you won’t need to get up before sunrise to make them…

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg (fresh) or cinnamon
  • 2 lightly beaten eggs
  • 2 cups eggnog (can be low fat)
  • 1/4 cup oil

Preparation

Combine dry ingredients and whisk to combine.  In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.  With a wooden spoon, mix wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir until combined.  Do not overwork, the batter may be lumpy.

Heat a small amount of butter or oil and cook pancakes on medium (or if using a non-stick pan, you might be able to skip the butter/oil).

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:   Eggnog Pancakes

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Apple Streusel Muffins with Maple Drizzle

Apple Streusel Muffins

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, next to dinner, lunch, and all the snacks in between.  I definitely like to eat all day, it keeps me going.  My most favorite days are when I can start off with a couple of hard boiled eggs, and then a couple hours later, I eat a muffin.  That only happens when there are muffins in the house, and they didn’t all get claimed by the kids – which is not that often.

Last night I was exhausted – and I knew I had to get up super early in the morning – not my regular early time, but a couple of hours earlier than that.  Unfortunately for me, I was up most of the night worried that I would sleep through my alarm.  Boy do I hate when that happens.  Instead, I very lightly slept (if at all), and turned off my alarm before it even went off.  I was so tired I wasn’t even hungry.

When I finally was hungry enough to think about food, these muffins were what came to mind.  Right out of the oven, with a nice cup of tea.  These muffins have been long gone though, but I still think about them.  I know what you are thinking – what is so special about these?  Well, it was the maple drizzle.  It was almost like I was eating an apple pancake shaped into a muffin with some syrup on top.  Yes, they were that good.  The perfect breakfast to get you out of bed – and from Cooking Light, what could be better?  Sleeping in and then eating these muffins…

Ingredients

Streusel:

  • 2 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons spelt flour (if you don’t have spelt flour you can use all-purpose)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Muffins:

  • 5 ounces spelt flour (about 1 cup) (if you don’t have spelt flour you can use all-purpose)
  • 2.5 ounces whole-wheat pastry flour (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, diced (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon water

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°.

To prepare streusel, combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl; set aside.

To prepare muffins, weigh or spoon 5 ounces spelt flour and whole-wheat pastry flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

Combine buttermilk, 1/2 cup sugar, oil, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and egg in a bowl. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Fold in apple. Divide batter among 12 paper-lined muffin cups; top evenly with streusel. Bake at 400° for 16 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely.

Combine powdered sugar, syrup, and 1/2 teaspoon water in a bowl; stir until smooth. Drizzle evenly over muffins.

For a printer friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Apple Streusel Muffins with Maple Drizzle

Eggnog Coffee Cake

Eggnog Coffee Cake

Change can be hard – real hard.  I live a very different life at work and at home.  At work there is chaos constantly – and I love every minute of it.  I long for change at work – for things to be shaken up, and to try and put the pieces back together again – like a big puzzle.  If things stay static for too long, I get a little antsy.  At home, it is a completely different ball game.

I think one of the reasons why I can deal with such chaos at work, is because things are pretty stable at home.  Well, most of the time.  Tonight I attended a meeting at the new school my daughter will attend next year.  This is going to be the 5th school she has attended since kindergarten, and next year she will be in 7th grade.  The district likes to move them around – and it makes me sick.  Unfortunately she is being separated from the majority of her friends, and being taken out of a school that she has grown to love in only a few short months.  This new school has nothing.  It will start from the ground up.  There are no teachers.  There are no books in the library.  There isn’t a mascot.  There is no orchestra, band or choir.  There is only a principal who was hired to take on this great task.  And there are tons of very unhappy parents.  I had to fight back my tears as I heard parents tell their stories – stories about kids who have finally found their niche in the school they currently attend, only to be redistricted to a new school with lots of uncertainty.

I look at my daughter though in sheer amazement.  Sure, there were plenty of tears when she heard about the school board’s plan – but when the decision was made, she took the high road.  She sees this as an opportunity – a chance to create a school the way she envisions it.  She is an extremely strong willed 6th grader – she is a leader, and boy am I a proud parent.  It doesn’t make it any less painful for me – but knowing that she has a positive attitude is the only way I am going to deal with this change.

Last weekend she wanted to make sure she had something easy to eat for breakfast in the morning.  She found this recipe in Cooking Light – and was planning to make it for herself.  Unfortunately homework got in the way – so I decided to help her out (I know, twist my arm) – as I was making it though, she ran into the kitchen to remind me to make sure the coffee cake had lots of cinnamon.  I told her that the recipe had nutmeg instead – to give it that eggnog flavor – that’s where she drew the line.  She didn’t want that – she wanted a cinnamon coffee cake – that’s what she is used to.  This coffee cake was delicious – nice and moist, with lots of flavor.  Cinnamon or nutmeg, you can’t go wrong.  Again, change can be hard at times – and if this is the only change she wants to resist – I am completely supportive.

Ingredients

Crumble:

  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Cake:

  • 6.75 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons  vanilla extract
  • Baking spray with flour

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare crumble, combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Cut in 2 tablespoons butter using a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in toasted pecans.

To prepare cake, weigh or lightly spoon 6.75 ounces flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 6.75 ounces flour and next 4 ingredients (through 1/4 teaspoon salt); stir with a whisk. Place 3 tablespoons butter and granulated sugar in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined. Add whole egg and egg yolk, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add milk, sour cream, and vanilla; beat at low speed for 1 minute or until well combined. Add the flour mixture; beat at low speed 1 minute or just until combined.

Spoon half of batter into an 8-inch round metal cake pan coated with baking spray. Sprinkle with half of crumble mixture. Spread remaining batter over crumble, smoothing top with a spatula. Sprinkle evenly with remaining crumble mixture. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Place a plate upside down on top of cake; invert onto plate. Place another plate upside down on top of cake; invert onto plate.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Eggnog Coffee Cake

Spinach, Green Onion, and Smoked Gouda Quiche

As I have mentioned before, I love eating breakfast for dinner.  Unfortunately my husband doesn’t feel the same way – so any time I can sneak in a breakfast for dinner, I am there.  There is one exception to that rule though, and that is quiche…unfortunately the amount of cream or half-n-half involved is enough for me to save it only for special occasions.

Making a quiche with milk instead of cream has always been a challenge for me.  Most of the time, the eggs just don’t set enough, and I end up with a soupy mess.  Although, that never stops me from trying again.  I saw this recipe in Cooking Light, and I really didn’t think it would set correctly – but I was wrong.  This quiche came out beautifully – and the flavors were delicious.  I especially loved the smokey flavor in the gouda cheese.  The crust was flakey and not soggy at all.  I will definitely be making this one again.

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 6  tablespoons  butter, softened
  • 2  tablespoons  1% low-fat milk
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1  large egg yolk
  • 5.6  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 1 1/4 cups)

Filling:

  • 1  tablespoon  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2  cup  thinly sliced green onions
  • 3  cups  fresh baby spinach
  • 1  cup  1% low-fat milk
  • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) grated smoked Gouda cheese
  • 3/4  teaspoon  salt
  • Dash of grated nutmeg
  • 3  large eggs

Preparation

To prepare crust, place butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Combine milk, salt, and egg yolk in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add milk mixture to butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour; beat just until combined. Press mixture into a 4-inch circle on plastic wrap; cover. Chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Unwrap and place chilled dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll dough into a 10-inch circle. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Freeze 15 minutes. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.

 To prepare filling, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add spinach; sauté 2 minutes.

Combine 1 cup milk and remaining ingredients in a bowl; stir well with a whisk. Stir in spinach mixture. Pour filling into crust. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes. Cut into 10 wedges.

Serves 10

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Spinach Quiche

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