Banana Cranberry Breakfast Bread

Banana Cranberry Breakfast Bread 1

After all the Christmas treats I thought it was time for a “healthier” snack.  I also needed to get rid of some grossly black bananas and the cranberries that have been sitting in my freezer since October.

I’m proud of this recipe. I usually am not able to combine ingredients in a way that produces edible food– I’m a recipe follower– but this time I remembered some of my mom’s tips about health-i-fying recipes and actually made something tasty.

The best part is, it’s not too bad for you, so you don’t even have to feel guilty about eating it for breakfast.

Banana Cranberry Breakfast Bread
Makes one 9×5 loaf

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries**
1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (can sub all-purpose or whole wheat, but the texture will be slightly different)
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 medium)

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.  In a medium bowl, mix cranberries in flour, oats, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.  Set aside

In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugars until light-colored and fluffy.  Add applesauce and blend.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in mashed banana.  Add cranberry/flour mixture to shortening/sugar mixture and stir until just combined.  Spoon batter into prepared pan

Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the loaf. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

**TIP: Any berry can be subbed in here! I imagine apple, peaches and mango would be great too.  Let me know in the comments how your experiments go.**

My recipe, inspired by Allrecipes

Banana Cranberry Breakfast Bread 3

Breakfast Pizza

Ever heard of the term “chick food”?  Well, this breakfast pizza isn’t it.

My boyfriend, Michael,  is visiting me from Chicago this weekend (yay!), and we’ve been having a great time.  We both love to eat (I bet you could have guessed that about me), so we are always trying new restaurants together.  This time around, we tried out a nearby Japanese noodle bar.  Great seafood pancakes and dumplings.

Anyway, choosing restaurants is always an easy feat for us, but eating in can be a bit more difficult. Michael is your typical meat-loving guy (and has also been nick-named the human garbage disposal due to his huuuuuge appetite), soI knew he wouldn’t be satisfied by my typical breakfast of quinoa with fruit and nuts (aka chick food). I knew I needed to make him something hearty, filling and packed with protein.  So breakfast pizza was born.

I made the dough the day before and made my own Hawaiian pizza with half of the crust.  I let the other half of the dough sit wrapped in the fridge overnight, and just rolled it flat the next morning.  Michael thought it was a great idea (though he still looked pretty disappointed when I told him I was out of bacon to add on top), and ate his entire half of the pizza in one sitting.

Success.

Breakfast Pizza

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust:
1 teaspoon white sugar (or honey)
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

Toppings:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2-3/4 cup prepared pizza sauce
Spices
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I used Daiya)
4 whole eggs
1/2 cup thick ham, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 slices thick cut bacon, cook and cut into bite-sized pieces

Dough
In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water.  Sprinkle yeast over the top and let sit for about 10 minutes, or until foamy.  Stir in olive oil and salt, and then add flour.  Mix until just combined, and then transfer dough to a floured surface . Knead until dough becomes smooth and lump-free (about 10 minutes). Place into an oiled bowl, cover with saran wrap or a towel, and place in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.  When dough has doubled in size, punch dough down and place on  a floured surface.  At this point, divide dough into two equal parts if you want a thin crust pizza, leave whole if you want one large, thick crust. Form dough into one or two tight balls, and let sit for 45 minutes to rise, until doubled.   Roll dough out into a flat disc-shape and top with desired toppings.

Assembly
Preheat oven to 425F.  Brush olive oil over the top of dough, especially on the edges where the crust will be. Spread pizza sauce evenly over the dough, leaving 1/2-1 inch uncovered for the crust. Sprinkle sauce with desired spices (I used Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and oregano. Feel free to use parmesan cheese here as well.) and then top with shredded cheese.  Top with ham and bacon; then crack raw eggs directly on top.  Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until egg whites are cooked.  Cut and serve immediately.

Crust recipe adapted from AllRecipes

Pina Colada Overnight Oats with Blueberries and Almonds

Overnight oats are all the rage right on food blogs right now.  There are tons of different variations, and let me tell you– I am obsessed with them.

The first time I tried, I wasn’t too sure about it– the only way I usually like my oatmeal is in Flourless Oatmeal Pancakes (or cookies), not the mushy stuff in the bowl.  BUT- I found that this recipe is really the perfect breakfast.

I always make these oats before bed, which totally eliminates my need to cook in the mornings!  I’ve been waking up a little bit later before work and just throwing this in my bag along with a spoon.  Since it’s summer where I really appreciate having a cold breakfast– even better that it’s super filling and nutritious!

P.S. These also couldn’t be any easier to make, try it!

Pina Colada Overnight Oats with Blueberries and Almonds
Serves 2

1/2 cup oatmeal
1 tablespoon shredded coconut (I used unsweetened)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 tablespoons chopped almonds
1/2 cup almond milk (or soy, rice, hemp, cows etc.)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup pineapple chunks

Combine dry ingredients in a mason jar. Cover and shake well (if you combine all the ingredient at once, the chia seeds will not evenly disperse and will form big, sticky clumps throughout your oatmeal).  Add milks and honey, and cover and shake well again.  Refrigerate for at least five hours, and top with blueberries and pineapple chunks to serve.

VARIATIONS: you can go crazy with substitutions for this recipes, but here are some fun ideas!

  • Chocolate Raspberry Almond- Replace all milk with almond milk, omit shredded coconut, add one tablespoon of cocoa powder, replace blueberries and pineapple with raspberries and chocolate chips.
  • Banana Coconut- Replace pineapple with banana, coconut milk with almond milk, top with whipped cream and banana slices
  • Apple Cinnamon- Replace fruit with chopped apples, omit coconut, replace coconut milk with almond milk, add 1/4 cinnamon, omit honey, drizzle with caramel topping

Singaporean Kitchen: Chinese Egg Tarts (Dan ta-蛋挞)

If you’re interested in trying something a little bit different from your typical boxed funfetti cupcakes (kidding! I know you’re all talented chefs and bakers), then I strongly recommend you take a shot at making these little cuties.

Egg tarts are a Cantonese treat and you generally will see them at Chinese bakeries or dim sum restaurants.  The tart consists of a buttery, flaky crust and a smooth, creamy, egg-flavored filling that resembles creme brulee.

When I was a little girl, this was one of the only things I would eat when my family went out for dim sum. While my aunts and uncles were chowing down on fried chicken feet and shrimp dumplings, I would try to hoard as many dan ta on my plate as I could without being caught (and subsequently, scolded for not letting others have any, oopsies).

On my second day in Singapore, my aunt brought my family to her favorite dim sum restaurant (Peach Garden in Novena), and I remembered how much I love these bite-sized treats.  I spent a couple of days trying to find an easy recipe, and found that these can really be quite simple to make!  Some authentic recipes have a slightly more complicated technique of using two kinds of dough- an “oil dough” and a “water dough” and folding them inside each other and rolling out multiple times to make an even tastier, flakier pastry, but I didn’t have the time or the patience for that today.   Since you all know I’m lactose intolerant, I used margarine in the crust and soy milk in the filling.  It turned out so well (don’t worry Michael, I will make you some :))!

I’ve made three batches of this recipe so far, and here are the tips I can give you:

1) If using small tart cups, spoon filling into crust rather than pouring it- when I tried to pour the filling it splashed all over the counter and soaked the crust.

2) Watch the tarts carefully when they are in the oven. You want to take them out from the oven before they start to bubble.  If you take them out after they’ve already puffed up and glazed over, the tops will be wrinkled when they dry (for an example, see the difference between the first picture and the second picture– I used the same recipe, but I was more careful with the tarts in the top picture).

3) If your crust burns while the filling is cooking, cover the edges with aluminum foil or do not pre-bake.

4) When filling cups with dough, allow the dough to extend past the top of the cup, as the dough will retract while it bakes.

Egg Tarts
Makes 18-24 small tarts

Pastry:
1 stick+ 1 tablespoon butter – chilled
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 egg white
1 egg yolk
1 2/3 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Filling:
2 cups milk
3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 medium or large eggs
1 teaspoon rum (optional, used to help mask egg flavor)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

To make the pastry, cream the icing sugar and the butter together until fluffy.  Add egg yolk and half egg white and mix well. Stir in vanilla extract.  Add flour and stir until crumbly.  Form into a ball, refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While dough is refrigerating, heat milk and sugar in a saucepan on low heat until sugar dissolves.  When done, turn heat off and let cool.  Stir in eggs and whisk until mixed (not until frothy, just until combined).  Stir in rum and vanilla.  Run egg and milk mixture through a sieve three times, DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP, you don’t want your egg tarts to have a bubbly egg layer on top so this step is important.

To assemble egg tarts, make small balls of dough and flatten.  Press dough-disc into the bottom of tart cups (or you can use a muffin tin) and bake for 10 minutes at 350F.  Remove cups from oven and spoon in egg mixture until 90% full.  Put back into the oven and bake for 15-20 more minutes (watch carefully, tarts are done when a toothpick inserted in the center can stand on it’s own).  Serve immediately and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Aunty Yochana

Apple Pie Bread

This bread was the product of my attempt to use up all of my perishable foods before going to Singapore for the next three weeks!  I modified the original recipe a bit in order to cram the maximum amount of apples into it and omitted the nuts and raisins completely.  The end result was a moist, chunky loaf of bread with a crunchy, nutty streusel over the top.  This recipe will surely make another appearance in my kitchen come fall.

Today was a great day.  My other best friend, Shannon, came back from studying abroad in the Netherlands last night at 5 pm.  Since my exam ended today at 10 am, we all got together and I finally got to have a girls day with my friends from high school!  We hung around outside, made coconut margaritas and caught up on each other’s lives.  Too bad I have to leave so soon after our reunion!

Don’t worry though, I will not be neglecting PITK during my travels, so expect a post about food in Singapore very soon!

Apple Pie Bread
Makes 1 9×5 in loaf

1/2  cup butter, softened (I used Earth Balance)
1/2  cup granulated sugar
1/2  cup packed brown sugar
1/3  cup buttermilk (for DF use 1/3 c non-dairy milk with 2 teaspoons vinegar)
2  teaspoons baking powder
2  eggs
1  teaspoon vanilla extract
2  cups all purpose flour
1/2  teaspoon apple pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3  cups peeled apples, diced
streusel – nut topping (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.  Cream butter and sugars in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk and baking powder; beat until combined. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Add flour, apple pie spice and salt; then, you guessed it, beat until combined.

Toss the apples and in a bit of flour before adding to the batter. Stir in apples by hand. Spoon batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Prepare the streusel topping and sprinkle over the batter. Bake for 60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool bread in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.

Wrap and store overnight before slicing. (Or you know, eat it as soon as it’s cool enough like I did).

Streusel – Nut Topping

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3  tablespoons flour
2  tablespoons butter, softened
1/3  cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

In a small bowl combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and flour. Using a pastry blender or fork cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in walnuts or pecans.

Adapted from BHG 

To Die For Blueberry Muffins

Would I ever be willing to die for blueberry muffins?  Probably not.  The name, however, did catch my eye, and they turned out to be delicious (almost good enough to die for, but I’m pretty young so I’m gonna stick with the statement that at this point in my life, I would not die for any  muffin.  Check back with me about this in a while).

I found these on AllRecipes and they were pretty easy to make dairy free- I just substituted almond milk and Earth Balance where necessary and the muffins turned out soft, light and scrumptious.  I thought I was being creative and smart in substituting brown sugar for white in the crumble but next time I think I will try white sugar and hopefully the tops will come out with a prettier color.

I really like this recipe because the batter is thick and holds the blueberries in place like glue.  You don’t have to worry about all of the blueberries sinking to the bottom of the batter, they will be spread evenly throughout!  Just follow the instructions, and you’ll just get beautiful, cake-y, delicious blueberry muffins, every time.

To Die For Blueberry Muffins

Makes 8 jumbo muffins

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup milk (I used almond milk but if you don’t need DF then I would recommend buttermilk!)
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg, vanilla and then enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.

To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done. Cool completely on a wire rack then serve.

Recipe adapted from AllRecipes

Flourless Oatmeal Pancakes

Every time I complain to my boyfriend about how hard it is to stick to a diet, he first assures me that I look perfect and have nothing to worry about (like any smart man would do)… and then he goes on to tell me about the latest body-enhancing food he read about on BodyBuilding.com, and why I should eat it.   Some of his favorites include peanut butter, eggs, kale, whey protein powder, and omega-3 supplements.  Oatmeal always comes up too– it is one of his favorite staples, because of it’s high fiber content and the fact that it is a “slow releasing carb”, meaning that it will provide you with a steady supply of energy throughout the morning and won’t leave you with hunger pangs or sugar crashes.

He’s been talking about oatmeal basically since I first met him, but I never really joined him on the oatmeal-bandwagon because while I don’t hate it, it’s sort of a weird texture and can be pretty flavorless.  I stumbled across this recipe however (stumbling is how I find all of my recipes, I am a pro-food blog surfer), and when I showed it to him he got so excited about it that I decided I would have to try it too.  And what a great find this was!

These pancakes have a surprisingly great texture and are soft and fluffy like a pancake should be.  The batter takes about 2 minutes to whip up, and is incredibly versatile as far as topping possibilities go.  This morning, I used some maple syrup and banana slices, but next time I might try some peanut butter and dried fruit or maybe just some fresh fruit in it’s natural juices!  Yummy.

Flourless Oatmeal Pancakes
Serves 1

1/2 cup oatmeal (not instant)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon protein powder of choice
1 egg
1/4 cup water/non-dairy milk
splash of vanilla extract

Combine in a bowl and cook on a medium hot griddle or pan, that’s all!  I would recommend cooking it for less time than you think you need to though,  otherwise it will become granola like and will fall apart when you try to eat it.  Try flipping it when the edges are juuuuust about dry, and then cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side.  Serve with your favorite nut butter, maple syrup or fresh fruit.

Recipe from Dairy Free Betty

Vegan Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

I am officially in panic mode.  My mom emailed me a few days ago and said “OMG.  There is less than a month until we go to Singapore.  I need to lose four pounds– I gain weight every time I go home!”  I looked at my calendar, and sure enough, our flight is in less than 3 weeks.
My mom, brother and I go to Singapore every year or so.  My mother is a native Singaporean, and now that my grandparents are getting older, we’ve been much better about visiting on a regular basis.  I love Singapore … it’s steaming hot, bustling, and really different from my hometown.  The food is definitely the best part (okay, and the shopping too), and my mom and I have been known to gorge on durian, noodle soups, dim sum, roti pratha, and my mom’s favorite kueh.   My Singaporean family also tends to express their love through food- so during our visits we are always meeting relatives for lunch, dinner, supper, tea, etc..  That is really great for my taste buds and family bonding and all… but not so great on my waistline!  So, after reading my mom’s email, panic mode has indeed ensued.
So, here is my LAST dessert recipe until I leave for Singapore.  Seriously. The last.  My posts for the next few weeks will be all salads and oatmeal with fruit and lettuce wraps.  I can do this, right? Right.
This cake was surprising.  I actually decided to make this 100% vegan and used flax meal instead of the egg and it is delightful.  The peanut butter frosting is creamy and decadent and I doubt I will ever use another peanut frosting again.
I ate a slice of this for breakfast, but you could eat it as a snack, with tea or coffee or as dessert after dinner.  Now who wants a slice? Seriously… I gotta give this thing away before I ruin my Singapore diet.
Vegan Banana Cake
Makes one 9″ round or 9×9″ square cake

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup banana puree
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup water
4 teaspoons flax (can substitute 1 egg for non-vegan)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, powder, soda, salt (and flax, if using).
In a smaller bowl, combine sugar, maple syrup, banana puree, oil, water, and egg.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Pour into a greased 9×9 baking dish (round or square). Bake for 20-24 minutes or until knife inserted comes out mostly clean.

Recipe from Pinch of Yum

Vegan Peanut Butter Frosting (I kid you not, the best peanut frosting in the entire world)

1/4 cup margarine, softened
2 tablespoons shortening
1/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon barley malt syrup or molasses, optional
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 to 2 tablespoons rice milk or soy milk

Cream together the margarine and shortening at medium speed until smooth. Add peanut butter, barley malt syrup/molasses, and vanilla, and beat until very smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the sugar; the mixture will be very stiff. Dribble in rice milk a little at a time, beating continuously till frosting is pale tan and very fluffy.

Adjust the thickness of the filling by adding rice milk or more confectioners’ sugar in small amounts if necessary

Recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

Elvis Donuts

Donuts.  Maple.  Bacon.

I present to you… “the Elvis” donut.  A plain donut with maple glaze and bits of bacon sprinkled over the top.  Magical.

Elvis Donuts
Makes 12 donuts

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup 3% milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp butter

Maple Icing
1 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp hot water
1/4 cup maple syrup

Special Guest
3 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 375 F degrees.  Spray the donut tray with cooking spray and set aside.

In a small bowl mix together the yogurt, melted butter, milk, eggs and vanilla extract.  In the bowl of your mixer, mix all the dry ingredients, so the flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on medium for a minute or so until everything is nicely incorporated.  Transfer the donut dough into the piping bag, keep in mind it’s quite sticky. Now carefully pipe the donut dough into each donut form.

Bake the donuts in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the top is slightly golden brown. Take them out, let them cool for a couple minutes, then turn them over onto your work surface.

Whisk all icing ingredients together. Dunk the donuts in the maple icing, then sprinkle with some crumbled bacon.

Recipe from Jo Cooks


Orange Scones

I have big news.  I got a new camera!  Instead of a point and shoot or my phone camera, I am now the proud owner of a Nikon D70s. :).  I got it yesterday at 7 pm… and obviously the real reason I made these scones was so I could practice taking pictures with my new toy!  I’m sure there will be much more to come… I’m so excited!

Anyway, here’s the deal on the scones.  This recipe comes from Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook by Kim Barnouin.  Her recipes work and this is no exception.  I ran out and bought some orange extract to make these, and they are even better than the scones you get from Starbucks.  These are vegan,  flavorful, and have the perfect texture.

Orange Scones
Makes 8 scones

2 cups flour
1/2 cup white sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup orange juice, plus 1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon orange extract (I wouldn’t advise skipping this ingredient)
1 tablespoon orange zest, grated
1/2 cup vegan butter substitute, room temperature (I used Earth Balance)

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large bowl, mix the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and soda, salt and nutmeg. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup orange juice, the orange extract and orange zest. Add to flour mixture and mix well until combined (it will be crumbly at this point). Add the vegan butter substitute and mix well.

Lightly flour a flat surface and need the dough for about a minute. Form the dough into a ball and shape into a small pizza crust shape, gently flattening down the dough to desired thickness (mine were about 1.5 inches thick). Cut the dough in to 8 wedges and place each piece on a baking sheet. Use a pastry brush, or fingers, to cover the dough with the remaining 1 tablespoon of orange juice. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 15 minutes, cool on a wire rack.

Recipe from Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook

Pictures by me!