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