Here's My Answer

Category Archives: Breakfast

IMG_0889(This photo has absolutely nothing to do with this post.  I just think it’s really funny and needed a photo to put at the top, so this is it.  It’s from our rehearsal, obviously, and it’s a very “Beth and Brad” photo.  I’m a crazed mess and he is calm and collected.  It’s why we work so well.)

Quite frequently I get asked questions regarding how I plan meals.  How often do I go to the grocery store?  What day do I go to the grocery store?  Do I plan meals in advance?  How many meals do I plan at a time?  How do I decide what meals to make?  Do I have a budget?

You know… questions like that.  But when I give them my answer I always expect them to say “oh yea, that’s how I do it” or “yea, I go to the grocery store on that day too” or  “I definitely plan my meals ahead”.  But apparently, I surprise people with my answers.  And, in turn, that surprises me.  I pretty much just assumed I used a system that everyone uses but I guess that’s not really the case.  So… I figured I might as well write a post about it.

Now, I TRY to only go to the grocery store once a week.  It usually ends up being twice a week though.  There’s always a last minute thing I need that I forgot or something like I couldn’t buy salmon on a Sunday and eat it on Thursday or most likely it’ll have something to do with Saturday night dinners.  While grocery stores are definitely on my way home from work, I try to avoid doing pretty much anything after work.  Mostly because I just really like to get home as soon as I am done working.  That being said… I do end up doing my major grocery trip on Mondays more than I would prefer.  But really, I prefer to do it on Sunday mornings.  I like to go on Sunday mornings for a few reasons.  The main one is that it’s soooo much less crowded.  I hate going to busy grocery stores and having to wait in lines.  It’s the worst.  But another reason why I like to go on Sundays is because Brad has the opportunity to go with me.  I very much get into a zone when I am at the store, I have a list prepared and I am pretty much on a mission.  So he usually ends up just following me with the cart.  However, I enjoy his company and I think it’s fun to do together.  It’s also really nice to have someone there to give me an opinion rather than me asking myself and debating out loud while other fellow shoppers wonder if I have split personality disorder.  (Sadly- I really do talk to myself like that)  There are weeks of course that I have to go on Mondays.  Which sucks, but whatever.  I stop on my way home from work, in my dirty icing and paint covered pants, my hair a mess and glitter all over every inch of my body.  It’s a lovely sight.

The grocery store I go to most often is Kroger.  Kroger and Publix are the main grocery stores down here.  I like Publix (they have fresh pizza dough that I buy all.the.time.) however, I believe they are expensive.  With my Kroger card, I save anywhere from $5-$20 in one trip.  But also, I use the fuel points to get gas in my car (hello extra 10 cents a gallon!).  We have really nice Krogers down here anyway.  Especially in our town.  We literally have the nicest Krogers I’ve been in.  And they have a really great “natural food” section, which we have discovered has a lot of the same stuff as Whole Foods, only muuuuuch cheaper.

Another store I shop at is actually Costco.  Oh and Sam’s Club too.  I absolutely LOVE buying in bulk.  Since we do live a little further out, it’s really not fun if you realize you forgot to buy a can of chicken broth or if you decide you need another can of beans in that chili or need some rice for the sick dog (yea, that happened this week).  We are really lucky and have a huge garage that has a  little cut out/extra room deal that was meant to be a pantry.  It’s nice and cool down there and the heavy duty shelves we had in Indy fit perfectly.  It’s literally like a mini grocery store down there and I love it.  I do have lots of things I’d like to add down there, but that will all happen eventually.  Here’s a list of things that I buy in bulk and have found to be extremely handy:
Chicken Broth
Canned Diced Tomatoes
Canned Tomato Paste
Canned Tomato Sauce
Brown Rice
Oatmeal (always old fashioned rolled oats, never the quick ones.  You can do so much more with them)
Canned Beans (any kind Costco has, I grab)
Canned Corn
Canned Fruit
Canned Green Beans
Ramen Noodles (I have an asian noodle recipe that I absolutely adore that uses just the noodles)
Salsa (Both a kind to eat with chips and Pace Salsa to cook with)
Peanut Butter
Spices (right now I just have cinnamon, chili powder and peppercorn, but I would eventually like to have many many more)
Cholula Hot Sauce
A1 sauce
Kosher Salt
An extra bag of dog food (it’s always a good idea to have this, especially if there is some horrible weather that will leave you stranded at home for a few days.  Can’t forget about the furry kids!)

photo 2

Obviously, that’s not all on the shelves right now.  But most of that was at one point.  You can’t buy all of that at once or you’ll end up spending $1,000 real quick.  But it’s good stuff to eventually have on hand.

In addition to our basement pantry, I like to buy freezer items.  Since my last trip to Costco was at least a month ago, we’ve eaten a lot that I had in there, so the photo below is a horrible example.  But I’ll tell you what was once in there:
Ground Beef
Chicken Breasts
Frozen Mixed Veggies (perfect for a quick soup or just a plain side dish)
Mixed Stir Fry Veggies (it almost feels silly to use the fresh vegetables now in stir fry just because the frozen mix is soooo much easier)

Items that are not purchased in bulk but I like to have in there anyway:
Hash Browns of some sort
Ice Cream (no explanation needed)
Margaritas (again, no explanation needed)
Sometimes I have frozen fish, like tilapia or cod.  Just for something quick to make.
Mojito Cheaters (this is a really good one.  In an ice cube tray squeeze a bunch of fresh lime juice and tear up maybe 7-10 mint leaves.  Top off with water freeze and then put in a freezer ziploc bag.  These are really good to put in your water when you want some flavor and always good to put in some rum, soda water and a little sugar for a SUPER easy mojito!)
Currently I have a few frozen burritos in there that I made a few weeks ago out of Mexican rice, salsa, beans and a little cheese.  They are awesome for lunches!
I also like to make frozen breakfast burritos or breakfast sandwiches.  Usually made with eggs, cheese and sausage.  I love having frozen breakfast stuff… makes the mornings sooo much easier.

photo 3

Hmmm I think that’s it for the freezer.  But it’s all basically things that are really nice to have in case you need a last minute meal… and then some extras.  I really love being so prepared!  It just makes life so much easier!  And!  It makes grocery store trips so much less expensive!  I’ve never actually calculated out how much money we save by buying things in bulk, but we have to save SOME money, right?

Ok- so now you know where I like to shop and what I like to keep in the house.  Next up- planning the meals!

I do this pretty much every Sunday morning.  I get up, eat some breakfast and sit on the couch and get to work.  Every single week, before I start researching, I ask Brad “is there anything you really want for dinner this week?”.  Sometimes he can list off 4 meals, sometimes he lists off zero.  But that is always my first priority.  Gotta keep my man’s belly happy!  Once he gives me his input, I think about if there is anything I really want for dinner that week.  Then I decide if this is a week we need a good amount of leftovers or not (the bank account decides that) and then once I determine what types of meals I need to make (lots of leftovers or not lots of leftovers, Brad’s picks and my picks) I start researching recipes.  I usually check on the food blogs that I follow and see if they have done anything super interesting that week, and then I head over to Pinterest to look at my “Dinner” board.  It’s hard for me to tell you exactly what I do because well, 1) I don’t really pay attention and 2) it varies.  But for the most part, that’s what I do.  I write all the days down on our new super cool chalkboard wall in our kitchen and start planning what meal is on what day.  Once all of that is figured out, then I make my grocery list!

photo 4

My grocery list is laid out how my mom used to do it.  I think anyway.  It’s laid out sort of in order of how the store is laid out.  In the top left corner is all the fresh produce because that’s always where you go in first.  Then below that is deli stuff, like deli cheese, deli meat, fancier mozzarella (not in block form)… stuff like that.  Then, right below that is meat… chicken, beef, bacon, breakfast sausage… all of it.  Then in the bottom left corner is all your “in the middle of the grocery store” stuff.  Like canned stuff, cereals, crackers, seasonings, baking stuff… you get what I’m saying.  I try to keep that part of the list super small since they say you should shop on the perimeter of the store for healthier food.  In the top right corner is dairy and other refrigerated stuff, like milk, eggs, sour cream, rolls of biscuits, block cheese…. And then lastly, in the bottom right corner is freezer stuff.  I think that’s pretty straight forward.


I have always made my grocery list that way and always will.  And I have always planned my meals that way and again, always will.  I’ve never been a fan of having to go day to day trying to figure out what to eat for dinner and then having to go to the store everyday.  It’s not my thing.  I am such a homebody that I really just want to be home as much as possible.  And too- while I do love to go to the grocery store, I just don’t love it enough to go multiple times a week.   Plus, it makes life so much easier and a little less stressful if you are prepared for the week.  Anything can come up at any point of the day and it’s nice to know that at least you have everything you need and know exactly what you are making for dinner that night.  Sometimes we change stuff, sometimes we don’t follow the plan, but I think 90% of the time we do.  I mean, geez, I put so much effort into it, might as well!

I don’t know if this has been helpful at all for anyone, maybe it’s at least been an interesting read.  Now you don’t have to spend your days wondering how I do all of this because I am sure you were so worried.  But, whatever.  It’s interesting and really… I just get asked so much that I figure it’s going to be on SOMEONE’S mind!  So… that’s that.  Hopefully next week I’ll have some actual food to post about.  Who knows though… I haven’t made my list yet!  Ha.  Ok- I’m done.

Welp, today is day 4!  We are chuggin along!  It’s been going well, fast actually.  I’m surprised this week has gone so quickly.  We’ve made a couple pretty good meals that I thought I would share with everyone!  All of these recipes are coming straight from the Clean Program website.  There’s tons of resources on their website, including a meal planner that we have been using!  There’s a Pre-Cleanse planner and a full on 3 week Cleanse planner.  We expect to use most of that planner for the next 3 weeks.  So all of the recipes that we have used so far have been from that meal planner.

If I’m going to be honest… for the most part, these recipes are time consuming to make.  We’ve been making breakfast the night before while dinner is cooking.  It’s a lot to do all at once, but it works well with our schedules.  We’ve actually had quite a bit of leftovers and I’ll be sure to note that in each recipe!

photo 1-1Almond Butter Pancakes with Blueberries
Fed us both for 1 breakfast with 1 1/2 pancakes leftover

1 cup almond flour or meal
1 cup almond or rice milk
pinch of sea salt
splash of vanilla (optional)
½ cup almond butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
coconut oil (you only need like 1 tablespoon)
cashew or almond butter + fresh or frozen berries

Mix batter until well combined and almond flour is smooth. On high heat, bring a frying pan or griddle
to a very warm temperature, add a teaspoon of coconut oil and let it melt, spreading on the pan to avoid sticking.
Lower heat to medium and with a measuring cup pour pancakes onto the pan/griddle and wait until they begin to
bubble on top and then flip. Serve warm with almond or cashew butter and fresh berries.

photo 2-1Miso Glazed Salmon with Butternut Squash Fries
This only fed us for 1 dinner

Miso Glazed Salmon:

2 wild salmon fillets
3 tablespoons gluten-free miso
olive oil
2 teaspoons coconut nectar

In a small bowl mix the miso, coconut nectar and enough olive oil to make it into a thick liquid. Cover
the fillets and broil or pan fry until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. Serve warm.

Butternut Squash Fries:

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
flavor variations: cinnamon: add 1 tsp of ground cinnamon along with the salt, oil and pepper and toss.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease. In a
large bowl, add all of the ingredients and toss to combine. Lay squash slices on the baking sheet in an individual
layer. (If the pieces are touching, it will take longer to bake) Bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown and
beginning to crisp on the edges, turning pieces over halfway through

photo 3-1This one is actually two recipes.  We ate the side dish (Cranberry Mango Millet Salad) on Monday for lunch and had so much leftover that we ate it with some Black Bean Burgers on Tuesday.  The salad makes enough to eat for 2-3 meals.  And it’s pretty good!

Cranberry Mango Millet Salad

1 cup millet
½ cup quinoa
3 cup water

1 mango, cubed
½ cup slivered almonds
½ cup unsweetened dried cranberries
¼ cup yellow onions, diced

Lemon poppy seed dressing:
¼ cup lemon juice
1½ tablespoons coconut nectar (or a few dashes of stevia to taste)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
¼ teaspoons herbamare seasoning

Place millet and quinoa in a strainer and rinse in cold water for a couple of seconds. Place rinsed
grains in a medium sized saucepan and combine with water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce
heat to simmer and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until water has absorbed. Remove from heat and allow
to sit with the lid on for 10 minutes before removing and allowing to cool. Meanwhile, combine remaining salad
ingredients in a large bowl. Add lukewarm or chilled grains. Stir to combine. In a small bowl, mix together lemon
poppy seed dressing ingredients before pouring over the salad. Serve at room temperature or cold.

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers
We were able to make 6 burgers out of this.  They were smaller but we ate 4 for lunch and then saved the other 2 for lunch the next day.  We also topped them with avocado and extra lime juice.  I highly recommend this as they are a little bit dry and the avocado and lime add some good moisture.  And it’s super tasty!

cup black beans
cup quinoa cooked
1 teaspoon cumin
lime juice from 1/3 lime
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 yellow onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, diced
1 tablespoon coconut oil

In a medium mixing bowl, mash the black beans with a fork. Mix with the quinoa and then add the
other ingredients. This will make 2-4 patties depending on how big you like them. Heat the oil in a skillet over
13edium-high heat. When the oil is hot, fry the patties until they are nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Turn and
fry the other side

photo 2Wilted Spinach and Spiced Chicken
This recipe only serves ONE, so you have to plan accordingly.  We actually liked this so much we are going to eat it again on Saturday.  We doubled the mango when we first ate this, but when we make it on Sunday, I think we are going to just use one mango.  In case you were wondering.

1 4-5 ounce chicken breast (we did one chicken breast per person)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons ground paprika
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon ground coriander seed
2 tablespoons sliced red onions
1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 large handfuls of fresh spinach
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven 350°F. Place the chicken breast in a baking dish, coat with olive oil, sea salt, paprika,
cumin and coriander. Bake for 12 minutes or until fully cooked (check with a fork). Remove from the oven and let
it cool on a cutting board, once the chicken is slightly cooled, cut into thin pieces. Meanwhile, heat a large saute
pan over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and gently cook the onions for 2-3 minutes, stirring
continuously. Add the mango and cook until warmed through. Add in the sliced chicken breast, gently toss then
add in the spinach and lemon juice. Cover the pan and allow the spinach to steam. Sprinkle in a touch of sea salt
and serve immediately

photo 3Shepherd’s Pie With Lamb
This has fed us for one dinner and sort of 2 lunches.  We ate small amounts at like 11 and then at about 2 today. It’s crazy good!  I’ve never had lamb before and never really wanted to, but it’s the only red meat we can eat.  I’m trying to be adventurous and stick to this plan, so I ate it.  And it wasn’t bad!  I even ate the mushrooms in it too!  My only suggestion would be to use much less garlic for the mashed cauliflower top.  It doesn’t really get the chance to cook so it’s very overpowering.

Top layer:
1 medium head of cauliflower
1-2 garlic cloves minced
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
¼ cup unsweetened, plain almond, rice or coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
optional, but tasty: chives or other fresh herbs

Preheat oven to 400°F. Chop cauliflower into florets. Steam until tender. Put in blender or food
processor with garlic, coconut oil. Puree until smooth. Slowly add milk until proper consistency – smooth, but still
thick. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Meat filling:
1 pound ground lamb
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 cloves garlic minced
1 medium onion, chopped
6 ounces baby bella or cremini mushrooms, sliced (we used baby bellas)
1 large carrot chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 tablespoon coconut flour or almond flour
¾ cup chicken, vegetable or mushroom stock
2 tablespoons wheat-free tamari
dash of balsamic vinegar

Heat oil on medium in a large skillet. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add carrots, garlic,
mushrooms and celery. Saute until they start to soften. Add lamb and saute for 5-10 minutes or until the meat
starts to brown. Stir in the coconut or almond flour. Add broth and herbs and reduce the heat to low and simmer,
stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until liquid reduces and sauce starts to thicken. Stir in tamari and
balsamic vinegar at the end. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put meat and vegetable mixture in a casserole dish.
Spread the mashed cauliflower over the top. Bake for 35 minutes.

photo 1Green Juice
This recipe comes for the actual CLEAN book.  It was our first time making juice and the first time using our new juicer.  It was really good, however, it was pretty tart because there’s a lot of lemon.  I would suggest using at the most half a lemon, if that.  It says in the book that you can put all the ingredients in a blender and then just strain all the fruit chunks.  We opted for the more expensive route… buying a juicer.  It’s really cool and quick.  It’s a little pain to clean up, but it’s worth it.  I am very excited to use it more!  This recipe serves1.

2 green apples
1/2″ piece of ginger
1 cup of spinach leaves
1 lemon, peeled

Just put it all through a juicer and drink!

Sooo… again… all these recipes except for the juice came from the website.  It’s definitely worth checking out.  Even if you don’t want to do the full pre-cleanse/cleanse you can at least make some of these recipes!  I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted with our progress!


Last Wednesday I had the day off of work and I decided I was really going to use the whole day very wisely.  So I got up, walked the dogs with Brad, showered, did some Christmas shopping, came home, made some crumb cake, went to Sam’s Club with Brad and then made some chili.  Oh and then went to our town’s Christmas Main Street lighting thing and drove downtown Indy to see all the Christmas decorations.


Like I said, I wanted to use my day wisely…  I think I accomplished my goal.

Ok, so every once and awhile I get on Pinterest.  Is Pinterest sill the thing to do?  I jumped on the wagon a little late and I feel like now no one uses it anymore, but I don’t really know.  Either way, I probably get on it once a week because I feel like the same recipes are always on there, but usually if I get on once a week I can find something new.  Anyway, so I was on Pinterest and realized that I am a dork because I have pinned some 100 recipe but have pretty much never made any of them.  And what better thing to do on a day off than to make some random recipe from Pinterest!?


The reason why I had originally “pinned” this recipe and decided to make it was because it literally looks exactly like the crumb cake we spent like $20 on from Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, NJ (aka Cake Boss) when we went to visit friends over my birthday in March.  Brad had seen it out of the corner of his eye in their case and asked that we get it and I, of course, was not going to pass it up.  However, we had thought we’d be getting just like a slice of it, maybe the size of an index card, but that’s not really how they do things there.  Instead we got a whole slab of crumb cake that was at least the size of a sheet of 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper.  When I saw the girl put it in the box I thought to myself that we would never eat it all and that I hoped it was ridiculously good because I knew we were going to really pay for that thing.  Luckily and not surprisingly it was incredibly delicious.  Delicious enough that I am pretty sure we ate every last crumb of that thing within like 2 days.  It was basically too good to be true.  And so when I saw the photo on Pinterest and realized it looked exactly the same, I knew it was worth a try!


Now, it doesn’t taste exactly like the one from Carlo’s Bakery (I swear theirs had a hint of lemon to it), but this was still pretty freaking good.  It it’s made with ingredients that most people have laying around the house.  The only thing is that it requires cake flour.  The recipe states at the very beginning to not sub all-purpose flour, but I’m a dork and thought I had more cake flour than I actually did.  So I cheated and used all-purpose flour for the crumb part.  And what do you know, just as the original recipe said, it was dry.  And of course, just as I had put everything together, my mom called me about something and I told her that I was making a crumb cake and that I cheated and used all-purpose flour and exactly like a mom, she told me I could make my own cake flour easily.  Wah.  It was too late.  But I’ll supply a link below to help you not have this situation yourself.


Ok, so like I said, you should have most, if not all, of the ingredients and it’s really not complicated to make at all.  It probably took me 10 minutes to whip it all together.  It takes about 40 minutes to bake and in case you are wondering what you can do in those 40 minutes, I’ll tell you: You can eat the remaining 5 leftover steak fries from the night before, lick both the batter bowl and the crumb bowl clean, wash those bowls and all the other dishes including the ones that should have gone in the dishwasher had you thought to wait to start the dishwasher instead of doing it 1 1/2 hours before you made this crumb cake… dry all those dishes, clean up some dog vomit (twice) because one of them (I still don’t know who) got freaked by the FedEx man knocking on the front door… and after all of that, you will still be able to watch a good 15 minutes of Parenthood.  You’d be amazed at what you can accomplish in 40 minutes!


Anyway, the crumb cake is easy and awesome and I am really excited to make it for Christmas morning because it just seems like a good thing to make for Christmas morning.  It would also make a great gift!  Everyone loves a crumb cake, right!?  Oh and warning: it is pretty crumbly, but let’s face it, the crumbs are what makes crumb cake so amazing.


Crumb Cake
Taken straight from Smells Like Home (found on Pinterest)
Makes 1- 8″x8″ pan

For the Crumb Layer:
1/3 cup of granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch salt
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
1 3/4 cup cake flour (don’t have cake flour?  Learn how to make it HERE!)

For the Cake Layer:
1 1/4 cup cake flour
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still solid, cut into 6 chunks
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup buttermilk (don’t have any?  Learn how to make it HERE!)

Powdered Sugar for dusting (I forgot this part.  Oops)

To make the topping: Whisk sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter in medium bowl to combine. Add flour and stir with a spoon until mixture resembles thick, cohesive dough; set aside to cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

To make the cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut parchment paper to cover the whole inside of the an 8″ pan.  I did this in 2 pieces, it works better.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed to combine. With mixer running at low speed, add butter one piece at a time; continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg, yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping once if necessary.

Transfer batter to baking pan; using rubber spatula, spread batter into even layer.  Break apart crumb topping and spread it evenly over the batter. Bake until crumbs are golden and wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let it cool for at least 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan by lifting parchment overhang. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving (but not while it’s still hot!).  YUM!

Friday night Brad and I and our furry children went to my parents’ house to celebrate my brother’s birthday.  While I was laying on the floor wrestling with those furry children, I noticed the small stack of books under my parents’ television in their sun room.  In that pile was a Julia Child baking book that I think my brother and I got her as a gift for some occasion a few years ago.  I started thumbing through it and realized I wanted to make every single thing in that book.  So I took it home and the second I had the chance, I made these pinwheels.


Every once and awhile I get in a baking mood, but not just a “oh let’s bake some cookies” mood.  More like a “I want to make something fancy and pretty and time consuming and more difficult than a cookie” mood.  I was in that mood Sunday.  And I am so happy that I was.  I had to finish these on Monday though because the dough had to sit in the fridge overnight, which I didn’t know until I had finished making the dough… But it was ok because my crazy baking mood was still in full force Monday (which for the record, doesn’t make any sense since I spent 7 hours baking cupcakes that morning).


My mom has gotten into canning lately and that basically means that Brad and I are fully stocked with apple butter, pickles, strawberry jam and… this just in… blueberry jam.  I don’t know if you have ever had blueberry jam, but believe me when I say this… It is incredible.  It is wonderful.  It is unbearably delicious.  It blew my socks off (wait, it’s hot out, I wasn’t wearing socks when I tried it, but if I did have socks on, they would have been blown off).  I was shocked.  I don’t know why I didn’t think blueberry jam would be very good (considering that I love blueberry pie) but I just didn’t have high expectations.  But I can officially say now that blueberry is my favorite jam.  And so when I saw that these pinwheels had jam in them, I knew exactly which one to use!  I used up all the blueberry jam though, so to fill the remaining 4, I used the strawberry jam my mom made a few weeks ago!

Ok… so these taste like something out of a bakery.  No joke.  The Danish Pastry dough is incredible.  It’s flaky and a little bit salty so the sweet jam balances it out perfectly.  These are absolutely incredible straight out of the oven.  They don’t really save super well because they get a little soggy with all the jam, however, they taste the same so it’s all ok.  I would highly suggest stuffing your face with as many as you can though when they are done baking because they are so perfect!  I’ve been eating them for breakfast, for a snack and for dessert!  So basically, I have been eating them all day.  You’ll just die when you bite into one.  They are that good!

Jam Filled Pinwheel Danishes
From Baking With Julia
Makes about 16 pinwheels

Danish Pasty
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup milk, at room temp
1 large egg, at room temp
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 sticks cold unsalted butter

Mixing the Dough: Pour the water into a large bowl, sprinkle over the yeast and let it soften for a minute.  Add the milk, egg, sugar and salt and whisk to mix; set aside.

Put the flour in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.  Cut the butter into 1/4-inch thick slices and drop them onto the flour.  Pulse 8 to 10 times, until the butter is cut into pieces that are about 1/2 inch in diameter.  Don’t overdo this- the pieces must not be smaller than 1/2 inch.

Empty the contents of the food processor into the bowl with the yeast and, working with a rubber spatula, very gently turn the mixture over, scraping the bowl as needed, just until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Again, don’t be too energetic- the butter must remain in discrete pieces so that you will produce a flaky pasty, not a bread or cookie dough.

Chilling the Dough: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough overnight (or for up to 4 days).

Rolling and Folding:  Lightly flour a work surface, turn the dough out onto it and dust the dough lightly with flour.  Using the palms of your hands, pat the dough into a rough square.  Then roll it into a square about 16 inches on a side.  Fold the dough in thirds, like a business letter, and turn it so that the closed fold is to your left, like the spine of a book.  (If at any time the dough gets too soft to roll just cover it with plastic wrap and pop it into the fridge for a quick chill.)

Roll the dough out again, this time into a long narrow rectangle, about 10 inches wide by 24 inches long.  Fold the rectangle in thirds again, turn it so that the closed fold is to your left and once more, roll the dough into a long narrow rectangle, 10 inches by 24 inches long.  Fold in thirds again, wrap the dough well in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes, or as long as 2 days.

To Make the Pastries
1 recipe of the Danish Pastry Dough
Jam of your choice
1 large egg white, beaten
Cane sugar for sprinkling

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Flour the top of the dough and place on a lightly floured work surface.  Roll the dough into a square that is 20 inches on a side.  Using a ruler and a pizza cutter, trim the edges to even them, if needed.  Score each side at 5-inch intervals, then cut through the dough, using the ruler as your guide, to make 16- 5inch squares.

To make the pinwheel, place the pastry square on the parchment paper and spoon a tablespoon of jam in the center of the square.  Using a pizza cutter or a thin sharp knife, cut a slash from the center to each corner.  Brush every other corner with with a little bit of the beaten egg white and lift those points off the surface and in toward the center, pressing the dough lightly against the filling and overlapping the points to create a pinwheel!

Rise: Cover with a kitchen towel and allow the pastries to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes. (reserve the remaining egg white)  Although the pastries won’t double, they will look and feel fluffy.

Baking: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400.  Brush the risen pastries with the reserved egg white, sprinkle with the cane sugar and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden.

I have a story to tell:

So one day I bought 6 bananas.  We only at 2.  I had 4 nasty, mushy bananas left.  So I made banana bread.

The End.

That is essentially all there is to these.  I bought a bunch of bananas and we didn’t eat them all and so I figured rather than wasting them, I’d make something with them.  I was going to make banana bread but then I decided I wanted to make muffins because they are so much easier to eat when you’re on the the run.  I made the right decision.  I just love muffins.

This recipe is from Joy of Cooking.  If you don’t have a Joy of Cooking cookbook in your home then there is something wrong with you.  I have my great grandmother’s version from oh so many years ago and then my mom gave me a newer version for Christmas or my birthday one year.  It was the first cookbook she gave me and it was an important one.  It has every conversion, every how-to and a recipe for just about anything you can think of.  This banana bread recipe has pretty much been the only recipe we ever bake in my family.  Every once and awhile my mom will make a different one, but this recipe is the go-to.  And it’s easy!

I love these muffins.  Like I said, they are great for when you’re running out the door because you are late for work.  And they even make a great afternoon snack!  If you decided to make it in a loaf pan, toasting the pieces and putting a little butter on them is incredible too!  Oh!  And this is a great way to use up all those old bananas that you overbought!

Quick Banana Bread
From Joy of Cooking
Makes 1 loaf or about 14 muffins

Preheat oven to 350.

Sift together: (you don’t actually have to do this, I didn’t and mine turned out just fine!)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Blend until creamy:
1/3 cup shortening (or butter.  I used shortening because I was too impatient to wait for my butter to thaw)
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest (I have never done this)

Beat in:
1-2 eggs (I used 2)
1-1 1/4 cups ripe banana pulp (I used all 4 bananas)

Add the sifted ingredients in about 3 parts to the sugar mixture Beat the batter after each addition until smooth.

Fold in:
1/2 cup chopped nuts, like walnuts or pecans

Place the patter in a greased bread pan or a lined muffin pan.  Bake the bread for about 1 hour, bake the muffins for about 30 minutes (check them though at 20 minutes to be sure!)


E-bel-ski-vers!  Ever had ’em?  No?  Have any idea what they are?  No?  Allow me to introduce you to a whooole new world.

So this morning (yes, I was so excited about these that I am posting them the same day I made them), after we got back from our morning run (I swear, it never gets easier), I was sitting on the couch in our library talking to Brad while he was on his computer.  I was looking at some of the books on our bookshelves and stumbled upon an ebelskivers cookbook that I got for my birthday a couple years ago.  I started thumbing through it and said something to Brad about needing to make some soon because I have this book and a special pan for them, but I never make them.  I put the book back and didn’t really think anything of it.

But then I walked into the kitchen, looked at the clock and realized I had a good 2 hours before I would have to leave for work.  That was more than enough time to shower, get ready AND make ebelskivers!!  Woo hoo!!  And so, on a Wednesday morning, before work, I made ebelskivers!

Have you ever been to Williams-Sonoma?  I love that store.  I feel like a kid in a candy store every time I walk in there.  I have to admit though, they have a lot of fancy gadgets that I am never a fan of.  Usually I’m pretty old school when it comes to cooking (it’s my dream to have copper pots and pans).  I don’t need a fancy margarita maker, I have my own recipe that makes perfect ones.  I don’t need some fancy coffee maker, a French press works better (I actually don’t drink coffee at all, Brad does, so I’m basing this off of him).  I don’t need some ridiculous food processor with 20  buttons when mine with 3 buttons does everything I need it to.  I don’t need an electric cheese grater (wait, do they make those?), the one I use by hand is good for me!  *Side note*- I’m really proud of when Brad and I registered for our wedding.  We didn’t go overboard like most people do.  We registered for what we knew we would use and that was it.  I truly think that’s the way to do it.  Getting a whole bunch of extra stuff just seems wasteful to me.  End of side note*  Ok… do you get the point?

However, these fluffy, pillowy, cute little mini pancakes… I fell for.  My mom and I were walking through Williams-Sonoma one day while out shopping and we saw this cookbook and pan for ebelskivers.  Uh… what is that?  After I did some looking through the cookbook and realized what they were, I knew I was in trouble.  So what happened?  My mom bought it for me as a birthday gift.  Let me tell you, the look on my dad, my brother and Brad’s faces were priceless.  They thought it was so funny that I would want something like that for my birthday.  I’m fairly certain Brad is happy I have it now though, he ate a good plateful of them this morning!

Ebelskivers are, as I said above, mini pancakes.  However, just like pancakes you can get crazy and make them all sorts of different ways.  You can make them sweet or savory, with chocolate chips in them, with poppy seeds in them, with taragon leaves on top, with salmon in the middle…. But you can make them plain.  And pour maple syrup on them.  And that’s the way they are best.

These are definitely not something you can just wake up one morning and decide you want to make.  That is, unless you have the proper pan for them.  I can’t think of any other way you could make these without this pan.  Also- they aren’t super quick to make.  You have to mix all the dry ingredients, and then the wet ingredients and then mix them together and then you have to whip the egg whites and fold them in and then you can only cook 7 of the little suckers at a time.  No… they are not quick.  But they are worth it.  You can find the pan on Amazon for anywhere between $15-$50.  Williams-Sonoma still has them as well.  There are also cookbooks out there (the one I have is great, it has a huge variety of recipes!), that are extremely helpful.

I know these are different and may not be practical for everyone, but I thought it would be fun to show something different.  They really are delicious and honestly, now that I have rediscovered the cookbook, I might actually make them more often!  They are just so fun!  And cute!  And tasty…. Yea…. I’ll definitely make them again!

Ummm by the way… I love this photo up here.  Just sayin.

Vanilla Batter Ebelskivers
Taken word for word from Ebleskivers by Kevin Crafts
Makes about 21 pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, separated
1 cup whole milk (I only had 1% and it worked just fine!)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Maple syrup for serving

Special Equipment:
Ebelskivers Pan
Toothpicks or wooden skewers

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks, then whisk in the milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract.  Add the yolk mixture to the flour mixture and, using a wooden spoon, stiry until well blended.  The batter will be lumpy.

In a clean bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whits until stiff, but not dry, peaks form.  Using a rubber spatula, fold about 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold in the rest just until no white streaks remain.  Use the batter right away.

Heat your ebelskivers pan on the stove on medium-low heat.  Spray with cooking spray, or butter.  Using an ice cream scoop or a cookie dough scoop, pour in about 2-3 tablespoon of batter.  Cook the first side until bubbles rise from the centers of the pancakes and they are lightly browned and crisp on the bottom, 3-5 minutes.

Position 2 short wooden wooden skewers on opposite sides of a pancake, slide the tips between the edge of the well and the cooked edge and lift and rotate gently.  Repeat and turn the remaining pancakes.

Cook the second side of the pancakes until lightly browned, about another 3 minutes.  Use the skewers to transfer to a plate.  Top with maple syrup and eat until you can’t stuff yourself with anymore.

I didn’t work yesterday.  Typically Thursdays are my off days.  (I love Thursdays).  Brad worked from home too so we got a lot done.  Laundry, gave Etta a bath, Brad cut the grass, we seeded some bare spots in the yard, we skipped our run (oops), I caught up on my tv shows, and I might have fallen asleep while cuddling with the dog… in bed.  It happens.

But when I woke up I had the most sudden urge to eat a peanut butter granola bar.  I don’t know where it came from, but what I did know was that I had to have one.  For those few minutes, nothing else really mattered in the world.  I just needed to get some peanut butter granola bars in my belly.  And so what did I do?  Oh… I made peanut butter granola bars.

I actually made these before like a month ago.  I found the recipe from Tasty Kitchen, but I learned the hard way that they burn pretty easily.  It was really depressing.  Rather than having peanut butter granola bars, we had peanut butter burnt granola.  I took photos and everything and opted to not post about them because I was too sad.  So this time, I was determined.  Those things were not going to burn on my watch.  I was able to snatch them out of the oven just as the edges were starting to get toasty.  Thank goodness.

These are by far the easiest granola bars I have ever made.  All you have to do is mix all the ingredients together, dump in a pan and bake for 35 minutes.  Seriously, it doesn’t get easier than that.  And they are unbelievably delicious.  These are perfect for breakfast on the run or a snack at anytime of the day.  They are sweet, but have the perfect amount of salty to satisfy any craving you have.  Better yet, slop some peanut butter on top and you will have pure peanut butter bliss in your hands… and eventually your belly.  Just as I had finished putting the mixture in the pan, I realized I should have put flax seed in there because I typically like flax seed in my granola bars.  I will definitely do that next time.  And I am totally making these for the race.  They will make the most perfect snack at the track.  I cannot even wait!

Peanut Butter Granola Bars
Adapted from Tasty Kitchen with some changes

3 1/4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Stir together all ingredients in a bowl until combined well.  Grease an 8 x 8 pan and pour the mixture in, patting everything down a little bit.  Bake for 35 minutes.  Keep an eye on it though, like I said, it burns easily.

Once cooled, flip out onto a cutting board and cut into desired sized bars with a sharp serrated knife.  Store in a Ziploc bag and top with peanut butter as you eat them.  You’re welcome.

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