Archives for posts with tag: Breakfast

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If you happen to consistently read this blog and stuck with me during my hiatus, you have probably noticed that I am very fond of breakfast.

It is truly in my genes.  We Phillipses are breakfast people.

Since having a baby, breakfast is even more important to me.  Of course it is my time to fuel-up before heading to a physically demanding job (or until my next breakfast – see previous post), but it is my one and only moment during the day that I get to be completely alone.  It is my time to breathe, read a little, and be at peace before all the unknowns of the coming day begin realizing.  It is definitely worth waking up a little early for.

While on maternity leave I started making my own granola.  I have always loved granola, but the dietitian in me cringes at the store-bought kind which is far too high in sugar with serving sizes that could only satisfy a bird (and we Phillipses are not birds).  So my goal was to make granola that wouldn’t send me into a sugar-coma and could keep me full and energized until my next meal.  The result:  I can’t stop eating granola!

In fact, if I don’t eat this for breakfast, I find myself eating it for lunch…or dinner…or snack.

The biggest task in making this granola is buying the ingredients (and you have to go grocery shopping anyway, so why not buys enough to make several batches; you will be sorry if you don’t when your first one disappears).  Once everything is in place, it comes together in minutes and you get the pleasure of your kitchen smelling like toasted nuts and coconut.

Please, try not to eat it all right out of the oven, your breakfasts’ will thank you.

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Go-To Granola

Makes about 6 cups

Note:  This granola keeps well in an airtight container for about 2 weeks.  I usually make a batch a week.  Serve with cold milk or greek yogurt and seasonal fruit.  For the nuts and seeds, I typically us a mix of cashews, whole raw almonds, sliced almonds, pepitas, and walnuts; use whatever nuts you prefer.  The amounts of nuts and seeds I use in each recipe depends on what I have on hand, but I love nuts so I tend to err on the 4 cup side of things.

3 cups old-fashioned oats

3-4 cups mixed nuts and seeds

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup canola oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (not shredded coconut)

1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries (optional)

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Combine all ingredients except the coconut and dried fruit (if using) in a large bowl until well combined and oats and nuts are evenly coated in oil and maple syrup.  Spread mixture evenly over a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through.  Remove from oven and sprinkle coconut and dried fruit over the top of the granola.  Bake for 2-3 minutes more, until coconut becomes golden brown (watch it carefully, as coconut burns quickly).  Cool completely and store in an airtight container up to two weeks.

Want more breakfast ideas?  Sure you do:

Saddlebag pancakes – if you can’t decide between sweet or savory

Six Week Muffins – to feed an army (or just yourself for a really long time)

Lemon Blueberry Breakfast Cornbread – because cornbread in a cast iron skillet rocks!

Raspberry Swirl Cinnamon Rolls – best cinnamon rolls ever (no joke!)

Apple and Squash Compote – because veggies are a must, even at breakfast

Goat Cheese Stuffed Squash Blossom and Prosciutto Fritatta – for those of you dreaming of bountiful summer farmer’s markets

Few things excite me more than a crispy, flaky, tender, croissant fresh from the oven.  Whether it is from a great bakery or homemade, croissants may be one of the most beautiful and heartfelt pastries.  They are also the most fleeting in that they loose their magic a few hours after exiting the oven and are almost depressingly lifeless the next day.

So should you somehow have managed to find day-old croissants on your hands, don’t give up on them.  With just a few easy steps, croissants can be revitalized into a scrumptious breakfast that will have your kitchen smelling like a bakery.

At the bakery I work in, we give a second life to leftover croissants by filling them with frangipane (almond cream) and re-baking them until they are golden brown and aromatic.  Of all the croissants and breakfast pastries we sell these almond croissants are by far the most popular.

Get ready to wow a breakfast crowd with this satisfying breakfast treat…if you can keep from eating them all.

Almond Croissants

While almond croissants are easy to assemble and bake, you do need to make the frangipane as well as a simple syrup ahead of time.  If you like, they may both be made the night before and stored in the refrigerator.  When you are ready to bake your croissants, just heat some of the simple syrup until hot and bring the almond cream to room temperature before using.  You will likely have leftovers of both the syrup and frangipane.  They can both be kept in the fridge for up to a week.

Leftover frangipane is great baked on the bottom of a tart shell then topped with pastry cream and fresh fruit or along with other fruit like pears or peaches when in season.  Or…just make some more croissants!  Leftover simple syrup is great if you are making a layer cake.  Brushing each layer with the syrup before icing will keep your cakes moist and flavorful.

Simple Syrup

makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 1/2 cups water

1 cup granulated sugar

1-inch piece of a vanilla bean, split down the center

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Boil liquid for about five minutes until all the sugar had dissolved and mixture has reduced slightly.  Remove from heat and either use immediately or store in an airtight container until ready to use.

Frangipane

makes about 2 cups

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 8-oz can almond paste

2 large egss

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Add the almond paste and mix at high speed until mixture is smooth and well incorporated, about 5 minutes.  Reduce speed to medium and add eggs one at a time until well mixed.  Finally, mix in salt and flour until just combined.

Almond Croissants

4 day-old croissants (more or less depending on how many you have)

Hot Simple syrup (recipe above)

Frangipane (recipe above)

Sliced almonds

Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Using a serrated knife, make a horizontal slice in the middle of each croissant.  Do not cut all the way through, leave the opposing end of the croissants attached (see pictures above).

Using a pastry brush, brush inside and top of each croissant.  It is okay if croissant seems a little soggy.

With a pastry bag or a thin metal spatula, fill the croissants with about 2 tablespoons each of the frangipane.  Spread another tablespoons of frangipane evenly over the top of each croissant.  Sprinkle the tops of each croissant with 1-2 tablespoons of sliced almonds, gently pressing them into almond cream.

Place the croissants on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden brown, fragrant, and the frangipane in the center has cooked completely (will look cakey vs. liquidy), about 25-30 minutes.  Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes then dust lightly with powdered sugar and enjoy!

Happy New Year!  I hope that the holiday season treated you well and you have begun 2012 with peace, health, and happiness.

I had quite a whirlwind fall full of work, friends, family, and good food.

Two of my very good friends got married this fall carrying me to Missouri and Austin.  I even had the pleasure of making the wedding cake for my friend Tamara, who had a fun, outdoor, Texas-style celebration.  I wish both new couples many years of adventure and happiness.

In October, I had my one-year anniversary working at the bakery.  I have learned so much about pastry, running a food establishment, and hard work.  I cannot adequately describe how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to jump into a new career, meet the wonderful people I work with, and work for a business that may actually love food more that I do (if that is possible)!

As of December 31, I survived my second round of holidays in the food business.  I think knowing what was coming this time around was somewhat daunting and since I was given some extra responsibilities this year, I was extra busy.   I will happily boycott pies for a month or two thank-you-very-much.

Last month my beautiful, intelligent, sister graduated from the University of Houston with top honors (I’m super proud) and is now law school bound.  What better way to celebrate than with fantastic food?  Family and friends gathered at one of Houston’s best restaurants, Brennan’s, and thoroughly indulged in the best grits on the planet and, my favorite, Banana’s Foster.  Cheers to Anna!

Most profound of all, my husband and I found out we are expecting our first baby, a little boy, in May.  We went from trip planning to daycare hunting, now get really excited about things like when we learn the pediatrician we want accepts our insurance, and instead of working hard to maintain a slim figure, I have enjoyed my growing belly.  I feel extremely blessed and love the new path our lives our on.  Unfortunately, I got slammed with horrible morning sickness and just getting through work each day was a feat, but now that I am over half-way through the pregnancy, my taste for food other than crackers and the energy to cook has returned.

I have missed this space and sharing recipes and pictures.  I hope to be here more often, despite the changes in my life.  So here is to fresh starts whether it’s marriage, a new career, a new school, healthy eating, or a brand-new life.

My favorite time of day is the morning.  Talk about a fresh start! There is so much promise, your slate is clean, and best of all, you get to eat breakfast!  This healthy cereal, made from gluten-free amaranth grain, high-protein nuts, and dried fruit chalk-full of antioxidants is a nutritious way to get off to a great start.

Puffed Amaranth Breakfast Cereal

Serves 2

Inspired by an article in Fit Pregnancy (I can’t remember which issue, I just saw it at the doctor’s office)

Note:  Amaranth is an ancient grain with deep roots dating back to the Aztec empire – it was the primary crop for the civilization for thousands of years until the conquistadors destroyed the crop during their conquest of the region.  Luckily the gluten-free grain high in protein, lysine, and fiber survived so we can enjoy it today.  Amaranth is very earthy, almost grassy, and may be an acquired taste.  A touch of sweetness compliments amaranth’s bold flavor – in this application, dried cherries, almond milk, and a touch of maple syrup do just the trick.  Amaranth can be found in most specialty grocery stores, likely in the bulk foods department.

1/4 cup amaranth

1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

1/4 cup dried tart cherries

2 tablespoons unsweetened, shaved coconut

Fresh fruit for topping (optional)

Maple syrup for topping (optional)

1 cup almond milk

Heat a small skillet over medium heat.  Working with one tablespoon at a time, drop amaranth into hot skillet, cover with a lid, and let amaranth pop, lightly shaking pan constantly, for about 2o seconds.  Transfer to a bowl and repeat with remaining amaranth.

Mix in hazelnuts, dried cherries, and coconut.  Divide between two bowls, top with fresh fruit if desired, drizzle with maple syrup and finish with almond milk.