Recipe: Breakfast Quinoa

Weekend mornings might be my favorite time of the week. During the week, I never leave myself enough time in the morning to do my makeup let alone sit and eat a nice breakfast. I ususally opt for 15 more minutes of sleep, and a greek yogurt at my desk at work. So weekend mornings are worth celebrating. Going out for breakfast is my favorite, but even spending the morning at home can feel special with a bowl of breakfast quinoa. I like to make mine similar to the way I like my oatmeal: spiced with cinnamon and lightly sweetened with brown sugar. Throw some toasted coconut and bananas in there and you've got a filling, delicious breakfast. Celebrate your weekend mornings! Just do it. It makes life better.

Breakfast Quinoa

Makes two small servings, or one large bowl

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cup coconut almond milk**
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 banana, sliced (optional)

In a medium sauce pan, bring coconut almond milk and quinoa to a light boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Stir often and watch the pot. This has a tendency, even with the heat on low, to bubble up and get all over your stove top. Trust me, it's better to just watch the pot.

While cooking the quinoa, toast your coconut by adding the coconut to a dry frying pan and heating on medium heat. Turn and stir often and toast until 75 percent of the coconut is light brown and fragrant.

Once quinoa is cooked, stir in brown sugar and cinnamon. Feel free to stir in more milk if you tend to like your oatmeal thinner. Transfer quinoa to serving bowls, add toasted coconut and sliced bananas. Enjoy immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days and reheat in the microwave. 

**I prefer to keep this lactose free, but coconut almond milk can be substituted for regular milk, almond milk, soy milk...whatever you have in the fridge.

Like oatmeal, quinoa makes a really filling breakfast and the add-in possibilities are endless. Dried fruits, fresh fruit, nuts, anything you like!

Recipe: Lemon Scones

Each season has it's own particular flavors that are associated with it for me. Fall is obviously pumpkin. Summer is mint and watermelon, and ice cream (Can I call ice cream a flavor?). Winter is gingerbread and I guess peppermint (which I don't like). And Spring? Spring is lemon because it's zesty and fresh. And lemon anything is better than plain ol' vanilla. At least, in my opinion.

I feel like I need to tell you that I am by no means a scone expert. I love scones, especially eating them, but this is my first time baking them at home. The ingredients are familiar: butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and soda, eggs, buttermilk. And the method doesn't seem too hard: mix everything together, cut in butter, form scones, and bake. But somehow it still seemed foreign to me. After a couple attempts, I nailed down something that was pretty tasty. Here's the end result:

Lemon Scones

Makes 12 scones

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 stick cold butter (I used salted because that's what I had), cut into chunks
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons additional buttermilk and coarse/decorating sugar for toppping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar with a wooden spoon. Add butter chunks and cut in with your hands or a pastry blender until the mixture is coarse/sandlike and butter pieces are the size of peas. In a mixing cup, lightly beat buttermilk and egg to combine. Add to flour mixture all at once, stirring with wooden spoon just enough to soften the dough.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead about 7-10 times. Roll/pat into a 1-inch thickness. Using a pairing or steak knife, I cut off the rounded edges created a large square, then cut nine 2x2 inch squares out of it. Reshape the scraps and create three more scones. Place scones on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush lightly with buttermilk and generously sprinkle with coarse or clear decorating sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown in the upper third of your oven. Serve warm and top with butter, lemon curd, or jam.

Scones don't last too long, so eat the same day or store in an airtight container for an additional day. 

These would perfectly accompany any weekend brunch. Who needs toast when you've got these babies.

Bacon Maple Cupcakes

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I love breakfast. Especially weekend breakfast. In my opinion, weekend breakfast deserves to be celebrated with French toast or pancakes. I wanted to take some of my favorite breakfast flavors; spicy cinnamon, sweet maple syrup, and salty bacon; all into one bacon maple cupcake. These are pretty fun, and usually a hit with bacon lovers.

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Maple Cupcakes

Yields 36 cupcakes

  • 3/4c unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2c sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 1/3c all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4c buttermilk
  • 1/4 maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat over to 350 degrees

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add each egg, one at a time.

In a separate bowl, sift flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda and set aside. In a measuring cup, mix buttermilk, vanilla, and maple syrup. Add dry mixture to the butter mixture, alternating between dry and wet mixtures. Only mix until combined so you don't overmix. Overmixing=dry cupcakes.

Fill each cupcake liner with until 3/4 full. Bake for 15-17 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

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Maple Fluffy Glaze (with bacon)

Enough for 48 cupcakes

  • 2c powdered sugar
  • 1/2c of butter
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2-4 tbsp milk
  • 2-3 slices of bacon

Start by beating butter until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and combine. Add syrup and then thin with milk as needed. I wanted this to be thinner than a buttercream, but not runny (hence "fluffy glaze"). I used a spoon to frost each cupcake, placing a dolop in the center of the cupcake and smooth out in a circular pattern. This is even easier with a offset spatula, if you have one.

Cook the bacon over the stove top until crispy and place on a paper towl to cool. Once cooled, sprinkle the bacon over the frosting. Ta-da! Breakfast in a cupcake!

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These cupcakes are great for parties when you are looking for something fun and different to make. Just as easy as standard cupcakes, but these are a show stopper.

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Yum!

Semi-Homemade Oatmeal Recipe

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Can we just stop for a minute and talk about oatmeal? I think oatmeal gets a bad rap. People don't like the texture, think it's a old person's breakfast, don't want to take the time to make it. But whatever their beef with oatmeal is, I don't get it. I love it, always have and always will.

The trouble with oatmeal is that the instant is decent, but the good stuff takes time. Time that I would rather spend doing anything else except stirring oatmeal cooking on the stove top. That's where the "semi" in semi-homemade comes in. Get yourself some quick-cooking oats and you have the best of both worlds. The recipe is also super easy, which is a bonus.

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Semi-Homemade Oatmeal

Serves 2

Adapted from this recipe

  • 3/4 c milk (I use 2% milk)
  • 1 c water
  • 3/4 c quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • maple syrup and sliced bananas (optional, but highly recommended)

Heat milk and water in a medium pot until heated through and just starting to simmer. Make sure to stir often so it doesn't burn. Add oats and salt, and continue to simmer/just barely boiling for 4-5 minutes. Oatmeal should be thickened, but will continue to thickened when cooling. 

The goal is to not overcook. You still want to get that little bite of the oats that you don't get with mushy instant oatmeal, but without taking the time to make full-on oatmeal.

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Once finished, top with a tablespoon of brown sugar, and maybe some maple syrup and sliced bananas. Any kind of fruit will work, but that's my favorite combo. Sliced apples are delicious too!

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If you don't like oatmeal, then I don't think there's any hope for you (sorry!). But if you love it, this is a simple way to get the best of both worlds. It makes a great weekend breakfast treat, or maybe even a late night snack.