Speculoos Granola with Popped Quinoa

You guys, this granola tastes like cookies. When I was abroad, I came home with three full jars of Speculoos in my luggage—a dessert spread made from spicy shortbread cookies. But when I got back the States, I found that of course they sell it at Trader Joe’s. I recommend using it on everything: fruit, waffles, toast, between graham crackers, on ice cream, on your fingers, etc. But I wondered: If Speculoos is so, so good for breakfast, why don’t I use it in granola?

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4 c. rolled oats
1/4 c. quinoa
1/2 c. cranberries
3/4 c. RAW almonds & hazelnuts
1/2 c. flaxseeds
1 t. cinnamon
1 dash nutmeg
3-5 T. canola oil
1/4 c. agave or honey
1/4 c. Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter

Preheat the oven to 300°.

1. First, you have to pop your quinoa. This seems tedious, but it takes about 4 minutes. Do not use the quinoa if you do not pop it. That would make it inedible.

2. Heat Speculoos in a microwave safe bowl for 20 seconds at a time. It can burn, so be careful. You just want it gloopy and pourable.

3. Mix all dry ingredients together (EXCEPT cranberries). Then add the oil, followed by honey/agave and speculoos.

4. Spread onto two oiled baking sheets and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden. Then add the cranberries and enjoy with yogurt, in cereal, or just by itself for a breakfast snack!

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Fran

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Rustic Apple Cake (like m’Mama use’ta make)

Ok, so my mother never actually made apple cake, but the rhyme is really cute and the cake really did end up looking very country. It’s not too sweet but very comforting. It’s very impressive, but it only takes like three main steps. One of the easiest cakes ever, and there’s no butter in it, so it’s great for breakfast! I was adapting from a recipe by Tartelette, though I modified it in a very Francisco way. Mine’s prettier, too.

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This was a very fun recipe to do. Not just because of the arrangement, but because I GOT TO COOK WITH MY OVERSEAS BLOG PARTNER. How, you ask? The magic of Skype of course!

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Isn’t that adorable? While Mimi was making this pretty little squash number in Chicago at a normal, dinner hour, I was up at 1am in London making apple cake? For no one in particular? Anywho, here’s now you make it. Let’s see if you can figure out my alterations here.

4-6 teensy apples—the teensiest apples you can find
1 c. Greek yogurt
1/2 c. sugar
4-6 T. HONEY
2 eggs
1/2 c. olive oil
zest and juice of one lemon
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. all-purpose flour + extra for the pan lining
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. cardamom
1/4 t. cinnamon
raw sugar

Preheat your oven to 350°

In 9-inch baking round (I had something a little smaller, but it’s all good), grease and flour your pan all the way. If you are Skyping, it’s best that you get the flour all over your computer.

Wash your apples and slice them down the hemisphere REAL THIN, like poker chip thin. When you’re cutting it up, some slices will have this pretty little star on them, and some of them won’t. When ever you have a star piece, set it aside from the other ones. It’s special. You’ll need at least seven of these, maybe more, if your apples are smaller. With the apples that aren’t stars, cut out their cores and into little half-moons. Set aside.

Shock the STAR apples and 6-8 of the half moons in ice cold water and a teaspoon of your lemon juice. It helps oxidize them. I don’t now what that really does, but it’s a good thing. Also keeps them from browning. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar and eggs until pale. Add the oil, lemon juice and honey until well blended. Don’t get seeds in there, like a dummy. I think Mimi was baking her squash shell at this point?

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Add the flour, baking powder, cardamom and cinnamon until the batter is smooth enough to pour, but not thin enough for the apples to fall through it. Does that make sense? It won’t be like pancake batter.

Fold in your remaining half moon apples. Pour this into your greased pan. After patting down your icey star apples with a paper towel, arrange the design I have on top here!

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Sprinkle on a dash of cinnamon, cardamom (it makes a difference) and LOTS of raw sugar. Bake 30-45 minutes. If you want it to be a real rustic-looking cake like mine, keep it in a little longer. When It’s done, it’ll look like this!

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Oops, a piece is missing. Serve with milk, ice cream, coffee, or hot applesauce!

Love,
Francisco & Mimi

Lemon Herb Vegetable Hash

On a lazy Saturday morning after a very fun night out with my cousin and her boyfriend, I opened up my fridge and all I had was a drawer full of produce, some wheat bread, and some eggs.

After pouring myself a tall glass of water, I decided it was time for a good ole vegetable hash. This is the perfect way to clear out some vegetables from your fridge and make a real hearty brunch using 1 skillet and fairly minimal effort!

I used a variety of different vegetables, but feel free to pick out whatever’s lying around in your fridge:

Lemon Herb Vegetable Hash

Olive oil
1 T. Red Onion
Zucchini
Yellow Squash
Butternut Squash
Mushrooms
Tomatoes
Eggplant
Red Potatoes
Lemon Juice
Various herbs (I used basil and rosemary), Salt & Pepper to taste

This recipe is fairly straight forward so I am not going to give a very in-depth step-by-step. I rough chopped all of my vegetables – mostly diced.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, I added some olive oil and then the red onion. I slowly added all of the various vegetables and made sure they were coated in the olive oil. I let them cook through while tossing them occasionally. You want to make sure to put them in order based on how fast each of them cook.

I started with the butternut squash and potatoes. Then added the others — saving the tomato for last. You may need to add some olive oil, but you don’t want to add too much – then you have greasy soggy veggies. Bring the heat down so as not to burn your vegetables. As the vegetables start to cook and some brown, deglaze the pan with the lemon juice and spread the herbs over the vegetables.

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Then I fried an egg to place on top or you could add a poached egg if you have the skills. Or you can omit the egg all together and this could make for a great side dish paired with a different protein!

This dish goes perfectly with a slice or two of some crusty seedy whole wheat toast!

This vegetable hash had such a beautiful aroma and tasted great! There were all different kinds of textures and the lemon juice brought it all together.

Love,

Mimi

Delectable Egg Melts

When you have a couple of eggs left in your fridge and you know they aren’t going to last for a very long time, a good idea could be to make hard boiled eggs.

A lot of people don’t know the many ways to use a hard boiled egg. The most common recipes are egg salad and deviled eggs.

This afternoon, I decided to do a little research. Health.com offered 8 different ways to incorporate hard boiled eggs into a meal when I stumbled upon this English Muffin Egg Pizza deal. It sounded too good to pass up. I love eggs and I love pizza. Let’s put them together and make magic.

I threw on some mixed greens to add some color and they became more like open-faced sandwiches. This recipe is pretty easy to follow and I highly recommend making tons of toasts for a brunch! You can throw it all together in minutes!

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Delectable Egg Melts

4 slices of seedy whole wheat bread, toasted
1 Tomato, sliced
2 Hard boiled Eggs, sliced
1/4 c. Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 c. Mixed Greens
Butter (optional)
Olive oil
Oregano, Salt, Black Pepper to taste

Set your oven to broil or the highest setting to start.

Now, you should toast your bread slices. I do not have a toaster yet, so I actually grilled mine in a bit of butter — not the best or healthiest way, but it was delicious.

Then I greased a pan with olive oil and set my toasts on top. The recipe on MyRecipes dictates to drizzle some olive oil on the toasts, but if you used butter to toast them, you can skip this step!

Next, arrange your tomatoes and eggs on top. Season with the oregano, salt, and black pepper.

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Finally, top your toasts with the shredded mozzarella and pop them into the oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted!

Throw on some mixed greens before serving and enjoy! Don’t worry about forks or knives, just pick it up and take a bite!

Love,

Mimi

Vegan Fig & Banana Hazelnut Breakfast Bars (special guest appearance by Blackberries)

So, this is one of those garbage-dump posts. Where you have several miscellaneous things in your fridge and you want to make them work in one dish. Just a disclaimer: I’m really sorry that I don’t edit my recipes very well, running the risk of you trying to reproduce something I made without correct measurements or whatever. This was one of those. I didn’t measure. AT ALL. So most things here are a guesstimate, because hey, I don’t have measuring cups in the UK. Just some utensils that read in milliliters, which might as well be in CHINESE, am I right?

2-3 c. rolled oats
2 bananas
4 whole figs
12 big blackberries
3/4 c. chopped hazelnuts (give or take to taste)
3 T. honey (HEAPING tablespoons)
1/2-2/3 c. peanut butter
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. cardamom

Preheat the oven to 350°. (Just looked up how to make a degrees symbol, because I was tired of copying and pasting. [It’s shift+option+8])

Mix the oats, chopped hazelnuts, cinnamon, cardamom, salt, and figs (roughly chopped, skins and all) together until it’s almost dough, but still dry. This will vary depending on whether you used quick oats or whole oats. I used quick oats, but I recommend whole oats—crunchier & wholier.

So now’s your wet mixture. Mush the bananas real well until there are very few chunks. Whip in peanut butter and honey. The recipe I was stemming from called for all this to be heated up in a saucepan, but I didn’t really see the point. It softens it better, but the three elements already go together so well. Their flavors are always blended evenly.

Mix the wet into the dry, adding more oats if it’s too thin, more of the wet if it’s too thick. You want something that malleable, like rice crispy treats. Have you ever made rice crispy treats?

Let me introduce Maggie, in her foodblogging debut. Hi, Maggie.

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Maggie was good at stirring.

So, once you’ve got the dough, you are literally going to play-doh it into a 8×8 pan (give or take). I used tin foil, but it got real stuck to the bars afterward, so try something else, like greasing. Once it’s all in there, and you got some bars, take your thumb and press evenly-spaced craters into your bars. In these craters will be your blackberries. Put all the blackberries in their little nests and pop it in the oven for 30 minutes!

When they come out, cut them into bars!

They’re very healthy, and you can tell. If you’re eating these in the morning, they’re good for dipping in coffee. But if it’s at night, you’ll probably want something sweeter. So get really drunk and take your honey jar, drizzling it it on top in the messiest way possible.Image

Love,
Fran

Chewy Cranberry Orange Granola (for Mother’s Day)

Mother’s Day is a time for showing your mamacita just how much you care about her. I don’t admire very many moms. I tend to find that my own is superior. Some that fall into her ranks, however, are the following:

Michelle Obama
Molly Weasley
the mom from The Parent Trap
that polar bear that swam for 9 days straight across the Beaufort Sea with two cubs on its back
Roseanne
Mimi Yong

Anywho, if you’re going to honor a mom, in any way, honor her with food. I made her breakfast in bed, waking up at 7:30 in the morning to throw this granola in the oven. True dedication.

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Here’s what you need.

2 c. rolled oats
1/3 c. walnuts
1/3 c. almonds
1/3 c. sunflower seeds
3 T. canola oil
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 T. sea salt
6 T. molasses
1 T. orange zest
2 T. orange juice
1 c. dried cranberries
copious amounts of honey

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Start by combining oats, all nuts, oil, brown sugar, salt, and molasses until everything is evenly coated. You may need to drizzle honey to your own best judgement, and it may not be exactly 6 T. Once it’s all darkened, drizzle on the honey.

Now, I cannot and will not restrict the amount of honey you put into this granola, but I drizzled til the sun went down (not literally). I’d say at least 6 T. to match the molasses, if you’re into measuring, but more honey will make it chewier, more wet. Less honey will make it crunchier, more piecey.

Once you are satisfied with your honey level, add orange zest and juice, mix well, and then spread on an oiled baking sheet so that it’s all evenly spread out.

Place in the oven for 45 minutes, or until it’s browned and changed texture. Taste test, please.

When you take the pan out, empty the contents on a ripped paper bag and spread out with dried cranberries, mixing it and mooshing it with your hands so that it’s all clumpy. Leave it to set for 15 minutes or so.

Serve it warm with pancakes or room temp with fruit and yogurt!

Happy Mamma’s Day,
Francisco