Baked Blueberry French Toast

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We celebrated Mark’s birthday this past weekend with a trip to Boston to visit family and friends. It was an awesome, albeit busy, weekend without much birthday fuss – aka, perfect for him. The last few years, I’ve made him French Toast for breakfast on the weekend of his birthday because it’s his favorite. Knowing we’d be away, I baked up the traditional breakfast a few weekends ago when we had a lazy morning. He loved it.

There have been beautiful berries in the stores around here recently and adding fresh blueberries to the French toast was a wonderful idea. One little change made this feel so fresh! This tasted more like traditional French toast then the popular casserole versions but was still very hands-off, which made me happy. It also fit in with this month’s What’s Baking theme – baking with fresh fruit. You can check out all the great recipes submitted later this month at Sweet Beginnings.

BakedBlueberryFrenchToast

Baked Blueberry French Toast
(slightly adapted from Family Fresh Cooking)
Serves 4

1 loaf Challah bread, sliced into at least 8 thick slices
5 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

In a medium bowl,  beat the eggs, then whisk in the milk, maple syrup, salt and cinnamon.

Dip each slice of bread into the egg mixture turning to coat. Let the excess drip off and place on a baking sheet. Let stand for 5-10 minutes, then top with blueberries.

Bake for about 25 minutes, until golden brown.


Chili Cornbread Waffles

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I’m sort of terrible at reading magazines. I subscribe to a lot of them and usually just end up flipping through them once. And then every once I find an article I keep coming back to. When I picked up the April issue of Family Fun and saw there was a whole feature on waffles? Instantly obsessed. Waffles are one of my go-to dinners for busy nights and they’re just happy food – which is exactly what we’ve needed around here lately. April was a doozey!

These were really good. A fun take on chili with the flavor without the spoon – like a loaded up cornbread. And they’re one of those meatless meals where you just don’t miss the meat. The leftovers got happily gobbled up the next day for lunch – next time I’ll be doubling the recipe so they last longer!

ChiliCornbreadWaffles

Chili Cornbread Waffles
(from the April 2015 issue of Family Fun Magazine)
Makes 4-5

1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup grated cheddar cheese, plus additional for serving
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup frozen corn
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
4 scallions, thinly sliced, for serving
2/3 cup sour cream
Half an avocado
Juice of half a lime

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. In a separate bowl, stir together the eggs, buttermilk , oil and tomato paste until well combined. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until well blended. Fold in kidney beans, cheddar, red bell pepper, corn and jalapenos.

Heat a waffle iron on high and spray with non-stick spray. Pour 1/2 cup of the batter into the heated iron and cook until golden brown. Repeat until the batter is all used up.

While the waffles cook, whisk together the sour cream and avocado until smooth.

Serve the warm waffles topped with avocado cream, cheddar and scallions.


Blueberry Quick Bread

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I’m a one-note baker when it comes to quick breads. And that one note is banana bread. I honestly can’t remember the last quick bread I made that wasn’t banana. When Heather picked breads as the theme for this month’s What’s Baking? challenge, I knew it was the perfect excuse to finally try something else.

This bread was awesome – a nice crunch to the crust while being soft and fluffy inside. It’s not too sweet so it could pass for a breakfast bread but it’s just sweet enough to be dessert, too. Also, it makes for some pretty amazing French toast. I’m sure this will be making several repeat appearances during blueberry season!

You can check out the roundup of the breads made by other bloggers at Heather’s blog, Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks, later this month!

 

BlueberryQuickBread
Blueberry Quick Bread
(slightly adapted from Crunchy Creamy Sweet)
Makes 1 loaf

2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a 9×5″ loaf pan with parchment and grease the parchment.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix in blueberries.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla, oil, egg and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined – it’s fine if it’s slightly lumpy.

Pour batter into prepared, lined pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, until golden on the outside and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.


Cinnamon Rolls

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I love lists. I make a lot of them. Probably too many. One of my current favorite lists is for the Day Zero Project – a challenge to tackle 101 goals in 1001 days. I’m currently on my second list – and I’ve only got about five months left. Hello, crunch time!

One of the things on my list was to make cinnamon rolls and I finally tried them out for Christmas this year. Since two dozen were a lot for us, we delivered some to our parents and neighbors too. I’m pretty sure making them for everyone is going to be an annual tradition from now on! So, so happy to have these under my belt.

Cinnamon Rolls
(as seen on Sugar & Spice by Celeste)
Makes approximately 2 dozen

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 cup melted butter, plus more as needed
1/8 cup ground cinnamon for sprinkling
1 cup sugar, plus more as needed

In a saucepan, combine the milk, vegetable oil and sugar. Scald and then let cool for 45 minutes.

Sprinkle yeast over the warm milk mixture and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 4 cups of the flour and transfer to a large bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for an hour, until doubled in size.

Stir in the additional 1/2 cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Sprinkle your work area generously with flour and roll the dough into a large rectangle. Spread melted butter over the dough, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Roll up from the long side and pinch the seams together to seal up the rolls. Cut the log into 1 1/2″ rolls.

Place 1 Tbsp. melted butter in the bottom of each pan you’re using (a little more for larger pans) and arrange the rolls. You’ll get about 4 8″ round pans with 6 rolls each.

To bake now: Let rest for 20-30 minutes and then bake at 375F degrees for 13-17 minutes, until golden.

To freeze for later: Cover pans with foil and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then follow the “bake now” directions.


Banana Bread

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There are a few reasons I love doing recipe swaps. One is that it encourages me to post (hello, unplanned blog break). Another is that I often find things I didn’t know I had in common with other bloggers. Like, the perpetual search for the perfect banana bread.

I currently have three banana bread or muffin recipes on the blog. I like them all for different reasons, but I always end up trying new ones – just to see what my other options are. Right after we got our assignments for this swap, I had a bunch of over-ripe bananas sitting on the counter. Hmm, does Carrie’s Sweet Life have any banana bread recipes to try out? I wondered.

The answer is yes, yes she does. At least a dozen, actually. She is, apparently, a chronic banana bread recipe trier, like me. Banana bread jackpot, as far as I was concerned.

I picked a simple recipe for this go around because I already had everything in the house (always a bonus!), but I’m drooling over some of her other versions, too. I’d like to say this one will stop my banana bread quest but, let’s be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever give up the hunt.

Banana Bread
(from Carrie’s Sweet Life)
Makes 1 Loaf

3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

Preaheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease a loaf pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the mashed bananas and melted butter until thouroughly combined. Add in sugar, egg and vanilla and stir to combine. Add in baking soda and salt and stir to combine. Add in flour and stir until just incorporated.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.


Pumpkin Overnight Oats

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I knew going into October Unprocessed that breakfast and lunch would be harder for me than dinner. Being home with the kiddo all day, I don’t always get a good break to make something so I need something I can make ahead that’s relatively grab-and-go. I’ve got a list of ideas for each that I’m planning to try out this month, but this breakfast got bumped to the top because it’s the quickest.

The amounts below are for one jar, but I’d highly suggest lining up a few jars and prepping them all at once. I did 4 days worth in one shot and it was really nice to not have to keep dragging the ingredients out nightly. And really, who isn’t loving pumpkin everything this time of year?

Pumpkin Overnight Oats
(adapted slightly from Greens & Chocolate)
Serves 1

1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. chia seeds
2 tsp. flax seeds
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Place all ingredients in a mason jar or other container with a tight fitting lid and shake well to combine.  Refrigerate overnight.

Serve topped with fruit or nuts.


Caprese Quiche

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Why, yes, I am still trying to use up the absurd amount of tomatoes coming out of the garden! I’ve officially given up trying to make Mark-friendly dishes out of them and have started cooking whatever catches my eye – including this Pinterest find.

We have a good bit of basil in the garden too, and I had fresh mozzarella on hand already (because Caprese salads have been in heavy rotation!) so this was a quick one to whip together and perfect for a quick lunch during the week.

I used a frozen pie shell to make this really easy, but if you have five extra minutes, this pie dough would work great too.

Caprese Quiche
(slightly adapted from 17 Apart)
Makes 1 8″ quiche

4 plum tomatoes, quartered
4 oz. fresh mozzarella, diced
Small palm-full of fresh basil leaves
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pre-made, deep dish pie crust

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees.

Arrange tomatoes and mozzarella in the bottom of the pie crust. Sprinkle basil leaves over.

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture into pie crust.

Bake for about 45 minutes, until egg is set. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.


Chocolate Covered Strawberry Overnight Oats

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For me, Pinterest is sort of a peer pressure zone. If I see a recipe or trend enough times, I feel like I need to try it too. This is why I started making overnight oats. I’m pretty sure the first time I saw it I thought it was gross – and then the idea grew on me. I’m a big oatmeal fan in the winter months, so this idea seemed perfect for the warmer weather.

I’ve tried quite a few overnight oat recipes, and this is the first one that has been blog worthy. I loved everything about this – the consistancy was spot-on for me and it felt like a treat without being overy sweet. I’ve already made it several times!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Overnight Oats
(from Organize Yourself Skinny)
Serves 1

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup chopped strawberries
1 1/2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
Large pinch of cinnamon
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. chia seeds
Small pinch of salt
On top: 1 chopped strawberry, 1 tsp. mini chocolate chips, extra milk for consistancy (if needed)

In a small bowl or jar, combine the oats, milk, 1/4 cup chopped strawberries, cocoa powder, cinnamon, vanilla, syrup, chia seeds and salt. Mix until well combined. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, thin with additional milk if desired (I didn’t – I like my oatmeal thick!) and top with chopped strawberry and mini chocolate chips.


What’s Baking: Baked Triple Berry Pancake

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The latest What’s Baking theme was baking with summer produce, which immediately make me think of berries. We grow our own strawberries and blueberries in the backyard and regularly buy raspberries and blackberries when they’re in season.

I whipped up this pancake as a special breakfast this morning. We’ve been quite busy the last few weeks so being able to sit down to a nice breakfast together felt like a treat. I also liked that the batter was mixed up in the blender – for some reason, this felt particularly easy.

We ate this with whipped cream (me) and syrup (Mark), but I also think honey drizzled over would be fantastic!

You can check out what other bloggers made for the theme in a recap later this month on Blissfully Delicious.

Baked Triple Berry Pancake
(adapted from Recipe Girl)
Serves 4

3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
3/4 flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. lemon zest
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup blackberries
1/4 cup chopped strawberries
Whipped cream, syrup, honey or powdered sugar, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.

In a blender, comine the eggs, milk, flour, sugar, lemon zest and salt. Pulse until well combined.

Heat a 12″ cast iron skillet over high heat. Add the butter to the skillet and let melt. Once melted, pour the batter into the skillet and top with berries. Transfer the skillet to the oven.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until puffed and cooked through. Serve with whipped cream, syrup, honey or powdered sugar over the top.


Apple Walnut Sticky Buns

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A few weeks ago, we got to introduce my family to the Outer Banks. Mark and I have been their several times with friends and with his family so we were excited to show off one of our favorite places. We rented a house and my parents, my sister and Mark’s Mom joined us for a week of rest and relaxation – it was glorious.

One of the things I love about OBX is that we always rent a house – so we always have a kitchen. I love exploring new restaurants but a week straight of eating out gets old. My sister and I planned the menu for the week, but we actually did very little of the cooking ourselves – everyone pitched in to make meals easier!

This was one of the few meals I actually made myself during our beach week. We wanted a few easy-but-fun breakfasts and this one fit the bill. I had pre-measured the brown sugar, butter and walnuts and brought them with us in plastic containers so all we needed to pick up was an apple and a package of cinnamon roll. Easy to make, even when I wasn’t in my own kitchen, and they were gobbled up!

Apple Walnut Sticky Buns
(from Pillsbury)
Makes 8

2 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 medium granny smith apple, diced
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 can (12.4 oz.) Pillsbury refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing.

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees and grease an 8″ round cake pan with softened butter.

In a small bowl, toss together apples, walnuts and brown sugar. Spread evenly over the bottom of the pan. Place cinnamon rolls evenly around the pan, on top of the apple mixture.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are brown. Cool for 5 minutes. Place a plate over the pan and invert the pan so the cinnamon rolls come out.

Remove lid from the icing container and microwave on medium for 5 seconds, until thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over the sticky buns and serve immediately.