Jan 14 2011

Breakfast for Dinner

Fridays are always a little hectic. The boy has preschool in the morning and then there’s the mad dash to get the girl to Kindergarten immediately following. Somewhere in between, I usually do the grocery shopping and whatever errands I need to run. By the end of the afternoon, I’m spent. I have no energy left for great pursuits.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcake from Rocket

So while I’ve managed to make a new recipe just about every day for 2 weeks now, I’m copping out tonight. I’m fresh out of ideas and the ability to execute them. I really could go for some take-out –sacrilege, I know!!–but I already had my share of that from Rocket Fine Street Food this afternoon (which, BTW, the peanut butter and jelly cupcakes are amazing!). So… in my uninspired state, there’s one fall back that always works: breakfast for dinner.

Between our schedules, hubby and I rarely get to spend breakfast-time with each other. He works two jobs, I go to school and volunteer, and since we try not to pay a babysitter if we don’t have to, we’re on opposing schedules. Last Saturday, we saw each other for all of 45 minutes–I kid you not! This means that breakfast together as a family also is a rare occurrence.

To make up for it, from time to time, we have the morning meal at the end of the day instead. Bacon, eggs, pancakes… the usual hearty fare to fill bellies and souls–it’s all good! On the menu tonight: home fries, scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast. Simply wonderful!

What about you? Do you have breakfast for dinner? What are your favorite ways to flip the day upside down?

Jan 13 2011

Going Bananas

I’m not cut out to be a morning person. I like my late nights, working in the silence of early morning while everyone else slumbers. “Seinfeld” repeats on the TV in the background, snuggled up in my bed, I get a lot more done than I can during the day with the crazy kids running around. The problem is that this leads to trouble getting up in the morning. This is why I requested afternoon Kindergarten for my daughter. Since the bus picks her up right in front of the house, I don’t even have to be presentable until 3PM when it’s time to trudge up to the real bus stop to pick her up.

Snow delays, however, mess with my plans. The 2-hour delay this morning should not have affected us: morning Kindergarten gets canceled, but afternoon Kindergarten is supposed to go on, same as usual. Except it didn’t. At the usual time, I threw on a jacket, grabbed the girl, and we went out to wait in the snowy driveway for the bus’s appearance. We waited. And waited. And waited some more. The next thing I knew, 20 minutes had passed, school was starting, and the bus was nowhere to be found.

I dashed inside to make myself somewhat acceptable for public appearance and found the little guy sitting on the potty, waiting for his butt to be wiped. Damn, damn, damn! He was still in his pajamas, too, despite having his clothes laid out for him an hour prior. Rush, rush, rush! I was not planning on this!

Finally, we were all ensconced in the car, luckily only minutes away. But since my daughter usually rides the bus, I didn’t know where to drop her off. She told me one of the five entrances to choose from, but that door was locked. Back to the car, we had to drive over to another parking lot to get to the main entrance door where we were buzzed in and I had to go to the principal’s office–I felt like I was in trouble. All I had to do was sign her in and she was fine to go to class–15 minutes late–but I was in a tizzy. What a whirlwind!

Going bananas… Yeah, life with kids is like that. Luckily, I made some Banana Oatmeal-Nutmeg Scones this morning before the craziness. Biting into one when I got home was a reward for managing to get ourselves together to get her there in only 15 minutes. But also a reminder that unless I want to go bananas again, maybe I should do a better job of getting myself ready in the morning.

The recipe comes from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours. I was looking for something different than the typical banana bread or muffins that is often the destiny of blackened bananas on countertops everywhere. What was nice is that this isn’t overly-sweet, though you could add some strawberry jam to perk it up a bit and your fillings would feel just fine. The chunks of banana worked well in this scone. I was unsure about the nutmeg at first and almost switched it out for cinnamon, but now I’m sold–I’ll keep it! Going bananas… not so bad in the end.

Banana Oatmeal-Nutmeg Scones

adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours

makes 12 scones

1 large egg

1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/6 cup 2% milk

1 2/3 cups white whole wheat flour

1 1/3 cups old-fashioned oats

1/3 cup vanilla sugar (sugar that you put vanilla beans in)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

10 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut in small pieces

1 medium ripe banana, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 1 or 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Stir the Greek yogurt, milk, and egg together. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Drop in the cubes of butter and mix them in with your hands or a pastry blender until you have pea-sized crumbs.

Add the cut up banana and then pour the egg/yogurt/milk mixture into the bowl. Stir with a fork until the dough comes together. Be careful not to over-stir. Then with your hands, knead it in the bowl, turning about 8-10 times.

On a floured work surface, dump out the dough and separate it into 2 portions. Flatten each into a disc about 5 inches in diameter and cut each into 6 triangles. Place on the prepared baking sheets. You can freeze them at this point if you want to save them for another day. You won’t need to thaw them to bake–just add 2 minutes on to the baking time.

Bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden and firm. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Jan 12 2011

Broken Bread

In case you haven’t heard, we’re in the midst of a snowmageddon here in the Northeast. Two feet of snow fell overnight and this morning, covering the landscape in a blanket of white newness–just beautiful. Luckily, I had nowhere to go today. While I do have a Chevy Blazer, the 4WD broke over the summer and now I’m stuck with a rear-wheel-drive vehicle that doesn’t get around too well. Especially when there’s an un-plowed driveway between it and the road.

I decided to make the best of the situation, putting some Wildtree Southwest Stew in the crockpot for dinner and baking some of that 5-Minute Artisan Bread I had fermenting in the fridge. Mmmm…the apartment smelled wonderful, instantly transformed into a patisserie by the dough baking in the oven. That is, until the odd noise I heard.

I rose from my burrow in the bedroom to investigate, sure the kids had broken something else. Instead, I found this:

Yup, my Pampered Chef stoneware that I rave and rave about broke into 5 pieces in the oven. I was more upset that the almost-sourdough bread would now be ruined than by the shattered stoneware.

Seeing as the company only has a 3-year guarantee, I won’t be able to get it replaced: I’ve had it for 4 years. I’m not ready to leave Pampered Chef behind yet–I still have 2 other stoneware baking sheets, plus a cupcake pan, loaf pan, 9 x 9 square baker, etc. But I’m open to suggestions for other options, especially since the PC stoneware isn’t supposed to be pre-heated and many of the recipes I use call for that step. So what’s your favorite? What do you recommend?

Sadly, the bread, was a casualty. I tried baking it through anyway but there were complications getting the inside baked properly.  My poor, poor bread–it didn’t deserve this!

Jan 12 2011

Add a banana and Elvis would approve!

It’s pretty widely known that Elvis Presley was quite fond of unusual food combinations, peanut butter and banana sandwiches being one often attributed to him. What I didn’t know until recently was that he also liked to add bacon to the mix. Bacon + banana + peanut butter apparently added up to pure bliss and he enjoyed them throughout his short life. Then again, that’s probably a part of why he had a short life. Hmmm…

bacon peanut butter cookies

I’m not quite so fond of bananas, to be honest, so I think I’ll be skipping this version of the pb&j we all so love, but I can get behind peanut butter and bacon. (You had to know there’d be a follow-up bacon story after yesterday;) )

Some time ago, I came across a recipe for peanut butter and bacon cookies. I truly meant to make them but life got in the way–as well as many other fabulous recipes–and before I knew it, a year had passed without the meeting of these two unlikely lovebirds in my kitchen. Luckily, I had a hankering for candied bacon yesterday–and some extra strips that I managed to chop up and stash in the fridge before my willpower succumbed to bacon’s beckoning call. That evil little beastie!

bacon peanut butter cookie dough

Mine is different from the recipes I’ve seen before because I started with candied bacon. (If you don’t know how to do this, refer back to yesterday’s post for more info.) As a result, I reduced the sugar in the recipe. Otherwise, it’s pretty easy. No flour makes it gluten-free, too, if you’re concerned about that. We need all the help we can get in justifying cookies, don’t we? :)

Peanut Butter & Bacon Cookies

adapted from Joy the Baker

  • 1 cup creamy all-natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 6 slices of candied bacon, chopped
  • raw sugar for rolling

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper (or use a nonstick cookie sheet).

Cream the peanut butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg, beating thoroughly. Add the baking soda. Remove from mixer and stir in the chopped candied bacon.

Scoop out dough and roll between your hands into balls. Roll in the raw sugar til lightly coated, then place on cookie sheet. Press down with a fork in criss-cross pattern. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let sit on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 3 dozen, depending on the size of your balls you make them.

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