Tag Archive: breakfast

Apr 02 2014

Whole Grain Streusel Coffee Cake #client #samplewholegrains #giveaway

Disclosure: I was approached by Oldways to be a Whole Grain Sampling Day Ambassador for 2014. They sent me a box of samples for my participation. I received no compensation for this post. All opinions remain my own.

Sample Whole Grains

On the first Wednesday in April every year, the Whole Grains Council holds its annual Whole Grain Sampling Day, an opportunity to try whole grain foods and see just how fantastic they really are. Their theory is that you’re more likely to buy it if you try it, and I have to agree. There are many foods I’ve passed over in life because I never tried them before–and I usually discovered later that I was missing out!

Whole Grain Sampling Day gift box

Today you’ll find a multitude of options for sampling whole grain foods. From specials at Dunkin’ Donuts to Denny’s Restaurants, California Pizza Kitchen to Roman Meal–the conversation will be taking place online through social media and there will be deals and opportunities to try whole grains in person, too. Whole Grains Council has a page on its website detailing some of these programs.

my daughter enjoying a graham cracker

When I was approached by Oldways to participate this year as a Whole Grain Sampling Day Ambassador, I was excited! My personal goal of integrating more whole foods–and, by extension, whole grains–into our diet while continuing to enjoy the sorts of foods we’ve always loved had finally coincided with a program to do just the same. It was meant to be! As an Ambassador, I would receive a box of samples of some great ways to incorporate whole grains into our diet AND be able to give away the same box to one of my readers! Yes, YOU will get a chance to win your own personal whole grain sampling day box and eat your way through it! Pretty cool, huh? (Enter at the end of this post in the Rafflecopter box for your chance to win!)

Whole Grain Sampling Day

The box arrived and I was elated. There were more products in it than I expected. And while I feared it might consist of the sort of twigs and flakes we tend to imagine whole grains to be–tasteless, bland, and boring fare saved only for 80s health food crazes–I was completely wrong. There were Mi-Del honey graham crackers and Roman Meal sandwich bread and Real McCoy’s rice puffs. My kids fought over the Skeeter nut-free cookies, quickly devouring them and begging for more. There was a cinnamon crunch Snackimals cereal from Barbara’s they couldn’t wait to dive into. The BelVita breakfast cookies soon became my quick snack before skiing, providing energy when I was on the go. And the Saigon Sunrise Vietnamese cinnamon kettle corn from Pops-a-Lot–WOW. I shared it with my co-workers and we couldn’t stop picking from it. I never would have imagined cinnamon + kettle corn, but it’s a winning combination. None of this was boring or bland. And I was thrilled!

Whole Grain Sampling Day

I also had the opportunity to order a 5-pound bag of All Natural Ultragrain Blend All Purpose Unbleached Flour, which I used in the recipe I’m sharing today. It’s a cup-for-cup replacement for all-purpose flour that gives you the nutrition of whole grain while combining the taste and convenience of white flour. As a baker, I was very intrigued about this product. Baking, in particular, is tricky if you’re trying to sub in whole grains. They change the texture, often making the finished product chewy or dry, with a graininess that can be undesirable. Their claim that I could use this flour blend in place of white flour and end up with a baked good that was just as appealing was one I had to test out. And I couldn’t think of a better way than with an indulgent coffee cake. Rhyme and reason, after all. I like to blend my extremes.

Ultragrain Blend All Purpose Flour

The Ultragrain flour seemed finer than white whole wheat flour I had used in the prior testing of this recipe. When the coffee cake emerged from the oven, it was fluffier than the last time I baked it–off to a great start. I was so impatient waiting for it to cool. I wanted to try it right away. The verdict? FANTASTIC! The crumb was light AND moist, which was not what I expected at all. If you didn’t know any better, you wouldn’t be able to detect the whole grains hidden inside. Ultragrain lives up to its claim! I’ll definitely be looking for this at the store.

Whole Grain Streusel Coffee Cake

So get on out there today and add some whole grain to your day. It’s really a lot easier than you think–and tastier, too! If you need some ideas on other recipes to try, Oldways also has a fantastic whole grains Pinterest board. Enjoy!

Whole Grain Streusel Coffee Cake

4.5 from 2 reviews

Whole Grain Streusel Coffee Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast/Brunch
Serves: 16
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, cold and cut up into pieces
  • ¼ cup All Natural Ultragrain Blend All Purpose Unbleached Flour
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup raw turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1½ cups All Natural Ultragrain Blend All Purpose Unbleached Flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • ⅓ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large cage-free egg
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8″x8″ baking dish and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, rub the butter, flour, brown sugar, raw sugar, and cinnamon together with your hands for a couple minutes, working it over until you get crumbly clumps like wet sand. Set aside.
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, whisk together the yogurt and whole milk. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar until light. Beat in the egg, mixing until incorporated. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  4. Alternate adding the flour and yogurt mixtures, mixing until just incorporated.
  5. Spread in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the topping over the batter.
  6. Bake for 24-30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Cool completely before removing from pan and serving.

Whole Grain Sampling Day

Want to win your own Whole Grain Sampling Day box?

All you have to do is enter in the Rafflecopter box below. Contest open to US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mar 03 2014

Sugar-Crusted French Toast Casserole

Recently, a co-worker hosted a chili cook-off benefit lunch to raise money for his nephew. His nephew has been diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma and is facing a total of at least 16 rounds of chemotherapy. The money raised would assist the family with paying for deductibles and travel costs, which will accumulate fast. I’m happy to say there was a great outpouring of support and a large sum of money was raised to help this young man and his family with their tough road ahead.

Sugar-Crusted French Toast Casserole

After the lunch, we were left with a gallon-sized bag of sliced French bread that had gone uneaten. Not wanting to waste it, I started brainstorming. And came to French Toast Casserole.

I love the idea of French toast. It’s an elite form of weekend breakfast, served only at special occasions or eaten when dining out. I’m not sure why it’s enjoyed so infrequently–it could be that it’s not exactly health food–but it makes the day seem so much fancier if French toast is on your plate. The down side is that someone has to stand at the griddle frying up slice after slice of that goodness, missing out on ambiance of the occasion. She gets to eat eventually, sure, but she’s usually last, when everyone else has already moved on to something else. It’s a lonely kind of job. Which is where French Toast Casserole comes in.

Sugar-Crusted French Toast Casserole

look at that sugar crust!

French Toast Casserole is really a glorified bread pudding. Soak your bread slices in custard overnight, add a topping, and bake in the morning. It frees you up to enjoy the whole meal with your friends and family and lets you pretend that dessert is breakfast. Works for me!

So the morning after the benefit lunch, I brought in a dish of this Sugar-Crusted French Toast Casserole. Because I’m so proud of my co-workers and how wonderfully supportive they are of each other. You can’t ask for a better bunch! Whip this up and serve it to someone special to you. They’ll love it!

Sugar-Crusted French Toast Casserole


5.0 from 1 reviews

Sugar-Crusted French Toast Casserole
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 8
  • 1-pound loaf French bread
  • 6 large cage-free eggs
  • ⅔ cup whole milk
  • ⅔ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • ¾ cup (12 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1⅓ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup (Grade B preferred, as it’s more flavorful)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Grease a 9″x13″ baking dish and set aside.
  2. Slice French bread into 1-inch thick slices and arrange in prepared dish.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs for 30 seconds or so.
  4. Add the milk, cream, cinnamon, and vanilla extract and whisk for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until frothy.
  5. Pour over the bread slices, coating evenly. There will be a lot extra in the bottom of the dish; this is okay, as it will get absorbed. (I actually took each slice and dipped both sides in the extra before setting them upright again, just to be sure they were well-coated.)
  6. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 6 hours.
  7. In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Take out the dish, uncover, and sprinkle with chopped pecans. Set aside.
  8. In a 3-quart heavy-bottomed sauce pan, melt the butter over medium to medium-high heat.
  9. Stir in the brown sugar and maple syrup and gently boil until the sugar is (mostly) melted. This will not be a smooth caramel sauce, but that’s okay; you want crystallization when it bakes anyway for that crunchy crust.
  10. Remove from heat and add the vanilla–it will bubble up. Be careful!
  11. Stir in the vanilla, then pour over the prepared bread evenly.
  12. Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes.
  13. Serve immediately. No additional syrup necessary.

If you would like to help out in the fundraising efforts for this young man, there is a GoFundMe page set up to collect donations. Hodgkin Lymphoma, while a very curable form of cancer, still ravages the body. This family will need all the help they can get.

Jan 16 2014

Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Bun Cake

The cold continues…as in the one that’s plaguing my head and chest. When I’m not wishing I could sleep myself into oblivion, I’m wandering around in a foggy haze. Concentration is nil. Desire to do anything is about the same. Ugh.

I’m staying true to my plan, though. The 100 Days of Miles plan, that is. Even when a curve ball was thrown at me with a last-minute business trip scheduled for my husband (meaning no child care so I could go to the gym, even in the wee hours before work), I found another way to get it done. Today was Day 8 and I’ve totaled 14.2 miles so far. Not too bad considering where I was at when this started. AND the monkey wrench thrown into my plans actually brought about a very wonderful alteration to my training–the return of jogging intervals.

Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Bun Cake

I’ve always found it easier to incorporate jogging intervals, a la Couch-to-5K-Program, while walk-jogging outdoors. Instead of having to fumble with controls on a hamster wheel, all I have to do is adjust the movement of my own two feet and–WHAMMO–I’m there. I shouldn’t have been all that surprised, then, when I took a quick spin around the neighborhood and found my feet moving to the beat of a jog. Across the street. A little further down the street. And then several more short bursts. The air was brisk, the daylight fading, and my spirits improved twenty-fold. There was my elusive bliss, found even without sustained 11-minute miles. I missed you!

The side effect was that I could not sleep. The adrenaline rush, partnered with the marked absence of my husband, made it impossible to sleep. So what did I do? Drink a warm glass of milk? Read a book? Nope. I made dough, waited for it to rise, and made chocolate chip cinnamon bun cake. That’s normal, right?

Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Bun Cake

The twist to this cake is, quite literally, a twist. Instead of rolling strips into buns, you twist folded strips to create a cinnamon swirl on the exterior. Cute! Then make a spiral in the cake pan to create the cake. It looks fancy, but it’s really quite easy. A little messy, but you can throw the filling that falls out on top of the cake and that works just fine, too.

What will tomorrow bring? Probably more rounds of Emergen-C and smoothies to boost my immune system, a little bit of exercise to keep the streak alive, and an indulgence: this chocolate chip cinnamon bun cake. Because life is all about finding balance.

Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Bun Cake

Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Bun Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 16
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 large cage-free eggs, room temperature
  • ¼ cup (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup organic sugar
  • 4½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for work surface
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 packet Red Star Platinum Yeast (1/4 ounce)
  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 4 ounces full fat cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Combine the buttermilk, eggs, butter, sugar, 4 cups of the flour, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and begin kneading.
  2. Gradually add the remaining ½ cup flour as needed to get a sticky, smooth dough that cleans the sides but remains stuck to the bottom of the bowl as it kneads.
  3. Knead for 5-6 minutes, or until you get a nice, smooth dough ball.
  4. Oil a large mixing bowl and transfer the dough ball to that. Cover with plastic wrap and move to a warm, draft-free location to rise until doubled in size. (I usually set my oven to the lowest temperature, let it warm up to about 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit, turn the heat off, the light on, and let the dough rise in there with the oven door closed all the way.)
  5. Once the dough has doubled in size (1½ to 2 hours, depending on how warm your house is), flour your work surface and dump the dough ball onto it. Butter two 8-inch cake pans and set aside.
  6. Divide the dough in half, set one half aside, and roll out the other half with a floured rolling pin until you get a rectangle about 10″ by 18″.
  1. Drizzle half the melted butter over the rectangle and spread it out with a pastry brush until the entire surface is covered.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle half the cinnamon sugar over the rectangle.
  3. Sprinkle half the chocolate chips over that. Press in gently by running the rolling pin over the filling.
  4. Fold in half, gathering the two long sides together.
  5. Cut into 1-1/2″ strips with a very sharp knife. Press down a little to set the filling, then take one strip and twist it so you get a ribbon of cinnamon along the length of it.
  6. Coil the first strip and place it in the center of one of the prepared cake pans.
  7. Twist the next strip and wrap it around the coil in the center of the cake pan, pinching the edges to seal them. Repeat with the rest of the strips until the cake pan is full.
  8. Repeat with the 2nd half of the dough and 2nd cake pan.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  10. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  11. Remove plastic and bake on the center rack in the preheated oven for 23-25 minutes, or until springy to the touch and lightly browned.
  12. Remove from oven, place plates over the tops of the pans and invert, transferring the cakes onto the plates. (If you do not do this immediately, the cakes will get stuck in the pans like glue. Not that I’d know anything about that…)
  1. While the bun cakes are baking, prepare the frosting.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the frosting ingredients. Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Spread half the frosting over each cake while still warm from the oven.
  4. Serve warm or room temperature.

 How do you create balance in your life?

Jan 07 2014

A Baby Shower for Omeletta! Mini Quiche Bites

Did you hear the news? Ruthy of Omeletta–one of my friends from First on the First–is having a baby! And today, we’re throwing her a virtual baby shower to share the joy with her!

Mini Quiche Bites

There’s nothing quite like those moments leading up to the birth of your first child. Sure, my “baby” is approaching 9 years old, and her brother isn’t far behind at nearly 7, but I remember. The excitement. The wonder. The complete lack of an appetite for anything other than Saltines. The fatigue that cannot be kept at bay, followed by the mad craze of nesting when you barely sleep at all. Voraciously reading everything possible to somehow get an edge on what will come. And learning, in the end, that no matter how prepared you think you are, your little one has a whole other agenda. It’s exhilarating! It’s exhausting! And it’s all so wonderful.

Mini Quiche Bites

Ruthy is nearing the end of her journey. Soon, she’ll have her baby in her arms, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Best wishes and enjoy every minute! It all goes by so fast!

It isn’t a party without other party goers and food! Hop around the baby shower and grab a bite to eat!

All the Other Delicious Baby Shower Food:

Irish Lemon Pudding Tart – Sugar Dish Me

No-Bake Cookie Dough Bars – Food Babbles

Beef and Pepperoni Puffs – Food Ramblings

Grapefruit Thyme Scones – Girl in the Little Red Kitchen

Smoky Kale and Potato Cakes with Red Kale Salad and Quick Pickled Apples – Joanne Eats Well

Blood Orange Egg Tarts – Kelly Bakes

Irish Cheese and Bacon Popcorn – Chocolate Moosey

Mini Quiche Bites

Mini Quiche Bites
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 24
  • 2 1.6-ounce boxes fillo shells
  • ⅓ cup (about 2 ounces) diced ham steaks
  • ¼ cup shredded Kerrygold Dubliner cheese
  • 2 large cage free eggs
  • ⅓ cup whole milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, arrange fillo shells evenly on the baking sheet.
  2. Divide the ham steak up between the fillo shells and sprinkle some shredded cheese over that. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk until light and frothy, then portion out among the fillo shells, filling each fully (it will settle as it bakes a bit). There may be some left, depending on the size of your shells; feel free to cook it off as scrambled eggs.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges and firm in the middle.
  5. Serve warm.


What’s one of your fondest memories from when your kiddos were babies?

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