Category Archives: Breakfast

Mind-Numbing Pumpkin Bread

When I started this blog, I was so determined to post at least twice a week … and here I am, a little over three weeks since last writing. D’oh! In my defense, I have been fervently getting ready to welcome a new baby. And by fervently, I mean thinking about it a lot, not necessarily doing anything to prepare. I still haven’t packed my hospital bag, and my kitchen floor is begging to be mopped — among other, more important things screaming for my attention.

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So in a few short weeks (if not sooner), I’m going to have two kids. Two. That’s double the number I currently have, if you’re keeping count. It’s kind of overwhelming. I find myself thinking, “How did I get here?!” I feel like I just graduated from college and started my first job, then I blinked and ended up married with a mortgage and two kids. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life, but it sure is flying by quickly! And I don’t really plan on having any more babies after this one, so I’ve been kind of mourning not being pregnant again. It’s a weird thing. I feel so very “done,” and am looking forward to having a more agile and comfortable body again soon, but there’s also something really special about carrying a baby. I’ll miss it in an odd way. Especially the kicks. There’s just something about the kicks.


I also have been a little weepy about my solo time with Lucas coming to an end. For his first 13 months of life, I wanted nothing more than to leave my full-time job and stay home with him. I was so unhappy at work and missed my baby to the point it physically hurt. And so I finally did quit, and these past 15 months with him have been the most special, happy months of my entire life. I am overjoyed to bring a sibling into this world for him, not to mention having a new child in our family, but change can be tough and scary. Soon, I am sure that I barely will be able to remember our family as it currently is with only three members. But that will take time, and I never do very well with the unknown. So a couple of days ago, as I stared out into a dreary, grey day, mourning summer, the end of my [probably] final pregnancy, and thinking about how odd it is to try and patiently wait for one’s entire life to be turned completely inside out, I decided to make pumpkin bread. Because it seemed like the thing to do. Thankfully, it worked. I felt totally relaxed and the baking process managed to take my mind off life. And Lucas was happy because it’s his absolute favorite. I have to hide it from him. Seriously.

I’ve been making this recipe for several years and it’s one of the easiest, tastiest things in my regular fall/winter rotation. It puts Starbucks’ pumpkin loaf to shame, and that’s saying a lot, because I love Starbucks’ pumpkin loaf. This recipe is slightly adapted from the Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread recipe on Allrecipes.com. I’ve also made a healthier version with whole wheat flour, half the sugar, and applesauce instead of oil/butter. It’s decent, but the real thing is much better. So if you’re not counting calories, go for the original.

Mind-Numbing Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7×3 inch loaf pans or two 9×5 loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, melted butter, water, vanilla, and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for about 50 minutes (three 7×3 pans) or 70 minutes (two 9×5 pans) in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

OAMC Hashbrown Casserole With Chicken Sausage

After a weekend get together with a large group of friends last month, my refrigerator was overflowing with several pounds of chicken sausage and 36 (!) eggs. We’ll work on the grocery-shopping coordination a little more before our next go-round. Anyway, when it was time to come up with my freezer club meal, I went the fairly obvious route and made a breakfast casserole to use what I already had available.

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Breakfast for dinner is one of our favorite things, and I love how easily this came together. I found a few OAMC breakfast casserole recipes, but I largely followed this one from We Gotta Eat. The original recipe called for a quarter cup of butter to be mixed in with the potatoes, but it was too greasy for us, so I cut that in half here. You probably could even omit it completely.

I also added some dried onions. I’ve found that the dried onions available in the spice aisle of the grocery store work much, much better in freezer meals than fresh, since they don’t add any extra water to the dish. Their flavor isn’t perfect, but decent. And let’s be honest, we’re eating from the freezer here and no ingredient will be quite as tasty as a fresh counterpart.

There’s nothing terribly exciting about this casserole (and I will admit it’s not the healthiest), but it is satisfying, filling, and hits the spot if you’re looking for a savory meal. What else do you need?

Hashbrown Casserole with Chicken Sausage

Ingredients

1 pound diced chicken sausage (We like Aidells Chicken & Apple)
3 eggs, cracked and beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. freeze-dried/dehydrated chopped onions
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 cup shredded cheese (I either use medium cheddar or pepper jack)
2 1/2 cups frozen hash brown potatoes
2 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces

Assembly Instructions

  1. In a gallon-size freezer bag, combine the sausage, eggs, milk, onions, worcestershire sauce, cornstarch, salt, pepper, and cheese. Seal bag securely. Knead gently to mix and set aside.
  2. In a second gallon-size freezer bag, combine the shredded hash brown potatoes and butter. Seal bag securely. Set aside.
  3. Insert all bags into a gallon-size Ziploc freezer bag, seal, and label with cooking instructions.
  4. Place in freezer.

 Cooking Instructions

  1. Thaw completely in refrigerator.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Spray bottom of 8×8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Knead bag to mix potatoes and butter. Spread potatoes evenly in bottom of the dish.
  5. Knead bag to mix sausage and egg mixture well. Pour over top of potatoes.
  6. Cover and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until cooked through and top is brown and bubbly.

Extra-Fluffy Pancakes and Head Bonks

We were having a relatively uneventful morning around here today — you know, taking twice as long as should be necessary to get out of the house, trying to wear winter coats in August, and insisting that 357 stuffed animals come along with us to our playdate at the park, those kind of things. Anyway, we finally reached our destination and were having a great time, when, in a split second, my heart stopped. Lucas fell straight back off a picnic bench, bum over tea kettle, and bounced his poor little noggin on the concrete. It was possibly the worst noise I’ve heard in my life.

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We’ve had our normal toddler’s share of scrapes, falls, and bruises with him, but thankfully no head injuries up to this point. I felt relieved that he was able to calm down after about 10 minutes, his eyes weren’t dilated, and he didn’t seem to feel sick. He’s got quite the goose egg on the back of his head, but I’m hopeful that’s the extent of the damage. In fact, he gobbled down lunch and told me that he was “all better, mama, stop looking at my head” no fewer than five times. I think that’s a good sign. He’s napping now, but I still feel kind of upset about it. It also dawned on me just how much I take for granted that I have such a healthy little boy. The mere thought of something being wrong with my baby was overwhelmingly frightening.

Recently I’ve been following the story of a five-month-old baby boy named Caleb on Facebook. He was born with a severe congenital heart defect and received a heart transplant last month. (His family’s page is called Pray for Caleb, if you’d like to read about his journey and lend support.) On Sunday, his mama was able to hold him for the first time in nine weeks. Nine weeks! The picture she posted of them together was beyond touching. I simply can’t imagine what they’ve faced during this unimaginable trial. Today, when I scooped up Lucas the second he fell, I thought of Caleb’s parents. How they haven’t been able to hold their baby while he’s been hurting and through so much. SO much. It made me say a big thank you for the worries we haven’t had with our child.

I suppose it sometimes it takes moments like this to realize how truly good you have it. I plan to squeeze my Boo a little tighter (and probably more than he wants) for the rest of the day, and spoil him a bit, too. Because I can. He asked for “regular [American] pancakes” for dinner, and I will be granting his wish. (We also like to eat the Swedish variety at our house.) Here’s our favorite recipe. I like it because we enjoy buttermilk pancakes, but I never have buttermilk on hand. The vinegar solves that problem by “souring” the milk, and the result is an extra fluffy pancake.

What do your kiddos request when they’ve had a rough go of it?

Extra-Fluffy Pancakes

From Allrecipes.com; Makes 8 pancakes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to “sour.”
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into soured milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

Dungeness Crab Quiche

How is it Friday already?! I meant to have this recipe to you earlier in the week, but then life happened. You know how it goes … Anyway, as you’ve probably gathered, I’m married to quite the fisherman/crabber/shrimper. He is constantly filling our freezer with a bounty of delicious seafood, and it’s up to me to figure out what we’re going to do with it. Not that I’m complaining.

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Of everything Morgan typically catches, dungeness crab is my absolute favorite. Most of our crab-loving friends think any freshly caught crab should be eaten purely by itself, fresh out of the pot, on the beach. I will confess, however, that I actually prefer my crab in things. To channel my inner Bubba Blue, well, there’s crab quiche, crabaroni and cheese, crab and artichoke dip, crab toasts, crab louie, crab cocktail, crab cakes, crab croquettes … I could go on for days. The favorite (and easiest) dish at our house is crab quiche. This recipe is super simple and always a crowd pleaser. It also works well as mini quiche (just use a mini muffin tin) for a delicious appetizer.

Sure, you can make your own crust, but I really don’t mind store-bought crust. I am picky about brand, though. I only buy Marie Callender’s frozen 16 oz. deep-dish pie shells. There’s a big difference when you stray — and not in a good way. If you make mini quiche with this recipe, here’s a little tip: use an oversized wine glass to cut circles for each individual crust. They are the perfect size!

Dungeness Crab Quiche

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups lump crab meat (I don’t really measure. We just use the meat of two average-sized crab.)
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 bunch chopped green onions
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. seasoning salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 Marie Callender’s frozen 16 oz. deep-dish pie shell

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, mayonnaise, flour, garlic powder, seasoning salt, cayenne, and milk until thoroughly blended. Fold in crab, cheese, and onion. Spread into pie shell.
    Bake for about one hour, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is well browned. Enjoy!

Authentic Pannkakor (Swedish Pancakes) With My Personal Swedish Chef

When Morgan and I first were dating, he won me over with his Swedish Chef impersonation (my all-time favorite Muppet) and rock-star ability to make perfect pannkakor (Swedish pancakes). I soon learned that Swedish pancakes were the absolute only thing he knew how to make, however; but I married him anyway. He’s very good at washing dishes and cleaning up after I destroy the kitchen, so it all works out.

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He learned to make pannkakor from his mom, who moved to the U.S. from Sweden when she was 18, so I think they’re pretty authentic. We spent a week in Sweden in 2009, but I didn’t eat any pancakes, so I can’t tell you if they taste the same in Seattle as they do in Stockholm. What I can tell you is that Morgan’s version are super delicious and I don’t get them nearly as often as I would like. They are similar to crepes, but a bit thicker and more “eggy.”

We like them a few different ways — traditionally, with lingonberry jam or fresh berries and whipped cream; German-style (my personal favorite), with powdered sugar and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice; and Lucas’s all-American favorite, with butter and maple syrup. So when Morgan wakes up on a weekend morning and busts out his skillet, we know we’re in for a treat. I hope you enjoy these as much we do!

Here are a few tips from my personal Swedish Chef. “Orn desh, dee born desh, de umn bork! bork! bork!”:

  • The #1 rule: Your skillet must not be too hot!! Medium heat works best, and you need to give your pancakes time to cook. They will take about two minutes per side.
  • Ignore your first pancake. It inevitably will turn out crappy and only is your litmus test for a good skillet temperature. Be prepared to trash it and move on.
  • Your pancake is ready to flip when it appears slightly dry on top and the edges lift easily from the side of the skillet.
  • Use the thinnest spatula you own for flipping, preferably thinner than the pancake itself (which you probably won’t find in the plastic variety). According to Morgan, metal spatulas always trump plastic for pannkakor. I think I bought him 27 spatulas as gifts before this one from OXO became his favorite.
  • Don’t use too much batter. You’ll want just enough to cover the bottom of your skillet; around 1/2 cup per pancake. (You may need a little more or less batter, depending on the size of your skillet.) You can use a regular or non-stick frying pan, but a flat cast-iron griddle is definitely the way to go for the perfect pancake.

Smaklig måltid (the Swedish equivalent of bon appétit — enjoy your meal)!

Pannkakor (Swedish Pancakes)

(Makes 8-10 pancakes)

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3 1/3 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla or almond extract, if desired (We like to mix it up and sometimes use this, sometimes don’t.)
  • Butter for your skillet (We usually have a softened stick available for this.)

Directions

  1. Set aside a cookie sheet and preheat your oven to its lowest setting to keep your pancakes warm as you cook.
  2. Whisk the eggs and milk together until well incorporated.  Slowly whisk in the flour, sugar, salt and vanilla or almond extract. Your batter will be very runny — this is normal, don’t worry.
  3. Warm your skillet (we use a 10.5-inch pan) over medium heat. Add a small pat of butter to grease the pan, and swirl around to coat your cooking surface.
  4. Pour in the batter, around a 1/2 cup per pancake, tilting the pan in a circular motion to cover the surface with batter. You may need a little more or less batter, depending on the size of your skillet.
  5. Now, leave your pancake alone for about two minutes. No, really, don’t touch it (but watch it carefully)!
  6. Your pancake is ready to flip when it appears slightly dry on top and the edges lift easily from the side of the pan.
  7. Flip your pancake and cook on the second side for an additional two minutes (approximately). The second side also will be done when the edges are browned and lift easily from the side of the pan.
  8. Remove your pancake from the skillet and keep warm on a cookie sheet in the oven until serving time.
  9. Stir batter in between each pancake to make sure it remains well incorporated, and re-grease the pan with another pat of butter for every pancake.

Four-Ingredient Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

My kiddo cannot get enough of these ridiculously easy, four-ingredient “breakfast cookies.” And to be honest, neither can I. They’re a great snack for this pregnant, on-the-go mama, and Lucas thinks it’s pretty freakin’ awesome that I’ve been letting him eat “cookies” for breakfast … and snack, lunch, etc.
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Yes, it has been a cookie bonanza around our house since I discovered this recipe a couple months ago — variations are plastered all over Pinterest. These cookies seriously take only about five minutes to whip up, around 15 minutes to bake, and they will disappear faster than you can blink!

I only have made these with bananas, but any very ripe, mashable fruit will work. My friend Camille made them with half bananas and half strawberries, and said they were amazing. I’ll be trying that combo soon!

Four-Ingredient Oatmeal and Fruit Breakfast Cookies

(Makes about a dozen cookies)

Ingredients

  1. Two very ripe bananas (Or equivalent amount of other ripe, mashable fruit, e.g., strawberries.)
  2. One heaping tablespoon of creamy peanut butter
  3. One cup of raw oats (I always have old-fashioned oats on hand, but quick-cooking oats will work, too. Just don’t use steel cut.)
  4. One-quarter to one-half teaspoon of cinnamon (Use your own taste preference.)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mash up the bananas and peanut butter, mix in the oats and cinnamon, and drop by the tablespoon onto a greased cookie sheet. (I never have used my Silpat Non-Stick Silicone Baking Liner as much as I have since beginning to make these cookies all the time!)
  3. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes. The cookies will not brown or spread very much. And by very much, I mean at all.
  4. Slightly smash with the back of a flat spoon when you remove from the oven, then let cool.
  5. Enjoy!