Tag Archives: brunch

Mini Quinoa Breakfast Muffins (vegan, gluten free)

11 Apr

Easter brunch has become an annual tradition in our family.  It’s awesome, for many reasons.  Mainly, because my family is the coolest family around and because I get to COOK and BAKE up a frenzy! yippee!!!  Honestly, it’s like Thanksgiving’s half birthday to me…. in brunch form.  This year we had a couple friends join us too, and the weather cooperated so we could gather outside to eat.. mmmmm…. love the morning sun.  I got up at 6:30, had my coffee, and started cooking for our 10am brunch.  On the menu were many tasty things including a M’hanncha (Moroccan Snake Cake – I’ll post the recipe for this one soon!), a wild mushroom and leek frittata with a rutabaga parsnip crust; a sundried tomato, spinach, and queso fresco frittata; breakfast potatoes; fruit salad, and mini quinoa muffins.  I always use the excuse of holiday gatherings or food get togethers to try out new recipe ideas… some people call this ballsy or brave, but I just consider it creative and adventurous! I guess I’m pretty confident that my recipes won’t totally fail… but often there’s room for improvement.  ;)

Anyways, for this post I’m going to tell you about these quinoa muffins that I made for brunch.  BITE SIZE quinoa muffins.  Now, I have to warn you… if you are a batter taster… beware.  I could literally eat this batter for breakfast. SO tasty! Actually, really really healthy too, so you really could eat it for breakfast! hmmm….   well either way, if you don’t eat all the batter first, they also make really good muffins.  Super healthy little tidbits, packed with protein! The quinoa taste definitely shines through but the rice milk dulls down its “earthy/nutty” flavor just the right amount to balance these muffins without having to add too much sugar.   Feel free to play around with add-ins… I added mixed dried fruit and walnuts, but just plain raisins or dried apples would be really nice, or whatever else you fancy!  :)

Ingredients:
makes about 30 mini muffins
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup quinoa (measure dry, will be more when cooked)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup mixed dried fruit (or just your favorite dried fruit or raisins)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unflavored rice milk (coconut, soy or almond would work too, but I like the rice flavor in these)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp coconut butter (softened)
  • 2 flax “eggs” – 2 tbsp flaxseed meal + 6 tbsp water (egg replacer)

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Cook 1 cup quinoa in 2 cups water, set aside when all water is absorbed and it’s done cooking.
  3. Mix together flaxseed meal and water, set aside  and mix occasionally (it will become somewhat gelatinous)
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together oats, baking powder, spices, and salt.  Stir in the walnuts and dried fruit.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together brown sugar, rice milk, vanilla and softened coconut butter.  Stir in the flax “eggs”. Blend until well combined.
  6. Add dry ingredients to wet, and mix until well combined.
  7. Lightly grease a mini muffin tin, and spoon ingredients into prepared tin. (I had to do several batches)
  8. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until each muffin has set (should feel slightly spongy, but bounce back).  Remove from oven and enjoy!!

Piña Colada Scones (vegan, gluten free)

27 Mar

We’ve had quite a few rainy days here in the Bay Area lately, which makes me want to do two things: go on muddy trail runs up in the hills, and bake. I love running in the mud… it’s so soft and squishy.. and best of all, you get super dirty! Frolicking through puddles is my forte. And boy, do I frolic. It’s probably a good thing that not many other people like running in those conditions, because I’m pretty sure I look like a crazy person.  I’m cool with that, though.  Weeeeeeee!! Mud!!!

As for baking, what’s more awesome to come home to than a scone?  I LOVE scones..  they might be my favorite baked good.  Or at least right up there at the top of my favorites.  I don’t like my scones cakey or fluffy… totally the wrong texture for a scone, in my opinion.  I like them rustic and hardy, crumbly but not dry.  And as crucial an ingredient as butter normall is in scones, I prefer (as usual) to bake them without it.  They can still be super tasty without butter, trust me! Butter gives you more of a flakey cakey scone, anyways… so scones without butter are more my texture style.  Plus, I want to be able to eat one with my coffee before breakfast and not feel guilty about it.  This time, I wanted to bake something with coconut, I was craving that tropical taste… Then I remembered I have coconut flour, too!  Super coconutty!  I was trying to decide what to add to these coconut scones.. the first thing that occurred to me was pineapple… I even posted a “poll” to see what my friends thought I should add. The end result though, was pineapple.  Long story short.. these scones evolved in my mind to be vegan and gluten free!  Healthy, delicious, and a great texture. I bring you, Piña Colada Scones!!

Ingredients:

makes about 12 scones

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup gluten free oat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • 5 tbsp agave nectar (or maple syrup)
  • 1 cup diced fresh pineapple

glaze:

  • 4 tbsp confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup or agave
  • 1 tbsp fresh pineapple juice

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together coconut flour, gluten free oat flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix in poppy seeds and chia seeds.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, combine coconut milk and coconut oil (heat the coconut oil slightly so it’s not solid). Add vanilla extract, agave, orange zest and juice, and pineapple.  Combine gently but thoroughly.
  4. Slowly add the liquid mixture into the flour mixture, and stir until the dough comes together (you might want to use your hands). If the dough is super sticky, add a tiny bit of coconut flour at a time until the dough becomes less sticky.
  5. Form the dough into a ball, then flatten the ball of dough on a cutting board or baking pan with your palms until it is about an inch thick. Use a sharp knife to cut the round into 12 equal pieces.
  6. If you cut them on a cutting board, transfer the scone slices to a lightly greased cookie sheet about an inch apart. Bake for about 15 minutes, until they start to turn slightly golden, and feel firm but still have a slight bounce back to them.
  7. Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy!!

Rustic Banana Bread (vegan)

21 Mar

Today, I had a sudden craving for banana bread. I am a strong believer in feeding cravings and not ignoring them… so… I made my way to the kitchen and made myself some banana bread! As I organized my baking canvas and began assembling the typical baking ingredients, I paused…. I thought, “no… I want to do this with as few base ingredients as possible.” … so I put away the sugar, egg, vanilla…  and began mashing the bananas.  Seriously simple is no joke for this bread… I had it in the oven in less than 5 minutes. And in 30, I was satisfying my craving!!  Vegan, sugar free, oil free, and perfectly moist… this bread is a-mazing.

 

Ingredients:

Makes one loaf

  • 2 medium bananas (preferably overripe)
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1 flax “egg” (1 tbsp flaxseed meal + 3 tbsp water)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • scant 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix together your flax “egg” and set aside.
  3. Mash bananas and applesauce together (should amount to about 1 cup combined).
  4. Mix together all dry ingredients plus walnuts and raisins.  Add flax “egg” and mashed banana/applesauce, mix until well combined, pour into prepared lightly greased loaf pan and sprinkle lightly with oats, sesame seeds, or sunflower seeds for looks (totally optional).  Bake for about 30 minutes (or until knife inserted comes out clean), let cool slightly before cutting – Enjoy!!!

 

Baked Oatmeal (vegan & gluten free)

20 Mar
Whenever I say the words “baked oatmeal”, peoples faces seem to turn to a look of curiosity.  This always surprised me… I mean, what’s weird about oatmeal that’s been baked? Maybe it’s just such a common “cooked” breakfast food, that when you replace the word “cooked” with “baked”, it evokes the eyebrow raise.  I have to say though, one of my favorite parts of baking is just that… getting the eyebrow raise out of people :)  That must mean you’ve created something new or interesting! Or, people think it sounds utterly disgusting… pish posh.  Whatever people might think, baked oatmeal is a keeper.  I’ve made it multiple times in multiple ways with multiple ingredients – this one is, so far, my favorite.  With lasting hints of coconut mixed with the familiar flavor of banana and the soft crunch of walnuts, you might find yourself whipping this simple recipe together more often than you imagine.  It’s so simple.  Also, its versatility is another great factor!  Whether it’s for a brunch gathering, a typical morning breakfast, or breakfast-on-the-go for you folk who just like to grab ‘n go… it’ll be a winner!
I like this simple variation quite a bit, but by all means, feel free to experiment and throw in your favorite oatmeal additions!! The whole coconut milk in this recipe is what makes it super delectable in my opinion, so I wouldn’t recommend replacing it with light coconut milk… but of course you can if you want… I’m sure it’ll still be tasty :)  After all, it’s oatmeal, baked!!!
Ingredients:
makes about 16, if using a standard size muffin tin
  • 2 cups gluten free rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole coconut milk (not light, go for the full fat, it’s good-for-you fat!)
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp coconut butter (softened)
  • 1 flax “egg” – 1 tbsp flaxseed meal + 3 tbsp water (egg replacer)
  • 1 or 2 ripe bananas, chopped into about 1/2″ pieces
  • honey to drizzle over the top after baked (optional)

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix together flaxseed meal and water, set aside  and mix occasionally (it will become somewhat gelatinous)
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together oats, baking powder, spices, and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together brown sugar, coconut milk (shake the can well before opening!), almond milk, vanilla and softened coconut butter.  Stir in the flax “egg”. Blend until well combined.
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet, and mix until well combined.  Gently stir in the “mix-ins” – bananas, walnuts, and raisins.
  6. Lightly grease a muffin tin, and spoon ingredients into prepared tin.
  7. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until each muffin has set (should feel slightly spongy, but bounce back).  Remove from oven, drizzle with honey if desired, and enjoy!!

Light and Fluffy Yogurt Pancakes

14 Mar

I am always on the lookout for a new tasty pancake recipe. I love pancakes, and I was striving to find a pancake that was light and fluffy, but not cakey… it’s hard to describe exactly how I want the texture of my pancakes… I guess it’s almost like a fluffy moist soufflé pancake.  I also always try to eat a balanced and healthy breakfast, so any breakfast recipe I try must at least be that.

Last week, I had some leftover ricotta from my peach ricotta soufflé recipe, so I decided to make ricotta pancakes.  Now, ricotta pancakes are certainly delicious.. and light, and fluffy.. but, they are cheese based, and I don’t really want to eat cheese for breakfast. It didn’t fit my “healthy and balanced” requirement.  While I shamelessly admit that I ate them all anyways, it got me thinking… why not do the same recipe but with yogurt instead of ricotta? So I did. And they were sooooo delicious!! I believe that I have almost found that perfect texture I have been looking for!! So for now, these will be my staple. TRY THEM!! I will continue to experiment (as always), and will most likely report back with new pancake recipes. After all, you can never have enough pancake recipes under your belt! :)

 

Ingredients:

makes about 10 pancakes (using 1/4 cup measure, you get about 3″ pancakes)

  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (soymilk, hemp, rice, coconut would all work great too!)
  • 2 eggs (separated)
  • 1/2 cup flour (I used white whole wheat, but coconut flour or another gluten free flour would work nicely)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp agave syrup (honey or maple syrup are other options)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Process:

  1. Separate eggs, set whites aside.
  2. Combine egg yolks, yogurt, almond milk, agave, and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Blend thoroughly.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients, then add the dry ingredients to the wet and blend until smooth and fully incorporated.
  4. In a small bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites into soft peaks.  Then add the egg whites to the batter and gently fold in until well combined.
  5. Heat and lightly grease the pan, and using a 1/4 cup measure, place a dollop of batter onto the heated pan (or however many you can fit).  Cook and flip like normal pancakes!  Enjoy them with maple syrup, berry compote, or whatever your favorite pancake topping might be.

 

Grapefruit and Olive Oil Cake (brought to you by Paula)

14 Mar

Yep, grapefruit and olive oil. Just crazy enough to work! I came across this recipe on my new favorite recipe blog – The Yellow House (http://casayellow.com/). This was my first experience with the gluten-free all purpose flour by Bob’s Red Mill, and I have to say I was very pleased. I did add some xanthan gum to help fill gluten’s shoes, and I would not have known the end product was gluten free!

Ingredients:

makes one standard sized Bundt pan, or a 9×5 loaf pan

  • butter for greasing pan
  • 2 grapefruits
  • 1 cup sugar (I used sucanat, though turbinado or even granulated would be fine)
  • scant 1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 C gluten-free all purpose flour
  • 1/2 C brown rice flour
  • rounded 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For glaze:

  • 1/2 cup sucanat (or brown or muscovado sugar)
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 4 teaspoons grapefruit juice

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan or standard Bundt pan.
  3. Zest the 2 grapefruits into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add the sugar to the bowl, rubbing the zest and sugar together with your fingertips to help the sugar become infused with grapefruit oil.
  5. Halve one of the grapefruits and squeeze its juice into a measuring cup. Add buttermilk or yogurt to juice in the measuring cup until there is a total of about 2/3 cup of liquid.
  6. Pour the grapefruit juice/buttermilk (or yogurt) mixture into the bowl with the zest and sugar and whisk well.
  7. Whisk in the eggs and olive oil.
  8. In another bowl, whisk or sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  9. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.  (Note: I wish I had used my stand mixer and really mixed this thing for a few minutes to help its structure develop – something to try in the future!)
  10. Pour the batter into the buttered and floured pan.
  11. Bake the cake for 50 to 55 minutes, until it is golden brown on top and doesn’t jiggle in the middle (Note: mine was more done than I would’ve liked after 50 minutes, but still tasty). A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
  12. Remove the cake to a rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  13. When completely cool, mix up the glaze and glaze your cake!

At this point you’re probably wondering, ‘But Paula – why does your glaze look like peanut butter?’ Good question. Because I used sucanat I had to heat the glaze up to help the large crystals to dissolve. This resulted in losing some of the moisture in the glaze, and it seized up. I should’ve added more juice but I’d already eaten the grapefruit remains… oops…

Cranberry Walnut Flax Biscotti

7 Mar

Biscotti are so versatile. They can be made with almost any of your choice ingredients… a couple of combinations I’ve been thinking about doing next are apricot+almond, pistachio+chocolate, plum+cashew, chocolate+espresso… mmmm so simple, yet so delicious.  This recipe in particular is packed full of tasty healthy ingredients.. I originally set out to do just plain cranberries and walnuts, but at the last minute… I got crazy.  Not only did I decide to throw in golden flax seeds, I also threw in poppy seeds and chia seeds! yum yum yum.. I love chia. It’s incredible to me that so many nutrients can be packed into such a tiny seed…

My intention was to half dip these in dark chocolate after they baked, but they disappeared too fast! Maybe the next batch….

Anyways, no matter what ingredients you decide to throw in, stick to the base recipe, and you’ll be set! I came up with this recipe because I wanted a lower fat (or, should I say, one that contains only healthy monounsaturated fat), less guilt biscotti recipe that was still delicious, of course! Plus, lots of omegas. I love omegas. Enjoy them crunchy, or coffee dipped!

Ingredients:

Makes about 3 dozen

  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 to 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup lightly chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp poppyseed
  • 1 tbsp chia seed
  • 2 tbsp flax seed (whole, not flaxseed meal)

Process:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together oil and sugar until well blended. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts, then beat in the eggs.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking powder; then gradually stir into egg mixture.
  4. Mix in cranberries and nuts and seeds (you might have to use your hands).
  5. Divide dough in half. Form two logs (about 12×2 inches) on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper, and flatten the logs slightly. (Dough might be sticky, you can wet your hands with cool water to handle dough more easily if you need to).
  6. Bake for 35 minutes at 300 F, or until logs are light brown. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool for 10 minutes (cooling is important, it helps keep them from crumbling when you cut them). Reduce oven heat to 275 F.
  7. After cooled for about 10 mins, cut logs on a diagonal into 1/2 inch thick slices. Lay on sides on parchment covered cookie sheet. Bake approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until dry.
  8. Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy!