Tag Archives: breakfast

Apple Chai Coffee Cake Muffins

Apple Chai Coffee Cake Muffins

I love muffins, and so does my family. Muffins and loaves are usually what they ask for when I ask “what should I bake today?” Apple muffins are a particular favourite of mine, especially in the fall and winter when apples are plentiful and inexpensive compared to other fruit. And given that my children eat apples like they’re going out of style, which necessitates me purchasing them by the bag pretty much every week, apples are something I always have on hand. This recipe was inspired by an apple coffee cake that I made. I wanted to make it smaller, easier to send with Eliza for her morning snack at school and in my husband’s lunch, and I wanted to spice it up a little, and not just go with the usual cinnamon and sugar streusel. The result is this: a lovely apple muffin that is moist and tender, with just a hint of chai spice. Perfect to enjoy with a morning cup of tea as a special breakfast treat.

Apple Chai Coffee Cake Muffins

Normally I’m not a “healthify your recipes” kinda girl – when I want to indulge, I want to indulge, if you know what I mean. But given that my family loves baked goods so much, I like to tweak my muffins to make them just a little bit healthier, and do things like use whole-grain flours, applesauce, less sugar {and substitute honey when I can}. This recipe uses a couple of my standard baking tweaks – some whole wheat flour subbed for white, and applesauce instead of some of the butter. When I make better choices with my ingredients, it might not be a super healthy option but at least I feel a little less guilty when I grab one on my way out the door.

Apple Chai Coffee Cake Muffins

Apple Chai Coffee Cake Muffins

Spices:
1 tsp cardamom
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground star anise
1/8 tsp ground cloves

Batter:
Spice blend {less the reserved 3/4 tsp}
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted & cooled
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 small apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped

Streusel:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp reserved spice blend
5 Tbsp cold butter

Prepare muffin tins, greasing or lining 18 wells with paper liners. Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, mix together spices – cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, anise, & cloves. Reserve 3/4 tsp of this mixture for the streusel.

In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the larger portion of the chai spices. Blend well.

In a large bowl, combine brown sugar and eggs, whisking until smooth. Add yogurt and buttermilk, and mix until all the lumps are gone. Stir in butter and applesauce. Fold in dry ingredients until just combined, and then gently stir in the chopped apples.

To make the streusel, mix together brown sugar, flour, salt, and reserved spices. Cut in cold butter with a pastry cutter or two knives, until well blended and crumbly.

Fill muffin cups half way with batter. Top with a spoon of streusel, and then fill with more batter. {Tip: Press the batter in gently so that it sticks to the batter on the bottom and the layers bake together, otherwise the muffins can fall apart.} Top with a generous sprinkling of streusel, and bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Yield: 18 muffins

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Orange Yogurt Drink

Orange Yogurt Drink

My kids love yogurt. And even more than yogurt, my kids love those little single-serve bottles of drinkable yogurt. You know what I mean – Yop, DanActive, Danimals… little bottles of sweet, yogurty goodness laden with all kinds of artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, and not to mention ridiculously overpriced, and all the package waste. And I’m not even that confident that there’s all that much in the way of probiotic benefit in most of the mass-produced commercial ones. I’m sure you can see where this post is going! In the interest of frugality (or cheapness, as my husband loves to call it) and avoiding all those stabilizers, preservatives and other additives, I decided that I would try making my own. How hard could it possibly be? The answer: this is so ridiculously easy, you might kick yourself for not trying it sooner.

Orange Yogurt Drink

This yogurt drink is really versatile. Add whatever fruit you like – we had lots of oranges, so that was Eliza’s choice. If you find it’s not sweet enough, add a drizzle of honey. This was 100% kid approved, both my five year old and two year old drank big cups of it and immediately asked for more. I think this will successfully keep my kids from begging for yogurt drinks when we’re at the grocery store!

And a suggestion for those of you who are non-dairy – I have read that you can pretty much do the same thing with non-dairy products like kefir and your milk substitute of choice. I haven’t tried this myself as we aren’t a dairy-free household, but if you are, you may want to give this a go with non-dairy alternatives!

Orange Yogurt Drink

Orange Yogurt Drink

Two oranges, one orange zested, both peeled & cut into pieces
1 cup milk
1 cup greek yogurt

Combine orange zest & pieces, milk and yogurt in a blender. Blend until smooth and serve. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for a couple days, just shake it up again before serving.

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Freezer French Toast

Freezer french toast

French toast is a weekend staple around here, alongside its carby cousins, pancakes and waffles. The kids love it, my husband loves it, and so do I {though I usually limit myself to just one slice, trying to be healthy and all!}. It’s a lot of effort though, and there’s no way I’d have time to make this kind of breakfast for everyone on a busy weekday morning while I’m trying to get my daughter out the door for school. Our weekday mornings are more fruit and cereal mornings – something fast that can be dumped in a bowl and eaten without much fuss. Much easier than making a hot meal! But no more! This freezer french toast has added some much-needed variety to our weekday morning breakfasts, and the kids love having a hot meal instead of cereal. I pop a couple slices in the toaster oven as soon as I’m up, and by the time the kids are up and my coffee’s ready, the french toast is ready to eat. Perfect.

Freezer french toast

My inspiration to make this freezer-friendly french toast came from the Super 8, of all places. We stayed there last fall on a trip, and the kids were all over the french toast that just needed to be popped in the toaster. If Super 8 can have hot french toast as part of their continental breakfast, then surely I can freeze my french toast and reheat it on mornings when I don’t have time to cook a big, hot breakfast! My experiment was a success. On one Saturday morning, I turned an entire loaf of bread into french toast for breakfasts during the upcoming week, and this has been a regular item in my freezer ever since.

Freezer french toast

You can use whatever kind of bread you like for this. Eliza requested cinnamon raisin bread, so the recipe I made for blogging purposes was made with a cinnamon raisin Texas Toast. You could use whatever you like, though – regular sandwich bread, thickly sliced crusty french bread, your options are limited only by the bready goodness at your disposal. For storage, I don’t worry too much about packaging it up perfectly for long-term freezer storage. This french toast never lasts long in our house, so I reassemble the loaf with parchment paper between the slices, and place it back in the original bag. I get out as much air as I can, but freezer burn isn’t usually a concern as it’s all been eaten within a week anyway!

Freezer french toast

Buttermilk French Toast {perfect for freezing!}

1 cup buttermilk
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cardamom
~8 slices Texas Toast-style bread
Butter, for the pan

Heat your pan over medium heat.

Mix together buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, honey, flour, and seasonings. {Tip: use your blender, it takes just a few seconds!}

Dip bread in the egg and milk mixture {I like to give it about 15 seconds a side to let the liquid really soak in}. Add your butter to the hot pan, and drop the soaked bread in. Cook a couple minutes per side, until golden brown and crispy.

For freezing, place on a wire rack to let cool. Once cooled, place in bags for freezer storage and freeze. To reheat, place frozen slices on a baking sheet in a 350F oven for 10-12 minutes. Alternatively, you can microwave them or use your toaster.

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