Breakfast

Turk-Ish Yogurt Parfaits

I have been named the "Brunch Queen" by my friends, family and clients, but with this reign comes a lot of pressure. I am constantly having to come up with new and innovative brunch dishes that will keep my guests excited.  This dish all started with my love for dried Turkish Apricots.  These apricots are the perfect amount of chewy and juicy and have a sweet but floral taste to them. Some of the classic Turkish desserts involve honey, rose essence, pistachios and spices so I decided to take these flavors and combine them into the perfect savory but sweet parfait. The good quality extra virgin olive oil I use in the granola just add this rich, savory element to the dish that is perfect with the sweet honey and apricots. 

 

Ingredients-

  • 3 Cups Plain Greek Yogurt (I prefer 0% fat Fage)
  • Rose Extract (only a few drops)
  • Clover Honey
  • Turkish Dried Apricots (or any apricots dried or fresh)

Pistachio Olive Oil Granola-

  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 ½ cups raw pistachios, hulled
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, hulled
  • 1 cup coconut flakes ( I prefer the unsweetened coconut chips)
  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4  teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)

Preheat oven to 300F degrees.

  1. In a large bowl, combine oats, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, coconut chips, maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and cardamom.
  2. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted. Store in an airtight container or mason jars if you do not use all of it right away.

Assembling the parfaits-

  1. Choose the parfait glasses or bowls you would like to assemble the parfaits in and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt with just 2-3 drops of Rose Extract.  If you prefer a stronger rose flavor add more to your liking. Note that it is very strong and can be overpowering, you want the flavor to come through but subtly.
  3. Scoop a few tablespoons of the rose infused yogurt into each parfait cup. Drizzle the yogurt with clover honey, sprinkle it with a few pieces of the chopped apricots and the Pistachio Granola.
  4. Repeat the layers as many times as you like! Be sure to have the top layer include the granola, apricots and a nice drizzle of honey.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Granola Bars

 

New Year, new me right? Dieting is not my forte because I love sweets! I created a granola bar recipe that is overall pretty healthy and truly satisfies my sweet tooth.  The toasted oats, flax and nuts combined with the honey and almond butter give these bars such a warm, comforting and rich flavor. They are the perfect afternoon pick me up and an easy way to get yourself out of bed in the morning.  Make the batch on a Sunday and enjoy them all week long. You'll never get sick of these because you can change up the mix-ins up as you wish! Maybe try dried apricots and candied ginger, or how about a cinnamon and dried blueberry with yogurt chips! Make your own variation and get featured on our Instagram! @gotroomformore or facebook.com/gotroomformore 

 

Ingredients-

  1. 2 Cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  2. 1/2 Cup Slivered Almonds (not sliced, slivered- you can also used chopped whole almonds) 
  3. 3 Tablespoons Flax Seed
  4. 6 ounces honey, approximately 1/2 cup
  5. 3 Tablespoons Packed Light Brown Sugar 
  6. 2 Tablespoons Coconut oil
  7. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 2 Heaping Tablespoons of Almond Butter ( My favorite is the Classic flavor from The Nutty Spoon https://thenuttyspoon.squarespace.com/) You can order online! 
  10. 6 1/2 ounces chopped dried fruit, any combination of apricots, cherries or blueberries ( I used Dried Cherries)
  11. 2 Tablespoons Cocoa Nibs (I used dark chocolate coated nibs from Trader Joes but you can just use raw nibs if you like)

(Feel free to put in any mix ins that you like! Use different nuts like cashews or even put in some unsweetened coconut or sunflower seeds! )

Steps-

  1. Line a 9 by 9-inch baking dish with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.(you can use a square dish too and have them a bit thicker) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spread the oats and almonds onto a half-sheet pan. Place the flax seed on a separate sheet pan. Place pans in the oven and toast for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Flax seeds may be faster depending on your oven so check on them frequently! You just want them lightly toasted and aromatic. 
  3. In the meantime, combine the honey, brown sugar, coconut oil, vanilla extract and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved. Stir in the Almond Butter just until it is melted and incorporated. 
  4. Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish. Sprinkle the cocoa nibs over the top and and place a piece of parchment on top and press down to ensure the mixture doesn’t stick to your hands. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely (will take a few hours or so). Cut into squares (or whatever shape you like) and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crumb Cake

I have to honest, this cake gets me going, it is so darn delicious! My boyfriend and I are very opposite, from our appearance to our personalities, we are pretty ying and yang, but as you know opposites attract! Something we do have in common, besides our names (Danielle and Daniel), is we LOVE Peanut butter and chocolate together, so back in September I came up with this recipe for Dan's birthday.  We are two weeks away from Christmas now and this is the perfect cake to give as gifts to coworkers, neighbors, mailmen..whomever! It is made in a large rectangular pan, so you can cut it into big squares and pack them into nice little boxes tied with holiday ribbon. If you are not a peanut butter person you can leave it out and it just becomes a double chocolate crumb cake! Enjoy!

 

Ingredients-

For the cake-

  1. 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  2. 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pan
  3. 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
  4. 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  5. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/2 cup white sugar
  8. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  9. 3 large eggs
  10. 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  11. 1/2 cup sour cream
  12. 1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter (I use Skippy)

For the Chocolate Crumbs-

  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 ¼ cup sugar
  3. 2 sticks butter, melted
  4. 3/8 cup cocoa powder
  5. ¼ cup confectioner's sugar

 

Steps-

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 13inch x 9inch pan or a "jelly-roll" pan ( a pan about 15-inch by 10-inch by 2-inch) if you'd like, by greasing the pan generously with butter and dusting it with flour.  You can also line the bottom with parchment paper after you butter it if you are worried about it sticking. 

In a separate bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and espresso powder.  Set aside.

In a stand mixer or using an electric hand beater, cream the butter and sugars together.  Once the butter mixture is nice and light add the eggs one at a time until they are fully incorporated.  Next add the vanilla.

Next add the dry ingredients into the butter/egg mixture alternating with the sour cream.  

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Place the peanut butter into a microwave safe bowl, and microwave it for about 30 seconds or until it is liquidy. Drizzle the peanut butter all over the cake and then use a butter knife to swirl it lightly around the cake. You want to see the peanut butter so do not mix it completely into the batter.

Place the cake into the oven and bake at 350 degrees (F) for 15 minutes. While cake is baking, make chocolate crumb topping as follows: In a large mixing bowl, stir together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 ¼ cups sugar, and 3/8 cup cocoa powder. Add 2 sticks melted butter and stir until mixture is thick and workable.

With your hands, pinch off chunks of the chocolate mixture and place them on top of the partially-baked chocolate cake. Continue until all of the chocolate mixture is used and the cake is evenly covered. Return the cake to a 350 degree (F) oven, and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cake from oven. Do not over bake, you want it to be a little fudgy inside, but make sure it is set!

Remove the cake from the oven and let cool completely. Dust the top with the confectioners sugar and enjoy! For an added touch, melt 1 cup of peanut butter chips (reeses makes them in the baking isle), in the microwave with 1 teaspoon of crisco shortening and then drizzle it over the top of the cake.  Once it hardens and cools enjoy!

 

 

Danielle's Chicken and Waffles

We all know that brunch is a GRFM specialty.  Chicken and Waffles is an iconic Southern, American dish, but this aint your mama's chicken and waffles, this new and improved.  This has everything you want in a good southern dish, but with a more refined twist.  First off my waffles are not just plain ol buttermilk waffles, they are buttermilk, cheddar, cornbread waffles! They are subtley cheesy, mildly sweet and the perfect texture.  They are crisp on the outside, but the club soda that is folded in the batter really gives them this wonderful airiness inside and the buttermilk of course gives them the perfect amount of moisture. The sweet and savory honey butter full of fresh thyme and honey just elevates the whole dish as it brings this very aromatic, floral note to the dish. The fried chicken is rather perfect if I do say so myself.  The combo of the rice flour and cornstarch along with the spices, gives the chicken the perfect, extra crispy, texture on the outside, just like your favorite fast food restaurant..but totally better.  Soaking the chicken in buttermilk and Harissa makes the meat so incredibly juicy and flavorful it almost explodes when you bite into it. How I recommend you eat this dish is, you need to eat each element of this dish all at once, in one big, messy, orgasmic bite. You need that fluffy, cheesy, corny waffle with that crispy, spicy, juicy fried chicken, the creamy, floral, salty honey butter and finally the sweet, sticky, delicious maple syrup...try not to drool on yourself there, I know you did. 

Ingredients- 

Fried Chicken

  1. 1  1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  2. 1/4 Cup Cornstarch
  3. 1/4 Cup Rice Flour 
  4. 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  5. 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt plus more to sprinkle on the finished fried chicken
  6. 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  7. 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  8. 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  9. 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Mustard
  10. 1/8 Teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper (or if you like spicy go for 1/3 teaspoon)
  11. 1/4 Teaspoon of Oregano 
  12. 1 Lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (cut lengthways so they are about 1  1/2 inches thick)- You can do this same recipe for chicken wings or any chicken pieces on the bone
  13. Harissa Paste (A spicy, savory pepper spread) You will use about 1 Tablespoon
  14. Buttermilk (enough to cover the chicken- about 1 1/2 to 2 cups)
  15. Canola Oil for frying

 

Steps-

  1. The night before you are serving up your fried chicken, you will want to do this step! When the chicken soaks in the buttermilk mixture overnight it is magical! 
  2. First you want to coat your cut chicken breasts in the Harissa paste using your hands (use gloves if you have them and don't touch your eyes!).  Make sure they are fully coated. 
  3. Stir together in a bowl the paprika, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, ground mustard powder, cayenne and oregano. Sprinkle half of the spice mixture over the chicken that you tossed in the Harissa, set the rest of the spice mixture aside for later. Place the chicken in a sealable plastic container or a heavy duty ziplock bag.  Pour buttermilk over the chicken until it just covers the chicken.  
  4. Allow the chicken to sit no less than 4 hours but preferable overnight, it makes a huge difference. 
  5. The next day, fill a large dutch oven or large pot with canola oil.  You want enough oil where the chicken can be fully submerged. Heat the oil on the stove until it reaches about 360F, use an oil thermometer if you have one.  Remove the chicken from the fridge. Stir together the AP flour, rice flour, baking powder, cornstarch and the remaining spice mixture. Piece by piece, remove the chicken from the buttermilk mixture and allow the excess to drip off.  Drop the chicken into the flour mixture in a sealable container or large ziploc bag. Toss to coat the chicken and then once all the chicken is coated, seal up the container or bag and shake to get the chickens really encrusted in the flora mixture. You can use your hands to press more flour onto the chicken if necessary. 
  6. Preheat your oven to 300F
  7. Fry a few pieces of chicken at a time until they are golden brown and crispy and fully cooked inside.  Remove form the oil with tongs or a slotted spoon and place on a wire rack on top of a sheet pan.  Sprinkle the finished chicken with salt. As you are frying the rest of the chicken, place the finished chicken thats on the rack into the oven to stay warm and crispy.  Keeping it on the rack will keep it from getting too oily and soggy. 

Cheddar Cornbread Waffles-

Ingredients-

  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1 cup cornmeal
  3. 2 tsp baking powder
  4. 1 tsp baking soda
  5. 1 Tablespoon White Sugar
  6. 1/2 tsp salt
  7. 1  1/3 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  8. 3 large eggs
  9. 1 cup buttermilk
  10. 1 cup club soda
  11. 1/3 cup canola oil

Steps-

  1. Sift together first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in cheese. Combine eggs, buttermilk, and canola and gently stir into dry ingredients just until blended. Next with a rubber spatula gently fold in the club soda until fully combined.  
  2.  
  3. Heat your waffle iron according to the manufacturer's instructions. Spray waffle iron with cooking spray.  Spoon batter onto preheated waffle iron. Cook 3-5 minutes or until crisp and golden brown and fully cooked on the inside. Repeat with remaining batter.
  4.  
  5. Transfer waffles to a baking sheet with a wire rack, and keep warm, uncovered, in the oven at 200° until ready to serve. Waffles can be frozen in zip-top freezer bags and reheated in oven or toaster oven or oven.
  6. For the chicken and waffles- For each person, place 2 waffles on each plate, top these waffles with a dollop of honey thyme butter, few pieces of fried chicken and then drizzle it all with some maple syrup :) 

Honey Thyme Butter-

  1. Salted Butter room temperature or softened until spreadable 
  2. Fresh Thyme
  3. Honey

Stir together the butter with some fresh thyme and a good amount of honey.  Taste it and adjust according to your preference! I love a good amount of honey and thyme in mine. 

 

Matcha Almond Cake

Lets just say that New York is Mad about Matcha! Matcha is a finely ground powder of specially grown green tea. What's great about Matcha is that it is incredibly versatile.  Matcha has many health benefits and will give you an energy boost without the crash and caffeine withdrawal that coffee gives you.  As a caffeine sensitive person, trust me this is a great way to start your day.  The obvious way to enjoy matcha is as a hot beverage, but in recent years it has been popping up in all sorts of recipes, from ice cream to crepes and even in savory dishes like sauces and rubs. Last week I stopped by a new NYC brunch hotspot called Egg Shop, down on Elizabeth Street in Soho.  Normally I opt for the traditional mimosa when I have brunch, but when perusing this menu the Matcha Almond Latte jumped out at me.  The latte consisted of steamed almond milk and matcha powder and had this incredible earthy and mildly sweet flavor.  When you first try Matcha you may think it is a little bit grassy in flavor, but do not give up right away!  Trust me as you continue to drink it or eat it, it will grow on you and you will find it extremely pleasant.  After I had this latte, the chef in me began to ponder ways I could use it in an original recipe for GRFM.  I loved the almond and green tea flavors together, so I decided to make a delicious tea cake that you can eat for breakfast, dessert or an afternoon snack.  I originally wanted to make a very dense poundcake style loaf, but in the end I ended up with a moist but fluffy loaf that will be awesome with a cup of tea or coffee and a great asset to my next brunch spread.  If you love green tea..give this one a go!

Ingredients-

  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour

  2. 1   1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt

  4. 1/2 cup butter

  5. 5 oz  cream cheese softened

  6. 2  1/2 Teaspoons Matcha Powder

  7. 3/4 cups white sugar

  8. 2 large eggs

  9. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  10. 3/4 teaspoon almond extract

  11. About 1/3 Cup Slivered Almonds

Glaze-

  1. 1/2 Cup Confectioners Sugar
  2. Fresh Lemond Juice
  3. Almond Extract
  4. Water

Steps-

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F . Grease (with butter) and flour a loaf pan.
  2. Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the Matcha Powder, vanilla and almond extract. Beat in the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. DO not over mix! Do it by hand if you want to prevent over beating. 
  4. Spread into prepared pan and sprinkle some slivered almonds evenly over the top.  You can put as much or as little as you want or none at all! I think it adds a wonderful crunch to the top of the cake.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes,then turn out onto a wire rack.  Quickly put together the glaze while the cake is still pretty hot. 
  6. Stir together the confectioners sugar, a few drops of fresh lemon juice, a drop of almond extracts (remember it is very strong and concentrated so a drop is enough) and a few tablespoons of water until it is a loose glaze consistency.  Next drizzle it over the top with a spoon and brush the sides of the cake with the glaze using a pastry brush.  When the cake cools the sugary glaze will leave a nice sugary crust on the outside. 
  7. Enjoy!

The Best Banana Bread

Ingredients

 

  1.         ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  2.         ¼ cup vegetable oil
  3.         1 cup white granulated sugar
  4.         ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  5.         2 eggs
  6.         1½ cups mashed ripe bananas (I use 3 medium well-ripened bananas)
  7.         ½ cup sour cream
  8.         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  9.         2 cups flour
  10.         1 teaspoon baking soda
  11.         ½ teaspoon salt
  12.         1 heaping cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips 
  13.         Additional brown sugar for the top 

Steps-

  1.         Mix together butter, oil, sugars and eggs.
  2.         Add mashed bananas, sour cream and vanilla, stirring together well.
  3.         Mix together the flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl and then add it slowly to the banana mixture.
  4.         Pour into 1 greased large loaf pan or into greased muffin tins or muffin tins lined with paper liners
  5.         Sprinkle additional brown sugar generously over top of batter
  6.         Bake at 325 degrees: large loaf pan for about 1 hour, for muffins around 25 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out of the center clean.
  7.         Allow bread to cool in pans for about 20 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the edges, tap the pan on the counter several times to release the bread from the bottom of the pan, then invert pan over a wire rack and let the bread fall onto the rack to finish cooling completely.

 

French Toast Casserole

French toast makes me laugh because as a child I HATED it, but now I can't get enough of it!  I even won a special "Chopped" cooking competition on the Anderson Cooper Live show for my French Toast dish! For someone with an incredible sweet tooth, it was strange for me to dislike such a sweet, carb filled breakfast treat, but I think it was the way my mom made it for me.  My mom is an exceptional cook and I talk about it all the time in my blog posts and videos, but I was never fond of her french toast method.  She used to make it with plain white bread that was soaked in egg, milk and sugar and then browned in a pan.  Since she only used thin, plain white bread it ended up having this unfavorable texture and  the flavor was often metallic..maybe it was the pan she used, but I just did not like it.  Once I moved to NYC I started going on brunch adventures with friends and working in top NYC restaurants, so I discovered how absolutely incredible French Toast can be!  The 3 key things to remember when making french toast are:

-Use good bread!  The best breads to use are thick, eggy breads like Challah bread (my favorite), French Pullman bread, Brioche, or breads that have yummy flavors like cinnamon swirl bread, or those new sliced white breads that have flavors like Pumpkin Spice and French Vanilla.

-Make sure your egg/custard mixture is flavorful! Make sure you add some sugar, some vanilla extract, or vanilla bean (or almond or orange extract can be nice too!) and a pinch of salt.  This will ensure that you have a flavorful french toast inside and out!

-Soak it for several hours or overnight! My french toast casserole especially and all other thick pieces of bread that are used for French Toast should be soaked in your egg and milk/cream mixture overnight to ensure that the inside gets all the yummy flavors and texture as well.  When you cook it the outside will be nice and crisp and brown and the inside will almost be custard like..rich and heavenly!

The recipe below is a recipe for French Toast Casserole which is fantastic for big groups and families because you can assemble it the night before, set it in the fridge to soak up all the good flavors and then bake it in the morning all at once!  You don't have to hover over the stove for hours flipping each individual piece of French Toast until each person is fed.  This casserole can be stuffed with any fruits, chocolate, nutella, peanut butter, cream cheese your heart desires!  Here are my favorite combos-

-Nutella & Banana

-Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips and Bananas, Strawberries or Raspberries (or all three)

-White Chocolate Chips and Blueberries

-Add Pumpkin Pie Spice, Cinnamon and Nutmeg to the egg mixture to make a nice fall casserole.  You can even whisk some pumpkin puree into the egg batter.

-Cream Cheese and Strawberry or Raspberry Jam

-Or just some Cinnamon and Nutmeg in the batter and on top..a little Dark Brown Sugar is good too! Simple and traditional

 

French Toast Casserole

Ingredients-

  1. 1 Large Loaf of Bread cut into 1 inch thick slices or large 2in x 2in cubes (Challah Bread is preferred or a mixture of breads.  I sometimes will do 3/4 Challah Bread and then 1/4 Pumpkin Spice Bread (you can find it at the grocery store in the bread isle in the Fall)
  2. 8 Eggs Beaten Lightly
  3. 3 Cups Half and Half
  4. 2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar plus a little more for the top
  5. 1  1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  6. 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  7. 1/8 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  8. 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon plus more for the top
  9. Any Fruits or Topping you may like (see my suggestions above)
  10. 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

Steps-

  1. Butter a 13inch x 9inch Pyrex dish or any Casserole oven-safe dish you have. Arrange bread nicely in the baking dish.  If you want to put fruit or any filling do it now!  Layer your bananas, jam, chocolate chips or whatever you'd like in between the layers of the bread.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, half and half, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  3. Pour mixture over the bread in the baking dish.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for at least 7-8 hours.  
  4. Remove from the fridge 25-30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350F. 
  5. Dot the top of the French Toast with small pieces of the butter.  Sprinkle the top with a little Cinnamon if you'd like and then sprinkle some granulated sugar evenly over the top.  Not too much but just enough to get a nice crystal like appearance when you bake it.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the French Toast puffs up and the center comes out clean.  Let it stand for 5 minutes to cool slightly.  Serve with maple syrup!

This should feed about 10 people but if you have extra just put it in the fridge and eat it all week! Just heat it in the microwave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Multigrain Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup, Golden Raisins & Slivered Almonds

Nothing says Fall like the smell, taste and site of pumpkins!! Pumpkin is such a wonderful, versatile ingredient because you can use it in both savory and sweet dishes.  This dish is also inspired by another fall favorite, fresh apple cider.  What I discovered during my “Chopped Challenge” win on the Andersen Cooper Live show (see the media tab) was, when you cook down cider it reduces down into this thick, sticky, sweet syrup just like red wine does when you’re making your favorite Bearnaise.  The combination of the savory, spice filled waffles with the tart apple cider syrup and sweet, golden raisins is truly the perfect way to start the fall season. I add some crunch to the dish by sprinkling some  toasted slivered almonds over the top.  Since the waffles are multigrain and do have some nutritional value, I like to top mine with a nice dollop of delicious honey butter...hey live a little.  I invited some friends over, warmed up some fresh apple cider, and plated up colossal mounds of these wondrous waffles. 

 

Pumpkin Multigrain Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup & Golden Raisins

(Feeds 4 People)

Ingredients-

  1. 2 Cups  Multigrain Pancake & Baking Mix (I use Trader Joes)
  2. ¼ Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  3. 1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
  4. 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  5. ¼ Teaspoon Ground Ginger
  6. ¼ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  7. ½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  8. ¼ Teaspoon Baking Powder
  9. ¼ Teaspoon Baking Soda
  10. 3 Eggs
  11. 4 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter (melted)
  12. ½ Teaspoon Vanilla
  13. 1 2/3 Cups Milk (I used 1%)
  14. Slivered Almonds (lightly toasted)- Garnish (Walnuts are also great with this dish)
  15. Powdered Sugar- Garnish

 

Apple Cider Syrup-

  1. 1 ½ Cups Apple Cider
  2. Dash of Cinnamon and Nutmeg
  3. 1 Tablespoon Honey
  4. 2 Tablespoons Real Maple Syrup
  5. ½ Cup Golden Raisins
  6. 1 ½ Tablespoons Butter

Steps-

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the Multigrain Baking Mix, Brown Sugar, Salt, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Baking Powder and Baking Soda. Set aside.
  2. Separate 2 of the eggs, and beat the eggs whites with the whisk attachment of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until the whites form stiff peaks.  You want the whites to be stiff and foamy and full of air.  Set the beaten egg whites aside.
  3. Using a whisk or a stand mixture, blend the remaining egg (do not separate from the whites this time) in with the dry ingredients along with the vanilla, Pumpkin, Milk and melted Butter.
  4. Using a rubber spatula fold the stiff beaten egg whites into the waffle batter.  You want to fold it in so that the air from the egg whites stays in the batter.  This will help you to have nice, light and airy waffles.
  5. Heat Your waffle iron on high.  When your waffle iron is heated, spray it with nonstick cooking spray and pour about 1- 1 ½ Cups of Batter into the center of the iron.  Close the lids and cook them for about 5-6 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. While you are making the waffles prepare the syrup!  Keep the waffles in the oven on a very low heat to keep them warm if necessary.
  6. Pour the apple cider, 1 ½ tablespoons of butter and raisins in a small saucepan or nonstick skillet.
  7. Cook on medium heat stirring occasionally until a lot of the liquid evaporates leaving you with a syrup-like consistency.
  8. Stir in the maple syrup, honey and spices.
  9. If the syrup is too tart for your liking, add more honey or a little brown sugar. 
  10. When the syrup is at your desired consistency, remove from the stove. Be careful not to reduce it down too much because it can get too dark in color and start to burn. If it thickens too much add a little more apple cider.
  11. Dust some powdered sugar on top of the waffles, drizzle on the syrup and raisins and then finish it off with some toasted slivered almonds or walnuts.

Strawberry Cornmeal Scookies?

My obsession with cooking and the Hospitality industry all started at the age of 14 when I started my own business baking and selling scones in my town.  My scones are still the most requested baked good at every birthday party, brunch, dinner party, Mother’s Day celebration you name it.  I spent endless hours in the kitchen practicing and editing my recipe until it was just right.  Although my scone recipe will forever be a family secret, I have come up with a twist on the classic scone recipe to share with my loyal followers.  My mom and I absolutely love a good corn muffin in the morning, so I decided to combine 3 of my favorite foods all into one irresistible breakfast treat…the Cornmeal Scookie.  The Cornmeal Scookie is a combination of a corn muffin and scone and a cookie all in one!  I add fresh, ripened Strawberries to add some sweetness and a pop of color.  Make these for breakfast, dessert, or as a take-away at your next brunch party!

Ingredients-

  1. 1 Cup Cornmeal
    1  Cup All Purpose flour
  2. 1/3 Cup White Granulated Sugar
    1 ½ Teaspoons Baking Powder
    ½  Teaspoon Baking Soda
    ½ Teaspoon Salt
    6.5 Tablespoons Cold Unsalted Butter
    1 Cup Ripe Fresh Strawberries Diced
    ¼ Cup Sour Cream
    1/3 Cup Milk (I used skim)
    ½ Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
    2 Large Egg Yolks

For the Egg Wash-

  1. 1 Whole Egg
  2. 1 Tablespoon Milk
  3. A few tablespoons of granulated sugar to sprinkle on top.  You can even use large granulated sugar or sugar in the raw on top for a prettier look!

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. Stir together the Cornmeal, Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Salt.
  3. Dice the Cold Butter into ½ inch cubes.  Toss them into the bowl with the flour mixture.
  4. Using a pastry cutter or two butter knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until each piece of butter is about the size of a pea.  You want there to be pieces of butter throughout the dough, so that when the scones bake the butter will melt into the dough and make them buttery and tender.
  5. Set the flour mixture aside.
  6. In a separate bowl, mix together the Sour Cream, Milk, Vanilla and 2 Egg Yolks. Set aside.
  7. Sprinkle about 1 Tablespoon of Granulated Sugar onto the diced Strawberries and stir them around so they are fully coated. 
  8. Stir the Strawberries into the flour mixture until each berry is fully coated.  Be gentle so the berries don’t break up too much and dye the scones red.
  9. Pour the Milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a fork until everything is fully incorporated.  The mixture will be fairly wet.
  10. Cover a Large cookie sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray it lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  11. Scoop 8 large, round, heaping mounds of dough onto the cookie sheet.  Leave about an inch and a half to 2 inches in between them so they have room to grow.
  12. In a small bowl beat together the whole Egg and Tablespoon of Milk using a fork.
  13. Using a pastry brush, brush a little of the egg wash onto each mound of dough and then sprinkle each one with some sugar. I use a generous amount of sugar on the top because it adds to the texture and flavor.
  14. Baking in the oven for about 25 minutes on the middle rack of the oven, or until they are fully cooked inside and they are golden brown on the bottom and edges.
  15. Remove them from the oven and let them sit for about 20 minutes so they can set.
  16. Eat them with butter on them, or clotted cream along with some nice strawberry preserves if youd like!

Banana, Lychee & Coconut Muffins with a Coconut Glaze

While picking up some produce at my favorite fruit stand, these bags of colorful, textured, chestnut size fruits caught my eye.  What were these foreign fruits? I asked the man working at the stand, and to my surprise he yelled out “it’s Lychee!” I have eaten Lychee quite a few times, but in cocktails like Lychee martinis and coladas.  I bought a bag of these strange little fellas without a clue on what to do with them.  I cut one open and gave it a taste to see if anything would jump out at me.  The sweet, tropical, floral, slightly nutty flavor was a match made in heaven for coconut and banana.  This recipe is dairy free (contains eggs but no milk products) so if you are Lactose Intolerant this recipe is for you!  These muffins are incredibly tasty and moist and if you bring them to your next event I assure you they will “rise” to the occasion…literally.

Ingredients-

  1. ¼ Cup Pureed Fresh Lychees (make sure you peel them and remove the pits)
  2. ½ Cup Coconut Milk
  3. 1 ½ Bananas
  4. 1/3 Cup Canola Oil
  5. 1 ½ Teaspoons Vanilla
  6. 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  7. 1 ½ Teaspoons Baking Soda
  8. 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  9. ½ Teaspoon Salt
  10. ¾ Cup White Granulated Sugar
  11. ½ Cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut
  12. ¼ Cup Fresh Lychees finely chopped (remove skin and pits)

Coconut Glaze-

(optional, but definitely adds flavor and makes them look pretty)

  1. 2 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar
  2. 1 ½ - 2 Tablespoons Coconut Milk
  3. 1 Tablespoon Shredded Sweetened Coconut
  4. A drop of Vanilla Extract

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. In a food processor or blender, blend together the pureed lychee (1/4 cup), coconut milk, bananas, canola oil and vanilla.
  3. In a large bowl stir together the dry ingredients- flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and coconut.
  4. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and mix it all together.  Do not over mix or the muffins will be too dense.
  5. Gently fold in the chopped lychee.
  6. Scoop batter evenly into 12 muffin cups (use paper or foil muffin tin liners)
  7. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when you stick it in the center of the muffin.
  8. Let the muffins cool
  9. To make the glaze, stir together all the glaze ingredients in a bowl.
  10. Using a pastry brush or a small off-set spatula, spread some of the glaze onto the top of each cupcake.
  11. Sprinkle some extra coconut over the top for decoration.
  12. Let the glaze dry and then enjoy!

The Sicilian Breakfast of Champions- Spiced Greek Yogurt with Figs & Almonds

As I have discussed in my previous blog post, it is fig season, and I just can’t help but purchase a box every time I walk past the fruit stand on the corner.  The sweet, honey-like smell they give off when they are ripe, can put one in a state of trance.  After a long workout this morning I started rummaging through the cabinets for something healthy to eat for breakfast.  My friends and family can tell you that I don’t just have a sweet tooth, I’ve got sweet teeth…I just love sweets especially in the morning when I wake up and at night before bed (probably not the best habit).  What’s great about figs and honey, is they have natural sugars, so you’re still satisfying your cravings but not negatively effecting your health.  This super simple recipe can be eaten for breakfast, a lite lunch, or even as a dessert, because that is how delicious it tastes! Go Fig-ure!

It is as simple as this-

Serves 1 Person-

Ingredients-

  1. ¾ Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I use 0% fat Fage brand)
  2. 3-4 Black Mission Figs (quartered)
  3. 1 - 1  1/2 Tablespoons Slivered Almonds (as much as you prefer)
  4. 1/8 Teaspoon Orange Zest
  5. A Sprinkle of Cinnamon
  6. A Drizzle of Honey

Steps-

  1. Place Greek Yogurt in a bowl.
  2. Top it with the sliced Figs and Slivered Almonds
  3. Evenly sprinkle the Cinnamon and Orange Zest over the top.
  4. Drizzle the honey over the top.
  5. Enjoy and then lick the bowl clean…

Nutella Banana Breakfast Shake

This morning I woke up extra early to get a good workout in before work, and on my way back I began to brainstorm what I would have for breakfast. Hmmm…Nutella and toast?…fruit and yogurt?...a nice cup of coffee for sure…AH HA! Ive got it! I combined some of these delicious elements into one thick, creamy, rather healthy shake, and I was ready to get my day started!  The Greek yogurt and banana in this shake gives it a great thick texture along with that wonderful protein your body needs, and that Nutella…oh that Nutella…it adds that sweet, chocolaty, nutty flavor to the shake, along with some calcium.  I add a hint of instant coffee to this drink to give me a nice energy boost!  This shake couldn’t be easier to make and truly filled me up!  A great meal replacement!

Ingredients-

  1. 1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon of Plain Greek Yogurt (0% fat or 2% fat is best.  I used Fage brand)
  2. ½ a Banana
  3. ½ Cup Skim Milk
  4. 1 Heaping Tablespoon of Nutella
  5. A handful of Ice Cubes
  6. ½ Teaspoon Instant Coffee Grounds
  7. Drizzle of Honey 

Steps-

  1. Put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Baked Blueberry Banana Oatmeal

I absolutely LOVE oatmeal! It is warm and hearty and oh so comforting, especially in the morning before a long, stressful day of work.   My mom will tell you that during my adolescent phase of life, I was often eating oatmeal three times a day…go figure.  I love baked oatmeal because it has this great “oatmeal cookie” like outer crust and a warm gooey center.  I add some delicious fresh fruits for their color, flavor, texture and nutrients of course!  Fruit is the most natural way to give your body the energy boost it needs to start your day!  This recipe is super easy and makes enough for about 3-4 servings, so you can make it and eat it a few days in a row for breakfast!

 

Ingredients-

  1. 1 ½ Cups of Oats (Quaker Old Fashioned Whole Grain Oats)
  2. ½ Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  3. Dash of Salt
  4. 2 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar
  5. ½ Cup Fresh Blueberries
  6. 1 Large Banana
  7. ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  8. ¼ Teaspoon Cinnamon
  9. 1 Tablespoon of Butter (melted)
  10. 1 Cup Skim Milk
  11. 1 Egg
  12. ¼ Cup chopped Walnuts or Almonds (Optional)

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F
  2. Stir together the oats, 1 Tablespoon Dark Brown Sugar, Baking Powder, Salt, Nuts (optional), Cinnamon and Blueberries.
  3. In a separate bowl mash HALF of the banana (set aside the other half)
  4. Stir the Vanilla, Egg, Milk and Butter into the bowl with the banana.  Stir until combined.
  5. Stir the milk/banana mixture into the oat mixture and mix until fully incorporated.  Be careful not to break up the blueberries! Be gentle!
  6. Slice up the remaining half of the banana and set aside.
  7. Spray a small ceramic dish or pyrex loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.  You want to mixture to be about 3-4 inches high in the pan so it doesn’t dry out.
  8. Pour the oatmeal mixture into the dish and spread it out.  Place the banana slices evenly over the top.
  9. Sprinkle the remaining Tablespoon of Brown Sugar over the top.  (The brown sugar on top is optional if you are super health conscious.
  10. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the top is slightly browned and the oats are nice and tender.
  11. Enjoy!!

Farina with Raspberry Liqueur, Devonshire Cream & Fresh Berries

One of my fondest memories of growing up was waking up on a Saturday morning to a piping hot bowl of creamy Farina, made by my beautiful mother.  This wasn’t your average bowl of Cream of Wheat, (you know the bland, paste like hot cereal that kids dread to taste) this one was magical. To give my Farina some extra sweetness and color my mom would put in a few drops of Chambord, a Raspberry flavored Liqueur.  The funny thing is, my mom did not realize this was alcohol at first, and would let me put in a few extra drops since I loved the taste so much.  I am sure the alcohol was slightly cooked off by the heat of the stove, but hey maybe this is why I was such a well behaved, friendly child? Anyway…I would stir my Chambord Farina around until it turned a pretty pink color and then before my mom knew it, it was all gone.  On a trip back home to Long Island, I found the little nip of Chambord in the kitchen cabinet where it always was, and decided to put my own twist on this rather funny family recipe. I make basic Farina, Drizzle some Chambord on top, put a dollop of homemade Devonshire Cream (Clotted Cream) and a handful of mixed berries…simple yet delightful.  Eat this for breakfast any day of the week, or even serve it in small bowls as a starter course at your next Brunch party beside some Chambord Champagne Cocktails.

 

Recipe Serves 3-6 People (3 larger bowls or 6 small helpings)

Ingredients-

Farina-

  1. 1+2/3 Cups Milk (I used 1%)
  2. 1+2/3 Cups Water
  3. ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  4. 2/3 Cup Farina- Creamy Hot Wheat Cereal
  5. Granulated White Sugar
  6. Chambord (or any Raspberry Liqueur)- A few Teaspoons full (as much as you like!)
  7. Mixed Berries (about 1 Cup) I use Raspberries and Blueberries

Devonshire Cream-

  1. ½ Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  2. ¾ Cup Sour Cream
  3. 1 ½ Tablespoons Powdered Sugar

Steps- 

  1. First make the Devonshire Cream (Clotted Cream), by whipping the cream with a stand mixer, hand mixer or a whisk, until soft peaks form.
  2.  Add the Powdered Sugar and Whip until fully incorporated. 
  3. Add the sour cream and beat until the cream is nice and fluffy and holds its shape.
  4. Set aside in the fridge.
  5. Note: This cream can also be used on desserts like fruit pies and cakes, or with scones and biscuits too!
  6. Next, make the Farina by stiring together the milk an water in a medium size pot or saucepan and bringing it to a boil.
  7. Once the liquid is boiling, stir in the Farina gradually and stir constantly so there are no lumps.
  8. Return to a boil and then lower the heat so that it is just boiling slightly and stir continually until it has reached our desired texture.  I prefer it to be thick but still creamy so it can pour off the spoon and not latch onto it. 
  9. Ladle the Farina into serving bowls.
  10. Sprinkle some granulated sugar evenly over the top so there is a light dusting of sugar throughout the dish.
  11. Drizzle some Chambord over the Farina (about 1 to 1 ½ Teaspoons per serving or as much as you’d like)
  12. Put a handful of berries on top of each dish
  13. Remove the Devonshire Cream from the fridge and put a dollop in the center of each bowl.
  14. Enjoy!

Key Lime Pie French Toast

The story behind this unique breakfast treat, is I had a very detailed dream where I was whipping up this wonderful Key Lime Pie battered French Toast for one of my close friends.  I figured this was a sign, and God was telling me to make this “dreamy” dish a reality!  I invited one of my closest friends and greatest Guinea Pig, Mario, over for Saturday morning breakfast and came up with the following recipe for my fantasy French Toast.  The batter you soak the bread in has many of the elements that make up traditional Key Lime Pie custard, and the outer crust is Graham Cracker crumbs, just like the base of the pie.  You may want to soak the bread in the batter in the fridge overnight, or for 3-4 hours.  This will give you the best results!

Ps. When I was cracking the eggs, one of them has twin yolks inside, which is good luck!  I knew this recipe was bound to be a success!

(Feeds 3-4 People)

Ingredients-

  1. 6- Slices of fresh bread cut into 1 inch slices ( I used French Pullman, but you can also use Brioche, Challah, or any good bread that will absorb the liquid and wont contrast with the flavors of the dish)
  2. ¾ Cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
  3. 1 Cup Milk (I used 2%)
  4. 3/4 Cup Heavy Cream
  5. 1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla
  6. 3 Extra Large Eggs
  7. ½ Cup of Fresh Lime Juice (About 4 limes worth)
  8. Pinch of Lime Zest
  9. 1 ¼ Cups of Honey Graham Cracker Crumbs (about one sleeve of crackers)
  10. ¼ Teaspoon of Cinnamon
  11. About 4 Tablespoons of Butter
  12. Powdered Sugar (Garnish)
  13. Whipped Cream for Garnish (Optional)

Steps-

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the milks, cream, vanilla, eggs, lime juice and lime zest. 
  2. Pour a little bit of the batter in a deep pan or Pyrex Dish and then scatter the slices of bread around the pan.
  3. Pour the remaining batter over the top of the bread slices and set in the fridge overnight or for 3-4 hours, until the bread fully absorbs the liquid. 
  4. Preheat the oven to 350F
  5. In a shallow dish, combine the Graham Cracker Crumbs and Cinnamon.
  6. Remove bread from the refrigerator and heat up a skillet on medium heat.
  7. Dip each soaked piece of bread in the graham cracker crumbs, so they are fully coated.
  8. Melt 2-tablespoons of butter in the pan.
  9. Cook each piece of French Toast in the buttery pan until they are golden brown on both sides and have a slight crunch on the outside.
  10. Remove from the frying pan and place the toast onto an Aluminum Foil covered cookie sheet.
  11. Place the cookie sheet with the French Toast into the preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until the French toast is creamy and tender on the inside, but not too wet and soggy.
  12. Remove from the oven and dust with powdered sugar right before you enjoy it.
  13. Serve with Maple Syrup and a dollop of whipped cream 

Corn Muffin Pancakes with a Blueberry & Rosemary Compote

When my friends and I go out for brunch, we can never decide whether to order something sweet or savory, so I came up with a recipe that incorporates both flavors.  These corn muffin pancakes have a wonderful buttery crunch on the outside and a tender, cakey texture on the inside.  The Rosemary, Blueberry Compote has a wonderful earthiness from the herbs, a natural sweetness from the honey and a subtle sourness from the juicy, fresh blueberries.  While the compote simmers in the pot your nostrils will tingle with delight.  The ingredients give off an enchanting, floral scent as they meld together in harmony.  When you put all the elements together on the plate and finish it off with a dollop of creamy, tangy Greek yogurt, you just can’t ask for a better way to start the day…except for a few mimosas, of course!

 

(Recipe Feeds 2-3 People)

Ingredients-

Corn Muffin Pancakes-

  1. 1 Cup Corn Muffin Mix (Jiffy is the best)
  2. ¼ Cup Flour
  3. 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  4. ¾ Cup Milk (May need a tiny bit more if the batter thickens as it sits)
  5. 1 Large Egg
  6. ¼ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  7. 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil or Canola Oil
  8. 1 Tablespoon Greek Yogurt (Plus more for the garnish) (I use 0% fat or 2% fat)
  9. 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter Melted
  10. Pinch of Salt

Blueberry & Rosemary Compote-

  1. ¼ Cup Honey
  2. ½ Teaspoon Finely Chopped Fresh Rosemary Leaves
  3. ¼ Cup Water
  4. 2 Teaspoons Light Brown Sugar
  5. ¾ Cup Fresh Blueberries
  6. ½ Teaspoon Corn Starch

Steps-

  1. Mix together all of the Compote ingredients in a small saucepan on the stove on medium heat.  Allow it to cook down and simmer until it thickens and turns into a nice, thick, chunky syrup.  Set aside when it is done and cover with a lid.  While it is reducing down, put together the pancake batter.
  2. Stir Together the Corn Muffin Mix, Flour, Salt and Baking Powder in a medium bowl.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the Milk, Egg, Vanilla, Oil, Melted Butter and the Tablespoon of Greek Yogurt.
  4. Heat up a large skillet on the stove and then spray it with non-stick cooking spray.
  5. Ladle the batter onto the pan making 4-6 inch diameter circles.
  6. When the batter starts to bubble up the pan and the bottom is golden brown, flip them over with a spatula and cook them all the way through.
  7. When the pancakes are done, stack 3 on a plate (or more depending on how many you want to eat)
  8. Pour some of the compote over the top and finish it off with a dollop of Plain or Honey flavored Greek Yogurt
  9. Observe the silence, since your friends will be speechless…and stuffing their faces