Quick Eats: Triple Chocolate Pancakes

Leave a comment Standard

Don’t let the really, really chocolate-y photo above fool you- I admit I went a little crazy with the decorating- but I assure you that these pancakes taste amazing. For those of you who appreciate a good dessert for breakfast (or just need to satisfy a chocolate craving in a creative way)– then this is a must-try for you. This might be one of the quickest and most fun ways I’ve made pancakes in a long time- and you don’t need a ton of ingredients to whip them up, either!

I had originally thought I had some strawberries to garnish these mocha delights with to mix up the color and flavor palette a little bit, but it unfortunately looked like I was fresh out and had to improvise somewhat, instead. I used some chocolate whipped cream along the corners of the serving plates so that myself and my friends I was preparing these for could dip our bites in for an extra boost of chocolate and to lengthen the duration of our sugar high.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Chocolate syrup (optional)

OKAY, HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

1. In a medium sized bowl whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.

2. To the bowl add milk, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla.

3. Whisk together until almost all of the lumps are gone.

4. Stir in the mini chocolate chips.

5. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and coat with butter or cooking spray.

6. Ladle 1/4 cup of the pancake batter onto the skillet and cook until bubbles start to surface.

7. Flip pancake and cook for another 30 seconds or until brown.

8. Repeat with remaining pancake batter, top with chocolate syrup/powdered sugar/fresh fruit- and savor the goodness!

Between the mocha and vanilla flavors of the pancakes combining together, the chocolate syrup drizzle and the powdered sugar- this was the best way to start a long and lazy cheat day. I won’t admit how many of these I ate in one sitting (it was a lot, though) but it was worth it. These were so rich, so indulgent and so filling that I could barely move when it came time to clean up the kitchen afterwards.

I’ll definitely be making these again- and on a weekend- so that I can take a long nap once I’m done shoveling them into my face. They’re delicious!

xx

Quick Eats: Baked Breakfast Cups

Comments 3 Standard

BreakfastCupsRecipe01

I’m fairly certain I’ve said it before- but I am a breakfast food fiend. It’s my favorite meal of the day and the meal I could eat any time of day, really. With that being repeated, I’m always looking for new and delicious ways to kick-start my morning so that I’m left feeling full but not bored with the same old routine (I can’t eat the same thing every single day- even if I love it!) so when I first saw this recipe for “Breakfast Cups”, using hash browns as a sort of bowl to hold the ingredients together- I knew I had to give it a try. Worst case scenario if the cups didn’t come out as planned was that I’d have a very funny shaped omelette- but I’m a firm believer that there’s no such thing as a bad omelette.

Having recently and unexpectedly been snowed in (I did NOT anticipate the storm that hit us last week to be as bad as it was!) my mother was kind enough to lend me some of the ingredients for this concoction until I can drag myself to the market- as well as her mother (my grandmother’s) antique muffin pan- which looks rusted, I know- but I SWEAR it’s just discolored from years and years (50+!) of use. It’s completely clean and sanitary for anyone looking at the photos in this post and recoiling in horror.

Give me a little credit, please!

BreakfastCupsRecipe02

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 12 breakfast sausages
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) of shredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese (or any cheese you prefer!)
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 3 cups of frozen country-style hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives or green onion

OKAY, HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

1. Pre-heat your oven to 400°F.

2. Prepare the breakfast sausages according to the package instructions, cool slightly, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Set the sliced sausage aside.

BreakfastCupsRecipe03

3. Combine/whisk the eggs, cheese, and pepper in a bowl- and set that aside as well.

4. In a separate bowl, combine the hash browns, butter, salt and pepper. Divide evenly into 12 greased muffin cups.

5. Press the mixture into the bottom and sides of the muffin cups to create a bowl-like shape to hold your egg/cheese mixture and sausage.

BreakfastCupsRecipe04

6. Cook the hash brown bowls for approximately 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

7. Once you remove the muffin pan from the oven- divide sausage pieces into the hash brown bowls. Top each bowl evenly with the egg/cheese mixture. Sprinkle each bowl with chives and onion.

BreakfastCupsRecipe05

8. Return your muffin pan to the oven and bake another 12-15 minutes or until set.

9. Serve and enjoy!

BreakfastCupsRecipe06

I was really pleased with how well these little cups turned out- and even more pleased with how good they tasted. They were the perfect combination of saltiness, crisp-ness and cheesy-ness- and were very, very filling. I managed to scarf down two before I felt stuffed- and I also felt inspired to re-create these for my next brunch gathering (I do love a good brunch, too!)

One word of advice, though- just make sure you grease the muffin pan properly! A couple of my cups got a little stuck around the edges, which made for a not-so-clean removal when it came time to serve these. Other than that- these are incredibly simple to make an I urge anyone who may be finding themselves in a dreaded “breakfast boredom rut” to give them a try!

xx

BreakfastCupsRecipe07

Quick Eats: Eggs Baked in Tomatoes.

Leave a comment Standard

BakedTomatoAndEggs01

I am one of many, many people who enjoy breakfast foods no matter what time of day it is. It’s 2 in the afternoon and I’m not in the mood for a sandwich or a salad? Scrambled eggs it is. Quiet and cozy night in and I need something to eat that’s quick and easy? Pancakes or waffles, for sure. I’ll eat an omelette any time, any place- and don’t even get me started on how much I love bacon- because I really, REALLY love bacon.

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I will never argue that- but sometimes eating the same thing every morning day in and day out gets a little boring, and as tempting as reaching for the nearest sprinkle-covered doughnut is- I know that ultimately I’ll regret it in the long run. Occasionally I need to mix it up while keeping it healthy, too.

I saw this recipe floating around online recently and knew I had to try it. It doesn’t require a ton of ingredients, it’s quick to prepare, it isn’t loaded with sugars or fats- and the most important thing- it tastes really good, too!

BakedTomatoAndEggs02

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

[JUST A QUICK NOTE ON THE INGREDIENTS: The recipe I saw online was for eight eggs. Now, as much as I love breakfast- I can’t eat eight eggs- so the listed amounts below were for a serving of two eggs/tomatoes. If you’re making a different amount- here’s an easy way to measure: There’s one egg inside each tomato, and one tablespoon of milk on top of each egg. You need just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of your skillet/baking dish- and you can season the egg however you like! The amounts below are just what I, personally, used when preparing this.]

* 2 tablespoons of olive oil

* 2 medium tomatoes

* 2 large eggs

* 2 tablespoons of milk

* Sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese

* Salt and ground black pepper

* A pinch of chopped herbs (any that you like!), chopped bacon, and/or chopped vegetables.

OKAY, HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease an oven-safe skillet or baking dish with the olive oil.

BakedTomatoAndEggs03

2. Using a small paring knife, cut around the stems of the tomatoes and remove them. Use a spoon to scoop out all the insides of the tomatoes. (Reserve the insides and use them to make tomato sauce or salsa.)

3. Arrange the tomato shells snugly in the prepared skillet or baking dish. Crack an egg into each tomato. Top each egg with 1 tablespoon milk and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan. Season each egg with salt and pepper.

BakedTomatoAndEggs04

4. Bake until the tomatoes are tender, the egg whites are set and the yolks are still a little jiggly, 15 to 17 minutes (or 20 if you’re paranoid about undercooked eggs like I am.) Let cool 5 minutes and then garnish with the fresh herbs/bacon/vegetables. Serve immediately.

5. Stuff your face and start your day right!

The eggs, while cooked, can be a little runny when prepared this way (I made a side of toast to dip in the yolks for that very reason) so if you like your eggs to be a bit more solid in texture- I recommend whisking them first and then pouring them inside the tomato, instead.

If anyone tries this recipe- I’d love to hear how it came out! Did you do anything differently? Did you add different ingredients? Feel free to share!

xx

A Bewitching New Year’s…

Comments 2 Standard

NYE20151

NYE20152

NYE20153

NYE20154

NYE20155

My cardio for the new year!

For the past few years, I’ve spent New Year’s Eve in NYC- dining, drinking, and dancing- until the wee morning hours of New Year’s Day. It’s become a tradition for some of my friends and I, and something I look forward to every year as the holidays approach. Bidding farewell to one year while welcoming an entirely new one surrounded by people, some strangers, can be a simply magical experience (and worth the mild hangover I’ve occasionally incurred in the process.)

To ring in 2015, however- I wanted to do something different- something quiet, low-key, and relaxing. That’s not to say I’m done with parties in one of my favorite cities in the world- but I think it’s important to break from certain traditions from time to time to try and experience new things. For this New Year’s Eve, Troy and I headed to The Salem Inn, a cozy bed and breakfast located in historic Salem, Massachusetts. We reserved the honeymoon suite on the top floor of the main building, the Captain West House (built in 1834,) to count down to midnight by a beautiful fireplace and toast with the bottle of champagne that was provided to us (as well as a box of chocolates!)

NYE20156

NYE20157

NYE20158

Found this on my camera, so this image is courtesy of Troy!

Our room (and the entire inn, really) was beautiful and immaculate. With a warm fire and a soak in the Jacuzzi tub that was in an attached room of it’s own, I could have easily fallen asleep well before midnight with how relaxed I was. Troy and I toughed it out, though- tuning into Anderson Cooper and CNN to watch the ball drop while we enjoyed a little bit of bubbly before we turned in for the night. It was a lovely, peaceful, romantic evening- just what I needed.

Yesterday, after (reluctantly) checking out of our room, the two of us headed out onto the frigid streets of Salem to try to find a decent breakfast. Right around the corner from the inn was the Gulu-Gulu Café on Essex Street, which looked unique, warm, and inviting. We took a chance and went in- and I’m so, so glad we did. Not only were the staff just the nicest bunch of people you could hope to meet, but the food was AMAZING– quite possibly the best breakfast I’ve eaten in years. I enjoyed an egg, cheddar, and bacon croissant with a strong macchiato (and was so impressed that I ordered a follow-up parfait of greek yogurt with fresh fruit and honey while Troy opted for seconds on his breakfast sandwich.)

NYE20159

If you find yourself in Salem and looking for a place to sit and eat some fantastic food, I can’t recommend this place enough. I’ll definitely be going back soon!

After our breakfast/brunch, Troy and I spent a little bit of time walking around downtown Salem- taking in the beauty of the older houses, some of the cobblestone streets, and more than one gaudy psychic parlor or “Witch Trial” themed gift shop (which seemed to be the only things that were open for business at the time.) As the afternoon wore on, and the arctic temperatures started to get to us- we headed back to my car, and from there- back home. I know that a day consisting of a delicious meal and walking around in the cold with a person that you love might sound so simple or so ordinary to some- but it really was a perfect day- and an even more perfect way to begin a brand new year.

I’m so excited to see what else is in store for 2015, and it’s only just started!

Spotted during our walk.

Spotted during our walk. Yikes.

NYE201511

xx

Quick Eats: Pumpkin Spice Muffins.

Comment 1 Standard

PumpkinSpiceMuffins1

I’m sure that most of us- if not all of us on more than one occasion- have had to whip up something quick and easy to serve guests and/or ourselves in lieu of of meticulously planning and preparing a meal from scratch. I’ll never shame cooking and baking shortcuts or anyone that uses them. I work full-time and have other obligations that require my full-attention. I can’t always clear a couple of hours in my schedule to spend in the kitchen mixing, chopping, seasoning, etc.

Such was the case earlier today, when wanting to enjoy the flavors of the season (namely: pumpkin) came with a time restraint. I opted to use pre-packaged boxed pumpkin bread mix to create pumpkin spice muffins for a late breakfast- taking advantage of the extra minutes the mix bought me to add a tasty salted caramel twist with extra ingredients I had laying around.

PumpkinSpiceMuffins2

PumpkinSpiceMuffins3

PumpkinSpiceMuffins4

Pillsbury had the right idea with their packaged ‘Quick Bread’ mixes. Some milk, a little oil, a couple of eggs and some vigorous stirring- and you’ve got yourself a thick batter in minutes that can be poured into your pan and placed in the pre-heated oven. I even found these Fall styled baking cups for an added touch of cute. When all the batter was evenly distributed in the cups, I had exactly a dozen muffins with little to no leftover batter in my mixing bowl. I don’t like being wasteful, so I was pretty happy about this.

While the muffins began to bake, I got to work on giving my cream cheese flavored icing a little tint of orange with food coloring to make them look nice and festive. Some of you may be wondering “who puts icing on a muffin?” which is a completely fair question to ask. As much as I enjoy the taste of pumpkin, a lot of times the ‘spice’ part of it tends to be overwhelming. I like to sweeten it just a little and I find that pairing it with cream cheese usually has a delicious result. I don’t frost the muffin like it was a cake or anything- but a nice, thin layer along the top really evens out the flavor.

PumpkinSpiceMuffins5

PumpkinSpiceMuffins6

After the muffins had cooled and had been properly iced to my liking- I added a handful of roasted and salted peanut seeds to the top of them to give them a salty crunch. The final touch was then lightly drizzling melted caramel over the seeds and letting it harden and set.

PumpkinSpiceMuffins7

PumpkinSpiceMuffins8

The entire baking and decorating process from start to finish took about a half hour- and the finished muffins were delicious- the perfect combination of sweet and salty. I served them with warmed apple cider, and to make things a little more fancy and Autumn-esque- I decorated the placements with fake Fall leaves.

PumpkinSpiceMuffins9

PumpkinSpiceMuffins10