Any Kitchen Will Do

Give me a kitchen and I will cook.

Archive for the category “breakfast”

Wheat Free Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

Every time we move we try to do two kitchen related things: 1) find a person or household to honor with all foodstuff in the kitchen that may spill or break; in general, not survive storage and transport, and 2) whittle down our supply of perishable foods in the fridge and freezer. Most of the time I scour grocery stores for good deals and stock up when I find them, which means our freezer is often full of bulk items. Don’t get me wrong. I am not a coupon clipper and I don’t pour over the weekly grocery ads, but when I am walking through the store and find a deal I definitely jump on it. In addition to my frozen deals and steals there are odds and ends left over from recipes. You know what I mean – that recipe that did not quite need the last half cup of berries, or the one that called for only half a can of tomato paste. In my attempt to use up stuff in the freezer I came across ingredients left over from the holidays – pumpkin puree and whole cranberries. I know the chilly weather these foods remind me of is pretty much in the past this year, but I went ahead and came up with a lovely recipe using the frozen goodness. Although the ingredients seem to be off season, the results taste quite refreshing and tangy – very suitable to springtime. By the time the kitchen got packed up they were all gone!

Wheat Free Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

¾ cup butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup brown rice flour
2 cups instant oatmeal, uncooked
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup pureed pumpkin
2 cups whole cranberries (pureed the berries should be about 1 cup)

Fill muffin tins with liners. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350F. Place oatmeal in a food processor and blend until it is a rough powder. Combine rice flour, oatmeal, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl combine pumpkin and yogurt. Set aside. In a mixer bowl using a flat paddle, cream together cane sugar and butter just until blended. Add eggs one at a time, making sure one is combined before adding the next. Add a third of the dry ingredients, then a third of the yogurt/pumpkin. Scrape the bowl well. Continue alternating the dry and wet ingredients until all is incorporated. Fill muffin tins about ¾ full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until tops are brown and beginning to harden. Makes 20-24 muffins.

Cinnamon Roll Cake

Have you ever seen a 9 x 13 cinnamon roll? Yes you have! It is right there ↑! I like sweet stuff for breakfast, but only when it is going to be a lazy day. The crash from the sugar rush is best experienced while hanging out on the couch reading a book or building a block tower with Little B. An occasional breakfast with pancakes or waffles is good (although not necessarily good for you), but I tend to be the producer of such delights, and it is much more onerous to make them compared to a plate magically appearing piled high and presented by someone else for eating.

With a gaggle of girls using my house for slumber party last weekend I could not imagine making enough fresh baked pancakes, waffles or cinnamon rolls to appease them and also have breakfast ready at a decent hour. There were bodies curled up in blankets over the majority of the living room floor. It would be hard to quietly measure and mix and roll breakfast in the kitchen, a mere four feet away from the slumbering sweethearts. This cake was quick, made the day before and did not have to go in the fridge, which was already full of other party foods. As it cooked, the sugary topping formed crevasses where cinnamon gathered, making lovely sweet nips in almost every bite. All the girls could have a little piece or a big one without committing to a whole roll. Of course I also provided healthy, savory eggy muffins for breakfast as well, but the cake is what disappeared the fastest.

I have seen cinnamon roll cakes all over the internet, but this recipe made the most sense to me, so I relied on it. I changed the order of preparation a bit, but it worked out great.

Cinnamon Roll Cake

3 cups Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Sugar
4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 1/2 cups Milk
2 Eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1/2 cup ( 1 stick) Butter, melted

1 cup ( 2 sticks) Butter, softened
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon

2 cups Powdered Sugar
5 Tablespoons Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 glass baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside. To make the topping mix in a medium bowl the 2 sticks of butter, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon together until well combined and creamy. Set aside. In an electric or stand mixer add the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Once combined well, slowly stir in the melted butter. Pour into the prepared 9×13 baking pan.

Drop the topping mixture evenly over the cake batter by the tablespoonfuls and use a knife to marble/swirl through the cake. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or when a toothpick inserted near the center comes out nearly clean.

In a medium bowl, mix the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla together with a whisk. Drizzle evenly over the warm cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Traditional Irish Breakfast

I almost did not post this recipe. Not because it is broken, but because my picture does not quite tell the whole story. I thought this to be a good reason not to post when I took it, then the next day I thought the reason silly. I love cooking and photography. One reason I began this blog was to combine these two loves. Other reasons include telling stories and sharing discoveries about food. Combine all this and it led me to an executive blogging decision. A picture is worth a thousand words, so who cares if I need to add a few more to complete the story? If I expected perfection every time I shared recipes and pictures with you I would never post anything. So here is my post about the traditional Irish Breakfast, Americanized and wheat free. I will explain.

Big D and I agree that we have found two places in the US where we can get a traditional Irish Breakfast like we had in Ireland. One is in Alexandria, Virginia, and the other is in Las Vegas, Nevada. Yep. Vegas baby! I am sure there are other places, but these are the two we have found in our travels. A bunch of places say they serve a traditional breakfast, but just don’t cut it. Like anyone else, the Irish break their fast after a night of sleep by eating a meal. For the hard working majority and tourists (like me) who relied on B&B vouchers during my trip, a hearty breakfast quickly prepared in one pan is ideal for getting on with the day and not having a growling stomach an hour later. In fact, the breakfast often held us until dinner without a problem. We did indulge in soft serve frozen cream soft serve wherever we encountered it (omigosh I can still taste it. Yum!), but that doesn’t really count, does it? If you are in pursuit of a completely traditional meal as I describe below you can get quality versions of all the hard to find ingredients from Tommy Maloney’s, but as you’ll see it will cost you.

Traditional Irish Breakfast for Two

3 Tbsp butter
2 rashers bacon
4 bangers
2 slices each black and white pudding
1 tomato, quartered
4 eggs
1 small potatoes, cut in bite-sized pieces or thin slices
1 cup baked beans, heated
2 slices Irish brown bread
2 bags Irish Breakfast Tea
2-3 cups boiling water

Preheat oven to 350F, then turn off the heat. Place two serving plates in the oven – as parts of the breakfast are cooked you will split them between the two plates. Heat beans in a small pot on low while the rest of the breakfast is prepared. Melt 2 Tbsp of the butter in large skillet and cook puddings, rashers and bangers until browned but not crisp. Remove from skillet and place on the plates in oven. Fry up potatoes in bacon/banger/butter grease. When potatoes are half done add tomatoes, cut side down, to the middle of the pan. Remove potatoes, when tender but not browned, to warm in the oven. Remove tomatoes to warm plates when done, which means they are soft and the skin begins to wrinkle. Begin bread toasting and tea brewing. Add the last Tbsp of butter into the pan and melt. Add eggs and fry to desired doneness, ideally sunny side up. I usually lower the heat after breaking the eggs into the pan and cover it, which encourages the eggs to cook evenly without needing to flip. Add bread and beans to plates and eat hot!


Can you have a traditional Irish Breakfast without the black and white puddings? Yes, because that is what we had yesterday, but it was not quite the same without it. Like breakfast anywhere, individual preferences and what is locally available forms what goes on a plate. What the heck are rashers and bangers and pudding? Well, two are more easily explained than the third. Rashers are basically ham/bacon pieces cut from the back of the pig instead of the belly like American bacon, which makes for a hearty piece of meat. Bangers are thicker pork sausages – larger than the typical American sausage link, but smaller than, say smoked sausage. Now the pudding does not really have an American parallel. Irish pudding is a mixture of oatmeal, spices and sometimes meat set up in casings like sausage. The white pudding is primarily the oatmeal and spices, while black pudding has the addition of blood, usually pig’s blood, and prepared like other sausage. The black and white puddings have a particular taste and texture which sometimes turn people off. I appreciate them in small quantities. Big D on the other hand could eat plate fulls with a big grin on his face (along with haggis, but that is another story).

In our small Texas town we could not find the pudding, and Big D could not even find anyone who would sell him pig or cow blood to make his own pudding with his sausage making contraption. It is completely missing from our meal. Also, no rashers were available so we substituted thick cut bacon. Bangers were unavailable so we substituted beef breakfast sausages. The canned baked beans available around here are sweetened overwhelmingly, unlike Irish baked beans, so we just left them out. On top of all these changes, we also had gluten-free bread instead of Irish brown bread to address Big D’s wheat sensitivities.

As with traditional American breakfasts, some things on a traditional Irish breakfast plate vary depending on preference – some cannot bear to be without their baked beans, while others want their eggs scrambled or drink coffee instead of tea. As I mentioned earlier, the picture represents an incomplete Irish breakfast, but the recipe takes you through the traditional version to which I was introduced while traveling Éire. Regardless of my qualms about this post, the breakfast was delicious. After eating it we leaned back, smiling, full and happy.


Blueberry Muffins Gluten Free!

The other day I asked Big D what he wanted me to cook, or if he actually wanted to use the kitchen himself. I never mind getting out of the way to watch him do his thing. I kind of took over the kitchen since starting this blog and had not really ask how my invasion was fitting in with what he wanted to do food-wise. I know him well enough to be confident in his ability to – readily and eloquently – speak up if he feels like doing so. He is a darned good cook himself, but was busy with work recently and had not done much in the kitchen. He was certainly eating my offerings, so I made assumptions based on his words of praise and looks of contentment, along with empty plates and bowls. Fortunately I was correct. He said he was very much enjoying the food and was happy to see me enjoying myself. He did say he was interested in something spicy with curry. Oh, and some blueberry muffins. I concluded he did not want to eat them together, so I am starting with the muffins while developing future plans for the curry and spicy. In seeking guidance for making said muffins (since wheat free is a must), I of course turned to other food bloggers for ideas, since I am very new to wheat free baking. Although I made some tweaks to it, I found the discussion and recipe here very helpful.

One funny thing happened when the muffins first started baking. They sputtered! I started smelling a slight burning smell about eight minutes into the baking time. I flipped on the oven light but kept my eyes shut at first, hoping that what I saw when opening them was not some kind of rare chemical reaction with the flour and oatmeal. I HATE cleaning ovens! I slowly opened my eyes and was instantly relieved. I saw bubbles rising to the surface of the muffins and popping, leaving a layer of little spots of batter glurping onto the pans. The sputters were browning quickly and giving off the smell. No harm done to the muffins, though. The rest of the baking went smoothly and was sputter free…

Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins

¾ cup butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup brown rice flour
2 cups instant oatmeal, uncooked
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup blueberries, frozen or fresh
2 Tbsp brown sugar

Fill muffin tins with liners*. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350F. Place oatmeal in a food processor and blend until it is a rough powder. Combine flour, oatmeal, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a mixer bowl using a flat paddle cream together cane sugar and butter just until blended. Add eggs one at a time, making sure one is combined before adding the next. Add a third of the dry ingredients, then a third of the yogurt/applesauce. Continue alternating until all is incorporated. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin tins about ¾ full. Sprinkle a bit of brown sugar on top of each muffin. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until tops are brown and beginning to harden. Makes 20-24 muffins.

*In my current kitchen I only have one muffin pan that makes 12 muffins. Since the recipe makes more than 12 muffins, I used my back up baking cups on a cookie sheet. They are aluminum muffin cups that have white paper liners inside them. You don’t need a pan for them, so they are great to have around for overflow. The result of the two different baking tools was doneness. The pan muffins cooked a little darker than those in the aluminum cups, but they all came out good and moist.

Eggy Breakfast Muffins

Eggs are quite quick and easy to cook. I love eating them in all ways and forms of preparation. My favorite of all time is Eggs Florentine with classically poached eggs, barely wilted spinach and crisp home fries on the side. When I was growing up our family Sunday brunch usually fell near one of two extremes. The first was a champagne brunch at the club, where I was summarily denied anything more than a sip of champagne or a soaked strawberry until I was ‘of age’. The second was a feast at home after we returned from church and changed into our play clothes. My mom and dad often split the cooking. Me and my brother set the table and stayed out of the way. The kitchen was square and they did a little dance moving between the sink, stove and fridge. While mom made fruit cups dad would whip up waffle batter and crank out a pile of them a foot high. The waffle iron made huge waffles with little divots. I much prefer them to the big divoted belgian waffle irons. Other times he made SOS (mildly put, creamed beef on toast) or mom made drop biscuits while dad cooked up the most perfect fried eggs. He would gently fry them in oil. He never flipped them, but splashed oil from the pan over the top to cook the upper half. We also often set the table with boiled egg cups – the eggs were boiled just enough to cook the whites and leave most of the yolk runny. The pointy end went in the cup and we snipped the top off, using little spoons that just fit into the egg to scoop out buttery bites.

Growing up Catholic we observed the tradition of fasting before Mass. Even though we went to the first service at 8:30, it still meant the earliest we would eat at home was about 10:00. I was always famished by then, since the rest of the week my stomach received breakfast by 7:30. When my stomach is grumbling first thing in the morning it is almost torture waiting for the yummy bits to cook that accompany eggs – the bacon or potatoes to crisp, the sausage patties to sear, the making of Hollandaise sauce or the baking of biscuits. One solution to my desire for instant gratification is to resort to carbohydrate loaded, oily fast food breakfast sandwiches. Another is to buy those frozen things that heat up fast, but are rubbery on the outside and cold on the inside. My third and favorite solution is baking little quiche-like ‘muffins’ – they can be eaten immediately, or pulled from the fridge or freezer and microwaved while retaining their moist and savory goodness. The content of each batch of muffins I make varies and is directly impacted by the content of my kitchen. They always have eggs and cheese, but the meat and veggies change constantly – leftover roast chicken and broccoli are popular additions, as are grilled pork chops and potatoes. Muffins with salmon, dill and asparagus are wonderful. On top of everything else, Little B adores cracking eggs, whisking them into oblivion and stirring them up with the filling. I rarely deny her an egg experience.

Eggy Breakfast Muffins

9 eggs
6 ounces frozen spinach
1 cup cheese, grated
4 ounces ham or cooked sausage, small dice
1/4 cup black olives, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder

Heat oven to 375F. Grease a 12-hole muffin pan. In the microwave cook the spinach for about two minutes in a covered dish. When it cools squeeze as much liquid out of the spinach a possible. Chop finely. In a medium sized bowl add the cheese, meats, spinach and olives. Stir together. Crack all eggs into a separate bowl. Add salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder and parsley. Whisk the eggs until whites and yolks are well blended. Pour egg mixture over the cheese, meats and vegetables. Stir everything together until all is coated with egg. Spoon mixture into muffin pan until it is evenly distributed – they holes should be 2/3 to 3/4 full, depending on pan size. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until they start to brown on top. Remove from oven and let muffins cool in pan for about five minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each round to separate them from the pan, then gently lift them out onto a serving dish. Serve immediately. They also do well heated up in the microwave after being refrigerated or frozen.

Egg Bake

When I was a single working girl I loved making these eggs for breakfast. They would warm me up on winter mornings when I was not feeling it for oatmeal. I would set it up and start it baking right when I woke up. By the time I was ready for work my breakfast was ready too! If I wasn’t running late I would sit and enjoy every bite before leaving home. If I was running late I would snap a top on it and take it with me, enjoying it at my desk while my slower-than-molasses computer booted up.

My married version of this dish is a little different – I triple the recipe, which works wonderfully, and bake it in a small casserole dish. Big D may or may not be interested – he is not a big breakfast eater – or even be awake to decide. It also may be a morning when Little B decides she does not want any other food touching her eggs. After I eat my share eventually – following the preparation of eggs ‘without all that red stuff on them’ – the leftovers will go in the fridge. Microwaving the eggs to reheat may make an explosive mess. It tastes okay cold, but is just not the same. I end up not making it much anymore.

When I made it today I was by myself in the house. I curled up on the couch and loved every bite. I was not hurrying to leave for work, but it still warmed me up on a cold day. It tasted as good as it always did.

Egg Bake

1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
4 eggs
1/2 cup grated cheese
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
Pinch garlic powder
Pinch onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350F. Open the can of tomatoes, but don’t pour them out. Add oregano, parsley, garlic and onion powders, as well as salt and pepper. With a spoon mix up the spices with tomatoes in the can. Divide tomato mixture between two 12 ounce oven-proof ramekins. Break two eggs into each ramekin*. Top with cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes until eggs are cooked to desired doneness.

*Since I was usually cooking for one I placed the second ramekin with tomatoes (before adding eggs and cheese) in the fridge. The next day I could quickly add the eggs and cheese and continue preparation.

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