Archives for category: breakfast

Every so often, I like to indulge in a bit of artisan bread. My favorite is jalapeño cheese. Well, Wing and I bought a loaf of the jalapeño cheese, but we weren’t able to finish it before it became stale. My solution was to bake it in a strata. We now needed flavors to complement the jalapeños. After digging around in our cupboards, I pulled out a can of green chiles, some tomato sauce (thinking that it could make our strata reminiscent of chilaquiles), onion and garlic powders, and an almost forgotten seasoning blend by Desert Gardens that we bought when we’d visited Arizona last. This particular seasoning blend’s main ingredient is habanero. It claims it’s “Hot! Hot!! Hot!!!” but we like spice and we don’t think that it’s really that hot. (Since most people probably don’t have the habanero seasoning, chipotle or cayenne powders will work, too.) The strata tasted good straight out of the oven, but heated up the next day, it was even better!

Southwestern Strata

Southwestern Strata

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt & black pepper
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Habanero seasoning (or chipotle powder or cayenne)
  • 1 can (5 oz) green chiles
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce
  • Cooking spray
  • ½  loaf jalapeño cheese bread, sliced
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Jack cheese

In a medium bowl, beat eggs. Add milk, all seasonings, green chiles, and tomato sauce. Grease a medium casserole dish with cooking spray. Lay half of the bread slices in bottom of dish. Top with half the egg mixture. Sprinkle with cheeses. Repeat layers. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Uncover and bake for 40-50 minutes or until eggs are set and golden brown. Top with salsa if desired.

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To know me is to know that I have many random questions in my brain. Some of those questions I research, some I leave as questions in my brain because I don’t feel like doing the research. Well, one day I had the question: Is there a difference between a pancake and a flapjack? After doing some Internet research, I discovered that in the US, the words are synonymous with only a bit of argument here and there about how thick one is supposed to be compared the other. But that makes no difference to me. More than likely it’s regional.

However, according to the Internet, a flapjack in Britain is a lot different than a flapjack in the US. Apparently a flapjack to the British is like a granola bar in the US. I’m not usually a granola bar person, but the recipes looked so easy and so appealing that I decided to give it a try. And my first and only attempt at making a British-style flapjack was a hit! I have no idea how authentic my flapjacks are, but I don’t care because my family and I loved them. Authenticity can fly out the window.

Then, of course, my little brain started to think. What other British foods are there that didn’t quite come over to the US in the same form or even at all? Then it occurred to me that I hadn’t decided on a theme for this month’s Themed Thursday. Now I had one – British food! So I found a book at a local library called Cooking the English Way by Barbara W. Hill.

Believe it or not, the recipes seemed pretty normal to a person from the US – roast beef, roasted potatoes, shepherd’s pie, scones, gingerbread, etc. The only recipes in the book that the US didn’t adopt for the most part were “mushrooms on toast” for breakfast and Yorkshire pudding. But I hate mushrooms and the Yorkshire pudding seemed like too much work and I was feeling lazy. So I gave up for the day.

I hadn’t given up completely on my British food idea, but I was no longer sure what to do. Then I watched A Grammy Salute – The Beatles 50th Anniversary: The Night That Changed America.

Man, I have to stop here to say how much I love The Beatles. Yes, I’m technically too young for them, but that’s the beauty of the Fab Four – they’re timeless. After watching the tribute, my little heart swelled in adoration, and I had a new plan. I would honor The Beatles in my own way by creating recipes based on foods mentioned in their songs. Of course, the first song I thought of suited my purposes the best – George Harrison’s “Savoy Truffle.” What better song for a person with a sweet tooth? Mmmmm! (I choose to ignore its warnings and focus on the deliciousness.) And it just so happens that February is George’s birthday month. Perfect!

Taken from the song, I chose to create a coffee dessert (this one has endless possibilities!) and a nice apple tart to accompany the British flapjacks. Let me tell you, this month’s theme was so tasty and so much fun, that I might have to honor The Beatles (and George Harrison) another time!

Beatles theme

British-Style Flapjacks

  • ¼ cup butter or margarine
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 ½ cup quick-cooking oats
  • ¼ cup frozen blueberries (or use your favorite berry or raisins)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and honey. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter and sugar have melted. Stir in oats and berries until coated. Pour into bread pan or small square baking pan. Mixture should be about 1-in thick. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden. Cut into squares, then leave to cool completely before removing from the pan.

 Coffee Dessert

(based off recipe “Christmas Morning Coffee” from The Best of Christmas at Home Cookbook)

  • 1 pot (10 cups) brewed coffee
  • 1/3 cup water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • Milk or whipped cream, optional

Prepare coffee. While coffee is brewing, in a small saucepan, heat water to a low boil over medium heat. Stir in sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring back to a low boil, stirring occasionally. Combine coffee with cocoa mixture. Pour into mugs and serve with milk or whipped cream, if desired.

 Easy Apple Tart

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 package refrigerated pie crust
  • 1 can apple pie filling
  • ¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
  • ¼ cup honey

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray mini pie tins (or tart pans) with cooking spray. Cut and fit crust into each tin. Place tins in oven and bake 12-15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix pie filling, milk, and honey in a bowl. When crusts are golden brown, remove and let cool. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees F. Fill each crust with apple pie mix. Cover each pie with foil and poke holes in the foil to let breathe. Bake pies in oven for 20 minutes. Store in refrigerator.

Over the mountains and through the dunes, to grandmother’s house we go… Welcome to Themed Thursday! This post is all about our adventures in Phoenix, Arizona.

Mars and I spent a few days in Phoenix where we visited our Arizona family members. And, of course, we stopped by some wow-worthy places in the area to share on the blog. After six hours or so of travel, Mars and I decided to stop by a restaurant called The White Chocolate Grill. Its interior was so elegant that I was even impressed by the elegance of their bathrooms! To start our lunch, Mars and I split a caprese salad. Then we split the BBQ bacon burger with a side of couscous (topped with golden raisins and roasted pistachios). All of it was very tasty so we weren’t very hungry by the time we finished, but we were at the White Chocolate Grill! How could we pass up dessert? So we ordered the brownie, which was great, but we couldn’t finish. We boxed it up and took it to Grandma (who ended up eating it for lunch the next day declaring it one of the best brownies she’d had from a restaurant). Next time we’re in town and end up here, I want to try their AZ egg rolls and their bread pudding!

WCG 1

WCG 2

One morning, Mars and I decided to do some Christmas shopping and hit up breakfast while we were out. We found a bakery nearby called the Wildflower Bread Company. It has a charming feel and the menu was extensive. Mars tried a sausage egg sandwich and I ordered lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry and maple syrups. For those who are particular about their maple syrup being warmed, let me tell you, they warm theirs at this place! I had to use my napkin as an oven mitt/pot holder to pick it up. That was a pleasant surprise. Their food was very good and fresh. We were tempted to go back the next day, but we decided against that as we’re both the type to be easily embarrassed if we’re recognized. But while there, I bought Wing a present of their own green (iced) tea with guava. He hasn’t brewed any yet, but the leaves smell delicious and refreshing.

Wildflower 2

That same day, Grandpa took us to the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge to see their display of gingerbread houses. They had built a small town where all of the buildings were about four feet high, using gingerbread “bricks” that were a bit larger than a sheet of graham cracker. Their gingerbread houses were impressive, but more impressive than that was the resort itself. If we ever need a place to stay in Phoenix (aside from the grandma & grandpa inn), this will be our spot. They have three or four restaurants inside, a small shopping area, golfing, tennis, fire pits, and a fancy pool with a lazy river. All Mars needed to hear was “lazy river” and he was sold!

Marriott 2

Marriott 1

I missed the past two Friday Failures because nothing really seemed to fail. I’m not saying I suddenly became awesome or that nothing in my culinary life went wrong, I just was in no mood to care about much. I was busy keeping up with my schedule of pain killers, trying not to drool too much in my lap when drinking, putting ice & heat on the green golf ball residing in my bottom left jaw (thankfully the bruising & swelling seem to be back to almost normal), finding a brand of iced coffee where the lukewarm/refrigerator-cold temperature isn’t too disgusting (still working on that one, by the way), that sort of thing. Finding failures for my blog wasn’t at the top of my priority list. (For those that don’t know, I underwent oral surgery. I’m really not transforming into a zombie… that I’m aware of anyway…)

This week’s Friday Failure is the story of a lonely perio-diet follower who has been having dreams of sticky s’mores, crunchy peanuts, gooey chocolate chip cookies, spicy habanero salsa, hot Christmas flavored coffee at the local Starbucks, iced or blended Christmas flavored coffee at the local Starbucks… none of which she can have. She’s very lonely in the world, especially when she sees her husband crunching on carrots (you’d be amazed how delicious carrots seem once you’re told you can’t have them), her brother drinking hot coffee, her dad who keeps asking her when she can have popcorn (imagine those little skins from the kernels getting stuck on two-week old gums… aaaack!!!), her mom popping almond dark chocolate morsels whenever she’s around. It’s torture really.

Over the weekend, when Mars suggested Wing and I go out to breakfast with him, the lonely dieter jumped for joy at the invitation (not literally, that might have hurt the mouth, believe it or not). At the restaurant, I looked at the menu and sighed mournfully while reading the pancake section. I was tired of pancakes and eggs, having been eating those perio-diet-approved breakfast foods all week. I wanted something else. Then the sausage sandwich caught my eye. I’d had it before there, and my brain told me it was perio-diet approved. English muffin with eggs, sausage, and white cheddar cheese. Nothing my recovering mouth couldn’t have. I was so excited. But when it came, the English muffin was toasted and crispy. My brain then told me that it would be fine to eat, despite the toasted muffin, so long as I followed the diet rules of keeping it on the non-surgical side of my mouth. But my brain lied. It had no clue what kind of trouble it was getting my poor mouth into.

My brain was so excited to taste the deliciousness of forbidden toasted bread that it caused my fork and knife to cut too large a piece. Strange as this may sound, it was hard to keep that bite on the appropriate side of my mouth. And as I was trying to do so without spitting it out onto my plate in a disgusting heap of half-chewed sandwich (I try to keep my dignity while dining out…), I cut my gum. I felt the sharp stab in the roof of my mouth behind the last molar. Thank goodness it was on the non-surgical side of my mouth, otherwise I might have had to take myself into the periodontist and confess my sin. But for the next few days, eating was painful. As if cutting a banana into bite-sized pieces wasn’t annoying enough, now I had to endure pain every time I chewed. It was so bad that I bled every time I brushed my teeth.

Moral of the story is this: Next time your periodontist tells you not to eat certain foods, listen to him. You might be slick enough to keep it from ruining the surgery, but the surgery gods will punish you by striking your healthy gums with the unsuspected weapon of toasted English muffin.

This week, Wing and I were busy so we didn’t cook. We either ate out or ate leftovers. (There will be restaurant posts soon.) So this Friday Failure is about a customer who assumed. And you know what they say about assume: it makes an a** out of you and me.

Saturday morning Wing suggested going to Busters Beach House in Seaport Village. We’d been there once before, and we really liked it, so I was game. Last time I ordered their Down-Island French Toast: “thick egg bread hand dipped in cinnamon ginger batter and grilled to a golden brown, topped with sliced banana, and toasted coconut” which was beautiful tropical island sunshine in your mouth. I planned to order that again, but when I saw the Griddle Combination and saw that I could have the French Toast with eggs and my choice of meat, I went for that.

You see, I assumed that it would be the same French Toast since that’s the only type listed on their menu. But when the waiter put the plate in front of me, I saw that it was plain old, regular French Toast that I could have made at home. (Disclaimer: their French Toast is so much better than my French Toast… I was trying my hand at a hyperbole.) I was sorely disappointed. But it was my fault for assuming. I should have asked so I could have had the amazing and exotic French Toast as opposed to the good but normal French Toast. Well, next time I know.

Coffeeee! Daniiiiish! Those are the prizes when you bike ride to the Ferry Landing on Coronado Island at the break of dawn in sunny San Diego. Or, as the case may be, at the break of…. hey? where’s the sun amidst all this fog? Despite the fog, it was a beautiful bike ride. (Click here to learn more about the bike route.) Wing and I started at the Silver Strand and, as I said, biked to the Ferry Landing. It’s not a record-setting distance by any means, but I also don’t bike a lot so I wanted to make sure that I’d be able to make it back to the car without having to be dragged back. Yes, I made it and it was actually too easy. Next time, I’ll be ready for an even longer ride. But wait, I almost forgot. This is a food blog, not a biking blog. Move down, move down… on to the coffee stand! (For those who are interested in the bike ride, below is a series of pictures to tell you all you need to know. For those who are only interested in the food, feel free to skip past the amazing pictures by yours truly. I won’t be insulted.)

BIKE RIDE

When Wing and I got to the Ferry Landing, they were setting up for the Coronado Art Walk so there were booths and trucks and expensive oceanic art pieces everywhere. Had we known, we might have started out on our ride a bit later to check it out, but, as it was, we didn’t feel like sitting around so we just got coffee and went on our merry way. OK OK, the coffee stand. So we walked our bikes (as to avoid getting hit by a truck backing up on the sidewalk or perhaps slamming into a pricey piece of art and therefore having to purchase it … although that might have been a fun way to bring Paperboy to life…) through the shopping district and Coronado ride_mint mochaclaimed a table at the coffee stand. I ordered a mint mocha (now the current honorary profile picture) and a cheese danish while Wing ordered a Chai Tea with a shot of espresso (Dirty Chai) and a cinnamon roll. Now, I’m going to be honest here. The pastries were really nothing to write home about and the coffee was average. But they do have a ton of variety considering it’s only a small stand, and I was intrigued by more than one coffee flavor. I thought about ordering the bear claw (a new coffee flavor), but then I thought about getting the black and white… or maybe a frap… so I went with the mint mocha (mint and chocolate and coffee, oh my!). Also, let’s not forget the location. As they say, location, location, location. You’re at the Ferry Landing on Coronado Island in San Diego. Do you really need the finest pastries? Must you really sip the best coffee to be wowed by this? If you live in San Diego and can go anywhere in the city, perhaps. But if you’re visiting or on a bike ride that happens to end right there, nah. And, let me tell you, others agree with me. The outdoor tables got packed with other bikers who wanted their coffee and pastries.

Coronado ride_Coronado Coffee Co

So I hadn’t been to the Ferry Landing itself in about 17 years and things sometimes change in that amount of time. I was pleasantly surprised to discover some restaurants there that might be worthwhile to try out! We may even put some posts about them someday. For now, let me just provide a link to the Ferry Landing restaurants and another link to a restaurant along the way (with an interesting history if you’re into that sort of thing) called 1887 on the Bay (some of their cocktail names are awesome, by the way… I just clicked back from the menu to tell you that). If you get to any of these restaurants before we do, let us know how they are!

Waking up all too early for a weekend, Wing and I decided that a nice breakfast would help the horrible situation of being awake before the sun. Before getting started, we battled an army of ants who had invaded the clean dish rack because apparently the SoCal sun (or rather the heat of the night because there was no sun yet) was too much for them and swimming in the water from the clean-dishes side of the sink seemed like fun. Say what you will about us, but Wing and I refused to let their fun pool party continue. I was on ‘smash ant with paper towel’ duty, while Wing was on ‘re-wash the dishes’ duty.

Once the ants were moderately out of the way, it was time to decide what to make for breakfast. We looked in the fridge and saw an expiring can of Pillsbury® Grands!® biscuits left there by Wing’s brother, KlyRad (for KlyRad’s profile, visit the guest profile page). Hey, why not use it? So I looked up some recipes on the Pillsbury® site and decided a quiche sounded good and easy. We didn’t have the ingredients for the specific one we chose, so we used it as a guide for measurements and baking times but added the ingredients we had on hand and to cater to our own tastes (we like spicy, although this dish was very mild for us), making the recipe our own.

The oven was just starting to beep when KlyRad walked groggily into the kitchen and opened the fridge. Wing invited him to try some of the quiche that he was just pulling from the oven. KlyRad at first declined, saying he doesn’t really like stuff like that (hmm sounds a little like something picky Mars would say), but Wing convinced him to try a little bit. KlyRad liked it with an all-too enthusiastic, “It’s not too shabby.” But he did go back for seconds, and poured the salsa verde over that piece and declared it to be like “a cupcake for breakfast!”

Quiche all

Biscuit Ham Quiche

  • (16.3 oz) can Pillsbury® Grands!® refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • 1-2 tablespoons cooking oil (we used olive oil infused with red bell pepper)
  • 1/2 cup chopped ham
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 whole pickled jalapeno, chopped (about 2 tablespoons chopped), optional
  • 2 small tomatoes, diced
  • 10 eggs, beaten
  • dash of rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
  • tomatillo salsa (aka green or verde), optional

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Press the biscuits in the bottom of a medium (we never bother with measurements) glass baking dish to form a sealed crust. Set aside (preferably away from the ant armada).

In a large skillet, heat oil and saute ham, onion, green bell pepper. Add jalapeno and tomato. Stir until desired doneness. Combine ham mixture with eggs. Stir in rosemary, salt, pepper, and cheeses. Pour mixture evenly over biscuit-lined baking dish. Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes, or until quiche is set. Serve with salsa if desired.