Festive Pumpkin Breakfast for Dinner

These pumpkin pancakes were supposed to be festive Halloween dinner since they’re orange. Long story, but they got a bit delayed. They were dinner another night and they were delicious! Cross it off my list!
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Pumpkin pancake batter is definitely more sticky than regular pancake batter. I made pumpkin waffles way back when for a girls night dinner. I recall them sticking A LOT and these lovely girls being sweet pretending it was fine that I had such trouble getting them out of the waffle iron.I made them as ebelskiver because that’s (almost) the only way to eat a pancake! Dropping some of our fillings into a standard pancake would be A-OK too. This is a half recipe which will feed 3-4 people.
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Ingredients:

½ cup flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp pumpkin pie seasoning (or ginger, allspice, and nutmeg)
½ tsp cinnamon
1 egg
½ cup milk
½ can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tbs vegetable oil

Directions

Mix dry ingredients.
Add wet ingredients mixing only until combined (lumps are OK).
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Cook pancakes.
These pancakes are a bit wetter/looser than regular pancakes which is perfect for ebelskiver. I pour some in each well of the pan. Then the filling goes in, before more batter covers that. One little flip ensures the even cooking.
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I used cinnamon chips as a filling. Have I proclaimed my love for these here? No? Ohh my goodness. These are so great in anything! Cinnamon chips make such a wonderful difference in pumpkin bread too. I grab some whenever I see them in the baking aisle…and by some I mean 3 bags.

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I also did maple sausage and some apple ones too. The apple wasn’t enough on it’s own. I think chopping apples with cinnamon and sugar might have made it sparkle more. It sure was fall feeling though!

The savory fillings get me every time. Yum. So, tell me. Is breakfast for dinner OK in your house?

Quicky Quiche

My mum makes the best quiche so I was thinking I’d make one. It wasn’t quite as good as hers ever is, but overall I was happy with it.
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I used ready-made piecrust which made is super easy. Pie crust isn’t that hard to make, but I wasn’t making a double crusted pie so I made it a bit more simple by using one made for me. It meant making lunch for the week only took about 20 minutes to prep.

Ingredients

2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 cup whole milk
2 strips of bacon, cooked & crumbled
2 cups spinach, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
¼ tsp cream of tartar
1 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
salt & pepper

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Chop spinach, mushrooms, and bacon.
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Wisk together eggs, egg yolks, milk, salt, pepper, and cream of tartar.
Layer cheese and fillings into piecrust.
Gently pour egg mixture over filling.
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Bake 35-40 minutes until center is set.
Allow to cool slightly before slicing.
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It was good but I think I put in too much cream of tartar. It’s supposed to provide acid to help stabilize the eggs.

Quiche was a great lunch option this week. Swiss or sharper cheddar might have given this more bite. This definitely was an easy way to use some mushrooms I had and for another serving of spinach.

Breakfast Pizza

The last time I made pizza with bacon I ended up wishing I’d done it breakfast-style. No time like the present! I broke out the pizza stone and got to work. Only after proclaiming my love for the pizza stone, of course.
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Ingredients

1 ball of dough
1/4 cup marinara sauce
4 strips of bacon, cooked & crumbled
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded cheddar
3 green onions, chopped

Directions

1) Preheat pizza stone to 375 degrees.
2) Top dough with sauce and shredded cheese making four divots for eggs.
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3) Sprinkle with bacon and green onions.
4) Crack eggs into divots and bake immediately.
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5) Bake for 35 minutes until crisp and egg fully cooked.

I loved this pizza! It wasn’t the greatest reheated…but I’m sure you can guess I ate it anyway. The egg got funky but hey, if it meant I didn’t have to grocery shop or find something else, then I’d eat almost anything.

I think I would also like to try a scrambled egg-type of pizza. Like this. Or this. I’m trying to think up fun and exciting new pizza themes for my next one. Maybe I’ll have to give a thin crust a whirl. Any suggestions for toppings?
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The pizza stone has changed my life and my pizza. It’s such a difference. If you have one, you’ll agree. If you don’t, you should go get one.  The dough is fluffy and puffy, which I love.

Bfast Fiasco

This breakfast dish was something I had been dying to make and it unfortunately was a letdown. It had such potential! I saw this Maple Bacon & Apple Stuffed French Toast and was super excited. I mean I grocery shopped specifically for this and I hate to grocery shop.
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Maple Bacon? Apple? French Toast? What’s not to love, right? I don’t know if I missed the mark on this with a bunch of seemingly small mistakes or if I just didn’t have the touch. Here it is, done right, by Kitchen Runway.If you’re intrigued, and want to prove me right/wrong go ahead with Kitchen Runway’s ingredients & directions since clearly theirs was successful.

Maple Bacon & Apple Baked French Toast

Ingredients:

21 King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls (I used potato rolls)
10 slices of maple bacon
1 large Fuji apple, peeled, cored, quartered and sliced
1 Tbs maple syrup
8 large eggs
2 C whole milk (this could be one of my problems)
½ C heavy cream
3 Tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Topping:
8 slices of maple bacon (~9 oz), cooked and crumbled
½ C powdered sugar
2 Tbs + 1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp milk

Directions:

Quarter the rolls and place in a single layer on a baking sheet to dry out while you prepare the rest of the recipe steps.

Preheat oven to 325º F.  Line a baking sheet with foil and place bacon in a single layer and bake for 35 mins.  Remove from oven when done and place bacon on a paper towel to drain fat.  Crumble bacon or use a knife to chop the bacon.  Set aside.

Place sliced apples in a bowl and add maple syrup and stir to combine, set aside. (I used a mandolin and cut 2 fingers…bandaging myself delayed everything a bit. Chunks would have been better anyway.)
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In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, sugar, cinnamon and salt until combined.
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Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with butter and place half of the bread in a single layer in the bottom of the dish.  Cover bread with ½ of the egg mixture.  Place remaining bread into the egg mixture and stir to coat.
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Place sliced apples on top of the bread in a single layer and sprinkle the bacon on top.

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Gently place the remaining bread on top of the apple and bacon layer.  Pour remaining egg mixture to the baking dish. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. (hmmm. I think I gave it an hour in the fridge)

The next day:  preheat oven to 350º F.  Place dish on middle rack and bake for 60 minutes or until golden brown and puffy.  If the French toast is browning too quickly, tent the baking dish with foil.
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In the meantime, you can cook the bacon for the topping on the stove top or bake until crispy. (I used reserved bacon from the filling prep)

In a small bowl, whisk powdered sugar, maple syrup and milk.

Sprinkle bacon on top of baked French toast and drizzle with maple glaze.  Serve with additional maple glaze or syrup if you like. (my glaze needed more powdered sugar)
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Can’t win ‘em all. I re-tried it the next day, because things are better after chill-axing. No such luck. One of the very few items I bake is a chocolate bread pudding…not much different than this but that is fool-proof and this stuffed french toast proved problematic. Ohh well, onto the next.

Boston “Hahbah” Cruise

One sprinkling Saturday, Mr. J and I went on a brunch cruise in Boston for his bday. It was fun even though we’re from here. The commentary was interesting (with new info!) and it was something different than our usual weekend plans. It was through Boston Harbor Cruises
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The brunch specifically was not overly amazing, but we really enjoyed ourselves. I know there were items listed on the menu we each were looking forward to but that weren’t served, and I noticed the menu doesn’t list that it is “subject to change without notice” or “subject to availability”.

Mr. J was interested in cream cheese stuffed french toast and I wish we had crab cake eggs benedict. The brunch served was pretty basic, but OK in terms of a buffet offering.
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I was thankful that it wasn’t crowded and that coffee was available right when we stepped onto the boat. Each group had their own table! I think the weather had something to do with that, but it was fine with us.

We started with a little fruit and cheese thinking we shouldn’t go heavy on pastries since the brunch sounded pretty good. One of my cheeses was red pepper and tasted like cheddar…it was amazing! I really loved it and hadn’t had anything like it before. I liked the flavor and the spice.
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When the buffet opened we had eggs, french toast sticks (which made me feel like my soon-to-be-nephews were with us), potatoes, sausage, and a veggie medly. I tried it all and didn’t think anything was very special, very good quality, or memorable.
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I also grabbed some apple crisp thing which was stellar. I loved it. My mum makes pretty fantastic apple crisp and this was up there.
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Dessert was interesting. It was great that everything was bite sized so we shared bites of everything. We are pretty sure that the pumpkin cheesecake had salt instead of sugar. It was fun to see others also experience the same reaction we had.
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Had they asked my opinion or on a survey I would have shared my disappointment in the food. I might have felt differently if they set my expectations by not listing what was served. It also wasn’t really brunch. I think brunch is breakfast items and some lunch items.

Being realistic, the brunch is fine. Nobody is there for the food and I really had a great time overall. I’d recommend a fun brunch downtown or enjoying food truck fare on the Rose Kennedy Greenway with the Historic Boston Sightseeing cruise instead.

Eggy Toast

Mr. J has a new signature dish! He has perfected this bfast dish and all I can say is keep ‘em coming! Eggs and toast make this a great go-to meal. We’ve had it for dinner when it seemed like there was nothing.
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Ingredients:

4 slices of wheat bread, buttered
4 eggs

Directions:

Grill buttered bread lightly on both sides
Using a biscuit cutter or jar top cut out holes in the center of the bread
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Return the bread to the pan and crack an egg into each hole
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Cook the egg until set and flip
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The eggs were perfectly cooked through with a runny yolk and the toast was crispy. Also, the gently toasted toast circles popped out of the toast make for a great bite while waiting for the real thing.
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Mr. J thought toasting the bread in the pan before popping out the center made for a crispier edge. He served a little potato red pepper hash on the side. Yum!

Now, for the serious stuff. What do YOU call this? What SHOULD we call this? Let me know!

A1 Gets an A+

A1 Diner
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Mr. J and I LOVE diners and it was always surprising to me that we hadn’t been to the famous A1 Diner in his hometown in Maine! Their website calls themselves “Maine’s Most Unique Restaurant”. I recently went to “Boston’s Friendliest Pub” so this amused me greatly.

During a quick visit a few weeks ago we stopped in right at the cusp of breakfast and lunch. We decided on breakfast and I loved every minute of it.
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I got an Orange Poppyseed Waffle. It was amazing. I never see orange and poppy seed as a combo but it was great! I liked the fluffyness of the waffle and the citrus flavor. It was a good deviation from my usual bfast choices since I tend to go savory rather than sweet.
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Mr. J got an egg, bacon, toast, combo which is his standard. Use your imagination since I deemed it not quite picture worthy, much to his dismay.

Mrs. C got an Orange Pecan or Orange Walnut waffle and real maple syrup. I forget which nut but how cool to put nuts in there?!
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They had some interesting dinner meals/specials that make me want to go back. I’m sure the grilled sandwiches and burgers are only as diners can make them.
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Their website has some recipes so maybe I’ll have to whip one of those up sometime. I’d like the Hungarian Mushroom Soup, but I don’t have tons of mushroom eaters in my life. Or crabcakes, or pistachio lime salad, or lemon sauce for dessert.

Just as The Terminator would say: I’ll be back.

Love-ly Potluck

My office decided to have a Valentine’s Day potluck with the theme: food we love. I made sis guess our theme for Valentine’s Day and she guessed: food that bad for your heart. Also, a fun theme…for another time.

I love breakfast so I made Ebelskiver. These stuffed pancakes are fantastic and highly portable. Potlucks are so much pressure because reheating with only a microwave and toaster oven doesn’t do everything justice. Also, since I travel to work on public transit my choices can also be limited.

These stuffed pancakes became fast favorites of ours after I gave the pan to Mr. J for his birthday. I did 2 fillings: raspberries and chocolate chips. Some other favorite fillings are: jelly, sausage, brown sugar, coconut, and peanut butter.

Generously spray pan with non-stick spray. Pour pancake batter half way, add filling ingredient and add more batter on top.
ebilskiv_choc_290_200Williams Sonoma sells fancy turners but after a $40 pan I decided we would get creative. I can whole heartedly recommend cheap bamboo skewers.
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Some other loved items at our potlucks include:

Somebody loves: Thai Noodles in Peanut Sauce with Asparagus and Cucumbers
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Somebody loves: Matzo Ball Soup
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Somebody loves: Kale Salad with Mango & Sunflower Seeds
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Somebody loves: Queso Dip
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Somebody loves: Care Packages (you can’t see the neutella brownie inside and I ate it before taking a photo)
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Some others love salad and pasta salad.

It was such a fun theme. Some of our past themes have been: picnic food; dip day; and back to school lunch food. I can’t wait for our next potluck!

Spinach & Cheese Muffin Bites

Spinach-Cheese Bake

I really love quiche but when I pack it for lunch it seems soggy and the crust flakes. I tried this crustless spinach and Monterey jack cheese version and made it in a muffin tin.
crustless_quiche_done_290_200There isn’t anything super special in this but I was glad I went with a lighter protein & veggie option for a few days worth of lunch. It would be good for a bunch item but this didn’t rock my socks.

Ingredients

4 cups fresh baby spinach
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 1/3  cups  all-purpose flour
1 1/2  cups milk
4 eggs
1  teaspoon  salt
2  teaspoons  Dijon mustard
1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
1/8  teaspoon  ground red pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°.
Spray 13 x 9-inch baking dish or muffin tins with cooking spray. Place chopped spinach evenly in bottom of dish; sprinkle evenly with cheese.
crustless_quiche_spin_290_200Combine flour and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk until blended.
crustless_quiche_liq_290_200Pour milk mixture over cheese. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until lightly browned.
crustless_quiche_assemb_290_200I omitted 1 teaspoon of baking powder, by accident. These turned out a bit more spongy than I expected, probably because I forgot the baking powder.

‘Morning Sunshine

Stranded on an island with one meal, hands down a breakfast sandwich is my choice. Everytime. I’m specifically interested in one varity: sausage, egg, cheese on a croissant. I mean I wouldn’t pass up one with bacon, or on a bagel, but for breakfast or brunch, this is a pretty regular choice for me. It is also a great way to compare restaurants!

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the egg:

over-easy or scrambled

the cheese:

preferably cheddar, but American will do just fine

the sausage:

maple is great but links or patties, I don’t discriminate

the bread:

croissants are my favorite, but again, bagels make a great choice…the caveat? The bagel must, must, must be toasted or grilled. This seems obvious but it has been a reoccurring faux pas.

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My local favorites include Kelly’s Diner, Ball Square Cafe, Bakers’ Best, and yes, Dunkin’ Donuts.

Unacceptable breakfast sandwiches are found at The Broken Yolk (untoasted bagel and a single link sausage cut in half) and Moogy’s (stringy cheese and rubbery bacon).

Normally my restaurant choices lean towards something I cannot make at home, but the fact that I don’t make them regularly adds validity to my choice. It needs to be served HOT HOT HOT. Also, the egg must be cooked through while the cheese needs to be melted. I swoon over a sharpness of the cheddar, the toasty-ness of the croissant, and the sweetness of the sausage gets me every time.