Breakfast

Hot Oat & Quinoa Cereal

Oats and QuinoaI have a long week ahead, starting bright and early tomorrow morning teaching CXWORX before work. I’m already tired just thinking about everything I have to do.

I don’t like getting out of bed any earlier than necessary. But, I also know if I don’t start with a good breakfast, it will set off a chain reaction of unsatisfying, unhealthy eating all day, most likely punctuated by sugar highs and lows. Not good.

In anticipation of my busy week, I’m getting a head start. Laundry is done, gym bag is packed, and before I go to bed tonight, I’ll put a pot of this cereal on the stove. Steel-cut oats won’t get soggy, and quinoa adds extra protein. When the alarm clock rings, I’ll still be grumpy, but at least my stomach won’t be.

Hot breakfast

Hot Oat & Quinoa Cereal

Adapted from Bon Appetit

For every 2 servings:
3/8 cup dried fruit (I used tart cherries and golden raisins)
1/2 cup steel-cut oats (don’t use regular)
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 cups water

Bring all ingredients to boil in a saucepan.

If you want to eat right now: Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until grains are tender, about 20-25 minutes.

If you are making it the night before: Cover the mixture and let it sit overnight. Reheat, covered, over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally and adding water if needed, until warmed through, 5-8 minutes.

Serve your cereal with any of the following:
Milk
Honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, or other sweetener of your choice
Something crunchy: try walnuts, almonds, pepitas or other nuts or seeds, or some Trader Joe’s roasted coconut chips
Fresh fruit: grated apple, fresh peaches

Caramelized Apples

ApplesApples are one of my favorite foods. They have a long shelf life, and you can find good ones year-round (though they’re still best in season, September-October, and pick them if you can!). They are versatile for cooking, and also great by themselves. Pretty fantastic.

This dish is great as a filling for crepes, used in bread pudding, paired with bacon, sausage, pancakes or biscuits, or by itself.

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Caramelized Apples

From The Apple Lover’s Cookbook, by Amy Traverso

Makes about 3 cups

3 Tbs salted butter
2 1/2 pounds (about 5) firm-sweet apples (such as Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Jazz, or Jonagold), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup fresh apple cider
1/2 cup maple syrup, divided
2 Tbs granulated sugar

Melt the butter in a 12- to 14-inch skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the apples and spices. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are softened and lightly browned in spots, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the apple cider and cook, stirring often, until the cider reduces to a glaze, about 3 minutes. Add half the maple syrup and the sugar and cook, stirring often, until the sauce is thickened and glossy and the apples are tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Finish with the remaining maple syrup, stir, and serve.

Caramelized apples will keep, covered, for several days in the refrigerator.

100% Whole Wheat English Muffins

RHRW Note: Welcome my first guest blogger, Danielle. She is an English professor and a dear long-distance friend. We agree with her self-assessment about her frugality, but love her anyway.

I am, shall we say, frugal. Some — my husband, good friends, acquaintances forced to dine out with me — would call me cheap. I am, however, willing to pay for good, high-quality food. What will remain an unnamed brand of English muffins, however, does not count as high-quality food. So when my local grocery store raised the price of English muffins to $4.50/package, I decided to make my own, something that I’d never made before.

Even though I’d never made English muffins, I am not a novice baker. Much like our resident blogger (see Knotted Dinner Rolls), I spent many years in 4-H baking. I love to cook. I like to bake. The time requirements often keep me from pursuing it more often than I do. On a rainy Sunday afternoon with some time on my hands while I waited for students’ papers to come in during finals week, I experimented with the English muffin.

Whole Wheat English Muffins

These came out well. They’re approximately the same size as store-bought muffins. They had the requisite “nooks and crannies” I look for, they were 100% whole wheat, and there were no preservatives, a win all around.  Though there is a bit of sugar in here, honey or agave syrup would work well too.

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100% Whole Wheat English Muffins

Adapted from Food Network

Makes 9 muffins

1 cup warm skim milk

1 Tb sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 Tb canola oil

1 envelope active dry yeast

1/8 tsp. sugar

1/3 cup lukewarm water

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup white whole wheat flour

Special equipment: 3-inch metal baking rings. You can purchase specialty baking rings at most stores that sell cooking equipment. I used the rings of quart jars used for canning. Tuna cans with the top and bottom cut out would work too, or even rings made out of aluminum foil.

In a bowl, combine warm milk, sugar, salt, and oil. Stir to dissolve salt and sugar.

In a separate small bowl, combine yeast, sugar, and lukewarm water. Stir to dissolve yeast. Mix yeast mixture with milk mixture.

Put flours in a medium to large bowl, and add the liquid mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until the flour and milk mixture is thoroughly combined. Let rest for 30 minutes in a warm place. The dough will be batter-like in its consistency and considerably stickier than any bread dough you’ve worked with before. It is not meant to be rolled or kneaded.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat nonstick pan or griddle on stove top on medium-low heat. Dust bottom of the pan with cornmeal. Coat metal rings with non-stick spray, dust with corn meal, and place in the pan.

Pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup batter in each ring. Cover pan with a lid or cookie sheet. Cook muffins for 7 minutes on each side. Author’s note:  I recommend cooking one muffin first to check the timing, then cook as many as your non-stick skillet will allow you to. I could cook 4 muffins at a time. If you have a griddle (and rings) that allow you to cook more, do so. It will speed up the process considerably.

Remove muffin from ring and place muffin a cooling rack placed over a cookie sheet. When all muffins are finished cooking on the stovetop, bake for 7 additional minutes to finish cooking through. Let cool completely.