Never underestimate the power of chocolate. My lovely 3 year old, who has had chocolate only a handful of times but was not only willing to try this, but begging for a bite; and she kept eating. This is a fun treat, super easy to throw together the night before, and perfect for a quick breakfast, or in our case, a mid-morning snack. The toppings you use are totally up to you and what you have in your pantry. I love some sort of tart fruit, I usually use frozen raspberries, and the extra crunch of the almonds and coconut. Wolfie loved the bananas and Fox loved the coconut and freeze dried strawberries.
Chocolate Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds
Makes 2 large servings
2 cups non-dairy milk
3 TBL pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 TBL cocoa powder – I used a mixture of dutch and natural
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup chia seeds
Toppings of choice, this time I used: 1/2 a banana, sliced, 1 TBL sliced almonds, 2 TBL coconut chips, 2 TBL freeze dried strawberries, and a few chocolate chips. Other ideas are nut butter, coco nibs, frozen fruit, fresh fruit, other chopped nuts, whatevs.
Whisk together the milk, maple syrup, vanilla, almond, and cocoa powder in a bowl that has a lid.
Stir in oats and chia seeds, cover, and refrigerate overnight, at least 6 hours.
If you’re using frozen fruit you can toss it on top the night before and it will be thawed and lovely when you get to it in the morning.
I blame Pinterest for this one, and the short days, and just feeling a little homesick after the move. Not that this dish would be found anywhere near Cambridge, MA, but it would be found in Wisconsin where I’m originally from. All I can think when I look at this is “careful, your midwest is showing.” That being said it is everything a midwest dish should be; homey, salty, comforting, easy, cheesy, serves a crowd, and topped with tater tots. It is truly perfect for New Year’s Day because you can make it ahead of time, and just hang out drinking coffee while it bakes in the morning. You can start your New Years resolution eating at lunch.
This is a perfect dish for when you have overnight guests as it feeds a crowd with minimal effort, and will make most anyone happy if they are ok with tater tots for breakfast. And if they aren’t, well, you might want to decide if you need that kind of negativity in your life. If you really want to make it minimal effort in the morning just sauté your vegetables the night before and assemble the morning of.
Happy Midwestern Breakfast to you. I hope you’re holidays are merry and bright.
Breakfast Tater Tot Hot Dish
Oil for cooking
2 cups chopped kale or mixture of vegetables -spinach, chard, broccoli, mushrooms, whatever
1 leek, sliced lengthwise, rinsed, and thinly sliced into half moods if you don’t have a leek onion will be fine in a small dice.
salt and pepper for seasoning
1/4 package soyrizo or 2 vegetarian breakfast sausages that have been warmed and chopped (optional)
3/4 cup milk or non-dairy milk
1 cup shredded cheese – I like goat cheddar, but most anything will be good here
1/2 LB frozen tater tots
Butter a 9×9 square baking pan.
Preheat oven to 375 – if you’re prepping this a day ahead obviously do not preheat the oven. Wait until the morning are planning to cook please.
Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat.
Add oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.
Add kale and leek and cook stirring frequently until softened, 5-7 minutes.
Season kale and leeks with salt and pepper, then stir in soyrizo or breakfast sausage and remove from heat.
Spread the cooked vegetables and fake meat into the bottom of the buttered baking pan.
Top with cheese.- At this point you can cover everything tightly and refrigerate until the next morning.- If you’re making it all the day of just continue on my friend.
In the morning whisk together the eggs and milk and pour the egg mixture over the top of the vegetables.
Place the still frozen tater tots in the egg mixture in a single layer and put the whole thing in the preheated oven.
Cook until the tater tots are golden brown and crispy and the egg is set in the middle, about 30-35 minutes.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes or so before cutting and devouring.
The recipe for this delightful morsel of a cake has been passed down from my great-grandmother. It was one of the first recipes I posted when I started my blog several years ago. I didn’t have a picture of it, and I never uploaded one, until today. Just in time to celebrate the start of the holiday season. This cake is ultra moist, full of warming spices, and somehow never too sweet. It is perfect for dessert, breakfast, or as an addition to a holiday brunch. It also takes about 5 minutes to make and makes a big impression with its amazing fall flavors. This is the cake to bake when you have company as the whole house smells like you’ve spent hours in the kitchen as the warm fragrance of fall baking spices waft through the air.
Gramma’s Spice Cake
Makes 1 9×9 cake
1 cup non-dairy milk, or dairy milk
1 tsp. vinegar (apple cider or white, but I’ve also used rice in a pinch)
1 cup sugar
1 TBL vegetable shortening
1 TBL chia seeds mixed with 2 TBL water, or 1 egg, or equivalent of 1 egg in whatever form you like
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 370F.
Add vinegar to milk and set aside.
Cream together sugar and shortening until smooth.
Add the chia seed/water mixture to sugar and mix together.
In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.
Alternate between adding flour mixture and soy milk to the shortening, mixing thoroughly between additions.
Pour batter into a greased 9×9 cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until cake pulls away from the edges of the pan and a cake tester comes out mostly clean.
I’m so sorry I have skipped a few weeks lately. Things have been crazy around here. We are getting ready to move across the country, from the Boston area to the Seattle area. With two kids under the age of 3. I’m very excited, but, as I said, it’s been a bit crazy. Please forgive me if this are a bit slow in the next few weeks, but I hope to back up to speed for the holidays. I hope.
These delightful little nuggets of joy were a fun find from The Texanerian. I changed a few things but that was my inspiration. These are perfect for fall and a wonderful, fairly healthy, way to start Halloween. full of actual pumpkin and lots of meat free sources of protein these guys will fill you up. My older daughter ate them one after another until I had to cut her off! Also a hit with the neighborhood kids, and adults. Yummy!
1/2 cup (120 grams) canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line a mini muffin pan with 24 muffin liners or oil pan.
In a large bowl, mix together the coconut flour, almond flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt.
In a separate medium bowl, mix together the eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup, pumpkin, and vanilla.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry mxture and stir just until combined.
Pour the batter evenly into the muffin liners, filling each liner until almost completely full. You’ll likely have enough batter for another six. I scooped them into a big muffin pan so I could cook them at the same time and they were flat but perfectly yummy.
Bake for 11-13 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
These need to rest for at least an hour before serving, both because of taste and texture.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Best in the first 2 days.
It still feels like summer here on the East Coast, but fall is fast approaching. Fall is my favorite! I can’t wait for the cooler days and the leaves to change color, to be able to wear jeans without sweating to death, and sweatshirts. Who doesn’t love a cozy sweatshirt? There have been a few hints of fall this week with a couple of leaves falling and the nights becoming slightly cooler. It has gotten me in the mood. I make pumpkin muffins at the beginning of the week, and here we are making pumpkin spiced french toast. No, I do not drink Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, that’s yucky, too sweet, but I love the real stuff. Also, pumpkin is a vegetable, and, to be honest, I used butternut squash puree today so it’s another sneaky way for me to put veggies in everything. Toddler approved!
Top this fragrant french toast with maple syrup, coconut whipped cream, cinnamon roll topping, or anything else your heart desires.
Pumpkin Spice French Toast
2 happy eggs
1/2 cup pumpkin puree or butternut squash puree
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
few dashes nutmeg
6 slices whole grain bread (I used a flourless sprouted bread)
Coconut oil for cooking
Whisk the eggs until uniformly yellow.
Add pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg whisking to combine.
Dip bread into batter one slice at a time, and allow to rest while your pan pre-heats. This lets the batter soak into the bread a bit which makes for a better texture.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
Once the pan is hot add oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.
Add bread in a single layer leaving room between the slices. I have to cook this in 2 batches.
Cook on the first side until golden brown, 2-3 minutes, flip and cook until the second side is also golden brown, a few more minutes.
My little lovelies enjoy their pancakes. Traditional pancakes are not a nutritional powerhouse, but we can fix that! These are made with whole grains, add protein with the eggs, some vegetables, and pack in the flavor. All that, and they’re still light and fluffy! I can’t wait until my girls are old enough to be shocked by the fact that most pancakes don’t have vegetables in them (insert evil laugh here). I mix it up with the vegetables, but sweet potato, pumpkin puree, or spinach are the favorites in our house. This week will focus on the beautiful sweet potato.
For my girls I serve them plain, no butter or syrup, and then pack them to go. These also freeze extremely well and will thaw on the go if you like to do big batch cooking.
Sweet Potato Pancakes
1 small very ripe banana or an additional 1/2 cup puree of choice, they just won’t be quite as sweet
1 cup sweet potato puree, or pumpkin puree
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups spelt or whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour or more whole grain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
3/4 cup milk, kiefer, water, or a mixture of these – nondairy is fine
Mash banana in a medium bowl with the sweet potato puree.
Add eggs and vanilla whisking to combine.
Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt,spices, and milk and stir together. If mixture needs more liquid add it to your desired consistency. Thicker batter makes thicker pancakes, thinner batter makes thinner pancakes.
Heat a large skillet, I use my biggest cast iron pan, over medium heat.
Once pan is hot add a small amount of oil to prevent pancakes from sticking.
Pour batter into the pan making sure to leave enough room between the pancakes to flip them!
Cook on first side until bubbles that form on pancakes burst and edges start to dry out.
I’m from the Midwest, you know, land of “hot dish” (casserole), and cookie bars. Yet, somehow I never had carmelitas until my sister-in-law made them when visiting over a year ago. I have only had them that one time, yet they stuck in my brain. This very comforting combination of caramel, chocolate, and almost and oatmeal cookie crust. I attempted one other time to make them vegan and failed miserably. I didn’t try again until recently, after I had found date caramel . This version of carmelitas are vegan, and much lower sugar than your average bar. They are still sweet, very sweet. In fact they are perfect for breakfast dessert with a cup of coffee. mmm, or mid-afternoon snack with a cup of coffee, Be right back…
Vegan Date Caramel Carmelitas
For the Oat Base and Crumble
3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted (I used Earth Balance)
1/2 cup packed coconut sugar (or brown sugar if that’s what you have)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-rolled old fashioned oats (not instant or quick cook)
1 teaspoon baking soda
For the Date Caramel
8 oz pitted medjool dates (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup water that the dates were soaking in
1 TBL bourbon (or more date water)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks (vegan if that’s your jam)
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8×8-inch pan and set aside.
Cover dates with boiling water in a heat proof bowl or measuring cup and set aside for 10 minutes.
Combine the melted “butter”, coconut sugar, and vanilla whisking until smooth.
Add the flour, oats, baking soda, and stir until combined.
Add roughly half of the mixture to the prepared pan and smooth it to form an even layer.
Bake for 10 minutes. While it bakes make the date caramel.
7.Combine the soaked dates, coconut milk, soaking water, vanilla, and salt in a food processor and blend until smooth. This will take a few minutes and you will have to stop and scrape the sides a few times.
After the oat base has cooked for 10 minutes remove it from the oven and dollop the date caramel over the base. Smooth with a spoon or spatula to form one even layer. This is delicate work.
Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the date caramel in an even layer.
Evenly crumble reserved oatmeal-sugar mixture over the top.
Return pan to oven and bake for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned and center appears to be set.
Allow bars to cool for a few hours in the pan before slicing and serving.
These are best stored in the refrigerator and are delightful cold or at room temperature.