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Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

See that large metal grain bin? My dad made that! Yes, I am a proud daughter who enjoys bragging about how her daddy made the thing with Bob’s face on it  outside of Bob’s Red Mill. My dad designs and repairs feed mill equipment for a living, which I never understood the appeal of (smelly, hot, physical, not my kind of job . . . but wait, that describes my job perfectly! I guess I am a daddy’s girl!). I did help him out when I was younger, for less than a week. I could not take more than that! My “helping”  included  screwing large nuts and bolts into large, metal grain bins, in the pouring rain, and complaining about it constantly. I remember shivering in clothes completely soaked through, and screwing small pieces of metal into larger pieces of metal with numb fingers. But, I also remember the rides to and from Bob’s, talking and laughing with my dad, telling stories and planning where to stop and eat. I remember my brother helping my dad operate the crane, and standing in awe as they lifted giant sheets of metal into the sky. I remember touring the mill with Bob, meeting the other employees, and eating a brown bag lunch in the cafeteria with the piano in the corner. I remember feeding the ducks in the pond, smelling the musty air in my dad’s service truck, shopping in Bob’s little store, and  buying some oatmeal or rice flour for my mom. Great memories about a place that I now frequent as a customer. I feel like I contributed in some very small way, to building a part of my favorite store/restaurant.

We visited Bob’s on Saturday for breakfast, the best breakfast anywhere, ever. Tender biscuits, perfectly cooked over-easy eggs, and the best part, the hash browns. Crispy on the outside, perfectly seasoned and not greasy at all. You can really taste the freshness of everything, and how much love goes into every menu item. I ordered my new Saturday favorite, the hash brown casserole with biscuits. Way too much food for one meal, but to go boxes exist for a reason, right? My boyfriend prefers the classic hash browns, eggs and toast, a little boring for me, but no menu item at Bob’s disappoints. We left with to go boxes stuffed with breakfast for the next day, ready to enjoy the sunshine.

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Growing up, Sunday mornings meant cold cereal. We looked forward to those mornings because our parents made them special. We never ate cold cereal any other day of the week, just Sundays before church. The rest of the week Mom cooked us pancakes, waffles, hash-browns and eggs, applesauce oatmeal, Scottish oatmeal, Cream of Wheat or breakfast burritos. I laugh now, remembering that we thought the processed, boxed cereal beat out the other homemade treats. Strange kids. Now I prefer any other option, including oatmeal, but with that silly thing called a job, I find few mornings with time for measuring cups, sauté pans or even boiling water. I just don’t like getting up any earlier than I need to! So, I typically make the most important meal of the day a bowl of granola. But, have you ever read the ingredients on a box of the stuff? And the healthier options just get me even further into debt. My version below includes olive oil, flax seeds, maple syrup, all my favorite ingredients! I added applesauce to reduce the fat content (plus, the applesauce really helps to create wonderful clumps, the best part!), and used maple syrup and honey as the sweeteners. And I know with every bite exactly what I am getting.

Granola - Before baking

I love that you can really make a granola recipe your own, as long as you keep the proportions of liquid to dry ingredients correct. Feel free to experiment! That is the best part of cooking. I didn’t add dried fruit to mine because I just don’t like it that much, but definitely add some if you are a fan!

Cinnamon-Almond Granola

3 cups rolled oats

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp sea salt

1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut

1 cup Scottish oatmeal (you can substitute quick oats, or just add more rolled oats. Do not use steel-cut oats)

1/2 cup golden flaxseed meal

1/2 cup golden flax seeds

1 1/2 cups sliced almonds

1/2 cup applesauce, very smooth (I used my recipe and pureed the applesauce in a food processor. Chunky applesauce is yummy, but doesn’t work as well as an oil substitute!)

1/2 cup real maple syrup

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the oats, spices, salt, coconut, Scottish oatmeal, flaxseed meal, flax seeds and almonds in a large bowl. In a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients and mix well. Thoroughly mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Spread the granola evenly on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring well every 15 minutes. The granola should be very golden brown when done. If you like it extra clumpy, as soon as you remove it from the oven, place another sheet of parchment paper on top of the granola and press down firmly and evenly. Remove the parchment and let the granola cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Granola - After baking

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If you read any of my other blog posts, you will notice the word mom mentioned many times. This post continues my theme of mom-inspired creations, which may never end. Sorry if you tire of hearing about this wonderful woman, but her hard-working example in the kitchen made me who I am today, a lover of food, cooking, and all things culinary. She ruined me for many things, including her famous apple pie (I may never even attempt to replicate her specialty) and also pancakes. Rarely did her pancakes drip with maple syrup. Her homemade oatmeal pancakes came with a variety of toppings. Applesauce, peanut butter, berries, jams, whipped cream and her simple berry syrup made from apple juice concentrate, frozen berries and corn starch. Mom taught us to cook as soon as she could, and pancakes topped the list of items we enjoyed helping her make. No Krusteaz or Bisquick for her, just a few fresh ingredients in a bowl and an electric griddle. It is her fault I am a pancake snob. Yet, I am sure she would not complain about me blaming her for that. I never order pancakes from a restaurant. Restaurant pancakes rarely taste like anything other than white flour and grease from the over-used griddle. Spongy rounds of dough made from prepackaged mix do not appeal to me. Why buy them when I can make them better? I often say that I never make the same recipe twice. I enjoy experimenting and trying new versions of the same classics. However, I found my new favorite pancake recipe a few days ago. A recipe destined to fulfill my pancake cravings for years to come. No more searching the internet in vain for new pancake inspiration. I found pancake heaven. Filled with whole grains, low in fat and sugar, and even great reheated! My kind of recipe. They may even threaten the popularity of the homemade waffles that typically fill my freezer. I adapted this recipe from Flaxseed Meal Pancakes from Bob’s Red Mill. When looking for a whole-grain recipe, I typically start with Bob’s. I highly recommend anything with his smiling, bearded face on the label.

Golden Flaxmeal Pancakes

Yields 12 each pancakes

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 tsp sea salt

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup Scottish oatmeal

6 tbsp golden flaxseed meal

1 1/2 cups organic milk

2 tbsp real maple syrup (no fake sugar syrup!)

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

olive oil

Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Add the oatmeal and flax-seed meal. In a separate bowl combine the milk, maple syrup, egg and vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, and combine. Do not over mix, or the pancakes will be tough. The batter should still be lumpy. Heat a non-stick skillet (or electric griddle or whatever you cook your pancakes) over medium heat. Drizzle one teaspoon of olive oil in the pan, and then add the pancake batter, in 1/4 cup portions. Flip when the edges of the pancakes start to dry and bubble. These pancakes may take longer to cook than the typical pancake recipe, because of the whole grain ingredients. Cook the pancakes until cooked through (the pancake should feel spongy and springy when you touch the middle of it). Do not flip the pancakes over again! Flipping them again will only dry out the pancake. This goes for all pancake recipes. Remove them from the heat and continue with the rest of the batter. Eat immediately, or refrigerate for a quick breakfast later in the week. Much better fresh, of course, but I don’t feel like cooking at 4:30 in the morning, so sometimes I make a huge batch of these and grab one as I run out the door. Great bus stop food! Minus the toppings, of course.

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