Tag Archives: breakfast

The Perfect Muffin for Chocolate Lovers

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The holidays are here! Sorry for the shortage of posts lately: I spent the last few weeks braving REAL winter and cavorting through the chilly climes of Cancun…

Just kidding! Cancun, as you can probably imagine, was amazing, winter weather included. We spent our early December days simply basking under the tropical sun at our seaside resort, dipping our feet in the warm Caribbean waters, and trekking through some of the gorgeous intra-cavern rivers that wound their way through the old Mayan ruins in Xcaret. Needless to say, I was spoiled silly and am making a rather graceless transition back to my California reality even as I type.

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The beachfront view from our resort in downtown Cancun.

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Now that I’m back and bundled up again in this nippy weather, though (yes, east coast folks, you may now roll your eyes), nothing sounds better than curling up with a cup of hot cocoa and a good book. Nothing, that is, except maybe freshly-baked chocolate muffins in the wee cold hours of the wintry morning, which is exactly what I’m sharing with all of you today. What I love most about this recipe is that it skips all of the tedious separate-and-mix steps required in most muffin recipes: all you need to do here is whisk together dry ingredients, whisk together wet ingredients, fold them all together, and throw that batter into the hot piping oven!

As if simple baking couldn’t get any better, these muffins are perfect for the chocolate lover in your life.  The unique combination of yogurt AND milk in this recipe keeps the muffin absolutely moist and fudgy with a hint of cakiness, while the extra chocolate chips that you toss in right before baking add morsels of molten chocolate richness in every bite. Not bad for an innocuous-looking breakfast food!… Read more

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates, Muffins

Mini Churro Donut Muffins

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If you love churros, donuts, and the excuse to justifiably eat them both for breakfast–trust me, these sugary babies are for you.

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Mini Churro Donut Muffins are, as their name implies–ahem–the perfect balanced breakfast food. Okay, so they’re rolled in glorious cinnamon sugar post-baking, and maaaaybe they’re more like a donut/cake than a muffin–but they’re baked instead of fried, which has got to count for something…right?

And that makes them okay to consume for breakfast.

And lunch.

And dinner.

And maybe dessert, if your stretchy pants are feeling particularly stretchy.

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We’ve been having a lot of sweets around here lately…and I mean a lot. The boy is a chronic snacker with an enviable metabolism and I’m always catching him rummaging through my kitchen for freshly baked sweets. Last week, I baked a batch of these donut muffins for my students, tucked them away in tupperware, went to the bathroom…and emerged again to the sound of a hastily closed plastic lid and smacking lips.

The upside of smothering all your baked treats in cinnamon sugar (besides the obvious): you’ll always catch the culprit. And this particular culprit agreed that the donuts were very good indeed.

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As with all great things, you’ll need to coat the donut muffins in melted butter before proceeding to roll them in a snug, cozy coat of cinnamon sugar goodness. The butter-meets-sugar combo is what gives these breakfast treats extra crunch on the outside, so don’t skip this step!

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My students, friends, and friends’ coworkers all RAVED about these Mini Churro Donut Muffins, and really–who can blame them? I recommend making a double or even a triple batch.

You know, just in case someone in the kitchen happens to eat half of them before they make it out the door.

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Who’s the biggest sweets snacker in your house?Read more

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Breakfast & Brunch, Muffins

Fluffy White Chocolate Cranberry Scones

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I never used to love scones. They always looked so bland sitting on the tray of continental breakfast pastries that I never gave them a second glance as I reached for an apple Danish or blueberry streusel muffin—poor dry, dusty hockey pucks!

Then a few years ago, I had my conversion moment. It happened during one of my friend’s weekly movie nights. We had all just settled down for the opening sequence of Singin’ in the Rain when she brought out a tray of scones—warm, buttery, fragrant scones that resembled their hotel counterparts about as much as Dobby looks like Hagrid. The heavens parted, choirs sang, and Gene Kelly stepped right out of the screen to claim the first one. For the rest of the movie, which I was watching for the first time, we hummed and sang and made up the words and munched on another melting scone, and yet another.

And another….

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Since then, I’ve been experimenting with no end of scone recipes. Oftentimes I’ll polish off an entire batch for the week’s breakfast without finding the time to photograph them—whoops!—but then at a recent Friendsgiving dinner, I had a fun conversation with my UK friend about the British naming of baked goods, which rekindled my dormant scone fanaticism…

From what I gathered, British cookies correspond with a very specific type of American cookies (your traditional round baked cookie, e.g. chocolate chip “cookies”), whereas everything else sweet falls under the category of the British “biscuit.” Of course, this begged the question of what the American biscuit—the fluffy, buttery kind eaten with jam and butter—was named, to which he pleasantly replied: “Those are sort of like scones, I think!”

(Which is about the most adorably British thing that any Englishperson could utter, by the way! Just FYI.)

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Of course, being the slightly obsessive-personality-disordered individual that I am, “scone” was a trigger word, and I immediately went home that night and whipped myself up a batch so that I could hoard them for the coming week.… Read more

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Breakfast & Brunch, Cookies

Easy DIY Peanut Butter Honey Greek Yogurt Scoops

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Have you ever heard that saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”?

Well, I’ve got a will–so can we pleeeeeease just have a few more weeks of summer? Please?

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Not that I have any reason to complain: here in the southern locales, the sun is still beaming and the temperature these days ranges from a svelte high 80s to a sweat-bullet-projecting low 100s…

But then again, who ever needed a REAL reason to gripe anyway? If we all waited for legitimate concerns to crop up before we started moaning and groaning about them, I’d never get to embark on all of my crazy life rants about schoolwork and parents and professors and cookie drama and everything else that makes up 100% 70% of my discussions here, and let’s face it: nobody wants to spend all day reading about my picture perfect imaginary world record winning collection of stuffed animals…

(well, except maybe me)

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The absurdly high end-of-summer temps is one of the big reasons why I’m still reluctant to go anywhere near my oven, even though it’s already the first week of September. My parents visited the other day and practically blew the lid of the place off in annoyance because I turned on the oven on the hottest evening of the week, so the whole place felt like the brimstone-and-flames inner core of Mount Doom…

So I’m sticking to no-bake snacks & bites for now. Which brings me to this awesome, creamy, protein-filled, no-bake, & Mount-Doom-free snack.

Haaaaave you met yogurt?

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When the lovely folks at Chobani reached out to me about whipping up a summer celebration recipe with their iconic yogurt as part of their #MadeWithChobani series, I just had to say yes. I’m kind of a diehard fan of their Greek yogurt–

and by kind of, I mean the “kind of” that you say when your in-laws ask you if you love chocolate cake and you say “kind of” just so that you don’t seem like that person who’s going to eat them out of cake and home, but in reality you love chocolate cake so “kind of” is kind of a really big lie.… Read more

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Filed under Breakfast & Brunch, Healthy, Homemade/DIY, Snacks, Snacks, Vegetarian

Easy Mickey Mouse Waffle Iron Omelettes: Guest Post on Neighbor Food Blog!

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Growing up, our house was chock full of Disney paraphernalia: classic Disney VCR tapes here, Ariel candles there, the obligatory Winnie-the-Pooh plushies sitting on top of our piano, right next to my Pochahontas and Lilo & Stitch stuffed collections. In our hallway, there even hung a framed portrait of Mickey Mouse from my mom’s old Disney days that, I later learned, was actually a rather rare reproduction of the same portrait that hung in Walt Disney’s animation office. (Say whaaat?)

Mickey Mouse was such a big part of my childhood, I honestly couldn’t imagine growing up without him and the rest of the Disney crew. That’s why, when my WONDERFUL blogger friend Courtney from Neighbor Food asked if I would guest post on her blog during this exciting time with her adorable baby boy, I knew exactly what recipe I wanted to share. Because let’s be honest: is there anything more emblematic of childhood happiness than this little round-eared, adorable mouse in Waffle Iron Omelette form?

No, I didn’t think so, either 8:) <–those are supposed to be cute Mickey ears on a smiley face, FYI

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I’m sharing the recipe for this Memory Lane breakfast idea over on Courtney’s blog today–so make sure to hop on over and give her (and these ridiculously cute omelettes) some lovin’!

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Hope your day’s as bright a one as these smiley little bites, Courtney and all the rest of you lovely folks!

Ala

 

 

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Mickey Mouse Waffles for #SundaySupper

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Raise your hands if you love Disney!!!!

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There are few surer ways to my heart than through an enthusiastic conversation about all things Disney. Heck, if Lord Voldemort showed up on my doorstep tomorrow night and told me he wanted to chat about this 3-year old with cancer who–thanks to the Make A Wish Foundation–will now have the chance to visit Disneyland, I would invite him in and ask him whether he wanted his Mickey Mouse waffles served with maple syrup, butter, or both.

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Disneyland is very much an American institution, but it is also a distinctly Californian landmark and experience as well. Conveniently located among the sunny orange groves of Southern California, I grew up visiting the theme park at least once a year–sometimes more, and always with a churro and a chocolate-dipped waffle ice cream cone from Gibson Girl’s Parlor on Main Street. While Disneyland isn’t my hometown (sorrows!), I might as well be an honorary citizen of the old mouse’s town.

I love the whole darn place, but my favorite part has got to be that swelling feeling in your chest when you step onto Main Street for the first time that morning. There’s something incredibly magical and old-timey that just can’t be found anywhere else…especially not with a double-scoop from the parlor!

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This Christmas, for Secret Santa, my cousin gifted me this amazing Mickey Mouse waffle iron, which is ten times classier than anything I would ever buy for myself. Actually, it only costs $20–but if you know me at all, you’ll know that I am a total appliance prude. Pans? Dozens. Useless utensils and kitchen tools? By-the-drawerful. But appliances?

Every single one of my appliances has been gifted to me. Food processor, blender, hand mixer, and now……cue contented sighs, because this waffle maker is the best thing that happened to me all last month.… Read more

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Apple Pie Overnight Oats {+ a giveaway!}

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Sometimes I like to talk about food. Other times, I like to talk about deep and meaningful topics relevant to a betterment of the human mind (or something like that).

And then there come the days where I wonder where the heck my Hogwarts letter got to and mope around the kitchen, dragging my finger through every bowl of batter sitting half-heartedly on the counter.

Today was one of those days.

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This morning I woke up from one of my many recurring Harry Potter dreams. Now for most people, this might sound like a really fun dream to have–flying, playing Quidditch, exploring the secret passages of Hogwarts: but not so, my friends. Not so!

Harry Potter dreams are my version of stress dreams.

Yes, read that one again. Harry Potter dreams are my mind’s freaking sadistic version of stress dreams.

….How messed up is that, right?? It’s about as fair as locking a puppy in a room with a fully-grown Blast-Ended Skrewt, in my professionally nerdy opinion.

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I’m a pretty vivid dreamer as it is, so when I have a HP dream and all my neurosensors are firing like crazy automatics in my sleeping subconscious, I remember the dreams really well. Sometimes, I am Neville Longbottom in the fifth book and am being chased by a bunch of Death Eaters who laugh maniacally whenever I try to cast a spell (presumably I have a nosebleed like Neville does in the book, so instead of saying Stupefy! and stunning my enemies, I say Stoobefy and am absolutely useless).

This morning, however, was the first day of classes with my brand new composition students. Unlike the classes I’ve taught in the past, I’m not a TA for this one: the curriculum is entirely my own, which means that the fates of 20 young, impressionable minds are completely, absolutely in my hands!… Read more

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Gingerbread Granola {Gluten-Free} for #BobsRedMill

{Congrats to Linda for winning my My Bakers Box giveaway last week! Can’t wait for you to bake up a storm, girl!}

So today I’m actually going to talk about food on my food blog (instead of completely random things like my year in Facebook statuses and goodness in this world). Imagine that.

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Exactly zero times a year before I became a food blogger, I ate gingerbread. Zero, zip, zilch.

Watch Harry Potter movies 1-7 five times on ABC Family? You betcha. But toss me the whole lot of holiday favorites–pumpkin pie, peppermint, figgy pudding, fruitcake–and you might as well be feeding your sink’s garbage disposal for all I cared.

Don’t get me wrong: I loved gingerbread in theory. And I adore the spicy smell of it wafting through the bustling supermarkets during holiday season. But gingerbread was to me what suave guys who get your number after a 5-minute conversation at Starbuck’s are to me now: romantic in theory or Hollywood rom-coms; kinda gross in real life. I may or may not be referring to a off-puttingly familiar Starbuck’s incident last Wednesday.

These days, though–boy, am I a canary singing a new tune! Ever since I bought my first jar of molasses a year ago, I’ve been scouring and searching and scavenging to indecent proportions for something to do with it. You might have seen my Gingerbread Obsessive Round-Up on Friday?

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But shopping/gifting/browsing season is inversely correlated to the amount of time any of us has in the kitchen during this busy season, meaning the more gingerbread recipes I bookmark, the less chance I’ll ever have of actually making one before next Christmas. Does anybody else face this (very real) struggle? Jeepers, I must’ve bookmarked at least 50 in the past 72 hours alone!

That’s why, when I was browsing my dear friend Kelly’s blog the other day, I was so so excited to see a recipe for gingerbread granola!… Read more

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Strawberry Smoothie Cubes {+ 3 Ways to Enjoy Them} for @WilliamsSonoma Smoothie Week

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Winter is coming!

Here in California, we’ve been saying this for about 11 months now, and winter still has not come. I don’t think it has visited our neck of the woods since about the Ice Age, and even then I suspect it let us off easy.

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This is lucky because my running shoes have been pounding the pavement quite a bit lately. Yesterday, I did a(n excruciatingly mellow) 13-mile run through Beverly Hills, jogging through posh Museum Row, the highly upscale Rodeo Drive, and making a pit stop at my favorite Harry Potter and Dr. Who-themed store, Whimsic Alley. I even ran a few circles around neighborhoods where celebrity homes are reportedly nestled–I did a Google search for fun and found that the web actually does a surprisingly good job keeping their exact locations Unplottable, probably for the better.

The most exciting creature I encountered was a black cat blinking at me from inside a gated house that looked like a 15th-century Spanish castle–though I did keep pretty good pace when another runner and I kept hitting the same traffic lights….until he turned around at mile 3 after informing me that “that was about as much as he was good for, though being chased by a pretty girl made him wish he could go further.” Don’t we all, chump. Don’t we all.

By the end of my run, I was sweating bullets and infinitely glad I’d donned a sleeveless. I’m not sure my tank top/beach shop attire would stand the 30-below weather some of you are experiencing right now, though. What’s it like in your neck of the woods? Feel free to shame my sun-tanned California bum…

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The delay of true winter can only mean one thing around here: smoothie season. When Williams-Sonoma reached out to me asking whether I’d like to participate in their Smoothie Week–and to create the weirdest or most unconventional smoothie I could come up with–of course I was all hands on board!… Read more

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Cookie Butter Pancakes–And, the Big News……

I can’t believe I’ve waited 8 months to type this.

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I have a Master’s degree in English Literature.

And I passed my qualifying exams.

And while I’m standing here writing “me, me, me,” what I really mean is: thank you, you, you.

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To all who have been a part of my life for the past 8 months: English may be my specialty, but right now words cannot express how absolutely indebted I am to each and every one of you for your support, your encouragement, and your faith in me through this incredibly intense time. Up until 3 minutes before the start of my exam, I was still receiving your amazing, inspiring messages of cheer and kick-butt-attitude, and they carried me through those quals like the eagles flew Gandalf. Well, perhaps not quite so gracefully–but then again, who can compare to Gandalf? If he had a PhD, it would be in Awesome, and I’m not sure I’m there just yet, even if I’m definitely somewhere further along than I was two days ago.

I even copied all of your messages onto a little Inspiration Page so I could carry your thoughts around with me on Friday:

Quals exam good luck notes

Quick note: If my thoughts feel a bit heavy-handed for a while, it’s because a) I was writing at 4 AM and b) writing is my catharsis–I promise it’ll have an positive ending! :)

As I mentioned before, I’ve waited nearly 8 months for the moment when I would be able to look back safely from the other side of quals and type my thoughts, my feelings, my story. Relief, wild celebration, euphoria seeping in at every pore–I was expecting all of these things, and I will be completely honest with you. All I want to do at this moment is lie down in my jammies, put on “Everything is Awesome”, and stare at the ceiling so long that dust accumulates in a little mound on the very tip of my nose.… Read more

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