Breakfast!

Breakfast is probably my favourite meal of the day.  Not only is it an important way to start the day, I’m also usually starving when I wake up.  While pregnant with the girls I actually used to eat two breakfasts!  One, as soon as I got up (around 7) & then another with my husband, when he was finally ready for breakfast, somewhere around 9. I was eating for three, right?

To me, there is no better way to start the day then with a good cup of coffee, an omelette filled with mushrooms, spinach & cheese, some potatoes & some toast.   Delicious!  Of course, I certainly don’t eat this every day… though coffee is a necessity no matter what else I am eating!  Image result for coffeeBreakfast while I was working usually consisted of granola & yogurt, or some kind of cereal & toast… whatever was quick & easy before heading out the door.  Weekends were a little more relaxed, with my husband & I often making bacon (he loves bacon!) & some kind of eggs for breakfast.

I think I love breakfast so much partly because now it is one of the easiest meals a day to prepare for the little munchkins.  I think they share their mother’s love of breakfast.  We always start out with fruit.  Half a banana & whatever other kind of fruit we may have, usually blueberries, raspberries or strawberries.  Then comes the “real breakfast” &   whether it is pancakes (even pink ones!), waffles or French Toast, they love it.  Scrambled eggs & toast is a favourite too although we have recently had to switch up the eggs due to the changing tastes of little Miss S.  I believe it to be a texture thing with her & that she no longer likes the texture of scrambled eggs.  It was suggested to me that I add a mashed banana to her eggs & cook the egg/banana mixture like a pancake.  Honestly, to me, this sounds disgusting!  But I don’t really like cooked bananas unless they are in muffins or bread.  Both of my girls, however, seem to like this banana pancake.  Since their breakfast usually includes banana anyways, this is a great way to still get Miss S to eat eggs!  If you are reading this, Chris, thanks for the suggestion!

Recently we ventured a little further astray & tried oatmeal.  Now, I love oatmeal & eat it regularly but until the girls were better with a spoon, I was leery of trying oatmeal with them.  One morning recently though I just thought, let’s try it.  I made oatmeal with shredded apple in it & they both gobbled it up.  I’m not sure Miss S was thrilled at first but she came around.  Little K, however, did awesome with her spoon & just shovelled it in.  This morning when I made it Little K decided to take a page out of her sister’s book & make a huge mess while eating her oatmeal & low & behold, wouldn’t her sister be kind of tidy for once! These two never cease to amaze me.

Which bring us to oatmeal, with pumpkin.  I thought it was pretty tasty & so did the girls. IMG_3292 This recipe I did take out of Deceptively Delicious & it just happened to work out that I had pumpkin in the fridge seeing as I made pumpkin waffles for breakfast yesterday.  I realize that most people do not have the time on a Tuesday morning to make their children homemade waffles (one of the many perks of being a stay at home Mom!) but trust me, you’ll have time to make Oatmeal on a Wednesday.  This recipe literally takes 5 minutes to make.  Once the milk has heated you are pretty much there… add the oatmeal, cook for a couple minutes & voila, a hearty, stick to your ribs breakfast for your kidlets!  I eat everything that I make the girls these days (they give me the evil stare down if I am not eating the same thing) & this oatmeal is delicious… with the addition of cinnamon & vanilla you can hardly even taste the pumpkin – though it is visible due the slightly orange colour.IMG_3280

Oatmeal (with Pumpkin or Sweet Potato) – Recipe from  Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld

1 cup nonfat (skim) milk

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar (I used 1/4 cup maple syrup)

1/4 cup canned pumpkin or sweet potato puree

1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

1/4 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

1 cup old fashioned oats

2 tsp natural peanut butter (optional – I didn’t add this)

Dried fruit & nuts (optional – didn’t add this time either)

Pure maple syrup for serving

In a small saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, pumpkin, vanilla, if using, & spice.  IMG_3274Bring to a gentle boil & stir in the oatmeal.  Reduce the heat & simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, until the oatmeal is soft & creamy.  Stir in peanut butter, if using.

Spoon oatmeal into bowls & sprinkle with dried fruit & nuts, if you like & serve warm with maple syrup.

 

Serves 2 (or two toddlers & an adult!)

 

 

Yes, that’s it.  It’s that easy.  Since my girls still haven’t learned how to blow on things to cool them down, their bowls of oatmeal went straight into the fridge to cool down.  And since I used maple syrup in the oatmeal, I didn’t top it with anymore.  While I often cook with maple syrup for the girls, I have not yet let them have it on their pancakes or waffles & was not about to start with oatmeal.  I need to keep a few trick up my sleeve for when they get a bit older.  The first time I made oatmeal for the girls I followed proportions in this recipe, though I added apple instead of pumpkin.  I found that the brown sugar made it very sweet, which is why I tried maple syrup this time.  I think I even used a little less than a quarter cup.  But that’s just my tastes.

Breakfast is just the start… I’m thinking lunch & dinner will follow shortly.

 

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Chocolate Banana Cake Two Ways

I seem to have a problem with bananas.  It’s kind of a love hate relationship.  I like bananas but only when they are on the green side.  Once they start to get ripe (to the point where most people like them) they are too ripe for me.  If they have spots on them, they are definitely too ripe.  If they have spots, in the freezer they go… which is where I run into problems.  You would think that I would stop buying bananas every week since I end up with so many in the freezer but I never do.   And if you could see how many bananas are currently in my freezer you would certainly agree that I have a problem.  My guess is that there are at least ten bananas in the freezer, possibly even more.  But there are less than there were a week ago!  I’ve made this chocolate banana cake twice in the last week, which used up six bananas.  Honey has commented on how many bananas there are… far too many by his standards… & you know it is really bad when the bananas start jumping out of the freezer & attacking you!

Usually I make banana bread with the frozen bananas.  I’ve had my banana bread recipe for a few years now & it’s good… recently I’ve taken to making a double batch, making half of it into banana bread & the other half into muffins, adding a few chocolate chips just to mix it up a little.  Last week was number two nephew’s birthday & I decided to try to incorporate bananas into my cake to try to use a few more of them up.  I googled chocolate banana cake & found this recipe (www.joyofbaking.com).  It’s easy, nice & moist & you almost can’t even taste the bananas.  Last week I made the cake version with chocolate ganache frosting… this week I made cupcakes with butter cream frosting.  Both were equally delicious & easy!  Try this recipe out before your freezer bananas get out of control!

Day 14 - Chocolate Banana Cupcakes with Butter Cream Frosting

Chocolate Banana Cake

2 cups granulated white sugar

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium-sized bananas)

1 cup warm water

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup canola oil

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F & place rack in the center of the oven.  Butter or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, a 9 x 13 inch pan (when I made this in the cake form I used a bundt pan & muffin tin when I made cupcakes).  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda & salt. Set aside.

In another large bowl, whisk together eggs, mashed bananas, water, milk, oil & vanilla extract.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients & stir or whisk, until combined.  You will notice that the batter is quite thin (I didn’t find it to be too thin).  Pour the batter into the prepared pan & bake for about 35 to 40 minutes (the bundt pan took about 50 minutes as it’s deeper than the 9×13, cupcakes take about 20 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Remove from oven & let cool on a wire rack.  When completely cool, frost.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tbsp unsalted butter

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium-sized stainless steel or heatproof bowl.  Set aside.  Heat the cream & butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.  Bring just to a boil.  Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate & allow to stand for 5 minutes.  Stir until smooth.  When ganache has completely cooled, beat until soft & fluffy.  Then spread the frosting on top of the cake/cupcakes.

Chocolate Banana Cake with Ganache Frosting

Butter Cream Frosting

2/3 cup butter

1/4 cup cocoa powder

2 cups icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp milk/cream

In medium-sized bowl, cream together butter, cocoa powder & vanilla.  Add icing sugar a cup at a time beating until smooth.  If icing becomes too thick, add milk as needed.

Chocolate Banana Cupcakes