Cocoa Crunch

My childhood is filled with memories of breakfast cereal.  Supposedly, as a toddler I enjoyed an entire box of BooBerry all by myself.  I was there and yet I don’t know if this is a tall tale my family liked to tell or if it really happened.  But in the absence of anything to indicate otherwise, I’m going to accept it as the truth.

Also truth is the abundance of sugar in nearly every box of cereal that came into our house.  Frosted Flakes?  Says it right in the name.  Cap’n Crunch?  Sounds wholesome enough.  Those sharp cornered nuggets cut the inside of my mouth…every.single.time…but I didn’t care.  I was loyal to the Cap’n and his sugary cargo.  Crunch Berries.  Peanut Butter Crunch.  The sweeter the better.

The one exception was Rice Krispies.  I’m not sure how they continually snuck into the rotation.  Or course, spoonfuls of sugar sprinkled on top of them negated their “healthy” status.  It didn’t really do much for the cereal.  But man, it did wonders for the milk.

As an adult, my taste in cereal has gotten a little more sophisticated.  Homemade granola tops my list.  But you’ll also find me putting Cheerios, Chex, and the occasional box of Frosted Mini Wheats into my grocery cart.  Sure, I could revive my past relationship with Tony the Tiger but I suspect that I would scarcely recognize him today.  My memory of those frosted flakes has softened with age and some things are simply best left in the past.

This doesn’t mean that I have banished sweetened cereals from Miss Libby’s childhood.  I just keep a tighter rein on them.  Often those Cheerios in my cart are of the Honey Nut variety…in part because I’m not buying separate cereal for The Mistah and The Miss and that’s one they will both eat.  And when we go on vacation, Libby is allowed to choose her own box of cereal at the grocery store.  She can eat as much as she likes but at the end of our trip whatever is left does not get packed up in the car to come home with us.

And on rare occasions, I bust out a few simple ingredients and concoct a grown up version of a cereal that young me would have definitely enjoyed.  I hide it so that it doesn’t get gobbled up quicker than you can say snap, crackle, pop.  And I’m ok with that.  Because out of sight is less likely to result in me eating a whole batch of it by myself…..see reference to the BooBerry incident above.

Cocoa Crunch

Adapted from Alexandra’s Kitchen

BAH Note:  Like many of the recipes that have found their way into my world, I spotted this on Alexandra’s blog.  My note on the page I printed out simply said HELLS YEAH.  And I always make a double batch.  Take that as you will.

  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups crispy rice cereal
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (coconut oil if you’re feeling fancy)
  • 1.5 ounce 60% dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup agave nectar, maple syrup, or golden syrup (not corn syrup)

Set the oven to 275 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, rice cereal, coconut, cocoa, and salt.

Heat the oil and chocolate in the microwave in 30 second pulses until the chocolate has melted.  Stir to fully combine the oil and chocolate.  Add the liquid sweetener to the melted mixture then pour into the dry ingredients and stir to mix well.

Spread in an even layer on the baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

{printable recipe}

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Zucchini Pancakes

to post graphic

I’ve been digging around the junk drawer that is my draft folder.  In a concerted effort to clear out the mental clutter, I’m posting this drafts ‘as is’….

Zucchini Pancakes

Adapted from Better Than Doing Laundry

BAH Note: File this away for the dog days of summer when you can’t swing a stick without hitting a zucchini.

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup grated zucchini

Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk to combine.  In a second bowl, mix together the egg, milk, and vanilla.  Add the zucchini to the wet ingredients and stir to combine.

Fold the flour mixture into the zucchini mixture until just combined and allow the batter to sit for 10 minutes.

Cook the pancakes in a nonstick skillet, lightly coated with vegetable oil, for approximately 3 minutes on each side or until golden, brown, and delicious.

{printable recipe}

Cream Cheese Biscuits

Cream Cheese Biscuit

I’ve said that Miss Libby at 2 is a glimpse at what I can probably expect in about 10 years (or sooner!) when puberty starts rearing its head. What with the tears and tantrums and drama, toddler and teen really aren’t that far removed from one another…and boy, if one is a preview of the other, then I’m in for it.

So it’s kind of fitting that I chaperoned Miss Libby’s first date last weekend.  He’s a younger man so his parents were there too.  Neither of the kids seemed to mind though.  Or if they did, they haven’t figured out the eye roll and the embarrassed sulk.  We have to wait a while yet for that.

Actually, I’ve been trying to make this date happen for about the last nine months.  And I may be lobbying for something of an “understanding” between the two families as far as the kids go because these two are too cute together not to be together.  There may not have been any hand holding but that was probably because because both kids were using their hands to eat.  Something about seeing Libby pass pieces of quesadilla across the table to Evan and watching him accept her gift made me very happy.

Cream Cheese Biscuits

Adapted from Baked Bree

BAH Note:  If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach then I see no better vehicle than a biscuit.  Adorned simply with butter and jam or used to sandwich a savory middle, this biscuit is your friend.  Oh, and I find it easier to cut the cream cheese and butter into cubes after they come out of the freezer.  Give it a try, you might too.

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, frozen for 30 minutes, cut into cubes
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) butter, frozen for 30 minutes, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk

Heat your oven to 425 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment.

Put the dry ingredients, cream cheese, and butter into a food processor and pulse until the mixture looks sandy and no big pieces of butter or cream cheese remain.

Transfer the flour mixture to a large bowl.  Add the buttermilk and stir until the dough just forms.  Transfer the rough dough onto a floured counter and knead it until it all comes together.  Roll or push the dough into a rectangle (the longer the rectangle the thinner the biscuits, the shorter the rectangle the taller the biscuits) and cut into biscuits.

Transfer the biscuits to your parchment lined sheet pan and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown.

{printable recipe}

Bacon Cheddar Waffles

Bacon Cheddar Waffle

Back in the day….and by that I mean 2012…I was on Twitter.  All.  The.  Time.  Why?  Because I could.  And because I wanted to.  In the virtual world I don’t need to worry about being socially awkward.  It’s hard to stumble over your words with only 140 characters.  But it’s easy to join in a conversation, or better yet, to spark one.

Most of the time in real life I stand back and listen to conversations go on around me.  But on Twitter I can be witty and lively in the conversation.  And I can sound as though I know what the hell I am talking about….in real life, that’s not the case much of the time.

For example, let’s consider a recent tweet…”All waffles should have bacon and cheese in them.”  That statement is A) clever; B) authoritative; C) truth; D) common sense.

Actually it is all of those things, but it’s not the kind of statement that I would make in the course of casual conversation.  Unless our conversation was about waffles, bacon, or cheese.  Or you had previously resided in a dorm, house, or apartment with me.  But the odds of that happening are pretty low so I’m confident in saying that it’s unlikely I would say that to you in an ordinary conversation.

And yet it led to a conversation on Twitter where RunningOnButter believed that I spoke as a waffle authority.  RunningOnButter doesn’t know me outside of Twitter.  ROB doesn’t know if I have any credentials to present myself as a waffle authority.  But ROB took my pronouncement that bacon and cheese are integral waffle components as the truth.

Twitter Grab

So now, thanks to Twitter, I am a waffle authority.  I don’t think I will add that to my resume.  But it’s the kind of thing I would use as small talk…if I were inclined to make small talk.

As it is, most of my free time and conversations are with a pre-verbal toddler.  And until she realizes otherwise, I am an authority on everything!

Bacon Cheddar Waffles

Adapted from Shutterbean

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped cooked bacon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Set a wire rack inside a sheet pan and heat your oven to 200 degrees.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until blended.  Add the cheese and bacon to the flour mixture and stir to combine.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and oil.  Add the flour mixture to the milk and egg mixture and stir to combine, being careful not to over mix.

Grease your waffle iron and get it heating.  When ready, pour 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup batter into your iron and cook until done.  Transfer the waffles to the prepared sheet pan and give them a 10 minute rest in the warmed oven.

Slather with butter and syrup.

{printable recipe}

Flashback Friday – Poached

The following post appeared on BAH on 9 September 2009.

After the underwhelming outcome of my egg experiment, I wanted to give it another try. So I tasked my friend Google to see what other recipes were out there. The short answer is a lot. Most of the ones that I found involved baking the eggs in the oven. But there was one from Williams Sonoma that was more like a poached egg. I liked that approach because poaching, as a gentler cooking method, gives me a little more wiggle room before I go from raw to rubber.

Now, if you’ve ever looked at the recipes in the Williams Sonoma catalog, they are basically vehicles to get you to buy their wares. And I’m sure the fancy-schmancy Breakfast Pan that is specified in the Eggs en Cocotte recipe is the bomb, but a little reverse engineering with a large sauce pan and some glass ramekins worked just fine and didn’t cost me $175.

So I made myself a nice water bath on the stove and got cracking. Unlike last time, I was pretty vigilant about checking the progress of my eggs. Since I was using improvised tools, my cooking times were slightly longer than what the folks at WS said to expect. But that’s ok because after about 15 minutes (10 minutes on the heat, 5 minutes off) the whites were perfectly cooked, the yolks were firm but still soft and creamy, and the cheese had melted into the eggs and ham. I tried to get one of the eggs out of the ramekin and onto a plate can state with all certainty that eating it directly out of the ramekin is a much better idea.

Another good idea? Don’t think that this is just for breakfast or brunch. I think Eggs en Cocotte, as WS likes to call them, is a great dinner option especially if you’re cooking for just one person.

Eggs en Cocotte

Adapted from williams-sonoma.com

I easily made two individual servings in a 4 quart sauce pan on the stove. If I were cooking more than four ramekins, I would probably put the whole thing in a large roasting pan, filled with simmering water to reach halfway up the ramekins, and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

  • 1/4 cup cooked bacon or ham (I used canadian bacon), diced
  • 1/4 cup, plus 4 teaspoons, shredded cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 8 teaspoons heavy cream (I used half and half)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh chives or other herb

Fill a large sauce pan with water (I put my ramekins in the pan, added enough water to reach halfway up them, and then removed the ramekins). Cover the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low.

Lightly coat ramekins with olive oil or butter. Put 1 tablespoon diced bacon or ham in the bottom of each and top with 1 tablespoon of cheese. Break one egg into each ramekin and top with 2 teaspoons cream and 1 additional teaspoon cheese.

Place the ramekins in the simmering water. Cover and cook until whites and yolks are set. The recipe said 6 to 7 minutes for runny yolks and 9 to 10 minutes for firmer ones. Don’t be afraid to test the whites with a fork because after 10 minutes the whites were not cooked. So I let the pan sit, covered, off the heat for another five minutes or so until the whites had cooked and the yolks were soft set.

Carefully remove the ramekins from the pan, season with salt, pepper, and herbs.   Serve immediately.

{Printable Recipe}

Puff Pastry Quiche

Puff Pastry Quiche

Adapted from Pam Anderson’s Meatless Meals

BAH Note: Feel free to use just about any vegetable.  Pam suggests sliced mushrooms, halved cherry tomatoes, thin asparagus, diced leeks, or even thawed frozen spinach.

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 cup butter braised onions
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup grated cheese

Place oven racks in the top and bottom position and heat oven to 400 degrees.

Roll the puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface until it is just larger than a 1/4 sheet pan.  Transfer the puff pastry to the sheet pan, trimming off any overhang, and docking the pastry all over with a fork.

Spread the butter braised onions, or vegetable of your choice, into a single layer on the pastry.  Bake on the bottom oven rack for 10 to 20 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown.

While the puff pastry bakes, heat the evaporated milk until it is just warmed.  In a separate bowl, use a fork to beat together the eggs, salt, pepper, thyme, and sour cream.  Once the egg mixture is completely combined, stir in some of the warmed evaporated milk, about a tablespoon at a time, to temper the egg mixture.  Whisk the rest of the evaporated milk into the egg mixture before pouring the egg and milk mixture into the puff pastry and evenly sprinkling the cheese on top.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees and place the sheet pan on the top rack.  Cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until the egg filling is just set.  Then set the oven to broil and allow the top of the quiche to brown for about 2 minutes.

Allow the quiche to cool slightly before serving.

Flashback Friday – Poached

The following post appeared on BAH on 9 September 2009.

After the underwhelming outcome of my egg experiment, I wanted to give it another try. So I tasked my friend Google to see what other recipes were out there. The short answer is a lot. Most of the ones that I found involved baking the eggs in the oven. But there was one from Williams Sonoma that was more like a poached egg. I liked that approach because poaching, as a gentler cooking method, gives me a little more wiggle room before I go from raw to rubber.

Now, if you’ve ever looked at the recipes in the Williams Sonoma catalog, they are basically vehicles to get you to buy their wares. And I’m sure the fancy-schmancy Breakfast Pan that is specified in the Eggs en Cocotte recipe is the bomb, but a little reverse engineering with a large sauce pan and some glass ramekins worked just fine and didn’t cost me $175.

So I made myself a nice water bath on the stove and got cracking. Unlike last time, I was pretty vigilant about checking the progress of my eggs. Since I was using improvised tools, my cooking times were slightly longer than what the folks at WS said to expect. But that’s ok because after about 15 minutes (10 minutes on the heat, 5 minutes off) the whites were perfectly cooked, the yolks were firm but still soft and creamy, and the cheese had melted into the eggs and ham. I tried to get one of the eggs out of the ramekin and onto a plate can state with all certainty that eating it directly out of the ramekin is a much better idea.

Another good idea? Don’t think that this is just for breakfast or brunch. I think Eggs en Cocotte, as WS likes to call them, is a great dinner option especially if you’re cooking for just one person.

Eggs en Cocotte

Adapted from williams-sonoma.com

I easily made two individual servings in a 4 quart sauce pan on the stove. If I were cooking more than four ramekins, I would probably put the whole thing in a large roasting pan, filled with simmering water to reach halfway up the ramekins, and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

  • 1/4 cup cooked bacon or ham (I used canadian bacon), diced
  • 1/4 cup, plus 4 teaspoons, shredded cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 8 teaspoons heavy cream (I used half and half)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh chives or other herb

Fill a large sauce pan with water (I put my ramekins in the pan, added enough water to reach halfway up them, and then removed the ramekins). Cover the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low.

Lightly coat ramekins with olive oil or butter. Put 1 tablespoon diced bacon or ham in the bottom of each and top with 1 tablespoon of cheese. Break one egg into each ramekin and top with 2 teaspoons cream and 1 additional teaspoon cheese.

Place the ramekins in the simmering water. Cover and cook until whites and yolks are set. The recipe said 6 to 7 minutes for runny yolks and 9 to 10 minutes for firmer ones. Don’t be afraid to test the whites with a fork because after 10 minutes the whites were not cooked. So I let the pan sit, covered, off the heat for another five minutes or so until the whites had cooked and the yolks were soft set.

Carefully remove the ramekins from the pan, season with salt, pepper, and herbs.   Serve immediately.

{Printable Recipe}