Banana Muffins with Oats and Greek Yogurt! 

So, I suppose we do still blog here… Only after weeks of busy days at our normal jobs can we somehow find ourselves with a few minutes to share what we have been baking and creating in our kitchens. So here goes… I recently decided to experiment with other types of flour. I am loving coconut flour- it makes really good (and healthy) pancakes!

In my search for a double chocolate muffin recipe, using alternatives to wheat flour, I came across this recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip muffins using Greek yogurt and oats. I love throwing my overly ripe bananas into quick bread. I recently discovered a very good Greek style yogurt made with sheep’s milk. Since I usually have that on hand as well, thee muffins had to be made. 

 

This recipe is easy because you can throw everything but the chocolate chips into your food processor and let it all mash up really smooth. It is an easy way to prepare healthy (but tasty) muffins for your Monday morning breakfast or for whenever you want. These muffins are worth it… you can’t just eat one! But who cares because they are healthy. You can take my word for it or you can go to your kitchen and try it for yourself! Enjoy!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

(using oats as a flour substitute and sheep’s milk Greek style yogurt)

ingredients:

1 cup Greek yogurt

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 ripe bananas

2 eggs

2 cups rolled oats

1 + 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C or 350 degrees F.

Line a muffin pan with liners or spray with cooking spray.

Add oats to your food processor and process for 2 minutes. Then add all ingredients (except chocolate chips) and process again until the batter is smooth. The oats should be broken down and blended.

Stir in chocolate chips by hand.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 15 minutes or until a knife inserted into the muffin comes out clean.

Allow muffins to cool on a baking rack.

Enjoy warm or for up to a week if stored in an airtight container.

(You can also freeze these muffins for up to three months.)

Enjoy!

Coconut milk + Chia seeds + Lemon zest = a yummy, healthy treat!

The ingredients for a lovely treat!

The ingredients for a lovely treat!

Life has been very busy these days. It happens every Spring. There is more light in the day, sunny afternoons meant for beers and laughing with friends. There are weekend getaways with friends who will shortly be moving on from Prague. And there is the Elementary School musical that I have been working with all school year. On Friday, we have show number one so this week is all about marathon rehearsals and very little time for creating in the kitchen. But I like a little something sweet when I am tired. Instead of turning to chocolate or other bad calories, I am preparing my healthy treats for the week.

1 can of coconut milk, 1/4 cup chia seeds, 1 tablespoon honey- that is all this recipe needs. Of course you can jazz it up how you want. I have thought about adding a little cinnamon or chocolate chips or even mango purée. Today I was feeling the sunshine and decided to add lemon zest! All you have to do is put the ingredients in a bowl, mix until whipped and then leave in the fridge overnight. I prepare portions in small jars and as my Kindergarten learners would say- easy peasy.

Sweet, zesty, and yummy

Sweet, zesty, and yummy

 

Thanks to my Twinsie for serving this at brunch. My sweet tooth thanks you…

Addicted to Green by L

photo 2(1)

During our summer road trip from Prague to Valencia, we had a little pit stop at our dear friend’s home in Saarbrucken. A’s home is absolutely cozy and stylish. Her hosting skills are beyond gracious and our tummies are always well nourished.

One morning at breakfast, I noticed that she was drinking out of a tall glass filled with a thick dark green liquid. Not exactly the most appealing vision for your first meal of the day. Of course I was curious, so I had to ask “What is THAT?”

photo 1(1)

“My spinach smoothie,” she quickly replied, “Want some, there’s some left in the blender.”

As mentioned, I was curious. So I poured what was leftover into a smaller glass and gulped it down. Surprisingly, it didn’t taste as bad as I thought it looked. It was actually the opposite. It was deliciously refreshing.

Since that day, I can’t start my mornings without a spinach smoothie. I’m absolutely addicted.

photo 3

Spinach Green Smoothie (So easy to prepare too!)

1 cup of fresh spinach leaves

1 banana

1/2 cup of berries or whatever other fruit you have in stock

1/2 cup of your choice of liquid: water, soy milk, kefir, rice milk, milk, coconut water or juice

Optional: spoonful of chia or flax seeds

Place all the ingredients into a blender.

Blend and enjoy!

Pears + honey + fall spices = Honey Pear Spice Muffins! by Nikki

It's Autum... and time for muffins!

It’s Autum… and time for muffins!

It is officially Autumn. The seasons have changed from warm Summer sunshine to crisp, cool Fall mornings. It is the time of year when the pumpkins and other squash varieties show up in the grocery store. The farmer’s market is full of deep, rich colors as the end-of-summer growing season has been recently harvested and is now available for our purchasing! When the daylight hours grow shorter and the rain begins to fall, I crave time in my kitchen, and I crave muffins. I LOVE muffins!  Experimenting with my basic muffin recipe brings my taste buds (and my friends) a lot of joy! A little flour, a few spices, one egg and a variety of “fillings”, and you have got yourself a tasty baked treat.

Thanks for the pears friends...

Thanks for the pears friends…

I have a new teaching colleague on our Kindergarten team this year. I am really enjoying working with and getting to know T… as well as her husband and family! In the first few weeks of school, T showed up in my classroom with a handful of pears that her husband, D had stopped to pick while on a bike ride with their daughter. I always appreciate good, fresh fruit… and these pears were gladly accepted! Combined with honey, fall spices and my favorite baking ingredient- buttermilk, these pears turned my standby honey spice muffin recipe into a pear-y good experience. And with only a 1/2 cup of sugar (and a whole lot of honey), these muffins were sweet with a hint of spice… and the verdict was they were  oh, so, nice!

Pear-y delicious

Honey Pear Spice Muffins

dry ingredients: 2 cups spelt flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon

wet ingredients: 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 egg, 1/4 cup butter (melted), 1/4 cup honey, 1 cup buttermilk

fruit: 1 cup pears (peeled and diced)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C or 375 degrees F and line a muffin tin with muffin papers, set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients then set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until well blended.

Pour over the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon.

Gently fold in the pears.

Spoon batter into the muffin cups until each is 3/4 full.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the tops are golden brown or a knife comes out clean from the middle of the muffin.

Let cool for 5 minutes then serve warm with a pat of butter.

Store muffins in an air-tight tupperware for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months!

ENJOY!

Back-to-school breakfast frittatas!

I love spending 3-4 weeks in the US during the summer holiday. I spend most of my time with family and friends mostly enjoying all my favorite Portland spots for beers, meals and dessert. But Mom and Dad’s house is one of the best “restaurants” in town!

IMG_5750.JPG
Thanks to my brother D for fishing and catching some beauties this season, we were able to enjoy a lot of fresh fish on the grill. And thanks to my Dad, and his trusty smoker, we also continuously snacked on smoked steelhead!

IMG_5745.JPG
Paired with fresh veggies from my Mom’s garden, we ate like kings and queen this summer!
But the time has come to head back into the classroom and start preparing for the new school year. The summer was refreshing and full of tasty treats, but now we must get back into daily routines.

IMG_5823.JPG
After a summer living alarm free, Monday morning is already on the horizon! And that means the alarm will go off and I will grudgingly get up for my morning run. But I won’t have to think about breakfast because I will be prepared with these mini frittatas! They are super easy to make and you can add whatever ingredients you want! I made these with mushroom, garlic, green onion, fresh rosemary and a dollop of goat cheese. My flat smells amazing and now I feel one step ahead of myself… Come on people, it’s time to get prepared! Enjoy

IMG_5827.JPG

Mini Frittatas
First, choose your ingredients…
I chose 10 small mushrooms, 1 green onion, 1 teaspoon chopped garlic, 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped and a bit of goat cheese.

Second, decide your number of cups…
For 6 egg cups, I used 6 eggs and 1 tablespoon soy milk.

While the ingredients were sautéing, I greased the muffin tins with PAM spray. Then beat the eggs and milk together. Place the ingredients evenly in the desired number of cups and pour the egg mixture to fill cups almost to the top… Leaving a little room for rising!

Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on your number of cups and ingredients.
When Mini frittatas are finished baking, let cool for 5-8 minutes then remove from the pan! Eat fright away or freeze them for later…

IMG_5824.JPG

Gluten-Free Blueberry Buckle by Allison

Blueberries by the basket you say? Yes indeed, I’ve been buying blueberries by the basket! Why not? Being from the Pacific Northwest I grew up with being able to have fresh berries at my fingertips. I can remember back when I was in college and seeking out “U-Pick Farms” and I got bucket loads of raspberries for 50 cents a pound! I made cartons of freezer jam that night until the wee hours of the morning! Now I’m in the Czech Republic which is also “Berry Land” and I’m lucky to be able to have access to local farmers who grow the berries. They just taste better than the kind you buy in large stores let me tell ya! So here’s one way to get some more antioxidants in your system, eat blueberry buckle!photo (4)

This is my Mom’s recipe and it is certainly a family favorite. You can use frozen blueberries as well just be sure to thaw them out before-hand and make sure they are without extra moisture. My crumbly topping sank to the bottom as I used a bit more butter than needed but they turned out great and they were very delicious!
photo 4

 

Blueberry Buckle Coffee Cake
slightly adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookbook

Ingredients

2 cups gluten-free flour ( I like Schar Mix C gluten-free flour)

¾ cup sugar

2 ½ tsp. baking powder

¾ tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 c. butter

¾ cup milk

1 egg

2 cups well-drained blueberries

 

Topping:

½ cup sugar

1/3 gluten-free flour

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ cup soft butter

Mix and sprinkle over batter in pan.

 

Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Grease round layer pan, 9 ½ inches or square pan, 8″ x 8″ pan or pour into a muffin tin.  Blend all ingredients except blueberries and topping.  Beat for ½ minute.  Spread in pan.

Sprinkle topping over batter and bake for 45 to 50 minutes if baking it in a pan or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. My muffins baked about 20 minutes.

 

photo 2

photo 1

Gluten-Free Spinach and Mushroom Egg Bake by Allison

There are so many beautiful cafes in Prague to enjoy breakfast in while you sit, savor and soak in your surroundings with friends or family. But sometimes a homemade breakfast in the comfort of your own home is what you’d like to offer your newly arrived guests from overseas after a long journey. Aromas of steaming hot double-shot coffee brewing in the french press and a pot of black or green tea steeping in a beautiful Polish pottery teapot await for thirsty guests.  The egg bake is cooking away in the oven while we enjoy greek yogurt with homemade granola and fresh fruits of the season, apricots, cherries and strawberries. One word, delicious.

 

There’s nothing like farmer’s market eggs or homegrown eggs in your own backyard. They taste better, they are fresher and it feels good to support local farmers at the same time. I try to only buy my eggs from the farmer’s market and especially for this recipe.

photo-23

 

photo-24

 

Gluten-Free Spinach and Mushroom Egg Bake by Allison

Ingredients

Fresh mushrooms (1 large container or approximately two 1/2 to three cups of sliced mushrooms)

200 grams of fresh spinach

2 Tbsp. butter

2-3 cloves garlic

2 small onions

fresh thyme springs

12 eggs

2 cups grated cheese (can use cheddar or gouda or a smaller amount of parmesan)

1/2 cup of milk or cream

1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 185 degrees Celsius.

First melt the butter in a large frying pan/wok, then add the chopped onion and cook on low until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add garlic to the pan after cooking onions for 10 minutes and stir frequently to prevent from burning. Turn up the heat to medium and add mushrooms, thyme leaves and salt. Cook until the moisture in the bottom of the pan has cooked off, about 10 minutes or so. Then add fresh spinach in 2 handfuls at a time until it wilts and cooks down, continue to turn and stir. Remove from heat and in a large bowl crack 12 eggs and add in the milk and grated cheese. Beat mixture with a whisk until blended, be careful not to over beat. Add in the mushroom, onion and spinach mixture and stir gently. Pour into a large 9″ x 13″ pan and bake uncovered for the first 25 minutes, check frequently to see if the top is getting brown and cover with foil when you’ve reached the desired color on the top of the egg bake. Total baking time should be around 40-45 minutes depending on your oven. Serve warm and enjoy!

Gluten-free Cinnamon Yogurt Muffins by Allison

This muffin recipe is a keeper, let me tell ya! I remember tasting these muffins at dear friend’s home when I was in Elementary school way back when. This recipe has withstood the test of time. One of my Mom’s best friends, CW, used to make these for camping trips, snacks after her kids (my dear friends then and now too) and I got out of the pool, post softball games and for breakfast. I loved them then and I loved them now (gf of course) and they have that same taste I can remember from way back when. I needed to make some food for some friends of mine here in Prague who just had a baby and these muffins popped into mind! I whipped up a batch and placed them into two bags, one for the freezer and one for them to eat right away. These are a yummy, anytime kind-of-a-treat!

muffins 1
GF Cinnamon Yogurt Muffins
 slightly adapted from Cindy W’s recipe

3/4 cup margarine (Hera here in Prague)

1 1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

8 oz. plain yogurt

2 cups GF flour (I use Schar Mix C)

1 tsp. GF baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

 

Cream together margarine, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add yogurt and blend well. Combine dry ingredients, then add yogurt mixture (stir only until all dry ingredients are moistened). Fill greased muffin tins or cupcake liners half full. Combine 3 Tbs. sugar with 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon; sprinkle half of this mixture over batter in each cup. Fill with remaining batter; sprinkle muffins with remaining cinnamon mixture. Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for 14-17 minutes. Enjoy! 

muffins 2 muffins 3

Huevos Rancheros w/ sweet potatoes and black beans! By Nikki

Vesle Vanoce

Vesle Vanoce

I have spent the winter holiday at home in Prague, and despite not being with my family either in Oregon or New Zealand, it has been very Christmas-y and relaxing. I have had a good friend visiting from Frankfurt and after a few days in the Czech mountains, we found ourselves very busy baking, cooking, and planning our two holiday days with friends.

rejuvenating in the mountains

rejuvenating in the mountains

On December 23, I made two types of fudge: chocolate and Bailey’s Irish cream. Both flavors were sweet and yummy and taste so great with a cup of coffee in the morning or a cup of tea in the evening! Thankfully the weather has been unseasonably warm. No snow, no ice, and not too cold to run outside… this is helping me run off the daily fudge intake! In addition to ample time spent in our pajamas, watching Christmas movies and singing to Christmas songs, we have been enjoying lots of good food and some Czech culture as well.

On Christmas eve, we went out to the village for a brunch and gift exchange. A created stuffed mushrooms with walnuts, lentils, and cranberries- a made up recipe that was a hit with the other brunch goers! Upon request, I made enchiladas. These are always a hit with the crowd no matter if they are served for brunch, lunch or dinner! I make my own sauce as you cannot just pick up a couple cans of Old El Paso in the local Albert! Knowing there would be a number of vegetarians at the brunch, I chose to stuff the enchiladas with a sweet potato, black bean and corn mixture.

sweet potato, black bean and corn

sweet potato, black bean and corn

This is always a winning combo for a Southwest or Mexican style recipe. And easy to create. Saute one white onion (chopped), 1 clove of garlic (diced), 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of dried (or fresh) coriander/cilantro leaves and 1 tablespoon of oil. Add 2 chopped sweet potatoes and cook until slightly firm. Add 1 can of black beans and 1 small can of corn to mixture and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning and 2 tablespoons of water. Mix until well coated and remove from heat.

The best part of this concoction was using the leftovers! For our Boxing day breakfast on December 26, I made Huevos Rancheros- one of my favorite Mexican breakfast dishes.

leftovers are good

leftovers are good

I filled the leftover corn tortillas with the sweet potato, black bean mix, diced jalapenos, and topped these with shredded, cheddar cheese. I baked these in the oven at 150 degrees C for about 10 minutes. At the same time, fry 1-2 eggs in a hot pan on the stove top. After removing the tortillas from the oven, place one (or two) a plate and slide the egg(s) on top. (I usually put one egg on top of each tortilla.)

Huevos Rancheros with a sweet potato twist!

Huevos Rancheros with a sweet potato twist!

Top with fresh, diced tomato, avocado, Cholula hot sauce (like we did) or top with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, fresh cilantro (Coriander) or anything else you like to eat with Mexican food! Whatever you choose to top your huevos with… enjoy them!

GF Jalapeno Egg Bake by Allison

Let’s be honest. There’s nothing quite like brunch. Brunch is what you like, some like mainly sweets while others like mainly savory but the great thing is you can decide. There seems to be no rules for brunch, well at least in my book. A very dear friend of mine C made this for me  while I was home for a family gathering awhile back and it was absolutely delicious. My family enjoyed brunch together and they had to try what I was raving about! One of the things I like about brunch as it seems to be more leisurely. I tend to sip my almond milk latte versus gulp it down for breakfast on the way to work. I might even think about juicing fresh pomegranates and adding a bit of champagne or making stuffed mushrooms and pumpkin scones. Rules are made to be broken during brunch and it is fun to break the rules sometimes.
 It is one of my “go-to” dishes when I have visitors and many people have enjoyed this dish in my home. Make it and enjoy a long leisurely brunch over great conversation with friends and family. Enjoy!
GF Jalapeno Egg Bake

IMG_1524

adapted from Parade magazine 
Ingredients
10-11 eggs (best if from the farmer’s market)
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1 pint small curd cottage cheese
200 grams  cheddar cheese shredded (about one and a half to two cups)
½ c. butter, melted
8 oz. can green chilies or 8 oz jar of jalapenos (use less if you want it less spicy)
½ c. gluten free flour ( I like to use Mix C Schar brand)
½ tsp. salt
In a bowl beat eggs until lemon-colored. Add flour, baking powder, salt, cottage cheese, jack cheese, green chilies and butter. Stir gently to mix all ingredients. (I do not use an electric mixer.)
Pour mixture into a well-buttered/greased 9 x 13 pan.
My dear friend CW likes to add sliced tomatoes to the top before baking with a slice of sharp white cheese under the tomatoes. YUM!  Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until top is lightly browned. Serve with sour cream and salsa if you’d like but it delicious just plain as well! Enjoy!