Category Archives: Breakfast

Breakfast easter edible gifts etsy holiday

Lovely List | Easter Roundup

We’re home and it feels so good. I missed this place despite the rain and gray skies. I still cannot quite get used to a rainy Easter, but it’s fun to brighten it up with pretty things. Here are some of my favorite Easter bits from around the web.

DIY eggs from silk neckties. Pretty incredible.

Vibrant DIY eggs with Rit dye.

DIY speckled eggs.

Wooden bunnies.

Paper bunnies.

DIY cloth bunny puppets.

Make your own bunny kit.

A very sweet bunny bowl for the wee one.

Spring pudding from delightful Sweet Paul Magazine.

Hot cross buns glazed with apricot jam (pictured above) are always a favorite. Or, possibly an apple oven pancake?

I just can’t resist sweet bunny cookies.

A pretty pink necktie for the ladies. And, one really sweet bow for the wee one too.

Scalloped white shoes.

apple apple cake breads Breakfast christmas cookies dessert edible gifts holiday

Happy Holidays!

We did not have any expectations for Maeve’s first visit with the man in red. He was a nice man and he didn’t smell like beef and cheese as expected. Nonetheless, Maeve’s emotional state went quickly from bewilderment to terror. Poor thing. I have to admit, however, I adore this picture. She is a sweetheart through and through.

I am going to sign off here for a few days. When I return, you will be winding back into life after much holiday cheer. You will have full bellies and good spirits. And, Maeve, my little red fox, will be a toddler.

Here are just a few quick links. Happy Holidays!

Have you made this gingerbread yet? It’s not too late.

A bread to fill your house with the scent of cinnamon will thrill your loved ones.

An easy last minute cookie.

Also easy. Apple cake.

Chocolate truffles!

A little story about a Christmas elf to get you in the mood or, really, to make you laugh.

Some more fun santa photos here.

breads Breakfast christmas holiday

German Stollen Bread | Edible Gifts + Memories

I’ve been thinking a lot about memories lately. Really, I’ve been mostly thinking about which memories we hold onto and which ones fall through the cracks. There are the moments I want to relive again and again like my wedding day or Maeve’s birth. I replay them over in my mind like a broken record until they are more blurred then clear. I admit I panic a bit as they fade. On the other hand, there are some more random memories that pop into my mind frequently. Out of nowhere these moments that shaped me for one reason or another surface with alarming regularity. It’s a love hate relationship, I suppose. I wish I could chose what moments during my lifetime will make a lasting impression.

There is one moment I return to frequently. It happened years ago when I was in college. I was spending the afternoon with several girlfriends when we collectively decided to drop in on another friend to say hello. Popping by in this manner was something you did back in those days when you had loads of time on your hands and you went about town carelessly drifting from one outing to the next. Yes, it was long before babies or an awareness of social norms and politeness.

I remember parts of the day so clearly. Our dear friend was surprised to see us that afternoon and sort of clasped her hands like any kind host might do looking around the room for something to offer all of us. She looked a bit bewildered until one of the girls, who possibly sensed her helplessness, grabbed an apple off the counter. She quickly sliced the red fruit into thin slices and fanned them out into a circle on a plate. She then flipped open a couple of cupboards until she discovered the cinnamon sugar, which she sprinkled atop the apple slices. It was just enough sugar to dot the wet slices and make them more appetizing. She then placed the plate on the table before us and causally stated something about the necessity of having tricks up your sleeves for unexpected guests.

Mind you, this was no ordinary college student. This kitchen goddess was the same girl who had a collection of dainty 1950s aprons in various pastel shades. She was spritely and cute with doe eyes and strawberry blonde hair. And, in that moment, I idolized her. I suppose I still do. Even today, with years of practice, I am not nearly the the relaxed hostess she appeared to be. Can you imagine?. She wasn’t even in her own kitchen!

And so I find myself returning to this fleeting moment again and again. I do my best to adhere to those words of wisdom. It is important to have something around your home just in case guests pop in to say hello. This, of course, is particularly true around the holidays when people, feeling festive, might actually make the effort to stop by and give a kiss to Maeve on their way elsewhere. So, in anticipation, I try to have a sweet bread on hand. German Stollen is perfect. It’s something that is so full of butter it will last for days on the counter without going dry. It’s also something to be savored over a cup of coffee or tea. It’s perfect, really. Your guests will feel loved and toasty when they part. And you will feel like a superhero even if you don’t own a single apron and never once expertly fanned anything onto any plate.

I won’t lie to you and tell you this bread is healthy, but German stollen bread is sweet and wonderful. It is worth every calorie. It’s dense without being too heavy. It’s sweet without being cloying. Perhaps you will feel a touch better about eating it because it is full of fruit?

It’s also Maeve’s new favorite treat. She is feasting on it today. I’m hoping she walks into a home or bakery someday and breathes in a rich buttery smell and remembers that December day long ago when her mama first treated her to a healthy slice of German Stollen smothered in salty butter. Instead, she’ll probably remember her father being carted off by an ambulance the night before for a herniated disc. Alas, I know I can’t chose her memories any more than I can choose my own, but a new mom can hope.

German Stollen

For Dried Fruit Mix

1/2 cup each, dried cranberries, currants, and flame raisins

1- 2 cups boiling water

For Sponge

1 (1/4 oz.) package active dry yeast

1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

3/4 cup warm whole milk (105 – 115 degrees F)

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

For Dough

2 and 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 stick (8 tablespoons) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup sliced toasted almonds

For Brushing and Glaze

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Make the Fruit Mix

Place the dried fruit in a medium sized bowl and pour the boiling water over the top until the fruit is covered. You might need more than 1 cup of the water depending on the size of your bowl.  Set aside for at least 1 hour until the berries are plump.

Make the Sponge

Stir together yeast, sugar, and warm milk in a small bowl until yeast is dissolved. Let stand in a warm and draft-free spot until the mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add the flour to the yeast mixture and beat with a wooden spoon until incorporated. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm draft-free spot until doubled in bulk and glistening, about 45 minutes.

Make the Dough

Add flour, salt, 8 tablespoons of melted butter, eggs, and sugar to the sponge and beat at medium speed with a mixer using the paddle attachment until incorporated. Switch to the dough hook. Drain the water from the dried fruit mixture. Add almonds and dried fruit mixture to the dough. Beat at medium speed until the dough is smooth and pulling away from the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes.  Beat for 5 minutes more. The dough will be sticky.

Put dough in a lightly oiled large bowl and turn to coat with oil.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

Punch down dough, turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead briefly.  Roll out dough with an unfloured rolling pin into an oval about 12 inches long and 7 inches wide (1 inch thick).

Brush top of dough with remaining melted butter.  Fold dough lengthwise in half so that bottom half extends about 1 inch beyond the top half, and press folded edge lightly together with fingertips.

Generously butter a baking sheet.  Arrange stollen diagonally on it. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 and 1/2 hours.*

Put a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush stollen with melted butter and bake until the loaf is deep golden and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped, 40-50 minutes.  Transfer stollen to a rack and cool, then sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

* Note that my stollen is quite wide. This is what happens when is rises for twice the amount of time (due to our stint in the emergency room). However, it’s still absolutely delicious!

Adapted from Gourmet.

autumn Breakfast easy granola holiday wedding

Olive Oil Granola | My Best Friend’s Wedding

Olive Oil Granola Recipe

It’s been said a beautiful and loving wedding can bring together those who are there to witness the occasion. I don’t know whether this is true or not. I’m not sure anyone has made a concerted effort to capture the data for attendees of such events. I will say, however, the wedding of my dear friends last weekend in Cazenovia, New York, was incredibly special. It was small and intimate. There were handmade details throughout, thoughtful vows, amazingly flavorful and authentic tangines, stinky cheeses, and tiny cakes baked in pretty glass jars. Yes, they were in jars! And the whole thing was loving and heartfelt in all the best possible ways. There was no cheesiness and not a single moment of camp devised solely for the purpose of a photo opportunity. No, there was none of that. These were two lovers with a mission to make their relationship official in front of their community and have a big party at the same time.

And it was the best. There were only a couple of small snafus each involving me, of course. The first mishap occurred when I was unable to find a piece of paper necessary for the ceremony. Frenzied, I took a jaunt through a snowy parking lot in a gown and had a fairly major wardrobe malfunction. Perhaps flashing an ugly nursing bra at a gaggle of teenage boys is a good lesson in abstinence? I hope so. If that weren’t bad enough, I also missed my musical cue resulting in a late, but not undramatic, entrance to deliver my portion of the ceremony. A kind soul later told me my entrance seemed very “organic.” I’ll take it. It sounds good to me.

Olive Oil Granola Recipe

My dear friend, hopelessly in love, assures me all is forgiven and this is a tremendous relief.

It was really one of those weekends to remember.

We rented an enormous house near the ceremony site with our friends and several other people. Everyone was wonderful and giving. We cooked together. We sang songs together. We navigated morning showers without complications and managed to keep many babies entertained. There was good coffee, even better food, and a general atmosphere of comradery as we organized the finer details of the day. And none of it really felt like work because there were many many hands to help and it was for the best possible cause.

Olive Oil Granola Recipe

We even had a bonfire where we sang Muppets songs and toasted with fancy champagne.

It snowed huge flakes of white snow allowing for chilly romps. I was thrilled because this gave us a chance to use the snowsuit we purchased for Maeve. She was incredibly adorable and I was delighted because the snow demonstrated to K the need for said snowsuit, which he questioned at the time of purchase.

Olive Oil Granola Recipe

When the snow melted, I nearly did as well. The leaves. The leaves. Now, I understand why everyone goes bananas for the changing leaves in New York. They really are something to behold.  They were extraordinary– varied, wild, and nearly the color of flames.

Maybe it was all the love in the air, but I fell in love again. I fell in love with K, with Maeve, and with the little town of Cazenovia. Maybe it’s not that special of a place. I have little frame of reference for small eastern towns. Cazenovia is quaint in the sense that it’s old with aging buildings, a backdrop of heirloom farms, with a few main streets lined with small cafes and boutiques. Of course, this is exhilarating for a west coast girl like me. I just expect small towns to be series of strip malls and newly constructed developments. I was thoroughly pleased to find just the opposite.

Olive Oil Granola Recipe

This was the real deal.

Olive Oil Granola Recipe

We even managed to find some art in a fabulous park. A bookcase full of real books in the woods? How fitting and organic, if you will.

I left New York with a wistful smile and sleepy little girl. I bid goodbye to the most gorgeous countryside I’ve ever seen (outside of the Methow Valley) and felt refreshed, peaceful, and truly happy. A good wedding does, indeed, have a rejuvenating effect.

But what do you give to such a wonderful couple? In some ways, I think a wedding gift is a way of saying thank you. Thank you for being such loyal friends. Thank you for including us and being the most gracious hosts. There isn’t a gift in the world that is worthy, so I settled for a package of several things.

Olive Oil Granola Recipe

It was really fun to put together. Each item in the box has a special meaning and I used a numerical system to delineate each piece.  I included a key for the happy couple in case the significance was not immediately apparent. I found these fabulous numbers here.

I won’t bore you with all the details of each item. This is not intended to be an exposé on our friendship or their marriage, but I will share two things. First, I included the plates shown below. Aren’t they adorable? Or, is this possibly bad kid art that only a friend or mother could love? Either way, these were a necessary component for the gift. You see, my friend A and I lived together during our late teens and early twenties. It was a time of study and cafe living. It was truly a time of great poverty as we earned our degrees. We were both sort of transient going from apartment to apartment and teetering on the brink of moving to another location at any moment. At some point, Adam tried to throw these plates away to lighten his load. These plates were his childhood plates and, really, were the only thing he still possessed from that time period. I just couldn’t bear to let them fall into the trash. So I took them. That was possibly 15 years ago. These plates have traveled with me across the country and back. These plates lived with many men in many houses and apartments. These plates and this friendship were my constants for all these years. My heart swelled as I packed them away. Adam will have kids now. He will share these plates with them. A piece of his history. I love that.

There were a few other knick knacks and such. I included some of this jam too. And, finally, I included Olive Oil Granola. I did this because I believe having breakfast together is the best possible way to start your day. It’s what loving couples need to do whenever possible. Really, I can’t think of anything better. Add a brisk walk on an autumn morning and things seem just about perfect.

I love this recipe for Olive Oil Granola as well. I have to say it’s my new favorite. It’s so impossibly good that it’s nearly impossible to describe. Suffice to say, it is sweet and crunchy and came together with just the perfect amount of chunkiness. The bits are small and go well on yogurt and ricotta. It’s forgiving in the sense that you can add and subtract what you like. I encourage you to do this. And, never fear, it’s incredibly easy to make. Ideal for our busy lives. Eat some with your partner tomorrow morning and savor your time together. Maybe you can look back on your wedding when everything felt new and fresh. It’s a worthwhile exercise. I promise.

 

Olive Oil Granola

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup sliced almonds

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, hulled

1 cup unsweetened flake coconut

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

3/4 cup chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients together. Mix thoroughly. Spread mixture on 2 rimmed baking sheets in even layers and bake for 40-45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted.

Yield: About 9 cups.

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