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Archive for the ‘breakfast’ Category

the great do[ugh]nut debate

Posted by culinaryneophyte on February 6, 2015

mint chocolate paleo doughnuts​I recently got into a spirited debate (at the gym, of all places) about the proper spelling of everyone’s favorite circular, fried treat with a hole in the middle. I steadfastly stood in the “doughnut” corner versus two “donut” supporters. Listen, people: It’s doughnut. “Donut” is part of a brand name; it should follow “Dunkin” or any other company/product that has legally filed its name to include the misspelling, but that’s it. Are you one of those people who calls tissues Kleenex? Stop giving these companies free marketing! (And if you’re spelling it that way because you’re too lazy to type it the correct way… just… go. Please.)

The great doughnut debate of 2014 reminded me that I had not made doughnuts in a really long time, so I took to Pinterest to find myself a healthy[ish] alternative to Dunkin’ Donuts (note the proper spelling in this instance), and found these paleo mint chocolate doughnuts from the Healthy Maven. (Sorry if you’re sick of paleo. I’ll make the next post something bad for you.)

The doughnuts were pretty minty, and the frosting was pretty pretty with the green tint come from a bit of matcha mixed into the coconut cream. I opted to top mine with crumbles of Mrs. Thinsters brownie thins for a little added pizzazz. (If you really want to unhealthify [speaking of poor grammar] this treat, Thin Mints would also be a delicious topping.)

(​​Slightly adapted)

Makes 6 doughnuts

For doughnuts
♦1 c. almond meal
♦2 tbs. coconut flour
♦1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
♦1/4 tsp. baking soda
♦1/2 tsp. baking powder
♦1/4 tsp. sea salt
♦1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce (*I did not have applesauce in my house, so I made my own from one apple — peeled, chopped into bits, tbs. of lemon juice and boiled til it was soft enough to pulverize with my immersion blender. Yes, everything must be a project.)
♦2 eggs
♦3 tbs. honey
♦1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
♦1/2 tsp. peppermint extract​
♦Toppings if desired

Combine almond meal, coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.Add applesauce, eggs and extracts. Stir well.

Grease a doughnut pan with coconut oil, and divide batter evenly. (You could also roll into balls if you don’t have a pan.) Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Allow doughnuts to cool 15-20 minutes before removing from pan. Carefully transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

For frosting
♦1 can full-fat coconut milk (left in fridge for at least 1 hour), do NOT shake
♦1/2 tsp matcha powder (mostly for color — not taste; you may also use spirulina powder)
♦1 tbs. honey

While doughnuts are cooling, open coconut milk. (Do not shake the can before opening.) Scrape the cream from the top and place in mixing bowl. Beat on high for several minutes until the cream stiffens and can hold peaks. Add in matcha or spirulina powder and honey, then beat for one more minute. It does not look like a lot, but it will go a long way. Carefully spread frosting on doughnuts.

Total time? 10 minutes prep, 15 bake, 10 minutes decorate
Cost? $6.99 almond meal, $8.99 coconut flour, $6.99 matcha powder, $1.99 canned coconut milk, ? applesauce (or the cost of the time I won’t get back from having to whip up homemade applesauce to make doughnuts… Not bitter.)
Overall success relative to expectations? 10 out 10. These were good — like, way better than I expected. I immediately fell in love with the frosting. It was only coconut cream with a little bit of matcha, but I could have eaten it with a spoon if I hadn’t globbed all of it onto the doughnuts. (A little goes a long way, but not enough to have a frosting snack.) The doughnuts stayed fresh for at least four days (I had to fend off a few suitors to make them last that long), and the flavor was good. Obviously, they’re not going to taste like fried balls of doughy goodness, but they’re definitely a viable alternative, especially if consumption of any traditional doughnut leaves you with guilt pangs for hours… days… weeks… Do not mock; this is why I stopped going to Dunkin’ Donuts. Well, that, and the misspelling.

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chocolate-covered strawberry paleo pancakes

Posted by culinaryneophyte on January 19, 2015

Thank you to Mrs. Thinsters for featuring my breakfast on their social media channel!

paleo chocolate-covered strawberry pancakes with Mrs. Thinsters brownie batter cookie thin crumbs.

chocolate-covered strawberry pancakes with Mrs. Thinsters brownie batter cookie crumbs.

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tbt: Blue Moon Cafe

Posted by culinaryneophyte on December 11, 2014

Blue Moon Cafe Captain Crunch WafflesThe first place I remember seeing featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” was a breakfast spot in Baltimore that had a female owner with a rock-and-roll personality and a menu full of crazy, drool-worthy meals. I sat there thinking, “If I ever open a restaurant, THIS is what I would want it to be.” And when I had the opportunity to finally visit Blue Moon Cafe in Fell’s Point last month, that feeling only grew.

I’m not usually a waffle/pancake person when I’m out to breakfast, but there was no way I wasn’t getting the as-seen-on-TV Captain Crunch French toast. I’d been dreaming about this thing for, like, five years. I can still taste the sweet, buttery goodness… the tart berries… the fresh whipped cream. You need this. YOU. NEED. THIS.

The decor was funky and the attitude was relaxed. We thankfully got there just before a big rush of people (on a Monday morning, even!), or we would have been waiting out in the cold; there isn’t much seating, let alone room to congregate. When we sat down, I wasn’t too excited to be right next to the front door, but I would gladly take the occasional whoosh of cold air over 30+ minutes sitting in it. I may have felt a little guilty gleefully stuffing French toast in my mouth while the frozen latecomers gazed longingly from the park bench outside. My bad, guys.

Our one mistake was not ordering the Sweet Baby Jesus as our other meal. We saw an enormous plate of hash browns, crab meat, eggs and hollandaise sauce pass by our table, and thought, “SWEET BABY JES–ooh, I get it now.” Yeah. Next time.

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bejeweled breakfast

Posted by culinaryneophyte on December 27, 2013

This year, most of my gift giving and Christmas revelry took place in advance of the actual holiday, leaving my Dec. 25 all to myself. I did not let this opportunity go to waste. I set my alarm for a rare “late” start (10 a.m.), donned some mismatched sweats, put on a little Ke$ha and got to work in the kitchen. What emerged was a a glorious breakfast of coconut vanilla waffles with vanilla protein “fluff” and homemade pomegranate syrup.

coconut pom waffles

I had this idea saved on Pinterest for weeks, but wanted to make it paleo/clean, so I made some alterations and thankfully ended up with a beautiful and tasty plate. Frankly, I was giddy over it. While everyone on Facebook was posting pictures of their presents, their babies, their dogs, their dogs with presents, their babies with presents, their babies with dogs as presents…  I was posting pictures of waffles.

I have been obsessed with pomegranates for awhile now. Once I had my first taste of those  juicy little jewels, I couldn’t get enough. I already had my pomegranate deseeded, so that saved time because it’s a slight process. There are a few ways to get into that baby, but I use the water bowl method: cut pomegranate in half, submerge in water for 10 minutes, then pull apart the rind and allow it to float to the top of the water while the seeds (arils) sink; strain arils, then dry on paper towel.

The genesis of the protein “fluff” was initially for aesthetic purposes (I wanted to brighten it up a bit before adding the dark pom syrup), but I dug the creaminess it added, plus it’s always nice to sneak a little extra protein into a meal that may not otherwise be that rich in it.

This was a fabulous start to my day. I ran around cleaning and organizing the file cabinet I bought for myself (oh yeah, be jealous), then spent the next five hours marathoning the hell out of season two of “Girls.” Pretty much the best Christmas ever.

coconut pom waffles 2makes two waffles
inspired by foodiecrush
♦1 egg, whisked
1/8 c. coconut milk
3/4 c. almond meal
1/8 c. shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 tbs. coconut flour
1 tbs. honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Heat waffle iron. Whisk egg, then add milk. Combine almond meal, coconut, coconut flour and baking soda, then add to wet mixture. Add honey, vanilla, sea salt and cinnamon. Put batter into iron and cook for three to four minutes or until golden.

for protein fluff
1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Cellucor)
about 2 tsp. almond milk
(play around with these measurements until the consistency is correct; you want it somewhat liquescent, but not runny)

for pomegranate syrup
1/2 c. pomegranate arils
1 c. POM Wonderful juice
1/8 c. organic coconut sugar
1/2 tbs. coconut oil

Heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add arils, juice and coconut sugar. Heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture has reduced by half. (This took a bit longer than I thought it would, so start it going before you start cooking waffle mix.)

Total time? 20 minutes (without deseeding of pomegranate)
Cost? $3.99 POM, $1.50 pomegranate, $6.99 almond meal, $8.99 coconut flour, $3.99 organic coconut, $4.98 organic coconut sugar, $5.99 coconut oil
Overall success relative to expectations? My first bite of the waffle on its own was underwhelming. I thought it was a little bland and moderately dense. (I may separate the egg first next time.) The good news is all the toppings help sweeten and moisten up the dish, and the combination is perfect — like a holiday in my mouth.

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National Oatmeal Day 2013

Posted by culinaryneophyte on October 29, 2013

National Oatmeal Day 2013




Today is National Oatmeal Day!

In celebration, I had “breakfast for lunch” and made a bowl of a sort of harvest protein oatmeal with pumpkin, egg white, whey and spices, topped with dried cranberries, pistachios, sunflower seeds, crushed walnuts and pumpkin spice almonds.

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espresso banana pancakes

Posted by culinaryneophyte on May 13, 2013

espresso banana pancakesI was recently talking to a friend about the inexplicably “cool” things we did in middle or high school, like wearing overalls (and wearing one strap undone), walking around with one pant leg up and one pant leg down, and carrying your 7,000 lb. Jansport backpack with only one strap; no matter how inevitable the scoliosis onset would be, you didn’t dare put that other strap over your shoulder in public for fear of being branded a dork for life.

Another great mystery of my school days was my hatred of breakfast, and how “cool” I considered my “talent” of being able to make it all the way to 6th period lunch without eating a thing. I remember legitimately bragging about it. Now that I’m [much] older and wiser, I know that breakfast is crucial to growth and brain function, and more importantly to my teenage self, weight control. Studies show that overweight adolescents and adults are less likely to break that fast each morning than their thinner counterparts, so when you think you’re doing your waistline a favor by skipping a meal, you’re actually doing the opposite.

Nowadays, breakfast is what gets me out of bed in the morning, and if I skipped breakfast, there’s a good chance I’d have the shakes less than 10 minutes in my morning commute. Most mornings, my breakfast is a simple bowl of oatmeal or a protein shake, but on the weekends I tend to get a little more adventurous. Lately, I’ve been cranking out some “clean eats,” and I’ve been super pleased with the results.

This weekend, I made some espresso banana pancakes, topped with protein “whipped cream,” banana chips and honey. Even if you don’t have the “clean” version of these ingredients, your pancakes will still come out great. Oh, and don’t mind the coloring; the espresso made the pancakes look like sausage patties, but I promise these were fluffy and delightfully unmeaty.

Espresso banana clean eating pancakes
(Makes five small cakes)

for cakes
♦1/4 oats
3/8 c. cottage cheese
1/2 c. egg whites (approx. two eggs)
1/2 banana
1 tb. ground coffee/espresso
2 tb. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder

for topping
3 tb. plain Greek yogurt
1/2 scoop whey protein
banana chips

Combine all pancake ingredients in a blender or food processor until well combined. Heat griddle or frying pan over medium heat (these cook fast), and add a very small amount of coconut oil. Drop batter onto pan and allow to cook until you see small bubbles and the edges are solid enough to flip (little more than one minute). Flip and cook other side (45 seconds to a minute). Use your best judgment to avoid burning, but don’t be fooled by the dark espresso color; make sure cakes are fully cooked.

For the topping, combine whey protein and Greek yogurt in a small bowl and whip quickly to combine. Spread across pancakes, top with banana chips (or fresh banana slides, but I preferred the slight crunch) and drizzle with honey.

Calories? 57 calories per pancake plain, add calories for toppings
Total time?
 15 minutes
Cost? $0.30 banana, $2 oats, $2 espresso, $2.99 cottage cheese, $2.99 Greek yogurt.
Overall success relative to expectations? 7 out of 10 really enjoyed how the espresso flavor came through in the pancake, and crunch of the banana chips was a nice touch. I would definitely make these again. Perhaps they even have more staying power than my one-pant-leg-up-one-pant-leg-down overalls.

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