Individualized Egg Tarts

My mother in law made a delicious herbed tomato and roasted garlic tart from Smitten Kitchen when she was in town this fall so we had extra puff pastry sheets in our freezer. I spotted them on the perfect day when the kids were happily playing together by themselves in the tent where I could see them. This meant I had time to think about a way to use them that we would all enjoy for lunch. Our littlest, Luisa, loves eggs so the breakfast puff pastry concept was launched. The nice thing about these little egg tarts is you can make them anyway you want. We had breakfast sausage and spinach around to add but you could do any cooked or roasted vegetable with or without a meat (see the bottom of this post for my combination ideas). I also was able to take mine out earlier so my egg was over medium while Elena and Luisa’s yolks were cracked and fully cooked. Individualized shared meal ideas are some of my favorite go-to meals mostly when they are quick like this was. They got a big stamp of approval from Luisa who ate hers in record time.  I doctored mine up with Trader Joe’s Sambal Matah Indonesian salsa for added flavor and spice. Another salsa that would be good to top them with is Frotera’s Chipotle Salsa made with roasted tomatillo and garlic for a smoky fresh spice flavor (my new favorite obsession). These were so good and fun for the kids that I’ll be making different variations for Luisa’s first birthday dinner and serving them with a side of fresh fruit, salad and cake.

Individualized Egg Tarts

Must Have Ingredients

  • Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets (I used Peppridge Farms puff pastry sheets) –I cut one sheet into 4 egg tarts so the full box should make 8
  • 8 eggs

Optional Toppings

  • ~1 cup spinach, chopped
  • Cooked veggies (peppers, onions, musrhooms zucchini or broccoli all come to mind as variations to try)
  • Breakfast meat (Canadian bacon, ham, prosciutto, cooked breakfast sausage or bacon), chopped
  • Trader Joe’s Sambal Matah Indonesian salsa or Frotera’s Chipotle Salsa or other salsa or hot sauce to top
  • Cheese (feta, goat or manchego would be my choices)

Directions

  1. Thaw the pastry sheet at room temperature until its easy to handle (20-40 minutes)IMG_1971
  2. Unfold the pastry sheets on a lightly floured surface and cut them into four pieces.
  3. Bend the sides of the puff pastry pieces up to make a shell so the egg doesn’t spill out
  4. Scramble an egg and put it in the pastry shell or crack it into the shell if you want it sunny side up
  5. Top with any meat, vegetables or cheese you desire
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-20 minutes until the pastry sheet is lightly golden and the egg FullSizeRenderis cooked to your desired consistency
  7. Plate and top with salsa or serve plain

Egg Tart Combination Ideas: 

  • ham, broccoli and cheddar cheese
  • prosicutto, arugula and manchego cheese
  • bell pepper, spinach and goat cheeseFullSizeRender (1)
  • mushroom, parmesan and sausage
  • tomato, basil and bacon

Muffin Overload

Another weekend waiting for our baby with lots of time to bake! As I near my due date (this Friday, May 11th) I was thinking I should bake something for the staff that will take care of my bundle of joy and myself. Since I work at the hospital I know that nurses and staff get a lot of sweet treats. While we all love them we also hate that they sit their tempting us to eat more all day so I pondered what I should make for longer than necessary. It would be way to typical for a dietitian to bring something like fresh fruit to say thanks. Plus that didn’t seem exciting enough so I tried something that I felt was a good half way point between a baked dessert and overly healthy option, healthy verison of muffins. It was my lucky day because I went to Cooking Light’s website and they had an article titled “Healthy Muffin Recipes” with 24 of their top choices.

The first recipe that caught my eye was one I’ve featured on here before: blueberry and oatmeal muffins. Since I wanted to try something new I kept looking. Uw yum, then I saw sour cream and coffeecake muffins and got way to excited to realize I don’t have any sour cream on hand and I didn’t want to run out to the store again. I was still in luck as there were many more tasty looking options. I decided to try the Chocolate Chocolate Chip muffins for the sweet lovers. Myverdict: Very good and not dry for being a light recipe although I have to say that personally I’ve never been a chocolate muffin fan (I know shocking as I love everything else chocolate). I like hearty muffins and would prefer cake or a cupcake if I’m wanting a dose of chocolate but for those who like chocolate muffins this recipe was easy and turned out great.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

To give a good variety I decided to do a heartier muffin as well and chose the Banana Nut Muffins with Oatmeal Streusel. My verdict: very good flavor from the walnuts and bananas and the streusel gives a great touch to the top. I would definitely make these again.

Banana Nut Muffins with Oatmeal Streusel

Carrot Cake Muffins

I’m so blessed to have a sister in law that I truly adore. Not only is she a great friend she is also a certified pastry chef (talk about amazing). I find myself yearning for her ability to bake without measuring and create such delicious items from scratch. Her creativity and intelligence are too good not to share.. I hope you enjoy her dishes and writing as much as I do.

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March is rough on the imagination. As the sun begins to peek out from 6 months of Seattle cloud oppression, I can’t help dreaming. Peaches! Raspberries! Rhubarb! Juicy, ripe morsels just waiting to be baked into slumps, tarts, and cobblers. Sadly, when I go to open my CSA box, all I see are more carrots, apples and potatoes. I think the box contents can sense my impatience.
This week I decided to treat my produce to a farewell celebration. Instead of being roasted in olive oil yet again, these carrots cried out for a last hurrah. Inspired by my husband’s love of carrot cake, I tried my hand at a healthier, breakfast version. Most carrot cakes get their moist texture from a lot of oil, and their sweetness from sugar. These muffins use applesauce in place of oil, and I cut down on the sugar  with the addition of pineapple. (The carrots didn’t mind taking a quick vacation to the tropics).

You can use any blend of flour with this recipe. Personally, I like a half/half mix of King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat and All Purpose. For a denser, “healthier tasting” muffin, use more whole grain flour. For a lighter, fluffier muffin, All Purpose is the way to go. If you’re feeling a little bit naughty, these would be delicious with a smear of cream cheese frosting. Or just plain cream cheese. As is, they are a perfect way to start the day. The last bite of winter while we await the splendors of spring.
*One of my guinea pigs wanted me to mention that they were so good, he didn’t realize when he took a big bite of wrapper. Enjoy!

Carrot Cake Muffins

yield: 18 small muffins, 12 large muffins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup diced pineapple (canned pineapple is fine, just drain the juice)
  • 1 lb. of carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 1 1/3 cups unsweetened applesauce (homemade or store bought)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, or a mix of the two
  • 3 extra large eggs
  • 1 TB. extra flour
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tins with paper liners, spray lightly with cooking spray or butter.

1). Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
2). Using a Kitchen Aid or a hand held mixer, beat eggs, sugar and applesauce until pale yellow and creamy.
3). Mix vanilla into egg mixture.
4). Add flour mixture to eggs, being careful not to over mix. I mix this by hand.
5). Sprinkle extra tablespoon of flour over pineapple and carrots, coat evenly.
6). Add carrots and pineapple to batter, stir to incorporate.
7). Fill lined muffins tins with batter. I fill the tins completely; for smaller muffins, fill 3/4 of the way.
8). Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.

Crop Share Box #2

I realize I have box #3 from our crop share and I haven’t posted about box #2 yet. I just finished up the supplies from box #2 so I can share all my recipes. Most of the vegetables I added to our normal dishes and a lot of it was used for salads. I found the ingredients in this box more difficult to use than the veggies we received in our first box. The Hon Tsai Tai I ended up throwing away since it wilted before I figured out what to make with it.

What this Box Contained

Spring salad mix, Garden herb pack for planting (basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage, savory, parsley), spinach, red radishes, asparagus, rhubarb, Egyptian walking onions and green garlic.
Pictured Items from Left to Right: 
BACK: Spring mix, Garden Herb pack, Spinach
FRONT: Red Radishes, Asparagus, Hon Tsai Tai , Green Garlic, Egyptian Walking Onions, Rhubarb
This picture was taken before I split the items with our neighbor so you can see what the size of a full share would look like.

New Recipes I made from this Box

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Recipes Source: Whole Living Magazine
Ratings: Sina: 4.5, Ryan: 3.5 (he’s a hard critic)
Comments: This recipe was super easy to make. It took me about 5 minutes to prep it and the rest of cook time was for baking. It was delicious: very fresh and not too sweet.

Tex-Mex Salad

-Spring salad Mix topped with grilled seasoned chicken breasts, avocado, diced red peppers & tomatoes, canned no added salt black beans (drained and rinsed), canned no added salt corn (drained and rinsed) and topped with crumbled tortilla chips:
-Dressing: A mix of light sour cream, lime juice, avocado and taco seasoning (I didn’t measure the ingredients)
Ratings: Sina: 3.5 (Ryan wasn’t home for this meal. I had it with my friend Heather)
        

Fresh Egg Scrambles

Before I even write about this let me tell you about my egg scramble morning. My dear friend Brent came over for one of our routine brunch dates. We were really excited to do egg scrambles and diced red potatoes with herbs. We spent about an hour chopping everything before we turned on the oven to hear a constant DING, DING, DING noise. Even after hitting the off button multiple times it still kept coming back. So, we find the oven manual which tells us to turn the oven off. Not knowing how to turn a gas oven off we have to call my husband who’s at a bachelor party and get step-by-step instructions from his very handy friend on turning the gas line off and unplugging the appliance.  We thought about going out for brunch at this point but we were too determined to cook since all our food was chopped and ready to go. So, what comes to my mind but to use the grill.  Of course that didn’t go as planned either since  it wouldn’t heat over 275 (I found out later the gas connection was kinked). Check out the picture below. All I can say is thank you for the Cheez-it’s we bought on an impulse at the store since we had about 3 hours of waiting, cooking, stirring and more waiting before we had our slow cooked egg scrambles, which by the way were amazing. The slow cooking definitely paid off because these were the most fluffy tasting eggs I’ve ever had (although I can’t say I plan to make more eggs on the grill anytime soon).
So what were in the scrambles?
Egg scramble #1: Eggs whipped with skim milk and mixed with chopped green garlic & Egyptian walking onions then topped with sharp provolone cheese
Egg scramble #2: Eggs whipped with skim milk and chopped chives mixed in with leftover white cheese added at the end (not sure the type).
Breakfast Potatoes: Diced red potatoes, chives, herbs, salt, pepper and olive oil.
Rating: Sina: 5 (Ryan once again was gone for this meal)

Food of the Month

This months featured food is so sensational that it has a catch phrase; the incredible edible egg (did I get the tune in your head…).  The egg has been a much debated food in the nutrition field. Once looked down upon for its cholesterol content it is now a beloved staple in most households and breakfast menus.  Eggs are extremely nutritious for us. They contain the most bio available form of protein (the highest quality of protein you can buy) and they pack in a lot of vitamins and minerals without a lot of calories. One large egg contains ~70 calories, ~6.3g protein. If you choose to just eat the egg white then you will consume 17 calories and 3.6g protein but you will also miss out on a lot of the vitamins and minerals found in the yolk. They can be enjoyed alone, in a casserole, on a salad, sandwich or in pasta (mmm…carbonara). Eggs play a key role in cooking with their ability to leaven, emulsify and bind. Just as important it is to know how your partner takes his or her coffee it is equally as important to ask “how do you like your eggs?” While I prefer them over easy or poached my husband prefers them over hard or hard boiled

My favorite breakfasts always contain eggs. They are a staple in our refrigerator and never make it to their expiration date. They are a great source of protein and keep you feeling satisfied for longer than most carbohydrate rich breakfasts.  With Mother’s Day less than a week away I wanted to share a scrumptious egg bake dish perfect for a mid morning brunch. This delicious recipe comes from my childhood neighbor Patti. The original recipe is for a cheese and sausage egg bake but I am going to post a vegetarian variation I made last year when I hosted Mother’s Day brunch.  It’s great for entertaining since you make it the night before.

Vegetable Egg Casserole

Serves:  10-12
Make the night before you plan to serve it

Ingredients

  • 12 eggs
  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 slices of bread, cubed
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 cup diced roasted red peppers
  • 1 bundle of asparagus cut up
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
  • You can add sausage as desired, sauté before adding

Directions

  1. Beat together the eggs and milk
  2. Break up the bread and layer it on the bottom of a greased 9 x 11 pan
  3. Add vegetables and cheese, salt and mustard
  4. Pour eggs over top of mixture
  5. Refrigerate over night
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for ~1 hour and 15-30 minutes or until it barely shakes in the middle
  7. Let it sit for ~ 5 minutes before cutting and serving
*To make the original sausage and cheese egg casserole saute the sausage and add in place of the vegetables
For another favorite egg dish check out January’s “weekend of food” post to see my poached eggs with manchego cheese, crushed red peppers and prosciutto breakfast. 

Power Granola

I’ve spent the past six days in Rosemary Beach, Florida with my husband and seven other great friends. During the time we were on vacation our lovely puppy got a vacation of her own running through the snow up north, eating pup cups and lots of cuddling by her grandparents. She’s still sleeping this evening from all the exercise (or depression of her parents coming back).
As a small token of thanks I decided to bake something for my amazing in-laws to enjoy. I’ve done most of my usuals for them: muffins, scones and cookies so to change it up I decided to try making homemade granola. Knowing that a lot of granolas are loaded with fat and calories I went to my favorite resource to aim me in the right direction: Cooking Light. The best part about this recipe was I had all the ingredients in my cabinet (with the exception of almonds which I replaced with sunflower seeds). Of course I didn’t follow the recipe verbatim. I doubled the cinnamon and sprinkled in All Spice for extra flavor. This granola was filled with spice and crunch and would be perfect on yogurt or mixed into your morning cereal.

Power Granola

Source: Cooking Light May 2005

      

Cinnamon Chip Scones

Sharing recipes is key to expanding your repertoire of cooking abilities. Five years ago I received a recipe that has become a staple in my kitchen. The recipe came from my best friend who got it from her mom who received it from her coworker and who knows where before that. The original recipe is for Cinnamon Chip Scones but once you know the basic recipe you can modify it to make different flavors. I’ve tried apple walnut, pear, dried cherries with white chocolate chips and butterscotch and another new variety this past weekend. Cinnamon Chip are still my favorite but it’s always fun to experiment. Its a recipe you know will satisfy and a popular recipe to share. I know I can say I’ve shared it with at least 10 people if not more!

Cinnamon Chip Scones

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 6 Tbsp cold butter (no substitutes)
  • 1 cup (8ounces) vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp milk, divided
  • 1 cup cinnamon chips
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
  3. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Combine yogurt and 1/4 cup milk in separate bowl, stir into crumb mixture just until moistened.
  5. Knead in cinnamon chips (or other additives)
  6. On a greased baking sheet, pat the dough into a 9-10 inch circle. Cut into 8 wedges. Brush the top of each scone with the remaining two Tbsp of milk.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown
This past weekend I attempted yet another flavor twist for a Pampered Chef party. Since the people attending were all interested in cooking I knew they would be adventurous so I went with one batch of traditional Cinnamon Chip Scones and a batch of Coconut Banana Chocolate Chip scones.

Coconut Banana Chocolate Chip Scones

  • Add 1 banana sliced, 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of coconut in place of the cinnamon chips.

 

Food of the Month

The coldest week of the year is about to commence and this month’s whole grain, fiber-rich food will keep you warm and full. If you haven’t guessed it yet; the food of the month is oatmeal.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and oatmeal is the perfect food to make morning eating easy, quick, savory and healthy at approximately 140 calories per cup. It’s a great source of soluble fiber which helps lower blood cholesterol and prevent heart disease so before you hit the snooze alarm read on to learn a variety of flavors and different ways to eat this delicious food.
When it comes to a bowl of oatmeal there is something for everyone. You can choose from old fashioned, quick cooking or steel cut oats as your base. Next, consider what you are craving…crunchy, smooth, sweet??? For a crunch sprinkle in chopped walnuts, pecans or the Omega-3 rich flax seed. For smooth and savory flavors toss in a Tbsp of peanut or almond butter. To please that sweet tooth try fresh, frozen or dried fruit or try topping your oats with honey and ground cinnamon  (it adds flavor without calories). The combinations for this breakfast dish are endless.

Here are My Current Oatmeal Favorites

Instant Oatmeal: Trader Joe’s Organic Instant Oats & Flax Oatmeal: A perfect combination of smooth oatmeal with flax seed to add crunch and a nutty flavor.
Add ins: Frozen blueberries and soy milk: 3 ounces of soy milk added to my instant oats gives me a creamy cereal and the frozen blueberries are my go to in the winter (peaches and pears are also favorites of mine when they are in season).
Coffee Shop Oatmeal: Caribou’s Plain Seven Grain Oatmeal made with Soy Milk: (with cinnamon and nutmeg on top): Caribou did it right with the addition of their morning hot cereals. Their oatmeal balances crunchy and smooth in one bowl.

OATMEAL RECIPES

Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins– Cooking Light

Oatmeal Pancakes – Cooking Light

These pancakes are divine and remind me that whole grain pancakes can give just as big of cravings as the childhood pancakes my mom made. Even children will love this breakfast dish. Note to the cook: I recommend doubling the cinnamon or adding some nutmeg for more flavor. Lastly, to top the dish off I recommend my peach compote.

  • Peach Compote: Add 1/2 cup of water and 1/4 cup sugar to a sauce pan and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Next, add 1-2 cups of frozen peaches and let simmer for 5-10 minutes or until peaches are soft. Lastly, add 1-2 Tbsp all purpose flour to help thicken the sauce. Enjoy on top of your oatmeal with maple syrup.