Autumn Abundance #3: Pear Claflouti

Yes, this is the third fruit breakfast recipe I’ve shared with you lately.  It didn’t fit in our October Unprocessed week, but as I’ve said before, autumn tempts me into sweet, fruity breakfast that can rarely be enjoyed at other times of the year.  Hoot’n Annie pancake (with strawberries or apples), apple pan dowdy, and pear claflouti are the joys of living near orchards this time of year.

Pear claflouti is a tender baked custard, with pears, the riper the better, adding sweetness and flavor.  Try it with a little milk for breakfast hot out of the oven to enjoy your autumn pears.

Pear Claflouti

8 ripe pears, peeled and cored

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup flour

3/4 cup whipping cream

3/4 cup plain yogurt

1 1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 teaspoon salt

6 eggs

Grease a 9×13 baking dish.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Peel and core pears and place them in the baking dish.  Beat eggs until frothy with electric mixer, then slowly add sugar.  When eggs are frothy and thickened, add flour and beat until smooth.  Add yogurt, cream, milk, vanilla and salt and beat until smooth.  Pour over pears in baking dish.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower heat to 350 degrees and bake until custard is set, about 20 more minutes.

Don’t  burn your mouth on the hot pears!

Hope you enjoy this recipe.  Please let me know how it turns out for you!

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Kids in the Kitchen: Hoot’n Annie Pancake with Strawberries

This time of year, our usual healthy breakfast routine totally fails.  It’s the fault of the farmers market.  After all, with fresh local peaches, pears, apples, raspberries and strawberries, who can resist making delicious fruit (desserts) breakfasts?  For the past few weeks we have been feasting on pear claflouti, apple crisp, peach cobbler and kuchen, and all kinds of other delicious breakfasts.

About a week ago, I attended a women’s health conference and heard The Food Nanny speak.  After I heard her, I said, “That is a job I would love to have!”  I immediately put her book on hold at the library, and brought it home yesterday.  Her plan for family meals includes “theme nights”:  Mexican, Italian and breakfast.  And in the cookbook, she had a picture of another delicious fruit breakfast.  She calls it German Pancake, I have also heard it called Dutch Baby, but in our family we call it Hoot’n Annie Pancake.

My grandma gave me the recipe when I got married, and we felt innovative by topping it with fried apples and whipping cream.  It has been a favorite family breakfast for a long time.  The Food Nanny’s idea was strawberries, sour cream and brown sugar.

Now, anyone who has not tried dipping strawberries in sour cream and brown sugar:  go buy some strawberries right now.  Yes, it sounds strange.  It is the best thing to do with strawberries ever.  So, how could we go wrong putting these on top of a pancake?  Eden and I came home from our run this morning and whipped up breakfast in about 5 minutes.  Slicing the strawberries was the most strenuous part of this recipe.

First, melt a stick of butter in a hot oven while you use the blender to mix the rest of the ingredients.  Pour the blended batter into the melted butter in the pan.

Then, set the timer for 30 minutes and prepare your toppings.

Serve and enjoy!

Hoot’n Annie Pancake with Strawberries

Serves 6

1/2 cup butter

1 cup milk

1 cup flour

6 eggs

Turn oven on to 375 degrees and place butter in 7×11 pan in oven to melt as it preheats.  Meanwhile, add milk, flour and eggs to blender and blend thoroughly.  When butter is melted, pour batter into pan and set timer for 30 minutes.  Do not open oven door while pancake is cooking.  Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Topping:

3 cups strawberries, cleaned and sliced

3/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix together sour cream and brown sugar.  Serve pancake topped with strawberries and cream mixture.

Do you enjoy having fruit based desserts for breakfast?  Stay tuned — I have another quick recipe for you soon.  Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Peaches and Cream Oatmeal from the Slow Cooker

I recently have fallen in love with steel cut oats cooked in the slow cooker (Crock pot.)  I put my big Pyrex mixing cup in my slow cooker filled with delicious ingredients, fill the surrounding pot with water and turn it to low.  Early the next morning, I wake up to a delicious, creamy breakfast.  While my usual recipe calls for apples and applesauce, my counters are overflowing with peaches from a local fruit farm right now, so I decided to try peaches in my oatmeal.

Peaches and Cream Steel Cut Oats

1 1/2 cups steel cut oats

up to 1/2 cup brown sugar

2 cups milk

4 cups water

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

5 peaches, peeled and chopped

Place all ingredients in glass bowl or mixing cup and mix together.  I used 1/2 cup of brown sugar and found it quite sweet.  Place inside crock of slow cooker and cover with aluminum foil.  Fill slow  cooker with water to level of mixture in glass bowl.  Turn slow cooker to low and cook for about 8 hours.  Serve topped with milk or vanilla yogurt.

This is an excellent recipe for substitution.  As I said before, I often use apples and applesauce and add dried apricots, chopped almonds or chia seeds for extra nutrition.  I have also cooked cracked 9 grain cereal using this method.  It falls apart more than the steel cut oats, and I didn’t like it quite as much that way as cooked on the stove.

This is a great recipe for school days because it can be prepared the night before and is ready to eat early in the morning. If at your house, like at ours, you sometimes stagger breakfast eating times, this is very convenient for staying warm and good to eat.  (We sometimes have to start practicing piano early in the morning due to other commitments, and so whoever is practicing eats at a different time than the rest of us.)

Hope your school year is starting off great!  We start Monday, and I am looking forward to bringing you pictures of our first day of school and the various projects we have in store.  Have a great weekend!

 

First Fruit of Spring: Rhubarb

Suddenly, rhubarb season is upon us.  After a winter of canned, frozen, or sad imported fruit, rhubarb gives our taste buds the jolt they need to know that spring is really here.  My darling husband was able to go pick rhubarb from his mom’s large patch this morning.  Rhubarb is a huge, beautiful plant.  The leaves are inedible, and the stalks look like celery.  They are very sour, but mixed into sugary desserts they are delicious.

We like to cut up and freeze rhubarb to have during the winter as the main fruit in our Breakfast Cake, to make rhubarb muffins, and even to throw into smoothies.  We also love stewed rhubarb with strawberries as a special breakfast treat with Greek Yogurt.

To freeze rhubarb, rinse well and cut into 1/2 to 1 inch thick slices.  We put it into freezer bags in 2 cup measures, because that is how much our favorite recipes call for.  Later, it can be used without thawing in many recipes, including the Breakfast cake.

Today, though, I made a batch of stewed rhubarb with strawberries.  I will serve this for breakfast with vanilla Greek yogurt, and it will be like dessert for breakfast with a secret batch of healthiness thrown in!

Stewed Rhubarb

Makes about 4  cups

Clean and chop enough rhubarb to make 2 cups chopped

Clean and quarter one pound strawberries

Place in saucepan together with 1/4 cup water.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and simmer until the rhubarb has completely come apart to make a sauce with chunks of strawberries floating in the sauce.  Add honey or sugar to taste (you will need 1/4 to 1/2 cup.)  Sprinkle with nutmeg.  Serve hot or cold.

I hope you can try this recipe and enjoy the first fruit of spring.  I would love to hear about your favorite rhubarb recipe in your comment.  Have a great day!

Kids in the Kitchen: Easy Stuffed French Toast

Lulu made more bread for us this week.  We put her to work this morning making breakfast from her homemade white bread.  We found a new way to make a delicious “fancy” breakfast without much effort at all.  The first step is to whip up the “dip” for the sandwiches, the egg/sugar/milk mixture that makes french toast so custardy.

The next step is to slice the bread thinly and spread with a cream cheese/jam combination or peanut butter and jelly.  Top with another slice of bread to make sandwiches.

Fry these delicious sandwiches in butter until the outsides are golden brown and the filling is melting.

Serve with syrup for a delicious breakfast.

Recipe:  Stuffed French Toast

For dip:

5 eggs

1 cup milk

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix vigorously in a bowl wide enough to fit your sandwiches for dipping until thoroughly combined.

For filling:

1 block cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese

1/2 cup jam (raspberry is wonderful)

Mix together with a hand mixer until thoroughly combined with few to no lumps.

Assemble the sandwiches:  spread the filling on one slice of bread, top with the other slice of bread.  Meanwhile, heat a large skillet with 1 tablespoon of butter.  Dip the sandwich into the egg mixture (using your hands is easiest, although messy.)  Fry on one side, then the other about 2 minutes per side, until golden brown.

This recipe makes enough for 8 sandwiches, plenty for 6 hungry people.  Serve with syrup or a sprinkle of powdered sugar.  We like to use this same recipe with peanut butter and jelly instead of cream cheese.  We don’t bother to mix the peanut butter and jelly together, just make the sandwiches, dip and fry.  The peanut butter is wonderful when it is hot and melted, mixed with syrup.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend!  Have a wonderful day.

Healthy and Delicious: Orange Julius Smoothie

We like big breakfasts.  Although we nearly always have some kind of hot cereal for breakfast, somehow that doesn’t seem like quite enough to start the day off right.  Maybe that’s because we’re coming in from a five or six mile run, and going to work hard all day.  Often we have grapefruit with our cereal, but sometimes we have a smoothie.  This is one of our favorite recipes.

Orange Julius Smoothie

1 can frozen orange juice concentrate

2 cans water

1 16 ounce container cottage cheese, frozen (just throw it in the freezer the night before) or plain yogurt

2 bananas

1/3 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

The cottage cheese stays a little grainy, so if this will bother you, use the plain yogurt.  You may need a little more sugar if you use plain yogurt.  Throw everything in the blender and blend away.  We share this amount amongst the 6 of us, but it’s a go-with not a main dish.   This tastes best served in pretty glasses.

Try it out.  I bet you’ll love this smoothie breakfast.  Hope you’re having a great weekend!

 

Kids in the Kitchen and Family Breakfast

Do you appreciate the opportunity you have every morning to eat a meal with your family?  As longtime homeschoolers, we sometimes laugh when we hear campaigns to eat “one meal a day as a family,” since we nearly always eat 2 meals together as a complete family, and the kids and I usually eat 3 meals together every day.  Sometimes breakfast can be the unsung hero of family meals, though, as members of the family get busy through the day but are able to meet together in the morning for at least a few minutes.  Why not find a few minutes of family time in the mornings instead of sleeping to the last possible minute, gulping down a little cold cereal and going to work?  It will put a smile on your face that will last all day.

I am prejudiced about breakfast, because it is my favorite meal.  I would gladly eat breakfast (and yes, for me that includes oatmeal and porridge) three meals every day.  I love hot cereals, and love finding new combinations to make and new recipes to share.  Here is one Max and I made the other day:  Oatmeal Raisin Pancakes

This recipe could easily be mixed up the night before, leaving you only the cooking process in the morning.  It makes a very stiff batter, and they take quite a long time to cook — about 4 minutes per side.  This would be a great recipe to get out the big griddle or two pans so that you can cook several at once and begin eating while the rest are cooking.

Oatmeal Raisin Pancakes (adapted from Mark Bittman)

2 cups pre-cooked and cooled oatmeal (I just made double the day before and saved it)

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup rolled oats (uncooked)

1/3 cup chopped almonds

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1/2 cup milk (or a tiny bit more)

1/3 cup raisins

Honey and brown sugar for serving

Mix together flours, oats, almonds, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl.  In a large bowl, combine egg, milk, cooked oatmeal, and raisins.  The cooked oatmeal is a little stuff, so a kid might need some help mixing.  Then add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, making a stiff batter.  Max read and gathered all the ingredients, did all the measuring, and began the mixing, but needed a little help finishing up.  Add a little more milk to get to stiff batter stage if necessary.  Cook on a well-oiled griddle until set on each side.  Bubbles don’t come up through this batter as much as through ordinary pancake batter, so you kind of have to watch for the sides to set.

While the pancakes are still hot from the grill, coat with brown sugar or honey and serve.  We liked both, with brown sugar slightly topping out honey in the taste tests.  The original recipe included apricots and ground cardamom, neither of which were ingredients in our pantry this morning.  I am sure they would be good as well.

Hope you enjoy your family breakfast!  Do you have a favorite breakfast recipe?  Please leave a link in your comment!

Kids in the Kitchen — Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins

Eden is getting to be proficient in the kitchen.  She can read a recipe, follow the directions and come out with something edible almost every time.  She has been making this recipe for a while.  We enjoy them for breakfast, but today she is making them for a mid-morning snack break tomorrow, while we have friends visiting.

These muffins have two wonderful fall flavors:  cranberry and pumpkin.  The pumpkin adds sweetness, and the cranberries give a tart “pop” to the muffins.  They are much better chopped rather than whole.

Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins

Slightly adapted from The Farmhouse Cookbook by Susan Hermann Loomis

Makes 12 large muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour (we use half whole-wheat pastry flour)

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

¾ cup sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 ¼ cups canned pumpkin puree (we use fresh baked pumpkin)

½ cup milk

2 cups cranberries, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare a muffin tin with pan spray and muffin cups.  Sift together the dry ingredients, including sugar.

Whisk together oil, eggs, pumpkin and milk.   Add wet to dry and mix quickly and well.  Fold in the cranberries.  Fill the muffin tins two-thirds full with batter.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes before unmolding and serving.

These can also be made with frozen cranberries and (thawed) frozen pumpkin puree.  We have had good success substituting blueberries as well.  They give a great taste of the combinations of fall flavors that we love.

As a side note — the next step for kids in the kitchen after learning to read a recipe and put it together well is to plan a meal and be able to schedule the timing for each step.  That is the step we are working on with the older kids now.  Do you  have a secret trick for how to plan meals to be ready at the right time?   Please leave a comment.

A Breakfast Date — Spending Time with the Kids You Love

I had a hot date this morning.  Maximus and I went out for breakfast at Guru’s.  We got all hyper eating Bananas Foster Pancakes.

We have a fairly recent tradition in our family.  Each month, Daddy and I each take one kid out for a special date.  That way, every other month is date month for each kid.  We try to do something not too expensive, but a special treat for just that one kid.  We’ve done sushi (my first time, too), a pirate play and a movie.  This month, we had the boys.   I like my dates to be in the morning, because I love to go out to breakfast.

After breakfast, we went to the library.  The library is a great date place because it is free, and no one in our family ever gets to spend enough undisturbed time at the library.  Last time we had a date there, I came home with 30 books.  Luckily the library doesn’t charge by the book.  (This is also the reason date night is never at Barnes and Noble.)

When the museum opened, we went to the Monte L. Bean Science Museum on the BYU campus.  Campus museums are cheap (read — free), quiet and best of all small.  Max had never seen taxidermy before, I guess.  He was really impressed.  We enjoyed all three floors in about an hour, and got lots of new ideas for school.

What I like best about having a date night with my kids is that I get to see them as individuals, and really listen to them without interruption.  They also get to know me better as an individual, I think, and hopefully that contributes to family unity.  I know it contributes to family happiness — everyone is excited for their turn.  It also limits begging, because we can always save up that treat for date night!

How do you find special time to be with your kids?  Leave me a comment.

Perfect fall breakfast– Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

I thought that I invented this breakfast when I needed to use up last year’s frozen pumpkin during the summer. Then I started watching my favorite blogs post about pumpkin in the last few weeks. Even so, I have to add my two cents.

The major differences between my recipe and many others I have seen are: Use honey instead of sugar, and because I am able to buy farm fresh eggs I add eggs for extra protein– we’re runners, remember.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
Makes about 7 cups

2 cups milk
2 cups pumpkin
1/3 cup honey or to taste
1 teaspoon each cinnamon, ginger and cloves
Optional:
A handful of ice cubes (I don’t like too many. Add more if you like a brain freeze for breakfast.)
A banana
2 farm fresh eggs

Blend like crazy.

I serve this with cinnamon toast or muffins. The color alone makes it wonderful for breakfast.