Tag Archives: breakfast and brunch

the best vegan pancakes

It’s probably no surprise that I love pancakes. They’re perfect just the way they are and I would rather not modify them. So when it comes to making a vegan version, I’m really picky. I’ve gone through so many recipes trying to find the best one. I’ve tried practically every “vegan pancake recipe” on the first page of Google. Many of them come out dense, flat, and oily, with no resemblance to the cakey, fluffy texture I want out of pancakes.

Vegan-Pancakes-1I’ve even tried Champs’ pancakes and was like, “Mmm, sorry, no.”

But I’ve finally found the perfect recipe!  I have made this recipe half a dozen times at least and each time it turns out great! You’d never know they were vegan. They’re perfectly fluffy with the right balance of buttery and cakey goodness with crispy edges.

Vegan-Pancakes-5The best part? You only need one bowl.

Vegan-Pancakes-4The secret is the flax egg – a mix of ground flaxseed, or flax meal, and water. It’s often used in vegan baking to mimic the effects of an egg.

I’ve made these pancakes with both banana and blueberries and it turned out amazing each time. I use liquid coconut oil which gives them a slightly nutty taste. You can use olive or canola oil, but for the best taste, go with coconut.

Vegan-Pancakes-3Adapted from here.

the best vegan pancakes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Quick and easy vegan pancakes to add to your morning brunch.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Yields: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp of ground flaxseed
  • 2.5 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil (liquid form)
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • vegan butter for griddle (I used Earth Balance)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, create a flax egg by whisking together the flaxseed and water. Let it set for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Whisk in the coconut oil, maple syrup, and almond milk until well combined.
  3. Switch to a wooden spoon and gently stir in the baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, and flour until combined. Be sure not to over-mix.
  4. Melt the vegan butter on a skillet pre-heated to medium heat. I use about 1 tsp for each pancake.
  5. Pour ¼ cup of batter into the skillet at a time.
  6. If you’re adding mix-ins, sprinkle them into the batter as you place it on the skillet.
  7. Cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes on both sides, until crispy and thoroughly cooked.

Vegan-Pancakes-6I’ve shared a few more tips on making perfect pancakes here.

How do you like your pancakes? I rarely use syrup on my pancakes. My favorite are blueberry pancakes with whipped cream. I used to love chocolate chip, but have lately only wanted blueberry. Ryan loves banana and maple syrup. 

Basic Tofu Scramble

I spent many, many years as a vegetarian before ever trying tofu scramble. I don’t know what I was thinking, because it’s so good. Even if you’re not a vegetarian, you should definitely give it a try because YOLO, right?

Tofu-Scram-7

I’m sure when that acronym was coined, they didn’t have eating tofu in mind.

I was so tempted to write that making tofu scramble is quick and fun, but thought that it sounded gimicky and generic. The truth is, while it doesn’t take long to cook (think scrambled eggs), it is fun. Well, if you think smashing tofu with a fork is fun, which I do.

And here’s where you all tell me to get out more…

I thought I’d hare a really basic tofu scramble, because the beauty of a tofu scram is you can add all sorts of vegetables in it to create something totally unique each time.

I recommend these combinations:

  • Southwest style with black beans, avocado, and seitan
  • Zucchini, yellow squash, or mushrooms
  • Spinach, pesto, feta
  • Top with tomato

I’m not of those people who think tofu is bland, I really enjoy the taste and am absolutely fine with eating it unseasoned. But if you’re feeling apprehensive about it, adding spices and mix-ins are key to getting a good flavor.

Basic Tofu Scramble
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Cuisine: Breakfast
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ small yellow onion, chopped
  • ¼ red pepper, chopped
  • 1 16 oz container of extra-firm tofu, pressed
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • ¼ tsp tumeric
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Drain the tofu of excess water by pressing for 30 minutes.
  2. Using a fork, smash the tofu until it reaches a scrambled texture.
  3. Heat your olive oil in a In a skillet over medium-low heat.
  4. Once it’s warm, toss in your onions, red peppers, tomato paste, and spices, mixing them together. Saute for about 5 minutes until they start to soften and the onions turn clear.
  5. Add the tofu and gently saute it for five minutes, making sure to cover it in the olive oil and spices.

 

You have to press the tofu before you cook it to get a really solid tofu scramble. I place the tofu between two plates, and put a heavy book on top of it. Then press it for about 30 min.

I’ve also noticed if you slice the tofu lengthwise into thinner pieces, you can drain more water from them.

Then comes the fun part of smashing the tofu with a fork until it’s reached a “scrambled” texture.

Chop the onions and red pepper.

Heat your olive oil in a In a skillet over medium-low heat. Once it’s warm, toss in your onions, red peppers, and spices, mixing them together. Sautee for about 5 minutes until they start to soften and the onions turn clear.

Then add the tofu and gently saute it for five minutes, making sure to cover it in the olive oil and spices. Eat warm and serve with cheese or your favorite hot sauce. This dish can last up to three days refrigerated. Let me know what you think! What are your favorite additions to tofu scramble?

homemade red velvet poptarts with cream cheese filling

The inspiration for these red velvet poptarts came from this thing I call my life notebook. You know, it’s a notebook stuffed full of life goals, to-do lists, blog posts, places to visit, books I’ve read, and grocery lists from months ago. And sometimes I leave myself little hints in the margins, like “move this to a google doc” (but it feels so much better to see my own handwriting!) and other suggestions, like “make something with clay.”

Well, the idea for these poptarts came from those margins. I don’t remember even writing this note to myself, but as I scanned the past pages of my notebook, I saw it in the interior-left top corner, a message from a brilliant, or maybe just hungry, lady:

“Make: Red Velvet Poptarts.”

Red-Velvet-Poptarts-Final-(1-of-5)

What a great Valentine’s day post! As I decided to commit to this endeavor and scanned the internet for a decent red velvet poptarts recipe, I became increasingly nervous. I couldn’t find one. Are they impossible to make? Kellog did it (gross). Eventually, I came to the decision that I’d have to wing it.

Homemade Red Velvet Poptarts

So here it is, a recipe that I developed, almost entirely from scratch.

If you’re going to make these red velvet poptarts for a Valentine’s Day surprise, give yourself some time. There’s a lot  involved. You can make these a day ahead of time and simply re-heat them in the oven at 300 degrees for a few minutes.

Homemade Red Velvet Poptarts

homemade red velvet poptarts
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Red Velvet poptarts with cream cheese filling from scratch!
Author:
Recipe type: breakfast
Yields: 12 pastries
Ingredients
For the pastry
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • ¼ c sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks of cold butter, cubed and cold
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • ½ tsp red food dye (note: I used icing gels, you may need to use more food dye if you're using regular dye)
For the filling
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
Egg Wash
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp water
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and red food coloring, until blended.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, flour, sugar, and salt until well combined.
  3. Using a pastry blender push in the chunks of cold butter. If you don’t have a pastry blender, you can use your hands and a fork. Cut in the butter until there are no large pieces and your flour mixture resembles coarse, damp sand.
  4. Fold in the wet ingredients until everything is well combined.
  5. Shape the dough into two or four small balls. Wrap them in cling wrap and place them in the fridge for an hour to rest.
  6. While the dough is in the fridge, using an electric mixer, whip together all of the ingredients for the filling until it’s smooth. Store in the fridge until it’s ready to use.
  7. After you’ve let the dough rest, flour a surface to begin rolling it out. Using a floured rolling pin, roll your dough into a flat, thin piece.
  8. Using a cookie cutter or a knife, cut the dough into symmetrical rectangular pieces.
  9. Decide which piece will be the top of your pastry and poke a few holes in it using a fork.
  10. Place each bottom layer on a silpator parchment paper and add some filling in the middle of the square, being careful not to over-fill.
  11. Whisk together an egg and 2 Tbsp of water to create an egg wash.
  12. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash on the edges of the bottom piece of dough.
  13. Place the top piece of dough over the bottom piece. Gently press the edges of the pastry together using your fingers, then go back around and press the edges using a lightly floured fork.
  14. Once your pastries are all set, place them in the oven and bake at 375 for 22-25 minutes.

 

Red Velvet Poptarts Step-by-Step Instructions

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and red food coloring, until blended. Note: I used red icing gel, which is highly pigmented. If you’re using regular food coloring (which is totally fine) you may need to increase the amount of dye you use.

In a large bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, flour, sugar, and salt until well combined.

Homemade Red Velvet Poptarts

Using a pastry blender push in the chunks of cold butter. If you don’t have a pastry blender, you can use your hands and a fork. Cut in the butter until there are no large pieces and your flour mixture resembles coarse, damp sand.

Homemade Red Velvet Poptarts

Fold in the wet ingredients until everything is well combined.

Shape the dough into two or four small balls. I found it easier to roll out four small ones. Wrap them in cling wrap and place them in the fridge for an hour to rest and firm up. I didn’t have any Saran wrap, so I just used Ziplocks.

While the dough is in the fridge, using an electric mixer, whip together all of the ingredients for the filling until it’s smooth. Store in the fridge until it’s ready to use.

After you’ve let your dough rest, flour a surface to begin rolling it out. You’ll want to get this as thin as possible without risking ripping the dough. The tarts that came out thicker were a little too heavy on the crust.

If at any time your dough gets too sticky, just pop it back in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up. Using a floured rolling pin, roll your dough into a flat, thin piece.

Then cut your rectangles for the tarts.

Ok, truth. This whole process will be a lot easier if you have a square shaped cookie cutter, which I didn’t. I spent some time trying to make perfect shaped rectangles and well, you see what I came up with. Let’s just go with it. Plus, my geometry skills needed a workout anyway.

So I used a pizza cutter and a knife and did an ok job at making rectangles and some squares  that were originally meant to be rectangles. Besides, I think the imperfect shapes makes homemade poptarts way more charming.

Once you’ve cut your rectangles, decide which one will be the top and which one will be the bottom of each pastry. For the top layer, use a fork and poke a few holes through the dough to make a vent.

Place each bottom layer on a silpat or parchment paper and add some filling in the middle of the square. I used anywhere from ½ Tbsp to 1 ¼ Tbsp of filling, depending on the size of my pastries. Be sure to avoid over-filling.

Whisk together an egg and 2 Tbsp of water to create an egg wash. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash on the edges of the bottom piece of dough. This will create a sealant for the pastry. See the picture below for proof that I’m a messy baker.

Place the top piece of dough over the bottom piece. (Hint: If you have two uneven sizes, try to put the larger size on top.) Gently press the edges of the pastry together using your fingers, then go back around and press the edges using a lightly floured fork.

Once your pastries are all set, place them in the oven and bake at 375 for 22-25 minutes.

You could and should double the filling mixture to create a frosting on the top of these. It’s delicious.

cranberry-orange donuts

One of the glorious aspects of moving to Brooklyn has been the never-ending section of places to eat. How will I ever get to them all? But, I do have a gripe about my neighborhood’s lack of decent breakfast places. Aside from the French Bakery downstairs (ok, so I guess it’s not that bad), it’s hard to find sweet breakfast foods, except for the Dunkin’ Donuts down the street.

I don’t think I’ve ever had Dunkin’ Donuts before I moved to NY. There was a surprising lack of them  in Tallahassee, and I see why. They are the worst. Like, they sort of ruined my Sunday morning, their donuts are that bad.

Seeing this as a challenge, I bought this donut pan (it’s on sale!). Now, I’ve spent the past two Sundays making donuts. Unfortunately, the first round was a little disastrous but these were much improved.

Cranberry-Orange Donuts

cranberry-orange donuts
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast,
Yields: 16
Ingredients
Donuts
  • ½ cups (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • 1⅔ cup flour
  • 1¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
Orange Glaze
  • 1¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon orange zest
  • 3 Tablespoons of half and half (You can use milk)
Instructions
Prep
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Zest the orange.
Combining the Ingredients
  1. In a large bowl, use a wooden spoon to combine the butter and sugar and mix until they're creamy.
  2. Slowly stir in the vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time.
  3. In a second bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. These are your dry ingredients.
  4. Begin pouring the dry ingredients into the large bowl of wet ingredients. Pour in the dry ingredients about a half a cup at a time and mix thoroughly after each pour. Mix until you are out of dry ingredients and everything is well combined.
  5. In a cup, mix together ¼ cup of half and half with the ¼ cup water. Note: You can just use ½ cup of milk, instead.
  6. Pour the milk mixture into the batter. Mix until combined.
  7. Finally, fold in the dried cranberries.
  8. Spray a donut pan with cooking release spray (I used pam). Fill the pan up half-way with the batter.
  9. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 12 minutes, or until golden.
Preparing the Glaze
  1. Pour the powdered sugar in a large bowl and stir in the orange zest.
  2. Begin whisking the mixture and add the milk in one tablespoon at a time.
  3. You can add more milk or water into the mixture if you want a more runny consistency.
Assembly
  1. Dip the donuts into the glaze mixture or pour the mixture on top.
  2. If you dip the donuts, you may have to dip them multiple times, waiting a few minutes in between each dip.
  3. Allow an hour for glaze to harden.

I adapted the recipe from here. I didn’t have any milk, so I used half and half. I also used dried cranberries, but her recipe calls for fresh.

My roommates were apprehensive about the flavor combination, but it’s pretty incredible. There aren’t any donuts left.

perfect blueberry muffins

perfect muffins

Hi folks. I’m taking the week off to spend some time in the Florida Sunshine. I’ll be back next week. In the meantime, you can follow me on twitter or instagram.

I was featured on the Instructables homepage for my perfect blueberry muffin recipe. Seriously, these are great. They’re the perfect texture and flavor. Please check it out.

I try to submit d.i.y.s to the Instrucables community every once in a while. I think it’s a wonderful forum of sharing knowledge and how-to.

blueberry dutch baby pancakes

Blueberry Dutch Baby Pancakes

I have nothing original to contribute here. I copied this recipe exactly. Actually, that’s not true. I didn’t have a real lemon, so I used lemon juice. Classy, I know.

Dutch Baby Pancake

But, good god these things were amazing. And they photographed so well.

Make this breakfast to impress people. The effort was minimal and the result astounding.

And my roommates and I were all happy and full. Best brunch ever. The End.

P.S. NY sucks. I spent $7 (!) on a pint of fresh blueberries. I couldn’t bring myself to buy frozen.