Category Archives: Breakfast

Spanish eggs baked with summer vegetables

Baked Eggs

This casserole of baked eggs reminds me of food I had in southern Spain.

I did a lot of cooking with my mom on my recent vacation. One night, we made a casserole of baked eggs modeled on a recipe from Joanne Weir’s Weir Cooking in the City. The men didn’t like the dish so much, but it reminded Mom and I of a great trip we took to the south of Spain.

Spanish-style Eggs
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1/3 cup chicken stock or broth
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
8-12 asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch lengths (amount depends on size of spears)
3/4 cup sweet peas (optional)
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
6-8 eggs (depending on how many people you are feeding)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the onion and cook until it starts to soften. Add the garlic and cook a little more. Add the chopped tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, paprika and basil. Simmer until the tomatoes are soft, about 3 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Then transfer the sauce to a blender and puree until smooth.

In the same frying pan, partially cook the peppers, asparagus and peas.

Place the sauce into a casserole dish. Break the eggs and place them individually on top. Sprinkle the vegetables and parsley on top.

Bake for 20 minutes. (Weir’s cookbook said 10, but my eggs were still raw at 10 in my mom’s oven.)


My husband is obsessed with these breakfast bars

We go through food seasons in our house. A recipe will be really hot for a while, and we’ll make it all the time. Then we tire of it and move on.

Making Breakfast Bars

The bars are based on a recipe from Greg Atkinson’s “West Coast Cooking.”

Breakfast bars are the ticket at the moment. I made them over Christmas using a recipe from Greg Atkinson’s West Coast Cooking, and G. just loves them. I’ve done a little modification to reduce the sugar, and I’ve been experimenting with different kinds of mixed fruit and nuts. We had fig and currant bars, cranberry and raisin, and fig and cranberry. Next up: Prunes.

The bars are a bit softer than commercial granola bars, and I think they have a better taste. They freeze well and are a terrific grab-and-go breakfast when you need to eat something during your morning commute. Here’s my version of the recipe:

Good Morning Breakfast Bars

2 eggs
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup whey protein powder (soy protein is OK too)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup nuts, chopped and toasted (I usually use walnuts or almonds)
1 cup dried fruit, such as raisins or Craisins
1 cup of second dried fruit, such as figs or apricots
1/4 cup flax seeds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cover a baking sheet with parchment.

Separate one of the eggs and set the white aside.

Mix the yolk, the other egg, oil, brown sugar and honey, beating until smooth.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, oats, protein powder, baking powder and salt. Add to the egg mixture, along with the nuts, dried fruit and flax seeds. Stir everything together until you have a loose dough.

Divide the dough into four parts. Turn one part out onto a floured surface and shape it into a log about 8 inches long. Place the log onto the baking sheet. Brush it with the egg white and sprinkle some extra oats on top.

Repeat this process with the other three portions of dough.

Bake the bars until they are cracked on top and lightly browned, about 18 minutes. Once cool, cut each log into four pieces. The recipe makes 16 bars.

Applesauce muffins

I made applesauce muffins with a great recipe from Homestead Cook.

I made applesauce muffins with a great recipe from Farmstead Chef.

Lisa Kivirist, who runs Inn Serendipity in Wisconsin, is a great baker. Her zucchini cake is legend in our family, and I’ve been working my way through her latest cookbook and have loved almost everything I’ve tried. The pumpkin peanut butter bread wasn’t as delightful as some of the other recipes, but overall, I’d say it’s a five-star effort.

I made batch of applesauce muffins a few weeks ago and then made a second batch as soon as the first was gone. In the second one, I substituted bits of dried apple for the raisins, and it was equally as delicious. If you stick with raisins, I suggest soaking them for 5 to 10 minutes in boiling water before you use them to plump them up and make them tender. I like the texture better that way, although it’s completely a personal preference.

Applesauce Muffins

2 cups flour
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup applesauce
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup raisins (or chopped, dried apples)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups.

Cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the egg. Beat in the applesauce and vanilla. Stir in the flour, cinnamon, allspice and baking soda. Stir in the raisins or chopped apple.

Spoon batter into the muffin cups. It will nearly fill them.

Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes.

Baked oatmeal with fruit

This very easy baked oatmeal with blueberries stores well and can be reheated.

This very easy baked oatmeal with blueberries stores well and can be reheated.

I decided I was going to learn to make baked oatmeal this winter, and I have. I also have become progressively more lazy in making it as I become more comfortable with the dish.

You saw my earlier efforts with oatmeal with pumpkin. I got a little bored with that and decided to branch out with fruit. I ended up taking some directions from wikiHow and then simplifying them even more. Significantly, I now skip toasting the oats before baking. It saves time, and I haven’t noticed much of a difference.

In the recipe below, you can substitute almost any fruit, such as apples or peaches, for the blueberries.

Baked oatmeal with blueberries (or other fruit)

1 cup steel-cut oats (you can toast them before baking if you are really on your game)
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (or other fruit, such as chopped apples)
2 cups boiling water
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a 7-by-11-inch glass baking dish, or one of similar proportions.

Lay the fruit in the bottom of the baking dish and sprinkle the oats evenly over it.

Pour the milk over the oats.

Dissolve the cinnamon and sugar in the boiling water and then pour the water evenly over the oats.

Place the pan in the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Be watchful of burning on top.

Remove the dish from oven and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes if you want the oatmeal to solidify more.

You can store the oatmeal in the refrigerator for several days and reheat it in the microwave. It makes 4 servings.

Baked oatmeal with pumpkin and walnuts


This is my second try at baked oatmeal, and a little heartier because it uses steel-cut oats.

I just talked to my mom on the phone, and she was going to make the baked oatmeal that I posted the other day. I told her to stop because I just made a different version that I like better. It uses steel-cut oats, which I think are more satisfying. They seem to stick with me longer during the day.

And, because Mom and I are both trying to lose weight, I calculated the calories and nutritional value in this recipe. It makes four servings, with 306 calories per serving.

Here are the other details: 12.1 grams fat (2.7 grams saturated fat, and no trans fat); 9 milligrams cholesterol; 21 milligrams sodium; 40 grams carbohydrates (7.5 grams fiber and 8.4 grams sugar); and 7.7 grams protein. TONS of vitamin A, thanks to the pumpkin.

Baked oatmeal with pumpkin and walnuts
1 cup steel-cut oats
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups boiling water
1 cup pumpkin purée (I make my own, but you could use a cup of canned pumpkin)
1/2 cup milk (I used 1 percent)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Grease an 8-by-8-inch baking pan. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and toss in the oats. Toast the oats for about 3 minutes, just until they start to brown.

Turn off the heat, and add the boiling water. Add the pumpkin, milk, nuts, cinnamon and brown sugar.

Pour the mixture into the greased baking pan. Bake the oatmeal for 50 to 60 minutes, checking near the end to make sure it doesn’t burn.

This dish can be made in advance and reheated in the microwave for a fast breakfast.

Pumpkin pie baked oatmeal

Pumpkin pie oatmeal

This baked oatmeal recipe makes cute individual portions for breakfast.

I have been working on learning to make baked oatmeal because I really, really like it when I get it at Colectivo.

I’ve also been trying to use a lot of pumpkin because we still have some in the freezer from last year, and now I’m processing this year’s pumpkins.

The combination of excess (pumpkin) and desire (for baked oatmeal) has led me to a number of recipes that combine the two. The first one I tried is pumpkin pie oatmeal from Good Life Eats. It’s nice because it makes cute, individual servings.

But, one serving left G. hungry. He ate a second, and I started searching for another recipe. I think this one is great, though, for those with smaller appetites.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
1 cup old-fashioned oats, not quick cook
2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, optional (I used dried lemon peel.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon butter, melted
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup pecans, chopped
2 teaspoons butter, softened
1 tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease 4 individual sized ramekins. Set aside.

Combine the oats through salt in a medium bowl. Stir well. In a separate bowl, combine the vanilla, butter, pumpkin, and milk. Whisk thoroughly. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the oats. Stir until combined.

Divide the mixture evenly between the ramekins. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake them for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the topping: chopped pecans, butter, and brown sugar. After the oatmeal has baked for 10 minutes, spoon the topping onto the ramekins. Bake the oatmeal for an additional 7 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

You can make these in advance and reheat them in the microwave if you want.

Winter squash spice muffins from one of my favorite bakers


These spiced winter squash muffins from Lisa Kivirist’s “Farmstead Chef” are the best I’ve made in a while.

Every once in a while, being a journalist is really cool. About two months ago, I got to interview Lisa Kivirist, who owns an inn in Wisconsin. She was helping lobby for legislation that would allow home cooks and farmers to sell small amounts of baked goods without jumping through the hoops to get a commercial food preparation license.

I got her name from a farm organization, started talking to her and realized that she was THE Lisa Kivirist, who invented my beloved (and G.’s beloved) zucchini cake.

Here’s how much we love that cake: I had just spent a day covering first lady Michelle Obama during her visit to Wisconsin. G. was not impressed. I told him I had talked to Lisa, and he was so excited.

“Did you tell her Jeffrey has made three of them?” he asked.

Jeffrey is G.’s nephew, and a new convert to the zucchini cake brotherhood. I failed to tell Lisa about him. I will rectify that next time.

Anyway, we got talking, and it turns out that Lisa recently published a new cookbook. I bought a copy. (Of course I did; I’m a cookbook addict.)

It took me a while to get around to sending my check, so the book only arrived recently. I dove right in and made Lisa’s winter squash spice muffins, which are one of the most popular things she serves at her bed and breakfast.

G. was in heaven! I made them right before we took off for a dance event, so we’d dance for a few hours, eat a muffin and then go back and dance more. We figured the calories don’t count that way. But even if they did, we’d still eat the muffins. A lot of them.


This is a breakfast that makes G. very happy.

Lisa Kivirist’s Winter Squash Spice Muffins
2 eggs
1 cup winter squash puree (I use fresh pumpkin.)
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Grease 12 standard muffin cups. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine eggs, squash and butter in a big bowl.

Add spices, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar and flour. Stir well.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Fill the muffin cups until they are almost full. Bake the muffins for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.