Not Weekly Baking

I fell behind in my weekly baking at the end of the year as my days began to fill with travel. While December is a month filled with baking for many I baked less than usual. I didn’t even get my usual day of christmas cookie baking in (grandma got Trader Joes cookies instead). And as I work to get back into a regular schedule I thought about breakfast. While I have a canister of granola waiting on the counter each morning I find myself too cold to think about yogurt and granola which leaves me with tea. Water, flavor and the 1/2 teaspoon of sugar I add is not so filling.

I was recently reminded of homemade instant oatmeal packets, something I tried briefly before and the last time I went to replenish the stash couldn’t find bulk instant oatmeal. This time around I found a recipe that calls for a quick oats as well as a few other variations. Did you know that dried milk can go bad? Yup – I was about use some of my dried milk (leftover from homemade hot chocolate mix this summer) when I sniffed it and pweew.

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I was going to try the big jar + shaking method when I chickened out, luckily I had 4 empty wide mouth half-pint jars – the perfect size to hold 2 “packets” worth of instant oatmeal. I just added salt to 2 jars and added salt, cinnamon, sugar and zante currants to the other 2 jars for some cinnamon raisin oatmeal. Now all I have to do is dump the contents in a bowl, add boiling water and stir. I suspect that if you are a one-packet eater the wide mouth half pint jars would make a perfect storage + eating vessel.

And the verdict?  Tasty enough if you tolerate or like instant oatmeal but 3/4 cup of oatmeal is too much food for me.  I ended up dumping out my two plain versions, mixed them up and re-measured them into 1/2 cup servings (and I added some flavorings). I really liked my cinnamon raisin version (and was meh on the apple-cinnamon version I made with some chopped dried apples). 3/4 cup of water was just right for my 1/2 cup of oatmeal since I like my oatmeal thicker than average. In fact when I make the non-instant stuff I use 2/3 cup oatmeal to 1 cup of water instead of the 1:2 oatmeal:water ratio most directions call for.

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January 25, 2011. Tags: , , . Cooking. Leave a comment.

Weekly Baking: Granola, take 1

A few weeks ago we went away for the weekend, and one day we stopped by a bakery for a quick tea and pastry. There was a big jar of granola on the counter and it just called to me. Sadly we didn’t have time to stay and granola and yogurt didn’t strike me as the best car food (possible yes, but…). Once I was home I decided I had to recreate the fetching granola display. Since a stop to Ikea was on the agenda, I grabbed another one of their Burken jars and looked around for my aunt’s granola recipes (which I was loving a few weeks ago at her house). I couldn’t find it and proceeded to open up every granola recipe I’ve ever bookmarked plus a few cookbooks and kind-of-sort followed one of them (well the wet-ingredient list anyway), throwing in a few ingredients I remember from my aunt’s go-to recipe. Mild success. It is tasty enough, but not the granola nirvana I was hoping for. However it had drastically increased the number of days I actually eat breakfast, so that is a win.

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Granola take 1 recipe: Everybody Likes Sandwiches Better than from a Bakery Granola
Stuff: oatmeal, almonds, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, sesame seeds, unsweetened dried coconut, dried cranberries, some vanilla and Penzey’s baking spice for extra flavor (note – do not use baking spice in granola again)

September 28, 2010. Tags: , . Cooking. 3 comments.

Weekend Breakfast

I love breakfast.  I rarely eat breakfast but I love it.  I do enjoy making weekend breakfasts, dishes that are more time consuming and fattening than real life normally accommodates.

We had french toast with a stewed fruit topping (compote doesn't seem accurate) last Sunday.

I wasn't feeling like having maple syrup on my french toast and so I decided to try and recreate a fruit stewed syrup like thing I read about somewhere.  I couldn't find the recipe so I just made it up.  I put 1 1/2 cups of frozen blueberries and 3 tablespoons of white grape juice to simmer on the stove.  Once the fruit defrosted I started mashing it.  Unfortunately I used too much juice and it was not getting syrupy.  Then I realized that we had lots of pears and apples available.  I picked up a very ripe pear, peeled it and cut it into a fine dice then added that to the blueberries.  I was hoping that the pears would have pectin and that would thicken things up.  They didn't thicken the juices at all, but the additional fruit added bulk and that helped as well.  I let this mixture simmer while I made the french toast.

I made my basic french toast: one egg per person, a splash of milk (somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 cup) per egg, a drop of vanilla extract and a good sprinkle of cinnamon beaten together.  I always use a pie plate for the custard, it is deep enough that spills don't happen, wide enough that bread fits easily but not so wide that the custard is too thin to soak the bread.  I give bread a brief soak on each side then put it in a pan with a bit of melted butter, flipping once, maybe twice if necessary.  I think the amount of custard I made coated 5 or 6 pieces of bread.

Anway, the stewed fruit or compote or whatever you call it was delicious.  The approximately 2 1/2 cups of fruit was just the right amount for the two of us (we are generous with our fruit topping) and the juice that would not thicken was still very yummy soaked into the french toast with bits of fruit on top.  I'm not sure if I want to go back to maple syrup on my french toast at all.

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October 8, 2007. Tags: , , . Thoughts. 2 comments.