Tag Archives: family
Post by Alison Hein.
Go dust off your waffle iron and whip up some morning magic! These lightly sweet, chocolatey treats take only a little effort, and are sure to delight both young and not so young. A touch of cocoa powder in the batter is enough to provide a hint of decadence – great for brunch or special occasions.
Make sure your waffle iron is well-heated before you begin. Each waffle will take about 5 minutes to cook. If you’re planning a big breakfast shindig, preheat your oven to low and then turn it off. Pile each waffle onto an ovenproof plate as they finish, cover them with a light tea towel, and keep them warm until you’re done cooking.
No need to waffle on this one – all it takes is a little alchemy to produce a bewitching breakfast in bed.
2 cups flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup sour cream
Combine flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl. In separate bowl, add milk, eggs and vanilla and beat until frothy. Pour oil into liquid mixture and stir well. Using a wooden spoon or hand mixer, gradually add liquid mixture to dry ingredients until batter is smooth. Stir in sour cream.
Spray waffle iron with cooking spray and heat to high. Pour ½ cup to ¾ cup batter into center of iron, making sure you have enough batter to evenly spread across the surface of your waffle iron. Cook until waffle is deep brown and crisp, and pulls away easily from iron, about 5 minutes. Serve warm with melted butter and maple syrup or chocolate sauce. Top with fruit, if you like.
Makes 4 to 5 waffles.
Post by Alison Hein.
Yay! It’s March! I was out in my garden this morning and spied tiny little green nubs wrestling to push themselves up through the earth. I even caught sight of a wayward robin! Soon the temperatures will climb and the earth and trees will be dressed in greenery. Time to start the switch from hearty pancakes and healthy oatmeal over to fresh fruit and frothy smoothies!
Cantaloupe may not be the first melon you’d think of when firing up the blender, but it’s dense consistency and sweet, mellow undertones make this a fruit made to be puréed. A little pear juice makes a nice contrast with the melon and adds a fresh note.
Variations are endless. Use apple instead of pear juice, or skip the juice altogether for a thicker smoothie. For all the juice-conscious out there, go ahead and replace the juice with fresh spinach, kale or wheat grass instead.
Well you get the idea. Smoothies couldn’t be simpler or more perfect, and for once, I don’t have much more to say on the topic. I’m not even recommending breakfast in bed. Just go froth yourself up some fruit, then take your lush and frosty smoothie outside. Take a deep breath in. Spring is in the air!
2 cups fresh cantaloupe (or other melon), peeled and chopped into small cubes
1 cup ice
½ cup pear juice
½ cup low fat vanilla yogurt
Lime slices, for garnish (optional)
Wash the outside of the cantaloupe. Slice in half and scoop out seeds from center. Slice and skin melon, then chop into 1-inch cubes.
Place ice in blender. Add chopped melon, yogurt and pear juice. Purée until thick and smooth, about 1 minute. Pour into glasses. Garnish with sliced lime.
Makes 2 smoothies.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Ever wonder how a flip book, or for that matter, a movie can take still images and create the illusion of movement? Have you seen that cardboard dinosaur that appears to turn its head to follow you? How do those sleight of hand experts make a coin disappear?
These are the sorts of questions tackled by this National Geographic show, available streaming on Netflix (maybe on other streaming hosts as well). I’m not sure if it is for kids or for adults but we all enjoy watching the show together. My son is the one who discovered it and thought, what the heck, let’s give it a try. I was blown away. The first episode we watched was all about focus and how the human brain will ignore a bunch of really wacky things going on in the background while it pays attention to something else. The show does a lot of public performances to show how these brain teasers work on most people. You’d be surprised how many people feel pain when a fake hand is hit with a hammer!
It’s a fun blend of magic and science working together to amaze and inform. Each episode has a different theme, from memory to focus to deception. The science behind it is pretty interesting but what’s great is seeing your own brain get tricked by these illusions. Especially when you know your mind is fooling you but you can’t do anything about it!
This is a fun, kinda silly, informative show that is great to watch with the whole family as pre-bed brain food.
Post by Alison Hein.
By now you must realize that I am obsessed with food – I write about food (as you know), I dream about food (maybe next time) and sometimes I make things up about food. Case in point: a recent exchange with an old high school pal through Words with Friends:
Me: Nice word. Remember that awesome French toast your mom used to make?
Laura: Thanks. Huh?
Me: Good move. You know the crunchy one with bread crumbs?
Laura: Thanks. My mom?
Me. You’re kicking my butt. Yeah, your mom. It was amazing.
Laura. Heh, heh. Don’t know what you’re talking about, but it sounds delish.
A brief canvas of other old friends also came up dry, so I went to work in my kitchen to turn fabrication into reality. I like the soft eggy center and rich flavor of Challah bread for French toast, so I started with a standard egg/milk dip for the bread, followed by a good roll in plain unadorned bread crumbs. A slow sauté in melted butter, and voila! My (fantastical) memory! A warm eggy center encased in a crisp, crunchy exterior – a flawless foundation for a generous splash of Vermont maple syrup. Then, to dress it up a bit, the crunch on crunch texture of sweet almond topping.
Treat your kids to homemade French toast sticks by slicing the Challah into strips before breading. They will love it for its dip-ability. Better yet, add some almond topping to their next ice cream sundae for sweet some caramel crunch. Whatever you decide later, you are now well positioned for a crunchy, fantastical breakfast in bed.
1 cup milk
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
8 slices Challah bread (or other soft, eggy bread)
2 to 4 tablespoons butter
Caramelized almond topping (optional)
In large, shallow bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Dip bread slices into the egg mixture, turning once to completely saturate. Roll and cover in plain breadcrumbs. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in heavy skillet. Add bread slices and cook over medium to medium-low heat, turning once, until golden and cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes, adding more butter as needed. Place French toast on plates, and top with caramelized almonds, if you like. Serve warm with maple syrup.
Makes 4 servings.
Caramelized Almond Topping
½ cup sliced almonds
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla
Add all ingredients to small bowl and mix together until almonds are well coated. Turn mixture out into heavy pan and cook over medium to medium low heat for about 5 to 7 minutes until sugar is melted and almonds are lightly browned). Almond mixture will be wet and gooey at this point. Turn out onto waxed paper and allow to harden and cool completely.
Makes 1 cup of topping.
Valentine’s Day at Chez Moi
Post by Alison Hein.
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and you’ll be surprised that for once I will not advise you to enjoy a lazy breakfast in bed. Instead, I encourage you to get up and create your own pop-up restaurant, and offer your loved one a divine, romantic breakfast tasting menu.
My personal pop-up restaurant, lovingly named Chez Moi, appears in a quiet corner of our living room once a year. I use red tablecloths to create a lush fabric background, drag a small garden café table out of storage, and drape that in red as well.
To set the table, I arrange a few graduated cake plates to form a tower, then fill tiny dishes with delicious little bites of food. Page through prior posts for inspiration if you like. Fruit salad is a good choice – sweet and fresh – adding lovely color to the tasting array. And, mini-heart toast (cut from sliced bread with a cookie cutter) is a perfect holiday addition and silver dollar pancakes also never fail to delight:
My tasting menu this year will include Poached Eggs with Mornay Sauce – gently simmered eggs with a soft, molten center, topped with a light drizzle of cheese and garnished with fresh parsley. Perfect for heart-y toast dipping.
And after all this work, don’t be surprised if you soon receive a Valentine’s invitation for a future divine, romantic breakfast in bed. 😉
Poached Eggs with Mornay Sauce
1 sprig fresh parsley (about 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons grated cheese (gruyère, cheddar, or Swiss)
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash and dry parsley. Chop finely and set aside. To make cheese sauce, melt butter in small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth, thick paste forms. Whisk in milk and cook until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add grated cheese and stir until just melted. Set aside and keep warm.
Eggs should be as fresh as possible for perfect poaching. To poach eggs, fill a heavy saucepan with enough water to cover eggs (3 to 4 inches) and heat until very hot and simmering, but not boiling. Break eggs into individual small dishes. Or you can use an egg poacher. Carefully pour the first egg into the simmering water. Immediately use a wooden spoon to wrap the cooking white around the egg yolk to prevent the white from feathering. Repeat the process with the second egg, and cook for about four minutes, until the white is firm but the yolk is still soft. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and drain. Trim edges if necessary. Place each egg in a small dish. Top with cheese sauce and garnish with a little fresh parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with toast, if you like.
Makes 2 servings.