Pudding for breakfast!

Sometimes a sweet treat for breakfast hits the spot. This breakfast pudding, or smoothie bowl, in common parlance, is fast and delicious.

In a blender, combine two ripe bananas, a small avocado, 2 T (30 ml) good-quality cocoa, 1/2 c (125 ml) silken tofu, and 1/4 c (60 ml) unsweetened almond milk. Using ripe bananas gives lots of natural sweetness. 

Blend until smooth, and top with chopped walnuts and grated coconut. Pumpkin seeds would look and taste fabulous as well!

Serves two.

  

We're crazy for crisps…

English friends, full disclosure…not chips, or what you might call crisps. Fruit crisps are a summer dessert and breakfast staple. This one started with a layer of stewed rhubarb, although simply chopping with a little maple syrup would work well. Any summer fruit (or mixture) will do.

Put the fruit in a square pan. In a large bowl mix 1/4c melted butter, 1/4c maple syrup or brown sugar, 2c large flake rolled oats, and 1/3 c each of unsweetened coconut and walnuts. Change it up with nuts and seeds as you like. Add more oats until you have a consistency that’s not too wet and sprinkle over the fruit.

Bake in a 350F oven for 30 minutes for pre-cooked fruit or up to an hour for fresh fruit, until topping is nicely browned and fruit is soft and bubbling. A glass pan lets you see what’s going on underneath.

We served ours with a tasty yogurt topping but whipped cream, ice cream or nothing at all and it would still be divine. (1/2 c fat free plain yogurt mixed w 1t maple syrup and 1/2t vanilla is plenty for two).

  

We really tarted up breakfast this morning…

  

A sure sign of the spring food garden is an abundance of rhubarb. In fact we had so much last year, that a whole bag went undiscovered in the back of the freezer and we found it when tidying up to prepare for this year’s harvest. This delicious tart is one of the results.

Stew at least 4 cups (1l) of chopped rhubarb with sugar to taste (we like ours tart, no pun intended) and cool. Eat as is, or to make this tasty tart, preheat oven to 375F . On a sheet of parchment, roll out one sheet of puff pastry to about 12″/30cm. Place on cookie sheet. Put rhubarb in the centre and turn in edges to lap over filling and contain it, leaving top open. Brush pastry with a beaten egg and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden. We served ours with a spoonful of plain fat free yogurt, sprinkled with a little cinnamon.

Love the coffee mug? It’s from Krysta Oland’s Morning Sun Pottery.

Black Forest Smoothie is like dessert for breakfast.

 

The reward for today’s workout? Black Forest smoothie. All the flavours of the famous cake, in liquid form. Combine plain fat free yogurt, dark sweet cherries, fresh or frozen, and some milk in a blender with a heaping spoonful of hot chocolate mix. We used the sugar-free kind. Cocoa and honey would work as well. Blend until smooth and start your day with something sweet.

Bunny Cake 2012

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This year’s version sporting his aqua tie…Carrot cake on the inside and Meringue frosting on the outside…

La Chandeleur

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La Chandeleur is crepe day in France, at its origins a celebration of the purification of the Virgin Mary and the presentation of Baby Jesus. If you’re a devoted Francophile, it’s a great excuse to make crepes, whether you’re religious or secular. These were time-consuming but not at all difficult to make.

The recipe serves four as a meal, or 8 as a brunch or dessert…

250 ml fat-free cottage cheese
120g light cream cheese
60 ml sugar
5 ml vanilla
250 ml white, whole wheat, or spelt flour
375ml 1% milk
15ml vegetable oil
5 ml vanilla
3 large eggs
Cooking oil
500 ml raspberries
15ml icing sugar

Blend or process cheeses, first sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Place in bowl and chill about an hour.

Whisk together milk, oil, flour, next vanilla, and eggs, until nearly smooth. Cover and an hour.

Heat a nonstick skillet to medium-high, brush with oil. Add about 60ml batter. Tilt quickly to spread in a thin layer. Cook until the top doesn’t look wet any more.

When crepe loosens from its pan on its own, flip and cook about 30 seconds.

Place finished crepes on tea towel and fill them with cheese, rolling or folding, one at a time. Heat nonstick skillet at medium, and put crepes in to reheat. Serve warm with powdered sugar and berries.

Pour on the Sweetness

These tasty squares have been adapted from a number of recipes, sometimes called Southern Bars. Or you may have seen them on cans of condensed milk.

One year, our kids dubbed them “Cavity Squares“, because they are so incredibly sweet. We know they have too many calories (we could also call them calorie squares). But they never fail to please, and someone always asks for the recipe. Your teeth may not thank you, but you’ll definitely keep your dentist in business!

War Cake

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There is nothing quite like an old family recipe for the holidays. They may not quite conform to our modern dietary habits ( we rarely use lard in our house any more). But our grandmothers knew a thing or two about frugal eating that we would do well to take on board. This tremendous, versatile cake was the result of wartime rationing, when butter, milk, and eggs were rare commodities. The good new is that it tastes so delicious those things will never be missed.

Since we’re not big on fruitcake, we like to add some red and green cherries to this, during the festive season.

Classic Christmas Shortbread

20111222-191321.jpg Even if we only have time to bake one Christmas cookie, this is the one. it’s practically foolproof, the recipe can be doubled, kids can help, and it lends itself to a variety of shapes.

1/2 c / 125ml cornstarch
1/2 c / 125ml icing sugar
1 c / 250ml flour
3/4 c / 175ml butter

Sift the dry ingredients together. Blend in the butter with a wooden spoon if you must, but clean hands are more fun! You can also use a food processor. As soon as it forms a dough that stays together, it’s done. If it’s too pliable, chill for half an hour.

Roll out with a floured rolling pin to 1/4″ or 1/2cm, and cut with cookie cutters, or roll into balls and flatten with something textured, like a butter press or the bottom of a fancy glass, dipped in flour. You can also shape it in a log, roll in colored sugar or nuts, chill for half an hour, and slice. Decorate with sugar, cherries (or not).

Bake on an ungreased pan (parchment is good for cleanup but not necessary) at 300F for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden. Remove to racks immediately to cool. Break at least one so as to force a taste test. Smile.

Flakes of Goodness

20111121-193433.jpg. It is the season when flakes start to fall…but these flakes are flakes of delicious pastry!

8 sheets phyllo pastry
1/8 c butter, melted
3 apples, peeled and sliced
2 T sliced almonds
2 T raisins
2 T flour
3 T brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
1 egg

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a bowl, mix the apple with the flour, sugar, raisins, nuts and cinnamon. Take a sheet of phyllo and brush with butter. Top with another and brush again. Put 1/4 of the apple mixture 4″ in from short edge. Fold edge in, then each long edge. Roll up like a jelly roll. Place roll, seam side down on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining three rolls.

Beat egg and brush tops of rolls. Bake for 25 minutes until golden. Cool slightly (filling will be hot) and serve.