English Muffin Loaf

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

And perhaps my favorite meal of the day. If given the opportunity, I would eat breakfast for every meal throughout the day; cereal for breakfast, scrambled eggs for lunch and maybe some pancakes for dinner. That sounds like the perfect day to me.

One of my favorite things to eat in the morning, especially now that I’m away at school, are english muffins. I love toasting them and smearing on butter and cinnamon; it’s practically heaven in breakfast form. However, if there is ever a food that would trump all other breakfast foods, it would be this english muffin loaf.

It’s so indescribably delicious that I really have no other words to say except make it right now or as soon as possible. These loaves could not be any simpler to make and they are perfect for a quick breakfast on-the-go. It has all the flavor of an english muffin packed into easy to slice loaves.

English Muffin Loaves
Makes 2 loaves

6 c. flour
2 packages yeast
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 c. milk
1/2 c. water

In the bowl of a stand mixer (with a dough hook) combine 3 cups of flour, undissolved yeast, sugar, salt and baking soda. In microwave safe bowl, heat the milk and water together until very warm; add to dry ingredients and beat well. While beating, gradually add the remaining 3 cups of flour. A ball of dough should form and should be sticky. Spoon the dough into 2 loaf pans that have been greased and sprinkled with cornmeal. Sprinkle the tops of the loaves with cornmeal as well; cover and let rise for 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 until golden brown.

Be careful, it’s hard to stop after just one slice. I could easily eat an entire loaf throughout the course of the day.


Lemon Meringue Pie

If I could have anything for Valentine’s Day, it would be this.

Forget chocolate and leave behind anything red velvet, this is what I want for every holiday, birthday and all those days in between. Meet my most favorite dessert, my deepest desire and the one thing I would choose over peanut butter every single time; lemon meringue pie.

When I was younger, I loved reading Amelia Bedelia books. The books were fun for a little kid and at the end of each book, Amelia always made a lemon meringue pie in apology for whatever mess she made. I remember asking my mom what lemon meringue pie was and she told me she’d make me one. That was the beginning of our love affair.

Since then I don’t think I’ve celebrated a birthday without one; I’d choose pie over cake any day of the week. This was my first time attempting to make a pie and I was surprised about how easy it was. If you want to make your Valentine happy, then I suggest you make this. Put down the red food coloring, everyone has red velvet cakes, and change things up a bit.

Unfortunately, my Valentine does not like lemon meringue pie so my Valentine’s Day will be definitely lacking in that department. He did, however, surprise me with some beautiful flowers and we intend to devour large amounts of frozen yogurt later. It might not be the same as lemon meringue pie but frozen yogurt is almost as good (especially when I can load up with tons of toppings).

While frozen yogurt may suffice for this holiday, my Valentine better be aware that there will be no substitution for lemon meringue pie on my birthday. Don’t worry, I’m just kidding.

Lemon Meringue Pie

1 pie crust (store-bought or homemade, recipe below)
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1 c. sugar
2 tbsp. flour
Rind of 1 lemon, grated
2 c. boiling water
3 egg yolks
6 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. butter

3 egg whites
3/4 tsp. baking powder
6 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon juice or vanilla

Pie Crust:
1 c. flour
1/3 c. crisco plus 1 tbsp
1/4 tsp. salt
2-3 tbsp. of water

For the pie crust, mix dry ingredients until crumbly. Then add water one tablespoon at a time until a ball of dough is formed. On a floured surface, roll the dough out and place on top of a pie plate. Using your fingers, press the dough into the pie plate and pinch around the edges for the crust; remove any excess pieces. Using a fork, pierce all sides and bottom of the pie crust, creating small holes. Bake the crust at 400 degrees for about 8 minutes or until golden brown.

For the pie: In a microwave safe bowl, mix together half the sugar with the cornstarch, flour, salt, lemon rind and water, stirring constantly. Microwave 1-2 minutes at a time, stirring until the mixture is thick and clear. In another bowl, mix the remaining sugar with lemon juice and egg yolks; beat. Add this to the clear mixture and cook in microwave for another 2 minutes until thick and smooth; then add the butter. Pour this mixture into the pie crust.

For the meringue: In a mixing bowl, add baking powder to egg whites and beat until stiff. Gradually add sugar and lemon juice/vanilla; continue beating until it forms stiff peaks. Place the meringue on top of the pie and bake at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes or until the meringue gets golden brown.

I hope everyone’s having a great Valentine’s Day! What’s your favorite Valentine’s treat?


Maple Peanut Butter Swirled Brownies

I just had the best weekend of my life.

It was a weekend full of laughter, cookies, frozen yogurt and some serious kitchen failures. My beautiful cousin, Kelsey, came to visit me this weekend; this girl is my better half. It’s hard to believe that we grew up practically despising each other for the first five or so years of our lives. We go together like chocolate and peanut butter.

She shared an amazing veggie burger recipe over the weekend and I cannot wait to share that with you because I could eat it all day long; it’s that good. This weekend was also the first time I tried to make frosting. We made some awesome chocolate cut-out cookies and wanted to decorate them; unfortunately, the frosting was just short of a disaster. I won’t even tell you everything we tried to do to get it to work because we were probably so off.

Next time, though, we’re going to make it work. Although I failed at my first attempt at making frosting, I was much luckier with my first attempt at making brownies from scratch. I’ve always baked boxed brownies because they are so convenient and taste pretty good. However, I had been dying to try to make my own and I finally did! The result was better than I could have hoped for; a super moist, fudgy brownie. I’ll definitely be sticking with this recipe from now one.

These brownies contain my most favorite ingredient/food ever; peanut butter. Not just any peanut butter, though. I used Peanut Butter & Co’s Mighty Maple Peanut Butter to give the brownies a hint of maple flavor. I’m constantly debating over which of their flavors is my favorite. My top three are definitely Cinnamon Raisin Swirl, The Bee’s Knees and Mighty Maple. If you ever find any of PB&Co’s peanut butter in your grocery store, you should really pick up a jar or two. They may be a bit pricier than other peanut butters but trust me, they are delicious and I am forever addicted.

Maple Peanut Butter Swirled Brownies
(Brownie recipe adapted from AllRecipes.com)

1/2 c. oil
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 c. Mighty Maple peanut butter, melted (you can
also use regular/crunchy/etc)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and vanilla; beat in eggs. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Pour the batter into a greased baking pan. Melt the peanut butter in a separate bowl by microwaving for 45 seconds at a time until melted. Drizzle the peanut butter on top of the brownie batter (try to do this in vertical lines up and down the pan). Using a toothpick, swirl the peanut butter throughout the surface of the batter to create a marble effect. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Sadly, I’m out of Mighty Maple peanut butter now. Not because of these brownies but because I can’t stop eating it by the spoonful out of the jar. It belongs on these brownies though.

Peach & Blueberry Parfait with Greek Yogurt

Let’s talk about greek yogurt and how I’m not a fan.

Or at least I wasn’t a fan for a long time. Don’t get me wrong, there are several things I do like about greek yogurt. For one, it’s extremely healthy. It’s full of protein and keeps me full for hours. The thickness and texture is something I also really like compared to regular yogurt. However, the bitterness of the yogurt just doesn’t sit right with me.

I’ll never forget the first time I tried greek yogurt; I spat it out and was very convinced that I had just ate a spoonful of sour cream. After that experience, I gave it another shot by trying the kind with the fruit flavors by Chobani. These were really good because the fruit was able to balance out the bitterness of the yogurt itself without being too overly sweet. However, some of the flavors had over twenty grams of sugar and the fruit was more a syrupy layer at the bottom.

So, I decided to make my own and I was surprised by how much more I enjoyed greek yogurt this way. It was creamy, filling and the fresh fruit was just so much more delicious and added a nice little crunch to yogurt. If you have a wishy-washy relationship with greek yogurt like me, then I would definitely suggest trying it this way. This is a great, healthy breakfast, snack, lunch or even dessert.

Peach & Blueberry Parfait with Greek Yogurt
Makes 1 serving

1 6oz. container greek yogurt, plain non-fat
1 small peach, sliced
1/4 c. blueberries
1/2 tbsp. maple syrup or honey
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

In a small bowl or glass, scoop about a third of yogurt into it. Place some peach slices and blueberries on top and then scoop another third of the yogurt on top. Repeat with fruit and yogurt again. Garnish the top with a peach slice and some blueberries. Drizzle maple syrup or honey on top and sprinkle with cinnamon.

If you’re not feeling the healthy aspect of this, you can always have this for breakfast instead…or you know, for second breakfast.

Oreo Pancakes with Cookies & Cream Glaze

I’m really sorry for this but I’m sure you’ll thank me later.

I’m a good girl, I promise. I eat healthy and I try to exercise daily but there are those times. You know, when you zone out for three miles on the treadmill because you were day dreaming about cookies and pancakes? And then all of a sudden you can’t stop thinking about cookies in pancakes. This does happen to other people, right?

If you said no, you’re lying and I know you’re definitely going to be thinking about these the next time you run off to the gym. Because, let’s be honest here, nothing is going to get me to pull through those last few miles than a big pile of pancakes or dreaming about a slice of pizza for dinner or a huge bowl of ice cream.

I’m honestly not a big sweets person. I love cookies and chocolate as much as the next girl but I’d much rather eat carbs, carbs and more carbs. You’re talking to a girl who lived off bread and butter for the first five (okay, maybe eight) years of my life. It was that little girl inside me that made me make these pancakes because these are the most perfect fluffy pancakes with just the right amount of sweet crunchiness.

I know probably half of you are thinking that I’m nuts but honestly, I ate all these pancakes. They were so deliciously soft and the cookies kind of melted into the pancake, which was even more amazing. Believe it or not, these are way less sweeter than some chocolate chip pancakes because they weren’t too overly chocolate; does that make sense? I think I’m possibly on a sugar high. Let’s just say that the pancake balances out the sweetness of the Oreo.

Oh, and if you think the cookies and cream glaze would be too much, these beautiful little cakes taste great with maple syrup too. I tested it, you know, for the sake of the blog. Also, I have a bit of a confession to make. I did not use actual Oreo cookies for this. I know, I’m ashamed, embarrassed but what’s a college girl to do? Especially when Shop Rite is having a wonderful sale on their own chocolate creme cookies! I hang my head in shame but saving a dollar or two here just means I can spend it somewhere else.

Like at Anthropologie in their house & home section. I can’t be the only one to fall in love with a butter dish there, right? Honestly, why do their things have to be so cute and awesome? Now that you’re aware of all my strange obsessions and weaknesses of cute kitchen gadgets maybe we can get back to these pancakes…

Because I’ll never be able to afford to fill my home with every cute/awesome thing I see at Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters or even Target, but I will always be able to afford the time, money and calories for these pancakes. I know you can too; whether for breakfast, dinner or brunch, I know you want these.

Oreo Pancakes with Cookies & Cream Glaze
Makes about 10 pancakes

1 egg
1 c. flour
3/4 c. milk
2 tbsp. shortening, melted (or vegetable oil)
1 tbsp. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. Oreoes, crushed

3/4 c. confectioners sugar
2 tbsp. milk
1/4 c. Oreoes, crushed

In a bowl, beat the egg until fluffy. Beat in the remaining ingredients except for the crushed cookies until the batter is smooth. Stir in cookies; mix well. On a pre-heated griddle or pan, cook pancakes until the top gets bubbly, about two minutes; flip and cook the other side.

For the glaze, mix together the confectioners sugar and milk until creamy. (If possible, I would try to make the Oreoes for this part extra crushed) Add cookies and mix. Pour over pancakes.

You’re welcome.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Meet my current obsession.

I seriously don’t know how I lived for so long without eating this. Probably because if someone said the word ‘squash’ to me two years ago, I would have ran in the other direction screaming. In all honesty, this doesn’t even taste like squash and it’s a wonderful, healthy alternative to pasta. I don’t know what I’m going to do when they’re out of season. I may die a little bit inside.

I think I’ve actually only met one person who even knew what spaghetti squash was and I’m pretty positive that I’m the only one buying them at my grocery store. Please give it a shot. I couldn’t even get my family to try it, which made me sad because it’s so good and really, really easy.

What I really love about spaghetti squash is that you can do pretty much anything with it. I usually roast one over the weekend and then eat it all week long for dinner; sometimes I’ll add a little tomato sauce and some meatballs, other times I throw in some veggies and cheese. Once I even used it to make baked ziti; the result was delicious. My boyfriend is convinced it tastes like hash browns, so I’m sure he’d probably eat it for breakfast too.

While it won’t really satisfy any craving for actual spaghetti, it is a very healthy option for those nights you don’t feel like eating heavy carb-filled pasta. Plus, a cup of spaghetti squash is about forty calories; you really can’t beat that. And since your dinner is so healthy, that means you get extra dessert!

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash
salt & pepper
garlic powder
Parmesan cheese

Cut the spaghetti squash in half, longwise. If this is difficult, you can microwave the squash for a minute or two until it’s easier to cut. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and guts of the squash. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder according to your preference.

Place the halves on a baking sheet facing up and bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour, until sides of squash are tender. Let them cool for a few minutes. Using a fork, scrap out the inside of the squash into a bowl. Season with more pepper/garlic powder and some cheese (Parmesan is delicious with it and so is some asiago).

What’s great about this recipe is that it is pretty basic, so if you have leftovers you can always dress it up differently the next day with some tomato sauce or even a pesto.

I think I know what my plans are for dinner tonight. This is should be on your table too.

Apple Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

I dislike Mondays for several reasons.

Not only do Mondays mean it’s the end of the weekend, they just arrive way too fast for my liking. I shouldn’t really complain as someone who has a four day weekend every week, but I find that by the time I start to enjoy my weekend, it’s already Sunday night and I’m dreading the next day.

Why must you do this to me, Monday? I’m not ready to make myself presentable for the rest of the world; I’d rather bum around in pajamas and eat cereal out of the box all day without having to comb out my hair. I would like to have this kind of relationship, Monday, if not today, then maybe sometime in the near future.

Monday is the day that you chastise yourself for letting your diet slip over the weekend or not getting a head start on your work or organizing your apartment. For me, today is definitely that Monday that encompasses all three. I mean, I can’t be the only one that wishes she didn’t eat that last slice of pizza, right?

I sit here at my computer, procrastinating, while I have a pile of dishes up to my chin in the kitchen and a broken glass that I have yet to sweep up after knocking it over in my haste to get to work this morning. However, a few extra slices of pizza and a broken glass aside, I’m going to make this Monday better. It’s going to be a good Monday for both of us because this baked oatmeal is heavenly and healthy. It’s the perfect breakfast and at around 150 calories and full of fiber, it could be the perfect dessert as well (with a little bit of whipped cream on top, of course).

Apple Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
(click here for a printable version)
Makes 4 servings

1 c. oats
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. light (or sugar-free) maple syrup
1 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk (regular milk works too)
1 egg or 1/4 c. egg substitute
1 med. apple, chopped
1/2 c. blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the chopped apples and blueberries in a greased medium baking dish; spread them evenly on the bottom. In a bowl, mix together the oats, baking powder and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, egg and syrup. Pour the oat mixture evenly on top of the fruit and then pour the milk mixture over the oats and fruits; try to pour it evenly throughout the oatmeal. Do not mix. Bake the oatmeal about 30-40 minutes until golden brown on top.

Eating healthier today totally negates yesterday’s pizza, I promise.