Apple Cider & Salted Caramel Crème Fraîche Coffee Cake

Apple Cider & Salted Caramel Crème Fraîche Coffee Cake

So I know Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and pretty much all we can think about is what we forgot to get from the store. (I forgot chestnuts. Ugh.)

But look on the bright side: If, like me, you have to brave the madness that is last-minute Thanksgiving shopping, you can at least grab all the ingredients to make this coffee cake too. I know it might not really have a place amidst all the pies, but it deserves a place somewhere, because it’s ridiculously delicious. Whip it up on Friday morning so your family doesn’t eat turkey sandwiches for breakfast. Or file it away for a quieter occasion, when you can eat half of it with no relatives around to judge you. Just promise me that, at some point in time, you will make and eat this. Please.

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Banana Buckwheat Pancakes with Cacao Nibs

Banana Buckwheat Pancakes with Cacao Nibs

These pancakes — they’re problem solvers. Of course pancakes, by nature, are pretty good at solving things. I’m pretty sure they have healing powers, especially when they’re stacked high and smothered in maple syrup and bits of bacon. But these particular pancakes solve a few specific problems for me. Before I get into that, let me explain a little bit more about these things. They are, in their simplest form, made with only two ingredients: bananas and eggs. “Whaaa?” you say? Yep. That’s what I said when I saw Izy’s post back in January. Mashed bananas + eggs = pancakes. Pretty healthy pancakes, at that.

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Buckwheat Banana Muffins with Chocolate Chunks & Cacao Nibs

Buckwheat Banana Muffins with Chocolate Chunks & Cacao Nibs

Up until a few weeks ago, I had never made anything with buckwheat flour. Nor could I even recall enjoying anything made of buckwheat (other than the occasional soba noodle dish). Kind of crazy, right?

I realized this when Alanna posted a recipe for Chocolate Buckwheat Banana Muffins, and I thought to myself, “I wonder what that tastes like with buckwheat flour?” I could kind of imagine it, thinking back to my teenage days of slinging pancakes on the weekends. I remember watching the strange cement-colored buckwheat batter being poured onto the griddle, and then carrying the plate of rich browny-grey pancakes over to their table, noting their nutty smell in the dozen or so steps it would take me to reach my destination. I was curious, but apparently not curious enough to actually try them.

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Savory Baked Oatmeal Skillet

Savory Baked Oatmeal Skillet with Spinach & Bacon

That’s right, oatmeal!

OK you guys, here’s the deal. After giving oatmeal a serious trash-talking in this post last month, I felt kind of bad. Because, let’s be honest, is it oatmeal’s fault that I dislike it so much every time I eat it? Or is it maybe mine for not figuring out how to prepare it in a way that I will actually enjoy? As much as I hate to admit it, I think it might be the latter. And so, after acknowledging my own shortcomings, I set out on a mission. A mission to make oatmeal that I would actually enjoy. And I succeeded. Mega big time.

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Veggie Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

There are times when magical things are created out of desperation. When a lack of the usual ingredients leads to the unearthing of dusty jars and bottles buried in the depths of cupboards or stored on the highest shelves. Sniffing and tasting lead to modest, then less modest additions, followed by a dash of this and that, until a perfect balance is achieved. The end result is a new, inspiring dish. A reminder that creating food for yourself and others is an amazing, empowering experience.

And then there are the days when I eat oatmeal.

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