Category Archives: Breakfast

Homemade Lara Balls

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Oh, hey there! It seems that once summer hit, I kind of fell off the blogging wagon. But, now that the temps are cooling down and my schedule is returning to normal, I promise to bring many, many delicious recipes into your kitchen! Today I’m going to jump back in with a great snack and on-the-go recipe: Lara Balls.

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These energy bites, are a homemade twist on a Larabar. If you’re not familiar, Larabars are energy bars that use dates and almonds (or other nuts) as there base and build flavors from there. And of course, I love any excuse to used my favorite kitchen tool: our Vitamix!

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These are SUPER easy to make, your blender or food processor does all (most) of the work!

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After the mixture has been processed, it’s time to get your hands a little messy. The mixture will probably seem too loose to be able to roll into balls, and this is partly true. You really need squeeze the mixture in your hands to get it to stick a little before shaping it into a ball. of course, you could also press this into a pan and cut into squares after a few hours in the fridge, but I haven’t tried that before. Watch out though, these little guys are addicting!

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Homemade Lara Balls

Servings: 9-10 balls

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: n/a

  • 1/2 C almonds
  • 1/4 C sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 C pitted dates
  • 1/4 C dried cranberries
  1. Add the almonds and sunflower seeds to your food processor or blender; process until coarsely ground
  2. Add the dates and cranberries to the nut mixture; process until combined and slightly cohesive
  3. Roll into ~1in balls
  4. Store in the refrigerator*

*Don’t forget this step! The cool temps in the fridge really help hold the balls together.

Question: What flavor combinations do you think would make awesome Lara Balls?

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Mother’s Day Brunch

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Wow, we really lucked out with some amazing weather for Mother’s Day this year. My parents came to visit us for the day, starting with a trip to my favorite farmer’s market, The JFX Farmer’s Market. We made our way around the market, picking up things for the week as well as some key ingredients for brunch that I would cook when we came home.

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On the menu: Spinach, mushroom & artichoke quiche, lemon ricotta muffins and a beet & feta spinach salad. Mmmmm, delish! The salad is pretty straight forward, dressed with fig balsamic vinegar and garlic & mushroom olive oil (I use a 2:1, vinegar:oil ratio), that I bought at a cute shop, Pure Mountain, while visiting a friend last year.

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The lemon ricotta muffins are a Giada De Laurentiis recipe from Food Network, Nonna’s Lemon Ricotta Biscuits. It was the first time I’ve made these, so I followed the recipe exactly.

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I made them the night before and then popped them in the oven for 5 min before putting them on the table for brunch. I also baked them for 26 min, not 20 like the recipe calls for. They just didn’t look done at 20 min, so I added time in 2 min increments. As a result (I presume), the outside of the muffins were a little hard, but the insides were perfect!

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The quiche was one I’ve made before. It uses ricotta cheese, hence the ricotta muffins…I hate having left over ingredients!

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It turned out great, I almost didn’t get a picture before it was gone! The mushrooms and eggs I used were straight from the farmer’s market which was awesome.

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Previously, I’ve added parmesane cheese to this quiche but I totally forgot on Mother’s Day. It was still good, but in the future I will be sure to not forget the parmesan cheese. Cheese makes everything better.

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Mushroom, Spinach & Artichoke Quiche

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 40 min

Makes: 4 servings

  • 1C ricotta cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4C parmesan cheese
  • 8oz mushrooms, sliced/chopped
  • a few handfuls of spinach
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained & quartered
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Saute the mushrooms, about 5-10 min
  3. Towards the end, add the spinach to wilt
  4. Meanwhile, combine ricotta, eggs and parmesan in a bowl until smooth
  5. Add mushrooms, spinach and artichokes to ricotta mixture
  6. Pour into 9″ cake pan, top with fresh ground pepper
  7. Bake 40 min
  8. Enjoy!

Question: Did you cook for your mom on Mother’s Day?

Successful Substitutions

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Our week hasn’t been particularly adventurous as far as food is concerned. I have, however, had a lot of success with some substitutions I’ve made for some of my go-to recipes!

First up is a substitute I made to my Banana-Oat Breakfast Bites recipe.

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Instead of 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, I used 1 teaspoon of almond extract. The result is almond-y and delicious! If you want a more subtle almond flavor, I would suggest using 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract.

Next up isn’t really a substitute, but more of an alternate way to use the same method. Remember how I used the microwave to cook the egg for my Breakfast Sandwich? Well, I’ve started making sunny side up eggs in the microwave too:

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I simply crack an egg into a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave for 30-40 sec and have a perfectly cooked egg! I’ve been enjoying my runny egg over some avocado in the mornings, mmmm.

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Lastly, I went to make my beloved Avocado, Tuna & Quinoa Jumble yesterday only to see we were out of limes & lemon-pepper seasoning.

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I knew I needed to substitue some sort of acid for the limes, so I opted for red wine vinegar (the acid in the lime juice/vinegar is what keeps the avocado from turning brown). I know I like mustard & red wine vinegar together in salad dressing, so I thought this brown mustard rub might work well. So, instead of the juice of 1 lime, I used 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar and instead of 1 teaspoon of lemon-pepper seasoning, I used 1 teaspoon of brown mustard-honey seasoning. Success!

Sometimes substitutions totally flop, but this week I’ve had some big successes so I thought I’d share them with you all. Usually I’m pretty good about having the “right” ingredients on-hand, but it’s always nice to vary your go-to recipes once in a while.

Question: Do you often make substitutions to vary some of your favorite recipes?

Banana-Oat Breakfast Bites

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We usually go through about 10 bananas a week in our house, but somehow we ended up with a few sitting around that were past their prime. Solution? A totally made-up recipe starring overripe bananas!
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Okay, so I actually made these last weekend but wasn’t satisfied with how they turned out (I mean, we ate them all they were just a little undercooked). Fear not! I tried again this weekend and they turned out great…second time’s the charm?

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The first time I made these, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to use. So, the above picture isn’t fully representative of the final ingredients used in the recipe. These were super easy to whip up and will be great for those mornings you don’t quite have enough time to make a breakfast sammie.

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The first time I made these, the batter was enough for 6 muffins; the second time I made them, the batter was enough for 8 muffins. Hm. I’m thinking my bananas must have been bigger the second time around? And maybe I didn’t fill the cups quite as much?

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First batch.

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Second batch.

I recently bought Trader Joe’s maple sugar and used it for the first time in this recipe. If you don’t have a TJ’s nearby, you could certainly sub maple syrup, honey or some other sweetener here. Also, I used pumpkin pie spice but any mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice etc will work just fine.

Banana-Oat Breakfast Bites

Prep time: 10min

Cook time: 35min

Makes: 6-8 muffins

  • 2 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1C quick-cooking oats, uncooked
  • 2 eggs
  • 2t maple sugar
  • 1t pumpkin pie spice
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine all ingredients
  3. Divide between muffins cups
  4. Bake 35 min
  5. Enjoy!

Question: Do you every wing-it when baking? How does it usually end: disaster or delicious?

Out-the-Door Breakfast Sandwich

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Getting out the door in the morning with a full belly is a struggle for a lot of people. And, we’ve all heard it before, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. I agree, breakfast gets your day started on the right foot. Plus, if I’m hungry all I will think about is food until I’ve eaten, and that’s not a very productive way to start my day! I tend to have the same few things for breakfast during the week: green smoothie, overnight oats, yogurt & granola or a breakfast sandwich.

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I know what your thinking, “I don’t have time to make a breakfast sandwich in the morning.” Well, that’s just not true. This sandwich takes less than 5min to make, because it uses the microwave! First I put a handful of whatever greens I have in the fridge into a microwave-safe bowl (spinach usually, but this time it was mixed baby kales), and microwave for 1min.

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Next comes 1 egg + 1 egg white and my favorite part, some Siracha! This step is totally flexible. You could use 1 egg, 2 eggs, 2 egg whites, etc etc. Also, if you don’t like spicy foods you could use less Siracha than I do, or you could just use some fresh ground black pepper.

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Once it’s all mixed, place it in the microwave for 1 min. It will come out mostly cooked, but then I sprinkle a little shredded cheese on top and microwave for 45 sec. Then, use a fork to pull the egg away from the edge of the bowl & place it on your bread!

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You can use whatever kind of sandwich bread you like, I always have these Multigrain Rounds on-hand. Also, I prefer to toast mine for this sandwich. Some sort of breakfast meat is always a great addition here, it’s just a matter of time. If you have time to cook up some turkey bacon, that’s awesome! If not, a slice or two of deli turkey could bulk up this sandwich very nicely.

Out-the-Door Breakfast Sandwich

Prep time: 2 min

Cook time: 3 min

Serves: 1

  • handful of greens (spinach, kale, etc)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • Siracha
  • 1T shredded cheese
  • sandwich bread
  1. Place greens in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave 1min
  2. Mix in 1 egg, 1 egg white and Siracha; microwave 1min
  3. Top with shredded cheese; microwave 45sec
  4. Use fork to lift egg away from edges of bowl & place on your bread

Question: What do you eat for breakfast during the week?