I love breakfast. I’m also the type of person who needs to eat breakfast (and drink coffee) or I spend the rest of the day in a foul mood. Weekday breakfast usually means toast, hard-boiled eggs or granola and yogurt. On the weekend, it’s usually scrambled eggs, waffles or pancakes.
Granola is one of those things that I think everyone should make themselves – it’s incredibly easy, delicious and much, much more economical than the stuff you buy in the store. Plus, while it’s baking it makes your house smell like heaven.
Did I mention it’s easy? It really is – you basically throw a whole bunch of stuff together, spread it on a sheet pan and bake. Really, it’s that easy. My granola usually contains oats, nuts (pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds), sunflower seeds, coconut, cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup, and vegetable oil. Everything gets mixed in a big bowl…
Then spread on a sheet pan and baked.
You know it’s done when it’s toasty-brown and delicious!
- 5 cups rolled oats – not quick-cooking or instant!
- 3 cups mixed nuts and/or seeds – this particular batch had walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans and sunflower seeds
- 1 cup shredded coconut – if you use sweetened coconut, go light on the maple syrup
- 1 tbs. cinnamon (or to taste)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 to 1 cup of pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, and cinnamon.
In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, combine maple syrup, oil, and vanilla. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 35 – 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to achieve an even color.
If you want to add raisins or other dried fruit, take the granola out of the oven and immediately transfer it to a large bowl. Mix in the fruit (1/2 – 1 cup) and let it cool. If you’re not adding dried fruit, the granola can cool on the pan.
Remember the amazing No-Knead Bread? Well, Mark Bittman has developed a recipe for easy whole-grain bread following the same method. It’s perfect toasting bread and couldn’t be easier! Flour, yeast, salt, and water get mixed in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap and set on top of the fridge overnight. When it’s ready, bubbles appear on the top…
Then it’s put in a loaf pan…
And left to rise until it doubles in size.
Then it gets baked. That’s it. Seriously easy!
Almost No-Work Whole Grain Bread
Recipe courtesy of Food Matters
- 3 cups whole wheat flour, or use 2 cups plus a combination of other whole grain flours like buckwheat, rye, or cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
- Cornmeal or wheat bran for dusting (optional)
- Up to 1 cup chopped nuts, seeds, dried fruit, or proofed whole grains (Optional. To proof grains, soak 1/2 cup grain in a small bowl, covered with water, for an hour or so. Drain and add to the dough as described in step 2.)
Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Add 1 3/4 cups water and stir until blended; the dough should be quite wet, almost like a batter (add some more water if it seems dry.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest in a warm place for at least 12 and up to 24 hours. The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Rising time will be shorter at warmer temperatures or a bit longer if your kitchen is chilly.
Use some of the oil to grease the loaf pan. If you are adding nuts or anything else, fold them into the dough now with your hands or a rubber spatula. Transfer the dough to the loaf pan, and use a rubber spatula to gently settle it in evenly. Brush the top with the remaining oil and sprinkle with cornmeal if you like. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, an hour or two depending on the warmth of your kitchen. When it’s almost ready heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bake the bread until deep golden and hollow-sounding when tapped, about 45 minutes. (An instant-read thermometer should register 200 degrees when inserted into the center of the loaf.) Immediately turn out of the pan onto a rack and let cool before slicing.
**For fast whole grain bread, increase the yeast to 1 1/2 teaspoons. Reduce the initial rise to 2 hours and the final rise in the pan to 60 minutes or so. Proceed immediately to Step 3. **
Nothing says “weekend” like a nice stack of waffles. These particular waffles are some of the best I’ve ever had and I stumbled upon them by mistake, lucky mistake. See, I had some leftover buttermilk from the Red Bliss Potato Salad with Blue Cheese and I needed to use it fast. I opened up How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and happened upon the best waffle recipe ever.
The secret ingredient? Whipped egg whites.
They get folded into the batter at the last minute…
And become a part of breakfast deliciousness!
Everyday Buttermilk Waffles
Recipe courtesy of How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 3/4 cups buttermilk (see Note) or 1 1/2 cups sour cream or plain yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup milk
- 2 eggs, separated
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick butter, melted and cooled)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Canola or other neutral oil for brushing on waffle pan
Combine the dry ingredients. Mix together the buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt and the egg yolks. Stir in the butter and vanilla.
Brush the waffle iron lightly with oil and preheat it. Stir the wet into the dry ingredients. Beat the egg whites with the whisk or electric mixer until they hold soft peaks. Stir them gently into the batter.
Spread a ladle of batter onto the waffle iron and bake until the waffle is done, usually 3 to 5 minutes, depending on your iron. Serve immediately or keep warm for a few minutes in a low oven.
Note: For the buttermilk, you can substitute 1 1/4 cups of milk, at room temperature, mixed with 2 tablespoons white vinegar, left to clabber for 10 minutes.
These waffles freeze well and can be reheated in a toaster oven – a more delicious, home-made Eggo!