About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Jan

Jan is a serious home cook who loves to read recipes and then do her own thing. Her focus is ingredient driven comfort food, often with an Italian influence. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about food and travels (next trip to Italy: May/June of 2012) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Kim

Kim joins us after being our permanent sub on the Pomodori e Vino project. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think or The Amy Foundation.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

Our Subs

About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Amy

Amy is a teacher in suburban Boston with far too many cookbooks, her Grandmother's meat grinder and canning jars, and a new Wolf stove. She appreciates cuisines from around the world, with a particular fondness for French, Moroccan, Italian, Vietnamese, and Indian cooking. Tweaking her cooking and eating habits resulted long-lasting weight loss and health benefits, proving that living well still tastes good. An old hobby is knitting; and a newer one is canning preserves. Read more from Amy on her blog, Destination Anywhere.


Breakfast/Brunch Archives

January 13, 2012

Pumpkin (aka Winter Squash) Beer Muffins

Right off the bat, I'm confessing, first I took a short cut this week. A short cut, because I actually created this recipe a few months ago (and posted it somewhere else), when pumpkin beer was "in season." Yes, there is a season for pumpkin beer which is usually brewed in the summer and distributed starting at the end of July/August. So if you want to have some during the actual "pumpkin season" you must buy it then and then save it as I did.

I also used a short cut, in that like those brewers of beer, I used canned not fresh pumpkin. Now let me digress for a moment as I share with you a canned pumpkin story.

Did you know that all the Libby's (maybe others too) canned pumpkin in this country (well, at least as of 20+ years ago), comes from roughly two plants - one in Illinois (Morton to be exact) and the other in California. These plants operate only for 12 weeks a year, during pumpkin harvesting season, and you can see trucks laden with pumpkins rolling down the highways towards them in the morning and leaving empty later in the day. Those pumpkins are brought into the plants in the morning and within a few hours are cooked, canned, sealed and labeled for shipment. I know this because I toured that plant in Morton Illinois many years ago when I worked as a consultant. Anyway, my point is I feel confident using canned (unflavored) pumpkin as an acceptable (and easy) substitute to fresh.

So now on with the recipe (oh and because I did create this recipe a while ago, sorry no ingredient shot - shoot me).


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup SUGAR
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I'm counting this b/c it contains both cinnamon & nutmeg)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 15 oz canned pumpkin
  • 12 oz pumpkin beer (really any beer will do)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp canola oil


In a medium bowl, mix together flours, sugars, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder and salt with a whisk.

In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin, beer, egg, vanilla and oil until smooth.

Add dry mix to wet, stirring just until moist (don’t over mix). Scoop batter into muffin tins coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 375F for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove and cool for as long as you can possibly wait to eat them. This will make 20 muffins.

Pumpkin Beer Muffins

Now I’m not going to lie, the house had an odd smell while these baked – I’m assuming because of the beer. And there is a slight taste of beer on the palate when you eat them. But they are good and moist and are holding up well in a Tupperware container on my counter. For the beer, I used River Horse Hipp O Lantern, but I’d imagine any pumpkin beer would do and if you don’t use a pumpkin beer, I’d up the pumpkin spice a tad (maybe 1.25 or 1.5 teaspoons total).

Oh, and for my Weight Watcher peeps, these came in at 3 points plus value – not bad at all!

January 16, 2012

Roasted Beet, Goat Cheese and Walnut Tart


The ingredient this week is beets. I love beets. As a kid, I ate canned beets. I liked them, but as an adult when I discovered fresh, roasted beets, my love for them grew more. One of my favorite ways to eat them is on a salad. A salad with roasted beets, goat cheese, and toasted walnuts. Yum. This week I decided to take the flavors of that salad and put them into a tart. This tart was absolutely delicious. The crunch of the crust, tang of the goat cheese, sweetness of the beets and earthiness of the walnuts complement each other perfectly. I served it the first evening with a simple green salad that was dressed with mandarin orange-infused olive oil and a sweet balsamic vinegar. Then I had some of the leftovers the next morning for breakfast. The tart is very versatile and could be served as an appetizer if made in individual small tart pans, or as a light entree alongside a salad, or as a breakfast or lunch course. It reheats nicely, but be sure and reheat in the oven, not the microwave or you will have a soggy crust.

Roasted Beet, Goat Cheese and Walnut Tart
Yield: one 10" tart
3 small to medium beets
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 tablespoons dry white wine
3 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 ounces soft goat cheese
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
10" tart shell, blind-baked (recipe below)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Wash and dry the beets and place them on a large piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Close the foil tighly around the beets and bake until beets are tender, about 1 hour. When cool, peel the beets and cut them into small chunks. (Can be prepared up to 1 day in advance.)
2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft. Add the wine and stir up any bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Cook until the wine has all evaporated.
3. Preheat oven to 350. Spread the cooked onions evenly in the bottom of the cooked tart shell. Then evenly distribute the beets on top. Sprinkle with the toasted walnuts.
4. Whisk together the eggs and cream and season lightly with salt and pepper. Pour this over the beet onion mixutre. Crumble the goat cheese over the top.
5. Bake until just set, about 40 minutes. Let sit 5-10 minutes before cutting.

Tart Shell (Pate Brisee) Yield: one 10" shell
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
8 tablespoons ( 1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Ice water

1. In a food processor, combine the flour, salt and butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles course meal. Add the egg and pulse again until dough comes together. If dough is a little dry, add a few drops of ice water. You want the dough to hold together but you don't want a sticky wet dough.
2. Pull dough out of processor and with floured hands, shape dough into a flattened ball or disk. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.
3. When ready to use, let dough stand at room temperature long enough you can roll it, about 10 minutes. Roll dough on a floured surface until it's large enough to fit in the tart pan with extra to come up the sides. Gently pat into pan and press up the sides of pan. Cut off excess.
4. To blind-bake the shell, preheat the oven to 375. Line the shell with foil and fill with beans, rice or pie weights. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and continue baking until the crust is nicely golden brown all over.

January 30, 2012

Banana Nut Oatmeal


Today you're getting a very simple recipe from me. I wouldn't even call it a recipe. Our ingredient for the week was bananas. I enjoy bananas, but don't think I use them in much cooking other than banana bread.

When I was in Hawaii in November, I bought some apple bananas. I love them. They're a little tarter than a regular banana, and their nice small size is the perfect portion. One morning I smashed some up in my oatmeal and thought it was delicious. Of course I've eaten bananas sliced on cold cereal, but I don't think I'd ever eaten them on hot ceraeal.

My recipe for the week is Banana Nut Oatmeal. The complimentary ingredients I used are cinnamon, oats, brown sugar and walnuts. This is a very healthy, filling breakfast. You can skip the cinnamon if you would like, and I like it even better with maple syrup instead of brown sugar.

Here's how I made it - Cut a banana (half of one if yours is large) into small chunks and place in a microwavable bowl. Add 1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal and cover with water (or you can use milk if you want a really rich oatmeal. Microwave until all water is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon, brown sugar, and toasted chopped walnuts. Stir and serve.

February 3, 2012

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

This one was a no brainer for me. Banana and chocolate has always been a favorite combination, from the days when my mother used to make us banana chocolate chip Bundt cakes (as a matter of fact one is sitting on my counter right now awaiting my mother's arrival). Anyway, I came up with the recipe a long time ago when I wanted muffins that were lower in fat. I've experimented with it over the years, using brown sugar, whole wheat pastry flour, and other things, but this is the original.

banana chocolate chip muffins


  • 1 3/4C flour
  • 1 1/4t baking powder
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 3/4t salt
  • 2/3C sugar
  • 1T canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • about 1C mashed bananas (I usually use three very overripe bananas - see the photo - I've even frozen overripe bananas, defrosted them and used those)
  • 1/3C mini-semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3C low fat buttermilk
  • 1T vanilla extract


Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a mixer bowl, beat sugar and eggs with electric mixer until thick and light colored. Add oil, bananas, vanilla and buttermilk, mix well.

Sift flour mixture over the bowl and stir just until moistened. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop batter into 12 greased muffin cups, bake at 400 degrees until test done (i.e., stick a toothpick in and other than perhaps melted chocolate, it should come out clean) between 15 and 20 minutes.

That's it. They used to be 3 Weight Watcher Points but now they're 4 WW Points Plus.


banana chocolate chip muffins

February 19, 2012

Lentil, Rice & Multigrain "Pucks"


From day one of this project, I've known that when the week for lentils rolled around I was going to proselytize for my breakfast pucks. I started making these a few years ago. They are a delicious, blood sugar friendly hot breakfast when microwaved with a little rice milk, honey, berries and nuts. Here I've opted for blueberries and pistachios.


But there was one little problem. As you can see from this photo of ingredients, I don't use a single one of the complimentary flavors in the book. So, how do I adjust and still tell everyone about this fantastic breakfast food?


My answer was in the method that must be used to make them. It's a two step cooking process. The lentils, rice and grain blend are cooked in one pot. The steel cut oats are cooked in the second pot. They are combined after cooking.

So, if I triple the recipe for the lentil/rice/grain portion, I can freeze 18 breakfast pucks as usual, and freeze another 18 without the oatmeal. Then when it's time to publish this post, I'll take some of the oatmeal-free pucks and create some sort of side dish using the appropriated flavors from the list.

Here are the ingredients for the lentil/rice/grain mixture.

4 Cups, Sawat-D Healthy Grain multigrain mixture. (It comes in 2kg vacuum sealed blocks. I buy it at Global Foods. It is made by UniversalRice company in Thailand. You should be able to buy it at a well supplied Asian foods market.)
2/3 cup red lentils
2/3 cup wild rice
12 cups water

Bring to a boil then lower heat, cover and cook until moisture is absorbed. Stir occasionally.


Cook the steel cut oats in a second pot. Choose a pot large enough to add one-third of the lentil/rice/grain mixture after the oats are cooked.

1 cup steel cut oats
3 cups water

Cook according to package directions.

Mix one-third of the lentil/rice/grain mixture into the pot of oatmeal and reserve the other two-thirds.


Spray three dozen muffin tin cups with cooking spray. Tightly pack the oatmeal mixture into half of them and the lentil/rice/grain only mixture into the other half.


Put in your freezer until completly frozen. Once frozen, turn pucks out of tins and transfer to individual baggies to go back into the freezer until you need them.

Now, to the assignment. Lentils. Here are my complimentary ingredients:

Two oatmeal-free pucks, thawed.
2 Tbs - diced CELERY
2 Tbs - shredded CARROTS
2 Tbs - diced red ONION
2 Tbs - diced green peppers
SALT & PEPPER to taste
1/4 cup red WINE VINEGAR
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
orange zest


Combine all ingredients in a bowl, toss and refrigerate for several hours to blend flavors.

And that is how we find ourselves with this light, refreshing lentil, grains, & wild rice salad. I have 10 more pucks left in the freezer. Next time I think I'll try an Asian flavor profile. Some pineapple maybe? Some almond slivers? A little cilantro?


April 25, 2012

Artichoke Fritatta "Muffins"


These are great for brunch or even a dinner side dish!

1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
4 oz. chopped pancetta
2 t. vegetable oil
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 c. milk
8 large eggs
salt and pepper
2 oz. grated gruyere or parmigiano
24 grape or cherry tomatoes

Preheat oven to 375.
Spray a 12 cup muffin tin
Heat artichokes and pancetta in 1 T. olive oil and cook until pancetta is cooked. Divide mixture into 12 muffin cups.


Whisk together remain ingredients, except cheese and tomatoes. Pour mixture into muffin cups. Divide grated cheese into top of each muffin cup, and press into egg mixture. Cut tomatoes in half and place three or four halves in each muffin cup.

Bake for 20 minutes until browned and set.


June 28, 2012

Rhubarb Apple Crisp with Ginger

By now y'all know that our flavor for the week is Rhubarb. This is another of those curious fruit/vegetable situations.  In the south . . . we treat it as a fruit (surprised?)

Rhubarb is always good in a fruit pie, a cobbler or a crisp. I decided to fancy-up an apple crisp ~ the recommended 'flavors' have been capitalized.

Of course I used our WhistleStop Apple Crisp Mix
. . . It doesn't get any easier than this.

Rhubarb Apple Crisp with Ginger

2cups APPLES

2cups fresh rhubarb

3 Tbs candied GINGER

1/2 cup granulated SUGAR (more if desired)

Chop the apples and rhubarb into large chunks. Sprinkle with sugar and minced candied ginger. Place in an 8x8 baking dish. Sprinkle with a crumble crust.

A Crumble Crust Recipe...

3/4 BUTTER or margarine, softened

1 1/4 cup BROWN SUGAR, packed

1/2 tsp. SALT

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Bake at 350° until hot and crusty on the top.

Scoop and serve with ice cream.

It don't get much better than that in the summertime~
Y'all enjoy~

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Flavors in the Breakfast/Brunch category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Breads is the previous category.

Desserts is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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