Brioche French Toast with Berry Compote

FrenchToastBerryCompote

Surprise your mom this Mother’s Day and make her breakfast in bed. Skip your usual breakfast destination and make it yourself with this Brioche French Toast and Mixed Berry Compote. I love to make breakfast at home and am always in search of ways to make it a little more exciting – and restaurant like.

There are so many variations you can do french toast, it’s a really great vehicle to your favorite toppings or fruit. I love fresh berries so I decided to try and make a compote on the stove top with strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, fresh orange juice, and a pinch of sugar. Berries have a lot of natural sweetness and one way to make this recipe a tiny bit healthier is to use less sugar in your compote. I have seen recipes with a whole cup! That is just way too sweet – agave or honey would be great as well.

For the bread: I decided to make this special and use challah because I could not find brioche in the store. They are similar and made with a lot of eggs. If you wanted to use whole wheat toast you could use that as well. Any white bread, whole wheat, challah or brioche would work. Since this is Mother’s Day you can make it extra special with a nice loaf of brioche.

Some other great toppings could be bananas, shredded coconut, chia seeds, walnuts, or even pure maple syrup! You don’t have to stick to this recipe, be creative!

Brioche French Toast with Berry Compote 

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of low fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 challah or brioche loaf cut into 1/2-1 inch thick slices – not including end piece (1 piece per person – cut in half when cooked)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cups fresh mixed berries (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)
  • a pinch of sugar OR agave OR honey (use what you have)
  • 2 tablespoon fresh orange juice + 1 teaspoon of orange zest
  • Garnish: confectioner’s sugar for dusting

What to do:

  1. Prepare French Toast: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Whisk together eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Pour into a large baking pan and place bread slices in pan for a few minutes on each side (do not over soak might fall apart).
    BriocheFrenchToast
  2. While bread is soaking preheat your pan with 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
  3. Prepare the berry compote: In a small sauce pan place the 3 cups of berries,  orange  juice, zest and sweetener of choice. Over low-medium heat let berries reduce stir every couple minutes. Berries should form a sauce with a little bit of thickness to it.
    BerryCompote
  4. When butter is melted in pan carefully transfer soaked bread into skillet and cook until golden brown (about 4 minutes on each side may take longer). Transfer to a baking pan and move to oven to keep warm while you cook the rest of the bread in batches. Add more butter as needed. May take several batches – do not overcrowd.
    BriocheFrenchToast
  5. Once all batches are done remove french toast from the oven cut in half and stack on top of each other, spoon berry compote over top and garnish with confectioner’s sugar and a few pieces of fresh fruit.BriocheFrenchToast

Serve with fresh squeezes orange juice and enjoy!!!

Happy Mother’s Day! 

~Hunter

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Mini Banana Bread Loafs

Individual walnut banana bread loafs that are perfect to take on the go!

Mini Banana Walnut Loafs
Mini Banana Walnut Loafs

Try this recipe for your breakfast prep next week.

Breakfast. The hardest meal of the day for most people. When you are rushing the last thing you want to think about it what you will eat. If you are skipping breakfast you are doing something seriously wrong… You’ve heard it before but breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You need to fuel your body in order to get it working and get your metabolism going so you can burn fat throughout your day.

Usually in the morning I am eating on the go because I am in a rush. Sometimes I will have a protein bar that’s high in protein like ThinkThin (peanut butter), one of my favorites, or sometimes (when I have ripe bananas) I will make some type of loaf. That’s where these mini banana bread loafs came from.

I love banana bread but so many recipes online have a whole cup of white sugar, which is really unnecessary! Bananas are naturally sweet, especially when they are ripe, so really very little sugar is needed at all. If you do not have mini loaf pans you can also use a regular loaf pan and make one larger bread. I just like the fact that I am able to take one and go!

Here are my Mini Banana Bread Loafs with Walnuts!

What you need:

  • 1 1/4 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 stick of butter + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar + 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 2 room temperature eggs
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts + extra for topping

What to do: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  3. Melt butter in microwave for 30 seconds and add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Stir in the brown sugar and agave and stir until well combined and light and fluffy. Make sure the mixture is not too warm and add the eggs one at a time.
  4. In a medium bowl mash the bananas. Stir into the wet mixture.
  5. Take your wet mixture and slowly pour it into the dry ingredients. Stirring until combined, do not over mix. Fold in the walnuts.
  6. Prepare your mini loaf pans or regular loaf pan and spray with non-stick spray. Use a cookie scoop or 2 heaping tablespoons and fill mini loaves about half way. (Only made 7 loaves) OR pour batter into a loaf pan. Sprinkle the top with chopped walnuts.
    Mini Banana Walnut Loafs

7. Bake mini loaves for 17-20 minutes until banana bread comes out clean and is cooking through, checking to make sure they don’t over cook! If baking a full loaf then probably more like 55 minutes.

Mini Banana Walnut Loaf

Enjoy!

~Hunter

Review: The Best Budget Friendly Juicer

THE BEST INEXPENSIVE JUICER
Good Morning Juice: Carrot, Orange Mango

 Black & Decker Juicer...This is the best juicer you will find for under 30 dollars. It’s amazing that this Black & Decker Juicer works as well as it does given it’s inexpensive price tag. If you are on the market for an inexpensive juicer you need to buy this now!

Are you seeing Green?

You’re probably starting to see Green Juices pop up more and more in different restaurants, super markets and bottled beverages. I would buy juices once in a while at Mrs. Greens a super market that had a juice bar in the middle of the store which sold for about 7 dollars. If I get this juice 3 times a week that is 21 dollars alone just on juice. Most weeks I would only get it once a week because this adds up quickly…

Store Bought Juice Cleanses

Over the past year I have even started to see juice cleanses sold in restaurants close to my house where you can choose from a 1 day, 3 day, 5 day or even 7 day. I have been saying I want to try a juice cleanse for the past year. There is one problem. A 3 day juice cleanse can cost up to 150 dollars and sometimes more.

The juices are made fresh the day before and stored in mason jars for you to pick up the day before you drink them. They do stock you with plenty of juices throughout the day and it is worth it if you do not want to juice on your own. But I never gave in to trying the juice cleanse because of the expensive price tag and I don’t have ability to have access to the refrigerated juices all day long.

So, more about this amazingly inexpensive juicer that I am obsessed with! I was searching on Amazon (CLICK LINK TO SEE JUICER) one day and decided to type in juicer. This Black & Decker Juicer was the first one to pop up and also the cheapest on the page. I looked at the reviews and it had over a thousand reviews with 4 stars, pretty impressive for such an inexpensive machine.

After some research and reading the reviews left on Amazon I was able to identify the pros and cons of this juicer. Now that I have tried it they were spot on!

Here’s what I found:

PROS: 
-Very Inexpensive (most juicers can run you $150++)
-Convenient and very small to keep on the counter
-Easy to clean & comes apart very easily
-Works really well for the price

CONS:
-Small feed tube (which means you have to cut your veggies up smaller before you put them in the machine)
-Made of plastic
-Not made for heavy use (perfect for someone using 1-3 times a week)
-Only makes a few servings (it is a small juicer so don’t expect an industrial size batch of juice)

OVER ALL: The pros out way the cons. This juicer is amazing. Some commented saying that they had problems juicing carrots. I had no problems. I cut the carrots into small pieces so the juicer wouldn’t have to work as hard to juice a whole carrot and I had no problems. Just go slow if you are worried.

TIP: TO make clean up extra easy line the larger compartment where the pulp fills up with a plastic bag so you can just pull the bag out with all the pulp – one less thing to clean!

My second juice was a Carrot, Orange and Mango Juice. 
This is a good introduction for someone who is not familiar with carrot juice like myself.

Good Morning Juice

Servings: 2 people 

What you need:

  • 3-4 carrots cut into thirds (washed)
  • 3 oranges peeled
  • 1 ripe mango peeled and cut into cubes

What to do:

  1. Turn on the juicer and start by juicing the carrots a few at at time not over working the machine. Then do all of the peeled oranges, then the mango. Collect in a large measuring and pour into 2 mason jars.
    IMG_7596
  2. Cover with lids and put in refrigerator while you clean up
  3. Take it out and shake to mix the juice if it separates. Put a few cubes per mason jar.
  4. Enjoy!

I like to refrigerate mine and serve with ice cubes because I hate warm juice!
carrot, orange mango juice

Juicing is a great way to get the nutrients from the fruits and vegetables. This juice is high in Vitamin C and would be great if you added some Ginger as well.

Banana Crumb Muffins

banana crumb muffins

The crumb topping makes these muffins stand out from the ordinary muffin!

In the mornings I love to stop for coffee and get a muffin to go from Starbucks. However, if I did this every morning though it would be way too unhealthy and expensive. The Starbucks muffins are yummy but they have preservatives and a lot of ingredients which make them taste good as well as high in calories. I decided to make my own banana crumb muffin that I could bring with me on-the-go and grab a coffee.

These Banana Crumb Muffins especially come in handy when I am in a rush to get to work or school. On these days I don’t have time to sit down and eat a full breakfast. Instead I would make the banana crumb muffins the night before, microwave 1 banana crumb muffin for 35 seconds in the morning, wrap it in tinfoil so it stays warm, grab a yogurt, and go on my way. Don’t worry, these banana crumb muffins would be delicious even without heating them before you leave in the morning if you don’t want an extra step.

The crumb topping is an extra treat and the recipe really works when you have a bunch of extra ripe bananas. That’s where the idea for this banana crumb muffin recipe came from. I usually would make a banana bread but this time I was in search of something a little different. Once you bite into the banana crumb muffins you get the banana flavor throughout the whole muffin and it is just delicious!
banana crumb muffins

I also hated the fact that whenever I made muffins in the past they wouldn’t be big like when you buy them from a shop. After some research I learned you need to bake the muffins at a higher temperature, put them in the oven ASAP after mixing, and do not over mix.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3 bananas, mashed

  • 1/4 cup of light agave nectar

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  •  tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter

What to do: 

  1. Preheat oven 400 degrees. Lightly grease 8 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers. (Filling the muffins more will make less muffins but a bigger muffin top)
  2. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Put aside
  3. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, agave, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups filled almost to the top.
    banana crmb muffins
  4. Sprinkle crumb mixture on top of muffins.
    banana crumb muffins
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 15-18, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Recipe adapted from All Recipes.com

Enjoy for a delicious breakfast with some hot coffee!

~Hunter

Egg Muffins

Spinach, Bacon and Cheese

egg muffins

An easy to make breakfast that is delicious. Egg muffins is a breakfast I have been wanting to try for the longest time! Everyone kept telling me that these are perfect for a weekday breakfast when you need to grab something and go. These egg muffins will last a few days in the refrigerator and then when you want to eat one you can pop it in the microwave for 30-45 seconds until warm.

But, if you don’t want to make these for the week then make them on a weekend. While everyone is sleeping simply combine all the ingredients and then bake them in the oven for 25-30 minutes. They are so delicious when served fresh! Light and fluffy filled with sauteed spinach, crisp bacon, and cheesy goodness.

If you wanted to use egg whites for this recipe that would be perfectly fine. Next time I may try using egg whites to see the difference in texture. Spinach, bacon, cheese and egg muffins would also make a great lunch if you needed to grab something quickly. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult or take a long time, you just need to prepare ahead of time.

What you need:

  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 small handfuls of spinach, chopped
  • 3 pieces of bacon
  • 1/4 cup plus a splash more of milk
  • 1/3 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • good size pinch of salt, and pepper

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a saute pan cook bacon according to package. Remove from pan and pat dry. Then chop bacon into bits. Drain the excess fat from the pan and put in the spinach cooking quickly. Saute until just cooked and remove from pan.
    egg muffin ingredients
  3. Spray a muffin tin really well with non-stick cooking spray (these have a tendency to stick). This a half batch of egg muffins so it will only make about 5 or 6. Double to make a larger batch.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together 5 eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Add in the bacon, spinach and half the cheese.
  5. Scoop the egg mixture into muffin tins using a 1/3 measuring cup until filled to almost the top. Will probably only make about 5 or 6 egg muffins. Fill the empty muffin spaces with a little bit of water so it cooks evenly.
  6. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper if desired and top with shredded cheese. ( I ran out of shredded cheese so I used cheese cubes)
    egg muffins
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until eggs are set and just cooked through. Tops of egg muffins should be cooked not wet and soggy. Carefully remove from pan while still warm.
  8. Serve immediately for a nice breakfast with a few fresh raspberries or let cool and store covered in fridge until ready to eat.
    egg muffins

Enjoy!!

Mixed Berry and Banana Smoothie

mixed berry and banana smoothie

Raspberries, Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberry and Banana Smoothie

So many berries!! This Mixed Berry and Banana Smoothie has 4 different berries in it. That’s thanks to Trader Joe’s. The organic mixed berry blend is picked at the peak of ripeness and frozen within hours of picking. I love this bag of mixed berries because you don’t have to choose or buy expensive fresh fruit that goes bad the next day. There is a little bit of each berry when I make my smoothie and it tastes delicious!

I think we all enjoy making smoothies but for the past month I haven’t really felt like making them. Last week, I was inspired when I picked up a container of fresh raspberries from the store that looked amazing (not old and rotten). I also probably didn’t feel like making smoothies because the weather has been so cold all month. Just another reason to be happy when winter ends, more delicious and colorful smoothies.

This is a fun recipe and I use greek yogurt so the smoothie is a little thick – I used almond milk to thin it out (I prefer a thiner smoothie).

What you need:

  • 1 cup of Trader Joe’s organic mixed berries
  • 1 small banana
  •  7 oz container of vanilla or plain greek yogurt  (or 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup of milk (skim or almond, more if needed to thin out)
  • chia seeds for topping
  • fresh raspberries for top if desired

What to do:

  1. In a blender combine 1 cup of frozen berries, small banana, greek yogurt, 1/2 cup of milk until is smooth and reaches desired consistency
  2. In a cup put a few ice cubes and pour smoothie over it. Top with raspberries and chia seeds.
    mixed berry banana smoothie

The colors are just so pretty. 

Enjoy!

p.s. I put a little chopped up banana on top as well.

Banana Oat Muffins with Chia Seeds and Mini Chocolate Chips

Oatmeal Banana Muffins (NO FLOUR OR BUTTER)!!!

Banana Oat Muffins with Chia Seeds & Chocolate Chips
Banana Oat Muffins with Chia Seeds & Chocolate Chips

I am a huge fan of muffins, but whenever I get them from Coffee shops I never know what’s in them. :/ I decided to try and make my own muffin I could bring with me and have with coffee in the morning when I am in a rush to get to school or work. So far its been working out pretty well and must importantly they keep me full!

These Oatmeal Banana Muffins have chia seeds which are packed with nutrients as well as fiber and a fair amount of protein. Perfect for keeping us full longer!

Banana Oat Chia Seed Muffin These muffins also use Oatmeal instead of flour. So the  batter is less chunky I used a food processor to make it smooth! You can leave out the mini chocolate chips but I only put a little because they are yummy!

I would definitely make these again. I always find myself having bananas that are too ripe to eat and would normally make banana bread. This is a fun way to mix it up instead of your traditional banana bread recipe. Since I am always trying new combinations I rarely make something the exact same way twice. Unless its worth it of course. This recipe I would definitely make the same way again!

What you need: 

  • 2 cups of old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt ( I used vanilla it was all I had)
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds +1 for topping the muffins before baking
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips + 1 tablespoon for sprinkling on top

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare 1 muffin tray by spraying well with non-stick spray. You can use muffin liners just spray those also because this batter can stick to the wrapper.
  2. Add the oats, bananas, greek yogurt, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda to a food processor. Blend well until the batter is smooth and creamy to break down the oats. Stir in 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips per hand.
  3. Pour batter into muffin pan about 3/4 of the way full in each muffin. I used a cookie scoop (it was about 2 even scoops per muffin). Sprinkle with leftover teaspoon of chia seeds and the extra chocolate chips.
    Banana Oat Chia Muffins
  4. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes. Mine were done in 15 minutes. Test it by using a toothpick in the middle of the muffin and make sure it comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from muffin pan.
    IMG_7327
  5. Store in a container with a lid and enjoy these delicious muffins for breakfast or snacks!

This recipe is from Running With Spoons, a really great blog you should check out!

 

 

Homemade French Toast with Strawberries

Healthier French Toast with Strawberries

frenchtoast

Another Snow Day in New York. Whenever we get a snow day I love to take the time to make Breakfast. Last week I made French Toast. I love breakfast. French toast is something I hadn’t made in a long time because I just assumed it was one of those things that was better in restaurants. I was wrong! This is really good. It doesn’t taste heavily fried like some french toast. The wholewheat toast is great and you holds up really well if you do it right.

You can put French Toast with just about anything and it will be good. Serve with sliced strawberries (like I did), bananas, blueberries, walnuts, raspberries, the list goes on! It really is easy to make and layer with you favorite add ins. Make this for your family next time you are looking for something yummy to make for your family.

What you need:
Serves 1 Person (Double to serve 2)

  • 2 slices of whole wheat toast
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup of your favorite milk (almond milk works also)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon good vanilla
  • 4 strawberries sliced thin
  • agave nectar in place of maple syrup as topping

What to do:

  1. Preheat a large nonstick pan over medium heat.
  2. In a bowl wide enough to fit a piece of bread mix together: egg, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Whisk until combined.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pan to lightly oil. While oil is heating in the pan dip 1 piece of bread into wet mixture (3 seconds on each side). Move bread to the pan (if pan is wide enough for 2 pieces add second pice of bread). Let cook on both sides until golden.
    *Tips: Do not let bread sit in liquid for too long or it will fall apart when you move it to the pan. Watch so it does not burn.
  4. Remove from heat and place on a plate with sliced strawberries on top. Top with agave nectar to replace maple syrup and sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.
    french toast

Apple Spiced Muffins

Apple Spiced Muffins!
apple spiced muffins

I am still trying to use up all my apples from apple picking the other day. I am finding new ways to use apples and loving it. I love to grab a muffin but sometimes when you get from a coffee shop you just don’t know what’s in them.

Today, I decided to make my own apple spiced muffins. These apple spiced muffins are sprinkled with extra cinnamon (of course that doesn’t hurt) and you can actually taste the chunks of apples as you eat them- yum!

The apple spiced muffins have ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • a little less then 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup of melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup of chopped apples (I left majority skin on)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 12 cup muffin pan with paper.

Mix together flour, salt, baking powder, and spices

Combine butter and sugar, then add egg and mix well. Add milk and vanilla to wet mixture. Slowly addd the dry ingredients to the liquid mixture until blended.

Spoon batter into muffin pan with tablespoon until almost full bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Enjoy!

Recipe from http://www.cooks.com/recipe/mh9uo3c8/apple-spice-muffins.html

Avocado Toast with Bacon and Egg

Whole Wheat Toast with Mashed Avocado Topped with Bacon and a Fried Egg. Delicious. 

avocadotoastwithegg

I am a big fan of bacon and eggs for breakfast whenever I get the chance to have it. I loved the idea of changing this classic up by adding smashed avocado on an open face sandwich.

Avocados are rich, satisfying, and typically characterized as one of the “good” fats. It’s packed with anti aging, disease fighting antioxidants, and nearly 20 different vitamins and minerals, according to ABC News. If you do not eat avocado regularly you should consider adding this superfood to your diet. 1/5 of the avocado is about 50 calories and 3 carbohydrates. You do not need to eat a lot of this to get the benefits. I try and use about 2-3 slices per person when I eat avocado.

Try this egg sandwich when you need a satisfying yet filling breakfast and wish to have something new for breakfast or lunch.

Serving Size 1

What you will Need:

  • 1 egg
  • salt, pepper, italian seasoning
  • 2 pieces cooked thick cut bacon
  • 1 piece of toasted whole wheat bread
  • 2 tablespoons smashed avocado seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of butter

What to do:

  1. Begin by cooking your bacon according to your package or your preferred cooking method. When bacon is almost done heat up a frying pan with 2 tablespoons of butter. Crack egg into butter and cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side depending on how runny you like your egg. Season egg with seasoning salt and italian seasoning.
  2. While egg is cooking mash avocado in a bowl and season with salt and pepper and spread onto toasted bread.
  3. Next put cooked bacon onto avocado toast and when egg is done you can move it to a paper towel to remove some of the  butter and then put on top of your toast.

DSCN0754

  1. Enjoy a satisfying twist on an old classic!

avocadotoastwithegg