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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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

Weight Watchers Summer Fruit Galette

summer galette

Weight Watchers Magazine featured a Summer Fruit Galette, or rustic tart, on the cover for July/August 2014. The Summer fruit tart is filled with fresh summer fruit. I decided to make this recipe, a summer Fruit Galette, and use peaches and blueberries that were picked from a farm and taste like the Summer.

I had never heard of a galette before but after some research I learned that it is a free standing rustic tart. The galette originated in France and is often filled with apples, cheese, egg, berries, or similar ingredients. The ingredients from this Galette were picked from Lewin Farm on Long Island.

Summer Fruit Galette is very easy to make and can serve up to 10 people. This is a healthier desert option because less crust is used then in a traditional pie. You can also use fruit that is in season such as peaches, raspberries, or blueberries. According to Weight Watchers the PointPlus value is 4.


 

Weight Watchers Summer Fruit Galette:

Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups of all purpose flour (or you can use whole wheat)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp. cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 3-4 tbsp. ice water

Filling

  • 1 1/4 lb peaches, pitted, halved and cut into 1/2 inch wedges (about 6)
  • 6 oz fresh blueberries or raspberries
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • pinch salt

Topping

  • 2 tsp fat-free milk
  • 1 tsp sugar

Recipe:

  1. Make crust. Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in food processor until blended. Add oil and butter; pulse until mixture is like coarse crumbs. Add 3 tablespoons ice col water pulsing until dough forms. If dough does not come together add another tablespoon of water. Shape dough into ball and wrap in plastic and refrigerator until firm, 1 hour or up to 1 day. *If you do not want to use a food processor you can follow the same directions with a bowl.
  2. Make filling when ready to prepare fruit tart by combining all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees an cover baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface area. Transfer onto baking sheet. Pour filling on center of pie crust.
  5. Fold edges of dough up pleating as you go. Brush edges of dough with milk and then sprinkle with sugar.
  6. Bake until filling is tender. 35-40 minutes. Let galette cool and cut into wedges.
  7. Enjoy. Can serve up to 10 people.

weight watchers summer galette

Weight Watchers Magazine July/August 2014

Simple Blueberry and Greek Yogurt Smoothie

Simple Blueberry and Greek Yogurt Smoothie!

blueberrysmoothie

Since my family went blueberry picking and got 3 gallons of blueberries, I have been trying to find ways to put them to use before they go bad. I have made cobbler, muffins, bread, and smoothies! I loved this blueberry and greek yogurt smoothie. I had this on a warm day and it was delicious and healthy!

blueberries

I really do not like soda and I am thankful for that. I try and find drinks that can still satisfy me. I love to try smoothies, juices, and iced teas. This blueberry and greek yogurt smoothie tasted like summer. And I love it!

According to Womens Fitness, blueberries have the highest antioxidant capacity of all fresh fruit: blueberries, being very rich in anti-oxidants like Anthocyanin, vitamin C, B complex, vitamin E, vitamin A, and copper (a very effective immune builder and anti-bacterial). There are even several studies such as one conducted at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular center that suggests blueberries may help reduce belly fat and risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome.

Whatever the case may be, here is a fun and exciting way to drink your blueberries!

You will need:

  • 1 cup of greek yogurt (I used a Dannon Greek light and fit vanilla greek yogurt)
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • a little less then a tablespoon of agave nectar
  • a splash of unsweetened almond milk
  • 3-4 cubes of ice

What to do:

  1. Put yogurt, blueberries, agave nectar, a splash of almond milk, and about 3 ice cubes.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. I love to leave it a little chunky so I can still feel and see the blueberries!
  4. Enjoy.
    blueberry smothie

Thank you Pioneer Women! I will definitely be making this again!

Fresh Peach Raspberry Cobbler

Got Peaches? Make a cobbler!

Fresh Peach Raspberry Cobbler, YUMM!!

peachcobblerRecently I went peach and raspberry picking at Lewin Farm on Long Island. We got 10 pounds of peaches so you will see many peach recipes. This peach raspberry cobbler was so fresh with sweet summery goodness.

This post is in honor of my cousin, Nick. We used to bake a lot when we were younger but haven’t had the opportunity to in almost 2 years. The other day Nick, Ryan (my boyfriend) and I were hanging out and we decided to bake this cobbler. It was so fun and felt like old times.

I of course am the boss in the kitchen and they were my sous chefs. With a little team work we were able to put together a delicious cobbler that is super easy and takes very little time to prepare.

The peaches are fresh from the trees and the raspberries are from the bushes at Lewin Farm. I loved getting the fruit straight from the tree. Here’s what it looked like:

Peaches

peachpickingRaspberries

raspberry pickingYou will need:

  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of milk
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 peaches peeled and sliced
  • a handful of raspberries

What to do:

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees and melting 4 tablespoons of butter in the pan you will use to cook cobbler.
  2. Prepare your fruit by combining sugar, peaches, raspberries, lemon juice, lemon zest in a  sauce pan over medium heat until sugar melts and begins to cook down.
  3. While butter is melting and fruit is cooking combine flour, baking powder, salt, and a sprinkle of sugar in a bowl. Slowly add 1 cup of milk into mixture until ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Pour batter over melted butter. Do not mix. Then pour peach mixture over the batter evenly distributed. The batter will cook over the peaches and create a crust.
    peachcobbler
  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes and Enjoy!
    DSCN0631

Blueberry Lemon Loaf

Blueberry Lemon Loaf:

blueberrylemonloafStop what your doing right now and go make this blueberry lemon loaf! It’s that good. The loaf is filled with fresh blueberries and the lemon zest brightens the bread. The blueberries at my local food store were buy one get one free so I could not resist!

Believe me the last thing I wanted to do earlier this week was turn on the oven when it was like 100 degrees in my apartment. But I just could not resist I wanted to try this loaf. I had the ingredients so I forced myself to turn the oven on, and it was worth it!

Blueberries are so abundant right now so I always try and find something to do with them before they go bad in the refrigerator. I will either freeze them or turn them into muffins, or a loaf. This loaf was really easy to make and only took about 10 minutes to assemble.

I’ll be honest though, I think I used too many blueberries, lol. I put the whole pint in and I think next time I would try half to see how it comes out. Everyone still loves it, but if your not crazy over blueberries try a cup instead of the whole pint.
blueberrylemonloafI originally saw this recipe from Eat-yourself-skinny. I really love the recipes they post so this was inspired from their bread.

You will need:

  • 1 cup or a pint of blueberries
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup of milk

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a loaf dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk unit well mixed.
  3. In separate bowl put butter and sugar mix well for about 1 minute. Once kind of light and fluffy add 1 egg and mix then add the other and mix again.
  4. Add the vanilla, lemon zest, then mix.
  5. Add half the flour mixture into the wet ingredients then add the milk. Add the second batch of flour and mix until combined. Do not over stir.
  6. Fold in the 1 cup of blueberries.
    blueberrylemonloaf
  7. Pour batter into baking dish and bake for about 50-55 minutes or until the loaf comes out clean with a tooth pick.
    blueberrylemonloaf
  8. Let cool and serve!
    blueberrylemonloaf

Great for breakfast with a cup of coffee or a quick snack!

Summer Couscous Salad

 

couscoussaladI love it when I find new salads or new summer side dishes besides the typical potato salad. This summer cous cous salad can be made in advance and sit in the fridge for the day or eaten right away. Filled with fresh grape tomatoes, red bell pepper, cucumber, parsley, and mint.

Fresh is best in the summer. That’s why I love to make cold salads that are perfect for a warm day. This heat in NY is really killing me. I don’t even want to turn on the oven because it heats up our whole apartment. The only cooking in this recipe is making the pearl couscous on the stove. I can deal with that for all the flavor that this salad has.

If your garden or farmers market is filled with local vegetables this is a great recipe to use for fresh farm stand ingredients. My vegetable garden is still growing and not quite ready to pick. But when it is I will defintiely make this again.

choppedvegetablesThis is a perfect thing to bring to an outside summer BBQ, serve your family, and girlfriends, even boyfriend approved. Plus the box of pearl couscous makes a lot, so perfect leftovers.

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The Recipe:

Serves 6

You will need:

  • 1 box of pearl couscous or whatever couscous you like
  • half a cucumber peeled , seeded, and chopped small
  • 1 pint of grape or cherry tomatoes halved
  • half a red pepper chopped small
  • about 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • juice of a lemon
  • chopped parley
  • chopped mint
  • salt and pepper

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Start by preparing israli or pearl couscous by preparing according to directions. Watch as it comes close to end to make sure it does not get over cooked. Strain and rinse it with cold water until the couscous becomes room tempeture. May need to use mesh strainer.
  2. Perpare your vegetables: peel and seed half of the cucumber then chop small, chop half of the red bell pepper, and halve the tomatoes.
    choppedvegetables
  3. Make the dressing to go on the salad by pouring 1/2 cup of olive into a bowl with the juice of a lemon, salt, and pepper. Whisk together
  4. Combine chopped vegetables with vinaigrette in a big mixing bowl and add the room temperature couscous.
  5. Stir. Fold in the fresh parsley and mint. If preparing a head of time mix in the herbs right before serving so they stay fresh.

Enjoy on a warm day as a side dish at a BBQ or for lunch the next day.

This recipe was inspired from Bon Appetit.

Quick Blueberry and Strawberry Cobbler

A simple Summer Cobbler! What could be better?

strawberryblueberrycobler

I love how all the fruit in the markets are so juicy and inexpensive. I find myself buying more fruit in the summer then in the winter. Sometimes I do not have a chance to eat all the fruit before it starts to go bad. I try and find ways to use the fruits before that happens- hence blueberry and strawberry cobbler. This recipe would work with other fruits, is super easy, and a delicious treat!

The batter for this cobbler is very easy. I find myself always looking for the easiest ways to do things because I we are all very busy! This cobbler is no exception- you probably won’t find a simpler home made desert – besides buying it in the store. To try and keep things semi-healthy i substituted the 1 cup of sugar for agave nectar and the milk for almond milk.

You can use any summer fruit that you like! Peaches, nectarines, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries all work fine! I find it comes out better with fresh fruit- however, if you use frozen the result will be the same.

p.s. i also served this desert around the 4th of July so the colors of the blueberries and strawberries went perfect with the red white and blue theme. Hope you enjoy!

You will need:

  • 2-3 tablespoons of butter depending on size of your pan. (I used 2)
  • 3/4 cups of all purpose flower
  • 1/2 cup of light agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 cup of almond milk or regular
  • 2 cups of fruit (I used almost a pint of blueberries and a handful of strawberries)
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put 2 tablespoons of butter in an 8 inch round pan (or whatever you have). Put in oven to melt. When butter is melted, remove pan from oven.
  3. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add almond milk and agave nectar. Whisk to form a smooth batter (do not over mix).
  4. After removing pan from oven pour batter into pan, then scatter the fruit over the batter (do not mix), sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sugar if desired.
    cobbler
  5. Bake until batter browns and the fruit is bubbly. About 50 to 60 minutes. Enjoy hot, warm, or cold. Serve with cool whip or vanilla ice cream as a summer treat!

Enjoy!

xo Hunter

Healthier Blueberry Muffins

I really love breakfast, however, I rarely have time in the morning to make myself the type of breakfast I would love to eat- eggs, bacon, toast, fresh squeezed orange juice. Whenever I am in a rush and pick up breakfast while I am out, I love to get muffins! I figured why not do my own take on a healthier muffin that I can quickly grab when I am in a rush. This bluebery muffin was delicious and moist!

IMG_5503

I love baking and forcing my family members to eat what I make, usually no force necessary lol. And because I try to live a healthier lifestyle I am always looking for substitutes to make the the recipe healthy and simple. Although sometimes I probably could substitute more, usually when I decide to make something I go off what I have in my pantry and just make that work!

Here are my Healthier BlueBerry Muffins:

Blueberries seem to be in season now and my local food store was having major sales. It’s great to bake with blueberries because you do not have to worry about if they are a little soft.

Streusel Ingredient:

  • 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon light agave nectar (optional)

Muffin Ingredient:

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries (you can use frozen but no need to defrost)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of almond milk (maybe a little more if batter is dry)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare muffin cups with paper liners. This recipe makes about 12 muffins. I had a little extra so I made a few mini muffins.
  2. Make Streusel topping by combining oats, butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and agave in a small bowl. Mix well and put to the side.
  3. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. (dry ingredients)
  4. In a smaller separate bowl beat the egg then add milk, vanilla, and oil.
  5. Slowly pour wet ingredients into the dry ones a little at a time and stir for 10 seconds. The batter will have lumps, do not over mix – muffins will be tough.
    IMG_5488
  6. Once batter is mixed add blueberries until evenly mixed through. Carefully spoon batter into muffin tins. I used a tablespoon and put about three heaping spoonfuls in each muffin.
    IMG_5490
  7. Once muffin batter is in tin, take the streusel topping and carefully distribute on top of muffins. I put streusel topping on half of my muffins.
    IMG_5493
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until muffins are cooked through. Stick a toothpick in to see if the center is clean.
    IMG_5495
  9. Enjoy!
    bbmuffin
    Recipe was adapted from http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/bakingdesserts/r/blueberrymuf.htm

Orange Grapefruit Pineapple Juice with Mint – No Juicer…No Problem!

 

IMG_5449

Orange Grapefruit Pineapple Juice with Mint is a perfect morning refresher. I am personally a big fan of juicing, however, this is my first time juicing at my house. I had one tiny problem, I did not have a juicer! Since I am a college student I did not want to go out and buy a juicer right now so I improvised! The fruit helps flush your system, and the menthol in the mint will depuff!

For a while I have been buying juices from stores for about 7-9 dollars per juice. I also love the combinations that these place come up with, they are so good! I have found a few places near my house that have fresh juices. I think soon it will be time time for me to invest in my own juicer.

So move over Starbucks…..juices have arrived!

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Juices are good for you. It’s like drinking all your nutrients. You do have to be careful wtih juices that have a lot of fruit in them, however a small serving size once in a while will not hurt you! This is a much healthier choice then reaching for a pizza, which will weigh you down. The fruit helps flush your system,and the menthol in the mint will depuff!

I never really considered juicing myself until going through a magazine where they had a list of recipes and at the bottom said – No juicer, no problem! Add a 1/2 cup of water to the recipes and use a blender. I did that but then i thougth to myself, what about the pulp and stuff on the oranges? I decided to run the juice through a fine strainer to catch any of the extra pulp. It worked!

So for now, this is how I will have to juice.

For my orange, grapefruit, and pineapple juice with mint you will need:

2 oranges, 1/2 grapefruit, 3/4 cup of pineapple chunks, mint, a blender.

This recipe makes enough for 2 servings (2 people)

Steps:

1. Peel oranges and seperate into pieces. Cut 1/2 grapefruit and remove outer skin, cut 3/4 cup of fresh pineapple.

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2. Place fruit into a blender (if blender is small then do in batches). Blend until smooth.

3. Pour juice over a strainer into a bowl to get rid of any extra pulps from oranges.

4. Add water if needed. I chilled my juice for 15 minutes after making it because i like it cold! Serve in mason jar with few mint leaves. Enjoy!

IMG_5443

This fruit juice was really nice to have on a warm Spring morning sitting outside. Next time I will try a vegetable juice!

This recipe was adapted from The Juice Generation in 17 Magazine.