Sunday, May 21, 2017

Pinterest for Breakfast

You know, Pinterest can be a time suck. Especially when you are new to the social media site. But over time, I have come to enjoy my time with Pinterest. It keeps me occupied during lulls in Giant’s games, helps me decide on projects to introduce at my monthly craft circle, and it provides me with a never-ending wealth of recipes.

I have Pinterest boards for Breakfast, Lunch, Appetizers, Dinner, and Dessert. There is a general Food category, Party food, High Tea, and Inspired Food, which I share with Brilliant Daughter. Easter, Halloween, and Christmas boards all have food items on them, and there’s a secret Paleo/Atkins board when I want a substitute for carbs.

Needless to say, that’s a whole lotta pins.

So, I thought I would share some of my more positive experiences with Pinterest recipes. (Because, believe me, not all recipes turn out wonderfully….)

I thought I would start with two breakfast items: Lemon-Blueberry Bread and Cinnamon Swirl Donut Bread. Back in the day…when all my kids were at home, I often made breads, muffins, scones, coffeecakes, etc. Over the last few years, these items have been few and far between. But I now cook every week for a friend with cancer.  I like to include both a breakfast item and a dessert, along with 3 meals. (The more calories, the better.) So, I spend every Saturday and/or Sunday on food prep and baking.

The Blueberry-Lemon Bread recipe originally came from Glorious Treats.  Her pictures are far more appetizing than mine could ever be, so I didn’t even bother with snapping a photo. This moist breakfast bread is the perfect foil for my Meyer lemons. (And yes, I still have about a dozen left on the tree!)

The tartness of the lemons with the sweetness of the blueberries, all tucked nicely into a slightly sweet and dense cake-like quick bread was a big hit with all who tried it. Perfect with a cup of tea (or coffee), good for morning or afternoon (or even for dessert!). You will not be disappointed. I promise.

Note: I also tried making this bread with dried blueberries, but it just didn’t work. You need the moisture of the fresh berries to keep the bread from being too dry. While it was still tasty, it was only about 40% as good as the original recipe using fresh blueberries.

Blueberry-Lemon Bread recipe can be found here.

My second Pinterest find for today is Cinnamon Swirl Donut Bread from Lauren’s Latest. I chose this recipe because it reminded me of one of the first things I learned to cook in high school home ec. We made these very simple plain cake muffins. No spices or fruit or nuts inside. Just a plain cake muffin. But when they came out of the oven, and were still warm, we rolled them in melted butter and then in a cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Oh. My. God. They were delicious. I must have made those things dozens of time every year until I went to college. (Then I lost the recipe and the internet wasn’t a thing way back then.)

This recipe has a similar bent, but instead of that plain cake mixture, it has a swirl of tasty cinnamon goodness. It took only about 5 minutes to make it and there are no fancy ingredients. In fact I had everything in the house, except the buttermilk, and you can make your own quite easily.

In essence, you have a tasty batter, of which you take out ½ cup and add a bit of cinnamon and molasses. Then you layer your plain mixture—cinnamon mixture—plain mixture and then give it a quick swirl. Pop it in the oven for 45 minutes and let it cool for about 10. While it cools, you melt some butter and make the cinnamon-sugar coating. (I put the butter in a sheet cake pan and then in the cooling oven to melt.)

Pop out the bread, roll it into the butter and then coat all sides with the sugar. We actually had some while it was still slightly warm – better than any donut I’ve ever had. Seriously, you’ve got to try this, but be prepared; it won’t last for long!

Cinnamon Swirl Donut bread recipe here.

Monday, January 02, 2017


Yep, that’s what it’s been like at my house. I’ve attempted two desserts—one for Christmas Eve and one for New Year’s Day—and both have been failures in one way or another.

Desserts are my forte and I usually attack them with gusto and typically produce great results. But recipe errors, missteps, and my inability to make a presentable layer cake all contributed to these epic fails. Well, maybe not epic. Both desserts were tasty, but not without some wasted time, ingredients and consternation.

Let’s start with the Christmas Eve dessert. I actually found this dessert back on November 28th and excitedly sent the recipe to my brother, who we would be spending the holidays with. We love to collaborate in the kitchen, so I wanted his approval for the Four-Layer Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart. He wholeheartedly agreed, so I made sure I packed all the requisite ingredients before making the trek down to SoCal.

Now, I had read the recipe, but had failed to notice that it required a 13 ¾ x 4 ¼-inch tart pan. This is not a standard item in any kitchen I know of and on Christmas Eve it was going to be hard to find. Actually, make that impossible. We made a beeline to Jane’s Cakes in La Canada, who have everything under the sun for baking, but no tart pan in that size. (Note: subsequent searches have found that a 13 ¾ x 4 1/4 pan doesn’t seem to exist. 14 x 4 or 14 x 4.5 is available however.) So we had to make do with an 8-inch round tart pan, which is roughly the same size, just different in shape.

This recipe takes hours to make, as each layer has to be made and then chilled or baked and cooled. My brother and I should have made the tart shell dough the night before, but were having too good a time with friends, and wine was involved, and well…you know. So we began on Christmas Eve morning. We made the dough with no problem. Then chilled it for 2 hours. Then we kneaded and rolled and got it into the pan and chilled the dough again for 30 minutes. Finally, after 3 hours of the clock ticking by, we were able to bake the first layer. Gonna be a long day…

We let the crust cool, and moved on to the fudge cookie layer. I thought that the ingredient list felt like it was missing something. The only liquid was egg and there was no baking soda or powder. But we persevered, made the dough, and popped it into the crust and then the oven. We waited 25 minutes and no crack in the layer, as the recipe indicated. Another 5 and still no crack. We finally had to take it out of the oven before the requisite crack appeared as it was pulling away from the sides and looked to be overdone.

Again, we let the two layers cool to room temp and then set about to make the caramel layer. Four hours off the clock….

NOTE: Now you might think that making this tart was all we had to do for dinner, given the amount of time we have thus far spent on it, but that was not the case. We also had to grate 2 pounds of fresh horseradish for our beef tenderloin, prepare 6 pounds of potatoes, clean and trim brussels sprouts and broccoli, set the table, prep hors d’oeuvres. Arghh…I was definitely second guessing my decision to make this dessert!