breakfast

Bea’s Bran Muffins

Bran muffins can be tricky.  Well, muffins in general can be tricky. You never know if you’re biting into a healthy, wholesome snack or a oversized sugar bomb. Sadly, bran muffins are often the worst offenders.  Most recipes contain healthy ingredients like wheat bran, walnuts, and raisins, but often in way too big of portions.

Luckily, my family still has a recipe from way back in the day when my grandma used to make bran muffins.  Original recipecard and all:

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How cool is that?!

Besides being incredibly healthy, these muffins are delicious. Topped with a little honey, they’re just the right amount of sweet and filling.

I love that I can continue to show my late grandma love by baking these muffins. They’re perfect for a light breakfast (if you add some protein and fruit on the side) or a quick snack.

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Bea’s Bran Muffins

Ingredients

  • 3 cups All-Bran (cereal)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 1/4 cup while wheat flour
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

Combine cereal, oil, and raisins and pour boiling water over them (mixture 1).  Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, molasses.  Add that to cooled mixture 1.

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt: add flour mixture to cereal mixture 1, stirring just enough to moisten dry ingredients.  Cover batter with plastic wrap and let stand 15 minutes, preferably an hour.

Preheat oven to 400. Bake in greased muffin tins for 20 minutes, or when a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs.

Enjoy!

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Questions:

  • What’s your favorite type of muffin?  I love lemon poppyseed or fresh blueberry ones!
  • Any big plans this weekend? 
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Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes (recipe)

I’m an eggy gal. There’s no denying that. Bagel sandwiches, omelets, and scrambled eggs fill my plate Monday-Friday. Eating eggs at breakfast is one of the only things that keeps me full and my stomach quiet until lunch time rolls around. However, once the weekend rolls around, I love pancakes. Not that Bisquick crap, but big, fluffy, homemade wheat pancakes that sit in my stomach for hours and sing happy songs.

So today, as it snows another foot or two, I decided it was a banana pancake day.

Sometimes pancakes made with wheat flour can have a grainy, chewy texture that bugs people. I took a chance by combining a few different recipes that I found on the internet and luckily they turned out great! They have the appearance and taste of regular pancakes but don’t leave me hungry 30 minutes later. So enjoy your Saturday and think about making these when you wake up tomorrow. Pancakes are God’s way of reminding you that it’s the weekend, and time to take a breath and relax.

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Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk mix with 1 tbsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2-3 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 2 tsp stevia or sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds (optional)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp melted butter

Steps

  • In a big bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the egg, melted butter, and milk.
  • Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ones until just combined. Stir in the bananas until distributed throughout. If you stir too much the pancakes will probably get tough so stop stirring once it all looks combined. Lumps are okay!
  • Preheat a skillet to medium heat, using Pam or butter to grease it. Once it’s hot, use a big serving spoon and pour the batter in circles on your skillet. Don’t touch until you see bubbles starting to pop–at that point it’s the perfect time to turn them over.
  • Keep cooking until they look toasty brown on both sides.
  • Serve with real maple syrup. Every time you use that high-fructose corn syrup junk a small business owner dies.
  • Enjoy 🙂

Question:

  • Do you change up your normal breakfast on the weekends?

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Yolk (brunch review)

As you may or may not know, I’m a breakfast gal.

I could eat breakfast all day everyday.  Omelets make me swoon, hashbrowns throw me into a frenzy, and don’t even get me started on a good stack of banana pancakes.

Since I now spend almost every weekend in the city, it has become a tradition to spend Sunday mornings after church with friends getting brunch.

A little story: brunch used to be one of my biggest pet peeves. Yes, right up there with loud chewers and heavy breathers, was brunch.  Why would I want to put two meals into one? Doesn’t that mean less food, less time to eat, less of an experience?

Then I turned 20 and realized I’m a suburban white girl: loving brunch is in my blood.

Brunch is an experience. You eat slower, sip on never ending cups of coffee, and don’t have to rush off to the next thing because guess what, you’re at brunch. Everything that’s important is happening all around you and the people who matter that day are eating brunch with you. Love it.

This past Sunday I was fortunate enough to grab a table at Yolk, one of the most well-known breakfast/brunch spots in Chicago.

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Yeah, the wait was pretty long! I sat out in the sun waiting for Megan to arrive from Lakeview.  I had to wait about 45 minutes which really wasn’t bad considering the amount of people both inside and outside the restaurant.  That place is really good at moving tables and getting people in.

Megan arrived just in time for us to be seated (which is good because Yolk doesn’t seat incomplete parties).  I had requested to sit outside, and it ended up being totally worth the wait.

ImageBeing in the loop downtown means that you spend 75% of your time in the shade, which isn’t a bad deal! We got to experience the nice weather (70s) but not have the sun beating down our backs. It was a gorgeous afternoon.

We sat down and quickly perused the menu. There were about a million options, as there always are at places like this.  Even though I always end up getting eggs, I curiously looked through the rest of the menu.  Highlights included:

  • Bacon and egg quesadilla: Hickory smoked bacon, scrambled eggs, and green onions ROLLED in a white flatbread with cheddar and jack cheeses. Served with salsa, sour cream, and red diced potatoes or fresh fruit.
  • Margherita frittata: tomatoes, fresh basil, and garlic scrambled with red diced potatoes. topped with fresh mozzarella and baked. Served with a side of marinara sauce.
  • Banana-blue crunch cakes: Our multigrain batter loaded with granola and fresh blueberries…topped with bananas and drizzled with honey.
  • Banana’s Foster crepes: Our crepes stuffed with bananas sautéed in butter, Crème de Banana, and brown sugar. topped with whipped cream and pecans.
  • Tour de France French Toast: A sample of our 3 special breads, french toasted. Banana Nut topped with bananas, Sweet Orange topped with strawberries, and lemon Poppy Seed topped with blueberries.

The choices were nuts.  Of course I got overwhelmed and just went with a classic omelet, served with whole wheat bread and potatoes.

ImageEverything was perfect. The only complaint that I have is that there is no way that was whole wheat bread.  Whole grain, definitely, but not whole wheat.  Silly waitress you can’t fool me.

My omelet was filled with cheddar cheese, onions, green peppers, and tomatoes.

The omelet was so so so great. I wish I could add another “so” to that description but excessiveness like that might seem like I’m exaggerating. I am not. I didn’t even need to use ketchup! Not once! That’s when you know the eggs/potatoes are good.

I ate almost the whole plate, and even the leftovers were eaten three hours later.  Megan was really happy with her scrambler too (it had pesto, potatoes, and over-easy eggs).

We enjoyed our time there for almost two hours, sipping on coffee mugs that were constantly being refilled (even if you didn’t want it to be haha).

A few small complaints about Yolk: the food is worth any trivial errors, but it’s worth mentioning the bad as well as the good. The service was definitely lacking. From the second we sat down Megan and I felt rushed to no end. It was one of those “No, I’m sorry I don’t know what I want to order yet I sat down 45 seconds ago” situations.  Our waitress didn’t smile, tell us her name, or welcome us in any way. To be honest when you’re out with your best friend that’s not the end of the world but as a waitress myself I definitely notice things like that. Also, she kept filling our coffee cups while still practically moving, spilling coffee down the sides of the mug and on the table.  Totally unacceptable and really distracting.  Luckily it made for funny conversation and Megan and I were able to slow down once we placed our order. I understand busy places like Yolk wanting to turn tables fast in order to get a lot of business, but we definitely weren’t about to rush out of there and not enjoy our time.  So once we had our food we ate slowly, sipped on our coffee, and just talked about life for awhile.  It was a wonderful time, out there on the patio, and our waitress even seemed to become friendlier as the meal went on. I’ll chalk it up to coming in at a stressful moment for her, but still not an excuse.

Overall, I would absolutely come back to Yolk.  They have three locations in the city which makes it very convenient, and you can’t deny how great the food is: they’ve been featured in multiple Chicago magazines, voted a few times as #1 breakfast in the city, and get praised constantly on Yelp.  If you have an extra hour to wait one morning and are in the city, definitely make your way to the nearest Yolk.  You won’t be disappointed!

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Visit them at : http://eatyolk.com/

Kale Fail

I HAVE to start by sharing the best part of my day: breakfast.

We’ve run out of coffee at my house so my Dad has to grind beans each night for the next morning. I can’t believe what a difference that makes–it tastes so delicious!

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I would eat this breakfast sandwich every day for the next thirty years. It was THAT good.

Whole wheat english muffin, 2 eggs with spinach, 1 veggie sausage patty, a sprinkle of shredded swiss cheese, and raspberry jam. Ehhhhhmahgod. It was a sweet salty compilation for the ages. That, plus the fresh coffee made for a magnificent morning.

Not much to report today. I got my hair done and did P90x yoga.

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Boo!

Today was definitely a yoga day. These 5 mile runs every other day have been taking a toll on my hips and legs in general. I hate stretching and icing but it’s oh so important to the thing that I do love (running) so it’s necessary to get in some yoga time every week or two.

What I like about P90x yoga is its intensity. I’m all for relaxing and meditating but it needs to be a good workout at the same time. P90x does just that. It’s pretty long (90 minutes!) but today I just did 70 minutes because I got caught up doing frog pose for too long instead. That realllllly helps stretch out the hips and I just couldn’t bring myself to move on!

In other even less exciting news, I tried to make kale chips today.

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Granted my kale was on its last leg, but damn–it smelled bad, looked bad, and tasted bad. I even closed my eyes and begged my fairy godmother to turn it into a big tray of Doritos, but alas, all I was left with was a kale fail. Oh well.

Lunch before work was fajitas!

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Plus a few dates:

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Love love loveeee me some dates.

Confession: my sweet tooth has been RAGING lately. Ladies, you know what I’m getting at. So aside from these dates I had one too many pieces of Dove chocolate today along with constantly picking at a bag of semi sweet chocolate chips. Even as I type this I’m dreaming of pressing “publish” so I can run downstairs and get some cookie dough ice cream. I’m not perfect–sugar is a beast! Sometimes I just have to let it win 🙂

Tomorrow is going to be a great day–Jazzin at the Shedd Aquarium downtown! Prepare yourselves for pictures overload. The Chicago skyline along the lake is too good to pass up.