Can you believe it has been FOUR YEARS since Smells Like Brownies was born? Four years of delicious treats and meals (and some disasters), four years of learning to take food photos and learning new tricks in the kitchen. Time flies.
Now, as many of you may know, I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of our little daughter! As I am waddling around after my 2-year-old ball of energy, praying that the baby will stop kicking me in the kidneys, I have started to picture what life may look like with an infant in our lives.
(Mostly it looks like chaos. That is realistic, right?)
I remember life after Jake arrived with some trepidation. It was wonderful and scary at the same time, and it totally turned my world upside down. There was no such thing as “getting ready in the morning,” because time all blurred together into one enormously long day in which every two hours I had to feed a baby, regardless of silly things like my own sleep rhythms.
So…here we go again! But, of course, now I have a toddler who expects me to maintain his regular schedule and probably won’t think it’s cute if I delay his breakfast until noon.
Enter overnight oats.
I am fairly confident that overnight oats are going to save my life after this baby comes. Not only are they super healthy (whole grains! raw food! protein! omega-3s!), but after what are sure to be some tired, sleep-deprived nights, I will be able to “make breakfast” simply by opening a container! What could be better?
This past weekend, my nephew came to stay with us. He is just 3 weeks younger than Jake, so they have been lifelong buddies! Actually, they are about as different as can be: Jake loves animals and M is crazy about vehicles; M is a quiet daredevil and Jake is cautious but loquacious.
And my nephew is deathly allergic to dairy.
So I had just finished scrubbing the kitchen and hiding all the cheese when I realized that I hadn’t yet baked anything for the March Secret Recipe Club challenge! Happily, Jessie of The Vanderbilt Wife had just the recipe for me to try: sweet breakfast rolls made with coconut! This recipe is even related to my very favorite cinnamon bun recipe, so I knew it would be a winner. Given that I had been in a panic about how to serve breakfast without any milk or butter already, I was so happy that these rolls swept in and saved the day!
I was well into my 20s before I ever heard of shrimp and grits. In fact, I was a senior in college before I ever even tasted grits (why eat something gritty on purpose when creamy is so much better?).
Clearly I had been missing out in a huge way.
Shrimp and grits is a Southern classic! Enjoy it for breakfast, or (if you aren’t quite sure about shrimp first thing in the morning) enjoy it for lunch! Either way, you should make this quick and easy dish immediately. It is so full of flavor—thanks to an amazing marinade—that it will just knock your socks off.
Summersummersummersummersummersummersummersummersummersummersummersummer, tomAto, tomAto! COOOOOOOORN, COOOOOOORN.
Haha. Maybe that was mean. (If you, like me, *unwillingly* watched and re-watched bizarre internet cartoons back in the early 2000s—but now look back on that time with fondness—and if not, then your current confusion makes me feel old and/or young.)
But I kid.
Anyway. Make some quiche! Quiche is great food! If you skip the crust, then this meal comes together super quickly (and is more of a frittata than a quiche…just saying). If you don’t skip the crust, you may find yourself grumbling under your breath because the crust shrank weirdly when you par-baked it, despite your use of pie weights. No? Just me, again?
But it will all turn out lovely and delicious and tasting of summer!
It was Mother’s Day a few weeks ago. Not to brag, but I had a pretty stupendous day!
I should probably backtrack and mention that my husband isn’t big into celebrating special occasions and events, or at least that he doesn’t care whether holidays are celebrated on time. He is more of the mind that a birthday is just a day, Christmas is just a day, Mother’s Day is just a day… And in a way, he is totally right—but I do love celebrations. I love the magical feeling and the pageantry. I love thinking about how all the prep is going to turn into something memorable. I love the memorable moments.
So. Guess how Dave decided we would celebrate Mother’s Day? He got up early and made me breakfast! In fact, he made me two breakfasts, because he did a trial run a few days earlier to make sure that Mother’s Day would be perfect.
(I’ll wait. While you say, “Awwwwww!”)
I got to choose the meal, and I racked my brain for something delicious but not too indulgent, simple but not boring. And I came up with a Dutch Baby!
A Dutch Baby is like a cross between a pancake and a popover. Topped off with lemon butter and powdered sugar, it is tart and sweet and a little doughy and, really, just everything a mom could hope for on Mother’s Day. We liked it so much that I made it again a few days later, just so I could share it with you!
Smells Like Brownies is turning 3! I can hardly believe it.
So I thought I should share a bit of a throwback recipe with you. In fact, this is the first recipe that I ever altered on my own for any reason. It was the beginning of my culinary journey. All in the humble wrapper of a morning muffin.
When I was a freshman in college, I suddenly realized that I didn’t know how to cook. I think, up ’til that point, I had assumed that I would just wake up one day and know the tricks of the trade, maybe learning it through osmosis or something, simply because my mom was a good cook.
But…I wasn’t even sure how to read a recipe unless it came on the side of a mac ‘n cheese box or would result in chocolate chip cookies. So I set about learning to make something easy. Something I craved on Sunday mornings. Muffins.
I made muffins like three times a week. I invited friends over to make muffins. It was a muffin party (complete with a muffin top I hadn’t anticipated…). And so my mom bought me my first cookbook ever, Muffins. It didn’t turn out to be a great cookbook, in case you were wondering, but it did make me realize I could, say, add spices to a vanilla muffin and make spice muffins. Use honey instead of sugar and make honey muffins. Add cocoa powder and make chocolate muffins. The possibilities were endless!
This chocolate spice combo turned out to be one of my favorites. I tweaked the spices ’til I liked them, and I had never felt so proud of my budding kitchen prowess.
So now, on my third blog-birthday, I will share them with you!
A few weeks ago, I started doing the Cooking Cure challenge by the Kitchn. I didn’t actually make it very far, because the more I thought about it, the more I realized that my main problem was breakfast.
I mean, I regularly make delicious and daring lunches with Sarah of Well Dined. And dinner at our house is a constant revolution of new recipes so that I will be able to share new ideas with you! But…until the beginning of the year, I could probably count on one hand the number of times I ate something other than Frosted Mini Wheats for breakfast since I was 21. Yep, long time.
So instead of moving on to lunch or dinner, I stuck with revamping my breakfast plan. And this meal was hearty and bright and delicious! Bright, jewel potatoes full of antioxidants and potassium, flavorful veggies like spinach and mushrooms, topped off with a beautiful, yolky egg? Yes, please!
Did you know that the Kitchn is hosting a cooking challenge this month? That’s right, time to get out of that rut you’re in and try something new!
The first week was breakfast week. And I have definitely been in a breakfast rut, so…good timing! I realized that I typically eat sweet and grainy breakfasts. I hardly ever eat eggs or vegetables before noon! So when it was time to set goals for breakfasts future, that was mine: eat more veggies and eggs for breakfast.
I kind of cheated on one of the “assignments” and didn’t actually look up any new recipes to try. But, hey, I did write down a few ideas I wanted to work into the morning lineup! And the first one that made the cut was eggs florentine.
I must admit that I love runny yolks any way they come, and eggs florentine has long been one of my favorite eggy treats. It’s so rich and sumptuous! I decided to model this dish after the fancy breakfast I usually order when I go to Eggspectation, so I added in a few slices of smoked salmon and a side of blanched asparagus. You know…so I could look myself in the eye after licking my plate clean (because at least I ate some vegetables with all that buttery hollandaise…).
You know what’s weird?
My husband loves whole grain breakfast foods, but doesn’t really like whole grain bread.
Me? I would probably trend the other way, given how much I love flaky pastries and cinnamon buns.
But this month, as I was perusing Amy’s Cooking Adventures for the Secret Recipe Club swap, I was captured by a recipe for multigrain pancakes. Honestly, one of the things that drew me in (aside from the undeniable delicious and nutritious benefits of eating a variety of grains) was that this recipe is sugar free! That’s right, in place of sugar, these pancakes use honey. Honey is the perfect complement to the nuttiness of wheat and other whole grains.
These pancakes are delicious and hearty! I was full after one. (But, um, I still ate two.) You should make them right away! Take them for a swim in a moat of hot maple syrup! Your taste buds will thank you.
So far, the biggest challenge I’ve faced in giving up refined sugar has been figuring out what to eat for breakfast. (Surprise!)
You see, I’ve been eating Frosted Mini Wheats almost daily for years. I love the chewy wheatiness and the fact that the sweet, frosted side isn’t overwhelming and does not dissolve into the milk in the bowl. I love that if I have to step away from my bowl (to, say, clean up something my son has strewn on the floor), the mini wheats do not turn into mush or breakfast cement in my brief absence.
But, as I’m sure you have guessed, Frosted Mini Wheats are not on the menu anymore. They aren’t as bad as most sugary cereals, but they certainly aren’t skimping in the sugar department.
So I decided, given that it’s the middle of a freezing winter, that instead of making eggs every morning or finding another cold cereal that has less sugar, I would turn to oatmeal.
This is a healthy, filling breakfast; it’s tasty, it takes very little effort to prepare, and I can really feel good about eating it!