Category Archives: Breakfast

Godzilla Smoothie

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Godzilla Smoothie

For the past year, my life has been extremely hectic.  Long hours at work with very little time off.  In order to get things done in an efficient and effective manner, I have had to step up my game in the multitasking department.  It’s not that I wanted to do it but, had to.  Picture this…  Imagine a woman sitting at her kitchen table every morning before the sun is up and the neighborhood is awake.  She has a hot cup of coffee in the left hand, a newspaper in the right, her laptop is open to the day’s emails, a tube of black mascara is on one side and shiny lip gloss on the other.  Oh, and there’s a bright orange cat in her lap demanding attention and a lively white terrier with his paws on the side of her chair wanting to play ball.  That woman you just imagined is me.  I do that nearly every day in a span of about thirty minutes.  After the half hour is over, there’s nothing but a vapor trail between my home and the office.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGodzilla

I have to admit that I never had an energy drink until about a month ago.  One day, on my way to work, I stopped at my favorite coffee stand.  I was not in the mood for my usual triple shot nonfat vanilla latte over ice.  I wanted something different.  It had to be ice cold, slightly sweet but with a “generous” dose of caffeine.  As the barista suggested, I purchased a smoothie blended with a Red Bull.  Pros: It tasted really good.  It filled me up and gave me that big energy boost that I was looking for.  Con:  It was five bucks including the tip.  After that, I knew that I could make my own smoothie with an energy drink.  The very next day the Godzilla Smoothie was born.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My Godzilla Smoothie is all that I wanted my new smoothie to be.  Ice cold, slightly sweet, and highly caffeinated.  It’s made with spinach, mango, a splash of mango juice and a can of Red Bull…  It does have healthy elements such as nutrient rich spinach and mangoes.  Yet, it has the lively pick me up of an energy drink.  It tastes great and certainly does the trick when time is at a premium.  I must say, drinking my Godzilla Smoothie is multitasking at its finest.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1/4 cup frozen spinach
  • splash of mango juice (to taste)
  • 1 8.4 ounce can of Red Bull

Add all ingredients to a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Serve immediately.  Makes one Godzilla Smoothie.

***Note:  This beverage should be consumed in moderation.  It’s not for everyone.  Be sure to read the label.  Energy drinks are not for children, pregnant women or people who are sensitive to caffeine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Print Friendly

Sweet Potato Bread

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASweet Potato Bread

Some people like to collect stamps, some people like to collect trading cards.  Me?  I like to collect different types of pantry ingredients.  For example, I don’t have just one or two bottles of vinegar in my cupboard, I have well over a dozen different varieties of vinegar.   When it comes to throwing together a quick or an exotic meal, I have all my bases covered.  My pantry is chock full of wide range of ingredients that would make most discerning home cook squeal with delight.  However, I make it a point to avoid purchasing pre-made mixes or boxed dinners.  Finding a box of “Hamburger Helper” sitting in my cupboard is as likely as me becoming the next new swimsuit model for Sports Illustrated.  Just not happening…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One of the random ingredients sitting on the pantry shelf was a little can of organic sweet potato puree.  I have to tell you that when I bought it puree, I had no idea what I was going to do with it.  I’ve never used canned sweet potato puree before, so I simply wanted to taste it and see how it compared to sweet potato puree made from scratch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I was surprised to find that the canned sweet potato puree tasted really good.  The sweet potato puree was creamy, sweet and is reminiscent of cooked pumpkin.  It also made a decent substitute for canned pumpkin and it saved me about an hours worth of time if I decided to prepare it myself.  With all that said, I still stand behind my opinion that fresh ingredients always tastes better than canned.  However, there is no shame in using a good quality canned ingredients.  I just did, and I was pleased with the results.

My easy to make Sweet Potato Bread is light, moist and has the wonderful flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.  It’s great sliced for a quick breakfast on the go or as a snack with a warm cup of tea.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 15 ounce can sweet potato puree
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cloves

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly grease two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch baking pans.  In a medium sized mixing bowl add the sweet potato puree, canola oil, eggs, water and vanilla.  Mix well.  In a separate large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.  Mix well.  Divide mixture between the two baking pans.  Bake in oven for about 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on wire racks, slice and serve.  Makes two loaves.

Print Friendly

U-pick Apricots at D & L Acres and an Apricot Smoothie

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Apricot Smoothie

I must be on a roll… I can’t believe that I just enjoyed two consecutive days off.  On my first day off, I did pretty much nothing.  Two afternoon naps, dinner out at one of our favorite restaurants and then I went to bed early and slept for another twelve hours.  I never sleep that much.  8 hours max.  There was no doubt, I really needed the sleep.

Today I woke up cheery and refreshed.  I felt like my normal self again.  What was even better is that today was U-Pick apricot day at D & L Acres.   D & L Acres is one of the only U-Pick apricot orchards here in Southern Oregon.  D & L is open for business from mid July to early August and I have to tell you, their apricots are absolutely fantastic!  I was so excited as I grabbed my camera, my bucket, and headed out to the orchard.  I knew that I was in for a real treat!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A view of the front orchard.  This orchard has been picked through…  In the back orchard, that was another story.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the back orchard, the trees were totally loaded with apricots.  So loaded, that some of the branches were broken on the trees because of the heavy fruit.  This year was a good year.  Tons of bright orange apricots, sweet and juicy!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

These apricots were so ripe that if you just touched them, they would fall off the tree.  I knew that once I got these apricots home, they would not last long.  I had to process them immediately.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A bucketful of fresh picked apricots.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And a handful of apricots!  Orange color with a pink blush.  These are called Tilton apricots.  They are perfect for canning, freezing or drying.  They also have a heart like shape similar to a peach.  They’re also great blended up in a smoothie.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As soon as I got home, I whipped out my new blender.  I knew exactly what I was going to do with them.  Sweet creamy smoothies for Bruce and I.  Oh, and I have to tell you that they sure were delicious!

Thank you Janie and Brian for the apricots!  If you are looking for apricots in the Southern Oregon area, be sure to look up D & L Acres.  D & L Acres is located at 5225 Fern Valley Road in Medford, Oregon.  Call for apricot availability before heading out.  The apricot season is short, and in my opinion, the apricots at D & L acres are awesome.  Their phone number is (541) 535 – 2901.  Be sure to tell them that I sent you!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 3 – 4 large pitted apricots
  • 3/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1 tsp honey or sugar
  • 1 or 2 ice cubes

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth.  Serve immediately.  Makes one serving.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Print Friendly

Blueberry Bread

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlueberry Bread

Yesterday morning while Bruce was opening the mail he noticed that our natural gas bill was unusually low as compared to years past.  He was concerned, shouted out to me and asked me what I thought of it.  Well, the answer was easy.  Our kitchen stove uses natural gas and I have hardly cooked anything for the family over the course of the past month or two.  If it was not for fast food, roast Costco chicken, or frozen dinners the members of my family would have starved to death…

I’ve been working long hours lately and I’ve rarely spent time in my kitchen.  My refrigerator, coffee maker and microwave have been the only appliances that have been put to use.  My stove, ovens and stand mixer have been idle and collecting dust.  My camera has remained in the closet and has not been touched.  By the time I get home in the evenings all I want to do is sit on my couch in complete peace and quiet.  I stopped reading my magazines, books and favorite food blogs.  I’ve hardly checked Facebook and ignored my personal emails.  Feral Kitchen has been mothballed and a good home cooked meal has been nonexistent in our home.  On the bright side, I know that these long hours are temporary and life will be back to normal before I know it.  I look forward to getting back into the kitchen.  Cooking makes me happy.

Well, all things considered, today is a brand new day.  Today is different.  Today, I have a day off!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This morning while out shopping for groceries for the week, I spied two pounds of fresh picked blueberries.  They were just gorgeous!  Bright blue, fat and juicy.  Without hesitation, they went straight into my shopping basket.  I knew what I wanted to do with them.  I wanted to make some blueberry bread for breakfast and maybe even share some with coworkers during the busy work week.  The rest will be packed in my lunch and the others will be made into a tangy blueberry ginger vinaigrette.  If the vinaigrette turns out the way I want it to taste, I will be sure to share the recipe with you sometime soon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I love blueberries!  I love the flavor and color.  What’s funny about blueberries is that I refused to eat them as a child.  How weird is that?  I find it so interesting how my palate has changed as I’ve aged.  I’m curious, has that happened to you too?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My blueberry bread is packed with fresh plump blueberries and is not too sweet.  A slice or two is great with a cup of coffee or tea.  Any leftover loaves are perfect for sharing with friends and family or as a hostess gift.  Makes 3 delicious loaves.  It’s good to be back.  See you again soon!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp lemon extract
  • 3 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, canola oil, and lemon extract.  Add blueberries to the wet ingredients.  Now add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Mix until moist and lumpy.  Don’t over mix.  Add mixture to 3 greased 4 x 8 loaf pans.  Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on wire racks before slicing.  Makes 3 fabulous loaves!

Print Friendly

Morel Havarti Omelet

Morel Havarti Omelet

One of the things that I love about Oregon is our morel mushrooms.  I never tasted a morel mushroom before until I moved here well over 25 years ago.  Nearly every year I hunt for them on the forest floor of the Cascade Mountains in the spring and early summer.  Some years I am able to find buckets full of mushrooms, sadly, this year, I was so busy with other things, I did not get a chance to go…  From what I heard from people who live in the mountains above the Rogue Valley is that the weather conditions were less than ideal this year and the picking season was terribly short.  So, when I saw these tasty little morels at my favorite food coop, I snagged a brown paper bag full.

Morels are easily identifiable by their shape and their honeycomb texture.  Before going out and picking morels be sure to do your homework and learn how to identify them properly.  There are other mushrooms out in the forest that are similar in shape and size to a morel. Those mushrooms are called false morels and what’s bad about them is that they are not edible and in fact, they may be poisonous.  False morels look similar to a morel so, just be careful…

A half pound of morels.  I always rinse mine before I use them.  The little ridges and pits in the mushrooms can contain dirt and other forest debris.  If you ever get a chance to purchase morels or go hunting for them, by all means, do it.  Morels taste amazing and are super simple to prepare.  You can saute them, fry them, put them in soups, sauces, or use them in ways you would white or crimini mushrooms.  I decided to take some of these mushrooms and put them in an omelet.  I prepared a basic 3 egg omelet and sauteed morels, shallots, thyme, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper in a bit of melted butter.  Filled the omelet with the morel mixture added some Havarti cheese and melted additional Havarti on top.  It was absolutely delightful! Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon cold water
  •  sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs canola oil
  • 1 cup morel mushrooms (cleaned and halved)
  • 1 Tbs shallots (minced)
  • 1/2  tsp fresh thyme (minced)
  • 1 tsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 ounces havarti cheese
  • sprigs of fresh thyme for garnish

In a small bowl whisk vigorously together the eggs, water, salt and pepper.  In a nonstick pan on medium high heat add canola oil.  Add the egg mixture covering the entire pan.  Lift parts of the egg mixture with a spatula to allow egg mixture to go under the omelet and cook.  Cook until set.  Meanwhile in another pan, saute the morel mushrooms, shallots, thyme, salt and pepper in butter.  Add mushroom mixture to omelet.  Add 1 ounce Havarti cheese and fold.  Add remaining havarti to the top of the omelet, add a tsp of water, cover and melt.  Remove from pan and slide onto a plate.  Serve immediately.  Garnish with fresh sprigs of thyme.  Makes 1 omelet.

Print Friendly

Asparagus Leek Quiche

 

Asparagus Leek Quiche

My son came home to visit for the weekend and before he went back up to school late this afternoon we hosted a Sunday morning brunch at our home.  I baked some quiches, made my “famous” biscuits and gravy, served eggs cooked to order, set out a big bowl of fresh picked strawberries and a dished up a variety of fresh salads.  We even had fresh squeezed orange juice and mimosas.  Delish!

Quiches are one of my favorite dishes to make.  First of all, they are very versatile because you can put so some many different types of ingredients in them.  Second, they are super easy to make.  And three, you can get away with serving quiche for any meal of the day.

I work full time during the week and have been known to make quiche on the weekend just to have slices available for my breakfast or lunch while I am at the office.  I simply warm it up in the microwave in the break room for a few seconds, grab a fork and my meal is done.  Simple, no muss, no fuss.  And, I am back to work at my desk in no time at all.

My Asparagus Leek Quiche is baked with local free range organic eggs, fresh picked asparagus, organic leeks, and shredded creamy Havarti cheese in a flaky golden pie crust.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 9″ refrigerated pie crust (unfold and roll to fit pie or tart pan)
  • 1 cup leeks (washed and thinly sliced)
  • 2 cups asparagus (chopped)
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 4 ounces Havarti cheese (shredded)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp fresh grated nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Begin by rolling out the pie crust and placing it in a 9″ pie pan or 10″ tart pan.  I used a tart pan.  Heat a saute pan on the stove, add the canola oil, asparagus, leeks and salt.  Saute for a few minutes until asparagus are tender.  Don’t over cook.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, half and half, white pepper, salt and nutmeg.  Add asparagus, leeks and Havarti cheese.  Mix well and pour into pie crust.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  Turn down heat and bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes or until crust is golden.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Slice into wedges.  Makes 1 quiche.

Print Friendly

Red Potato Ham and Cheese Pie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Potato Ham and Cheese Pie

I stopped at the store the other day and came home with a couple of pounds of gorgeous locally grown red potatoes.  At first, I was thinking of making a garlic mash with them and then I thought maybe some good old fashioned scallop potatoes.  I could not decide and then I figured it out…  I wanted to make a Red Potato Ham and Cheese Pie.  I imagined a savory red potato pie without a crust but with chopped ham, onions, garlic, fresh shaved Parmesan and Oregon’s own Tillamook cheddar cheese.  I wanted to make it kind of like an “impossible pie”.

My Red Potato Ham and Cheese Pie is a lovely dish to serve at a Sunday brunch or with a cup of soup or salad for lunch or dinner.  I ate my slice of Red Potato Ham and Cheese Pie with a perfectly cooked over easy egg on the side.  It was absolutely delicious!   Enjoy!  – Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds red potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped ham
  • 1 cup shredded medium cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup medium diced onion
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • salt to taste (it all depends on the saltiness of the ham)

Begin by boiling your red potatoes in salted water until just fork tender.  Whatever you do, just do not over cook the potatoes.  You want to be able to slice them thinly later.  Remove cooked potatoes from water and let cool.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grab a nine inch diameter spring-form pan and spray with non stick cooking spray.  Line the bottom of the spring-form pan with parchment paper.  Spray again with non-stick spray.

Begin by slicing the red potatoes (with peels on) into no more than 1/4 inch thin slices using a sharp knife or a mandoline slicer.  Set potatoes aside.  In a mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, coriander, garlic, nutmeg and white pepper.  Salt only if you think that you need it.

Take one third of your potatoes and layer the bottom of the spring-form pan.  Overlapping the potatoes is fine, leaving gaps on the bottom is not.  I found I preferred to use the ugliest of the slices and bits of the potato on the bottom of the pie that way the pretty slices are used in the second and top layer.  Add one third of the shredded cheese, chopped onion, ham and egg mixture.  Repeat two more times alternating potato, cheese, onion, ham and egg mixture.

Place pie in the oven on a cookie sheet (to catch any drips) and bake for about 50-55 minutes until the pie is golden brown on top and the egg mixture has set.  Remove from oven, let rest 10 minutes before slicing.  Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese and sprigs of fresh picked herbs.  Makes 8 slices.

Notes:  If you don’t have a spring-form pan, it’s no big deal!  Just work with what you have. Use a baking dish large enough to fit all your ingredients and make at least 2-3 layers.  Don’t worry about the parchment paper either.  I just used it to get perfect slices out of the spring-form pan.  Just follow the recipe, cut into squares and serve!

Print Friendly

Pancakes with Raspberries and Tropical Syrup

It’s a beautiful day today in Southern Oregon.  It’s early in the morning and my family is still fast asleep.  The sun is shining, the sky is blue and I have the day off.  I feel as though I am one lucky woman.  I took a personal inventory and determined that have a wonderful family, a great husband and cool friends.  I know that it does not get much better than that.  My guys don’t know it yet but as soon as they wake up they are going to get raspberry pancakes for breakfast.  I also have a little box of fresh fruit that was leftover from a fruit plate that we had with dinner last night that I am going to turn into a an easy tropical syrup.

Fast forward a couple of hours.  My guys loved them!  The pancakes were simple.  I opened a box of readymade pancake mix and followed the directions for 4 servings…  Ya, I know what you are thinking… It’s shameful for a food blogger to admit that.  Before you dish out the insults, stop and think and I’d be willing to bet that you have done that too.  I then gently folded some chopped raspberries into the batter and began to prepare the tropical syrup.

The tropical syrup was pretty simple too.  All I did was chop up the fruit that I had (there were bits of strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, blueberries, and raspberries) and it came to about 3/4 cup of mixed chopped fruit.  I added the fruit to a saucier and added 3/4 cup of water and 1 cup of extra fine sugar.  I cooked the syrup on medium low for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally until the fruit cooked down.  I then removed the syrup from the stove and let cool.  It made about a cup and a half of syrup.  Meanwhile, I cooked the pancakes.

The key to great looking pancakes is to use a hot griddle, be sure to not over mix and to use a small scoop or ladle for dishing out the batter.  Enjoy!  Tessa

 

Print Friendly

Breakfast Soft Tacos

I love lazy Saturday mornings.  I can sit for hours sipping on coffee and reading the newspaper.  This Saturday morning instead of reading the paper, I decided to make some breakfast soft tacos.  I thought to myself, who made up the rules and said that tacos are only for lunch or dinner? My breakfast soft tacos are filled with scrambled eggs, refried beans, crispy bacon, fresh picked tomatoes and cotija cheese.  I like to drizzle hot sauce on mine for a fiery kick.   These breakfast tacos are super easy to make and can be made as a quick breakfast on a busy weekday morning.

I purchase my eggs from a family in town who has dozens of chicken roaming around in their yard.   When I put in my order, I never know what I am going to get.  Mostly I get the brown eggs but sometimes if I am lucky I get the ones that are a lovely light blue or green.  There is nothing better than farm fresh organic free range eggs…

Ingredients:

  • 4 small flour tortillas
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 slices cooked bacon crumbled
  • 1 cup refried beans
  • 1/2 c. coarsely chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cotija cheese (crumbled)
  • 1 green onion sliced on the bias
  • your favorite hot sauce (optional)

Let’s begin by prepping all your ingredients.  Cook your bacon and crumble, chop your onions, heat up your beans, chop your tomatoes, crumble your cheese, and slice your onions.  Set aside.  Heat up your tortillas briefly in the microwave or in a dry frying pan.  Put on plates.  Add 1/4 cup refried beans on top of each tortilla.  Whisk together your eggs in a medium sized bowl and cook in a nonstick pan coated with cooking spray.  Divide your eggs and put on top of the refried beans.  Add your bacon, tomatoes, green onion and sprinkle on the cotija cheese.  Drizzle with hot sauce if you like.  Makes 4 tasty breakfast tacos.  Enjoy!  Tessa

 

Print Friendly