Sweet breakfast polenta

I came across this recipe a while back at Joy the Baker. Comfort food for breakfast? I’m obviously in for that. And I like that it’s something a little different; not that breakfast casserole is anything to turn your nose at (duh), but it’s fun to shake things up every once in a while, right?

Sweet breakfast polenta

Ingredients

  • 1 cup polenta
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Measure polenta into a small bowl and add 1 cup cold water; stir and set aside
  2. In a medium saucepan bring 2 cups cold water and 2 cups milk to a low boil; stir in salt, then slowly add the polenta/water mixture, whisking to keep the lumps away
  3. Simmer until the polenta is thickened, stirring frequently; this can take anywhere from 10-40 minutes depending on how coarse your polenta is, so keep an eye on it
  4. Add sugar, vanilla and cinnamon to thickened polenta, then serve topped with milk and an extra little bit of brown sugar (because, hey, why not?)

Keep warm, kids!

Cutie Cake

I am SO HAPPY with how this turned out!

I really wanted to make a clementine cake this year before they’re gone again, so I picked up a little crate then looked up a couple clementine cake recipes; what I found were flourless cakes involving springform pans, which I don’t own (oops). So I decided to take a different route and adapt an old Betty Crocker applesauce cake recipe to include clementines. It’s so good! The whole process makes your house smell amazing and the taste is incredible too!

Hi, I’m gushing.

Anyway. The prep for this involves cooking the clementines for a couple hours first so leave yourself ample cooking and cooling time.

Cutie Cake

Ingredients

  • 5 clementines
  • 1 cups Craisins
  • 2 1/2 cups + 1 Tbsp. AP flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • sprinkle of allspice
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Put the clementines in a pot and pour in enough cold water to cover; bring to a boil then cook at somewhere between a simmer and a boil for two hours; drain and cool, then halve the clementines and run them through a food processor (that’s right, the whole fruit) until you have a smooth puree
  2. Preheat oven to 350F and grease and flour a Bundt pan
  3. Toss Craisins with 1 Tbsp. flour and set aside
  4. In another bowl mix remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice; stir well and set aside
  5. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer till light and fluffy, then add in eggs one at a time, mixing after each till well incorporated. Now alternate adding in the flour mixture and the pureed clementines until batter is smooth, then stir in floured Craisins
  6. Spread batter evenly in Bundt pan (mixture will be a little thick) and bake at 350F until a toothpick comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes; cool on a rack then sprinkle with powdered sugar

I do hope y’all try this. Let me know what you think!

Peppermint syrup

This is another one of those “I can’t believe I ever spent money on this” sort of recipes. I love those!

Last year I sweet talked a barista into selling me a bottle of peppermint syrup so I could have my own peppermint coffees at home. You know, for less than $6 a cup. This year I thought I’d go one better and make it myself. As with so many things, it is ridiculously simple to make on your own.

Peppermint syrup

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract

Instructions

  1. I did this in the microwave in my trusty Pyrex but in a saucepan on the stove is fine too — just stir together the sugar and water and heat till the sugar dissolves, then stir in the peppermint extract (which, I have found, varies a lot from bottle to bottle, so be sure to taste and adjust accordingly)

You can also replace the peppermint extract with vanilla for quick and easy vanilla syrup.

That’s all, folks! Then add about a tablespoon to your coffee, hot chocolate or whatever floats your boat. Enjoy!

Pumpkin muffins

Behold: my breakfast from now till Christmas!

These are such a lovely start to the morning. Warm and comfort food-ey and delicious even without any butter on them. I’m afraid this is another one of my scrawled-on-a-piece-of-paper recipes so I’m not sure where I originally got it, but I’ve been making them forever.

 

Pumpkin muffins

Yield: 36 muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients till just combined — lumps are okay — and fill prepared muffin cups 1/2 to 2/3 full; bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean

Some easy edits if you have the urge to health these up a bit:

  • Cut the sugar — these are lovely and sweet but would still be yummy with less sugar (although when you divide the sugar by 36 muffins it’s not so bad)
  • Replace 1/2 cup of the oil with 1/2 cup applesauce
  • Replace half the flour with whole wheat flour

These freeze wonderfully! I freeze them flat on a cookie sheet then drop them in a zip top bag; I take out one every night and it’s thawed by morning when the coffee is ready. You can also pop it in the microwave for a couple seconds to warm it up. Quick and easy comfort food!

Edited to add 11/12/10: Ooh I just found something! For a decadent version of these involving cream cheese check out these from Family Bites!

Hummus

The first time I tried hummus? Not. A. Fan. I couldn’t even tell you now what I didn’t like about it (it was years and years ago) but I can for sure tell you I didn’t like it. Fast forward to this month when Kiddo’s BFF’s mom made it at her house. Seeing as how it’d been years and years I wanted to try it again, so I sort of held my breath and took a bite. YUM! I don’t know what the difference is, but now I can’t get enough of the stuff.

Vanessa sent me her recipe so I made a big batch of this for last night. Halloween night at our place is hanging out with the neighbors on the front porch with food and wine while we hand out candy; we don’t go trick or treating because Kiddo doesn’t like candy (of course) so we just make it into a party (and I LOVE it!). In the three and a half seconds I spent looking in the grocery store I couldn’t find the tahini Vanessa’s recipe called for so I used natural peanut butter instead, a la Alton Brown.

Hummus

Ingredients

  • Gather up:
  • 1 can chick peas (drain, keep 1/3 c of liquid)
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter (or tahini)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled or a couple spoonfuls of jarred minced garlic
  • Healthy pinch of salt
  • Cayenne pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Put everything but the chickpeas in a food processor and process till garlic is well chopped
  2. Add in chickpeas and process till smooth and give it a taste — adjust salt and cayenne as desired
  3. Chill; eat with pita chips and/or baby carrots