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Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

When my friend B picked up the phone yesterday, I was my usual charming self and greeted him with , “I was about to totally lose my shit if you didn’t pick up the god damn phone.” Clearly, I hate hyperbole.

I’d been trying to reach him for days and though we had texted and the such in the interim, I had some very important things I needed to discuss with him. He is one of those annoying people who hates VM so I have promised to only leave him a message if I really, truly need him. (Conversely, I hate it when people don’t leave VMs so he has agreed to humor me and always leave one. See how well our friendship works?) Something along the lines of I have fallen in a well or I am thinking about cutting my hair again are acceptable reasons to send a mayday VM. My most recent spiral was not VM worthy…even I knew this.  Yet, I was still anxious to hear the voice of reason; a special reasoning that can only come from someone you have known for almost 20 years.  The boy has me down.

You see, I am worried about my sex drive.  Thank Christ it is still there, but my appetite has been completely screwy and I have my concerns.  See, the two constant things in my whole life have been food and sex…and an equal fervor for both.  Now that my desire for food has been waning, I fear my libido may be next…and then the world will stop spinning on it’s axis.  I started lamenting as such when I finally got B on the phone.

“I don’t really know what I want food wise and I am scared sex is next.  What the hell will I do?”

“Lex…I don’t think this is really a concern with you.”

“Um, has food ever been a concern before?”

“Hm, well.  Seriously though, I think you are ok.”

“Well, today I thought of the only thing I really had any desire to eat and I made it.  I don’t care if it is awful for me…something must be done to save myself.”

“Ok, what?”

“Um, crepes like my Memere used to make…and I stuffed them with brown sugar and drowned them in syrup just like her.  It is what I wanted.  I need to save myself.”

“So healthy kid food, huh?  Jesus, Lex….you’re insane.”

I love you too, B…

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Crepes

Adapted slightly from Simple Comfort Food

2 large eggs

1/3 cup of water

1 cup of milk

1 cup of all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

2 tbsp of unsalted butter, melted for coating the crepe pan
In a blender, mix all ingredients. The mix will be very smooth and super thin. Preheat crepe pan (or fry pan) over meium heat and add butter to pan. Cook on each side for about 2 minutes and flip.

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On Me

At this time last year I was not in a good place.

I will spare you the details but I was in an epically self-punishing spiral, caught in a cycle of masochism and reckless behavior that makes me cringe to this day. Honestly, it was pretty spectacular. I was hell bent on destroying myself.

The other day I was marveling at how far I have come in a year, reaching behind me and giving myself a hearty slap on the back. For shits and giggles, I decided to go through my email and read some choice excerpts from May and June of last year. I was struck by two things: 1) God, was I hurting. I didn’t imagine it and I have not added some sort of dramatic sentimentalism to the whole ordeal. I was a hot mess, a mess that could scorch the sun. 2) Even though I was in it in a bad way, I still remained me. I remember feeling like I was scraping by, barely a shadow of my actual self. Yet, looking back, those emails and chats were real and authentic and I will be damned if some of them were just not hysterically funny. It is somewhat shocking–and completely reassuring–that even in the surge of the storm I held on to myself even when I felt like I was being washed away.

So, a year later and things are better, incredibly better.  I know I owe a huge debt to certain people in my life who served as tethers.  The recipients of those emails and calls deserve some sort of award for showing me compassion while still speaking the truth and doing their damndest to smack me out of it.  I can’t help but take some solace in the fact that it was me, at the end of the day, who pulled myself out.  When you is all you have it is important not to fail yourself…and I didn’t.

So, almost a year ago I made some banana muffins and here we are again…same old me doing the same thing.  These were good, most definitely, but not great.  I wish they would have been more moist, but others found the substantial crumb satisfying.  I ate these dry and definitely think they would have been well served with some jam.  They were good, though…very good.  I just am rarely completely satisfied with muffins, so that is my own issue.

But hey…that’s just me.

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Banana Corn Muffins

from Cooks.com

1 c. all purpose flour

3/4 c. corn meal

1/4 c. sugar

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/2 c. milk

1/3 c. vegetable oil

3/4 c. (about 2) mashed bananas
Combine dry ingredients in small pitcher. In a mixing bowl, combine egg, milk, oil and banana; add to dry ingredients. Mix only until moistened. Pour into 12 paper lined or greased muffin cups (3/4 full). Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Makes 1 dozen muffins, 170 calories each.

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Lady Who Brunches

I spend a lot of time thinking about what it would feel like to not work. Everyone does this, right? Even if they love their job? I have to believe they do, because even if you are doing important work like clothing orphans or sending beehives to African villages, sometimes you just want to be lazy.

I don’t know if it is the sudden emergence of summer (Spring, why such an elusive vixen this year?) or just some listlessness I have been feeling about my current employment “situation”, but I spend far too much time fantasizing about what I would do with those empty days. Reading and volunteering would probably…happen.  That would be a good thing.  I would definitely be a better friend, keeping in touch more and hopefully figuring out a better way to parse up my time and still keep some for myself.

But the truth of the matter is this; I would become a lady who brunches. For me, brunch is a much better option than lunch. It is over the top and decadent; exactly how I do.  I would order french toast drowned in rivers of maple syrup and slather scones in clotted cream.  I would finally find the best hashbrowns in the city and locate the most fantastic cup of coffee.  But really?   It is all about the mimosas…glass after bottomless glass of worry erasing would greet me every morning.  It would be glorious.

But for now, I work.  I’ve yet to win the lottery or drop my ideals and allow myself to become a kept woman. Just the rushing to fit in the gym and return all those neglected hone calls.  Though I am sad I cannot have those things, it probably is for the best I don’t eat all those brunches.  One should not exceed their caloric intake for the day before noon.  If I am stuck with something healthy, delicious and filling, I think I am doing ok.  Those brunches can wait.

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Breakfast Quinoa

Slightly adapted from 101 Cookbooks

1 cup skim milk
1 cup water
1 cup organic quinoa, rinsed
2 cups fresh berries–I used strawberries and blackberries
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
4 teaspoons honey

Combine milk, water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat; let stand covered 5 minutes. Stir in blackberries and cinnamon; transfer to four bowls and top with pecans. Drizzle 1 teaspoon agave nectar over each serving.

Serves 4.

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Beyonce has Sasha Fierce. Mariah Carey has Mimi. Janet Jackson has Damito Jo. Me? I have Tawny Kitean.

The nickname was bestowed upon me about four years ago. I had consumed far too much infused vodka at a party thrown by a coworker. We’d reached the point in the evening where the 80s mix was in full effect. I danced to “White Wedding”, “Billie Jean” and “Walking on Sunshine”. I dreamed of a simpler time adorned with slap bracelet and puffy paint “Save the Whales” t-shirts.

Then it came on. “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake blared through the speakers. David Coverdale’s simple but heartfelt lyrics released a flood of emotions. I know what it is like to be a drifter, David! I walk alone. Yes, I am indeed just another heart in need of rescue.

My feelings took hold of me and the only thing I could do was dance, dance like there was no tomorrow. I swayed back and forth, swung my hips to and fro. Then, I dropped to the floor. There was writhing. There was humping. There were some things that will remain between me and that floor. Only G-d can judge us and our love!

To this day my friend Bitchy McSnarkster always inquires if the beautiful Tawny Kitean is coming out to play when we get together.  Tawny always brings it so I cannot blame him.

You know, I still I don’t have the answers. What is love’s sweet charity? What’s wrong with wasting time? But I am actually capable of making up my mind about something. This banana bread may be the best freaking banana bread you will ever make. There, I said it. Don’t make me writhe atop a sports car to make my point but I will if I have to; it is that good. It is Irish Lebowski’s family recipe and good lord it is some good stuff. It is moist and super flavorful and takes about three minutes to make. I cheat and just mash the bananas really well and then mix everything by hand; by all means use a hand mixer of you feel so inclined though. I know there is nothing earth shattering or difficult at all about banana bread but with stuff this simple it really comes down to finding the right recipe.  Here, I found your recipe.

You can thank me later…perhaps with an interpretive dance to your favorite jam of 1987?

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Banana Bread

Lebowski Family Recipe

3-4 ripe bananas (when bananas get too brown, I will throw them in the freezer…defrost them and use them for things such as this banana bread or a smoothie)
1 C sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 C flour
1 T vanilla
1/4 C melted butter
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease or butter loaf pan.
Mash bananas. Add egg, vanilla, and melted butter to bananas and mix with electric mixer. Add sugar and mix, then add dry ingredients and mix. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 1 hour.
*Note that depending on how moist your batter is (how many bananas you used, how big they were, etc.) you may need to cook for more or less than an hour. Bread is done when center top is fully cooked and no longer mushy to the touch.

**Instead of one large loaf, you can make 3 mini loaves. Reduce cooking time to 30-40 minutes.

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Poached

Future MILF and all around badass Lisa asked me a few weeks back to do a post on how to poach an egg. Who am I to say no to her? So here it is, fast and dirty…how to poach an egg.

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1. Heat a pot of water over high heat. Just when it starts to bubble (it should not be boiling) stir the pot, creating a whirlpool. Bonus points if you use a happy face spatula from your 6-year-old cousin.

2. Crack an egg in a small bowl. This will make it easier to slide in the water.

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3. Slide the egg out of the bowl in to the middle of the whirlpool. Don’t panic. Shit is going to look a little crazy but it will all come together. The whirlpool helps the egg wrap around itself.

4. Cook for approximately 3 minutes.

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5. Fish out egg with slotted spoon. Serve on toast or english muffin with salt and pepper.

See, not so hard.  I would love to slather it in hollaindaise, but seeing as I ate my body weight in dip yesterday, I shall pass.  But you guys go ahead–I give you permission.

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I’m a Survivor

I have a deep fear of death by animal attack.

I think it started when I was 8. The neighbor’s doberman pinned me to a tree as I screamed bloody murder. I was convinced I was about to get mauled. Dogs and I have had a tenuous relationship ever since.

I refused to go anywhere near the kitchen at night during the summer I worked at the ranch. Bob, a wild bear, was fond of making visits to the dumpster that was right outside the kitchen door. Even late night drunken muchies weren’t enough to entice me anywhere near that building.

This past trip to Florida? Every time I went for a jog, I was convinced I was going to be the victim of an alligator attack. This is a completely rational fear. My flesh is very delicious.

Some of these jogs took place at night.  I’d work my way around the block and as I came closer to the pond in the neighborhood, I would lose my nerve and turn around.  I imagined a gator stealthily sneaking up, grabbing me by the ankles and having his best meal to date.  What a sad way to go.  Can you imagine the tombstone? “Here lies Lemmonex: Big Mouth, Perpetually Single, Devoured by Oversized Handbag”?

I was determined to live another day because I knew I had to make these muffins Christmas morning.  These are a good, basic muffin with the added benefit of being low fat thanks to the buttermilk.  The lemon added some brightness and I threw in some extra blueberries for additional texture and flavor.  In full disclosure, I should have left these in the oven for an extra minute.  They were cooked fully through, but could have been a little browner and crispier on top.  Oh wel. I was hungry and in a rush; worse things have happened.  These were perfect, simple little treats to start the day without all the extra calories of a deli muffin.  I’d definitely make them again…

…that is, if the animals don’t get me first.

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Lemon Blueberry Muffins

From Cooking Light

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 cup blueberries (note: I used 1.5 cups)
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 400°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (flour through nutmeg) in a medium bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Combine buttermilk, egg, and rind; stir well with a whisk. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moist. Gently fold in blueberries.

Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until the muffins spring back when lightly touched. Remove muffins from pans immediately, and place on a wire rack to cool.

Combine lemon juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Drizzle glaze evenly over cooled muffins.

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A Christmas Miracle

At my old place of employ, the yearly holiday party was an annual point of contention. We had offices both in DC and Delaware, but the boss insisted the party be held in Delaware every year. Let me tell you, nothing warms the heart and fills your heart with holiday cheer more than having to shell out $100 for a train ticket to Wilmington four days before Christmas.

One holiday season, the assistant to The Big Boss sent out an email inquiring if we, already put upon, bitter, and angry staffers, would perhaps like to participate in a Yankee Gift Swap at the holiday party. I had had enough. The last thing I needed was to spend $20 on some meaningless gift. I responded to her:

FUCK THE YANKEE GIFT EXCHANGE! It is bad enough I have to spend money I don’t have for a train ticket days before Christmas, but the last thing I need is another stupid chotchke to drag all the way back to DC. My vote is NO.

Within about thirty seconds, I heard a “Go Lemmy!”. About 5 seconds after that, Bitchy McSnarkster, whose office was right near my cube, let out a giddy cackle. If you haven’t guessed already, I replied all. Every single person on staff received that charming and articulate email. The color drained from my face and my stomach rested leadenly in my mouth. I was mortified and just about ready to throw myself from the window. I desperately tried to recall the message. The thing is, when you recall a message, it just makes folks more curious. They knew me and they knew it had to be good. The responses flooded in from the DC and Delaware offices; I was being given a collective standing ovation over email. Until the day I left that job the phrase “FUCK THE YANKEE GIFT EXCHANGE” was repeated to me at every single function. It is a miracle I didn’t lose my job, or at least get a stern talking to, over that missive.

That is why I loved it there. My freak flag flew freely in that office and they loved me despite (or maybe because of) it. While the people in my new office are perfectly fine, it is merely a job, a place I spend 40 hours a week. The holidays are always a very bizarre time at Current Job; no one bakes or gets drinks or spreads any sort of cheer. The holidays barely register on the radar screen.

I made this coffee cake for my coworkers and when I tried it, I couldn’t bear to bring it in. It was just too good and…well, they don’t deserve it. It just isn’t the culture there to share. I am trying to change that with the occasional treat, but there was no way they were getting their paws on this. It is too miraculous. The pears were the perfect contrast to the walnuts in the topping and the cake was moist and tangy. Joy (yes, I know, another Joy the Baker recipe…I have a very big, nonsexual, nonstalkerish crush on her) had the amazing idea of stirring a few handfuls of the strudel topping in to the cake and this is another reason I think she is a genius. She made her version with cranberries and pecans, which I am sure was just as great, but I was thrilled with the pears and walnuts.

And the biggest miracle of all? I managed to share this with some deserving friends.

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Pear Coffee Cake

Slightly Adapted from Joy the Baker

Cake:

4 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup sour cream mixed with 2 Tablespoons of milk
4 pears, peeled and chopped to 1/4 inch pieces

Topping:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, well-softened
2/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/3 cup quick oats

Put a rack in middle oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9×13-inch pan and set aside.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Combine butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in almond extract. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and sour cream mixture in alternate batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and mixing until just incorporated. Fold in pears. Spoon batter into baking dish and spread evenly.

For the topping, place the flour, brown sugar, nuts, cinnamon and oats in a large bowl and stir well with a wooden spoon. Work the butter into the mixture with your fingertips until evenly distributed. Take two full handful of the topping and spread it over the cake batter. Use a knife to swirl the topping into the batter. Spread the rest of the topping evenly over the cranberry cake batter.

Bake until golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes.

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