The breakfast-for-dinner, three egg (wannabe) skillet

As a student, I feel obliged to claim breakfast-for-dinner as one of my favourite things. Living with two roommates who make delicious-looking, healthy pancakes for nearly every meal, I’m frequently reminded of how much I’m craving early-morning food. Late last week, this craving was uncontrollable. I had no choice but to search page upon page of Tastespotting until I found some new fangled breakfast recipe.

Success was achieved in the form of this fantastic chickpea, tomato and roasted red pepper breakfast skillet. Utilizing the exact ingredients I had lying around (including a two-month-old [but still good] jar of roasted red peppers), this meal came together in a flash.

A few lessons learned:
– Parchment paper cannot be broiled. I think I almost lit it on fire.
– Like parchment paper, glass corningware is also not content with being broiled. I ended up cooking this in a wannabe skillet (hence the name), aka a metal pie pan with aluminum foil lining the base.

In other news, broiled eggs are the best thing in the universe. Maybe it’s just me, but eggs that are a little solid on the outside and soft and runny on the inside are just perfect. In fact, I wish I had covered this entire skillet with egg. I will know for next time.

This simple dinner dish ended with sliced avocado and twelve grain toast. A culmination of my favourite things.

And now, a sad excuse…
I’m lacking superb pictures for this meal simply because Mother Nature was conspiring against me. I made this meal one night when the clouds were as dark and ominous and the sun was running off for its early, 6:30 p.m. retreat. To counter this, I brought my skillet out onto the sidewalk to take advantage of the fleeting moments of light.

About two seconds and many awkward passers-by stares later and the sky opened up and the downpour began.

I bolted up the stairs and onto the porch, enjoying my breakfast as the day faded into night.

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Peanut butter apple breakfast bake

Oh wow, breakfast has been changed forever.

Let me explain the story behind this post.

For the past two years I’ve been living with her, I’ve witnessed my health-nut, super athlete roommate Brittany making fancy, morning-energizer breakfasts.  This means that while I’m sitting like a schlump in my purple Asian pajamas (don’t ask) eating Cheerios or peanut butter toast, she is cooking up a storm in the kitchen.  At 7:30 a.m.  Amazing, right?

Most often, this kitchen mania would result in what I now know to call a breakfast bake.

Informal definition:
Breakfast bake (noun) – some huge chunk of baked item that partially resembles a cake; in Britt’s case, this bake often includes spoonfuls of (my forgotten and leftover from making muffins) pumpkin puree, an impressively grainy looking flour, and some strange nut butter and/or coconut substance that she has bought from the food shelves of Winners.

Until today, I had never given these morning meals much thought but, with my rebirth as a fairly healthy person after a month of pure gluttony, I figured I should try one out.

Right as I decided to concoct my own recipe, low and behold, Britt posts hers on her awesome new blog, B Out There.  How does that saying go?  Oh right, great minds think alike.  Even cross continent (B is from Whitehorse), our brains are somehow in sync.

I must also give credit to the originator of the breakfast bake, Ashley from the blog the Edible Perspective.  Thank you for bringing this morning meal into my life.

I knew I wanted to include peanut butter and apple in my breakfast bake, so I fiddled around with Britt’s instructions until I got my adapted Hilary recipe.  A few key differences involve me using whole wheat flour instead of whole grain flour (this was because I forgot the name of the correct flour in a moment of Bulk Barn panic), my use of normal milk instead of the bizarre I-will-never-buy almond milk, and my addition of chocolate chips as a topping (because COME ON, everything is better with chocolate).

One quick tangent: UH, what the heck are chia seeds?  I bought some just for the sake of being fair to the recipe, but they just kind of look like poppy seeds (and I never want to see a poppy seed ever again, for reasons that only my roommates will understand).  Okay, Wikipedia tells me that they’re healthy and chalk full of omega-3’s.  I guess that’s cool.

End result?

A major case of the omnomnom’s.  The bake is the perfect energizer before my morning bike rides, so I am going to make them loads.  For the record, this recipe actually makes quite a large breakfast cake, so tiny appetites could probably share.  As for me?  No sharing.  Just me and a very large glass of milk.  Mornings just got a hell of a lot better.

As always, see recipe after the jump!

Ensure you mix everything together well with your very own Piggy Wiggy spatula! (see recipe below, you'll understand)

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Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Fresh Berries

I am so blissfully breakfast full.

Tuesday is my “chill out and sleep in until 8:30” morning, and I decided to extend the luxury of the morning into a gourmet breakfast.

I’m not one to normally make big breakfasts, so this was a treat for me.

As fancy as this might look, it was really quite a practical meal.  Leftover in my fridge I had ricotta cheese, lemons, strawberries and blueberries.  The typical university student fare, right?  Perhaps not… Anyways, you can imagine my excitement when I found a recipe on Canadian Living that used all four of these ingredients.

Now, since I had no desire to be eating these pancakes for the remainder of the week, I cut the recipe in half and tweaked a few things to make up for my lack of raspberries, etc. I also added twice the amount of lemon rind, mostly because I got overly enthusiastic while zesting.  That’s my bad, but I will stick by my guns when I say you can never have too much lemon rind.  Also, I didn’t put blueberries in my pancakes as the original recipe requested.  I’m not a huge blueberry person.  If you are, however, a lover of these petite berries, throw them in. They’ll go nicely with the lemon. (PS: you can find my recipe under the pictures)

The pancakes turned out great.  I drizzled them with some real maple syrup and piled my fork high with pancake and berries.  I am not even ashamed to admit that I ate five (GLUTTONY).  There was actually just the right amount of lemon, and the flavours made me feel like I was sinfully indulging in dessert for breakfast.  Morning calorie splurges are well deserved.

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Good Morning! Breakfast Strudels

Before I start, let me say HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!  May your 2011 be filled with delicious recipe discoveries and good health!

Now that I’m back in Ottawa for the winter term, I figured it was time to resume blogging.  For my last days at home I was almost never on my computer, since my parents were worried that I was over-doing my computer usage by watching endless amounts of How I Met Your Mother on my brightly lit macbook (I’ve almost finished four seasons in two weeks, a tv addiction like this hasn’t happened since I fell in love with LOST…).

But back to the food… These are the breakfast strudels that my family and I have every Christmas morning.  They’re rich, tasty and the perfect start to a special day.  My mom has always made these in the past but, just like with my dad’s fruitcake, I decided it was time for me to take up the reins on making this second Duff family tradition. The recipe for these strudels was from an old edition of Canadian Living and has been adapted by my mom to become the recipe that I love today.

The one challenging thing about these strudels is the phyllo pastry.  Phyllo is probably the most delicate item you will ever have to cook or bake with and it becomes a bit of a hassle when you’re a tad impatient like me.  In the process of making my strudels, I wrecked one or two sheets of phyllo simply because I wasn’t careful enough when handling it.  Luckily for me I enjoy eating raw pastry dough (one of those weird Hilary things), and ate the destroyed sheet despite the disapproving look I got from my mom.  Regardless of the initial challenges, these strudels are a foolproof way to make an awesome breakfast!

End note: you know you’re back in a student kitchen when you keep watching the stove while boiling water, waiting for a fire to begin.

End note 2.0: YES, my suitcase just got delivered after it was lost in transit yesterday.  Going to unpack this instant!

See recipe after pictures.  ALSO: Since the directions may be a little confusing, I’ve included a very poorly-photographed/focused (my kitchen is dark, okay?) step-by-step visual guide on how to arrange the phyllo pastry for these.  Hope it helps!

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