Once someone told me, if you have nothing to say at all, talk about the weather. Well I have a bucket load to talk about but the weather is the most exciting thing right now. It’s like summer in Germany but in the South we call it spring. I am still not used to it and it feels weird especially if I talk to my family because they just stopped wearing boots a couple of days ago. And it is awesome at the same time, how nice is it to sit outside at night, chatting with neighbors and having a beer? We have the windows wide open all day and my lab Lily is sleeping outside in the sun, just coming in to cool down from time to time.
After all the renovation, moving and getting settled, we finally are ready to enjoy our new city. I am still feeling like a stranger in a strange town but getting to know what Atlanta has to offer, will hopefully help me to feel more like home. We started to get our bikes ready, that means I bought some spare parts and an air-pump and Mr. F is going to fix everything, division of work is very necessary in life.
Back in Germany our Sunday morning bicycle tours were legendary. We would get up as early as possible without alarm clock, jump in our sport clothes, pack something for a later breakfast and we were out and about. Without aiming for a target, we left our neighborhood, when the city, passing by fields and meadows until hunger struck and we found a nice place for an impromptu breakfast.The healthy morning glory muffins would be something we would pull out of our backpacks. Just filling enough and with loads of energy. Coffee out of a thermos jug completed the breakfast. And after a short break we heated home again, ready for shower and lunch with our family. What a great way to start a Sunday! I am looking forward to get on my bike again and explore Atlanta in the morning hours while most of the city is still sleeping.
The healthy morning glory muffins
- 100 g / 3.5 oz. old fashioned oats (1 cup)
- 100 g / 3.5 oz. whole wheat flour (¾ cup)
- 150 g / 5.3 oz. all-purpose flour (1 ¼ cups)
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. fine sea salt
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 150 ml / 2/3 cup milk (2%)
- 60 ml / ¼ cup vegetable oil (I used walnut oil)
- 100g /3.5 oz. honey (70 ml / 1/3 cup)
- 50 g / 1.8 oz. light brown sugar (¼ cup)
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ Tbsp. orange zest (use organic if available)
- 100 g / 3.5 oz. grated carrots (from about 2 midsize carrots, again organic so I can skip the peeling)
- Preheat your oven to 190 C/ 375 F and line your muffin tin with paper liners.
- In a medium bowl add flours, oats, salt, baking powder and cinnamon (yes all dry ingredients beside sugar please) and stir.
- In a large bowl add milk, oil, honey, sugar, eggs and mix well, a little stirring with a rubber spatula is well enough.
- Add orange zest and grated carrots and stir again.
- Add dry ingredients and stir just until incorporated.
- Scoop into muffin cups and bake for 18 to 20 minutes.
- If you like to add a glaze:
- Heat 3 Tbsp. orange marmalade (microwave oven works great) to liquefy. Brush on top of cooled muffins. Enjoy!
It is not my fault that I am craving sweets constantly, it’s the C21 H30 O5. Yes cortisol generally known as stress hormone. Sounds like a flimsy excuse? In this case I would never admit that you are right!
As I usually don’t want to buy something to eat on the run and I know I’ll be hungry in a whim, I like to have a sandwich or other healthy alternative on hand when I leave my home. But I bring most of it right back at night. What happened? This nasty stress hormone tricked me again and again and again. I occasionally save the world or just the tiler with getting the requested bull nose tiles (did you know there is such thing? Me neither!). Fighting the Atlanta traffic, hunting down this
damn needed tiles, all this means stress to me and my craving for sweets kicks in. Than I pass by this doughnut store, I just can’t close my eyes, I am driving right! Right? So I end up eating this tasty unhealthy stuff and don’t even feel bad about it. Because again it’s the cortisol…
Some weeks ago Mr. F and I took a break from all this renovating and joint a cooking class with Les Dames d’Escoffier, fancy name for fancy ladies: Cynthia Graubart, Tamie Cook, Virginia Willis, Pastry Chef Heather Hurlbert, Caterer Dana Dabruzzi and Mixologist Lara Creasy. The funny thing is we just met most of them at the food blog south conference in Birmingham, Al. It was more than a cooking class, we enjoyed a whole menu, received great advise for wine pairing and table decorating. But it hit me when Heather Hurlbert prepared the dessert: oatmeal spice cake with brown sugar pecan icing and orange caramelized apples. This piece of cake deserved a heck of a name, it was spot on. I loved the idea to have a use for leftover breakfast oatmeal, it’s like recycling! I skipped a lot of her original recipe, I didn’t wanted a dessert. I wanted whole grains. I wanted something to take with me, something I can nibble on while I stuck in line at a hardware store. I sadly said good bye to the icing and caramel and even reduced the method to the limit. I took as many shortcuts as possible, renovating is a tough job and I wasn’t in the mood for extra work. Since then I made this cake with many modifications, the following one is the latest, but another very successful one had been apple with cinnamon and roasted hazelnuts (see below in the notes).
gingered oatmeal cake with carrots
- 190 ml / 3/4 cup water
- 50 g / 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
- or 200 g / 3/4 cup leftover oatmeal
- 175 g / 4 midsize carrots, peeled
- 140 g / 1 1/8 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 130 g / 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 60 g / 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar (for topping)
- In a small saucepan add water and oats and cook 5 minutes, let cool. Skip if you use leftover oatmeal.
- Preheat your oven to 175 C / 350 F and grease your 18 cm / 7 inch springform pan.
- In a medium bowl measure whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt and set aside.
- In your food processor shred the carrots. Remove the shredding disc and add the chopping blades.
- Add sugar, egg, butter, vanilla extract, ginger and process for a few seconds.
- Add dry ingredients, pulse until just combined. Pour batter into springform pan and sprinkle with 2 Tbsp sugar.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes before removing from baking pan.
- Serve with yoghurt (or whipped cream) and sprinkle with freshly grated lime zest.
- Skip the carrots and the ginger and add one medium apple (peeled and grated), 75 g / 2.6 oz. hazelnuts, (roasted and ground) and 1/2 tsp cinnamon (ground).
- You can use all purpose flour (140 g / 1 1/8 cups) instead of whole wheat flour.
- Certainly you can use a box grater and a mixer instead of a food processor.
It’s been a while since my last post. And the one before had also been later than usually. This is not me moaning and telling you I have a creative break down or I lost my writing juices. In fact my creativity is overwhelming recently and I wrote several brilliant posts but just in my head. You may wonder what I am up to and I will tell you.
I am painting! Watercolor or oil painting? Nope wall paint in fact. We are going to move into an old but nearly new place in Atlanta, which needs some tender loving care. I omit the jacuzzi and the walk in refrigerator but I still have a long list of wishes unfortunately every budget has a limit. DIY painting sounded like a good option to save some bucks for fulfilling some of my dreams from my wish list. So far I am happy with the results. Some of those days I would rather sit in a cubicle, sipping coffee and hide for a while, rather than rolling, rolling and rolling color all over the walls. But at the end, seeing a day’s work makes me appreciate my future home even more. Even if I fell asleep way too early, missing out reading time for books and blogs and taking pictures.
And where went all the genius blog post in my head? Gone! Maybe scrubbed away with all the paint on my hands, face and hair. But after I got knocked out at night, there is nothing left of them next morning. Some might think they had never been real, I know better.
In fact cooking and food had been on the back bench for some weeks. I am still eating, good lord eating is not the right word, renovating makes me inhaling whole cows. But I haven’t thought about food that much, usually I have food on my mind all day long, I mean all day, every hour, every minute. One of the rare occasions I was not attached to a paint roller, searching for perfect toilet bowls or looking for a tile that I might still love in a couple of years, I went for cookbook shopping. Yes I still haven’t found a cure for that. I came across Home Baked Comfort (William Sonoma) by Kim Laidlaw. It was the title that let me grab it, so inviting and magnetic. Paint came into my way again and I saved the first reading until I knew I would have heaps of time and not be interrupted. The first time is the best, don’t you thing? So it took a while but after I finished, a great deal of colorful bookmarks decorated the top of the book. Although I already know baking all of them would be a 500.000 calories journey, I started with hazelnut streusel bread (page 62) and changed it to my liking. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Home Baked Comfort by Kim Laidlaw, recipe by Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan, Huckleberry Café and Bakery in Santa Monica, CA.
for the streusel:
- 30g / 4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 80 g / 1/3 cup turbinado sugar
- 55 g / 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, very soft
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 100 g / 3.5 oz. whole toasted* hazelnuts
for the batter (all ingredients at room temperature):
- 60 g / 2.1 oz. whole toasted* hazelnuts
- 3 tsp. instant espresso powder
- 100 g / 7 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 160 g / 5.6 oz. granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 160 g / 2/3 cup plain yoghurt (I used Greek yoghurt)
- 200 g / 7.1 oz. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. fine sea salt
- 100 g / 3.5 oz. (½ cup high-piled) white chocolate chips
- Preheat your oven to 175 C / 350 F and grease or line your loaf pan 9 x 5 inch (ca. 23 cm) .
- Add all ingredients for the streusel except the nuts to a midsize bowl.
- Add all (160 g / 5.6 oz.) whole nuts to the bowl of your food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Spoon 100 g / 3.5 oz. to the bowl with for the streusel mix and stir until combined and set aside.
- For the batter continue pulsing the remaining nuts in the food processor until finely ground, remove and add to a big bowl.
- Dissolve espresso powder in 1 Tbsp. water.
- Add butter and sugar to the food processor (keep the blade) and blend to cream, add eggs, dissolved espresso and yoghurt and continue blending, stop to scrap down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and pulse just until combined.
- Pour batter to the finely ground nuts in the big bowl, add white chocolate chips and stir shortly.
- Add ½ of the batter into the loaf pan, sprinkle with ½ of the streusel, top with the other ½ of the batter and remaining ½ of the streusel.
- Bake 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out without crumbs clinging to it.
- Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
For toasting the raw nuts: spread on a dry baking sheet and bake at 350 F for 5-7 minutes. Keep an eye on them, they go from fragrant to burned in a whim.
Add more espresso powder if you prefer more coffee taste, 3 tsp. are just enough to enhance the flavor of the nuts.
Heads up this might change your life! Stuff your mum didn’t told you and never will: it is totally fine to have cake for breakfast! Didn’t know that? You are welcome!
I kind of told the news at the front door and revealed already in the post title that we are talking about serious breakfast cake eating. And now you may wonder what’s the big difference between regular and breakfast cake? Yes me too… Here is my explanation in a nutshell: breakfast cake is still a meal not a dessert (let’s pretend), it’s more dense like a muffin, less sweater but no not healthier at all.
This cake stuck around for four days last week. It sat on the kitchen table and shrank as if by magic. We were constantly cutting off a piece, a slice or a corner. Sometimes when I had the need for something sweet, I drizzled honey on top or coated it with homemade marmalade. And yes there is booze in my breakfast cake and there is nothing wrong with that, but you might want to skip it if you feed it to kids.
Double banana & cherry breakfast cake
- 80 ml / 1/3 cup olive oil (not extra virgin)
- 60 ml / ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 -3 very ripe bananas
- 1 egg
- 200 g / 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. fine sea salt
- 85 g / 1 ½ cup dried cherries
- 2 Tbsp. brandy, bourbon or other booze (optional)
- 100 g/ 1 1/3 banana chips
- 1 Tbsp. turbinado sugar
- Preheat your oven to 180 C / 350 F and grease your 18 cm / 7 inch round cake pan or springform pan.
- In a small bowl add dried cherry and brandy and let soak for 30 minutes.
- In a medium bowl measure flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
- Add banana chips to the bowl of your food processor and pulse until you have tiny pieces, some might be pulverized that’s ok. Remove and set aside.
- Add oil, maple syrup, ripe bananas and egg to the bowl of your food processor (attached with the blade) and run the motor for 10 seconds.
- Add flour mix and pulse just until combined. Add cherries and banana chips crumbs and pulse shortly.
- Pour batter into cake pan, sprinkle with turbinado sugar and bake until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean for about 35 to 40 minutes.
Use 2 large or 3 small bananas!