“Peachy Pie” Smoothie

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Who doesn’t enjoy a refreshing, fruity smoothie? They make a great quick breakfast or treat for any time of day! With summer underway fresh peaches will be at their peak in July and August so why not grab a bushel and make yourself some yummy smoothies to start off your day?

I like to double or triple this recipe when I make it so that I have leftovers. You can freeze the remaining smoothie mixture in a resealable bag and the next time you are in the mood for a smoothie, you’ll just need to add some of the frozen smoothie mix to your blender along with a little extra milk and blend. Easy peasy! I also like to use the leftover smoothie mixture to make Smoothie “Monster” Pops for my kids. It’s a healthier alternative to store-bought frozen pops and they love the creamy texture. I love that I can sneak in all kinds of healthy fruits without them even knowing.

This recipe is really nice because you can play around with the fruit combinations and spices to achieve whatever flavor profile you’re looking for. Another favorite smoothie concoction that I love is pineapple with a little shredded coconut and a splash of coconut extract. It tastes like a delicious virgin Piña Colada! Lemon Strawberry and Banana Berry are other really nice combinations to try. Creating your own smoothie flavor is easy, just keep the base ingredients of yogurt and milk the same and then throw in whatever fruit and spices you desire. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen peaches, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup lowfat milk
  • 1/2 cup vanilla flavored lowfat yogurt

Instructions

Pour the milk into the blender along with the yogurt, vanilla extract and spices. Add the frozen peaches last. Blend until smooth. Serve cold.

**Tip – I use a little bit of Truvia® (stevia) to sweeten my smoothies. You can use granulated sugar, agave, honey or not use anything at all.**

Homemade Yogurt Smoothie

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My kids love yogurt smoothies but I hate all of the sugar and additives in the store-bought ones so I decided to make my own version at home. All you need is some milk, yogurt, sweetener (optional) and fresh fruit of your choosing. I used a little bit of honey to sweeten the smoothies but you can use maple syrup, granulated sugar, Truvia® or just leave it out all together. Another nice way to add additional flavor is through the use of extracts. Some good ones to try are vanilla, coconut, almond or even chocolate! Try combining different fruits as well for even more yummy flavor.

Some are my favorite smoothie concoctions are fresh pineapple with a little shredded coconut, apples with warm spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg and fresh strawberries with a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Turn these smoothies into a frosty treat by adding crushed ice and blending OR by freezing them into popsicles!

Store the smoothies in a clean, airtight bottle. I like to use large, clear glass bottles which are readily available at craft stores. Mason jars also make great vessels for storage as well as super cute drinking glasses. The yogurt smoothies will keep for about 5-7 days in the refrigerator. Shake well before serving.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup plain or vanilla flavored yogurt
  • 1 cup chopped fruit
  • 2 tbs sweetener such as maple syrup or honey (optional)

Instructions

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend on medium-low until well combined and smooth. Chill in the refrigerator for about an hour. Shake well before serving.

French Toast Casserole

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I have been making this French Toast Casserole for years, especially around the holidays. Since it can be made the night before it makes serving up a hot, homemade breakfast a cinch! It’s super easy to pull together and it’s always a big hit with everyone! I’m sure it will become a breakfast staple in your home as it is in mine.

I came across this recipe on Pinterest, it’s from the Lovin’ in the Oven blog and the original recipe can be found right here . It’s perfect “as is” but don’t be afraid to make small ingredient changes in order to create a whole different flavor profile. You can substitute the vanilla extract with other flavors such as amaretto or almond extract which is really delicious. My favorite thing to do around Christmas is to substitute the milk with eggnog and sprinkle the top with a little nutmeg. It’s the perfect Christmas morning breakfast with all of the flavors of the holiday. You could even add in some chopped dried fruit or mini chocolate chips to the bread mixture for an even sweeter treat. You really cannot mess up this recipe so go ahead and experiment to find a flavor combination that you and your family will love.

I like my French Toast Casserole a little more on the drier side so I use a little extra Challah bread (about 1 1/2 loaves) and I bake it for a full hour. If you prefer a moister, more soggy french toast then use one loaf of bread and decrease the baking time to about 45 minutes. Enjoy!

Ingredients

For the french toast

  • 1 to 1 1/2 loaves of stale Challah bread
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tbs pure vanilla extract or paste

For the topping

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed

Instructions

Grease a 9X13 pan. Tear the bread into chunks and place them in the greased pan. Set aside.

Combine the eggs, cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk until well combined. Pour the mixture over the bread, cover and refrigerate overnight.

In another bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add the cold, cubed butter and mix until the ingredients come together forming small “pebbles”. Store in the fridge until morning.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Sprinkle the crumb topping all over the top of the french toast. Bake for 45-50 minutes. If you prefer a firmer, less soggy french toast then bake for an hour.

 

Serve warm with syrup.

**Tip – A quicker and easier way to make the crumb topping is to melt the butter and then add it to the dry ingredients. Mix until combined (it will be “liquidy”) and then pour into a Ziploc® bag and store in the fridge. By the morning the mixture will have hardened, gently squeeze the bag to break up the butter mixture into chunks and then top the french toast as directed.**

Bacon and Cheddar Quiche

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I love quiche. It’s a super simple, filling meal that is great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Change up the flavor easily by substituting the veggies, cheese, and even meat for ones that you have on hand. Use ham instead of bacon, throw in some peppers and potatoes for extra bulk, or try out some swiss cheese instead of cheddar. You really cannot mess this meal up so go ahead and experiment, make it your own!

I have been making this version from The Pioneer Woman for years now and it always comes out perfect! Her Cowboy Quiche recipe is hearty, easy to pull together and has great flavor, the caramelized onions really make this quiche sing. For this recipe you can make your own pie crust but if you’re pressed for time, which I usually am, a store-bought pie crust will work just as well. I prefer the Pillsbury Pie Crusts that can found in the refrigerator section, they are tender, flaky, and taste great! But if you have the time, nothing beats making your own crust so try your hand at it if you can!

I highly recommend that you use a deep dish pie plate for this quiche as it doesn’t scrimp on eggs and ingredients. I use a 10″ deep dish pie plate and it’s just big enough to hold this monster size quiche. When it comes out of the oven, be sure to let it sit for at least the recommended 10-15 minutes so that it has a chance to set up. If you try and slice it right away it will be runny and messy. You can also make this quiche in advance as it reheats very well. Just zap a slice in the microwave for a minute or two on 80% power, I find full power heats it too hot and too unevenly. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 unbaked pie crust
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat and cook the onions for at least 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are a deep golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Fry the bacon until chewy. Chop into large bite-sized pieces and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Roll out the pie crust and press it into a deep dish pie pan or a large fluted deep tart pan.

Whip the eggs, cream, salt and pepper in a large bowl, then mix in the onions, bacon, and cheese. Pour the mixture into the pie crust.

Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet, cover lightly with aluminum foil, and bake it for about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the quiche is set and the crust is golden brown. (The quiche will seem slightly loose when it’s done but will continue to set once removed from the oven.)

Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Slice and serve!

**Tip** – Spray the tin foil with a little cooking spray before covering the quiche, it will help to prevent the foil from sticking to the top of the quiche. 

Steve’s “Special Pancakes”

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My husband does not how to cook. In fact, aside from eggs and toast he’s pretty much clueless in the kitchen but nonetheless, he was inspired one day to make us breakfast. Countless questions, a sink full of dishes, one big mess, and an empty box of pancake mix later and he served me what he called his, “special pancakes“. The “special” in the “special pancakes” was because he decided to add his own little touch to them by sprinkling each one with cinnamon and sugar and cooking them on the griddle with loads of melted butter. Bold and innovative, right? lol Although they were just box mix pancakes he did a good job!! I won’t lie, the cinnamon and sugar ended up being a nice touch to the overall flavor! That breakfast was over 20 years ago, and the last time he’s ever attempted to “cook”, but whenever I make pancakes for us and the kids he always asks if I’ll be making HIS “special pancakes“.

Below is my version of Steve’s “Special Pancakes” but instead of a crummy box mix this is a from scratch recipe that yields delicious light and fluffy pancakes. The baking powder in the recipe really helps the pancake batter to rise nicely which results in a thick, fluffy pancake. Letting the batter rest for 10 minutes is important because it allows the baking powder to do its job. Skipping this step will result in the batter being very thin and watery and the pancakes will not be as good.

For the cinnamon and sugar sprinkle, you can use a pre-made cinnamon sugar mix or you can make your own by combining 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 1 tbs cinnamon. Mix well and store any leftovers in a small jar.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tbs granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tbs baking powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter, slightly cooled
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • cinnamon and sugar sprinkle, to taste

Instructions

Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Combine the eggs, vanilla, and milk together in a medium bowl or large measuring cup.

Slowly add in the cooled melted butter and stir to combine.

Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and stir together until just combined. Allow the batter to sit for 10 minutes, it should rise and bubble slightly. When the batter is ready to use it will be light and airy.

Scoop about 1/3 cup of batter onto a hot griddle coated in melted butter. Sprinkle generously with the cinnamon sugar mix. Once the pancake begins to bubble, flip and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

**Tip** – Make a double batch, allow the pancakes to cook on wire racks, and then freeze. They will keep for months and you’ll always have fresh, homemade pancakes on hand for breakfast.