Sunday, March 30, 2014

My Seat-of-your-Pants Breakfast Bread

Back in my college days I was dating a guy who lived with two buddies and a dog and I spent pretty much time at their place. They were nice guys but they were guys. You can take it from there. One Sunday morning—following a party the night before—I woke up and stumbled to the kitchen hoping there was coffee because I needed it. Everyone was still asleep but I put a pot of coffee on and then started looking around for something that resembled food. Much to my surprise, I found a nearly full box of pancake mix in the cupboard—clearly left by someone's mother on her last visit. So I got an idea.

The refrigerator yielded a couple eggs. There were some apples beginning to whither and, in a drawer, I found a couple boxes of cinnamon candy so I set to work. I peeled and chopped the apples, crushed the candies, mixed it all together with the eggs and the pancake mix, found a baking pan to pour it all in and put it in the oven. I sat down with my coffee to wait and as the apartment filled with a delicious cinnamony-appley aroma people wandered into the kitchen. What do I smell? my boyfriend said. I said I was making an cinnamon-apple coffecake. How? he said. I shrugged and said, we'll see how it turns out. It turned out great and was gone within minutes.

He talked about that coffeecake for months afterward. There wasn't a darn thing in the kitchen, he would say, and somehow she made this coffeecake. If I had made loaves and fishes he could not have been more amazed.

I was reminded of this story because ever since I bought my Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System I have been concocting all kinds of interesting things to cook. I sometimes post them on my Facebook page and I frequently get requests to post the recipe. Recipe??? We don't need no stinkin' recipe! I am a seat-of-your-pants cook—I search through my cupboards until I find a bunch of stuff that I think will work together. Recently I have been making what I call Seat-of-your Pants Breakfast Bread. My objective when I make it is to make something that is very high in nutrition and fiber while relatively low in empty calories. I want it to be easy to grab in the morning and packed with good stuff that will get me through to lunch. Basically this is the formula:

In a bowl put a mixture of
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried fruit (raisins, chopped dates, apricots, pineapple, rhubarb or any other dried fruit)
  • 1/3 cup nuts or nut meal (almond or pecan meal, chopped hazelnuts or walnuts, whatever) or shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2/3 cup whole grain (steel cut oats, or any whole grain cereal mixture)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/3 cup low carb baking mix (or you can use gluten free baking mix or regular baking mix) OR 1 1/3 cup flour (I use almond flour) and 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • Stir the ingredients together then add a moistener. My usual choice is either applesauce or yogurt but I have used crushed pineapple, canned fruit mashed in its own liquid, or canned pumpkin. Add this gradually so that the mixture is moist and blends together but not runny.
  • You can also add a sweetener—honey, maple syrup, or stevia. If you like you can add spices or vanilla extract.

When the whole thing is ready, I spray the Ninja pan with cooking oil, put the batter in and steam-bake with 3 c. of water for 25-30 minutes.

I've made endless variations on this and for the most part they have been successful, nourishing, and this particular formula makes enough for 6-8 servings. It keeps in the fridge for a week and is a good way to start the day.

Thanks for reading.

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