Time to Cook!

Inspiration for wholesome weeknight & weekend cooking.

Posts from the ‘breakfast / muffins / bread’ category

Here is a yummy, nutritious mini muffin that’s great for kids — serve with breakfast or as a snack.  The only change I made was to add some shredded zucchini to the original recipe.  Any extra muffins can be frozen to be gobbled up later.

Toddler Muffins

Recipe slightly adapted from one I discovered on  Erika Follanbee’s photography blog and originally posted on Allrecipes.com.


Toddler Muffins

Makes 24-30 mini muffins


1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large bananas, mashed
1 (4.5 ounce) jar baby food squash
2 carrots, grated

1 large zucchini, grated

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oat bran
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 24 mini muffin cups.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Mix in the mashed bananas, squash, carrots, zucchini and eggs. Stir in the flour, oat bran, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt until just combined. Spoon the batter equally into the prepared muffin cups.
  3. Bake about 18 minutes. Cool in the pans for 5  minutes, run a knife around the edges to loosen them up, before removing to cool completely on a wire rack. Enjoy immediately, or they freeze beautifully!
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I’ve been curious about breakfast quinoa and tried a few recipes that really were not that good.  This is my favorite and it’s simple to make.  It’s a great high-protein alternative to warm oatmeal in the morning.  One of my two boys like this!  Top with fresh fruit and/or nuts or nothing at all.

Breakfast Quinoa

Recipe from Martha Stewart Living.

Breakfast Quinoa


  • 2 cups whole or low-fat milk, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons light-brown sugar, plus more for serving
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup (1/2 pint) fresh blueberries, plus more for serving


  1. Bring milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, until three-quarters of the milk has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.

  2. Stir in sugar and cinnamon. Cook, covered, until almost all the milk has been absorbed, about 8 minutes. Stir in blueberries, and cook for 30 seconds. Serve with additional milk, sugar, cinnamon, and blueberries.


For some reason, I craved this when I was pregnant with both of my boys and might have had it everyday as an afternoon snack.  It’s healthy and somewhat filling and super easy!  I call it a milkshake because it really does taste like one, but it’s just milk and banana!  I’ve newly discovered unsweetened almond milk, which is fun to use in smoothies or in oatmeal.  It has a slightly nutty taste and is very good for you (twice the calcium and half the calories of cow’s milk).

Banana Milkshake

Banana Milkshake


1 cup unsweetened almond milk (can use regular cow’s milk)

1 banana, cut into thirds


Purée milk and banana in blender until smooth and drink immediately.

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My friend Nicole served this at a baby shower and it was so decadent and delicious.  This is a great dish for a special occasion and it serves a lot of people (I think more than 8 people since it’s rich).  You can make it the day/night before and all you have to do in the morning is pop it in the oven.

Goat Cheese Strata

Recipe from Bon Appetit.

Goat Cheese, Artichoke, and Smoked Ham Strata

Makes 8 servings.


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 8 cups 1-inch cubes sourdough bread, crusts trimmed
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 12 ounces soft fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet), crumbled (about 3 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
  • 12 ounces smoked ham, chopped
  • 3 6 1/2-ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained, halved lengthwise (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup (packed) grated Fontina cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups (packed) grated Parmesan


Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Whisk milk and oil in large bowl. Stir in bread. Let stand until liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.

Whisk cream and next 5 ingredients in another large bowl to blend. Add goat cheese. Mix herbs in small bowl to blend.

Place half of bread mixture in prepared dish. Top with half of ham, artichoke hearts, herbs, and cheeses. Pour half of cream mixture over. Repeat layering with remaining bread, ham, artichoke hearts, herbs, cheeses, and cream mixture. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.)

Bake uncovered until firm in center and brown around edges, about 1 hour.

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I have a weakness for zucchini bread and banana bread.  It’s great to snack on and great toasted with butter for breakfast.  This is my favorite zucchini bread recipe – I don’t think it gets any better than this!

Zucchini Bread

Recipe slightly adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook.

Zucchini Bread

Makes 2 loaves.

“For best flavor, wrap the breads when cool and let stand overnight before serving.  With its sugar, spice and nuts, this is a tea bread, almost cake-like.”


3 tablespoons sweet butter, melted or at room temperature (plus an extra 2 teaspoons for greasing loaf pans)

3 eggs

1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups grated unpeeled raw zucchini

2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup shelled walnuts, chopped


1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Generously butter two 9×5 inch loaf pans.  Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper and brush with butter.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla until light and thick.  Fold the grated zucchini into the oil mixture.

3. Sift the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.  Stir into zucchini mixture until just blended.  Fold in the walnuts.

4. Pour the batter into the buttered loaf pans.  Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

5. Cool slightly, remove from pans, and cool completely on a rack.

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My friend Sarah told me about this healthy breakfast sausage recipe that she makes for her family.  It’s great!  Next time I think I will make it with “dark” ground turkey (available at the meat counter at Whole Foods) since it is a bit more flavorful and less dry.  Mix this up the night before and it will brighten your Saturday or Sunday morning!  Note: I did use a pinch of Herbs de Provence, plus a little extra fennel seed, plus a bit of fresh rosemary.  Also, you can grind the spices in a mini prep processor or I have an extra coffee grinder that I dedicate to grinding nuts and spices only, and that worked well for this.

Turkey Sausage Patties

Recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog Goop.

Homemade Turkey Sausage Patties

“Sausage patties are one of the easiest things to make and are so much healthier and tastier than the scary processed options. Here I use a salt that I get at Borough Market in London that’s mixed with herbs de Provençe. If you can’t find it, simply use a pinch of herbs de Provençe, a little extra fennel seed and maybe a bit of rosemary.”

Serves: 4
Time: 15 minutes


  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • pinch of hot chili flakes
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • pinch of herbs de Provençe salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 2 teaspoons real Vermont maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


1. Using a mortar and pestle, Flavor Shaker (gotta love Jamie Oliver) or mini food processor, bash the fennel seeds, chili, cayenne, salts and black pepper together. Combine this spice mixture with the sage, turkey and maple syrup in a bowl until thoroughly combined.

2. Form the mixture into 12 small, thin patties. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Cook the sausages for about a minute and a half on each side, pressing down with your spatula to really brown them and keep them thin. Serve warm.