Pineapple-Coconut Bread Pudding 
1 (20-oz) can crushed pineapple
¾ cup sugar, divided
2 c. cream or coconut cream*
½ tsp. salt, divided
1 loaf stale French bread, cut in 1" cubes, or a pound of other bread, cubed
1/2 tsp. cardamom
3-4 eggs 
1 c. whole milk or coconut milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. shredded coconut

If your bread isn't already stale and dry, put the bread cubes in the oven at 375 until they're dried out.  
Make a caramel sauce- combine 2 Tbsp. juice from the canned pineapple with 1/2 c. sugar in a saucepan.  Heat on high until brown, stirring often.  Add 3/4 c. cream; stir until the caramel chunk has dissolved.  Add 1/4 tsp. salt.  Pour about half of this into the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan.  Save the rest.
Mix together bread, undrained pineapple and cardamom.  Dump into a 9x13 pan.  Using the same bowl as before, beat the eggs, then stir in 1/4 c. sugar, the remaining cream, milk, vanilla, and 1/4 tsp. salt.  Mix until  sugar dissolves.  Pour all of this over the bread and let sit for 5-20 minutes to soak.  Sprinkle the coconut over the top.                                          

Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until center is set.  Serve warm, with a little of the remaining caramel sauce drizzled on top.

*If you don't have cream, use milk instead, for a total of 3 cups.  Also melt 1/4 c. butter and beat it in with the eggs.

 

 
 
Mmm.... bacon, eggs, and toast!   

Or not.

Toast:
Pound cake, sliced and toasted.  Then buttered.

Eggs:
The white:  I used some quick frosting  (1 cup powdered sugar, 2 tbsp. melted coconut oil, a bit of vanilla, and enough milk-- any kind-- to let it softly hold its shape.)  Other options include nearly-melted commercial vanilla frosting, stirred sour cream, stirred vanilla yogurt, or stirred Greek yogurt.
The center is a dried apricot, plumped in hot water for about 20 minutes, then blotted dry and shaped by hand to look more round.  I stuck a whole almond inside to make the 'yolk' stand up better.
To make the 'yolk' look more wet, I brushed it with a little bit of corn syrup.

Bacon:
Today I found some natural fruit rolls that I'd not seen before.  I bought some, and found that rather than being the smooth, flat rollup I expected, it was full of different thicknesses in the stripes the machine put down.  This enabled it to pull off in strips to eat.  And it resembled bacon!  One roll yields about four  1 1/4" wide strips, which I cut using a pizza cutter.   Make them ripple a bit when you put them down.
 
 
Pumpkin Roll
Makes 18, 1" slices.  

4 eggs                                                                          
1 1/3 c. sugar
1 c. pumpkin                                                             
1 c. flour                                                                    
1 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. cinnamon                                                            
1 1/2 tsp. ginger
3/4 tsp. nutmeg                                                              
½ tsp. salt
1 c. chopped nuts, optional

Beat eggs until well mixed.  Gradually add sugar; this should take about two minutes.  Beat on high for another two minutes, until sugar is mostly dissolved and the mixture is thick and pale lemon-colored..  Stir in pumpkin.  Fold in flour, baking powder, spices, and nuts.  Grease and flour a 12x18" cookie sheet with 1" high sides, OR line it with parchment and grease the pan sides..  Spread batter in pan and sprinkle with nuts.  Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes, or til the cake springs back when pressed gently in the center.  Remove from oven.  While cake is hot, flip cake over onto a kitchen towel sprinkled liberally with powdered sugar.  Holding one of the wide sides of the cake, very carefully roll it up with the towel, cinnamon roll style. When cool, 2 to 4 hours later, unroll slowly and spread with cream cheese frosting.  Roll the cake again, without the towel!  Slice and serve. 

You can make this ahead of time and freeze it for later use.
If you don't have a 12x18" pan, but have a 10x15 pan, cut the recipe in half.  The batter will not be as deep in the pan, so bake a few minutes less.  (Mine took 12 minutes.)  Roll as above, but hold a narrow side as you roll it up.  This will give you one 10" wide roll.

Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting
(the 1-1-1-1-1 recipe)

1 stick butter (1/2 c.), softened
1 c. powdered sugar                                                     
1 Tbsp. lemon juice OR water or milk (lemon accents the zing of the cream cheese)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, chilled and cut into 8 cubes                                          

Combine butter with powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Add cream cheese, one cube at a time, beating until smooth after each.  Once they're all incorporated, beat another minute or until frosting is fluffy.
 
 
Santa Rosa plums are dark on the outside, often with a bluish hue that rubs off, ruby-colored inside, and explode with sweet juice when you bite into a fully ripe one.  They are apparently highly prized, which is nice for me, because my 3-in-1 plum tree is about half Santa Rosa.  They tend to ripen pretty much at once, which means we have only about a two-week window for eating them fresh, and need to be quick about canning, drying, making jam, or otherwise using them.  

Gelato usually uses milk instead of cream, and sometimes fewer egg yolks, as well.  If you use whipping cream in place of the milk, you'll have plum ice cream instead.  You can triple this batch if you really, really want to pull out your ice cream maker, but this smaller batch can be made using a high-speed blender. It's lightly sweet, with just enough brightness from the fruit, and full of flavor.  And yes, you may use other types of plums.  The color may or may not be the same, though, depending on the variety you use.  If you can't have eggs, you could thicken the milk with 1 Tbsp. cornstarch instead, but it won't be as creamy.

One pound of plums can mean anything from 4-10 plums, depending on their size.  If yours are small, ping-pong-ball sized, you'll need about ten.  If they're big ones, 2 1/2" across or so, you'll likely need only 4-5.  Either way, the goal is to end up with about 1 3/4 c. puree.

Santa Rosa Plum Gelato
Makes about one quart

1 lb. Santa Rosa plums
1/8 tsp. almond extract, optional but delicious!
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. whole milk, divided (dairy-free options include almond milk, rice milk, or coconut milk)
2 egg yolks
pinch of salt
1/2 c. sugar

Wash plums and remove stems.  Remove pits; you'll to cut them out.  Drop the pitted plums into a high-speed blender, add almond and vanilla extracts, and blend until smooth.   Pour into two empty ice cube trays.  Pour 1/3 c. of the milk into the blender and swish it around to get more of the puree; pour this into the ice cube trays as well.  Put them in the freezer.

Combine the two egg yolks, salt, and the sugar in the unwashed blender.  Heat the remaining 2/3 cup milk in the microwave for 1 minute, until steaming.  Meanwhile, turn the blender on to beat the yolks and sugar.  With the motor running, pour the hot milk in a thin stream into the yolks.  Once it's all in, increase speed to high, and run about two minutes, until the custard thickens slightly.  It will begin to coat the blender sides with a slightly thicker, opaque coating, and the mixture will steam quite a lot.  

Pour the custard into a container with a lid; refrigerate. Wash the blender; there's not much more unpleasant to wash off than dried egg yolk!

3-4 hours later, pull both the now-frozen puree and the now-chilled custard out.  Pour the custard into the (washed!) blender, add the puree cubes, and blend, using the plunger handle to get them to mix.

The gelato will be a soft-serve consistency.  If you want to be able to form round scoops, pour in a container and return to the freezer for another 1-3 hours.

 
 
A friend recently shared this delicious recipe with me.  Since I wanted to make cupcakes for a friend who can only handle sweeteners like honey and agave, it was time to tweak the recipe.  You can find the original, sugar-sweetened, recipe here, if you want to compare it to my version. As cupcakes, they needed more moisture than the original, plus a couple things needed adjusted to allow for honey.  And I discovered that the amount of water your quinoa was cooked in makes a huge difference in whether they're dry, moist, or collapse when baking.   (Not to worry, the problem should be solved now!)   Quinoa is technically a seed and not a grain.

I tried really hard to find a way to use just the blender to make the batter, and not need both it and a bowl, but the batter puffs up so much once the leavening is added, that it just didn't work out that way .  Oh well.

Everyone who has tried these loves them.

Moist Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes

1/2 c. uncooked quinoa*
1 1/4 c. water 
1/3 c. any kind of milk (dairy, almond or coconut are fine)
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. melted coconut oil or other liquid vegetable oil
2/3 c. honey
a few drops of orange essential oil, or the washed peel of one clementine, optional
1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2  tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Cook the quinoa, covered, in the 1 1/4 cups water:  either combine in the microwave or stovetop.  To microwave,  put them in a microwave-safe bowl, cover, then cook for 5 minutes at full power, then 5 minutes at 50% power.  For stovetop:  combine in a pan that has a tight-fitting lid.  (If the lid isn't, use 1 1/2 cups water to compensate for what will evaporate.)  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let simmer for 20 minutes, until water is all absorbed.
*or use 2 cups cooked quinoa and omit the water.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Put liners in 18-24 cupcake tins, depending on how high you want the cupcakes.

Combine in a blender the cooked quinoa, milk, eggs, vanilla, oil, honey, and orange oil/peel if using it.  Blend until smooth.   Mix the cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.   Pour the quinoa mixture over the top, and stir until well-combined.  Spoon into cupcake liners, or use a spring-loaded ice cream scoop instead to portion out the batter.

For an easy, sweet topping, sprinkle each cupcake before baking with a few semisweet chocolate chips and chopped pecans or other nut.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until the top of a cupcake springs back when lightly pressed with a finger.

Frost with your favorite frosting if you like, or  try any of these.   The cupcakes above are frosted with whipped coconut cream with melted chocolate beaten in:  use 1 cup of chilled coconut cream and 1 cup melted semisweet chocolate.  Whip the cream until it starts to hold soft peaks, then add in the chocolate plus a teaspoon of vanilla and a pinch of salt.  Beat until fluffy and smooth.





 
 
Today I read a research article about how having breakfast as your biggest meal of the day  rather than dinner can lead to both better insulin sensitivity and increased fertility.  In the study, they had women consume about 980 calories at breakfast, which was just over half the amount for the whole day.  If you use two slices of homemade or other good-quality whole-wheat bread (about 120 calories apiece), one large egg  (80 cal), and a one-ounce slice of real cheese (about 100 cal), you're almost halfway there.  I love to eat this with a fresh apple (a medium-large apple is about 100 calories).  

OK, so that's still not up to the numbers in the study.  But it's a great breakfast anyway.  Maybe make two?  

In less time than it takes to go through the drive-through, you can have a breakfast sandwich you made yourself.  At the bargain-hunting prices I pay for food (including making the bread), a two-slice sandwich costs just under $ .30.  (The bread costs me about $ .50 for a 1 1/2 pound loaf.  See the recipe here.)  
Dress it up with anything you want on it, or leave it simple.  I don't add salt to the egg because the cheese and bread are salty enough for me. For more flavor, add a sprinkle of oregano or other seasoning.  You can make it as healthy as you like; I use homemade whole-wheat bread for a breakfast that sticks with me for more than an hour.

Here are the quick instructions:  microwave one beaten egg for about 45 seconds, top it with a slice of cheese, put this on top of a slice of toast.
If you want a sausage-and-egg sandwich, before cooking your egg, put one precooked sausage link into the cereal bowl, chop it up with the fork, then add the egg and beat it. 

The photos below have more detailed instructions.
 
 
 Today I have a free e-book offer for you, a cookbook, “The Egg and I.” It has tons of recipes for making omelets and frittatas, along with great tips on mastering eggs in the kitchen.

It's just over 40 pages of recipes for all kinds of omelets plus pages of frittatas

You can get it here, and you'll get to choose from four formats: PDF, Microsoft Word, HTML, or Kindle

Here's what Dennis Weaver, the cookbook's author, says:

The difference between a frittata and an omelet is that the ingredients in the frittata are mixed into the eggs instead of folded into an omelet. Usually a frittata is started on the stovetop and then baked in the skillet in the oven. They are sometimes called flat omelets or farmers’ omelets. They are larger and cut into slices to serve.

This is not your ordinary e-Book!  It has 31 different scrumptious omelet recipes. Omelets you won’t find anywhere else plus more than $30 in recipe books. Plus it tells you how to make them and gives video instructions.  Start making omelets like a pro. You can 
eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  

The last time we visited my son and his family in Minnesota, we stopped at Keys Café in Saint Paul where I had “The Loon Omelet” which personifies how versatile an omelet can be. The Loon Omelet is made with wild rice, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, Swiss cheese, turkey, and topped with a hot mushroom sauce.

You can even make a party out of omelets, or host the next family gathering with an omelet bar. You’ll learn how here.

Omelets are easy, you can make one in as little as five minutes. You can make American omelets, Italian omelets, puffy omelets, and Irish omelets; even an omelet casserole.

Breakfast at your house will never be the same.
 
 
Everyone knows you can make bread with zucchini- but what if you have a giant yellow summer squash hiding in the garden?

Both zucchini and yellow squash-- either straightneck or crookneck-- are summer squash, with a similar flavor and texture, and CAN be interchanged in recipes.

My family's favorite quickbread is Lemon Zucchini Bread- so today we got Lemon-SummerSquash Bread.  I no longer shred zucchini -or this squash- for recipes, but puree it instead.  No more strings.  As a bonus, if I'm freezing some for later use, the texture does not change when thawed, unlike shredded squash.  

AND, if you're pureeing the squash, you can have the blender (or food processor) mix all the wet ingredients for you.

This bread is great for breakfast.

The recipe is found over here, though the blender method is below. 
 
 
Do you love German Pancake but don't have enough time in the morning to bake one?

Try the microwave!   The five minutes, above, includes the time to mix the batter; it takes under one minute to cook.

It won't get brown and crispy on the edges, but it tastes pretty close to the same, especially if you happen to have some browned butter or ghee to use at the bottom of the cup.

This version makes 4 individual servings, or cut everything to 1/3 and have one little bit larger serving.

Five-Minute German Pancake

1 cup milk
1 cup flour
3 eggs
4 tsp. melted butter, ghee, or browned butter

Whisk together milk, flour, and eggs until smooth.

Pull out 4 (6 oz.) microwave-safe cups/bowls/mugs.  Place 1 tsp. melted butter in bottom of each.  Pour 1/2 cup batter in each; microwave until puffy and almost dry on the center top, about 45 seconds.  Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with powdered sugar, or use whatever toppings you prefer.
 
 
By Dennis Weaver, preparedpantryblog.com,  May 13, 2013

This is the omelet for the omelet challenged.  Never make an ugly omelet again.  It’s nearly foolproof, it’s simple, and it’s quick.

We set off to make the best and easiest omelet, something that even a beginning cook could master.  We bought ten dozen eggs and started testing methods.  At the end, we were making five minute omelets—a little unorthodox but very good and nearly foolproof.

We called them “five minute omelets.”  You really can cook them in five minutes.  And the method is easy.

If you’ve ever made an omelet that didn’t fold well or broke apart or had a tough skin, consider this method.

The Method
Getting the omelet to cook through without over cooking the skin is a challenge. You can lift the edges of the omelet as it cooks to let the uncooked egg flow under the omelet and onto the pan surface. You can put a lid on top to trap heat coming from the hot pan.
But for some omelets, that isn’t enough. A surer method is start scrambling the eggs when they hit the hot pan, stopping when the eggs are partially cooked. Then pat the eggs into a smooth layer and let them finish cooking without a lid. It works. It’s quick and easy.
Instead of folding the omelet in the pan, simply tip the pan and let the omelet slide onto a plate. As the omelet slips onto the plate, twist of the wrist, and fold the omelet onto itself on the plate. (It’s easy to do; in two or three tries, you’ll have the method mastered.)
This method worked so well that we declared a victory. We recorded our methods, developed a couple of recipes, and described the method in an email.
Later we started placing a plate over pan for just a couple minutes once we stopped scrambling and then removing the plate before the omelet was cooked. That accelerated the cooking a little and gave us warm plate on which to serve the omelet but we didn’t leave it on long enough to hide when the omelet was done.

We had perfect omelets in five minutes.  Step-by-step instructions below.

WHAT'S THE KEY TO SUCCESS?  IT'S THE PAN.  IT HAS TO BE THE RIGHT SIZE-- AN EIGHT-INCH PAN FOR A THREE-EGG OMELET-- AND ABSOLUTELY NONSTICK OR THE OMELET WON'T SLIDE FROM THE PAN.
How to Cook an Omelet Using This Method

  1. Choose the right size pan.  A three-egg omelet requires an eight-inch pan.  The pan should be nonstick.
  2. Whisk the eggs together in a bowl.
  3. Put a pat of butter in your nonstick pan.  Place it on medium-high heat.  On our stovetop, a high BTU gas burner, that’s 6 out of ten.  Heat the butter to just short of brown and swirl it around the pan.
  4. Pour the eggs into the hot pan.  Salt and pepper the eggs.
  5. Scramble the eggs with a soft silicone spatula scraping the bottom of the pan and the sides.  The eggs will cook quickly and curds will form.
  6. When the eggs approach the consistency of cottage cheese with mostly solids but some liquid egg, stop stirring.  Use the spatula as a paddle to pat the eggs down into an even layer.  Place a plate over the top of the pan.  The plate will trap heat and help cook the top of the omelet.  It also warms the plate so that you can serve the omelet on a warm pan.
  7.  Let the eggs continue cooking until the liquids are set and the top of the omelet is cooked.
  8. Place the fillings in a row across the omelet just off to one side.  For most fillings, you will want them cooked.The omelet should slip around in the pan without a hint of sticking.  Move the pan to a plate, tip the pan on angle over the plate, and gently shake the omelet onto the plate filling side first.
  9. When the omelet is about half way onto the plate, twist the pan with your wrist folding the remaining omelet over that on the plate.  The omelet should be folded over with the bottom edge protruding about one-half inch.
What You’ll Need: Unless you’re going to make larger omelets, you’ll need an eight-inch skillet which is the perfect size for a three-egg omelet.  It needs to have a good nonstick surface so that it will slide out of the pan easily.  If you are making larger omelets, you will need larger pans.

You’ll also need a good silicone spatula to stir the eggs as they begin to cook and to slide under the omelet and loosen it if it starts to stick.  (Note from Rhonda- I've seen a Betty Crocker brand of silicon spatula at Dollar Tree for the last year.  The label does not specify that they're heat-resistant, but I called the company, and they're good to at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit!)

Get an eight-inch pan and start making foolproof omelets.