Archive of ‘Breakfast’ category

Crepes with Poached Pears


 Mary Anne and I spent a Friday afternoon cooking together. The menu included Beet and Goat Cheese Salad, Seafood alla Puttanesca, and Crepes with Poached Pears. Mary Anne choose a delicious white wine to serve with it. It was fun to try several new recipes. Dave and Brian came after work and we enjoyed a wonderful meal, lively conversation and playing the game Forbidden Desert.

Here are  the recipes we tried and would recommend: Seafood alla Puttanesca and Crepes with Poached Pears. We used the crepe recipe we served at Laura’s high school graduation party which is included here.



Crepes with Poached Pears
Serves 8

  1. 2 eggs
  2. 3/4 cup skim milk
  3. 3/4 cup flour
  4. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  6. 1 tablespoons canola oil for basting the pan
  1. Place all ingredients except oil into blender and blend until well mixed.
  2. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. Using pastry brush, coat crepe pan or maker with oil.
  4. Heat pan and add crepe batter swirling the pan so batter spreads out quite thin.
  5. Cook until slightly brown and almost cooked through.
  6. Flip and cook other side.
  7. Serve the crepe hot or transfer it to a cooling rack.
  1. Serve with maple syrup, fruit, whipped cream or other favorite toppings.
  2. Freeze leftovers between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container.
  3. Freeze well for about a month.
  4. Nutrition Per Serving: 84 calories, 3 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 10 g carbohydrate, 4 g dietary fiber, 60 mg sodium.
Taste of Zest





Pat’s Baked Apple Pancake

Baked apple pancake

I received this recipe, which has become a family favorite, several years ago in a recipe swap from Pat, a good friend of mine. When I asked her if I could use her recipe for our blog she said: “Certainly you may use.  It is still a family favorite.  I initially got it from a parenting magazine in about 1995, and then adjusted it over the years to what we like.  I’m guessing “Parents” magazine but I don’t know for sure.  I use any and all kinds of apples, and I always use a ton more cinnamon than the recipe because we love cinnamon. … Although I make it occasionally year-round, it’s a signal of fall in my family.  We would go the apple farm and buy multiple bushels of apples which meant fresh apples and baked apple pancake!  The kids would ask for it.“



Pat’s Baked Apple Pancake
Serves 8

  1. 3 large Granny Smith or other tart apple
  2. 1 tablespoon butter
  3. ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. 5 tablespoons powdered sugar, divided
  5. 1 egg, slightly beaten
  6. ¾ cup skim milk
  7. 2 tablespoon canola oil
  8. ½ teaspoon vanilla
  9. 1 cup flour
  10. ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  11. ¼ teaspoon salt
  1. Core and slice apple into thin wedges.
  2. Melt butter in 10 inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat and swirl to coat pan.
  3. Add apple slices and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Cook the apples on medium heat, stirring often.
  5. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  6. While apples are cooking, beat egg, milk, oil and vanilla until well blended.
  7. Mix together flour, 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, baking powder and salt.
  8. Add dry ingredients to milk and egg mixture and mix until just blended. Set batter aside.
  9. By now the apple slices should be browned but still hold their shape. Arrange the apple slices into an even layer in the skillet.
  10. Pour batter evenly over hot apple slices.
  11. Place skillet in oven and bake for 13-15 minutes or until batter is cooked through and puffs up around the edges of the pan.
  12. Using a pancake turner, immediately loosen edges from the sides and a bit of the pancake from the bottom of the pan.
  13. Place serving platter over the skillet and, using hot pads, invert skillet and platter to flip pancake onto serving platter so that the apples are on the top. A few apples may stick to pan but they can be easily scooped out and put back on the pancake.
  14. Cut into wedges, dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately while piping hot!
Pat’s notes
  1. The original recipe was for 3 apples, but I make a double batch. It’s too delicious to only make a small one with 3 apples 🙂
  2. Joy’s notes: I made two modifications to the original recipe from Pat.
  3. 1. I use one tablespoon butter to cook the apple slices. I cook them rather slowly and the butter and moisture from the apples seem to keep them from sticking to the pan.
  4. 2. I slice the apples very thin and leave the skins on because it’s quicker. Plus, this increases the amount of fiber.
  5. I like to cook up the apples a day ahead or use pre-made chunky apple sauce so it’s quick and easy to prepare in the morning after church. I’ve even made the batter before church and put it in the refrigerator. I spray the pan with cooking spray and heat the apples before adding the batter and then we have apple pancakes in about 20 minutes.
  6. If you are cooking for one or two, you can refrigerate and warm the slices of pancake in the microwave the next day. It also freezes well.
  7. Nutrition Per Serving: 159 calories, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 24 g carbohydrate, 1 g dietary fiber, 147 mg sodium.
Taste of Zest

Nutella Cookies


Currently I have a job assisting with a research project growing dry beans. So today I was weeding a field just north of the Twin Cities and I heard chimes about 10 am coming from the house on this family farm. Before I knew it the farmer invited me in for one of the most magical meals of the day, which previously I didn’t even know existed–the meal called “second breakfast.” What is second breakfast you ask? Second breakfast is the meal after first breakfast, silly! No, I’m serious! And guess what was included in second breakfast along with other foods? A cookie! My grandmother calls it morning “lunch.” When she grew up on the farm, her family ate five meals a day–breakfast very early, morning lunch, dinner at noon, afternoon lunch and then supper after the last milking. The second breakfast or morning lunch often includes a sandwich, fruit, beverage and cookie.

The cookies in this recipe use one of my favorite combinations of ingredients–chocolate and nuts. If you have never had Nutella before, go to the store right now and try it because it will be a day that you will always remember. I had my first spoonful of Nutella when we hosted Mercedes, our foreign exchange student from Spain, and she was given some to make her feel more at home. Nutella is the perfect food except for one small glitch. It can be a mess to eat. But what if you made a peanut butter cookie and placed Nutella in the center, and magic–no more mess! Next time I go out to the farm I am going to bring some of these for second breakfast! Yum!

This is a quick way to make a small batch of cookies for one or two people. I got this idea and adapted the recipe from Handle the Heat. 

Nutella Cookies

Nutella Cookies
Serves 30

  1. 17.5 ounce peanut butter cookie mix or your favorite homemade cookie dough
  2. ⅝ cup Nutella or chocolate peanut butter
  1. Scoop out 30 1-teaspoon sized scoops of Nutella onto a parchment or waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Freeze until solid, about 1 hour.
  2. In the meantime, make cookie dough as directed. Using a heaping tablespoon, make 30 dough balls and chill.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  4. Take out a third of the frozen Nutella balls. Working quickly, use your hands to form the cookie dough around the Nutella ball, making sure the edges are sealed. Place on baking sheet.
  5. Using a large fork, slightly flatten the dough and make a criss-cross pattern with the tines.
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until slightly browned. Allow the cookies to cool on the pan slightly before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. While one third of the cookies bake, do the same with the other batches of cookies. If the Nutella balls become hard to work with, return them to the freezer.
  8. Serve warm, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or freeze.
  1. Nutrition Per Serving: 196 calories, 9 g fat, 26 g carbohydrate, <1 g dietary fiber, 186 mg sodium.
Taste of Zest



Carol’s Favorite Omelet


Our family has had the privilege of eating at Carol’s (Brian’s mom) house once a week. This tradition started when Teresa and Laura were small and I worked evenings. Carol took care of them until Brian got home and then they’d have dinner together. The tradition still continues and recently Carol made omelets and shared this recipe with me. Omelets are great because they easy, make just one serving and there are so many possible variations. Just change up the vegetables and cheese, add a new seasoning or fresh herb and you have a new taste every time! Please share your favorite omelet with us.


Carol’s Favorite Omelet
Serves 1

  1. 2 eggs
  2. 2 tablespoon milk
  3. Dash of salt and pepper
  4. 1/4 cup cauliflower
  5. 1 small potato
  6. 1/4 cup onion
  7. 1 teaspoon cooking oil or cooking spray
  8. 2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  9. 1 ounce slice Swiss cheese, regular or low fat cheese of your choice
  1. Coat small frying or omelet pan with a small amount of canola oil or cooking spray.
  2. Beat eggs and add milk, salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Chop cauliflower, potato and onion into small pieces.
  4. Heat pan and saute cauliflower, potato, onion and Worcestershire Sauce until soft and remove from pan.
  5. Put beaten eggs mixture to hot pan. When egg mixture starts to set, add the cauliflower mixture to one half side of the omelet.
  6. Place slice of cheese over cauliflower mixture.
  7. When eggs are firm enough to flip, flip one half of omelet over other half.
  8. Cover and continue cooking until just cooked through and serve piping hot!
  1. Low or reduced fat cheeses made with 2% milk are a healthy choice since you get the same amount of protein and calcium with ⅓ less fat and half the saturated fat. If you use low or reduced fat Swiss, sharp or pepper cheese, you will find you can use less cheese without sacrificing flavor.
  2. Nutrition Per Serving (low fat cheese): 361 calories, 15 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 3 g dietary fiber, 492 mg sodium.
  3. Nutrition Per Serving (regular cheese): 417 calories, 22 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 3 g dietary fiber, 492 mg sodium.
Taste of Zest

Brown-sugar Broiled Grapefruit

This is a super-simple recipe that adds a bit of elegance to breakfast or any meal! If you’re not a big fan of grapefruit, this may be just the recipe to try because it takes the bitterness away and is oh-so sweet, almost like candy.Grapefruit from side

My husband and I have been to a couple of bed and breakfasts over the years where we’ve been served broiled grapefruit. It was a special treat each time but recently we found it hard to eat because the grapefruit half was not pre-cut. So, to make eating experience enjoyable, cutting around the edge of grapefruit half is crucial. Having a serrated grapefruit spoon to eat it with is ideal. If you don’t have grapefruit spoons, I’d suggest cutting between the grapefruit sections so that the flesh can be easily scooped out. This takes the struggle out of eating it and prevents the embarrassing moment when you squirt the person next to you with grapefruit juice.Grapefruit

Brown-sugar Broiled Grapefruit
Serves 1

  1. ½ grapefruit
  2. 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  1. Cut grapefruit in ½ and using a serrated knife cut between the flesh and skin all the way around the grapefruit half.
  2. Put in a small baking dish and spread the brown sugar over the top of the cut grapefruit.
  3. Broil for about 5 minutes or until grapefruit is just starting to brown and the sugar caramelizes.
  4. Serve warm. You can serving it plain or with a sprinkle of granola.
  1. My daughter Laura prefers white grapefruit because she feels it’s less bitter, so try either white or red grapefruit to see which you prefer.
  2. On the Internet there are many versions of this simple recipe, such as adding cinnamon and ginger, using honey rather than sugar and garnishing with whipped topping.
  3. Nutrition Per Serving: 89 calories, trace fat, trace saturated fat, 1 g dietary fiber, 5 mg sodium.
Taste of Zest



Fruit and Nut Granola

Getting tired of the same-old breakfast or just don’t have time for it? This Fruit and Nut Granola may be the answer. I scaled down my recipe from 16 servings (which was way too much for us now that we are empty-nesters) to 8 servings. My husband and I can eat it every other day and it lasts a little over a week. If 8 serving still seems like too much, this granola freezes well for about a month. It’s delicious with low fat milk or yogurt.Small and large bowls of granola

It also works wonderfully to make a simple apple crisp for one or two. Just cut an apple or two into slices and arrange in a ramekin sprayed with cooking oil, sprinkle with a little brown sugar and cinnamon and top with this granola. Then bake at 350 degrees F for about ½ hour or until apples are cooked and it’s bubbly.  Other times, change it up and use peaches, pears or blueberries.   Fruit crisp for breakfast is a great way to get out of a breakfast rut!

Large bowl of granolaIf you don’t have time to fuss, try filling a snack bag with granola and grabbing a yogurt to go. Eat it on the bus, train or when you get to work. This can also be a great pick-me-up later in the day.Closeup of large and small bowl of granola

I also like to mix it up and make it with pecans, almonds or even mixed nuts. In the winter, I like to substitute pumpkin or apple pie spice for the cinnamon to make it more festive for the holidays. It is good with other dried fruits such as apricots, papaya, pineapple or bananas.  Next time I’m going substitute pure maple syrup for the honey.  Yum! What other ideas do you have?

Fruit and Nut Granola
Serves 8

  1. 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  2. 1/4 cup coconut flakes, optional
  3. 1/3 cup walnut, or sunflower seeds
  4. 1/8 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  5. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 1/4 cup honey
  7. 1/8 cup molasses
  8. 1/4 cup water
  9. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  10. 1/4 cup dried cranberries, or cherries
  11. 1/2 cup raisins
  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, and stir mixture well.
  2. Combine honey, molasses, water, and oil in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil.
  3. Pour over dry mixture and stir until well coated.
  4. Spread onto a jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray, spread evenly.
  5. Bake at 325 degrees F for 40 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring every 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven. Stir in cranberries and raisins.
  7. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container in cool dry place or in the freezer.
  1. Nutrition Per Serving: 232 calories, 7 g fat, 1 gm saturated fat, 4 g dietary fiber, 16 mg sodium.
Taste of Zest

Slow-cooked Steel Cut Oats


Wake up to a hot breakfast that is comforting, heart-healthy and sticks with you during the morning! Depending on the serving size, this makes enough so one person can eat it almost daily (2/3 cup) or every other day (1 cup) for a week. For variety, top with any dried or fresh fruit and nuts of your choice.  Store in individual microwavable dishes in the refrigerator for up to a week. This do-it-ahead breakfast is quick, easy and so satisfying!


Slow-cooked Steel Cut Oats
Serves 4

  1. 1 cup steel-cut oats
  2. 4 cups water
  3. 1/4 cup honey
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Spray a small slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Add all ingredients to the slow cooker, mix well and cover.
  3. Cook on low or medium low for 8 hours or overnight.
  4. Serve with low fat milk. Calcium-fortified almond or rice milk also works well.
  5. Top with chopped dried fruit (apricots, cherries, craisins or raisins) or fresh fruit (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or banana slices).
  6. Also top with nuts (toasted walnuts, slivered almonds, or sunflower seeds).
  1. I put my slow-cooker (with 5 temperature settings) on low overnight and it did not cook at all. Then I put it on high and it cooked in an hour. Cooking time varies depending on your slow cooker, so you may want to test this recipe and check on it since it may be done much sooner or later than you expect.
  2. You can also cook this on the top of the stove or in the microwave using the instructions on the steel cut oats container.
  3. Nutrition Per Serving (2/3 cup without milk or toppings): 149 calories, 2 g fat, trace saturated fat, 3 g dietary fiber, 95 mg sodium.
  4. Nutrition Per Serving (1 cup without milk or toppings): 223 calories, 3 g fat, trace saturated fat, 4 g dietary fiber, 143 mg sodium.
Taste of Zest

Griddlecakes from Homemade Mix

Griddlecakes with Strawberries

My mom had the idea for making a homemade pancake mix that can be kept in the freezer and used to make small batches of hot, fresh pancakes. These pancakes, or griddlecakes, were adapted from The Greater American Cook Book (copyright 1942). My mom says the way to make them very tender is to use buttermilk. She’s right! They are melt-in-your-mouth good!

Griddlecakes with Syrup

Please read this recipe carefully because you use only 1 cup of homemade mix for a batch and save the rest to make another batch later.

Griddlecakes from Homemade Mix
Serves 2

  1. 3 cup flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 tablespoon sugar
  6. 1 egg, slightly beaten
  7. 1 ¼ cup buttermilk or sour milk*
  8. 1 tablespoon canola oil
  1. Sift dry ingredients together and mix well.
  2. Measure out 1 cup mix.
  3. Store the rest in an airtight container or freezer zipper bag in freezer for several months.
  4. Combine egg, buttermilk/sour milk and oil and mix well in 4 cup liquid measuring cup with spout.
  5. Add 1 cup mix gradually, beating to obtain a smooth batter.
  6. Pour small amount of batter onto a hot greased griddle or frying pan.
  7. Keep the heat rather low, so the cakes do not brown too fast. When the top is full of tiny bubbles and edge is slightly dry, check the underside to see that it’s golden brown. Then flip the cake and brown on the other side.
  8. Serve hot with your favorite toppings-real maple syrup, berries and whipped topping, brown sugar and butter, or cinnamon apple chunks.
  1. *To make 1 ¼ cup sour milk, use 1 tablespoon lemon juice and enough milk to equal 1 ¼ cup. Stir and let stand for 5 minutes before using.
  2. This makes approximately 3 batches of 8-9 small pancakes per batch.
  3. Nutrition Per Serving: 87 calories, 2 g Fat, trace saturated fat, trace dietary fiber, 186 mg sodium.
Taste of Zest

Grandma Anne’s Pannekoeken

 Grandma Anne’s Pannekoeken Place Setting

Grandma Anne’s Pannekoeken with Berries

Our Grandma Anne enjoyed going to the Pannekoeken Huis  for their triple berry Pannekoeken. We would go there after we picked her up from bowling. It’s a mystery how she got the recipe, but we soon enjoyed a hot-out- of-the-oven Pannekoeken at her house. It was such a treat! We still enjoy making them even though Grandma Anne and the bowling alley are gone and the Pannekoeken Huis is now a bank. The happy memories still last. Make your own memories by preparing this Pannekoeken recipe that magically puffs up and is always a surprise when it comes out of the oven!

Grandma Anne’s Pannekoeken with Butter

Grandma Anne’s Pannekoeken
Serves 4

  1. 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  2. ½ cup low fat (skim or 1%) milk
  3. ½ cup flour
  4. ½ teaspoon vanilla or butter flavoring (optional)
  5. 1 teaspoon butter
  1. Melt butter in bottom of pie pan
  2. Mix ingredients until smooth with a wire whisk or by shaking in a pint jar.
  3. Add mixture to pan.
  4. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Top hot Pannekoeken with your favorite toppings: blueberry, strawberry or currant syrup, fresh fruit, whipped topping, bacon or sausage with maple syrup, ice cream and chocolate or caramel syrup.
  1. Nutrition Per Serving: 110 calories, 3 g fat,1 g saturated fat, trace dietary fiber, 54 mg sodium.
Taste of Zest

Tea and Scones


Picture of scones with tea cup

Taking time for tea is a ritual I enjoy daily and most often alone. The five minutes it takes to brew a cup gives me a chance to pause and enjoy a quiet moment in my day. It gives me time to take some deep breaths, clear my mind and, as the British government put on a motivational poster before the Second World War, “Keep Calm and Carry On.” When I do this for myself, I feel nourished in mind, spirit and body. When I have time, I like to make a batch of scones and enjoy one hot from the oven with a cup of tea. Then I have extras to freeze and enjoy throughout the week for breakfast, afternoon tea with a friend, or before-bed as a snack with herbal tea.

Picture of scones on plate

Here is a recipe for baking powder biscuit-like scones that I developed. The dry ingredients and butter can be mixed ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. Tea and scones are wonderful to enjoy as a special treat alone or with a friend. They are also a great gift either baked or as a mix. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Picture of scones with jam

Joy’s White Chocolate Scones
Serves 8

  1. 2 cup flour
  2. 1 tablespoon baking powder
  3. 2 tablespoon sugar
  4. ½ teaspoon salt
  5. 2 tablespoon dry buttermilk or non-fat dry milk
  6. ½ stick (4 tablespoons) butter/margarine blend
  7. 1/3 cup white chocolate chips or dried fruit or combination
  8. ½ cup 1% or skim milk
  1. Mix dry ingredients (except chips and dried fruit). Cut in butter with pastry blender or knife. Mix in chips and fruit. (Keep in airtight container for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.)
  2. Add milk. Mix and form into a ball. Add 1-2 tablespoon more liquid if it is too dry. Pat into a one inch high round (about 8 in. diameter). Cut round into 8 wedges with pizza cutter or knife. Place wedges on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350ºF for 15-20 min. – until edges start to lightly brown. Serve warm with jam or lemon curd.
  1. They can easily be reheated on low in the microwave or oven so they taste just-baked.
  2. Nutrition Per Serving: 232 calories, 8 g fat, 4 gm saturated fat, 1 g dietary fiber, 408 mg sodium.
Taste of Zest