Vanilla Protein Pancakes

If I could have pancakes every day, I think I just might. My kids have also inherited my love of the most perfect breakfast food there ever was. I’m not above making them for dinner either. 

Regular pancakes are pretty much just a plate of carbs covered in sugar syrup and butter. And there isn’t anything wrong with that, except that there isn’t really anything good about that either. They don’t really offer much in the way of nutritional value. I’ve tried other “healthy” pancake recipes and I was never too thrilled with them. The 3 ingredient ones with just bananas and eggs or some such nonsense? Yeah, those aren’t very good. I like my pancakes fluffy! I do enjoy Kodiak pancake mix, but I was looking for something I could make myself. Something that I could throw together on Saturday morning with stuff I already have in my pantry. 

Enter: These delicious protein pancakes! I’m sure you could change up the flavors if you want by using other flavored powders, but I like the plainness of vanilla. The vanilla offers sweetness without adding too much sugar and it lends itself well to a number of different toppings.

Vanilla Protein Pancakes

2 eggs

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup all purpose flour

1 scoop vanilla protein powder* or vanilla Shakeology**

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

* You can use whatever kind of protein you want. It doesn’t matter if it is plant-based or whey. I really like this whey powder from MTS Nutrition.

** Shakeology is a great nutrient-dense meal replacement drink. Contact me if you want more information. You can follow this link here. I used this when I made them because 1. We were out of MTS vanilla and only had the cookies and cream, and 2. I wanted the extra nutrients that are in the Shakeology.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Then add the dry ingredients and mix well.

Ladle onto a hot griddle sprayed with non-stick spray. Cook until golden brown and flip. Should only take a few minutes. Cook until golden on the other side.


Serve with your favorite toppings.

Ham and Peppers Egg Casserole

Like I’ve mentioned before, every Christmas for as long as I can remember my mom made a casserole for breakfast. Now that I’m a mom myself, I’ve continued the tradition. 

I tend to change the recipe up year after year, but this year’s was really good! I was so happy with how it turned out!

Ham and Peppers Egg Casserole 

3 whole eggs

6 egg whites

1 cup milk (whole, low fat, half and half… doesn’t matter)

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon chopped chives 

Olive oil 

5 sweet mini Peppers, diced

1 leek, diced white and light green parts

Frozen hash brown potatoes

Diced ham

1 cup shredded cheese 

In a skillet, heat up the oil and sauté the peppers and leeks with a little salt and pepper until soft. Set aside to start cooling slightly. 


In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk, chives and a little more salt and pepper. 

In a buttered baking dish, add a layer of hash browns. Top with the ham. I used leftover ham from a dinner we had a couple days before, but you can use any ham. Then top with the sautéed veggies and cheese. I used cheddar, but you can use whatever you want. 


Finally, pour the egg mixture over the top. You can make this the day before and stop here if you want. That way it’s ready to go Christmas morning. Just cover it tightly and store in the fridge.


When you’re ready to bake it, put it in a 375 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes or until eggs are cooked and the top is nice and golden brown. 


Let it sit for a few minutes so the eggs set up a bit. This will make it easier to serve up.


Enjoy! 

Rabanada (Brazilian French Toast)

Good morning!!  Welcome to my first post of this year’s Christmas series. If you remember, last year I shared recipes that went with a Christmas movies theme. (If you don’t remember, you can check it out riiiiggggght here. See the individual recipe posts in the “Ping Back” section at the end.)

This year, I decided to go back to the roots of my blog and explore Christmas Around the World. I did a little research and found some fun Christmas recipes that are considered traditional in other parts of the world. I gotta say, the more I researched for this and decided what to make, the more excited I got! I hope you enjoy this theme as much as I do.

For the first recipe, I chose Rabanada, which is a Brazilian-style French Toast. At first I was thinking it would just be like any other french toast, but I can assure you it is not. This is seriously next level french toast! It is really easy to make and it tastes amazing. This is a breakfast table game changer.

French toast goes back really far in history, to the 4th and 5th centuries even. It is sometimes referred to as “Poor Man’s Toast” because it is used as a way to not waste stale bread. Many different countries have their own version. Rabanadas are popular in Brazil for special holidays, like Christmas and New Years, although they are typically eaten as a dessert rather than breakfast. These are so good though, I can’t see why they can’t be made all year round anytime of the day! They are fried, so they are perfectly crisp on the outside and nice and soft on the inside from soaking in the custard overnight. It’s almost like a churro!

When searching for recipes, I learned that there is a basic way to make these, and everyone has their own way. I took that as license to run with it! I hope you like it as much as my family did!

Rabanadas (Brazilian French Toast)

1 French Baguette (use the skinnier baguette, not the big one)
2 eggs
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1-1/2 cans regular milk (use the empty sweetened condensed milk can)
splash of vanilla
pinch of salt
vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup sugar
a couple tablespoons cinnamon

Slice the bread on a bias (at an angle) into about 1 inch-thick pieces. If the bread is fresh, leave it out to get stale. If it’s already stale, then congratulations. You are one step ahead!


In a 9×13 baking dish, whisk together the eggs, sweetened condensed milk, regular milk, vaniila, and salt. Add the bread and turn over to coat in the custard mixture. Put in the fridge to sit about 4 hours or overnight. It’s easiest to just do it the night before. Who wants to get up that early?


When ready to make the rabanadas, heat enough oil in your skillet to come about halfway up the slice of bread. Let it come to about 325 degrees.

Take the bread out of the custard and let the excess mixture drip off. Add to the hot oil. You’ll probably need to do this in batches to not crowd the pan. I think I was able to do about 5 or 6 in each batch.


Fry on each side for about 4 or 5 minutes, until golden brown. This will give you a nice crunchy outside and soft inside.

While the bread is frying, mix together your cinnamon and sugar in a shallow bowl or pie plate. I eyeballed this and it really all depends on how much cinnamon you like. If you like it really cinnamony, add a lot. If you just want a hint of cinnamon, add a little.

When they are done, remove them to a paper towel-lined plate. Then, while they are still hot, dredge them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. After this step, they will look an awful lot like a churro. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! :0)


Now, serve them up and watch them disappear fast!

Homemade Granola

Ever since I started this “new” healthy eating habit back in May, I’ve become obsessed with granola. I mean, I’ve always liked granola—what’s not to like?—but it wasn’t ever a big part of my regular diet. Now, it has become one of my favorite breakfasts. Mix it with some greek yogurt and fruit and you’ve got yourself the perfect start for the day!

I’ve been buying my granola at the store and they do have a lot of variety to choose from. I did notice, however, that the store-bought brands can get a bit pricey and are sometimes high in calories and sugar. It didn’t take long to occur to me that I could probably make this at home for less money and sugar.

I set out to The Google and started researching recipes. I quickly discovered that, while there are actual recipes to be found, you don’t really need one! And that’s my kinda dish! Just throw it together. Measuring? Nobody has time for that! Granola is also completely customizable to your tastes. You can put whatever you want in it. Gotta love that too.

For this particular granola, I hit up the bulk bins at Sprouts. This allowed me to go from bin to bin and just pick what sounded good to me. I also only got the amount I needed instead of buying a big bag of, say Flax seeds, only to use a couple tablespoons. I think I spent less than $2 on all the ingredients and I’ve gotten a lot of breakfasts out of the batch.

Here is how I made mine. I just eyeballed everything. I used more oats than anything else because that’s the base of the granola. Try to get items that are raw and unsalted so you can control the flavor. I also used only a few ingredients since this was my first time making granola and I wanted to keep it simple.

Rolled oats

Flax seeds

Slivered Almonds

Pumpkin seeds

Dried Pineapple

Honey

Coconut oil

Cinnamon

Vanilla (just a dash)

On a baking sheet, add all your dried granola ingredients except for the pineapple. Always add whatever dried fruit you use after the baking process. My husband asked why I didn’t mix everything in a bowl first and the only reason is I didn’t want to dirty an extra dish, but feel free to do that if you want.

 

Once all the granola ingredients are mixed together, sprinkle with cinnamon to your taste preference. Then drizzle with coconut oil (melted if you are using the solid kind) and vanilla. I put these together in the same bowl so they were poured on at the same time. Mix together so the ingredients are all coated with the oil/vanilla. Spread in an even layer on the baking sheet.

 

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Add a drizzle of honey and stir again. Bake about 5 more minutes.

Add the pineapple and let the granola cool before storing in an air-tight container.

 

First of all, this made my house smell sooooooo good! The toasted nuts and seeds, the vanilla and cinnamon. It was warm and heavenly. My husband did not like the pineapple addition, but that’s his personal preference. I liked it a lot. I will say, that I think it was over toasted just slightly. I don’t know if I left it in too long or if there wasn’t enough of it. Perhaps, the layer was too thin and got a bit over toasted. It wasn’t burned at all and was actually quite delicious, but I will be experimenting more with this recipe and various combinations.

What sorts of things do you like in your granola?

Scones: Chocolate Chip and Cranberry Orange 

Can we talk about scones for a minute? Actually, for many minutes. 

They are so good, right? Are they part of a good-for-you-balanced breakfast? Not a chance. But, are they delicious and the perfect treat with coffee at breakfast or brunch? Absolutely. 

Scones are sort of a cake-like biscuit, with baking powder as the leavening agent. They are light and airy and only slightly sweet. 

Scones originate from the UK and were originally large and flat, like a plate and baked on a griddle. Later, when baking powder became more available to everyone, scones were baked in the oven and the baking powder added to make them well-leavened. This is how we know them today.

Scones are usually lightly sweetened, but they can be found in savory varieties as well, incorporating cheese, onion, bacon, and even potatoes, which are commonly a fried type of scone and served as part of a full Scottish breakfast. 

You can add lots of different things to scones, like fruits and nuts. My favorite type of scone is cranberry-orange. When I was a barista many years ago, the coffeehouse I worked for had some really delicious cranberry-orange scones.

Up until now, I’d never made scones. I got a scone pan as a wedding present 7 years ago and I never used it. And after making these, I’ll probably still never use it. You don’t need one. Anyway, it’d been awhile since I brought in some treats to my office, so I thought I’d whip up some scones since I wanted to try them anyway. 

You guys, they are really easy! I did mess up a little bit in that I put too much liquid to my dry ingredients, but you live, you learn, right? I just added some more flour and it was fine.

This recipe is just a basic scone recipe that you can add to whatever you want. I made chocolate chip and, of course, cranberry-orange. 

You just need: 

3 cups all-purpous flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 Tablespoons baking powder

3/4 cup butter

1 egg

1/2 cup milk (or half and half)

whatever mix-ins you want

In a large bowl, mix together your flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. 

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Using a pastry cutter (or 2 knives if you don’t have one, but I suggest getting one to make it easier), cut in the butter. I ended up taking all this butter out and making smaller pieces to make it easier to cut in. Make sure your butter is cold. Don’t freak out at how much butter is in this picture; I doubled my recipe, so there isn’t really THIS much butter in one recipe!

  

  

In a separate bowl, mix together your egg and milk. Slowly add in a little at a time to your dry ingredients until the flour is moistened and the dough forms. This is where I made my biggest mistake. I added in all the wet ingredients at once and my dough was so wet! I had to add more flour to even it out. It ended up fine, but just remember to add little bits at a time. You may not even use all the milk and egg.
  

The basic dough is done. Now you can add whatever you want. For the chocolate chip scones, I added 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1 cup of mini chocolate chips. For the Orange Cranberry, I added the zest of an orange, 1 tablespoon orange juice, and 1/2 cup-ish of dried cranberries. You can add more juice if you want a more robust orange flavor, but keep in mind you may have to compensate the extra liquid with a little bit more flour. 

  

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I kneeded the dough and then turned it out on a lightly floured board. Using your hands, shape the dough into a round disk about 1/2 inch thick. Caution: This will make really big scones. If you want them to be smaller, just divide the dough and make two disks.
  

Now cut the circle into 8 triangles, like a pizza and put on a parchment covered baking sheet.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

  
    
  
 

These turned out so light and delicious! Next time, I will make them a bit smaller because they were way too big, but this is a winner recipe!  

Copycat Dunkin’ Donuts Breakfast Sandwich

I’ve lived here in Southern California my whole life. That means certain places like Dunkin’ Donuts were never on my radar. When we wanted donuts, other than mom and pop places, we would go to Winchell’s. I still love Winchell’s, but I’ve always been a fan of the cake donut.

Back in the late 90s, I remember Krispy Kreme opened in California. That was sort of life-changing moment in my donut eating world. It wasn’t a cake donut, but it was still oh, so good. They are pretty much everywhere now, but they are just as good all these years later.

That brings us to last year when Dunkin’ Donuts opened a store in Santa Monica, and the entire West LA crowd lost their collective minds. We’d all been listening to our friends who were former East Coast transplants rave about Dunkin’ Donuts the way Californians evangelize In-N-Out. The line for that first Dunkin’ Donuts grand opening rivaled Disneyland and was covered by local news. Someone at work brought in a box and all us Cali-natives were ready to try this amazing donut. The verdict?

Eh, it was just a donut. It was good, but it wasn’t worth the hype, in my opinion. Then I found out that what is really good there are their breakfast sandwiches. OK, that I can get on board with.

A few months ago, they tore down a dilapidated old Fosters Freeze a couple miles from my house and replaced it with a bright and shiny new Dunkin. The novelty had worn off by then and they didn’t get the big welcome that first one got. But they are doing steady business and I was finally able to get over there a few weeks ago. I picked my hubby and I up a couple breakfast sandwiches and that’s when I knew the hype of Dunkin’ Donuts.

This was a really good sandwich! At about $6 each, though, I thought it would be best to figure out how to recreate it at home. I was finally able to try it and it was really good! Maybe even a tiny bit better, just because it’s homemade.

This was a good weekend breakfast and used up ingredients I almost always have on hand.

For two sandwiches

4 pieces of thick-cut bacon
brown sugar
black pepper
3 large eggs
milk
2 slices of cheddar cheese
2 croissants

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay out the bacon in a single layer. Rub both sides of each piece with some brown sugar and some black pepper. Just a light sprinkle of the brown sugar and a heavier sprinkle of the pepper. This is a sweet pepper bacon, so you want to be able to taste the sugar and pepper, but not be choked out by it.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the parchment and let it cool a bit. It will get nice and crispy.

Meanwhile, beat your eggs with a large splash of milk and scramble.

Cut your croissants in half and toast up a bit on the inside. This is just so it doesn’t get soggy when you add your eggs.

Finally, assemble the sandwich: Eggs, Cheese, bacon.


This was so, so good. I will definitely be making this way more often.

Spooky Pancakes

I’ve never been a huge Halloween person. Sure, dressing up is fun and all, but to me it’s more of a stepping stone to Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Having kids, though, does make the holiday more fun. They love dressing up and trick or treating. We watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and this year I introduced my oldest to “Hocus Pocus”

When Halloween falls on a weekend, we also like to have a fun breakfast. That’s where these pancakes come in.

All you do is mix up your favorite pancake mix. Separate out a little bit into a small bowl (just a few tablespoons is fine) and add food coloring.
  

Using a toothpick or a skewer, dip into the colored batter and add where you want it. I just used cookie cutters for shape, but you can use pancake molds or just freehand if you want.
  

After the colored batter is in place, add the regular batter over the top in the shape you want.

  

Flip the pancake over when it’s ready.   

Remove the pancake from the mold and eat up. You’ll need as much energy as you can get to keep up with little trick or treaters!