The most important meal

  I’ve never been much of a breakfast eater, but that’s something I’ve been trying to improve. For a big chunk of my life, breakfast was a piece of toast and a can of Mountain Dew.

 My dietary habits have improved with age, however, and now my normal breakfast fare is yogurt, an apple and a granola bar.That’s the weekday menu; on weekends, breakfast is Hubby Bryan’s forte, serving up breakfast burritos, basted eggs, omelets — whatever might strike his fancy.

 Once in a while, I feel inclined to contribute to the morning meal, most recently experimenting with this muffin recipe. The yogurt keeps the muffins nice and moist, and the streusel topping is a nice crunchy contrast.

 Cinnamon Streusel Muffins

 In a small bowl, combine streusel ingredients: 2/3 cup pecans, chopped; 1/3 cup packed brown sugar; ½ teaspoon cinnamon; dash nutmeg; 2 tablespoons butter, melted. Pinch together with fingers to form large crumbs. Place bowl in freezer.

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line 12 muffin tin cups with paper liners.

 In a bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg and ½ teaspoon salt.

 In a large bowl, combine 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, 2/3 cup sugar, 2 large eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 cup plain lowfat yogurt. Stir flour mixture into yogurt mixture until just combined.

 Divide batter among muffin cups. Scatter streusel topping over top, pressing lightly into the batter.

 Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until tops are golden and spring back when touched.

 This past weekend, I had a hankering for french toast and bacon, and Hubby Bryan kindly obliged. Our favorite French toast recipe is the oven version from DotMom’s “Mixing & Musing Cookbook,” credited to longtime family friend Betty Gunderman. Since we didn’t have any orange juice on hand, Bryan successfully substituted fresh apple cider, giving our breakfast the flavor of autumn.

 Fall French Toast

 In a 425 degree oven, melt ½ cup butter in a 15- by 10-inch jely roll pan. Over top of the melted butter, sprinkle a mixture of 2 tablespoons sugar and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon.

 In a shallow bowl, mix 3 eggs, ¾ cup apple juice or cider (or orange juice, a la the original recipe). Cut a loaf of French or Italian bread into thick slices (1 ½- to 2-inches). Dip bread into the egg mixutre until bread is soaked but does not fall apart. Arrange bread on top of butter and bake for 20 minutes, or until set. (The original recipe says it’s not necessary to turn the bread while it’s baking, but we usually do to get it browned on both sides). Serve with warm maple syrup.

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