Whole Wheat Honey Biscuits {and Gravy}


Sometimes you just need a little comfort.  A hug, a hold, a good word, and high five.

Sometimes comfort is in order because you just aren’t feeling optimal.

Sometimes comfort is needed because your heart is breaking… which definitely means its aching.

Sometimes you need a little comfort because you messed up at work and sent the wrong product to a dude in France.

Sometimes comfort comes in handy when you have to say goodbye… to a loved one, a pet, or your favorite t-shirt that has a big gaping hole in the arm pit (thats real life).

Sometimes you need comfort because the world seems so big and you seem quite insignificant in its core.

Sometimes comfort calms you down after being stuck in traffic for an hour (or 2)

And sometimes you just need a little comfort because its a Tuesday morning.

Tuesday morning comfort is the best!  Especially when accompanied by homemade biscuits and gravy.

Whole wheat honey biscuits al a Joy the Baker are a cinch to make.

Flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Irish butter.  Buttermilk and raw honey.

Butter gets cut into the dry ingredients.  Use your fingers!  The end result will be pieces about the size of nickels and peas.

Stir the honey into the buttermilk.  Pour over your butter/flour.  Then…

Mix!  But only until ingredients are just combined.  Over-mixing will make the biscuits tough… and no one wants a tough biscuit.

A little butter gets melted in a skillet.

Drop 1/4 cup of dough into your pan.  Joy used a cast iron skillet, I just used a nonstick pan.  Use what you’ve got!

You know what comes next.  Bake until the biscuits are golden brown on top and buttery in the middle.

These biscuits are true comfort.  Warm and buttery they lend themselves well to all sorts of biscuit situations.  Topped with grape jam? (yes please!).  Sandwiching a fried egg and a slice of bacon?  (why not?).  Stuffed with goat cheese (that’s Joy’s version..also yummy).  But what about topped with sausage gravy?

Uhhhh, I think Tuesday comfort requires gravy.  Right?

Yes, yes it does.

It also requires that I eat off of my grandma’s southwestern plate and scramble up an egg.

High five, hug it out, say something nice.  Comfort yourself… B&G style!

Whole Wheat Honey Biscuits

Recipe slightly adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook

Makes 8-10 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 11/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes, plus more for pan
  • 1 cup buttermilk, cold
  • 2 Tablespoons honey

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.   Place non-stick skillet or cast iron pan in the oven while it is preheating.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Using your fingers, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the flour resembles a course meal.  Butter will be in pea size and nickle size pieces.
  4. Make a well in the middle of the butter/flour mixture.  Mix together the buttermilk and honey.  The honey will not completely mix into the buttermilk but thats okay.
  5. Pour buttermilk and honey into the flour mixture.  Using a fork, stir together ingredients until just combined.
  6. Remove skillet from oven and melt about a tablespoon of butter in the pan.
  7. Scoop about 1/4 cup of dough into the pan.  Position biscuits about 1 inch apart from each other.
  8. Bake for about 14-16 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits are golden brown.
  9. Remove from oven and serve warm.

*Biscuits will keep for up to 3 days well wrapped and in an airtight container at room temperature.

Cocoa Hazelnut Granola

I love that food has the ability to take me back to another place in time.  One bite of something familiar and memories flow back as if it were yesterday.  Our taste buds can be path to the the past.

When I first moved to Portland I was going to culinary school in the evenings from four to nine.  I’d usually eat a late dinner afterward throwing something together that resided in my fridge.  On Friday nights the boyfriend and I would go to Whole Foods.  I got just about the same thing every week– soup, my favorite was mushroom barley, a seeded roll, and a container of granola that they made in-house.  I am definitely a creature of habit and that was my standard for a long time.

This stage of my life consisted of lots of strange, you could also say obsessive, habits.  I’d eat two crunchy kashi bars everyday- one with my cup of coffee that I ventured out to get around 2 o clock and the other at night before bed (except for weekend nights).  I did the same workout everyday.  Lots of cardio machines.  I had to be slightly insane to keep that boring nonsense up for so long.  I can’t recall what I had for breakfast but assuredly it was the same thing everyday.  I wrote my calorie intake down before I’d go to bed every night.  If it was over 2000 kcal I’d make note and go way under the next day.

This is just a glimpse of my crazy brain.  Needless to say I was in an unhealthy state regarding my relationship with food, one that had been taking place for several years prior to coming to Portland.

As I made and then ate this granola fresh from the oven Sunday my taste buds took me back to that time in my life.  It seems so long ago now.  Habits have changed, obsessions have been worked through.  But, nonetheless, I remember that state I was in.  Completely wrapped up in the outside of myself while ignoring all that was going on inside, the true driving force behind my behavior.

Food has been a double edged sword for me for quite some time now.

I love food.  I love the experience of baking, eating out, or having a meal with friends and family. I enjoy and look forward to the next meal.  I love to taste, smell, and admire the beauty that food offers our senses.

But while I greatly enjoy food I have feared it equally as much.  The fear comes from deeper places of desiring perfection or a “better” figure.  But the fear manifests itself in the same thing that I love and am passionate about.  It’s strange how that happens… one thing causing both excitement and anxiety.

I am glad to reflect on that time only to see how far I’ve come.  As I bite into this homemade granola I am transported back but I am also made aware of where I sit currently; a place where I can eat without the fear that each tiny calorie will add to my frame.  I sit more in a place of acceptance than of judgement for myself.  A place of continually seeking a healthy balance.

Alright, enough blabbing about my past food troubles.  If you made it through all that you a high five. Or pat on the back.  Your choice!  If you skipped to this part where I’ll talk about the granola, I totally understand.

This granola makes my taste buds so happy.  Its crunchy.  Its nutty.  Its crunchy some more.  Slightly sweet from honey and sugar it also has a bit of a salty bite every once in a while.  The cocoa powder adds a hint of chocolate flavor but nothing over powering.  The coconut oil lends itself beautifully against the nutty oats and toasted hazelnuts.  And millet seeds.  Oh millet seeds.  I adore them.  I really have no words.  They just make this granola a 1000 times better.  Trust me.

I enjoy my granola most topped with a little milk.  Maybe you like yours mixed with some fruit and yogurt.  Or perhaps on top of some ice cream with a touch of honey.  How-about just a handful right out of the jar?  Yeah, I do that a lot too.

Cocoa Hazelnut Granola

Adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup raw hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup millet seeds
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 11/2 Tbsp honey
  • 5 Tbsp coconut oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prepare baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
  2. In a large bowl combine oats, hazelnuts, coconut, millet seeds, cocoa powder, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, honey, and coconut oil.  Place saucepan on medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves and bubbling occurs.  Remove from heat and pour over oat mixture.  Mix until well combined.
  4. Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet and spread into an even layer.  Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Stir granola and continue baking for 10 minute intervals until golden and fragrant.  (mine was in for about 25 minutes)
  5. Remove from oven and let cool completely.  Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Lime Curd

You guys!  Guess what?  I’m finished with college.  Yep, totally finished.

I was excited.  I gave myself a high five.  That was about it… slightly anti-climatic.

I wanted to eat like 5 cupcakes and relish in my accomplishment.  I want to travel the world for a little bit.  I want to bake a lot… with expensive chocolate.  I want win a bunch of money and just be set for a while.  Or maybe someone who really loves me a lot would just want to fund all of my travel/baking adventures… maybe take me on a shopping spree or two?

No?  Thats not gonna happen?  Shoot!

In the mean time, while the rain is pouring down and I’m avoiding sifting through job listings, lets talk about limes!  And curd!

I had a large bag of limes leftover after catering my friends wedding this past weekend so I decided to turn those green gems into something really tasty.

First limes get washed, zested, and juiced.  Time to pucker!

Next it’s time to separate eggs.  This curd uses two whole eggs and 4 yolks.  All those eggs  create a rich, smooth, creamy curd.

Butter and honey get satiny together and are whipped up before adding in the eggs and lime juice.

After a little heat, stirring, and lime zest your curd is finished!

Seriously, this curd is good.  I’m usually not a huge citrus fan but I really enjoyed this.  It has the perfect balance of tart and sweet.   Its smooth and creamy and literally melts in your mouth.

I just took another bite to be sure I was correctly describing this.  I was but I might need another bite just to be sure…

The yellow hue with dots of green zest make it perfect for spring.  Its like Easter in a jar.

Speaking of Easter, these little parfaits would be a perfect addition to an Easter brunch.

Really, they’d be a great addition to anything… breakfast, a lunchtime dessert, a healthy snack, or light after dinner sweet.  Layers of greek yogurt, lime curd, strawberries, and hazelnuts are a treat for both your eyes and your tummy.  Yes!

Lime Curd

Recipe from Cookie and Kate

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, soft and cut into small cubes
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 10-12 limes)
  • 1 Tbsp finely grated lime zest

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, cream butter and honey.
  2. Add egg slowly, beating until incorporated.
  3. Pour in lime juice and mix until combined.  Pour mixture into a non-reactive saucepan.
  4. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens, about 5-7 minutes.  Be sure to continue stirring through the whole process to avoid the eggs curdling or mixture sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Once the mixture is about at boiling point it will thicken quickly.
  5. Remove curd from heat and stir in lime zest.
  6. Pour into glass jar and let sit until completely cool.  Once cooled, screw on the lid and store in the refrigerator.  Makes about 2 cups.

Chocolate Banana and Spinach Smoothie


“As long as I am alive in this body, there is good work for me to do…” -Philippians 1:22-

I kind of freak myself out a lot.  I get overwhelmed by details.  I stress myself out by thinking I have to have life all figured out.  I get down on myself for feeling like I don’t have anything figured out.  Then I get all dramatic and think I’ll never really find what I’m supposed to do in life and I’ll end up working some job I can’t stand and hating every minute of it.

Oh man, I need to take a chill pill… like, for serious.

All this stuff going on in my brain has been stressing me out!  But then, faithful as he is, God shows me the verse above — reminding me that good work is everywhere, waiting to be had.  It may not be glamorous.  It may mean waking up at 4:30 (am) sometimes.  It may not make any sense, but I do have a purpose in this place in time.

Ahhh, what breath of fresh air… words I need to hear and hold close.

When I’m stressed out I like to try to take advantage of things that make me feel good.  Eating well gives me a boost of energy inside and out, and helps me feel like I’m doing something good for myself… loving myself well.

The new year is full of resolutions to eat better and this smoothie is a great thing to add to your list of “healthy stuff.”  Smoothies in general can be a great way to add extra nutrients to your diet in a tasty and satisfying way.

This one is pretty simple:  spinach, a banana, a scoop of chocolate protein powder, flax seed meal, ice, and water.  I usually drink this or something similar after a workout, but its great to start your day with or as a refreshing snack in the afternoon!

You can switch it up however you’d like.  Add things in or take things away.  Smoothies are totally versatile… like a dress you can wear to work and out on the town or that pair of shoes you could wear with any outfit.

Pretty much if you make a smoothie you’re gonna be winning.  Just accept it.  Give someone a high five.  And know that you did good work.

Chocolate Banana and Spinach Smoothie

Makes one large or two small smoothies

Ingredients

  • About 2 cups spinach
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1 cup water
  • About 1 cup ice
  • 2 Tbsp flax seed meal

Directions

  1. Blend together spinach, ice, and water until spinach is blended into small bits.
  2. Add banana and chocolate protein powder and blend until fully incorporated.
  3. Pour into a glass and top with flax seed meal.
  4. Enjoy!

*Don’t have protein powder or hate the taste of it?  Try adding in some greek yogurt and chocolate syrup instead.  You’ll still get the chocolate flavor and a some protein too!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Banana Bread

I’m procrastinating. I’m a procrastinator.  I don’t want to be!  I promise.

It’s just so much easier to convince myself that looking at blogs, reading Women’s Health Magazine, and watch Nigella Lawson on the cooking channel are much better ideas than reading about the people who moved west in the late 19th century.

Yeah, the Oregon trail is neat.  Their lives were strenuous.  Their story is fascinating.  But I still don’t want to read about it.  Not right now anyway.

Plus I’m feeling kind of sick and that means I shouldn’t have to do homework, right?

Instead, lets talk about Nigella for a minute.  My boyfriend informed me today that he thinks she’s hot.

My response?  “Uh, yeah she is.”

That woman is so beautiful!  And she makes everything sound so appealing with her soothing, English-accented voice.  I’m jealous.  I really can’t blame him for crushin on her.

Maybe now he’ll understand why I have a crush on Robert Pattinson.

Hmm, maybe not.  I don’t think that one can be explained.

  You know what can be explained?  This awesome pumpkin, banana bread!

Thats right.  Pumpkin and banana together in one flavorful, slightly sweet, completely tasty bread.  Its a combination that works beautifully.

The flavors meld together nicely, yet stand on their own enough for both flavors to be distinguished.  

And yes, I added chocolate chips.  You’re welcome.

Seriously though, I love chocolate chips in quick breads.  They soften just enough to easily bite through, yet maintain their shape.  It’s a delicious flavor and texture sprinkled throughout this bread.  I throughly enjoy it.  I’m certain you will too.

Guess what!  You can make a loaf of bread, or cute individual muffins.  I did both.  You can too!

Or just do one or the other.  Whatevs.

And then, while you stuff your face with this delicious fall bread, you too can procrastinate.  Turn on Nigella, or pop in a RPattz movie.  I won’t judge.  Just do your thang.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Banana Bread

Adapted slightly from Rebecca Thinks…

Makes one large loaf or about 16 muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Heaping 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (add more or less if you like)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease loaf pan or muffin tin, or line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Whisk together bananas, pumpkin, oil, and eggs in a large bowl.
  4. Add flour mixture to pumpkin banana mixture.  Stir until just combined.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Fill loaf pan or divide batter into muffin tin.
  7. Bake until tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  About 40-45 minutes for the loaf pan and 30 minutes for muffins.
  8. Let cool on a wire rack or eat while still warm!
Yummy!  Enjoy!

Blackberry Whole Wheat Scones

I love scones.  They are my favorite breakfast treat by far.

I love them more than croissants or doughnuts, bear claws or quiche.

When I first moved to Portland I scoured through the most popular bakeries looking for a delicious scone.  When I finally found the best at Baker and Spice Bakery I was hooked.  That was my weekend breakfast treat… every. single. weekend.

My boyfriend, Josiah, and I would go on Saturday mornings.  We’d lingered through the farmers market by my apartment, let the anticipation build a little bit, and then head over to the bakery for coffee and breakfast.  These particular scones are filled with cranberries, almond flakes, and oats.  They’re dense and buttery, sweetened mostly by the dried cranberries.  Thinking about them makes my mouth water and my heart long to have one right in front of me.  They are truly heavenly!

When I moved out of downtown and to the suburbs, I didn’t make it over to Baker and Spice as much as I would have liked to.  But, one fateful day my darling mother signed up for a baking class through Baker and Spice’s sister store, Sweet Wares.

And guess what they made?  You are correct, those precious scones.  Needless to say when I thought of making scones this week I went straight to that recipe.  And here’s how it turned out.

I made some adjustments.  Not because I thought the recipe needed it, but because I was curious to play around with it, and also because I didn’t want to go to the store.

1). I used blackberries instead of cranberries, 2). I used ground almond instead of almond flakes, and 3). I used all whole wheat flour instead of a mix of whole wheat and all-purpose.

The end product is a buttery, hearty scone with that faint sweetness that I love.  While I did enjoy the blackberries, I suggest trying frozen blueberries or huckleberries instead.  The blackberries are harder to work with since they are so much larger.  Of course, you can stick with the original and add dried cranberries if your heart so desires.

Whatever you choose, these scones will be a lovely treat any day of the week!

~If you live in or have the chance to visit Portland and are looking for a great bakery I whole heartedly suggest Baker and Spice.  The space is warm, friendly, and inviting with lots of places to sit, eat, and linger over coffee.  And the pastry case is stocked full of goodies… it’s kind of ridiculous.  They have a great array of both sweet and savory items.  You will surely find something for everyones taste buds!~

Blackberry Whole Wheat Scones

Makes about 18 scones

Ingredients

  • 4 cups  whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 sticks butter
  • 2 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 1/2 cup almonds
  • 2 1/2 cups blackberries
  • 1 1/3 cup buttermilk plus more more brushing
  • Turbinado sugar for sprinkling
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Cut butter into cubes and add to the flour mixture.
  4. Cut butter into the flour until it is the size of large peas.
  5. Stir in the oats, almonds, and blackberries.
  6. Add the buttermilk and stir just until dry ingredients are moist.
  7. Turn out dough onto the counter top and divide into 3 equal lumps.
  8. Press each lump into a 6″ disk then brush with buttermilk and top with turbinado sugar.
  9. Divide disks into 6 equal triangles and place on baking sheet.
  10. Put scones in freezer for 10 minutes before baking.
  11. Bake scones for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on top.
*These scones freeze really well and are a great treat to have in your freezer for unexpected guests, or if you just get a craving for one!  Simply freeze scones on the baking sheet for about 30-40 minutes.  Remove and wrap scones in plastic wrap and place in a sealed bag.  To bake frozen scones directly from freezer, just add 5-10 minutes on the baking time and you should be set!
Baked scones will last for 3 days in an air tight container at room temperature.

Zucchini Tomato Frittata

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Have you heard that?  Yeah, me too.

But why?

Physiologically: While you were getting your beauty rest your body was in a state of fasting for the last 8 hours of so.  It needs some energy to get you started for the day so that it doesn’t start eating itself.

Psychologically: Eating breakfast can help stave off hunger later in the day.  If you eat breakfast you are less likely to overeat at night because you won’t convince yourself that you deserve more food since you didn’t have it earlier in the day.

Taste bud-ologically:  Thats a new word.  And yet another reason why you should eat breakfast.  Your tounge buds have been void of any food goodness for 8 hours.  8 HOURS!  Thats too long.  They need some lovin.

I personally love breakfast.  I look forward to it everyday.  Getting up, making something tasty, and sipping coffee while I catch up on some reading.  Joyous!

I’ve been on an egg kick lately, which is where this frittata comes in.  A frittata is similar to an omelet in that you can basically add whatever your heart desires.  The skies the limit.  They are also very easy to make.  Great for mornings at home by yourself, or entertaining guests.

Heres how you make one:

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Turn on the oven broiler.  Thinly slice some onion, and then saute in the skillet.  While the onion is sauteing, I shredded some zucchini and cut cherry tomatoes in half.  Put those in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Add in your eggs (I used 2 whole eggs and some egg whites from a carton) and whisk together.  Season with salt and pepper.  The onion should be sweating and turning translucent by now.  You can let the onion cook a little farther if you want a sweeter flavor.  Add in the egg/veggie mixture.  Let the eggs cook on the stove until the edges around the top are starting to cook through.  The middle of the frittata will still be uncooked.  Transfer to the broiler and cook until the top is golden brown.  Remove from oven (Be careful, the handle is hot!).  Use a rubber spatula to lift the frittata from the sides of the skillet and transfer to a plate.  Enjoy!

Like I said, the ingredients are interchangeable, as well as the amounts.  Just remember to season with salt and pepper (and other spices/herbs if you want) or else the frittata will be kind of bland.

Some favorable flavor suggestions:

  • Bacon, mushroom, onion, spinach, blue cheese
  • Go greek! with tomato, spinach, olives, and feta
  • Asparagus, leeks, and ham
  • Sweet potato, caramelized onion, and rosemary

 

 

 

Whole Wheat Banana Zucchini Muffins

When I was younger we would go to Puerto Penasco, Mexico for spring break every year.  A bunch of family friends would travel with us so it turned out to be a big group of friends heading down there for the week.  In preparation for the trip my mom would always go to Sam’s Club (its like Costco) to get food for the week.  My mom would usually buy those giant muffins they sell there to eat for breakfast and snacks.

They were huge.  My favorite was chocolate with chocolate chips.  I could down one those things like no ones business.  I was sort of a chubby kid, but I don’t wanna talk about that.

Geez, I haven’t had a chocolate muffin in a long time.  I might have to remedy that soon.

But first, we need to talk about these delicious, totally good-for-you banana zucchini muffins.

Thats just a bunch of green goodness right there.  These muffins are laced with zucchini but you’d never know unless I told you.  Which I just did, so now you can simply enjoy the fact that you’re eating vegetables that taste like sugar.

Beside zucchini, these muffins are packed with banana, flax seed, whole wheat flour, and millet seeds, which add a delightful texture.  There’s actually a low amount of sugar, and guess what?  No butter or oil!  I know, I could hardly believe it either, especially after biting into one of them.

These muffins won’t disappoint, I promise.  Eat one for breakfast, a snack, or even dessert.  They’re versatile.  A multi-purpose sort of muffin.

Whole Wheat Banana Zucchini Muffins

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup millet seeds
  • 3/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup mashed banana
  • 3/4 cup almond milk*
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Lightly coat a muffin pan with non-stick spray.
3. In a large bowl mix together flour, flaxseeds, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
4. Stir in zucchini and banana.
5. In a small bowl mix together almond milk, egg, and vanilla.
6. Add milk mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined.
7. Stir in millet seeds. (Don’t over mix!)
8. Divide batter into muffin cups.
9. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  About 20-25 minutes.
* The recipe from shutterbean used whole milk.  I had almond milk on hand so I just used that.  You could substitute skim, 1%, or 2% milk and the muffins should turn out fine.
Enjoy!