Easy No-Knead Focaccia with Roasted Garlic and Dried Tomatoes

Easy No-Knead Focaccia with Roasted Garlic and Dried Tomatoes

Don’t be intimidated to make homemade focaccia! This recipe for easy no-knead focaccia with roasted garlic and tomatoes doesn’t take any special skills, just plenty of hands off time with the dough fermenting! I love it topped with homemade roasted garlic and store bought sun dried tomatoes. It gets a super crispy crust and chewy texture!

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Multigrain Buttermilk Pancake Muffins

Multigrain Buttermilk Pancake Muffins

Enjoy pancakes as a weekday breakfast with these multigrain buttermilk pancake muffins, lightly sweetened with pure maple syrup! Made with a blend of buckwheat flour and whole wheat flour, they're high in fiber. Pair with peanut butter and fruit for a satisfying breakfast! It's a delicious make ahead breakfast! 

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Baked French Toast with Mango Coconut Sauce and Almonds

Enjoy French toast every day of the week with this easy baked french toast, served with a no added sugar mango coconut chia sauce!

Happy National Breakfast Week!

Kidding! I made that up. Although sources (i.e. google) tells me National School Breakfast Week is next month. This week may not be an official holiday, but rather accidentally, I have three easy, whole food breakfast recipes scheduled for the blog. So national holiday or not, that's what I'll be celebrating this week on AADN!

Luckily, with Recipe Redux falling on today, they were totally on board with my self-declared holiday. This months' theme is Break out of Breakfast Boredom - show us the healthy way to wake up your breakfast...or wake up just for breakfast!

As I confessed to my lovely friend Alexis over at Hummusapien last week for her blogger's breakfast roundup, I am absolutely NOT a morning person. Sometimes I set my snooze alarm for another two minutes because I really need to get up and go to work, but I really don't want to get out of bed. In those drowsy, still half asleep moments, two minutes really is life or death. I feel like I'm probably not alone in this boat.

Almost everything I eat for breakfast is something I can reheat and eat or make in less than 2 minutes. With that, it's easy to fall into a routine. Smoothie. Overnight oats. Something eggy. Repeat.

French toast is something I would never make on a weekday, because let's face it, it takes much longer than 2 minutes. If only there was a way I could make it in advance...

Oh hey, there is! This baked french toast essentially makes a french toast casserole, which you can slice up and eat during the week. And actually, the prep work for the casserole itself takes only 15-20 minutes, so this is definitely a batch cooking friendly recipe. I used sprouted grain bread, which is my personal favorite for both taste and nutrition. But feel free to use any type you enjoy or have on hand. For a treat, this would be incredible with challah or brioche.

The mango coconut sauce was one that I came up with on a whim from some ingredients I already had on hand - the rest of a can of coconut milk after making a curry, frozen fruit (always a staple) and chia seeds. If you haven't already noticed, fruit sauces made from frozen fruit and chia seeds are one of my breakfast go tos (see here and here and check back on Friday for more evidence)

For more inspiration to break out of the breakfast boredom, check out the other creations from my fellow Recipe Reduxers below. Eating a nourishing breakfast is such an important way to start your day on the right foot. It gives you the energy you need to make the most of your day, boosts your metabolism, nourishes your brain and sets the tone for making more nutritious choices the rest of the day. If you're stuck in a breakfast rut, it's really easy to turn to fast food or sugary (and not at all filling) cereal, or just skip the meal entirely!

Do you ever find yourself stuck in a breakfast rut? What are your favorite ways to switch up breakfast? 

Baked French Toast with Mango Coconut Sauce and Almonds

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups milk or unsweetened plant milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 12 slices sprouted grain bread
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar, optional for topping

Mango Coconut Chia Sauce: 

  • 2 cups frozen mango
  • 1 1/2 cups canned coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
  • 1 tablespoons chia seeds

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, vanilla and honey.
  2. Spray a large casserole dish with oil or rub with coconut oil/butter. Spread bread evenly in layers in the baking dish. I cut the bread in half to prevent too much overlapping. As you're layering the bread, sprinkle about 1/3 cup of the almonds between bread layers. Pour the egg mixture over the bread and let sit at room temperature 30 minutes.
  3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sprinkle the top of the french toast with turbinado sugar, if using. Place casserole in the oven and bake 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
  4. While casserole is baking, heat mango, coconut milk and lime/lemon juice in a medium pot on medium heat. When mango is no longer frozen and mixture is simmering, turn off heat and blend until pureed with an immersion blender. Stir in chia seeds and let sit 5 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle casserole with remaining almonds and serve with mango-coconut sauce.

Gluten Free Carrot-Pecan Muffins

Alternate title: Life Changing Muffins.

This is no exaggeration friends. These bad boys are made with a combination of whole grains and almond meal and naturally sweetened with only dates, banana and shredded carrots. Although they're not cakey like store bought muffins, they're hearty and dense - a stick to your rib type of muffin.

I adapted this recipe from Green Kitchen Stories, and since then, I've adapted it many more times. Just keep the basic dry and wet mixtures the same, then swap in different shredded fruit, vegetables and nuts. You could also swap apple sauce for mashed banana if you like, but add a few extra dates to compensate for the sweetness. Although these muffins are gluten free, you could also make them gluten full by swapping whole wheat flour or spelt flour.


Gluten Free Carrot-Pecan Muffins

Makes 12

To make these vegan, use plant yogurt and swap 3 tablespoons ground chia seed mixed with 9 tablespoons water.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 2/3 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 roughly chopped carrots, about 1 cup
  • 6 dates, pitted
  • 2 medium bananas
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place oats in a food processor and blend until they form a flour. Pour out into a large bowl. Add almond meal, buckwheat flour, tapicoa starch, baking powder, baking soda, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and whisk to combine.
  3. Place carrots in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add to dry mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Add dates to the flood processor and blend until roughly chopped. Add bananas, eggs, yogurt, coconut oil, and ginger and blend until pureed. Stir wet ingredients into dry until fully combined. Stir in pecans.
  5. Divide batter evenly between the wells of a lined 12 cup muffin tin. Place in the oven and bake 30 minutes until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Store covered at room temperature and transfer to the refrigerator after a couple days.

Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins with Coconut Date Butter

Pumpkin cornbread muffins with coconut date butter make a delicious breakfast, snack or hostess gift for the holiday season!

Hey guys! It's another bonus recipe this week, since this month's Recipe Redux falls on a Sunday. Good thing, cause these pumpkin cornbread muffins and coconut date butter are exactly what I want to wake up to Sunday morning. If I can hold off and not eat the last two today, maybe I will!

This month's theme is quick bread, perfect timing for holiday baking season. These pumpkin cornbread muffins would be a lovely little gift. Simply wrap them up in a dish towel or napkin in a pretty basket along with a mason jar filled with date butter.

Coming from someone whose favorite cornbread used to be Jiffy, I've become quite the cornbread snob. All cornmeal. No flour. A teaspoon of honey or sugar is nice, but any more and it's cake.

These pumpkin cornbread muffins break those rules, but technically they're muffins so it's allowed. You like how with a simple change of shape I'm like, "Go ahead cornbread. Do what you want." What can I say, I'm fickle.

These cornbread muffins very lightly sweetened, so they can go sweet, with date butter or jam, or savory, paired with chili. Vegan pumpkin chipotle chili maybe?? Another fun idea - use these muffins as a base for a breakfast sandwich. You could try crisp bacon (or tempeh bacon!), a fried egg, tomato and arugula or nut butter and banana slices.

Now, can we talk about this date butter? Only two ingredients and no added sugar AND it tastes like yummy caramel! Holy smokes y'all, if you do nothing, make this date butter. I store it in the fridge, but because it's make with coconut oil, it hardens up quite a bit. Just let it sit at room temp for a bit or microwave it for 15 seconds and it'll be all creamy and delicious again.

These muffins are easily freezable. Just pop one in the microwave 30 seconds or so before eating.


Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins

Makes: 9

Adapted from Top with Cinnamon. 

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons cashew butter
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with olive oil.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together egg, pumpkin, yogurt, honey, cashew butter, and almond milk, In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Whisk dry ingredients into wet. Divide batter evenly between 9 muffin tins. Place in the oven and bake 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Two Ingredient Coconut-Date Butter

Makes: 2/3 cup

Ingredients

  • 12 medjool dates, pitted
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Place dates and coconut oil in a food processor. Blend until pureed, scraping down sides as needed. Store in the fridge. Microwave 15 seconds before serving to soften.


Green Panzanzella

Try this hearty summer salad, green panzanella with cucumber, zucchini, feta and basil. 

Have you ever caught yourself eating a nice, light vegetable salad and thought to yourself, "Tasty, but you know would make this salad better? Big 'ole hunks of toasty, crusty, olive oily bread!"

If so, I think you'll like panzanella. Also, you're my kind of person.

Panzanella is a Tuscan salad, traditionally made with stale bread, tomatoes, onions, and lots of oil and vinegar dressing. It's the second most delicious thing you can make with fresh, heirloom tomatoes (the first most delicious is my chopped Caprese salad).

But as you can tell from the photos, there are no tomatoes in this panzanella. Our tomatoes are still green on the vine (who else started singing Strawberry Wine?), we've got a refrigerator full of zucchini and probably will for the next four months. That is, unless someone (ahem, Scott) forgets to weed the garden yet again.

So, as you can tell from my most recent postings, we've been eating a lotta zucchini around here. When you eat a lot of the same thing, it's easy to get bored. Keep things interesting by changing how you chop them. Instead of cutting cauliflower into florets, try cutting it into steaks. Rather than slicing cucumbers and peppers into slices for your salad, cut them into teeny tiny cubes, Israeli salad style. And for zucchini, try shredding, noodling or as in this salad, slicing paper thin with a mandolin. It completely changes the flavors and textures.

On a related note, have you seen the new vegetable butcher column on The Kitchn? I have learned SO much from it.

Anyway, back to this salad. Being a bread salad and all, as you can imagine it's an important ingredient. No, sandwich bread won't work here. Just don't. You'll definitely want to splurge on a nice, whole grain loaf with a good crust and chew. If you don't have a local bakery, I am a huge fan of Trader Joes whole wheat pane. If you're getting bread from the bakery, check the ingredients list. Most grocery store "multigrain" loaves are just white bread with a sprinkle of seeds and grains on the crust.

Green Panzanella

Serves 4-5

To help stale your bread, cut it into cubes and leave it out overnight. If making in advance, store bread and dressing separate from the salad and mix before serving.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb day old crusty whole grain bread, cut into bite sized cubes
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 small Persian cucumbers
  • 1/2 large red onion
  • 1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Instructions

  1. Set oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray bread with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Toast for 10 minutes until lightly toasted and warm. Set aside to cool.
  3. While bread is toasting, using a mandoline, slice zucchini, cucumbers and red onion into paper thin rounds. Combine in a large bowl with cannelini beans and basil. Mix in the bread cubes.
  4. Mix olive oil and vinegar in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the salad and toss to combine. Let stand at least 15 minutes before serving and up to an hour. Toss in feta right before serving.

Whole Grain Peanut Butter Jelly Muffins

Make it peanut butter jelly time, ALL the time! These whole grain peanut butter jelly muffins filled with chia seed jam are perfect for breakfast, snacking or a sweet treat. 

This post is sponsored by Crazy Richards peanut butter. I was provided with samples and compensated for this post. As always, thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that align my Avocado A Day Nutrition values and make this blog possible! 

Like all couples, Scott and I have silly things that we argue about. Whose turn it is to do the dishes (Scotts). How many zucchinis plants is a reasonable number to plant in the garden (less than the 14 we currently have growing). Should we spend more money on the man cave (no).

Our most frequent petty argument? Peanut butter. Scott eats it all before I get a chance. I drive him nuts with my inability to put lid on correctly. Clearly, in our house, emotions run high when it comes to peanut butter.

So when Crazy Richards, makers of a peanut butter ranked best in taste by The New York Times, Cooking Light and Prevention, reached out to see if I’d like to try a sample, you can guess what my answer was.

I've always bought peanut butter made with one ingredient: peanuts. It’s the only ingredient in Crazy Richards as well. For something made with the same ingredients, I really didn’t think there could be that big of a taste difference. Let me just say, I don’t know what other peanut butters were in competition, but I can assure you Crazy Richards deserved to win. Holy smokes it’s delicious! It’s got a deep, rich, toasted peanutty flavor with just a hint of natural sweetness. Defintely something you’ll want to eat by the spoonful!

You might not think of peanut butter as a health food, probably because of it’s association with kids food (usually a safe assumption). But peanut butter is actually packed with nutrition. Here’s a look at some of the benefits:

HEART HEALTH // Peanuts are rich in nutrients that promote heart health. We all know of monounsaturated fats, the same type of cholesterol lowering fat found in avocados and extra virgin olive oil. It's also the predominant fat in peanuts and peanut butter. Peanut butter also contains vitamin E, folate and even small amounts of resveratrol, the phytonutrient found in the skin of grapes and red wine.

BIOTIN // Peanuts are the best food source of biotin, a B vitamin that plays and important role in metabolism of fat and carbohydrates. A deficiency in biotin can also affect skin. That's why biotin is often contained in many hair and skin supplements. There’s no research showing a benefit to supplements, but there’s no harm including biotin rich foods in your diet.

COPPER // Peanuts are a good source of copper with almost 50% your daily needs in one serving. Copper plays many important roles in the body, in bone and tissue health, cholesterol regulation (it targets the same enzyme as most cholesterol medications), and in the formation of an antioxidant enzyme called superoxide dismutase.

So what makes Crazy Richards better than the rest? You know, besides the fact that it tastes pretty darn close to heaven (OMG on a spoon with dark chocolate chips!). Crazy Richards uses no added sugar, salt and only the natural oil from the peanuts. Many other natural brands use palm oil to prevent the oil and nuts from separating. It's fine for health, but the production of palm oil has a devastating effect on the environment. 

Now, on to these muffins. WhenI first learned to cook healthfully, I started making these peanut butter and jelly muffins for breakfast. I was pretty excited about them, but inhindsight, they were pretty horrid and dry. What's the use of making something healthy if it doesn't taste great? Still, I kind of love the idea and I've been meaning to revamp my recipe so it doesn't taste like peanut butter smothered cardboard. This new version, lightly sweetened with coconut sugar and stuffed with a tart raspberry chia jam is pretty fantastic if I do say so myself. Perfect for breakfast or for snacking! Pro tip: double up the batch and freeze for later!

One lucky winner will receive a gift pack filled with Crazy Richard's products, including their obsessively delicious peanut butter! To win, simply leave a comment on this blog post with your favorite way to enjoy peanut butter. Deadline to win is 12 pm EST on 5/20/15 when I'll randomly pick a winner! 


Whole Grain Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins

Makes: 12 muffins

Ingredients

Chia Jam: 

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds

Muffins:

  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup Crazy Richard's peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, blend raspberries, water and chia seeds. Let sit 10-15 minutes to thicken while you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking powder, salt and coconut sugar. In another bowl, whisk together almond milk, coconut oil, peanut butter, vanilla, and egg. Whisk wet ingredients into dry.
  4. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake liners or spray with oil. Divide half the batter between the tins. Place a small 2 teaspoon scoop of jam in the middle of the batter, pressing down lightly. Top with the remaining batter.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes until golden.

More peanut butter recipes: 

Vegetable and Soba Noodle Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce
Vegetable and Soba Noodle Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce
Peanut Butter, Banana and Chocolate Bites
Peanut Butter, Banana and Chocolate Bites
Peanut Butter and Jelly Cups
Peanut Butter and Jelly Cups

Kale, Caramelized Onion and Apple Stuffing

Kale, Caramelized Onion and Apple Stuffing

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 1 lb 100% whole grain, bakery bread (I used the whole wheat Tuscan pane at Trader Joe's)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 2 medium apples
  • 10 ounces chopped kale (or 1 bunch, stemmed and chopped)
  • 2 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut the bread into large cubes. Toss with 1/4 cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper then spread evenly on a large baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes until golden and toasted.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add onion, garlic, fennel, red pepper and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring every so often, until very tender and lightly caramelized, about 10-15 minutes. Add kale, a couple tablespoons of water, and cover. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir every so often and add a few tablespoons of water if it starts to look dry. Cook until very tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, combine kale and bread cubes. Chop apples and add to the mixture along with the pecans. Season with salt and pepper. Spread evenly in a large baking dish. Whisk egg and vegetable broth together. Pour evenly over dressing. Cover with foil or a cover and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 25-30 minutes until bread is golden and crisped on top.

Granola Scones

I've tried my hand at healthy scones before, never with much success. I mean, scones just aren't health food material, so why make them parade around as something they're not? It's kind of like trying to make healthy cupcakes....

oh wait.

But kids, these are the real deal. Dense yet tender with a buttery flavor and just a hint of sweetness. No one would ever guess these bad boys are 100% whole grain, butter-free and made with minimal amounts of added sugar.

When I compare this successful attempt to my previous (unsuccessful) attempts, I think it all comes down to three ingredients.

1. COCONUT OIL // Coconut oil is my favorite substitute for butter, especially in baking applications. It behaves similar to butter and lends a subtle vanilla flavor. Yes, it's a saturated fat, but it isn't the same fatty acid as the saturated fats in animal foods and does not have a detrimental effect on cholesterol

2. BUTTERMILK // Buttermilk, a fermented dairy, does double duty. It adds a light tang and tenderizes the crumb. Despite the name, it's actually lower in fat than whole milk.

3. SPELT FLOUR // Whole wheat flour, as nutritious as it is, can be a bit heavy for many baked goods. Whole grain spelt flour is much lighter and has a similar, sweet taste to white flour.  I actually prefer it over white whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour for baking.

Granola Scones

This recipe is for a sweet variation, but you can make these savory too. Simply omit the flour and use muesli or another unsweetened, whole grain cereal instead of granola. It's fantastic topped with a poached egg or served alongside soup. If you can't find a lower sugar granola, use muesli. Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups spelt flour (or whole wheat flour)
  • 1 cup low sugar granola or muesli
  • 2 tbsp unrefined sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 7 tbsp coconut oil, softened slightly
  • 1 cup organic buttermilk, kefir or coconut kefir for a vegan version

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 475 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or use a pizza/baking stone).
  2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the coconut oil and incorporate into the flour by pressing and rubbing it together with your fingers until the flour and coconut mixture forms a sandy consistency.
  3. Stir in the granola. Add the buttermilk and mix until a thick dough forms.
  4. Form a large ball with your hands and flatten slightly. Using a sharp knife, cut the ball in half, then cut each half into 4 triangles.
  5. Place on the baking sheet and into the oven. Bake 15 minutes until golden. Let cool slightly before serving.