Sunday, May 24, 2015

Breakfast pizza

Not sure what to make for weekend breakfasts? This quick and easy breakfast pizza can be customized to your tastes. It's hearty, satisfying and sure to bring a smile! Who can say no to pizza?

The last month has been crazy busy in the Eva Bakes household. I competed at Adult Nationals, we went to the men's Final Four, we had family visit from Taiwan, my in-laws came to town, and we had Addie's 5th birthday party. And somehow I still managed to keep my job and keep this little blog running.

When my husband and I were out of town for the skating competition, my parents came to take care of Addie. For whatever reason, Addie will not eat any food that my mom makes (she is a phenomenal cook, so this baffles me). Since Addie refused my mom's food, they resorted to something that I normally don't allow - they took her to fast food restaurants. Addie ate at fast food places 5 days in a row and gained at least 2 pounds. #truestory

While I wasn't thrilled that she ate chicken nuggets and hamburgers for a full week, I knew that she'd be a picky eater because my parents allow her to be. Addie can be picky when I am cooking too, but one thing I can always count on her eating is pizza.

When I told her that I was making pizza for breakfast one day, she was intrigued. Pizza? For breakfast? We didn't add too many crazy toppings so she would actually eat the whole thing. And you know what? She did. She ate her entire slice and then some.

Although this isn't the healthiest of breakfast--far from it, I might add--it at least satisfies picky preschoolers and husbands. You can customize your breakfast pizza to your personal tastes and whatever toppings you enjoy. So the next time someone asks for pizza for breakfast, you can say, "Yes!"

Breakfast pizza
  • 1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 pound ground breakfast sausage
  • Toppings of choice (mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes, etc.)
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • 1 and 1/4 cups grated cheese of choice (I used mozzarella, but you can use cheddar, parmesan or any other cheese you desire)
Directions
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Open the package of crescent rolls and separate them into 8 triangles. Press them together to form a large circle and transfer to a deep dish pizza pan, 9" round cake pan or skillet. You may need to grease the pan first, depending upon the type of pan you use. Press the dough up the sides of the pan like you are forming a deep dish pizza crust.

Brown the sausage and drain the grease. Add to the bottom of the crust and add any other toppings you prefer.

Whisk together the eggs, milk and salt and pepper to taste. Pour this over the sausage and toppings. Sprinkle the cheese on top.

Bake in your preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the eggs have set.

Allow the pizza to cool slightly before serving.

Yield: One 9" breakfast pizza (about 6 servings)

Source: Adapted from Allrecipes.com

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Classic blueberry muffins and a giveaway

This classic blueberry muffin is light and tender and will not dry out overnight. A crunchy sugar topping provides a nice contrast to the fluffy muffin. You'll want to make these muffins again!

It was Teacher Appreciation Week at preschool recently, and I knew what I wanted to bake Addie's teacher. I wanted to bake her some classic blueberry muffins since she gets to school pretty early and barely has time to eat a good breakfast. Addie said that she sees her teacher eating yogurt in the mornings.

I've brought them Greek yogurt muffins before and thought it would be fun to try a classic blueberry muffin recipe. This came from a cookbook that I already own, and the authors are good old Southern bakers. Having gone to college in the South, I know that Southerners really know their food. I knew this recipe would not disappoint. Normally, I would replace the butter and oil with applesauce, but I left the ingredients as-is to see how the muffins would turn out.


As expected, the muffins were soft and fluffy. Each bite yielded a tender and light crumb, and the muffins did not dry out overnight. The coarse sugar on the muffin tops provided a nice textural contrast to the airy muffin base. This is definitely a recipe worth keeping if you aren't counting calories. Addie said she wasn't hungry yet ate one and a half of these one afternoon. For a girl who wasn't hungry, she certainly ate her share of muffins!



And now onto the giveaway! One lucky U.S.-based Eva Bakes reader will receive a ChefAlarm from ThermoWorks.  Simply enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. Please be patient, as sometimes the widget is slow to load. Good luck!

ChefAlarm from ThermoWorks
a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
Classic blueberry muffins


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (if frozen, do not thaw)
  • Coarse sugar for sprinkling, optional
  •  
    Directions

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a standard muffin pan and set aside (I used a silicone muffin pan and did not grease it).

    In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

    In a medium sized bowl, mix together the oil, melted butter, vanilla, eggs and milk. Transfer this to the large bowl with the dry ingredients. Fold gently until a few dry streaks remain.

    Gently add the blueberries and fold until no dry streaks remain. You do not want to overmix the batter.

    Evenly distribute the batter into your prepared muffin pan and bake in your preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

    Allow muffins to cool before serving. Muffins should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator and will keep for a few days.

    Disclaimer: ThermoWorks provided me with complimentary products, but I was not compensated for this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links.

    Yield: 12 muffins

    Source: The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook, page 19


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    Friday, May 22, 2015

    Skating Fridays

    Jump and Spin seminar from a famous Ukranian coach


    Last week, I had the honor of attending a jump and spin seminar from a famous Ukranian coach at our rink. He coached an Olympic gold medalist and happens to teach at our rink. I have said hi to him a few times, but he and I never really had a conversation.

    I had no idea what to expect at this seminar. Would we work on standard jumps and spins? Would someone demonstrate and then we'd copy them? Whatever the format was, I was excited because this would be my first time working with him.

    There were around 25 skaters on the ice, and they ranged from moderate beginners to elite skaters (at the intermediate and junior ladies and novice men levels). I was one of two adults. Naturally, the two of us stuck together.

    Ukranian coach gave us some warmup exercises to try down the rink. The first ones seemed simple enough: backwards swizzle, backwards swizzle, hop to right back inside edge, hop to left back inside edge. OK, I got this. Then things got progressively harder. He had us try the same exercise but add on same-foot salchows going into a regular salchow. Then he got crazy and added backwards three turns into forward power pulls followed by a waltz jump or axel.

    Now came the spins. He gave us some very difficult spin entry exercises, and none of the skaters (not even the elite skaters) could do most of these. One of the most challenging entries was from a standard crossover windup - except you started off with the windup from "the other direction." So, I would do the spin windup that a normal counterclockwise spinner would do (right over left backwards crossovers). But, instead of stepping into the spin, I would hold the backwards crossover edge, extend my (left) free foot behind me, and then try to whip the free leg around directly into a sit spin. This entry was nearly impossible.

    He had a few other entrances that were equally as difficult. Of all the spins we tried, I actually managed to do 2 of them. And of the 15-20 various exercises we did in the hour-long class, I am proud to say that I was able to correctly execute about 5 of them. Not bad for an adult skater, right?

    All in all, it was a fun hour, and the time went by very quickly. I'm not sure when I'll get to interact with the Ukranian coach in this capacity again, but at least now I can say that I learned from a coach whose skater won the Olympic gold medal!

    This would count as a "sit-behind" position if I could get fully down into the sit position

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    Wednesday, May 20, 2015

    Magnolia Bakery's vanilla cupcakes

    Never been to the famous Magnolia Bakery? Never fear - make your own version at home for a fraction of the price! These are perfect for a birthday celebration or any other special occasion!


    With Addie's joint birthday party quickly approaching earlier this month, I wasn't sure what kind of cupcakes to bake. This year's party was huge - we would have over 20 kids and their parents attend, so I planned to make 4 dozen cupcakes. I needed a recipe that I could easily double and appeal to both adults and children. I thought about Oreo cupcakes but didn't want to make things more complicated. On top of that, my in-laws were going to visit for the party weekend, so my time was extremely limited. I needed a good cupcake recipe - fast.

    The recipe I finally decided to try was this one from Magnolia Bakery. I've heard a lot of hype about Magnolia Bakery and their cupcakes. In fact, I hear a lot about cupcakeries. But what can I say? I'm cheap. I'm not usually one to dish out $2+ for a cupcake when I know that I can bake a dozen for the same price. Plus, I just get a lot of joy baking things for people. Not to mention I don't add any funky ingredients into my cupcakes to make them shelf-stable.


    Addie was disappointed when I told her that I'd bake vanilla cupcakes, but once I said that I'd make the frosting "Elsa" blue and add fun sprinkles, she was sold. The cupcake was nice and fluffy, and the frosting was a classic American-style buttercream. The frosting was such a hit that several of the kids quickly ate it off the tops of the cupcakes and then complained that I forgot to frost them. Sneaky kids!

    I wasn't able to try a cupcake on the day that they were baked, but I can tell you that they dried out just slightly overnight (but didn't lose any additional moisture after several days). I had them stored in an airtight container, but the cupcakes lost a bit of moisture. The parents all loved the cupcakes, though, and the kids seemed to love them too, so that is all that matters.


    Please visit Mandy's Recipe Box for the full recipe!

    Yield: About 24 cupcakes

    Source: The New York Times; frosting from here

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    Sunday, May 17, 2015

    Beef wellington and a giveaway

    Beef wellington is an impressive entree that will really wow your guests. A medium rare filet mignon and sauteed mushrooms are surrounded by a crisp and lightly browned puff pastry crust. Bon appetit!

    I hate when things break. I am one of those people who likes to hold onto things until they no longer work. You might call me a pack rat, but I don't know of any good reason to replace something unless it fails to work.

    For example, I bought a Brooke Shields hair styling kit in 4th grade that lasted until just a few years ago. True story. The pink and purple hair dryer from that kit lasted me a good 20+ years. I was pretty devastated when the hair dryer finally broke and I had to buy a new one.

    But one thing that has never worked for me is a kitchen thermometer. I own at least 3 or 4 expensive kitchen thermometers, including ones from fancy, well-known high-end stores. None of them has worked. Even the cheapo ones didn't work.


    Imagine my delight and surprise when ThermoWorks contacted me to try out their kitchen thermometers. Of course, I was a bit weary about their products since I have yet to own a kitchen thermometer that works. My in-laws were in town visiting one weekend when I decided to make them a beef wellington for dinner. This was the perfect time to put the thermometers to the test and see if they functioned.

    The original beef wellington recipe asked me to bake the dish for 35-40 minutes. I knew my oven was running hot that day so I wouldn't need to bake it as long. But because I couldn't see the filet mignon (it was wrapped in puff pastry, remember), I didn't have a way to measure the internal temperature. Enter the Thermapen.  In 3 seconds flat, I had a temperature reading - 135 degrees F. Just for fun, I tried the ThermoPop in the other beef wellington to see how that one was doing. To my excitement, both beef wellingtons measured within 1-2 degrees of each other, which was normal since the filets weren't exactly the same size. Since the wellingtons were within the correct internal temperatures for the recipe, that meant that I could turn off the oven and let them rest.

    Thanks to my Thermapen and ThermoPop, my wellingtons came out perfectly. My in-laws and husband enjoyed their beef wellingtons and ate every bite. I've tried this dish at Gordon Ramsay's in Las Vegas, and while it's good, it cost upwards of $100. I made two wellingtons for about $30 total, and it fed 4 people.

    I am so happy to finally own some kitchen thermometers that work - and work well! Best of all, they can measure food's temperature in a matter of seconds, unlike many of the other expensive brands I've tried.
    Thermapen - my first working kitchen thermometer!
    And now onto the giveaway! One lucky U.S.-based Eva Bakes reader will receive a Thermapen   from ThermoWorks. Simply enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. Please be patient, as sometimes the widget can be slow to load. Good luck!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Beef wellington
    • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 (6-8 ounce) filet mignon, at least 1-inch thick
    • Salt
    • Black pepper
    • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1/4 cup shallots, finely chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 2 cups mushrooms, finely chopped
    • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley)
    • 1 pound frozen puff pastry (1 package), thawed
    • 1 large egg
    Directions
    Thaw the puff pastry according to the package (if using frozen).

    Heat the olive oil in a cast iron pan (or other frying pan; do not use a non-stick skillet) over high heat. Season the filets with salt and pepper on both sides. Sear in the hot pan for 1-2 minutes on each side, making sure not to cook the steaks too much. Transfer to a plate and place in the refrigerator until ready to use. Do not clean the skillet.

    In the same skillet, melt the butter. Saute the shallots until they are soft. Then add the minced garlic and mushrooms until they are soft, about 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add the parsley. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

    Roll out one sheet of puff pastry using a rolling pin. Place one of the seasoned steaks in the middle of the pastry. Using a sharp paring knife, you will cut out a large "+" shape (so the steak is in the middle of the cross/plus-sign). You will end up with 4 squares of extra pastry that you can save for another day or use for something else.

    Add some of the mushroom mixture on top of the steak. Fold up the top, bottom and sides of the pastry and pinch to make sure there are no holes. Place seam-side down on a baking sheet and refrigerate or freeze until ready to bake.

    Repeat with the other steak and sheet of puff pastry.

    When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

    Brush each pastry with the egg. Bake in your preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the center of the steak reaches 130 degrees F for a medium rare steak. (If your wellington is frozen, heat your oven to 400 degrees F and bake for 20 minutes. Then turn the temperature down to 350 degrees F and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a thermometer reads 130 degrees F.)

    Allow the beef wellington to rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting in half and serving.

    Yield: 2 individual beef wellingtons

    Disclaimer: ThermoWorks provided me with complimentary samples of their products, but I was not compensated for this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% mine. This post contains affiliate links.

    Source: Slightly adapted from use real butter

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    Friday, May 15, 2015

    Skating Fridays

    Lost and Found


    I think I mentioned on here several times that my camel spin disappeared about a month before Adult Nationals. I'm not even kidding here - the spin completely went away, and no matter what I did to work on it, the spin was gone (ask my coach - she will vouch for me). I took the camel out of my freestyle program so I wouldn't stress about it.

    Also, my axel was nowhere to be found at Adult Nationals. I was landing them left and right during my official and unofficial practices at the competition. When I skated my programs, the axels left the building.

    After I returned home after Nationals, I took things easy the following two weeks. I *only* skated three times a week instead of my normal 5-6. I didn't run through my programs at all and instead tried to nail the troublesome elements.

    And wouldn't you know it - the camel was perfect, and the axels were huge and fully rotated. My coach said that my mental game needs some tweaking this year. I can physically execute all of these elements, but my head got in the way at Nationals. Little bits of doubt prevented me from skating my best. I thought that I was pretty good at the mental preparation for this sport, but I have been proven wrong.

    It's been about a month since Nationals (I hardly believe that), and the camel spins and axels have been back to regular form. I just hope they are here to stay. As my skating friend K says, I need to "leash" the axel and camels so they don't try to run away again!


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    Wednesday, May 13, 2015

    Recipe Roundup: Almond flour recipes

    Image courtesy of Nuts.com

    Is it me, or does it feel like more people are going gluten-free (GF) these days? One of the skating moms at the rink is GF, as is one of my former coworkers. Several kids in Addie's preschool have various food allergies, so it appears that a GF diet is becoming more and more popular.

    One popular GF flour substitute that I've been seeing is almond flour.  In fact, my friend Nicole actually created an entire cookbook devoted to it.

    Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I don't eat nuts (it's a texture thing). But, I do like using nut flour in baking to get benefits from the protein and nutrients found in regular nuts. In fact, I love using almond flour in macarons instead of buying raw almonds and grinding them myself.

    For those who are gluten-free or simply want a list of GF desserts to try, here is a roundup of what I have made with almond flour:






    Hope you enjoyed this nutty roundup!

    Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation or products for this post. This is simply a partnered post with Nuts.com that I chose to participate in.

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