I’ve been in a food rut lately and desperately needed to try something new. There were caveats though. Since I haven’t been to the grocery store this week, the recipe had to be made with ingredients in my pantry and it had to be easy. It sounded like it was time to drag out the crockpot! After flipping through my cookbooks, I landed on the perfect recipe to try – I had everything but the pecans!
Orange-Flavored Breakfast Barley with Cranberries and Pecans
We stopped in at The Bad Waitress last year but didn’t stay, it was busy that night and we weren’t sure what we were in the mood for. Over the weekend we were looking for a great breakfast joint in Minneapolis, so we finally headed back to give it a try. Their setup is simple. Each table has menus and an order pad. Simply write your table name on a slip, add your order and its specifications, then take it to the counter to pay. When your order is up, a waitress will bring it out to you! We were all hungry that morning and there were a lot of items that we wanted to try.
The Husband went for THE BAD WAITRESS BREAKFAST BURRITO. He ordered his three eggs scrambled with white cheddar cheese, chorizo and mushrooms; served with hashbrowns:
I had a craving for veggies, so I went with THE AMSTERDAM HASH. I ordered my eggs scrambled with red potatoes, broccoli, red onions, red peppers and mushrooms with their cheddar-mozzarella cheese blend:
The Mom-In-Law treated herself to a mimosa in addition to THE OUT-OF-THIS-EARTH SCRAMBLE. The rosemary-seasoned scramble included organic eggs and hashbrowns with broccoli, oven-roasted tomatoes, and white cheddar cheese. She said that the tomatoes were fantastic and we all tried the sake-spiked mimosa:
Our breakfast was really good, I’m ready to go back for more. They have several vegan and gluten-free options as well, so it’s a great Minneapolis breakfast spot for multiple diet types.
After a long week, The Husband and I treated ourselves to a breakfast date at The Lowry. I left loosening my belt after overindulging, every bite was better than the last.
I had the Breakfast Burrito (vegetarian). It came with hashbrowns, Wisconsin cheddar, scrambled eggs, black bean salsa, cilantro sour cream, and salsa roja rolled up in a soft flour tortilla. YUM!!
The Husband ordered his breakfast standard, Biscuits & Gravy. Sausage gravy slathered over buttermilk biscuits and eggs, served with hashbrowns on the side. This was his first time having Biscuits & Gravy served with scrambled eggs, but he declared it delicious.
We had to order the Peanut Butter Waffle, peanut butter is one of my all-time favorite things. I’d meant to have a bite and take the rest home but between the two of us, we polished the entire things off. The waffle is served with crunchy Skippy, vanilla custard, and candied peanuts.
I’m ready to go back for seconds, but this time I’m wearing stretch pants.
This recipe is great for those times when the cupboards are bare. Using the most basic ingredients, Crustless Broccoli-Cheddar Quiches from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food collection is a great recipe for breakfast, lunch or even a light dinner. Very easily halved or doubled, it’s also a great recipe for experimenting! Try substituting different cheeses and vegetables, I used frozen kale after discovering that I was out of broccoli and it was delicious!
I’ve made this recipe for simple brunch and dinner parties, it’s always a hit and couldn’t make things any easier. Consider serving it with some crusty bread and a side salad or fruit, and the meal is complete.
Here’s the recipe:
– Butter, for ramekins
– Coarse salt
– 1 package (10 ounces) frozen broccoli florets
– 6 large eggs
– 1/2 cup half-and-half
– Ground pepper
– 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (3 ounces)
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter four 8-ounce ramekins (or a 9-inch pie dish); set aside. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add broccoli; cook 1 minute. Drain well; transfer to a cutting board, and blot dry with paper towels. Chop coarsely.
2) In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in broccoli and cheese.
3) Place ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Ladle broccoli mixture into ramekins, dividing evenly. Bake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.
I’m about to make a very bold statement because I have had been to a lot of restaurants this summer. My favorite meal at a new restaurant in Minneapolis this summer was at Tiny Diner.* A lot of restaurants have fed me some really amazing meals, but the one that stands out in my mind is Tiny Diner’s Macro Bowl. Could their breakfast be as good? It just might be better.
When I looked at the menu, a few things jumped out at me. I was disappointed that they were out of the House Made Granola (hemp, flax , nuts, dried fruit, organic yogurt, or choice of milk) so I scrapped my initial plan of having that with the Bruled Grapefruit. The disappointment was soon forgotten when my second choice arrived. The Tofu Scramble:
The Husband wanted a little of everything so theThe Breakfast of Champions was the perfect choice. The pancakes were gooooooood.
The Tiny Diner and Farm call itself a small place with big ideas. Their menus made with local food and the stuff they grow themselves is worth a visit every time of day.
* Please note all the clarifications in this statement. 🙂
We wanted something special for our breakfast with The Mom-In-Law, so we headed west to The Zumbro Cafe. Located in the Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis, their website says they have been serving great meals from the heart since 1995 and we agreed. We got there bright and early to beat the rush, and their breakfast was worth it.
I have traced the source of The Husband’s love of Eggs Benedict to The Mom-In-Law, if it’s on the menu they are both sure to order it. I heard no complaints on this one, though they discussed the consistency of this hollandaise sauce at length since it was a thinner approach than they usually see. The verdict? They were both members of The Clean Plate Club, so I’m pretty sure they liked it.
I indulged my love of tofu with the Tofu Scramble. It was really good but I could have eaten a plate of their potatoes and toast for breakfast. Yum!
While Zumbro isn’t exactly in our backyard, we’ll definitely be going back in the future to try more things – I encourage you to do the same!
This recipe is a family favorite that is great for anytime of day. The Mother calls it “Tommy’s Breakfast” but I just refer to it as “That Egg and Hashbrown Thing.” One could also think of it as a lazy man’s frittata. 🙂
One of the things that I like about this recipe is that you can dress it up as much as you like or keep it simple. It can easily be scaled up feed to a crowd or make a satisfying dinner for one. The recipe is so simple in fact, that I never wrote down The Mother’s instructions, I just shoot from the hip every time I make it. Here’s what I do for two servings:
2 cups of frozen southern style hashbrowns (the chunky ones)
3 TBS milk
1-2 TBS oil
Shredded cheese to top
1) In a small frying pan, cook the hashbrowns in oil. Ideally, the hashbrowns will cover the bottom of the frying pan you are using to create the potato layer that will be the base of your dish. Season the hashbrowns to taste.
2) While the hashbrowns are cooking, whisk the eggs and milk together.
3) When the hashbrowns are ready, spread them in an even layer on the bottom of the pan and cover with the egg mixture.
4) Lower the heat on the stove and cover. It’s important to cook slowly here or the bottom of your hashbrowns will be burned to a crisp (trust me, I’ve done it a million times). Leave the eggs to cook, checking from time to time. This usually takes about 15-20 minutes, but I like my eggs well-cooked. When the eggs are cooked to your liking, top with cheese and cover again until melted. Dinner is served!
There are lots of ways to personalize this dish. The Mother tops hers with crumbled bacon. She makes the bacon first and then cooks the hashbrowns in the bacon fat. The vegetarian in her life (aka, me) gets her own individual non-bacon version, of course.
You can also add items to the hashbrowns like diced bell peppers, onions, jalapeno, etc. I’ve done this, but consider this to be a pantry meal staple because I usually have hashbrowns in the freezer and eggs in the fridge even if the rest of the shelves are bare. My version pictured above used a shredded Mexican cheese blend and was topped with salsa, one of my favorite ways to eat eggs. The Husband has topped his portion with chorizo, this recipe can truly be made to order. Add a side salad or toast, and you’re ready to eat! It also makes good leftovers.
The Lowbrow in South Minneapolis is one of my favorite restaurants. Not only do they have a bright and cheery space, their menu has a bunch of interesting vegetarian options to choose from. With all those choices, however, I always get the Fried Tofu Sandwich because it’s one of my all time favorite meals (see it here). So color me ecstatic when we showed up for an impromptu breakfast and there were Tofu Breakfast Tacos on the menu! Served with guacamole and roasted potatoes, they were the perfect way to start the day:
The Husband doesn’t like a lot going on with his eggs, he likes them simple. The Bacon Scallion Scramble was just the ticket:
We had to ask what the HEY! COFFEE CAKE flavor was and the blueberry we ordered was definitely the “brunch time must” they promised it would be:
The Lowbrow is all about comfort food made using locally farmed and sustainably grown ingredients. With so many gluten-free and vegetarian options, there is something for everyone. Go lowbrow with your next meal and head to Lowbrow. 🙂
I love a good breakfast, it’s pretty much my favorite meal of the day. I love breakfast so much I’ll eat it morning, noon and night. Do you get the idea? And when I find a favorite food, I want to eat it all the time. So it will come as no surprise when I say that I haven’t stopped thinking about my Breakfast Quesadilla last January at The French Meadow Bakery & Cafe in Minneapolis. Despite my love of this quesadilla and my inability to forget it, I hadn’t been back to The French Meadow because there are so many great places to eat and so little time.
You can imagine my childlike glee when I learned that a new French Meadow had opened in St. Paul, what a perfect excuse to eat there again! I made a rule for myself, however, I had to try something new. After a great deal of soul searching, I landed on the “Zone” Omelette. It was good, but it was no Breakfast Quesadilla:
The Husband really liked his selection. He mentioned a few things about the fresh flavors and the salmon, but I secretly think he liked the meal because he could slather cream cheese all over everything. He had the Eggs & Smoked Salmon:
And because we didn’t know how long it would be until we’d be back, we made sure to save room for a scone:
With temperatures unsafe for any outdoor activity on Sunday, I set the entire day aside for sewing. I carefully measured, cut and pinned a new skirt pattern and before sitting down to sew, went to oil the machine as The Mother always advised. “The best thing you can do for your machine is keep it oiled,” she used to tell me. I peered in the bobbin holder at the little oil sponge. Dry. Squeezed the oil bottle. Nothing. SQUeezed the bottle. Nothing. SQUEEEEEZED the bottle and it exploded. Oil went all over the machine, into the machine, onto my newest in-process skirt, basically everywhere. I sat there stunned, hand still outstretched holding what remained of the bottle, oil dripping from my fingers.
When I found my senses, I spent nearly an hour trying to clean up the destruction. With stains all over the skirt, I figured that it made the most sense to continue working. There wasn’t enough fabric to cut new pieces and logic told me that I should spot treat the skirt and wash it as soon as possible. My stitching has really improved and my pieces fit together really well – I was grinning as I watched it come together and feeling like quite the smarty-pants. Then I tried it on. Skin tight. Not quite what I was going for. That’s when I finally set the skirt in a puddle of oil, turned off the machine and gave up for the day. Sometimes one should really just listen to the signs and eat a cookie, they really took the edge off:
What did go really well this weekend was the food. Here’s a taste –
The Best-Good Friend and I had a great time at 3 Tiers. I haven’t been there for years even though they’re in my south Minneapolis neighborhood. Their bakery is yummy and they have a great brunch. After having dinner, I’m ready to move in and let them feed me 24 hours a day:
The Husband made one of our favorites, breakfast burritos. Yes, those are tater tots that you’re seeing in this picture. That’s his secret to ingredient and makes for the crunchiest potatoes, you’ll never look at hashbrowns the same again. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed:
We decided to celebrate the polar vortex’s return by getting dressed up and going out to Bar La Grassa. It was as good as everyone says and we had a spectacular evening in the north loop neighborhood of Minneapolis. The waitress made a brilliant suggestion – consider ordering two half-order plates for your entrée so you can try more things! I loved that I idea, and now have lunch for today:
If I had the wrong attitude, I’d think that new skirt didn’t fit because of all this great food. Fortunately I know better. 😉
I started the weekend off on a new foot – a Friday night out on the town!
The Girlfriend took me to a neighborhood favorite in her part of Minneapolis, The Grand Café. The menu is small but thoughtful and very well executed. We shared the flatbread and Daily Cheese Plate. The Girlfriend indulged her love of French Onion Soup and I tried the Squash Alfredo in Sage Cream Sauce. All of the dishes were vegetarian, so there was tasting all around:
After a meal like that, I had an excellent night’s sleep which had me ready for a full Saturday. Visits were the first order of the day and I’m happy to report that Grandma was in great spirits and The Mother was recuperating nicely from her shoulder surgery. The last part of my afternoon included a visit to The Fabric Store. Oh yes, I responded to the siren call and yes, I went tremendously over budget… but imagine the advancement of my Liz Day wardrobe if everything goes according to plan! I even found two Half-Priced Books to help me on the journey:
Unfortunately, there was no time to start pre-washing fabric or doing any reckless sewing, but for a great reason – we had a dinner date with The Mom-In-Law. She picked us up and I had my second evening out in a dimly lit, leisurely restaurant. This time we were at a favorite restaurant in our part of Minneapolis, Al Vento. Al Vento’s lighting is even darker than Grand Café’s, so until I remember to carry some glow sticks, you’re going to miss out on the full majesty of the food we’re eating. I gave up after these three photos, but the highlight of my evening munching was the Brussels Sprout Bruschetta (not pictured):
I was up bright and early Sunday for something I had been looking forward to all week, Snowy Owl Hunting. We weren’t hunting them with guns, of course, but we’ve been hearing about the “irruption” going on right now. According to the internet, the irruption began in the Northeastern U.S. and has gradually spread to the Midwest. As of Friday, there had been 150 snowy owls seen in Minnesota and we wanted to see one.
Snowy owls live on the tundra. I saw a NATURE documentary on PBS that said juveniles often spend their first winters south of the arctic in order to develop their survival skills, but this winter several hundred owls have been appearing on fields, airports and lakeshores in the United States. Some have been seen as far south as North Carolina and one was even seen in Bermuda. As a Minnesotan that has just gone through a polar vortex, I’m guessing that one knew exactly what she was doing.
Whatever, the cause, The Husband and I wanted to see some. First, I needed some breakfast. I think you know what I had in mind:
We packed up some supplies (and Danny) and hit the road. We started in the Minnesota River Valley on Black Dog Road. It wasn’t long before we found a pair of eagles. I like this photo where it looks like the one at the roost is yelling at its partner (off camera):
A few minutes further down the road, we found a pond with Trumpeter Swans, Hooded Mergansers, Common Goldeneyes and a Great Blue Heron. I love the picture of the heron, he looks like a grouchy old man:
We kept driving and headed south towards Vermillion. Back on farm roads, we found a bunch of cars on the side of a road and spent a long time looking before we finally saw our first snowy owl. Do you see him?
There were so many hawks out, we lost count of them, but we spent a long time watching this Red Tail Hawk:
I love the stark beauty of Minnesota farmland in winter:
I was so distracted by its breathtaking beauty, I almost missed this snowy owl:
We started getting pretty good at spotting them:
In total, we saw four. When the day started coming to an end, we ended up where we had seen our first snowy in the field. The paparazzi was out:
Because he was too! He gave us some spectacular shots – we did not get as close as the other spectators but I think we got some great photos:
I zoomed in on a photo at home:
What a day. What a weekend! And there was still time for one more panini….
The Husband was responsible for what I now know to have been a Christmas miracle. I had no idea the joy would come into my life when I unwrapped the 5-in-1 Cuisinart Griddler Tuesday night. Yes, it was on my Amazon Wish List, but I honestly had no idea how desperately and completely I would love this kitchen gadget. Every meal that I make, I’m trying to turn into a panini now. Breakfast? No problem. Just use that griddle surface to fry an egg and then put it in a panini. Dinner? Who doesn’t want a delicious panini? It’s even great for leftovers. How about a ham, cheese and egg panini for breakfast? The Husband said it was delicious even though I popped his egg yolk in my excitement to drop the panini press. Of course, I had a vegetarian breakfast panini – a little salsa, spinach and gouda with a fried egg:
The Best-Good Friend was over and we tried The Green Goddess as a panini. Just when I thought nothing could improve The Green Goddess, I made it on the 5-in-1 Griddler. It was so good, we made seconds.
Now I’m considering turning my peanut butter and jelly sandwich into a panini for lunch… something tells me that it would be pretty awesome.
Watch out, everyone, this blog might turn into 365 Days of Paninis.