cinnamon rolls

No-Dine-Out February Okay I Ate Out

img_0847

Yummy yummy cinnamon rolls!

Okay, I have a confession: I went out on Sunday. For a snack. That was sushi. I had a birthday party at a brewpub that I had already planned to attend (before coming up with my brilliant no-dine-out February plan), so I fed the family and headed out. My compromise: to use my personal weekly allowance to buy something small, so I wasn’t technically eating into (HA! I am a genius) our food budget, and I could still be social and not viewed as a cheapskate (my personal albatross from years of waitressing).

And then. When I got to the brewpub? The party had ended early! And me, with no dinner. And, more importantly: my husband was home with the kids and putting our toddler to bed for me. I suddenly had an extra hour and a half, out and about, on my own, with a couple of twenties in my pocket! Reader, what would you have done?!? I was hungry! I eschewed the brewpub and got a mocktail (don’t snicker) and a small plate at a nearby restaurant (okay it was Yakuza).

So . . . yes, I already cheated. But I don’t feel (too) badly about it. And the rest of the week has been going very well. I’ve been meticulous in outlining our various social activities in our monthly meal plan–for example, since I knew I had the birthday party that night, and a Super Bowl party during the day, I planned to make grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for the family. Quick, cheap, and universally beloved! Yes, that also describes me.

Here are some recipes that have helped me out this week–all from the Pioneer Woman:

  • Seven-Can Soup: Open seven cans, pour them in (no draining), heat it up–boom, boom, boom, you’ve got some pretty tasty soup! I added tortilla chips and avocado.
  • Cinnamon Rolls: I made a huge batch of cinnamon rolls this morning (this recipe makes at last 60). I’m going to freeze them in packs of six and dole them out over the next month or two. Note: I actually use the dough recipe for her Parker House Rolls (it has butter instead of oil), and instead of the coffee glaze, I use the glaze from her Orange Marmalade Rolls.
  • Best Breakfast Potatoes Ever: I also made these for the month–it makes a ton! I’m going to freeze them in portions and thaw as needed!

I served my family (and Sid’s best friend Ernie) fresh cinnamon rolls and breakfast potatoes this morning and they lost their minds! I am actually really good about making breakfasts during the week (we need to eat, and we’re not going out before Scott goes to work and Sid to school), but it is nice to be prepared, and I’m hoping this makes us less tempted to go out on the weekends. I do love going out to brunch.

That’s my update thus far! Feel free to throw tomatoes–I need a couple for next week anyway.

Easy French Toast

Yes You Have Time for Breakfast: French Toast

Easy French Toast

Yes you can eat French toast for breakfast!

Breakfast is not my strong point. When my then-boyfriend (and now husband) and I moved in together with his son (now our son), I despaired at the idea of making breakfast for a family. I didn’t have time for breakfast! I didn’t like breakfast (although I am amazing at brunch). But. I also couldn’t send a kid to school without a good meal. So I have learned that there are lots of quick, tasty ways to eat a good breakfast, and I’ll share them with you.

French toast! It sounds and looks fancy (ooh, la la), but it’s not only a super-easy dish to make in the morning, it’s also a problem solver that answers the question, “What do I do with this leftover stale bread?” Slice it, dunk it, butter it, drench it in syrup–boom! You can have this on the table in 15 minutes or less.

This recipe is based on the Pioneer Woman’s French Toast With Berry Butter, but halved, and with cinnamon and no fancy berry butter. I will make her recipe some day, because it sounds fantastic, but this is my delicious, fast, easy, go-to version:

Cinnamon French Toast

You need:

1 cup half-and-half (or milk, or egg nog*)
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 Tablespoon sugar
Dash cinnamon
Dash vanilla
Stale bread: I usually use one-inch slices of leftover baguettes, artisan bread, etc. This recipe works best with slightly stale, crusty bread.

Heat an electric grill or large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Whisk half-and-half, egg and yolk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla together in a small shallow bowl. (*If using egg nog, omit sugar and vanilla.)

Dip your bread in the egg batter, letting it absorb the mixture and turning as needed. Place on your hot electric grill or pan and let brown for 3-5 minutes per side, until nicely colored.

Top with butter and warm maple syrup, and eat! Serves 4-6.

What’s your favorite quick breakfast recipe? I need them!

Quick breakfast pumpkin smoothie

Yes You Have Time for Breakfast: Pumpkin Smoothie

Hey folks! This is a new feature I’ll be doing periodically, introducing quick, tasty, at least semi-healthy breakfasts you can make and enjoy! This one is one of my favorites: the Pumpkin Smoothie. My version combines the Pioneer Woman’s stellar recipe with the Pie and Pastry Bible‘s Great Pumpkin Pie recipe and it. Is. So good. I also sized it so it’s a full pint–a full meal deal!

Breakfast. You know you should eat it. You’ll feel better! Like a real grownup! But wait–you don’t have time? I say balderdash (yes, I really actually used that word). You do have time for breakfast, and I will show you how.

I loooove the Pioneer Woman. I used to fantasize about quitting my job and writing a blog that thousands of people love, too, and then getting to visit Ree Drummond’s ranch and cook with her in her epic kitchen. Well. Baby steps.

Anyway, when I first read her Pumpkin Smoothie recipe, I didn’t have canned pumpkin pie filling on hand–but I had plain canned pumpkin. So I just cooked and flavored it according to my Pie and Pastry Bible‘s Great Pumpkin Pie recipe, and my husband and I loved it. It’s so good.

And quick–I timed myself this morning and it took less than three minutes to make. You just need to freeze your pumpkin ahead of time, and you need a blender. So let’s get to it!

Pumpkin Smoothie


You need:

1 29-oz. can pumpkin (or equivalent homemade pureed pumpkin)
1 cup light-brown sugar, packed
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

Quick breakfast pumpkin smoothie

Pumpkin mixture ready for the freezer!

Place your pumpkin in a medium saucepan and add sugar, spices, and salt. Stir and cook over medium heat until dark and shiny, about five minutes. Then divide into six equal portions and freeze. (I’ve plopped it into plastic wrap-lined cupcake tins, but using small plastic containers actually works best–easier to pry out).

Per smoothie:

1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt
Splash vanilla
Healthy dash of cinnamon

IMG_7544

Blend, baby, blend!

To make your smoothie, take out as many portions as you need (one per smoothie) and cut each into four to six pieces. Place them in your blender with the remaining ingredients, and blend! Pour into a pint glass and applaud yourself for your life choices.

Quick breakfast pumpkin smoothie

Cheers! You made breakfast! (Warning: decorative cinnamon sprinkle will add at least ten seconds.)

Yum yum yum! This smoothie is packed full of fiber and nutrients from the pumpkin, calcium from the milk and yogurt, and . . . yes, a fair amount of sugar. But it’s delicious and perfect for fall and winter!

What are your quick breakfast go-tos? Post them below!