Category Archives: Breakfast

Weetabix vs. Oatibix



Years ago, I fell in love with Weetabix, a British cereal made of shredded wheat. It comes in big biscuits, but once you add milk, it resembles oatmeal. Nothing could compete with Weetabix (except maybe Kashi). Then, in the international aisle at Meijer, I saw

OATibix?

Whaaaat?

I bought it, tasted it and fell in love with it. It outshined Weetabix by FAR! The way it absorbed the milk and its nutty oat flavor. It’s just fantastic.

Isn’t Oatibix beautiful?

BUT, true love cannot always last forever…

Oatibix was only on the shelves for two weeks! I never saw it again! I craved Oatibix, but couldn’t find anything to compare! I raved about it to Kim, who was studying abroad in Austria at the time and never got the chance to try it!

I said to myself, Beth, next time you’re in England, head straight to Waitrose and STOCK UP.

Just see how it soaks up the milk. AMAZING.

Well, Oatibix isn’t easy to find, even in London. Finally though, after several grocery stores and questions to staff, Kim and I found some and bought 4 boxes!!  I wanted more, but I didn’t know if I could fit it in my luggage. 😥

We’ve been eating it so sparingly, we still have a box and a half and we’ve been back for 2 and a half months.

So, in the States, Weetabix will have to do. Meijer’s international aisle is slimming down, (or, more accurately, the European sections are downsized, while the “Mexican” and “Italian” sections have grown) so even Weetabix might go away.

Okay, this picture looks delicious, but it never soaks up the milk the way Oatibix does. This picture is very poorly displaying it’s faults.

I’ve just discovered some really depressing information. If I were to order 6 boxes of Oatibix from England, I’d spend £73.56, or $90! £50 of it is the shipping. I could probably buy a lot of other stuff to ship with it… but not gonna happen anyway…

I guess I’ll just have to move to England or something. Weetabix and Oatibix are both heartily delicious.

All done.

-Beth


Nostalgia for a German/Austrian/Dutch breakfast.


Kim and I often feel nostalgic for our times abroad – the scenery, the people, the culture – and of course the food.

The other day, we were longing for the traditional breakfasts of central Europe. Or at least German, Austrian and Dutch breakfasts. We did a good job putting together a fantastically reminiscent meal of pretzel rolls, meats, cheeses, homemade Preiselbeeren jam (cranberry jam), homemade appelstroop (thick apple syrup), with tomato and cucumber.

When I was visiting a friend of mine in Cologne, Germany, her family’s breakfast table had an assortment of dense rolls, jams, chocolate spreads, cheeses and meats. My friend said she normally ate Meusli for breakfast during the week, but this was a special occasion, so they brought out the goods!

While Kim and I were eating our dinner, Kim said she could be in Austria right then, sitting in her host family’s kitchen. The only thing missing was the liverwurst pate!

Kim’s breakfast at our friend Barbara’s in Tettnang, Germany

When I was in Amsterdam for work, our hotel breakfast included slices of bread, salamis and ham, cheeses, tomato, cucumber, and of course Appelstroop.

Breakfast at my hotel in Amsterdam

A terrible photo of Appelstroop

So anyway, our dinner:

The Preisselbeeren jam and Appelstroop both turned out to be ridiculously easy to make.

Preiselbeeren Jam (Cranberry Jam)
On stovetop, cook cup of cranberries on medium heat. Spritz about half a lemon’s juice (a tablespoon) and add cinnamon, sugar. Cook until the cranberries have burst and become a spreadable delicacy!

preiselbeeren jam (with ricotta on bread)

Appelstroop (Apple Syrup)
The appelstroop is made of apple juice, lemon juice, whole anise, cinnamon and sugar. In a saucepan, add 6 cups of apple juice, two anise (seeds?) and a teaspoon or two of cinnamon. Boil until it’s 1/3 the amount, then add 1/2 cup of sugar and continue to boil until it’s a syrupy mass. BUT DON’T BOIL TOO LONG 0r the sugar will thicken too much, and you and that pan will be spending a lot of time with each other, you scraping off incredibly goopy syrup with a knife.

Anise – similar in taste as fennel, liquorice or tarragon. Pairs well with cinnamon.

Review: It was delicious of course! I love discovering food, or new ways of eating the same food, in this case, from different regions of the world!

-Beth


Cherry Cheese Scones



A rare occurrence, but Kim and I followed this recipe exactly, and guess what? They turned out amazing! Many times, when we’re just cooking for the two of us, we skimp on or swap ingredients, to make it healthier, and the dishes (usually) turn out tasting good, but nothing to rave about. THESE are rave-worthy!

Kim was craving the scones we had while in London, specifically the ones from our hostel cafe, which were fantastically buttery and rich. (with clotted cream and jam!) So she insisted we follow the recipe to see how close our Joy of Cooking got to English scones.

The English, historically and/or traditionally, have something called Afternoon Tea or High Tea (or just Tea, actually) that is served with little biscuits, scones and light sandwiches. We wanted to have a traditional “Afternoon Tea” while there, but they’re quite expensive – cheapest was £19 per person!

Kim had these juicy dried cherries – they were halfway between normal cherries and dried cherries. I’ve never seen that before, but I’m glad I’ve been introduced to them – they’re delicious! Very sweet on their own, but delicious.

Kim and I LOVE to mix sweet and savory, so of course we opted to make cherry cheese scones, so we swapped out the blueberries from the Joy of cooking recipe and added the cherries and cheese, hoping the consistency wasn’t changed too much by the cheese, and nixed the streusel topping. (Okay, I lied, I guess we did change the recipe…) Oh, and we forgot the vanilla extract too, but I think that worked in our favor, with the cheesiness.

Cherry Cheese Scones (altered from this recipe in Joy of Cooking cookbook.)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
6 Tbsp chilled, unsalted butter
1 egg
1/2 cup heavy cream (or milk)

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend with flour mixture until it’s crumbly. You can do this with a pastry cutter, grinder, or with your hands (my favorite way!) But we ground in in a grinder this time.

In a second bowl beat the egg, then add the cream. Add to flour mixture and stir/blend until dough comes together. Don’t overmix the cough, or your scones will be tough.

Spray the pan and transfer dough to pan. Knead the dough 4 or 5 times and mold into a flat round shape and cut into eighths, and separate the triangular pieces so each side bakes with a crusty exterior.

Bake for about 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean. I’d check after 15 minutes though, to see how they’re doing. Scones are best eaten fresh, but they were alright the next day too.

What we thought: DELICIOUS! I raved about them to everyone. I already remade them for co-workers and will make them next week when my friends and I have our own little afternoon tea! Cheers!

I know what a scone is, but what is clotted cream, cumpets, or lemon curd???
A brief history of the scone.
Wait, the English don’t pronounce it scone as in cone?

UPDATE: And speak of the devil (scones), a new YouTube food channel, Sorted, I started watching, literally yesterday, posted scones today! And they look so good, I think I might just have to make them tonight, for dessert!

-Beth


Picking oranges and other food, in California


Picking Oranges in near Santa Barbara, CA

So Kim and I, who live in Michigan, visited our friend Satpreet, in Southern California, this past weekend. There was nothing good at the cinema, so we thought, why not? (kidding)

One of our main goals was to try loads of good food – and that we did. In addition to the burritos from the Mexican food truck, the amazing Indian food our friend’s mom made and the oranges fresh from the tree, we picked spectacular places to eat. If any of you makes it out to SoCal, and you’re not the Bubba Gump type, then you might just absolutely adore these places.


Cafe Gratitude – Los Angeles

Our first day in L.A. we ate at Cafe Gratitude, near West Hollywood (around the corner from Paramount Studios!). Cafe Gratitude was, in short, simply and subtly magnificent.

Kim and Satpreet at Cafe Gratitude, LA

Everything on the menu is titled I AM HAPPY, I AM THRIVING, I AM GLORIOUS and so on. That weekend was one of the rare few days that it rained (and snowed and hailed…), and they had a chalkboard asking “What do you like most about the rain?” Dancing in it, the smell, the rainbow that follows. I came up with the somewhat lame, but truthful, answer of “just the rain.”

We ordered 3 dishes to split: I AM FESTIVE, I AM COMFORTED and I AM HEARTY (Taco salad with walnut chorizo & cashew cheese, roasted rosemary yams with spicy nacho cheese, and pesto pizza on onion crust with cashew ricotta & topped with brazil nut parmesan, respectively.)

The food was fresh, healthy, unique, and most importantly, delicious. Normally, “vacation-food” insists on being greasy, heavy and over-eaten. But aside from our grilled cheese from In-N-Out, I felt good and healthy at the end of the weekend – no guilty conscience and resolution to jog every day. These were 3 dishes, and 3 words, that easily sum up our feelings of being together again.



I’m sad I have little hope of returning to it very soon. For a full day and a half, I named Cafe Gratitude my favorite restaurant, but our later food ventures forced me to push it to 2nd place.

Backyard Bowls – Santa Barbara

In Santa Barbara we ate at Backyard Bowls, no doubt one of the most unique eateries and so perfect for our palettes. We split two bowls, the Green Bowl (Acaí, Banana, Broccoli, Spinach, Ginger, Lime Juice & Apple Juice with Strawberries, Blueberries, Granola & Honey) and Diego’s Power Bowl (Acaí, Banana, Strawberry, Hemp Protein, Peanut Butter, & Hemp Milk with Banana, Hemp Seeds, Granola & Honey). The pictures don’t do them justice – I couldn’t imagine their delicious-ness from the website’s photos. You just have to taste them for yourself.

I desperately wish we had a Backyard Bowls near where I live – It’s worth the $8 bucks, and the serving is fairly big anyway. Kim and I have both tried to more closely imitate these bowls (though unique yogurt concoctions are far from foreign in our kitchens), but nothing compares to the flavors they’ve put together.

Until next time!

-Beth


Peanut Butter Banana Bread Pudding


Kim here.

I invited my brother’s girlfriend, the wonderful Sarah, over to finally bake together! And Beth came home as well! We all love to cook and bake, so honestly, I have no idea why it took this long for this to happen. We made an amazing bread pudding, and I LOVE peanut butter, bananas, bread, and I love them all together in bread pudding. I used the photos of this recipe for my 365 photography challenge. Recipe below.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread Pudding


Dark Chocolate & Banana Muffins


UPDATE: I just discovered that Kim and I, here at Fourthbrookstick, have been awarded the Liebster Award from Nicola at Unhip Squirrel! I couldn’t believe it! We’d like to offer other people ideas for new ways of eating and thinking about food and cooking, and it’s great to be recognized for that! Thanks so much Nicola! Make sure to visit her blog too, because she’s got some delicious stuff!

Round up your best recipes, y’all, because now Kim and I must now choose 5 from all your amazing blogs to forward this award to!

And on that note, of unique recipes, here’s a not-so-startlingly unique concept, but delicious never-the-less!

With peanuts. Of course. I was inspired to make this from Caron’s Chocolate Banana Bread recipe at VeganMonster. I’ve been waiting for my bananas to ripen enough to bake with, and when I read Caron’s blog, I’d found a match!

I don’t actually own measuring spoons, so since I’ve moved out of Mom & Dad’s, when I cook, I kind of got in the habit of guesstimating, well, everything. So I was a pleasantly surprised when these muffins turned out a perfect light, moist texture and delicious taste.

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup flax seed

1/4 cup oat flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

a couple pinches salt

1/2 cup applesauce

2 bananas

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips +/or crushed peanuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine whole wheat flour, flax seed, oat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, chocolate chips and peanuts in one bowl.

Mush bananas and combine with applesauce. These, and the dark chocolate, are our sweeteners. Notice there’s no sugar or butter in this recipe. This is an incredibly tasty, “no-guilt”, as they say, muffin. Dark chocolate, as opposed to milk chocolate, or even semi-sweet chocolate, has less sugar and cocoa butter (fat), while tasting, in my opinion, far better than milk chocolate.

Slowly add flour mixture to applesauce mixture, folding it into itself.

Spray muffin pan, and fill muffin cups to somewhat overflowing. Bake for about 15 minutes, but check on them after 10.

What I thought: Once these were baked, and I’d taken my photographs, I curled up on the couch and ate these with a cup of coffee and read “Sense & Sensibility.” Perfect. They were perfectly sweet, healthy, and filling.

-Beth


Grapefruit Rosemary Quick Bread


Kim here.

My dad bought a lot of grapefruits a couple weeks ago, and although I like grapefruit, I guess I wasn’t wanting them every single day. So we still had about a half dozen this morning.

grapefruit rosemary bread at fourthbroomstick.wordpress.com

Today I woke up thinking, in this order, “It’s Sunday, it’s sunny, we have grapefruit, and I’d really like to combine it with rosemary.”

So I made this.

Ingredients

4 tablespoons coconut oil

2 cups whole wheat flour (sifted)

2 tablespoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon rosemary

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon marjoram

2 eggs

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 grapefruits

Grapefruit Rosemary Bread at fourbroomstick.wordpress.com

Melt 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a 5X9 loaf pan in your preheated oven. Remove once melted and tilt pan until coated in oil. This will make a tasty crust.

Cut the skins off the grapefruits and squeeze out the juices, as much as you can. Use a food process to blend what’s leftover from squeezing out the juice. Keep 1 cup of the juice. You should probably drink the rest, because it tastes fantastic! Keep about 1/2 cup of the blended pulp.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and the three spices in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until frothy. Melt remaining coconut oil and set aside. Add grapefruit juice, pulp, and vanilla extract. Combine with flour and mix. Pour in melted coconut oil. Pour into prepared bread loaf pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Make sure to smell it occasionally while it’s baking because it smells awesome. I was surprised how good it smelled.

Grapefruit Rosemary Bread at fourbroomstick.wordpress.com

I did not use as much sugar as I have called for in the recipe. I only used 2 tablespoons, but it was not enough to cover the tartness of the grapefruit. Even though I generally like tartness, I would prefer this if it were sweeter. I used the paler grapefruit, but I think grapefruits with deeper color are sweeter. I ate mine with agave nectar, and it was delicious, but you could use a glaze as well.