Tag: Winter breakfast


Homemade Breakfast Cereal

My life for the past few weeks

Almost there. One class is completely done. Discussions are wrapped up. It is finals week, people! I have one last HUGE project to finish and I am FREE (for a whole month).

The struggle is real. The struggle I’m referring to, of course, is not allowing myself to become distracted by the internet. Like, for example, writing a blog post when you’re supposed to be working on your 20 page paper. Just a random example. But while I’m here, let’s talk about some cool stuff that’s been going on!

In between projects, papers, and finals, I’ve managed to have a lot of fun! Seven Stones was nominated for the Minnesota Book Award for Young People’s Literature–a dream come true!!! We’ll find out on January 30th if I make it to become a finalist! Keep your fingers crossed EXTRA tight!

Another great honor was being asked to be a member of the Multicultural Children’s Book Day Advisory Board. HOW COOL IS THAT?! The group is currently reviewing multicultural books to promote, and Seven Stones is one of them! I can’t wait to share the review. Stay tuned!!

We’ve also decorated for the holidays (nothing gets Shane happier than decorating a tree or setting up his Christmas village. Yes. It is HIS village and he is VERY proud of it), cheered on our Packers, and I’ve had so many cool things going on at the library it is hard to pick a favorite! This Wednesday is my big, 3-hour Star Wars: The Force Awakens party for 50+ kids, so wish me luck! I’ll definitely post pictures!

Before I scurry off to do more homework, I want to share a quick recipe: Homemade Breakfast Cereal. I love breakfast. I’ve never been the biggest fan of boxed cereals, however, because I never feel like they fill me up. Often, they are way too sugary and not very nutritious. During finals week, it is more important than ever that I get a good breakfast that will keep my brain fueled throughout the whole day. Enter, buckwheat.

Such a superfood, it should have a cape

Technically, it isn’t a cereal. Cereals are grains like oats, wheat, and barley. The main ingredient in this homemade breakfast cereal is buckwheat, which is a crazy nutritious seed that acts like a grain. It is packed full of protein and as a bonus is gluten-free! The best part of this buckwheat cereal is the taste: real maple, cinnamon, and vanilla combine to create a breakfast that is out of this world. Plus, while it is baking your entire apartment smells like Christmas! That’s what I call a win-win.

Make sure to plan ahead with this recipe, because it takes about 4 hours between the soaking and baking. I made a double-batch yesterday to last the whole week. I started baking in the morning, worked on my paper, went for a hike in the woods with Shane, and when we got back the cereal was done! Super easy, super delicious!

I got the recipe from one of my favorite food channels on YouTube called “Raw. Vegan. Not Gross.” The recipe below is simply a double of the original. To watch the how-to video (and for more tasty inspiration), click here!

Julia’s Favorite Cereal of POWER!


Delicious toasted cereal imbued with holiday spirit!

4 cups buckwheat groats, soaked in water for 1 hour
1 c maple syrup
4 t cinnamon
2 t salt
1/4 t stevia

1. Soak buckwheat groats for at least one hour, then rinse (soaking will get rid of starchiness and soften those groats up a bit)
2. Combine all remaining ingredients in a medium-sized bowl an mix like you mean it!
3. Spread on two baking sheets and let bake in oven at 200 degrees for 2-3 hours, rotating the pans and mixing groats around half-way through. At 2 hours, check your groats. They dry? Yes, take out of oven and let cool. No? Stick them back in until dry.
4. Crumble apart any large chunks of cereal. Pour into bowl. Pour any type of milk over the top. DEVOUR!

Happy Finals Week!


Spiced Pear and Hazelnut Baked Oatmeal

pear oatmeal 2

I hope wherever you are reading this from is warm with tropcial breezes and sandy beaches. Where I am,  it is cold. Beyond cold. The kind that literally takes your breath away and makes you think, “HOW CAN ANYTHING BE THIS COLD?”

Welcome to Minnesota.

​Just like last week, I’ve been making more baked breakfast recipes. I need extra motivation to get out of my warm bed in the morning, and this Spiced Pear and Hazelnut Baked Oatmeal does the trick. This week, I had a bag of Bosc pears I’d bought on sale and thought, “I could probably make something with these.” Oh, did I ever! I tossed together my favorite spices (cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg), and added some chopped hazelnuts for protein and flavor. Enter, Spiced Pear and Hazelnut Baked Oatmeal. The best oatmeal you will ever eat.

You could say that I am kind of a connoisseur of baked oatmeals. It all began back in 2008, when I was hired at The Sweet Spot during my college days at UW-Whitewater. If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating at The Sweet Spot, it is a cafe/bakery that has some of the best food I’ve ever eaten–no exaggeration. One of the dishes that gets baked prior to opening each morning was baked oatmeal. Layers of spiced fruit, nuts, and oats combine to make a meal that you will actually be happy getting out of bed for. I’ve made this for people who detest oatmeal but shoveled the baked version in because baking the oats keeps them from getting mushy. Give this recipe a try. It is a warm, satisfying way to start your day that’s packed with whole food nutrition.

Pears not your favorite fruit? That’s one of the great things about baked oatmeal: you can swap out virtually any flavor combinations! Apple/Cranberry/Walnut, Blueberry/Almond, Peach, and Strawberry/Rhubarb are some of my favorite standard flavors. If sweet isn’t your thing, try a savory oatmeal. The only limit on flavor possibilities for this wholesome breakfast dish are your palette,  imagination, and the laws of nature! Have fun!

Spiced Pear and Hazelnut Baked Oatmeal

9×13 glass baking pan

Enough Earth Balance to grease the pan (or butter)

6 cups regular rolled oats

2.5 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup hazelnuts, crushed

4 eggs

1/2 cup applesauce

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 cups milk

2 tsp vanilla

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 Tablespoon cardamom

1/2 Tablespoon nutmeg

Sucanat for sprinkling (optional)

6-8 very ripe pears, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Cut and core pears (I like to keep the skins on) and put them directly into the prepared glass baking pan. Sprinkle with a few handfuls of Sucanat, to taste. Add cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. Toss everything together and set to the side.

2. Mix dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients together.

3. Add the crushed hazelnuts to the dry ingredients. Note: The best method I’ve tried is not chopping nuts but “crushing” them with the side of a chef’s knife. Very quick and easy!

4. Add the wet ingredients to the try ingredients and mix well.

5. Pour the oatmeal mixture over the pears and spread with a spatula.

6. Pop the delicious pan of unbaked goodness into the oven for about 25 minutes.

DEVOUR! Cut into squares and serve warm with hot or cold milk poured over the top.

Photo courtesy of the tasty kitchen blog

Photo courtesy of the tasty kitchen blog

Happy Eating!


Creativity Inspiring French Toast

apple french toast

I love breakfast. I can’t help it–I wake up starving. Some people don’t eat much in the morning; my stomach, on the other hand, often wakes me up before my alarm demanding food. Yesterday morning, Shane and I woke up to a lovely snowstorm (and I say that without any irony at all. I. love. snow.). As the flakes flew by our window, I popped a pan of cinnamon apple baked French toast in the oven that I prepped the night before and snuggled back under the covers while it baked. The warm, cozy aroma of caramelizing apples soon filled the apartment and reminded me why I love cold weather months.

Mornings were made for this recipe. Warm, gooey, sweet, and wholesome, it is made with a shockingly short list of ingredients. As a bonus, it is also free of refined sugars and oils. Below is the recipe I adapted from the Minimalist Baker. I used a whole wheat French loaf and two Fuji apples because that’s what I had on hand. Almost any kind of bread/apples will work! Have fun and enjoy your morning (no matter how much grad homework awaits)!


What You’ll Need:

9×13 inch glass pan

Enough Earth Balance (or butter) to coat the pan

1 loaf French bread, torn or cubed into bite-sized chunks

2 apples, diced

​2 cups skim milk

6 eggs​

​1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tablespoons cinnamon

A few shakes cardamom and nutmeg (optional)

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

A Tablespoon or two of Sucanat for sprinkling (optional)

  1. ​Tear up bread directly into the baking pan and press down gently.
  2. In a mixing bowl whisk the eggs, milk, maple syrup, cinnamon​, cardamom, nutmeg, and salt​. Pour over the bread as evenly as you can.​ ​Get in there with your hands and mix it up so all the bread is moist.​ If some pieces look a little dry, I usually just add a little more milk to the pan.
  3. ​Add the diced apples and walnuts, saving a few of each for later. Mix them in well with the bread and egg mixture.​
  4. ​Lay the remaining apples and walnuts on top and sprinkle with Sucanat (optional)​.
  5. ​Cover with aluminum foil and let sit overnight in your refrigerator.

​Next morning:

  1. ​Preheat the over to 375 degrees. Uncover the pan and bake on a center rack for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. ​Crawl back into bed and dream of baked apples frolicking in a field of cinnamon and maple trees.
  3. Wake up to a dream come true! Remove from the oven and serve immediately with pure maple syrup. ​You’ll know when it’s done because the bread and apples will be golden brown and the egg mixture will no longer be wet. When in doubt, jiggle the pan back and forth​. If the mixture wobbles, it needs more time.​
​So good and seriously easy. Baked French Toast makes any weekday special, is a great fancy brunch dish, and would be a romantic Valentine breakfast.

​Suggested Pairing:​

A cup of organic Ethiopian Peace Coffee, snowflakes, and a good book


This week I’m reading The Monogram Murders, A BRAND NEW mystery by Sophie Hannah featuring Agatha Christie’s beloved detective Hercule Poirot. I love Poirot mysteries, and this new story is fully backed by the Christie family. I’m so excited! It is the perfect snowy day read, and I’d like to think Hercule Poirot would be delighted with Baked French Toast.

What’s your favorite cold weather treat?​