Costa Rican Breakfast

Costa Rican Breakfast

Costa Rican Breakfast

There’s something people don’t tell you about Costa Rica:  time slows (almost) all the way dooowwwnn.  It’s magic.  Like time gets stripped away leaving luxuriously long mornings followed by, luxuriously lazy afternoons, followed by impeccable… truly impeccable sunsets.

It’s like island life.  But not an island.  It’s beach life.  The sun stays high and the air is just mellow.  Completely mellow.  

I visited Costa Rica last year and still wonder about the paradise-heavy time warp.  Why does that happen in Costa Rica and not on any given Wednesday in my New Orleans life?  

Here’s hoping the Costa Rican time warp can be a state of mind no matter what my longitude and latitude.

I suppose it starts with breakfast.  Shall we?   

Ps.  When I returned from Costa Rica last year I made this Banana y Leche con Cafe and I don’t regret it one bit.  

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Mini Peanut Butter and Chocolate Baked Donuts

Chocolate Peanut Butter Baked Donuts

Chocolate Peanut Butter Baked Donuts

I wonder if tastebud tastes are inherited.  If so… I inherited my love (let’s go ahead and call it an obsession) with chocolate and peanut butter from my mother.  She’s the queen of spooning every last bit of peanut butter out of the PB and Chocolate ice cream.  She’s the master of making a holiday dessert called Peanut Butter Balls which are a glamorous mixture of butter, peanut butter, and powdered sugar, dipped in chocolate.  Birthday cake?  You can guess, I’m sure.  

What I’m saying is, all of this chocolate baking and peanut butter dipping… I come by it honestly and I’d like to pass it on to you.  

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Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake

Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake with maple

Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake with maple

Because it’s Monday.  Because it’s just about summertime.  Because we like fruit with our breakfast.  Because we’re grown and we can do what we want…  we get to drink lots of coffee and eat lots of cake for breakfast.  

Blueberries, oats, and pure maple syrup make anything breakfast so… CAKE it is!  

Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake with maple

I’ve been experimenting a lot with gluten-free baking lately.  I’m sure you’ve noticed.  It’s possible you have a question mark in your mind about it.  Well… I want to learn how to bake without wheat.  Baking is such a science and I know how wheat flour interacts with leavening and liquid.  Gluten-free flours are a whole different science.  I want to know that I can still make fluffy cakes and flakey biscuits in the absence of wheat.  So far I’ve had some major fails and happy triumphs.  This is one of the triumphs.  

Eventually I’m going to try making my own gluten-free flour blend to use in my kitchen but I’m still getting my footing.  Right now I use King Arthur Flour’s Gluten-Free Flour and I’m going to give Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef’s All-Purpose Flour Blend.  They know what’s what!  

If you’re hoping for more gluten-FULL coffee cake recipes, here’s your jam: 

•  Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Brown Butter Glaze.  A recipe from my cookbook Homemade Decadence.  

•  Pear Crumble Coffee Cake.  You might not be in the mood for pears, but I think strawberries would also be mega! 

•  Coffee Coffee Cake Muffins.  I mean… let’s make our cake taste like coffee! 

•  Brown Butter Blueberry Muffins.  These really are THE BEST! 

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Peach and Buttermilk Lassi

Peach and Buttermilk Lassi

Peach and Buttermilk Lassi

I‘d easily enjoy a daily diet of milkshakes and french fries.  Steady. I’d never flinch.  It would be a dream.  

In related news, I just spent the last six minutes browsing milk shake machines on Amazon.  

Milkshake diet aside, I’m currently content with my fresh peaches, yogurt, and blender.  It’s the reasonable alternative to milkshakes day and night. 

This lassi is packed with healthful yogurt, fresh summer peaches, tangy buttermilk, and peach pie spice.  The fact that it’s flecked with peach skin feels like a bonus.  It’s summery, healthy, chilled, and supremely refreshing.  

I hope it makes you happy.  Also, I’d totally want cheese on my fries.  

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Cheddar Croissant Donuts with Honey Mustard

Cheddar Croissant Donuts

Cheddar Croissant Donuts

Can you even remember who you were before you knew that we could turn donuts into croissants and croissants into donuts?  I can’t remember either.  None of that time must have been important.  It’s like life before Instagram… can we even call that life?  

 What if we add cheese to croissant donuts?  What kind of maniacs would we be?  Like mad scientists with cheese on our lips and honey mustard in our hair.  

Well… here’s how!  

Cheddar Croissant Donuts

Golden brown.  Melty cheddar.  Not a care in the world… well, fewer cares at least.

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Brown Butter Banana Skillet Cake with Strawberries and Pecans

Brown Butter Banana Skillet Cake with Strawberries and Pecans

Brown Butter Banana Skillet Cake with Strawberries and Pecans

I always have the best intentions when I buy a bundle of bananas. ! daydream about protein-packed green smoothies.  I toy with the idea of afternoon snacks with almond butter.  I know I’ll eat them for breakfast with a cup of black coffee and a smile on my face.

Unfortunately, exactly none of that actually happens, and I’m left with a shameful bundle of brown bananas on my countertop a week later.  

It never fails.  It never does.  

A bundle of bananas is meant for cake.  Destiny.  Sightly under baked with strawberries and pecans.  Let’s!  

Brown Butter Banana Skillet Cake with Strawberries and Pecans

Make and bake in the skillet!  It’s really the best.  If you aren’t a neurotic food blogger like me, you won’t need a million bowls big and small to bring together this skillet cake.  Just a skillet, and spoon, and good attitude. 

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Gluten-Free and Gluten-Full Zucchini Pistachio Bread

Gluten-Free and Gluten-Full Zucchini Pistachio Bread

Gluten-Free and Gluten-Full Zucchini Pistachio Bread

First things first when moving into a new kitchen:  figure out where to put your silverware and your stand mixer.  Second things second when moving into a new kitchen:  make some sort of spiced quick-bread to make the whole house smell exactly like home.  

I’m a strong believer in this theory.  It’s important to make a house smell like a home, and no amount of banana bread scented candles will do the trick.  They would do the opposite of the trick.  

Last time I moved:  banana bread.  

This go’round:  zucchini bread two ways, gluten-free and waaay gluten-full.  Experiments and good smells all up in this new kitchen!

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Mini Jam-Swirled Baked Donuts and Lavazza Coffee Giveaway

Mini Jam-Swirled Baked Donuts

Mini Jam-Swirled Baked Donuts

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and, well… we need each other.  Let’s hold hands and get through this together! 

We’re going to need some tools this holiday weekend.  By tools I mean, baked donuts, strong coffee, and festive sprinkles.  Coffee, donuts, and love are fitting for every day of the year, but especially appropriate for a Valentine’s Day weekend.  I hope you sleep in and share coffee and donuts with someone you want to high-five for life.  

JTB V-DAY Coffee Collage

To celebrate the holiday I’ve partnered with Lavazza Coffee to give away a Valentine’s Day Survival Kit!  Just a few important things to inspire a lazy Valentine’s Day morning lingering over really fantastic coffee and sweet, tender donuts.  

1 •  My favorite Bodum French Press.  Makes perfect cups of coffee!  

2  •  Make if official with couple mugs.  Few things are more precious.  

3  •  A good throw blanket.  For picnic-style morning coffee adventures.  

4  •  Critical in any at-home coffee date is the perfect cup of coffee!  Lavazza Italian Coffee is my new favorite!  Dark, rich, and round coffee without a hint of bitterness. Lavazza makes home coffee feel extra special.  

5  •  Two people, lots of love, one journal.  It’s like a little time capsule of your years together!  

6  •  Mornings should smell great with this Capri Candle!

7  •  I always want to watch When Harry Met Sally and I know you do too.

8  •  No coffee date is complete without donuts!  They’re tender, sweet, and jam-swirled.  Get into it!  Here’s the pan you’ll need

9  •  Games of skill and chance on the living room floor:  checkers and chess.  

To enter to win a gift basket filled with Lavazza Coffee, a $25 gift card to Lavazza, and the rest of these Valentine’s treats, please leave a comment below with your favorite Valentine’s Day tradition.  Winner will be randomly selected Saturday February 14th at noon est! 

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Quick and Dirty Chocolate Espresso Cinnamon Rolls

Quick and Dirty Chocolate Espresso Cinnamon Rolls

Quick and Dirty Chocolate Espresso Cinnamon Rolls

How can I do the least amount of work, but still get the most amount of cinnamon rolls into my mouth?  Super valid question.

How long would it take to go through airport security and stand in line at the Terminal C Cinnamon?  Is that time shorter than the time it would take to make yeasted dough, roll it, fill it, slice it, rise it, and bake it?  

How can I go from zero to cinnamon roll in one hour flat?  

Here’s how!  Ready.  Set.  You know…. 

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All-The-Blueberries Buttermilk Waffles

Blueberry Buttermilk Waffles

Blueberry Buttermilk Waffles

I was trying to do a thing. A thing with waffles, cinnamon, sugar, and a blow torch.
The blow torch (perhaps not surprisingly) is where things went wrong.

I was trying to make a waffle brûlée. I thought that sprinkling toasty waffles with granulated sugar, and taking a torn to them would create that irresistible sugar snap-crack when brûlée meets fork. You know?

Turns out… taking a blow torch to a waffles creates REALLY BURNT WAFFLES. Like… the most burnt. Like… someone needs to take my baker’s card away. I’m benched.

Not all things work, but you have to try.

To hide my shame and my sins: blueberries. Fresh, juicy, forgiving, and un-torched.

In other news: I haven’t messed with eeevery waffle I’ve made. I’m actually pretty waffle proficient. I just got cocky.

See:

•  Cheddar Buttermilk Waffle BLTs.

•  Mashed Potato Cheddar and Chive Waffles.  

•  Whole Grain Waffles with millet, poppy, and sunflower.  

•  Vanilla Bean Sweet Potato Waffles.  

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Brown Butter Banana Cranberry Bread

brown butter banana cranberry bread

brown butter banana cranberry bread

Whenever I need to recalibrate my brain in the kitchen, I look towards the oven and towards the fruit bowl. The oven is my base, my rock, my familiar place. My fruit bowl inevitably has an embarrassing amount of near rotten bananas in it because… I mean, who doesn’t buy a weird amount of bananas every single time they visit the grocery? That can’t be just me.

Banana bread. Familiar, simple, and sweet. It’s my first base.

I’ve spent the week writing recipes for my Brunch cookbook and I feel like aaaallll of my food ideas have been poured onto those pages for the future. Let’s just go back to first base, just to rest a bit.

brown butter banana cranberry bread

It would be fair to say that this month is a crush of madness. We all do a pretty fair job of acting like we’ve got our heads on straight, but I know what’s up. I also know how many rotting bananas you have in your fruit bowl… so, there’s no escaping this bread. Embrace the simplicity. Add cranberries. It’s festive and appropriate.

Sidenote: on this Sunday’s list post we’re going to need to talk about the last episode of the Serial Podcast because EXCUSE ME WHAT!?

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Apple Buttermilk Beignets and New Orleans Originals

jtb x nydj

Buttermilk Apple Beignets (1)

I‘m really excited to spend my first holiday here in New Orleans.  There’s a chill and a palpable spirit in the air.

New Orleans is such a unique place, it’s only natural that I would want to dive all the way into the holiday spirit here.  I’m hitting the streets to put together a casual holiday gathering with my friends at NYDJ.  In order to make it feel as special as New Orleans, I’m stopping in at some of favorite local shops:  LoomedNOLA for sweet and cozy gifts, Keife & Co for amazing wine, and St. James Cheese Company to make the perfect cheese plate.

No New Orleans gathering at my house would be complete without freshly-fried beignets.  They’re best enjoyed from scratch with your friends gathered around a heaping plate of fresh fried dough and powdered sugar.

I hope you find loads of holiday inspiration here!  Add a little New Orleans spirit to your holiday!

zNola Originals

Loomed Nola is my favorite textile store in New Orleans.  They sell lovely Turkish cotton kitchen towels, scarves, and blankets.  It’s the perfect place to shop for a thoughtful hostess gift or a comfy treat for your best girlfriend.

Keife & Co. is my go-to spot for wine in New Orleans!  Not only is it stocked with really unique bottles, the brothers that own the shop are more than willing to find the perfect bottle of bubbly for your holiday party without totally breaking the bank.  No pretension, just great wine and bubbles!

One of my favorite stops in New Orleans is St. James Cheese Company.  Step inside and the staff will dazzle you with cheese knowledge and let you sample your way through your cheese purchase.  Putting together a cheese plate can feel rather daunting but St. James makes it easy… and it’s always fun to eat all the cheeses before you buy them!

jtb x nydj (3)

I set out into the streets of New Orleans sporting my favorite pair of NYDJ jeans.  Super flattering, fitted, slimming, and real.  They’re perfect for jaunting around town in style and hoping in the kitchen to get down with some beignets.  My style also has to be functional.  I want to feel pretty, stylish, and I definitely need plenty of room to fry up and eat my fair share of New Orleans treats.

This holiday I’ve paired up with NYDJ to bring you flattering comfort, radiant style, and a big bundle of holiday inspiration and confidence.  Let’s look great, eat well, and entertain in easy style!  Here are all the recipes you need to do it!

nydj + jtb holiday party originals

jtb+nydj holiday recipes:  for cocktail, salad, and gifting inspiration!

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Brown Butter Cranberry Almond Pancake Muffins

Brown Butter Cranberry Almond Pancake Muffins

Brown Butter Cranberry Almond Pancake Muffins

Well… I mean… once you have half a bag of fresh cranberries sitting in your refrigerator, you really can’t ignore them.  Technically, you can ignore them until they soften and just about turn themselves into something between wine and jam… but that takes months and is not listed among ideas that are good.

These particular fresh cranberries were left over from the Apple Cranberry Crumble Pie:  a good idea that I will continue to support.

It’s the weekend which means it’s time for warm things straight from the oven, preferably covered in maple syrup.

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Pumpkin Bread with Walnuts

pumpkin bread with walnuts

pumpkin bread with walnuts

What a lovely start to October it has been.  I’ve reacquainted myself with my collection of jeans that seems to have somehow shrunken in the closet ever so slightly.  I mean… jeans shrink from neglect right?  It’d definitely not that I’ve moved to New Orleans, land of the beignet.  I have also rediscovered my awkwardly large collection of scarves.  Scarves are blankets we can wear in public… of course I own too many.

With the hint of crisp in the air, I’m also getting into pumpkin.  There’s no use fighting it.  Since I’m rediscovering old things as new, I thought I would remake my standard pumpkin bread recipe.  It offers a familiar comfort that I’m looking for these days.  This time I’ve used melted butter instead of vegetable oil and added the slightest dash of black pepper for intrigue.

Pumpkin Bread with Walnuts

Leaves are changing.  We’re discovering we own too many scarves and too small jeans.  We’re making our own Pumpkin Pie Spice.  We’re drinking hot lattes.  All signs point to Pumpkin Bread.  Let’s just be here.

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Weekend Casual Cinnamon Sugar Popovers

weekend casual cinnamon sugar popovers

weekend casual cinnamon sugar popovers

Can we talk about churros for a quick minute?  Churros are a fried doughnut often made with a light and eggy choux pastry dough.  They’re often fried in long strips, drowned in cinnamon and sugar, and wrapped in paper before devoured.  Most of my churro experience has come from childhood visits to the county fair or some Disney-themed amusement park where I would enjoyed churros roughly as tall as I was.  They were never exactly fresh, or warm, or particularly delicious but they were still fried dough with sugar and thus…. AMAZING!

It’s hard to make proper churros at home.  Most of us don’t have the ability to make 2 foot long strips of fried dough a reality.

Nooooo problemo.  I might have life-hacked us a baked churro!  These light and eggy popovers are doused in butter and cinnamon sugar and happily mimic the elusive churro.  Light, eggy, warm, and sweet.

Weekend Casual Cinnamon Sugar Popovers

 They’re best enjoyed hot from the oven, barely held by two fingers, standing over your kitchen counter, with your third cup of coffee because I’m thinkin’ about your weekend.

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Vanilla Bean Sweet Potato Waffles

vanilla bean sweet potato waffles

vanilla bean sweet potato waffles

It’s pretty amazing how the body’s cravings start to change as the we move through the seasons.  I sauntered (as I do…) past the sweet potatoes in the grocery store last week and they called out to me!  I collected an arm load and nestled them in my basket, but wait… whaaat!?  I haven’t thought of a sweet potato in months.  I’ve only had eyes for watermelon, pink wine, strawberries, and other such brightly colored summer delicacies.

The days they change and our bodies want to change along with them.  That’s pretty cool.  Until next year watermelon!

Vanilla Bean Sweet Potato Waffles

First there were Mashed Potato, Cheddar, and Chive Waffles.  Proof positive that smashed potatoes can and should be waffles.  These waffles are tender, sweet, and the prettiest breakfast!

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Sausage, Cheddar and Grits Frittata

Sausage, Cheddar, and Grits Frittata

Sausage Cheddar and Grits Frittata

I fell down such a strange Internet rabbit hole this week.  There were makeup tutorial videos, doomsday prepper podcasts, and a weird amount of frittata recipe googling.

While I still don’t know how to properly apply bronzer or survive the apocalypse, I can make one damn fine frittata.  Award-winning  (according to me).

Frittata is Italian for “I’m too lazy to make quiche crust.” It’s a simple baked egg dish that can house just about any filling that you can dream up and can be served morning, noon, or night.  Wow.  Frittata is also Italian for “Eat this. You’re welcome.” Don’t worry.  I’m fluent.

Whatever we do, can we not call it a crustless quiche?  That just sounds sad and lazy and makes me wonder who is enjoying crust without me.

Let’s talk about this frittata, because I sure did put grits in it, and I’m not even sorry.

Sausage Cheddar and Grits Frittata

 This frittata (as the name above would suggest) is home to spicy Italian sausage and cheddar cheese.  Eggs of course, because a frittata isn’t a frittata without eggs.  The HECK YES elements of this frittata are the dollops of cheesy chives grits that stud the dish.  Soft creamy eggs meets cheesy baked grits?  Spicy and sausage, too?  It’s a very good idea.

Weekend breakfast idea complete.  You should drink more coffee and keep your pajama pants on until at least 3pm.  For sure.

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Oatmeal Cookie Granola

Oatmeal Cookie Granola

Oatmeal Cookie Granola

I always have the best intentions of making myself some sort of celery and grapefruit juice for breakfast.  Maybe a green smoothie… with extra green.  A protein powder something-or-other.  A green powder this-or-that.  Something very Gwyneth Paltrow-y.  I have the best of intentions, really.   The very best.

Inevitably I end up standing in front of the pantry shoveling a bag of granola into my face by the handful.  It’s not pretty but it does feel right.  I sweep up after.  I’m not a complete heathen.

Oatmeal Cookie Granola

It feels like we’re making oatmeal cookies and, while I relish the idea of eating cookies for breakfast, we’re taking a slight right turn and making a hearty granola from all of our oatmeal cookie ingredients.

This recipe was inspired by the new and deliciously awesome cookbook by Jessica of How Sweet Eats.  She’s the master of tacos and cocktails and adding neon sprinkles to every dang thing.  Get yourself a copy of Seriously Delish!

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Vegan Banana Pecan Muffins

vegan banana pecan muffins

vegan banana pecan muffins

Yesterday we talked about my favorite Vegan Egg Substitutes because I feel like I should know what the heck is going on when it comes to egg-free baking.

Today we’re putting our new lessons into action and making Flax Seed Eggs for tender Banana Pecan Muffins.

It’s simple!  While we aren’t necessarily glazing everything in chocolate ganache or drenching everything in browned butter, this still feels pretty great!  Let’s go let’s go!

Vegan Banana Pecan Muffins

I want these muffins to be as healthful as they are delicious.  That shouldn’t be too hard.  Bananas are sweet and forgiving, pecans are perfect, and maple syrup is always right.

White Whole Wheat flour adds an additional heartiness and nuttiness to the muffins and cinnamon and nutmeg balance all of the flavors.  We’re breakfasting!

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Baked Brown Butter and Pistachio Doughnuts

Brown Butter Baked Pistachio Doughnuts

Brown Butter Baked Pistachio Doughnuts

That first bite of doughnut… that very first taste is success, surrender, satisfaction, joy, and celebration all wrapped up into one bite.  It’s the anticipation that makes it so great!  And the brown butter, obviously.

These doughnuts feel like an extra special treat because they’re topped (as all things should be, really…) with browned butter glaze and chopped salted pistachios.

Where brown butter and pistachios combine, the gates of Heaven open wide and welcome you in with open arms.  Not literally… but that sure is what it feels like!

Baked Brown Butter and Pistachio Doughnuts

It’s time to make an extra pot of coffee.  Call a friend.  Pull up a few chairs and relish in it all.  What a lovely life when doughnuts are fresh and pretty.

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