Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer Breakfast Parfait

Dear Foodies,

I will forever be envious of those who can pause in the morning to make themselves a good breakfast before getting started with their day. I wake up with just enough time to get ready for work and rush out the door. Taking a few extra minutes to sit down and enjoy breakfast even if its just a bowl of cereal or a banana makes me antsy. But skipping it entirely isn't an option either so I've found my way around it. I can't stick to one recipe for more than a few weeks but variety is good, right ? I've circled through many breakfast ideas and tricks over the years and will share some of them so I remember when the lull moves in.

We are in the cusp of berry season and stone fruit season leaving us with an abundance of choice. Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, plumcots, lychees, jackfruit and the list goes on. Each of them proudly vibrant, plump and bursting with sweet juices making it impossible to not be greedy. But its a good problem to have on hand, pretty much wash-eat-repeat I'd say.

My breakfast during the last few weeks has been yogurt + fruit. I wanted to make it a little more fancy and played with the idea of a parfait. I was out of granola so I made a quick stove top version that was ready in 10 mins. I toasted rolled oats, flax seeds and slivered almonds in some brown butter on really low heat for 8-10 mins until they were evenly browned. I finished it off with some local honey and sea salt to balance out flavors. While this was happening I scooped a few spoonfuls of homemade yogurt into a strainer to get rid of excess moisture. I also pitted plump rainier cherries, roughly chopped strawberries and tossed them with a few blueberries and another drizzle of honey and a squeeze of floral lemon juice.

All three components will be ready in just over 10 mins. All that's left to do is layer them as you please. If you are feeling fancy pick a tall glass or jar like I did, be meticulous in your layering of yogurt followed by fruit and granola. Step out onto your patio and enjoy breakfast under the pleasant warmth of the early morning sun. Or Scene 2 - dump them together with no real rhythm into a container with a tight lid and rush out the door to where ever your day takes you. Either way, you'll enjoy the beauty of summer fruit and look forward to another mornings' breakfast.
Summer Breakfast Parfait
Prep time: 15 mins
Servings: 2

Quick Granola
  • 3/4 cup - Rolled Oats
  • 1/2 cup - slivered Almonds
  • 1-2 Tbsp - roasted Coconut chips
  • a pat of butter
  • 1 Tbsp - Flax seeds
  • 2 tsp - Honey
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup - Yogurt, strained
  • 1 cup - Cherries, Strawberries and blueberries
  • 1 tsp - Lemon juice
  • 1 tsp - Honey
  1. Place a wide, shallow plan on low-medium heat and spread slivered almond into an even layer. Toast them gently, tossing every few minutes until evenly browned and set aside. Next add butter and heat until it begins to brown slightly. Add oats and flax seeds and toast on low heat till they are turn a nice golden color. Remove from heat, add almonds and while still warm drizzle honey and salt. If adding dry fruits like raisins or cranberries, do so at this stage.
  2. While nuts and oats are toasting, spoon yogurt into a strainer (placed over a bowl to catch whey) and place in the refrigerator. 
  3. Pit and roughly chop cherries and strawberries into a bowl, add blueberries, lemon juice and honey. You may need more or less honey based on how tart or sweet the berries are.  Place these in the refrigerator as well until ready to assemble.
  4. In a tall glass or jar spoon a layer of berries followed by yogurt and granola. Repeat as many layers as the glass will hold and end with a drizzle of sweet juices from the macerating berries.

The combinations are endless with this one - add vanilla bean seeds or extract to the macerating fruits or lemon/orange zest or cinnamon/cardamom or a tiny bit of grated nutmeg. Use whatever combination of fruit you have on hand, I cannot think of a bad one. Jackfruit + honey + pistachios is divine, papaya + candied pineapple + toasted coconut chips, for tropical bliss. Add other nuts to the instant granola - pecans, walnuts, brazil nuts, pistachios, pine nuts, raisins or dried fruit like cranberries, raisins, pineapple or cherries. You know, no rules. And of course, you can flavor the yogurt too or make a compote from some of the fresh fruit, but when simple, weekday-morning-doable can be this good, I'll stick to minimal work.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Weekend Craft Corner || eReader Fabric Sleeve

Hi Foodies,

It's hard to open this space and start talking writing again. This post has been in the drafts for 2 weeks now and there isn't a recipe even :) This is another quick weekend sewing project for a beginner. I went overboard with my fabric purchase a few months back. Luckily I bought just 1/2 yard pieces since the only project I had in mind needed very little fabric. I'm bad when it comes to making a choice and a craft store is mental overload in those terms! There were too many good prints to pass up and photo below is the selection after I'd pared it down :)

The first project to come out of this loot was a sleeve for my Kindle. It was my Christmas gift from my brother and sil and I had to protect it from the obstacle course in my handbag. There are many many patterns and inspiring covers out there. I came across a few that used sturdy folder covers sandwiched between fabric that double as a stand when folded. It's a nifty idea and next on my list to try, for now though I stuck to a simple sleeve pattern.

You'll need:
  • 2 pieces of coordinating fabric. I probably used 1/4 of each 1/2 yard piece, approximately a little more than twice the area of your device with seam allowance.
  • 1 piece fusible fleece - I used this one
  • Matching thread and a contrasting button for the loop closure
No process photos for this one since I was experimenting without a pattern. I started with fabric that was twice the length of the Kindle and sewed along the sides. I then ironed on the fusible fleece to the outer fabric, wrong side out. To sew the two pieces together I used the same method used in this bag (finishing the tote step). I used a small piece of the inner fabric to make a loop closure and finished it with a cute button. An elastic hair tie would work too.

Though I did not plan it that way I love how the star pattern lines up in the front and the fleece underneath gives a nice textured look to the fabric. The fusible fleece is soft and provides enough cushion without making the sleeve bulky so I'll definitely be using it in other projects.

Any project suggestions for my remaining fabric selection ? :)
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