sunday brunchday

The weekends call for hot coffee and slow brunches that leave you too full to eat lunch or move off of the couch. The past two weekends have been filled with fun activities with friends and good exercise opportunities (as well as not-so-fun-yet-physcially-demanding-yardwork). So to honor the weekends, the last two have featured really yummy brunches. The first, Southwest egg burritos with black beans, salsa and sour cream, fueled a 3,000-yard swim. Cheeseandrice, it was good. The second, this past weekend, was oatmeal-cranberry pancakes – hearty, filling and tasty.

The best part was that these recipes were both made with healthy items we had on hand. And they each took less than 20 minutes, even with the flavor-oomph tortilla-charring and oatmeal cooking. Here are the secrets of the trade:

Oatmeal-Cranberry Griddle Cakes (adapted from Mark Bittman)
  • 1/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 rolled oats, dry
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin-pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c milk
  • 2 cups left-over cooked and cooled* oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or other fruit, fresh or dried (sliced bananas or blueberries would be really good)
  • Syrup or apple butter
  1. Preheat oven to 200. Combine flours, oats, baking powder, spices and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and milk until well blended; stir in cranberries and cooked oatmeal* until just incorporated. Add the oatmeal mixture to the flour mixture and stir gently, being sure not to overmix. It should look like thick pancake batter.
  2. Heat a large griddle over medium heat with a swirl of oil in the pan. Spoon the batter into little patties in the pan and cook two to three minutes on each side, flipping when bubbles form and the bottoms are slightly browned. Note: these do take a little longer to cook than regular pancakes, I think because of the moistness of the cooked oatmeal.
  3. Transfer them to the warm oven on a heat-safe plate, tented with foil. Serve with syrup or apple butter.
*If you don't have leftover oatmeal, then make 2 cups per the box instructions. When adding the hot oatmeal to the eggs, temper them by adding one small spoonful at a time and whisking until incorporated. Do this 3-4 times until the temperature of the eggs has risen slowly. This will prevent accidental scrambling your eggs from the heat (but on the upside, it's kind of a neat science experiment if it happens ... ).

Southwest Egg Burritos for Two (my own recipe)
  •  Two whole-wheat tortillas
  • 1/2 c cheese
  • 1/2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 eggs
  • ~2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp each cumin and chile pepper
  • Handful of green onions or chives
  •  salt and pepper
  • Salsa, sour cream, cilantro and any other Southwest-style toppings that you like
  1. Heat a pan over medium heat and lightly coat it (use a oil spritzer if you can) with canola oil. Lay a tortilla in the pan and watch for it to bubble. Lift it ever so slightly. If there are darkish brown char marks, flip it and repeat on the other side. Repeat with one more tortilla. Put on plates and sprinkle with Mexican cheese (or colby-jack or cheddar).
  2. While this is happening, heat your drained and rinsed beans in a pot or in the microwave. In the now-empty, warm tortilla pan, scramble four eggs with a little milk. Season them with salt, pepper, about a 1/2 tsp. cumin and chile powder, each, and some green onion or chives, if you have it. Top the cheesy tortillas with the southwestern-scrambled eggs. Next layer the tortillas with spoonful or two of the warmed beans each, and salsa, sour cream and cilantro, as desired.
And, if you like heat as much as my husband does, sprinkle generously with "spicy flakes," a.k.a.: crushed red pepper, or jalapenos. (We go through a bulk bottle of "spicy flakes" just about every six months thanks to him ... ) Note: I took photos only to realize that my SD card was in the computer, not the camera. *Sigh ... guess I'll have to make these again next weekend!

I recommend serving these meals with fruit and wearing expandable pants. Happy brunch day!

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