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I love my oatmeal. I usually cook McCann’s on the stove and add mashed banana, walnuts, raisins and almond milk. But sometimes I’m lazy and just want something super quick and easy to make. Like instant oatmeal! I recently came across a cereal brand called Three Sisters. The packaging caught my eye at Whole Foods (where it is sold exclusively) and so did the flavors. Besides the typical cinnamon and apples and brown sugar and maple flavors, Three Sisters instant oatmeal is also made in dark chocolate, chai spiced and cinnamon plum spiced. So far I’ve tried the cinnamon and apples and the chai spiced. They are both so good! Three Sisters uses the thicker, heartier type of oatmeal (which my dad couldn’t couldn’t stand because he likes his oatmeal finer and mushier) and touts their products as “natural, sensible, sustainable cereals” which I totally support.

I was a little surprised to see that Three Sisters is a Malt-O-Meal brand because it has the appearance of a small start-up (very clever, Malt-O-Meal…). But of course, almost everything sold at Whole Foods has that mom-and-pop look about it.

Perhaps the best thing about this oatmeal is the fact that the pouch the cereal comes in doubles as a measuring cup. There’s a fill line on the wrapper so you know exactly how much water to use and it couldn’t be handier. I love the fact that I don’t have to guess whether I’ve added enough water to the bowl. All the work is done for me.

And I can’t wait to try the other flavors. Except plain. Yuck.

~Christina

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Let’s face it: if you don’t like bananas you won’t want to make this. There’s just no hiding the taste. But I happen to love banana flavor in desserts (but not banana-flavored candy, that’s just gross) so I was excited to make this banana bread. The recipe came from How to Cook Everything (again, my favorite cookbook) and if you’ve ever made banana bread you know it’s a pretty simple process. This recipe also calls for finely shredded coconut but if you don’t like the taste of coconut you can easily exclude it. I also chopped the walnuts in the food processor to make them finer because I wanted them to blend into the bread more and not change the texture.

Though the flavor of the bread was great, I think it was just slightly less moist than I would have preferred. And that could have been because I didn’t use enough banana or it could be that I took the bread out of the oven to test its done-ness about three or four times. Not good. I’ll definitely make it again but I think I’ll experiment with other recipes to find the one I like best.

Ingredients

  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) butter, softened, plus butter for the pan
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed with a fork until smooth
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
Directions
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with butter.
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients. With a hand mixer, whisk or in a food processor, cream the butter and beat in the eggs and bananas. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients, just enough to combine. Gently stir in the vanilla, nuts and coconut.
  3. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45 – 60 minutes, until nice browned. Use the toothpick test to check for done-ness (a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf will come out clean). Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.

~Christina

Look at that swirl...

There are two super easy things I like to make for breakfast that are also healthy and delicious. If you’ve never had steel cut oatmeal you should give it a try. Most of us probably grew up eating the Quaker Oats-style oats that look flat and round. Steel-cut oatmeal looks like little tiny grains. And a little goes a long way.

Since I don’t like the idea of pouring sugar into my oatmeal, I developed a way to get the sweetness of sugar in my oatmeal another way. Bananas! I will start cooking my oatmeal and then mash up a slightly overripe banana and add it to the oatmeal when it’s almost done cooking. The bananas mix right in and add some creaminess, bulk and sugar to the oatmeal in a completely guilt-free way. I also like to add crushed walnuts and a handful of raisins to the mix as well as some lowfat milk or almond milk. It’s hearty and satisfying.

Another thing I love to eat is Greek-style yogurt. Though I love it mixed with honey, it doesn’t seem substantial enough to constitute breakfast. So I started mixing in a spoonful or two of canned pumpkin (like the kind your grandma buys at Thanksgiving to make pies) to my yogurt and honey. To that I also add cinnamon and granola. I really like the Ezekiel brand golden flax. It adds some crunch to the creaminess of the yogurt and pumpkin. Yum!

~Christina

We wanted the food for our brunch to be flavorful and special, but also really simple to do. Cause Lord knows that after a fun Friday night in New York, the last thing you want to do is to get up and cook a whole breakfast the next morning. We picked dried cherry scones, scrambled eggs with puff pastry, and oranges with mint. The most complicated part of this is the scones, which can be made before you go out with your friends and popped in the fridge until the next morning.

DRIED CHERRY SCONES (adapted from Gourmet Magazine)

Scones are one of my favorite foods. They have a ton of butter in them, which may be part of the reason…We love these with lemon curd. And clotted cream. “Real clotted cream,” as my mother says. You can get it at Tea and Sympathy, imported from England.

You will need:

  • 4 cups sifted cake flour
  • ½ cup sugar plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ sticks of cold unsalted butter (cut into cubes)
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup heavy cream plus additional for brushing

1. Preheat oven to 375º F

2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Scatter butter on top and blend with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix in dried cherries.

3. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. With floured hands, press into a 1-inch thick rectangle. Cut out rounds with a dough cutter and arrange 2 inches apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

4. Brush tops of scones with cream and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake scones, rotating baking sheet halfway through, until tops are golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on rack about 10 minutes before serving.

EGGS WITH GRUYERE CHEESE, ASPARAGUS AND PUFF PASTRY

Everyone who knows me knows that Gruyere is my favorite cheese ever. So the proposition of eating it in eggs was a no-brainer for me. This was totally easy to make. Just scramble eggs with a little milk, chopped asparagus and grated Gruyere. Cook the puff pastry according to the package directions and stuff the eggs inside. Yum.

Oranges with mint

For these, we used pink navel oranges so they were not as acidic as typical oranges – more like grapefruit, really. And divine. They had this great pink color, which contrasted with the mint in a great way. I just cut some chiffonade of mint, added a tiny pinch of sugar, and mixed it all together.

One thing I love about this brunch food is that it’s satisfying but super easy to make.

~ Dana

Casa is participating in Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

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