Savory Spinach & Cheese Waffles

Savory Spinach & Cheese Waffles | Once Upon a Recipe

Friends, I am reeeeeeeally struggling to write this post. I mean, look at that pile of breakfast heaven right up there. It has everything. Carbs, cheese, meat, an egg. I am currently finishing up day 1 of a 3-day juice cleanse. The almond milk beverage that is my last “meal” of the day tastes much less like a milkshake than I’d worked it up to be in my mind. Yes, that’s right, give me a day of drinking vegetables and fruit and to my ears almond milk sounds like a straight-up milkshake. (Sadly, it doesn’t taste like one, not even after a day of juice).

And thus, editing these photos was a test in restraint and willpower.

Savory Spinach & Cheese Waffles | Once Upon a Recipe

These waffles are of the savory variety. And they are freaking delicious. Don’t run away, allow me to explain!

These waffles are packed with whole wheat flour and spinach. But I promise they don’t taste healthy! They crisp up all nice on the outside, but have such a tender interior. And that tender interior is made even more delicious by little pockets of cheese, some of which hit the waffle iron directly and get all crispy too. The first time I made these waffles, I enjoyed them straight off the iron, while still hot and crisp. I burnt my fingers and my mouth, and the pain was completely worth it.

Savory Spinach & Cheese Waffles | Once Upon a Recipe

But the second time around, I topped the waffles with a couple slices of black forest ham and a fried egg. Now we’re talking! Eating the waffles this way also forced me to use cutlery, which was perhaps a blessing in itself. I’m a lady, I swear.

Do not fear this savory waffle concept! Breakfast, brunch, brinner, a snack – whatever tickles your fancy. Get into it!

Savory Spinach & Cheese Waffles | Once Upon a Recipe

Savory Spinach & Cheese Waffles (slightly adapted from The Mrs. Writes)

This recipe will yield about 6 large waffles, depending on the size of your waffle iron. If you’re serving the waffles with toppings, one waffle is probably an adequate serving for the average person. However, if you’re serving them on their own, plan for two waffles per person (for hungry eaters). The recipe can easily be doubled, if needed. Feel free to experiment with different cheeses too, depending on what you have on hand. 

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 TBSP. sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, freshly grated
4 cups fresh spinach, chopped

Toppings (optional): black forest ham, a fried egg, avocado, salsa, hot sauce

Preheat your waffle iron. Again, the appropriate heat setting will vary for each different waffle iron (I used heat setting 4 out of 6).

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a bowl and whisk to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, milk, and oil. Add to the flour mixture and stir gently until the mixture comes together. Fold in the cheese and the spinach. Spray the hot waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray (between each waffle) and cook waffles according to your waffle iron’s directions. Serve with your choice of toppings or straight off the iron. If you’re cooking for a larger group, keep waffles warm in the oven as you go. But they do taste best hot and fresh! Leftovers also reheat very well in the toaster or in the oven.

Savory Spinach & Cheese Waffles | Once Upon a Recipe

Vegan Double Chocolate Banana Espresso Muffins

Vegan Double Chocolate Banana Espresso Muffins | Once Upon a Recipe

Hey friends! There are a couple of chocolate recipes comin’ atcha this week, I hope you don’t mind. And if you don’t like chocolate, well…you can show yourself out. Just kidding. (But really, why don’t you like chocolate and are you seeking help?)

The holiday of love is quickly approaching. The big V-day doesn’t hold much meaning for me, although I do use it as an excuse to eat lots of chocolate and those little cinnamon hearts. And of course, it’s a great reminder to tell those we love just how much they mean to us.  (But really, do that everyday, ok?)

Vegan Double Chocolate Banana Espresso Muffins | Once Upon a Recipe

Whether you love Valentine’s Day or not, you should really make these muffins. They might just be my new favorite. First of all, they’re vegan. Second, they’re packed with good for you ingredients like whole wheat flour, flax, bananas, and coconut oil. But most importantly, they taste like a fudgey chocolate cupcake. And if I can get away with eating a relatively healthy muffin that tastes like a fudgey chocolate cupcake for breakfast, you better believe I’m totally going to do just that.

Vegan Double Chocolate Banana Espresso Muffins | Once Upon a Recipe

Vegan Double Chocolate Banana Espresso Muffins | Once Upon a Recipe   Vegan Double Chocolate Banana Espresso Muffins | Once Upon a Recipe

Vegan Double Chocolate Banana Espresso Muffins (adapted from Minimalist Baker)

These muffins taste even better the next day. My favorite way to enjoy them was actually right out of the fridge, when they were chilled. I kind of felt like I was in that McCain Deep’n Delicious chocolate cake commercial from back in the day. You know the one, right?

2 flax eggs (2 TBSP. ground flax seed + 5 TBSP. water)

1 cup mashed bananas (~3 large)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1 tsp. espresso powder

1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/2 cup good-quality cocoa powder

1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips/chunks (dairy-free)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare a 12-count muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick spray.

Prepare the flax eggs in a large mixing bowl and let rest for 5 minutes. Add the mashed bananas through to the espresso powder and whisk for 45 seconds. Add the almond milk and whisk again. Add the cocoa powder, flour, and chocolate, and mix until just combined. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin tins. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool for a few minutes in the pan, then move to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. These muffins also freeze really well.

http://minimalistbaker.com/fudgy-vegan-double-chocolate-beet-muffins/

Pear and Almond Crockpot Steel Cut Oats

Pear and Almond Crockpot Steel Cut Oats | Once Upon a Recipe

Lessons learned from shooting the photos for this recipe: Oatmeal is not naturally pretty. It isn’t very photogenic either. I’m not very good at making oatmeal look delicious. Sometimes things that don’t look pretty or delicious still taste freaking fabulous. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Oatmeal has feelings too.

Ok, I’m getting a little off track. The point is, my dear friends, that oatmeal can taste really really good. I’m an oatmeal lover through and through. I grew up eating it on the regular and for me, it’s a very comforting breakfast. Most non-oatmeal fans that I know associate oatmeal with gummy, tasteless goop. But if you prepare oatmeal correctly, and add a few tasty things, it can be amazing.

Pear and Almond Crockpot Steel Cut Oats | Once Upon a Recipe

Steel cut oats are my favorite kind of oats. However, making steel cut oats on the stovetop takes a damn long time. And this girl ain’t got time to stir stuff for 20+ minutes in the morning. I must also be doing something wrong, because my oats still ain’t creamy after 20+ minutes of cooking and stirring those oats. Yes dear friends, I had almost given up on steel cut oats altogether.

And then I discovered crockpot steel cut oats! Not only does the crockpot help us achieve that wonderful creamy texture, but it also does all of the work for us! I’m talking dump the ingredients into the crockpot, set and it and forget it, get your beauty rest, and wake up to a hot, comforting breakfast that will hold you over until lunch. Are you with me?

Pear and Almond Crockpot Steel Cut Oats | Once Upon a Recipe   Pear and Almond Crockpot Steel Cut Oats | Once Upon a Recipe

Let’s give breakfast duty to the crockpot so we can get a little more shuteye. More sleep + a hearty breakfast = a good day ahead! Happy Tuesday, friends!

Pear and Almond Crockpot Steel Cut Oats | Once Upon a Recipe

Pear and Almond Crockpot Steel Cut Oats

Makes four generous servings. This recipe is easy to adapt to your personal tastes. Other delicious options include substituting an apple in for the pear, a pinch of nutmeg for the cardamom, and adding a 1/4 cup of raisins instead of the almonds. Or try using blueberries in place of the fruit, and adding in a 1/2 tsp. of vanilla instead of the cardamom. Basically, as long as you stick with the oats to liquid ratio, the options are limitless! The sweetener is completely optional – I love brown sugar in my oatmeal – but if you’d prefer to use maple syrup or honey or stevia, or leave it out completely, go for it!

1 cup steel cut oats

1 1/4 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or cow’s milk/milk of choice)

3 cups water

1 pear, cored and chopped small

3 TBSP. sliced almonds

4 TBSP. ground flax seed

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

2 TBSP. brown sugar (optional)

Pinch of salt

Place all ingredients in your crockpot before you hit the hay. Stir well. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours. Wake up to breakfast! Top with additional milk, sliced almonds, and fresh fruit. Enjoy! Portion leftovers into containers and re-heat in the microwave with a little bit of milk.

Pear and Almond Crockpot Steel Cut Oats | Once Upon a Recipe

Guest Post: Kitchen Sink Breakfast Cookies

Kitchen Sink Breakfast Cookies | Once Upon a Recipe

Kitchen Sink Breakfast Cookies | Once Upon a Recipe   Kitchen Sink Breakfast Cookies | Once Upon a Recipe

Kitchen Sink Breakfast Cookies | Once Upon a Recipe

Kitchen Sink Breakfast Cookies | Once Upon a Recipe   Kitchen Sink Breakfast Cookies | Once Upon a Recipe

T to the G to the I to the F! It’s Friiiiiiiiiiiiday!

And today I’m sharing a recipe for healthy and wholesome breakfast cookies over on my lovely blogging friend Stefanie’s site, Sarcastic Cooking! Stefanie just birthed theeeee cutest little dude, and is adjusting to motherhood. I was so excited when she asked me to do a guest post for her.

Yep, I did say breakfast cookies, meaning they are indeed filled with things that you can feel good about putting into your body before noon! Aside from checking out this particular recipe, be sure to peruse through Stefanie’s other recipes. They will most often leave you with a grumbling stomach and a craving for whatever she’s cooking up. So head on over there and let’s end this week with cookies!

Enjoy your weekend friends!

May it be filled with wonderful things (and hopefully, warmer temperatures if you’ve been hit with cold this past week)!

Whole Wheat Coconut Waffles

Whole Wheat Coconut Waffles | Once Upon a Recipe

Weekends are for making things a little extraordinary. Weekends are for sleeping in and lounging around. Weekends are for not getting dressed until you damn well feel like it. And if you don’t damn well feel like it until 4pm, that’s totally cool. Weekends are for slowly sipping hot coffee and enjoying that extra cup. Weekends are for reading a good book or catching up on your favorite TV shows. Weekends are for indulging a little. Weekends are for waffles.

Whole Wheat Coconut Waffles | Once Upon a Recipe

Whole Wheat Coconut Waffles | Once Upon a Recipe

Yesterday morning, I was craving something a little extraordinary for breakfast. Sadly, my fridge and cupboards were practically bare after a long and busy week. No milk. One egg. No fruit or vegetables aside from a few frozen raspberries. However, I did have a can of coconut milk gathering dust in the very back of my pantry. (At one time, it shared space with this dreamboat.) Whole wheat coconut waffles were born!

Simple to prepare, healthy, and most importantly, delicious – these waffles satisfied my extraordinary Saturday morning craving and fueled me up for a little Christmas shopping. I’m certain they made me more patient too. And trust me, at this time of year, we could all use a little extra patience.

Whole Wheat Coconut Waffles | Once Upon a Recipe

It’s a hectic time of year, I get it. But do consider taking a morning time out during the coming couple of weeks to enjoy an extraordinary breakfast!

Whole Wheat Coconut Waffles

Despite the use of both coconut milk and coconut oil, the coconut flavor in these waffles isn’t overwhelming. They tasted delicious with a dusting of powdered sugar and some fruit. Makes about 4 large waffles. 

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2 TBSP. raw cane sugar

1 large egg

1 can light coconut milk

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat your waffle maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the egg, coconut milk, coconut oil and vanilla. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and mix just until barely combined. The batter will be lumpy.

Fill the wells of your waffle maker and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions (about 4 minutes in my waffle maker). Serve with your favorite toppings. Happy weekending!

Whole Wheat Coconut Waffles | Once Upon a Recipe

Brown Butter Cinnamon Roll Skillet Cake

Brown Butter Cinnamon Roll Skillet Cake | Once Upon a Recipe

Dear Time,

Why is there not more of you? Why must you move so quickly when I’m having fun and so slowly when I’m not? I’d like to please have the body of Halle Berry, but I don’t have the time to exercise like a maniac and count all of my calories (nor do I want to). I mean, I have time, but not that much time. I’d like to take up knitting and soap making and I’d like to really learn to play the guitar (and not just stumble my way through a few simple songs). I’d like to volunteer more. I’d like to take my pup to the dog park every morning so she can burn off more of her boundless energy. I’d like to organize my closet because it’s a jungle in there (and maybe a mouse. Help, I’m scared!). I’d like to read the 78 books on my “List of Books to Read” before I’m 78.

I’d like to keep my house in a more constant state of clean, rather than its constant state of chaos. I’d like to learn more about wine and beer and maybe even make my own. I’d like to host dinner parties and cook for my friends and family because that’s a whole lot more fun than eating cereal for dinner cooking for just me. I’d like to drink a green juice every morning, and not just the mornings that I “have time.” I’d like to take 15 minutes every day to try to meditate and clear my crazy brain. I’d like to handwrite letters to my friends from afar, rather than send them an occasional text message or email. I’d like to become a better photographer. I’d like to get out of the city once a month, even if it’s only for a few hours, to a town half an hour away. I’d really like to sleep more. I’d like to do all of these things and about a thousand more, but I. Need. More. Time.

Please consider stretching yourself out a bit?

Sincerely,

Amanda

Brown Butter Cinnamon Roll Skillet Cake | Once Upon a Recipe

Brown Butter Cinnamon Roll Skillet Cake | Once Upon a Recipe

Seriously friends, how do you all do it? You all make it look so easy – even those of you with children and a load of responsibilities twice the size of mine. Please tell me that it really isn’t as simple as you make it look, or at least share some of your secrets. How do you balance it all?

While I certainly don’t have the answer, I do have a new trick up my sleeve. One thing I definitely don’t have time for is making homemade cinnamon rolls on the regular. But imagine having a warm slice of cake that tastes exactly like a freshly baked cinnamon roll to stuff into your pie hole in only a fraction of the time?! Yes friends, that is what we call a win.

Brown Butter Cinnamon Roll Skillet Cake | Once Upon a Recipe

This skillet cake comes together lickety-split, quicker than you can say “but I don’t have time!” The first time I made this, I whipped it up when I woke up in the morning and baked it while I got ready for work. By the time I had to leave, it was cool enough to handle and transport. Dudes, it was still warm when we ate with our morning coffee. Now if that doesn’t make a work day better, I’m out of ideas.

Now, I recommend that you throw this cake together one morning when you need a little pick-me-up. Even during the crazy holiday season that is descending upon us, you can make the time. Browning the butter isn’t even necessary, but it does add a little something extra. However, I promise you it’s still completely delicious if you forego that step. Enjoy, sweet friends!

Brown Butter Cinnamon Roll Skillet Cake | Once Upon a Recipe

Brown Butter Cinnamon Roll Skillet Cake (recipe adapted from Crunchy Creamy Sweet)

A warm, fluffy cake, filled with little craters of brown sugar and cinnamon, reminiscent of a freshly baked cinnamon roll. If you don’t have a skillet, you can bake it in a 8 x 8 pan, or you can double the recipe and bake it in a 9 x 13 pan. Be sure to grease the pan well. And if you want to skip the step of browning the butter, just make sure it’s melted before you incorporate it into the rest of the batter. Serves 6.

Cake:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

Pinch of salt

3/4 cup milk

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 cup brown butter*

Topping:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 TBSP. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 TBSP. milk

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix all of the cake ingredients together, except for the butter. Slowly stir in the butter and mix just until incorporated (don’t overmix). Pour into a greased 10-inch skillet and spread out evenly. Mix the topping ingredients together until well combined. Drop by spoonfuls evenly over the batter and swirl with a knife. Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.

Combine the glaze ingredients and drizzle over top of the cake while still warm. Serve immediately. Leftover cake can be stored for a couple of days if well-wrapped.

*If you’ve never browned butter before, here is a really great tutorial.

Brown Butter Cinnamon Roll Skillet Cake | Once Upon a Recipe

Pumpkin Maple Granola

Pumpkin Maple Granola | Once Upon a Recipe

It’s tempting to say “Winter is coming” in a very ominous voice. However, that would be a false statement due to the fact that Winter arrived the night before last in a flurry of wet snow and chilly wind. And just like that, it is Winter. Boom.

Pumpkin Maple Granola | Once Upon a Recipe

Pumpkin Maple Granola | Once Upon a Recipe

Seasons are funny, because we associate different things – and certainly, in my case, food – with each one. For example, when Fall arrived, I was so excited to bake with pumpkin and apples and cinnamon. And now that the first dump of the white stuff has fallen, I’m like “Peace out pumpkin, bring on the hot chocolate and candy canes!”

And the parkas, mitts, toques, and snow shovels.

Pumpkin Maple Granola | Once Upon a Recipe

However, it would be wrong to bid adieu to Fall without sharing one last pumpkin recipe with you. I was set on creating the perfect pumpkin granola recipe this year, and after several failed attempts, I think I finally found a winner. Packed with pumpkin, spices, and a few extras – pecans, pepitas, and dried cranberries – this granola makes a perfect breakfast or snack. Or an excellent consolation prize for embarking on the 6-month long, dark, and freakishly cold and snowy adventure that is an Alberta Winter. Happy Monday, friends!

Pumpkin Maple Granola | Once Upon a Recipe

Pumpkin Maple Granola

This granola combines the delicious fall flavors of pumpkin and maple. Lightly sweetened and generously spiced, it makes a great breakfast when sprinkled over yogurt and fruit, or swimming in milk. You might also be tempted to eat it by the hand full. Makes about 6 cups. 

4 cups oats

2/3 cup chopped pecans

2/3 cup pepitas

½ cup shredded coconut

¼ tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. ginger

½ tsp. nutmeg

¼ tsp. cloves

¼ tsp. allspice

¼ cup ground flax seeds

¼ cup raw cane sugar

¼ cup maple syrup

3/4 cup pure pumpkin

¼ cup olive oil

1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a large bowl, combine the oats through to the ground flax seeds. In a separate bowl, whisk together the raw cane sugar, maple syrup, pumpkin, and olive oil. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well. Spread the granola onto a large baking sheet that has been lined with either parchment paper or a Silpat. Bake for 15 minutes. Add the cranberries and stir, and then return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Stir and continue baking for 10 minute intervals until golden brown and no longer moist. (Mine took about 35 minutes total).

Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Enjoy with milk or yogurt.

Pumpkin Maple Granola | Once Upon a Recipe

Whole Wheat Pumpkin and Cinnamon Chip Scones

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Scones | Once Upon a Recipe

Please be warned: I am about to shove at least a couple of pumpkin recipes in your face in the coming weeks.

‘Tis the season! Fall is in full bloom, yo! The colors, the crisp days, the pumpkin beer, the boots, the scarves, the pumpkin everything, even that dank, disgusting, wet leaves smell – I. Love. It. If only it could last forever. All in favor of replacing Winter with an extra-lengthy Fall, say I.

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Scones | Once Upon a Recipe

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Scones | Once Upon a Recipe   Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Scones | Once Upon a Recipe

So, if you’re not too sick of pumpkin yet (and I really hope you aren’t), let’s bake some pumpkin scones! Truth be told, I have never partaken in the delight that is a Starbucks pumpkin scone. Every year, many peoples be freaking out about the arrival of pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin scones. But I can guarantee that you can make a far more delicious version of both at home.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Scones | Once Upon a Recipe

Let’s start with the scones! We’re going to add a little health with some whole wheat flour, and we’re going to punch up the flavor with a hefty dose of spice and cinnamon chips. A generous sprinkling of raw cane sugar adds a lovely crunch to the tops of these scones. One of these little diddies alongside a cup of coffee or tea and you’re living the good Fall life!

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Scones | Once Upon a Recipe

Whole Wheat Pumpkin and Cinnamon Chip Scones (adapted from King Arthur Flour)

Cinnamon chips can be found in most US grocery stores. Sadly, I have never found them in Canada (at least in Alberta), but pick up a couple of bags every time I visit the States. If you can’t find cinnamon chips where you are, feel free to amp up the ground cinnamon in this recipe for a little extra cinnamon kick. The original recipe also suggests adding crystallized ginger pieces, either in place of, or alongside the cinnamon chips. However, I think the cinnamon chips really make ’em. 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 TBSP. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

1/2 cup butter, cold

1 cup cinnamon chips

2/3 cup pure pumpkin

2 eggs

1 TBSP. milk

Raw cane sugar, for sprinkling

In a large bowl, combine the flours through to the spices. Whisk together until thoroughly mixed. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Stir in the cinnamon chips. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and the eggs. Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until it starts to come together. Turn the mixture out onto a floured surface and use your hands to bring everything together. Try not to overwork the dough.

Split the dough in half and form each half into a round disc, about 1 inch thick. Brush each disc with the milk and sprinkle generously with raw cane sugar. Cut each round into six equal pieces. Arrange all 12 pieces on a prepared cookie sheet, about an inch apart. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer, uncovered, for 30 minutes to thoroughly chill (this will help with rise and texture).

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Bake the scones for 22-24 minutes or until golden. Cool on a baking rack. Enjoy the scones warm, or store cooled scones in an airtight container for up to a few days. Typically scones taste best on the same day they are baked, but I liked these scones even better the second day. They’re lovely with a cup of tea or coffee. Makes 12 scones.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Scones | Once Upon a Recipe

Yeast Schmeast | Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Bagels

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Bagels | Once Upon a Recipe

Friends, I am here to tell you that it is time to conquer your kitchen fears. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and just jump in with both feet. Well, maybe don’t close your eyes. That could lead to trouble. BUT. Very, very good (and delicious) things can come from conquering your kitchen fears.

These bagels are a perfect example. You see, me and yeast aren’t exactly tight. I mean, we usually get along when we’re making cinnamon rolls, but I’m not too trusting of yeast when approaching other baking endeavors. Yeast can be a bit temperamental. Like – oh, don’t make the water too hot or you’ll kill me! But don’t make it too cold either, or I won’t wake up. Don’t add too much sugar or you’ll slow me down! Basically, yeast does whatever the hell it feels like when I’m around.

PS. I’m not a bread maker, for obvious reasons.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Bagels | Once Upon a Recipe

However, this past weekend I wanted to try something new. Something that would challenge me and test the boundaries of my baking abilities. And given the arrival of the Autumn Equinox (umm, yay!), I also just had to bust out the pumpkin. And then I came across a recipe for pumpkin bagels. Hallelujah. Let’s do it!

Disclaimer: Making bagels is not an activity for the faint of heart. They take some time. However, when you pull those fresh bagels out of the oven, slice one up, toast it until it’s golden brown, and slather on a generous amount of cream cheese, it all seems worth it. I promise you.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Bagels | Once Upon a Recipe   Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Bagels | Once Upon a Recipe

My advice – plan ahead. Get everything together ahead of time and be patient. Don’t rush through the recipe – read it through first so you know what you’re getting into. Take your time and enjoy the process. My essential accessories of choice on this adventure – a french press full of hot coffee and some good tunes. I’m not going to claim to be a bagel pro just yet, but I was really pleased with how these turned out for my first attempt. The pumpkin flavor is not overwhelming and the spices are very subtle. My favorite way to enjoy these bagels was by toasting and slathering them with either butter or cream cheese. I bet they would make amazing bagel sandwiches too.

Happy Fall friends!

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Bagels | Once Upon a Recipe

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Bagels (very slightly adapted from The Tart Tart, which was adapted from Honest Cooking)

Makes 8 bagels. I made these bagels two ways – the first time with whole wheat and all-purpose flour (as indicated in the recipe), and the second time with only spelt flour. I loved the texture of the spelt bagels, but found the dough extremely difficult to work with. I ended up adding almost an entire additional cup of spelt flour in order to get the dough to come together enough to handle. If you’re going to use spelt flour, just be aware of this and exercise additional patience!

2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast

1 cup warm water

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. allspice

1/2 cup pure pumpkin

1 TBSP. baking soda (for the soda bath)

1 egg (for the egg wash)

Toppings – ie. sesame seeds, flax seeds, poppy seeds, sea salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, water, and brown sugar. Whisk together and set aside for about 10 minutes, until the mixture becomes frothy.

In a separate large bowl, combine the flours, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice. Add the pumpkin to the yeast mixture, and using the dough hook, start mixing on low speed. Slowly add the flour mixture until it is completely combined, about 3 to 5 minutes. At this point, the dough should be smooth and elastic, but not too sticky (it will be pulling away from the sides of the bowl). If it is too sticky, incorporate more flour, one TBSP. at a time. Place the dough in a bowl coated with oil and cover, allowing it to rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 90 minutes.

After 90 minutes, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Divide it into 8 equal pieces and roll them into balls. Cover and let rise about 20 minutes more.

Then, using your thumb, punch a hole into the middle of each ball and widen it, trying to make it even on all sides. Widen the hole more than you think necessary, because it will shrink in the boiling and baking process. Set the dough on a parchment paper or Silpat-covered baking sheet. Repeat with the other balls.

Preheat your oven to 425°F and prepare the egg wash by cracking the egg into a small bowl and whisking with a fork.

Fill a large pot about halfway with water and bring it to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add in the baking soda and gently mix. Working in batches of 2-3 bagels at a time, drop the bagels into the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Flip them and cook for 2 minutes more (the longer you boil the bagels, the chewier they will turn out – boil for 1 minute on each side if you want them to be less chewy). Once done, remove them with a slotted spoon and place back on the baking sheet. Lightly blot them with a paper towel to remove some of the excess water. Then brush them with the egg wash and sprinkle with the toppings of your choice. Bake the bagels for 15 to 20 minutes (until golden brown), rotating the pan halfway through.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Bagels | Once Upon a Recipe

What are you baking up in your kitchen to welcome Fall?

A Quick Hello | Greek Yogurt Blueberry Muffins

Greek Yogurt Blueberry Muffins | Once Upon a Recipe

Summer is whizzing by in a blur of hot sunny days and mosquito-filled evenings that are becoming cooler and cooler. There have been friends, dog park days, too many pints of beer, too many froyo indulgences, and ultimate frisbee. Oh, and crossfit torture bootcamp. I bought a new car! I’m becoming addicted to Breaking Bad (Walt Jr. is my favorite). I went raspberry picking on a raspberry farm. When I need a laugh, I watch this video (just ridiculous). I can’t get enough green juice. What’s goin’ on with you?

Greek Yogurt Blueberry Muffins | Once Upon a Recipe

I’ll be honest. I have spent very little time in my kitchen over the past couple of weeks. I’ve just been churning out the essentials. Quick, easy, one-pot meals. A batch of granola for breakfasts. Green juice after green juice. Not a lot of fun or experimenting going on. BUT.

Greek Yogurt Blueberry Muffins | Once Upon a Recipe

One morning I found the time to whip up a batch of these delicious and healthy muffins. Dudes, they’re made with whole wheat flour, wheat germ, greek yogurt, and coconut oil. And they taste good. Pinky swear.

Greek Yogurt Blueberry Muffins | Once Upon a Recipe

As I’ve mentioned before, I love eating muffins for breakfast. But they’ve got to have some health to them or I just can’t justify it. I can totally get down with eating cake for breakfast, but not on the regular. In several short weeks I will enter the last year of my twenties (oy) and I’m already discovering that the old metabolism ain’t quite what it used to be. Hence the crossfit torture bootcamp. PS. It will be nothing short of a miracle if I can ever walk normally again.

Anyways, these muffins are full of good-for-you things, and they really are delicious. And completely guilt-free. I’ve made them a couple of times with blueberries, but I think raspberries or blackberries would work well too. Healthy muffin goodnesss! Time to get back to this spectacular summer living, but I’ll be back soon. I hope you’re all enjoying the summer livin’ too! xo

Greek Yogurt Blueberry Muffins | Once Upon a Recipe

Greek Yogurt Blueberry Muffins (slightly adapted from Martha Stewart Living magazine, June 2013 issue)

Makes 12. 

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup wheat germ

1/2 tsp. baking soda

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

3/4 cup low-fat or fat-free plain greek yogurt

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 pint fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Combine the flours, wheat germ, baking soda, and salt, and whisk together in a medium bowl. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, yogurt, coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the yogurt mixture and gently mix together until just combined. Fold in the blueberries.

Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Greek Yogurt Blueberry Muffins | Once Upon a Recipe

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