Breakfast – two ways to start the day off right

Breakfast – it’s the most important meal of the day, right? But most days, also the most rushed.

Monday to Friday, for me it usual means a quick bowl of yogurt, fruit and granola or an egg with homemade bread (recipe here) and a handful of sautéed greens. For my darling – not much of a breakfast guy – it’s a couple of mandarin oranges tucked in his pocket and a steaming mug of coffee.

cinnamon rolls no icingSundays is where breakfast gets a chance to shine – in that lazy, drawn-out window of time when Saturday chores are behind us and the work week still feels far away. Sometimes, we’re feeding weekend guests, or our kids and their friends. Sometimes, it’s just a chance for the two of us to share a slightly sinful baked treat over our coffee and tea, with the weekend newspaper spread out between us.

Two of the recipes that have earned “keeper” status at our table? Maple-baked granola and apple cinnamon rolls. Enjoy!

Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Maple-Cream Cheese Icing

  • Pre-heat oven to 425F
  • Thaw 1 package frozen puff pastry rolls. Unroll and lay flat.
  • Combine:
    • ¾ cup softened butter
    • ¾ cup brown sugar
    • 2 tbsp. cinnamon
    • ½ tsp ground cloves
    • ½ tsp. vanilla
    • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • cinnamon rolls starterSpread butter mixture evenly onto puff pastry sheets, leaving about 2-inches uncovered at one end.
  • Top with ½ cup apple – peeled, cored and finely diced
  • Starting at the buttered end, roll puff pastry into a log, gently sealing it at the 2-inch unbuttered section.
  • Slice into 1-inch pieces. Set spirals onto a parchment-paper covered cookie sheet.
  • cinnamon rolls unbaked
    Bake at 425F for 10 minutes. Remove spirals from oven, flip each, then return to oven for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare maple-cream cheese icing by combining:
    • ½ cup cream cheese
    • ¾ cup icing sugar
    • 1 tsp. cream
    • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • Remove rolls from oven and immediately drizzle with cream cheese icing. Serve warm.

Maple baked granola

granola clustersIngredients:

  • 5 cups rolled oats
  • 3 cups coarsely-chopped raw nuts and seeds (I use pecans, cashews, almonds, sunflower, pumpkin and/or chia seeds, depending on what I have in the pantry)
  • 1 tbsp. ground flax seed
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups chopped dried fruit (cranberried, blueberries, dates, figs, apricots, pears, again depending on what’s in stock)


  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 cup butter
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a food processor or blender, grind half of the oats (2 ½ cups) to a fine powder. (This helps the granola clusters hold together.)
  2. In a large bowl, combine whole and ground oats, nuts, spices and dried fruits.
  3. In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine brown sugar, honey, butter, maple syrup and water. Heat until mixture starts to bubble. Stir in salt and vanilla. Remove from heat.
  4. Pour sauce over the oat mixture and stir well to coat. Let stand about 10 minutes.
  5. Spread mixture out across two large, parchment-paper covered baking sheets. Press down firmly to pack. (I cover with wax paper and used a rolling pin to do this. Remove wax paper before baking)
  6. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and use a spatula to separate granola into large chunks. Cool for at least 30 minutes
  7. Return to oven and bake at 350F for an additional 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven, use spatula to break into smaller chunks, then cool on a wire rack.

Great for snacks or mixed with yogurt and berries for breakfast.

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