Lavenberry Muffins

lavenberry muffin2

You’ll Need:
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp dried lavender
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/4 light sour cream
1 pint blueberries

lavenberry muffin1

Chop the dried lavender and using your hands, work the lavender into the sugar. Cream the lavendered sugar and softened butter. Add in the 2 eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Add in remaining ingredients, except the blueberries, and mix until combined. If you’re using a standing mixer, hand mix the blueberries into the batter – if you use the paddle attachment, you’ll end up with blue muffins and no whole blueberries ๐Ÿ™‚

Pumpkin Oat Pumpkin Bread~Quick Bread Idea


I have recently gotten into baking a loaf of a quick, sweet bread to slice for breakfasts. I know it isn’t as healthy as oatmeal but I’m fending for myself now, so I like that it so easy. I think this is a little salty and I’ll reduce it by a 1/4 tsp but M loves it the way it is. I will definitely be making this again!


You’ll Need:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup brown sugar
6 Tbl unsalted butter, room temperature
15 oz can of pumpkin puree
2 eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries

Preheat oven to 375 and spray a loaf pan with non stick spray.

Whisk together the dry ingredients.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter. Once it is creamed, add in the brown sugar and continue mixing until lightened in color, 2-4 minutes. Slowly beat in eggs, and then the pumpkin, until just combined. Add in half the dry ingredients, mix until just combined, then add in milk and vanilla. Mix again. Add in the last of the dry ingredients, mix until just combined. Stir in dried fruit.

Pour into loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool before slicing.

Date and Olive Oil Challah

date and olive oil challah~the comyn space

I started making this a little too late at night because I really wanted a fresh loaf of bread and I knew I wouldn’t be able to wait the next morning if I tried to make it then. The original recipe called for dried figs but we had dried dates so I just used those and I think it was very tasty. Needless to say, this whole loaf didn’t see the next morning in one piece. It was so freaking good and flakey. This is a time commitment people, but I think it’s worth it.


You’ll Need:
1 packet active dry yeast
1/4 cup honey plus 1 tsp
1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for the rise
3 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 tsp table salt or 2 tsp flakey sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
4 cups flour (fluffed, spooned and leveled)
1 cup roughly chopped dates or figs
zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup water
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Mix yeast and 1 tsp honey together with 2/3 cup warm tap water in the bottom of your stand mixer. Let it stand for a few minutes, until foamy. If there’s no foam, bubbles or that awesome yeasty bread smell after 5 minutes, toss it and try again.

Mix in remaining honey, olive oil, and 2 eggs. Add the salt and flour until the dough begins to hold together. Switch to the dough hook and run at a low speed for 5 to 8 minutes. Either transfer to an oiled bowl or set the dough on the counter for a minute to oil the stand mixer bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for an hour or until nearly doubled in size.

During the first rise, make the date paste. Combine chopped dates, zest, juice, water, salt and black pepper. Bring to a simmer and all to cook until dates are soft and tender, about 10 minutes. Stir it occasionally so you don’t burn the bottom of your saucepan ๐Ÿ™‚ Remove from heat and allow to cool to room(ish) temperature. Using a stick blender, blender or food processor, process the date mixture until it is a fine paste. Set aside to continue cooling.

After the first rise, turn out your dough on a well floured surface and divide in half. Roll out the first half in rough rectangle. Spread half the filling on the dough, leaving 1 to 1 1/2 inches around the edges. Roll the dough into a long, tight log to trap the filling in the dough. Take care to marry the dough together on the long seam. Gently stretch the long as wide as feels comfortable, I was going for about 32 inches.

Repeat with second half of the dough and remaining date filling.

Arrange two ropes in each direction so that they are perpendicular to each other. It will look like a tight tic-tac-toe board. Weave them so one side is over, one is under, like closing a box without tape. It should look like a 8 legged octopus. Take the four legs that come ‘under’ the center and ‘jump’ them over the leg to their right. Then, take the legs that were on the right (are now under) and ‘jump’ the legs to the left. If you have extra dough you can repeat this jumping process until you run out of rope. Tuck in the edges or another rough spots to form a round circle of dough.

date and olive oil challah~the comyn space

Transfer to a parchment covered baking sheet. Beat remaining egg until smooth and brush over challah. Set aside remaining egg (don’t toss it yet)! Let challah rise for another hour. When you’re about 15 minutes away from the end of this rise, preheat the oven to 375.

Brush one more time withe egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in the middle of your oven for 35 to 40 minutes. If yours starts to get brown much sooner, like mine did, cover it with foil so the top doesn’t get too dark. The easiest way to check for doneness is to check in the internal temp which should be 195 degrees.

Transfer to a rack to cool before serving, or not if you’re us ๐Ÿ˜‰

date and olive oil challah~the comyn space


Gingerbread Dutch Baby~Fast Breakfast Idea

Breakfast is not usually my jam. Typically I make a batch of some pastry for the mornings, which we eat with either citrus salad or a piece of whole fruit. On the weekends, M likes to do a big mess of eggs, bacon or he makes a dutch baby. But in my efforts to cook thru the Smitten Kitchen cookbook, I made this over the weekend! It’s super good and it feels like a nice hearty wintery breakfast.


You’ll Need:
2 large eggs
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp molasses
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger (I had to use fresh because I was/am out of ground)
1/8 tsp table salt
1/3 cup milk
2 tbsp unsalted butter
confectioner’s sugar or maple syrup for topping (maple syrup is the way to go!)

Preheat over to 400. Whisk eggs together until they are pale in color. Add remaining ingredients, except butter and topping choice, and whisk together until smooth.

Melt butter in a dutch oven, or any other ovenproof skillet, and swirl to coat, tilting the pan to get the sides. Pour the batter until the skillet, while on still on the heat, and the bottom sit for 30 seconds. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed up and golden on top. Slide onto a plate and serve immediately.

Chocolate and Strawberry Muffins

These aren’t really a health food, they’re a heck of a lot closer to a cupcake than a bran muffin. But M wanted something easy for breakfasts and I managed to put these together with stuff we had in the house, which is always a win in my book!

chocolate strawberry muffins~the comyn space
Makes 12-15 muffins

You’ll Need:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 cup milk (I used skim)
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
4 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanila
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, chopped
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the over to 400. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, butter and vanilla. Gently stir dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Add in strawberries and chocolate chips, taking care not to over mix. You don’t want to batter smooth, that leads to tough muffins. Divide between muffin cups and bake for 12-15 minutes, until they are done (I check with a toothpick). Let cool in pan for a 2-3 minutes before removing from pan and let finish cooling on a wire rack.

Oatmeal Raisin Breakfast Bars

oatmeal raisin bars~the comyn space

Makes 12 muffin sized bars

You’ll Need:
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp canola oil (plus more if your dough doesn’t want to come together)
1/2 cup skim milk
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raisins

Preheat over to 350 and spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together until well mixed and smooth. Using an ice cream scooper, portion out into the 12 muffin spaces. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked all the way through. Remove from muffin pan and let cool on a wire rack.

Yolk Chicago

I recently had brunch at Yolk Chicago with a few friends out of town. While they don’t serve alcohol, a serious downside to brunch if you ask me, the food is fresh and really good. While there are several unhealthy options (think cinnamon rolls pancakes) I had a hard time deciding what to order among all the healthy options! I ended up with the Cajun Shroom Scrambler, which was just spicy enough and came with a hearty side of fruit. I’d recommend going early, there is almost always a wait.

yolk chicago review~the comyn space

If you go:
Yolk Chicago
1120 S Michigan, Chicago IL 60605

Tortilla Espanola

I made this for a big group of ladies who graced me with their presence for book club last month. I am always so worried about what to cook for a big group of meat eaters, other veggies, and people with food allergies.

tortilla espanola~the comyn space

This is a dish I had all the time during my study aboard time in Spain and I’ve really come to love it. Which my mother will never, never believe – I used to be the kid who did not eat eggs and would only eat a potato if it had been french- or deep-fried. My senora always fried the potatoes first but I’ve started steaming them first to cut down on the fat. We had it warm at supper time and cold in the morning. At restaurants in Madrid, it was always served room temperature, which makes me feel better about giving it to M for his lunch.

tortilla espanola~the comyn space

Makes 12 servings

You’ll Need:
6-7 medium sized russet potatoes, diced into 1 in cube
6 eggs, lightly whipped together
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Steam the potatoes until tender, between 8 and 12 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil in a deep dutch oven. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt. Cook for about five minutes until softened. Add potatoes to the pan and toss together.

Slowly add potato and onion mixture to eggs and return pan to heat. Add egg, potato and onion mixture to pan. Give it a shake and let cook until bottom is set. Turn heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Check to make sure the egg is cooked all the way through (I usually have to go towards 20 minutes).

Preheat broiler. When tortilla is cooked thru, remove lid and broil until top is browned and crispy, about 3 minutes.