Tag Archives: Breakfast

Pumpkin Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chunks

As we close in on Thanksgiving, here is a simple muffin recipe that is perfect for the holiday. Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving or showing up as a guest, these can be whipped up in no time and will definitely be a crowd favorite with the kids and adults alike. In fact, I find myself making some sort of muffin recipe at least once a week because my kids love them so much. The muffins themselves are just mildly sweet, but the chocolate makes up for it!

As with any recipe, it is important to use the best ingredients, as your recipe is only as good as the ingredients you start with. As long as you have everything on hand, the active prep time should be less than 20 minutes. The muffins also bake in less than 20 minutes. If you prefer, you can substitute the total amount of spices listed in the recipe below with 1 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin spice, which you should have no trouble finding in the spice section of your supermarket during the holiday season. Happy baking!

Pumpkin Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chunks

Yield: 12 muffins

1 ½ cups of whole grain flour (like Sonora wheat) or unbleached AP flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
½ teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of ginger
1/8 teaspoon of cloves
1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
¾ cup of organic sugar
½ cup neutral oil (sunflower or coconut oil)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
8 ounces of organic pumpkin puree (homemade or store-bought)
5 ounces of dark chocolate, chopped into ½”pieces (52% cacao)
Crystal or turbinado sugar for topping

1. Preheat Oven to 400°. Line muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners.

2. In a medium bowl add all the dry ingredients (the first 8 ingredients). Whisk and set aside.


3. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, add the sugar and oil. Set on medium speed until completely blended.


4. Add the eggs, one at a time until just blended.


5. Add the vanilla and pumpkin puree mix until smooth.


6. On the lowest speed setting, slowly add the dry ingredients until just blended.


7. Remove the bowl from the mixer.  Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the chocolate chunks in until evenly distribute. Don’t over mix.


8. Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop into the liners.

9. Using a teaspoon, sprinkle the crystal sugar on each section of the muffin batter.


10. Place the muffin pan in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the muffins.

11. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes; remove and then transfer to cooling rack.


12. Enjoy them warm with a cup of milk or coffee.


Breakfast Strata


Many Americans have their go-to potluck recipe and it’s usually some type of casserole dish that can feed a large group. Growing up in a Korean household, casseroles were foreign to me.  I made my first casserole in 7th grade after purchasing a used Sunset cookbook at a garage sale for 25¢, which I read from cover to cover. The first casserole dish I made was Chicken Casserole with frozen vegetables, cream of mushroom soup, and bread crumbs.  I made it and thought I cooked it incorrectly because it didn’t taste very good.  I tried other casserole recipes, but everything was a disappointment until I came across a strata recipe.  This one was different from the rest, layered with bread, cheese and an egg custard. It was essentially a savory bread pudding.  It was so good that this became my favorite casserole recipe.  Years later, I added my own spin to it by including different ingredients like bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, green onion, Swiss chard, etc.

Here is a great one to serve during the Holidays for a family brunch. It has my favorite breakfast ingredients: eggs, turkey sausage, spinach, mushrooms, and cheese.  It’s a one-pot breakfast. You can even assemble the ingredients the night before and place it in the refrigerator, then pop it in the oven the next morning and viola, breakfast is served.

Breakfast Strata

Serving Size: 6-8


1 Tablespoon of onion

Olive oil

½ an onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

6 ounces of turkey sausage (casing removed, rolled into ½” balls)

4 ounces of sliced cremini mushrooms

8 ounces of fresh baby spinach

Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

2 cups of low-fat milk

5 extra-large eggs

1 tablespoon of Mailie Dijon mustard

6 ounces of grated Comte (Gruyere or Mild White Cheddar)

2 ounces of Parmigiano-Reggiano

10 ounces of day old country white, cubed

6 basil leaves, chopped

  1. Heat a large skillet to medium. Add 2 tbs. of olive oil and onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 30 more seconds. Add the turkey sausage, mushrooms, a pinch of salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.  Sauté until golden brown. Remove the sausage and mushroom mixture from pan and set aside.
  1. Add spinach to the same pan and sauté until wilted. Remove liquid. Add the spinach to the mushroom mixture.
  1. In a large bowl whisk eggs. Add milk, mustard, ½ teaspoon salt and pinch of pepper. Whisk until combined. Set aside.
  1. Mix the Comte and Parmigiano a small bowl. Set Aside.
  1. Begin the layering process. Add 1/3 of the bread on the bottom of the casserole dish. Add ½ of the sausage mixture and 1/3 of the cheese mixture, evenly spreading over the bread. Repeat and top with bread mixture. Save the last 1/3 of cheese mixture and basil leaves.
  1. Pour the liquid mixture over the layered ingredients. Press down to absorb. Add the remaining cheese mixture and basil leaves. Cover with aluminum foil. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  1. Add the strata with aluminum foil in the oven for 30 minutes.
  1. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Remove the foil. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and place on the cooling rack. Let cool for 10-15 minutes. Cut and serve with a side salad.


So’s Special

This is my spin on a famous breakfast dish called Joe’s Special, which I first had at Original Joe’s Restaurant in San Francisco. The dish consists of scrambled eggs, ground chuck, garlic and spinach. It is delicious, and I would get it with mushrooms added and a side of crusty bread. Also, I’m told that many home cooks in SF make this dish because it is relatively easy to whip up.

I really love Joe’s Special, but I wanted a lighter and healthier version. So I replaced the ground chuck with ground turkey, replaced the eggs with tofu, and instead of serving it with crusty bread, I serve it with steamed Jasmine rice. I also added a little oyster sauce for some umami flavor. Essentially I took an Italian-American dish and made it Asian-American. This version has become one of my family favorites.

So’s Special

4 Servings

1 Tablespoon sunflower oil or olive oil

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

8 ounces of organic ground turkey

8 ounces of fresh heirloom spinach (blanched, squeezed dry in cheesecloth, and chopped)

4 ounces organic firm tofu (squeezed dry in a cheesecloth)

1 Tablespoon of premium oyster sauce

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

¼ cup of freshly grated Parmigianino-Reggiano

2 cups of steamed jasmine rice

Garlic-chili sauce (optional)

  1. Heat oil in a wok or 12″ skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add garlic and onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add ground turkey and cook on medium-high heat until all the liquid evaporates, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add spinach and cook for 2 more minutes.
  5. Add the tofu and the oyster sauce cook mixture is slightly dry, about 7 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Add a pinch red pepper flakes.
  8. Spoon over steamed Jasmine rice.
  9. Serve with garlic-chili sauce.

For the Original Joe’s Special recipe, click this link.