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Comfort food recipes for break

This simple blueberry muffin recipe can be altered to make it your own.
This simple blueberry muffin recipe can be altered to make it your own.

Before coming to Mills, I worked in a small café and coffee roasting company. Although I started out as a barista, I eventually got to learn how to make our daily food and bakery specials—all made from scratch in the morning before opening. For no specific reason at all other than the fact that I’m a Californian, born and raised, and I find temperatures in the 50s frigid, winter usually makes me nostalgic for some of the comfort food I learned how to make in the café. To make any of them vegan (except the quiche, don’t try), I suggest using applesauce or mashed bananas as eggs, any kind of nut milk instead of milk or cream, and a vegan butter substitute or coconut oil for the fat.


Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups peanut butter

Not a fan of peanut butter? Whatever. You can use whatever nut butter you want, crunchy or smooth, and it’ll turn out just about the same. I once made these with Cookie Butter from Trader Joe’s and it was fantastic.

Cream the sugar and eggs until they’re smooth and pale yellow, then stir in the peanut butter. Chill the batter for about 15 minutes in the refrigerator, then scoop 1/4–1/2 cups of batter spaced two inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. You can lose the parchment paper and just grease the pan if you want, but I find that they bake more evenly on paper.

Bake at 325 degrees for about 18 minutes. When they’re done, they’ll still look puffy and maybe a little undercooked, but this is the best point to pull them out of the oven and let them cool—that way, they’re a little crunchy on the outside and still chewy on the inside.


Veggie Quiche

  • Use a store-bought pie crust or make your own
  • 6 eggs
  • ½ cup heavy cream (you can use milk, too)
  • 1 cup shredded swiss cheese
  • ½ cup roasted squash (used zucchini and yellow squash)
  • ½ cup roasted onion
  • ½ cup roasted bell pepper
  • ½ cup roasted potatoes
  • ¼ sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried Italian herbs for the top

To cook the veggies: chop them to be bite sized, coat them in olive oil and dust them with dried Italian herbs, and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Repeat with the potatoes, but dust them with smoked paprika and salt.

Fill the bottom of the pan with shredded cheese and then layer the veggies. In a separate bowl, beat the cream into the eggs until it’s very well blended. Slowly pour this mixture over the veggies and cheese. Pour a splash of heavy cream in the center of the quiche and dust with dried herbs. Bake at 325 degrees for about 65 minutes, or until the eggs have darkened and the center is just a little bit wiggly. It’ll get denser the longer it cools, but if you leave it in the oven till it’s all solid, it’ll be overcooked.


Mixed Bean Tortellini Soup

  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • 1 cup dried mixed beans
  • 1 ½ cups dried tortellini (I use the kind filled with pesto from Trader Joe’s)
  • 2-3 Italian sausages (I usually use the vegetarian substitute, also from Trader Joe’s)
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce
  • ½ diced onions
  • ½ carrots, diced or cut in rounds
  • ½ chopped celery
  • ½ diced potatoes
  • 1 tsp dried Italian herbs
  • 1 bay leaf

I usually heat up all the vegetables and the sausages in olive oil for a few minutes before adding them to the soup.

Everything but the tortellini goes in a crockpot on low for eight hours or on high for four. When it’s close to finished, boil the tortellini and add them in for the last few minutes.


Blueberry muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Whisk all of the dry ingredients together and then add:
  • 2 cups blueberries (frozen is fine)

In a separate bowl, whisk:

  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Make a well in the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients, and fold them together—don’t over-mix it, stop when everything is just starting to stick together. Use paper muffin liners or oil the muffin pan, fill each one ¾ of the way.

Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes, and try not to open the oven at all while they’re cooking.

This is a really versatile recipe. You can add lemon zest and lemon juice, you can use any fruit instead of blueberries, you can skip the fruit altogether and just add spices, or almond extract and poppy seeds. Try finding a simple icing recipe or a crumble to add as a topping, or use cocoa powder and chocolate chips and frosting to make cupcakes.