Birthday Brunch: Parisian Style

Sunday was my dear ‘ole dad’s 64th birthday and we celebrated with a low key brunch.  Brunch has to be my favorite meal (because really it allows you to gorge on breakfast and pretend you’re still hungry for lunch).  Rather than go with my traditional lox and bagels set up, which is wonderful but expected, I decided to change it up a bit and go Parisian style.

I made Quiche Lorraine with sauteed leeks (recipe here), a favorite from my Le Cordon Bleu bake shop days. For sides, quiche goes best with salad, so I made a fresh salad from the romaine lettuce and radicchio I received in my organic farm delivery box, with tomatoes, grapes, pears, and goat cheese, tossed with a tangy vinaigrette.  I also served up some freshly sliced cantaloupe wrapped in good quality proscuitto di parma and topped with micro greens.  For dessert I baked madeleines and mini blueberry cheesecakes with oatmeal cookie crust.  Finally, to wash it all down I made a pineapple and mango agua fresca in my trusty blender.

To get this all done in time I prepared and rolled the pie crust for the quiche the day before, and baked my mini cheesecakes.  Then I woke up at 6 a.m. (kidney bean in my belly gets me up at 6 a.m. no matter how hard I try to sleep in) to blind bake my crust, fill and bake my quiche, top the cheesecakes with blueberries, and get the rest done in time for our 10 a.m. brunch.  Not bad for a morning’s work, eh?  I even had enough crust left over to make a strawberry tart for the birthday boy to take home with him.  My pops loves when I bake him sweets.

Parisian style brunch

Check out that smile on the guest of honor’s face.  Happy Birthday Daddy!

Guest of Honor

Breakfast of Champions: 1 minute flaxseed muffin

Credit for this one goes to my father-in-law and his lovely wife, who live in Oregon and enjoy a very healthy and active lifestyle.  Before Fin’s Grampaw’s most recent visit he emailed me to ask me if we had a nut grinder so he could share with us a muffin recipe for “people on the go.”  “Hmm…” I wondered.  The afternoon of his arrival he showed up with a Whole Foods bag in tow and asked me for a coffee mug.  I admit I was a little skeptical.

After consulting the recipe on his trusty Iphone, in the coffee mug he poured an egg, some flaxseed meal, a little coconut oil, baking powder, cinnamon, and Splenda and mixed it all up with a fork.  “I thought you were making a muffin,” I questioned.  “I am,” he replied, and popped the mug into the microwave.  Exactly 1 minute later he retrieved the mug and dumped out this steaming brown cylinder that looked like a gritty chocolate souffle.  He sliced it in 4 and topped each slice with some almond butter.  “Try it,” he said.  Still suspicious, I took my first bite of his steamy “muffin.”

And it wasn’t half bad.  A tad mealy and slightly dry (he confessed he may not have added enough coconut oil or sweetener), and almond butter (or nut butters of any kind) isn’t my favorite, but he definitely had something there.  And what’s not to love about the microwave 1 minute technique – genius!  “These really get me going in the morning and give me enough energy to last through lunch,” he beamed.  Big N seemed to like it and I was intrigued enough to try his concoction again the next morning while making breakfast to send Big N off to work.

I thought I could compensate a little for the dryness by adding a mashed up banana and replacing the Splenda with Agave Syrup.  I also added dried blueberries.  Though if you try this at home you’re welcome to keep it simple.  My version of the muffin didn’t rise quite as high as my father-in-law’s when I took it out of the microwave (the bananas make the dough a little heavier so it’s harder to get the same “lift”), but it was moister and sweeter, and I can handle anything if it’s just a little bit sweet.  I also skipped the almond butter and topped mine with a little raspberry jam (sweeter still).

I have to hand it to him.  My father-in-law’s flax “muffin” has become a breakfast staple in our home.  I make them at least twice a week and even Fin gets in on the action!  He loves it with the bananas and blueberries and bumps his knuckles together (his sign language for “more”) after every warm bite.

Do try this one at home.  Healthy muffin in a New York minute. Thanks to Fin’s Grampaw for showing this chef/momma a new trick.

One minute flax muffin


1 Minute Flax Muffin

Serves 1
Prep time 3 minutes
Cook time 1 minute
Total time 4 minutes
Meal type Breakfast


  • 1/4 cup Ground Flaxseed Meal (I use Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Coconut Oil (Vegetable oil, grapeseed, or even butter work too)
  • 1 teaspoon Agave syrup (Stevia, splenda or sugar works fine too)
  • 1 handful Fruit (Dried or frozen berries, cranberries, whatever you'd like)


  • 1/4 piece Banana (Mashed with fork)
  • Fruit Jam or Almond Butter (to spread on top of warm muffin)


I have not been able to locate the source of this recipe, which can be found on various healthy living websites such as  1 muffin contains about 250 calories (without bananas and using calorie free sweetener).


In a coffee mug, add egg and scramble with fork.
Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
Microwave on high for 1 minute.
Muffin will slide out of mug. Slice in half or in thirds and top with jam or nut butter of your choice.
5. Best eaten warm immediately. Muffin is moist when warm but tends to get dry when cooled off.