Category: Breakfast


Good grief, it’s been almost a year. A year!! SO MUCH has happened in that year, and I wasn’t sure if I would ever get to come back. I’ve wanted to, but it just hasn’t been in the cards until now. I wasn’t sure if anyone would even care at this point if I came back. But I’ve heard from a few loyal readers (I have loyal readers! I had no idea!) and they’re asking for more. That is so incredibly gratifying, you guys. Seriously. It almost made me cry. I’ve always said that if my blog helps one person enjoy food a little more, I’ll keep going. So here I am, in the kitchen again, with recipes to share. I have some truly amazing food to show you, starting next week 🙂

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I’m not really one for food fads. I was tired of the make-every-food-rainbow-colored fad in super short order, the macaron fad got boring pretty quickly, and if I see one more carb dish “made over” with cauliflower (yuck!) I swear I’ll scream. However, I have to say that I am totally on board with the pumpkin trend. Every year I look forward to pumpkin season. Not because I can finally have pumpkin flavored things, because I make those year round. No; I look forward to it because canned pumpkin gets cheaper and I can stock my pantry for the year. And, now that I have my own basement with my own pantry shelves, I plan to go a little stock up crazy. It’s already begun; I have eight 15 ounce cans and three 29 ounce cans of pumpkin on my shelves. And these pancakes are a prefect way to use some of them up!

Start with your basic pancake ingredients, plus pumpkin and spices…

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Basically, all you’re doing is mashing the recipes for pancakes and pumpkin pie together! So combine all of your wet ingredients, including the pumpkin. Oh! I’m hoping that by now you know that you should NEVER crack eggs on the side of a bowl, dish, or pan. Not only can it make a mess, but you’re almost guaranteed to end up with shell in your finished product, and when you bash the shell into the inside of the egg you’re also introducing any bacteria or debris that was on the outside of the egg into the inside- of the egg and then of you! So please; ALWAYS crack your eggs on the counter or another flat surface and pry them apart to empty them.

Ok- you’ve got your wet ingredients well mixed, now combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. The amounts I’m working with here make a large batch- enough to have leftovers to freeze. I got 24 pancakes out of this batch, using 1/3 of a cup of batter for each pancake. You could halve the amounts, but you’d end up with half a can of pumpkin in your fridge and unless you already have an idea of what to make with that, it’s easier (and less wasteful) to just make the full batch. So get your biggest bowl and combine the dry ingredients completely. Make a well in the middle, like so:

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That will make mixing in the wet ingredients easier. You want to make sure everything is incorporated, but not perfectly smooth. If you wanted to add something like nuts or chocolate chips, now is the time to do so. You’ll end up with a big bowl of orange…

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Now drop the batter onto a hot griddle or pan using a 1/3 cup measure. (By the way; that will make nice, big pancakes that are about 3-4 inches across. To make smaller cakes, use a 1/4 cup measure. Or you could make mini pancakes by using a tablespoon measuring spoon.) This is a very thick batter that will result in beautiful, thick, puffy pancakes…

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Cook the pancakes 3-4 minutes on each side, until they are a deep golden brown. Remove them to a platter or baking sheet and repeat until you’re out of batter. Then you can serve them up with whatever strikes your fancy! We’re pretty old fashioned in our house;

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Plenty of butter and maple syrup for us! Well, for 3 of us. The girls prefer theirs the way their grandmom taught them to eat pancakes: lots of butter and a light sprinkling of sugar. Either way, these are some of the best pancakes we’ve ever eaten! And if you make the full batch (and your family doesn’t devour all of them at once), you’ll have some left to freeze for later. These warm up easily in the microwave in just a couple of minutes- perfect for busy week day mornings! Even the coldest, dreariest day brightens up a bit when you get to eat pumpkin pie pancakes for breakfast 🙂

The Recipe:

4 C Buttermilk

1 15 oz Can Pumpkin Puree (not pie filling)

8 T (one stick) Butter, Melted

4 Eggs

5 C Flour

2/3 C Sugar

2 T Baking Powder

1 t Baking Soda

1 t Salt

4 t Pumpkin Pie Spice (OR a combination of 2 t cinnamon then ginger, nutmeg, and/or cloves to equal 4 t total)

The Method:

*Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat or in the microwave. Set aside to cool a bit while you see to the other wet ingredients.

*Combine the buttermilk, pumpkin, eggs, and butter in a small bowl. Stir until completely mixed.

*In a very large bowl, combine the dry ingredients until mixed completely. Make a well in the middle.

*Pour the wet ingredients into the well in the middle of the dry and mix until well blended but not completely smooth (that would overwork the batter).

*Heat an electric griddle to 325 degrees or a pan or stove top griddle over medium heat.

*Drop the batter by 1/3 cup measures (or 1/4 C for smaller cakes, or 1 T for mini cakes) onto the griddle and cook for about 3 minutes.

*Flip the pancakes over and cook another 3-4 minutes or until a deep golden brown.

*Remove the finished pancakes to a platter and continue until you run out of batter.

*Serve immediately or cool completely and freeze in an airtight container or zip top bag for up to 2 months.

 

So after being informed by my BFF that the print feature I added awhile back actually prints the entire blog post instead of only the recipe like I wanted it to, I have (with a little help from a more experienced blogger) figured out how to make only the recipe in each post printable. Yay! So from now on you will be able to print only the best part of each post: the recipe! And when I get time here and there I will go back and add the feature to all of my other posts (which number 72 as of today, so it may take me a little while to get it done). Thank you all for sticking with me thus far! ❤

Yes; you read that right: Maple Syrup Dumplings. As in soft, pillowy biscuit-style dumplings in a smooth sauce of maple syrup. Because sometimes it’s SO HARD to get out of bed with all of the not-so-great stuff you may have going on in life and you just need something indulgent and comforting for breakfast. Or because sometimes you get tired of the same old rotation at breakfast time and you need something easy but NEW to get your day started right. I would fall in the camp of the former. Right now things are just not as awesome as they should be. And while things are, in fact, improving, there are days that I have to argue with myself to get out of bed and take care of business. Those are the mornings that I try to make something fun for breakfast that will be a pleasant respite from “stuff” for my family and I. Maple syrup dumplings definitely qualify as fun!

When I was first told about maple syrup dumplings, I had the same reaction I imagine you’re having: “Wow- that has to be so sweet it will make my teeth ache!” But once I actually found a recipe and made it, I found out that it really isn’t as sickeningly sweet as it sounds. See, the sauce is made not only with maple syrup but water as well. So while it’s not something that you should eat all the time, it’s definitely worthy of an occasional spot on your breakfast table!

This dish is super easy to make and I would bet that all you’ll need to buy is the real maple syrup (unless you’re like me and try to keep it on hand). And you HAVE to use real maple syrup. If you can’t get any of the real stuff, make something else. If you try to use the fake maple syrup (the cheap “pancake syrup” you can buy in the plastic bottles in cute shapes) the dish will not turn out. The fake syrup doesn’t take well to cutting with water, at least flavor-wise. And it will be as sweet as you first thought when you heard the name of the dish. Just don’t try it; use the real deal!! Anyway, here’s what you need:

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Once you get your dry ingredients mixed, you’re going to add the butter. The easiest way to do that is to use frozen butter and use a regular old box grater to grate it into the dry ingredients. Then all you have to do is stir and the butter will distribute, like so:

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Set this aside for a minute and mix the maple syrup with the water in a large pan. If you don’t have a saucier like I do, use as big a sauce pan as you have or a soup pot. You could also use a very large skillet so long as you can cover it. One of key parts of this dish is having a tight fitting lid to make sure the dumplings cook through properly.

IMG_20150920_083502885_HDR Look at that deep amber color! It’s a thing of beauty 🙂 Turn your burner to medium high and bring the sauce to a boil. Just before it gets to that point, go ahead and add the milk to the flour and butter mixture. You may have to work a bit at getting the dough formed, but it only takes a minute. You should end up with something that resembles biscuit dough…

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By now your sauce should be boiling. Drop the dough by the spoonful into the sauce. I try to get dough balls that are about the size of a golf ball, maybe a tiny bit bigger.

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These will puff up quite a bit, don’t worry! Now put a tight fitting lid on your pan, lower the heat slightly to medium, and set a timer for 10 minutes (but don’t go far; you’ll need to keep an eye on things). You may notice…

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That the sauce is bubbling up over the dumplings A LOT. That’s OK! It will do that for a little while. Eventually, though…

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Things will calm down and the sauce won’t be bubbling as high. That’s when you need to back the heat down a little bit- but keep the pan at least at a fast simmer. When the 10 minutes are up take off the lid and check the dumplings.

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See the dumpling in the lower part of the middle? I used a spoon to open it up a little and make sure it was cooked through. It should look like a biscuit inside with no raw dough. And the sauce… Oh, the sauce!

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So thick and rich! The flour from the dumplings thickens the sauce into a velvety smooth taste of bliss! I usually give one and a half dumplings per serving with a good scoop of sauce over the top. It looks like a rather small serving, but a little goes a long way. If you want to add a little protein to this indulgent breakfast, bacon is a natural accompaniment. But I must say that as much as I love bacon, a mildly spicy breakfast sausage compliments the flavor of this dish perfectly. So go ahead; give yourself (and someone you love) a little treat for breakfast- you deserve it 🙂

The Recipe:

1 3/4 C Real Maple Syrup

1 1/2 C Water

1 1/2 C Flour

4 1/2 t Baking Powder

1/2 t Salt

1/4 C Butter, Frozen and Grated

3/4 C Milk

The Method:

*In a large pot or pan/skillet with high sides, combine the maple syrup and the water. Set the burner to medium high.

*In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and the salt. Add the grated butter and stir until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

*Add the milk to the flour & butter mixture and stir until the milk is worked through and there is no more flour in the bottom of the bowl. The dough will be fairly stiff.

*Once the syrup mixture is boiling gently add the dumpling dough by the spoonful, making the dumplings just slightly larger than a golf ball (or about the size of an egg).

*Once all of the dough has been used, cover the pan with a tight fitting lid, lower the heat to medium so that the syrup continues boiling gently, and set a timer for 10 minutes.

*Once 10 minutes have passed, take the lid off and check the dumplings. They should be firm and there shouldn’t be any sticky dough left in the center.

*Serve immediately, storing any leftovers in the fridge.

 

 

So here we are in one of the coldest parts of the country, and we moved here willingly- happily even. Believe it or not, we wanted to move to northern Wisconsin. When my husband got his job with the railroad and it became very clear that staying in Colorado wasn’t going to be an option, we started very seriously researching places to live. And when we realized that we didn’t like South Dakota as much as we thought we would, we started taking trips to places we thought we would like. Turns out, northern Wisconsin just immediately felt like home. Some have called us crazy; “I mean, the winters there are awful!” they would exclaim. This is true. But they aren’t a whole lot worse than eastern South Dakota. And from what we’ve experienced in the last 2 months, the rest of the year more than makes up for the winters.

Now, having said that, I do have to say as well that I put a lot of effort into making sure my family is comfortable when it’s miserably cold outside. Sweat shirts, warm socks, hot chocolate, and hearty, piping hot foods that will stick with them for awhile. One of the easiest ways to get a hot breakfast into my family is to make farina for breakfast. You might know it by it’s brand name: Cream of Wheat. I know, I know; it’s old fashioned. Fuddy duddy. Incredibly bland and boring. At least, that’s what you think. But in all reality, farina is the perfect blank canvas for a surprising number of favorite flavors. Don’t believe me? Then read on; I’ll show you some fantastic ideas for jazzing up a classic hot cereal! (I’ll put the recipes at the bottom, giving amounts for 2 large servings.)

First, I want to take a minute to talk about the cereal itself. I use Bob’s Red Mill farina (also called creamy wheat on the package). I do like that it’s organic but, more than that, I like the finer texture of the finished cereal as opposed to the slightly coarser finish of brand name Cream of Wheat. I can also buy the Bob’s Red Mill cheaper on Amazon than I can buy the Cream of Wheat at the store (because we have Amazon Prime so our shipping is free), so that’s what I use. You can, of course, use whichever you like. Just make sure to follow the preparation directions carefully, because if you don’t you’ll end up with a lumpy mess.  Also, I cook mine with one part milk and 3 parts water to give the cereal a little more flavor and a little extra creaminess. You can use whatever ratio you prefer. So without further ado, let’s get down to the tastiness!

How about pumpkin pie for breakfast?? Well… I actually do serve pumpkin pie for breakfast on occasion. But if that’s not your thing, try this on for size! Make your normal batch of farina and add pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and brown sugar. Throw some whipped cream on top and you’ve got a bowl of pumpkin pie for breakfast that will fill you up and start your day with a smile!

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Or how about a cinnamon roll for breakfast that won’t leave you hungry 20 minutes later? It’s super easy to make cinnamon roll farina! To your batch of finished cereal add cream cheese, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. That’s it! You can make an easy powdered sugar glaze to swirl over the top by adding a little milk to powdered sugar; that’s all glaze is. Or if you have some cream cheese frosting left over from something (like I did from my carrot cake), you can add a dollop to your bowl. This is my favorite way to eat farina!

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Ok, so if cinnamon roll is my all time favorite farina flavor, this one is a close second. Two words: BANANA BREAD. Seriously! Banana bread hot cereal! I wouldn’t joke about something like this. Add mashed banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, some walnuts, and a little butter and you’ve got a bowl of warm banana bread. So comforting on a cold morning!

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And here’s my kids’ favorite way to eat farina: french toast! This one was thought up when the kids and I were discussing all the different things one could do with farina. The thought struck me and after a couple of minutes I had a basic idea for the how to. I tried it a few weeks later and it was awesome. All it takes is adding sugar, vanilla, maple syrup, and eggs to the hot farina. You do have to temper the eggs first, though, or you’ll end up with scrambled egg farina and that’s just yucky. I’ll add those instructions below. Add a pat of butter and an extra drizzle of maple syrup and you’ve got a bowl of french toast tastiness. This is such a fun way to serve this old fashioned cereal!

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Mmmmm…. those are some super awesome bowls of comforting yumminess!! And get this: you can make a big batch and reheat it as you need it! That’s right; you can make a double or triple batch and warm it up throughout the week. All you need to do is add a little milk as you microwave it to get it back to the desired consistency. That makes it an even better weekday breakfast! So go ahead and embrace an old fashioned classic; your stomach will thank you on the cold mornings to come!

The Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Farina

2 Servings Cooked, Piping Hot Farina

1/3 C Pumpkin Puree

1/4 t Kosher Salt

1/2 t Cinnamon

1/8 t Nutmeg

1/2 t Vanilla

Whipped Cream, Pecans, and/or Butter to garnish

The Recipe: Cinnamon Roll Farina

2 Servings Cooked, Piping Hot Farina

6 T Brown Sugar

2 Oz Cream Cheese

1/4 t Kosher Salt

1 t Cinnamon

1 t Vanilla

Whipped Cream, Glaze, Cream Cheese Frosting, Butter, and/or Nuts to garnish

For Glaze, if desired:

1/2 C Powdered Sugar

2-4 t Milk

The Recipe: Banana Bread Farina

2 Servings Cooked, Piping Hot Farina

1 Banana, mashed

1/3 C Brown Sugar

1/4 t Kosher Salt

1/2 t Cinnamon

1/8 t Nutmeg

1/2 t Vanilla

Butter and/or Walnuts for garnish

The Recipe: French Toast Farina

2 Servings Cooked, Piping Hot Farina (for this one I usually use half water and half milk to cook the cereal)

2 Eggs, Beaten

2 T White Sugar

1/4 C Maple Syrup (this is one time that the store bought pancake syrup will work fine if that’s all you’ve got)

1 1/2 – 2 t Vanilla

1/8 t Salt

Pat of butter and extra maple syrup if desired

The Method:

*To temper the eggs before adding to the cereal: Beat the eggs in a small bowl then add about 1/4 C of the fully cooked hot cereal a little at a time while stirring the eggs constantly. Once that’s done, you can put the egg mixture back into the pot and stir it in.

*Heat the pot of cereal to a simmer once again to ensure that the eggs are cooked through.

*Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well.

 

 

 

 

We are preparing to delve into the world of homeschooling this year. We’ve felt the need to homeschool for years but were never in a position to be able to until now. So we won’t have the hustle and bustle of trying to get out the door in time to meet the bus this year. However, that doesn’t mean there won’t be mornings that we need to get in the car and go somewhere earlier and in more of a rush than I’d like- especially since it’s a 40 minute drive from our little village to get anywhere. On those mornings it’s SO nice to have a breakfast that I can put into containers or baggies so we can eat it in the car. And it’s even nicer to know that this “fast food” is homemade instead of processed and super unhealthy. Try to get that out of the little packages of muffins from the store!

Since I like to make these as easy to eat as possible, I tend to make these into mini muffins. They’re easily popable that way and the crumbs are kept to a minimum. They are just as tasty as regular muffins, so use whatever kind of pan strikes your fancy. And speaking of fancy, these make great baby bundt cakes! You can ice them with a simple glaze and presto- you’ve got a pretty little dessert!

One of the great things about these muffins is that they use everyday items that are probably in your pantry and fridge as we speak…

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The second great thing about these tasty little gems is how simple they are. All you have to do is mix your dry ingredients…

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Then mix your wet ingredients well…

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Then all you have to do is mix them together…

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Ta da! Done! Now you just fill the liners and put the pan in the oven…

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It doesn’t get much easier than that! From start to finish these muffins take about 20 minutes (depending on what size you make them). And if you don’t want chocolate chips in them, no problem; use whatever you like. Peanut butter chips (or half chocolate chips, half peanut butter chips), toffee chips, mint chocolate chips, dried fruit, your imagination is the only limit! Oh- and if you really want to make these a little decadent, whip up some cream cheese frosting and smear a bit on top of the muffins. That will brighten the dreariest day 🙂 And you can even make a big batch of these and freeze them for later. Then you can just thaw some on the counter overnight and have a quick breakfast in the morning. Or you can put a frozen muffin in your lunch bag and have a tasty treat at midday.

Autumn is fast approaching (thank goodness!!) and with it comes busier schedules. I hope this simple recipe brings a smile to your hustle & bustle the way it does to mine 🙂

The Recipe: 

1 1/2 C Flour

1/2 C Sugar

2 t Baking Powder

1/2 t Salt

1 Egg

1/4 C Sour Cream (or yogurt; vanilla yogurt adds a nice, subtle flavor)

1/2 C Milk

1/4 C Oil

1/2 C Chocolate Chips (I use mini chocolate chips- especially if I’m making mini muffins)

 

The Method:

*Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

*Prepare your muffin pan by either greasing and flouring each well or lining them with paper cups.

*In a medium bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center into which you can pour the wet ingredients.

*In a small bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients.

*Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and stir until well combined. Don’t worry if there are a few lumps in the batter.

*Scoop the batter into the prepared pan. A small ice cream/cookie scoop works well for mini muffins.

*Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

*Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Or you can freeze in a zip top bag or well wrapped in plastic wrap and then foil for up to 2 months.

 

I’ve had some requests for a “print recipe” feature, so I looked around and found one of those! You can now find a new button on each post. It’s labeled “print and PDF” and it can be found at the very bottom of each post along with the sharing buttons. You’re welcome and thanks for your continued support! ❤

I think one of my absolute favorite desserts is pie. I love cake- but only with a generous amount of frosting on top, thank you very much. And I adore New York style cheesecake, especially with some caramel drizzled over it. (I’ll eventually get around to posting my cheesecake recipe). And ice cream is always a hit with me. But when it comes right down to answering the “what dessert would you choose if you could only have one for the rest of your life?” question I think the answer has to be pie. There are infinite variations and it’s so homey and comforting. My favorite pie, as I’ve mentioned before, is apple. A nice apple pie with a good, thick double crust is a sure way into my good graces. Add some quality vanilla ice cream along with fresh whipped cream and I’ll do just about anything you want. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to make an apple pie- or any kind of pie- for months now, as my inlaw’s oven is broken and looks to be staying that way indefinitely. So my baking adventures are fewer now; I have to drive to my parents’ house across town and use their oven. I do that at times but I try to make things that don’t have heavy ingredients. Like the 5 pounds of apples my special apple pie requires. So what am I to do? My family loves apple pie too so this is hard for them as well. I had to come up with something. So I thought on it… and it finally dawned on me one day while I was making my monthly dinner menu. I needed a way to change up the weekly breakfast-for-dinner offering and things just came together: apple pie waffles!! I made Belgian-style waffles with a homemade apple pie “filling” to go on top and put a dollop of freshly made vanilla whipped cream on top of that. I can’t even tell you how good they were from the very first try! They have become very popular around my house and the kids asked to have them this month so I thought I would share them with you too! Now you can have apple pie without having to use the oven! Very handy for when the oven is on the fritz or in the summer when it’s just too hot to bake a pie 🙂

Really this is more of a method post instead of a specific recipe post- you could make this dish with frozen waffles and canned pie filling if you really had to, but using all homemade is so incredibly good that I BEG you to not go that route! And making waffles at home is so easy and so satisfying! The same goes for the pie filling- store bought has nothing on homemade! So I’ll include the recipes below to make things a little easier.

You can make the waffles or the pie filling first- it really doesn’t matter (Oh- and blueberry pie filling is amazing over waffles too! Don’t limit yourself to just apple.). One reheats just as well as the other so you don’t have to worry about having one ready & waiting for you before you start the other. This dish really is much easier than it sounds!

In all honesty you could use pancakes or crepes for this recipe just as easily as the waffles but we love waffles in my house so that’s what we use. And, incidentally, the recipe I’m going to give you makes such amazing waffles that my kids often ask for them plain– no butter, no syrup, no honey, no nothing. Please, please give it a go!

So get your waffles waffled and your apple pie “filling” cooked and ready to go, then start assembling. If you decide to make Belgian-style waffles out of the recipe below I would recommend starting out with half or a quarter of a waffle; this is a very filling dish! Make sure your waffles and your apples are hot and then spoon some “filling” over your waffle, add some freshly whipped cream on top just before serving (it will melt QUICKLY!) and enjoy.

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Add a glass of milk & you’re set with a balanced meal! 😉

The Recipe- Waffles:

4C Flour

6T Sugar

3t Baking Powder

1t Salt

4C Buttermilk (sometimes I have to add a little more plain milk- depends on the humidity outside)

1T Vanilla

12T (one stick + 4 T) Butter, melted (Sometimes if I’m short on butter I’ll use 1 stick plus 4 T oil)

The Method:

*As I never have buttermilk on hand, the first thing I do is measure 4T white vinegar into a 4C measuring cup and add enough milk to bring it up to 4C. Let this sit 15 minutes & you’ve got buttermilk.

*Combine dry ingredients well.

*Add wet ingredients and whisk thoroughly.

*Let batter rest while waffle iron heats up.

*Once the waffle iron is hot, check the batter to see if you need a little more milk. If it doesn’t fall from the spoon in one smooth motion it needs a bit more milk.

*Make waffles according to your irons’ directions.

*This recipe freezes very well. If you make thinner waffles (not belgian style) you can even put them in the toaster just like store bought- only these are MUCH better!

The Recipe- Apple Pie Filling

4 Large Apples, sweet or tart, depending on your preference. I use sweet apples.

2T Butter

1/2C+ Brown Sugar (adjust to your tastes)

1t Cinnamon

1/4t Nutmeg

1T Cornstarch

1/4C Apple Juice

More Apple Juice as needed

The Method- Apple Pie Filling:

*Peel, core, quarter, and slice apples.

*Melt the butter in a large skillet

*Add the apples, sugar, and spices.

*Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are to desired doneness. If you’re using these for this recipe you can leave them crispy or cook them until they’re soft- whichever you prefer. If you’re using this for an actual apple pie, leave them a bit crispy.

*Combine cornstarch and 1/4C apple juice to make a slurry.

*When apples reach desired doneness, add the slurry and stir through the apples.

*If the mixture is too thick (is seized up and too stiff) add more apple juice, a little at a time, until the filling is looser and spreads easily.

*Serve warm over waffles, pancakes, or ice cream. Also works well as a filling for crepes or even a pie.

*Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Let me be perfectly clear: this is not SOS (Sh*t On a Shingle for those not in the know). I’ve had some try to call it that and I set them straight immediately. They have not made that particular mistake again. SOS is what you get out of desperation when all you have to work with is ground beef, flour, and milk and you have to eat something. I don’t make SOS. And I don’t make anything out of desperation. Ever. So… moving on. When people try to make sausage gravy at home it usually turns out like most restaurant “sausage gravy” offerings: either soupy or gluey and/or bland. That’s why I thought I didn’t like sausage gravy; too many brushes with it in the restaurant world. Why put something akin to school paste on your breakfast?! So when my husband, Ron, told me that he liked sausage gravy- the one time he had it when the person who made it knew how to make it well- I set out to make really good sausage gravy. Something that even I would like to eat on my breakfast. This is not even close to what you will get in your average restaurant. This is sausage gravy as it should be: creamy, a little spicy, and oh so comforting over… well, just about anything. Everyone loves it over biscuits or toast. I like it over potatoes. The girls like it over scrambled eggs. And Ron will eat it out of a bowl with a spoon like it’s soup if I let him. Seriously. He’s done it before. It’s that good.

If I’m putting sausage into something (gravy, pancakes, breakfast bakes, etc) I use spicy breakfast sausage. I’ve found if I use regular sausage the flavor just falls flat. So you can use regular if you want to but it won’t have the punchy flavor that will wow you. Other than that all you need is a few incredibly basic ingredients (one of the wonderful things about this recipe) and a whisk. That’s all there is to it. It’s so simple it’s ridiculous! Here’s what you’ll need:

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Start by browning your sausage. I’ve found that, since people are so absurdly afraid of fats these days, the sausage I buy at the store is getting leaner and leaner. This being the case, I always add some olive oil to the pan along with the sausage. Technically you could use whatever oil strikes your fancy. But I always use olive oil for this. I’ve tried it with other oils and the flavor just wasn’t right. So use what you like or what you have. Anyway, brown your sausage. And when I say “brown” I mean brown. You want some really nice caramelization so that your gravy has the depth of flavor that most restaurant sausage gravy lacks.

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I’ll let you in on a little secret very quickly… Most restaurants don’t brown the sausage they use in their gravy in the pan they make the gravy in. A lot don’t even cook the sausage at the same time as they make their gravy. The restaurants I made sausage gravy at had me cook up a bunch of sausage patties, chop them, and add them into snow-white reconstituted gravy powder. More restaurants than you know do something like that. And if they use sausage crumbles it’s from a huge batch they were frying up for other things as well- killing several birds with one stone. Which is why most sausage gravy in restaurants is so bland; they contain only small amounts of sausage, and none of the really flavorful bits.

So now that you’ve got a pan full of browned sausage, sprinkle the flour over the whole lot…

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Some people insist that you need to remove the sausage and drain it, put the drippings back in the pan, add the flour, and make the roux. I think that’s a waste of time. With this particular dish you don’t need all of those extra steps. I’ve found that adding the flour in with the sausage actually makes mixing the roux easier. When I make the roux without the meat it’s a chore to keep it from clumping when I add the milk. But when I make it with the meat included the roux is more evenly distributed to begin with and incorporating the milk is a breeze!

Speaking of milk, once the roux has cooked for one minute, pour in the milk while whisking fairly vigorously. Don’t whisk so fast you make a mess, but do keep things moving. If you don’t the roux will, in fact, clump up on you and you’ll have extra work on your hands whisking until it’s smoothed out again. You end up with…

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Sausage milk soup. But that’s ok! Bring this to a full boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer, all the while stirring ALL around the pan to make sure you don’t have roux clumping up in the outer edges of the pan or sticking too much in the middle. You can keep using the whisk if you want to, but I switch to a spoon as soon as the milk is incorporated because a spoon can get into the outer edges of the pan much better.

Let the gravy simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5-10 minutes. How long depends on how thick you like your gravy. We like ours on the thick side, so I go the full 10 minutes. Add some pepper and a little salt while it’s simmering. You end up with…

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Thick, rich country sausage gravy with so much flavor you may never order it in a restaurant again- it would only be disappointing. Now, if your gravy gets too thick for your liking you can simply add more milk- a little at a time- until it’s the desired consistency. Just be sure to taste it again and readjust the seasoning.

This is how my husband likes his (second best to in a bowl with a spoon, of course):

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Very classic, indeed. I put it over toast this time because, being without an oven, I couldn’t make biscuits. So biscuits are best but toast works surprisingly well too!

I, on the other hand, prefer something a little different. Do you go to restaurants for breakfast and order the “skillet” meals? You know; potatoes of some kind on the bottom, then eggs- with or without breakfast meat of some kind- then topped with cheese or gravy, with toast on the side. You can make that at home! Cheaper and tastier!

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See?! Looks almost the same as in a restaurant. It’s on a plate instead of in a cheap fake skillet, and the toast isn’t quite as pretty, but that doesn’t matter because the taste is phenomenal! This is my FAVORITE way to eat sausage gravy. Now that you have a fantastic recipe for it in your repertoire it’s time for you to decide your favorite way to eat it too!

Note: This sausage gravy reheats wonderfully! Put desired amount of cold gravy into a microwave safe bowl or a sauce pan. Add a small amount of milk- just enough to be able to stir it somewhat easily, then heat at 45 second intervals in the microwave- stirring after each- until it’s hot or put over medium heat until hot throughout if you’re using the stove top. 

The Recipe:

1 Lb. Sausage (I always use spicy, but use what you like)

3 T Oil (I always use olive oil but, once again, use what you like)

4 T Flour

4 C Milk

Salt & Pepper to Taste

The Method:

*Cook the sausage in the oil until it’s nicely browned.

*Sprinkle the flour over the sausage in the pan and stir to combine.

*Cook, stirring, for one minute to cook the flour.

*Whisk in the milk, making sure to get the whisk into the outer edges of the pan to get all of the roux incorporated.

*Bring to a boil, whisking or stirring constantly.

*Season with some pepper and a little salt.

*Reduce the heat and simmer the gravy 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure there are no clumps sticking to the bottom of the pan.

*When the gravy has reached the desired thickness, taste it and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

*Remove the gravy from the heat. If you need to reheat the gravy you can put it back over the heat, but if you let it sit over low heat to keep warm it will continue thickening.

*Serve over whatever your heart desires 🙂

As the song says Christmas and it’s associated trappings & trimmings is, indeed, the most wonderful time of the year. But not too terribly long before that is the other most wonderful time: the pumpkin harvest! Like millions of others in this world, I LOVE pumpkin. It’s very good in savory dishes but it truly does shine in the sweet ones. Like it was created solely for pies, breads, cakes, and all other things sweet. And next to apple, pumpkin pie is my favorite. It takes less than 5 minutes to mix up (if you have the crust already done) and it’s smooth, custardy texture is heaven in the mouth. My recipe for pumpkin butter is like pie in a jar that you can enjoy anytime with just a couple of minutes’ preparation. My kids’ favorite way to eat pumpkin butter is on buttered toast for breakfast. But put this over a brick of softened cream cheese and serve with vanilla wafers or pita chips and you have a fun, creative dessert that is perfect for a party.

Making pumpkin butter is just as easy as making pumpkin pie- you just have to stick close to it a little longer. Here’s what you need:

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You can use plain apple juice if that’s easier for you to get your hands on, but apple cider adds a depth of flavor that apple juice can’t. But even if you don’t have cider on hand make this butter! It will still turn out incredible!

All you have to do is measure the ingredients, pour them in the pan, and stir while the butter reduces and thickens. It really couldn’t be easier! But you do want to stay close by the stove. This is a thick mixture with very little liquid to begin with so you will need to be right next to it to stir it every couple of minutes to start out, and then constantly for the last few minutes or you will have scorched pumpkin butter and no one wants that!

I would tell you exactly how long it will take for the mixture to reduce and become butter but I can’t. It depends on your range. Once the mixture comes up to a simmer it usually takes about 10 minutes over medium low heat, stirring constantly for the last 3 or 4 minutes. Your range will most likely vary, so just keep an eye on it. You end up with…

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Thick, rich, pumpkin-pie-in-a-jar that you can eat for breakfast! Of course, I really DO eat pumpkin pie for breakfast. But if you can’t bring yourself to do that here is a fantastic alternative! You’re welcome 😀

The Recipe:

1 3/4 C or 1 Can Pumpkin Puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

1 t Vanilla

1/3 C Apple Cider (or Juice)

1/2 C Brown Sugar

2 t Cinnamon

1 t Ginger

SCANT 1/2 t Nutmeg

You could add 1/2 t Cloves if you’d like, but I don’t really care for cloves- certainly not in my pumpkin pie.

The Method:

*Put all ingredients into a heavy bottomed saucepan.

*Bring to a simmer.

*Simmer until very thick. (This will be when it’s reduced by about 1/3.)

*Cool and transfer to a suitable container. I use canning jars with lids & rings.

*Must be stored in the refrigerator.

NOTE: I usually double this recipe and come up with enough to fill 2 pint jars plus about 1/2 C extra. I keep one jar & the extra in the fridge and give the other pint to my parents, who share my love of pumpkin butter.