Banana Blueberry Muffins

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Nothing screams breakfast like a fluffy muffin with a hot cup of coffee. Make your coworkers jealous when they see you bite into this pure deliciousness. The way to win someone’s heart is through muffins…at least at the office.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 ripe bananas

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons butter, melted

3.5 oz. can blueberries, rinsed and drained*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium size mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together. Combine bananas, egg, and vanilla in a blender, puree until smooth. Pour banana mixture into mixing bowl with dry ingredients, stir to combine. Add melted butter, stir again. Gently stir in blueberries. Coat each cavity of a standard muffin pan with cooking spray. Evenly distribute batter between each cavity in pan (will fill up about 3/4 full in each one). Sprinkle tops with about 1/4 teaspoon of sugar on each one. Bake for about 23 minutes, until golden brown. Remove pan from oven, let muffins cool slightly and transfer to cooling rack.

*You can use 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries instead of can if you feel like gettin’ fancy. I personally prefer the little blueberries, but some people like the big ole fat ones. Personal preference takes the cake.

**These can be frozen! After muffins have cooled completely, individually wrap each one with plastic wrap, place in freezer bag and store in freezer. Grab one on your way out the door to work to enjoy a homemade muffin with your coffee. You deserve it.

 

Baked Pumpkin Donuts

Over the weekend, we were stuck inside the house due to inclement weather.  I’ve been hearing the buzz of other people talking about pumpkin donuts from different donut shops…but since driving wasn’t the greatest idea, I decided to make some at home.  Biting into that fluffy, flavorful donut and sipping some hot coffee, it did add some brightness to our cabin fever filled days.

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For The Donuts

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup pureed pumpkin

2 eggs

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a medium size mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking soda, whisk together.  Add pumpkin, eggs, milk and butter.  Using an electric mixer, beat at medium speed for about 2 minutes, just until well combined.  Grease and flour a donut pan.  Spoon batter into a large pastry bag, cut about 1 inch off the tip of the pastry bag.  Pipe batter into donut pan, then place in oven and bake for 8-10 minutes (or until donut springs back lightly when touched).    Remove from oven and turn donuts out of pan onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Dip each donut in glaze, return to parchment paper to cool.

For The Glaze

3 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 tablespoons water

In a small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and stir well.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Streusel Muffins

Ahhh, the Fall season is officially here.  And honestly, this isn’t the first pumpkin recipe that I’ve made in the past few weeks.  It seems like so many people get pumped up when the season gets here to make pumpkin flavored desserts (me included), so I’ve already made some Pumpkin Bars and Pumpkin Cookies.  Both batches disappeared quickly.

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I made these over the weekend when my parents were in town visiting, so they got the pleasure of trying these little guys out.  My brother and his family also came over after they were made, and I watched happily as his wife and kids gobbled them down.  But, I still chuckle at my husband.  He is always skeptical of a new recipe, so I brought him one muffin to start out with to see how he liked them.  Two minutes later, “Can I have another one?” and then a few minutes after that, “Man, I really want a third one.”  So then take one!  It didn’t take much convincing.  In all honesty though, I think the muffins themselves without the cream cheese center would still be delicious, but the cream cheese center just adds a little something extra.  So, if you have picky eaters in your house that might not be a fan of that creamy center, you can always leave it out without sacrificing the taste of these delicious little muffins.

For the Muffins: (makes 2 dozen)

3 cups all purpose flour

1 3/4 cups sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin

1 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine dry ingredients in one medium sized mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, oil and milk.  Stir wet mixture in with dry ingredients just until moistened.  Do not overmix.  Spoon half of batter into lined muffin pans.  Dollop about 1 tablespoon of cream cheese mixture in center of batter, and top evenly with remaining batter.  Sprinkle with reserved streusel mixture.  Bake for 20-23 minutes, remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

For the Filling:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar

Combine ingredients in small mixing bowl and beat at medium speed with electric mixture until combined.

For the Streusel Topping:

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons cold butter, cut up into small cubes

Combine ingredients in a small bowl, cut in butter with a fork, pastry blender or your fingers until large crumbs form.

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Holes

I haven’t met a single person in my life that doesn’t like doughnuts.  I’m not saying there aren’t people out there who don’t, I just haven’t met any of them.  After a visit with my in-laws and looking through my mother-in-law’s buffet of magazines that she gets (I always browse through People and Southern Living), I came across this recipe for doughnut holes.  Looking at the picture and reading the recipe clearly showed that this was pretty simple, and looked delicious.  I showed the picture to my husband, and he agreed that I should make these.  Of course he did.

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We have a small deep fryer at the house (that doesn’t get used often), but I prefer to use this when the oil needs to be a certain temperature for frying.  If the temperature isn’t right, it can throw off your recipe.  If the oil isn’t hot enough, the dough will absorb the oil and get super greasy all the way through…and if it’s too hot, the outside gets cooked before the inside does, leaving you with a crispy outside and a gooey inside.  And hey, if you want to go that route, go right ahead…just make sure you use some pasteurized eggs.  😉

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After these little guys are done cooking, let them dry completely on paper towels (if you’re not serving them right away) before rolling in powdered sugar.  These actually sat in an airtight container for a couple days at my house, with my family munching away at them.  While they’re sitting in an airtight container, the moisture will turn the powdered sugar somewhat into a glaze after time.  So if this happens to you, don’t panic!  My brother said, “Oh, they have a little bit of slimy feeling to them.”  When I explained what had happened with them, he said, “I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, because I can’t stop eating them.”  Well, there you go.

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Holes Recipe:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large egg, beaten

1/2 cup milk

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

powdered sugar

Pour oil to depth of 1 1/2 inches into a 12 inch iron cast skillet, heat to 350 degrees.  Whisk together flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl.  Make a well in center of mixture, stir in egg and next 2 ingredients until well blended (batter will be dry).  Drop batter by level tablespoonfuls, 6 to 8 at a time, into hot oil.  Fry in batches, turning occasionally, 2 minutes on each side or until browned.  Drain on paper towel-lined plate, serve warm.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

For those of you in the Southeast, you’re probably familiar with the lack of snow that we get around here.  The last time we had significant snow here was three years ago, and it’s something we don’t even get on a yearly basis.  So, naturally, when we know it’s coming, the grocery stores get insanely packed with people loading up on milk and bread.  Literally, there was no milk or bread left almost anywhere, it was nuts.  Luckily, we already had milk and all the ingredients I needed for these muffins, so I made them the day before the snow hit just in case we had lost power and I wouldn’t be able to cook anything.

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I’m very grateful that we didn’t lose power, but we sure did eat the heck out of these muffins anyway.  They were especially delicious right out of the oven, but they’re still good for a few days after…just pop them in the microwave for a few seconds to heat them back up if you like them warm.  Along with these though, we made s’mores by roasting marshmallows in the fireplace, then packing them together with our graham crackers and chocolate.  And let me tell you, roasting marshmallows over an open fire is a lot easier, especially when all you have to roast them with is short little wooden skewers.  We’ll definitely be getting some better equipment for roasting marshmallows, because I almost forgot how delicious those things are.  😉

For the Muffins:

3 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

11 tablespoons butter, melted

2 eggs, beaten

2 cups finely chopped tart apples (I used Granny Smith)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Whisk together dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, then add wet ingredients and stir together until mixture is moistened.  Stir in apples.  Spray two muffin pans with cooking spray, distribute batter evenly between pans.  Bake for 19-23 minutes, or until tops are a light golden brown.  Cool slightly and add topping.

For the Topping:

1 stick butter, melted

1 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons cinnamon

Mix sugar and cinnamon together.  After muffins come out of oven, dip each one in melted butter, then in cinnamon sugar mixture.

Eggs Benedict

For our first cooking class in culinary school, it was Stocks, Sauces, and Soups.  I’ve heard about Hollandaise, how it’s very easy to mess it up…and quickly.  Not beating the eggs enough, overcooking the yolks so they end up scrambling, not using the right temperature, etc.  So, to be honest, that first class we made Hollandaise, I was intimidated and a bit nervous.  With our instructor standing by our sides through the process, I made it through that first time, and it turned out perfect!  I would associate that with luck, but knowing our chef instructor was standing right there, taking me through the steps was what did it.  Part of our final exam for the class was to make Hollandaise, and after a second try in class, I felt semi-comfortable whipping up a batch of this stuff for the final.  It turned out a little thick, so I whisked in warm water, a little bit at a time, and BAM!  Perfect consistency.  🙂

Once my friends and family found out about the Hollandaise experiments in my class, they started talking about Eggs Benedict.  I’ve heard of it before, but never had it…and this was my perfect opportunity to start experimenting on my family, using them as guinea pigs.  While we were in class though, our instructor talked about how sometimes in restaurants when they’re making big batches of Hollandaise, they’ll make it in the blender.  This floored me, so I asked how it was done….and tried it out.  Just remember to keep the lid on the blender.  I ended up with bits of Hollandaise in my hair.  It’s the new style.

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I ordered the egg poachers online, since I’ve never tried it before.  These little guys were rated pretty high, and they worked SO well with poaching eggs.  I highly recommend them.  Just don’t leave them in the water after they’re done cooking, because they will continue to cook.  I learned this the hard way when my cousin cut into a hard boiled egg with a solid center.  Oops!  Although she ate the entire thing anyway and raved about the sauce and how well it was put together, I wanted to poach another egg to make sure it was done better.  This time, it had a slightly runny center…so it was closer to where it needed to be, but not perfect.  Practice makes perfect.  Oh, and my cousin tested out the second one…and finished it.  Her son helped her eat it, and even a 6 year old kid approves.  😉

*Safety Tip:  If there will be small children or elderly people eating the Hollandaise, use pasteurized eggs.  (Pasteurize is to expose (a food, as milk, cheese, yogurt, beer, or wine) to an elevated temperature for a period of time sufficient to destroy certain microorganisms, as those that can produce disease or cause spoilage or undesirable fermentation of food, without radically altering taste or quality).  Since I took the Food Sanitation course, I’m a lot more careful about germs and ways to prevent food poisoning in any way possible.

For the English Muffins:

4 English muffins

Split muffins into two pieces each, making 8 halves.  Lightly toast muffins in toaster or toaster oven.

For the Canadian Bacon:

8 slices Canadian Bacon

1 tablespoon butter

Melt butter in skillet on medium heat, sautee Canadian Bacon until lightly browned and crisp.

For the Poached Eggs:

8 eggs

Fill a saucepan with about 1 1/2 inches water, bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer.  Lightly spray poaching pod with cooking spray, crack open egg and put in pod.  Place in pot of water and cover.  Cook for 4-5 minutes, remove from water (they will overcook if you leave them in the water).  Using a fork, remove egg from pod and place on top of Canadian Bacon on the muffin.  Top with Hollandaise, serve warm.

*You may want to practice this one or two times to get the right consistency that you want.

For the Hollandaise:

8 egg yolks (pasteurized)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 lb. (4 sticks) unsalted butter

salt, white pepper, and cayenne to taste

Melt butter in small saucepan on low heat until completely melted.  Once butter has melted, scrape the top thick layer off, using a spoon.  This process is called making clarified butter (this makes a better consistency of the Hollandaise).  Make sure the butter stays warm, 125-130 degrees.  Place yolks and lemon juice in blender.  With the lid on (don’t do what I did and end up with it in your hair), turn the blender on.  After it’s running for about 10 seconds, SLOWLY start drizzling the melted clarified butter in the blender.  Once all of the butter is added, stop blender to check consistency.  If it’s somewhat thick (yet still pourable), add your seasonings and stir together.  Drizzle over top of poached egg, Canadian Bacon and muffin.

Pecan Pancakes with Caramel Apple Sauce

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a magazine at the grocery store that was packed full of Fall Recipes…so I grabbed it.  As I’m flipping through the different items, I wanted to make almost everything in there, all at once.  It was a bit distracting, and of course having to pick and choose what to make now, along with what to make later.  Well, since we recently went to an orchard and loaded up on apples, I decided to use this on my in-laws when we were all vacationing together at the beach.  They love my fluffy pancakes, so I decided to make these.  The pancake recipe is pretty much the same, except with a slight substitution of a small amount of light brown sugar and some added cinnamon.

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The caramel apple sauce though…oh wow.  When I dressed my plate up to get some pictures and then sat down to eat, it was incredible.  I had to stop myself from eating every last bit of these three pancakes covered in bliss.  “Forget syrup, I’m making this for pancakes from now on!” I told my husband.  These were incredibly delicious, and I look forward to making them for my family next time!

For The Pancakes:

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tablespoon white sugar

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup pecans

Heat skillet at medium heat.  Combine dry ingredients in medium size bowl.  Add wet ingredients, stir together using a whisk.  Batter will be slightly lumpy.  Measure batter 1/4 cup at a time, pour onto hot skillet.  Sprinkle a small amount of pecans on top of batter.  When you start to see bubbles on top of batter, flip pancakes over using spatula.  Cook until lightly browned on both sides, serve warm with caramel apple topping.

*If you’re not a fan of pecans (or nuts, in general), this recipe is very easy to omit adding nuts to each pancake.

For the Caramel Apple Sauce:

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and sliced

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Melt butter in small sauce pan at medium heat.  Add brown sugar and cinnamon, stir until dissolved.  Add apple slices, and cook in pan until apples are soft.  Serve warm over pancakes.

Easy Apple Fritters

My husband and I took our first trip to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina back in 2005.  We had been dating for a year, and wanted to celebrate by going somewhere that we hadn’t been before.  It’s beautiful up there, no doubt about that, but one of the weird little memories that I have of that trip was going shopping for food at 10pm on a Friday night.  We were just driving down the road, looking for a grocery store that was open, before we finally came across one.  As we’re hunting through the store, picking up snacks, alcohol, and breakfast for the weekend, we stopped by the fresh baked goods section.  He saw some apple fritters, and gasped…and grabbed the package.  That was the day that a mental note was made in my head that the hubster (or boyfriend at the time) loved apple fritters.  Noted, and his excitement when I told him that I was making these was even freakin’ cuter.

There are several blogs that I follow, and this recipe was on sinfullytempting.com.  One of the things I love about Jeannette is that the fact that all of her recipes are about the taste.  Flavor,  richness, and insane yumminess are associated with the recipes that she posts.  I was just drooling last night over the Zucchini Boats that she recently posted, and told my mom this morning that I was going to make those…soon.  Well, I got this recipe for the apple fritters from her website.  My mother-in-law spent the night with us over the weekend to get some grandma time with our little pumpkin, so I decided to make these for us.  She and my hubby absolutely LOVED them, and they disappeared very quickly.

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First, stir the dry ingredients together.

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Chop up apples.

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Stir in the wet ingredients first, then apples.

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Drop by a heaping teaspoon into the hot oil, frying on each side for a couple of minutes until they’re crispy and golden brown.

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Lay on paper towels to cool slightly and for the oil to drip off.

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Drizzle glaze on top of fritters.

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Eat the heck out of these babies.

For the Fritters:

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup white sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup milk

1 egg, beaten

1 cup apple, chopped into small pieces

Heat 1 1/2-2 inches of vegetable oil on medium heat.  Combine the first five dry ingredients in a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together to combine.  Stir in milk and egg until batter is completely moist.  Gently stir in apples.  Drop by heaping teaspoons into oil, and fry for about 2 minutes on each side, until brown and crispy.  Remove from oil, set on paper towels.  Drizzle with glaze, serve warm.

For the Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons milk

Combine ingredients in small mixing bowl, drizzle over fritters.

Blueberry Crumb Cake

One night while I was flipping through one of my three million (at least that what it seems like) recipe books, I came across this recipe.  Piece of Cake! is a recipe book with tons of easy from-scratch recipes for homemade cakes.  This is actually the blueberry variation of the New York Style Crumb Cake.  I’m somewhat picky with blueberry desserts on how the consistency turns out, and was very pleased when I bit into this thick and fluffy cake with the blueberries being so soft and moist…and of course that crunchy cinnamon topping.

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I sent this picture to my mom and told her that this has her name written all over it…too bad she lives in a different town.  She loves anything with blueberries, and especially coffee to go with it.  This would seriously be the perfect accomplice to a hot cup of coffee.  Whether it’s breakfast, dessert or an afternoon snack, this definitely hits the spot.

For the Cake:

4 cups all purpose flour

2 cups granulated sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs, at room temperature

2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1 pint fresh blueberries (or 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add eggs, buttermilk, butter, and vanilla to flour mixture.  Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat for 1 minute, until blended.  Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with a spatula.  Beat on medium speed for 1 minute.  Gently stir in blueberries, spread batter evenly into greased and floured 9×13 inch metal cake pan.  Sprinkle with topping, bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.

For the Topping:

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in butter until coarse crumbs form.  Sprinkle evenly over batter.

Cinnamon Bun Cake

Cinnamon buns.  Everybody’s had ’em, and I don’t know a single person who doesn’t like ’em.  But, not everybody can or wants to make them…but with this cake, you CAN.  This is a very easy recipe, and it’s ten times less intimidating than actually making cinnamon buns from scratch.  This is literally like eating a cinnamon bun in a cake.

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I had the privilege of eating a piece of this sucker right out of the oven, after I smeared that ridiculously creamy and rich icing on top, oozing down the sides.  I promised myself that I would only have one bite, but you know how that works out.  Well, it didn’t.  And I don’t regret a single bite, either.  Shoot, look at that picture above.  Yowza.  And trust me, it tastes just as good as it looks!

Cinnamon Bun Cake Recipe:

For the cake:
1 box yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. vegetable oil
8 oz. sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a separate bowl, mix:
1 c. brown sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon

Mix and pour 1/2 batter in a 9X13 inch greased pan. Sprinkle 1/2 the cinnamon on of top of that, swirl with a fork. Pour remaining batter in the pan, smooth out and cover with the remaining half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture and swirl with a fork. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

For the icing:
2 c. confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup heavy cream -or- 1/4 cup milk

Mix icing together and pour over the hot cake.

Best Ever Waffles

If you raise an eyebrow at the title of this entry, you’re not the first…because I did too when I was searching for a good waffle recipe to try out over the weekend.  As I was scrolling through some different recipes, the two that I concentrated on included this one and a recipe for buttermilk waffles.  I decided to give this one a shot the first time, and try the buttermilk waffles next time.  When my husband and I got registered for bridal gifts after our engagement, we spent almost three hours in Bed Bath & Beyond.  I was worn out by the end of that escapade, but really did enjoy picking out things that we wanted to receive as wedding gifts.  Among these items was a waffle iron.  This was before I really got into baking and cooking, so my husband was actually the one who made waffles for us on the weekends.  He always used the Bisquick mix to make them, and we were both always very happy with the waffles that he made.

best ever waffles

Over the years, I got waffled out.  Within the last year, I have perfected my fluffy pancake recipe, and make them pretty regularly on the weekends.  Even extended family gets excited when I make them.  And since I have gotten into all of this, we haven’t bought much Bisquick these days…and my husband was convinced after one try that we should just stick to using Bisquick for waffles.  Well, I proved him wrong.  I’ve seen this technique used before where you beat the egg whites separately until they become white and thick before folding them in, but had never tried it.  Word of wisdom…don’t even waste your time trying to whisk them, your forearm will be worn out and they STILL won’t be the consistency that you need for them to be.  😉  My husband got his plate of one huge waffle, and I anxiously watched him as he took the first couple of bites.  “This is good,” he said.  Oh, good  I thought.  A minute later, I hear, “Mmm, this is really good.”  I smiled.  And again, another minute passes before his fork clinks on the plate after finishing, and he says, “Man, that was awesome.  I want another one.”  My husband NEVER even considers having another waffle after eating that big ole thing.  Seriously?!  Success!  I did make a couple of slight variations of the original recipe that I found, but these waffles are so incredible.  Light, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  Just the way we like ’em.  Bye bye, Bisquick!

Waffle Recipe:

1 1/3 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

2 eggs, separated

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 3/4 cups milk

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.  Separate the eggs, adding the yolks to the dry ingredient mixture, and placing the whites in a small mixing bowl.  Beat whites at medium speed with electric mixer until white and soft peaks form, set aside.  Add milk, melted butter and vanilla to dry ingredient mixture, whisk together well.  Fold stiff egg whites into mixture.  Pour mixtures into hot waffle iron and bake, this batch makes 6 waffles.

Pumpkin Bread

A year and a half ago around the holidays, someone asked me if I had ever made a pumpkin loaf before.  I told her no, but that I wanted to try it out…and completely forgot.  Well, my best friend’s sister came in town to visit, and she was hoping to get some sort of goodies from me, since apparently I “tease” her with all of the food that’s posted on here.  😉  She’s actually a big fan of pumpkin, and it was her daughter’s birthday party that I made the pumpkin cupcakes for a while back, so I knew that this would be a safe flavor to make…so that’s what determined the pumpkin bread decision.  So, she has become another guinea pig, but gets free yummies in the process.  Double whammy.

pumpkin bread

My cinnamon honey butter goes wonderfully on this bread.  In fact, maybe it’s a little too wonderful on here.  I would say it kinda feels wrong to be eating something with such a wonderful holiday flavor…but nothing can feel wrong about eating pumpkin bread.  I guess the technical season that pumpkin flavored foods really starts getting in the swing of things is when October hits…but the good thing is that it continues through Christmas.  I will definitely be making this for the holidays and wrapping them up to be put into gift baskets!  🙂

Pumpkin Bread Recipe:

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree

4 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2/3 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups white sugar

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7×3 inch loaf pans, or two 9×5 inch loaf pans.  In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.  Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.  Bake for about 50-60 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pans for about 15 minutes, turn out onto cooling racks and cool completely.

French Toast Casserole

Here we go again, another sweet and delicious breakfast.  I’ve heard my mother-in-law talk about this dish on several occasions, going on about how delicious it was…so naturally, I had to give it a shot.  I made this during the same weekend of being in town with my cousins, and since there was a lot of food in this recipe, I wanted to make it for more than just our little batch of 3 at home.

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My mom always calls me before she heads to the grocery store the day before we come in town to see if there’s anything we need for cooking meals during the weekend, so we went over the list of ingredients needed for this recipe.  There was a loaf of Italian bread right next to the French bread in the bakery section, and she mistakenly grabbed that loaf.  So, we used Italian bread in this recipe.  Improvise.  My cousin’s 8 year old daughter was lurking in the kitchen when I started to pull the ingredients out to put everything together the night before.  She asked, “Cousin Erin, can I help you make it?”  Holy cow, how could I possibly say no to that sweet face?  Well, it wasn’t an option, so I recruited my very first assistant.  She helped me measure out ingredients, put seasonings in the bowl, and crack the eggs (which she loved the most).  We got everything together, covered it up and stuck it in the fridge.  After that, we snuggled up on the couch, and talked about baking.  She wants to open up a bakery when she grows up, and she wants me to work for her.  Score.  Now I have a future job in place.  😉

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The next morning, my dad was asking when breakfast was going to be ready, right as I walked out of the bedroom, half asleep from dealing with a fussy toddler in the middle of the night.  Mr. Impatient, as I like to call him.  I made the topping, poured it on top, and popped it in the oven.  Wow, the smells.  Cinnamon just smells so wonderful while baking in the oven, and it sends such a delightful aroma all through the house.  It was definitely a sweet breakfast though, so beware of that sugar crash that follows later!  It should have a warning label that you must drink coffee with it.  Yes, the perfect combination.

French Toast Casserole Recipe:

1 loaf French Bread (13-16 oz.)

8 large eggs

2 cups half and half

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

cinnamon sugar topping

maple syrup

Slice bread into 1 inch slices.  Arrange slices in a generously greased 9×13 inch baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices.  In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half and half, milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon, and beat with whisk until blended but not too bubbly.  Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk/egg mixture.  Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.  The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pour topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, or until puffed and lightly golden.  Serve with maple syrup.

Cinnamon/Sugar Topping:

2 sticks butter, melted

1 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well.  Pour over casserole before baking.

Breakfast Pizza

On the weekends, I always make something good for breakfast.  Usually, it’s fluffy pancakes, but it’s nice to mix it up every once in a while.  Ooh, like those red velvet waffles.  Those were delicious, too.  This was something I’d been wanting to try out for a while, and super glad that it made it into our kitchen.  It’s something different, yet so simple at the same time.  I’d never even heard of a breakfast pizza, but got really excited at just the idea of it!  And let me tell you, that aroma filling the kitchen as this bad boy cooked in the oven was intoxicating.  I couldn’t wait to try it out.

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This thing tasted just as good as it smelled.  As we’re sitting at the table munching away, I was convinced that our daughter wouldn’t touch it, just because it looked different.  I was wrong.  She ate half of a piece, and I sat there in shock, watching her shovel it down her little pie hole.  When we finished our pieces, I looked in the pan and saw that there were five whole pieces left.  Good grief.  I thought for a minute about what to do with them, because I knew that we wouldn’t eat the leftovers since the following day was Monday and we get back on our routine…so I texted our neighbor across the street.  When I told her what we had for breakfast and asked if they wanted the rest, she excitedly called me about it, then sent her husband over to pick it up.  About thirty minutes later, I got another text message from her, telling me how awesome it was.  Yes, this has definitely been added to my breakfast list.  My nieces and nephews will love this thing!

Breakfast Pizza Recipe:

1 can refrigerated crescent roll dough

1 lb. ground breakfast sausage

6 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled

2 cups grated cheddar cheese

8 large eggs

1/3 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a round 12 inch cake pan, and press the crescent roll dough into the pan, forming a crust.  Cook sausage in skillet until browned and completely cooked through.  Spoon on top of crust, sprinkle bacon on top.  Sprinkle grated cheese on top of meats.  Combine eggs, milk, salt, and pepper.  Whisk together until eggs are beaten, pour over crust.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, cut into slices and serve.

Red Velvet Waffles

A couple of months ago, a good friend’s sister posted a picture of something I hadn’t seen before on my Facebook page…Red Velvet Waffles.  As I stared at the picture in awe, I imagined myself sitting down in a quaint, upscale cafe enjoying this for brunch, along with a mimosa.  Then heading out for a girls day full of shopping and girl talk…no work, no husbands, no kids…just some girl time.  It’s hard to believe that all of this popped into my head just from a picture of food.  Either way, I had to give this a shot.

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So, I waited until my mom was in town visiting.  The night before I made them, different breakfast ideas were flowing through my head about what could be on the menu the next morning.  When this recipe popped in my head, that was it.  She loves red velvet…and who doesn’t, really?  Since I was throwing this recipe together, I was slightly nervous about how they were going to turn out.  As the batter was being mixed together and that beautiful red color was showing, the excitement was growing.  When the waffle iron beeped, I lifted up the top and gasped…  “Look at those!  They’re beautiful!” and my mom laughed.  She got the first plate, sprinkled with powdered sugar and cream cheese glaze.  My daughter was helping in the kitchen, and she was happy to help be a taste tester…she kept asking for more cream cheese glaze, and was using it as a dip for her waffles.  Well, that’s one way to do it.  I’ll be honest though…I personally think these are much better as brunch.  They’re rich and sweet, and I can only handle so much of that rich sweetness first thing in the morning with my coffee.  Oh yes, that picture in my head as brunch with a mimosa…  Maybe I can make this for the girls sometime…

Red Velvet Waffles Recipe:

2 cups all purpose flour

2 cups buttermilk

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon cocoa

1 teaspoon white vinegar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon red food coloring

Combine dry ingredients in bowl, whisk together to combine.  Beat eggs in separate bowl, add to dry ingredients along with remaining liquid ingredients.  Whisk together well until mixed completely and batter is red.  Pour into waffle iron and cook until done.  Sprinkle powdered sugar and cream cheese glaze on top.

Cream Cheese Glaze:

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

2-4 tablespoons milk

Using electric mixer, beat at medium speed until well blended and smooth.  Drizzle over waffles.