Pumpkin Pancakes

– johanna | November 30th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Breakfast

Thanksgiving was not complete without a delicious pumpkin roll for dessert and scrumptious pumpkin pancakes for breakfast. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and some chopped pecans. Tastes just like pumpkin pie. We enjoyed them so much that we saved the left over pumpkin to make them again this week on Pancake Wednesday.

Source: High Heels and Grills
3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
3 tablespoon brown sugar
1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin or 1 1/2 cups.
3 cups buttermilk
3 eggs

In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and brown sugar, combining well.

Add pumpkin, buttermilk, and eggs to dry ingredients and mix gently. {If batter seems stiff, add water until it can be easily spooned onto a griddle.}

Heat griddle to medium heat and grease lightly.
Scoop about 1/3 cup of batter onto griddle and let cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
Let other side cook again until lightly browned.
Repeat these steps until all the batter is gone.

Serve with whipped cream, mini chocolate chips, and hot maple syrup.

– 1 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin puree: use a cheese cloth to help get some of the liquid out.
– Can use coconut milk or rice milk instead of buttermilk. Also water is fine but the end result is not as rich.
– Sub spices for 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.
– If you find that the pancakes are not setting up properly (still mushy inside) add a bit more flour. Turn down the heat and cook at a lower temperature for a longer period of time.

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A Touch of Sun Kissed Nectarine Preserves

– johanna | August 24th, 2012


There is something so rewarding about reaching in to my pantry for a jar of homemade jam. Last summer I made certain to stock the pantry well. We ran out of jam in the spring. So I made double batches of strawberry, raspberry, and nectarine. The jam lasted us well into this summer.

For raspberry jam see the post Beginners Raspberry Jam 101.

Making jam can seem daunting at first. But after a couple of tries the fear subsides. It is always easier to make jam for the first time with a friend. Preferably someone who has some experience. So grab a buddy and a bushel of fruit before the season is over.

Source: PickYourOwn.org
Large canning pot, with insert
Small sauce pan for sterilizing lids
Large pot for cooking the jam in
Jar funnel
Canning Tongs
4-5 sterilized 1/2 pint jars with lids and rings

4 cups of peeled, pitted, and chopped nectarines or peaches (about 4 pounds)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
7 cups sugar
1 package powdered Pectin

Fill canning pot, sauce pan, and stock pot with water. Bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, wash jars, rings, and lids.

Lower the temperature of the canning pot to a simmer. Set jars in canning pot.
until ready to use.

Put the lids in a small sauce pan with water. Bring to a boil. Turn off the heat. Leave the lids in the hot water until ready to use.

Wash the fruit removing any mushy fruit, stems and leaves. Cut a shallow X on the bottom of each nectarine. Place fruit in the boiling water of the stock pot. Let process for a minute (if ripe) or longer (if unripe). Drain water. Pour ice cold water and ice gently over nectarines. Cover with a lid for 1 to 2 minutes. The skins should easily peel off.

Remove the nectarines from the pot. Rinse pot.
Cut fruit into quarters and dice. Place back in stock pot. Mash fruit slightly leaving some whole bits.

Combine nectarines, pectin, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over high heat (stirring often to prevent burning). Add the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Return to a boil (it continues to boil even when stirred). Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Turn off heat and remove from stove. Remove jars and lids from the water and place on a clean dish towel.

Skim off any foam from the top of the jam. (*Use the sugary foam to sweeten popsicles or smoothies.)

Place the funnel in the mouth of a jar. Use the ladle to pour hot jam into prepared jars; filling up no higher than 1/4-inch from the top of the jar. Wipe the rim of the jar with a warm wet cloth or paper towel to remove any syrup.

Cap with the lid and screw on the ring. Return the filled jars to the canning pot of water. Adjust the water level to cover the jars by 1 to 2 inches. Return the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover and process (boil) for 10 minutes. (**boil longer if at higher altitude*)

Turn off the heat. Carefully remove the lid. Use the canning tongs to remove the jars from the water bath. The lids should immediately make popping sounds. This indicates that the jars are sealing. Test each lid by pressing down in the middle of the lid. If there is a slight bump that is raised and pops back up when pressed, the jar is not sealed. Let the jar sit for an hour. If the jar has not sealed store the jar in the refrigerator. Sealed jars can be stored in the pantry.

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New Mexico Sopaipillas

– johanna | August 17th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Breakfast, RECIPES - Snacks, RECIPES - Treats

When I was a teenager I traveled with my best friend Cindy and her mom across the United States from Southern Florida to the Mid West. We saw Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and the Grand Canyon, then drove on to Utah to pick up her sister. While in New Mexico we dined at a local Mexican restaurant. The highlight of the meal was Sopaipillas; a fried square puff of bread, similar to the Native American fry bread, served with butter and honey.

I made these for the kids this week for our back to school celebration party. I dusted some with powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, or spread with butter and drizzled with honey. They went nuts asking if they could take some to the neighbors. So we ended up feeding most of the neighbor kids too. The way to eat them is you tear a corner off, drop a little butter in the hole, and then drizzle the cavity with honey. So tasty! They have a slight crisp to the outside and the inside is doughnut heaven.

* The heat of the oil is very important. The oil should not be too hot nor to cool. If it is too hot the dough will burn quickly resulting in crunchy not crispy sopaipillas. If the oil is too cool then the dough will absorb more oil as it cooks longer making the sopaipillas soggy. I do not fry foods hardly ever so it is hard to remember from year to year the trick to heating oil. This time I took notes. I started heating the oil over medium heat before making the dough. By the time the dough was ready to rest I could smell the oil. I turned the heat down to medium low while the dough rested. Then turned it back to medium while I rolled and cut the dough. The dough was a perfect light brown after 10 seconds.

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon shortening
3/4 cup warm water
Canola oil for frying

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, powder, and salt. Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter or your hands. Using a fork or hands, gradually stir in the warm water. Knead and mix the dough until the dough forms a loose ball. (dough will be crumbly) Turn out onto a flat surface and knead. (you should not need any flour but if the dough is too sticky lightly dust the surface with flour.) Knead the dough until it is smooth, about 5 to 10 minutes. Divide the dough in half and let sit covered with a hand towel.

Beginning with one half of the dough, roll into a large square to a 1/8-inch thickness. Cut the dough into 9 equal pieces by cutting the dough into thirds both horizontally and vertically. Repeat with the other half of dough.

* Pour oil 1 to 2 inches thick in a deep rimmed skillet. Carefully place squares of dough in hot oil (careful not to overcrowd). Cook for 10 to 30 seconds each side. The cooked side should be lightly browned. Remove fried dough from the oil and drain on paper towels.

To serve: Dust with powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar immediately after removing from the oil or serve with butter and honey.

– Gluten free version to come. Any ideas please comment.
– Use sunflower oil for corn allergies.
– Use coconut oil in place of shortening

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Cinnamon Cream Cheese Rice Cakes

– johanna | May 11th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Breakfast, RECIPES - Snacks

Cinnamon cream cheese rice cakes is huge hit at my son’s nursery school. The kidos gobble them up like apples, another huge favorite. There is one good thing about peer pressure. At school my son is willing to try more foods and in the process discovers that they really are delicious. Although at home the same foods are still up for debate, like beans. At school he loves refried beans. At home, he turns his nose up every time.

Rice Cakes
Cinnamon Sugar
Cream Cheese

Take a rice cake. Sprinkle a dash or two of cinnamon sugar. Spread a dollop of cream cheese over the cinnamon sugar. Enjoy!

To make cinnamon sugar:
Mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1 tablespoon cinnamon.

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Orange Yogurt Parfaits

– johanna | May 4th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Breakfast, RECIPES - Snacks

This is one of my youngest son’s favorite snack. We made them together at his nursery school to much trepidation on his part. He seemed a bit scared and was a little hesitant at first, he is our pickest eater, but since we were playing with food he went along with it. He was surprised to find he actually loved it.

Servings: 1
1/4 cup yogurt, vanilla or plain
1 tablespoon orange juice
Dash groung cinnamon
1/2 apple, chopped
1/4 banana, sliced (optional)

Take a small cup and add two tablespoon of yogurt. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon, about a tablespoon orange juice, two spoonfuls of apple, and one spoonful of bananas, if using. Top with a dollop of yogurt.

Add a sprinkle of nuts or granola to make a meal.

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Gluten Free Banana Nut Muffins

– johanna | March 16th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Breakfast, RECIPES - Snacks

I have a friend who’s son is allergic to practically everything from eggs, milk, nuts, wheat, and corn. It is quite overwhelming trying to find gluten, egg, and corn-free products much less shop on a limited budget.   I started my youngest on a gluten free regimen a little over a year ago. While he is not strictly gluten free and is able to consume small quantities of wheat, I understand her heartache. To a newcomer most gluten free recipes  resemble an advanced chemistry experiment.

The prices for whole grain flours are insanely high and hard to find in many areas. The few gluten free recipes I did know of contained corn starch and xanthan gum (an agent that acts like gluten that contains corn). I have yet to find a viable bread recipe because the xanthan gum is pretty much a crucial ingredient. However, muffins, pancakes, and cookies seem to do well without it. This recipe for banana nut muffins originally includes xanthan gum. The muffins came out so light and fluffy without the xanthan gum so I omitted it from the ingredients list below.

I love that the flour mixture consists of only three items: potato starch (not corn), tapioca starch, and brown rice flour. I think a little bit of almond flour subbed in for the flour mixture would give the muffins a nice flavor.

Now for the eggs. I subbed in two tablespoons flaxseed meal mixed with four tablespoons water. Set aside a few minutes to set. Then I added an additional heaping tablespoon of baking powder. I did a happy dance of joy and emailed a copy to my friend.

Source: adapted from Gluten Free Baking Classics by Annalise Roberts

Yield: 12 muffins

2 cups GF Flour Mix*
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 packed cup very ripe chopped banana (about 2 medium bananas)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 F. Position rack in center of oven. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, and cinnamon in large mixing bowl. Add bananas and walnuts; stir to coat evenly.

Combine milk and oil in small bowl; remove 1 tablespoon of combined liquid and discard it. Beat in eggs. Add liquids to banana mixture and stir until just blended.

Fill muffin pans 2/3 full. Bake 18-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from pan and serve immediately or cool on a rack.

*GF Flour Mix
2 cups brown rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch

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Cheesy Toast with Egg

– johanna | March 9th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Breakfast, RECIPES - Snacks

Cheesy toast is a flashback to my summer camp days when I was a youth. Each summer I spent two weeks hiking, swatting bugs, sleeping under a mosquito net, and taking cold showers at the Girl Scout camp near my home. I learned first aid, how to respect the American flag, that people actually drink pineapple juice and where all the unsold boxes of Girl Scout cookies go- in the cafeteria closets of camps throughout the country to be served during Girl Scout camps as a special treat (yum). At each meal there was a spread of silver pitchers filled with juices, milk, and water. We ate a real smorgasbord.

Sometimes I serve cheesy toast at dinner with a salad. I will add a sprinkling of garlic powder with the butter for a garlic version. The kids have converted me to eating non classified breakfast foods for breakfast, mainly leftovers. Cheesy toast is a warm and comforting choice on those mornings we are running late and need to grab something to take with us.

Slices of bread
Shredded Italian cheese blend

Spread the top of each slice of bread with butter. Sprinkle with cheese. Place under the broiler until cheese is lightly browned and melted.

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Chocolate Sauce

– johanna | February 14th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Breakfast, RECIPES - Treats

David claims that this chocolate sauce is the best chocolate sauce ever. I must agree it is pretty awesome. A great homemade chocolate sauce recipe is a must in every woman’s arsenal of romanitc Valentine’s Day recipes. The main dish is just the bait. A delectable chocolate sauce, however, is the hook, line and sinker. It can communicate I Love You! with just one bite.

This chocolate sauce is absolutely amazing when paired with strawberry cream cheese and crapes. Drizzle chocolate sauce over ice cream, cheesecake, or chocolate torte.

Source: David Lebovitz
About 2 1/2 cups

1 cup (250 ml) water
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
1/2 cup (160 g) light corn syrup, agave nectar, or glucose
3/4 cup (75 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed)
2 ounces (55 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the water, sugar, corn syrup (or agave or glucose), and cocoa powder.

2. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once it’s just begun to simmer and boil, remove from heat and stir in the chopped chocolate until melted.

Serving: You should let the Chocolate Sauce stand for a few hours before serving, which will give it time to thicken a bit.

Storage: Store the chocolate sauce in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Rewarm before serving.

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Strawberry Cream Cheese

– johanna | February 10th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Breakfast

Nothing screams Happy Valentine’s Day more than crepes with strawberry sauce and chocolate. This strawberry sauce takes it a bit further by combining cream cheese, or mascarpone cheese, with strawberries. It is literally out of this world delicious!

1 cup strawberries, chopped
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Blend powdered sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Fold in berries.

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Strawberry Sauce

– johanna | February 10th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Breakfast

I believe in the school of thought, the simpler the better. I prefer fresh sliced strawberries on my vanilla ice cream as opposed to the syrupy version. However, there are occasions that warrant a little more sweetness. I use this strawberry sauce on crepes but it is also perfect for drizzling over cheesecake or shortcake.

1 1/2 cups strawberries, chopped
1/4 cup sugar

Stir sugar and berries together and heat in a saucepan until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes longer. Until syrup starts to thicken.

Add up to 1 1/2 cups sugar. Depending on how sweet and thick you want the syrup.

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