Sweet, Sweet Sunday

How to Be a Smooth Operator

Beginning with Breakfast

Green Smoothies…The Why’s from A to Z

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Scones

hello+lovely+apartment099kIn the last post, we talked about how to make the perfect biscuits…

Now let’s learn how to make the biscuit’s closest kid—the scone—anotherf quick bread that is made using very similar ingredients and techniques.

The perect scones are moist, light, tall and fluffy…slightly crispy on the outside…puffy and tender on the inside…with just the right amount of sweetness…served with jam, clotted cream, butter, or simply eaten plain. the perfect treat for breakfast or afternoon tea.

That is, assuming you’re an American.

 

True British scones are actually drier and more crumbly.

The “original” scones, called “bannocks,” were actually large round breads that were  made simply of oat or barley flour and water…and then dry-fried on a griddle before being cut apart into wedge shapes.

 

 

When it comes to making the perfect scones, you have to have quality ingredients and know the correct method of making them instead of just slopping all the ingredients together and hoping that they come out fit to eat.

By now, whenever you read a recipe for a bread that uses baking soda or baking powder…instead of yeast…to make the bread rise, you should see a pattern emerge.

This pattern of doing things is called the “quick bread method.”

 

 

Once you see just how easy it is to make scones yourself, they will no longer be a rarely eaten treat served only for special-day breakfasts and formal high-tea fare….scones that are just as good, if not better, than the ones that I fork over how much money at Starbucks every time that I splurge and buy myself coffee there.

So let’s get started.

 

 

 

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The Ingredients
  • 1Tbsp baking powder
  • 2C flour
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/2C sugar
  • 1/2C butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1C heavy cream or buttermilk
  • 1tsp vanilla

 

 

The Baking Powder…If you forget the baking powder, your scones will not rise…go figure…

 

 

The Sugar…This may seem like a lot of sugar…feel free to experiment to find out if you still like the taste using less sugar…but remember that changing the amount of sugar that you use will chl

If you are making savory scones, reduce this amount to about 2Tbsp.

Brown sugar often makes certain flavors of scones taste even better, but if you are using brown sugar, you should whisk your wet ingredients until you  get out all the lumps of brown sugar…otherwise, guess what your scones will contain…

Lumps of brown sugar…obviously.

 

 

The Butter…Butter is responsible for the crisp edges, flakiness, flavor, and rise of your scones.

 

 

The Egg…Eggs add flavor, lift, and structure.

 

The Milk…The thicker this dairy ptoduct is, the more your scones will rise and the better they will taste. If you are looking for a “politically correct” form of milk, choose one from this previous post regarding milk options.

 

 

The Vanilla Extract… because all baked goods require vanilla, right?!

Wrong…Don’t use the vanilla if you are making savory scones…as opposed to sweet ones.

 

 

Optional Ingredients…The optional ingredients that yuu can incorporate into your batter change the taste of your scones and make them much more fun.

A few options include the following…

Chopped Nuts…Add these after cutting in the butter…but before adding the liquid.

  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Pistachios

Citrus Zest…Add one of the following into the liquid ingredient

  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Orange

Extracts…Add one of the following into the liquid ingredients

  • Almond
  • Anise
  • Lemon
  • Mint

Fruit…Use either fresh or frozen fruit. If using frozen fruit, do not thaw the fruit out first. Peel fruits such as apples, peaches, or pears before chopping.

  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

Glaze or Frosting…Top your cooked, slightly cooled scones with one of the following…

  • Brown butter icing
  • Cream cheese frosting
  • Lemon curd
  • Lemon icing
  • Maple icing
  • Orange icing
  • Powdered sugar glaze
  • Raspberry icing
  • Salted caramel frosting

Herbs…Add one of the following into your dry ingredients…

  • Basil
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

Spices …Add 1/2 to 1tsp one of the following into your dry ingredients….

  • Allspice
  • Cardamom
  • Cinnamon,
  • Clove
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg

Other Ideas

  • Chocolate chips
  • Toasted coconut
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The Prep Work

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Adjust oven rack to center position.
Line two rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper and/or spray with nonstick vegetable oil spray or baking spray.
Set aside.

Stick your butter in the freezer.

 

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The Dry Ingredients

Whisk together your dry ingredients—the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder— in a large bowl.

…or simply pull out your KitchenAid to do this instead.

Actually we moved last month and I’ve had to hide the red KitchenAid that I love so much because there’s not enough space between the lower and upper kitchen cabinets for it to fit.

Regardless which method you are using, be sure to use a big enough bowl that will allow you lots of room to work in when combining your ingredients..

Add any herbs or spices that you have chosen at this point.

 

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 The Butter

Now it’s time to “cut in” the butter.

Cut your frozen butter into small pieces.

“Cutting” in your butter makes sure that your butter is evenly distributed throughout the dough. This will create little pockets of steam as the scones bakes, making them flakier.

If making your scones by hand, cut your cold butter into the dough with a pastry cutter or fork.

If using a mixer, mix on a medium-low speed for about thirty seconds.

Be careful not to over-mix.

Over-mixing will make your finished scones dense, instead of soft and crumbly….so work with the dough as little as possible.

You want the butter that you see in your dough at this point to be about the size of large peas.

If you are using any optional ingredients—other than herbs or spices which you should have already added to your dry ingredients by now—

 

 

 

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The Liquid Ingredients

Now lightly whisk together your liquid ingredients—the heavy cream, the egg, and any zests or extracts you may be using.

Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Mix just until liquid is absorbed.

At this point, your dough should be lumpy, with raggedy edges — not smooth at all.

You do not want to over-mix your dough…

Be very gentle with your dough…otherwise your scones will turn out crusty and chewy.

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Working with the Dough

 

Once you have finished making your dough, refrigerate for at least fifteen  minutes. This will keep your scones from spreading out too much wheever you bake them.

You could even refrigerate your dough overnight at this point and finish making them for breakfast the following morning.

Your goal is to Keep your dough as cold as possible.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter top or marble pastry board. Using a marble pastry board will help keep the dough cool.

Divide the dough in half.

Sprinkle a pinch of flour on top of each half.

Fold the dough in half.

Turn it 90 degrees. Pat out.

Repeat this folding process five more times….being very gentle with the dough when you are doing this.

Shape each portion into a 6″ circle…about 1″ thick. Use your hands to do this, not a rolling pin.

Cut each circle into six even wedges, using a pizza cutter…making sure that you cut the wedges apart completely.

You could also use your biscuit cutter and cut out circles of dough. If you use a biscuit cutter, remember to push your biscuit cutter straight down instead of twisting it. Otherwise your biscuits and scone won’t rise as tall

If your dough seems too sticky, add a little more flour…but be careful not to add too much excess flour because this will make the scones drier.

If your dough seems too dry, add a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream.

Lift the wedges, one at a time, with either a pie server or a spatula.

Place the wedges about 1/2″ apart on the prepared baking sheet,

Brush the top of each scone with heavy cream or buttermilk. Doing this will give your scones more of a golden brown, extra crispy, and crumbly exterior.

You could also sprinkle some sugar on top to add even more crunch.

 

 

 

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Baking Your Scones

Bake the scones at for about fifteen to twenty minutes,,,until they have about tripled in height…and are  golden brown on the tops and bottoms.

If your scones seem to be browning too fast as they bake, then tent them with aluminum foil.

After this amount of time, stick a toothpick into the center of a scone to see if they’re done. If the toothpick emerges clean, or with a very few moist crumbs, they’re ready. If the toothpick emerges with anything on it, other than perhaps a few crumbs, then let them bake a bit longer.

Remove the baked scones from the oven,

Let cool for a couple of minutes before topping them with any frosting or glaze.

Scones are best served warm, or within a few hours of baking.

If your scones seem to be spreading out too much as they bake, remove them from the oven and press them back into their original shape using a rubber spatula.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Homemade Biscuits

The Ingredients

  • 4tsp baking powder
  • 2C flour
  • 2tsp sugar
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/2C butter
  • 3/4C milk

1.The  Baking Powder…Baking powder acts as a leavening agent…meaning that it serves to help the biscuits rise.

 

Baking powder is used instead of baking soda because baking soda is only needed when you are working with an acidic ingredients—such as buttermilk, lemon, or vinegar. So if you choose to use buttermilk instead of regular milk, you will want to used in addition to the baking powder.

Be sure that Is your baking powder is not outdat4ed before using it.

Use only aluminum free baking powder so that your biscuits will not have a metallic tate, 

 

Ir ia important that you bake your dough right away instead of  making the dough and then waiting for a while before you finishing your biscuits. Otherwise, the baking soda will not have the same leavening power.

 

2. The Flour…Choose an unbleached all-purpose flour.

 

3.  The Sugar…Sugar adds a nice balance to the salt.

 

4. The Salt…Salt is pretty much a basic ingredient in any recipe…so why not this one?

 

5. The Butter…There has always been a debate as to whether your butter needs to be ice cold or simply softened. Honestly, either of these will work…but you never want to use melted butter, so don’t try softening it by sticking it in the microwave. Leave the butter out on the counter instead. Let it soften to the point that an indentation is left on the surface of the butter whenever you press your finger into it.

You could use any other type of fat—such as margarine, shortening, or coconut oil—but nothing compares to biscuits made with real butter.

 

 

6. The Milk…Biscuits have traditionally been made using buttermilk instead of regular milk…but you could also use regular milk…much better option, because how many of us actually keep buttermilk in our fridge on a regular basis.

Just remember that using buttermilk will make your biscuits have more of a “tangy” taste and is thicker than other milks…so you may need to adjust the amount used.

 

Another option would b4e to make your own “buttermilk” by adding 1Tbsp lemon juice or white vinegar. 

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Prep Work

Preheat oven to 425.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking liner.

 

 

 

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Dry Ingredients

Whisk together the baking powder, flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl until well combined.

If  you don’I mix your dry ingredients together well at this point, your biscuits will end up having brown spots on them. So be sure to really stir everything together,,,, more than you think you probably need to,,for at least thirty seconds non-stop with a fork.

 

 

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The Butter

Even though I just said that you could use either cold or lukewarm butter, your best bet is to actually use  cold butter…really cold butter…the coldest butter possible.

Why?

You do not want the biscuits to get too soft before sticking the biscuits into the oven.

The colder the butter is, the more dispersed the butter will end up being throughout the biscuits…and the softer and more flaky your biscuits will turn out.

Freeze your butter for at least twenty minutes before using.

Now either cut the butter into small pieces or grate the butter before adding the butter to your dough…

If you decide to gate the gutter, eave the wrapper on one end. Use this wrapped end to hold the stick of butter as your are grating it.

You can use either your hands tor a bod grate to wotk mix the butter into the dry ingredients. 

Once you finish adding the butter, make a well in the center of your mixture..

As your are working with your batter, ir is important that you handle the dough as little as possible so that your butter will stay cold..

 

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The Wet Ingredients

 

Not only is it important that you use cold milk, you should also use a cold egg and cold mil,

Add your cold milk and cold egg to the well that you  just made in your dry ingredients. Stir with a spoon until the ingredients are combined. Bring your dough together: gently turn before dumping it onto your counter.

Add in a tablespoon of flour your until your dough is just dry enough to handle. The dough should come away clean from your fingers when you touch it, but stick to your fingers if you pinch it.

 

Be careful how much flour you do add thought. If you add too much flour, your biscuits will turn out tough instead of fluffy and light. 

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Rolling Out the Dough

Now that your dough is ready, it’s time to finish making your biscuits.

To roll the dough out, follow the following steps…

First flour the surface where you will be working.

Now dump the dough onto this well-floured work surface.

Sprinkle the top of the dough lightly with flour.

There is much debate as to whether or not to use a rolling pin to roll out your batter.

Many people prefer to simply use their hands, claiming that using your hands to pat the dough to the right thickness will melt the butter in the dough. Regardless which method you end up usingf, it is important that you do this gently.

You want to roll your dough in a 10×9 rectangle.

Now fold the dough in half. Folding the dough like this will create layers in the biscuits.

Roll the dough and fold it two more times.

Add more flour to the surface if doing this becomes too sticky.

Once you finish rerolling and folding your dough, you want to shape it into about a 10″ square that is about an inch high.

 

 

 

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Cutting Out Your Biscuits


Now that you have pressed your dough into a rectangle, it’s time to start cutting our your biscuits, either with a biscuit cutter or glass.

First dip your biscuit cutter or glass in flour.

Cut out as many biscuits as you can with your dough. Go ahead and re-roll the dough as you need to…taking the time to gently knead the dough back together and fold the dough as you did when you were making them the first time.

As you finish cutting out each individual biscuit, place it on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet…

As you are cutting out this second batch of biscuits, you might want to stick them in the fridge so that they will stay cold.

Never twist your cutter as you are cutting out your biscuits.

Instead press the cutter firmly into the dough and lift. Otherwise, your biscuits will not rise as high.

 

 

 

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Baking Your Biscuits

 

Preheat your oven to 400ºF.

Bake around ten to thirteen minutes…until the tops of the biscuits start turning golden brown…being careful not to overbake.

Brush tops of the biscuits with melted butter as soon as your take them out of the oven.

Serve warm.

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect French Toast Casserole

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The Ingredients


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Instructions

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect French Toast

Everybody is familiar with the expression, “Waste not, want not.”

And everybody knows that when your bananas start getting too ripe, you either make banana bread or end up throwing them all away…

…but don’t stop there…

..also stop wasting your stale bread…by making French toast out of it.

French toast is great because it only requires ingredients that most of us keep stocked always…or have to go to the store or add to our Instacart account quickly…

The perfect French Toast is fluffy, soft, and cinnamon-y, 

French toast is also so darn easy to make….and can be made in less than fifteen minutes….and you really fon’t need a recipe…but there are a few tips that are worth knowing.

\So let’s talk about these tips…

 

 

 

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The Ingredients

Two of the types of people that I envy the most are those people who can play the piano by ear…and those people who can cook without a recipe.

I am an accountant. I have to know exactly how much of each ingredient to use whenever I am cooking ANYTHING…My husband always laughs at me for this fact.

I have made French toast that has turned out soggy or egg-y way too many times to wing it like almost everybody else..

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Waffles

Now that we’ve learned how to make the perfect pancakes, let’s move on to making the pancake’s kissing cousin…the waffle…

You might think to yourself, we just learned how to make the perfect pancake batter…can’t I simply use the same recipe to now make waffles…

 

 

Actually…

No!!!

 

Waffle batter and pancake batter may seem very similar….you really can’t use your pancake recipe and expect great waffles.

 

 

 

Why? 

Pancake recipes are created to make flat things without a crispy exterior…

 

 

 

But before we learn HOW to make the perfect waffles, let’s talk about what the perfect waffles would be like.

The perfect waffles are buttery, sweet, and thick…with a perfectly crisp extterior……with a light and fluffy interior…and  topped with the perfect amount of butter, syrup, and whatever else you wanna put on them.

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The Ingredients

  • 1Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2gsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2C buttermilk
  • 1/4C butter
  • 1tsp vanilla or 1Tbsp amaretto
  • 1/3C vegetable oil
  • 1/2C cornstarch
  • 1-1/2C flour
  • 3/4C sugar

 

 

 

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The Waffle Iron

If yuu’re gonna make good waffles, you really should have a good waffle iron, such as this KitchenAid Waffle Baker 

So go ahead and buy one that cooks waffles evenly if your waffle iron has become crabby and temperamental.

If you are shopping for a waffle iron, things to consider include…

  • cool-touch handles...waffle irons with plastic handle heat up less than models with chrome or stainless-steel handles
  • fllip style…using a waffle iton that you can flip pver after pouring in the batter will allow the batter to spread out evenly and also make sure that the waffle cooks evenly on both sides.
  • size…think about how much space you have to store the waffle maker when you aren’t using it.
  • temperature control...adjustable thermostats allow you to control the cooking temperature so that you can make both soft, light-colored waffles…as well as crispy, dark-colored waffles.

Now that you have bought…or found…your waffle iron it is important to read…or have read…the instruction manual because different waffle makers will cook differently.

 

 

 

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Preheat Your Waffle Iron

Preheating your waffle iron before adding any batter to the waffle iron is very important for two reasons….prevents soggy waffles…and makes the batter turn crispy as soon as it hits the surface.

 

 

 

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The “Dry” Ingredients

Place flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl, Whisk to combine. Set aside.

(Yes…I do realize that sugar is a dry ingredient, but add it later…you will soon see why.

 

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The $ggs

First separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. This will give them a crispier exterior….as well as make the interior of the waffle more fluffy. and light, instead of heavy and dense.

Now add your sugar,

Whip your egg whites to the soft-peak stage., meaning until stiff peaks form….you should be able to lift the beaters straight out of the egg whites and invert the beaters, and find that the egg white stand up on their own.

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The “Wet” Ingredients

Whisk together your egg yolks, milk, melted butter, and vanilla In a medium-sized mixing bowl.

 

The Buttermilk…If you do not have buttermilk in your fridge…and are too lazy to go to Walmart of somewhere and go get some, combine a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar with  to a cup of milk.

Some people recommend that you use a combination of buttermilk and regular milk because this makes your batter even thinner…personally I like the extra buttermilk flavor.

 

 

 

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Batter Up

At this point, you should have three bowls of “stuff”===your dry ingredients, your wet ingredients, and your beaten egg whites.

So now let’s combine all three of these mixtures so that we can get on with out waffle making.

 

 

When stirring together your ingredients, it important that you never overmix your batter.

You want your batter to be smooth enough that it flows freely through the dimples of the waffle plate..yet not over-mixed to the point where the flour turns into gluten… making your pancakes chewier, instead of fluffy.

So at this stage, a gentle hand and patience and very important..

 

 

Anyway…how do we do this?

  1. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, using a rubber spatula and a gentle motion.
  2. Mix together until smooth.
  3. Now scoop the beaten egg whites into the batter, just until combined. It is important that you do this very gently..
  4. Fold the egg whites gently into the batter….being careful not to deflate them..
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Cooking the Pancakes

Scoop 1/2C batter into the center of your waffle iron,

Close the lid.

Let cook until the indicator light or beeping mechanism does its thing. Do not lift the lid too soon.  Lifting the lid too soon could mean that half of your waffle ends up on the top of the waffle iron…while the other stays on the bottom..

Remove hot waffles from the waffle iron.  

The that waffle that you make is probably not going to turn out perfectly. If so, you may need to adjust the amount of batter or color control settings until you get the results you

Respray the waffle pan after each waffle.

Continue cooking waffles until all batter is used,.

 

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Keeping Your Waffles Warm

Preheat oven to 200°F.

Place the cooked waffles directly on the oven rack while finishing cooking the rest of the waffles.

Not only will this keep the waffles warm as you are cooking, but doing this will also make your waffles crispier by allowing the steam to escape and will allow everyone to eat at the same time instead of staggeredly, as each individual waffle finishes cooking.

Just make sure the waffles do not burn…five minutes is about the maximum amount of time they can sray in your oven without burning.

And do not stack the waffles…otherwise, they will turn moist and limp.

 

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Storing

Place any leftover pancakes in a freezer bag once they cool down. Place wax paper between multiple waffles. Squeeze as much air from the bag as possible.

 

 

 

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Reheating

Set out however many waffles you need on the counter for ten minutes…while you preheat the oven to 300 degrees .

 

Clean your waffle iron shortly after each use. This will make cleaning the waffle iron so much easier than if you wait and clean it much later after 

Use a plastic or rubber utensil to remove waffles from the waffle iron. Using a metal fork or knife could eventually damage the sufaces of your waffle iron.

 

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Pancakes

 

 

 

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The Ingredients

  • n2C flour
  • ¼C sugar
  • 4tsp baking powder
  • ½tsp salt
  • 2tsp vanilla
  • 1½C milk
  • 1 egg
  • ¼C melted butter
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Dry Ingredients

Mix together these dry ingredients.

You can do this with either a whisk or a Mason jar.

You want to go ahead and mix your dry ingredients enough to get rid of any lumps at this stage in order to avoid big lumps….and because later you will need to avoid over-mixing the batter once you add the wet to the dry,

 

 

The Baking Powder…Be sure to check the expiration date on the baking powder canister. If your baking powder is old or expired, your pancakes will not right…and will end up flat, instead of light and fluffy.

If you would like even fluffier pancakes, feel free to double the amount of baking powder.

You might also want to try using only 2tsp of baking powder and then adding 1/2tsp baking soda.

 

The Flour…Spoon your flour into a measuring cup instead of scooping the flour out of the flour canister with a measuring cup, like most of us do…including me.

Scooping the flour causes your measuring cup to be filled with too much flour, often resulting in tough pancakes.

Don’t restrict yourself to only using all-purpose flour…be adventuresome by swapping out half of the flour with another type of flour—such as whole wheat, buckwheat, brown rice, corn, oat, or gluten-free.

 

 

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Mason Jar Method

You can also use a Mason jar to shake your ingredients together.

To do this, layer your wet ingredients first—milk, egg, and oil…and then your dry ingredients—flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a wide-mouth quart-sized jar. Seal the jar tightly . Shake the jar vigorously for at least two minutes…until the ingredients are combined. Once the ingredients are combined, you can either cook pancakes immediately or stick the jar in the fridge for later.

To make your pancakes, simply pour the batter straight from the jar onto your griddle or pan…and cook them…(more on that later)…

 

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Liquid Ingredients

Combine your liquid ingredients.

 

The Butter…Using unsalted butter allows youu to control the taste of your pancakes better..

 

The Buttermilk...Butttermilk is what makes your pancakes tenderest. If you do not want to use milk or buttermilk, use water, coffee, or juice as your liquid base instead…reducing the amount of liquid called for in the original recipe by.one-fourth of the amount.

 

 

 

The Eggs…Bringing your eggs to room temp before mixing into your batter will give you the best results.

To make your pancakes even fluffier, take the time to separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. …beat your egg whites  with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form…and finally fold the beaten egg whites into your batter gently with a rubber spatula until just combined.

 

 

 


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Mixing Ingredients Together

You should have already whisked your dry ingredients together before you added in the wet ingredients…so you should be able to combine your wet ingredients and dry ingredients together very easily.

Now gently fold your dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined.

Stir until the flour is moist, but there are still a few small clumps of flour.

.Do not over-mix the batter. It’s okay to leave some lumps in the batter.

If you overmix the batter, you will end up with tough and dense pancakes, not fluffy.

At this point, you should add any ingredients that you would like to add to your batter…such as…

  • Banana…one mashed ripe banana
  • Blueberries…1C
  • Cream cheese…3oz finely chopped cream cheese
  • Lemon…1tsp grated lemon peel
  • Orange…1tsp grated orange peel
  • Pecans…1/2C…toast and chop finely
  • Strawberries…1C
  • Walnuts…1/2C…toast and chop finely

 

 

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Resting Your Batter

Now that all of your ingredients have become friends, it’s time to rest your batter. What does it mean to “rest” your batter?

To rest your batter means to simply leave it alone for anywhere from ten to thirty minutes. The longer you rest your batter, the better your pancakes will turn out…

Why should you “rest” your batter?

Resting your batter will…

  • dissolve any small lumps
  • give the baking powder enough time to activate
  • give the flour a chance to absorb liquid in the batter

 

 

 

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The Pan

As far as what kind of pan to use when making pancakes, the best option is an electric griddle…

An electric non-stick griddle makes flipping your pancakes much easier.

But if you’d rather cook your pancakes on top of the stove or don’t have an electric griddle, use a large, about 12,” non-stick skillet with sloping slides….preferably cast iron.

Cast iron will give you even heat distribution allow you to brown your pancakes without having to use tons of butter.

 

 

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Heating the Pan

 

Heat your pan or skillet over medium heat until drop of water sizzles..

Heat a little bit of vegetable oil…(for other types of oils to cook with, check this previous post out)…

Avoid using regular butter because the butter will be more likely to burn and make your pancakes turn out funky tasting.

Reduce heat to medium-low.

 

 

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Cooking

Use a 1/4C measuring cup…or pour the batter from the Mason jar depending on which method you used earlier…to shape the batter into medium-sized circles….about 3-1/2″ wide. 

Cook your pancakes for a couple of minutes…until little bubbles appear and the edges start to get firm.

Be sure to avoid squishing the pancakes with your spatula.

Flip. Once you flip the pancake over, don’t press down on it with your spatula. Let the pancake cook naturally so you do not end up with flat, boring pancakes.

Cook your pancakes for a couple of minutes on the other side…until both sides are lightly golden.

Keep pancakes warm while you’finish cooking the rest by covering the pancakes with aluminum foil and then sticking them in an oven that has been preheated to about 200.°

If you find that your pancakes are browning too quickly, turn down the heat down and let the pan cool down for a minute or so before starting the next batch.

If you find that your pancakes are sticking to the pan, add more butter or oil.

Wipe out the pan between batches…especially if you are using butter instead of oil.

Finish cooking any remaining batter.

 

 

 

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Storing

Obviously most of us know what to do with the pancakes once you finish cooking them, but did you know that you can also make them ahead of time…instead of resorting to buying already frozen pancakes from the grocery store…

I was kinda shocked to find pancakes stored by the frozen biscuits and frozen breakfast burritos and frozen waffles…wonder how many preservatives are in all of these products, right?

 

To refrigerate…put the pancakes in an airtight container…will stay fresh for up to 5 days

To freeze…flash freeze them and store in large ziplocs…will stay fresh up to 2 months

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect “Energy Muffins”

Muffins can be another healthy breakfast food…

…but store-bought tend to be fairly calorie-dense, usually contain preservatives and other hard-to-pronounce ingredients, and tend to be very high in sugar…oversized nutritional disasters packed with tons of calories and fat and little protein.

 

 

Instead make your own muffins…they are so easy to bake and freeze in bulk…not to mention cheaper.

 

 

The following base recipe allows you to be creative by adding different fruits or nuts…and is totally sugar, oil, and gluten free.

 

Fruits and nuts may add calories, but are worth it. Dried or fresh fruits…such as raisins, cherries, blueberries, apples…are packed with antioxidants. Nuts…such as walnuts, pecans, almonds… provide heart-healthy fats.

 

The carbs in the whole-grain flour will help fuel your muscles, and the high fiber will keep you feeling full.The substitution of applesauce for oil reduces the fat content of the muffins.

 

 

 

Energy Muffins

2C whole-grain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4C ground flaxseeds
2tsp cinnamon
2tsp baking powder
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas
1/2C unsweetened apple sauce
1C unsweetened almond milk
1tsp vanilla
1/2C dried, fresh, or frozen fruit (optional)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Fill a muffin tin with 12 paper muffin cups.Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Slightly beat the eggs. Mix in the milk and applesauce. Add wet ingredients to the dry mix. Stir until just combined, sprinkling in the nuts or fruit. Spoon into muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until muffin tops are golden brown.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Homemade Breakfast Sandwiches

I am definitely NOT a morning person…

Yet every morning I am expected to provide a healthy and satisfying breakfast for the “resident five year old” every single morning…and that most likely does not mean tossing him a granola bar on the way out the door and expecting him to eat it in the car on the way to school…(actually it’s simply a walk across the street since we just moved)…

I have found that, like any other meal, making many breakfast foods at one time is so much smarter than every single morning having to decide what to make and then taking the time to actually make it.

Doing this can not only save you time, but can also mean that you are eating healthier meals in general.

The perfect breakfast sandwiches are healthy, hearty and satisfying…contain your choice of the perfect ingredients—such as English muffins, scrambled eggs, ham, and cheese…cheaper because you are not forking out how much money to drive through and grab a breakfast that consists of the same exact ingredients that you already had at home.…not to eve mention the fact that these homemade breakfast sandwiches have no processed and unhealthy ingredients…unlike the breakfast sandwiches you would get at a fast food joint on your way to work—such as the Egg McMuffin from McDonald’s. Rather, they

…and finally they are very easy to make…simply consisting of delicious ingredients—such as crisp and buttery English muffins eggs, bacon, sausage, and cheese.

 

 

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  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Sprasy 9″x13″ with nonstick cooking spray.

 

 

 

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The Eggs

Baking your eggs instead of frying them will make them softer, more fluffy, and moister.

 

To bake your eggs…

  1. Whisk the first six ingredients listed above together in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Pour mixture into a greased 9×12 pan.
  3. If you really are concerned about the shape of your egg “patties” and only want them to be circles…instead of squares…you could bake them in 10oz round  ramekins with one egg per cup….and then bake for about fiftteen minutes.

  4. Bake for about twenty minutes…be careful not to overcook the eggs…you want to cook them just until the center is set because the egg will cook more when you reheat your sandwich…and if you cook the eggs too much, they will be tough.
  5. Let the eggs cool.
  6. Cut them into twelve squares.

To make your breakfast sandwiches better for you…use egg whites, not the entire egg. This redeuces the cholesterol content and number of overall calories.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Meat

As for the meat, you have several options—such as sausage, bacon. Canadian bacon, and ham.

To make your breakfast sandwiches healthier, you could use low sodium, sugar free ham or turkey.

To cook your meat…

  • Place the bacon or sausage on a large baking pan.
  • Bake for ten to fifteen minutes, alojng with eggs that we have just talked about.
  • Cook until the meat has cooked through and the bacon is crispy.
  • Set cooked meat on paper towel to drain some of the excess grease off.

 

 

 

 

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The Cheese

Choose a cheese  that melts well and will complement the other ingredients.

 

 


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The Bread

As far as the bread, you can use whatever you’d like—such as bagels, English muffins, or sandwich thins.

 

To toast them…

  • Slice the bread and place the halves on large baking sheet.
  • Brush butter evenly over the top of each slice.
  • Bake for about five minutes…until crisp and slightly toasted on the top.

 

To make your sandwiches healthier,

  • avoid breads that claim to be bleached, enriched, or enhanced
  • choose breads that contain at least three grams of fiber per serving.
  • look for breads that list whole grains or whole wheat as the first ingredient

 

 

 

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 Vegetables

Adding vegetables to your breakfast sandwiches will not only add valuable vitamins, minerals, and fiber…but will also help the sandwich seem even more hearty!

Add any vegetables you like—such as mushrooms, onions, peppers, spinach, zucchini—to the eggs before baking.

 

 

Assembly

Lay down square sheets of aluminum foil for each sandwich…one that is big enough to hold one sandwich each.

Then put a layer of Saran Wrap on top of that.

Layer the ingredients in the following order…

  • Bread…English muffin or bagel half
  • Egg
  • Cheese…about 1/2 ounce per person
  • Meat…about two ounces
  • Bread…English muffin or bagel half
  • Wrap the sandwich tightly in the plastic wrap, then again tightly in the foil.

Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

If you are planning on eating your breakfast sandwich right away, bake the sandwich at 350 degrees for about five minutes…until the cheese melts.

 

 

 

 

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 Storing

Now that you have finished assembling and wrapping each sandwich, it’s time to stick them in the freezer with whatever other frozen assets you have added to your freezer meal account…(more ideas later)…

Place the sandwiches in a gallon-size freezer-bag or in an airtight storage container.

You could also keep them in your refrigerator up to a week.They will stay good in your freezer for up to three months….assuming that they haven’t all been eaten before then.

You could also keep them in your refrigerator up to a week.

 

 

 

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Reheating

These Breakfast Sandwiches can be reheated both while they are still frozen…and if they have been thawed out first.

You could also reheat these freezer breakfast sandwiches in a toaster oven or regular oven….using common sense to know whey they are heated through.

Once they have been reheated, you could add any additional ingredients/toppings that you would like—such as salad greens, avocado, your favorite sauce, mayonnaise, guacamole, Sriracha, Tabasco hot sauce, sliced avocado, fresh spinach leaves, freshly sliced tomatoes—so that it won’t seem so much like a freezer meal.

 

 

To reheat them while they are still frozen…

  • Microwave…Remove sandwich from wrapper. Wrap loosely with a paper towel. Microwave for 1.5 minutes, Flip, Microwazve another 1.5 minutes. Let it stand for one minute…until the sandwich is hot all the way through and the cheese is melted.
  • Oven…Preheat oven to 350. Place frozen breakfast sandwich in the oven for about fifteen minutes.

To reheat them if they are already thawed out…:  

  • Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, Remove wrapper. Placesandwich on paper towel-lined plate. Microwave one minute or just until hot.