The Best of: How To Make Oatmeal That Tastes Like Barf

This is a “Best of Post” I came across on my blog from September 2013 and it’s pretty funny.  Not all those recipes you see on social media are what they appear.  This is an entry into my Recipe Hall of Lame for worst tasting oatmeal.  Enjoy reading it, not eating it.

Miss Bee made the tennis team so we have been getting up early to have her to morning practice by 6 a.m.  Mr. Bee and I have a routine that he takes her on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays so I can sleep in just a bit before having to get up for work and I take her the other days when I’m off.  Thinking I am an awesome wife and mother, and with fall, my favorite time of the year around the corner, I thought I would make them the yummiest of an oatmeal breakfast.

I saw this fab recipe on FB for overnight crockpot cinnamon apple oatmeal.  So far, sounds good.  I dumped in the milk, water, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, pinch of salt, and two sliced apples.  Turned the pot on to low and by 5:30 a.m. they would have a hot, wholesome breakfast.

I got up around the 6:30.  The house smelled of fall.  I ran downstairs, birds swirling ribbons in my hair, and lifted the lid.  Funny.  There sure is a whole lot of oatmeal left in the pot.  Hmmm.  Well, oatmeal does expand.  That’s probably why it looks so full.  I put a ladle full in my bowl, topped it off with almond milk and sat down with my coffee.

Eck. Double Eck.  What the heck?  It was a lifeless bowl of barf.  Actually barf probably tastes better.  I doctored it up with more brown sugar (it already had 1/2 cup in it), and a tad of butter.  A little better.  I ate it.  Mainly to dissect the problem.  Note:  In the defense of the recipe, it is supposed to be a skinny version.

First, it needed more sweetness.   I am not sure brown sugar is enough.  Maybe some molasses or honey.  Second, I should have pealed the apples.  I put them in with skin on thinking that would be healthier.  But, the skins kind of broke down into a strange, slimy, creature.  I used a Granny Smith and Golden Delicious.  Maybe other cooking apples would be better.  Cranberries would be a good touch.  And, maybe a few tablespoons of butter.  Why don’t I just actually change the entire recipe?

When Mr. Bee got home, he was doing something in the kitchen with his back to me.  I suspected almost 100% that he and Miss Bee took a bite and  then went to Whataburger.  So I asked him what he thought of the oatmeal?  Slight hesitation.  “It was okay,” he replied.  There sure was a lot left I said.  He replied, “it was very filling.”  I asked him if he and Miss Bee went to Whataburger.  Without him turning around, I KNEW it.  I could just tell by the way the back of his head looked.  They had.  Ah, Ha!  We laughed about how gross the pot of ick was.  I did the same inquisition with Miss Bee that night at dinner.  I netted the same answers.  At least they got their stories straight.  What really happened was they both sat down, took a bite.  Miss Bee said this is gross.  Mr. Bee replied, “let’s go.”

And we’ve never had overnight oatmeal since.  Then End.

Rhoda’s Paleo Banana Pancakes

I have been following Rhoda at Southern Hospitality Blog for a while now. I got the chance to meet her at the Haven Conference last summer and it was a thrill to see her in person.  The blog posts I enjoy the most have to do with her sweet mother and daddy and the fabulous southern-style home cooked lunches they have together.  Many of her mother’s recipes are featured on Rhoda’s blog.  She posted a video recently of her cute daddy giving her followers a tour of his extensive garden — and BTW he’s 90!

One recipe Rhoda has shared is Paleo Banana Pancakes.  Something about it always intrigued me because I thought it would be a much healthier alternative to traditional pancakes.  Since I am trying to limit my carb intake I thought I would give them a try.  And, they were really yummy!

Click on the link above for the full recipe, but they are basically an egg and a mashed ripe banana mixed together and scooped onto a hot skillet (I used non-stick spray, but you could use a little butter) like you would prepare pancakes.  They do stick, so just be patient.  I served them with sliced strawberries and a drizzle of local honey.

The zero carbs and 6 grams of protein in the egg and the 27 carbs in the banana make this a healthy breakfast that will keep you satisfied through the morning.  Bananas are the highest carb fruit, but it also has alot of other benefits like fiber and potassium, and since you are eating it with a protein it helps soften the effect the carbs have on your blood sugar.

Give them a try.  I think you will really like them.  And, buzz over to Rhoda’s blog for some good Southern hospitality!

 

We’ve Got to Make the Donuts

Remember the Dunkin’ Donut’s commercials in the 80s when the baker would get up early to go in to the store to make donuts mumbling in his sleepy stupor “we’ve got to make the donuts.”

During the Christmas break, Miss Bee put on her bucket list “Make Homemade Donuts.”  I went to trusty Pinterest and found this recipe for Sour Cream Donuts from Tastes Better from Scratch, a delightful blog featuring wonderful recipes.  Sour cream donuts just happen to be my favorite, too.

The recipe is not hard, but does require about an hour of chilling before you can roll out, cut and fry your donuts so be sure to plan ahead.

Tip:  If you don’t own a Silpat baking mat which is the silicone mat you see above, get one.  They run about $25.  I use mine to roll out dough because it’s non-stick and keeps the clean up to a minimum.  Since they are oven safe to 500 degrees, you can also put it onto cookie sheets and use it as a surface to bake on instead of using parchment paper.  They make one with perfectly spaced circles for baking cookies (here).  

Once you have your donut shapes cut out you lower them into a pan of oil heated to 325 degrees (use a candy thermometer or deep fryer to ensure your temperature remains consistent.  Please use caution to make sure to set the pot way back from the edge of the counter away from tiny hands and do not let children do this unattended.  The end).

It only takes about two minutes for the donuts to turn golden brown.  As soon as they come out of the oil, place them on a paper towel lined plate. We dipped most of the donuts into the icing, but we reserved a few with just a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.  Let set on a cooling rack.

It goes without saying these are best eaten warm.  But, I did enjoy one the next day with coffee.  They are super rich which means these will likely be a special treat every once in a while.  The recipe made about 12 donuts and the same number of donut holes.  I knew we couldn’t eat all of them, so I packaged up a few boxes lined with waxed paper and delivered them to Joan (from Joan’s School of Yum), and a loyal blog follower and friend Jacqui.

I popped into World Market a few days ago and picked up this book to broaden my donut-making skills.

What’s your favorite donut?

Christmas Morning Pancakes

It’s time to start thinking about what to have for Christmas morning.  I came across a recipe for Vanilla Cinnamon Buttermilk Pancakes on Pinterest.   Hands-down these were the best tasting pancakes I think I have ever had.  They tasted very similar to the Cracker Barrel version.  Fluffy, with just enough sweetness added from the vanilla.  I love a pancake that cooks up with a slightly crispy edge.

Here’s a quick tip:  The recipe calls for buttermilk.  If you don’t have any on hand you can “sour” your regular milk by adding lemon juice – either fresh or concentrate.  This recipe calls for 2 cups of buttermilk.  I poured 2 cups of 2% milk in a measuring cup and added 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.  Stir and let it sit on the counter for about 10 minutes before use.

The recipe is from my Pinterest “What’s for Breakfast” board.  The original source is The Chunky Chef.

Vanilla Cinnamon Buttermilk Pancakes

2 cups of flour
3 TBL of white sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg
1/4 cup melted butter

Melt the butter and set aside to cool down slightly.

To a mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Use a whisk to combine all dry ingredients well.

In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, vanilla, ground cinnamon and egg.  Whisk to combine.  Add melted butter and whisk again.

Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, whisking and stirring to mix it all together.  Once it’s combined, stop mixing.  If you over-mix, your pancakes won’t be light and fluffy.

Set the pancake batter aside and heat up a large skillet or griddle over medium low heat.  Add a bit of butter to the preheated griddle and spread it out.

Use a 1/4 or 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop the pancake batter onto the griddle or skillet.  Slowly pour it onto the surface, circling outwards to make a nice circle.

Let the pancakes cook for about 2-3 minutes.  You’ll notice bubbles popping up on the surface of the pancake, if the edges look set, carefully flip the pancake over.  Cook another 2 minutes on the other side.

Remove to a plate and cover with a kitchen towel.  Alternatively, you can place the pancakes on a baking sheet and keep it in a low heat oven, until you’re ready to serve.

Food always tastes better served on Christmas dishes.

Biscuits and Honey

biscuit-and-honey
They go together like peas and carrots

It’s National Honey Month!  Sister Bee gifted me for my birthday last month with a beautiful jar of honey from The Hive Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  I love the logo on the jar!  What logically goes with honey? Biscuits, of course.  Growing up, Mother made biscuits most every night. She loved to serve them with that honey that looked like butter.

There are so many great biscuit recipes out there, but one for me that works every time comes from David Venable’s book In the Kitchen with David.

biscuit-dough
Use a scalloped edge biscuit cutter to add a sweet touch

I always use a cute set of Martha Stewart biscuit cutters Mother gave me one year in my Christmas stocking.  I like how they give the biscuits a scalloped edge.

All ready for the oven…

biscuits-raw
pillows of heaven ready for the oven
biscuits-baked
the end of the rainbow

They are light, fluffy and yummy.  Here’s the recipe…

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 TBL baking powder

2 TBL sugar

2 tsp kosher salt

2/3 cup butter-flavored shortening (I use Crisco), chilled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

2 cups buttermilk (if you don’t have any make your own here)

2 TBL unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450.  Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl.  Whisk to blend.  Add the shortening.  Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut through the shortening and flour until the mixture resembles course meal.  Add the buttermilk and mix just until combined. The dough will be very moist and sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board or work surface and gently pat or roll it into a round about 1/2 inch thick.  Fold the dough into thirds, as if folding a letter, and re-roll it into a round 2 inches thick.  That’s it. No more messing with it or you’ll have hard rocks instead of biscuits.

Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut the dough into rounds.  Gather up the scraps, gently roll out the dough, and cut out additional biscuits.  Transfer the biscuits to a nonstick baking sheet (I line my baking sheet with parchment paper — read here about my invention). Bake for 10-12 minutes until they are puffed and golden brown.  Brush the tops with the melted butter.

They freeze well so you can save some for another morning.  Just reheat in a toaster oven (for heaven’s sake, never reheat a biscuit in the microwave). Don’t save these just for butter and honey…they make a really good base for sausage, egg and cheese biscuit sandwiches or for another savory option, toss in a hand full or two of sharp cheddar cheese in the dough and serve with hot bowls of soup.

You’re welcome.

Vintage Memories of Christmas and Mother’s Cheese Grits

If you could go back
to any point in time at Christmas when would it be?  Mine would be in the late 60s, early 70s during the “wonder” years, when I was little and I knew for sure
there was a giant, fatherly man coming down the chimney after midnight.

Here are the top things I remember:

Tons of Friends Coming Over for Parties:

People like Mary and Rhoda were always at our house. Earnie had such
great friends (just like me) who never had to come up with a reason to
throw a party.    Earnie and Ray would have parties for their employees,
a Christmas Eve party for close friends, neighbors and family, then get
together for Christmas day with family for an entire day of eating,
playing, and celebrating.  Not to mention the luncheons and coffees with
close friends she’d host mid-week.  I remember going with Earnie to the
Winn-Dixie to load up grocery carts of jams and jellies so she could make gift
baskets for people who dropped by.

Perry Como:

Move over Michael Buble’ the hottie of my time was Mr. Perry Como.  This
might have been what started my love of older men.  His smooth musical
stylings and TV Christmas specials, along with Johnny Mathis and Andy
Williams, were the best way to spend an evening.
Christmas Decor:

Earnie decorated every room in the Meadowbrook house.  She had a storage area that housed all of her decor and would
hand me things telling me the room they were to be delivered to.  By the
end of the day each room in our house was transformed into magic with Paul and Paula playing
on the HiFi.  BTW — this could easily be her on the ladder decorating the tree…and I swear she had every party supply in this picture, including that rad percolator.

Cheese Grits:

This was a Christmas brunch staple in our house.  Earnie would serve her grits
in a lovely copper chafing dish on her beautifully decorated buffet
complete with a long centerpiece of greenery and candles down the
middle of the table.

Here’s Earnie’s recipe
from Jane Justin’s cookbook “Prescriptions for Hunger” copyright 1968:

Preheat Oven to 350
Put 8 cups of water in a large saucepan and add 1 TBL of salt.
When water starts to boil add 2 cups of grits
Cook slowly until grits are thick
Pour grits into a large bowl and add:
1 TBL Worcestershire sauce
1 Cup of whole milk
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp black pepper
3 TBL melted butter
1 Cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Mix well and pour into a greased casserole.
Sprinkle with more grated cheese and a few dashes of paprika
Bake one hour at 350 degrees.

Yummy Pumpkin Scones


Every once in a while I come across a great recipe on Pinterest.  This recipe for Pumpkin Scones is a copycat from the Starbucks version. The original recipe is from Cooking Classy. I’ve got tons of great recipes pinned for Breads and Muffins.

These scones
are perfect to have Thanksgiving morning because they aren’t heavy and
give you just enough something sweet with your coffee so you don’t ruin
your appetite for all the Thanksgiving food you’ve worked hard to
prepare.  Now, the thing to remember about scones is that they are
really best eaten the same day you prepare them.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Scones {Starbucks Copycat}
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 8 scones
Ingredients
    2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp canned pumpkin puree, chilled (don’t chill in can)
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp half and half
  • Glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp half and half, then more as needed
  • Pumpkin Icing
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp half and half
Directions
  • For the scones:
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a food processor pulse together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, brown sugar and granulated sugar until well blended (if you don’t have a food processor you can whisk by hand in a large mixing bowl, then cut in butter with a pastry cutter). Add butter and pulse mixture several times to cut butter into mixture (large pieces of butter should no longer be visible). Pour mixture into a large mixing bowl and create a well in center.
  • In a bowl whisk together chilled pumpkin puree, buttermilk, egg, vanilla extract and honey. Pour mixture into well in flour/butter mixture. Stir mixture with a wooden spoon to incorporate, then knead in bowl (or on work surface) by hand several times to bring mixture together. Dust a work surface with flour then invert dough onto surface. Pat and shape dough into an even 8-inch round. Using a large knife, slice into 8 equal wedges (dust knife with flour as needed while cutting, it will be fairly sticky).
  • Transfer scones to a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush tops with 1 Tbsp half and half then bake in preheated oven 13 – 15 minutes until tops are golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool 10 minutes (no longer) before spreading with glaze.
  • For the glaze:
  • In a mixing bowl whisk together powdered sugar and half and half, adding more half and half as needed to reach desired consistency (it should be fairly thick not runny). Spoon and spread mixture scones to evenly coat tops (use all of it). Let glaze set at room temperature.
  • For the pumpkin glaze:
  • In a mixing bowl (I just used the one from the glaze above without cleaning out) whisk together powdered sugar, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and half and half. Transfer mixture to a small Ziploc bag, seal bag, cut a small tip from corner and drizzle mixture over tops of scones. Allow icing to set. Best served day prepared.
  • Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

Food Friday — Cinnamon Bun Cake

Miss Bee had a study sleepover last night with a friend and asked me if I would make muffins or coffee cake for them for breakfast.  I found a recipe on Pinterest recently so I decided it was easy enough to make on a work day morning.  In case you want the recipe for later it’s pinned to my bread and muffins board.  BTW…I rarely crack open any of my cookbooks lately.  I wonder if searching the web and resources like Pinterest have affected cookbook sales…

So you don’t have to go straight to the site (source: Iamaddictedtorecipes.blogspot.com) I’ll just give you the recipe below:

Base:

3 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted

Topping:

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 TBL flour
1 TBL cinnamon

Glaze:

2 cups powdered sugar
5 TBL milk or half and half
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter a 9×13 baking pan.

Mix all the base ingredients together, with the exception of the butter.  Add the butter last to the base and then pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.

Mix all of the topping ingredients together in a separate bowl, you may have to use two knives to break up the softened butter so the mixture is crumbly.  Sprinkle evenly on top of the base.  Bake for 28-30 minutes.

While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze and set aside.

Remove the cake from the oven and pour on the glaze.

Kick the kids out of the house and give your spouse a list of errands to run.  Take pan to your bedroom, and whilst still in your pjs, eat the entire pan with a good cup of coffee.  Yes, it’s that good.

What will you be making this weekend?

How to poach the perfect egg

One of my favorite meals to cook myself is eggs.  If I don’t want a heavy meal, but I want something that will fill me up I will make scrambled eggs, whole wheat toast and a few strips of bacon.  For breakfast I like poached eggs.  Mr. Bee likes his eggs runny.  I prefer them to be soft boiled.  Here’s how I do it…

Boil your water in a small saucepan.  We buy our brown eggs at Costco.

Before you put the eggs in the water, prick the end with an ice pick.  You can see the bubbles coming up and a little bit of egg white escaped in the water. This helps to prevent the egg shell from cracking during cooking and makes it easier to peel when you’re ready to eat them.  Boil for 6 minutes then take off the burner.  Run the egg under cold water while you peel it.
 
 
If you want a runnier egg, then cook it a minute less.  I like mine soft, but not runny.  Add a little salt and pepper, a crispy English muffin, bacon and fruit and you have a really balanced meal for anytime of the day.
 
 
 

The good muffin top

I pinch myself all the time, but in a good way, that I have been blessed with a job that allows me to blend my talents with my interest in throwing a good party.  I have been an event planner since I was a toddler.  And one of the fun aspects of my job is researching recipes for menus.  Pinterest came to the rescue with this winning recipe originally posted from Sweet Little Blue Bird for Snickerdoodle Donut Muffins.  Girl, these are the good kind of muffin tops! 

They have just the right amount of sweetness.  Give them a whirl and do a few extra sit ups afterward!