Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Music, Coffee and Buckwheat Pancakes: A great way to start your day!


As I sat watching my daughter's gymnastic practice a few weeks ago, a friend decided to join me.  We started talking about our week and I casually mentioned to her, "Do you remember how that coffee jingle from when we were kids went, you know the one...'the best part about waking up...'?"
She immediately finished the song, "...is Folgers in your cup."  Her reply was instant and brought a smile to both of our faces.  We both agreed that it was a jingle we would know for the rest of our lives. It was part of our childhood.
I grew up with this jingle and Folgers coffee in our home.  A vivid memory for me is the can.  We used those huge cans for everything around the yard and in the garage.  Red cans filled with tools, nails, working gloves and potted plants. My grandmother never wasted a thing.
Today, in my own home, those cans have turned into cute cups.  Cups that I can easily pop into my modern coffee machine push a button and in a minute have a variety of flavors with each new cup.  I typically drink one cup of coffee every morning.  The aroma that fills my home when my husband comes downstairs and starts his cup of coffee is too tempting for me to stay in bed.  I do love my coffee.  It starts my day and before I even take my first sip, the smell brings a smile to my face.
Our kids are night owls and with this comes a few perks,  the hubby and I get to spend our mornings together eating breakfast and enjoying each other's company before our busy day gets started.  We both work from home, have three very active kids and one on the way.  Our time each day is spent juggling life's activities and parenting two teenagers and a six year old. We cherish this quality time that we have together. Some days we get 30 minutes to eat our breakfast and sip our coffee and other days it is a brief 5 minutes before we hear the pitter patter of little feet.
Our six year old wakes up happy every single day singing a tune.  She comes downstairs and turns the radio on without fail.  My kitchen has always had a radio.  Music is an important part of our family.  My husband loves to write his own music, I play the flute and our kids play a variety of instruments. 
One thing that I am proud of is the music in our home is not just one genre. We really do love it all and find that some days we listen to rock-n-roll and other days it is classical.   When I visited Folgers page and listened to the top 10 finalists I was amazed by the talent, the musical genius of the artist and how they were able to bring the catchy phrase of "breakfast in your cup" into the modern day.  I was really blown away!   Music does warm the heart and brightens each day.
Starting each morning with a good breakfast, warm smiles, music and a fresh cup of Folgers coffee is a great way to begin our day. I have included a recipe below for one of our favorite breakfast foods, buckwheat pancakes.  Our morning routine hasn't changed much over the years and I am sure that my own kids will carry on this tradition as they begin their own lives and families. 
I am excited to help spread the word for Folgers Coffee about their Jingle Contest.  They have found 10 finalist and you can follow the Road to the Jingle on Facebook to see how they traveled the U.S. to track down the Top 10 contestants!
Take a look at the Folgers® Jingle Contest Finalists, and listen to the tracks that earned them a spot in The Top 10. Cast your vote once every day through June 19th. You could win exciting prizes, like free Folgers Coffee, iTunes® gift cards, signed CDs from Gavin DeGraw, and even a $10,000 Grand Prize just for voting! Click here for official rules.
Disclosure: I was recently asked by Folgers to create a post about our morning routine and the influence music has in our lives.  All of the thoughts above are my own and given from an honest perspective and love for this product. 


Recipe:  Buckwheat Pancakes
Makes a large batch: 30 (3 inch) pancakes

3 cups buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons real maple syrup
3 1/2 cups of milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
3 eggs, separated
1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk together well.

In a medium bowl, add egg whites and whip until soft peaks form.

Add the wet ingredients (milk, egg yolks, syrup and melted butter) to dry ingredients.  Mix well.

Fold in egg whites and gently combine.

On a heated grill, add butter to season surface.

Using a small ladle, add each pancake.  Cook until lightly brown and air bubbles appear on top of the pancake.  Flip and continue cooking.

Remove and serve with your favorite topping: syrup, molasses, jelly or jam.

Store any leftovers in a sealed container or baggie in the refrigerator for 5 days. May be frozen too.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

301. Beehive Sugar Cookies #spon


UPDATE:  I won!  I recieved a Kitchen Aid mixer and a year supply of sugar.  Thank you In The Raw.



I have been a busy little bee preparing for Eat Write Retreat this year.  I have been given the opportunity to try a new product by In the Raw.  It is a natural sweetener made from Monk Fruit.  We were asked to use their product in a sugar cookie recipe and then post a picture of our design and work. A winner will be selected--how fun is that? I have never entered a contest before.

All I can say is that icing a sugar cookie is a lot of work especially when it has not been done before.   I was really nervous to use icing as a decorating medium.  My attempts in the past have primarily used royal icing and a small tip to decorate cookies in a swirly pattern, nothing that required outlining, flooding and then enhancing.

I  chose a beehive/bee cookie because I love bees.  I find that they represent hard work and beauty.  While serving in Utah as a quilt guild president for the Heber Valley Quilters I did a whole theme around bees.  Bee-cause it was so fun to create fun "bee words" for each months goals and as women we could relate to a busy hive at home with family.

I have included the cookie recipe from In the Raw but I also have a delicious gluten free sugar cookie that I use when baking for myself (I am the only one that requires no wheat in my family).  You can find that recipe HERE.

Recipe: Sugar Cookie 
Adapted from In the Raw

Makes 24--4inch cookies (amount will vary depending on cookie cutters used)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
2/3 cups sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup Monk Fruit In the Raw Bakers Bag

Icing--recipe below
Cookie Cutters--beehive and bee
Food coloring--favorite yellow and black
decorating tips--#1, #2. #3. #4 and #5 (these sizes helped with the outlining, flooding and dotting)

In a medium bowl, combined the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter together until light yellow.

Add vanilla and egg plus one egg yolk.  Combine until well blended.

Stir in Monk Fruit sweetener.  Slowly add dry ingredients from medium bowl.

Dough should rest for 3 hours to overnight.  Place cookie dough on a piece of plastic wrap and tightly seal.  I kept mine in the fridge overnight and made the cookies the next morning.

Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Remove cookie dough from refrigerator and cut in half.  Using a bit of flour and your rolling pin, roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness.  Dip cookie cutter into flour and cut shapes place 1 inch apart on cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes for a large cookie.  My bees did not take as long because of their size. 

Remove and let completely cool on wire rack before icing and decorating.

These can be stored up to three days before decorating in a sealed container or bag.

Recipe: Icing

1 cup of powdered sugar, sifted
1 T. milk
1 T. light corn syrup
quick squeeze of lemon juice

Combine ingredients together in small bowl and whisk well.  This will be used for the outlining of the cookie. Add coloring if desired.

Put a small amount into a icing bag with #4 tip and outline your cookie.

To flood cookie, thin icing with a few more drops of milk.  Add icing to a new bag with #4 tip and fill the inside of your outlined cookie or design.

Let cookie sit for 1 hour for icing to set.

Finish decorating cookie with your favorite design.

Store cookies in sealed container or baggie.







Tuesday, May 14, 2013

290. Gluten Free Blueberry Streusel Muffins


Blueberry muffins are a family favorite in our home.  We look forward to blueberry season in our neck of the woods each year.

What I enjoy the most about these muffins is the streusel topping--the crunchy, sweet nuggets add the right amount of texture to the soft muffin.  I love them when they are warm on the first day.  They do reheat in the microwave well too.

The blueberries are perfect when they are at their best: sweet and plump.  I have only used fresh berries to make these so I do not know how frozen blueberries would work.  If you try them, please leave me a comment and let me know so I can update the recipe for others.


Recipe: Gluten Free Blueberry Streusel Muffins
Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Makes 12 muffins

1/2 cup almond meal
1 cup white rice flour, fine (see note below)
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
* To make them not gluten free substitute the above flours with 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour.

2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup soft butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1-1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Topping

1/3 cup white rice
3 teaspoons tapioca starch
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons soft butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cup cake/muffin tin with 12 liners.

In a medium bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients: almond meal, white rice flour, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, baking powder and nutmeg.  Stir with wire whisk until well combined, set aside.

In a large bowl, combine sugar and butter.  Blend on medium speed until butter is light in color.

Add eggs one at a time and blend in.  Add vanilla and milk.

Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir to combine.

Add blueberries and gently fold them in. If you over stir the batter the blueberries will break apart and turn your muffins purple.

Add batter to liners. Fill to the top;  it is okay if they are a little over full.

To make topping: Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl.  Using a pastry cutter, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly (see picture below).

Add topping generously to the top of each uncooked muffin (see picture below).


Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops are firm to the touch.  Remove and transfer to wire rack and let cool.




NOTE:  I buy my white and brown rice flour at an Asian Market called H Mart.  The flour is blended finer than most major brands.  This can be ordered on line if you don't have access to a store near you. It does make a difference in the texture of your baked goods.


Written by Sherron Watson


Monday, May 13, 2013

300. Bacon Potato Pancake with Toasted Corn Salsa



Imagine my excitement when I received a huge box delivered to my doorstep.  It was like Christmas all over again.  I opened it up to discover that I had been sent some pretty amazing things: an assortment of potatoes from Potatoes Goodness Unearthed and supplies from OXO to help me with my amazing potato appetizer.

At the end of this month I will be attending my first conference in Philadelphia, Eat Write Retreat. As part of the participants we have a variety of opportunities before the conference to get involved.  This was one such event: a mystery ingredient used to create an amazing appetizer recipe.

It took me about two weeks to finalize what I would be making.  I had a few ideas but kept coming back to a potato pancake.  I wanted to make something that I would want for an appetizer and this is something that I love.  I have topped my bacon potato pancake with a creamy avocado sauce and toasted corn salsa.

All I can say is that my family thought it was pretty amazing!

The bacon and potato paired together is always a home run in my book.  I love avocados and thought the green highlighted the corn relish and was an excellent sauce for the pancake.  The corn salsa offers a bit of crunch and texture to the appetizer.

When I make mashed potatoes at home, my kids always want corn to go along with them.  They enjoy the combination of corn and potatoes together and in some way, this was how the dish came together.

My kids are a huge influence in how I cook.  They have strong opinions about flavors and textures.  They have never been afraid to share their thoughts on any dish I have created.

My favorite part about the box I received in the mail was a nifty sheet of facts about the varieties of potatoes on the market.  I always knew that certain potatoes tasted better with certain dishes but I never went in search of this information.  I was pleasantly surprised to see a laminated sheet that gave me hints and ideas, along with a recipe, that would better assist me in finding the perfect potato to use in any recipe.

For this recipe, based on what I read, I used the YELLOWS.   They are buttery and creamy.  Two words that I definitely wanted to use in describing my Bacon Potato Pancake.

I hope that you will enjoy this appetizer as much as we did--the kids are already asking me for it again!

**Disclosure: I was provided with an assortment of potatoes to try along with a variety of OXO products.  My opinions are my own and I have willing given honest feed back to both products.

Bacon Potato Pancake with Toasted Corn Salsa

Makes 12-2inch pancakes

5 slices of bacon, cooked
1.5 lbs. of yellow potatoes, diced
1/4 cup green onions, diced
1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
1 egg
1/4 cup all purpose flour (white rice flour for gluten free)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
salt to taste (1-2 teaspoons)
Avocado Cream--recipe below
Grilled Corn Salsa--recipe below

In a large pot add diced potatoes and fill with water until just above potatoes.  You do not need to peel them unless you don't want the peel on your potatoes. When potatoes are done (they can be split with a fork) DRAIN the water.  Let potatoes dry out for a minute or two.

Fry up your bacon and cut into small pieces.  Save the grease and use this for frying up the potato pancakes.  I always keep my bacon grease so I do have extra if I need more while frying up the pancakes.

In a medium size bowl, combine bacon pieces, green onion, cheese, egg, flour, salt and pepper.

Using a potato ricer, rice the potatoes into the bowl with the other ingredients.  Stir to combine. The consistency will be very thick. I used an ice cream scoop to portion my pancakes.

Using the bacon grease, add this to a new frying pan and fry your potato pancakes until they are golden brown.  Remove to a wire rack.

Top with avocado cream and grilled corn salsa.

Avocado Cream

Makes 2 cups

2 ripe avocados
1/2 lime
1/2 cup sour cream
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Combine avocado, sour cream, juice of half a lime, salt, garlic powder and onion powder into a small bowl.  Mash with fork, and then whip until smooth with wire whisk.  You can use a food processor if your kitchen has one, mine does not.

Toasted Corn Salsa

**Fresh grilled corn can be used if you prefer

1(14.5) can yellow corn, drained well
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons orange bell pepper, diced small
1/4 cup red onion, diced small
1 teaspoon light olive oil
1 lime
salt to taste

To grill canned corn I used my small cast iron pan.  Heat pan until very hot.  Add corn and toast on all sides, stirring frequently so it does not burn.

Remove once it has a nice brown color.

In a medium bowl, add corn and the remaining ingredients.

Serve hot or cold.


Written by Sherron Watson











Monday, May 6, 2013

Reno Omelette Mix



This recipe for Reno Omelet is one that my family would serve in their restaurants. We were known for our huge 6 egg omeletes.  Many patrons would share because, lets face it, 6 eggs is a lot to eat.  On rare occasions we would be met by a challenger who would eat the entire omelet, the hash browns, toast and 10 cups of coffee.  These were usually men who spent their days behind the wheel of a logging truck.

We lived in the hills of Oregon and the logging industry was still very active and a huge part of my town growing up.  These are sweet memories of riding my bikes along the logging roads with my cousins and family.  These roads are all closed down now because the mills are no longer functioning.

On our menu, we had a variety of omelets to choose from: Denver, Seafood, Reno and The Spanish are just a few.  This is by far my favorite.  I love the combination of pork and the different cuts of meat.  I also like the red tomato base sauce.  Combine this with cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream and you will eat like a king or queen.

This recipe makes a large amount.  This is great because you can freeze half for a later time or eat it in a week like my family does.  We don't tire of this at all.

The sausage that I recommend in the list of ingredients is purchased at Whole Foods in their meat section. The reason I am making note of this is because they are large.  I would say 1.5 inches by 6-7 inches long.  If you purchase sausage that is not this size then you would want to make some adjustments.

I also don't make 6 egg omelets at my home.  I use 2 eggs, slightly whisked and poured into a hot cast iron pan that has a bit of melted butter in the bottom.  You can also use a non stick or omelet pan to make your eggs.

I like a dry omelet,  this means that I cook one side and then flip it so that my omelet does not have any runny eggs (I don't like this at all).  At this time I will add my cheese and warmed Reno mix then top with sour cream. Flip the right side over the fixings and slide to a plate. You can top the omelet with more cheese and sour cream too.

I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe that is wonderful for breakfast, lunch or dinner!




Reno Omelet Mix

1 large chorizo sausage-cooked and sliced
1 cup of ham- diced and cooked
2 large pork sausages-cooked and sliced
6 slices of bacon-cooked and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large onion--sliced
3 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, do not drain
1  (14 oz) can of tomato sauce


After all your meat is cooked, diced and sliced add this to a large stock pot. Add sliced onion.  Let the onions and meat cook together on medium heat until the onions are soft.  Add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Let simmer and then portion up and freeze or refrigerate.  I usually let this simmer on low for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

Warm before serving in omelet if not using right away.

I like this omelet served with Sharp Cheddar Cheese and sour cream. 


To make omelet: See above.



Asparagus Dill Pinwheels #vegan

I am always looking for ways that I can use leftovers. These pinwheels allowed me to use up the blanched asparagus from the night bef...