Friday, April 24, 2020

Donut Breakfast Casserole


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I made donuts last week. They turned out so good. I have made donuts before but they did not taste or feel like these. What was different? The dough. I found a recipe by I AM Baker where she made donuts from brioche dough. Adding eggs to the recipe made a huge difference, for me, with texture. I like a donut that is airy and soft on the inside and crispier on the outside. I don't like cake donuts that tend to be thick and dense. 

I loved it. 
The kids loved it.
Donut Casserole is really good.

Unfortunately, we could not eat all the donuts or donut holes. I did not want the dough to be wasted. I decided to cut the donuts up into small pieces and make an overnight casserole for the next day. It reminds me of the casserole I make Christmas morning, but with cinnamon and sugar and no sausage.

After digging around a bit, I learned this is not a unique recipe. There is a whole group of people who take extra donuts or make a donut run just for this make a Donut Breakfast Casserole. I believe they are my village, my best friends, and definitely people I would spend a morning with.

Donut Breakfast Casserole

Recipe--Make the night before you want to eat this casserole.

8-10 donuts, we use cinnamon, plain, or glazed
2 cups of milk, any type
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup cinnamon sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla

1. The night before, cut all of the donuts into 1-inch size pieces. Grease your pan with butter or favorite oil. Add the cut donuts to the 9x13 baking dish or equivalent.

2.  Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar all over the top of the cut donut pieces.

3.  Whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. Pour over the top of the cinnamon, sugar, and donuts. Cover.

4.   Place in refrigerator and let sit overnight. In the morning, remove the baking dish. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake casserole for 35 minutes or until puffed and the egg mixture looks cooked.

5.  Serve with warm syrup. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Dandelion Jelly


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The girls and I made our first batch of Dandelion Jelly. I had read that it tastes like honey and it does. I made a small batch because we only had a few dandelions in our yard at the time. I will definitely be making more of this and I hope to add a dandelion syrup too.

This recipe requires you to make a tea first. This allows the benefits of the dandelion to come through without the bulk of the leaves and petals. I made mine the night before and let it steep and then drained it in the morning.  My two cups of tea produced 3 jelly size jars of Dandelion Jelly. We shared one jar with our neighbor.

I use my Pacific Northwest Foraging book to help me identify plants in our yard.

Make sure your dandelions are free from chemicals, if possible, before picking them. You should always strive to find dandelions that have not been exposed to yard sprays or community sprays. Beware of public parks too. They may have a lot of dandelions but if you do not know, in advance,  how the grounds have been tended too, then beware.

There are many claimed benefits of consuming the dandelion plant. To learn more about these benefits see this link from, Medical News Today. As with any herb, please check with your doctor before consuming dandelions to ensure this plant does not interfere with any known ailments or medications.


1. Collect your dandelions. Collect enough floral heads for two cups. Trim the flowers from the stems. Try to remove as much of the green from the yellow. The green part of the flower might make your jelly bitter if there is too much. I used a pair of tweezers to clean up my dandelion petals.

2.  Add two cups of boiling water to petals. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator. Drain before you make the jelly. You should have two cups of tea. I used a coffee filter in a strainer to strain my tea. This allowed the tea to not have any petals or stems. It worked great!

To make the Dandelion Jelly


2 cups of dandelion tea
1 tablespoon of lemon fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons of pectin (about 1/2 a 1.75oz box)
2 cups of sugar

1.  Add tea, pectin, and lemon to a large pot. Let tea, lemon juice, and pectin come to a boil. Beware it will begin to foam.
2.  Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Return to stove and bring to a boil. Let boil for 1-2 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and skim off white foam. 
4. Add jelly to jars. Refrigerate jelly. Eat on toast or biscuits.

If you wish to finish your jelly with a water bath for storage, please see this blog, Lonely Pines Farm. She has great instructions on how to do a water bath. I personally don't do this because we eat the dandelion jelly too fast or I share it with friends.

Monday, April 20, 2020

My Birthday and Our Week in Review

I turned 52 this past week. It was a simple day. I did take the day from homeschooling. I mostly just read sweet messages and talked to friends. It was a little different from other birthdays because we stayed home. Normally I want to go somewhere. The Tulip Festival is my favorite this time of year, but of course, that was canceled. So we went for a bike ride instead.

Each year I pick one or two things that intimidate me or I am afraid of.  My 50th birthday involved going to clothing-optional hot springs. That was a fun weekend. Brietenbush is one of my favorite places on this Earth. You can read about that trip HERE. For my 51st birthday, I swam in the ocean in Hawaii. I had early childhood trauma with swimming in open water. My dad had a catamaran when we lived in San Diego. We often went out on it when I was very small (3,4, and 5yo). I remember the sailboat capsizing and even though I was wearing a life jacket, the fear of the water has stayed with me for a very long time. Going to Hawaii and swimming in the warm water and being able to see the bottom was very fulfilling to me. This year, I rode my bike in front of my house. I do not like riding my bike on open road. I much prefer riding on trails, in state parks, and closed off roads.

The quarantine has put in a position that some of my goals for this year will not be met because we will not be traveling back to Hawaii. I was going to tackle my fear of heights and do a zipline. So instead, I decided to ride the road that runs along the front of my house. It is a gorgeous 15 miles one-way trip to Toledo. It is so scenic and quiet. I rode 11 miles the first day, 15 the next, and this past weekend I rode 21 miles.  I love being outside and I so glad I made the decision to ride my bike on this road.

I bought this lime green jacket at Goodwill a few years back to wear while running. It has made me feel very bright and colorful while riding. I have my helmet and a pair of biking gloves. We follow the rules of the road and try to give all cars enough room to safely pass us by. Riding our bikes will and is going to be a nice addition to our exercise routine under the restricted policies we have in place at the beach. As of now, we are still able to walk on the beaches, but I am not sure for how long. It mostly depends on the tourist. If they stay away, then the beaches will more than likely stay open, but if they flood to the coast and it becomes too crowded then our mayor and local officials will decide to lock them down. This will make me sad as we love the beach.

Here is to tackling our fears and living a full life, even though we are experiencing a pandemic.


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I have tried to attach links, pictures, or videos (when available) to share with you our process, our recipes, and our inspirations. I don't work with any brands and none of the links will direct you to a site to purchase anything. I will always tell you if and when this happens.

1. I made donuts. Here is the recipe I used: . This blogger has wonderful recipes, I Am Baker.

2. Our mushrooms began growing this week. We are excited to see them grow. I have plans of retrieving an old log from behind our house and trying to add some of the leftover mushroom mixture to the log and seeing if we can create some ourselves outside.

3.  We spend 1-2 hours a day in our yard working on our plants, the garden, and creating berms. This week we are planning an herb garden. Planning requires us to decide how big, where to put it, and how much wood and soil we need. It also involves deciding what to plant. Living at the beach we also need to worry about the wind, the cooler temperatures, and the salt in the air. We are thinking of maybe creating a cover for it during the winter months. Do you have any suggestions for creating an herb garden in an ocean environment?

4.  I made lasagna on Sunday and it was so good. On occasion, I add sliced olives. My sister had never had it this way before. She loved it! It's different but very good.

5.  We are researching adding raspberries to our yard. We planted blueberries a few years ago, this year we added huckleberries, and raspberries just sound amazing to have on hand. We live in Oregon so our yard is surrounded by blackberries. We literally have thousands of plants around our local area to pick from. In the past, we have frozen most of them, but this year we will be adding a blackberry jelly or jam to the mix. Update: My sister bought 3 types of raspberries. They are being planted this week.

6. Monday we had Ham and Cheese Potato Pancakes. This was my little girl's first time eating this delicious food item and they want them again soon.  I had about 4 cups of mashed potatoes from a few days before and some gravy with about 1/2 cup of ham from our ham roast. I do not leave things in my fridge for too long. I do not like food waste and do my best to use it all up. After a few days of something sitting in the fridge, I will repurpose some of the items into something else. This was one of those times.  This reminds me of a Chopped episode. I pull it all out and then I get to work creating something new.  The recipe can be found on my blog.

7. We made Rainbow Rice. This is a great way to use up vegetables and leftovers. Last week I made Gyoza's and I had a little bit of filling leftover. This was the perfect recipe to add to because the flavor profile was similar. They both have soy sauce as an ingredient. Click on link.

8. I made Peach Frozen Yogurt with our homemade yogurt. The yogurt was made with powdered milk that I bought from a dairy in Indiana. I added blueberries from last summer that we picked in Siletz, to one of the batches, so it is a Blueberry Peach Frozen Yogurt.

9. I dehydrated Roma tomatoes in the oven. I used this recipe from Spruce Eats as a reference. I have never made them before and I purposefully chose a recipe that does not use olive oil. I wanted to try it with just the tomato and the salt. After they were prepared, then I added them to olive oil and stored them in our refrigerator. They will be used on pizzas, in pasta recipes, and with burrata cheese.

10. We picked Dandelions and Purple Dead Nettle from our yard. These are two common weeds that are edible. The dandelions I made into a jelly and the nettle I am drying and we will use it in a tea. My favorite book for this area is Pacific Northwest Foraging. I am trying my best to learn what we have in our yard and how to best use it if we need to. I will post the recipe soon.

11.  Cory and I started riding our bikes again. We have a beautiful windy road in front of our house that follows the bay all the way up to Toledo. I wasn't sure how safe it was and felt nervous to ride our bikes on it for many years. The traffic is becoming lighter and lighter so I felt safe enough to take an adventure on the road. We road about 11 miles and it felt fabulous. I will definitely be riding my bike again along this road and the good news is we do not have to load our bikes on our car and drive somewhere. We leave from our garage.

12.  I made a Pork Shoulder Roast from one of our local farms. I slow roasted it at 300 degrees, let it rest for 40 minutes, then did a reverse broil on it. Perfection. I used this recipe as a reference:

13. Wednesday was my birthday. The day was perfect. The kids made me a banner and a hand-print canvas to frame for my wall. We ordered take out from one of our favorite restaurants. I turned 52. It is a strange time to live with the pandemic and all. I am grateful to have most of my family so close to us. Our son is still in the city and we miss him every day!

14. I made a Donut Breakfast Casserole with my leftover donuts. It was delicious! We served it warm with real maple syrup. Recipe coming soon!

15.  Lizzie found this 1930 vintage canning pickle jar across the street from our house. The little girls filled it with flowers. I love it! We love finding old bottles buried in the mud when the tide goes out. We find all sorts of old pottery too.

16.  I ordered beeswax pellets and small containers to make some dandelion salve from our yard. My goal is to start harvesting more of these essential herbs to add to our "homesteading" lifestyle.

17.  Every two weeks I order more canning jars. They are so expensive! This order I have the 4 oz jelly jars and the 8 oz "tuna" jars. We will be canning our own tuna this summer.

18.  Our daughter started a new Instagram account for her two pet snails, Barnum and Bailey. They just layed eggs!!  WHO KNEW? I am learning so much from her experience of raising them. I don't want them in my garden, but they sure are fascinating creatures.  If you want to follow along her Instagram account is Circus of Snails. I think the family's who are homeschooling would get a kick out of following her adventures.

19. I started a new lettuce start using an existing head of lettuce. Our first one was planted last week and it is flourishing in the soil. I am really happy with this process and can see that it will provide lettuce for us through the winter months.

20.  We made homemade flour tortillas from Lil Luna blog. They are so good!

21. We received our order from The Old Blue Raw Honey company this week. We did a variety pack. It is local and we are very happy with the flavor.

22. I ordered some succulents for Rye and we received those this week. There were 30 plants. We are learning a lot about how to transplant them, the calousing process, watering, and taking care of them. We usually buy them already developed and planted. This will be a learning opportunity and a fun experiment in how green our thumb is. LOL

23. We made Lemon Drops for my birthday. My all-time favorite drink. This is the recipe I use, click on the link.

Ham and Potato Pancakes

Last week I made a ham from Sitka Farms in Toledo. It was delicious. I had a bit of ham leftover along with some mashed potatoes so I decided to make savory ham and potato pancakes. Our girls loved them. They are crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. They are a great way to use up leftovers in the refrigerator.

I am posting this recipe because I am linking it to our weekly roundup of recipes and homesteading chores on our 1/2 acre of family fun. Therefore, this post is short and sparse on pictures. 

Ham and Potato Pancakes

4 cups of prepared mashed potatoes
2 eggs
¼ cup of all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons of minced white onion
¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon of dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons of oil to fry

1.     Combine all ingredients into a bowl. Mix together.
2.     Heat up oil.
3.     Using an ice cream scoop (this helps to keep the size similar), scoop the mashed potato and add to the pan. Use the back of the scoop to flatten the pancakes a bit.
4.     Cook in oil until crispy and then flip to the other side. Remove pancakes to a cooling rack.
5.     Serve immediately with more cheese, sour cream, green onions, or gravy. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Donut Breakfast Casserole

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