Monthly Archives: February 2016

Breakfast Blessings For Multiple Occasions Part 1 Pancake Muffins

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I must apologize for the lighting in most of the photos in this post. I was baking into the evening and needed to get this breakfast delivered quickly! So I had to photograph without natural light.

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Bereavement Breakfast

Have you ever been in a position where a friend has just lost someone very close to them and you just don’t know what to do to help? There are never any perfect words to say when someone is going through the loss of a loved one. I found myself in this position this past fall. My good friend and next door neighbor lost her 22 year old nephew to a fierce battle of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma this past September. It was so hard watching her and her family suffer through this loss after watching their beloved and “life of the party” son, grandson, nephew, and cousin fight so hard during his 10 month battle with this awful disease. Watching her family come together and support one another through this difficult battle, then loss, will forever be engrained in my mind and heart. I was literally speechless and felt helpless as to what I could do to help even in the smallest way. We hugged it out, cried together, offered to watch her kids if needed, prayed a ton, but I still felt there had to be something else I could do.

I thought back to my own experiences of losing a loved one. My kids were very little when my Grandmother passed away. I remember not wanting to eat anything myself during my grief, but I still had to get up and feed my kids. I also remembered how long and exhausting the wake was. That is when I thought of the breakfast idea. I thought it would be nice to sneak in my friend’s house while they were at the wake and leave breakfast for the next morning of the funeral service on her counter. That way, her and her husband would not have to worry about what to feed their kids the next morning when they got home late that evening from the wake. So, I did just that. I made a sour cream coffee cake. I chose this particular cake because I remember my friend telling me that her mom made a really good sour cream coffee cake and I wanted her to have something familiar and comforting. I also made mini frittatas and pancake muffins. I left the coffee cake on her island with a card explaining what I made and sharing my sympathy for what she was going though. I put the frittatas, pancake muffins, and a bottle of orange juice in her refrigerator. Now, if you don’t have a key to your friends house to sneak in as I did, you can always box up the breakfast and leave it on their doorstep in the morning, then send them a quick text. Or you can drop it off before the wake so they have it for the next morning.

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New Baby Breakfast

As different as these two occasions are, this breakfast is just as much a blessing to a new mom as it is for a grieving friend. Another neighbor recently had her third baby. She ended up needing an emergency C-section, and thank God her and the baby are healthy as can be! Her two other children are preschool age and toddler age. Again, thinking back to my own experiences, I remember how difficult recovering from a C-section was. And this friend has to take care of a newborn and two other little ones. I know how crazy mornings can be in my own household, so I wanted to bless my neighbor and her family with this very same breakfast. I boxed up all of the items and left the box on her doorstep. I didn’t want to ring the doorbell in case a child was sleeping or mom was nursing…no one wants to have to open the front door in that case!!!! So I just sent her a quick text to let her know the box was by her door and she could grab it when she had a chance.

I will be featuring each recipe separately this week, beginning with these quick and easy pancake muffins. I just use my recipe for my every day pancake batter, and bake it in mini muffin tins. You can add any fun mix-ins such as chocolate chips, blueberries, and apples. Sprinkles would be a great mix-in as well! After they are baked they are wonderful warmed up and dipped in syrup. They freeze beautifully and would be great to have for quick breakfasts before school, to take on camping trips, and to share with friends.

 

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Pancake Muffins

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
a pinch of cinnamon
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 1/4 cups milk at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Mix-ins such as chocolate chips, blueberries, or apples (If I use apples, I chop them about a half inch in size and saute them in a little butter for about 3 minutes)

Directions
1.Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a mini muffin pan with non-stick spray
2. Whisk 1 3/4 cups flour, the sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl.
3. In small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk the eggs with the milk and vanilla extract.
4. Melt 3 tablespoons butter and  whisk the butter into the milk mixture.
5. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry mixture, and whisk just long enough to make a thick batter, (if there are a couple lumps that’s okay).
6. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. Then add your mix-ins if using. They are also good plain.

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7. Bake 7-9 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack. Serve warm with syrup or cool completely  and store in an air tight container or zip top bag. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

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Recipe Source: Inspired by Food Network Kitchens 

Baking Tips: 

* Be sure all ingredients are at room temperature. If not, just warm up your milk in the microwave for 30-45 seconds. Let your eggs sit in hot tap water for 5 minutes

*You can use any pancake batter you wish

Bake and Share Ideas:
  1. Box up this breakfast and deliver for a friend for the morning of a funeral as I did
  2. Box up this breakfast and deliver to a new mom as I did
  3. Box up this breakfast and take to a family moving into a new home. Who knows when they will get to unpacking the kitchen completely!

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Recipe

Blueberry Buckle Coffeecake for a Spa Weekend Getaway Part 2

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My last post featured a bag of breakfast treats I made for my girlfriends to enjoy on a spa weekend getaway. I included fruit, fresh apple cinnamon scones, and blueberry buckle coffee cake.

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I have been wanting to try this recipe for a while now, and this was the perfect occasion. The blueberry buckle came together quickly and baked up beautifully. It has the perfect amount of sweetness, not overly sweet, and a wonderful buttery crumb. I ended up bringing my blueberry buckle to the spa, and enjoyed it poolside while reading “Wildflower” by Drew Barrymore. (I highly reccomend the book; it’s a fun easy read with a lot of interesting stories about Drew’s life.) It was the perfect way to spend my relaxing spa day! I look forward to making this recipe again and again especially with fresh picked blueberries in July!

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Blueberry Buckle Coffecake
Ingredients

STREUSEL
1/3 cup (2 oz)  sugar
1/2 cup (2 oz) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (2 oz)  (1/2 stick) butter
CAKE
2 cups  (8 1/2 oz) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz) sugar
1/4 cup (2 oz) (4 tablespoons) butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (4 oz) milk
2 cups (10 oz) fresh or frozen blueberries
Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease an 8″ square, 9″ square, or 9″ round cake pan. If you use an 8″ square pan or round pan, make sure it’s at least 2″ deep.
2. To make the topping: Mix the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Cut or rub in the butter with the side of a fork, two knives or your finger tips until it reaches a crumbly state. Set aside.
3. Blend the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
4. In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla.
Alternately add the milk and the flour mixture to the sugar/butter mixture, ending with flour. Add blueberries. Stir only enough to blend.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the topping over the batter.
6. Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
7. Remove the cake from the oven, and set it on a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Serve right from the pan. Or, to transfer to a serving plate, Loosen the sides with a knife or spatula. Holding the pan in your left hand, gently tip the cake out onto your right hand, remove the pan, and gently right the cake onto a serving dish.
Yield: about 12 to 16 servings.

Recipe Source: King Arthur Flour

Baking Tips:

*Toss the blueberries with 2 Tbs of the flour mixture before you fold them into the batter. This will prevent the blueberries from sinking to the bottom.

*Be sure your ingredients are at room temperature

*See my tips and techniques page on how to measure flour if you do not weigh your ingredients

Bake and Share Ideas:
  1. Make a special breakfast bag like I did and deliver it to a friend just because or bring it on your next getaway. A breakfast bag would be great to take to a friend or caretaker in the hospital, or to a friend who just had a baby in the hospital.
  2. Take a blueberry buckle coffee cake to your next brunch to share
  3. Enjoy some blueberry buckle with a cup of coffee or tea and friends!

Fresh Apple Scones for a Spa Weekend Getaway Part 1

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Last weekend, I was blessed enough to enjoy a lovely spa weekend getaway with an amazing group of ladies. We were all looking forward to seeing one another, relaxing and recharging, and having a lot of fun. Since we would be staying in a hotel, I wanted to treat the girls to a bag full of breakfast treats. The bag included a few pieces of fruit, a piece of blueberry buckle (which I will feature in part 2 of this post later this week), and these delicious fresh apple cinnamon scones.

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After I baked the scones, I wrapped them in small white bags I found at Michael’s to keep them fresh in the bag of breakfast treats.

 

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I have been making these scones for quite some time now. For the longest time, my husband did not like scones…until he met these babies! I made them one evening a few years ago just to try out the recipe for the first time. The next morning, I wrapped a scone in a paper towel and sent it with my husband to enjoy on his way to work. Not long after he left, I received a text from him telling me that the scones were amazing! YES!!!!! I finally found a scone that he loved! These scones are always a big hit! I always add more apples than the recipe calls for, and cut the apples in chunks. For some reason, this time that I made them, I did not add as many extra apples as I normally do, and I cut the apples the size that the recipe suggests. BAD MOVE! I did not think they came out as well as they do when I make them my way. I usually double the amount of apples and cut them in about 3/4 in. chunks.

Fresh Apple Cinnamon Scones
Ingredients:

2 3/4 cups (11 1/2 oz)  Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup (2 3/8 oz) granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Apple Pie Spice or ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) (4 oz) cold unsalted butter
3/4 cup (2 3/4 oz) chopped fresh apple, in 1/2″ pieces (about half a medium apple); leave the skin on, if you like (I use an entire apple and chop them in 3/4 in pieces.)
3/4 cup (4 oz) cinnamon chips (I use Hershey’s brand cinnamon chips. Not every grocery store has them. I find them at Jewel-Osco)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (4 oz) applesauce, unsweetened preferred

TOPPING
3 tablespoons coarse white sparkling sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Instructions
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and spice.
2. Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it’s OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.
3. Stir in the chopped apple and cinnamon chips.
4. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and applesauce.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.
5. Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don’t have parchment, just use it without greasing it. Sprinkle a bit of flour atop the parchment or pan.
6. Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment or pan, and divide it in half. Gently pat and round each half into a 5″ to 5 1/2″ circle about 3/4″ thick.

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7. To make the topping: Stir together the coarse sugar and cinnamon. Brush each circle with milk, and sprinkle with the topping.

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8. Using a knife or bench knife that you’ve run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges.

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9. Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2″ space between them, at their outer edges.

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10. For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F.
11. Bake the scones for 18 to 22 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. When you pull one away from the others, it should look baked all the way through; the edge shouldn’t look wet or unbaked.
12. Remove the scones from the oven, and cool briefly on the pan. Serve warm. When they’re completely cool, wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to several days.
Yield: 12 scones.

Recipe Source: King Arthur Flour

Baking Tips:

*Keep all ingredients as cold as possible

*Do not overwork your scone dough

*You can freeze the scones after you shape them into triangles. Freeze them on a sheet pan  for an hour, then place in a freezer bag. Bake them straight from the freezer. They may take a few extra minutes to bake.

*Refer to my tips and techniques page for more tips on making scones.

Bake and Share Ideas:
  1. Make a special breakfast bag like I did and deliver it to a friend just because or bring it on your next getaway. A breakfast bag would be great to take to a friend or caretaker in the hospital, or to a friend who just had a baby in the hospital.
  2. Take some scones to your next brunch to share
  3. Package a couple of scones, a bag of tea, and a tea towel and take them to a friend who needs a reminder to “slow down.

As I was photographing for this post, I noticed this quote from my yogi tea:

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SPREAD THE LIGHT AND BE THE LIGHT FOR SOMEONE TODAY!!! 

“SLOW DOWN” Tea Towel by Kimberly K. Carter

Kimberly K. Carter is a wonderful friend of mine who is an amazing graphic designer. She designed my blog including all of the artwork and the logo. A while back, she posted this “Slow Down” design on her Facebook page.  I immediately fell in love with it, and asked her if she could make a tea towel out of the design. The evening of our first bake and share gathering, Kim blessed me with this beautiful hand made tea towel, and I told her I want two more!!! I love it so much! I smile every time I see this towel hanging in my kitchen. Thank you Kimberly K. Carter!!!!

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The tea towel is available to purchase in Kim’s Esty shop. Click HERE to view her shop.

 

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