Sausage and Apple Braid

February 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

You know I love breakfast food. There is nothing like a brinner (breakfast for dinner). I loved it as a kid and I love it now.

Thankfully, so does my fiancé. So we’ll celebrate his birthday with a brinner. I’ll bring the Sausage and Apple Braid, and probably some of these pancakes.

I wish I could give someone credit for this recipe, but it came from my mom. She’s been making it, and making us kiddos happy with it, for years.

Now, I pass along this braid of goodness to warm another soul on another special day.

Ingredients:

-1/2 of a 17×25 frozen puff pastry, thawed.
-10 ounces of pork breakfast sausage, cooked and drained.
-1 egg, beaten
-1 yellow onion, finely chopped.
-2 apples, peeled and finely chopped.
-3/4 cup dries heb stuffing mix (the kind you only think to buy on Thanksgiving).
-1 egg beaten (for glaze)
-2 Tblsp. sesame seeds.

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Roll out pasty to rectangle and let stand. Cut 3 inch long strips, half an inch in width, along each side of the puff pastry. Leave 2 inch on top and bottom and at least 4 inches in the middle.
3. Mix cooked sausage, egg, onion, apples, and stuffing together in large bowl. Spoon down the center of the puff pastry.
4. Fold the strips over the stuffing and fold each strip over the other a few times, to created “braid”
5. Bake for 30 minutes until golden in color.
6. Brush the braid with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

May 12, 2011 § 5 Comments

Why, pray tell, is pumpkin only an fall food?? I mean, the canned stuff on the shelf year-round. And it tastes good year-round. And by good, I mean amazing. I love pumpkin. Nom nom nom nom nom. Get the picture?

I’ve love starting the morning with a smoothie. They don’t take long, they’re filling, nutritious, and easily adaptable.

Pre-blending. Not so pretty.

Since I’ll be gone all summer, I’ve been trying to use of a bunch of excess stuff I had in my pantry. So most recipes I’ll be posting will be part of a “cleaning out my pantry” series. I had a can of pumpkin in the pantry so I figured I should use it. Why not?? Just because its spring? Pshhh….bring on the pumpkin.

Recipe from: Oh She Glows

1 Tblsp Ground Flaxseed
1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree
1 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 heaping tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tsp Molasses
1/2 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
4-5 Cubes of Ice

Smokey Sweet Potato Homefries

May 6, 2011 § 2 Comments

Apparently I’m on a breakfast kick. I already told you I could eat breakfast for every meal so just go with it.

The boys loved these. But, I’ve determined they may not be the best taste testers since they seem to love everything. The Nutella cheesecake that I couldn’t get to set; they said “What are you talking about?! It tastes fantastic!” The time I couldn’t get my Texas Gold Bars just quite right; they begged for the whole pan. Maybe aesthetics don’t matter at all. I could just through a bunch of their favorite foods in bowl and hand them a spoon.

These called for smoked paprika. So I sprinkled it on. Then I saw chipotle powder in my spice drawer. And I smelled the essence of smokiness from the paprika. Then I looked back at the chipotle powder.

Yeah…it was asking, no begging, to be sprinkled on top of these succulent, smokey chunks of sweet potatoes.

So I did as the chipotle requested and dusted a little on top. It was a lovely little marriage.

Recipe adapted from: How Sweet It Is

2 large sweet potatoes-peeled and cut in cubes
1 small sweet onion-diced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
1-2 tblsp EVOO

Heat a skillet and EVOO over medium heat. Add onion. Season the sweet potato cubes with salt, pepper, paprika and chipotle powder. Add to skillet. Let brown, flip. Serve when softened.

Oh…and do that whole mimosa thing again. You still deserve one.

S’mores Pancakes and Brinner

May 5, 2011 § 2 Comments

I love breakfast food. In the morning. At night. For lunch. Brunch. Snack. Midnight feasts. And apparently brinner. (Remember the world’s best french toast?)

So when Josh asked for a “brinner” to celebrate his birthday and the end of finals, I couldn’t wait.
I had seen a recipe for s’mores pancakes recently, but decided to play around with it a little and see what I could do. I knew I had to have some graham flavor (I love graham crackers), chocolate and ‘mallow. (“Then you take the ‘mallow…” -Sandlot, anyone? Anyone?? ok. Moving on). I was quite happy with this concoction and, of course, the whole group loved them. I’m gonna miss my taste testers!

The usual group came, plus one of Scott’s friends from out of town, Brooks. Brooks brought some mexican martinis to the mix, Grant made breakfast burritos, Becca and Josh brought biscuits and I made pan sausage and white gravy to top the biscuits (we’re obviously southern), I made brown sugar bacon, some Pumpkin pancakes from a mix I got at one of my favorite restaurants, Kerby Lane, and some s’mores pancakes.

None of it made sense together. But, we didn’t care. Honestly, we were exhausted from the tediousness of the past week, the stress of the finals we’d just taken and all that mattered was spending out last weekend together before finals.

And, of course, it was an excellent way to put some food away before our partying. ; ) Yeah…it was the last day of finals. And we would be slowly leaving town over the next week. Its what we do.

Recipe adapted from: Food.com

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tblsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 1/4 cup milk
2 tblsp melted butter
3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat griddle to medium/medium-high. Mix flours, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a seperate bowl, mix egg, butter and milk until frothy. Add to wet ingredients and stir together. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour small amount onto griddle and cook a few minute on each side until golden brown.

Marshmallow sauce from: Can Do You Stay For Dinner?

1 cup marshmallow fluff
2 tblsp boiling water

Mix until mixture is syrup-y.

Top pancakes with fluff syrup and extra chocolate chips. EAT.

Oh…and have a mimosa, too. You deserve it!

A Law School Family Easter

April 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

“Live in the moment and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering!” 
-Crosby

Family is sometimes what you make it. Sometimes it isn’t about blood.

I love my law school family. They get me through finals stress, emotional breakdowns, caffeine meltdowns, sugar cravings, sweat-pants only weeks (yes, weeks), baseball cap days, social embarrassment from said sweats and baseball cap days, cruel professors, late nights, and lonely holidays.

And we have fun too. Dinner nights, and softball league arguments, and karaoke embarrassment, and flag football bruises, and Just Dance 2 awkwardness.

Michael cutting the mozzarella

The value of having these people in my life only continually goes up, especially as we all sift through case law, and text books, and outlines, and rules we should have learned before finals week. We sympathize, uplift, encourage, and inspire each other. And make each other laugh. Hibernating with copious sugar and caffeine in our study caves leaves us texting each other “I miss you!”s and “Only one more”s. I bake to relieve stress. Grant trades me two 12 packs of diet coke in exchange for my baked goods. Josh texts constant reminders of how close our Brinner (breakfast for dinner) party is after our last final. Early morning good lucks and late night funnies. We make it through.

I know I’ve told you this before, but I’ve become a MUCH happier person in this town ever since I found this group of friends. I honestly can’t describe how much I love them. In fact, I have a little secret: while I’m so beyond excited about my summer, I’m going to miss my friends here. A lot.

I hope they follow through on their promise to visit with Christa. And ride back with me. And go to Vegas on the way back. Ok…I digress. But, have I told you that I’m really really really excited about summer?

Anyway, back to Easter.

Because of our finals schedule this year, I didn’t get to go home for Easter. In fact, I haven’t been home in 5 months. I hate it. I miss my family. But, I’m also happy enough here that I haven’t hit the feeling of full-on homesick. Anyway, since my friends and I were all going to be here for Easter, we decided to celebrate together.

Because it just wouldn’t be Easter without a good (read: huge) dinner and family.

The drizzling.

Scott came to mass with me that morning and I saw at least 15 law students there. The solidarity of stressed students stuck here in Waco was comforting. I didn’t have time to do an full-fleged Sunday family dinner, we we opted for a pot luck instead.

As good as candy. Seriously.

That would be me.

Here’s how that went:
Me: Baked chicken pasta, bean salad, Texas gold bars.
Scott: Homemade salsa, and some chicken, sun dried tomato and spinach dish (That I need the recipe for…so good!)
Michael: Caprese salad skewers (that I helped him make and made a balsamic reduction for)
Becca and Josh: Red Velvet cake, apple crisps
Grant: LOTS of wine and a box for croissants from Wal-mart

For law students, mid-finals, we didn’t do half bad.

Cutting board from my mom, with the description.

My mom had sent me an excellent Easter basket the day before with a new apron, a wooden cutting board, a luggage tag, a prayer book, funny napkins, and a pashmina (seriously, she makes a killer Easter bunny. The woman knows me so well!). But, it wasn’t until Michael and I were putting together the caprese skewers that I realized the cutting board had been made out of olive wood from the Holy Land. Precious, Mom. And very Easter appropriate.

Scott, Michael, and Grant digging in.

We had an evening with lots of wine, sharing, a movie and a break from the stress of looming finals. If I couldn’t be home for easter, this was the next best thing.

Too many people for my apartment. And a baseball game on TV.

This is my Family. Even if they aren’t blood.

Michael had called earlier to decide what to bring. I was having a caprese craving like I’ve never experienced before. I usually crave sweets if I’m going to crave any type of food. Occasionally french fries. But, caprese was a new one for me.

Beautiful Becca. With Lauren and Scott on the couch.

So he suggested we put them on skewers. And I suggested we drizzle them with a balsamic reduction. Yummmm. We make an excellent team. I didn’t get any easter candy, but the perfect caprese skewer can make up for that.

This isn’t even a recipe. But whatever.

Josh tying my apron on Scott so he can do the dishes.

Its up there with pizza as my favorite food. And stawberries. And pineapple. And chocolate.

Yeah…pizza, caprese, strawberries and pineapple. Hawaiian Caprese Pizza next week. With chocolate covered strawberries for desert. #winning (yes, I often speak in hashtags. #blameTwitter)

Caprese Skewers:
Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
A few basil leaves
1 ball of fresh mozzarella (cute in cubes)
about 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Wooden skewers

Place balsamic vinegar in pot. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until reduced to a couple of tablespoons.
Meanwhile, skewer tomatoes, mozzerella, and torn basil leaves. Drizzle with balsamic reduction.

It sounds fancier than it is. : )

Best part of the evening. Shhh...he'll kill me for posting these.

**I promise a real recipe soon. Really. I promise.
Also, please excuse my horribly, poorly decorated apartment. I am a broke law student, remember??

“A” English Toffee

April 27, 2011 § 3 Comments

Aren’t Mom’s recipes always the best? My mom’s always are anyway. I tried this toffee for the first time around Christmas and took it to school. Mine isn’t up to the level of hers yet, but I’m trying. My Constitutional Law professor, who we lovingly refer to as “The Godfather” because he’s been here so long, loved it. He kept asking me for more when I saw him in the hall.

So I made him his own. Its worth an A, right?

Wrong. Apparently only a B+. So I teased him that my toffee was definitely worth an A. He laughed and said “You turn it in with your final next time!”

So last Thursday, for my Civil Liberties final, I did just that.

He said loudly, “This is bribery!”

Yeah…at his suggestion.

Honestly, he’d never give me a better grade because of it. But, no one makes below a B+ in Civil Liberties. The Godfather told me he was going to have to walk 10 miles after eating all that toffee.

An “A” would be beautiful. And really, Mom’s recipe for English Toffee is worth an “A,” right?

I thought so.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick butter
1/2 cup slivered almonds + more for topping
12 ounces milk chocolate (I used bakers chocolate, but feel free to use milk chocolate candy bars, or even semi-sweet chocolate chips)

Mix sugar, butter and almonds in pan over medium high heat. Stir constantly until combined and golden-brown. The all ingredients are incorporated and caramel-like, pour onto greased cookie sheet. Let harden. Meanwhile, melt chocolate. Then pour on top of hardened and somewhat cooled toffee. Sprinkle with almonds reserved for topping. When completely cooled, break apart and serve.

*Note I’ll soon try this with dark chocolate. Because I love dark chocolate. And its better for you…which means I can eat more, right?

Tiramisu French Toast

April 22, 2011 § 4 Comments

Before finals, the law school professors serve the students a “not-quite-midnight breakfast”. Pancakes, bacon, eggs, fruit trays, biscuits and gravy. All dished up by our profs at about 9 pm on the last day of class. Its a wink-and-a-nudge to the fact that we’re in for numerous sleepless nights over the next couple of weeks.

So for my traditional sunday night dinner with the boys (my Law School Family), I decided we should do our own, even better, breakfast for dinner. The week before, I had made a tiramisu tart. Surprisingly, the boys informed me that they loved tiramisu. Which was good news because I had leftover mascarpone cheese. Lots of it.

Some of the ingredients

Note: Even after this meal, I still have leftover mascarpone cheese. I should never shop with out a list. I overestimate everything.

mmm....Kahlua

Then I found a recipe for Tiramisu French Toast. Problem solved…partially. Gooey, sweet, luscious. With Coffee. Perfect, pre-finals indulgence.

The recipe called for instant coffee powder. But I has espresso powder on hand from the Tiramisu tart. And I had some Kahlua. Yeah…I did that. Mmmmm Kahlua. Liquor and coffee. Two of my favorite things. Bottled together. I mixed them in all of their goodness with the honey and mascarpone cheese.

Hello, delicious, creamy, perfection. How nice of you to join us for dinner.


We rounded out the meal with some brown sugar baked bacon (which Rachel Ray once taught me all about), some scrambled eggs with a little gruyere cheese shaved on top, and some smoky sweet potato homefries (recipe to come later).

Oh…and Mimosas. Don’t forget the mimosas. Just one more way our dinner was better than the one the school serves.

Tiramisu French Toast
Serves 4-6

Recipe adapted from: How Sweet It Is

1 Loaf Challah Bread
8 Large Eggs
1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Tblsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tblsp Instant Espresso Powder (divided)
1/2 Tblsp Sugar
1 Cup Mascarpone Cheese
1 Tblsp Honey
1 Tblsp Kahlua
Butter for griddle
1/2 Tblsp Cocoa Powder
Maple Syrup for Serving

1. Dissolve 1/2 tblsp espresso powder in 1 tblsp Kahlua. Microwave for about 10 seconds if needed to help dissolve. In separate bowl, mix mascarpone cheese, honey, and dissolved espresso powder and Kahlua. Set aside.
2. Whisk eggs, heavy cream, 1/2 Tblsp Espresso Powder, and sugar in a large bowl. Then transfer to baking dish to dredge the bread.
3. Preheat griddle or pan to medium to medium high heat.
4. Slice Challah bread in 1/2 inch slices.
5. Melt about a tablespoon of butter on griddle or pan.
5. Place challah slices in egg bath and let soak each side for about 30 seconds. Once coated, place on griddle. Let cook for about 1 minute (or until slightly browned) on each side.
6. Let the coated and cooked bread cool for about 1 minute before coating with the mascarpone mixture (it’ll melt if you put it on to early, but you still want nice warm french toast). Dust with cocoa powder. Drizzle with syrup and serve.

Enjoy.

*This was my first “food photography” experiment. Hopefully you’ll see my skills progress infinitely as I post more recipes. Thanks for bearing with me.

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