Shredded wheat “french toast”- revisiting an old favorite

Growing up, a favorite breakfast was shredded wheat biscuits fixed like french toast. Mix up eggs and milk, dip in the shredded wheat biscuit to soak up the mixture, then fry in butter, and enjoy with syrup. I never knew anyone else who had this for their breakfasts, and we all just were sure it was a secret recipe from my father’s family.

Dave didn’t grow up enjoyng this, but has always like it when I fixed it. He asked for it this morning. Sounded good to me also, except I didn’t have shredded wheat biscuits, just spoon size. Well, why wouldn’t it work? I mixed up 2 eggs with 1/2 a cup of milk, and poured in a few servings of spoon sized shredded wheat. AFter letting it sit about five minutes, I drained what little liquid was still sloshing around in the bowl, and poured them into hot butter in a fry pan.

Hey – worked just fine. And they tasted fine also, with real maple syrup and strawberries pulled out of the freezer and thawed before spooning on top.

A search of the internet showed this “secret recipe” isn’t really our secret, as others mentioned they also make this. Some people, unfamiliar with the dish, read recipes and commented about that it just didn’t sound right. But I will vouch from personal experience that it really does taste right!


Mt Rainier winter adventure!

We have reservations at the National Park Inn that is located in Longmire, within Mt Rainier National Park, for Sunday and Monday night. I made the reservations a while ago, as a birthday celebration, with hopes for good winter snow play weather.

So, weather forecast is for snow tomorrow, then partly sunny on Monday. Hip Hip Hurrah! Maybe we’ll even see “THE MOUNTAIN”. That’s how we refer to Mt. Rainier. It’s spectacular when you can see it. The surroundings are spectacular even if you can’t see it.

So, I felt I’d better be prepared with some food for our expedition. While the Inn has a restaurant, I’m not reading great reviews, plus I’m still kind of frugal and don’t want the cost of eating out every meal. So I’ve packed some food to bring along. Granola for breakfast. I’m partial to recipe from Alton Brown. The maple syrup and nuts are perfect.

I also decided we need some rolls for sandwiches. I tried a recipe from King Arthur Flour for Ham and Cheese Buns.

Some wrote into the King Arthur Flour webpage “Holy Moses” when she saw how they turned out. I’ll second that. Wow!

Well, I won’t know until tomorrow what they taste like as I’ve forbidden Dave to sample any until we “hit the road”. But they sure look good.

Success at last.

How to win friends (or, My “signature” cinnamon rolls)

I LOVE to bake. Cookies. Pies. Bread. But I haven’t done hardly any baking for many months. My midsection had outgrew my clothes, and I needed drastic measures. So, I quit baking. Week after week, I stuck to my resolve to lose weight. And gradually, very slowly, it has been coming off. But the urge to bake hasn’t gone away. So I decided a few nights ago to make up a pan of cinnamon rolls to bring to work. That way I get to bake, but don’t have a dozen cinnamon rolls to tempt Dave and me to indulge too freely. The rolls are ones I’ve made dozens of times. I use a bread machine, and they are easy for me to make the night before, refrigerate, then bake in the morning. I consider them my “signature” baked goods, what I make over and over again and that people have come to expect (or at least, hope for) from me. I think with pleasure of what I consider other people’s “signature” recipes – my mother’s almond kringles, my sister’s Amish potato rolls. But these pecan cinnamon rolls are mine.

It’s a recipe I clipped from a Better Homes and Garden magazine years ago (decades ago, really). I’ve revised it to use a bread machine, but you can make them the “old fashioned” way if you’d like. Also, the original recipe was named “raisin-pecan cinnamon rolls”. I don’t like raisins cooked into anything, so I leave them out!

Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs

In bread machine, add all ingredients. Program machine for dough setting – press start and come back in an hour and half or so. Take dough out of bread machine, punch down and turn out onto lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. While dough is resting, prepare filling:

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine all filling ingredients, cutting in butter till crumbly.

Roll the dough into a 12 inch square. Sprinkle filling over dough square; top with pecans. Roll up jelly roll style; pinch edges to seal. Slice roll into 12 one-inch pieces. Arrange dough slices in a greased 9 by 13 inch baking pan. Cover dough loosely with clear plastic wrap, leaving room for rolls to rise. Refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours. Uncover. Let stand at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes (or until nearly doubled in size – it sometimes takes longer for mine to finish raising). (or, for immediate baking, don’t chill dough but let rise in a warm place until nearly double, about 45 minutes). Bake in 375 F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until light brown. If necessary to prevent overbrowning, cover rolls loosely with aluminum foil for the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking. Remove rolls from overn. Cool for 1 minute. Invert onto wire rack. Cool slightly. Invert again onto serving platter and drizzle with Powdered Sugar Glaze: Stir together 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, 1 tsp corn syrup, 1/2 tsp vanilla and enough half and half or light cream (or milk) to make of drizzling consistency.

Serve warm and make new friends.

So yesterday morning I brought the refrigerated pan of cinnamon rolls into work, let the rolls raise, and then baked them in the lunchroom of my building. Mmmm. Love that smell of baking bread, especially when cinnamon is included. And I kind of like how it seems to drive a lot of people kind of crazy – smelling bread baking but not knowing what’s going on.

When they were ready I let my department (of sorts) know they were ready, and some of the quality assurance folks and engineers sat down with me to enjoy them. So nice to hear how much they love them. And almost even funnier to notice the Director of Information Services poking into the lunchroom multiple times, kind of hovering around. But I didn’t invite him to join us. Am I mean or what???

I’m not quite sure…. I like sharing. I like baking. But I also like to choose my “guests”.

All readers of my blog – this invitation goes out to you. Be my guest and join me for some fresh from the oven baked goods. Please!

What’s for breakfast?

I love breakfast. I wake up hungry and ready to eat — soon. A favorite food early in the morning is hot cereal. Wheat Hearts is a great choice, but I can’t seem to find them locally. Oatmeal is also great. Call me weird, but I like starting the day with a hot bowl of oatmeal. Thick, steel cut oats are best. Old fashioned are still great. I even will go with quick cooking oats – as long as I can start with plain oats, and not those horrible packets sold by Quaker Oats of instant oatmeal that have a high load of sugar and flavors. Still, I’m always open to other ways to eat oats (besides turning into being a horse and eating them raw).

So, I was reading in the Milwaukee Journal about Heinemann’s, a local institution, closing their restaurants. This restaurant holds a soft spot for Dave – his parents went to their downtown location in the center of the city for lunch, when they were courting. So, in reading the article, I noticed that a favorite menu item was baked oatmeal. Baked oatmeal??? What in the world is that? I did some searching, as Heinmann’s was unwilling to share their recipe. I found many recipes and tried one this morning. It didn’t as much butter as some the recipes I’d found, but it seemed interesting. And I liked it! Here is what I made. (Actually, I divided everything in half and baked it in a small casserole dish):

Baked Oatmeal

1 1/2 cups skim milk
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sliced bananas

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9 X 13 pan with non-stick spray. Whisk together milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla. In a large bowl, stir together cinnamon, oats, brown sugar and baking powder. Fold milk mixture into oat mixture. Let stand for 15 minutes. Pour inot prepared pan. Bake 35 to 45 minutes. Top with sliced bananas…

Yummy. So, next time I will add some fruit to the baked oatmeal. Chopped up apples, or dried fruit. But I will make it again.

Spinach quiche (or real friends share recipes)

I shared a recipe the other night with Carrie.  She wanted to make a quiche, so I immediately thought about my sister Becky’s spinach quiche recipe and sent the recipe along to Carrie.  I’m wondering how it turned out for her.  I know she used Gouda cheese from the Farmer’s market but didn’t hear if it tasted good.  But it got me to thinking about shared recipes, and how interesting it is to ponder just where our recipes go when we “release them”.    Kind of a fun thought to think about tracing back the previous “owners” when you get a recipe from a friend, and how they now are all kind of your friends also.   So here is the recipe I shared with Carrie (with hopes that it’s OK with Becky that I shared it.)

Becky’s spinach quiche

1 baked quiche shell
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach
4 strips bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cups half and half
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 c. grated swiss cheese
1 teaspoon flour

Drain spinach, squeeze out excess moisture.  In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, half and half, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Mix in spinach and bacon.  Combine grated swiss cheese and flour and stir in.  Pour into quiche crust.  Bake at 325 (or 350) for 45 to 50 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Let set 10 minutes before serving.

My notes:  Prepare baked pie crust as directed on instructions.    Feel free to use all milk (total of 2 cups) rather than combination of milk and half and half.    Can use other kind of cheese if desired.  Also can substitute other vegetables –  or meats.    Will take longer to bake if using an 8″ pan.

Granola cravings

I woke up this morning really wanting to have granola with some yogurt and fresh fruit.  The granola container was empty, though, so I mixed up a batch.  I’ve been using a recipe I found in Sunset magazine some years ago.

Clementine\’s Fruit and Nut Granola

This recipe gives me a general guideline for how to make granola.   I use whatever kinds of nuts I have in the cupboard.   Maybe almonds, but usually not.  I sometimes add some shredded coconut, because I like coconut.  A few times I substituted maple syrup (the real stuff) for the honey and it made incredibly good tasting granola.  But I also thought about how expensive the maple syrup was and decided to reserve it for use as a topping for huckleberry pancakes.  I might add dried fruit when serving, or I might use fresh fruit.

I am pondering how I have been claiming (to myself) that I don’t like really sweet food.  I have joined the minority group in my family by now liking my lefse unsugared, unlike my tastes growing up when I always wanted sugar on it.  I don’t add sugar when I eat shredded wheat for breakfast.  But looking at this recipe I realize that I certainly must love sweetness (and fats!) as it’s pretty loaded up!    OK, so I’m kidding myself, as I certainly also love cookies and pies, both sweet and rich with fat.   My ongoing challenge…..