Take-Along Sugar Berries with Fresh Mint

Breakfast during the work week is often compromised by too little time. The truth is, I often fall prey to the drive thru at my local coffee shop, ordering a blueberry scone and a $7 latte, then I’m off to the Office. Continue reading “Take-Along Sugar Berries with Fresh Mint”

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Breakfast Just Got Better

Sometimes all it takes to inspire change is trying something new. I went grocery shopping this week and bought some light English muffins. I never buy English muffins, always whole wheat bread or occasionally even small bagels, but never English muffins. That changes now! The spongy, holey dough is truly a vehicle for any topping you can imagine. Crispy when toasted, English muffins have officially breathed life into my breakfast routine. Suddenly I find myself mashing avocado, slicing tomatoes and poaching eggs (trying to poach eggs, I should say. I tried and failed, but hey – the point is, I am inspired to try.)  Continue reading “Breakfast Just Got Better”

The Waffle Iron Movement

Cinnamon Roll Waffles make a quick & surprising breakfast.
Cinnamon Roll “Waffles” make a quick & surprisingly good breakfast.

I’ve never been one to show a lot of interest in food trends or new kitchen gadgets, but there’s one craze on food TV lately that’s got my attention. For all intents and purposes, we’re going to call it The Waffle Iron Movement. Have you seen the chatter? Evidently, the waffle iron, that little machine we plug into the wall to make fluffy buttermilk waffles, is capable of so much more. I’d like to preface this post by saying today’s “recipe” requires zero cooking ability.

Enter canned cinnamon rolls.

Who knew this was possible?
Who knew this was possible?

The Food Network’s Sunny Anderson taught me this trick while I was watching The Kitchen earlier this week. As they say on the show, “I tried it, and I liked it!” Essentially, the waffle iron can cook cinnamon rolls in less than half the time it takes to cook them in the oven. And yes, the waffle iron cooks them all the way through.

Pop the cinnamon rolls on a greased waffle iron, and shut it. Simple.
Pop the cinnamon rolls on a greased waffle iron, and shut it. Simple.

When cooked, the cinnamon rolls take on a crunchy exterior and remain tender on the inside. It’s amazing how this works!

Crispy, cinnamon roll "waffle" goodness.
In less than two minutes, you have crispy, cinnamon roll “waffle” goodness.

How’s that for breakfast on-the-go? Golden brown with great texture, you don’t even have to worry about the dough oozing out from the sides of the waffle iron. Clean up is easy!

Allow the icing to serve as your syrup.
Allow the icing to serve as your syrup.

They look and taste like real waffles. Ideal for college students in a dorm room, or apartment dwellers with galley kitchens, this trick is super fun. Plus, using an appliance to create something it wasn’t designed for makes me feel like a true rebel. I’m living on the edge these days.

Some Kinda Good approved!
Some Kinda Good approved!

Now, I’m not saying this idea trumps the good ol’ cinnamon roll every time. There’s not too much that can replace the soft, ooey-gooey pleasure that a properly cooked cinnamon roll elicits. But, if you’re in a hurry (and who isn’t in the mornings?), this trick is worth the minimal effort. Are you likely to try it?


While that waffle iron is hot, you may want to try Bobby Flay’s Peanut Butter French Toast “Waffles” with Mixed Berry Sauce, or The Pioneer Woman’s Waffle Maker Quesadilla.

Have you used your waffle iron or another kitchen appliance for something inventive lately? Let me know in the comments below!

Pumpkin Spice Pie with Buttermilk Whipped Cream, anyone?

Pumpkin Spice Pie
Pumpkin Spice Pie

It doesn’t get more traditional than good ol’ pumpkin pie. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it! Inspired by Paula Deen’s Maple-Buttermilk Pumpkin Pie in the magazine “Paula Deen’s Fall Baking,” this recipe is a slight variation of the original, but doesn’t deviate too far off the course. Have you ever heard of Buttermilk Whipped Cream? That is a new one on me, and boy am I glad I discovered it. Thank you, Paula! Whatever you do, resist the urge to eat this pie with standard Cool Whip. Take the extra 5-minute step to make Buttermilk Whipped Cream. You won’t regret it! I took the liberty of using Pumpkin Spice Syrup instead of maple, and added just a touch more sugar. Sweet and creamy, it’s mouth-watering served warm or cold. Enjoy a slice with a cup of hot coffee and a good friend. Add this dessert to your Thanksgiving table or Autumn baking list and your entire home will beckon the changing leaves!

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Pumpkin Spice Pie
1 (15-Ounce) can pumpkin
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup of Pumpkin Spice Syrup
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon (or more to taste) pumpkin pie spice

One 9-inch store-bought frozen pie crust (I’m not above it!)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin and next 8 ingredients. Roll thawed pie crust over 9-inch pie plate, crimping edges with a fork. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Bake for 85 to 95 minutes or until center is set and a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool for 1 hour before serving.

Buttermilk Whipped Cream
(Makes about two cups)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon good pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, beat cream with a mixer at high-speed until soft peaks form. Add all remaining ingredients, and beat until stiff peaks form. Plop a big dollop on top of a slice of pie, then sprinkle with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. Then EAT!

 “What kind of Thanksgiving dinner is this? Where’s the turkey, Chuck? Don’t you know anything about Thanksgiving dinners? Where’s the mashed potatoes? Where’s the cranberry sauce? Where’s the pumpkin pie?” ~ Peppermint Patty

Springtime Brunch Fare Because HE is Risen

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Sunday Brunch at Home

In my family, Easter Sunday has always been a special time to gather around the kitchen table after celebrating the resurrection of Jesus at church. I can’t think of a better way to give praise than with a bounty of beautiful food. Whether you’re popping a spiral ham in the oven and pairing it with scalloped potatoes, or opting for a special mid-morning brunch after the Sunrise Service, I hope some of my favorite recipes will tempt your palate. I’ll share three that are menu must-haves including Vidalia Onion Quiche, Best Grape Salad and Spicy Cheddar Long Straws. Choose one, or make them all. Happy Easter, y’all!

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Martha Nesbit’s Vidalia Onion Quiche featured in “Savannah Celebrations”

Vidalia Onion Quiche
This recipe appears in the cookbook “Savannah Celebrations” by Martha Nesbit

  • 4 Slices bacon, minced
  • 1 Large Vidalia Onion, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 3 Eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 ready-to-roll pie crust
  • ½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
    Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Fry the bacon in a medium skillet until it is very crispy. Remove the bacon to a paper towel to drain. Drain off all but one tablespoon of the bacon grease. Saute the onion in the grease un
    til it is very tender and just beginning to turn brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the flour.In a quart measuring cup, measure the half-and-half. Add the eggs and whisk together. Add the salt, pepper, and thyme. Place the pie crust in a deep-dish glass pie dish. Crimp the edges. Prick the bottom and sides of the crust. Layer both cheeses in the bottom of the crust. Distribute the bacon pieces and sautéed onion over the cheese. Pour the egg mixture over all.

    Place the pie dish on a cookie sheet for ease in handling and put in the center of heated oven. Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 45 minutes longer or until the center of the quiche is set. You may need to cover the outer edge of the crust with foil to prevent over-browning.

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Best Grape Salad

Best Grape Salad
Adapted from Food.com

Who doesn’t love cream cheese and graham crackers? Beware–the cold and juicy grapes in this crowd-pleaser are addictive. Thanks to my Aunt Susan for introducing me to such a fabulous recipe!

  • 2 lbs green seedless grapes
  • 2 lbs red seedless grapes
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, to tasteTopping Ingredients
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed, to taste
  • 1 cup crushed pecans, to taste
  • Graham Crackers, crumbled to taste

Wash and stem grapes. Set aside. Mix sour cream, cream cheese, white sugar and vanilla by hand until blended. Stir grapes into mixture, and pour in large serving bowl. For topping: Combine brown sugar, and crushed pecans. Sprinkle over top of grapes to cover completely. Chill overnight.

Southern Living's Spicy Cheese Straws
Southern Living’s Spicy Cheddar Long Straws

“Our best tip for successful cheese straws is to shred your own cheese. It’s stickier and blends better than pre-shredded cheese.” – Southern Living

I can testify to that! These cheese straws have become one of my go-to snacks for entertaining any time of the year. I think they’re especially great at brunch with a Bloody Maria. Their buttery texture crumbles and melts right in your mouth.

Spicy Cheddar Long Straws 
SouthernLiving.com

  • 1 (10-oz.) block sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and softened
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons half-and-half

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare dough, and turn out onto a well-floured surface; divide in half. Roll each half into a 12- x 8-inch rectangle (about 1/8 inch thick). Cut dough into 3/4-inch-wide strips using a sharp knife or fluted pastry wheel, dipping knife in flour after each cut to ensure clean cuts. Place strips on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until edges are well browned; cool on baking sheets on wire racks 30 minutes.

For more brunch inspiration, check out these photos (provided & styled by The Stylish Steed) from a brunch party I hosted at home. Some Kinda Good, good food and good company, that’s what it’s all about!

What are your favorite springtime dishes?

Breakfast Locally Inspired

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Cinnamon Sugar Pecan French Toast with Smoked Bacon

Food tastes better when you buy local. For Sunday morning brunch recently, I made french toast and bacon, but not just any french toast and bacon. On Saturday, I visited the Statesboro Mainstreet Farmers’ Market where I purchased a pecan loaf from Sugar Magnolia Bakery and Cafe and a pound of smoked bacon from Hunter Cattle Company. The sweet bread was the perfect thickness when sliced just right, and the Georgia pecans provided a nice crunch and texture that regular loaf bread lacks. Dusted with a touch of confectioner’s sugar, it was all I could do to take one picture before I savored every bite. And the pig. Never have I tasted the flavor of hog meat so profound and assertive.


Only available on Saturdays, the $4.50 pecan loaf at Sugar Magnolia Bakery and Cafe is hand-shaped into a round and baked. When the bread comes out of the oven, the top is sliced into what resembles a tree to allow steam to escape. When purchased, the bread is so fresh, you can still see the white flour on top in its brown paper sack. It’s so rustic and fun. For french toast, slice the bread about a 1/4 inch thick.

wpid-20130922_121044.jpgFrench toast is awesome for a few reasons: 1) It breaks up the monotony of pancakes and waffles, 2) Everything you need to make a batter for it is usually readily available on-hand or easy to get, and 3) It takes no time! For the batter, beat two eggs, whisk in a cup of milk or half & half, cinnamon sugar and a pinch of salt. Soak slices for about 30 seconds on each side.

wpid-20130922_121052.jpgMelt half a stick of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Toast slices about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown and beautiful like the one in the center. Flip. Repeat.


Meanwhile, cook your bacon. For one pound of Hunter Cattle Company smoked bacon, you’ll pay a little less than $10, and when you think about what you’re getting, you can’t put a price tag on your health. Learn how choosing pastured pork can benefit your well-being. You’re guaranteed to taste the difference.

wpid-IMG_20130923_120314.jpgDrizzle it with syrup or eat it without. You decide. There you have it. Breakfast locally inspired.  

Start the Day at Palmer’s Village Cafe

Palmer’s Village Cafe
St. Simons Island, Georgia

Breakfast on vacation. It’s probably my favorite meal. Whether you rise with the sun or sleep until 10 a.m., the food at Palmer’s Village Cafe on St. Simons Island will motivate you to get up and moving. They take pride in their ingredients and present plates with no detail undone. I’ve never been when there isn’t a crowd and that’s because, where there’s good food, you’ll find people.

I appreciate the thoughtfulness of the menu items. There aren’t many places you can go to find an omelet with crab meat and homemade pimento cheese garnished with grilled, pickled okra. The dishes are regional too, like the Coastal Delight: an open-faced whole egg omelet topped with goat cheese, sautéed shrimp, spiced pecans and arugula. The breakfast items range from $3.95 to about $12.

Smack dab between the Island hardware store and a small real estate company on Mallery Street, locals and vacationers fill the seats at Palmer’s. It’s my favorite place to start the day on the Island.

I ordered the Challah Bread French Toast served with Palmer’s Village Cafe signature maple syrup. You won’t find Aunt Jemima here. The Fresh Fruit side dish had juicy orange segments, sliced bananas and red strawberries.

Now, y’all didn’t think I forgot the meat, did you? Not just bacon or sausage…country ham. Salty and seasoned just right. That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!

 Artwork by local artist Cathie Parmelee decorates the walls and is available for purchase.

This is my favorite piece.

Colorful coffee mugs bring in fun pops of color.

Open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday – Sunday from 7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., you’ll feel welcome from the moment you step inside the creaking front door. No matter how busy Palmer’s may be, the staff members will make sure your coffee cup is full and you’ve always got everything you need.

Palmer's Village Cafe on Urbanspoon

Simply Satisfied with Mallery Street Cafe

Mallery Street Cafe
St. Simons Island, Georgia

A rainy morning on the last day of vacation led us to Mallery Street Cafe, a quaint place that boasts familiar, great tasting food in a causal setting. While the rain fell outside, we enjoyed a cozy table inside and awaited breakfast.

The menu is short and sweet with recognizable breakfast food like french toast, fruit, eggs, pancakes, grits and toast. You won’t break the bank here, because the items are a la carte. What is it about a coffee mug on a saucer surrounded by cream and a little spoon for stirring that elicits such a good feeling? A welcomed sight indeed in the early morning.

It was nice having the option to specify how many pancakes you wanted. So often at restaurants, a set number proves too many and are left uneaten. Two hit the spot.

Anytime there’s a packed house, that’s always a good sign. Just give me friendly service and tasty food in a coastal environment and I’m good to go. Located just across the street from the popular St. Simons Island Village, the cafe is a short walk from the Pier.

Open for breakfast and lunch, the cafe serves homemade soups, desserts and features daily specials. Make this place a stop on your next visit to the Golden Isles–you’ll leave simply satisfied.

Mallery Street Café on Urbanspoon

Homemade Summer Fruit Jam and Bread

I’ve officially arrived in the kitchen. I made jam. JAM, I tell you! Successfully, and on my first try at that. If I do say so myself, I was pretty impressed. Making jam has always seemed like an arduous process that I never wanted to conquer, but with a little time and determination, the Summer Fruit Jam recipe from my cookbook, Homemade gave my Mother’s Day gift baskets just the right touch. Take away? Never let over complicated directions or words like sterilize intimidate you in the kitchen or squelch your efforts.

Amazing how a few pints of fresh berries can be transformed into a firm, spreadable jam. I used strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries. Wash your berries, then hull and quarter the strawberries. You can use any combination of berries you’d like. I do love a blackberry! Not only do they taste great, but I used to pick them with my daddy when I was younger. They have that nostalgia factor for me. 🙂

Use a big stock pot. Bring the berries to a simmer and let them cook for about 15 minutes.

To the berry mixture, you’ll add the zest of 1 lemon and depending on your quantities, sugar and 1 package of pectin. I added four cups of sugar to about 3 1/2 cups of fruit.

This is pectin. You can find it on the baking aisle in the grocery store, usually near the Jell-O. This is what gives the jam that firm, squiggly texture–a must in any jam or jelly recipe.

Once the jam has simmered over medium heat for one hour, it’s ready to be jarred. Wash your jars and lids with dish detergent and hot water and be sure to dry them real good. Then fill them up, seal and let cool.

While my jam was simmering on the stove, I whipped up this cranberry-orange quick bread and added some white chocolate chips and the zest of an orange to bring out that citrus flavor.  Jam & bread–some things are simply better together.

The best feeling came when I received this picture message the next morning with the words, “Your jam is awesome!”

Pictured above: My grandma Dot (left), me (center) and mama (right).

One of the most rewarding parts of cooking is sharing it with the ones you love and it’s a great feeling to give back to the ones who’ve always fed me well.  Three generations…I learned from the best.

Sunday Brunch Dockside

The Black Marlin Bayside Grill
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina 

Nothing says vacation to me like Sunday brunch dockside, and The Black Marlin Bayside Grill in the Carolina lowcountry delivers. Breakfast is a meal I don’t make time to enjoy often, so when I do, it’s a real treat. After a weekend of lounging in the sun, The Black Marlin with its casual, welcoming atmosphere was just the place to dine.

 A wide variety of menu options are available with very reasonable prices.

A good drink always has a proper garnish. On the left, this isn’t just any old Bloody Mary. This is a Cucumber Bloody Mary made with Effen Cucumber Vodka. It was peppery and smooth and everything I had hoped it would be. At right, a refreshing Mimosa.

I ordered the Dulce De Leche French Toast with bacon. Dulce De Leche literally translates to “candy of milk,” I later learned. It’s basically a caramel sauce. The french toast was garnished with passion fruit. How awesome it that? Definitely a step up from your average french toast dish. The bread was the perfect thickness and no syrup was needed.

I also enjoyed coffee with cream. I had it all!

Every table was packed. Even my Shih Tzu, Ewok, was welcome to sit on the deck!

The Black Marlin has a self-serve Bloody Mary bar! How cool is that? You basically order a Bloody Mary, then you bring your drink over to the bar and flavor and garnish it however you like. Very cool.
This is the hurricane bar which opens for lunch and dinner.

After a delicious brunch, Ewok and I took a stroll on the Palmetto Bay Marina to admire all the yachts. We will definitely visit The Black Marlin again!!

Do you have a favorite restaurant or brunch spot on Hilton Head Island? Given the chance, what would you order for brunch?

Black Marlin Bayside Grill on Urbanspoon