Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Crunchy Granola Recipe

I found a great little cookbook at the library called More-with-Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre.  Simple recipes made with only the most basic ingredients, right up my alley.  There are about 15 recipes marked that I want to try before the book has to be returned to the library.  Today, I started making their Crunchy Granola recipe, only to find that I did not have half the ingredients and I had no desire to run to the store.   So, as always, I improvised and came up with my own granola.  The method for this recipe is different to the one that I have made in the past and honestly much easier.

Here is the recipe that I used today:



2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup crushed all bran cereal (put it in a bag, let the air out and then rush gently with your hands)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a sauce pan heat the following to a boil:
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup oil
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

Once the honey mixture has boiled, pour it over the dry ingredients and mix well.
Spread onto a cookie sheet  and bake for about 20-30min at 325 ‘F.  You do not want it t brown too much, so keep an eye on it.
Allow to cool, then break into chunks and store in airtight container.


This recipe makes about 4-5 cups of Granola, but can easily be doubled.  I like to eat mine with homemade yogurt, but the kids eat it plain or with milk in the mornings.

PostHeaderIcon Snow-nuts

We woke up on Saturday morning with almost 4 inches of snow outside and all I could think about were DONUTS!  Or doughnuts for those South Africans who read the site.

Emily and James ran outside to start playing and building a snowman.  Alexia and I preferred to make Snow-nuts (snow-donuts) in the warm kitchen.

I found this recipe online and thought it looked easy enough to try.   Only now that I am typing this do I realise that I used water instead of milk.  I have no idea why, other than I miss read the recipe.  The recipe says that the donuts have to double in size at the final rising stage, mine did nothing, but it still came out really well.  As soon as they hit the hot oil they plumped up.  Once they were cooked, Alexia and I sprinkled powdered sugar on them and they were delicious.

Donuts Recipe

1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 beaten egg
1/4 cup butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
8 cups vegetable oil for frying

Place the milk and egg into the pan of your automatic bread machine.  Add the butter, flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in that order, with the yeast on top. Select the dough setting, and start the machine. If you do not have a machine you can still make it by mixing everything together and kneading for about 10 minutes.  Then let it rest for 40min and knock it down before starting the next stage.


When the dough cycle is finished, remove the dough to a floured work surface, and knead a few times to get the bubbles out. Cut the dough into 16 pieces, cover them with a damp cloth, and allow to rest for 20 minutes.  I made about 14 pieces and Alexia helped so they were all different sizes.


Stretch each ball out into a disk about 1/4 inch thick, and use a small cutter to cut a hole in the center.  We used a bottle top.  Let the donuts rise on the floured surface until doubled, 30 to 40 minutes.


Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  I have a deep fryer, but hate getting it out so I used a large pan filled about 1/4 inch full of oil and it worked well.  I do not have a kitchen thermometer that will go as high as 350 degrees, instead I just guessed and it all turned out fine. 


Gently place a few donuts at a time into the hot oil, and fry until they float to the top and turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip them over, and fry on the other side. Remove from the oil, and drain on paper towels.


Sprinkle with powdered sugar or top with frosting or a glaze.

These were great and I will make them again this coming weekend.  This time I plan to make a chocolate glaze to go on top.

PostHeaderIcon Breakfast Sausage Patties

Before living in the South (of USA)  I had never heard of sausage patties for breakfast.  Sausages came in casings and was either cooked on the braai (coals from burning wood), fried in a pan along with fresh tomatoes and onion or simmered with sauerkraut and beer.  I never did meet a sausage without his little see-through jacket until I landed here.

We have a great selection of breakfast sausages here in South, some are hot and spicy, others have a milder flavor and are filled with herbs and you even get the sweeter sausages that have maple syrup in them.  Because of the kids I tend to buy the milder flavored sausage, Emily and Alexia love having sausage for breakfast, James will eat it any way I make it and along with eating it for breakfast I use it in my stuffing for pork chops or dressing.

One of our local grocery stores had a special on pork butt roast and this was the perfect time to try making my own.  Our last attempt at sausage was a success in one way, but James did not like the flavor of them.  Instead of following a recipe this time, I found a few examples online and used them all to come up with something that we would like.  It was a great hit.  James loved it, I think his words were something like; “yum, this is so good, how did you get it to taste so smokey?”  Don’t tell him or the kids that it has several herbs in it or none of them will eat it!

Breakfast Sausage Patties:

2 pounds pork butt, diced into small pieces
1/2 cup Bacon fat choped (I trimmed the fat from a packet of bacon I had in the fridge)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh chopped sage
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped Thyme
1/2 teaspoon fresh Rosemary
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground Nutmeg

Combine all the above ingredients well and feed it through your meat grinder.
(I used an old fashioned crank grinder and it worked great, as long as you put the blades in the right way around, lessons learned from our last attempt)

Refrigerate the ground sausage for an hour or longer then form the breakfast patties.  The recipe makes about 20 small patties.  You can either fry them up immediately or freeze them for later use.

I froze 12 of them, we had 4 for brunch and I have 2 more in the fridge waiting to be used to stuff pork chops or turned into dressing.

I am off to the grocery store to buy another pork butt to make more sausage for the freezer.  I was also thinking of  changing the recipe up a bit and making sausage links for a sausage and mushroom dish that I make.  This is another grocery item that I no longer need to buy,  I get to control what goes into the sausage, no preservatives, no fillers, just the good stuff.

PostHeaderIcon Ihop Style Pancake Recipe

Firstly a disclaimer:
I do not know American pancakes very well.  My best experience of pancakes here in the US are Ihop pancakes.  There may be better pancakes out there, but I have not yet tasted them.  The pancakes that we make in South Africa are more like French Crepes.  We eat them with cinnamon and sugar or lemon juice and sugar so the thicker American style pancakes served with syrup and fruit are fairly new to me.

I have made pancakes in the past, they have been good, but never as good as this morning!  I went searching for an Ihop copy cat recipe and came across this one.  True to form I had to change it up a bit, here is what I did.

Ihop style pancakes
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (I used my homemade yogurt)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (I used confectioners sugar – Don’t ask why, I just did it)
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup cooking oil
pinch of salt

1. Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Use a pan with a nonstick
surface or apply a little nonstick spray.

2. In a blender or with a mixer, combine all of the remaining
ingredients until smooth.

3. Pour the batter by spoonfuls into the hot pan, forming 5-inch

5. Cook pancakes on the other side for same amount of time, until

golden brown.

I used frozen blue berries to add to the kids pancakes and made mine plain.  These were so good, it is afternoon now and I am still thinking about how good breakfast was.  Sorry that you were not home James.  I will have to remake these on the weekend!  The kids loved them as well, but then they will love anything smothered in maple syrup right?

We ate these so fast and I had no intention of putting this recipe up on the blog, so there are no pictures.  I will try to add one after the weekend.

PostHeaderIcon What’s for Breakfast?

I have mentioned this before, at my house breakfast lasts until ten.  For some reason my kids think it is OK to start eating at 7 am and not stop until 10 am.  I always try to give them eggs or warm porridge to fill them up, but they are both endless pits of hunger.  Here are a few hearty (for my lot) and not so hearty breakfast ideas for those of you who need some inspiration.

Oats with blue berries and honey:
I use frozen blue berries for this, it not only cools the oats down faster, but it is also cheaper.

Eggs and soldiers:
I know that many in the US are not comfortable with eating soft boiled eggs, but it is common in other places.  We eat this about 3 times a week.  It is a basic soft boiled egg with toast cut into thin strips to dip into the egg yolk.  I know this is going to gross some out, but we love it.
By the way the name comes from the Mother Goose Nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty, referring to Humtpy and the kings men (soldiers) who could not put him back together again.

Scrambled egg on toast with mild salsa
This is a favorite of James and mine as well.

Toad in the middle

Take a slice of bread and use a round cookie cutter to cut a large circle in the middle.  Grease a frying pan and place your bread in it.  Once the pan is hot, break an egg into the middle where the circle is.  Once the egg is set, turn it over and cook on the other side.

Squishy apple

This is was the first finger food that I fed to both the girls as babies.  It is steamed apple (hence the squishy, named by the kids of course), you could add sugar and Cinnamon (not for babies), but I think it is sweet enough without it and I never gave it to the kids with sugar so they do not expect it.

“Eggy” bread
Again named by the kids, “Eggy” bread is sugarless French toast.  This was also one of the first finger foods the kids ate after their first birthday.  Since I was not not going to feed sugar to a 1 year old I made it without sugar and cinnamon.  Funny enough we all eat our “eggy” bread with Ketchup now.  It just tastes better.  Try it!  You could still serve it with a nice maple syrup, but we prefer it without.

Breakfast smoothies:
Today I took 1 cup frozen bananas, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 1/4 cup plain yogurt and the juice of one orange.  Blend it together until smooth.  If you want it thinner, add a juice of your choice or whey.  I often have whey left over from making yogurt once a week so that goes into our smoothies.  Today I left the extra liquid out and let the kids eat it like ice cream for a fun change.

These are just a few of our breakfast ideas.  Today’s breakfast was Eggy” Bread, Squishy Apple and  strawberries with plain yogurt.  Here is a picture of breakfast,


PostHeaderIcon Pineapple salsa and Breakfast smoothie – GAPP 6 & 7

It is time for GAPP recipes  6 and 7, these were easy, summery and all round hits!  I was making salmon for dinner and thought a nice pineapple salsa would go well with it.  I still have loads of tomatoes and need to use them up before they become over ripe so I will probably be trying all kinds of salsa recipes over the next few days.  This one I came up with as GAPP 6.

Pineapple Salsa
1 cup pineapple chopped
1 cup tomatoes seeded and chopped
1/4 cup red onion chopped
1/2 cup sweet peppers chopped
1-2 teaspoons honey
Juice of 1/2-1 lime (to taste)
1 tablespoon cilantro chopped
Salt to taste

Mix everything together and chill for at least 2 hours.

It was great on Salmon, the next day I tossed it on a few cups of shredded lettuce and had it for lunch.  Since it already has the juice of the lime and pineapple I did not feel the need for any further dressing and it made a great salad.  The kids picked the onion out and ate the rest.


We have smoothies often for breakfast or at least part one of breakfast.  My kids seem to think breakfast is an ongoing meal that starts at 6:00 when they wake up, and ends at 10:00, when I have had enough of feeding them and start starving them until lunch time.  Most mornings I just toss in anything that I have, but always add a handful or two of fresh spinach.  This is such a good way to get our Vitamin A, C, fiber and iron. I also like to start with a banana, for its high Vitamin C, fiber and the potassium that is great for those with high blood pressure.  I call them our green smoothies since they have spinach in them, but I normally end up putting blue berries or strawberries in them and it turns brown.  For this recipe I kept it simple and the color was awesome and this one was probably one of the best smoothies that I have made.

Green smoothie:
1 cup pineapple chopped
1 banana
Handful of fresh spinach leaves
Juice of 1 orange
1/4 cup whey left over from making yogurt (or replace with any juice or increase the yogurt)
2 tablespoons plain yogurt

Put everything in a smoothie maker or blender and blend until smooth.


Both these recipes were great.  They will go into my “recipes to keep pile”.

PostHeaderIcon Carrot and pineapple muffins – GAPP 5

While I was making the carrot and pineapple summer salad I was thinking of the next GAPP.  I like to bake, but can never stick to a recipe.  So true to form I had to change the one I had.  The recipe called for sugar and since I already used 1/2 cup of sugar in the pineapple beer recipe, I thought I would stay away from the refined sugars and use honey instead.  It was not a total disaster, but the muffins could have been sweeter.  I scaled down on the sweetness too much.  The muffins are still good and we are eating them, but they would be yummier if they had a hint more sweetness. Here is what I did:

Pineapple and carrot muffins
1 cup sugar (I used 1/4 cup honey)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup carrots shredded
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup oil (I used 1/2 cup to keep the moisture down and fat lower)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pineapple
Beat the egg and sugar (honey), then add the remaining ingredients.  Fill greased muffin tins 3/4 full.  Bake at 350 ‘F for 25 minutes.  (I baked them at 325, since honey tends to make things brown faster, and for only 15 minutes-20 minutes depending on the size.
The recipe makes 12 regular size muffins or 24 mini muffins.  I made half mini half regular.


The verdict:
The texture of these were great.  They were so soft and almost like cake muffins, but they were just not sweet enough.  Next time I will try to make them with 1/2 cup honey instead of 1/4 cup.

PostHeaderIcon Homemade Granola

I love Granola, but man is it expensive!  Our grocery stores carry basic granola for about $4.99 for 12-16 ounces.  Then, they have to go and take something that is so good and could be healthy for you and fill it with things like High Fructose Corn Syrup and a whole lot of other stuff that I cannot pronounce.  There are brands that avoid these ingredients, but they are even more expensive.  A couple of months ago I started looking for recipes and tried a few.  Granola can have such a variety of ingredients that it took me a while to find one that I really liked.  Some were just too sticky and sweet and others were too crunchy and had a lot of unnecessary ingredients in them.  After a few trial and errors, I have come up with one that we all eat.  For a crunchier breakfast cereal I use the same basic Granola recipe below and add a few  cups of bran flakes.  James is not a fan of straight Granola, but will happily eat the crunchier version.  I don’t even think he knows that he is eating the Granola and bran flakes, I never mentioned that his store bought cereal was finished and I have been topping it up with my home made one.


I have a food dehydrator (told you I love gadgets) and when fruit is about to go over ripe or I have abundance due to a co-op purchase I will dehydrate strawberries, apples, bananas or whatever I have and store it to add to Granola later.  Last night I took 2 apples and 2 bananas that were starting to get over ripe and coated them with lemon juice then tossed them in the dehydrator overnight.  This morning I chopped them up, pried the storage container away from the kids who wanted to eat it all and then I put it away until I could make my Granola this evening.  Here is the basic recipe.  You can add any dried fruit to yours.  Or keep it as simple as you like

Granola Recipe:

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (you could use any cooking oil, but olive is healthier)
5 cups of old fashioned rolled oats (do not use the quick cooking oats)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon molasses (you can substitute this for more honey if you prefer, but I like the dark richness of the molasses)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts, the original recipe called for almonds so use what you like)
1/2 cup dried fruit (sometimes I do only raisins and some days I put in whatever I have dried already)


Heat the oil in a large skillet or pot, make sure it is BIG, over medium heat.  Add the oats and Cinnamon to the pot and stir until lightly toasted and the oats is coated with oil and cinnamon.  About 5 minutes will do.


Pour the oats onto a cookie sheet and add the butter to the pot.  Once the butter is melted, toss in the honey, molasses and sugar and let it simmer for 1 minute.  Return the oats to the pot and let it cook for 3-5 minutes until the oats is completely coated.


Remove from the heat, add your fruit and nuts and spread it on a cookie sheet until the mixture has cooled.  Once cooled, store it in an airtight container in the pantry.


Cost analysis:
I did not work this one out precisely, but a rough calculation suggest that it would cost about $2.50-$3.00 per pound of Granola.  Of course this will change depending on what you add to your Granola.

I am not a big sweets person, but if I do feel like a sweet snack I put a couple tablespoons of yogurt in a bowl and top it with the Granola, it is so yummy!
As mentioned before I add a few cups of bran flakes to for a crunchier breakfast cereal.

PostHeaderIcon Homemade yogurt recipe

I have been making yogurt every week for a few months now and loving it.  It is the easiest thing to do and everyone in my house will eat it or at least drink it in smoothies. The first time I made yogurt I used a crock pot recipe that has become very popular here in Charlotte on a Natural Living forum.  It is a simple recipe, but I have had mixed results.  The first time I used the crockpot recipe it was great, a little runny, but tasted well and I was ecstatic.  The second time I made it, it curdled and was a disaster. I decided to find a recipe that I could control a little better.  On the same forum someone mentioned a book called, The Home Creamery by Kathy Farrell-Kingsley.  I love this book and take it out of the library every month to try something new.  It really is time that I buy a copy to keep in the house since I use it for making cheese as well.

Below is the link to the crock pot recipe I referred to.  The nice thing about this is that you do not need a thermometer.  I just use my regular kitchen thermometer, but if you do not have one the crockpot recipe is a good alternative.

Crockpot yogurt Recipe

Yogurt Recipe

4 cups (1 quart) milk
¼ cup all natural yogurt (I normally use my own culture from the last batch, but ran out of yogurt this week so I had to buy more)
Clean mason or glass jars
Small to medium size cooler
Cheese cloth and strainer (optional)

In a large pot heat the 4 cups of milk to 185 F or until small bubbles start to form.  Do not let the milk boil.  Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool to between 105 and 115 F.  I normally pour the milk into another container so that it is not sitting in a hot pot and taking longer to cool.


A skin will form on the milk, either scoop if off or leave it and it will be mixed in at the next step.

Once the milk has cooled, pour in your yogurt culture and mix it well with a fork (do not beat).


Rinse the glass jars with boiled water and dry them.  Careful they will be hot!  I use any cleaned jar that I have, as long as it will fit into the cooler.

Pour the mixture into your jars.

Pour boiled water into two smaller jars and put it into the cooler along with you milk filled jars.  This will help keep the cooler at the right temperature.

Leave the cooler over night and the next morning you will have the best tasting homemade yogurt.

If you prefer a thicker yogurt, pour the yogurt into a strainer that has been lined with cheese cloth (most grocery stores have it in the kitchen isle).  Allow to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes or until it is the desired consistency.


Pour off the whey and discard or keep and use in bread recipes as substitute for milk.  I use mine in whey bread rolls that I will post the next time I make the recipe.


Store your yogurt in the fridge, I use the mason jars that I make it in.

You can use the yogurt in many things.  I have made, yogurt cheese, breakfast smoothies, ranch dressing, Tzatziki,  I use it as substitute for sour cream sometimes, and also in salad dressings.  My favorite sweet snack is a few tablespoons of yogurt topped with home made granola.  I also make smaller Yogurt Snack Cups to keep in the fridge until the kids need a snack.

Cost analysis:
Since milk was on sale this week the quart of yogurt (about 3/4 if you strain it like I do, I like mine very thick) cost me a whopping $0.82.  I would love to use organic milk and yogurt for this recipe, but my budget does not allow it, so I use the best products that I can find and if the organic is on sale, I will use it.


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