Guest Post: Best Waffles for Independence Day

Tomorrow, my friends south of the border will be celebrating Independence Day. More often, I hear it referred to as the 4th of July. Between school, work, hobbies (yes, I find time for that on occasion), and having just celebrated Canada Day over the weekend, I just haven’t had time to prepare a blog post celebrating Bryan’s country’s holiday.

Instead, today I have a blog poster here to help me celebrate!  I learned quite a bit of history from David’s article and hope you will too!

How will we celebrate? I think Bryan and I may need to make some waffles (topped with blueberries and fresh Ontario strawberries) now that I’ve got a new recipe on hand. Red, White, and Blue waffles!

Welcome and take it away David!


Author Bio: This is a guest post by David J. from Fridge Freezer Direct, UK’s premier commercial refrigeration and catering equipment specialist. For more information you can visit www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk.

Best Waffles for Independence Day

Independence Day – commonly called “The 4th of July” – is a proud day for the United States. It’s a day when we can celebrate our independence and really take pride in this beautiful country we live in. We generally mark this occasion in a number of different ways, and if you’re looking for a way to celebrate this great day, then we can help you!

The key is to do something truly American. After all, being American is what the 4th of July is all about! However, it doesn’t have to be a big grand gesture then enables you to mark this magnificent date; there are many small ways in which you can showcase your patriotism.

One possible way is through waffles. Thomas Jefferson returned from France in 1789 and he brought back a waffle iron. Since that day, we Americans have loved waffles, and so, what better way to celebrate than by making the perfect American style waffle?

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So if you want to mark Independence Day with a whole heap of waffles, you first need to grab the following ingredients.

Waffles

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tbsp. white sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups warm milk
  • 1/3 cup melted butter

Once you’ve got these ingredients in stock, follow our easy guide to turn these ingredients into delicious American style waffles.

Method

1) Turn on your waffle iron.
2) Get yourself a big mixing bowl.
3) Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar together.
4) Beat the eggs in a separate bowl.
5) Stir the milk, butter, and vanilla extract into the eggs.
6) Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl containing the dry mixture
7) Beat the batter until it develops a smooth consistency.
8) Ladle the batter into the waffle iron.
9) Cook until the waffle looks done (golden and crispy).
10) Garnish with whatever toppings you like; for example, fruit, syrup, chocolate, or candy.
11) Repeat the process until everyone’s full!
12) Sing the national anthem.

It’s as easy as that! Enjoy your 4th July and some delicious waffles!

Improv Challenge: Fish and Chips (Fried Fish-Shaped Chips)

I’m excited to once again be participating in the Improv Challenge hosted by Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker! This month, the challenge ingredients are fish and chips.

Sounds a bit limiting as challenge ingredients, doesn’t it? My initial plan was to make a traditional fish with a beer batter and chips. Then… Kristen sent out the update, making this challenge a bit more interesting!

“Fish can, of course, be any real fish like tuna, snapper, salmon, tilapia or trout, but you can also use Swedish fish, or any fishy crackers/pretzels or fish shaped bread from Pepperidge Farm. Chips can also be the traditional homemade thick cut fries, but feel free to use anything that is a chip: potato, tortilla, sweet potato, veggie, chocolate, butterscotch, etc.”

This opened up so many more possibilities! This month, I decided to go with something simple yet fun. I played with the idea of fish-shaped food… and because the second half of this challenge was to include chips… I made fish-shaped chips! This is a great way to change up your every-day chips.  And I’m sure these chips would be a fun activity if you have children helping you in the kitchen.

Fried Fish-Shaped Chips

Ingredients

  • 2 large potatoes – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • Oil for frying – approximate cost $0.50

Method

  1. Draw an oval on a small piece of paper.
  2. Fill in the details showing where you need to cut to make a fish shape.
  3. Preheat a frying pan with enough oil to shallow-fry the potatoes.
  4. Set the paper near your cutting board as a reference.
  5. Slice the potato so you have several large oval-shaped pieces.
  6. Follow your diagram to cut the potato slice into a fish shape.
  7. Use a chopstick (or similar tool) to poke a hole in the potato where you would like the fish’s “eye.”
  8. Repeat steps 4-7 for each of the oval slices.
  9. Cut the unused pieces of potato into bite-sized pieces.
  10. Salt the potato pieces.
  11. Fry the fish-shaped potatoes and bite-sized pieces in batches so as not to overcrowd the frying pan
  12. Turn the potatoes once when about half-cooked (after approximately 5 minutes).
  13. Continue to fry until cooked through (about 10 minutes total, depending on the thickness of your chips).
  14. Remove from oil.
  15. Allow chips to drain on a paper towel.
  16. Serve hot and enjoy!

Makes 4-6 fish-shaped chips and bite-sized chips (approximate cost: $0.53 per serving).


My previous Improv Challenge contributions include:

Lobster and Egg Served Over a Potato Pancake

Breakfast is probably our favourite meal of the day.

I’m an early riser. Loki (my kitty) likes to be fed by 7am and wakes me up regardless of whether it is a day I can sleep in. (Loki purrs loudly to wake me up, it’s really cute. If I don’t wake up, she will paw my hair, which is my least favourite way to wake up). Bryan, on the other hand, prefers to stay up late. Loki likes to stay up late with him, snuggled in his lap while he is at the computer working. Luckily for us, these diverse schedules both work for graduate students.

Loki would like some breakfast too, please!

That said, our “breakfast” times do not frequently coincide. So, we enjoy breakfast meals at any time of the day. Actually, not that long ago I learned of the mash-up word “brinner” meaning breakfast foods served for dinner. The word hasn’t made it into our regular vocabulary yet, but I can see if happening sometime soon.

The recipe I’m sharing with you today is one that I made for a weekend brunch. It felt like it took quite a while to make… but it was worth the wait!

What is your favourite meal of the day?

Lobster and Egg Served Over a Potato Pancake

Potato Pancake

  • 1 ½ cups shredded potatoes  – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 egg  – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt  – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper  – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil  – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour  – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour  – approximate cost $0.25

Toppings

  • 4 eggs, cooked sunny-side up or over-easy  – approximate cost $1.20
  • ½ cup cooked lobster, shredded  – approximate cost $7.00
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded  – approximate cost $2.00
  • 2 green onions, sliced  – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced  – approximate cost $0.60
  • 2 cloves garlic  – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil  – approximate cost $0.05

Method

  1. Cook the onion and garlic toppings.
    1. Preheat a frying pan and add a ½ teaspoons of the grapeseed oil.
    2. Add the sweet onion slices and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
    3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
    4. Make the potato pancakes.
      1. Combine the sea salt, black pepper, all-purpose flour, and whole wheat flour in a large mixing bowl.
      2. Add the shredded potato and egg.
      3. Mix until well-combined.
      4. Preheat a frying pan and add the grapeseed oil.
      5. Add ¼ cup of the potato pancake mixture.
      6. Press the mixture down until it is about 1cm thick.
      7. Cook until golden.
      8. Flip.
      9. Cook until golden and cooked through.
      10. Set aside.
      11. Repeat steps e-j until the mixture is used up (makes about 4 pancakes).
      12. Cook the eggs (ours were sunny-side up, but over-easy would be awesome as well).
      13. Place a potato pancake on a serving plate.
      14. Top with lobster, onion and garlic mixture, cheddar cheese, egg, and green onion slices.
      15. Serve warm and enjoy!

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $3.25 per serving).

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Improv Challenge: Bananas and Nutmeg (Fried Bananas with Brown Sugar Sauce)

I’m excited to once again be participating in the Improv Challenge hosted by Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker! This month, the challenge ingredients are bananas and nutmeg. Yum! So far, I’ve shared:

Today, I’m sharing a recipe that my dad used to make for me when I was younger. I’ve been trying for years to replicate his recipe but, for some reason, even though I started out using the same ingredients it’s just never the same… so I changed things up a bit and made it my own (Dad leaves out the nutmeg and the vanilla).

Fried Bananas with Brown Sugar Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 bananas – approximate cost $0.50
  • 2 heaping tablespoons brown sugar – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1/4 cup butter – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla – approximate cost $0.20

Method

  1. Slice the banana in half lengthwise and then horizontally (you should have four long and thin pieces).
  2. Melt half of the butter (1/8 cup) in a frying pan over medium heat.
  3. Add the banana slices to the frying pan.
  4. Cook until the banana begins to turn golden brown.
  5. Flip and cook until the banana begins to turn golden brown.
  6. Remove to a plate.
  7. Add the remaining butter, and brown sugar.
  8. Cook until sugar is melted.
  9. Remove from heat and add vanilla to sauce.
  10. Stir well.
  11. Pour sauce over fried banana pieces.
  12. Sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon.
  13. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Makes 2 servings (approximate cost: $0.85 per serving).



Guest Posting on Ginger Bakes

Today, I’m guest posting on Ginger Bakes. I’m very excited that Mel invited me to post on her blog as well!

You may remember that, a few weeks ago, Mel from Ginger Bakes guest posted on this blog and shared her delicious Chocolate Drizzled Mocha Cookies (Bryan has been asking me to make these cookies ever since)!

So head on over and check out my Banana Bread recipe! It’s not exactly festive, but a delicious and easy to make treat that you can take along to any holiday party!

Breakfast Mess with Eggs, Sausage, Potatoes and Green Peppers

I’m back! I took a bit of a break from blogging the last few weeks. Life was overwhelmingly busy, so I took a bit of time off. To get some work done. To relax and enjoy what little personal time I had available. To cook, eat well, and take a few new photos to share. I missed blogging. I wondered what the other food bloggers I hear from regularly were up to. I’ll be catching up on that later this week.

What kept me so busy? School, projects, research, work, and a convocation ceremony! On Saturday, I officially received my MA degree. I’m still working on getting pictures. I was so happy to have many friends and family there to support me! I lent my camera to dad, so I have a few pics already.

Nana, Dad and Me at Convocation (Photo Credit to Bryan)

Nana, Dad and Me at Convocation (Photo Credit to Bryan)

I’m hoping that this week I can get back to my usual blogging routine! (Coming soon, a cookbook review!)

Breakfast Mess with Eggs, Sausage, Potatoes and Green Peppers

Ingredients

  • 10 medium red potatoes, diced – approximate cost $1.50
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.50
  • 3 green peppers, diced – approximate cost $3.00
  • 4 Oktoberfest sausage, casing removed – approximate cost $4.50
  • 8 eggs – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/4 cup water

Method

  1. Preheat a frying pan (and 1/2 teaspoon of oil) over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  3. Add the Oktoberfest sausage.
  4. Brown the sausage and break into pieces as it cooks.
  5. Whisk eggs and water in a bowl.
  6. Preheat a second frying pan (and 1/2 teaspoon of oil) over medium heat.
  7. Pour egg mixture into the frying pan.
  8. Scramble the eggs.
  9. Add green peppers to the cooked sausage.
  10. Remove scrambled eggs from heat and add to sausage.
  11. Season with sea salt and pepper.
  12. Mix well and serve!

Makes about 6 servings (approximate cost: $1.87 per serving).

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Improv Challenge: Zucchini and Brown Sugar

I’m excited to be participating in another Improv Challenge hosted by Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker! Each month I strive to come up with something a bit more exciting or creative than the last. So far, I’ve shared:

This month, the challenge ingredients are zucchini and brown sugar.

My recipe this month isn’t exactly creative. Instead, I opted for something much more sentimental… my Nana’s Zucchini Bread recipe (with a slight modification). The original recipe calls for white sugar, I’ve substituted brown sugar for the purpose of the challenge, and it worked out great!

Nana’s not sure where the recipe comes from anymore. She thinks she might have got it from one of her sisters, who possibly got it from my Great Grandmother. Either way, it’s been in the family for a while and I enjoyed many many pieces of zucchini bread as a child, especially in the fall when Nana picked the zucchini fresh from the garden.

Growing up, I thought zucchini bread was one of the healthiest treats. Why? Because it’s got vegetable pieces in it. Therefore, it must be healthy. Right? I was a bit surprised going through the recipe when I saw how much sugar it calls for. Not exactly healthy. It won’t kill you to enjoy the bread once in a while either though. Just something I will likely choose to enjoy in moderation instead of abundance, like I did as a child.

I’ll likely experiment with making a healthier version of the recipe at some point. Substituting the white flour for whole wheat, or maybe a gluten-free flour. Try cutting out some of the sugar. But that’s for another day when I’m not scrambling to make something delicious for the Improv Challenge.

Excuse me while I got enjoy some fresh from the oven zucchini bread for breakfast. I just baked it this morning!

Nana’s Zucchini Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs – approximate cost $0.60
  • 2 cups white sugar (I used brown sugar for the purpose of the Improv Challenge) – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 1/2 cups grated zucchini, skin included – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1 cup oil (I used canola oil) – approximate cost $0.40
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla – approximate cost $0.30
  • 3 cups flour – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg – approximate cost $0.25
  • 2 teaspoons salt – approximate cost $0.10
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1 cup walnuts – approximate cost $1.00

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine the eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla, and grated zucchini in a mixing bowl.
  3. Mix until well combined and set aside.
  4. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, cinnamon, and walnuts in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Mix until well combined.
  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  7. Pour the bread mixture into two (greased) loaf pans.
  8. Bake for 1 hour (or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean).
  9. Allow to cool before serving.

Makes 2 loaves, about 16 slices (approximate cost: $3.30 per loaf or $0.41 per slice).


Dairy Free Rice Pudding

First of all, a great big thank you to Cindy from Skip to My Lou who featured my  Spaghetti with Shrimp and Roasted Vegetables recipe!

I’m trying to get the school year off to a good start. I’ve updated my calendar with all of the important deadlines. And now I’m working on good eating and exercise habits. I hope to attend at least three yoga classes each week and, until it snows, I will continue to bike to as many places as possible. As for good eating habits, I’m trying to have a hearty breakfast to start each day and making large meals for dinner that can be enjoyed as leftovers for lunch the next day.

I’m not a huge fan of cereals. Most of them are too sweet for my liking and I find the texture of almond milk a bit strange when mixed with cereal. Instead, I rely on breakfast items that I can make a big batch of and reheat the leftovers  next day. Such as:

We ate quite a few of the breakfast quesadillas this week. I even let Bryan in the kitchen to make them for breakfast one day. However, I also tried out rice pudding made with almond milk (I usually make this with cow’s milk, but was out and wanted to try a diary free option). While my family frequently serves rice pudding as a dessert, I enjoy it very much as a breakfast food!

Dairy Free Rice Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Jasmine rice – approximate cost $0.50
  • 2 cups almond milk – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1/2 cup raisins – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1 egg – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1 cup water
  • Mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Method

  1. Add 1 cup almond milk and 1 cup water to a large pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Add Jasmine rice.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer.
  4. Cook until rice is tender (about 15-20 minutes).
  5. Whisk remaining 1 cup of almond milk and egg in a bowl.
  6. Add can sugar, almond milk mixture, cinnamon, and raisins to the rice.
  7. Stir well.
  8. Allow to cool and serve either warm or cold!

Makes about 6 servings (approximate cost: $0.62 per serving).

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Scrambled Eggs with Polish Sausage

Orientation week flew by and I’m back in classes this week. Which means I’m cooking breakfast at home more often before heading to campus. I’m in a new office and have a new desk this year. I haven’t had a chance to spend much time there yet, but it’s got nice comfy chairs and lots of working space, I even have a cabinet (where I will store tea and some honey, and maybe a few snacks).

That said… I’m off to school! My very first class as a PhD student is this afternoon!

What’s your favourite quick breakfast food?

Scrambled Eggs with Polish Sausage

Ingredients

  • 5 eggs – approximate cost $1.50
  • 125 grams polish sausage – approximate cost $1.15
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 cup water

Method

  1. Slice the Polish sausage into bite sized pieces.
  2. Heat half of the olive oil (1/2 teaspoon) in a frying pan over medium heat.
  3. Add the polish sausage and cook until browned and heated through.
  4. Remove polish sausage to a plate and cover to keep warm.
  5. Whisk together the eggs, water, sea salt, and black pepper.
  6. Heat the remaining half of the olive oil (1/2 teaspoon) in a frying pan over medium heat.
  7. Scramble the eggs.
  8. Return the polish sausage to the frying pan.
  9. Mix well.
  10. Serve.

Makes 2 servings (approximate cost: $1.43 per serving).

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Dairy-Free Breakfast Crêpes with Banana Slices and Blueberries

Today’s my Nana’s birthday, Happy Birthday Nana!

Nana’s taught me much about cooking. We spent a lot of time together when I was growing up (and we still spend a lot of time together now). I have many fond memories of sitting in her kitchen, awaiting homemade goodies. Mac and Cheese Casserole is a family favourite, and I would often invite friends over to visit and enjoy a few servings of her casserole. In fact, friends still reminisce about her casserole and I will eventually get around to sharing the recipe.

Nana and I have dinner together at least once a month, sometimes more often than that. Now that I’m older, we cook together. I try to absorb as much knowledge as possible, learn her secrets and memorize family recipes.

Tonight, I’ll be cooking dinner for her and the rest of my family (my brother is starting training at a new job and won’t be home in time to help, but we’re glad he will be home for dinner nonetheless). Pressure’s on. I want the dinner to be perfect and to suit everyone’s taste preferences.

Last week, I cooked less often than usual. It’s not that things were busier, but I cooked a staple items that I’ve already shared on the blog (Peanut Butter and Banana Quesadillas) and others I though I had shared so I didn’t take photos (Shepherd’s Pie).  Guess I’ll have to make it again to share. Bryan won’t mind, it’s one of his very favourite dinner items. The shepherd’s pie, especially, made so many servings that I didn’t need to cook anything else, we ate leftovers often.

Realizing I didn’t have many photos to share, I took this as an opportunity to make a fancy Sunday morning breakfast that I could then share on Monday morning.

I came up with these crêpes by modifying my pancake recipe (which I will also share at some point), leaving out the baking powder and sugar and adding more egg. These crêpes are surprisingly quick to make and very simple to whip up. They also keep well in the fridge for one day if you somehow happen to have a few leftovers.

Dairy-Free Breakfast Crêpes with Banana Slices and Blueberries

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 cup almond milk – approximate cost $1.00
  • 2 eggs – approximate cost $0.60
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla – approximate cost $0.15
  • Pinch of sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 banana, sliced – approximate cost $0.60
  • 1/2 cup blueberries – approximate cost $1.00

Method

  1. Combine the flour and seal salt in a small bowl.
  2. Combine the almond milk, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk the wet ingredient mixture until the eggs are well combined.
  4. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, slowly, to avoid lumps in the batter.
  5. Heat 1/4 of the tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan.
  6. Pour 1/3 cup of batter into the frying pan.
  7. Swirl the batter quickly so it covers the pan in a thin, even layer.
  8. Cook until the batter begins to set.
  9. Flip the crêpe.
  10. Cook until slightly browned.
  11. Remove to a plate.
  12. Repeat steps  5-11 until all of the batter is cooked (makes 4-5 crêpes).
  13. Fill each crêpe with a few banana slices and some blueberries.
  14. Roll the crêpes.
  15. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 5 servings (approximate cost: $0.83 per serving).

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