White Chocolate Pecan Biscuits with Blueberry “Gravy”

White Chocolate Pecan Biscuits with Blueberry "Gravy"A couple of things made me create this recipe.  First of all, my hubby and I love biscuits with sausage gravy.  It’s such a hearty breakfast dish that is great for our cold Michigan winters.  I’ve thought about different variations of the dish as well as different forms for the biscuits just to nibble as a snack.  One trip to the grocery store with a buy one get one free pint of blueberries sale, and the idea was born!

The biscuits are a simple variation of drop biscuits that you can make in just a few minutes.  They only take about 10 minutes to bake and are perfect for a quick snack.  And the blueberry “gravy” is a simple compote that cooks while you make your biscuits.  It’s like this match was meant to be!

White Chocolate Pecan Biscuits

1 cup flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powderWhite Chocolate Pecan Biscuits

1 Tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup milk

2 Tbsp melted butter

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup white chocolate chips

3 Tbsp chopped pecans

1-2 Tbsp melted butter, reserved

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.  Stir until well mixed, then add chocolate chips and pecans; stir again.  Add milk, butter, vanilla, and mix until formed into dough.  Drop biscuits onto pan and bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately brush with melted butter. Makes 4 biscuits.

These are absolutely good enough to eat without doing anything else, but if you have blueberries then you are definitely going to want to try this on top…

Breakfast is served!

 

Blueberry “Gravy”

The blueberry ‘gravy’ is a remix of a recipe previously posted on FlavorCrazed, Easy Strawberry Compote.  Simply swap out the strawberries for blueberries, and your gravy is good to go.  Top the biscuits and add a dollop of whipped cream for a dreamy hot breakfast you can make in no time.

Easy Bacon Mushroom Quiche

Bacon Mushroom QuicheBreakfast is the most important meal of the day.  At least that’s what I grew up hearing, but never really subscribed to that notion. I’ve never been a big breakfast eater but perhaps that’s just because I never had the right foods in front of me.  Since I’ve been stepping out of the box with my recipes lately, I decided to try a new breakfast dish and the payoff was amazing!  I think breakfast may be my new favorite meal of the day. Even better – this quiche is super easy to make!  No night before prep needed for this quick dish.

 

Easy Bacon Mushroom Quiche

4 Pieces bacon

1/2 small onion, diced (optional)

1 small can sliced mushrooms (or use fresh if you have them)

5 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 pre-made refrigerated pie crust

Dried parsley, Salt and Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Cook bacon in a frying pan over medium to medium-high heat, and set aside to cool when crisp.  Add the mushrooms and onion to the bacon grease and cook over medium about 5 minutes.  While cooking, add salt, pepper and dried parsley, about 1/4 tsp of each.  Remove from heat to cool for a few minutes.

Press the pre-made crust into a 9 inch round pan.  In a small bowl, combine the eggs, milk and another small dash of salt and pepper.  Crumble in the cooled bacon into the egg mixture and add the mushrooms and onions, and stir.  Pour into the pie crust and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the egg is cooked through.

Easy as that!  It will quickly become a regular breakfast in our house.  After all….

…breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

Easy Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

CarnitasTacos are amazing any way you make them, and slow cooking pork for carnitas has to be the best!  The meat is so tender it falls apart, and it’s so easy to make, anyone can do it.  It does take most of the day to cook slowly, but the result is well worth the wait. 

To begin, spray inside of slow cooker with cooking spray.  Salt and pepper a 3 pound pork on both sides, and place into the cooker.  You don’t want to turn on the slow cooker until you have added all cold ingredients or you risk cracking the insert. 

Cut 2 tomatoes and one onion into quarters, and add to slow cooker.  Drizzle with juice of 1/2 lime, oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and a bit of garlic powder.  Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours. 

PorkHeat 2 Tablespoons of butter or oil in a skillet over medium-high high heat.  Shred pork and add to hot skillet along with spices, mixing well.  Cook a couple of minutes, until the spices and butter are cooked into the pork – be careful not to over cook!

Meanwhile, warm tortillas in a separate skillet or in the microwave and get ready for carnitas!

Easy Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

3 lb. pork shoulder roast

2 medium tomatoes and 1 medium white onion, quartered

2 Tbsp olive oil

Juice from 1/2 lime

Salt, pepper and garlic powder

Add all ingredients to slow cooker, and cook on low for about 8 hours.  Remove and shred pork.  Heat 2 Tbsp oil or butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. 

Add shredded pork, 1/2 – 1 tsp chili powder, 1/2 – 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 – 1 tsp garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cook for just a couple of minutes, stirring to coat well. 

Serve on soft tortilla shells with cheese, salsa, sour cream – or any other favorite toppings.

All Natural Weed Killer – Cheap, Easy, Effective

Victory against the weeds!

One week after application

Spring came and went so quickly this year, it seems I’m already behind on the summer to do list – which is making me behind on everything else.  One of the things that has been driving me crazy this year are all of the weeds that quickly infiltrated our garden and lawn.  After several unsuccessful attempts on the lawn, I decided to focus on a smaller area first and tackle the edible garden.  I’ve already pulled weeds this year, more than I can count.  So has my hubby – who has been a trooper with all of my requests for help since it’s just such a big job this year.  I decided there has to be an easier way and started looking.  I found a few sites that had products for sale that were made with essential oils.  Safe for the environment, yet effective on weeds.  They seem to get good reviews, but also had high price tags that I just am not willing to pay.  There had to be an alternative at home, especially since I have an arsenal of my own oils.  There was, and it was super easy to make, use, and under $2 per bottle. I tried a few variations and came up with this mixture that really works. It takes a few applications – only 1 or 2 for some weeds – but the results were within a week of my initial use and my edible garden remains unharmed and not subjected to harmful chemicals. You can see in the first picture which is about one week after the first application that the weeds were dead and shriveled.  This made them easy to clear from the garden, and since I got them before this round flowered, hopefully we will say good riddance to the weeds. 

going...going.....

2 days after application

I couldn’t believe they were dying so fast!!  You can see some of the dead spots, and some areas that I needed to cover more (hence the second application). There are a few that are a bit tougher, like the grass variety weeds and violets, so you will need a few extra applications.

Of course I had to share for those of you fighting the good fight against summer weeds!

All Natural Weed Killer

1 tsp Dawn (original blue Dawn only; or use castile or another natural soap instead)

12 drops clove essential oil

12 drops orange essential oil

15 oz. white vinegar (5% acidity from the grocer – do NOT use garden strength vinegar)

10 oz. water

In a spray bottle, add soap and oils, mixing well.  This will help with emulsion so the oils combine with the water and vinegar when you add them next.  Then, add the vinegar and water, shaking well.  Spray weeds well, being sure to cover any plants you don’t want to kill, and aim for the plant directly, not the soil.

Apply in the morning on a day that rain is not expected.  Reapply every 2 or 3 days until the weeds are dead, and remove them from your garden with ease.

Check out other great uses for essential oils here.

Drop Biscuits with Country Sausage Gravy

Biscuits with Sausage GravyBiscuits with sausage gravy is one of my hubby’s favorite breakfasts.  I realized early in our marriage that I’d need to master this recipe.  It’s taken me a while – with increasingly better attempts, but I’ve finally got the recipe down.  It’s so simple, in about a half hour you can have homemade biscuits with some amazingly creamy gravy.

I start out with the biscuits, whipping up a quick batch that I can drop onto a baking sheet.  This recipe makes about 4 biscuits, so double it if you are feeding more than two people.

Drop Biscuits Drop Biscuits

1 cup flour

1 1/2 tsp powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 Tbsp melted butter

1/3 cup milk

2 Tbsp melted butter

1 tsp milk

Biscuits waiting for gravyPre-heat oven to 450.  Mix dry ingredients, then add the tablespoon and a half of butter and 1/3 cup milk.  Drop onto a baking sheet and bake 8-10 min.  Remove from oven, combine remaining milk and butter, and brush the top of the biscuits.

Break up the biscuits, and get ready for the gravy!

Country Sausage GravyCountry Sausage Gravy

1 lb breakfast sausage

2 cups milk

1/4 cup flour

2 Tbsp butter

Salt and Pepper to taste

Brown sausage in skillet, remove with a slotted spoon to drain, and set aside.  Keep the fat in the pan over medium heat, or add 2 tablespoons of butter to a dry pan.  Scrape the bottom of the pan while stirring to get some of the flavor, and add flour mixing well.  Add milk and cook, stirring frequently, until gravy begins to thicken, about 10 minutes.  Return meat to pan, add salt and pepper to taste and serve over hot drop biscuits.

Cinnamon Corn Muffins

Cinnamon corn muffin with blackberry compoteAs I mentioned in previous post Basic Cornbread – Hated the Original, Love the Remix!!, I love mixing up corn bread and corn muffin recipes.  Today, I wanted something a little sweeter and decided to mix up some cinnamon corn muffins.  A little different recipe from cornbread – and amazing with a bit of honey butter.

But, I decided to go all out and add some fresh fruit compote to the top making the perfect companion for these muffins.  It’s super simple! Using the recipe for Easy Strawberry Compote, simply switch out the strawberries for blackberries – you’ll have an amazing topping ready when the muffins come out of the oven!

Cinnamon Corn Muffins

1 cup corn meal

1 cup flour

4 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

1 cup milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees and grease muffin tin with cooking spray.  In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients, mix well.  In another bowl, combine wet ingredients, mixing well and then add to the dry ingredient bowl. Stir vigorously for about a minute. Fill muffin cups about 2/3 cups full.  Bake for about 15 minutes, or until tops are golden. 

Image

Easy Strawberry Compote

Strawberry ShortcakeNext time you want an easy topping for your favorite treat, whip up a quick and easy strawberry compote. In a pan over medium heat, combine 1 cup diced strawberries, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 3-4 tablespoons of white sugar to taste, mashing the strawberries a bit as you stir.  Heat 15-20 minutes stirring frequently (cook a bit longer for a thicker sauce).  Goes great over top your favorite pound cake or ice cream.

Amazing Coffee Cake

Amazing Coffee CakeIt’s been a bit since I’ve last posted, and hopefully the wait was worth while.  I was out of commission a few days and not cooking a lot, but I had to make some Amazing Coffee Cake because the craving was overwhelming!  This coffee cake is like none you’ve ever tried before.

As I mentioned in the recipe for Encore Dinner Rolls, this is a recipe I grew up cooking with my grandma.  It was a staple at all family gatherings growing up – my family would call ahead and plan meals around the fact that grandma was bringing coffee cake!  So, I decided today was time that I surprised my parents when they stopped over, and had a fresh, amazing coffee cake ready for them to enjoy.  A day late, but none the less – Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!  I hope this sweet treat brought wonderful memories through flavors we haven’t had in a while.

To start, we use the recipe from Encore Dinner Rolls with a few tweaks. Here is the base:

Amazing Coffee Cake Base Recipe

2 cups milk

½ cup butter (one stick)

½ cup sugar

Pinch salt

1 packet fast rise yeast (~2 1/4 tsp)

2 egg yolks

4 cups of flour, plus some for the work surface

In a large saucepan, warm the milk, butter, sugar and salt over medium low heat until the butter is melted. Let cool for a few minutes.

Coffee Cake DoughAdd 1 packet fast rise yeast, stir lightly (it will be clumpy, don’t try to mix it well). Temper and add 2 egg yolks, and use a whisk to beat until foamy and mixed well. Add about 4 cups of flour. Stir until mixed (dough will be sticky and moist). Cover and let stand somewhere warm for about 10 minutes.

 

Risen Dough BallDump dough onto a well floured surface. You will need quite a bit of flour because the dough will be sticky. Add a couple of tablespoons to surface and another couple to the top of the dough. Flour your hands, and knead the dough about 8-10 times, or until no longer sticky. Form it into a ball, and put into a medium mixing bowl that is greased with cooking spray. Cover and let stand somewhere warm until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.

Rolled Dough for Coffee Cake

Now, here is where we detour from the dinner rolls – a major detour that is so worth the trip! 

Remove from bowl, cut in half, and roll out each piece to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Each one should be an oblong shape a bit longer than the 13 inch pan, – no need to be perfect since we’ll be rolling it up shortly.

 

Cinnamon, Brown Sugar, Raisins and Butter

 

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter, and spread half on each flattened piece of dough.  To both sides, add 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup raisins, and 2 tablespoons cinnamon.  None of this needs to be exact, just sprinkle everything on top until the dough is well covered. 

 

 

Rolling Up Coffee cakeRolled up coffee cake braid piece

 

Roll the dough so that all those fabulous toppings are tightly inside.  Pull the last bit up over the top and pinch the edges to secure.

 

Begin braidPinch

 

Seam sides down, put the two rolled up pieces together, pinching the ends tightly.  Begin to gently braid the pieces one over top of the other.

 

Complete braidBraid in pan

 

After three or four braids, use your hands to scoop the ends of the dough and place it into the lightly greased 13×9 pan.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. 

 

After the coffee cake has cooled, whip up a quick glaze as follows:

1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon butter, 1-2 tablespoons milk.  Combine sugar, butter and 1 tablespoon milk in a small bowl, adding remaining milk a bit at a time if needed. Glaze can be drizzled on, or spread on if you like it a bit thicker.  Cut about 8-10 maraschino cherries in half, laying on a paper towel to drain, and add to the top of the coffee cake after glazing. 

Coffee Cake