An Apple A Day Coffee Cake

Honeycrisps. Jonagolds. Pink Ladies.

There were a few different kinds of apples just sitting in my refrigerator.

And with some down time and an urge for something sweet, I thought, let’s see what I can make with these.

After searching the web for about 45 minutes, looking at various recipes, I decided to wing it.  The worst that could happen is an awful tasting mess that I would unceremoniously toss. The best? Heaven with a cup of tea!

The best apple cake I ever had used applesauce, so I started there.

Applesauce, IMHO, should never be bought, only made at home. It’s so easy and you can control just how sweet it is because you can add as little or as much sugar as you wish.

As for me, I chopped up 6 of those apples into little pieces, squeezed the juice of a whole lemon over them, then added a half cup of light brown sugar, a half cup of orange juice, two teaspoons of cinnamon, a healthy pinch of salt, and grated some nutmeg over it all…

I put the pan on the stove and turned up the heat to medium, using a big wooden spoon to toss them around a bit. About 10 minutes into it, I added about 1/2 cup of water…just to keep them from getting too sticky while they continued to cook down.  10 minutes later, after mashing down the softened apples, I had a delicious homemade applesauce.

Then in a bowl I mixed together:

  • 1 1/2 cup of regular all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon

In another bowl I added the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 generous tablespoon of vanilla
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup of cinnamon chips

Then I simply mixed the contents of the two bowls together. With a few tosses of the spatula, it looked like oatmeal!

I then greased and floured a baking pan. Added the batter and topped it with some sliced apples. Then I thought — Juliana would kill me if I didn’t make a crumb topping! So in another bowl I tossed together

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 of a stick) of butter cut into small pieces

I mixed that up with my hands to form a nice crumbly topping and spread that on top of the cake mixture.

Into the oven at 350 for 40 minutes it went.

The intoxicating scent of apples and cinnamon — mmmmm….  so good!

And with a cup of tea, a slice of heaven appeared on our plates. Just like that.

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Breakfast Muffins — oh YEAH!

Breakfast Muffin

Bisquick + eggs + sausage + cheese + scallions + mushrooms. AMAZING.

Delicious? Simple to make? Transportable in a napkin?

Yes, yes, and OH YES!

You don’t need pictures to know how to make this. It’s THAT easy.

1. Set your oven to 350

2. Take 4 eggs and crack them into a bowl.

3. Add 1 cup of Bisquick.

4. Add 1/3- 1/4 cup of half & half (or milk, cream, whatever you have)

That’s the basic recipe. Now you start riffing by adding what you like. Mine was pretty darned good so I’ll share my concoction.

I took a few (6) sausage links and cooked them in my frying pan until they were no longer frozen and a little browned. (I used the vegan option as my daughter, Jules won’t touch pork anymore!) When they were done, I chopped them up into little pieces and added them to my batter.

Next, I put a little swirl of EVOO into that pan and added some chopped oyster mushrooms & scallions. Lately, I am in love with oyster mushrooms as they have that meaty, mushroomy flavor that white buttons don’t ever have. But I would eat any mushroom that crossed my path!

I grated about 1/4-1/2 cup of cheddar cheese into the batter. Then added a pinch of kosher salt.

I simply mixed it up “real good” — greased my muffin pan (I used a little Pam in mine) and filled each cup no more than halfway. Baked for 25-30 minutes (@ 350 degrees.)

Two on your plate with a cup of hot joe and — voila! You have made a delicious, easy breakfast that your husband and son can grab in a napkin and take on the way to father/son bowling on a Sunday morning.

Crêpes ala Nectarines

What is the difference between a peach and a nectarine? Fuzz! Yes, it’s true. A nectarine is a peach that through a genetic mutation produces no “hair” or fuzz. Smooth skin, juicy, sweet flesh and no fuzz…what’s not to love?

I was feeling the love when I saw them at Wegmans and put a bag in my cart with the full intent of eating them one at a time.  But despite the beautiful golden orange appearance — and the words on the bag “ready to eat” — the flesh felt hard when pressed and I couldn’t catch a whiff of the fruit so I knew they weren’t quite ripe. I put them into a paper bag and let them sit for a few days on the counter until I smelled the sweet scent so recognizable at its peak softness. I took a bite. It was juicy, but not as sweet as I would have liked.

brown sugar, butter, pinch of salt and sliced nectarines... yum!

brown sugar, butter, pinch of salt and sliced nectarines… yum!

Hmmm…what to do?

I put a few tablespoons of  butter, brown sugar, and a pinch salt at the bottom of a skillet  — and as that heated and melted, I cut up 6 nectarines into thin slices right into the pan. I turned the heat down to low and added a lid and let the fruit cook down into a sweet, juicy filling.

Pankcakes? Waffles? Both are delicious, but I wanted something lighter. So I made crêpes.

Crepes might seem a little intimidating but I think once you get the hang of them, they are fairly easy to make. Alton Brown has a great recipe on his site, so does my bible — Joy of Cooking.

I make mine like this:

In your blender,  add (in no particular order)

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water (or almond breeze)
  • 2 raw eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • capful of vanilla (1/2 teaspoon)

Blend away, stopping to scrape the sides of the blender where flour may stick.

It takes no more than 2-3 minutes to get it smooth. When you are done, stick it in the refrigerator for a half-hour to rest.

Take out a small skillet and add a little fat. I often take veggie oil and melt in a tablespoon or two of butter. Then I use a basting brush and brush the bottom of my non-stick pan with the mixture before I put in some batter and swirl it around. Crepes are meant to be very thin and very light so you don’t want to have too much batter in the pan. You really have to experiment. This video shows you exactly how to make them.

The batter must be thin enough to pour to make a light pancake

The batter must be thin enough to pour to make a light pancake

I filled mine them with a little french vanilla yogurt on the bottom and the cooked nectarines inside. You can dust them with powdered sugar to give them a little extra oomph!



Strawberry Dream Biscuit

Scrumptious Strawberry Morning Dream Biscuits

Ever wake up with just one thing on your mind?


It was like that with me one morning.

I had an urge for fresh coffee and a pastry of some sort. I didn’t feel like going to the store so I looked at Joy of Cooking and saw a recipe for Cream Biscuits. I had just purchased a large container of strawberries and while I was eyeballing them in the open fridge — a thought popped into my mind. What if I combined them?

Here’s the original recipe from Joy of Cooking:

Cream Biscuits or Shortcakes

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup of heavy cream

Mix/knead/shape into biscuits.

Bake at 450 for 12-15 minutes

What did I do to change it up?

I followed the basic recipe but I added a teaspoon of vanilla. (Actually, vanilla bean paste. It is thick and smells awesome and leaves little vanilla bean speckles in whatever you make. The taste is simply divine!)  Then, about 1/3 cup white sugar to the mix. I splashed in a little extra cream while mixing the dough so that I could work more easily to shape the biscuits. I cut them in half, horizontally and snuck in a layer of sugared strawberries. I painted the top of the biscuits with a little egg white and sprinkled on a tiny bit of sugar. Finally, I baked them!

The family woke up just as I was pulling them out of the oven. Devoured them in 10 minutes, flat — each and every one. I’d say they were a hit. 🙂

Sliced and sugared, ready to use.

Sliced and sugared, they macerate in their own juices.

Assembling the pastries

Split the biscuits and add a layer of sugared strawberries.


Bake until golden at 450 (about 12-15 minutes!)

This is Your Brain on Spinach

"This is your brain on spinach."

“This is your brain on spinach.”

Remember the Nancy Reagan days? The “just say no” to drugs campaigns? There was one memorable spot one that showed an egg frying in a pan. To this day, I still chuckle each time I watch my egg fry in a pan. (Of course, I also start belting out “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never ever let you forget you’re a man” ’cause who doesn’t remember the Enjoli commercial?)

Anyway, the other morning I wanted eggs. But not my brain on a plate. No, I had an urge for what Steve Martin would say — as only he can — an Omelet du Fromage — (“Those French have a different word for everything!”)

Omelets are great because you can put just about anything inside of them and they taste really good. Especially “au fromage.”  My favorite combination though is anything with cheese and mushrooms. On this particular morning, I had an urge for spinach. (Had a whole bag full, only used a handful the day before for that Blueberry-Spinach smoothie!)

Anywho… just a quick spray of olive oil in the pan, and a handful of spinach and a touch of salt made a delicious green addition to my omelet. And at the last minute, I spied a tomato that made it’s way into the pan as well. All those colors of the rainbow in one pan looked so good…and tasted pretty darned good too as I washed it down with coffee.

So — whenever you are looking for drugs, just say no, and make yourself an omelet, 🙂

(Ba dum bum.)

(Sad excuse for a post, but hey, I did share!)

Instructions for an omelet:

1. Pan on medium, spray a little olive oil and add a tidge or smidge of butter in it and let it warm for a two minutes.

2. Crack two eggs into a bowl. Take out the white stringy things if they annoy you like they do me.

3. Add two tablespoons of water, then beat the eggs into submission. 🙂

4. Add to pan and roll around to cover the bottom.

5. Add cheese. Please.

6. Riff away with anything you have in your fridge that looks appetizing.

7. When the egg appears firm on the bottom, fold one half over to make a taco-like semi-circle.

8. Add a tablespoon of water to the pan, cover with tinfoil or the pan lid. This puts steam in the pan and fluffs up your eggs while uber melting the cheese. (Tricky, eh?)

9. Remove from heat. Slide onto dish.

10. Pour coffee, grab toast, kick the cat off your chair and sit down and eat.






Morning Glory Breakfast Cake made in a Big Ass Wrought Iron Skillet

Morning Glory Skittle Cake

everything that’s good for you in one yummy cake, this is a big, big winner at our house

So, it was Sunday morning. Last Sunday to be precise. I think around 7:00.

I was poking around in the fridge, trying to figure out what I should make for breakfast. I wasn’t really hungry, but since I was up too early on a day that there were NO sports, NO commitments other than coffee and Sunday morning talking heads while folding laundry… I figured I could be a little ambitious.

I opened the crisper and saw a big bag of organic carrots and immediately thought of a recipe I had seen a few days before for my favorite muffins in the world: Morning Glory Muffins. 

Hmm… I  decided right away that I didn’t feel like pulling out the muffin pan and baking twice – because I own only one stone PC muffin pan which can make 12 at one time and this recipe would have made 24 muffins in my guesstimation.

So — here’s the original recipe and what I did:

  • 1 1/4 cups Sugar  (half brown/half white)
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour  (1/2 cup of coconut flour, 1/2 cup almond flour, 1 1/2 cups of regular all purpose flour)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (same)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda (same)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (same)
  • 1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut (same, except I only had unsweetened)
  • 3/4 cup Earthbound Farm Organic Raisins (1/2 cup of golden raisins)
  • 1 large Earthbound Farm Organic Apple (peeled and grated) NOPE
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple (drained, about 8 oz) (1 cup of chunk pineapple in water, not drained at all!)
  • 2 cups grated Earthbound Farm Organic Carrots (I just threw a bunch of carrots in my food processor — it was a good two cups worth at the end — they were tiny pieces, not grated, not mush)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts (1 cup pecans)
  • 3 large eggs (same)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (1/2 cup of walnut oil, 1/4 cup of coconut oil, 1/4 vegetable oil)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (same)

And I added:

  • 1/2 cup chopped dates (I love dates)
  • 1/2 cup pear butter (why not? we had some in the fridge)
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut extract

I took out my big ass wrought iron pan. You know what I mean? They are super heavy. You need two hands to hold them.

I used coconut oil to prepare the pan so nothing would stick. After mixing up all those ingredients in my food processor until they were coarsely chopped, chunky and mixed — I dumped the whole thing in my skillet.  Spontaneously, I cut up a Granny Smith apple into pieces and splashed them on top like I was Jackson Pollock. Then I took some cinnamon-sugar mix and sprinkled that on top because I thought it would add a little extra crunch on top.  (You just take white sugar, add some cinnamon and stick it in your blender and pulse a few times. Great for toast, excellent for cookies and now, I’ve learned – cake!)

Into the oven at 350. I checked it at 45 minutes, but it was still moist in the middle. I kept checking every 5 minutes. This was a big pan and a heavy batter so it took about an hour and ten minutes to be done. I took out the pan and before I could snap a picture my daughter grabbed a big piece!!

Suffice it to say that today is Thursday. We’ve been nibbling on it most of the week. Only have a tiny bit left and it is still moist. Next time I do this, I think I’ll grate in some fresh nutmeg.

BTW — the cake continued to cook, then cool and settle. It was very moist on the first day. Butter on a piece was divine. I swear this tasted better on Monday morning once all the flavors had a chance to mingle!

Sweet Potato Pancakes


Sweet! Easy to make and better than white flour based cakes!


If you have a craving for something — different — and don’t have any desire to work hard, take your basic potato pancake recipe and mess around with it.

I just shredded a couple of peeled sweet potatoes (yams), added an egg, two tablespoons of coconut flour, two tablespoons of coconut oil, a teaspoon of baking powder and baking soda — little pinch of salt… and voila! Pancakes.  I add a little brown sugar if we’re having a breakfasty meal and garlic and onion if we’re looking for a more savory dish.

To riff on this one — use a different kind of flour — try a different oil. If you are gluten free — try sorghum or almond flour. Yum! If you aren’t — regular flour or wheat flour is delicious.

When it comes to toppings, I go with whatever I’ve got in the fridge:

– sour cream with a little honey stirred in

– cream cheese

– butter

– fig jam

And if you decide to serve this for dinner, you can sauté some kale with garlic and serve it on the side.