Real Maple Syrup

IMG_1190This year, I really wanted to go to Vermont on vacation. I wanted to visit Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory and to tap a Maple tree to get syrup. I learned though that you can’t really just tap a tree to get syrup. During our trip, we visited a visited a Sugar House. img_1186.jpgWe learned that getting sap from a tree requires a very extensive string of plastic tubing to be drilled to the trees. When the temperatures in the spring first reach above freezing, the sap drips from the tree as the temperature drops below freezing at night. This usually happens in late March or early April. The sap runs through the tubes to a giant collection container. Those containers are then transported to process IMG_1187the sap through a boiling process to produce maple syrup. It takes 40 gallons of sap and about 45 minutes of boiling sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. Wow, now you know why really Vermont Maple Syrup cost so much. We also learned that Maple Creemes (soft serve ice cream with maple syrup swirled in) is very popular…and delicious. It’s actually pretty cool to meet the families who run these Sugar Houses.

IMG_1157The syrup excursion was part of our Maple and Wine Tour with Greg. Following our visit to the Sugar House, we went to Boyden Valley Winery. This family farm has people producing maple, grass feed beef, and wine. In addition to ice and maple wines, Vermont’s oldest winery produces maple syrup aged in oak barrels. I learned I like oak ages syrup better than I like oak aged wine.

The state of Vermont only has a population of around 620,000 in the whole state. Despite a drought, this 14th state to the union lives up to its name which mean green mountains. The IMG_1154state is very proud of local business. In fact, this is the only state in the country to not currently have a Target store. One lady at the airport was telling us that she traveled via fairy boat to New York with her daughter to return an item to Target. (Now that’s dedication to Target shopping.) Vermont is also home to the Green Mountain Coffee (Keurig maker), the Vermont Teddy Bear Company, and Cabot Cheese.

For this morning breakfast, I wanted to use a little of our new real maple syrup.

Sausage Breakfast Casserole from Pinterest
FullSizeRender (16)1 package of Grands biscuits
1 package of frozen hash brown
1 lb. of ground sausage
8 eggs
¼ c. milk
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
maple syrup

Bake biscuits on a baking sheet for 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Meanwhile, cook hash browns until golden brown on the stove top. At the same time, brown sausage on the stove top. You’ll also need to cook the scrambled eggs and milk in that skillet. Place hash browns in the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish. Top with ½ c. of cheese. Sprinkle with sausage. Top with scrambled eggs and remaining cheese. Bake for 10 minutes. Plate and drizzle with maple syrup.

Note:

  • I did not overly cook the hash browns. I’d suggest maybe cooking them in the 13 x 9 plan for make 10 minutes before added other ingredients or removing them from the recipe. I don’t really think the hash browns are necessary ingredient in this recipe.
  • If you can get it, Cabot cheese would have been a great addition. Perhaps, even a Vermont White Cheddar.
  • I think the biscuits might have also been delicious with some Maple sugar sprinkled on top. We are still waiting for ours to be delivered.
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Sausage Bombs

We love breakfast foods. I’m always pinning new recipes to try. My original plan on the morning I made these was to make a biscuit and gravy casserole. When I realized I was missing one of the ingredients I needed to make that recipe, I made this recipe with some of the ingredients instead. Jeremiah has already asked me to make these delicious filling breakfast treats once again.

Sausage Egg & Cheese Stuffed Breakfast Biscuits by So Fab Food
IMG_06401 package of Grands biscuits
6 eggs
8 sausage patties
8 slices of cheese

Make scrambled eggs and season with salt and pepper. Cook sausages according to packaging. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Flatten biscuits to about 5-6 inches wide. Break cheese slices into four pieces. Stack on top of biscuit. Top with scoop of scrambled eggs. Place sausage patty on top. Pull biscuit from opposite directions to cover entirely. Place wrapped side down on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Brush with butter and top with favorite seasonings. Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning pan halfway through baking. Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes:

  • I added a little milk to my eggs to make them fluffier. I’d also suggest maybe 5 eggs would be enough.
  • I used turkey sausage and Cheddar cheese.
  • I topped mine with fennel seed to bring out the flavor of the sausage.

Ham and Swiss Quiche

It’s New Year’s weekend and I have three consecutive days off. It’s also the coldest its been in years with wind chills temps of -15 so staying in seems like a great plan. That means I’m also cooking up a storm. This morning, I created a breakfast quiche that would use up more of that leftover holiday ham. Very tasty.

Ham and Swiss Quiche from Pinterest
IMG_05431 Pillsbury pie crust
½ c. onion
1 T. butter
½ lb. ham
6 oz. Swiss cheese
4 eggs
2 c. light cream
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper
chives

Remove pie crust from fridge. Let it sit 15 minutes before unrolling. Place crust in sprayed pie pan. Pinch up corners of crust and over with parchment paper and metal beads. Cook at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Sauté onions in butter until translucent. Let cool slightly. Dice ham into small pieces. Cover crust with onions, ham, and cheese.

In a bowl, mix eggs, milk, and seasoning. Pour over mixture in crust. Sprinkle with chives.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn down to 350 degrees and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes before cutting quiche and serving.

Notes:

  • I don’t have those beads for baking pies so I improvised by placing a spoon on top of the parchment paper. It worked.
  • I used one shallot instead of a regular onion. I sautéed it in Wildtree Basil Pesto Grapeseed Oil.
  • I used probably 1 ½ cups of ham. As a result, I only ended up using half the egg/milk mixture.
  • I had some leftover Gouda and Fontine cheeses from Christmas. I shredded probably 2 oz. of these cheeses and combined with 4 oz. of Swiss cheese. The result was a very cheesy quiche. You could also do a Cheddar cheese if you prefer. 
  • I messed up and bought buttermilk instead of half and half. I ended up using Skim Milk. It worked just fine. However, I was only able to get about half half the egg mixture into the quiche. I decided to cook the leftover mixture on the stove top. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able those to get that egg mixture to cook on the stove top – too runny.
  • I didn’t have any chives so I sprinkled with parsley instead.

Breakfast Bubble Pizza

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I love Bubble Pizzas. The beauty is you mix everything in a bowl and dump into a pan. Who doesn’t love less dishes? I’ve made traditional Bubble Pizza (first made for me by my Uncle Tom and Aunt Annette) and Mexican Bubble Pizza.

This morning, I was trying to use up some of our leftover Christmas ham. Jeremiah and I bought a Smithfield ham (my favorite brand – local and support my favorite charity with donations of product to feed hungry people) at Sam’s Club. The ham was the most delicious ham I’ve eaten in a long time but we had way too much left – even with my nephew whose favorite meat is all pork products didn’t finish it off. You’ll love this super easy, five ingredient breakfast casserole. Plus, it looks beautiful. It turned my day around that started with a smoke detector we couldn’t get to stop beeping and a tv that was frozen on an infomercial.

Incredible Breakfast Bake by Key Ingredient Recipes
img_0537.jpg½ c. milk
5 eggs
1 c. ham
1 package (8 oz./2 c.) cheddar cheese
1 package of Grands biscuits
Salt & pepper

Beat eggs in a large bowl and top with salt and pepper. Add milk, ham, and cheese to bowl. Cut biscuits in fourths and fold into egg mixture. Spray a 13 x 9 baking dish and pour mixture into dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Hash Brown Lasagna

My mother-in-law is the queen of biscuits and gravy. Nobody can even compete with her recipe. It sounds like she has been perfecting it over the last 30 years. I saw this recipe and wasn’t sure how my husband would feel about it. I made this delicious Biscuits and Gravy Casserole dish from an old coworker. He told me the jar country gravy was “too salty”. For this recipe, I made the McCormick Country Gravy. I think he was ok with this gravy in a dish that is very different than his mother’s original. We did like this dish but I think I like a few other breakfast recipes better like Breakfast Sliders, Weight Watchers Breakfast Quiche, Mini Maple Bacon Rolls, Creamy Biscuits, or Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Ring.

Hash Brown Lasagna from Pinterest
img_00341/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
shredded hash brown potatoes
salt and pepper
sausage crumbles
bacon
cheddar cheese
mozzarella cheese
McCormick Country Gravy packet prepared
1 Tsp. butter, melted

Bake bacon in the over at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cook sausage according to package.

In the meantime, pour gravy packet into a medium pan. Slowly pour two cups of milk over mix while whisking. Cook over a medium heat to a boil, stirring frequently. Then, reduce your to low and simmer for 1 minute.

Spray 8 x 8 pan. In a bowl, mix hash browns, Parmesan cheese, salt & pepper, and eggs. Pour half of mixture into pan and even out. Top with a layer of cheese, gravy, and meats. Repeat with other cheese, gravy, and meats. Top with remaining remaining hash browns. Pour melted butter on top. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool slightly before cutting.

Notes:

  • I used a 13 x 9 pan because it appeared to be too much for the pan.
  • I used skim milk to prepare my gravy mix. It cut the fat and salt in country gravy.
  • I thawed the hash browns slightly in the microwave. This helped them break-up easier. Looking back, I wish I had baked the bottom layer for 10 minutes before topping to give me a slightly cruncher crust. 
  • I used turkey sausage.
  • I only used four slices of bacon. I really couldn’t taste it so you either need to use more bacon or opt it out. Sausage can be an overwhelming meat flavor.
  • The recipe suggested both mozzarella and cheddar. They suggested a prosciutto wrapped mozzarella and Velveeta cheese slices. I used shredded cheese. I’d suggest just mozzarella because I think it matches the flavors of the country gravy better. 
  • Make sure you have a lot of time to cook this recipe. I think I took me a good 40 minutes to prepare before backing. 
  • If I made it again, I think I might create a crust with something different like crescent rolls.
  • Jar gravy and precooked meats can save you time. 

 

 

Sausage Breakfast Bombs

I love breakfast recipes. I am a bit of a breakfast snob though because I only like to eat it at breakfast time. My dad made fried eggs way too much for dinner in my childhood. I hope you enjoy this super easy peasy recipe.

fullsizerender-10Sausage Crescents from Pinterest
4 sausage patties
1 package of refrigerator crescent rolls
3 eggs
shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Microwave sausage patties according to package directions. Cut each patty in half. Cook eggs to a scramble. In a sprayed muffin tin, place a crescent roll in each cup leaving half hanging out. Top each with a half sausage, eggs, and cheese. Take excess crescent roll and cover ingredients. Bake for 11 minutes.

Notes:

  • I used turkey sausage. It’s healthier for you.
  • I used reduced fat crescent rolls.
  • I added a little skim milk to my eggs to make them fluffier.
  • I used 2% cheese – it’s healthier.
  • If you prefer ham and cheese, check out this oldie but goody recipe.

Breakfast Sliders

Last Christmas, my mother-in-law made the Hawaiian Ham & Swiss Sliders for Jeremiah and I to take on the road. At the holidays, we alternate between our parents’ homes. That means a 5 ½ hour Christmas afternoon road trip between Kansas City and Wayne. These little sandwiches were definitely tasty snack along the way. She also whipped up a Gluten-free, dairy free version for her grandson. (Just substitute with Gluten-free rolls and dairy-free fake butter.)

Recently, I ran across this slightly sweeter breakfast variation on Pinterest. I cooked up a batch for Jeremiah and I on Tuesday morning. Delicious and filled us up until lunch time. Perhaps you could cook up a batch for your family over the Christmas break.

Breakfast Sliders from Pinterest
img_01671 package of King Hawaiian rolls
1 stick of butter
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. maple syrup
6 slice of ham
6 scrambled eggs
6 slices of cheese
1-2 T. poppy seeds

Cook scrambled eggs and sit to the side. In a pan or microwave dish, melt the butter, Worcestershire sauce, and syrup together. Meanwhile, slice rolls in half. Spray a 11 x 7 pan with non-stick spray. Place the bottom halves of rolls in dish. Top with half of butter mixture. Cover with ham, cooked scrambled eggs, and cheese slice. Top with remaining bun tops and press down into pan. Brush remaining butter on top of buns and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Fall French Toast

You know how much I love breakfast. French toast is one of my favorites. This recipe came from my most recent issue of Simple and Delicious by Taste of Home. I saw this recipe created by a Kansas City suburbanite and it just screamed fall. I baked it while we were at the gym and it smelled amazing when we walked back into our apartment. Jeremiah and I thought it wasn’t super sweet so I would definitely recommend serving it with a little syrup. We did not the first day and figured it out quickly.

Cranberry French ToastCranberry Cream Cheese French Toast by Sandie Heindel
12 c. cubed French bread
2 pk. (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 can (14 oz.) whole berry cranberry sauce
12 eggs, lightly beaten
2 c. milk
1/3 c. maple syrup
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg

Spray a 13 x 9 pan with non-stick spray. Arrange half the bread in bottom of the pan. Top with cream cheese and spoonfuls of cranberry sauce. Cover with remaining bread. In a large bowl, mix eggs, milk, syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour over the casserole. Cover and place in the fridge overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake uncovered for 50-60 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Notes:

  • I halved the recipe and baked it in a 9 x 9 pan for the same amount of time.
  • I used skim milk and third less fat cream cheese.

Breakfast Burrito

I got this recipe from Harvesters’ Nutrition Department. This is a recipe that Jeremiah and I had originally planned to make for the week of the SNAP Challenge. We had to pass because it was too much for our budget. That’s too bad because they are healthy and super filling.

PicoHarvesters’ homemade pico de gallo
3 medium tomatoes, diced
2/3 c. cilantro, minced
½ small onion, diced
juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeno

Breakfast BurritoBreakfast Burrito
1 T. canola oil
1 medium bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium russet potatoes, diced
8 eggs, beaten
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. black pepper
8 (10 inch) whole wheat lower sodium tortillas
1 c. low fat Cheddar cheese, shredded (4 oz.)

Mix all ingredients to make pico de gallo.

In a large skillet, heat oil. Add pepper, onion, and potatoes. Cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 8 minutes).

Spread potato mixture to the edge of the skillet and cook eggs in the middle.

Spread egg mixture into tortillas. Top with cheese and pico. Roll up like a burrito.

Nutritional Facts: 288 calories, 11 g. fat, 15 g. protein, 35 g. carbs, 6 g. fiber, and 193 mg. sodium.

Notes:

  • Nutrition says this recipe serves 8 at a cost of $1.35 per serving. I was able to make 12 burritos by using a smaller tortilla. Plus, we had a little pico de gallo left for homemade tortilla chips.
  • I omitted the jalapeno from the pico.
  • I froze some of the burritos. If you do this, please add more seasoning to your eggs/potato mixture.
  • We used a high fiber tortilla shell.

We Survived!

Friday was our last day of the SNAP Challenge. I am happy to report Jeremiah and I successfully completed it. You have no idea how happy this makes us but also how much we learned participating in Harvesters SNAP Challenge.

eggsFriday morning, Jeremiah and I had enough money left in our budget that we decided to make eggs. We cooked three eggs and split them between us. Plus, we each ate three pancakes. For the first time all week, our stomachs didn’t growl before lunch.

I also gave Jeremiah an extra piece of fruit in his lunch bag. I didn’t want him to have anymore side effects from malnourishment. He finished off the penne pasta for lunch. We both forgot our hummus though. Perhaps subconsciously, we just couldn’t eat anymore of it. Surprising, our zucchini and chips weren’t bad without it.

pizzaFor dinner, we got our Papa Murphy’s sausage pizza. It was the best pizza ever. No, it really wasn’t but we had been craving it all week. We each ate three slices since we didn’t have any cookies left.

After dinner, we decided to beat the snow shoppers and go grocery shopping. We are making Turkey Chili and Beer Bread – which were supposed to be on our menu this week but had to be cut because of cost. We are using the leftover sandwich bread to make crunchy French toast. We are also making Hamburger Casserole, Cheesy Potato Soup and Reese’s Krispie No-Bake cookies. The crazy thing is that when we got to the check-out, our bill was less than $45 and we weren’t even trying. Maybe we learned a few cost saving things this week. Additionally, we weren’t buying all the ingredients for these meals or are trying to make them stretch to 30 meals.

I did want to share a total breakdown of our week.

Daily Menu
Monday

B – 3 pancakes with butter and syrup

L – Tuna on white bread, homemade chips & zucchini with hummus, two cookies and a piece of fruit (I had a banana and Jeremiah had an orange)

D – Chicken penne pasta with salsa con queso, a slice of corn bread, and one cookie

I had five crackers as a snack. Jeremiah also had two cups of coffee.

Tuesday

B – Pancakes with butter and syrup (I had three and Jeremiah had four)

L – Tuna on white bread, homemade chips & zucchini with hummus, two cookies and a piece of fruit (I had a banana and Jeremiah had an orange)

D – Red Beans & Rice, a slice of corn bread, and one cookie

Jeremiah had two cups of coffee and five crackers for a snack.

Wednesday

B – 4 pancakes with butter and syrup

L – I had tuna on white bread, homemade chips & zucchini with hummus, two cookies and a banana. Jeremiah had red beans and rice, homemade chips & zucchini with hummus, two cookies, and an orange.

D – Chicken penne pasta with salsa con queso, a slice of corn bread, and two cookies

Jeremiah had two cups of coffee and five crackers for a snack.

Thursday

B – 4 pancakes with butter and syrup

L – I had tuna on white bread, homemade chips & zucchini with hummus, two cookies and a banana. Jeremiah had chicken penne pasta, two cookies, and a banana.

D – Red Beans & Rice, a slice of corn bread, five saltine crackers, and two cookie

Friday

B – 1 ½ eggs and 3 pancakes with butter and syrup

L – I had tuna on white bread, homemade chips & zucchini, two cookies and a banana. Jeremiah had chicken penne pasta and a banana.

D – Three slices of sausage pizza

I had five crackers for a snack. Jeremiah had two cups of coffee and an orange.

We drank water as our main beverage all week-long. Water is free!!!

Our Budget

  • Chicken penne pasta – $6.19 or $1.03 per serving (we ate all six servings)
  • Red Beans & Rice – $5.75 or $.82 per serving (we have two servings left)
  • Store brand K-cups – $3.99 or $.33 per serving (we have two cups left)
  • Tuna sandwiches – $2.33 or $.23 per serving – Tuna ($.98 for two cans), Bread ($.99 for loaf), Miracle Whip $.33, Mustard – $.03 (we have three servings of tuna and bread left)
  • Hummus with zucchini and homemade chips – $4.63 or $.46 per serving (Hummus – $2.18, chips, $1.83, and zucchini – $.62) Plus note: we did add a little more oil and Italian Seasoning so I would increase the cost of this to $5 or $.50 per serving (we have two servings of hummus left)
  • Cornbread prepared – $.80 or $.09 per serving (Jiffy corn bread – $.55, an egg – $.17, and milk $.08)
  • Cookies – $3.06 or $.09 per cookie
  • 3 lbs. of Bananas (7) – $1.36 or $.19 per banana
  • Oranges (4) – $1.33 or $.33 per orange
  • Crackers (154) – $1.34 or $.04 per serving (we ate only six servings)
  • One box of pancakes, a bottle of syrup, and butter – $2.72 or $.08 per pancake
  • Scrambled eggs – $.68 or $.34 per serving
  • Sausage pizza – $5 or $.63 per slice
  • Bag Ice (for water two evenings) – $.25

$39.80 + $3.48 in tax (please note that SNAP recipients do not have to pay tax though when they use their card) = $43.28 or $4.33 per person per day

Want to take the challenge? It’s not too late. Join Harvesters Monday, March 2nd through Friday, March 6th. Click here to register now. Then, share your journey on social media.