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.

Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings

Since Monday is usually my one day off from both my jobs, I usually bake a Crockpot recipe for dinner. I’ve seen a lot of chicken and dumpling recipes but I decided to cook this one. I thought it turned out really good. You might also enjoy it without the biscuits. It could be served on mashed potatoes.

Chicken and DumplingsCrockpot Chicken and Dumplings from Pinterest
2 chicken breast
Top with two Tablespoons of butter
2 cans of cream of chicken
14.5 oz. can chicken broth
½ diced onion
1 T. dried parsley

Bake on high for 4-5 hours or 8-9 hours on low. Dice chicken and add back to mix. Dice up four refrigerator biscuits into nice pieces each and add to mix. Cook for one more hour.

Notes:

  • I used the healthy version (less sodium) version of cream of chicken and chicken broth.

Cheesy Southwest Egg Bake

This is a hearty breakfast recipe I found on the Pillsbury website.

Cheesy Southwest Egg BakeCheesy Southwest Egg Bake by Pillsbury
1 package of chorizo or pork sausage
1/2 c. chopped onion
3/4 c. chopped bell pepper
10 eggs
1/4 c. whipping cream
2 c. shredded pepper Jack or Mexican cheese blend
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 can Grands flaky layers biscuits
1 T. vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In skillet, cook sausage, onion, and pepper. In a large bowl, beat eggs and cream. Stir in 1 c. cheese, red pepper flakes, and sausage mixture. Separate dough  into 8 biscuits. Cut each into 6 pieces. Spread oil bottom of skillet. Drop biscuits over oil. Pour sausage mixture over biscuits. Top with remaining cup of cheese. Bake 25-30 minutes or until crust is set. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Notes:

  • I used regular sausage and added fresh cilantro.
  • I used 6 eggs and 4 egg whites.
  • I used red bell pepper but you can use any kind.
  • I also used Mexican cheese.