Kick start your day with a good breakfast

Bring Back Home Ec!

Having learned the joy of cooking rather late in life, I’m like an ex-smoker. I can’t stop talking about the benefits and haranguing people to be more like me. Please visit my other blog Bring Back Home Ec for photos and instructions on making a bacon-and-egg croissant-wich in your own kitchen.


Why go out for this? Nobody wants to see us in the morning before we’ve taken a shower. Only our families should have to put up with that.

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Ready for October Unprocessed!

C Street, Seaside Park, NJ

C Street, Seaside Park, NJ

Just came home from another wonderful week on the Jersey Shore: swims in the clear, warm ocean, pints of beer at Bum Rogers Crabhouse, plates of scrapple at Betty & Nick’s, ears and ears of fresh corn and slice upon slice of juicy, sweet tomatoes from local farms.

I’m at a serious transition moment at my day job. How I wish I could make a life that included scenery like this every day.

The beach at Brighton Avenue

The beach at Brighton Avenue

With the chance to stop and watch the little fish.


In the past week, with time to think and read, I’ve had 10 solid ideas for potential cookbooks: now I start the research to write the proposals. If anything, it brings me in contact with other creative people who love food and eating well. There’s Andrew Wilder, for example, whose blog EatingRules.com encourages us to join his crusade “October Unprocessed.”

I’m excited to try it. Why don’t you?


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Good Cheap Eats Blog

Here’s a great idea for easy breakfasts from Jessica Fisher whose Good Cheap Eats blog I stumbled upon at work yesterday (Harvard Common Press, the people who brought you Mom’s Big Book of Baking, is bringing out a book this September).


Since I’m just one, I think I could make the Bacon and Broccoli Egg Bake and the Cinnamon Apple Oat Cakes to alternate on weekdays until they’re gone and the time I save will be devoted to finishing a photo scrapbook on Lulu.com for my nephew’s college graduation. Only 17 days before I fly down to Chapel Hill, N.C.!

Two years after his sister (at left) graduated, John will make his way into Kennan Stadium in a sea of Carolina blue.

Two years after his sister (at left) graduated, John will make his way into Kennan Stadium in a sea of Carolina blue.



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A Revolution in Pastry Making

Ever since I made this brownie pie from Ms. American Pie by Beth M. Howard, I’ve been evangelizing for her commonsensical approach to the craft.


Beth is a pie baker, teacher, and judge at Ground Zero for pie, the Iowa State Fair, so she knows a thing or three about how flour, butter, shortening, salt, and ice water come together to make a flaky crust. Her stance is that the pilgrims and the pioneers made pie–without refrigeration or food processors. Her instruction boils down to a simple command: Handle the dough as little as possible.

When you’ve worked the cold butter and cold shortening into the flour until the crumbs are the size of almonds, you’re ready to drizzle ice water in a little a a time. After each of maybe four additions, toss the mixture between your hands just until it holds together. Shape it into a disk and you’re ready to roll (no refrigeration necessary). This way, it’s pliable enough to roll out nice and thin. Put it in your pie plate, fold over those edges, and crimp. No more tears!

I’ve got my eye on so many of her recipes: Strawberry Crumble, Pumpkin Pie, Tomato Pie…all so fast and easy, perfect for breakfast any day of the week.

ms. american pie

You can read more about Beth and her Pitchfork Pie Stand at the American Gothic House in Eldon, IA at her blog, http://theworldneedsmorepie.com/




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One Green Apple

I didn’t know how many little puff pastry tarts I wanted to make yesterday morning and ended up with a green apple left over. I had baked a memorably mouth-watering brown-sugar glazed apple bread from Sally McKenney’s new book, Sally’s Baking Addiction, when I handsold the book for The Good Cook, so an encore performance was just the thing. The glaze is just heavenly. The more the better!


Brown Sugar Glazed Apple Bread

“If you only make one apple bread in your lifetime, this is the recipe you need. One taste and you’ll be sold, I promise! Quite a bold statement for apples, right? But this is the kind of soft, dense bread you’ll want to have around for coffee, snack time, and unexpected guests. Sweet enough to fit the dessert category but humble enough for breakfast. The yogurt and eggs leave it fabulously moist, and the thick brown-sugar glaze smothers the bread and knocks it out of the park!”

Prep time: 25 minutes  Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes, plus cooling      Makes 1 loaf

Apple Bread

¼ cup (60g) butter, softened to room temperature

¾ cup (180g) plain yogurt, Greek or regular

¼ cup (65g) dark brown sugar

⅔ cup (130g) granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon

¾ tsp salt

1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced

1 cup (140g) chopped pecans

Brown Sugar Glaze

1 cup (170g) dark brown sugar

¼ cup (60g) butter

⅓ cup (80ml) heavy cream

½ cup (60g) confectioners’ sugar sifted

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x5in loaf pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
  2. MAKE THE BREAD: In a large bowl using a handheld mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, yogurt, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium speed until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and beat on medium speed until everything is combined, about 2 full minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer if using a stand mixer. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Slowly stir everything together until no more flour pockets remain. The batter will be thick, but do not overmix it. Fold in the chopped apple and ⅔ cup of the pecans.
  4. Spoon into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 55-65 minutes, making sure to loosely cover the loaf with aluminum foil halfway through cooking to prevent the top from getting too brown. The loaf is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the loaf to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
  5. MAKE THE GLAZE: Combine the brown sugar, butter, and heavy cream in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring the mixture often. Allow to boil for 1 minute, then turn the heat down to low and allow to simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and whisk in the confectioners’ sugar. Add the remaining ⅓ cup of pecans. Allow to cool for 3 minutes then spoon over bread while it is still warm. The bread stays fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days and in the refrigerator for up to 7. Serve warm or cold.

☺Sally Says: I love using this brown-sugar glaze on top of muffins, cakes, and even pumpkin bread. Add a dash of salt, and you’ll have a glaze that tastes just like salted caramel. The best part? This glaze can be made in advance, so once you’re ready to use it, simply warm it on the stove for 3 minutes then spoon it over the bread.

Copyright © 2014 Sally McKenney

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day

I work on another blog for work with some very talented crafters, bakers, and artists which I think you all would enjoy. Today’s post is a St. Patrick’s Day one, so please visit HowtoPickleASweater.com. Enjoy!

Wheaten Soda Bread from Noel McMeel's IRISH PANTRY (Running Press, 2013)

Wheaten Soda Bread from Noel McMeel’s IRISH PANTRY (Running Press, 2013)

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Simple Bites–Simply Adorable!

While I was Googling to confirm that beets are still seasonal in February, I found SimpleBites.net. I love it! Clean and concise, filled with information on urban homesteading and cooking fresh, it’ll be a regular resource from now on. When I looked through the list of recommended reading, I saw Ruth Reichl, Pam Anderson, Joy the Baker… we are def on the same wavelength (I’m also reading a contemporary re-telling of Pride & Prejudice which is like a crash course in 21st century slang–totes adorb!). Simple Bites has also convinced me to re-up on Twitter. No doubt will regret this in near future, but I better give it a whirl if I wish to be employed in a world that’s stampeding away from old media. And what does this have to do with breakfast?
I’ll be trying Simple Bites’ Chai-spiced Granola With Dried Apples and Almonds as soon as humanly possible.

chai spiced granola


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