Friday, April 26, 2013

Recipe: Classic Pancakes

Posted By on Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Sometimes I treat pancakes like a blank canvas. I dump in all kind of things from my pantry and fridge: rolled oats, almond flour, blueberries, nuts, peanut butter. Everything but the kitchen sink ...

But there's something to be said for plain ol' classic pancakes.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Food Stand: Cast Iron Waffles

Posted By on Wed, Oct 10, 2012 at 7:30 AM

As soon as I walked into the large airy Atherton Mill and Market on Friday morning, the scent of something unmistakably sweet welcomed me at the door and ushered me in.

Local Waffles at Atherton Mill Market

Owner Chris Duggan slaves over a hot iron

I wandered in to see the source of that intoxicating scent and found Chris Duggan, owner of Cast Iron Waffles, hard at work making his signature Belgian Leige waffles. When asked why he chose Atherton Mill as the first expansion from his storefront in Ballantyne, he replied: "I like the feel of the market and I like this area of town. I like being able to connect with out customers when they come through the market. Here, I can talk to people about how different our waffles are than the waffles they ate as a kid."

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Recipe: Strawberry Shortcake

Posted By on Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 5:06 PM

As soon as my husband spotted the fresh strawberries I bought at the the grocery store two weeks ago, he started dropping hints about a certain recipe I made last spring. It's delicious, decadent, and actually a healthy alternative to most desserts or sweet breakfasts.

In fact, I think you'll find that it is pretty amazing if you love strawberries as much as I do ... which is a lot.

Strawberry Shortcake

Juicy strawberries, flaky biscuits, creamy yogurt topping and a sweet honey drizzle. What's not to love?

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Breakfast strata with spinach and Gruyère

Posted By on Wed, Jul 6, 2011 at 10:53 AM

This delicious breakfast strata with spinach and Gruyere was served at a bridal shower I recently attended. Baked in a square casserole dish, it comes out of the oven brimming with bubbly cheese. Not only did we bridesmaids enjoy it during the bridal shower brunch, we also pulled it out again at 1 am for a post-partying snack.

It's a good thing the bride's mother was so nice to share the recipe with me because I just can't get enough of it. It's fantastic.

Stratas, not to be confused with frittatas (egg-based dishes like big baked omelettes) or quiches (egg-based dishes in pastry shells), are characterized by their baked layers of bread and cheese, and an egg custard sauce. It's sort of like a savory bread pudding I guess.

This recipe calls for dried or toasted slices of French bread. To save some time and also to avoid turning on the oven, I just sliced the bread a day before use and left the slices on a baking sheet in the cold oven overnight to dry out. You want to make sure to use dried-out bread so that it gives your strata some structure.

After resting a night in the fridge, the strata can be pulled out of the fridge, baked and be ready to serve within 1 hour and 20 minutes, which makes it a great dish to serve guests for a weekend brunch. All the mess and clean-up can be done the day before.

One more note, though the recipe calls for 8 tablespoons of butter – I was able to get away with just 4 tablespoons.


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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cheddar-Dill Scones

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2011 at 5:19 PM

After seeing Ina Garten make these indulgent, cheesy, poofy, giant Cheddar-Dill Scones on her TV show Barefoot Contessa, I immediately jumped online, printed the recipe, and baked some up.

Yep, I'll confirm that they taste as good as they look on TV.

They're so soft and cheesy straight out of the oven, it's hard to resist eating more than one. If you only want to make eight scones, you can halve the recipe easily. The full recipe makes 16 of these bad boys. (Each are about the size of your hand.)


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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Blueberry Buckwheat Muffins

Posted By on Thu, May 19, 2011 at 5:30 PM

These muffins are wicked healthy. In fact, a bit too healthy. I had to eat them with honey or a slather of almond butter to make them taste sweeter. The texture was nice and hearty due to the oats, but the muffins just weren't sweet enough to be enjoyable. You'll rarely ever see me do this to a recipe, but next time I'll be adding sugar.

Despite the issue with the sweetness, these are definitely salvageable! I love how these muffins include steel cut oats, buckwheat, and blueberries. Eating one of these is like eating oatmeal, buckwheat blueberry pancakes, and a muffin for breakfast all at once. They pack quite the nutritional punch per muffin.

I'd suggest making them, but just add a 1/4 cup of sugar.


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Monday, March 14, 2011

Ina Garten's Lemon Cake ... with a twist

Posted By on Mon, Mar 14, 2011 at 8:00 AM

I love Ina Garten's Lemon Cake. It's so tart, tangy, and tasty. Ina's cake is a lemon loaf cake, soaked with lemon syrup, and then topped with lemon glaze.

Craving a slice, I was set on making it this past weekend. I ran into a little problem though – I had no lemons in the house.

When life gives you no lemons, what's a girl to do? I was forced to get creative and I made a grapefruit version of her loaf cake.

The grapefruit cake turned out surprisingly well. It was still tart and sweet, but not as tart as the lemon cake. The grapefruit flavor was a nice change. The original recipe calls for 1/3 cup lemon zest, but I cut the amount of grapefruit zest to just 2 tablespoons, as grapefruit peel is a bit bitter.


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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Zucchini and Sweet Potato Bread

Posted By on Thu, Mar 10, 2011 at 8:00 AM

This bread is the marriage of two unlikely ingredients. Who would think to pair zucchini and sweet potatoes together?

Not me.

But when a friend requested that I find a good zucchini bread recipe for her, I found this Zucchini and Sweet Potato Bread recipe from

The recipe got rave reviews and received a four "fork" rating from fellow bakers. Convinced, I gave it a whirl.

The bread (really, cake) turned out delightfully dense, moist, and slightly spicy from cinnamon. It tastes similar to carrot carrot cake. Containing both zucchini and sweet potato, I'm eating it guilt-free as I'm counting each slice as two servings of daily veggies. (Dieters, don't quote me on this. I made it up.)

As suggested by many reviewers, I cut the sugar from 2 cups to 1.5 cups. Next time I'll cut the sugar even more because I found it still a tad too sweet. To amp up the health benefits, I subbed 1 cup of white flour with whole wheat flour. A few reviewers suggested using apple sauce in place of the oil – perhaps I'll try that next time, too.

I had way too much batter to fill one loaf pan (but not enough to make 2 loaves), so I made 8 muffins on the side.

Co-workers at CL demolished the bread in one afternoon, which goes to show it's a crowd-pleaser.

Find the recipe below, with my notes in parenthesis.

Have an item you want me to find and test a recipe for? Just leave a comment below.


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Friday, March 4, 2011

Buckwheat pancakes

Posted By on Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Here's something you can make for a healthy breakfast this weekend. Scrap those boxed pancakes mixes full of additives and try these natural buckwheat pancake instead.

You'd think buckwheat flour is a grass, but it's actually a seed. According to Wikipedia,"despite the common name and the grain-like use of the crop, buckwheat is not a cereal or grass. The grain is called a pseudocereal to emphasize that the plant is not related to wheat."

Gluten-free buckwheat is nutritious – it's packed with minerals and flavonoids, which act as antioxidants.

This recipe comes from the back of the Hodgson Mill bag of buckwheat flour. The pancakes came out light and fluffy, with a slight tang because I used buttermilk.


If you're looking for it at the grocery store, here's what the package looks like:


Buckwheat Pancakes

Printer-friendly recipe


1 cup buckwheat flour

1 tsp. baking powder

2 Tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 egg beaten

1 cup milk

2 Tbsp. melted butter


Preheat griddle of large skilled to 375 degrees, grease lightly with oil.

Griddle is ready when small drops of water sizzle and disappear almost immediately.

Mix dry ingredients together; add egg, milk and butter, beating well after each addition.

Pour 1/4 batter for each pancake onto hot griddle. Cook 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, turning when edges look cooked and bubbles begin to break on surface. Continue to cook 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until golden brown.

(For buttermilk buckwheat pancakes, use the recipe above, but add in 1 tsp. baking soda and substitute buttermilk for milk.)

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Extreme Makeover: Muffin edition

Posted By on Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 11:49 AM

I love muffins because they're like cupcakes, but you can eat them for breakfast. Both are small, cute, and tasty.

While I like my cupcakes fluffy, sweet, and tender, I like my muffins almost the exact opposite – hearty, dense, and with just a hint of sweetness. I can't stand those cake-like muffin impostors that are greasy and full of fat and sugar. That's no way to start your day.

Baking queen Dorie Greenspan has a fabulous recipe for lemon poppy seed muffins, which was widely blogged about recently as it was the chosen recipe for the virtual baking club "Tuesdays with Dorie." Photos of her luscious lemon poppy seed muffins popped up on blogs everywhere, tempting me with their cute little black and yellow polka-dot look.

I took those suckers and gave them an extreme makeover. The original recipe called for 1 stick of butter, 2/3 cups of sugar, and a good dose of sour cream. It sounds like a recipe for a mid-morning sugar crash. I re-did the recipe using some whole wheat flour, half the sugar, 2 tablespoons less butter, and Greek yogurt.

The recipe makeover resulted in muffins with a strong lemon flavor, light sweetness, crunchy poppy seeds, and a texture that was a mix between a muffin and a biscuit. The tangy lemon glaze on top added some sweetness too.  Just my type of muffin.

Below is the original recipe with my makeover modifications in parenthesis.



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