Frozen Breakfast Sandwiches

The main things I craved while I was pregnant with the minion were fruit and breakfast sandwiches.  The fruit was easy, but the breakfast sandwiches made me feel guilty every time we stopped at a fast food restaurant.  So I started making my own.  Recently I decided I should try to freeze them so on rushed mornings, I can still have a yummy breakfast.  The first time I made them, I tried to do the eggs in a pan, the way I normally cook fried eggs.  But these needed to be sandwich shaped, so the second time, I baked them.

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Breakfast Sandwiches for Freezing

12 eggs

12 English muffins

12 slices of cheese (Swiss works well, cheddar gets really greasy)

12 pieces of ham/bacon/sausage if desired

Crack eggs into a 9×13 pan and scramble.  Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes.  Let cool at least a little bit.  Cut up eggs into 12 rectangles.  Assemble sandwiches with one rectangle of eggs, one slice of cheese, and meat if desired.  Wrap in wax paper and store sandwiches in the plastic bags the English muffins came in.  Freeze.

To reheat, take one sandwich out of bag, no need to unwrap, microwave for 4 minutes at 50% power.  Let sit for about a minute and enjoy!

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You can add a lot of things to the eggs, I’ve done paprika so far, but I have the idea to do about anything that you can put in an omelet, mushrooms, tomatoes, parsley, avocado, hot peppers.    Also after you’ve cooked it, you can add fresh veggies.  I’m thinking tomatoes and sprouts.  What would you add to yours?

Freezing Root Veg Crock-Pot Mixtures

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A while back, I picked up a ton of root vegetables and chopped them up.  I mixed them together and froze them in crock-pot sized increments.  Pretty straight forward set up.  Then I just add seasoning when I cook it.  I’ve done cranberry juice, rice vinegar, cream of mushroom soup, along with various herbs and seasonings.  Cranberry juice is amazing with sweet potatoes.  We’ve also added a ghost pepper once.  It make everything surprisingly spicy even though we didn’t eat the actual pepper.

Just put the veggies in the crock-pot, pour in your liquid of choice, add seasonings and then add water until everything is covered.  Put it on low for 8 or so hours.  You can also add in a bag of dried beans, just don’t use kidney beans, they require more prep.  This is a really laid back ‘recipe’, you just kind of throw stuff together.

Let me know what types of things you add for flavoring.

Pomegranate Ginger Ale

I mentioned before, when talking about the infused cranberry vodka, that I was also making pomegranate vodka.  Well, now it’s ready.  I used a small handful of the seeds in the same sized bottle as the cranberry.  I muddled them a bit (that’s the fancy bartender way of saying ‘mushed them up’).  They turned stark white and the vodka is a light pink.  I didn’t have a plan for what to mix it with when I made it, I just had a pomegranate and was excited about infusing vodka.

So when the vodka was ready to use, I wasn’t sure what to do with it.  The hero suggested some ginger ale we had and I thought that was perfect.  It was surprisingly good.  I mean I thought it would be good, but it was really good.  It has a really complex and full flavor.

This recipe makes 2 drinks.

Pomegranate Ginger Ale

2 shots pomegranate infused vodka

1 can ginger ale

ice

Mix one shot of pomegranate vodka and half of the can of ginger ale in a pint glass over ice.  Enjoy.

Homemade Chai Mix

I have had good chai and I have had bad chai.  But sometimes, the best chai is easy chai.

In the spirit of this, I made some instant chai mix.  Also, a bag of this makes a good gift.

Chai Mix

3 cups vanilla sugar
3 cups powdered milk
1 ½ cups unsweetened instant tea
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
2 tsp cardamom

Mix everything together in a bowl.  At this point it will look grainy and not terribly appetizing.

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But through the magic of food processing, it becomes a lovely uniform powder.  You’ll probably have to do a few different batches in the food processor, unless you have a mondo one.  This recipe makes about 3 pint jars full of mix.  The jar of instant tea I bought had the perfect amount for making this recipe twice.

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To make a cup, mix hot water with 2 Tbsp of mix.  You can also cool it off and pour over ice.  It’s really good both ways.

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Fun fact: chai is the Hindi word for tea so saying chai tea is a little redundant.

Homemade Vanilla Sugar

Apparently there’s this thing called vanilla sugar.  And I could’ve been baking with it all these years!  It’s used in a lot of European cookie recipes and things like that.  But I made it for some chai mix.  It’s really easy to make and I have heard that it’s really expensive if you buy it from a store.  It’s really just regular white sugar and vanilla extract.  Be sure to use pure vanilla extract, not vanilla flavoring, or imitation vanilla.

I needed three cups for my recipe so I made that much, but this recipe can easily be scaled either up or down.  The vanilla sugar will also keep, just store it the same way you store white sugar.

Vanilla Sugar

3 cups sugar

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Mix the sugar and vanilla extract together as much as you can.  I found it helped to use the back of a spoon to mush out the lumps in it.

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Leave the bowl lightly covered overnight.  I used a Pyrex and just placed the lid on top, but didn’t fully put it on.  When you come back to it, it will be hard and stiff.  Just stir it back up and break up any more lumps.  Use in whatever yummy recipe you’re making!

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In the recipe, I had to pulse the mix in a food processor, so I didn’t really stir it up after I let it sit overnight.  I just dumped it in with the rest of the ingredients and let the food processor stir it for me.

Also, It makes your kitchen smell amazing!

Anyone got any other good recipes to use this in?

Infused Cranberry Vodka

Recently I found a bag of cranberries on clearance at the grocery store.  I snatched them up and brought them home without knowing what I wanted to do with them.  I ended up coming across the idea for infusing vodka.  There are flavored vodkas that you can buy but I bet those have a lot of artificial flavors and added sugars.  My version is all natural.

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I used a 16 ounce bottle to infuse this in and didn’t measure exactly.

Cranberry Infused Vodka

a couple handfuls of cranberries

around 12 ounces of the cheapest vodka we could find

Take each cranberry and cut two small slits in it.  Put the berries in the jar and pour the vodka in.  Shake the bottle daily for a week then strain the berries out and enjoy.  Store in the freezer until you’ve drunk it all.  It turned pink within a few hours and after the week was up it was a bright red.  If I hadn’t made it, I would’ve sworn it had food dye in it!

We had it mixed with orange juice one time and pomegranate soda another.  It was really good.  When I first took the berries out both the hero and I tried it but it was just too strange to sip vodka.  I froze the rest of the berries and I think I might need to make some more of this vodka.

I’m really excited about infusing vodkas now.  I’ve got a pomegranate one in the works now and a few more ideas that I’m throwing around.

Egg Salad Without Mayo

I really don’t like mayonnaise, but I do like egg salad.  Here’s my version that doesn’t use mayo along with my serving suggestion of a sandwich.

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Egg Salad Sandwiches

6 hard boiled or baked eggs

3/4 cup dill pickles (we made these from cucumbers from the garden last summer)

1 1/2 cup cottage cheese

6 or so leaves of arugula lettuce (about the only thing that sprouted in our garden this winter)

12 slices of sandwich bread (bonus points for homemade bread)

Chop the eggs and pickles into small chunks and then mix them and the cottage cheese together in a big bowl.  You can play around with the ratios to taste.  Make 6 sandwiches with a scoop of the egg salad and a layer of arugula leaf.

I think it turned out really well.  My dad, who doesn’t like egg salad, even said it was “alright”.  Since his highest endorsement is “pretty good”, I’ll take that as a compliment.

Cooking with Turnips Successfully

When I bought the turnip, the guy at the store was rather skeptical about me cooking it.  He told me he’d only heard of people shredding it and making slaw.  But I think doing it in the slow cooker was a total success.  I am also starting to fall in love with my slow cooker.

Turnip, Potato, and Carrot Stew

1 peeled turnip

4 carrots

3 russet potatoes

1 small red onion

1 tetrapack or can cream of mushroom soup

rosemary

parsley

water

green onions

Chop up the turnip, carrots, potatoes, and onion and throw them in the slow cooker.  Put the cream of mushroom soup in and then add water until you’ve basically covered all the vegetables.  Sprinkle in a bit of rosemary and parsley, I used dried, but if you have fresh, I’m sure that’s much better.  Cook on low for 6 hours.  Serve with chopped green onions on top.

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If I made it again, I’d probably add more carrots, but it was pretty good.  It could’ve used a bit more flavor but I’m not sure what I should’ve added.  I would’ve liked more mushrooms than just the few in the soup, but the hero isn’t a huge mushroom fan.  Any suggestions on what I should add next time?

Personal Banana Pies

This is a quick and easy dessert I like to throw together whenever.  I tend to keep the ingredients on hand and it can be made in a few minutes.  If you want to show me up, you can make your own pastry dough, but I just use a package of Immaculate Baking Co crescent rolls.

Miniature Banana Pies

3 bananas sliced

1 package Immaculate Baking Co crescent rolls

aprox 1/4 cup brown sugar

aprox 2 Tablespoons cinnamon

The brown sugar and cinnamon amounts are estimations and can be changed to taste.  Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and banana slices together in a bowl.  Don’t completely crush the bananas but some of them will mix with the cinnamon and brown sugar to form a syrup.

Lay out half the crescent rolls dough I usually use two rolls together for each side of the pie.  This will make 2 pies of 2 servings each.  Heap the banana mixture in the middle of the dough.  Cover with the rest of the dough and press down the sides to form a pocket.

Bake according to crescent rolls package.  12-14 minutes at 350°.

I haven’t tried, but it might be possible to do this with different fruits.  I encourage experimentation!

How to Make Pumpkin Purée

I tried to grow pumpkins in the garden this year.  I had visions of our porch at Halloween covered in pumpkins and cans upon cans of pumpkin purées and butters.  We got one pumpkin.  The vines are still out there so I guess we could get another, but I think we might end up with just the one.

But that one pumpkin got us two jars of purée at least.

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Cut your pumpkin in half and scoop out the innards.

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Then put them flat side down on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes at 350º F.  When they’re done, take them out and let them cool before cutting the rind off and purée in a food processor.  Et Voila, pumpkin purée.  I used one of my pint jars to make a pumpkin pie and the other I plan to freeze.  It’s not as orange as commercial pumpkin purée, but so much yummier!