It’s Mother’s Day, and I have just the (fool-proof!) plan for your at-home celebrations. These dishes don’t skimp on thoughtful details but are quick and easy to prepare with all of the kiddos!
No matter what they call you (or how many times they shout your name), when they call for mom, they are calling out of need. “Mom, where’s this…” “Mom, can you believe she did that?” “Mom, tell him to stop touching me!!!” “Mom, I can’t find……………..” Well, on this one Sunday in May, we Moms don’t need to have all of the answers. In fact, it may be the only day of the year when you can reply, “Ask your father,” without ending your marriage in the process.
Let me help get your Mother’s Day morning (or noon or Saturday before!) inspired with a few of my favorite recipes that are easy enough to prepare, absolutely perfect to share, and will definitely show your care. Ask your family to whip these up or make it a group activity!
When life gives you lemons…..Make lemon curd! You can spread lemon curd on your English muffin, swirl it in the center of a pound cake, whip it into a mousse, transform it into ice cream or make lemon curd parfaits for a light, airy, and bright spring dessert.
This is the recipe for the famous Camp Greystoneopening day scones. The campers are greeted with these on the first day of camp. The parents are given some to take on the trip home and then hustled out the door. It’s a camp tradition that has met with success for generations, and one I am always excited to recreate with my granddaughter.
Say, “Hello” to DOUGHNUT Muffins! Get everyone into the act when making these delicious treats. My grandson Sammy LOVES donuts and has got in on the fun: Little ones can brush the warm butter and sprinkle the toppings and the older kids can stir the ingredients together and wash up the bowls!
There are so many savory breakfast classics, but this one is something special. In Spain, it’s just a tapa, but in my house, it can be breakfast, brunch, and even dinner! Try this potato torte and pair it with sangria for an authentic experience. 😉
She and all her fellow campers (and their parents) were devastated.
In so many ways, summer camps are a rite of passage; The child leaves her family nest and flies to what will become her flock of friends, counselors, and influencers. Growing through this process allows the girls to make independent choices in activities, faith and meditation, what they wish to eat, and most especially the selection of summer friends who are destined to be friends throughout their lives.
Out of this disappointment, Camp Nana was born!
Just a few of her closest friends were invited to our camp. Our activities included hiking, a ropes course, a thoroughly harrowing tubing trip down a river in a lightning storm (email me for details on that one!), and a fully active haunted house.
The crafts were candle making, bath bombs creating, jewelry designing, making fresh pasta, and learning to grill pizza.
After all….It was MY camp! It was an action-packed adventure.
In trying to fit the traditions of Camp Greystone into Nana Camp, I replicated their recipe for Opening Day Scones and offered them to the campers upon their arrival.
These simple biscuits are light and airy and can be filled with either chocolate chips, berries, or oats.
They are delish and I kept them coming all through camp.
Perhaps inviting teens for a camp adventure is not on your agenda this summer.
But, if you dig deep and put on your thinking cap, perhaps you can come up with something special to do for a friend or family member that needs a smile.
Camp Nana: Famous Camp Greystone Scones Recipe
This is the recipe for the famous Camp Greystone opening day scones. The campers are greeted with these on the first day of camp. The parents are given some to take on the trip home and then hustled out the door. It’s a camp tradition that has met with success for generations.
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon baking powder
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup sour cream
½ cups mini chocolate chips
Yields: Makes about a dozen 3-inch round scones
Time: 20-minute cuisine (10)
Preheat the oven to 375°. Place the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder into a bowl. Stir in the cream and sour cream until the dough just comes together. It will be a sticky mess!
Transfer the dough to your floured work surface. Press the dough into a 2-inch rectangle. Sprinkle the chocolate chips onto the dough. Fold the dough over the chips to combine. Press the dough out to a 1-inch rectangle. Use a three-inch round biscuit cutter to form the scones. Transfer these to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Bake the scones until they are just beginning to turn golden on the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes.
The other day, I was rummaging around in my fridge and discovered a treasure trove of leftover potatoes! Multitask those spuds with two different recipes sure to hit the spot. Click to skip to the recipe
I love potatoes.
I think this devotion stems from early breakfasts shared with my Dad.
To quell my then rebellious teenage persona, Dad would spend quality time with me on the weekends.
He traveled for his business during the week but was always home on the weekends. Saturday morning was our time.
We woke early (thus my lifelong habit) and drove to his office where he would catch up on paperwork and I would help him run job cost numbers.
First things first, we stopped for breakfast on the way. Many times, it was just to gather a box of donuts to share with the others in the office.
But SOMETIMES we would splurge and stop at the local Denny’s restaurant.
We would sit, sip really good coffee and Dad would order either a Denny’s Grand Slam or Denny’s Skillet breakfast. The grand slam loaded pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, and fried potatoes onto one large plate. The skillet was just that, a cast-iron skillet loaded with potato and meat hash and topped with a couple of eggs – your way.
It’s been almost 20 years since my Dad went to heaven and my fondest memories still include the joy on his face as he tore into that meal.
The other day, when I was rummaging around in my fridge, I was delighted to find a treasure trove of leftover potatoes! I had leftover twice-baked from last Sunday’s potluck supper and a baked potato because hubby and I decided to split one instead of consuming a whole. And, I even had a mound of left-over smashed parmesan potatoes from Monday night’s meatloaf dinner. Eureka! It’s one of the good cook’s miracles that leftover potatoes will last a long time in the fridge, giving you an opportunity for a second dish with just a little effort.
So, with a nod to my Dad, and a love of leftovers, I have two dishes for you this week.
The first is a breakfast skillet made from the baked potato and enhanced with beef, bacon, peppers and onions and topped with a glazed egg. This is a hearty breakfast that is super served after an early morning hike or when combining breakfast and lunch into one leisurely brunch meal. The second dish was FUN. I used the inside of the twice-baked potato with the mound of mashed and made a potato croquette that was perfectly (and simply) fried crisp on the outside with a soft, almost gooey center.
Yumm oh yumm!
Breakfast Skillet With Glazed Eggs
A perfect use for leftover potatoes, feel free to add absolutely anything into your hash.
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 sliced bacon, diced
4 ounces beef (I used tenderloin, but you can substitute with ham, corned beef, or chicken, it’s your choice), about 1 cup
1 large baked potato, cooked and cut into ½-inch cubes, about 1 cup
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into ½-inch cubes, about 1 cup
1 white onion, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes, about 1 cup
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated, about ½ cup
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon butter
4 large eggs
Drizzle the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and beef. Cook until the bacon begins to crisp. Remove the bacon and beef from the skillet. Add the potato, pepper, and onions to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook until the onions and peppers are soft, and the potato begins to brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add the bacon and beef back onto the skillet and toss. Scatter the cheese on top of the hash. Cover the skillet and cook to melt the cheese. Toss the fresh dill over the top.
Place the butter into a separate skillet (with lid) over medium heat. When the butter is melted, crack the eggs into the pan. Fill an empty eggshell half with water and pour this into the pan. The water will bubble up. Cover the pan with a lid. Lower the heat to medium-low. Coo the eggs until the yolks are just set, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Scoop out the hash onto a plate. Top the hash with eggs. Garnish with dill sprigs.
Mashed Potato Croquettes
Starting out with seasoned left-over mashed potatoes makes this an easy recipe to prepare. However, if you like to start from scratch, just bake a couple of potatoes and scoop out the flesh. You can season with salt and pepper and even add some sour cream or cheddar cheese. It’s all good!
4 cups left over mashed potatoes
1 large egg yolk, plus 1 whole egg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons milk
2 to 3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
Canola (or vegetable) oil for frying
1 Dozen 3-inch croquettes
Place the mashed potatoes into a bowl. Stir in the egg yolk (reserve the white part), and green onions. Place the bowl into the fridge for a couple of minutes while you assemble the breading station.
Place the whole egg and the egg white into a shallow bowl. Beat with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water until combined. Place the seasoned breadcrumbs into another shallow bowl.
Remove the potatoes from the fridge. Use an ice cream scoop to form round potato balls that you dip into the egg wash and then the breadcrumbs. Transfer each ball to a parchment lined sheet pan or platter. When all the croquettes are formed, place them back into the fridge for 15 minutes.
Heat oil in a fryer or deep pot to 375°. Fry the croquettes in the oil a couple at a time until deeply golden. Transfer to a paper-towel lined platter. When all of the croquettes are fried garnish with a touch of sea salt and fresh herbs.
Make Ahead Tip:
You can make these ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Bring them to room temperature before you fry.
Spring means berries and cherries and all the delicious baking that goes with it! Even if you can’t go to the farm, let the farm come to you by way of your local grocer and get ready to cherry and berry. Click to skip to the recipe
When I think of Spring, I think about berry pickin’. When I was little, my grandparents had a huge garden. (They also raised pigs and chickens… but that’s another story.) In the garden we picked ripe strawberries from vines for Gram when asked.
We usually ate more than we turned over for Gram’s famous berry pies as was evidenced by our stained (and somewhat guilty) smiles.
At the end of Gram and Gramp’s long, dirt drive was a hedge of berry bushes. I think they were huckleberries, but they could have been blackberries. I remember my brother and sister and I would pick the berries and thread them onto long straws and then eat them like an ear of corn. Yumm! Many of these didn’t make it to the pies, either.
Luckily, Gram had nine grandchildren, and even given our full bellies, pies were baked!
Today, I love to take my grandkids to a strawberry patch at this time of year, but, in this climate of social distancing, the patches are devoid of pickers, yet abundant in berries. I recently bought a box of over-sized deeply red, ripe, strawberries from my grocery store. The handwritten sign told me that they came from a local farm, not but five miles away.
Which leads me to my berry recipes! The first is not a recipe. It’s a “just a little extra’ to your everyday standard.
I’m talking about blueberry pancakes with blueberry syrup.
Blueberry Pancakes with Berry Sauce
I add a dash of vanilla and a sprinkle of cinnamon to my standard boxed pancake batter. Then I substitute melted butter for vegetable oil. This creates rich batter for your cakes.
I reserve about twenty blueberries from a pint. The rest I place into a deep saucepan. Pour maple syrup over the berries and simmer on low until the berries break down. Be careful, the berry syrup can bubble up if you’re not watching. Turn off the heat so that the syrup cools down a bit.
Make the pancakes as you normally would, but place a few of the reserved berries onto each one before you flip it over. Stack the blueberry pancakes on a plate. Top with a dollop of butter and ladle warm berry syrup over the top. The cakes absorb the berrieness from inside and out! It’s a treat.
As you might imagine, I can find myself with a bunch of leftover berries. These, I freeze and use to make smoothies and sauces. My lemon cake is the perfect foil for an easy berry sauce.
Glazed Lemon Cake With Very Berry Sauce
30-Minute Cuisine, Plus 1 Hour Baking
This lemony cake with berry sauce is just puckerable enough to make it into the lip smackin’ category.
1 ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup butter, 1 ½ sticks, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
¼ cup sour cream
Zest from 2 lemons, about 2 tablespoons
Juice from 2 lemons, about ¼ cup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Juice from 1 lemon, about 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups assorted berries (I used frozen left-over berries)
½ cup granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly coat a 9” x 5” loaf pan with vegetable oil spray. Fit a piece of parchment paper into the pan with some of the sheets overlapping so that you can use the paper to remove the cake after baking. Then spray the paper.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Use an electric mixer to combine the butter and 1 cup sugar until creamy and smooth. Stir in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the lemon zest and juice from 2 lemons, sour cream, and vanilla. Add the flour about ½ cup at a time, until the batter is just mixed together. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 45 to 60 minutes. Cool the pan on the rack for 30 minutes, then transfer the cake from the pan to the rack to cool completely.
While the cake cools, stir together the confectioners’ sugar, juice from 1 lemon, cream, and vanilla. The glaze will be thick, but pourable. Place the cake onto your serving platter. Pour the glaze over top.
Place the berries and ½ cup sugar into a deep saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat. Cook the berries until they break down and are soft and mushy. Cool to room temperature. Place a colander into a larger bowl. Push the berries through the colander, using the potato masher. You want most of the pulp and seeds to stay in the colander. Transfer what’s left in the bowl to a small pitcher.
Drizzle the sauce onto a plate. Top with a slice of cake and a few extra berries for garnish.
Best Cherry Tart Recipe
I have a thing with cherries. I love cherry pie, cherry jam, cherry chutney. Just eating freshly pitted cherries with grandson, Ben, is a blast. He loves the pitting!
On the flip side, I deeply dislike canned cherry pie filling; Don’t get me started!
So, I came up with a way to satisfy my cherry pie craving, using fresh cherries and time-saving refrigerated puff pastry dough. It’s easy and delish!
Makes about 20 palm-sized tarts
These little tarts are best warm from the oven. You can make them and freeze them and bake them off when you’re ready for a treat!
1 tablespoon coarse sugar (I used raspberry flavored coarse sugar)
Place the cherries into a deep saucepan. Add the sugar and splash in about 2 tablespoons of water. Heat the cherries over medium heat until they begin to breakdown and the sugar dissolves, about 5 to 8 minutes.
Stir together the cornstarch, lemon zest and juice until smooth and pour into the pot. Continue simmering until the cherries begin to bubble up the sides of the pan. Use a potato masher to mush together the cherries in the syrupy sauce. Continue simmering until the mixture resembles fruit jam. Remove the pot from the heat and cool to room temperature.
Place the dough onto your floured board or work surface. Roll out the dough to a rectangle about 15” x 18” and about 1/8-inch thickness. Cut the dough into four equal strips, horizontally and 5 equal pieces, vertically. You will end up with about 20 squares.
Preheat the oven to 425°. Place a colander into a larger bowl. Pour the cherries through the colander, using the potato masher to squeeze out as much of the juice as possible. Place a tablespoon of cherry filling on each square of dough. Fold the dough over and seal with the tines of a fork. I folded mine into triangles, but rectangles or squares are fine too! Place each tart onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush each tart with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake until the tarts are puffed and golden, about 15 to 18 minutes.
The egg is a perfect food, full of protein and loaded with nutrients. It contains zero sugars, no carbs, and they’re cheap! You can build an entire meal plan around an egg, a super food offering 6 to 8 grams of protein at only 70 calories per yummy oval.
To make perfect scrambled eggs…
Break two eggs into a bowl. Use a fork to break the yolks and stir together with the whites. Beaten eggs will be pale yellow (You don’t want to see any of the yolk or whites). Now, melt a tablespoon of butter in a skillet over low heat. When the butter is melted and foamy, pour in the eggs.
Use a wooden spoon or spatula to gently stir the eggs, creating small curds. This will take a while, about 3 to 5 minutes. You want soft, silky eggs. While you are stirring, you can season with salt and pepper.
If you like your scrambled eggs cooked more well done… just cook them longer! Now that you have perfect scrambled eggs, what can we do with them?
Well, I happen to enjoy creamy French style eggs, garnished with chopped tomatoes and chives. This oldie but goodie recipe was adapted from two recipes in my lifestyle cookbook Gorgeous: The Sum of All Your Glorious Parts.
It’s an incredibly versatile dish. If you don’t have chives, no worries! Use chopped bacon or any veggies you have on hand for a scrumptious veggie scramble. I love to wake up in the morning and say “Bonjour” to this style of eggs because I love the toast part, and creaminess the sour cream and butter lend the taste.
Bon appetite my friends! And don’t forget that in these chaotic times, eggs can be hard boiled, fried, beaten and added as luscious curds in soup, made into soufflés, or added to a malted egg cream dessert. Just save a few for Easter, when we’ll likely still be hunkered down.
Life can still be EGGScellent!
Creamy French-Style Eggs
Garnished with Chopped Tomatoes and Chives
20 minute cuisine
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon sour cream
2 slices Your choice) bread, toasted
1 medium plum tomato, seeded and diced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat them with a fork. You want a pale, frothy mixture. Stir in the cream. Season them with some of the salt and pepper.
Melt the butter in a pan over medium-low heat until melted and frothy. Pour the eggs into the pan and stir. I like a wooden spoon for this. Continue stirring until soft curds form. Transfer the eggs to the toast slices. Garnish with chopped tomato and chives.
For another topper, consider topping these eggs with a bit of caviar, or perhaps some capers. Instead of tomatoes, try peppered strawberries for garnish. Cut the stem from the strawberry and cut it in half. Dip the cut side into course pepper. It’s yummy!
While the world can be rough, there is always something to be grateful for, take comfort in and feel good about. 2020 is moving right along. The groundhog predicted an early spring, and colorful Mardi Gras parades are planned as we usher in a new season of Lent.
I tell you what this Catholic will not be giving up: cinnamon rolls! The last Jorj.com recipe this February, a leap year, is one of the oldest one’s in my repertoire. I actually make them so routinely, I didn’t have to dig far into my archives to share these cinnamon-ny, heavenly wonders with you.
Best Cinnamon rolls are from At Home in the Kitchen and seemed fitting as I explore a food trend of living in the moment. In Denmark and Norway, they call taking pleasure in the simple things, Hygge.
Pronounced “Hue-Gah”, it’s the Danish ritual of graciousness, of enjoying and appreciating life’s simplest pleasures, family and friends.
Where, I live hygge is just something I’ve done my entire life: Appreciating a warm blanket and good book to read on a gloomy day, wild flowers that grabbed my attention on a long walk home, and wound up in a vase in my kitchen, cozy meals shared with my hubby, children and grandchildren….
These are hygge moments; these are my moments, and my loved one’s moments when we’re all together, or enjoying our solitude apart.
Certainly, the world presents its challenges, but great food, friends, art and music are always around to lift our spirits.
BUT BACK TO THESE CINNAMON ROLLS! While they take a little bit of time, I assure you they are WORTH IT! I did some checking, and saw that you can order a loved one a hygge box of candles, scents, chocolates and warm socks, but I think you’d be doing that friend a bigger favor buying them a stand mixer with a trusty dough hook.
They will never tire of baking and breaking bread. One of life’s simplest pleasures is of fresh baking bread, after all….and these melted cinnamon and brown sugar treats, just begging to be glazed, ratchet up the hygge factor a million degrees!
Enjoy them with a hot cuppa and my latest pick for Super Supper Book Club!
Best Cinnamon Rolls
Makes 12 to 14 rolls
45 minute cuisine, plus rising and baking time
For the rolls
1 cup whole milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
3 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons yeast
For the filling
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), chilled, cut into small pieces
For brushing over rolls
1 tablespoon half and half
For the glaze
1 ¼ cups confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons half and half
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the milk, sugar, softened butter, salt and egg. Add 2 cups of flour and mix (in a stand mixer or by hand) until smooth.
Add the yeast. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle. Knead dough on lightly floured surface for up to 10 minutes. Place in bowl coated with vegetable oil spray, cover and let double in size for 40 minutes to 1 hour.
Roll out the dough to a 10 X 14 inch rectangle.
Place the brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the chilled butter pieces and pulse briefly until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Spread the filling over the dough. Roll up jelly roll style, starting at the narrow end. Pinch the open ends underneath the roll.
Slice the roll into 1-inch pieces. Arrange the slices, cut side up, into a 13 X 9 X 2 inch baking dish, coated in vegetable oil spray. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and allow to rise for at least 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator.
Brush the rolls with half and half. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. If the rolls brown too quickly, cover with aluminum foil. Brush the rolls again with half and half after they are removed from the oven.
Make a glaze for the rolls by combining the confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, and half and half in a small bowl. Drizzle the glaze over the top and serve warm.