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Musings from a Very Lucky Penny

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Tuesday Breakfast Tutorial: Crockpot French Toast (Or: How to Wake Up to a Hot Breakfast)

Mrs Pen's Crockpot French Toast

I chose this for today’s breakfast because I had a loaf of bread on the fritz and I haaate throwing food away. What is cool about it, though, is this morning when we woke up, breakfast was ready! No cutting, frying, cooking, and a pile of dirty dishes left for me to wash! It felt like Mother’s Day (hint hint honey).

Mrs Pen's Crockpot French Toast

So last night, I started out by mixing 6 eggs and two cups of milk in the crockpot bowl. And added a healthy pinch of pumpkin pie spice.

Mrs Pen's Crockpot French Toast

I threw in the loaf of bread, cut into quarters.

Mrs Pen's Crockpot French Toast

I mixed the eggs, milk, and bread up real good and popped it in the fridge for a few hours.

Side Note: Next time I make this, I’m going to mix some blueberries in this concoction. Or pumpkin! Or cream cheese! The sky is the limit. Let your imagination run wild!

Mrs Pen's Crockpot French Toast

In a separate bowl, I mixed 1/4 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of brown sugar.

Side Note: Next time I’m going to add more of this mixture… Let’s say 1/2 cup of butter and 1 cup of brown sugar. My hubs said this was the best part.

Ok here’s the tricky part… If your crock pot has a timer, just set it to start on high 4 hours prior to when you want to eat (or to cook for 4 hours and then switch to warm until you’re ready to eat, however your crockpot works.). My crockpot doesn’t have any kind of magical setting; LUCKILY, I do have a 4-month-old who wakes up all night. So when he woke me up at 5:00, I put the pot with the bread concoction in the crockpot, threw in about half a cup of walnuts, and layered the butter/brown sugar on top. I put a paper towel over the top and then put the lid on it (this is to prevent the condensation from making your french toast soggy) and put the crock pot on high. Sorry folks, at 5-in-the-morning I wasn’t concerned with taking pictures.

Mrs Pen's Crockpot French Toast

When we woke up at 9:00, the house smelled like delicious breakfast!

Mrs Pen's Crockpot French Toast

Now I just took a giant scoop, added powdered sugar and warm syrup and devoured! Yum.

Today’s Recipe:
6 Eggs
2 Cups- Milk
Large Pinch – Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 Loaf- Bread
1/2 Cup- Butter or Margarine
1 Cup- Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup – Walnuts
Optional- half cup berries or cream cheese or pumpkin

-Mix eggs, milk, and pumpkin pie spice in a crockpot bowl.
-Slice Bread into quarters and mix into egg mixture
-Optional- add berries or whatever extras you want to bread mixture.
-Refrigerate for a few hours.
-Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix butter and brown sugar
-Once the bread mixture has chilled, put it in the crockpot, layer walnuts and brown sugar mixture on top.
-Cover with paper towel and lid and cook on high for 4 hours.

Tuesday Breakfast Tutorial: 10 Minute Homemade Buttermilk Biscuit Sandwich

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I was debating whether or not to do a “Tuesday Breakfast Tutorial” today because my poor hubs had to go to work this morning and take a class on hydrolical things or something like that. But then I thought “What the hey?” and decided to write about what we eat when he has to go to work before the sun rises. Have I mentioned how much I adore this hardworking man?!

So buttermilk biscuit sandwiches are one of my favorite early morning recipes because they’re quick, delish, and don’t get many dishes dirty for me to wash afterwards (we are currently in dishwasher purgatory).

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For the buttermilk biscuits, I like to use a baking mix. I have made biscuits from scratch, however they are kind of a pain in the tuckus and these ones taste just as good. And they’re like a bazillion times better than the kind that come in a can. Although that can is fun to open. I like to use Pioneer Brand baking mix because it has a cool looking box.

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Here’s my biscuit secret: I use one half buttermilk and one half normal milk. Then I just knead it a few times and cut the dough into circles with the lid of a cup, and throw em in the oven for a few minutes until they’re golden.

While the Biscuits are Baking… Ok, this is where the corner-cutting really starts.

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I spray some oil in a mug, crack an egg in it, whip it up with a fork and pop it in the mic for 60 seconds. (thanks for the great Chicago mug Aunt Erika… It gets put to good use!)

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TA-DA! I now have the perfect biscuit-shaped-egg.

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This part is a trick I just learnt from my friend Claressa last week. I just take a piece or two of bacon, cover it with a paper towel and put it in the microwave for 3 minutes. Magically, it turns into crisp bacon.

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By now the biscuits are perfectly golden.

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I just put a little butter on them and the layer the bacon, egg, and a slice of American cheese and send my cowboy off to work with a warm hearty breakfast to eat.

As you can tell, we take breakfast very seriously in our house. If you have any good breakfast ideas, please share! I am always looking for new ideas.Thanks!

All my love,
Mrs. Pen

Tuesday Breakfast Tutorial: Pumpkin Walnut Flapjacks with Cream Cheese Syrup

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I’m jumping on the pumpkin bandwagon. It’s fall and even though we don’t get the gorgeous autumn colors and nippy weather like the rest of y’all, we will exercise our American right to celebrate autumn by eating our weight in pumpkin stuff. Lots of pumpkin stuff. Prepare for an onslaught of pumpkin posts here!

For breakfast today, we stuffed ourselves silly with pumpkin walnut pancakes and cream cheese syrup. It was so freakin good I ate three of them and promised myself I’d work out to make up for the extra calories. I’m probably not going to work out. I’m excited to share this recipe here, it’s going to become a regular in our house. This is what I did…

I mixed one and a quarter cup of flour with a pinch of baking powder, three tablespoons of sugar, a little salt, and about a teaspoon and a half of pumpkin pie spice together.

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Nextly, in a separate bowl, I mixed a cup of milk, about a quarter stick of melted butter, an egg, and 6 heaping tablespoons of pumpkin purée (next time I’m going add more pumpkin, let’s
say about half a cup… That’s 8 tablespoons according to google.)

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Now I mixed the Punkin concoction in with the powder ingredients. And added some more pumpkin pie spice to make sure it’s voice was being heard.

Finally I chopped up about half a cup of walnuts and folded into the mix. (I only said “folded it in” to sound technical. Really I just dumped them in and mixed it up real good.)

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Now I poured the batter onto a greased pan on medium heat and cooked until golden brown on both sides.

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Ok for the syrup… I actually had some cream cheese frosting left over from a recipe I made yesterday (which I am DYING to share with you!), so I just thinned it out with a little milk and warmed it up in the mic. If I had made it today, I would have mixed half a package of cream cheese with half a cup (give or take) of powdered sugar, and added milk until it was the consistency I wanted, and then warmed it up in the mic in 20 second increments until it was warm enough.

Now all that was left to do was drizzle the syrup over the pancakes and devour them with my hubs on the patio watching the sun rise from the mountains. And that is the recipe for a happy hubby!

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No, the picture of my baby doesn’t relate to this recipe, he’s just so freakin cute I could die.

Oh also, you probably noticed the cream cheese sauce is a little lumpy-ish. This is because I pulled the frosting straight out of the fridge, I recommend using cream cheese at room temperature, and heat it up slowly. But it was still scrumptious, lumps and all.

Oh also, if you are a pancake-ologist or a pumpkin-ologist or just love food and have any suggestions on how to improve this, I would be delighted to hear them.

Oh also, brace yourselves for the pumpkin tutorial I will be sharing with you in the next day or two (aka, the next time my baby gives me enough time to write it out). Trust me, it’s a doozy!

Here’s today’s recipe-

Pancakes:
1 1/4 cup of flour
3 tbls of sugar
2 tspn of baking powder
2 tspn of pumpkin pie spice
Pinch of salt
1 cup of milk
8 tbls of pumpkin purée
2 tbls of melted butter
1 egg
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts

-mix dry ingredients together in one bowl.
-Mix wet ingredients in another bowl.
-Combine and mix well.
-Add walnuts
-Pour into greased skillet and cook on medium heat until slightly golden brown

Syrup:
Half a package of cream cheese, softened
Half a cup of powdered sugar
Milk, to consistency

-Whip cream cheese until fluffy
-add sugar and continue to cream
-slowly add milk until ideal consistency is reached
-warm in the microwave in 20 second increments until warm enough

This recipe is an adaption a one I found here.

I hope you love em as much as we did!

Love,
Mrs Pen

Magical Strawberry Cheesecake Filled Cupcakes

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My childhood friend, Britt, is getting married this weekend and I’m so thrilled for her! She and her fiance have been together for like a bazillion years and we all think its about dang time! Britt is going to love wife-hood. If I’d known marriage was so awesome, I wouldn’t have waited until the ripe old age of 26 to give it a shot.

Anyways, imagine my delight when the bride-to-be bestowed upon me the highest honor you could possibly place on a gal…. She asked me to make her rehearsal dinner cupcakes!

Cupcakes are my favorite things. So much so that I have a special drawer in my kitchen just for sprinkles.

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You know that person who has the one dish they bring to every potluck and family gathering? Like you Aunt Milred’s “famous” green bean casserole? Oh yay she brought it again. Thats what these cupcakes are to me. They’re super easy and they spread goodwill and magical fairy dust wherever they go. Ok here’s what I did.

Firstly, I made cupcakes using a box of white cake mix. I’m a big supporter of cake mixes. However, if you have a special homemade cake recipe, please share it with me!
Side note: the recipes my grandma got from the Queen of England (see this post) included a cake recipe, so you will see that on a future post.

Ok so secondly, I made the filling:
1 package of softened cream cheese
1 cup of sugar
a healthy amount of strawberry preserves
about a quarter cup of whipping cream to make it fluffy (cream everything together real good before you add the whipping cream).

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The lovely thing about this filling is it’s going to be covered by the cupcake, so it is very forgiving. You can be a creative as you want with it, as long as its nice and creamy so it goes in the cuppy easily. Oreos, for example, jam the tip and make the bag break.

Now I make a pastry bag with my Wilton tip 230 (this magical tip is specially designed for filling cupcakes, however in my cake classes, some people got the same effect using any large, round tip). Once your pastry bag is ready, inject it into the cupcake. Easy peasy.

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Ok now for the frosting. Normally I make a delicious whipped cream cheese frosting so I can eat about half of it while frosting the cake, however, since this is a special occasion, I used this perfect crusting buttercream recipe. Crusting Buttercream is more stable and therefore will hold that swirly, prettiful shape better.

Ok once I have them bad boys frosted, I slap a fresh strawberry on it and then give one to my hubs to sample. He points out he prefers his cupcakes with frosting other than buttercream. I love that guy. Ok this is how they looked:

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If you have any great cupcake recipes or ideas, please share with me! I love cupcakes times infinity!

That is all, the end.

Pie Crust from the Queen of England

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Ok, the story goes that when my Grandma Eve was a young newlywed in England, she met a woman on the bus who was a cook in the Queen’s kitchen. Since she was new to the domestical world, the woman offered to teach her how to cook. One of the things she taught her was how to make a pastry crust. Ok fast forward 70-ish years, I was making pie for my hubby and searching for the perfect pie crust recipe. I decided that the pie crust that was fed to her majesty must have been pretty smashing.

Tracking the recipe down though, was a whole different story! I put out an APB to all my Aunts and hoped someone managed to get my grandma to give it to them. (APB means All Points Bulletin for those of you who don’t watch Law and Order) Honestly, I didn’t have high hopes for it… In this day and age, with these young people and their iPod cell phones and their ready made frozen pie crusts, who would hold onto a recipe to make it from scratch? Imagine my delight today when I got an email from my awesome Aunt Erika with the following attachment:

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The original recipe in my Grandma’s hand writing! (I would recognize that handwriting anywhere, it’s the scroll that used to sign my birthday checks when I was a little girl!) I was soo excited to get home and make the Queens pie crust. Here is the record of my attempt:

I started out by weighing out 1 lb of self-rising flour and 1/2 lb of butter. Although my Grandma’s recipe says margarine is fine, I went with good butter. I’ve had bad luck with margarine in pie crust in the past, man.

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Nextly, I added some sugar, salt and baking powder.

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I started out trying to use my electric mixer to “rub the fat into the dry ingredients”, but pretty soon my whole kitchen looked like a paper mâché project, so I ended up using a fork to mash that bad boy.

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Next, I added the egg yoke and kept mixing. Sorry I forgot a picture, so let your imagination go wild here.

The final instruction on the recipe my Aunt sent said to add ice water until dough is crumbly but not wet. Pouring about 2 tablespoons at a time, I mixed the ice water in until I got the right consistency. (sorry I forgot to measure how much that was. And yes, I did use my fancy mason jar for this.)

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Since that was all we have from my Granny, I’m drawing from my own pie making experience for the rest of this. If you know of a better way to go about it, please tell me!!

So next, I rolled my dough up and wrapped it in cellophane and refrigerated it for about 2 hours.

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This was when I put my baby in his jammies. He’s so cute in his pajammies. This kid kills me.
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Ok, after the dough chilled, I rolled that sucker out and put it in my pie tin. (Note: Next time I do this, I am going to roll the dough thinner. Probably about a quarter inch. Also, I think this recipe would be enough for 2 pies if the dough is thinner.)

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Finally, I put my filling in (pumpkin) and put the whole enchilada in the oven.

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Whew when it was finally ready, we ate it all up and it was good to the last bite! And yes, I did eat it with a spoon. I like to live dangerously.

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Here’s the recipe I used today:
1 lb – Self-Rising Flour
1 cup – Cold Butter
1 Tsp- Sugar
1 Tsp- Salt
1 Pinch – Baking Powder
1 egg yoke

-Mix dry Ingredients together
– Add butter and mash everything together with a fork
-Add egg yoke
-Add ice water about 2 tablespoons at a time until dough is crumbly, but not wet
-Wrap in cellophane and refrigerate for a couple hours
-Roll crust out an put in pie dish
-Add filling and bake as directed

Incredible and Freakin Easy Stuffed French Toast

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To celebrate my kitchen getting unpacked, I made this unhealthy and delicious Stuffed French Toast recipe for breakfast. Well sorta. I didn’t have half the ingredients, so I jerry-rigged it a bit. I’m a big believer in ghetto cooking. Ok this is what I did:

Firstly, I took this beautiful loaf of Italian bread.

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Nextly, I cut it up into slices approximately 2 inches wide, and then cut a cute little pocket in the middle of it.

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Nextly, I’m a separate bowl, I mixed one package of cream cheese with some suga (I’d say about a quarter cup) and some peach preserves (maybe a quarter cup again. I mixed it real good until it was a creamy peachy glop. I wanted to use strawberries, but apparently my strawberry preserves ran off an joined the circus while we were moving.

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Nextly, I jammed a heaping spoonful of my yummy, cream cheesey mixture into the pocket of the sliced bread and I pressed the opening of the pocket closed for fryin. I thought this part would be icky, but it was actually extremely easy.

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Ok next, in a separate bowl, I mixed 2 eggs and about half a cup of milk together and put my stuffed bread in there and soaked it on each side. Yes, I know, this mixture traditionally has some cinnamon in it. However, my super picky eater of a hubby does not like french toast if the cinnamon is added prior to cooking it, he only likes it lightly sprinkled after the fact. I just love that guy.

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Next, I slapped about 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet and heated it up until the butter was melted. Once the butter melted, I threw my stuffed, soaked bread in there and cooked it for approximately 3 minutes on each side. It didn’t take long for the bread to get nicely toasted and the filling to get heated up. I got distracted at this part, and forgot to take a pic, so instead, here is a picture of my adorable baby giggling.

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Once the bread was nicely toasted, I just sprinkled some powdered sugar on those suckers and we ate them covered in syrup. I loved every bite and then felt utterly disgusting afterwards. Thats how you know it’s good!

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That is all. The end.

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