Iowa Corn Pancakes

Iowa Corn Pancakes

One of my favorite breakfast foods is pancakes.  While my husband makes awesome chocolate chip pancakes for me every weekend, occasionally I like to treat him to one of my specialties… Iowa Corn Pancakes.  I found this recipe 10 years ago in one of my favorite cookbooks, Best of the Best from Iowa.  These pancakes taste like a cross between corn muffins and buttermilk pancakes.  As such, I like to top these pancakes the same way I top my corn muffins… with sweet cream butter and honey.

I encourage you to try this easy recipe; I believe it will become one of your favorites too.

Iowa Corn Pancakes

1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk, approximately
2 Tbsp melted butter

In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together well.  In a small mixing bowl, combine the eggs and 1 cup buttermilk, mixing well.  Add the egg/buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well.  Add the melted butter to the mixture and mix.  Little by little, add the remaining buttermilk to the mixture until it is the proper thickness for cooking.  I find it takes almost the whole second cup of buttermilk to get the right consistency.

Iowa Corn Pancakes

Heat skillet over medium heat.  Add a small amount of butter (or other preferred fat used to prevent sticking) to the skillet.  Add enough batter to make the size pancakes you prefer.  Cook first side approximately 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.  Flip pancake and cook another 1-2 minutes or until second side is golden brown.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.

Iowa Corn Pancakes

Iowa Corn Pancakes

Serve pancakes with your favorite toppings (butter, honey, maple syrup, apple butter, berry compote, what-have-you).

Iowa Corn Pancakes

Enjoy!

Truly Delighted

Quaker True Delights

As you may have noticed, I am a Foodbuzz Featured Publisher.  As such, I have the distinct honor of also being a Foodbuzz Tastemaker.  This means that I receive samples of all kinds of goodies, often before they even reach the market shelves.

Recently, I was the very happy recipient of Quaker’s True Delights Granola Bars.  The awesome folks at Foodbuzz sent me 2 bars of each flavor to enjoy.  And enjoy I did!  Each variety is full of real fruit, nuts and whole grain goodness.  They taste super-indulgent but each bar is only 140 calories, has ZERO grams of trans fat, is cholesterol-free and packs a whopping 3 grams of fiber.

The flavors available are: Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond, Honey Roasted Cashew Mixed Berry and Toasted Coconut Banana Macadamia Nut.  I loved all of them but if I was forced to pick a favorite, I would choose Toasted Coconut Banana Macadamia Nut.  It tastes like chewy banana nut bread and makes for a great breakfast snack.  My husband’s favorite was the  Honey Roasted Cashew Mixed Berry.  He said it tastes like a much more delicious version of trail mix, full of sweet and tangy fruit and lots of nice crunch from the cashews.  The Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond is just luscious.  I simply love raspberries and dark chocolate together and the almonds just put this bar over the edge.

I encourage you to look for these granola bars in your local market.  But check out Quaker’s website first for a $1.00 coupon.  Deliciousness tastes even better when it costs $1.00 less!

Roman Holiday

My husband and I have just returned from our “babymoon” in Italy.  We stayed in Rome for 8 nights and took a day trip to Florence.  We chose Italy for our babymoon destination as it was our #2 pick for our honeymoon.  This was my first trip to Italy but my husband actually lived in Rome while studying abroad in college.  How nice to have my own personal tour guide!

The weather in Rome and Florence was as expected for January… cool and wet.  Our transportation to and from Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome was expertly handled by Rome Cabs.  We stayed at Hotel Giardino in the center of ancient Rome.  For the price, location and hospitality of the staff, this place can not be beat.

Now, for the food.  My husband and I easily ate our weight in pizza, pasta, gelato and bread.  We did not take any photos of the food we ate as we did not want to stick out like sore thumbs.  A few places that I can recommend to you are:

Virginiae, located at 41 Via di Parione – we ate here twice we loved it so much.  We recommend the osso bucco (braised veal shank), the coda alla vaccinara (braised oxtail), the coniglio (rabbit) cacciatore and the rigatoni all’Amatriciana.

Pizza Ciro, located at 43/45 Via della Mercede – we ate here twice as well.  The pizza here is so delicious I swear I am starting to drool right now just thinking about it.  The crust is flavorful and the perfect balance of crispy/soft and chewy.  The toppings are fresh and simple.

Il Gelato di San Crispino, located at 42 Via della Paneterria – this gelateria is the most sterile eatery I have ever seen and the gelato is fresh, all-natural and heavenly.  The flavors are pure and uncomplicated.  I enjoyed the pistachio and date while my husband liked the hazelnut and chocolate chip.

We both refrained from partaking of any vino as I am expecting and my husband doesn’t like to drink alone.  He did, however, enjoy some espresso (I abstained from this as well but it sure did smell good!).

We truly enjoyed our Roman holiday.  Now we are eagerly anticipating the arrival of our little bundle of joy!

If you find yourself in Rome in the near future, I hope these recommendations are helpful to you.

6-Week Raisin Bran Muffins

My mother makes this recipe in the winter although I think it is great all year round.  I guess she makes these muffins in winter time because they are so hearty and soul-warming.  They are a yummy grab-and-go breakfast, perfect for eating at your office desk while checking your overflowing email inbox.

One of my favorite food bloggers, Diva at Beach Eats, once asked me why these muffins are called “6-Week” Raisin Bran Muffins.  A very good question, Diva.  Here is the answer: this recipe makes such a large amount of batter and the batter stays fresh for up to 6 weeks in the refrigerator.  Of course, I’ve never managed to keep the batter around that long as I bake a small batch of muffins every night so that my and my husband’s breakfast is fresh and ready to go to work with us every day.

6-Week Raisin Bran Muffins

1 (15oz.) box Raisin Bran cereal
3 cups granulated sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour
5 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs, beaten
1 quart buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix cereal, sugar, flour, baking soda and salt in an extra large bowl.  In a separate large bowl, combine oil, eggs and buttermilk; mix well.  Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix well.  Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for 25 minutes.  Remove muffins from pan and cool on a wire rack.

Store unused muffin batter in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator until ready to use.  Batter will last up to 6 weeks in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

6 Week Raisin Bran Muffins

6 Week Raisin Bran Muffins

6 Week Raisin Bran Muffins

6 Week Raisin Bran Muffins

6 Week Raisin Bran Muffins

‘Tis Potluck Season!

One of my favorite dishes to make for a potluck supper is a rice casserole that my Grandmother Alexander used to make for large get-togethers.  I don’t really know the name of it, I just always refer to it as “my rice casserole”.  The name (or lack thereof) does not really do it justice, though…

This delicious side dish is a real crowd pleaser.  I’m always especially amazed at how much the men-folk enjoy it.  This recipe is extraordinarily easy to make and can be doubled, tripled, quadrupled as necessary.  The recipe may seem to require a lot of butter but keep this in mind — I’ve actually reduced the amount of butter by half; my grandmother used to use a whole stick!  If you make sure to always have the ingredients in your pantry, you can whip up this dish anytime you please.

Rice Casserole

Serves 4

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup long grain white rice
1 10.5 oz can condensed French Onion soup
1 10.5 oz can condensed beef consomme (not broth)
1 4 oz can sliced mushrooms, drained

Preheat oven to 350F.  Combine all ingredients in a 2 quart casserole dish.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Enjoy.

Happy Holidays!

Rice Casserole

Rice Casserole

Tracy’s Homemade Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

I was not able to enjoy my favorite cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving as my in-laws were in town and they took my husband and I on a Chinese food bender for the entire weekend.  So, this MSG-free weekend, I made my favorite condiment of all time:

Tracy’s Homemade Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

1 (12 oz.) bag of cranberries, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
Zest of 1 medium navel orange, finely grated

Put all ingredients in a large saucepan; stir to combine and loosely cover.  Cook over medium-high heat until the liquid starts to boil and the skins of the cranberries start to pop.  Stir, loosely cover and lower heat to medium and allow mixture to bubble for about 10 minutes.  Stir yet again, and turn heat to low.  Simmer 10 more minutes or until mixture has thickened.

Cool, cover and store in the refrigerator.

Cranberry Sauce

Note: I make this sauce the day before I want to start using it as it seems to be one of those dishes that tastes better the next day.

This sauce is delicious with pork, poultry, brunch and dessert.  I even sneak a spoonful of it and enjoy it all by itself.  I love the ruby-red color, the chunky texture and the way it smells and tastes like the holidays.

Enjoy!

Link of the Week: Trappistine Creamy Caramels

This week’s featured link is Trappistine Creamy Caramels.  This candy making operation is the main means of support for the monastic community of 30 Trappistine nuns of Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey located in Dubuque, Iowa.  All of their candies are handmade with tender loving care from the finest ingredients.  In 2007, their sweet treats were voted “Best Heavenly Bites” by Reader’s Digest magazine.

For the life of me, I can not remember where or how I heard of this website, but I have been ordering caramels, mints and truffles from these nuns for almost 10 years now.  Every time I place an order for a gift to give to someone else, I have to buy some for myself as well.  You know, “one for you, one (or two) for me”.  Their caramels (vanilla or chocolate) are so incredibly rich and creamy, they are truly heavenly.  Their truffles are beautiful, hand-decorated works of art and their mints are truly melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

If you are looking for a delicious and thoughtful gift idea this coming holiday season, check out Trappistine Creamy Caramels.