Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

Anniversary Strata a la Clarke

Yesterday was my 16th anniversary!  I am so excited because both my husband and I remembered the date!  We usually remember our anniversary days/weeks later and laugh that we did it again… forgot the date.  Well something must be turning in our relationship that “the date” is more important!  It is not that we didn’t want to remember; we are moving at a million miles an hour all the time.  I guess we are finally remembering to take time for each other.

Enough of that  mushy stuff… let’s get cooking!  Breakfast, the most important meal of the day!  I totally subscribe to this notion and love to make pancakes, french toast, omelets and other breakfast goodies.  Lately I have been hooked on creating the perfect strata recipe. 

Not familiar with strata?  It is basically an egg casserole that you fill with bread, eggs, cheese and other goodies.  It is baked for a long time to get the eggs set.  I love making a baked version for breakfast parties, but on a Saturday morning post a Friday night of fun… who wants to wait for baking?!?  Here’s a quick easy way to have a fancy breakfast in 20 minutes!

Strata a la Clarke

Step 1-

  • 4 slices of bread cut into 1 inch cubes
  • olive oil
  • garlic powder

Heat olive oil in a 10 inch skillet (one that can also be placed in an oven).  Toss in your bread and sprinkle with garlic powder and toast the bread till done.  Remove when toasted. 

Step 2-

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • diced ham
  • cheese
  • salt, pepper
  • spray olive oil

Spray your skillet (bottom and sides) with olive oil spray.  Next layer in your toasted bread, ham and cheese.  Whip your eggs with milk and sprinkle salt & pepper to taste, pour on top of the layers. 

Turn on your broiler on low and make sure you have a rack a good 12 inches or more away from your broiler.  On a medium flame (stove top) start cooking your strata for about 5 minutes, just untill you notice most of it setting up.  Place skillet into the oven and let broil for 5-7 minutes depending on how you like your eggs.  Remove from your pan carefully not to break it; I use a very flexible spatula and work it under till it is free and slide on a nice serving dish.  You want to do this as it will continue cooking on the bottom and it will end up with too much of a done crust.

And that is it!  We served ours with toast (my homemade bread) with lots of my homemade apple butter.  We topped ours with giardiniera.  Not familiar?  We eat it by the jars full here in Chicago!  It is an Italian mixed pepper, olive, veggie condiment swimming in good olive oil!  There is a HOT and a mild version… we like them both!  We add it to pizza, sandwiches, eggs, anything that needs a kick!

Hope your Saturday morning is as yummy as our has been!


Candis aka West


Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast is my favorite time of the day.  Did you know it’s also the most important meal of the day?  If you didn’t know that, you need to come out from the rock that you have been hiding under.  In all seriousness, it really truly is.  It’s important for children in the ways of brain development and their growing bodies.  It also plays an important role in weight loss.  For more information, check out this site.  I always eat breakfast.  I have to or I will be one grumpy Mama.  My typical go to breakfast is Grape Nuts, I love to spice them up if I have raspberries and blueberries on hand.  This week though, Luke went shopping with me.  We were in the produce aisle and Luke being raised so fantastically says to me, “Mama, I want crepes this week for breakfast.”  I said “Hey kid, great idea, go pick out some fruit that you would like to go in your crepe.”  Off he went in search of the perfect concoction.  He brought back, Melissa’s crepes, pineapple, apples, strawberries and banana’s, whipped cream and strawberry cream cheese.  Interesting!

Breakfast Crepes

  • Melissa’s crepes – found in the produce section
  • Strawberry cream cheese or nutella
  • Fruit of your choice
  • Whipped cream
  • Powdered sugar

This is so simple, lay out a crepe, spread strawberry cream cheese or nutella over the middle section.  I chose strawberries this morning, slice them up very thinly, I cut up a banana and added it too.


Dollop a dab of whipped cream on top and roll it up.

Slice some more fruit up for the top and dollop some more whipped cream and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Breakfast is served!

What’s your favorite breakfast?  Do you like sweet or savory?

I wish you all a beautiful day and thanks for stopping by!



Bagels that say “I Love You”

It’s another beautiful day here in St. Louis.  Yesterday my sister-in-law and I took advantage of the beautiful weather and went to Soulard Farmers Market.  That was my first visit and I can’t wait to go back!  We plan on taking a trip back this spring/summer and planning an entire meal around everything we can buy at the Farmers Market.  I am so excited.  Alas, I am sure Old Man Winter will rear his ugly head a few more times before the end.  Oh well, until then, a girl can dream, right?

Guess what I was supposed to be doing while I was gallivanting around at the Farmers Market.  Yep, making bagels.  You see, Radhika was stopping by my house later that afternoon to drop off some yummy lunch and I was going to give her some yummy bagels.   Radhika kept up her end of the bargain (which is currently in my belly…yum!) but I failed.  So, this morning, I jumped out of bed and started right away on bagel making with a little helper.  I got this recipe from my book “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day”.  See, I told you, you totally need to get your own copy!  Until then, here is a link to their blog for the bagel  recipe.


Quickly form the dough into peach size balls and let them rest for 20 minutes
Punch your thumb through the middle and continue to stretch the dough to make the hole bigger
Let simmer for two minutes, flip with a slotted spoon and let simmer for one minute longer
When they are done simmering, remove them and place them on a towel sprinkled with flour. This will help soak up the moisture.
Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds
Bake in the oven with steam at 450 for 20 minutes until golden brown

For a special Valentines treat, I bought my hubby some Strawberry Cream Cheese 1/3 less fat.  Why did I mention the 1/3 less fat?  Because he booked a trip to the Bahama’s for my Valentine Day gift!  I need that man in good shape for the beach!  Yummy eye candy never did a girl any harm.

Now, go make yourself some bagels!



Another Westie

Hello!  My name is Dee and my two lovely friends Candis and Radhika have allowed me to blog with them.  Let me tell you about myself.  I have two kids and a husband whom my world revolves around, I love to cook and bake, I like to play video games,  I like to read fantasy novels, I really like Guiness when it’s cold out and a good dry red wine any time of the year.  I am a girl who is always trying something new and since I have a bit of an obsessive personality, I get easily distracted so if you notice I have not posted in a while, it’s because something else has grabbed my attention.  But, no worries, I will always be back!  I am actually hoping that blogging with friends will inspire me to post more often.  I currently have my own personal blog that I have not posted to in six months…eek!

Anyhoo, let’s see, what have I missed?  Ah, pancakes!  I like my pancakes with syrup, fruit, powdered sugar, whatever I am in the mood for that morning or evening as pancakes are a hit any time of the day.  This is my absolute favorite recipe for pancakes adapted from

Fluffy Pancakes


  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • cooking spray


  1. Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to “sour”.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into “soured” milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

Servings – 4  – Please note:  I always double this recipe.  The leftovers are always good to serve the kiddo’s during the week (if there are any leftovers).

Pancake meets Dosa

My fun assignment for today was making dosa. I was the dosa half of “Pancake meets Dosa”. I was all excited to start early, take pictures along the way and make it a step-by-step recipe. No such luck! Work, dear work, has a way of spoiling the fun. I did not let work zap all of the fun, but it definitely took its hefty share. In work’s defense though, work never called itself “fun”. Neither is its tag line “Where friends are made!”.

I have to tell you though, as part of growing, learning and improving myself every day of my life, I am trying to learn to take these ups, downs and curve balls in stride and not let it ruin my whole day (which I would have previously!) Do I hear you mumble..”drama queen!!”!?

Having said that, I made dosa. Dosa is one of my favorite eats, morning or noon. Notice, I never said “night”. Because that would be weird, plain weird I tell you! Or would it!? Hmmm….maybe dosa should join the dinner table as well!

Dosa is the savory Eastern half of West’s pancakes. It’s origins can be found in South India. A dosa a day keeps the doctor away! Trust me on this.

There are various types of dosas. they can be made from lentils, rice, semolina, pulses etc etc. I made mine from semolina today. It is a quick and easy recipe and lucky for me, my family’s favorite.

You may wonder why I am not delving into the recipe with this post. Like I said before I ended up having to work, work, work and that meant very little time to cook. So I tossed measurements to the side, recipe to the side, pictures to the side and ended up making the dosa with a pinch of this and a dash of that. I served the dosa with chicken curry. Luckily for me, the family LOVED it. My husband loved it so much, he has asked me to make dosa my daily assignment.

I have such a problem with measurements, knowing how much of what I am adding or what I am adding. And yet, I keep wondering why I cannot make progress on my cookbook.

P.S: I will post a pic tomorrow. Time to shut down the laptop and get ready for the week.

Happy work week y’all!

Monday update: Pic added. Hope all had a good Monday!



Here we are a new year…

My friends inspire me… they push me, motivate me, make me think. Friends define us maybe more than our family does. “You can’t choose your family but you do choose your friends.” Not sure who said that but it really does ring home with me.

Radhika and I met less than a year ago online. Friends of friends from way back connecting through Facebook. I swore I would NEVER get involved with FB. One very close friend of mind had been pushing me to get on it for a while and I finally bit. Reconnecting with people from my past, choosing to become friends again with people I knew when I was young and finding out that we all have grown so much was great. And the icing on the cake has been meeting my long-lost friend Radhika.

Radhika and I had never met, not in this lifetime anyway. We were instantly bonded through food and a love to create meals and memories for our families and friends. She pushed me into blogging with her… I say that with gratitude in my words because if my friends didn’t push me I would have less joy in my life!

Our first topic was to be pancakes… my family LOVES breakfast for dinner as well as breakfast for breakfast. I suppose that we would love breakfast for lunch but I think that is actually called brunch. Rad is going to give you a GREAT recipe for Dosa, a lovely Indian “bread/pancake” that she has made for me on my visits. They are lovely and handmade. A real art to it. I hope she will post a video of the process as she looks very zen while cooking them.

I make pancakes like most American born American’s… via a box. I was raised on that great staple called Bisquick. The box that launched a thousand meals. I dabbled with other mixes; fancy ones from William Sonoma, some southern box I picked up on a drive to Florida and a new actual favorite from Trader Joes that is a whole grain mix.

How you top your pancakes is what is most interesting to me. As a kid I slathered on lots of strawberry preserves on mine. I hated the pancakes getting soggy with the syrup. Still to this day I am not so fond of a soggy syrup soaked pancake. My lovely husband spent a fortune on some 100% pure maples syrup for me for a birthday gift. I smiled and said thanks, but all the time thinking “yikes, this stuff is really thin and will certainly soke a pancake quicker that anything!”.

Today I am a fruit topping girl with a tiny bit of syrup. Maddy (my daughter and the light of my life) loves powdered sugar only on hers. French toast too… fruit and powdered sugar or just powdered sugar. Guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!