Birthday waffles

Belgian waffles are wonderful all by themselves, but when you add ice cream and fruit they become extra special birthday waffles. I made these for my kids on their birthday. Even after they were grown and out of the house they thought I should come and make them for them. It was always so fun to start of their special day with a birthday waffle piled high with ice cream, fresh fruit, whipped cream, sprinkles and, of course, a candle.

One year when my middle child was turning 10, we were traveling to Lake Tahoe with my sister and her kids. We were in Winnemucca, Nevada at breakfast time and we went in search of breakfast waffles. We went to several restaurants looking for one that had waffles with ice cream we finally found a cute  little cafe. With 5 kids in tow we went in and had a birthday breakfast party with birthday waffles. They all still remember this fun day.

Ingredients for great Belgium waffles include; flour, sugar, eggs, salt, milk, cream of tartar and melted butter.

One of the secrets to great Belgium waffles is cream of tartar. It is that mystery ingredient at the back of your spice cabinet. The white one you bought once but can’t remember why.

Combine flour, cream of tartar, egg yolks, milk, salt, sugar and butter. Stir until well blended.

The secret to true Belgium waffles is whipped egg whites. Start with separating the egg yolks from the egg whites. Place the yolks and white in separate bowls. You can buy fancy egg separators however I have found that the egg shell is by far the best tool.

Be sure no yellows are in the bowl, any yolk will prevent the whites from fluffing. Once the whites are separated, whip with a whisk until soft peaks form. This will take several minutes if done by hand. It can also be done with a mixer that has whisk attachments.

When you have whipped the egg whites to soft peaks, fold into the prepared batter. Gently fold eggs over batter by hand until eggs are fully incorporated. DO NOT beat the batter at this point as it will break down the fluffy egg whites. Gentle folding is all that is needed.

Preheat waffle iron. When it is hot pour on the batter. It is best to spray the iron with nonstick spray to prevent sticking. Close the lid and let the waffle cook until golden brown. This takes several minutes depending on your waffle iron. I like my standard Belgium waffle iron, the new fancy ones that flip just take up too much space. TIP: The lid will not lift easily if the waffle is not done. So, if the lid sticks do not try to force it open or your waffle will separate into pieces.

Waffles are delicious any way you choose to top them. Plain with just syrup or all decked out for birthday waffles.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2 cups milk
  • ¼ cup melted butter
Instructions
  1. Separate egg yolks from egg whites.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk egg whites until soft peaks form.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, cream of tartar and salt on a mixing bowl.
  4. In another bowl combine the egg yolks, milk and butter, mix to combine.
  5. Stir the milk mixture into the dry ingredients stir until just moistened.
  6. Gently fold the egg whites into above batter.
  7. Pour about 1½ cups of batter into heated belgian waffle iron.A soup ladle works really well.
  8. Cook until golden brown. If the lid won’t lift they are not done yet.
  9. If 1 /12 cups of batter is too much reduce amount of batter for next waffle.
Notes
Any fruit goes well with these. Fresh sliced peaches in the fall, warm cinnamon apples in the winter and berries for spring and summer. Whatever is your favorite or what is available for the season, it will make your day special.

REd, White and Blue Pizza

What’s more American than pizza? I am I am I am. Just having a flash back from grade school and my favorite song. Fruit pizza made with raspberries, blackberries and pears on top a of a cream cheese “sauce”, just thinking about it makes my mouth water. Red, white and blue pizza makes me think of family picnics in the summer. I have had this recipe since high school. Yikes, back in the 80’s with big hair and 501 button-fly Levi jeans. I have improved this recipe since then just as I have improved myself over the years. I converted the recipe from a sugar cookie crust to a butter cookie crust with luscious nuts. I changed from a cool whip filling to a delicious cream cheese filling. Then added fresh berries and pears for this version. Finally I made a gluten free crust. All the things I love in one scrumptious mouth watering bite.

This is super easy to make. It travels well and stays fresh without having to be in the cooler. And when your friends and family see and taste this you will win the blue ribbon prize for best dessert. It really ends up looking too beautiful to eat. So dig and and take that first bite and watch it disappear.

Wash the berries, let dry on towel. Peel and slice the pears. I was trying to brainstorm what we could make the white stripes out of. Then fresh pears came to mind berries and pears what a perfect combination.A version of this recipe as seen in our family heritage cookbook that me and my mom created several years ago for a family reunion. There are innumerable ways to make this pizza. Whichever fruit you choose will always be a winner. Nuts, butter, sugar and gluten free flour is all it takes to make this delicious gluten free crust. Your favorite gluten free flour mix will work fine in this. It needs to be a baking blend in order for the crust to hold up to the fruit and cream cheese filling that will go on it.

Dip sliced pears in pineapple juice to keep from turning brown. I like pineapple juice better than lemon juice because it does not make the fruit tart. Pineapple juice doesn’t change the pear flavor and keeps the pears fresh and white. Just before using the pears place on a towel to remove extra juice.  Wash the berries, remove any stems or leaves. Let berries dry completely on a towel. Slice the strawberries. Use the blackberries to make to blue background for the stars (blueberries can also be used) and the raspberries and strawberries for the red stripes. Leave enough space between stripes to place pears.I made this out of a gluten free flour blend for baking, which does not change the texture of the crust. When mixing the crust do not over blend it works best if it is a bit crumbly. Press in the pan and bake 15 minutes. This crust will not brown since it is gluten free.

Now the prep is done it is time to build your flag. Once the crust is cool spread the cream cheese mixture on the crust. It is best to put a few blobs of filling over the crust, then spread each out going only in one direction. Usually if you try to spread backward some of the crust will come with the spoon making a sticky mess. Next build you blue area to the size you want. Then do your red stripes, I alternated raspberries and strawberries so that each piece would have both berries on it. Leave enough space to put the pears in between. Lastly using a frosting bag filled with whipped topping make “stars” in the blue background.

Ingredients
  • Crust
  • 2 cups gluten free flour blend for baking
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Filling
  • 2 (8 oz) cream cheese room temperature.
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 oz whipping cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Fruit
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Fresh pears
  • Pineapple juice
  • Blueberries can be used as well
Instructions
  1. Put flour, sugar and nuts in a mixer stir to combine.
  2. Cut butter into small pieces add to flour. mix until it becomes crumbly. Do not over mix.
  3. Press firmly into a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Since this is gluten free it will not turn brown. So gently touch the top to test for doneness. It should spring back slightly.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  6. Whipping cream
  7. In mixer with the whisk attachment combine whipping cream and ¼ cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. whip on high until soft peaks develop. Add ¼ tsp cream of tartar to prevent breakdown. Whip again to form stiff peaks.
  8. Divide in half.
  9. Prepare filling.
  10. In mixer blend cream cheese until it is smooth,
  11. Add powdered sugar and blend until well mixed.
  12. Lastly slowly mix half of the whip cream just until mixed. Do not over blend or you will loose the fluffiness.
  13. Gently spread on cooled crust.
  14. Fruit
  15. Wash and completely dry the berries, remove any leaves and stems.
  16. Slice strawberries.
  17. Peel and slice the pears, place in pineapple juice. This will prevent them from going brown. Just before using place on towel to drain juice.
  18. Prepare flag
  19. Place blackberries in corner for star blue background.
  20. With strawberries and raspberries make the red stripes alternating between strawberries and raspberries.Leaving space for the pears.
  21. Lay the pears in between the red stripes.
  22. With a cake decorating bag and star tip make the stars in the blue background.
  23. Cover gently with plastic wrap. Chill until ready to use.
Notes
A fruit pizza shaped like a flag is a sure fire winner at any independence day celebratoin

Egg Rolls

This dish with Fried Rice is all of my kids favorite dish. I had my daughter and her friend help me make these. I had them chop and slice and julienne. Then I put in the food processor to make it more uniform in size. The friend after chopping and slicing said “why did you make me slice all this stuff if you were just going to put it in there”? It really works best if you do slice everything by hand to get small julienne.

*For best results cook each ingredient separately, saute and set in one large bowl starting with meat, it is best to cook the shrimp separately since it cooks quickly. Do not brown meats, cook until not raw. Onions, chestnuts, bamboo shoots and fungus can be cooked together. All vegetables should be crisp do not overcook. Toss all these ingredients in large bowl. These can be prepared the day ahead.

Have a small cup of water available for sealing edges. Refer to above diagram.
Lay in front of you with one point toward you like a diamond. Put 1/4 cup of mix in center. Pull closest corner over filling, tuck and roll once. Fold side corner over center, tuck in loose edges, seal edges. Wet last corner with water tucking and rolling all loose edges in sealing with water. Be careful to not use too much tension or the wrapper will tear. There is a fine balance between tightly rolled and too tightly rolled it just takes practice. Some tears can be patched with some water and pinching. Repeat until all filling and wrappers are gone. Can be refrigerated and set aside until just before served. (adjust your filling amount to what works best to fill the roll without tearing it)

Cooking

Heat oil in deep fry pan 2-3 inches of oil is best. With oil med high. Test for temperature by placing a small piece of wrapper in oil it should rise to the surface within 2 seconds. If faster it is too hot, if slower it is not hot enough. Oil will cool as you add egg rolls so it is OK if it is a bit too hot to begin with. Place rolls in oil gently, one at a time. As each becomes golden brown turn. Place on paper towel to drain oil, move to baking dish and keep warm in 170 degree oven until ready to serve, if you can wait that long.

Caution filling will be hot. Be cautious of splattering oil while cooking.

These will not be as tightly rolled as the ones you buy but they are much better.

Serve with hot mustard, sweet and sour sauce, wonton dipping sauce. All can be bought pre-made at most grocery store.

Ingredients
  • 1 package egg roll wrappers
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoon premium soy sauce
  • 1 table spoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3-5 drops sesame oil
  • 1 ½ cup raw chicken chopped fine not ground
  • 1 cup raw pork chopped fine not ground
  • 1 cup raw shrimp chopped fine (this will look grey when you buy it, you will need to shell and devien them)
  • ½ head cabbage very finely sliced
  • 1 bunch green onions sliced
  • 1 can water chestnuts julienne
  • 1 large carrot julienne
  • 1 can bamboo shoots julienne
  • 1-2 tablespoon black fungus softened in water and thinly sliced or chopped (Bought dry at Asian store)
  • ½ pound fresh bean sprouts cut in half
  • 2 eggs beaten cooked in thin pancake, do not brown, once cooked roll and make thin slices and chop about 1 inch strips
  • Oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Cook each ingredient separately, saute and set in one large bowl
  2. Start with meat, it is best to cook the shrimp separately since it cooks quickly. Do not brown meats, cook until not raw.
  3. All vegetables should be crisp do not overcook.
  4. Onions, chestnuts, bamboo shoots and fungus can be cooked together.
  5. Toss all these ingredients in large bowl. These can be prepared the day ahead.
  6. Rolling
  7. Have a small cup of water available for sealing edges.
  8. Lay egg roll wrap in front of you with one point toward you like a diamond.
  9. Put ¼ cup of mix near center spread out slightly in a line.
  10. Pull closest corner over filling, tuck and roll once.
  11. Fold side corner over center, tuck in loose edges, seal edges with water.
  12. Wet last corner with water tucking and rolling all loose edges sealing with water.
  13. Be careful to not use too much tension or the wrapper will tear.
  14. There is a fine balance between tightly rolled and too tightly rolled it just takes practice.
  15. Some tears can be patched with some water and pinching.
  16. Repeat until all filling and wrappers are used.
  17. Can be refrigerated and set aside until just before served.
  18. Cooking
  19. Heat oil in deep fry pan on medium high heat. 2-3 inches of oil is best..Oil will cool as you add egg rolls so it is OK if it is a bit too hot to begin with.
  20. Test for temperature by placing a small piece of wrapper in oil it should rise to the surface within 2 seconds. If faster it is too hot, if slower it is not hot enough.
  21. Place rolls in oil gently, one at a time. As each becomes golden brown turn over.
  22. Place on paper towel to drain oil, move to baking dish and keep warm in 170 degree oven until ready to serve, if you can wait that long.
Notes
*These can be prepared the day ahead.

*Be cautious of splattering oil while cooking.

*These will not be as tightly rolled as the ones you buy but they are much better.

Serve with hot mustard, sweet and sour sauce, wonton dipping sauce. All can be bought pre-made at most grocery store.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

A classic Irish dish which Americans usually only eat on St Patrick’s day. This is one of my kids all time favorite, when I was married I made it several times a year, now that I am single I usually only cook it once a year just like other Americans. I love the reubens we get to eat the next few days. So make two roasts and enjoy the leftovers. Corned beef is made from the brisket of the cow, marinated in a brine.

Most people do not realize that you can buy corned beef all year round, the trick is looking for it when it does not have flashing green lights pointing to it. During the paddy day season buy your roast and cabbage early as some stores will run out on St Patrick’s day.

Put the corned beef in a crock pot, add the included season pack, cover brisket with water. Simmer on low all day.

30 minutes before eating, drain juice off of brisket. Cut up cabbage in quarters, place in deep sauce pan. Cover with juice from meat, boil until tender 15-20 minutes.

 

Festival of Green

In honor of my dear friends Cindy, Lexi, Kenzi and Ryli. one day I invited these friends over for a festival of the green party to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day We were eating our delicious dinner with our green hats and green party favors. When cute little Kenzi Jo says. “Its’ my moms’ birthday”. We then sang happy birthday Cindy dear, while eating our green cake and mint chocolate chip ice cream. For many years we shared the festival of the green with this wonderful family.

My family of course loves it. My kids all beg for it. We don’t know why but we only eat it once a year. The best part of this meal is the Reuben we get to eat the next day. I usually cook two roasts because one just isn’t enough.

MENU

Corn Beef
Cabbage
End of the rainbow fluff
Green shamrock Jigglers
Irish red roasted potatoes
Green Luck of the Irish bread
Shamrock juice

Corn Beef
Place a corned beef in a crock pot, add seasoning packet cover with 2-3 cups water simmer on low all day

Cabbage
1 head cabbage
½ hour before serving corn beef drain the juice and boil the cabbage in the juice for 15 min.

 

End of the rainbow fluff
1 small pkg instant pistachio pudding
2 cups milk
1 small bowl cool whip
2 cups rainbow miniature marshmallows
1 small can pineapple tidbits

Combine pudding, and milk. Let set, stir in remaining ingredients chill until dinner.

 

Green shamrock Jigglers
2-1/2 cups boiling water (Do not add cold water.)
2 pkg. (8-serving size each) JELL-O Gelatin, any flavor

STIR: boiling water into dry gelatin mix in large bowl at least 3 min. until completely dissolved. Pour into 13×9-inch pan.
REFRIGERATE: at least 3 hours or until firm.
DIP: bottom of pan in warm water 15 sec. Cut into 24 decorative shapes using 2-inch cookie cutters, being careful to cut all the way through gelatin to bottom of pan. Lift JIGGLERS® from pan. Reserve scraps for snacking. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

 

Irish red roasted potatoes
1 pound baby red potatoes
½ cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons of Mrs Dash garlic and herb seasoning

Cut potatoes in half, toss with melted butter and seasoning. Put in heavy baking dish. Bake uncovered for 30 min. Stir and cook 20 min more or until potatoes are soft.

 

Luck of the Irish bread

2 cups warm water
1 packets of rapid rise yeast
½ teaspoon green die
2 tablespoon yeast enhancer(gluten)
1 tsp salt
4 tablespoons sugar
½ cup melted butter
1 cup scalded milk cooled to 114 degrees° or warm to touch not hot

5-6 cups bread flour (white or wheat)

Dissolve yeast in water, add green die. When dissolved add gluten, salt, sugar. Mix well, add 1 cup bread flour, add milk and butter. Add remaining flour 1 cup at a time until a soft dough form. Let rise covered in a warm place for 1 hour until double in size.
Shape into 2 rolls place in greased 1 /12 pound loaf pans rise 30-40 min Bake in 350° oven for 45 – 60 min. Cover top with foil half of baking to time to prevent over browning.  Looks weird but tastes great.

 

Shamrock punch
Lime punch mix
2 cups sugar
2 quarts water
2 liters of sprite
Combine and serve

 

Reuben Sandwiches

1 loaf of marbled rye, siced (we love the Seinfeld episode about marbled rye, gotta love George)
1 pound corned beef
1 bottle of sauerkraut (I like the bottled it has a better flavor than canned)
4 slices baby Swiss cheese
Butter

 

Dressing
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons dill pickle relish
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon grated onion
Mix together

Heat electric griddle to 350-375º depending on your grills heat level.
Butter one side of two pieces of bread, on the opposite side liberally spread with the dressing. Place them on a hot griddle, butter side down. On one side put ¼ pound meat and a slice of cheese, on the other side put a couple tablespoons of sauerkraut. Put the two sides together when the bread is nicely toasted. Serve with some extra sauce for dipping.

It is almost impossible to eat one whole sandwich. I slice them in half, this will serve 8 people. Or one very skinny hungry boy 😉
You can add the sauerkraut later if desired so it is cold rather than warm.

There are many different ideas of what the dressing should be. Choose your favorite or try mine.
You could make your own sauerkraut but I want to eat now not in three months