Sunday Blessings – Rainy Days

I’ve been getting in the habit of writing my Sunday Blessings posts later in the day than my regular posts. Hope that’s okay with you. I’ve been taking advantage of waking up slowly on Sunday mornings, followed by church and quality relaxation time on the couch. With my mom and step dad in town this weekend, I also wanted to spend time with them rather than stuck to my computer.

So, what am I feeling blessed for this week?

(Pinned from here)
RAIN! 
I realize a lot of people across the country right now probably wish they never have to see rain or go through a storm again. I feel terrible for those who have suffered from the storms that passed through the Midwest last week and into this weekend. I am so thankful nobody that I personally knew was harmed and my prayers go out to those who were.
It didn’t storm too much in Charleston, but it did rain and rain and rain all day yesterday into this morning. Days like that almost force you to stay inside and be lazy. That’s just what we did. 
Normally when my mom is in town, we spend hours walking around downtown, shopping and eating out. Although that may seem like more fun than staying inside all day, I think we all had a great time staying low-key.
I made Cinnamon Pecan Waffles for brunch from a mix that Greg’s mom bought me for my birthday, along with the waffle iron (thanks, Julia!). Everyone was a fan of the waffles and they beat anything we could have bought from a restaurant. 
With the porch door open, we spent the afternoon watching movies and listening to the rainfall. It’s such a pleasant noise, isn’t it?
We did venture outdoors in the evening for something though. Coleman Public House! Greg and I were so excited to let my mom and Thom in on the macaroni and cheese secret. I ordered my usual Macaroni and Cheese appetizer with grilled chicken added. The waitress told me all of the other servers were talking about what a good idea it was. I told her that if it makes it on the menu as a regular item, it better be named after me! Although, I have to admit I don’t think it really is that genius of an idea. But I’ll take any credit I can get. 
We were there early enough in the day that there was still natural light shining through the window and I could get a decent picture of the Fried Green Tomato appetizer.
Between the four of us, this was gone in about .8 seconds. I dug into the mac and cheese before bothering to take a picture of that though. 
It was still raining even after dinner so we headed right back home to sit inside some more. We weren’t about to call it a night without dessert though, so I baked something new and boy was it tasty. I will share all about that soon. 
The rain has finally stopped now. It was fun while it lasted, but I have had my fix and am ready for sunshine the rest of the week.
How do you like to spend rainy days?

Cooking My First Waffles

My kitchen supplies have been growing like crazy recently. Hand-mixer, stand-alone mixer, George Foreman grill, popcorn machine, measuring spoons and cups, pizza slicer, oven mits…I feel like the list could go on and on. Every new piece, big and small, is so fun to play with in the kitchen and makes me feel less of an amateur every day.
My most recent addition has already proven to be a major winner. Part of my shopping this past weekend with Greg’s mom included a trip to Williams-Sonoma for a birthday gift of my choice. After perusing the store for awhile, I picked out the most perfect waffle iron. 
So, obviously this week called for BFD again. Since I wanted my first homemade waffles to be a guaranteed success, I stuck with a very reliable source. Annie’s blog is how I discovered the food blogging world in the first place and her recipes never disappoint. Not to mention the gorgeous pictures.
I followed her recipe for Waffles of Insane Greatness and have to agree with the name…these were insanely great. I have heard of Waffles of Insane Greatness before and know that there are several recipes floating all over the internet. I think it’s actually a spin off from a restaurant’s recipe, because I remember Rachael Ray eating them on one of her shows. Anyway, back to MY waffles…

I was so excited when I opened the waffle iron after cooking the first waffle. It was perfectly golden brown and looked just like the ones from Waffle House. 

Pancakes are still #1 for me, but these waffles are a CLOSE second. 
Oh yeah, and did I mention we had a side of venison sausage links on the side? These were part of the venison meat pack Greg got from one of his clients. We have tried the steaks, and Greg made some burgers while I was out of town. They were surprisingly SO good! I think I liked them more than regular sausage links. I couldn’t figure out how to describe the taste, but Greg nailed it right on the head- smokey. Mmm. 
Waffles of Insane Greatness
(Adapted from Annie’s Eats and the Food Network)
Makes about 4 medium waffles
Ingredients:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup skim milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions:
1. Add the first 6 ingredients to a medium bowl. Stir to combine.
2. In a separate bowl, add remaining 4 ingredients. Whisk to combine.
3. Add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet mixture and whisk until just combined. Let sit at least 5-10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, preheat waffle iron. Once heated, use a ladle to pour batter onto the center of the iron. Cook until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes depending on iron temperature. 

Breakfast Creativity

What did I have for dinner last night, you ask?

BFD!

It’s been awhile since I’ve had big ole plate of pancakes and bacon for dinner. Oh how I’ve missed thee.

I have to say, the Whole Wheat Banana Bread Pancakes (recipe via How Sweet It Is here) I made last night were not quite as good as some of my others, like these Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes or these Pumpkin Pancakes. That’s not to say they weren’t good, but just not my favorite. And that’s okay.

Sometimes you just need to change things up and try something new. Do you need to try something new with your breakfast (or breakfast-for-dinner rather)?

Here are a few ideas to incorporate different flavors into every breakfast-lovers favorites: Pancakes, French Toast and Waffles!

Pumpkin pancakes from a mix. 
It doesn’t get much simpler than making pancakes from a mix. You won’t be making the best pancakes ever, but pancakes from a mix can still be pretty decent. I’m not going to lie, I pretty much grew up on Bisquick pancakes. And I enjoyed them. Add a little fruit or chocolate chips to kick it up a notch if you’d like. Or find a flavored mix like this pumpkin spice one. 
Strawberry Stuffed pancakes.
A few years ago (maybe even a several years now), stuffed pancakes starting popping up in breakfast restaurants everywhere. I’m pretty sure stuffed french toast came first, but whoever decided it would be a good idea to stuff pancakes is brilliant. Being far from healthy, I avoid ordering stuffed pancakes for myself. Meaning I take a few bites from those who do order them! 
One time, I tried making my own version at home and they turned out great…not to mention much healthier than the restaurant kind. I basically used my plain Fluffy Buttermilk Pancake recipe and layered non-fat strawberry yogurt and freshly sliced strawberries between each one. Add a scoop of whipped cream on top and you are set. Seriously. You don’t even need syrup with this one. Ok…maybe a little syrup. But the yogurt adds most of the moisture you need. 
Apple Cinnamon French Toast. 
Not much of a pancake person? That’s okay…you’re crazy…but that’s okay. I love me some french toast too, although my sister Brooke takes the crown of French Toast Lover in our family. I like mixing in fruit to sweeten my breakfasts and add some nutritional value at the same time. Without berries on hand, I opted for sliced apples. I always add cinnamon to my french toast mix, but for this toast you can’t be shy with the cinnamon. Mix it into the egg pre-dipping, and then sprinkle even more on top at the end. Notice I was on a whipped cream kick recently and added a scoop to the toast just like the pancakes. A little whipped cream never hurt anyone 🙂 
Red Velvet Waffles.
I wish I had a waffle recipe to share with you too, but that’s hard to do without a waffle iron. Here’s a little inspiration for you though. If you can make these for me I’ll be your best friend. 
Please share with me in the comments your favorite way to make pancakes, french toast or waffles. I’d love some new ideas!