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Fat Bottomed Bex is ba-ack!!! With a full semester under my belt and three A’s to my credit! WHEW! It’s no joke going back to school at this point in my life. Not only have I not cooked for you, dear readers, but my poor hubby thinks I’ve forgotten where the kitchen is! LOL So on this my first full day of freedom since August (let’s not talk about Christmas just yet, give me a day or two, ‘kay?) I was determined to post something…ANYTHING…for you! I can’t take credit for this recipe, but it’s one I’ve been wanting to try for a while now from The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. Her cinnamon rolls were everything they were promised to be. And if you’re not familiar with her, or haven’t tried any of her recipes yet, I highly recommend you take a visit to the country and give these a whirl. They really were so much easier than I expected.

I’ll be honest, I’m not a big yeast user. I buy it with good intentions and then it sits in the fridge until I unearth it a year after it has expired. Poor little dead yeasties. 😦 So to say I was a tad intimidated is fair. But this time I was determined to not send those poor little guys to a chilly death in the back of the refrigerator. I bought a fresh batch and went straight to work. To my delight, I was rewarded with huge, puffy bowls of dough. Woohoo! Surprising how a simple thing like dough rising makes you feel so successful and accomplished, huh? Here’s a peak at how they came out. Not bad, hmmm?

 

Her recipe makes a REALLY big batch. I ended up with 8 aluminum pie pans with 6 rolls each, a total of 4 dozen. It was a lot of dough to work with at one time. My note to you if you make the whole recipe is plan on splitting the dough into your 2 largest bowls for the rising stage. I’m going to try making just half next time…maybe. We’ve already gobbled up 1 pan, are working on our second at home, and I took 3 pans to school for one of my finals. Three pans managed to make it to the freezer. I’m keeping my fingers crossed they last until Christmas morning.

I did make a few small changes in the icing. I omitted the coffee and I didn’t have any maple extract, so I substituted vanilla, and poured in a couple of tablespoons of pure maple syrup. It seemed a little thick so I added some additional melted butter and a little more whole milk until I got a good consistency. Warning, these rolls are really sweet! If you’ve got a serious sweet tooth you’re gonna be in heaven. Next time around I’m going to experiment a bit, and cut down a little on the sugar inside the rolls and perhaps try some Stevia or Splenda just to see if I can make them a tiny bit less dangerous! Perhaps a cream cheese icing just to see how that works out. But this is just a personal preference, they really are downright wonderful and were so much easier than I thought they were going to be. So don’t be skeered, give ’em a try!

Ree’s Additional Notes on Cinnamon Rolls

Can’t wait to try these in our Cinnamon Roll Me Away Sundae with Praline Icing recipe!

BTW, those close up pictures earlier in the post? Yeah, the pan really looks like this!

Happy Baking my friends!

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I’d like to make an introduction.

Bacon, Please Meet Monte Cristo.

Sandwich, that is!

 

Now if you haven’t had a Monte Cristo, I’d advise you to make it a priority. Really. I mean it. This is seriously good eats. Sweet and savory….mmmm…so, SO good. Perfect for any time of the day!

I’d never really thought of trying to make it at home, seemed a bit daunting considering I’ve only ever had this in restaurants. But….ya know….I’ve had this bacon thing going on…(thank you, Denny’s) and I started thinking of all the things I could do with Maple Caramelized Bacon. If you missed yesterday’s post, click over and check it out. Go on…do it, click that link, you know you want to.

Go ahead, I’ll be here when you get back. I promise. 🙂

Take your time….

Drool a bit, get those taste buds going, then get on back here to find out how you can make this tasty sandwich yourself!

Fa la la, la la….(imagine a musical interlude here. Whatever you like, really, it’s YOUR choice!)

Back? Sounds good, huh?

Okay, now let’s get cookin!’

Assemble the following:

Ingredients

Batter

  • Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/3 cup Milk or Half & Half
  • 1 Tablespoon Flour
  • Pinch of Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly Ground Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon (or as much as you like. Think French Toast Batter here.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Grated or Ground Nutmeg (if you’re grating it fresh, just eyeball it.)

Sandwich

  • 3 slices Sourdough Bread (or bread of your choice)
  • Honey Dijon Mustard
  • Butter
  • Mayo if you like
  • 2-3 ounces Turkey (get the good stuff from the deli)
  • 2-3 ounces Ham (do I need to repeat myself?)
  • 1-2 slices Provolone Cheese
  • 1-2 slices Muenster Cheese (These are what I had on hand. The classic calls for Swiss or Gruyere. Use whatever kind you like.)
  • Powdered Sugar, Jam, or Syrup for topping.

Directions

Let’s get cracking! With the eggs, I mean. (I promise to use a different color bowl next time I’m making an egg batter.)

Add Vanilla. Feel free to add more than a teaspoon if you like.

Measure out some milk. Use half & half for a richer batter. (And a fatter bottom, my friend!) Now I know I said 1/3 of a cup earlier, and this actually looks more like 3 ounces. So what. Gonna make something of it? HA! Obviously this is another ingredient that can be adjusted to your personal preferences….or my sloppy measuring!

Add a tablespoon of flour to thicken the batter slightly.

Add a pinch of salt. I always have Kosher, Sea Salt (less sodium), and the regular old table variety. Use what you have.

See those fat fingers? (sadly, it’s not just my bottom that’s a little chubby…) I really do mean just a pinch! Grate in a little fresh black pepper too. Yeah-yeah, I forgot to photo this step. It takes both hands to work my pepper grinder!

 Add Cinnamon.

This is something I never measure when I’m making French Toast, so the above amount is really just a recommendation.

I guess I should be honest here….I actually never make French Toast! That’s my hubby’s job, and he’s soooo good at it, I won’t even eat in restaurants anymore! Honey, are you listening? How about this weekend???? Purty Pleeeeaazzze???

Oh sorry, got a little side tracked there.

Back to business.

I have a fancy nutmeg grater. Have I mentioned that before? Are you jealous?

Does anyone know where you can still get these? My friends all want one!

Whisk it all together.

On to sandwich assembly!

I used three slices of sourdough bread.

White, wheat, egg bread…really anything will work.

Spread some honey dijon mustard on the inside of slice 1.

Butter the inside of slice 2. Or you can use mayo if you prefer. Or more mustard. Your call.

Pile on some turkey. Don’t be skimpy.

Now, add some of that tasty Maple Caramelized Bacon!

Regular will work fine too, but why not go for the gutso? Errr, I mean G-U-S-T-O!  LOL

Now, cheese me please! I used Muenster on the turkey half.

Cover with slice 2, buttered side down. Spread mustard on the top of slice 2.

Flip it over and cheese me some more! Provolone on this half.

More bacon! Yay!

Now it’s time for the ham. I used 3 slices.

Butter (or mayo) the inside of slice #3.

Flip it over on top of your architectural masterpiece and slice into 3 triangular wedges.

Melt about 1/4 – 1/2 stick of butter in a non-stick pan. 

Dip sections one at a time in batter. It helps if you have some long toothpicks to secure the wedges together. Let them soak it up a bit, but don’t leave them too long. Again, no picture. Sorry folks! My hands were all goopy with batter and I couldn’t touch the camera!

Brown in butter over medium-high heat. Start with the edges to seal in the goodness. 

In a restaurant they deep fry this bad boy, but the pan method seemed to work just fine.

Brown on all sides.

 Don’t forget to pull out those toothpicks!  I used tongs once the sections were well set.

Serve dusted with powdered sugar and jam. Or if you prefer, maple syrup.

Warning! I’m about to make a serious product plug here. Try St. Dalfour’s Red Raspberry Fruit Spread. It’s heavenly!

You can get it at Whole Foods or farmer’s markets like Henry’s or Sprouts. It’s a little pricier, but it has less sugar and it’s soooo good. I really recommend it.

Can’t ya just taste this? Pardon me, I’m going to eat now.

Oh man…only one more bite…

I’m sad now. I want more. 

Gosh those other two wedges look pretty enticing….

No, Bex! Stop! Those are for the guys!!!!

Whew. That was close. I managed to exert some self-control and save this for my hard-working men.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we all did!

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Bacon…Bacon….BACON!

Sounds like that old dog treat commercial, huh? Ha! I promise you this is not for your dog! (unless he’s REALLY spoiled.)

It’s almost not breakfast without bacon. Do you agree? Heck, it’s almost not lunch or dinner without it sometimes. Bacon seems to be universally loved. In fact, I JUST met the first person ever who says they don’t like it. Gotta say, I was floored.

Anyhoo, I’ve been seeing lots of recipes online that call for Caramelized Bacon. Mmmmm…Doesn’t that just sound delicious? I’d never made it, so I decided to give it a whirl. Easy. Simple. No frying mess. Tasty. I promise you all of these things.

In honor of making Caramelized Bacon for the first time, Tam & I will devote the next few recipes to this sweet and savory ingredient. Speaking of honoring Bacon…don’t you think there should be a holiday or something? Guess I’ll have to investigate that, huh? I’ll get back to you on that and if there isn’t one, let’s start one!

Ingredients

  • Bacon (duh) I used a thick-sliced applewood smoked style
  • Maple Syrup
  • Brown Sugar

That’s it. You are just 3 simple ingredients away!

           

Preheat oven to 375º

Line a cookie sheet (with edges) with foil or parchment paper (next time I’m going to add a rack)

Lay out strips of Bacon

Brush with Maple Syrup           

Flip ’em over and brush the other side too!

Sprinkle on some brown sugar and spread it around with the brush so each bacon slice is evenly coated. Or not. Maybe you might like it a little clumpy? Go ahead, get creative if you must. Hey, maybe even add some cinnamon! Just thought of that…I’ll have to try that next time!

     

Bake 20-25 minutes in preheated oven, turning once, until desired crispness.

Check at 15 minutes, then watch closely. Depending on your oven you may need to adjust your time. Mine actually took closer to 30 minutes.

Add to your favorite sandwich, try it for a change of pace at breakfast or brunch. Or just eat it all by itself! And if you really can’t figure out what to do with it, just check back with Fat Bottomed Friends™ in the coming days and we’ll help you out!

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Or if you can’t wrap your tonque around that name, you can always call it Sweet & Fruity French Toast. Heck, call it whatever you want! Just try it. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

My young sis-in-law, Dana (that’s her on the right, enthusiastically lighting my 50th birthday cake….gee, thanks sis) is a fellow food lover and specialty scone baker. (Link coming soon!) She loves to try new recipes and when she can’t find a recipe she just makes it up! She recently treated herself to breakfast at Cafe Laurent where she chose Le Pain Perdu, French Toast made with brioche, croissant, apples and fresh cranberries. She was so impressed with this dish that she promised to make it for us at Lake Havasu over the recent Memorial Day weekend. Just one problem…no recipe, no brioche, no apples, no cranberries…no biggie! Undaunted and without blinking an eye, she improvised. Using croissants, hawaiian bread and fresh blueberries. She chunked the breads, eye-balled the milk, added 8 eggs and a little cinnamon. Sorta looked like bread pudding at this point. She then hand-formed it into pancake-size circles & fried them on a buttered griddle. It lacked just a tiny bit of sweetness, but hey we just shook on some powdered sugar & poured on a little extra syrup, Voilá! Très doux! Okay that’s it for my 4 years of High School French. Je suis désolé, Madame Stein!

Here’s the do at home version, all sweetened up nicely.

  • 1 package Hawaiian Rolls and 6 Croissants, squared into cubes (or tear into chunks).Try the brioche instead of the hawaiian rolls if you can find it.
  • 1 cup Milk or Half & Half for a richer flavor
  • 8 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Sugar, more if you have a bit of a sweet tooth, or the fruit isn’t as sweet as you like.
  • 12 to 16 oz. Blueberries (that’s 2 containers) or hey, just throw in as many as you want.

Heat griddle to medium-high. Chunk the breads. Whisk together milk or half & half (not both, you milk fiend! What, ya own a dairy? Got your own cow???), eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Pour over bread. Gently stir in berries. The batter/dough/bread pudding-y mix will look as thought it does not have enough liquid, Dana says just trust that it does!!! Form it into pancake-size patties and fry them on a buttered griddle.

     

  Dana & her handsome helper.

Ours took about 1 1/2 minutes per side to cook. Peek under the edge carefully, then flip when golden brown. We transferred them to a cookie sheet and kept them warm in the oven. Use foil between the layers if your oven only has one rack like ours!

Serving suggestions:

Syrup of your choice (we used maple, which was plate-licking good), or sprinkle with powdered sugar. Orrrr…why not both? Don’t need to twist my arm, I’m using both! And while we’re being indulgent, don’t forget the Applewood Smoked Bacon…it’s almost not breakfast without bacon!!

Serves 8-10

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Happy Memorial Day from Becky!

Woohooo!!! Just back from the holiday weekend at Lake Havasu. Food, fun & sun with family and friends. Hope you all had as much fun over the weekend as I did. Heartfelt thanks to our congenial hosts who so joyfully share their vacation home. Total of 10 this weekend. The more the merrier is definitely their motto.

Taking turns at the spatula, we enjoyed a 3-peat of fantastic breakfasts I just had to tell you about tonight.

Our friend Mike is the King of Pancakes. Every time we go he whips up some new & different version. This trip he introduced us to Baked Berry Pancake with Lemon Zest. Creamy, custardy center, filled with raspberries and topped with sliced strawberries. His wife Trish is the Queen of Whipped Cream and I fully expected her to smother it (as usual) with half a can, but it was so good she didn’t need to use a single dollop! Of course, it could be because they’ve embarked on the P90X program. Trish, I promise to still be your friend even if you don’t have a fat bottom!

Sunday brunch was a hearty classic; Carmelized Brown Sugar Ham & Eggs with Fried Taters, Toasted English Muffins and Two Melon Berry-Berry Fruit Salad. A simple grocery store spiral sliced ham was dressed up using the included brown sugar packet. We didn’t have time for all that or brunch would have been afternoon affair. So I dissolved about a third of the packet with a couple tablespoons of water, added a healthy pat of butter, melted it together, stirring until it began to thicken a little and then pan-fried the ham in it. This produced a sweet and nicely carmelized flavor. Big success! (whew, cuz I totally just winged that as I went, which I copped to right after they had devoured the last bite and sang my praises…ahhh doesn’t that feel good?) Two Melon Very Berry Fruit Salad is a simple, yet beautiful side dish that really only requires time to chop it all. Honeydew, watermelon, and the fresh berries of your choice. I used sliced strawberries, plump ripe blackberries, and big, juicy blueberries. I know you don’t need a recipe for that! Just combine the freshest berries and ripest melons of your choice, chill and serve. Simple, pretty and not nearly as bottom rounding as the rest of this meal!

My youngest sis-in-law, Dana (princess to the King of Pancakes) is a fellow food lover and specialty scone baker. She loves to try new recipes and when she can’t find a recipe she just makes it up! She recently treated herself to breakfast at Cafe Laurent where she chose Le Pain Perdu, a version of French Toast made with brioche, croissant, apples and fresh cranberries. She was so impressed with this dish that she promised to make it for us. Just one problem…no recipe, no brioche, no apples, no cranberries…so without even blinking, she improvised. Using croissants, hawaiian bread and fresh blueberries. She chunked the breads, eye-balled the milk, added 8 eggs and a little cinnamon. Sorta looks like bread pudding at this point. She then hand-formed it into pancake-size circles & fried them on a buttered griddle. Sprinkled with some powdered sugar and served with applewood smoked bacon and accidental cinnamon eggs. Accidental because one of the kitchen helpers, who shall remain nameless, thought he was making the egg mixture for the french toast! We blotted out a little with a paper towel but there was no removing the Grand Marnier…hic! No extra eggs to start over, so we scrambled ’em up anyway. Perfectly fine, especially with Le Pain Perdu, Doux et Fruité. That’s the fancy pants name we came up with for this Sweet & Fruity French Toast.

Recipes will be posted this week, but I just couldn’t wait to share. If you’re as fearless a cook as Princess Dana, go ahead and give Le Pain Perdu Doux et Fruité a whirl. We think this would be good with almost any fresh fruit. I’m thinking maybe blackberries and some boysenberry syrup next time. Let us know what sounds good to you!

Official FBF Warning:  It’s weekends like these that cause fat bottoms…but totally worth every calorie-laden bite!

By the way, for our friends driving a PT Cruiser home to Orange County from Lake Havasu…you need MORE than half a tank to get to the nearest gas station that’s open! Especially if you have a lead footed hubby like mine. 🙂  Because this is what happens!

Do not rely on your fancy GPS doohicky, because it was oh, so wrong. Dry, deserted, closed, nary a gas pump in sight. Hello??? Triple A? Lucky for us, a nice young fellow was nearby & took us to the nearest OPEN gas station another 15 miles down the road. Thank you Joe!

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I spent my Saturday morning watching Kyleigh play softball.  I know she’s 10 years old, but this is her first year playing and she’s in fast pitch!  She is a bit intimidated by the girls who are really good pitchers and has stopped swinging at the ball.  I don’t know… I guess she is hoping they will walk her.  We started an incentive… her papa gives her a dollar if she hits the ball and gets on base!  She’s starting to build her bank up!!  She was hitting pretty well on Saturday and she got to choose her reward from me…. she wanted to spend the night WITHOUT her little brothers around.  She wanted me all to herself!!  How could I refuse???  We had a fun time and the next morning she decided on French Toast for breakfast….   Here is our easy but beautiful recipe for the Best Stuffed French Toast EVER!!!

Ingredients

        • 6-8 slices of bread
        • 4 Eggs
        • 1/3 cup milk
        • 1 tsp vanilla
        • jar of seedless blackberry jam
        • cream cheese
        • butter
        • powdered sugar
        • cinnamon
        • fresh berries (optional)

Directions

Place eggs, half of the milk, vanilla and cinnamon into flat square dish and beat lightly.  Add remainder of milk as needed to reach desired thickness for egg batter.

Dip bread lightly into egg batter making sure to coat both sides of slice – move bread directly onto hot pan or griddle.  I use a med-high heat.  Cook bread until golden brown on both sides and move onto plate.

 

 Take the cream cheese and spread on one slice of French Toast then take another slice and spread it with the blackberry jam.   Put together like a sandwich, lightly butter and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Enjoy with a favorite breakfast guest!

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