Give Your Pancakes a Flavor Boost With Infused Maple Syrup

Pancakes, waffles, and French toast are all great, but these breakfast basics are really just a vessel for us to eat more maple syrup, right? While unflavored maple syrup is a delight in its own right, every now and then it can be a real treat to dress it up.

Flavoring maple syrup is a fun way to make breakfast an adventure. Here are five delicious ways to do it.

Source: 5 Maple Syrup Twists to Take Your Pancakes on a Breakfast Adventure

I did something similar recently. I made some blackberry sauce by simmering frozen blackberries with a little water and mushing them through a strainer to get out the seeds. Then I heated the sauce with a shot of my homemade vanilla rum and some maple syrup.

It made a wonderful, fruity, purple maple syrup.

Skip Vermont and Make Delicious Maple Candies With Two Ingredients

If you crave the sweet maple candies sold at tourist shops, you need not wait until your next vacation to enjoy them. Maple syrup producers’ associations are eager to share these treats, and how to make them at home, to spread the gospel of pure maple syrup. This recipe is from the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association/Vermont Maple Promotion Board; the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association has produced a helpful video about making maple cream and maple candy. If you haven’t tried these maple candies, be forewarned: They’re like no other treat you’ve ever experienced.

Source: Maple Syrup Candies

Have Granola Whenever You Please With This Super Quick Stove Top Recipe

The only drawback to homemade granola (superior to store-bought, on all counts, in my book) is finding the foresight to make large batches of it in advance. Maybe it’s just me, but my motivation for making anything is pretty closely tied to how soon I’m going to scarf it down.

Source: The Shortcut to Homemade Granola

The basic sequence of events is this: Add your fat and sweetener to your pan over medium-low heat and blend until everything is nice and liquid. Add in the grains and a pinch of salt and toast until golden (8-10 minutes). Mix in whatever nuts and seeds you like and cook for another couple of minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and sprinkle with your favorite spices (or toasted coconut and chocolate chips!) and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Break it up and throw it in some yogurt or milk and you have a tasty homemade breakfast.  Or anytime snack; granola shouldn’t be confined to the morning.

Transform Your Hot Chocolate by Simmering It With a Banana Peel

You’ve probably had a hot chocolate recently. And it probably came from an envelope. Today, we’re going to push that envelope. We’re going to push it far, far away.

The gold standard hot chocolate recipe is creamy, sweet, and a little rich. It’s almost perfect as is, but it can get better. Much better. Here are eight ways how.

Source: 8 Things You Can Do To Make Your Hot Chocolate Better Right Now

For lactose-intolerant, stir up your own hot cocoa mix with:

  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder mixed with
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice optional

You can reduce the sugar a bit to taste. 2 1/2 tablespoons of this stirred into a cup of hot lactose free milk or soy milk or almond milk or whatever makes a wonderful, winter treat!

Upgrade Store-Bought Applesauce With a Bit of Maple Syrup

If you have no love for plain applesauce, don’t give up on it as a topping for latkes, a partner for seared pork chops, or even layered with Greek yogurt for a breakfast parfait. Instead, use one of these simple tweaks to transform that innocent apple flavor into something way more deliciously adult. Each of these strategies will upgrade one cup of unsweetened “natural” applesauce…

Source: How to Make Store-Bought Applesauce Taste Amazing

  • If you want a sauce that’s sweet and a bit sour, add a splash of apple cider vinegar in there too.  This combination is particularly tasty with a ham.
  • If concerned about already-sweetened/HFCS applesauce, use fake maple flavour.

Make Mushroom “Jerky” For an Umami-Packed Snack Anyone Can Enjoy

Not for those allergic to mushrooms, obviously 😉

These super salty, slightly tangy slices make a great addition to wraps, sandwiches, salads, and more. Keep them in your fridge for a quick snack or a means of adding intensity and umami to any dish!

Source: Vegan Mushroom “Jerky” (Slow-Roasted Mushroom Strips)

The recipe is similar to the this one for vegan smoked mushroom “bacon”, which is liable to be cheaper than the algae that tastes like bacon

Always cool to see what substitutions/alternatives people have come up with.  Traditional jerky uses meat, and has been suggested as a reasonable source of protein.  100 grams of beef jerky contains 33.2 grams of protein, and 2.3 mcg of vitamin K (3% Daily Value).  Grilled portobella mushroom has 5.2 grams of protein per 1 cup/121 grams, and no vitamin K.  Win some, lose some…

Mix Up a Thanksgiving Classic and Make Stuffing Waffles

The idea is easy: prepare a batch of stuffing, and rather than baking it in a casserole dish, which only offers one plane for crisping, cook it in a waffle iron.

Source: In Which We Make Stuffing Waffles

You could use them in place of bread for turkey sandwiches…  hot open-faced turkey sandwiches…

But I’m not sure about the gravy/maple syrup combination.

Make Granola from Anything You Have On Hand With This Ratio

Memorize this technique, and you’ll never buy granola again.

Source: Granola Is Better and Easier to Make Without a Recipe

Having trouble finding cost effective rolled oats?  Look for Quaker Rolled Oats in the cereal aisle.

Bonus: If you are making granola and you want big chunks, pack all your ingredients tightly together on a baking sheet (I find it easier on a lipped baking sheet but plain should work fine). Once the granola is baked and cooled, you can break it into chunks.

Stop Peeling Your Root Vegetables

I have a confession that would make my culinary school instructor (a mildly terrifying Frenchman from Corsica whom we called “Chef X”) get red in the face, shout, and pelt me with potatoes: I don’t always peel my vegetables. In fact, I rarely do. Carrots? Yeah, right. Beets? Absolutely not. Potatoes? I would never! Squash? Well, depending on the variety, I don’t even peel those babies, either. Not only is it much easier to skip that step, but the skin is where all the good stuff—i.e. fiber—is at.

Source: Nope, You Don’t Have to Peel Carrots, Beets, or Even Squash

If you’re concerned about pesticides, then you should peel your veggies.  But you’ll ingest the pesticides anyways – root vegetables would have absorbed them as part of growing and would have very little on the surface.  Given that synthetic pesticides are safer to consume than organic ones by virtue of being designed as such…you really have nothing to worry about.

Prevent Soggy or Burnt French Toast by Frying in Oil Instead of Butter

A plate of perfect French toast—crispy round the edges, custardy in the center, and capped off with an amber kiss of maple syrup—is a thing of breakfast time beauty. On the other hand, slices that turn out soggy and squishy, charred in some spots and undercooked in others… well, there’s nothing sadder. What could go wrong? We’ve identified five common French toast mistakes and how to fix them.

Source: You’ve Been Making French Toast All Wrong (Here’s How to Do It Right)

To get the best of both worlds – the smoke point of butter is lower, but yields more flavour and colours the food more quickly, often burning.  So heat a little oil, then add some butter…  You get the benefits of more colour and flavour from the butter, and get a slightly higher smoke point than if using just butter which is more likely to avoid burning yet still allowing for crispy non soggy toast. This method works well for many things, particularly fish.