Monday, January 30, 2012

Sweet Potato Waffles

I know I say this all the time, but I love a good breakfast.  The best weekends are the ones when no one has to work, but we still get up early to spend time with the dogs, listen to music and enjoy a good, hot breakfast.  We break out the juice glasses, coffee mugs and placemats.  We roast a pan of bacon in the oven.  Often we have pancakes, french toast or grits.  Sometimes we have waffles.  I'm in love with this recipe that I discovered last year.  But recently I looked over at a five-pound box of sweet potatoes and got another idea:  sweet potato waffles.

Of course, I didn't invent sweet potato waffles, but I've noticed that they are pretty hard to find on a restaurant menu and it's not like you can walk down the aisle of any grocery store and find some "sweet potato waffle mix".  So, I took matters into my own hands and made an (easy) adaptation of my favorite waffle recipe.

All I did was stir in a bit of mashed, cooked sweet potato with the wet ingredients and whisk in some spices with the dry ingredients.  That's it!

The result?  A sweeter, hearty waffle with just enough autumn spice to remind you of your favorite cold weather desserts.

You may be thinking, how am I going to come up with a cup of mashed sweet potato?  You can scrub a fresh sweet potato, poke it with holes and microwave it for 5-10 minutes (or until soft).  Let it cool a bit, then just scrape out the flesh and proceed with this recipe.  Or, you may have leftover sweet potatoes from some other event or holiday. If your leftover potatoes have added sugar, just omit the sugar from this recipe.  That's it!

Sweet Potato Waffles
adapted from Waffles of Insane Greatness (found all over the food blogisphere)
yields 3 Belgian waffles

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 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Butter and syrup, for serving

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; mix well. Add the sweet potato, milks, vegetable oil, egg, sugar and vanilla and mix well. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes. (I cook bacon, brew coffee, and set the table while the batter sits.)

Preheat a waffle iron. Do not use non-stick spray on the waffle iron; the oil in the batter will allow the waffle to release easily. Follow the directions on your waffle iron to cook the waffles. Serve immediately with butter and syrup.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Homemade Bagels

I think bagels may be my favorite breakfast bread.  Sure muffins, biscuits, English muffins and raisin toast are great, but I love the chewy texture of a nice, fresh bagel.  I never considered making my own bagels until I noticed that a few bloggers (mostly who live outside of "good bagel" territory) had experimented with making bagels at home.  There are a few places to purchase bagels in Delaware, but nowhere near as many options as in New Jersey or New York.  While grocery store bagels are acceptable, I was looking for that slightly crisp exterior and that dense, chewy interior.  Once I figured out that bagels weren't that difficult to make, I decided to give it a try.

I did some research and noticed that some (delicious, I'm sure) bagel recipes called for exotic ingredients like malt syrup and I wasn't in the mood to go to the store on to wait a week for special supplies to arrive from an online store.  I opted for a recipe that utilized ingredients that were actually in my pantry.

I opted to start my dough the night before, let it rise in the fridge overnight and continue making my bagels the next morning.  This allowed me to actually get the bagels finished before we died of hunger.

After a slow overnight rise in the fridge I had a big, puffy ball of dough...

I deflated the dough and shaped it into 8 equal rounds...

I poked one hole in the center of each ball and stretched it to make sure it would stay open after baking...

My holes closed up a bit after the second rise, but my bagels were still yummy!

I've learned that the step that separates the "real" bagels from the "fake" bagels is boiling bagels in water before baking them.  It only takes a few minutes and it really helps you get that nice, shiny, chewy exterior...

Dip the surface of your wet bagels into your desired toppings and set the bagels on a baking sheet... you're ready to bake!

I made all of my bagels plain, but topped some of them with seeds or spices.  I ended up with an assortment of plain, sesame seed, and everything bagels.  I picked up my Everything Bagel and Bread Topping from King Arthur Flour.  You could also make your own by combining sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried onion, dried garlic, and coarse salt.  Next time I'd like to try making some sweet bagels with dried fruits like raisins or cranberries.


Ready for the oven!

I ended up with 8 delicious, chewy bagels that somehow lost their holes.  The lack of holes did not impact the taste one bit!  After enjoying one with cream cheese, I got extra greedy and used one to make a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich...

And that, my friends, is how breakfast is done.  

You may be wondering why make bagels when you can buy them for less than a dollar each at the store?  Because it's easy and you can flavor them any way you'd like.  Plus, a lot of people don't live near real bagel shops.  I feel your pain... I question the bagel choices in my area, too.

If you're venturing into homemade bread, try making bagels!  Don't be intimidated by the two-day process. I broke it down to two days to make it easier to get breakfast on the table.

Homemade Bagels
adapted (slightly) from The Galley Gourmet
yields 8 bagels

2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups warm water
3 1/2 cups bread flour, plus extra for kneading
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
Poppy seeds (optional)
Sesame seeds (optional)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachement, add the flour, sugar, yeast and salt.  With the mixer on low, slowly add the water.  Switch to the dough hook attachment.  Continue to mix until the dough comes together in a mass, about 4-6 minutes.  Increase speed to medium-high and knead for another 8-10 minutes until soft and smooth.   Put the dough in a bowl sprayed lightly with non-stick baking spray. Cover with a towel or lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rise overnight in the refrigerator.

Gently deflate the dough and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425ยบ F and bring a large pot of water to a boil; then reduce to a simmer. 

Divide the dough into 8 pieces.  Press each piece down to get rid of air bubbles.  Form into balls and roll the balls between your palm and the work surface, rotating to form a smooth ball. Coat a finger in flour and press it through each ball to form a ring.  Twirl the ring around the index of one hand and the thumb of the other, stretching the dough and widening the hole to about 1/3 of the bagel’s diameter. Place the bagels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat and cover with a towel. Let rest for another 10 minutes.

Gently lower the bagels into the water in batches, 2-3 bagels at a time. Boil uncovered for about 1 minute. Turn them over once and boil for another minute. Using a perforated skimmer, remove the bagels from the pot, letting the water drain; return to the baking sheet. (Optional:  sprinkle the top of the bagel with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or both). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Enjoy with butter, cream cheese, jelly, or my favorite way:  topped with bacon, egg and cheese!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Have you heard that some of the most popular Internet sites are participating in a blackout today in opposition of SOPA and PIPA, two proposed federal laws that will lead to Internet censorship?  Google and Wikipedia some of the sites spreading awareness of this proposed legislation. 

What does this mean for you as an American Internet user?  The point of this legislation is to prevent piracy, which is a rampant problem on the Internet.  I agree that copyrighted material (music, photos, software, etc.) should not be stolen.  However, this legislation will hold individual websites accountable when users and readers post or share copyrighted material illegally.  It will require site administrators (bloggers, retail businesses, etc.) to censor content if users share copyrighted material.  It could censor results in your Google searches.  It could impact my ability to search for free recipes online.  As an avid blog reader who prides herself in her collection of online recipes, I don't want to support censorship of the Internet. 

You can read more about the blackout here.


I know I owe you a good recipe!  Things have been a bit hectic around our home, but rest assured that I have some photos on my camera waiting to be uploaded and with new food photos come new recipes!  If you miss me, why not follow me on Twitter @keeleypowell or on Pinterest?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

ShopRite Cans for Fans!

I have the honor of being a contributor for Potluck, the food blog for ShopRite stores.  For those of you who live in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic, you've probably shopped at ShopRite and you're familiar with their semi-annual Can Can Sale.  Around these parts the commercials with the dancing "Can Can" girls are iconic and I grew up dancing whenever the commercials aired.  As an adult I realized that the sale was also a great opportunity to stock up on canned goods, so now I look forward to the big Can Can Sale in January.  This year's sale starts tomorrow!

This year, ShopRite is donating one canned good for every "like" they receive on their Facebook page.  You can help regional food banks without even stepping away from  your computer!  Please consider liking ShopRite's Facebook page and if you're in the area, I have some tips on items to consider stocking up on during the Can Can Sale.

The great thing about canned goods is that they are shelf stable for years and they can enhance your home cooking.  I'm not a fan of canned soups or similar processed foods, but I love using canned beans and some canned fruits and vegetables (especially the low sugar/low sodium varieties) as ingredients in my recipes.  I am taking this opportunity to stock up on the following canned items:

1. Tomatoes (whole, crushed, and diced) - for homemade marinara, chili, salsa, and soup
2. Beans (especially small red, small white, and black) - for chili, dips, and soups
3. Fruits (peaches and cherries) - for cobblers and cake fillings

ShopRite also has specials called "UnCanny Savings" on items that are not sold in cans like laundry detergent, cereal, and refrigerated items during this sale.

If you live in Delaware, ShopRite just opened at new store in Bear, DE in Governor's Square.  It's a huge, modern store with plenty of space for all of the shoppers who will rush through the doors to take advantage of the Can Can Sale over the next two weeks.  If you're in the area, check it out.  If you're in NJ, PA, MD, NY, or CT, there's probably a ShopRite near your home.  My husband and I have shopped there since college and it's our favorite place to spend our paychecks.  :)

Happy shopping (and saving)!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Whole-Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Head over to Potluck to check out my recipe for Whole-Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread.  It's not too sweet and loaded with whole wheat, so you don't have to feel guilty after all of your holiday indulgences!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 Year in Review: NYC Wine & Food Festival

Here's my New Year's Resolution:  I'm going to stay up do date with my blog posts.  I think I'm pretty good about posting semi-regularly, but I seem to have a hard time doing write-ups of major events like vacations and festivals.  Maybe I just have too much to say?  Maybe it's the large volume of photos?  Either way, I'm going to try to be more timely in 2012.  With that said...

A few weeks ago I migrated from my (inexpensive) Dell PC laptop to a new MacBook Pro.  At first I was so frustrated with the differences between a PC and a Mac (despite the fact that I've had an iPhone for over 6 months) that I was ready to throw the new computer out the window.  Then I took my time and actually started to learn my new computer (with the help of some nice people at my local Apple store) and I'm really happy with my purchase.  One of the biggest things I've learned so far is how to use iPhoto to organize and edit my pictures.  It's a revelation.  And with that revelation I've realized that I somehow forgot about lots of my culinary adventures in 2011 and I still have some photos (and video) to share!

I know it may seem irrelevant to post photos from food escapades from the summer and fall in the dead of winter, but I'm just going to call it a year-in-review and go for it.  And I'm starting with the New York City Wine and Food Festival back in October 2011.

If you've been reading for a while you may remember that I attended the NYCWFF for the first time in 2010.  Both of my trips were sponsored by ShopRite as a perk of writing for their blog, Potluck.  (You can read some of my Potluck posts here.)

This year we stayed in the uber-cool, uber-contemporary Dream Downtown Hotel in Manhattan.  It was just a hop, skip and a jump from the festival.  The rooms were small in size, but big on style.

The bathroom was unlike anything I'd ever seen.  All glass walls (frosted), speakers that play ambient music when you close the (glass) door, and stainless steel everything...

Yes, my friends... that photo above is the toilet.  It looked like an airplane toilet to us.  We got a lot of laughs out of that one.

The lobby was also amazing.  From the main lobby you can look up and see guests swimming in the glass-bottom pool on the next level.  In October.  In New York.  Good thing it was warm on October 1st!  (The glass circles in the photo below are "windows" to the pool above.)

So yeah, we were feeling all Kardashian-esque in this cool NYC hotel.  But that's not even the main part of our trip.  I attended two events:  The Grand Tasting and Bobby Flay's Burger Bash (in nearby Brooklyn).  Both events were great!

At the Grand Tasting we had the opportunity to sample food and drink from what seemed like hundreds of vendors and I spent some time promoting the Potluck blog with ShopRite...

Tomato soup shooters with grilled cheese... cute!

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After spending an incredible afternoon eating way too much food and sampling way too much alcohol, we took a short break and then headed out to the Blue Moon Burger Bash in Brooklyn.  It was a beef-filled, star-studded extravaganza.  It was a warm October night and the rain held off until the end of the event.  I'm not a big beef-eater, but I had my favorite burger taster with me!

The competitors prepared their burgers fresh on-site for us to taste and vote.

Way too much beef and Blue Moon for one night.  If you like beer and burgers, you'd love this!

And as I learned in 2010, no NYC Wine and Food Festival event is complete without a sprinkling of food celebrities!

Jeff Mauro, recent winner of Food Network Star.  Have you seen the promo commercial where he's at the Burger Bash? 

Bobby Flay and Sunny Andersen!  O-M-to the Gee!

Anne Burrell

Adam Richman from Man vs. Food

And the views were beautiful that evening... You can see the smoke from the grills in the air.  The smell was intoxicating (in a good way)!

Brooklyn Bridge
 Here's my favorite photo from the entire weekend.  Bing set up a photo booth at the festival as a promotion, so I took the opportunity to take silly photos with my food blogging friends and of course, my husband, who is always down for a culinary adventure!

October 2011
A much belated thank you to ShopRite who sponsored our trip (and the festival!).  I am one of the writers for their blog, Potluck, so please check me out sometime.  

Happy New Year!  Stay tuned for a few more travel posts and some new recipes!

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