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Breakfast goodies from Wisconsin

I am so excited to share with you recipes I just got while visiting my good friend Chucks’ family in Wisconsin. One morning Cindy served homemade granola she had made over dishes of vanilla yogurt, hot fresh ground coffee, juice, and banana bread. It was a very delightful breakfast. The next morning she served the best stuffed croissants graciously topped with pure maple syrup they had zapped and cooked from their maple trees. Absolutely wonderful!! I was hooked and am looking forward to serving this dish at our home.

Stuffed Croissant French Toast

Serving size: 4

8 ounce package cream cheese

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 cup chopped fresh strawberries

4 large (6-inch long) croissants

3 eggs

1 cup half and half

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Additional sliced fresh strawberries

Beat cream cheese, maple syrup and sugar with electric mixer. Stir in chopped 1/4 cup strawberries. Cut croissants in half and fill with cream cheese filling. Whisk together eggs, half and half, brown sugar and spices. Dip croissants in mixture and cook on lightly greased griddle for one to two minutes. Serve warm with berries and maple syrup.

Cranberry Pecan Granola

4 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoon grated orange peel

1/2 cup Canola oil

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup dried cranberries

Mix together the oats, pecans, sunflower seeds, brown sugar and orange peel; set aside. In another bowl, combine the Canola oil, water and maple syrup. Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine the dry ingredients and then add the syrup, water and oil, mixture stirring until all dry ingredients are moistened. Spread granola on a 12- by- 17-inch rimmed baking sheet and baked until brown (20-25 minutes), then stir with a flat spatula. Continue baking until it is light golden brown, dry and fragrant, 10-15 minutes longer. Watch it carefully because during the end it can burn quickly! Cool on baking rack and add dried cranberries. Store in a airtight container for up to one month or for three months in the freezer.

Ice Cream Sundae

Serving size: 12

3 cups crushed rice krispies

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup flaked coconut

1/2 cup melted butter

Combine the crushed rice krispies, brown sugar and coconut. Toss with melted butter. Put half of mixture in the bottom of 9- by-13-inch pan. Slice 1/2 gallon ice cream; arrange over crumbs. Cover with remaining rice crispier mixture. Serve with thawed strawberries or raspberries.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, someone to love and something to hope for.

GARY’S TIP: Mix coffee grounds with dirt to set geraniums in. Increases both growth and bloom.