Native Cooking

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On most mornings we get up, grab that coffee, gulp and go. In our family breakfast is a rare thing nowadays. When our kids were young and in school, I always made sure they never left the house without a proper breakfast. Now, we are all guilty of gulp and go most days. When we do indulge in a warm breakfast, it's usually eggs, toast and jelly. We all like our eggs different, but we all do agree on scrambled eggs in some form. Breakfast is an often forgotten meal, yet so important for fueling a day. When it is a special winter morning, we have a very delicious and easy favorite. It is so good, so rich, that we have it rarely and it is memorable.

I discovered the way to make perfect crepes by accident. My husband likes thick pancakes and I like thin ones. I cook his first from a mix. Then I add two more eggs and milk to the batter that is left and make thin, thin pancakes (crepes). To make this special treat, I make a lot of them the night before and store them between sheets of wax paper. In the morning, I layer them on a cookie sheet, cover with foil and keep in the oven on low while I make the rest of breakfast.

Peaches & Crepes

1 15-oz. can sliced peaches, not sweetened
1 16-oz. container sour cream (or use low-fat)
1/2 cup brown sugar

Drain the peaches and add them to the sour cream in a good sized bowl, fold in the brown sugar. Put a warm crepe on each plate and two tablespoons of the peach mixture on one side. Fold the other half over to cover. That's it. Very close to heavenly. Note: this is also good with strawberries or apricots in place of the peaches.

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One of my daughters once ran a bed and breakfast in the winter for four years. She was a college student at the time and the experience was very good for her. She learned very well how to organize and manage her time. The following is a recipe she developed so it could be made the night before and baked in the oven next morning for the guests.

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Breakfast Strada

10 slices of bread, cubed
1 pound of bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled, or 1 pound of breakfast sausage cooked and cut in small pieces, about 1/4 inch thick.
2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
10 eggs
4 cups of milk
2 level teaspoons dry mustard
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Assemble the night before. Place the bread over the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with the bacon OR sausage, then the cheese. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, dry mustard and salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture slowly and evenly over the bread, cheese and meat mixture in the pan. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.

Next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Serves 10 to 12

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French Toast Ahead

1/4 cup butter (or substitute)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3 eggs
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
6 slices of day-old bread, sliced thick

This can be made the night before and refrigerated. In the morning preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Melt the butter in a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish. Stir in the maple syrup. In a medium bowl, mix together the eggs, orange juice, salt and cinnamon. Dip the bread in the egg mixture and place it in the dish. Pour the remaining egg mixture over the bread. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown and serve right away.

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Wild Rice Dessert

Any amount of cold cooked wild rice
Maple Syrup

No one believes how good this simple, two-ingredient dish can be. You can add a few raisins for more interest and a dollop of whipped cream on top, but neither is necessary.

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Western Omelet

2 eggs, scramble in a separate bowl, set aside
1/2 onion, minced
1 slice of ham, minced
1/4 green bell pepper, minced
2 fresh mushrooms, sliced thin

Saut? everything but the eggs in a large flat frying pan. You may want to use a bit of butter or margarine in the pan. When the onions and pepper are browned add the eggs which you had set aside. Reduce heat and when the eggs appear nearly done, flip the omelet and cook to desired doneness.

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Notes and Tips:

*When making the Peaches and Crepes, or using any commercial pancake mix, try a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla to enhance the flavor. It is also great on fruit salads.
*Many of us only correspond with certain friends and relatives on Christmas or their birthdays. If you keep a separate address book for these people, jot down bits of news or things that might interest each person. Put their initials or name on your notes and stick them in the book so you can refer to them next year.
*I keep a calendar book with the whole month showing and big blocks to make notes of appointments or events. This is also handy to go through at the end of the year to make a summary letter to send friends, or just for your own self-knowledge. It is really like a shorthand journal.
*If Walmart is lowering prices every day, how come nothing is free yet?
*A truly happy person can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
*Living on earth is great and we get a free trip around the sun every year!