Hash Brown Waffles

Every once in a while, I come across an idea when I’m perusing food blogs that is so brilliant, so revolutionary, I’m amazed I’ve never heard of it before. Recently, while browsing Foodie with Family, I saw her method for cooking hash browns in a waffle iron, and instantly knew I had to try it. How could shredded potatoes browned to crispy perfection not be good?

What follows is a method, more than a recipe. I didn’t take very many pictures because I was hungry (just keeping it real). :)

Start by greasing your waffle iron generously. You could use butter, but we had bacon grease; so like most women raised in the South, I used that.

Peel and shred a medium sized potato and spread it over the waffle iron’s surface. If you live where you can get that kind of thing, feel free to use pre-shredded hash browns. That would certainly save time.

Dust the potatoes with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then pop the lid down and set something heavy on top of it (I used a heavy frying pan).

Before long, the smell of sizzling potatoes will fill the kitchen. Resist peeking. Let the waffle iron do its thing. You’ll notice unwanted moisture dripping down the sides. This is good; it means the end result will be that much more crisp.

The one downside to this method is that it takes a while, especially if you have a wimpy waffle iron like ours. Probably a full ten minutes passed before my potatoes were as brown as I wanted them. Be assured, it was worth the wait.

Mmmmm, a hash brown waffle, topped with an egg over easy, with an iced Americano coffee. Do I need to tell you how yummy this was?

I’m not a fan of mushy potatoes, so the brown crust the waffle iron formed on these was perfect. If you like your potatoes a bit more fluffy, by all means don’t let them cook as long as I did, or don’t weigh the top down.

Ten seconds after this photo was taken, I was enjoying my first bite of this delicious treat. Have you had breakfast yet? :)

Hash Brown Waffles

One medium potato per person, peeled and shredded

or

One cup pre-shredded hash browns

Salt and pepper

Butter (or bacon grease, or some other oil)

Instructions

Grease a waffle iron, top and bottom. Evenly spread shredded potatoes over it, salt and pepper to taste. Close waffle iron and weigh top down with something heavy. Cook to desired brownness.

I would imagine the variations on this would be limited only by your imagination. You could add cooked and drained breakfast sausage, herbs, cheese, bacon, or basically anything else that would tasty good cooked crispy with potatoes. Sweet potatoes could be substituted for their paler cousin. It’s delicious topped with an egg over easy, but I’m sure sausage gravy, sour cream and chives or many other things would also be tasty. Enjoy!

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

By popular demand, we offer you our recipe for Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins! Often when we’ve had weekend events, we’ll make up huge batches of muffins that we serve for breakfasts along with boiled eggs, fruit, and yogurts. We can carry these to any location and save our friends the cost of buying breakfast out. We’ve tried a large number of muffin recipes that can be made cheaply with ingredients we can purchase locally which are not imported. One staple of our preferred muffins is that the recipes use oil rather than butter or shortening, both of which are expensive since they are imported and not commonly used in China. We also try to make less sweet varieties, since we have often heard, “Too sweet! Too sweet!” since most Chinese have not grown up eating desserts or sugary foods.

This recipe departs from our normal criteria as it contains chocolate chips, which are NOT inexpensively procured in China. A 12 oz. bag (imported) costs about $6 or $7, so we try to bring ours from America when we come or ask our friends who come over to bring us a bag or two. However, this recipe doesn’t call for many, and to be honest we often skimp on the half cup called for when making them for events frequented by mostly Chinese people, and add a few more when we are making them for “foreigners”(like us). Even though these are sweeter than most that we make, they are very popular with both Chinese and Westerners. Who can resist the combination of peanut butter and chocolate whether they’ve grown up with it or not? We have tried several online recipes for peanut butter chocolate chip muffins and never found one that we loved. So we have “tweaked” this recipe until we think it’s about right. We hope you enjoy it!

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

2 cups flour

1 and 1/2 cups sugar (I use white but I think light brown would add depth)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy both work)

2 large eggs or 3 small ones

1 and 1/4 cups milk

1/4 cup oil plus 1 Tablespoon

1/2 chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Dump all of the ingredients except chocolate chips into a bowl and mix well. Stir the chocolate chips in by hand. Prepare muffin cups by either spraying with non-stick spray or inserting muffin papers. Fill 3/4 full. (I use my handy dandy ice cream type scoop with spring handles that I bought last time I was in America! It rocks and rolls, baby!) Bake for about 30 minutes until a toothpick stuck in comes out clean (except for melted chocolate). This makes about a dozen and a half standard sized muffins.

Take a look at this moist bundle of deliciousness up close! They smell great and taste best right out of the oven. But my girls find that if they microwave them for 15 seconds they can recreate that warm melty yumminess!

There are few jobs that Grace and Hope can do in China to make pocket money- no yards to mow, no babies to sit! Handcrafts pay little since labor costs are so low. They, however, have hit on a niche business by making muffins and selling them. Many of our friends place special orders for the varieties of their choice- banana, cinnamon nut, poppy seed, zucchini, apple, pumpkin (made with fresh pumpkin that they cook and puree themselves since canned pumpkin is rarely available), and the above peanut butter chocolate chip muffins. Sometimes folks that come to our home for study request that the girls make large batches that they divvy up into bags of ten for purchase by individuals in the groups. We don’t have a recent photo or a good one, but here is one taken last year with a mobile phone on the first day of their “business” giving out samples of their wares! Grace is about a foot taller now and both girls have become more young ladies and less little girls. But it does give you an idea of the beginning of their Guangzhou muffin dynasty!

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

This recipe comes with a couple of fun family stories!

When I was pregnant with Jason, I was on bed rest for a number of weeks so friends at our church brought our family meals. One dear lady not only brought dinner once a week, but she brought jars of homemade soups to use for lunches along with homemade pimento cheese and the most wonderful loaves or rolls of whole wheat bread. Week after week for months she came, with her bounty to keep us fed during this difficult time. What a precious gift from the Lord it was to have a sister in Christ who showed His love to us in such practical ways. This recipe is from that friend in Austin, Texas, whose kindness has provided a wonderful memory for our family of the continuing grace of God in our lives! I’ve lost track of Donna Wilson, but God has not. I pray that He is continually rewarding her for her kindness to us and to others in the Body of Christ!

The second story regarding this recipe happened in 1990- the year our family took a 3 week, 5000 mile trip hauling a pop-up camper to see all the major national parks out west. (When we got home, I said I was going to write a horror story called Three Weeks in a Pop-Up, but that’s  a story for another day!) As I remember, our entire trip cost about $1000, so you can tell that we traveled very frugally, even for 1990! Participants on this trip included Stacy and me, plus our five oldest children ages 11-1, and my mother-in-law. (And she is NOT the reason the trip was a horror story. She was a lovely lady and I loved her very much.)

This was an exciting trip for our children, as you can imagine. What kids would not be thrilled to see Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, or the big trees at Sequoia? We knew that they would want to have souvenirs of the trip, but souvenirs just weren’t in the budget. So for months before we left, our four older kids made loaves and loaves of this bread and sold it, hot out of the oven, to friends and neighbors to earn their own souvenir money. Joy was 11; Chad was 10; Jeremy was 8; and Jason was 6; but they could all make this bread by themselves from scratch, which should show you how easy it is! They pooled all the money they made from baking/selling bread, then split it equally and used that money to purchase mementos of that monumental journey. Most of their purchases have gone the way of the tee shirts of yesteryear, but memories of mixing and kneading the dough, pulling fragrant hot loaves of bread from the oven, and carrying them around the neighborhood in their little red wagon live on!

Enjoy this healthy, delicious treat! And don’t forget to make precious memories with your children as they grow!

Ingredients: 

2 cups hot tap water

3 packages or scant 3 tablespoons yeast

½ cup honey

2 teaspoons salt

1 lightly beaten egg

½ cup oil

6-8 cups whole-wheat flour

Mix the honey and salt into the hot water; then add yeast; stir; let sit until foamy. Stir in the egg and oil. Add 2 cups of flour and stir until all lumps are out.  Add another 2 cups and stir well. Then add one cup at a time until you have a light but not-sticky dough. Flour the shelf lightly (or use your dough hook on your mixer); knead dough for about 10 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic. Add more flour to the shelf if the dough is sticking.

Put dough into a greased bowl; flip it over so the top is oily; cover with a clean towel and let sit about an hour until doubled.

Grease bread pans. Don’t use oil but rather use shortening or butter. Shape the bread into loaves and put into the pans. Let rise about another hour until doubled.

Preheat oven to 375. When loaves have risen, put them in the oven for about 35 minutes. To see if they are done, thump the top with your flat hand. If it sounds hollow, it’s probably cooked through. When done, remove from oven; butter tops; and remove from pans. Let it cool- or eat it right away while it’s hot- it’s up to you!