Brunch - Waffles with Berry Sauce and Fresh Nectarines

Making brunch at home is something I look forward to.  It is the vision of Sunday brunch where you can sleep in and then have a gourmet breakfast in the comfort of your bed or couch or dining room table while in your pajamas.  I love my pajama days and that is what inspired me to start making gourmet breakfasts or brunches at home.

I decided to try a waffle breakfast with a berry sauce and whipped cream.  I had never made waffles before and wanted them to be as fluffy as possible even though I had the cheapest waffle iron.  The recipe from Something Swanky attracted me and so did the blog name.  I found this recipe from the website:

Easy and Fluffy Belgian Waffles
  •  1 3/4 c. AP flour
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  •  2 tbsp. sugar
  •  1 tbsp. baking powder
  •  1/4 tsp. salt
  •  2 eggs
  •  1 3/4 c. milk
  •  1/2 c. cooking oil
  •  1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Preheat your waffle iron.
  2. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a large bowl until smooth.
  3. (Grease waffle iron before each use) Pour approximately 1/2 cup batter onto the hot waffle iron, and cook for 3:30 minutes, or to your liking.
  4. Serve hot and fresh with berries and whipped cream!

I made the whipped cream with my magic bullet and that was easier than expected.  I put 1/2 cup of fresh whipping cream in the magic bullet and it will stop when it has been whipped.  Remember to add sugar with it before you whip.  

I love making fresh berry sauce and since my fresh local strawberries were overripe, they were perfect for making the berry sauce topping.  
1 cup of strawberries (chopped), 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries, handful of sugar and boil on medium high heat until the strawberries and blueberries break down.  Remember to stir frequently so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.  

I order a local harvest box every month and this time it had fresh nectarines.  That was the perfect addition to my waffle breakfast.  Slice nectarine slices and add to the plate.  Ahh, my husband was impressed with my first Waffle breakfast with berry sauce and nectarine slices.  

Easy Caesar Salad

Every time I go on a vacation, I return with an inspired sense to do more home cooking.  Last weekend I went on a girls retreat to Harrison Hot Springs Resort and the first night we ate at the Lakeview Cafe at the hotel.  They had an all inclusive dessert and salad bar with their meals and it is their make it yourself caesar salad at the salad bar that inspired me to make caesar salad at home.

They had the fixing out on the salad bar and I just had to put lettuce on my place with the croutons, parmesan cheese, and dressing.  Simple and easy!

Romaine lettuce was on sale at the grocery store so that was the perfect time to make my easy caesar salad.

1 head of romaine lettuce (wrap the washed lettuce that you do not use in paper towel to maintain freshness in the fridge.
1 jar of light caesar salad dressing
1 package of multigrain croutons
freshly shredded asiago or parmesan cheese

The trick is to only make what you will eat that night as caesar salad will get soggy quickly once it has the dressing on and is best when the lettuce is crisp and fresh.  That's what I loved about the make it yourself station at the salad bar.  I bought all the ingredients above and only mixed what was good for two people.  

This was a great idea and I keep all of the ingredients in the fridge so I can make an easy caesar salad on weekday evenings as a starter before the main course.  Or top it with roasted chicken for a chicken caesar salad as the main course.  

Brunch - Cheddar Smokie Poached Egg Hash

I was inspired to make this dish after going to White Spot Family Restaurant for brunch and tasting their new menu item, the Southwest Chorizo Hash  It was good but the taste was too strong with the spiciness of the chorizo sausage and the salsa.  I have more a milder taste bud and I realized that I could make a version at home and save money at the same time.  

I've played around with the same concept as the Southwest Chorizo Hash but made it milder by using Cheddar Smokies and instead of the salsa I serve it with half of a fresh avocado.  

Cheddar Smokie Poached Egg Hash

Hash browns - you can use store bough hash browns, but I prefer fresh homemade potato hash browns.  Chop up the potatoes and saute in butter on medium heat until the potatoes are nicely browned.  To save time, I will preboil the potatoes the night before and store them in the fridge.  Then in the morning, I chop up the potatoes and sauce in the frying pan with butter.

Cheddar smokies - while the hash browns are cooking, I boil water in a small pot to cook the smokies as per the directions on the package, this doesn't take very long.  Once the water has boiled and the smokies have floated to the top, I take them out and chop them up and heat them with the hash browns.  

Poached egg - in the same pot that I boiled the smokies, I bring the water to a boil to do the poached egg.  Break the egg into the pot and use a spoon to swirl the egg whites, and it also helps to add a teaspoon of vinegar to the boiling water.  

Preparation - Put the hash browns and smokies in the bowl.  Add the poached egg on top and then I add a few thin slices of jalapeno havarti on top of the poached eggs.  Chop half an avocado and add it to the bowl on the side.  Season with salt and pepper.  

Now you have a healthy breakfast made from scratch.  After I served this once, it has become my new signature weekend brunch dish that is better than eating out.  Not only did I save money but I discovered a way to make the dishes I make taste similar or better than the restaurant.  Now that's a money saving accomplishment!

Desserts - Martha Stewart's No Churn Vanilla Ice Cream

It has been a long time, but it's time to bring back the Coupon Chef's test kitchen. Yes, it is still cheaper and a cost saving to be able to be a home chef and cook at home.  It's even better when you can share your adventures with a friend or two.

My friend over at Divinely Delish has inspired me to try my hand at no churn ice cream.  You'll want to follow her culinary adventures on her blog:

When I think of making ice cream, I imagine the big ice cream makers where you have to turn the handle for a long time to blend the milk to magically make the ice cream.  When Divinely Delish told me that she made no churn ice cream, it peaked my curiosity.  I went online to find the easiest recipe.  I stumbled upon Martha Stewart's No Churn Vanilla Ice Cream recipe.  It seemed simple enough and of course I liked the fact that I could add a bit of booze to the mix.  However, I couldn't taste the rum as much as I thought I would.  It's a simple recipe and I'm surprised I made ice cream!  Woo hoo!  Overall fresh no churn ice cream only lasts one week so it's not worth it for me to make again.  

The recipe below is from Martha Stewart's website:


  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
  • 2 cups cold heavy cream


  1. In a medium bowl, stir together condensed milk, vanilla, and Bourbon, if desired. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream on high until stiff peaks form, 3 minutes. With a rubber spatula, gently fold whipped cream into condensed milk mixture. Pour into a 4 1/2-by-8 1/2-inch loaf pan. Freeze until firm, 6 hours.

Creamy Turkey Soup

Turkey time means great prices on turkeys to cook a meal for a family or group of friends.  That is exactly what we did.  The turkey this year was much larger and no only fed the guests but we also had a fridge full of leftovers.

So what can you do with your turkey leftovers?  Make creamy turkey soup.  I found this Creamy Turkey Soup recipe on and it turned out fabulously.  I used fresh chopped carrots and macaroni as the noodle.  I used fresh turkey stock that I had made with the carcass of the turkey dinner that mulled in its own bones overnight and reduced down to a nice, rich turkey stock.

I love simple recipes with ingredients that you have at hand.

1/4 cup butter
1 cup chopped green onion
2 cups frozen sliced carrots, thawed and drained
1/4 cup flour
5 cups turkey broth, divided (or chicken bouillon)
2 cups milk or 2 cups cream
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley
3 cups chopped cooked turkey
8 ounces noodles (fusilli, rotini or similar)


Saute onions and carrots in butter until soft, not brown.

Add flour and mix well.
Gradually add 2 cups broth and milk.
Cook and stir until it thickens.
Stir in remaining 3 cups broth, and all remaining ingredients.

Simmer 10-12 minutes until noodles are tender, stirring occasionally.
Creamy Turkey Soup

Dessert: Lemon Pudding Cakes

I have a subscription to Everyday FOOD magazine by Martha Steward and I was attracted to the Lemon Pudding Cakes recipe because it is simple luxury.  Very few ingredients that will turn into a gourmet dessert in an hour.

Everyday Food, January/February 2012
  • Prep Time 20 minutes
  • Total Time 50 minutes

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more, room temperature, for ramekins
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1/3 cup lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • Confectioners' sugar, for serving

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter eight 6-ounce ramekins or a 2-quart baking dish. Set in a shallow baking pan. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks with 1/2 cup granulated sugar until pale and smooth. Whisk in butter, lemon zest and juice, milk, and flour mixture. (Refrigerate mixture, up to 3 hours.)
    Lemon Batter

  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer (or by hand with a whisk), beat egg whites with 1/4 cup granulated sugar until stiff peaks form, 5 minutes; fold into batter.
    Whisked Egg Whites

    With a ladle, divide batter among ramekins, keeping sides clean. Pour enough hot water into baking pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins. Bake until cakes are puffed and slightly golden on top, 30 minutes. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve immediately.
Lemon Pudding Cakes

After preparing this easy gourmet dessert, you will have confidence to bake other sweet treats for your family.  I never knew that making a nice, light pudding cake would be so easy. 

White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies

December is around the corner and I decided to organize an intimate cookies swap with some girlfriends.  I have been known for my lack of interest in holidays and that is something I've been working on.  In my attempt to celebrate Christmas, I thought a cookie swap was a good idea.  Cookie swaps are a great way to share and be able to have a variety of cookies for family and friends during the holidays.

I didn't know what kind of cookie to make so I began my research and found this festive recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days cookbook.  Since the measurements are in grams, I cheated and tried a white chocolate and cranberry cookie recipe on the internet.  That was a mistake!  My cookies were lumpy and I wasn't happy with them at all.  Everyone who tried them enjoyed the taste but it wasn't perfect.

It wasn't the cookie that was pictured in The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days cookbook.

So I got out my digital scale and followed the recipe in the cookbook.  The cookies were exactly how they were pictured.  Nice, large, soft and chewy cookies.  Delightful!  I had found my cookie swap cookie recipe.  It perfectly makes a dozen cookies.

Now I can't wait to try other recipes from the cookbook.  If I can't be in London to go to the bakery, then preparing the recipes at home from scratch is the 2nd best thing.  Enjoy!