Breakfast and Brunch

Homemade Southern Sausage Gravy

Homemade Southern Sausage Gravy

Ever craved your grandmother’s southern cooking, but you never got her secret recipe? I remember as a child, my grandmother would cook us breakfast almost every morning before school. Sometimes it was cream of wheat, sometimes it was eggs, rice and bacon, and sometimes it was biscuits and gravy. Those homemade biscuits and gravy stuck with me because I considered it an art to make homemade southern sausage gravy. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my grandmother, breakfast was not usually one of those times (I mean a girl has to get her beauty rest). Therefore, I missed out on how she would make the homemade southern sausage gravy for the biscuits and gravy.
Gravy can be finicky, it can be too thin, too thick, too lumpy so it’s no wonder why I never really tried my hand at it. For many years, I relied on McCormicks gravy packets for my gravy. I won’t sit here and pretend that those McCormicks gravy packages aren’t lifesavers.
In life, there are certain foods that hold distinct and nostalgic memories, biscuits and gravy is one of those foods.

Learning to make biscuits and gravy

I remember the first time I learned how to make biscuits and gravy. My junior year in high school I chose a cooking class as one of my electives. I thoroughly enjoyed home economics in junior high school and I thoroughly enjoyed cooking so this class was my favorite. Our assignment must have been making breakfast because that only makes logical sense. Anyways, I distinctly remember our teacher telling us to make sure we scraped up all of the little sausage bits that were stuck to the pan. She informed us that is how you get the most flavor for your gravy. That little tip holds true to this day.
For some reason in my mind, this lesson coincides with 9/11. I was for sure in that classroom when 9/11 happened. I feel like it was in the midst of biscuits and gravy lesson when our classroom TVs came on to broadcast the towers falling; my teacher fell in sync as she collapsed into a chair overwhelmed by the tragic even unfolding before all of our eyes. Memories…sometimes food holds distinct memories.

Biscuits and Gravy was life

When I joined the military I was a whopping 117 pounds, by military BMI standards I was underweight. At first I took offense to being considered underweight but it definitely had it privileges. As part of their weight gaining program, I was allowed to be the first to go in, last to come out and I was able to eat whatever I wanted. My fellow vets know just how precious that time is. You literally get about 3-4 minutes to eat before you are yelled at to get up and move along.
I made a plan to ensure I got enough food to last me until my next meal. I mean it was the middle of summer in Texas, you really wanted to try and get as much food in you as possible. What did I do? I grabbed what I knew first…biscuits and gravy. In less than two minutes I would cut my biscuits and gravy into four sections and eat it in four bites. Next, I would move on to my sausage, pancakes, and whatever else I piled on my tray. Those biscuits and gravy got me through basic training (and I gained 8lbs). Memories…sometimes food holds nostalgic memories.

Gravy and Biscuits and more gravy.

There are countless times, that I have eaten biscuits and gravy throughout my life but I can probably count one hand the times, I’ve attempted to make it myself. The first two times, I used package gravy, you know because that’s safe and you can’t mess that up. Last time I made it from scratch and it was surprisingly good, but in typical fashion I didn’t bother to write down my recipe. And now here I am, typing this up as a fellow food blogger put out a call for a southern sausage gravy recipe. Her call turned into a craving that I was forced to act upon.

I whipped up my version of homemade southern sausage gravy and it was a hit with my family. It was a nice reminder that sometimes you need a good ol’ stick to your bones, warm your soul, finger licking good southern breakfast. My heart was warmed and it made me smile to see my toddlers with gravy all over their happy faces, asking for seconds. It had been a long time since my family has had one of those and I plan to create more memories, because well you know food holds memories. I hope you enjoy this recipe and it reminds you a little bit of grandma’s southern cooking.
[cooked-recipe id=”6042″]

Breakfast and Brunch

5 Delicious Mother's Day Brunch Ideas

Mother’s Day

Thinking of making breakfast or brunch in bed for Mother’s Day but not sure what to make? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. I know for many, Mother’s Day is quickly approaching and for some the tradition of going out to eat may not be an option this year. Did you know that Anna Jarvis, who is often referred to as the founder of Mother’s Day was against commercialization.  Celebrating with elaborate gifts isn’t the only way to go.
I can confidently say that sometimes moms (myself included) appreciate having not to cook and just relaxing.  So this Mother’s Day, grab the kids and get in the kitchen.  The act of a labor of love is truly a gift.  Don’t worry if you burn the pancakes a little, just blame it on the kids haha.  Seriously the kind gesture counts and will be appreciated.  To take the guesswork out of what to make I have compiled a list of 5 delicious Mother’s Day brunch ideas are sure to make her feel like royalty.

Banana’s Foster Pancakes

Banana Foster Pancakes

Sweet Potato and Sage Sausage Hash

Sweet Potato and Sage Sausage Hash

Salmon and Caper Everything Bagel Strata

Slice of a Bagel Strata

Spinach and Feta FrittataSpinach and Feta Frittata

Chorizo Breakfast Scramble

Chorizo Scramble

Hand Squeezed Lemon and Blueberry Mimosa

Lemonade and Bluberry Mimosa

Mother’s Day in the USA was officially made a holiday in 1914. It was designated as the second Sunday in May by President Woodrow Wilson.

Helpful Hints

Here are a few tips for all 5 delicious mother’s day brunch ideas listed above.  First,  to ensure your breakfast or brunch gets off without a hitch, make sure you have enough eggs for the recipe.  I was shocked to learned that a frittata called for 8 eggs.  Secondly, make sure to buy your ingredients at the right time.  In the case of the Banana’s Foster you’ll want the bananas to be firm but ripe so they can withstand cooking in the foster syrup.  Next, when making the spinach and feta frittata, the cast iron skillet is your friend.  Additionally, cutting up the sweet potatoes for your hash into small bits helps it cook faster and more evenly.  Lastly, when making the chorizo skillet, try not to eat all the chorizo before you finish cooking it lol.

Breakfast and Brunch MettleFork Kitchen

Salmon and Caper Everything Bagel Strata

You will often hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Honestly, most people tend to be more inclined to believe that if their breakfast is boring.  If you suffer from boring breakfast or bland brunches, I’m here to help elevate your breakfast and/or brunch.  Let me assist you in taking it from just a thing to EVERYTHING with my Salmon and Caper Everything Bagel Strata.

Breakfast and Brunch

I am a HUGE brunch fan.  What’s not to love about good food, endless mimosas (if you are lucky) and hopefully some good conversation.  If you’ve been following me from the beginning you will see that brunchin’ is my thang.  If you are just joining and you’d like an instant replay, check out this post for some awesome brunch spots. I must admit, it wasn’t until I joined the military that breakfast became a regular in my everyday diet.  There is just something about living meal to meal with only a few minutes to eat that changes how you look at breakfast.  In my opinion, breakfast isn’t just about sustenance it is about the experience… the food…how it tastes…how it looks.  Before the stay at home order for COVID-19, I was planning a brunch party for my friends and I.  Let’s face it, after this is over we will all need a mimosa, some good food and face to face conversation.  I started planning my brunch and since I have extra time on my hands, I started perfecting my menu.  My first attempt at my Salmon and Caper Everything Bagel Strata was a success.  If you too are a brunch lover, this is a must have in your brunch bunch.

Salmon and Caper Everything Bagel Strata

I am a huge fan of the everything bagel as I am sure most people are.  I mean even Trader Joe’s has an everything but the bagel seasoning.  If you are going to go all out with a bagel strata, my thoughts are why not include everything.  I love a good lox bagel and I wanted to capture the essence of that in this recipe.

A Lox bagel is a bagel with smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers

My husband is not a huge fan of any baked egg dishes, so basically breakfast casseroles are not his thing.  I will say however, he did enjoy it so that should speak volumes as to how deliciously yummy this is.  Moving on to my next group of taste testers…the kids.  They loved it too and ran into the kitchen over and over asking for more.  It officially receives the kid approved stamp.

The Recipe

When making this recipe, I only allowed my strata to chill for 30 minutes.  Remember that anytime you are baking a dish that has been chilled, allow the dish to return to as close to room temperature as possible.  This will prevent your baking dish from shattering in the oven.  Lastly, I sprinkled Trader Joe’s everything but the bagel seasoning on top.  If you do not have that in your pantry, give you bagel a gentle shake over a paper towel.  Everyone knows, that everything bagels get everywhere lol.  Use those loose toppings to sprinkle on top of your strata.
[cooked-recipe id=”5556″]
I hope you enjoy this salmon and caper everything bagel strata. I know I’m looking forward to making this for my upcoming brunch party with my friends.
This dish is MFing good…MettleForkin’ Good

Breakfast and Brunch International

Two Good Eggs Cafe

Want to know the secret to getting over jetlag? An amazing breakfast! Nothing will get me up and moving faster than some delicious vittles.

Florida Lunch

I ❤ DE

Have you ever seen a place so popular its everywhere but you can’t find it? That was me until today. My social media was full of posts from daily eats yet I had been unable to find it.  Today my luck changed when I was out looking for one place and saw the name as I looked up. I made a hard right turn because they were not about to slip away.
Daily Eats has a true diner feel to it.  From the fresh made pie on the countertop to the separate bar with stools in front of the kitchen it feels like somewhere you want to go where somebody knows your name.  Breakfast is served all the time in addition to their lunch and dinner menu.  I especially loved how they incorporated the staff faces in their menu and with names like the Kong and Jersey Shore they have to be epic.

Shredder bowls

It took me awhile to decide because they had many options that sounded delicious.  I got the Tuna taco bowl which has seared yellowfin tuna, diced tomato, red onion, black beans,  corn and pickled jalapeños tossed in white balsamic vinaigrette them topped with cilantro tartar sauce and crispy tortilla strips…. pretty much true love in a bowl. You have the opportunity to play with a few ingredients such as your base: brown rice or quinoa.  I substituted my brown rice for quinoa one because I love quinoa and two its packed with nutrients. I also substituted my lettuce with kale for the same reasons.  It made my bowl taste 100% better.. in my mind at least.  The bite from the vinaigrette worked perfectly with the pickled jalapeños.  I must admit I always order my food with no jalapeños but these were so good.  Perhaps it was the pickling that transformed them into something magical.  The cilantro tartar sauce was genius, it was creamy and light with that tang that hits the back of your jaw…just what you want to coat the seared tuna.
They have two sizes a small and large… don’t order the small unless you are ordering two different bowls to taste. You will be sad as you are trying to scrap the bowl wondering where your food went. Here’s what it looked like before I inhaled it.
Daily Eats has created something special. There was buzz and excitement from the staff down to the guests. I understand the love for Daily Eats.. because I now love it too. I’ll be back so I can conquer the menu one dish at a time.

Breakfast and Brunch U.S.A

Green Eggs Cafe -Philadelphia, PA

On my second trip to Philly, I stopped by the one breakfast/brunch restaurant that is a must – Green Eggs Cafe.  Before I started food blogging my friends brought me to Green Eggs Cafe and that experience was life changing, I’ve thought about it for over a year.  Quite frankly it should be on my top 5 breakfast places found here but since I wasn’t officially blogging I didn’t include it.  I had the red velvet pancakes which obviously must still be a hit because they are still on the menu.  This time I decided to try two items on their menu which proved to be difficult.  After all they had 6 Eggs Benedict options and ya’ll know how I am about my eggs benny. None the less here’s a review of what we had.

Pecan Pie French Toast

You know the part at the end of your prayer when you say Amen?  Say it twice because this french toast is a blessing. I have never..Ever..EVER had french toast this good.  It is the perfect balance between sweet and savory and good down to the last pecan.  Here’s the breakdown of this masterpiece.  First you start with two pieces of challah bread dipped in cream brûlée batter….wait what?  Cream brûlée batter..*insert drool*  then it is stuffed with pecan pie filling *screams hallelujah* and lastly it is topped with maple syrup, vanilla streusel, chantilly cream and pecans.  Go ahead and say it….AMEN!  I stopped eating this only to share with my daughter (who instantly fell in love) and to breathe. If this is on the menu when you visit…get it! Don’t hesitate, don’t think about something else, like Nike says Just Do It!

Eggs Benedict

You’ve heard of chicken and waffles I’m sure…but a chicken and waffle benny…that’s a whole new level.  I loved that my waffle was cooked fresh..I could literally taste the waffle iron on it.  The chicken was cooked well and the perfectly poached eggs with hollandaise sauce. MWAH!  The rosemary potatoes were great as well but the star of this dish was definitely the chicken and waffle benny.  This is a must try when you visit.

Steak and eggs

My husband ordered the steak and eggs…a more traditional breakfast staple but don’t let that fool you.  The steak was cooked perfectly and seasoned well. The grits were off the chain and the eggs well, they were eggs.  I think the secret was in the spinach that is was layered over.  It added a sophisticated element to the entire dish.

Steak with Eggs and Cheese Grits

Hot Chocolate

Because no little girls meal is complete without a cup of Hot Chocolate.  She didn’t share but it looked amazing lol.

There are locations in Philly and Miami so find one ASAP and stop in for Brunch.

Breakfast and Brunch Florida

Caffeine Roasters Coffee

Caffeine Roasters

2420 W. Kennedy Blvd.  Tampa, FL 33609

Right outside of downtown Tampa is a quirky coffee shop. Caffeine Roasters isn’t your average Starbucks or Duncan Donuts (which I happen to occasionally enjoy) these baristas are built different.
My experience started with choosing my coffee.  They had Honduran,  Guatemalan, Ethiopian, El Salvadoran and Kenyan coffee beans available.  I chose Honduran… it was familiar, I had been to Honduras once before.  I had coffee made from fresh coffee beans picked right from the mountainside.  Instant Nostalgia!

Next,  I had to choose how my coffee was going to be brewed.. Like what? Usually my only options are small,  medium or large not slow drip or aero brew.  I was so lost I told my barista to just choose one.  So she ground my coffee beans then placed them in a filter and poured hot water in.  The entire process looked like a science experiment.  It was cool to watch.

To accompany my coffee ordered a breakfast sandwich.  The options were plenty and to be honest they all sounded delicious. There was on particular sandwich that caught my eye.

Lemon Aioli Egg Biscuit

For starters, I mean the name says eat me now right? Check out what is in this bad baby…  egg, sauteed kale, lemon aioli, honey baked ham, melted cheddar cheese on a homemade biscuit.  Sounds amazing huh? It was.  That biscuit was so flaky it tastes like someone’s grandma was in the back rolling them out.  The lemon aioli was perfectly balanced with the cheddar cheese and the kale was sauteed to perfection.  I enjoyed literally every bite.  Here’s a peek of my sandwich before I annihilated it.

I went in the lounge and sat but if you don’t have that much time,  you can hit their drive thru.  They offer free wifi to their guests as well.  To top off my experience,  the staff were extremely nice and patient with me.  If you are an all day coffee drinker but can’t make it for breakfast, don’t feel pressured.  They offer a lunch menu too.  To be honest, this is the first time I’ve had my coffee “black” no sugar no cream.  I can’t wait to go back and try other origins and sandwiches.  Well done caffeine roasters well done.

MettleFork Kitchen

Mini breakfast quiches

This morning I was off the hook for cooking breakfast.  Everyone had grabbed a bowl of cereal.  Don’t you just love mornings like that? Sleeping in,  cartoons and cereal that’s what Saturday mornings are made of.  I, however was not in the mood for a bowl of cereal.  I just completed a trip to the grocery store, so my fridge is packed full of fresh vegetables ready to use. I must admit  cereal was definitely the quicker option but mini quiches was the funner one.   They are a cuter version of an omelete or loaded scrabble eggs.  Besides I wanted to channel my inner chef lol.
In case you are interested,  here’s how I made them.  First,  I gave a though chop to my veggies. This morning I chose tomatoes,  mushrooms and some cilantro.

Chopped vegetables

Next crack 6 eggs and season with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder to taste and add 2Tbsp of milk. I personally don’t even use enough to actually measure.
Eggs before the beating

Now it’s time to start assembling the mini quiches.
Place the vegetables in the muffin tins

It’s almost time to pop them in the oven.  I’ve preheated the oven to 350° and once the oven is ready I’ll pop them in.
Fill each cup evenly and bake for 25 minutes

Once they are done,  pull them out the oven and remove them from the muffin tin.  They are ready to eat with your favorite topping. I loved the sour cream and picante salsa combo.

I certainly enjoyed making these mini quiches this morning.  Its something I’ve been wanting to make for quite some time. They are great to make ahead of time and just grab for a quick breakfast. Cereal was definitely not missed today.