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Easy breakfast recipes

Nov. 23, 2010 at 5:23 a.m.

Mel's Oven Omelet

By Myra Starkey

Recently, Taylor and I headed toward Concan to spend a weekend with friends. We needed no excuse to visit the beautiful Hill Country, but it was Taylor's birthday, and Doug and Laura asked us to stay with them at their family ranch near Garner State Park.

We have visited this special place many times over the years, especially when our kids were little, but I hadn't been there for awhile. I was anxious to return for a weekend of rest.

And since we are all empty-nesters, there would be no kids to watch and entertain.

Memories of the children running through the meadow and heading for the shallow creek flooded my mind as we approached the ranch house. The familiar smell of the cedar trees wafted through the air, as we rolled down the windows of the truck and bounced over the rocky road.

We had come with several other friends to enjoy the weekend, and we were loaded with provisions. In fact, the entire bed of the truck was filled with luggage, ice chests and bedding.

The wives had agreed to do the cooking and each of us signed up to prepare one meal. We were sure to work up an appetite while hunting, fishing and exploring the ranch.

Since our arrival on Friday night was late, we all pitched in and prepared a simple meal of salad, seared tuna and a grilled vegetable medley of broccoli, zucchini and yellow squash.

The next morning at 5:30, the guys woke early for hunting, and I pretended to sleep as I heard the rustling of shirts and jackets as Taylor piled on the layers for the cold morning.

It was too early for me to wake up, so I nestled beneath the blankets and closed my eyes for more sleep.

I awoke again at almost 7 a.m. and put on a sweater. I peeked out one of the windows and surveyed the Hill Country morning. A maple tree outside our bedroom had put on its bright, yellow fall display and its festive leaves fluttered in the breeze.

I headed to the kitchen to start coffee and listen for gunshots in the distance.

Janet is an early riser and had probably been up an hour before me. I joined her in front of the large picture window and marveled at the view of the lake with the steep hill rising beyond it. The peak was just beginning to catch the rays of the rising sun. We were so blessed to be able to enjoy such a place.

Eventually, the others woke up. Mel cooked an omelet with farmers' cheese, eggs, zucchini and spinach. It was probably the peppered bacon that the guys smelled as they were hiking back to the house. They were empty-handed, except for guns. Taylor, Don and Darryl regaled us with stories of the morning hunt and the ones that got away.

Later that morning, we began the drive to Lost Maples State Park to view the turning of the leaves. This is certainly easier than driving all the way to New England to see the spectacle.

I admit that I thought I might leave with a handful of yellow and red leafy branches, but the sign at the entrance warned me that I would be fined if I even plucked one souvenir leaf.

This is called Lost Maples because maples don't tend to grow wild in many places in Texas, other than in this one area near Leakey.

This was the peak of the season, and there were thousands of tourists at the park that day.

After our walk in the park, we headed toward the perfect town of Utopia. We stopped along the way at a crystal clear stream to enjoy our picnic lunch under the breezy, blue skies.

Utopia proved to be a cute town. I don't think it was really utopian, although I didn't witness any conflict or anything amiss in the short time we were there. There were several shops and a great hardware store. The guys wanted to stop because they needed more deer corn.

Since Darryl and Don had decided to stay at the ranch, we were anxious to see what they caught while fishing. They landed three nice bass from the pond.

I was in charge of supper, so we collaborated again to prepare a great meal of twice-baked potatoes, frisee salad with raspberry dressing and stilton cheese, and steaks wrapped in peppered bacon.

The women grilled the steaks as the men were deeply involved in watching the Baylor-Texas A&M game. Half of us were for the Bears and the others for the Aggies, and it was a close game in which A&M came back to win in the second half.

After eating with their eyes glued to the television, we had a rustic apple tart for dessert. I had planned to prepare Taylor's favorite apple pie, but realized I had forgotten some of the necessary ingredients, so I made tarts. When you are that far from civilization you make do with what you have.

Several more hunts were made that weekend, but they resulted in nothing being killed. I hate to kill cute animals with eyelashes, such as deer.

On the other hand, I hope to have some jalapeno deer sausage in my freezer for winter. This creates a temporary internal conflict for me, but I always get over it.

Both of our mornings we enjoyed delicious hearty breakfasts. The omelet Mel made was crusty on top and cheesy in the middle.

The next day Laura baked Toffee Rolls, which she prepared the night before. The recipe is easy and a perfect one for holidays when the cook is going to be in the kitchen getting ready for the big Thanksgiving meal. The rolls rise overnight and are simply baked in the morning. Delicious.

Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or e-mail myra@vicad.com.

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