Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

There are sooo many mornings that I am rushing out the door.  Like way too many!  One would think I would learn my lesson and do simple things like pick out my outfit the night before, pack my lunch before/after I pick out said outfit, iron, you get the picture.  But no.  Instead I somehow find some weird thrill in constantly feeling rushed.

I need to have more of these Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups in my life.  They are are a great grab-n-go breakfast item or mid-morning snack.  The best part is that I know they are healthy.  One less thing to worry about while deciding on what to pack for lunch.  I thought they were best slightly warmed up and with a little bit of almond butter/peanut butter to up the protein factor.  Hope you enjoy these oatmeal cups as much as we did!

(Printable Recipe)

Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups

Recipe adapted from With Style and Grace


  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (skim, soy, rice, almond, etc)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 apple, cored, peeled, and cut into small 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray cupcake pan with cooking spray and set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Set aside.

3.  In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, applesauce, and egg.  Add wet ingredients to the oat mixture and stir until combined.  Gently fold in apple pieces and cranberries.

4.  Fill each cupcake well about 3/4 full.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until tops are browned and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

5.  Let cool in pan for 15 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.


  • You might need to run a knife around the outside of the oatmeal cups to loosen.
  • Best served warm.  Reheat in microwave for 10-15 seconds and enjoy with a smear of peanut butter, nuts, milk, etc

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HAPPY (belated) NEW YEAR!!!!  

I know it’s been some time since my last post and I apologize.  I took some time off during the holidays to spend with family and travel Ohio for Christmas gatherings and a baby shower.  When we got back I was totally exhausted getting back into the work week that I took a bit longer than expected off from the blog.  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are looking forward to 2012 as much as we are!

While I was home we spent many hours in the kitchen!  I love baking and cooking with my family!  It’s always fun and I always guarantee to make a mess.  I felt so bad for my parent’s carpet.  I bet there is dried batter in more places than they care to know about.  Oops!  On the menu Christmas morning was this Pear Spice Cake I found over on Joy’s blog.  I love spice cake and knew that a pear one would make a perfect treat on that special day.

Original plan was to eat around 11:30am.  Well, an hour and a half past that we were finally sitting down.  The prep work turned out to be a bit more involved than I originally planned, or maybe it was because I was simply enjoying making it and not rushing through the steps.  Regardless, this spice cake is well worth it!  It was AMAZING!!!  Perfect flavor, texture, spice, and the praline topping was pure heaven!  The idea of turning this into a repeat Christmas cake was not only mentioned, but I’m pretty sure demanded.  This would make a great addition to any brunch menu, holidays or not.  Did I happen to mention it reheats very well…added bonus!!

(Printable Recipe)

Pear Spice Cake with Walnut Praline Topping

Recipe from Joy the Baker

Pear Spice Cake Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 pears, peeled, cored, and diced into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 to 1 1/4 cups)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup walnuts, toasted, cooled, and finely chopped

Walnut Praline Topping

  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

Pear Spice Cake Directions

1.  Make sure rack is in the middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour bundt pan.  Set aside.

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

3.  In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 4-5 minutes for a hand mixer and about 3 minutes in a stand mixer.  Be sure to scrape the bowl every few minutes.  Add yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla extract.  Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture and buttermilk in alternating batches, starting and ending with the flour mixture.  Mix well after each addition.  Fold in pear pieces and chopped walnuts.

4.  In a separate bowl with cleaned beaters, beat egg whites until they just hold stiff peaks.  Gently fold whites into batter until fully combined.

5.  Spoon batter into prepared bundt pan, smoothing top, and bake until a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.  Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes.  If serving warm, start walnut praline topping while cake is cooling.  Invert onto rack to cool.

Walnut Praline Topping Directions

1.  In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, whipping cream and 1/2 cup butter over medium-high heat until smooth.  Boil for 3 minutes, stirring often.  Stir in walnut pieces.  Spoon warm topping over cake.


  • I reduced the amount of walnuts in both the cake and topping due to personal preference.  
  • When topping is first placed over cake it will run down the sides, this is ok.  It forms a wonderful pool in the middle that is absolutely divine.  If you prefer to have more topping on the cake itself, allow topping to cool slightly before spreading on cake.  Next time I think I will let it cool for a bit.  
  • This cake is delicious with pear, but would also be good with apple pieces as well.

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I’m down to my last can of pumpkin!  GASP!  Now the big question….do I buy more or do I call it quits?!?  Last year I bought more with the intentions of making more pumpkin treats but the holidays came and went, then I was on the post-holiday clean eating kick, and then spring was here.  If buying another can means I make these granola bars again, you better believe I will be snagging some up.

I first made homemade granola bars back in August and fell in love!  I knew this time I, of course, wanted to incorporate pumpkin and all the flavors of fall and had no doubts where to start the search, over at Two Peas and Their Pod.  I’ve used Maria’s recipes numerous times and they always turn out great.  I was pumped when I saw her recipe because it didn’t call for an egg or any oil!!  Woohoo!  A healthy breakfast or snack packed full of flavor, nutrients, and a touch of chocolate.  Winner, Winner!  Oh, the other totally awesome thing about this recipe, the prep works takes like 10 minutes.  Happy, happy, joy, joy!

(Printable Recipe)

Pumpkin Granola Bars

Recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod


  • 3 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup agave or honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an 8×8 inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, combine oats, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

3.  In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, honey and vanilla extract until well combined.  Pour liquid mixture over oats and stir together until all oats are moist and ingredients are combined.  Next, add chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, and cranberries.

4.  Place oat mixture in prepared pan and press down evenly.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and transfer pan to a wire rack to cool.  After 5 minutes, cut bars into desired size.  Allow bars to cool completely.


The pumpkin keeps these bars very soft and chewy, so be careful not to under bake the mixture.

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I’ve had this recipe stashed away in my binder for darn close to a year.  I’m more of a fruit and toast kind of breakfast gal rather than pancakes or eggs.  So although my intentions were good when I printed it off, as they usually are, I kind of forgot about it.  I’m not sure what made me think of them last week but I did and here we are.

I was pretty happy with the overall result of the pancakes. They were thicker than I expected and not overly sweet.  I like being able to control the sweetness with the amount of maple syrup rather than the pancake itself.  Next time I would add a bit more of the spices to really bring out the carrot cake flavor.

On a side note:  Please allow me to apologize for the off-coloring of these photos.  This was probably the most flustered I’ve been in a long time while taking pictures.  My butter was too soft, my syrup was too warm (I was thinking more about eating than photographing, clearly), and my lighting was just off.  Bad, bad mix.  Good thing you all are  super awesome at using your imagination as to how good they actually look.  🙂

(Printable Recipe)

Carrot Cake Pancakes

Recipe from myrecipes.com

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • Dash of ground cloves
  • Dash of ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups finely grated carrot (about 1 pound)

1.  Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger in a large bowl.  Stir with a whisk.

2.  In a separate bowl, combine brown sugar, buttermilk, canola oil, vanilla extract and eggs.  Add sugar mixture to flour mixture.  Stir just until combined.  Fold in 2 cups of carrots.

3.  Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat.  Spray pan with cooking spray (or if you like crispy edges, use canola oil).  Spoon 1/4 cup of batter mounds on to pan, spread slightly with a spatula.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes or until tops start to form small bubbles and edges are fully cooked.  Carefully flip pancakes and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned.


  • I prefer to use canola oil rather than cooking spray in the pan.  I like my edges a bit crispy.
  • I tend to cook my pancakes more towards the lower heat so they don’t burn.  If you are the same, just watch your cooking time to make sure you leave them long enough to cook fully through.
  • Brent thought these would be great as a dessert as well.  

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I’ve always been timid of the whole jam making process.  It just seemed so time-consuming.  Worth the time?  Of course!  There is nothing better than homemade jam, but to actually do it myself.  Eehhhh……not so much!  (Beth Ann, if you are reading this, I look forward to some raspberry deliciousness come December – wink wink).  Little did I know when I started cleaning off the cooking shows from the DVR, that my dear friend, Giada, would be making some super easy jam.  I was so intrigued by the addition of basil in her recipe that I couldn’t not make it.

Results??  Unique, fresh, and slightly sweet.  I’ve never been one to eat jam straight out of the jar so when I tried this on its own I was a little turned off.  But then when I tried it with a slice of ciabatta bread with some mascarpone…it was pretty tasty!  If you are looking for a new way to spice up your jam collection, try this one out.

(Printable Recipe)

Sweet Basil and Blackberry Jam

Recipe from Giada De Laurentiis

  • 1 – 16 oz bag frozen blackberries, thawed, juice reserved
  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 orange)
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1 medium lemon)

1.  Place blackberries and their juice in a medium saucepan, lightly mash with a fork to break up the berries a bit.

2.  In a food processor, combine basil, sugar, orange juice and lemon juice.  Blend until smooth.  Stir the mixture into the blackberries.

3.  Bring mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat.  Simmer until mixture is thick, stirring occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes.

4.  Remove pan from heat and allow to cool for about an hour.  The jam with continue to thicken as it cools.  Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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The last few weeks breakfast has been whatever I can grab while running out the door.  At this point, I’m already about 10 min late, sometimes my outfit goes together (most of the time not, then realize what I actually look like the first time I walk into the bathroom and see myself in a full length mirror – YIKES), and everyday I walk out the door, pause, turn around, back inside, up the stairs and have to double-check the iron and flatiron to make sure I turned them off.  I think I need to start doing some word puzzles, Sudoku, or mind exercises before too long.  The post-it note thing just isn’t working anymore.

In an attempt to make sure I had something somewhat healthy leaving the house I made these granola bars.  Brent has been making some killer fruit bowls in the morning, which is perfect because I really think these bars would be best as a mid afternoon snack.  They have a nice combination of sweet and salty to curb those 4pm cravings.  Although you don’t NEED the chocolate drizzle, it sure is tasty with it.

(Printable Recipe)

Apricot Pistachio Granola Bars

Adapted from allrecipes.com


  • 2 cups old-fashion oats
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup agave
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8/10 inch baking pan with parchment paper.

2.  In a large bowl, mix together oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, apricots, and salt.  Make a well in the center, add agave, egg, oil and vanilla.  Stir together until fully combined.  Add in pistachios and sunflower seeds.  Pour mixture into pan and spread evenly.

3.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until the bars are golden brown on the edges.  Middle will look slightly undone, that is ok.  Cool in pan for 5-8 minutes.  Using parchment paper, remove from pan and cut into bars while still warm.  Bars become crumbly when cut after completely cooled.

4.  Drizzle dark chocolate over top of bars if desired. (optional)


  • Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.  

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Let me preface this by saying, I am not a morning person.  I”m not the type to spring out of bed on the first alarm and be ready for the day.  And because I am not getting up early (usually up around 8 or 9 on the weekends, I can’t do the 11 wake up anymore I’m too old for that….my back starts hurting if I lay there too long.  No joke) , in return I am going to bed too late to get those said 8 hours to get up early the next morning.  It’s a viscous cycle.  But on the rare occasion that I do get that rest and it’s an early rise, why not fill the kitchen with a delicious smell of muffins baking in the oven.

These cinnamon carrot muffins were quite tasty.  I love that you can see the carrot shreds throughout the muffin.  Although they are still good reheated, I really think these are best straight out of the oven.  Jazz these up with some cream cheese drizzle if you want to sweeten them up a bit.

(Printable Recipe)

Cinnamon Carrot Muffins

Recipe from Whole Living


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp wheat germ
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 cups finely grated carrots (4-5 carrots)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a standard muffin tin with paper cups.  Set aside.

2.  Whisk flours, wheat germ, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a a medium bowl.  Set side.

3.  In a large bowl, combine vegetable oil, buttermilk, eggs, brown sugar, and carrots.  Fold dry ingredients into wet and mix until combined.

4.  Spoon batter into cups.  Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 19-22 minutes.  Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

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