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Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal – A Winner For All – Big And Small!

9 Nov

The leaves are turning, the weather is crisp and cool, the Christmas ads have started – all of this means fall is in full swing! Which I couldn’t be more thrilled about, as fall is my favorite season, partly because it brings with it the start of holiday time, and BAKING time! Pumpkin pie, apple crisp, cookies, cakes – I LOVE this time of year most of all

This year though – things are a little bit busy and I haven’t yet had much time to devote to finding and trying new recipes…and here’s the main reason why…

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My son is now 1, and he is walking and running like crazy! He is fast, and into EVERYTHING – it’s can be tiring trying to keep up with him, but it’s also super fun to watch him learn and figure things out

My main kitchen adventures as of late have all involved trying to sneak pureed vegetables into things he will eat – and I have actually had some big successes on that front! But now that he’s 1, he’s eating a lot more non-baby foods, which I am hoping means I can try out some new recipes on him – ones that we can all enjoy

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This most recent endeavor was inspired by these SUPER ripe bananas. I was just going to make banana bread (which is always delicious!), but I wanted to try something new and different – and was scrolling through some recipes when I came upon this one for Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal. Not only would it allow me to use up my bananas, but my son LOVES oatmeal (as do I!) so it seemed that it would be a win all around!

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Ok, so I have assembled my ingredients – ALL of which I had on hand (score!) – so that means it’s BAKING time

Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal
(Recipe courtesy of
Love Grows Wild)

Ingredients
• 2 cups old-fashioned oats
• ⅓ cup brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 2 teaspoon cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon nutmeg
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 2 cups milk
• 1 cup banana, mashed
• 1 large egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
• ½ cup walnuts, chopped

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and spray an 8″ square baking dish or pie plate with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Add the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium bowl and stir to combine. In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, banana, egg, and vanilla. Slowly pour in the melted butter, whisking constantly.
3. Add the oat mixture into the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Transfer to the greased baking dish and bake for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, put the chopped walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the toasted walnuts on top of the oatmeal and cool slightly before serving.

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The oats – before and after baking

The only change I made was that I omitted the nuts – I didn’t have any at home, plus I wasn’t sure how my son would be able to handle them (after all, he only has 4 teeth!). I do LOVE toasted nuts, and I can see how they would really be a great addition to this – but it certainly didn’t NEED them – it was delicious on its own

Also, I found it actually took closer to 40 minutes to cook – the recipe said 25 but mine was still pretty jiggly after just the 25 minutes. After 40 it was nice and set and perfectly browned on top

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Beautiful, aren’t they? The blog I got the recipe from says it “tastes like a slice of warm banana bread” – which is pretty true, it was nice and moist and almost bread pudding like in consistency, but with the oats adding a nice crunchy texture to it

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It got the seal of approval from my husband (and the dog!)

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And my littlest mouth loved it too

Needless to say, there wasn’t much left after we attacked it, and I will for sure be making this again

Beer Cinnamon Roll Biscuits

19 Jan

My Husband’s birthday was on Friday – and after almost nine years together, I find that it really isn’t about the money you spend on a gift, but rather the thought and work that went into it. Plus – since we just had a baby, saving money is a big thing for us right now. Which is what got me to thinking about what I could make for my husband for his birthday (versus buy), and I thought about things he likes – and the two things that top the list are BEER and FOOD. So, why not combine them both and make him something he can eat – with BEER in it!? This isn’t the first time I have done this, but it IS the first time I have tried making a beer inspired breakfast item – and the two items went together better than I thought they would!

Twenty Minute Cinnamon Roll Beer Biscuits (Recipe Courtesy of The Beeroness
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
20 minutes
Yield: 10-12
Ingredients
For the Cinnamon Rolls:
3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
10 tbs unsalted cold butter, cut into cubes
¾ cup pale ale or wheat beer
1/3 cup buttermilk
6 tbs softened butter
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
pinch salt
For the Icing:
2 cups powdered sugar
¼ cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
• Preheat oven to 400.
• In a processor add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
• Pulse to combine. Add the cold butter, process until well combined. Add to a large bowl.
• Add the buttermilk and beer. Mix with a fork until just combined.
• Add to a well-floured flat surface, pat into a rectangle. Using a cold rolling pin (preferably marble) gently roll into a large rectangle, about 3/4 inch in thickness, using as few strokes as possible.
• In a medium sized bowl add the softened butter, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and pinch of salt. Stir until a paste forms.
• Spread the dough with the butter mixture. Starting at the long end, roll into a tight log. Cut 2-inch rounds, place in a baking dish.
• Bake at 400 for 12 to 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
• Allow to cool.
• Stir together the powdered sugar, buttermilk and vanilla until well combined. Serve the biscuits topped with icing.

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I followed the recipe exactly as written – and I found that the only difference was that they took a bit longer to bake – about 20 minutes total

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These were easy to throw together and were a huge hit with the birthday boy!

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In keeping with the beer and food theme, I also made White Bean Chicken Beer Chili and Beer cheese biscuits for his birthday dinner – they both turned out really great as well! If you have a beer lover in your house then I suggest you check out the Beeroness’ Blog – it’s full of great and easy recipes (plus the pictures are seriously drool-worthy!)

Ringing In Pumpkin Season With This Super Easy Crock Pot Pumpkin Butter

6 Sep

September = Fall. You may disagree with this statement, as I know fall doesn’t technically start until the later part of the month, but I don’t care. In my world, September is when it all begins – apple picking, pie making, pumpkin scented candles, pumpkin spice lattes (Starbucks helped me out with that one by releasing them early this year!), leaves changing, a cool crisp breeze in the air – it all adds up to the best season of all – and I am so glad it’s here once again!

Last year, I made tons of apple stuff – from Apple Crisp to Classic Apple Pie, to Applesauce and Apple Butter that I gave as Christmas gifts – let’s just say that we picked a LOT of apples, and not one of them went to waste!

This year, I want to try and focus a little more on Fall’s other signature flavor – the pumpkin! There’s always pumpkin pie or pumpkin cookies or pumpkin bread – all of which are amazing and delicious – but I thought maybe another item I could potentially jar and give as Christmas gifts might be just the ticket – so when I stumbled across this recipe for Pumpkin Butter I knew I had to try it out!

Crock Pot Pumpkin Butter (Recipe courtesy of Moms with Crockpots)

Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 5 hours

Ingredients
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
½ cup apple juice
¾ cup granulated sugar
1½ tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

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The ingredient list for this one is pretty simple!

Instructions
1. Set your crock pot on low heat.
2. In the bottom of the crock pot, thoroughly combine all of your ingredients.
3. Cover and let cook for about 5 hours, stirring occasionally, until pumpkin butter is thick enough to stick to
a spoon turned upside down.
4. Spoon pumpkin butter into a jar and let cool completely in the refrigerator before using.
5. It keeps in the refrigerator for up to one week or the freezer for up to 6 months.

I decided to double the recipe, since the ingredients are so few and cheap, and I figured if it turned out awesome then I would have twice as much to enjoy! So for whatever reason – I don’t have pumpkin pie spice at home – never have, I don’t know why – but luckily you can substitute the following to make the 3 teaspoons you need of pumpkin pie spice for the doubled recipe:
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

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The finished product. Doesn’t look like much really, but I really love the texture of it – it turned out really smooth and the flavors combined to make it a really delicious spread (which definitely took some time to thicken up – so don’t panic if you finish making it and its still hot and seems thin – it will get thicker as it cools!). The only change I would make is that I personally would add more of the pumpkin pie spice to it – as is its great, but a little more spice would kick it up into the next flavor dimension for sure! Next time I make it I will definitely be giving that a try

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This stuff would be great on bagels, bread/toast, english muffins, or even pancakes or french toast! Hmm…maybe I can convince my husband to bake us some delicious white bread to enjoy the pumpkin butter on…HAPPY FALL!

Quick Cinnamon Rolls Skip The Rising Thanks To Bisquick

16 Mar

Ah, Bisquick – is there anything it can’t do? I mean seriously – pancakes, pot pies, waffles, biscuits, dumplings, and now – cinnamon rolls? I have done cinnamon rolls from scratch before, and they are amazing, but time consuming. Well, with these bisquick cinnamon rolls, you get to skip the dough rising step (which means a faster oven to mouth time – which is definitely important!)

Bisquick Cinnamon Rolls (Recipe Courtesy of Chocolate, Chocolate and More

Ingredients

4 cups Bisquick mix
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons sugar

1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
2 Tablespoons butter melted

3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions
1. In a large bowl, Combine Bisquick, buttermilk and sugar in a bowl using a fork. Mix just until all combined to create a dough.
2. In a medium bowl, Combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon and nuts in separate bowl. Add 2 tablespoons melted butter and stir to moisten. Set aside.

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Dough and The Filling – Ready For Action

3. Generously flour rolling surface.I know it seems like a lot but trust me, this is a sticky dough. Turn dough out onto surface and start patting into a rectangular shape with your hand. Flour your hand well also.
4. Use a rolling pin to thin dough to about 1/2 inch thickness. Do not over-roll, the dough will stick

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Dough-tastic

5. Once rolled out, pour 3/4 cup melted butter over entire surface then spread with pastry brush to even out and get to the edges.
6. Sprinkle sugar/nut mixture over butter.
7. Start rolling dough from long end.
8. Slice into 16 pieces

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SO MUCH Buttery goodness!

9. Transfer slices to a well greased (sprayed) 9 x 13 pan. I used a spatula to make it easier

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Ready To Bake

10. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, util just golden brown on tops.
11. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
12. Combine powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until desired consistency and drizzle over topped of rolls.

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Frosting- check. Time to Eat

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YUM

These really were seriously easy – and fast! I think cinnamon rolls from scratch can be intimidating for a lot of people – they require rolling, and rising, and waiting, and precision – and I know for me sometimes those things don’t come so easily. But these were really the perfect recipe for anyone to make, not to mention that I pretty much had everything on hand already (minus the buttermilk)

They were nice and soft, and I personally love me a soft doughy cinnamon roll! The pecans got nice and roasted which give an awesome crunchy texture to an otherwise pillowy sweet roll. The rolls were perfect warm, but were delicious cold too!

I will definitely be making these again – possibly tomorrow. Seriously – they are that good!

“Savory” French Toast Bake Scores Big On Flavor – Thanks To The Pioneer Woman!

5 Feb

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I received this cookbook as a gift from my Mother In Law for Christmas – and I must say, it was definitely one of the best gifts I received! I love The Pioneer Woman – I love her show on Food Network, I subscribe to her blog updates, and now I have this beautiful book I can love (and love to use!) too!

 

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…and I am not kidding when I say the book is beautiful – it is colorful and hefty with thick glossy pages, full of fun stories, anecdotes, and great pictures not only of food but of Ree’s family and life

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Oh, and I LOVE that each recipe has step by step instructions with a picture to accompany each step – isn’t that great? For my first attempt at creating a recipe from the book I chose the Bagel and Cream Cheese Baked French Toast – as I love French toast casserole, and this one just happens to be a savory version that contains the best kind of bagel – the Everything Bagel!

The Recipe:
Ingredients:
6 Everything Bagels
Butter for greasing pan
One 8oz. Package Cream Cheese
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
8 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tbls chopped chives, plus more for serving
1 tsp. Dry mustard
1/2 tsp. Cayenne
1/2 tsp. Salt

Directions:
Grease 9×13 casserole dish with butter
Tear bagels into peices and place in casserole dish
In seperate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, cream, cayenne, chives, mustard, and salt
Meanwhile, cut block of cream cheese into small squares and place them all over top of bagels in various places (note: whole top will not be covered)
Pour egg mixture all over bagels
Sprinkle cheddar cheese all over
Cover with foil and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight
Bake 450 degrees for 45 minutes, uncover and finish baking 15 to 20 minutes more. Cut and serve with extra chives…

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Here it is the night before, all ready to be slid into the oven the next morning for a delicious breakfast! It was really easy to put together, in fact I did it in under 10 minutes!

I may have made a few adjustments to the recipe based on the fact that I didn’t *exactly* have all the right ingredients…I used skim milk instead of whole milk and heavy cream, and I had no dry mustard so I added some regular yellow mustard instead, and I also didn’t have any chives, so I used onion powder. And it actually still turned out pretty good! It might have been more rich and had more depth with the fattier milks and the chives, but I think I did alright considering!

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Oh, hello melted cheese-y bagel-y cream cheese-y goodness

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This smelled awesome while baking, and has that awesome crispy top soft center thing going on (with a consistency similar to bread pudding)

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It tasted REALLY good – it was savory and chees-y, and I will definitely be making it again, and I also can’t wait to try more of Ree’s recipes from this book!

Products I Love: Quick Bread Mixes

14 Nov

 

Ok so I know this is a baking blog, and that the assumption is everything I do is from scratch (like brownies, and cookies), and most of the time that is true. But sometimes, a shortcut is necessary in life – and these Pillsbury Quick Bread Mixes are easy, quick to prepare, and most importantly – they taste great!

QuickBreads

They come in a variety of flavors: banana, cranberry, date, cinnamon swirl, apple cinnamon, blueberry, chocolate ship, lemon poppy seed, wildberry, chocolate chip swirl, nut, pecan swirl, as well as seasonal flavors like gingerbread and pumpkin (one of my personal favorites!)

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Eggs, water, and oil are all that are needed to add to the mix – then give it a good stir, and you’re ready to go! They can be made in a bundt pan, bread loaf pan, or muffin tins, and they’re a great and easy thing to whip up to bring to work or to a party

Sometimes I like to add various mix ins to them too – mini chocolate chips are great in the banana or pumpkin breads, nuts go well in the date, cranberry, and banana varieties, and raisins add another level of flavor to the pumpkin mix

The smell that fills the house while they are baking is seriously mouth-watering, and you can totally pass them off as homemade from scratch if you want to (don’t worry, I won’t tell!)

Cinnamon Rolls From Scratch – So Easy Even I Can Do It!

26 Oct

I have been in the “baking zone” this weekend – yesterday I whipped up some Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies and a decadent Flourless Chocolate Torte (post to come on that beauty!) – what can I say? I love to bake, and to try new recipes – but there are some things I definitely consider to be out of my “baking comfort zone”. Namely, anything that requires a candy thermometer (not sure why, it just makes me nervous ha), and my second bug-a-boo is definitely anything that has yeast in it and requires rising. Bread is more my husband’s specialty – but I recently gotten it into my head that cinnamon rolls from scratch would be amazing – not only to eat, but a feat for me – defying my baking demons by making something that requires yeast and kneading and everything!

I decided on this highly rated Cinnamon Roll Recipe from AllRecipes.com for two reasons – one – I had almost all of the ingredients at home already, and two – it only requires one “rising” and no overnight fuss or muss. So here goes nothing…

INGREDIENTS:

For the Dough:
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
6 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened

For the frosting
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese,
softened
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons milk

DIRECTIONS:

1. Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in the butter; stir until melted. Add water and let cool until lukewarm.
2. In a large bowl, combine the milk mixture, yeast, white sugar, salt, eggs and 2 cups flour; stir well to combine. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
3. Divide dough into two pieces. Roll each piece into a 12×9 inch rectangle. In a bowl, stir together the cinnamon and brown sugar. Spread each piece with half of the butter, half of the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough, using a little water to seal the seam.
4. Cut each roll into 12 slices using a very sharp knife or dental floss. Place rolls onto two 9×13 inch greased baking pans. Cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
5. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.
6. To make frosting; combine confectioner’s sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Add milk gradually until frosting reaches a spreading consistency. Spread over warm (but not hot) cinnamon rolls.

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The various stages of dough – warming the milk, mixing, and adding the flour in batches

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My first attempt at kneading – what a great way to get out aggression!

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The rolls are all “rolled” and ready to rise, then bake!

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OVEN TIME!

The smell that fills the kitchen while these are making is completely unlike anything else in the world – the yeasty, cinnamon-y scent is the best!

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The baked rolls– ready for frosting!

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The delicious finished product

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When I finally got to sink my teeth into one of these, I was thrilled (and starving, as I hadn’t eaten any breakfast – I wanted to save myself for these beauties!) – and encouraged, as they were definitely worth the time and effort I put into them

The outside was nice and crispy, and the inside was doughy and sweet, with a perfect amount of spice from the cinnamon. The frosting added the perfect sweet glaze, and I honestly can’t believe I went this long without these in my life – that’s how delicious they were. They would be perfect for a holiday breakfast or to bring to brunch, or to just enjoy with a cup of coffee on a crisp fall morning!