Apple Walnut Sticky Buns

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A few weeks ago, we got to introduce my family to the Outer Banks. Mark and I have been their several times with friends and with his family so we were excited to show off one of our favorite places. We rented a house and my parents, my sister and Mark’s Mom joined us for a week of rest and relaxation – it was glorious.

One of the things I love about OBX is that we always rent a house – so we always have a kitchen. I love exploring new restaurants but a week straight of eating out gets old. My sister and I planned the menu for the week, but we actually did very little of the cooking ourselves – everyone pitched in to make meals easier!

This was one of the few meals I actually made myself during our beach week. We wanted a few easy-but-fun breakfasts and this one fit the bill. I had pre-measured the brown sugar, butter and walnuts and brought them with us in plastic containers so all we needed to pick up was an apple and a package of cinnamon roll. Easy to make, even when I wasn’t in my own kitchen, and they were gobbled up!

Apple Walnut Sticky Buns
(from Pillsbury)
Makes 8

2 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 medium granny smith apple, diced
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 can (12.4 oz.) Pillsbury refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing.

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees and grease an 8″ round cake pan with softened butter.

In a small bowl, toss together apples, walnuts and brown sugar. Spread evenly over the bottom of the pan. Place cinnamon rolls evenly around the pan, on top of the apple mixture.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are brown. Cool for 5 minutes. Place a plate over the pan and invert the pan so the cinnamon rolls come out.

Remove lid from the icing container and microwave on medium for 5 seconds, until thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over the sticky buns and serve immediately.

Mini Doughnut Muffins

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Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend is also the big plant sale for the local master gardeners group. Since we’ve moved here, I’ve been going and picking out plants to round out the year’s vegetable garden – and my Mother-In-Law comes too. She’s an avid gardener and helps us so much with the yard. I don’t know what it would look like without her!

The plant sale starts early, so it’s become a tradition to have brunch after the sale and before we dive into planting everything in the yard. This year, we made these mini doughnut muffins as part of the brunch spread and they were a bit hit. My husband and I happily polished them off the next morning.

These aren’t “healthy” by any stretch of the imagination, but since they’re not fried they’re a slightly-better-for-you splurge.

Mini Doughnut Muffins
(from The Sweet Life)
Make approx. 1 1/2 dozen

for the doughnuts:
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter, melted
3/4 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 c. milk
1 t. baking powder
1 c. all-purpose flour

for the topping:
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. ground cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 375F degrees and generously spray or grease 2 mini muffin tins.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the white sugar, melted butter and ground nutmeg. Stir in milk, baking powder and flour until just combined.

Divide mixture among mini muffin tins and bake for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned on the top.

While they are baking, place melted butter in a small bowl. In another small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon.

When the muffins are done, let cool for a few minutes until cool enough to handle and then turn out on a plate. Dip each muffin in the melted butter and then roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.


Cheddar & Apple Breakfast Panini

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I have a bit of a cookbook-buying problem. Especially when it comes to library sales. A few weeks ago, when at a library sale I picked up a 2005 Weight Watchers Five Ingredient 15 Minute Cookbook. We were in the middle of a few really busy weeks so the quick and easy plug totally got me.

I really like the sandwich section of this book. There are a whole bunch on the to-make list. This is a riff on one that was in the book. I wasn’t sure how cheddar on cinnamon raisin bread, but it’s fantastic. These were a great, quick breakfast. I sliced up the rest of the apple each day to eat along with to round out the meal.

Cheddar & Apple Breakfast Panini
(adapted from Weight Watchers Five Ingredients 15 Minute Cookbook 2005)
Serves 1

2 slices cinnamon raisin bread
2 slices cheddar cheese
1/4 granny smith apple, thinly sliced
Cooking spray

Spray one side of each piece of bread with cooking spray. Place one slice of cheese on each non-sprayed side of bread.  Add apple slices on top of cheese. Sandwich together and toast in a panini press until the outside crust is golden.

Slice and serve immediately.

No-Bake Peanut Butter and Chocolate Granola Bars

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This week has felt kind of crazy.

I’m used to working from home three days a week. This week, I was in the office every day to help with some training. When you add up the one hour commute each way and the lunch hour I usually use to do housework, nine of my usual “doing stuff” hours have been chewed up. That’s like an extra day! Quite obviously, quick and easy has been the go-to for food this week.

I mixed these bars up over the weekend and they’ve been a great go-to for breakfast or a post-gym snack. Loaded with nuts and seeds, they’re quite filling – and since they’re no-bake, they only take about five minutes to prepare.

These can easily be made vegan – just use vegan chocolate chips – and gluten-free - just make sure you’re using gluten-free oats.

No-Bake Peanut Butter and Chocolate Granola Bars
(slightly adapted from 86 Lemons)
Makes an 8×8 pan worth

1 1/2 c. rolled oats
1/4 c. flax seed meal
1/8 c. chia seeds
1/4 c. sunflower seeds
1/3 c. pumpkin seeds
1/2 c. cashews
1/2 c. almonds
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
1/2 c. agave nectar
3/4 c. natural peanut butter

Line an 8×8 pan with parchment.

In a large bowl, stir together the oats, flax meal, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds and chocolate chips. Stir agave nectar in until evenly distributed. Stir in peanut butter until well combined throughout.

Press mixture into prepared pan. Freeze for 1 hour, then remove from pan and cut into bars. Store in freezer until ready to eat.

Zucchini, Chile & Red Onion Frittata

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Today is the first Friday in Lent so I’m sharing the first meatless meal idea of the season. When we do breakfast for dinner, we usually do pancakes or waffles – this frittata was a nice change of pace. It’s quick to throw together and very filling – paired with a nice loaf of crusty bread we easily stretched this to six servings.

Zucchini, Chile & Red Onion Frittata
(from Williams-Sonoma)
Serves 4

1 poblano chile
8 large eggs
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 lb. white cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
1 T. olive oil
1 red onion, halved then sliced
2 zucchini, cut into quarters lengthwise, then sliced crosswise
Fresh cilantro, chopped

Set your oven to broil. Put the chile on a baking sheet and broil, turning as needed and watching carefully to prevent burning. Transfer the chile to a bag and let  it cool. Rub the charred peel off the chile and then cut it in half. Remove the seeds and finely chop.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Mix in 3/4 cup of the cheese.

In a 10-inch ovenproof fry pan, over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until almost tender, about 6 minutes. Add the zucchini, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chile. Add the egg mixture into the fry pan, and gently stir to distribute evenly. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook until the eggs are almost set but still moist in the center, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the frittata. Broil until the eggs puff, the center is springy to the touch and the cheese begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Using a flexible spatula, loosen the frittata around the edges. Slide the frittata onto a platter, and sprinkle cilantro over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature, cutting into wedges.

Linked up with Eat at Home’s Ingredient Spotlight: Eggs

Chocolate Sour Cream Doughnuts

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Happy Halloween!
After taking such a hard hit from Sandy, it looks like Halloween will be quiet around here but I couldn’t let the day pass without a little bit of fun. These were such a fun little treat – and a great excuse to break out my Halloween sprinkles.
I feel a little silly tagging these as a “breakfast” because they’re really more of a dessert – but hey, it’s Halloween, right?
Chocolate Sour Cream Doughnuts
(from Love from the Oven)
Makes 6
For the doughnuts:

1 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. sour cream
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 egg
1 t. vanilla

For glaze:

1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4-1/2 c. milk
1 t. Vanilla

For the frosting:

2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. melted butter
1/4-1/2 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
Food coloring

Preheat Oven to 325 Degrees F.

Combine dry ingredients for the doughnuts in medium bowl and whisk to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients and mix well to combine. Add dry ingredient into wet ingredients and mix until everything is incorporated – be careful not to over-mix.

Using a pastry bag, pipe the patter into a doughnut pan.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in donut comes out clean and they spring back when lightly touched. Remove the doughnuts to a cooling rack.

While the doughnuts are baking, combine glaze ingredients in a bowl and beat to combine.  It should be pourable - not like a thick frosting – so you’ll need to add enough milk to reach this consistency.  Spoon glaze over the donuts – the doughnuts will absorb the glaze to keep them moist.   Allow to cool completely.

Once donuts have cooled, combine the frosting ingredients, minus the food coloring, and mix well.  Once again, you’ll want to add only enough milk to get the desired consistency – thicker than the glaze, but still thin enough to drizzle over the doughnuts. Divide the frosting into separate bowls and add food coloring.   Spoon over the doughnuts and decorate with sprinkles.

Baked Strawberry Doughnuts

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My husband usually handles breakfast on the weekend. He likes to make nice omlettes and frizzled ham on lazy mornings. This past weekend, though, I was looking for something sweeter so I decided to make these as a treat.

Really, it was a somewhat selfish move – strawberry doughnuts are much more up my alley than my husband’s, but he loved these too. I half expected him to pass on them in favor of something else so I was pleasantly surprised when he started asking about how many I had eaten.  He was mentally keeping tabs to make sure I didn’t eat his share of them! I think I’ll have to try some other doughnuts out soon.

I love that I had all the ingredients in the house already and that the recipe only makes a small batch - six doughnuts are much more manageable for a household of two!

Baked Strawberry Doughnuts
(from Sally’s Baking Addiction)
Makes 6 Doughnuts

For doughnuts:
1 c. flour
6 T. sugar
1 t. baking powder
4 T. strawberry greek yogurt
2 T. milk
1 egg
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 T. unsalted butter, melted

For frosting:
3-4 large strawberries
1 T. strawberry jam
1 T. milk
1 – 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Sprinkles (optional)

Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Spray doughnut pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until combined.

Using a pastry bag, pipe the dough evenly into a 6-doughnut pan. Bake approximately 10 minutes, until set and golden brown. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

While the doughnuts are baking, puree the strawberries and jam together. Mix in the powdered sugar and milk.

Dip semi-cooled doughnuts into frosting. (More than once if you want a thicker frosting layer!) Top with sprinkles if desired.

Amish Waffles

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It seems that when you have a batch of Amish Friendship Bread starter going, you’re inevitably going to reach a point where you just need to use some of it up. This is a great recipe for that because it uses two cups of the starter without making a ton of bread to eat. These waffles are easily frozen, too, and can be reheated in the oven.

They’re sweet and fluffy. They’re great for breakfast, but they’d also be awesome as dessert waffles.

Amish Waffles
(from Friendship Bread Kitchen)
Makes about 6 waffles

Combine flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda  in a large mixing bowl.

In a smaller bowl, combine oil, Amish Friendship Bread starter, milk and egg.

Add ingredients of smaller bowl to the ingredients of larger bowl and mix on medium speed.

Spray waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray and pour batter onto hot waffle iron. Cook until golden brown.

Ham & Cheese Waffles

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I was immediately smitten when I saw a recipe for ham and cheese waffles in Bon Appetit. I couldn’t wait to make them – but when I did, they didn’t work out at all. They stuck to the waffle iron and were incredibly greasy. I couldn’t give up on the idea, though.

This time around I used a different waffle base and, my, what a difference! These came out perfect – a crisp to the outside and a beautifully fluffy inside. The ham sprinkled on top gets nice and crunchy against the waffle iron.

This is breakfast for dinner at its finest!

Ham & Cheese Waffles
(inspired by Bon Appetit, adapted from All Recipes)
Makes 6 Waffle-Iron-Sized Waffles

2 c. all-purpose flour
4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 c. milk
6 T. vegetable oil
2 eggs, separated
1/3 c. deli ham, chopped
1/3 c. shredded cheddar

Preheat waffle iron to hottest setting.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in milk, oil and egg yolks until mixture is smooth.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into batter.

Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour mix onto hot waffle iron. Sprinkle ham and cheese over the batter before closing the waffle iron.

Cook until golden; serve hot.

Linked up with Finding Joy in My Kitchen’s Ingredient Spotlight: Ham & Cheese

Strawberry Cheesecake Muffins

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I work from home – as do most of my coworkers – so when we actually see each other on someone’s birthday, it’s an occasion that demands goodies. There happened to be a team meeting on Dawn’s birthday, so I whipped these up to bring in. They were a bit hit at our morning meeting. They’re a bit time-consuming but so good.
I opted for these because they were sweet enough and special enough to pass for a birthday treat while still being acceptable for the morning since we usually end up heading home at lunch time. We work-from-home people don’t do rush hour traffic well!
Strawberry Cheesecake Muffins
(from Food Wanderings in Asia)
Makes 1 dozen muffins
Muffin Batter:
2 . all purpose flour
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 egg
1/4 c. vegetable oil
3/4 c. milk
1 t. vanilla extract
2 c. strawberries, cut into small pieces
Cream Cheese Filling:
4 oz. cream cheese
1/3 c. granulated sugar
2 T. beaten egg
1 t. vanilla extract
Cinnamon Streusel:
1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 t. cinnamon
2 T. butter, cold
Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
For the streusel topping: Sift the flour, sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Whisk together. Add the cold butter and mix with a fork until the mixture looks like coarse wet sand. Set aside.
For the cream cheese filling: Beat the cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.
For the muffin batter: Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in one bowl. Whisk together. In another bowl, beat the milk, oil, egg and sugar. Stir the dry ingredients into the milk mixture gently. Do not overmix. The muffin batter will be slightly lumpy.
Scoop a tablespoon of the muffin batter into each cupcake liner. Sprinkle a few pieces of strawberries. Add a dollop (about a heaping teaspoon) of the cream cheese filling. Sprinkle a little of the cinnamon streusel on top of the filling, followed by another layer of the muffin batter. Add a few more pieces of strawberries. Lastly, sprinkle the cinnamon streusel on top.
Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.