Oatmeal apple cinnamon muffins

20 04 2008

Last night I felt like baking, but I didn’t have any butter left in the fridge.  I decided to check out my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, and I found a muffin recipe that called for oil instead of butter.  Then I saw that I could add oatmeal in place of some of the flour (healthier, right?!), and I decided to chop up an apple and throw that in there, too.  I also threw a teaspoon of cinnamon in there for some extra flavor.

They came out great!  Nice and light and perfect for breakfast.  There’s nothing really special about them, I suppose, but they took me all of 10 minutes to make, which is pretty special all in itself.  😉 

Oatmeal Apple Cinnamon Muffins
adapated from Better Homes and Gardens cookbook 


1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 beaten egg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 medium apple, peeled and cored, then diced – I used an Empire apple.


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Grease twelve 2-1/2 inch muffin cups or line with paper bake cups; set aside.

3. In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and oatmeal.  Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

4. In another bowl, combine egg, milk, and oil.  Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture.  Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy).

5. Fold in the diced apple.

6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each two-thirds full.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean.  Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  Remove from muffin cups; serve warm.


Corn bread

29 03 2008

I threw together some chili for a quick midweek meal this week, and Brett wasn’t due to come home for another 30 minutes or so.  I remembered that I had some cornmeal in the pantry – a recent purchase after discovering how much I like pizza dough rolled in cornmeal before baking – and I saw that there was a corn bread recipe on the back.  I’ve never actually made corn bread from scratch, so I figured I’d give it a shot since I had time to kill anyway.

 I ended up being pretty disappointed with this recipe.  The corn bread came out dense and not very flavorful.  I’m surprised it’s the featured recipe on the package.  I definitely won’t make it again, but I’ll be on the hunt for a tastier recipe.

With a review like that, I’m not sure why you would want the recipe, but I’ll include it anyway.  Stay tuned for my second attempt at delicious corn bread!

Easy Corn Bread

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup Quaker Enriched Corn Meal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs whites or 1 egg, beaten

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease 8 or 9-inch pan.  Combine dry ingredients.  Stir in milk, oil and egg, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden brown and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Serve warm. 

9 servings

French toast casserole

16 03 2008

Today was the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and it’s the last year that we’ll live within walking distance.  (Sad to be leaving our little city apartment, but exciting to move into our new house in the ‘burbs!)  Of course we needed to take full advantage and invite our friends over to drink some mimosas and fill our bellies with food before braving the chilly air, puddles, and hordes or green clad parade-goers! 

My plan was to research recipes and expertly (ha!) put together the perfect spread of delicious brunch food.  Well… this week was a brutal one, because I squeezed in 38 parent teacher conferences in 4 days, and all that planning time that I thought I had went right out the window.  And then I had to fit in a 12 mile run this morning before everyone came over at 11am.  I should mention that I got back from the run at 10am, leaving me 1 hour to shower, throw on my green shirt, and get my butt in gear in the kitchen. 

Instead of having a lovely array of delicious food ready when everyone arrived, I had a few St. Patrick’s Day plates and napkins out, a husband still in the shower, and French toast casserole just making it into the oven.  Forget about the quiche that I thought I’d have time for, too.  Once the first champagne bottle was opened, I prioritized.  Friends and mimosas beat out slaving in the kitchen any day! 

The moral of the story?  I’m not sure, but I have a few ideas:

1. When you’re entertaining, make sure you have more time to plan things out rather than thinking things will magically all come together in the morning.

2. Don’t plan to get back from a 12 mile run one hour before guests arrive.  Showering and cooking and doing last minute cleaning do not fit into a mere 60 minutes!

3. Know when to give up on the quiche and grab a mimosa with friends instead!

 What about the French toast casserole, you ask?  (If you managed to read this far, that is!)  It turned out fabulously, and it received a hearty thumbs-up from everyone… which could have been a result of the mimosas and Guinness, but I prefer to think that it really was that tasty!  I didn’t take a picture while everyone was here, but I did manage to snap a shot of some cold leftovers from the fridge.  Better than nothing, I guess! 

(P.S. Don’t you just want to reach into the picture and grab that stray pecan?!)

Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup

1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 T. granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Dash salt
Praline topping
Maple syrupDirections:

1. Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each.  Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 x 13 inch flat baking dish in two rows, overlapping the slices. 

2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, and beat with a rotary beater or whisk into blended but not bubbly. 

3. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered with the egg-milk mixture.  Spoon some of the mixture between the slices.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. 

The next day, preheat the over to 350 degrees.  Spread the praline topping over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden.  Serve with maple syrup.

 Praline Topping

1/2 lb. (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 T. light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. 

*** My changes: I used a sliced baguette instead of larger pieces of French bread, because I told Brett to get the wrong kind of bread at the store!  It worked out perfectly though.  I just didn’t use all of the egg mixture since there was less bread involved.  Same goes for the praline mixture.  ***

Peanut butter banana muffins

9 03 2008

After making two Eat Clean recipes today, I decided that I needed to make some muffins, too.  I mean, come on, when you have two over-ripe bananas staring back at you from the kitchen counter, you only have limited options: 1. Toss them, 2. Mash them and freeze for later, or 3. Make banana bread or muffins.  I chose the latter, obviously, and I think it was a happy coincidence that I came across this recipe for banana bread with peanut butter.  Two of my favorite things in one baked good?  Heaven. 

I made mine into muffins, and they came out pretty tasty.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread
Source unknown (my apologies!)


1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 bananas, mashed
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking sodaDirections:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Lightly grease a 5 x 9 inch loaf pan.

2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  Add eggs; beat well.  Stir in peanut butter, bananas, flour and baking soda until blended.  Pour into prepared pan.

3. Bake at 325 degrees for 60 minutes.  Cover with foil (to avoid overbrowning) and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.

* My changes: I made mine into muffins, and I baked them for ~25 minutes.  I kept checking them in the final minutes, so I can’t remember the exact time that they were in there.*

Buttermilk Biscuits

9 03 2008

I had a lot of leftover buttermilk in the fridge after making cookies last week, and it occurred to me that buttermilk biscuits would be the perfect thing to make.  I searched online for buttermilk biscuit recipes, and most that I found required shortening, but I don’t have any.  A storm was raging outside today (still is!), and I didn’t feel like braving the snow, freezing rain, sleet, and ice for the third time today.  Ah, upstate NY.  If this is the lion part of March, I am realllllly looking forward to the lamb.  🙂 

Anyway… I kept searching and ultimately came across a recipe on epicurious.com.  I had all the ingredients, so I whipped them up and hoped for the best.  We ended up loving them, and I think this will be a great go-to recipe to accompany lots of different meals. 

Buttermilk Biscuits


3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 cup buttermilk


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in large bowl to blend. 

2. Using fingertips, rub 3/4 cup chilled butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add buttermilk and stir until evenly moistened.

3. Using 1/4 cup dough for each biscuit, drop biscuits onto baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart.  Bake until biscuits are golden brown on top, about 15 minutes.  Cool slightly.  Serve warm. 

Makes 12 servings.

Aunt Marion’s Pumpkin Bread

7 03 2008

I grew up eating Aunt Marion’s delicious pumpkin bread.  She used to wrap her loaves in foil and give them to family members, all of whom would gobble them up in a day or two.  We used to hide the last piece or two or call dibs on the final bites, because we never knew when we would be spoiled with another loaf! 

Tonight I attempted to make the famous pumpkin bread for the first time, but I stupidly forgot to set the timer when I slid them into the oven.  Ugh!  I think I ended up leaving them in for just a few minutes too long, even though I obsessively checked them in the final minutes (or so I thought).  The outside has the slightest crisp to it, and I like the bread the way Aunt Marion makes it – moist throughout without a crisp spot to be found.  I’ll definitely try the recipe again, but I’ll be more careful and actually set the timer next time!

My results weren’t awful, but I want to try again soon. 

Aunt Marion’s Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:3 1/2 cups flour
3 cups sugar
30 oz. can of pumpkin pie mix
1 cup oil
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup nuts
1/2 cup raisins


1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Let rise 30 minutes.

2. Grease container (coffee cans, small or large loaf pans) and fill 3/4 way.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.