Friday, September 30, 2016

Baked Pumpkin Donuts-the taste of fall!

I love fall. This is, without a doubt, my favorite time of the year. Getting ready for all the fun of the holidays, the leaves are beautiful, it's not too hot or too cold, and I have the desire to bake even more than normal. Good times!

I started my fall-style baking yesterday. I really wanted to make spiced apple cider donuts, but I didn't have any apple cider. Dug through my pantry, found a can of pumpkin puree, and decided to find a recipe for pumpkin donuts instead!

These are perfect. I made donut holes, that's our preference with little ones in the house, and they turned out great. They are full of pumpkin, are deliciously moist, and have plenty of spices in them! 

Now, these are good dipped in butter & coated in cinnamon sugar, but they are great by themselves too. Adrian, oddly enough, seemed to prefer them without coating. Nate, Gabriel, & I preferred them with the coating. (I won't tell you how quickly my family of 4 went through a batch of these...)

These are a perfect baking idea for a rainy fall day!

Printable Recipe
Baked Pumpkin Donuts

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • ⅔ cup cinnamon-sugar mixture
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly spray 2 mini muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray; set aside. (Alternately, lightly spray donut pan.)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the pumpkin, brown sugar, egg, milk, butter, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; add the wet ingredients until just combined. 
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans, about ⅔ - ¾ of the way full. Bake for 10-13 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (Note: metal pans take slightly less time than silicon; watch closely if you are using metal. Donut pan may take longer.)
  5. Remove from the oven, and place the donuts on a wire rack to cool. 
  6. Once cool, dip each donuts  into the melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Be sure to coat well.

40 donut holes
(maybe 13 donuts?)
1 hour
Nutrition Facts
47/donut hole
(71 with cinnamon sugar)
(220 with cinnamon sugar)

Source (for original): Live Well Bake Often

Remember, comments are loved! What's your favorite fall baking recipe?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Herbed Wheat Muffins

My husband, Nate, doesn't have nearly as much of a sweet tooth as I do. Sometimes that's disappointing, sometimes it's just a fun challenge! I stumbled across this recipe when we were engaged, when he had a rough day and I wanted to show him how great of a wife I would be. ;)

I've made it quite a few times since then, but much more often in the last year. That is largely due to the fact that I acquired a tarragon plant at the farmer's market--this is one herb that's pretty expensive, and I'm too cheap to buy that very often. Now we always have plenty! (And usually have some to give away, if I'm keeping up on drying it! So, local readers... let me know if you need some!)

I will admit, this is a very healthy-tasting muffin. (So.... not my favorite.) Nate loves them, and so does my mom. The boys are touch and go--sometimes they will devour the batch, sometimes they hardly touch them. If you are looking for a good, healthy, breakfast or snack--try these!!

Herbed Wheat Muffins

  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ⅔ cup all-Purpose flour
  • ¼ cup wheat germ *or cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ⅔ Cup buttermilk 
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ Teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ Teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 2 Tablespoon butter, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Coat muffin cups with cooking spray (or use muffin liners).
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flours, wheat germ, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
  3. Combine the egg, buttermilk, honey, and butter; stir into dry ingredients until just moist. Fold in basil & tarragon.
  4. Fill prepared tins ¾ full with batter. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm.

Yields: 8
Prep Time: 15 Cook Time: 20
Nutrition Facts
162 (using buttermilk sub)

Source (for original): Cooking for Two
Remember, comments are loved! What's your favorite healthy muffin?

Monday, September 26, 2016

Nutella Oat Banana Muffins

I love Nutella. I know I've mentioned that before, but it's worth mentioning again. It's a pretty important Serena-fact. Right up there with the book & nerd obsessions. If I could get away with it, I'd add Nutella to pretty much everything. Assuming, of course, that there is any left after I've just eaten it from the jar.

Just kidding, I don't eat it from the jar. Very often.

Anyhow, you get the point. Nutella is a staple in the Lee household. So when I saw this recipe... Nutella Oat Banana Muffins? Yes, please. I've already mentioned that I love adding oats to muffins, and I love banana muffins in general. Now we're adding Nutella? It's practically my birthday! (No, not really. There's not nearly enough sugar in these things to qualify as something for my birthday.)

These are one of those recipes that the boys & I could devour, no problems. When I've shared them with work & family, same thing. Nate, on the other hand, has decided he doesn't like these. That's OK, more for me. ;) Don't worry though, he gets his own muffins! Recipe to follow for that soon!

(Oh, and random tidbit: the off-brand Nutella at Aldi's is not worth buying. Trust me. That's not Nutella.)

Nutella Oat Banana Muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup applesauce (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 bananas
  • Nutella

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line muffin tins with 15 papers, or lightly grease.
  2. In a medium bowl, all dry ingredients. Stir until well combined.
  3. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Stir to mix ingredients until well combined. 
  4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; add wet ingredients until combined. Do not over stir.
  5. Divide batter evenly among the muffin tins.
  6. Add 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons of Nutella to the top of each muffin and gently swirl with  toothpick to produce pretty swirls. (Note: "pretty swirls" is very relative, as you can see in the picture.)
  7. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

12 muffins
40 minutes
Nutrition Facts
128/muffin (153 if using oil)

Source (for original): Chef in Training
Remember, comments are loved! Tell me about your love of Nutella. ;)

Friday, September 23, 2016

(Healthier) Banana Muffins/Bread

We all, at some point or another, have bananas that get past their prime. I usually don't eat bananas until they are all speckly brown (about 2 days before they turn themselves into banana bread), but the boys will eat them whenever. Bright green, pretty yellow, almost completely brown... Adrian, especially, doesn't care. "Ba-nana, ba-nana!" With his love of bananas, we don't have nearly as many that get over-ripe, but with the humidity this summer it happened more often than not. Once that happens, our usual preference is banana muffins. I love making my traditional banana muffins/bread, but I have adapted that over the years to be a bit healthier. 

I honestly prefer these over my more traditional recipe. Knowing that it's healthier for me is a great, and I love the oats in this! Oats in muffins are some of my favorite things. They add a bit of texture, and some great health benefits.

In general, I love making things like this. Using up bananas that would otherwise go to waste, and making something that all my boys enjoy (and myself!), is a win-win situation!

Printable Recipe
Banana Bread/Muffins, Healthified
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ¾ cups mashed bananas (approx 3 large or 5 medium)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil or applesauce

  1. Preheat oven to 350° for bread, or 375° for muffins.
  2. Grease bottom and ½” up the sides of 1 loaf pan OR grease 18 count muffin tins; set aside. Combine flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl combine eggs, bananas, sugar, and applesauce. Add all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared pans.
  4. Bake for 55-60 minutes for bread, or 18-20 minutes for muffins. (Or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.) If necessary, cover loosely with foil for the last 15 minutes of baking bread to prevent overbrowning. *note: it may just be me, but I always have to cook the bread about 10-15 minutes longer.
  5. Cool bread in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack. 
  6. Remove muffins from pan immediately and cool completely on wire rack. 

1 loaf (16 servings) OR 18 muffins
Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 20-60 minutes
Nutrition Facts *I calculate nutrition facts for reference only, this is not done scientifically
Bread: 120  
Muffins: 106
(using applesauce)

Source (for original): Better Homes & Gardens, adapted

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Malted Pancakes

Breakfast is always interesting in our house, especially now that Gabriel has started preschool. Nate works second shift, so he sleeps through breakfast, but with a shortened time in the morning I usually do easy breakfasts. Gabriel & Adrian could both eat oatmeal, yogurt, or toast on a daily basis. (I'm not a big fan of cereal for them, but we do that occasionally too.)

That being said.... I love hot breakfasts! French toast, sausage gravy & biscuits, cheesy scrambled eggs, and of course PANCAKES!! 

When I have time in the mornings, I love to make pancakes for the boys. And they love getting to choose what we are doing with them! You can eat them plain with maple syrup (or Whiskey Maple Syrup, which we got in Traverse City this summer and you need to try!), you can add blueberries, you can add mini chocolate chips, you can add mini Reese's Pieces (yes that's a favorite thing with me).... so many good things to do with them!

I used to use the Krusteaz mix, which is pretty good, but then I found this recipe. Nope, never going back to store bought after this! Best part? I make the mix in a big batch, and store it in a Tupperware container for later.

These pancakes are great. The texture & sweetness are perfect (especially when you add mini Reese's Pieces), and they always go over great with my boys. 

(Oh, and FYI? They are good cold a few hours after breakfast.)

Printable Recipe
Malted Pancakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons malt powder
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips or mini Reese's Pieces, optional
  • 1 cup blueberries, optional

To make right away:
  1. Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Stir until well combined.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, spoon about 3 tablespoonfuls of batter into circle in center of pan.  
  3. Let cook for 60 seconds or until batter starts to bubble. With spatula, flip and cook an additional minute or until cooked through and browned. Continue until all batter is used.

To make a large batch for later:
  1. Combine multiples of all dry ingredients, then store in an airtight container. 
  2. When needed, combine 1 ½ cups powder and 1 cup milk, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and desired fillings. Cook as directed.

10 pancakes
20 minutes
Nutrition Facts *I calculate nutrition facts for reference only, this is not done scientifically
129 (with chocolate chips), 73 without.

Source (for original): Picky Palate
Remember, comments are loved! What's your favorite pancake addition?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Oreo Cream Pie-- Celebrating 30 years on this earth!

Friday I celebrated my 30th birthday! Following tradition, I decided what I wanted for my 'cake' and made it myself. ;)

And I must say, I outdid myself this year. In the past, when I was too intimidated to make it for myself, I bought a frozen Cookies & Creme Pie. Silly me. Homemade is always better, and this was no exception. (Well, except for the calories. For heaven's sake, don't look at the nutritional facts. I honestly thought about skipping that, but some people want to know... Just make it for your birthday, calories don't count on your birthday. Right? At least if you don't do the math until after you've eaten it...)

This is one of the best desserts I've ever made. And, modestly aside, that's saying something. You guys know me and my desserts. This is perfectly rich, a small slice is just enough, it has just enough sweet, and the perfect amount of Oreo in each bite.

Now, there are two separate recipes here--the pie crust, and the pie. I've included 3 printables--the crust, the pie, and both.

(I did not take a picture of the crust before I filled it, sorry!)
Oreo Pie Crust

  • 24 Oreos, crushed
  • ¼ cup melted butter

  1. Lightly grease a 9” pie pan; set aside.
  2. Combine Oreo crumbs and butter in a medium bowl, mix well. Press mixture evenly in pan; covering the bottom and up the sides. (Careful to spread it evenly!)
  3. Freeze for one hour before filling.

1 pie crust, 6-8 servings
15 minutes + freezing
Nutrition Facts *I calculate nutrition facts for reference only, this is not done scientifically
1680 total
280 (6 slices), 210 (8 slices)

Source (for original): Chef In Training

Oreo Cream Pie

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 26 Oreos, crushed
  • 1 prepared 9-inch Oreo Crust

  1. In a mixing bowl using the whisk attachment, beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. (Approximately 1 to 2 minutes,)
  2. In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until well blended. Fold in whipping cream until smooth. Add Oreos; stir until well combined.
  3. Carefully spread into pie crust.
  4. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then enjoy!

6-8 servings
15 minutes + cooling
Nutrition Facts *I calculate nutrition facts for reference only, this is not done scientifically
853 (6 slices), 640 (8 slices)

Source (for original): Chef in Training

Remember, comments are loved! What's your favorite food to celebrate your birthday with?

Friday, September 16, 2016

Peanut Butter, Chocolate, & Cranberry Cereal Bars

I always love easy recipes, especially when I have a thousand other things going on. (Most of the time that's by choice, but that's OK.) I also love recipes that are guaranteed to please those sweet small children in my house.... and their parents.

This is definitely one of those. Easy (hello, no bake!), tasty, sweet, and a crowd pleaser! It actually is encouraging me to try my cereal cookies a slightly different way, too! Most no-bake cereal recipes I've seen call for karo syrup. While I truthfully don't have any objections to karo syrup, especially since it's required for the bucketful of hard candy I make at Christmas time, I like the idea of using honey instead. And, while I am not a huge fan of honey (please don't judge me), it's honestly not noticeable here. It might be SLIGHTLY overpowered by the Reese's Pieces and chocolate chips... but who know, it might just be a light taste here. ;) 

Oh, and for the picky eaters: don't skip the cranberry. Really. It adds just a bit of fun to some bites, but definitely isn't overpowering. 
(Side note, I discovered that my boys really like dried cranberries. I don't usually buy it, I honestly just bought it for this... but I will buy it more often. They both devoured the handfuls I gave them when I was making these!)

Printable Recipe
Peanut Butter, Chocolate, & Cranberry Cereal Bars

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 3 cups Cheerios cereal
  • ¾ cup mini Reese’s Pieces
  • ¼ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup dried cranberries

  1. Spray a 9"x9” baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat sugar and honey over medium heat almost to boiling, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in peanut butter until smooth. Stir in cereal, mini Reese’s Pieces, and cranberries until evenly coated. Press evenly into prepared pan using a spatula. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  4. Cut into squares and serve.

16 servings
10 minutes + cooling
Nutrition Facts *I calculate nutrition facts for reference only, this is not done scientifically

Source (for original): Simply Being Mommy
Remember, comments are loved! What's your favorite no bake recipe--bar, or cookie?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Double Chocolate Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

OK, you guys should realize by now that I have a serious love for cookies. I could've named this blog "Don't Judge Me for My Massive Cookie Recipe Collection" and it would be pretty accurate. (I refuse to show the size of the "desserts" collection of my recipe book here; you have to see it in person. I don't need photographic evidence for people to laugh at.)

If it's a cookie recipe, I'm probably willing to try it. OK, scratch that, unless it calls for ingredients I know I don't like, I'm definitely willing to try it. And even if it calls for things I don't like... I'll probably just make it to give to someone else. (Hello, anything with coffee.)

So, it's no surprise that I have tried quite a few variations of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

Of all the ones I've tried, this is my favorite. Try it, and it will be yours too. These cookies (that I have a bad picture of, sorry) are A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. They were the perfect consistency for oatmeal cookies. I'm guessing it's the combo of regular oats and quick oats, which I will be trying with any other oatmeal cookie recipes, assuming I ever remember.

Oh, and before I get questions on a regular oatmeal chocolate chip recipe... I actually don't have one that I think it satisfactory. I have a patient that sometimes brings in oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for us, and I haven't found any that compare. I've mentioned that I need the recipe, but no luck so far. (And FYI, patients that bake and bring goodies in are kinda my favorites. I work in a small town, and I really truly love all my patients, but if you've ever brought my cookies... I love you a little more. That goes for any of my friends/family, though. Food is love. I love you more if you feed me. I won't treat you any different, but I will love you more. For what that's worth.)

Double Chocolate Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature *I almost exclusively use Crisco vs. butter, but for some reason I actually used butter here... and it turned out great. So, sticking with butter.
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • ¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 ¼ cup milk chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line four large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add the vanilla and eggs and beat until creamy and light in color, 2-3 minutes.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and both kinds of oats.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until a few dry streaks remain. Add the chocolate chips and mix until everything is just combined.
  5. Drop the batter by heaping tablespoon-sized scoops, or roll into balls, about 2” apart.
  6. Bake for 10-11 minutes until the edges are just set but the middles are still soft. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat scooping and baking with remaining cookie dough.

Approx 44 cookies
1 hour
Nutrition Facts *I calculate nutrition facts for reference only, this is not done scientifically

Source (for original): Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Remember, comments are loved! What's your favorite oatmeal cookie recipe?