Tag Archives: breakfast

Cranberry almond muffins

You guys! My mind has been blown with this muffins. Oh sure, they taste amazing, but the real thing is that you can freeze the batter. With just Himself and I in the house, muffins never really get eaten before they start to get a little less than awesome. This technique totally changes that. Not to mention just made getting out the door in the morning, never an easy task, just that much smoother!

Do I seem a little too excited just over muffins? Ok, you caught me! As I sit typing this, drinking the strongest coffee (maybe contributing a little to the excitement) Himself is (finally) getting up, and we’re going on a field trip today! This weekend has been all things spring, and today is no different. Friday, we picked up our baby chicks – three black australorps and two ameraucanas. That night, I made a very important “scientific” discovery. It is impossible to be in a bad mood with baby chicks on your lap. The evidence is below, as long as you ignore the wonky lighting that I attempted to disguise with Instagram. We have a heat lamp on them, and the red light throws everything off.

Chick collage_medium


I also got my email notice from the Smart Gardener website that it is high time to start some of my seeds indoors. Wheeeee! We’ve got the mini greenhouse set up inside and the outside one all ready to go. In fact, this little flower got a little sunburnt yesterday lounging inside the greenhouse.

And for today’s spring extravaganza, we’re going on that field trip I mentioned. There’s a great farm just east of Hibbing called Mr. Ed’s Farm. Today they’re having an open house so you can visit the baby lambs (squeeeee!!), but also we’re going to pick their brain about year round greenhouses. Himself has plans all laid out for ours, but it never hurts to gain some expertise. Mr. Ed’s farm has a great subterranean greenhouse, that I am terribly covetous of.

So, as we get ready to run out the door, you should get ready to pop the aforementioned muffins in the oven. You’ve got enough for tempting Sunday brekkie and grab-and-go for the rest of the week. Plus the cranberries bursting in the batter will transform that delish sweetness into something you believe could just possibly be slightly good for you.


Cranberry almond muffins

Cranberry almond muffins

Adapted from the Joy of Cooking

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
5 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
⅔ cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 -1 ¼ cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 400°. Whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together eggs and sour cream. Add butter, sugar, and almond extract. Mix in dry ingredients, followed by cranberries. Batter will be thick, but be careful not to overmix.

Spoon into paper lined muffin tins, filling tins about ¾ full. Bake at 400° for 13-15 minutes or until tops are just golden.

Let cool slightly and serve immediately. Muffins are best the day of cooking.

To freeze muffins, fill paper lined muffin tins as directed. Cover muffin pan with plastic wrap and freeze tin. Once muffin batter is thoroughly frozen, remove paper cups from tins and place in a freezer bag. When ready to bake, return frozen batter filled paper cup to tin and increase the bake time by about 5 minutes.


Ginger orange quick bread

You guys, I am convinced that I have the coolest job in all the lands. Yesterday, I was traveling around taking pictures and story notes of kids having a live televised interview with an astronaut. You know, no big (hah!). I mean how cool that these kids were learning about space from people who’ve actually been there, all without leaving the awesomeness of the north woods! Really, I adore my job. And now, I’ll be supplementing it doing the same thing for the city. Life is pretty good these days.

Almost as good as this bread I made you. Remember a couple of weeks ago when I was going on and on (and on and on) about how much I adored citrus? Well that turned pretty quickly. I’m still loving citrus flavors, but that most recent bag of oranges I was so excited about? Oh yeah, they’ve just been languishing away in my fridge.

Now normally my quick breads are made with a good amount of milk, but it’s been grey, grey, grey up here, and apparently that’s affected my mood. Feeling good and lazy, I was sure that my energy was better spent pouring over quick bread recipes on the interwebs than getting off my butt and going to the store. Enter this awesome recipe from Simply Recipes. A few tweaks to the flavors I wanted to highlight and yum, a quick bread is born. And just who am I trying to fool here? This isn’t so much a bread as it is a cake you don’t feel guilty about eating for breakkie.

Ginger orange quick bread


Ginger orange quick bread

Lightly adapted from Simply Recipe’s Cranberry Nut Bread

2 cups flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cardamom
½ cup raisins, coarsely chopped (optional)
¾ cup orange juice
¼ cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
½ tablespoon grated orange peel
1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped or grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients, including sugar. Add raisins and stir to coat.

In a separate bowl, mix together remaining ingredients. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. Batter will be slightly stiff, but do not over mix.

Spoon batter into greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out cleanly.

Mini granola pancake muffins

I may just be getting a little ahead of myself here, folks. Saturday marks the first official day of winter (pshaw, first), and here I am already looking forward to spring. Now don’t get me wrong, I do love winter, I mean we did move to the north woods. But here’s the thing, the biggest draw for moving way, way, way out to the country was the idea of being able to grow ALL the things.

While we’ll never have acres of tillable land out here in the woods, we do have a huge garden already, we’re talking almost 450 square feet of raised beds, with plans to add another 60 square feet this spring. And that’s the idea, every couple of years, we’ll add more beds and eventually a permanent greenhouse (though that’s all Himself). There are few things I love more than digging in the dirt with the sun beating down on my back. And I love the idea of expanding and expanding and expanding. By the time we moved from the cities, most of the yard had already been taken up with various raised beds. It’ll be a long day from now, before I manage to take up all the space we’ve got here. So you can see why, depths of winter or no, the idea that the days will start lengthening incrementally come Sunday has me more than a little excited.

And as if to tease and tempt me with thoughts of spring, my first 2014 seed catalog arrived this week. And it’s not just a seed catalog, oh no, it’s a rare seed catalog. I have been pouring over this baby, analyzing growing times and heirloom strains. Dreaming of Thai eggplant and baby yellow cucumber, pattypan squash and green grape tomatoes. In just a few short months, I’m going to turn that sun porch into a veritable greenhouse.

Look at me getting all ahead of myself. You know, usually I manage to restrain these dreams of green growing things until at least February, and here it is not even Christmas. I do have a Christmas morning recipe here for you. If you’re looking to tide over those hungry, hungry guests of yours until the big feast, these muffins are sure to do the trick. The granola makes them a bit more substantial and filling than regular muffins. And with only maple syrup and raisins adding a touch of sweetness, they won’t feel so decadent (leaving plenty of room for those holiday cookies and pies). Serve the muffins warm from the oven with butter, and store any leftovers (as if!) in the refrigerator.


Mini granola pancake muffins

Mini granola pancake muffins

Adapted from Essential Everyday’s Mini Blueberry Pancake Muffins

3 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 Tablespoon melted butter
1 egg, slightly beaten
¾ cup milk
1 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup raisins
¾ cup raisin and almond granola

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to batter and mix until well blended. Add raisins and granola.

Pour batter into greased mini muffin tins about ¾ full. Bake 15-17 minutes. Store muffins tightly covered in refrigerator.

Cinnamon quick bread

Are you ready for Thanksgiving yet? Have you been inundated with recipe ideas to update old favorites? Yeah me too. So here’s what I’m not going to do to you, I’m not going to share another Thanksgiving side dish you should make. Me, I’m sticking to old favorites and one new one. They’re favorites for a reason, right?

Before we talk recipes and food, let’s skip ahead to Christmas. It’s been years since this gal had herself a Christmas tree (not only because it’s been Festivus for the rest of us, but because I have cats). Yeah, cats and Christmas trees just don’t mix. But now that we’re up here, I’ve got the sun porch where the Christmas tree can live unhampered by cat curiosity. And acres of pine trees just waiting for a chance to celebrate Festivus with me and mine.

We had what was probably our last nice day on Wednesday, and I certainly took advantage of it. Tromping through the woods with a handful of bright red ribbon, I spied the perfect tree. Now, I will wait until December at least to bring it inside, but I happen to know from terrible experience, that it’s real miserable trying to find a tree to cut down once the cold and snow have really sunk in. Truth be told, though, I’m like a kid at Christmas again, not for presents but for the decorating. During the move, Himself and I found a huge box filled with Christmas decorating goodies. Yeah, I said found, quit judging. It’s going to be a blast to finally have a real live tree again.

Ok, so now let’s talk food. Like I said, we’ve already gotten out Thanksgiving dishes picked out. But if you’re like me, you’re going to need something for your guests to nosh on in the morning. No one wants a really elaborate breakfast, I mean we’re trying to save some room for the good stuff here. Enter, this quick bread. A slice or two with a little butter will take the edge off before the main event. Last week paging through my mom’s recipes trying to track down a favorite brunch we used to have, I found this gem hiding. I don’t remember if we ever had this as kids, but I think my family and I will be making up for that lack.

And just a quick note, this gal is going to take some time off next week to focus on her guests and the holiday. I’ll see you kids in December!


Cinnamon Quick Bread

Cinnamon quick bread

2 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
½ cup unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup milk

Cinnamon swirl
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoon orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two regular sized loaf pans or four mini pans.

In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix together cinnamon swirl ingredients. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and butter, cream together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Blend in sour cream and milk. Gradually add dry ingredients and mix well.

Spread half the batter into the desired size loaf pans, batter will be thick. Sprinkle all but 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon swirl ingredients over batter. Top with remaining batter, and cut through batter with a knife to create swirled effect. Sprinkle remaining cinnamon mixture over loaves.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes for standard sized loaf pans, 25 minutes for mini loaves.

Apple upside-down pancake

I told you all earlier that due to some technical difficulties, I’ve been off work all week. Well, it ended up being a little longer than a week. I was sort of tied to the house to work with IT if necessary and await deliveries. And then all of the sudden I realized, this was like having one great big, long snow day, and I loved it. On a snow day, my coffee still brews at the same time, and I still haul myself out of bed, but then there’s oodles of time for me to fill. And fill it I did, with baking, with recipes, with needlepoint. This gal was in heaven. Warm cups of coffee, cold blustery weather outside, sunshine streaming in the windows, wildlife bounding through the snow. Sounds pretty perfect, right? That said, I’m pretty excited to be back to work tomorrow. Down time isn’t always paid time.

But snow days make me think of comfort food, and comfort food makes me think of breakfast for dinner. When we were growing up, I loved it when my brother and I got to spend the night at our cousins’ house. Running around being the queen of four little boys, what wasn’t to love? But then when we woke up, my aunt Linda would often make this amazing oven pancake with the syrup on the bottom where it could get all gooey and extra buttery. Mmmmm, my mouth waters just thinking of it. I fondly remember this pancake and so when I was thinking of ways to add apples into my everyday pancakes, this recipe sprang to mind. If you’re feeling indulgent, it’s a nice treat.

This is not your typical oven pancake. There’s none of the eggy poooof that you’re expecting. Nope, if you’re trying to imagine it, think pancake + pineapple upside-down cake, but with apples.


Apple upside-down pancake

Apple upside-down pancake

¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup butter
¼ cup maple syrup
¾ cup diced apples
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or if you have my favorite – Penzey’s cake spice

1 cup flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
⅔ cup milk
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium saucepan combine all topping ingredients and cook until apples are slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Pour into an ungreased 8×8 pan, making sure apples are distributed evenly.

In a medium bowl mix pancake ingredients together. Carefully pour over apple and syrup mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

Jammy muffins

We’ve had the most beautiful string of fall days lately. Weather like this just reinforces to me why we moved up here. Even on the cool, rainy days that crisp, fresh smell in the air makes me so happy. Those days are perfect for staying in your pj’s all the live long day, curling up with a cup of tea, a good book, and one of these jammy muffins.

These muffins are adapted from an old cookbook of my mom’s, the Sleepy Eye Municipal Hospital Cookbook. Sleepy Eye? Yes Virginia, there is a Sleepy Eye. “What the heck am I talking about?, you must be wondering.” Well, it’s a phrase I remember seeing plastered all over a billboard when we would visit my Aunt Verna’s Farm. So, anyway, enough with the digressing. Over the years, I’ve been amassing quite a collection of old cookbooks. There are some seriously weird recipes in these things, like olives paired with jello or peanut butter and ketchup. Gross or not, I am strangely fascinated by it, so the collection keeps growing. And then there’s the occasional winner like these jam muffins. A few updates and voila! These muffins are like a cross between a biscuit and a muffin. The muffin itself is barely sweetened, but the jam makes up for it.

The recipe says mix just until moistened, and it means it. If you over mix, the batter will get sticky to handle. It’ll still taste ok, but be hard to get into the muffin tins. You’re going to have to get your hands dirty to form these muffins. Don’t even worry about it, you see, the reason I know this, you guessed it, I was once guilty of over-mixing too (and chalk me up for guilty of using up all your commas there too).

The beauty of this recipe is that you get to put some creativity into play. Mix and match the flavors of the jams and extracts. I made two different kinds here for you – lemon extract paired with blueberry jam and then plum jam and almond extract. Yum! It’s a small recipe, just 12 mini muffins per batch, but is completely scale-able.

Speaking of yum, this girl has got to dash. I’m off to buy G’ma and I some sandwich loaf from the Sunrise Deli. If you never had sandwich loaf, this is the place to get it from. And don’t worry, if you’re not in the beautiful, chilly north, I’m working on scaling down a sandwich loaf recipe just for you.


Jammy muffins

Jammy muffins

Adapted from the Sleepy Eye Municipal Hospital Cookbook

1 ¾ cup flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
2 Tablespoons sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup butter, melted
¾ cup milk
1 egg
2 teaspoons extract – pair with the jam
Favorite jam

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line mini muffin pan with baking cups or lightly grease tins. In a small bowl mix dry ingredients, including sugar.

In another bowl, beat egg. Add milk, then melted butter, and finally extract of choice. Make a hollow in center of flour mixture; then add milk mixture. Stir only until moistened. Fill muffin tins just ½ full. Spoon 1 teaspoon of jam on top of batter. Add just enough batter to cover jam.

Bake muffins about 17 – 19 minutes, until tops are golden.

Makes about 12 mini muffins.

Blueberry basil scones

I’m a big fan of basil. Big.

Since moving dates have been a little up in the air this growing season, I thought, “Why not herbs?” I mean, they’re easy to grow, easier to harvest, I can freeze or dry them, and best of all, they look awfully pretty in the garden.Blueberry Basil Scones

A good idea, right? Well yes, until you find basil overflowing the garden, the freezer, and even my countertops. I’ve had basil on pizza and pasta, of course, but mixing it with sweet berries was new to me. New, but soon to be an old habit, because this is amazing, my friends.

The sweet and the savory come together in a perfect mix. The scone dough is courtesy of Marian Heinz, who gifted me with the perfect recipe. It is a little sticky coming together. Be patient, it’s well worth it. I’ve found the best way to make scones is to sandwich the dough between two pieces of well floured parchment paper and then cut into desired shapes. So do this, do it now.

Simple Scones

2 cups flour
½ cup sugar (to bring it to the next level, try vanilla sugar. I’ve got a jar going, that I just keep replacing with fresh white sugar.)
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 stick (8 Tbsp) cold butter
1-½ cup blueberries dried
¼ c basil, loosely packed
½ cup half and half
1 egg

Preheat oven to 400º. Chiffonade basil and set aside.

Mix dry ingredients together. Cut in butter. When making scones and biscuits, I like to freeze my butter first and then grate it into the flour mixture with a cheese grater. At this point, I like to just stick my hands and mix away. You can be more civilized, a pastry cutter works well too.

Add blueberries and basil to the flour and butter mixture. It will coat the pieces so that they don’t all stick together.

Whisk together half and half and enough yogurt to make ¾ cup of liquid. Beat in egg. Add to dry ingredients, mixing just enough to incorporate.

Transfer dough to floured surface, adding more flour if too sticky. Pat out to desired thickness and cut into rounds or wedges.

Bake at 400º for about 15-18 minutes or until just lightly browned.


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