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Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

19 Apr


I have to start out by telling you I was very leery of the whole wheat pancake. But when a pancake craving strikes and you have vowed to eat clean making these fluffy wonders out of the question, you curse yourself a little and give the darn wheat ones with no sugar a chance. Then you find a banana version and sing Jack Johnson’s “Banana Pancakes” the whole time you make them which totally turns your mood around.

You know what’s even better, you sit down to eat them and they taste like banana bread. Yep, totally my new second favorite pancake. Sorry folks but there’s just no way any pancake will beat the glorious buttermilk. These are light and fluffy and have a nice sweetness from the ripe bananas. I decided to add cinnamon, nutmeg, a hint of cloves and nuts in the hopes that they would resemble banana bread and as I mentioned above, my plan worked.

I served these with the leftover breakfast sausage patties that I had frozen (while still raw). Just grab them out of the freezer and cook in a skillet preheated over medium heat while you cook the pancakes on a griddle.

Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes
recipe slightly adapted from 100 Days of Real Food
yield 12 pancakes (using 1/3 cup scoop)

2 cups whole-wheat flour (preferably whole wheat pastry flour)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1 Tbsp. honey
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 ¾ cups milk
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled + butter for frying
2 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
100% pure maple syrup for serving

1. Preheat a griddle over medium heat. Heat oven to lowest temperature (mine is 170 degrees F). In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

2. In another bowl, whisk together the honey, eggs, milk, 2 tablespoons butter, bananas and nuts, if using. Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour the liquid mixture into it. Carefully fold ingredients together until they are just combined. Be careful not to overmix which will create a tough, flat pancake.

3. Brush griddle with melted butter and ladle on batter with 1/3 cup measuring cup. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until bubbles form on the surface. Flip and cook another 2-3 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Remove pancakes and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm with pure maple syrup.

Pork and Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties

7 Apr

Breakfast Sausage (Pork and Turkey) 4
We are big on breakfast for dinner around here or brinner as we like to call it. Sometimes it’s just comfort food at it’s finest and other times it’s the fact that most breakfast foods are usually pretty quick and easy to throw together. Either way, it’s always a big hit.

I was craving some breakfast potatoes and sausage but that’s not the healthiest of options so I switched some things up to make a lower calorie but equally delicious brinner.
Breakfast Sausage (Pork and Turkey) 2
Sweet potatoes replace the white potatoes and are topped with a fried egg for a yummy hash while a homemade mixture of pork and turkey is combined to create a healified sausage patty. Oh, so good.

The recipe makes 28 small sausage patties which is way too much for the three of us so I froze half the batch. Gotta love a 2 for 1 recipe! Make sure to read the note at the bottom of the recipe for freezing instructions.
Breakfast Sausage (Pork and Turkey) 3
Pork and Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties
recipe adapted from Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook
*note about freezing patties follows recipe

2 tsp. rubbed sage
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. white pepper
¼ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. dried thyme
1 lb. ground turkey
1 lb. ground pork

1. In a large bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients.

2. Crumble turkey and pork over mixture and mix well.

3. Using a scoop, portion out into 28 sausage patties and flatten slightly. In a large skillet or on a griddle, cook patties over medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until meat in no longer pink, turning once. Drain on paper towels.

*To freeze: Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place the formed sausage patties (before they are cooked) on the parchment paper. Place in the freezer for 1 hour to flash freeze then place in a labeled freezer bag. Store for up to 2 months.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

14 Jan

Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast
I have a confession to make…I don’t really like French toast. I choose pancakes over it every time, I just don’t get the appeal of soggy bread. Unfortunately, that guy I married loves it. But stuffed French toast is something I can handle and even enjoy sometimes.

And this French toast, it may have converted me. I mean, strawberry cream cheese with an orange zing? Kind of a dream breakfast. Using French bread kept the super sogginess at bay and added a nice chew to the dish. I just loved the freshness that the orange zest lent to the French toast.
Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast
This would be a great addition to a brunch since it’s more fancy pants than the typical French toast. It’s also good for dinner, cause that’s how we roll.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast
recipe slightly adapted from Sandra Lee

1  package (8-ounce) cream cheese, softened
2  Tbsp. strawberry preserves
1  Tbsp. shredded orange zest
4  eggs
1  cup milk
1 1/2  tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
8  thick slices French bread
Butter
Strawberry or maple syrup
Sliced fresh strawberries (optional)
Powdered sugar (optional)

1. In a small mixing bowl, stir together softened cream cheese, strawberry preserves, and orange zest until smooth. Set aside.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Pour into a shallow bowl or pie plate. Set aside.

3. With a paring knife, slice a pocket into the side of each bread slice (do not cut all the way through the bread). Fill bread slices with a heaping spoonful of cream cheese mixture.

4. On a griddle, melt some butter over medium heat. Dip filled bread in egg mixture and brown for 1 to 2 minutes per side in hot butter. Serve hot with strawberry or maple syrup, fresh sliced strawberries, and powdered sugar (optional).

Caramel Rolls

2 Dec

Caramel Rolls
I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving last week, I know I sure did. I got to spend the week with my parents, brother and my aunt who was visiting from Jersey. We had a great time hanging out together, shopping, cooking and stuffing our faces of course. I definitely did some backtracking on the baby weight loss plan. Oh well, Thanksgiving only comes once a year.
Caramel Rolls
Something I have been incredibly thankful this year is the opportunity to move back to Nebraska and be closer to family. It has been such a blessing for our family. I do find myself missing certain things from Fargo though.

One of those things is this doughnut shop that had the most amazing caramel rolls. They were as big as your head, super tender and amazingly sugary. They were the kind of thing that was so good but once you ate the whole thing you totally felt sick. Worth it, but sick all the same.
Caramel Rolls
So since they are a thing of my past, I decided to go on a hunt for something similar. These caramel rolls totally hit the spot. They are way smaller than those caramel rolls we used to occasionally indulge in but taste incredibly similar. They take some time and planning but they are so delicious.
Caramel Rolls
Caramel Rolls
recipe from With a Grateful Prayer and Thankful Heart

For dough:
1 large egg plus enough water to measure 1 cup
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups bread flour
3 Tbsp. nonfat dry milk
3-5 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. yeast

For glaze:
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 Tbsp. rum, optional
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup chopped pecans

For filling:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. flour

1. Mix egg, water, sugar and yeast in the bowl of your mixer and stir. Let sit for about 5 minutes or until foamy. Mix in flour, nonfat milk and salt into dough. Mix in butter and knead on medium speed for about 5 minutes or until a smooth ball forms. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray and place dough in the bowl. Let rise for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.

2. Meanwhile, mix all filling ingredients together in a small bowl. In another bowl, mix together corn syrup, rum and butter.

3. Once dough has risen, divide the glaze evenly between two 9″ round cake pans. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pecans.

4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a 16″ x 12″ rectangle. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over dough, leaving an uncovered strip about 1″ wide along one long end of the rectangle. Starting with the sugar-covered edge, roll the dough into a log the long way. Cut into 16 rolls, using a serrated knife.

 5. Space eight buns in each of the prepared pans. Cover the pans, let rise till they spread out and touch one another, about 60 to 90 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F while rising.
6. Bake for 15 minutes. Then cover lightly with foil and bake another 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
7. Remove the buns from the oven, and loosen their edges with a knife. Carefully (the sugar is hot) turn them out onto a rack or parchment-covered sheet pan to cool, scraping any glaze that may have stuck to the pan onto the warm buns.

Thanksgiving Roundup

25 Nov

Looking for some last minute additions or recipes for the big day? Here are some yummy breakfast, dessert and side dish recipes that would be perfect for Thanksgiving. I hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving spent with family and friends. And who is going out Black Friday shopping? Some new outlets just opened last week about a half hour from our house so that’s what we are doing…wish us luck. Everyone I know that has gone so far has said it was nuts.

Perfect for starting off the day right, Pumpkin Granola. It’s light and healthy and won’t fill you up too much.
Pumpkin Granola

Pumpkin Pie Cashews would be the perfect thing to snack on throughout the day.
Pumpkin Pie Cashews

Share what you are thankful for with these Gratitude Rolls.

These slow cooker mashed potatoes free up that precious stovetop space and still create a creamy, decadent side to that juicy turkey.

Maple Glazed Carrots are a super simple yet delicious addition.
Maple Glazed Carrots

Creamy Cheesy Potatoes are so easy and amazingly delicious!
Creamy Cheesy Potatoes

Brined and Roasted Turkey results with the most juicy and succulent bird ever.

Mini Pecan Pies always grace our Thanksgiving table. They are the perfect little bite that leaves a little room for a second dessert!

Apple Streusel Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze is rustic but delicious.
Apple Streusel Cake

Looking for a rich, dense way to end Thanksgiving? Boom, French Silk Pie.
French Silk Pie

Breakfast Potatoes

13 Nov

Breakfast Potatoes
I have to say, this is one of our favorite recipes that we’ve tried in quite awhile. It seems kind of silly that something so easy can be a new favorite but they are just so good.

I have made them at least 4 times in the past couple months which is really saying something around here. A lot of times, we try a new recipe and then don’t have it again for months and months because I am always trying new recipes….but not this one. I seem to keep coming up with reasons to make breakfast for dinner (because fancy breakfasts don’t happen around here right now) just so we can have these potatoes.
Breakfast Potatoes
These potatoes are super simple to throw together and easily customizable to suit your own taste. I like to keep them simple with garlic, paprika, salt and pepper but you could spice them up to accompany any flavor profile. Wouldn’t chili powder and cumin spiced potatoes be good with a southwestern omelet? Or dill potatoes with a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel? Just think of all the possibilities!
Breakfast Potatoes
Breakfast Potatoes
recipe from Our Best Bites

4 medium baking potatoes
1 small white or yellow onion, minced
2 Tbsp. salted butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
About 10-20 shakes of Louisiana Hot Sauce

1. Bring a medium or large bot of water to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, cut potatoes into 1/4″-1/2″ cubes. Add to the boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes or until they are slightly softened but not fully cooked. Drain and rinse in cool water.

2. Heat a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. Add the butter and olive oil and heat until melted and bubbly. Add the diced onion and cook for about 1 minute or until the onions are softened. Add the potatoes in a single layer. Cook for 3-4 minutes (don’t even touch them) and then sprinkle with paprika, garlic powder, 10 dashes of Tabasco, salt and pepper. Using a spatula, scrape the bottom of the pan and flip as many potatoes as you can at once. You just want to handle the potatoes as little as possible so that you can get them super crispy.

3. When the potatoes have cooked for another 3-4 minutes, test them for doneness and seasoning; add more Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste. Cook until desired doneness is reached, flipping them the same way as before. It’s hard to overcook these potatoes, they should be a little crispy on the outside, but not burned. Serves 4-6.

Individual Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cups

4 Nov

Individual Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cups
Today is my first day on my own with the kiddos. I would be a liar if I said I was completely confident and not scared. I know I can do it, but getting into the swing of things will be interesting I’m sure. Wish me luck.
Individual Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cups
So, in honor of needing quick and easy meals for the long foreseeable future, I’m bringing you all a yummy breakfast that can be whipped up in a flash. And it can easily be made gluten and lactose free for those with food restrictions. I love to make these when my nieces are visiting because they are really fun for kids to eat since they are mini. Who doesn’t love a mini version of something? It always makes thing better in my opinion!
Individual Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cups
Lastly, these are relatively healthy so you don’t have to feel so bad when you sneak a few too many pieces of candy from the Halloween stash.

Individual Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cups
recipe from Emily Bites

3 cups old-fashioned oats, gluten free
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1 egg
1 ¼ cups skim milk, or almond milk to make lactose free
¾ c mashed bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ c semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray 18 muffin cups with nonstick spray.

2. In a large bowl, mix oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, mix together the egg whites, egg, milk, bananas and vanilla extract. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

3. Divide evenly between the 18 muffin cups. Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and they are lightly browned.

Pumpkin Granola

7 Oct

Pumpkin Granola
I love granola and it’s so easy to make at home with items I always have stocked in my pantry. At a recent trip to Trader Joe’s I discovered pumpkin Greek yogurt and just about died. I grabbed several and started daydreaming about the deliciousness. The only thing is that the texture of yogurt makes me gag so I have to have some kind of texture to eat it. I usually stir in toasted almonds but granola is always a yummy go to when we have it.
Pumpkin Granola
And what would be better with pumpkin yogurt than pumpkin granola? It was so good mixed into the yogurt, eaten by the handfuls and with milk. It’s not overwhelmingly pumpkin flavored but has a nice, warm fall spiciness. I skipped the cranberries and pepitas since I didn’t have any but I’m sure they would be a lovely addition.
Pumpkin Granola
Pumpkin Granola
recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod

5 cups rolled oats
1 cup slivered almonds
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
¾ tsp. salt
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pepitas

1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and set aside.

2. Combine the oats, almonds, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract until smooth.  Pour wet ingredients into oat mixture and stir until the oats are evenly coated. They will be moist. Evenly spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.

4. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and stir. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the granola is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and stir in dried cranberries and pepitas. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Pumpkin Doughnut Holes

23 Sep

Pumpkin Doughnut Holes
So, I have this little cake pop maker that my in-laws gave to me for my birthday a few years ago and I absolutely love using it to make doughnut holes. I can’t believe that I haven’t shared any recipes for it here…but I guess that would mean we couldn’t inhale them immediately, giving me a chance to photograph them. Lucky for you, I have been really pushy, bossy diligent about making sure I get photos of food before letting the boys at it since I want to have a stock pile of recipes and photos for once peanut arrives. I have a feeling I won’t be doing much cooking the first few weeks but I still want to pop in and share some yumminess with you all. But we all know what they say about the best laid plans so please forgive me if I am absent for a bit while we adjust to all these big changes.
Pumpkin Doughnut Holes
Speaking of all the changes coming up, have I mentioned that I’m kind of panicking. There are some days that I am literally checking the clock every few minutes, praying it will say 5:20 because that’s when Joel will be home and I’ll have some help. And that’s just with one. How am I going to handle two, while being sleep deprived? Those close to me know I need my sleep. Hah, this is going to be interesting. I know there is going to be a big adjustment and learning period and that we will get into a schedule that works for us. And I know we will have days that are just downright awful and Joel will come home to a crazed lunatic. But it will all work out, right? Right?
Pumpkin Doughnut Holes
Anyway, you’ve heard enough about my hopeful irrational fear of being a mother of two…back to the doughnut holes. Noah and I had a blast whipping these up. They were quick and easy to make with the cake pop maker and turned out super moist. But if you don’t have a cake pop maker, don’t worry. These can be baked up in mini muffin tins, they just won’t look as doughnut hole-y. They are the perfect spicy pumpkin breakfast this fall.
Pumpkin Doughnut Holes
Pumpkin Doughnut Holes
recipe from Polish the Stars

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
Cinnamon Sugar Coating:
1/2 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1. Preheat oven 350°F. Spray each cup of a mini muffin tin with cooking spray. Or, if you have a cake pop maker, plug it in to preheat.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until smooth. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
3. If baking in the oven, use a two tablespoon cookie scoop to divide batter among muffin cups until they are about 2/3 full.  Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you are using a cake pop maker, spoon about a tablespoon of batter into each hole, close the lid and cook for 4-6 minutes (only took 4 for mine).
4. Meanwhile, melt the butter. In another bowl, combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Remove muffins from oven or cake pop maker and cool for 2 minutes, or until just cool enough to handle. Dip each doughnut hole in melted butter, then roll in cinnamon sugar to coat.

Pumpkin Doughnut Holes

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins {Starbucks Copycat}

9 Sep

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
The other day I got a text from my aunt with a challenge…to recreate Starbucks pumpkin cream cheese muffins. Well, I can’t turn down a challenge, especially if it means I get to whip up something with pumpkin, my favorite dessert flavor.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
I can’t compare these to Starbucks because the day I planned on picking one up, for research purposes of course, my sugar levels were high at my appointment and my midwife decided to do another glucose check just to be safe. So I decided that it probably wouldn’t be the best thing to be scarfing down in case there is an issue.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
But what I can tell you is that these are some of the moistest (is that a word?) muffins I have ever made. The spices were rich and heavenly and don’t even get me started on the cream cheese filling. It was sweet and creamy which was a nice compliment to the pumpkin. Noah enjoyed eating just the tops of these muffins…smart kid.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
recipe adapted from food.com

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin
2 Tbsp. molasses
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Chopped pumpkin seeds, walnuts or pecans (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Cream together the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla. Dump onto on a piece of wax paper or parchment paper and shape it into a long log that is not any wider than a muffin cup. Put it in the freezer while you mix and fill the pans, up to an hour.

3. Meanwhile, mix together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda. In another large bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, pumpkin, oil and molasses together.

4. Unwrap the cream cheese mixture and cut with a sharp knife so each cream cheese disk equals 1-2 teaspoons.

5. Fill muffin tins (greased or paper cups) a little over half full. Put a cream cheese disc in the middle of each, pressing down. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon chopped nuts or pumpkin seeds.

6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean (do not touch the cream cheese mixture).

7. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove to racks to cool completely. Do not touch the cream cheese until it cools.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

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