Baked Oatmeal Chocolate Banana Muffins

I love, love, love oatmeal. When I was pregnant it was one of the few foods I could tolerate. My husband on the other hand hates it. 

But I am not willing to buy two sets of breakfast food every week. So I tasked myself with coming up with a way to make him love oatmeal. 

"Have you tried baked oatmeal?" my sister asked. I was interested. However, a lot of the recipes amounted to dessert. I am all about dessert, but not for breakfast... everyday. ;)

So I scoured the internet and I found a recipe, that with very little tweaking, I loved. And it was enough to make 12 muffins now, and have enough left in a pan to freeze for company. 

 Note: I used palm sugar in this recipe. It comes from the coconut and is believed to have a lower glycemic index, so it is a smidgen better for you than refined cane sugar. Who knows... it falls under the category of sexy ingredients. So if you don't feel like paying $.18 an ounce for it from Amazon, just use brown sugar. 

What you'll need:

5 cup old fashioned oats (not quick cook!)

3 eggs

1 cup palm sugar (or brown sugar)

1 cup unsweetened apple sauce (or 2/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce and 1/3 cup butter melted)

1 cup chocolate chips 

1 small banana cut up into pieces 

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup ground flaxseed (this is surprisingly cheap when purchased in your grocer's bulk section - $1.99 a pound at Publix)

1 Tablespoon cinnamon or more. I really like cinnamon

2 1/2 cups skim milk 

Preheat oven to 350 and get your muffin pan ready. 

Mix your apple sauce (and butter if your using butter) and sugar, eggs and banana. Mix, mix, mix. 

Stir in your oats, flaxseed, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add in your milk and chocolate chips and stir, stir, stir. 

Once everything is all melded together fill your muffin cups and slide into the oven. This will make either 2 dozen muffins or one dozen and enough to freeze in a 9 by 13 pan. 

(If your freezing you will need to thaw it completely before baking later.)

Focaccia Bread: World's Easiest Bread Recipe

I have already expressed to you my love for baking bread. But it is a long process and I don't have a lot of time.

There is the kneading and the waiting, the bulking and the punching. I don't have time for that mess. Do you?

But, I have discovered Focaccia Bread! It isn't just for snobby little downtown bistros. It does require a little kneading and a little waiting, but it takes a fraction of the time a loaf of bread would take. 

It is so simple and you use few ingredients and it makes a delicious bread. 

What you'll need:

1 teaspoon honey (or sugar)

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast 

1/3 cup warm water 

2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 unbleached)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

In a small bowl dissolve your yeast in the warm water and add in your honey and let sit for 2-3 minutes. 

In a larger bowl combine the yeast mixture with your flour. 

Flour a clean surface and knead for about 2 minutes. 

Spray a bowl with cooking spray and place your dough in the bowl. Roll it around to make sure it is coated with Pam. Cover with a dark, wet cloth and let sit for about 30 minutes. 

Preheat your oven to 375. Roll the dough out onto a floured pan and poke little dents in the top of the dough with the handle of a wooden spoon. Sprinkle with a little olive oil and dried onion, herbs or garlic salt. 

Bake 10 - 20 minutes

Honey Whole Wheat Bread - Great for Those days you need to punch something

Are you feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Do you feel some pent up aggression you are just dying to get out? Do you want to punch something and be productive at the same time? Might, I suggest bread making? 

I can't think of any other activity where you are encouraged to punch, pound and abuse something and you get to eat carbs when it is over.

This is a simple, delicous Honey Whole Wheat Bread I made the one time my son napped recently. 

It is time consuming, I'm not going to lie, but if you like to bake this is a good recipe for you. And, it only costs about $1.10 to make. 

What you'll need:

1 cup hot water

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tbsp honey

2 tbsp cup vegetable oil (or coconut oil if you prefer)

2/12 cups all-purpose flour

Cooking spray for your bowl

1 cup oats

First things first. Make sure you have a surface that is super clean that you can use to knead the dough when it comes time. 

Now, in a small bowl mix your hot water, yeast and honey. Stir this really well and let it sit for a couple minutes. 

Then mix in your whole wheat flour add in your salt and oil. Then mix in your all-purpose flour 1/2 cups at a time until you have dough.


Flour your surface.

Knead for 10 minutes. 

When your dough is smooth and stretchy place in a greased bowl and spray with Pam. Then cover with a dark, damp cloth. 

It will take about 45 minutes to double in bulk. Then you will punch it back down.

Shape the dough in to a loaf and roll in oats. Preheat your oven to 375. Place dough in the pan and let sit until it rises 1 - 1 1/2 inches above the rim of the pan. Slide into the oven and bake for 25 minutes. 

The leftovers challenge part 5: North Carolina Style BBQ Sandwich on a Homemade Roll



To visit the entire Pork Challenge Series and grab the button for your own blog, click here.

The Leftovers Challenge
<div align="center"><a href="/food/category/leftovers" title="The Leftovers Challenge"><img src="" alt="The Leftovers Challenge" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

We are crossing this pork challenge finish line and I have to say, I am happy to see it go. I am not sure I want to look at pork for a little while, if that's okay. But, I hope I've shown you all the money-saving options you have.

The final dish I have is a BBQ sandwich on a homemade roll. Sorry, I don't have a picture of the actual sandwich, my husband ate it before I could snap it. I guess it was that good.

You keeping saying North Carolina BBQ, what does that mean? Well, good question. The Carolina BBQ Sauce is a vinegar based, not tomato. I chose this because most recipes for BBQ sauce begin with catsup (ketchup) or other BBQ sauce, and to me, that's not really making anything.

Let's get started with our BBQ sauce.

What you'll need:

1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

1 cup molasses

1 cup honey

1 tsp Cayenne Pepper

2 tsp red pepper flakes

Pinch salt (I prefer kosher, but regular table salt is fine, too)

In a pan bring vinegar to low boil, add molasses and honey, bring to a rolling boil and allow to boil for 1 minute. Please, be very careful the pot can boil over. Reduce and let simmer, add seasonings and spice. Let simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool for a few minutes and then place in fridge to thicken.

* Note that I use mostly store brands. I LOVE store brands.

Roll recipe:

This roll is rich, buttery and flakey. It is great, trust me. You will want to make extras and stick in the freezer.

What you'll need:

1 cup hot water

2 tablespoons butter

1 large egg

3 all purpose flour or 1/2 and 1/2 white and whole wheat

2 tbsp honey

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon instant yeast

1 cup of flour for kneading

Preheat your oven to 350 and grease a pan. Go ahead and stick your pork in the oven because you will need to heat it up for about 15 minutes for you sandwich. Four sandwiches will use about 2 cup - 3 cups pulled pork.

In a bowl combine your water and yeast. Stir and let sit for one minute to activate yeast.

Then add honey and whisk together, add your egg.

In a separate bowl mix together your flour and salt. Pour liquid mix over flour and stir, stir, stir. At this point your dough should be pretty well combined.

Sprinkle a cup of flour onto a clean, flat surface and knead your dough for 10 minutes. This is a good way to release some pent up aggression.

After your are finished punching, I mean kneading. Place the dough back in the bowl and punch down some more.

Cover with damp, dark colored rag, and let sit for 20 minutes so that the dough can bulk back up.

Once that is complete pinch off a roll of dough and form a bun and place on greased cookie sheet.

You can spray the rolls with Pam and sprinkle with dried onion, poppy seeds, garlic, anything really. Bake for 15 minutes.

You will cut each roll in half with a  knife. Place the pork on each bun and cover in sauce.


Three (or four) ingredient bread

Beer Bread Final.JPG

This week we are all about simplicity. We have had a simple smoothie, a three ingredient cake and now a three (or 4) ingredient bread.

I have mentioned before that my husband and I are not big drinkers. Drinking isn't something we have a moral or spiritual issue with, we just don't do it very often. So a bottle of wine or beer will last for months in our fridge.

My husband bought a sample six pack at Publix a few months back and was trying this beer - Yeti. It didn't quite suit his tastes. He was about to pour it out when I made him stop.  I don't like to see anything wasted, but I don't drink beer at all. So I scoured the internet until I found this recipe. Okay, it's got to be more simple than that, right?

Why yes, yes, it is. Just Google Beer Bread or Soda Bread and you will find a host of recipes. I just tooled with this one a bit to make it fit what I had in my cabinet 

Let's get started.

What you'll need:

3 cups flour*

1 tbsp. baking powder 

3 tablespoons brown sugar or honey

1 - 12 ounce bottle of beer. 

* if you use three cups self-rising flour then you won't need the baking powder.

Preheat your oven to 350 and grease a bread pan.

Flour and beer.JPG

In a bowl sift or whisk your flour and baking powder. Add your honey and stir.

Then add your beer and mix, mix, mix.

beer bread batter.JPG

It will be clumpy. That is good.

Spread into your pan and pop it in the oven for about 55 minutes until it passes the knife test.

beer bread.JPG

This is really great with a little honey. (My husband put butter and honey on it and it was amazing.)

Summer (squash) time and the baking is easy

Happy Easter!

I hope you are all lounging around at home, sharing time with family, remembering that He is risen! Doesn't it give you such peace to know that you are loved so much by Jesus?

While you are enjoying this (hopefully) quiet and peaceful day why not take some time to bake with family? I love putting baby boy in his high chair and talking to him while I cook. We talk about colors, words and of course food. 

This past week I made a Summer Squash Bread. I know, it probably sounds terrible, but I promise you that it is amazing. You can't even taste the squash, it just gives is a buttery taste and texture. Also, the cinnamon and other spices give it great flavor. It's like my two favorite seasons, Summer and Fall, got together, had a baby and named it Summer Squash Bread. 

So let's get this show boat movin. 

Print recipe here.

What you'll need:

(Notice all my generic dollar store ingredients. You don't need what I call "sexy ingredients" to bake.)

3 eggs, beaten

2 cups sugar*

1 cup vegetable oil*

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons Pumpkin Pie Seasoning (nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and ginger if you can't find pie spice.)

2 cups shredded summer squash (One LARGE squash)

Preheat your oven to 350 and grease a bread pan (muffin pan etc.)

Whisk your eggs until they are fluffy and that beautiful yellow color and add your oil*.

Snap a (blurry) photo of your little helper.

Add your sugar and continue to stir.

Add your flour a smidge at a time. (I do all this by hand, but feel free to use an electric mixer. I'm just being difficult.)

Mix in your spices and baking powder. I add lots of spice, you can add a little, it's you're bread after all.

Next stir in your squash.

Once you have everything good and mixed, transfer if it to your pan and pop it in the oven for 45 minutes.

*You can use 3/4 cup sweetened apple sauce and 1/4 cup oil and reduce the sugar to 1/2 a cup. You will need to cook an additional 10 -15 minutes.