Simplifying Breakfast

When I was a new mom I had dreams of sitting around the table every morning, with Daddy leading devotions to smiling children memorizing Bible verses set on a backdrop of a hearty home cooked breakfast. I had no idea at the time that we would welcome one baby after another and that I’d have 12 years of rough mornings. We’d be up all night taking turns with a colicky baby and Darren would peel out of bed barely rested, just in time to throw on clothes and dash to work where he had a loaf of bread stashed for breakfast toast.

Read the rest at  and get the make ahead Always Ready Bran Muffin recipe that my family loves.

Zucchini Chocolate Cupcakes

At 3 pm everyone at my house gets the munchies.  I’ve taught my kids to be self-reliant when it comes to food.  It’s a habit of years of dealing with chronic illness. Now that I’m doing a bit better, I want to take back some of the kitchen control.  I like my kids learning to cook and make do, but I’m not loving the mess they leave behind.  It’s going to take some steady supervision to change the bad “clean up after yourself” habits I’ve allowed.  In the meantime, I’m being proactive by preparing after school snacks.  Rename these “muffins” and you can serve them for breakfast too :).

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Zucchini Chocolate Cupcakes are loaded with veggies, fiber and protein.  You can choose how you want to sweeten them.  I used a mixture of xylitol and sucanant.  To get the right texture, you should include real sugar for at least 1/3 of the sweetener.

You can also be creative with the flour you use.  I used fresh ground whole wheat flour, unbleached flour or a gluten free flour blend (if it has xanthan gum in it) will also work.  If you are using an alternate flour option, add it gradually and stop when the consistency is cake batter right.   Some flours (like coconut flour) absorb a ton more water than wheat flour and you will need quite a bit less.

Zucchini Chocolate Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt

1 3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 Tbs vanilla extract

2 cups shredded zucchini

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cloves

1/4 cup cocoa powder

2 1/2 cups flour

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a stand mixer, beat Greek yogurt with sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Stir in Zucchini.
  3. Add baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, cocoa powder, stirring well after each addition.
  4. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time, stirring just until incorporated. Do not add chocolate chips at this time.
  5. Fill greased or lined muffin cups 2/3 full.  (I like to use an ice cream scoop to measure it.)
  6. Sprinkle the top of each cupcake with 1/2 tsp of mini chocolate chips.
  7. Bake for 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  8. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing cupcakes to finish cooling.

Nutrition Information for Zucchini Muffins

Homemade Granola

This video first appeard May 7th, 2009.  It’s so easy to make granola that I thought it is worth bringing to the front. It is a great topper for oatmeal, yogurt, or other cereals.

Watch the video to see how easy it is to make homemade granola.  With the choice of the right ingredients, it’s inexpensive and nutritious.  I added mine to an inexpensive box of cornflakes for a multigrain “honey bunches of oats” type cereal.


Here’s the ingredient list:  Syrup:  3 T oil, 1/3 C honey, 1 T water, 1 t real maple extract


Grain:  2 C oats, 1 C rice crispies, 1/2 C cracked wheat, 1/2 C wheat germ, 2 T brown sugar, 1/4 t salt

(Next time I’d replace the cracked wheat with sunflower seeds.)

Here’s the video. I apologize it is so dark at the beginning, it gets better.

Do you have a favorite granola recipe?

Blueberry Oat Custard

I’m not a fan of plain oatmeal, but add a few eggs and cook it in milk instead of water and I’ll change my tune.  It’s also weight loss friendly and will fill you up.

blueberry oat custard

1 Cup rolled oats

2 Cups skim milk

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 teaspoon salt

2-4 packets truvia

1 cup blueberries (I used frozen wild blueberries from Costco)

Combine all but the blueberries in a sauce pan and mix with a large wisk.  Cook and stir until thickened and bubbling.  Remove from heat and stir in blueberries.  Serve with a dallop of whipped topping or vanilla yogurt.

Yields 3 cups of custard.  3 servings @ 223 calories, 43 g net carbs, 5 g fat, and 21 g protein.

If you have a dairy allergy, this recipe works well with almond milk.  Each serving would have 180 calories, 35 net carbs, 5 g fat, and 15g protein

French Toast Waffles

Happy Monday!  Here’s a quick and healthy recipe.  It’s so easy a 6 year old can do it. The obvious choice is to have these for breakfast, but the waffles sometakes make an appearance around here for lunch or dinner.  This is the first recipe I have my children cook when they are learning.  Flipping food on the griddle can be tricky to find just the right length of time to cook on each side, but the waffle iron cooks both sides at the same time and is self-timing.  It’s instant success with a smaller risk of getting burned. After that my kids have the confidence to try something a little harder.

french toast waffles

French Toast Waffles

Plug in your waffle iron to warm up, and coat with non-stick spray or butter.

Mix 2 eggs and 1/2 cup milk in a shallow bowl, mix well with a fork

Dip 100% whole grain sliced bread in the egg mixture on both sides.  Place the bread in the waffle iron, close the lid and wait for the ready light to come on.  Enjoy! 

This works with almond milk if you are dairy free, and gluten free or sprouted bread works too.

The Breakfast Cookie Formula

Thursday I showed you a yummy strawberry breakfast cookie recipe.  I’m the kind of girl who loves to experiment with new flavors and combinations. I use recipe formulas to do that.   I’m aware that there are people out there who are petrified of cooking without a specific recipe.  I’m married to one of them.  He needs the recipe to tell him every little detail or he’s paralyzed in the kitchen.  If this is you, and the idea of a recipe formula freaks you out, it’s ok, skip it and come back tomorrow :).

Here’s how it works, read down the list of suggestions and start pulling together combinations.  Maybe you’ll have a Maple Apple Pecan Breakfast Cookie.  Or a Ginger Peach Macadamia one.  It’s as limitless as your imagination.

Breakfast cookies 8

Breakfast Cookie Formula

1/4 cup fat (such as melted butter, melted coconut oil, or avocado oil)

1/4 cup thick liquid (such as buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream, applesauce, baby food, pureed spinach or more oil)

1/2 cup sticky sweetner (honey, agave, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, fiber yum or any combo.)

1/2 cup thin liquid (such as juice, milk, or tea)

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/4 cup flax meal

3/4 cup flour (whole wheat, almond meal, more flax, oat flour, buckwheat, amaranth)

1 tsp flavoring extract (such as vanilla, butterscotch, almond, orange, lemon, rum)

1/4 cup chopped nuts (sunflower seeds, almonds, pecans, macadamia, cashews, peanuts, walnuts)

1/2 cup dried fruit or baking chips (craisins, raisins, blueberries, snipped cherries, snipped apricots, chocolate chips etc)

1/2 cup fresh chopped firm fruit (such as blueberries, mulberries, strawberries, raspberries, apples, banannas, peaches, pears)

1/4-1/2 each of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, mace, allspice, etc)

1 tsp salt (if your nuts are salted leave this out)

MIx your wet, then your dry ingredients.  Scoop 1/4 cup fulls onto lined baking sheets and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until golden.

Have you thought of a flavor combination to try?  Leave a suggestion in the comments.

Strawberry Breakfast Cookies

Strawberry Breakfast Cookies

If you ever have a busy morning and wish there were somthing nutritious to grab and eat in the car on your way to wherever….these are for you.  They are mildly sweet and have a good amount of fiber and healthy fat to keep you satisfied.  These hold together well, even when made with gluten free ingredients and are a nice non-crumbly breakfast to go.

Breakfast Cookies 6 Breakfast cookies 9

Strawberry Breakfast Cookies

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup applesauce

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup milk (almond milk works fine)

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

3/4 cup whole grain flour (almond meal also works)

1/4 cup flax meal

1/2 cup craisins

1/2 cup diced strawberries

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together melted coconut oil and honey.  Beat in eggs, vanilla, applesauce and milk.

Stir in remaining ingredients

Use a 1/4 cup to scoop dough onto parchment or silpat lined baking sheets. Use a spatula to smooth them into round cookie shapes. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Breakfast cookies 11

The next morning I drizzled them with a little melted chocolate hoping the kids would eat them better.  They were pretty excited about it, but I liked them better plain.


Cream Cinnamon Rolls: Cooking With Brandon

cinnamon rolls 10

Cinnamon Roll Dough

1/2 cup warm milk

1 Tablespoon active dry yeast

1/4 cup melted butter

1/4 cup honey

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups whole wheat flour (you may need another 1/2 cup)

In a mixer, combine milk and yeast. Stir until yeast is soft.  Add butter and honey, mix well.  Add egg and mix well.  Add salt with the flour and stir until a soft dough forms that is not to sticky.  Knead well.  Let rise for 1 hour or until doubled.

cinnamon rolls 7 

Punch down dough and roll into a rectangle.  (Our rectangle was the size of our silicone baking sheet.)

cinnamon rolls 11

Spread the dough with softened butter.  (We used 1/4 cup, but you could use more or less.)

cinnaomn rolls 8

Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.  (We sprinkled until it looked good, but 1/2 cup sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon should be about right.)

cinnamon rolls 5 Roll up the dough so that the dough ends up as long as possible.

cinnaomn rolls 4 Cut the log into 12 rolls.  Dental floss works great for this. 

cinnamon rolls 6Place the rolls in a greased 9 x 13 pan. cinnamon rolls 2 Let rise for 1 hour.

cinnamon rolls 9 Mix 1 cup of sour cream (This was raw cream skimmed off the top of farm fresh milk that soured after 7 days.  As a substitute, use buttermilk, cultured sour cream, or yogurt mixed with 2 Tablespoons of milk.)  1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.  Mix well and pour over rolls.

cinnamon rolls 3

Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes.  Check the rolls after 20 minutes by pulling 2 gently apart to see if they are still doughy.

Mix a thin frosting with 1 cup of powdered sugar and 2 Tablespoons of milk or cream.  Drizzle over the rolls.  Serve warm with milk–Yum!

Hot Love for Breakfast

Here’s a great recipe, that may convert hot cereal haters to a bit of oatmeal for breakfast:

2 T butter, melted

2 eggs

1 C milk

1 1/4 C rolled oats

1/4 c brown sugar

1/2 t salt

1 t baking powder

Mix all and pour into a greast 7 x 11 baking dish.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Scoup into bowls and serve wtih milk, cream or our favorite Egg Nog!  (Egg Nog is on sale right now, as an after Christmas clearance.  Also Honey spiral cut hams are a geat deal too!)