Friday, September 28, 2012

Banana Cinnamon Pancakes

Did you know that all along, for this month of September, we're supposed to have been celebrating National Better Breakfast Month?! Who knew?? I certainly didn't. That is, until I read a blog post by Sally's Baking Addiction this week, sharing this fact with us all.

Who comes up with these holidays?! I'm not sure, but it is a fun reason to blog about something specific "in honor" of these crazy occasions. :)

At my bridal shower this summer, my mom gave me this really fun cookbook - the "I Do...Not Cook!" book. Now, we all know that that's not the case for me (ummm, hello, I have a baking/cooking blog!), but nonetheless, I always love new cookbooks! A few weeks back on a weekend morning when I had a little extra time (what's that? extra time?), I decided to try a new pancake recipe from this new book.

I didn't follow the recipe exactly though, and as you know, I rarely do follow a recipe to a "t" anyway.

The ingredients below are what I used in this recipe (and in parentheses are the originals for the ones I changed). This recipe makes about 6 medium-sized pancakes.


-1 cup flour, sifted
-1/4 tsp. salt
-2 tsp. baking powder
-1/2 tsp. baking soda
-1 egg
-1 Tbsp. oil
-1 cup yogurt (buttermilk)
-1 banana, thinly sliced (not in original recipe)
-3/4 tsp. cinnamon (not in original recipe)


Sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon together. In mixing bowl, beat egg. Add oil and yogurt to egg. Add flour mixture and stir gently. Fold in bananas.

Cook pancakes on griddle pan over medium heat. Drop batter by 1/4 cup-fulls onto griddle. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, or until the bottom side is lightly golden brown and the top side has bubbles starting to form. Flip, and cook for 2 or 3 more minutes until the other side is lightly golden brown. Serve with your favorite toppings, and enjoy!

The bananas and cinnamon, as mentioned above, were my own additions. I wanted to jazz these pancakes up a bit! I wanted to make them "better" in honor of this very important holiday, clearly.

Don't flip the pancakes the first time until you see bubbles on top! That's a trick I learned from my mom. :)

I was very happy with the fluffyness of these pancakes! They were light, airy, and perfect. 

I should have stopped at just eating the pancakes. But, I didn't. Sausages and an egg rounded out this "better breakfast." ;)

So good! I drizzled my pancakes with just a little pure maple syrup.

Good 'til the last drop. Er, bite.

If you're looking for other "better" breakfast ideas, definitely check out Sally's Baking Addiction for some amazing looking recipes!!

Happy Friday, all!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Baking with Mixes: King Arthur Flour Harvest Pumpkin Whole Grain Scone Mix

In the baking world, professional and amateur, I know that people have different feelings on the use of know, the pre-made mixes of dry ingredients for cakes, brownies, cookies, muffins, etc. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that I do use mixes every now and then, and generally speaking, I don't have a problem with them. Sometimes, the convenience and ease of mixes are just too hard to pass up! If you need to make something quick and easy, baking from a mix may be the way to go. That being said, I do prefer to bake from scratch as much as possible and use mixes on a fairly infrequent basis.

I recently received a box of King Arthur Flour's harvest pumpkin whole grain scone mix as a gift, and I have to say, I was quite excited about it! Although I've made homemade pumpkin scones in the past that were deeelicious, with the super busy summer and fall we've had/are having (you know, with that thing called a wedding?! :)), I am definitely on the lookout for shortcuts in the kitchen that still end up with tasty results. So a few days ago with a crisp, fall chill in the air, the perfect mood struck me to bake these scones and celebrate fall!

The steps to make these couldn't be any easier. First, into the dry ingredients, you cut cold butter until the mixture is crumbly. Next you add an egg and some milk and stir until just moistened. Oh, and by the way, I actually added about 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. cinnamon to the dry ingredients that were already a part of the mix.

At this point, when the wet and dry ingredients were fully mixed, I added a special little Barbershop touch with the addition of one of my favorite kinds of baking chips, Hershey's cinnamon chips! Love these.

Of note, it's really hard to take a picture while pouring chips into a bowl. Just sayin'...

Scones, on the silpat, all set for the oven!

Fresh out of the oven! You can even spot a little speck of melted butter in the scone in the center there. Mmmmmm...

These scones had an awesome texture and were not dry in the least. And the flavors were outstanding! I'm sure they would have been delicious if I had followed the box instructions exactly, but I'm glad I added the cinnamon chips.

Are you wondering what's in the King Arthur Flour mix? Well, let me share that with you. Here are the ingredients listed on the box:

King Arthur white whole wheat flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour), sugar, pumpkin flakes, crystallized ginger (ginger, cane sugar), molasses (molasses, maltodextrin), baking powder (monocalcium phosphate, baking soda, cornstarch), spices.

So, as you can see, the ingredients really aren't that far off from what you'd make if you made scones from scratch. As far as this particular mix goes, I say definitely go ahead and use it if you need or want a shortcut! 

The end result is pretty awesome.

These scones scream fall.


And if you're in the mood to experiment with mixes, I thought I'd remind you of a few of my past recipes that involved mixes. Most of these recipes involve "doctoring" the mix quite a bit.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Monkey Bars (these use a brownie mix)

Darn Good Chocolate Cupcakes (these use a chocolate cake mix)

Easy Pumpkin Crumble Cake (this uses a yellow or white cake mix)

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies (these use a yellow cake mix)

Pretzel M&M Cake Mix Cookies (these use a yellow or chocolate cake mix)

Tomato Soup Spice Cake (this uses a spice cake mix)

And of course, I can't forget my "famous" Cake Mix Cookies (these can be made with just about any kind of mix!).

These last two pumpkin recipes are great fall desserts, by the way. You may want to think about making them this season. ;)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Putting Things in Perspective: Being Thankful

Earlier this week my wallet was stolen....right from my desk drawer in my office where I work. Needless to say, it was a very upsetting experience for me. I've never had anything stolen from me, and to have my wallet with so many essentials (e.g., credit cards, driver's license, debit card, etc.) taken from me really threw me for a loop. After spending the past couple days trying to get my life back in order by calling credit card companies, getting a new license, and the 1,000 other things that come with the recovery process after your wallet is stolen, I have finally calmed down a bit and am able to put the situation into perspective. I was going to share a recipe with you today, but since my week has been bogged down by the wallet situation, I thought, why not write about it? Although this is a food blog, I do reserve the right to go off on a non-food tangent if I want to. ;)

Am I still angry about my wallet being stolen? Yes. But I'll get over it. Although with my anger though, I'm also feeling very thankful at the same time. I'm thankful that the thief did not also take my digital camera, my iPod, my cell phone, or my keys, which were also all near my wallet in my desk. I'm thankful that I wasn't hurt. I'm thankful that no items of my coworkers were stolen, nor were they hurt. My stolen wallet is basically just a huuuge hassle. It's not a disaster or a tragedy, and for that I need to be thankful.

In the grand scheme of things, this situation certainly is not the end of the world (although at the moment I realized my wallet was gone I felt like it was). As the day went on and I took the necessary steps to move on, I became more reflective. I tend to be a fairly optimistic person, and I also am very aware that I have many blessings in my life. However, sometimes when life gets so busy and fast-paced, we lose sight of those blessings. So I thought I'd turn this unfortunate situation into a positive one and take this opportunity to mention some of the things for which I am thankful.

-my good health
-my amazing family
-my wonderful friends
-my fabulous fiance (only 43 days to go!)
-a roof over my head
-good food to eat
-the ability to exercise
-a stable job that I enjoy
-living in beautiful New England

This is definitely not a comprehensive list though, friends! The list really goes on and on and on... But this stolen wallet situation is such a good reminder to reflect and be thankful for the many positives in my life.

I'm also thankful to have this avenue of my blog to share great recipes and stories with you. I appreciate how many of you visit my blog and read my posts. I know that my posts aren't that fancy and my pictures aren't that awesome, but many of you still read my blog, and I really, truly appreciate that. I'm very grateful that I have a love for cooking and baking and the skills to create yummy dishes to share with family and friends.
I'll be back next week with some recipes, but for now, I invite you to join me and be thankful for the various blessings you have in your life...

Have a great weekend, blog friends. :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Apple Cinnamon Yogurt Muffins

Have you gone apple picking yet this fall? I hope so! 'Tis the season after all. ;) I was fortunate enough to go apple picking while on my bachelorette party this past weekend. So much fun!

Since I came home from the weekend with many apples, obviously I had to bake with them! The funny thing is that the first thing I baked (these muffins) only used two apples though. So I have a several more to use up...or eat!

This recipe is adapted from King Arthur Flour. I made a couple small changes though. Instead of dark brown sugar, I used light brown sugar. And instead of buttermilk, I used vanilla yogurt.


-1 cup whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1 tsp. baking powder
-1 tsp. baking soda
-1/4 tsp. salt
-1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
-1 large egg, lightly beaten
-1 cup light plain or vanilla yogurt (or buttermilk)
-2 large apples, peeled and chopped


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a muffin pan or line with paper liners. Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; set aside. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well. Mix in the yogurt gently. Mix in the dry ingredients until well-incorporated, and then stir in the apple chunks.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full. Sprinkle the tops with additional brown sugar. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes in pan before removing to cooling rack to cool completely.

I actually put some batter into my super fun muffin top pan too, and I ended up making 4 muffin tops and 11 regular sized muffins with this batter.

Muffin tops!

See that muffin in the front right of this photo? Yeah, it's half eaten. I did that.

Oops. :)

I just couldn't resist when it was warm, fresh out of the oven!!

I forgot to take pictures of the muffins and muffin tops before I brought them to work to share, so I just took a few pics of the muffin top that I enjoyed at my desk for breakfast. I looove the muffin tops! They're so fun and light n' fluffy.

If you don't have a muffin top pan yet, you should strongly consider purchasing one. It's awesome!

These muffins had great texture, lots of flavor, and were very moist. A keeper of a recipe, for sure!

Although fall is not officially here yet, it has definitely already arrived in my kitchen. :)

A picture of the ladies at the orchard from my awesome bachelorette weekend!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pumpkin, Peanut Butter, & Banana Quesadillas

It's pumpkin season!! I know I'm being redundant when I say that I love pumpkin, but it just can't be said enough. :-D

Pumpkin season is definitely here, and I'm all about it! Remember that squash, er pumpkin, smoothie I recently made? Well, I still had a little bit of the leftover canned squash (but for my purposes today, I'm going to call it pumpkin from here on out), so I was trying to come up with other ways to use it.

For an easy breakfast or snack, this pumpkin, peanut butter, and banana quesadilla is a great way to use up some of that leftover canned pumpkin you might have this fall.

First, grab yourself a soft tortilla/wrap. Next, spread some of the pumpkin on one side of it and some peanut butter on the other side. I used chunky pb, simply because that's what I had on hand at the time (which is unusual too, as normally I have creamy!). 

Next, slice up a banana and spread the slices on one side of the wrap.

Fold the wrap over, and spread a teeny bit of butter on both sides. Then just cook it on the stove like you would any other quesadilla! Cook until both sides are lightly golden brown.

Serve and enjoy!

The inside of this quesadilla was awesome. Soooo delicious! 

The flavor combo of these three ingredients was top notch, I tell ya.

Check out that warm, melty, ooey gooey center...

Seriously. Such a fun breakfast or snack!
You neeeed to go make yourself one!! :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Busy as a Beaver (And I Can't Wait for Fall :))

That's what I've been lately - busy as a beaver! Currently, every spare moment I have is spent doing wedding tasks since we're in the final stretch! I'm sorry that, yet again, I don't have a recipe for you today. I just don't have the attention span right now to put a recipe post together!

So what will I share with you instead? I'll share with you more things I'm looking forward to this fall! And a disclaimer: this is not a complete list. There are many other things I'm looking forward to this fall in addition to what's on this list!

My first pumpkin spice latte from "the 'buck." :)

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I plan to get one this week as a nice treat! The mornings have totally felt like fall lately, and I'm in love. :)

Apple picking!!!!

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Warm apple cider donuts...

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Baking fall-shaped sugar cookies!

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Everything pumpkin, obvi. ;) You know that from my last post!

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Fall hikes. Beautiful foliage.

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Butternut squash!

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I'm thinking I need to make some butternut squash apple soup this fall... I can taste it now.

Jeans. Sweaters. Sweatshirts. Boots. Scarves.

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Fall clothes are my favorite.

And of course, my favorite holiday - Thanksgiving! I realize it's over a couple months away still, but I already can't wait for it. :)

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What are you looking forward to this fall?!?