Blueberry Bagel Bake

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I am one frugal gal… This morning, I searched through the fridge for left overs that looked to be past their prime. In the very back corner, I spotted a half eaten bag of blueberry bagels and I thought that they might taste delicious added to a breakfast bake made up of eggs, milk, bagels, and apples. To my delight, the end product tasted delicious!

Blueberry Bagel Bake

4 stale blueberry bagels, cubed (Use any flavor you like)
1 large apple, cored, peeled, and chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Place cubed bagels in a greased deep dish pie plate; set aside. In a small microwave safe bowl, mix apple, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Microwave until apple is soft and juices bubble; about 3 minutes on high. Pour mixture over bagels; mix well. In a medium bowl, mix eggs, milk, vanilla and almond extract. Pour over bagel mixture making sure bread is completely soaked. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. Serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and syrup.

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Gingerbread Holiday Cookies

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Gosh, I love this time of year…I am especially happy this week because my K is coming home from college for the holiday weekend! We have missed seeing her smiling face around the house. She is a student athlete so she hasn’t been allowed to come home since the beginning of the school year. Her most common complaint while away at school is that she misses mom’s cooking and baking.
Well, I have been baking all morning getting ready for her arrival tomorrow. In the past two hours, I have made Mary’s Irish Scones, Grandma’s Brown Bread, a batch of Jumbo Oatmeal Cowboy Cookies and these Gingerbread Holiday Cookies. I downloaded the gingerbread cookie recipe many years ago from the Martha Stewart website after seeing her make them on her weekly television program. I have been making this recipe for the holidays ever since. (Using various cookie cutter shapes to reflect Thanksgiving and Christmas symbols…stars, leaves, turkeys, candy canes, gingerbread men, etc.)
I will be starting on some of K’s favorite savory meals this afternoon. …Can’t wait to have the family back together for the holidays!
Happy Thanksgiving to all those living in the United States…Happy Day to those living elsewhere! 😉

Unbelievably Moist Banana Snack Cake

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Well, the weather outside has quickly turned from a mild Autumn of wind and rain to a wintery mix of cold and snow…I fear that our Midwest winter weather is here to stay for a while.
This recipe is perfect for a cold and dreary day indoors while the snow falls outside. I love to brew a cup of English tea and slice up this moist and flavorful cake. I am always amazed that mixing this simple list of ingredients together can produce such a delicious treat. By the way, this is a another great cake to pack in the lunchbox.

Unbelievably Moist Banana Snack Cake

1 2/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup mashed ripe bananas
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Confectioners’ sugar

In a large bowl, combine flour and baking soda. In another bowl, whisk brown sugar, water, banana, oil, and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients, just until moistened. Transfer to greased 8″ square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Dutch Apple Pancake

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I have great memories of our years living in Chicago with our young family. One of my favorite breakfast spots was a neighborhood restaurant called “The Original Pancake House”. We would pack up the kids after mass on Sunday and head up Western Avenue to the local restaurant. As we walked in the door, nearly every table held a plate or two filled with a puffed apple pancake sprinkled with powdered sugar and topped with a dollop of butter.
When we moved out of state, I vowed to duplicate the recipe myself so that we could forever enjoy the deliciousness of our favorite pancake.
This morning, I pulled out a few ingredients and made my version of the recipe for the family. This pancake presents beautifully for a special occasion but it’s certainly easy enough to whip up any time.

Dutch Apple Pancake

2 Golden Delicious apples, cored, peeled, and thinly sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Heat oven to 425°. Put an oven-proof 9- or 10-inch skillet or round baking pan in the oven. In a bowl, combine the apple slices with brown sugar and cinnamon; toss gently to coat well. In another bowl, mix flour with salt. In a large cup or small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of the melted butter.
Take the pan out of the oven and add remaining butter; swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Arrange apple slices in the bottom of the pan. Pour batter over apples. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until puffed and lightly browned. Serve with syrup and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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Sweet Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins

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A great sale on canned pumpkin has got me looking through my clippings and notebooks for recipes that include pumpkin purée. When I stumbled across this recipe for pumpkin corn bread muffins, I thought it might be the perfect recipe to revisit. Corn meal and pumpkin purée add an interesting texture to these moist muffins and this is another great recipe that packs well in the lunchbox. I often add a crunchy cinnamon topping to the recipe just before baking. This is completely optional but it adds sweetness and texture to the outside of the muffin making it taste more like a sweet bread. It also tastes great with a cup of tea or coffee when you’re looking for a quick breakfast item.

Sweet Pumpkin Corn Bread Muffins

1 cup flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs, well beaten
1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin purée
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Topping
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
In a large bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the eggs, pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, milk and oil.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture. Stir until blended; do not over mix. Fold in pecans. Divide the batter evenly among prepared muffin tin cups. To make topping, mix together brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in butter with a fork. Sprinkle evenly over muffin tops. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Roasted Smashed Potatoes

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This is a fancy potato recipe that serves as a quick and easy side dish for beef, chicken, or pork. Look for small red potatoes about 1 1/2- 2″ in diameter for best results. I often use multi-colored fingerlings as well. This cooking method produces a crispy outer skin yet leaves a soft tender center in the bite-sized potatoes. Season them with your favorite herbs and spices. I have served them with breakfast, along side bacon and eggs. And they are equally delicious served along side a sirloin steak or chicken breast with a green vegetable side dish.

Roasted Smashed Potatoes

2 pounds small red potatoes
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper to taste

Place washed potatoes in a large pot and cover completely with water. Season with kosher salt and bring to a boil; simmer until potatoes are tender when knife is inserted in the center. Drain.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Drizzle 3 tablespoons oil over potatoes and roll to coat. Space potatoes evenly on a baking sheet. With the bottom of a measuring cup, press down evenly on each potato, flattening potatoes to about 1/3 to 1/2″ thick. Sprinkle with rosemary leaves and garlic powder. Season generously with salt and pepper; drizzle evenly with remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Roast potatoes on top rack 10 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to bottom rack and continue to roast until potatoes are well browned, about 20-25 minutes longer. Serve immediately.

Granola Topped Apple Morning Muffins

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Recently, I combined three of my favorite recipes to make these delicious muffins. It seems I have been making granola and applesauce quite regularly these past few months. Often, I have a little bit of each left after making lunches for the week. About a month ago, I decided to put the scraps to use by incorporating them into a muffin recipe. I folded the chunky homemade applesauce into a basic muffin recipe and sprinkled granola over the top of each muffin. My granola recipe has a bit of maple syrup in it so it adds another layer of flavor to the crunchy topped muffins. (Substitute your own favorites, if you would like.)
These muffins look and smell delicious as they come out of the oven. It’s hard to resist brewing a hot cup of coffee and sitting down with one of these gems in the early morning hours, as a new day begins.

Granola Topped Apple Morning Muffins

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups applesauce
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup chopped pecans, optional
Granola for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Stir in applesauce. Combine the flour, baking soda and spices; stir into creamed mixture. Fold in nuts.
Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Sprinkle granola over individual muffins. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. This makes about 2 dozen regular-sized muffins.

Here is the link for the chunky applesauce and granola topping