Baked Oatmeal with Berries

baked oatmeal

Gotta love when you make a recipe, just knowing that your kiddo will love it. And then, rejection. Wouldn’t even give it a try.

My Clare is a huge fruit fan so I was so confident that she’d love this baked oatmeal with berries and we’d enjoy it together for breakfast all week. Easy, mostly healthy, colorful – just what a mom wants to make for her kid. But then you end up eating the whole dish yourself because they refuse to even taste and see. Ah well, the best laid breakfast plans…

This recipe is super simple to toss together and pop in the oven. Even though Clare isn’t a fan, I’ve continued to make a pan for my own breakfast since it’s quick and easy to reheat some in a bowl each morning. I like to add a splash of milk to make it extra moist and creamy. So delicious, especially right now when berries are plentiful and cheap.

This version is layered with fresh strawberries and blueberries but you can totally mix it up with other fruit and berries that are in season or that you prefer. Or you can even make it plain and jazz it up separately if wanted. I like to throw in some extra healthy additions sometimes like a handful of chia seeds or almonds. So go ahead and get creative!

Enjoy!

Baked Oatmeal with Berries

Ingredients: 
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups fresh berries (strawberries sliced)

Yield: 6-8 servings

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter/grease a 2 1/2 quart baking dish.

Combine the oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Place half of the oat mixture in the baking dish, top it with half of the berries, then top with the remaining oat mixture.

Whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla, and melted butter. Pour over the oats. Gently shake the baking dish back and forth from side to side to allow the wet mixture to get down into the oats. Top the oats with the remaining berries.

Bake uncovered for about 40 minutes, until oats are tender, and the mixture is set. Serve immediately with a splash of milk, or let it cool, then cover and refrigerate to reheat later.

Source:  So Fab Food

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Coconut Chocolate Chip Scones

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I love a good scone and have made all sorts of flavors. This is one of my absolute favorite recipes and is perfect if you happen to have some leftover coconut milk to use up. The chocolate/coconut combo makes it taste like a Mounds bar and the texture is perfect – nice and soft on the inside and slightly crisp on the outside.

Now, these are mighty delicious without the glaze, but I definitely recommend adding it for some extra sweetness and indulgence. I love using my favorite scone pan to make them into cute triangles but you can totally just use an ice cream scoop and make little round scones instead.

Hope that you enjoy – these would be SO perfect for an upcoming Mother’s Day brunch!

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Coconut Chocolate Chip Scones

Ingredients:
2 cups plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1/2 cup or more chocolate chips (I used mini ones)

For the glaze:
2 Tbsp coconut milk
1/4 tsp coconut extract
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Yield: 1 dozen scones

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet OR prepare your scone pan. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, granulated sugar, and shredded coconut in a bowl. Beat in the butter with a mixer on low speed, then raise the speed to high and beat until the mixture is in coarse crumbles.

Whisk the coconut milk, eggs, and coconut extract in another bowl, then stir into the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips; do not overmix!

Scoop 2-3 inch mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheets (a large ice cream scoop works well for this) OR divide the dough into the scone pan. Warning, the dough is a bit sticky so to make it easier to work with, I recommend spraying your hands/utensils with non-stick cooking spray. Bake the scones until golden brown, 15-17 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze. Whisk the coconut milk, coconut and vanilla extracts, and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl until smooth. Drizzle over the scones while still slightly warm.

Source: Slightly adapted from Food Network

Garlic Basil Pizza Dough

garlic basil pizza dough

One of our family food traditions is Friday night homemade pizza night. Growing up, we had pizza for dinner on Fridays too so I love carrying on this tradition in my own family. When I was first married and didn’t really know how to cook yet, I totally went the frozen pizza route. But then when I learned more about the art of homemade bread and pizza dough, I was hooked. (dough hook pun intended)

I used a different dough recipe for the longest time then tried this Garlic Bread Pizza Crust recipe once and loved it. I tweaked and simplified it a bit along the way and now it’s my go-to pizza dough recipe every week. If you’re new to homemade dough and using yeast, please don’t be intimidated! If you just make sure to keep the warm water at the right temperature, there’s not much that can go wrong with this recipe. (knock on wood) It’s pretty resilient!

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One major plus for this recipe is that it makes enough dough for two pizzas. Score!! Right now, I just use half of it for a full round pizza that Jason and I share and then I use a little portion to make a tiny pizza for Clare on a mini cast iron skillet. This is a huge advantage because then I just have to make the dough every other week and simply freeze the other half. Then as our family grows or if we have company over, I don’t have to double the recipe. At least not yet!

To freeze the dough for later use, simply put it in a Ziplock bag that’s been sprayed with a little non-stick spray on the inside to keep it from sticking. Squeeze out the air, seal the bag, and pop it in the freezer. When you’re ready to use it, set out the bag at room temperature for about 4-5 hours or keep it overnight in the refrigerator to defrost. Since I’m home during the day, I always just take it out of the freezer during Clare’s nap time, set it on the counter, and it’s back to life in time for dinner!

Also, I love the added garlic and basil flavor in the dough but if that’s not your thing, you can totally keep it simple and leave them out. Or add other herbs/flavors if you want to mix it up!

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Another tip is that you can use the same dough recipe to make homemade stromboli. Again, just use half of the dough and spread it out into a rectangle on a prepared baking sheet. Top it with any sort of meat/cheese/veggies you like. My usual is turkey deli meat and/or pepperoni, sliced mozzarella or provolone, then a sprinkle of garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Roll it up and keep it seam down on the pan. Pinch the ends with a fork or your fingers, sprinkle a little more Italian seasoning on top, and prick a few holes on the top with a fork to let the air out while it cooks. Bake it at 375 degrees F for the same 22-25 minutes until it’s crisp and brown on the outside. Let it sit and cool for a few minutes then slice it with a knife or pizza cutter and serve with some pizza or marinara sauce for dipping.

I hope that yall enjoy this recipe and maybe make Friday night homemade pizzas a thing in your home too!

Garlic Basil Pizza Dough

Ingredients:
1 1/8 cups warm water (100-105 degrees F)
3 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 Tablespoons honey
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
Whatever pizza sauce and toppings you want!

Yield: 2 pizzas

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, honey, and olive oil. Mix it with a spoon, then let it sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the flour, salt, garlic powder, and dried basil. Mix it with a dough hook (preferred), stir with a spoon, or mix with your hands until the dough comes together. It should be smooth, not sticky. Spray the same bowl with non-stick spray then place the dough inside. Cover the bowl with a light towel and place it in a warm place to rise for at least 1 1/2 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. After the dough has risen, using a rolling pin or your hands, form it into your desired shape on a greased pizza/baking pan. Place the towel back over the dough and let it sit in the warm place for 10 more minutes before topping.

Continue to make the pizza with your desired sauce and toppings. Bake the pizza for 22-25 minutes or until the crust and cheese are both golden. Let the pizza set for a minute, then slice and serve! (see above for stromboli directions)

Source: Adapted from How Sweet Eats

Super Simple Black Bean Soup

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With only three ingredients, this soup is quick and simple to make without sacrificing flavor. It can be served as a main course on a cold day or in addition to a full on fiesta.

You can blend the soup till it’s totally pureed and smooth or if you like a chunkier soup that still has whole beans, that’s ok too! An immersion blender is definitely the easiest and preferred way to go when blending hot soups, but a regular blender can work as well. Just please be extra careful and make sure to hold the lid down very tightly, otherwise it’ll pop off and you’ll be stuck with a mess and possible burns. Or if you have the time, let it cool first then blend and reheat when needed.

This soup can easily be made vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. And while the soup is delicious by itself, adding some toppings really sets it off. Top a bowl with some sour cream, shredded cheese, guacamole, tomatoes, jalapeños, green chiles, or whatever you like best. Use some crusty bread or tortilla chips to dip or add a side of my personal favorite, avocado on toast!

Super Simple Black Bean Soup

Ingredients:
2 cans black beans (15.5 oz cans)
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles (10 oz can)
1 cup chicken broth

Yield: 4-6 servings

Directions:
Combine all three ingredients in a medium pot and mix together. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the pot from the stove and blend the soup until it’s smooth using an immersion blender (preferred) or in a regular blender. Serve while hot and top with your favorite garnishes.

Source: Slightly adapted from Honey and Birch

Cranberry Orange Pecan Bread

cranberry bread

This bread, yall. I’m seriously drooling just writing this post. These flavors make one of my favorite combinations. The tart cranberries, sweet oranges, and savory pecans taste just like the holidays wrapped up in a loaf of bread.

This makes one large loaf but you can definitely make it into mini loaves which make great gifts or muffins to grab for breakfast. One awesome thing I’ve learned lately is that you can freeze fresh cranberries. Seriously just pop the whole bag in the freezer and take them out as needed, which is a handy trick when you find a good sale and stock up so you can make this delicious bread all year round!

Cranberry Orange Pecan Bread

Ingredients:
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 Tbsp grated orange zest
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2/3 cup buttermilk
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp table salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries (6 ounces), coarsely chopped

Yield: 1 loaf

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together the orange juice, zest, buttermilk, butter, and egg; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients until just moistened. Gently stir in the cranberries and pecans but do not overmix.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake for 20 minutes then reduce heat to 350 degrees. Continue to bake until it’s golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of loaf comes out clean, about 45 minutes longer. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before serving, at least 1 hour.

Source: Sweet Pea’s Kitchen, originally from Baking Illustrated

Classic Pumpkin Bread

pumpkin bread

This time of year, we have a steady supply of pumpkin bread in our home. My mom has used this recipe for forever and it’s my absolute favorite. One batch makes two loaves but you can easily half it if wanted. Or you can share that second loaf with a lucky person. Whether you enjoy a slice for breakfast or as a snack, just be sure to make yourself some while pumpkin flavored everything is in season!

Classic Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups sugar
1 cup oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
2 cups canned pumpkin

Yield: 2 loaves

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine sugar, oil, and eggs in bowl and mix together. Add all other ingredients and mix until combined but do not over mix.

Pour the batter into two 9x5x3 loaf pans. Bake for 60-80 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire racks until completely cool and wrap/cover to keep it fresh.

Source: My mom’s recipe

Spinach Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette, Feta, and Candied Pecans

strawberry spinach salad

This is one of my all time favorite salads – it’s almost identical to one that was served where I used to work. All of us ladies in the office were hooked on it! Not only is it beautiful and colorful, but it’s healthy and delicious too. Well, if you count candied pecans as healthy. I think we will.

The homemade strawberry vinaigrette is so easy to make in your blender and is sweet from the berries and sugar plus a little tart from the balsamic vinegar. Plus, pink dressing makes everything awesome. The candied pecans give the salad a nice little crunch and texture plus add protein to the dish. They’re very simple to make on the stovetop with only three ingredients and seriously take this salad to another level. I may or may not have snacked on them as I cooked…

Then sprinkle on some crumbled feta (goat cheese would work nicely too) and sliced fresh strawberries and you are all set. I also often add some grilled chicken to make the salad an extra filling meal. Hope that you enjoy!

Spinach Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette, Feta, and Candied Pecans

Ingredients:

For the dressing:
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed and sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper

For the candied pecans:
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup pecan halves
3 Tbsp sugar

For the salad:
Baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried if needed
Sliced strawberries, for topping
Feta cheese crumbles

Yield: Enough dressing and pecans for at least 4 salads

Directions:
To make the dressing, simply combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. (add a little more berries or sugar to taste if you think it needs more sweetness)

To make the candied pecans, melt the butter in a small non-stick skillet over medium heat. Toss in the sugar and pecans, stirring to evenly coat. Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring often, until the sugar begins to caramelize and the pecans brown. Spread the pecans out on a lined baking sheet to cool.

To serve, arrange the spinach on a plate or in a salad bowl and add the candied pecans, feta crumbles, and sliced strawberries. Drizzle on the vinaigrette when you’re ready to eat. Enjoy!

Source: Candied pecans from One Little Project and vinaigrette is adapted from Vegetarian Perspective