Ever since my children were small we have had a tradition of making a Cinnamon Roll Christmas Tree. The best part about this tradition is that it is fast to create, can be decorated by your kids, and it is something they will look forward to every year.
There is no recipe to this one unless you are feeling ambitious and want to create some easy bread machine cinnamon rolls to make this with, which is something I love to do on Christmas morning!
Shape these into a Christmas tree shape on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake as directed on the packaging. Tint the icing green with a few drops of food coloring and let them decorate the rolls themselves.
I slide the rolls off of the hot cookie sheet and let them decorate while they are still hot, reducing the risk of burn elbows and arms by removing that hot sheet.
This recipe is practically fool-proof, unless you were up with a screaming baby one night and on Christmas morning grabbed blue instead of green.
And maybe you declared it the year of the retro Christmas tree.
Continuing with our Thanksgiving theme this week, today I wanted to share an easy recipe for Cranberry Pancake Syrup made from your leftover cranberry sauce. This cranberry pancake syrup recipe is made from two simple ingredients; your leftover cranberry sauce and maple syrup.
Walmart challenged me to create a recipe using some of our Thanksgiving leftovers and I immediately thought of this idea that I had for our leftover cranberry sauce.
This was the first year that I made my own cranberry syrup for Thanksgiving and I loved it so much that I wanted to use it as an ingredient in another dish that we could share after the holidays were over. This Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce was so heavenly that I knew it would be the perfect accompaniment with a big stack of pancakes.
I couldn’t put this sauce on just any pancakes though, it had to be our family favorite- the Fluffy & Light Pumpkin Pancakes that we share (almost) weekly on Sundays in the autumn months.
When the pumpkin and cranberry are combined together, it is like experiencing Thanksgiving Day all over again! I hope you can give these a try with your own leftover cranberry sauce. I promise, it is a recipe that will not disappoint!
Apple season is one of my favorite produce seasons and one of my favorite snacks in the Fall months. Today I am sharing a recipe for slow cooked honeycrisp apple oatmeal that you are going to love for a warm and satisfying breakfast on these chilly Fall mornings. The best part about all of this though, is my incredible tip for getting creamy oats that won’t burn or stick to your slow cooker.
I am working with Walmart and they wanted me to share with you that the Apple Fest season is in full swing at the store. You may have noticed the huge display of fun apples, apple totes, and apple treats/dips that are now displayed in your produce section. One of the things that you may not have noticed though is that tags on each bin of apples shares exactly what each variety of apple is perfect for- whether it be salads, baking, or just eaten fresh. I found it really helpful when choosing which apples to use in my recipes and it can be a great way to experiment with a new variety of apple you haven’t tried before.
Often when it comes to baking, I reach for a Granny Smith apple. When researching different varieties of apples that are best to bake with, I discovered that the Honeycrisp Apple and the McIntosh apple were both great varieties to choose when baking. I decided to put the Honeycrisp Apple to work in an overnight oatmeal recipe.
I admit that I have never had good success with overnight oats. The oats were usually burnt or overcooked and I always had a hard time getting my slow cooker clean after a batch.
That is why I am so excited to share with you this easy technique to create a double boiler right in your slow cooker. Find a oven-proof dish that you can place inside of your slow cooker and spray it well with a little cooking spray. Place your oatmeal ingredients right inside of the the dish and then, using a liquid measuring cup, pour water around the dish to create a water bath. It doesn’t need to be really full, just an inch or so. Set your slow cooker to LOW and you will have perfectly creamy oatmeal with no burnt spots every single time.
I can’t wait for you to try this recipe in your kitchen!
This recipe can be personalized according to your family's dietary needs or what variety of apple is on sale at the grocery store. I loved preparing this one with almond milk! Try my technique for creating your own double-boiler to get a creamier oatmeal!
1 cup steel cut oats (NO substitutions)
3½ cups milk (or milk substitute)
1 Honeycrisp apple, diced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray. Place the steel cut oats, milk, honeycrisp apple, butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, and vanilla extract into a slow cooker, and stir to combine and dissolve the sugar.
Cover the cooker, set to Low, and allow to cook 6 to 7 hours (for firm oats) or 8 hours (for softer texture).
I can’t think of two ingredients I am loving more than pumpkin and quinoa right now. Today’s recipe is a deliciously satisfying pairing of pumpkin and quinoa together in this Pumpkin Nut Quinoa Breakfast. The best part is the fun topping addition of sugared pecans that make this dish such a standout!
Over this past year I have showcased lots of fun recipes to try with quinoa from basic preparation to summer salads to breakfast bowls to stuffed peppers. What you might not know though is that there is another variety of quinoa that you can purchase for your baking and breakfast needs. Quinoa flakes remind me of Cream of Wheat in their texture, but they are packed with loads of protein. They can be found at natural food stores and are often available in both a boxed variety or can be purchased in the bulk section of the store.
Last winter I became addicted to these quinoa flakes for a hot breakfast bowl. I dressed mine up simply with a little stevia, maple syrup, and almond milk, but I wanted to try another spin with this ingredient for the Fall.
This recipe for Pumpkin Quinoa can be modified to your own dietary needs. I prepared mine with almond milk, but you can use regular milk too. The nuts are tossed in cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg and a little egg white. They remind me a lot of these Sugar & Spice Nuts that I love to share around the holidays.
If you are vegan, try substituting the egg white with 2-3 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of flax, mixed well, to coat the nuts. For those living gluten-free, no modifications need to be made! It is one of those recipes that is easy to modify for your family!
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. I reheat my leftovers in the microwave and add a little milk to thin them out again. This is a great one to tuck in your fridge for a hot breakfast all week long!
Author: Adapted from Deliciously G-Free by Elisabeth Hasselbeck
Recipe type: Breakfast
A deliciously gluten-free dish that can be enjoyed on Fall mornings. This pumpkin quinoa is packed with protein and has added flavor & texture from the amazing sugared pecans that adorn it.
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Pinch of Salt
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 egg white (see above for vegan substitution)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pecan halves
1¾ cup water
1¾ cup milk (or milk substitute)
1⅓ cups quinoa flakes
1 cup canned pumpkin
¼ cup half-and-half (or additional milk substitute)
¼ cup light brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, salt, ground cloves, and ground nutmeg in a plastic bag, seal the bag, and shake to mix.
Pu tthe egg white and vanilla in a bowl, and beat until slightly foamy. Add the pecans and stir to coat them well. Using a slotted spoon, lift the pecans out the bowl and transfer them to the bag of sugar and spices. Shake, making sure the pecans are well coated with the seasoning. Spread the pecans out on the prepared baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet.
Meanwhile, place the water and milk in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa flakes and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until the liquid has decreased by half and the mixture is thick.
Combine the pumpkin and the half-and-half (or milk substitute) in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Swirl the pumpkin into the quinoa and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Divide among four bowls, sprinkle with nuts, and serve immediately.
When I attended college, I lived on junk & convenience food and I had the inevitable, “Freshman 15,” to prove from my bad eating habits throughout the year. I only wish I knew how great I would have felt and how much better I would have performed if I had stocked my dorm fridge with healthy options.
Today I wanted to share with you some healthy ideas for stocking your dorm mini-fridge for the school year along with an easy no-bake energy bite that you can mix up in a bowl for easy snacks on-the-go when heading to your classes.
With blueberry season in full swing, I am always looking for fun ways to use my blueberries. This blueberry pancake syrup couldn’t be easier to whip up or to eat and is a fun way to put those blueberries to work in your kitchen.
It is amazing how sugar, water, a little vanilla, and fresh berries make such an incredible difference on a plain old waffle, but this blueberry pancake syrup proves that simple ingredients can create something outstanding.
The burst of flavor, the happy dance in my mouth, and the smacking of lips at the table make me so incredibly joyful when we eat this syrup over our waffles. The berries coat the waffle perfectly and add a little sweetness to my waffles without a sugary overkill.
This is really and truly a fantastic indulgence that takes about the same amount of time to cook as it does to make up a batch of waffles. Fast and delicious!
Each year we make an annual trip out to the Blueberry Ranch to pick our berries. This year was extra special because my best friend of 25 years came in town to pick with us. I am the luckiest girl in the world to still have her in my life. It was such a special day doing that with our kids!
If you have been picking like me, you might be hunting for some ideas for what to do with those berries! Be sure to check out this post for 8 easy recipe for the blueberry season, including a new way to freeze those berries!
You may have noticed over the last few years that our family has fallen in love with baked donuts. Literally head-over-heals, preferring them to muffins (which baked donuts actually are more like) and in the case of our kids, even over the regular fried version (yes, it’s weird).
You also may have noticed that I have spelled them both ways occasionally – donut and doughnut – because we here in the states actually use both, although Google tells me that ‘doughnut’ is the grammatically correct version, while my spell checker prefers ‘donut.’ Kinda reminds me of that tomato-potato song:
You say doughnut and I say donut…let’s call the whole thing off!
No matter – both spellings work and the most important thing is that you try one of these easy baked donut recipes and see if your family likes them as much as mine does! (You will need a special pan, though, and this mini doughnut pan makes seriously cute donuts which may (or may not!) help keep the portions under control.)
If there is one thing this family loves it is baked doughnuts. Today we baked up a bath of baked strawberry doughnuts that would be perfect to enjoy during the summer months. Walmart challenged me to share a fresh new take on a strawberry recipe and I couldn’t wait to share this doughnut recipe with you!
Picking the perfect strawberries for your dishes is relatively easy compared to other fruits where the flesh is hidden from view. I always pick the package up and examine underneath since bad berries can be nestled on the underside of the package. Be sure to select berries that are not overly ripe, mushy, or are starting to mold. Since berries have such a short shelf life, you want to make sure you are really off to a good start with the best berries from the store.
Did you know strawberries taste best at room temperature? If you are eating them whole, pull them out of the fridge one hour before eating to eat them at their peak flavor.
I found a great recipe for beautifully baked strawberry doughnuts from Cooking Classy that I couldn’t wait to try. To really heighten the berry flavor of these doughnuts, the glaze incorporates both fresh and freeze dried berries. You can find freeze-dried strawberries over in the same aisle as the nuts, granola bars, and dried fruits. When these freeze-dried berries are broken, it creates the pretty color and adds a burst of berry flavor to the glaze that would be mild in comparison with the fresh berries.
The flavor of these is surprisingly light thanks to the buttermilk and fresh berries that are thrown into the batter. The glaze adds that bright berry flavor to the coating and makes these baked doughnuts feel truly indulgent.
⅔ cup finely chopped strawberries (I use my hand chopper to chop these)
3 cups powdered sugar
½ cup finely chopped strawberries
½ cup (6 g) freeze dried strawberries, finely crushed to powder (place in a Ziploc bag, crush with rolling pin)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease doughnut pans well by spraying with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
Make a well in center of mixture and set aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla and eggs and then pour into well in flour.
Using a wooden spoon, stir mixture just until combined, then fold in ⅔ cup finely chopped strawberries. Spoon 2½ Tbsp batter evenly into each well of the doughnut pans.
Bake in preheated oven 11-13 minutes until toothpick inserted into center of doughnut comes out clean.
Prepare glaze just before dipping cooled doughnuts. In a mixing bowl, combine ½ cup finely chopped strawberries and half of the powdered sugar. Stir until mixture starts to become moistened, then allow to rest 1 minute.
Add in remaining powdered sugar and freeze dried strawberry powder and stir until well combined . Use glaze immediately. If glaze is too thick, thin with 1 tablespoon of milk.
Allow to cool several minutes in doughnut pan then invert onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Once cool dip top halves of doughnuts into glaze and allow some of excess to run off, then return to wire rack, glazed side facing upward.
Transfer doughnuts to freezer to allow glaze to set, about 5 minutes.
I love, love, love breakfast tarts and today I wanted to share with you a cute homemade whole wheat toasted tart version of this delicious treat that you can make right in your own kitchen. This recipe for whole wheat toasted tarts is so delicious that you won’t believe how much yum can be packed into one little treat.
These whole wheat toasted tarts incorporate a little whole wheat flour and in lieu of a frosting topping, I have mixed raw sugar & wheat germ for a sweet and toasty combination of deliciousness that is a little bit healthier than sprinkles and frosting (although we do love sprinkles and frosting around here too!).
I had never eaten a homemade toasted tart before and can I say…holy yum?! These are flaky, sweet-but-not-too-sweet, and just the right balance of filling and crust.
I hit my local Walmart store to grab supplies for this yummy treat. They offer absolutely delicious gourmet Bonne Maman fruit preserves that have become a special treat in our house for everything from waffle topping to my kid’s peanut butter & jellies. They retail for $3.95 each and come in delicious berry combinations, strawberry, cherry, and wild blueberry. One of these days I will get the hang of canning, but for now, these are my go-to preserves and make a delicious filling for homemade toasted tarts.
Just like my all butter pie crust (you can check out a picture tutorial over there), I employ the use of my food processor to create an easy crust without the kneading. To make sure I don’t overwork the dough, I only use the Pulse on my food processor so I can make sure that I have a very tender dough. This is really essential for a flaky crust especially since we are creating this dough with whole wheat flour incorporated in it.
You can roll your dough out on a well-floured surface or roll it between two pieces of parchment paper. I highly recommend the parchment paper since this dough is a sticky one!
Did I mention sticky? This dough is a tricky little beast for a novice chef. Refrigeration of your crust is really essential for nice crisp edges and workable dough. The experts advise chilling your dough before using it and then chilling your tarts before you bake them to retain their shape. I do the same tactic with my sugar cookies and it yields crisp results. This will be doubly important if you live somewhere with a humid climate or are working in a hot kitchen.
My advice, chill out!
Seriously, just chill out for as long as you can!
My crunchy & sweet topping is raw sugar mixed with wheat germ. A generous sprinkle of this adds another layer of deliciousness. Although the dough is chock-full of butter (as all good crusts are!), there is very little sugar in the dough itself and the raw sugar adds a crunchy texture as well as a little sweetness to this homemade delight.
These little toasty tarts were meant to be cut in perfect measurements with crisp corners.
I am no baker though, so these are imperfect…
Just like me!
The kids never noticed the difference and busy moms don’t have time for perfection when it comes to snacks.
Can I get an, “Amen?”
Toasted Tart Filling Ideas
Fruit Preserve Filling: 3/4 cup (8 ounces) jam, 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water. Mix the jam with the cornstarch/water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool. Use to fill the pastry tarts.
Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Filling: 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, & 4 teaspoons flour. Whisk together.
Chocolate Filling: 9 tablespoons mini chocolate chips or 9 tablespoons Nutella. Spread or sprinkle chocolate filling.
Surprise the kids with a homemade version of this favorite breakfast treat. Be sure to visit the post for filling ideas for your homemade whole wheat toasted tarts.
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 quarter-pound sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk
1 additional large egg (for brushing on the pastry)
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1 tablespoon wheat germ
Process flour, sugar, and salt together until combined.
Add butter and pulse until the mixture holds together when you squeeze it, with pecan-sized lumps of butter still visible.
Mix the egg and milk, and add it to the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive.
Divide the dough in half. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for up to 2 days or for 30 minutes.
Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and allow it to soften and become workable, about 15 to 30 minutes.
Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about ⅛" thick, large enough that you can trim it to an even 9" x 12". Laying a 9" x 13" pan atop the dough will give you an idea if you’ve rolled it large enough. Trim off the edges; place the scraps on a baking sheet, and set them aside, along with the 9" x 12" rectangle of dough.
Roll the second piece of dough just as you did the first. Press the edge of a ruler into the dough you’ve just rolled, to gently score it in thirds lengthwise and widthwise; you’ll see nine 3" x 4" rectangles.
Beat the egg, and brush it over the entire surface of the dough. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each marked rectangle.
Place the second sheet of dough atop the first, using your fingertips to press firmly around each pocket of jam, sealing the dough well on all sides.
Brush the tops of the pastry with the remainder of the egg and then sprinkle the wheat germ and raw sugar topping on top of your tart.
Press the tines of a fork all around the edge of the rectangle. Cut the dough evenly in between the filling mounds to make nine tarts. Press the cut edges with your fingers to seal, then press with a fork, to seal again.
Gently place the tarts on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick the top of each tart multiple times with a fork; you want to make sure steam can escape, or the tarts will become billowy pillows rather than flat toaster pastries. Refrigerate the tarts (they don’t need to be covered) for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F.
Remove the tarts form the fridge, and bake them for 25-28 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and allow them to cool on the pan.
Baked donuts have become a special food tradition in our house. These French Breakfast Donuts are the new family favorite though because they come closest to resembling those delicious fried donuts that we love so much from the doughnut shops. Do you have a doughnut pan? You should put it to work with this delicious recipe.
I have heard often from people that they are disappointed in the flavor of baked donuts. I think it is important to go into baking donuts know that they will most definitely not take like a fried doughnut, but taste more like a muffin with a fun doughnut shape.
Since we have started eating baked doughnuts, my kids don’t really like the doughnuts from the doughnut shop which I find WEIRD because no kid should not love a doughnut from a doughnut shop. That being said, not to lead you astray that my kids are so healthy, I think they just like that they can consume more of these baked doughnuts than they can of the fried version.
When I say I have a doughnut for every season, I mean it!
I find doughnuts enjoyed in another room in our house are always a hit. One day over our winter break, I laid out a tablecloth and served doughnuts on a breakfast tray with mason jars of orange juice for an unexpected morning treat. The kids were thrilled to get to take over our room AND eat doughnuts. You gotta love a cheap thrill like this!
These French Breakfast Donuts are light, fluffy, and laced with nutmeg. After they are baked, they are dunked in butter and coated with cinnamon and sugar.
They are so delicious that I guarantee that you won’t be able to eat just one!