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Monday, August 31, 2009

Raisin Bran Muffins

I picked up a box of Bran Flakes from the grocery store this past weekend for no reason in particular except that they were cheap and I figured I could get creative with them. Obviously Raisin Bran Muffins aren't exactly creative, but I still have lots of cereal left to play around with!

I browsed tons of recipes online, many at Kelloggs.com, and finally combined/altered a few to come up with these muffins. I've only had a bite of one, but Ryan gave them his seal of approval (although he did comment that they are very hearty and dense!). They're relatively healthy though and I think they'd be really good toasted and with some butter or jam!

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups bran flakes
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
1/4 cup applesauce (I only had sweetened which was okay because these muffins still don't come out very sweet)
1/2-1 cup raisins

1. Mix flours, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, pour cereal and milk and allow to soften for a few minutes. Add egg & applesauce.
3. Add dry mixture to the milk mixture and stir until moistened. Add raisins.
4. Fill a greased muffin tin (I got exactly 12!)
5. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

These came out perfectly after 15 minutes. I allowed them to cool and am storing them in the fridge because they're moist and I worry that they'll mold if they sit out for too long!

Overnight Egg Casserole

I had some leftover egg whites from the coconut banana cream pie and some spicy sausage remaining from one of our grilled pizza nights, so I decided to make an overnight egg casserole. I just kind of played around with what we had on hand and I have to say, I was worried it wasn't going to turn out. It seemed really dry when soaking in the fridge overnight. However, it actually turned out much better than anticipated and was super easy to make.  Next time I do this I think I'll add a bunch more veggies. We have some leftover zucchini and squash that would've been good in there. Oh, and sorry I don't have exact measurements for some of this, but you can't really go wrong here...just make according to your tastes!

Thinly sliced bakery wheat bread, enough to cover a 9 x 13 pan (I have no idea how many slices I used, I just filled the pan)
1/2-3/4 lb spicy sausage, ground & browned (was just using whatever was leftover, this amount can be played with)
Mexican cheese blend, to taste (I probably did 1 cup total)
Spinach, enough to cover the 9 x 13 pan
4 egg whites + 3 eggs (again, just had this one on hand)
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup half and half (could just do 2 cups of milk, but I was trying to save our milk!)
Pinch of salt
1/2 tablespoon ground mustard

Slice bread and cover the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 pan. Top the bread slices with browned sausage, spinach, and cheese. In a separate bowl, add eggs, milk/half & half, ground mustard, and salt. Mix until well combined. Pour milk mixture over the bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake the next day at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Slice & enjoy!

**For a family of two this makes quite a bit, but leftovers reheat really well!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Toasted Coconut Banana Cream Pie

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For Ryan's birthday dessert, I gave him several options of things I could make and this was his top choice. I had seen this recipe on an absolutely drool-worthy blog and was excited to make it. Of course, after reading Emily's instructions, I realized that I didn't have a sieve. Thankfully, Emily was gracious enough to answer a bunch of my questions and the pie ended up being successful. In fact, as I type this, I'm still digesting a piece ;)

I basically followed Emily's recipe (found here), with a few different steps.

Graham Cracker Crust--
1 1/2 cups graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons melted butter

3 bananas, peeled and mashed (I used my food processor to mash)
4 egg yolks
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 can of evaporated milk (12 oz)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon coconut extract
2 cups sweetened coconut, toasted

1 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream
7 tablespoons sugar

1. Prepare the graham cracker crust by mixing crumbs, sugar, and melted butter and pressing into a pie pan. Bake in an oven at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Allow to cool.
2. To prepare the custard, mix the mashed banana, cornstarch, and egg yolk in a large mixing bowl until well combined.
3. Heat the evaporated milk and sugar in a large saucepan until simmering. (Whisk frequently whilst heating!)
4. Once the milk mixture is at a simmer, pour half of it into the egg mixture and whisk until combined.
5. Pour the egg mixture into the remaining hot milk mixture and continue to whisk until it thickens.
6. Put custard in food processor and process until smooth. Add vanilla and coconut extracts until combined. Add 1 3/4 cups of coconut to mixture (make sure to grind coconut until fine in food processor earlier) and combine.
7. Pour custard into pie crust and refrigerate.
8. Make the whipped cream by mixing the heavy whipping cream and sugar in a chilled mixing bowl for a few minutes until stiff peaks form. Spread onto pie.
9. Top pie with remaining toasted coconut and refrigerate until serving.

**Note: this was much easier to cut and serve in pretty slices after it had refrigerated overnight. The first night it was much runnier and the graham cracker crust was difficult to remove.

White Chocolate Fudge Oat Cups

I made these white chocolate fudge oat cups for my brother-in-law, Justin. Part of our birthday gift to him was a series of baked goods, made by yours truly. I found these on the blog Chocolate and Whine and thought they sounded delicious. I was right!

These were a little time consuming to make, but totally worth it.


For the oat cups--
1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 cups oats
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped fine (I used my kitchen scissors to cut these up)
1/3 cup chopped pecans

For the fudge center--
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 can sweetened and condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat your oven to 350. Grease a mini-muffin tin and set aside.
2. Beat together butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add oats, flour, salt, and cinnamon. Mix in cranberries and pecans.
3. Add dough balls to each well of mini-muffin tin. Use your fingers to press the dough around the cups, forming a crust.
4. Bake for 5-6 minutes.
5. While the crust is baking, heat white chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk until melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
6. Remove the mini-muffin tin from the oven. Carefully fill each cup with some of the fudge filling using a spoon. Note: if any white chocolate fudge spills around the edges, wipe it off with a wet rag to avoid burning!
7. Once cups are filled, return to oven for 3-4 minutes.
8. Let oat cups cool. Carefully remove cups with a sharp knife, cutting around the edges and then prying out (this was difficult! Make sure they are completely cool and that the pan is well-greased)
9. Refrigerate until served (I liked them best cold!)

**This made 48 oat cups with a little bit of leftover filling that I just threw away

Baked Blueberry French Toast

I kind of combined different recipes to come up with this one for baked blueberry french toast. We were quite pleased with the results and made it twice in two weeks! I'm sad blueberry season has passed because we're already craving this again.

1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk (I used skim)
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon of salt
6 eggs
1 1/2 loaves of whole wheat bread (from the bakery, not sliced bread)
1/2 package cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat)
1-1 1/2 cups blueberries

1. Cut the loaves of bread into about 1-inch pieces and place them in a 9 x 13 greased casserole dish. 
2. Mix the flour, milk, sugar, vanilla, salt, and eggs in another bowl until well mixed. Pour over the bread pieces.
3. Cut the cream cheese (and you can do more or less depending on how much cream cheese you want!) into small blocks, like you see in the picture. Arrange these throughout the casserole, on top of bread. (You can also mix with a spoon to get some of the cream cheese under the bread, if desired).
4. Add the blueberries to the bread mixture.
5. Refrigerate overnight and bake for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees the next day.
6. Cut into pieces and serve with syrup!

It tastes better than it looks, I promise! 

Marshmallow Brownies

I wouldn't necessarily call these brownies, but these are some of the softest, most gooey bars I have ever made. You don't need big squares of these as they are very, very rich!

I found this recipe on allrecipes.com and followed the recipe almost exactly. (recipe here)


  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows (I used extra marshmallows which probably allowed for the chewiness!)
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 pan.
2. Melt butterscotch chips & margarine in the microwave (I melt for 30 seconds at a time and stir at each 30 second break until mostly melted)
3. Once this mixture has cooled, mix everything but the chocolate chips and marshmallows into it.
4. Fold in marshmallows and chocolate chips.
5. Spread batter into pan and smooth with spatula.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. (can't remember exactly how long it took)

These are so easy to make and because you can cut them into such small squares, they go a long way! Enjoy!

Homemade Blizzards

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Dairy Queen blizzards are honestly one of my favorite treats, but I rarely make the trek to DQ to get one. After reading about homemade blizzards on a blog Stick a Fork in It, I decided to give it a go!

We had a group of friends over and everyone brought their favorite blizzard mix-ins. As you can see from the picture, we had quite the selection: peanut butter m&ms, strawberries, reese's pieces, crunch bar, kit kat, cookie dough, reese's peanut butter cups...you get the picture!

To make the blizzards, we simply combined big scoops of ice cream with toppings of choice in the kitchen-aid. After mixing for a few minutes (or less) with the paddle attachment, it formed a perfect "blizzard-like" consistency!

You don't want to mix for too long, or the ice cream becomes too runny (this happened a few times and I stuck those in the freezer to firm up a bit).

This is probably a dangerous skill to acquire. We've been making blizzards far too often since this discovery... :)

Pizza, grill-style

I'd heard about making pizza on the grill for a long time and we finally decided to give it a go. Since we made it the first time, we've made it several times after. This pizza is FAST and DELICIOUS, two things we love :)

We make our own dough, but you could definitely use store-bought dough if preferred.

The dough recipe we use is based on this recipe.

However, we only use 1 packet of instant yeast and substitute 2 tablespoons of honey instead of sugar.

Once your dough is ready, you roll it out into two pizza-shaped pieces (like you see in the picture above). Heat the grill on high for a few minutes, then carefully transfer your dough to the grill. Close the grill and let the dough cook for about 3 minutes. Use a spatula to check the underside of the dough. You want it to be crispy and brown. Once it appears ready, carefully flip the dough onto a cookie sheet outside of the grill. Now you can apply your sauce and toppings. In this case, we just used a can of tomato sauce and doctored it up with basil and garlic salt. Spread your sauce over the crust and then add your toppings and cheese. Carefully slide the pizza back onto the grill and close, allowing it to cook for another 3 minutes or so. Remove it from the grill once the cheese is melted. Cut into slices and enjoy!

Remember that less is more in terms of sauce and cheese when it comes to grilled pizza. The cheese doesn't have a ton of time to melt, so you don't want to load it on. Also, depending on your toppings, you may need to pre-cook them. For instance, on this pizza we had zucchini, eggplant, and onion, all of which we cooked on the stove until soft before adding to the pizza.

Give grilled pizza a chance, you'll be surprised by how easy and yummy it is!


Ryan and I have been talking about creating a blog to document some of the food and desserts that we make....neither of us really know anything about blogging (I read them and use them for recipe inspiration, but I'm clueless when it comes to having one!) but we decided to give it a go! Of course by we, I mean I'll be doing the blogging. Ryan just constantly reminds me, "take a picture of this!"

Don't expect anything fancy from this blog. The pictures will be mediocre at best, but the eats will be delicious!