Steel-Cut Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip Muffins


Back to school means MUFFINS!!  When I am really in the running for “Mom of the Year” award, it is because I took a couple of hours on Sunday to make something absolutely delicious for breakfast.  Something homemade that is easy enough to eat on the go, or warmed up in the microwave with some melted butter.  Unfortunately it doesn’t happen as much as they would like (or I would for that matter).  I had every intention of making some fresh scones today, but it is now close to 9:00pm, and that didn’t happen.

The other week though, thanks to Bob’s Red Mill – I did have an opportunity to apply for the award, after making these scrumptious morsels.  The oatmeal and coconut sugar did not disappoint…although the star of the show was the mini-chocolate chips.  Both girls loved the muffins, I didn’t even have to remind them to eat the muffins for breakfast – which is when I know they are a total hit.

So this year, why not make waking up for school something to look forward to – I know it is not time for resolutions just yet, but this is going on my list – to bake something at least once a month – which takes care of an entire week of breakfasts. Then I know that at least 25% of the month, I can look forward to that red carpet award ceremony…

Please note: As a Team Stonyfield ambassador, I am being compensated. All opinions about Stonyfield Farm’s products and Bob’s Red Mill products are always my own.



To cook the steel-cut oats, boil 3 cups of water, then add 1 cup steel-cut oats with 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  When the oats are done, stir in 1/4 cup coconut sugar.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with the rack positioned in the upper third. Oil, spray or butter 12 muffin cups.

Sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 cup coconut sugar. In another bowl, beat together the eggs, yogurt, milk, canola oil, and vanilla. Quickly stir in the dry ingredients with a whisk or a spatula. Do not beat, just mix, stirring up from the bottom until you can no longer see flour. A few lumps are fine. Fold in the cooked oats and the chocolate chips.

Spoon into muffin cups, filling them to just below the top. Sprinkle coconut sugar on top if desired.  Place in the oven, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until nicely browned. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool for 10 minutes before unmolding. Cool on a rack, or serve warm.

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Almond-Chocolate-Espresso Coffee Cake

Almond-Chocolate-Espresso Coffee Cake 2

It’s hard to get yourself out of a rut, particularly when you have been doing something a certain way for years, and it works.  We all know the phrase – if its not broken, don’t fix it.  Well, it’s not always that easy.  Sometimes if you keep doing things one way, you are missing out on something better.  That is one of the reasons why I love to cook – I am always searching for the perfect recipe – one that is better than the one I previously thought was perfect.  And I think of my kitchen as my lab – I am always experimenting.

Many months ago, I signed up to be a Stonyfield ambassador by applying to be in their blogger club.  When I was accepted, I almost wrote back and said thanks, but no thanks.  My life is like one of those duffle bags that is completely stuffed – I can’t fit even one more sock in.  But if I need that sock, I have to figure out what I am going to take out.  I still haven’t quite figured that out, but all I know is I never did decline the invitation, so here I am, stuffing one more thing in.

The good news is that it doesn’t seem like it is going to be that time consuming, especially because I love cooking and baking with yogurt – and this February’s opportunity also included Devine Chocolate.  Yum!

My girls had been asking me to make a coffee cake for a while, and all of a sudden it hit me – why do you need to use sour cream or buttermilk in a coffee cake, why couldn’t you use yogurt instead?  So I started researching a little – and I learned that it is a perfect substitution, and with a little milk, you have basically created your own buttermilk.  So, I heavily adapted this recipe that I found in the Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook, and I created my own perfect coffee cake.  The yogurt made the cake super moist, with a slight tang – and the chocolate bar – oh my word.  That was just perfect as the topping.

So the next time you go through the motions, doing the same thing you have always done – think more broadly – be creative, and think about ways in which you can make it better.  There is always a way…

Please note: As a Team Stonyfield ambassador, I am being compensated. All opinions are always my own.


  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3.5 ounce Devine Chocolate with Whole Almonds Bar, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder*
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup Stoneyfield Farms plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract


Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with vegetable oil spray and line the bottom with parchment.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), mix together the flour, both sugars, the butter and the salt until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

To make the crumb topping, transfer 3/4 cup of the mixture to a small bowl and stir in the chocolate and espresso.  Set aside.

Sprinkle the baking soda into the remaining butter-sugar mixture.  Whisk the yogurt together with the milk. Add the yogurt/milk mixture, egg, vanilla, and almond extract to the butter-sugar mixture, and mix just until combined.  Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan, spreading it evenly.  Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the batter.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Remove to a wire rack and allow to cool in the pan.

* If you find yourself without espresso powder, replace it with 1 teaspoon cinnamon for an equally delicious cake.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Almond-Chocolate-Espresso Coffee Cake

Summer Vegetable Frittata

Summer Vegetable Frittatta

What a weekend…all focused on food.  Ok, so maybe most of my weekends are all focused on food – but this was different.  I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference here in Seattle, and not only did we eat (and did we ever), but there were multiple sessions focused on photography, technology and writing.  When I attend a conference like this, I realize how little I actually know – and how little time I actually have to spend on my blog.  I know I could have prioritized it more during my summer sabbatical, but to be honest, I just didn’t want to sit behind a computer when I was in the most glorious food cities in the world.  I am happy with my decision…and maybe someday I will be able to devote more time here.

Aside from eating and learning, I actually met some really great people.  The two blogs I would like to highlight have something in common – these women got their significant other’s involved in their blogs!  I love it!!  The first blog is Dang that’s Delicious – an adorable blog with outstanding photos.  And would you believe they actually met at the food blogger’s conference a couple of year’s ago??  He was not attending, but they met at a bar downtown – what an amazing story.

The next blog is A Tasty Mess – and they travelled all the way from Houston to attend the conference.  They wasted no time at all, and even fit in a UW Husky game!  I loved getting the chance to talk to them, they are young and energetic – and by the look’s of that incredible blog – they have a beautiful life eating, drinking and writing about their adventures.  Next year’s conference is going to be in Sacramento – so if you are a blogger looking for a great way to learn and grow, definitely check it out.

So what do I do after a weekend of eating and drinking?  Turn to vegetables.  Vegetables from my incredible market basket.  The market basket that I look forward to every Thursday.  This week’s basket contained all the ingredients for this delicious frittata (even the eggs!!) – and this recipe below.  It was completely dairy-free, and tasted like summer.  Fresh and delicious.  And next week we get to visit the farm!


  • 8 eggs
  • 8-10 fingerling potatoes, washed and thinly-sliced
  • 2 sweet Bullhorn peppers, washed, seeded and chopped
  • 1 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper


Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced potatoes to the skillet and sauté for about 6 to 8 minutes, until tender but firm. Remove from skillet. Add another tablespoon oil, then add the peppers, onions and garlic. Sauté for an additional 2 to 4 minutes or until the peppers and onions are softened, and garlic is fragrant. Season vegetables with salt and pepper. Remove from skillet.

In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs and thyme with a pinch of salt and pepper. Return the potatoes to the skillet, arranging in an even layer. Top with vegetable mixture and then pour eggs evenly over the vegetables. Drizzle olive oil around the edge of the pan to ensure easy removal.

Transfer to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the eggs have completely set in the center. Serve straight out of the skillet, cut into wedges, or flip onto a serving plate.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Summer Vegetable Frittata

Jammin’ Oat Muffins

Music is almost as magical as food is.  It has those same powers that can get you to remember something – you can be going about your business and a song comes on, and it takes you to a different place.  Just like food can.  I used to be completely obsessed with music when I was growing up – and someone that has been replaced with food.  I still love music, but it is not what gets me up in the morning.

In college at parties, there was a lot of Bob Marley being played – especially when the weather was nice, and everyone was outside.  For some reason, whenever I get out my jam supplies I start singing Bob Marley’s “Jammin'” song:

Ooh, yeah! All right!
We’re jammin’:
I wanna jam it wid you.
We’re jammin’, jammin’,
And I hope you like jammin’, too.

Ain’t no rules, ain’t no vow, we can do it anyhow:
I’n’I will see you through,
‘Cos everyday we pay the price with a little sacrifice,
Jammin’ till the jam is through.

We’re jammin’ –
To think that jammin’ was a thing of the past;
We’re jammin’,
And I hope this jam is gonna last.

Yep – and even though he was not talking about making jam, the words seem to work perfectly for my hobby.  But seriously, it brings me back to those college days – did I ever think that someday this song would have a different meaning to me?  That must be it, this song was all about making jam – but no one knew it.

So needless to say, when I saw this recipe in Cooking Light, of course I went right back to that song.  And I sang it the entire time I was baking these as well. Of course I used my homemade raspberry jam for these, and they were fantastic.  They added the perfect amount of sweetness to these lovely muffins. Exactly what I need to get me out of bed in the morning…


  • Cooking spray
  • 6 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking steel-cut oats
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup 1% low-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup raspberry preserves or jam


Preheat oven to 400°.

Lightly coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray; set aside. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

Crack egg into a medium bowl, and beat lightly with a fork. Add milk, oil, and maple syrup; mix well.

Pour egg mixture into flour mixture, and stir until combined (mixture should still be lumpy and very wet). Spoon 1/3 cup batter into each muffin cup. Spoon 1 teaspoon preserves or jam into center of each cup of batter. Bake at 400° for 16 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in centers. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Place muffins on a wire rack. Cool 15 minutes before serving.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Jammin’ Oat Muffins

Spicy Bacon and Brew Muffins

Spicy Bacon and Brew Muffins

I know I have said this before, but food has magical powers – that is until there is a force that breaks those powers.  I haven’t seen it happen very often, but it does.  Why is it so important when you go to a all day meeting that there is good food to eat?  That’s because often, it puts you in a better mood.  You come back from lunch refreshed and ready to tackle anything – only then to look forward to snack time.

Normally my meetings have nothing to do with food – which is why it is such a treat every year to attend the Food Blogger’s conference.  Not only do you talk about food, listen to other people lecture about food – there is food EVERYWHERE.  It is quite something.  This year things were just a little different though.  The conference started on a Friday night – with a wonderful reception and the gift suite.  I brought home lots of great stuff to share with the family – snacks and treats galore – but I wasn’t staying at the hotel.  The next day they started us out with breakfast sponsored by Noosa Yoghurt.  Now, if you haven’t had Noosa Yoghurt yet, you are truly missing out.  I have been eating it for months now, and it is leaps and bounds better than any yoghurt I have ever had in the United States – it is closer to the wonderful yoghurt I can find in Europe.  So, needless to say, I was in my glory.  They had tons of toppings out for us so I went to town – and that pumpkin yogurt was just like eating pumpkin pie filling.  I was ready to sit and listen to people talk about food for hours.

After a few hours of that, I was actually hungry again – and I forgot to bring the snacks with me from the night before.  I was with hundreds of foodies – was I the only one that was hungry?  There was 4 hours in between breakfast and lunch, and I hate to say it, but that is just too long for me to wait.  I eat every couple of hours.  It is the only way for me to stay sane during the day.  Well, fortunately I ran out and bought myself a snack to keep me going, but I was definitely surprised by the whole thing.  I have to admit, that was the only part of the weekend that I was hungry in the least bit.  The rest of the weekend they kept the food coming.  Let me remind you how hard it is to watch a food demo when you are hungry…

That brings me back to these muffins.  My daughter loves muffins in the morning because they are quick and easy.  I have a different rational.  I can eat a couple of hard boiled eggs for my first breakfast, then have a muffin for my mid-morning snack.  Boy is life good when that happens.  Magic.  Fortunately for me, my daughter’s did not like these muffins from Cooking Light – but my husband and I LOVED them – they were mildly sweet with a touch of bacon on top.  OMG.  And I used margarine instead of butter, so they were dairy-free.  Now, if only I could just snap my hands and make those muffins appear…now that would be magic.



  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 3 applewood-smoked bacon slices
  • 3 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted


  • 7.9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup Guinness Stout or other stout beer
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten


Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with foil; place a wire rack on the baking sheet.

To prepare streusel, combine 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons water, and pepper in a small bowl. Spread mixture evenly over both sides of bacon. Place coated bacon on rack; bake for 18 minutes or until done. Cool; finely chop.

Combine oats and 1 tablespoon flour in a small bowl. Stir in butter. Stir in 2 tablespoons chopped bacon; reserve remaining bacon. Set aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

To prepare muffins, weigh or lightly spoon 7.9 ounces (about 1 3/4 cups) flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 7.9 ounces flour, remaining bacon, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl; stir well. Combine beer, oil, vanilla, and egg in another bowl, gently stirring with a whisk. Add beer mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Evenly divide batter among muffin cups. Sprinkle streusel evenly over batter.

Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of muffins comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove muffins from pan; serve warm, or cool completely on a wire rack.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Spicy Bacon and Brew Muffins

Blueberry Coffeecake with Streusel

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Everyone needs a break now and then.  I am not just talking about a small 15-minute walk around the block brake, I am talking about a break from life. Ok, yes, those 15-minute walks are important – after what I experienced this week, sometimes you just need to get a little air.  The problem is that you have to come to that conclusion yourself – no one can tell you that it has to be done.  But believe me, it is amazing what it can do for you…

To say that things are hectic right now is an understatement.  Thursday was the last day of school for the year, although this year it was a little bittersweet.  For my younger daughter, it was a big party – but for my older daughter it was not the usual feeling.  Unfortunately I had an all-day meeting, and was extremely preoccupied – all my brain cells were focused at the time.  That was until I got the text.  The last day was fun, except for the end – everyone was crying, even the boys.  Getting that text was heart breaking.  Later I found out the teachers were crying too.  All because the school board decided to split these kids up.  I won’t get into it again, because I can no longer dwell on this horrible decision.  This summer I am working on an attitude adjustment – I am going to have a positive outlook on my daughter’s new school – and so will she.  We agreed to it.

So as I sat there in that meeting, thinking about my daughter – it hit me, I was not the only one with a life outside that room.  Life is hard – and most of the time, you really have no idea how hard it is – particularly for everyone else.  Fortunately for me, I can always turn to food – and that’s exactly what I did this weekend.  I didn’t just dabble – I was hard core – I was on a power cooking/baking frenzy, trying to get all my stress out in the kitchen.  I actually think it worked…or I am just utterly exhausted.

This was just one of the many things going on in my kitchen – a good old fashioned blueberry coffeecake.  Now, I have a favorite recipe from my mother – that just happens to be dairy-free.  I just had to see though if this dairy version from Cooking Light was better – and you know what, it wasn’t.  Don’t get me wrong, this was absolutely moist and delicious – but I actually like my mother’s recipe better – ok, who is really surprised by that?  Yes, my mother tests her recipes more than anyone else I know.  And Mom, you win again.

So I hope that I was not the only one that was able to take a break this weekend – in whatever form that is.  Even if you just took a few deep breaths…I know it will help.  Monday, I am ready for you – bring it on.


  • 9 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup nonfat buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 375°.

Weigh or lightly spoon 9 ounces flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 9 ounces flour and next 3 ingredients (through salt), stirring with a whisk. Remove 2 tablespoons flour mixture; sprinkle over blueberries, tossing to coat.

Combine brown sugar and next 4 ingredients (through cinnamon) in a medium bowl. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons melted butter; toss to combine.

Place granulated sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and oil in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until blended (about 2 minutes). Add egg; beat well. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition. Stir in rind and juice.

Spoon half of batter into a 9-inch square light-colored metal baking pan coated with cooking spray (do not use a dark or nonstick pan). Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup blueberry mixture. Spoon remaining batter over blueberries. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 cup blueberry mixture. Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Blueberry Coffeecake with Streusel

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Scones

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Scones

I know it is Sunday, but I am already looking forward to Thursday.  That market basket that my husband got me for Mother’s Day is quite something.  It is like Christmas morning every Thursday night – as we unpack the beautiful wooden box with all sorts of goodies.  This week’s basket came with this wonderful box of pistachio apricot granola.  I can’t wait to put some on my yogurt in the morning.  It’s the little things that get me through this end-of-the-year chaos.

Since I was set for breakfast this week, I thought it was only fair if I made some treats for the girls.  They do love granola – but I know they love scones even more.  I have gone through many ways of saving recipes over the years.  I started by keeping every single food magazine and marking the pages where I liked a recipe.  That worked for a little while, but after I had over 20 magazines, I couldn’t remember what was in each issue.  Then I started cutting out the indexes, and had a binder of them – with the highlighted recipes that I liked.  Again, not very practical as I had to look through hundreds of pages to find what I was looking for.  The next plan was to cut out the recipe and put it in a photo album, where I had dividers of the different types of recipes.  After I filled up two binders, I was done with that method.  At that point I decided I needed to use technology, and that’s when I started my blog.  I tell you, I love being able to Bing a recipe from my blog and get to it instantly.  Technology can be quite awesome.

Instead of going to my usual stack for a scone recipe (knowing that I didn’t have any lingering around that I wanted to make), I went to one of the binders I created – and flipped to the “Breakfast” tab.  I found this recipe that I probably cut out ages ago from either Gourmet or Bon Appetit and decided to see if it had stood the test of time.  Boy did it ever – these scones were crunchy on the outside, soft and pillowy on the inside, with a touch of oat flavor, but nicely sweetened.  I could have scarfed a couple of them down, except that I reminded myself they were for the girls – I already had my treat waiting.  So, we will all be eating well this week, and we need to – if we are going to get through these last 5 weeks.  Ugh!


  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar plus additional for sprinkling
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
  • Finely grated zest from 1 large navel orange
  • 2/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk plus additional for brushing
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Special equipment: a 2 1/4-inch round cookie cutter


Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt into a food processor, then add oats and pulse 15 times. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with small (pea-size) lumps, then transfer to a bowl.

Stir together zest and buttermilk. Toss chocolate chips with oat mixture, then add buttermilk, stirring with a fork just until a dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface  and gently knead 6 times.

Pat dough into a 1-inch-thick round, dusting surface with more flour if necessary. Cut out as many scones as possible with cutter, dipping it in flour before each cut, and transfer scones to a lightly buttered large baking sheet. Gather scraps into a ball, then pat into a round and cut out more scones in same manner.

Brush tops of scones with buttermilk and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake in middle of oven until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes, and transfer to a rack.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Scones