Brownie in a Mug

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Sometimes, you just have to have chocolate, it has to be warm and vanilla ice cream is a must! Good quality cocoa powder is so important, and I used my stash of Valhrona 🙂 Yes, it is worth the $1 + an ounce price! This brownie is rich, moist, and more cakey than fudgy and hits all the right buttons. I’m kind of mad at myself for making this! 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Brownie in a Mug – adapted from Simply Recipes

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa
  • Pinch of salt
  • Tiny pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 to 2 drops vanilla extract
  • ice cream

Directions –

Place flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and cinnamon in a microwave safe ceramic mug. Stir with a fork or spoon to mix well and break up any clumps.

Add the butter, water, and vanilla to the cup and stir until the mixture is smooth and there are no lumps.

Place in microwave and heat on high until the mixture is cooked through, about a 1 minute and 20 seconds. If you don’t know the power level on your microwave, start with 60 seconds and increase until the brownie is done. It should still be moist when cooked through, not dry.

Let cool for a minute and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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DIY Hot Chocolate Mix

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The kids had been asking for hot chocolate for a while now, so I decided to let them make it 🙂 I love that there are only three simple ingredients in this decadent hot chocolate and it makes 4 cups of mix. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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All Natural Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix – adapted from Clean Mama

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa – I used this Dutch cocoa
  • 3 teaspoons sea salt

Directions – 

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients with a whisk. Store in a four cup, air-tight container or into smaller jars for gifting.

To make one serving of hot chocolate, combine 1 cup of warm milk and two tablespoons of mix. Stir to combine and enjoy!

**I added the milk and cocoa to my Vitamix and blended it up for a few seconds to make it nice and frothy. Top it with mini marshmallows or whipped cream if desired 🙂

Brown Sugar Banana Bread

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I love the library! I have borrowed many cookbooks lately, Back in the Day Bakery is one that I would buy. There are so many recipes in it that look and sound amazing. The first recipe I tried was chocolate chip cookies which baked up really thin and flat, but the flavor was one of the best I have tried. I will have to make those again, and hopefully work out the kinks so I can bake a batch worthy of photographing…

Anyway, onto the bread – it bakes up with a dense crumb, but it’s not at all tough or chewy. I didn’t have any mace on hand (who does?), but I replaced it for freshly grated nutmeg instead. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Brown Sugar Banana Bread – from The Back in the Day Bakery

  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground mace (I used nutmeg instead)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 pecans, toasted and chopped (I omitted)
  • 1 1/2 cups well mashed, very ripe bananas (about 3)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 TBSP unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TBSP dark brown sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Directions –

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, light brown sugar, baking soda, salt, mace, cinnamon and pecans; set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix the mashed bananas, sour cream, eggs, butter and vanilla with a sturdy wooden spoon. Gently fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan, spreading it evenly with a spatula. If using, sprinkle the dark brown sugar on top of the loaf. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool the bread in the loaf pan for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Wrapped in parchment, the bread will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Hungry for More?

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Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

20120613_124736Blueberry Banana Bread

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Banana Bread 2

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Coco-Nana Bread

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His All-Time Favorite

Cafeteria Sloppy Joes

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Yum! These are the least fussy sloppy joes that I came across in my search. The flavor was kid friendly without too sweet or bland – I loved it and happily ate leftovers the next night. My picky eater quickly ate her portion without any coercion from me – that almost never happens and that is a win in my book 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Cafeteria Sloppy Joes – adapted from Food Network

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Brown 1 pound ground beef in a large skillet with olive oil. Add 1 chopped onion, 3 chopped garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons each ground cumin and smoked paprika and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper; cook 1 minute. Stir in 1 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1/2 cup water and simmer until thick, about 15 minutes. Serve on slider rolls with potato chips

Whole Grain Waffles

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My kids love waffles – what’s not to love? I get to make a weeks worth of school breakfasts in less than an hour, and the kids get another maple syrup delivery system 😉 I I like to use wheat pastry flour because it’s mild enough that the kids don’t mind, and I like that I can sneak a little fiber into breakfast. This batch makes about 10 waffles, most of which get cooled, divided, bagged and frozen. Warm them up in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, or mere seconds in your microwave. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Whole Wheat Waffles – adapted from Cookie and Kate

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (you can also use spelt, rye, cornmeal or buckwheat)
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk (make your own: add 2 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice to 2 cups milk, and let sit for 5 minutes)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey)
  • Âź cup (1/2 stick) butter (original recipe called for one full stick of butter)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions –
  1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees and heat up your waffle iron.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs and syrup or honey.
  4. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir just until they are mixed.
  5. Add the melted butter and mix well.
  6. Pour batter into your waffle iron until the butter reaches the edges of the iron. Cook until crisp and golden.
  7. Place each waffle on a rack in the oven (in a single layer) to keep them warm until you’re ready to serve. Five minutes in the oven may actually help them get a little crispier.

Pancake Mini-Muffins

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Planning ahead saves time, right? I love when I find recipes that make life a little easier, especially school mornings! There are far more mornings than I care to admit when I have had to force my eyes to open; and the last thing I want to do is think about breakfast. These are so quick, easy and the kids love them 🙂

The best thing about these is that I don’t have to stand over a hot stove and flip each one! I made some minor changes by replacing all the AP flour with half whole wheat pastry flour, and buttermilk because I had plenty on hand. When ever I use this muffin tin, the baked goods love to stick; so instead of adding the chocolate chips to the batter we added a few to the tops. Once they finished baking/cooling completely, I bagged them and placed them in the freezer. In the morning, we microwave them for about 3 minutes at 50% power so they don’t dry out or become rocket hot. Once they’re all gone, I will make another batch because I’m sure they’ll fight over the last 6… Thanks for reading, enjoy! 🙂

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Pancake Mini-Muffins – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 1 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoons Salt
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
  • Chocolate chips, optional
  • coconut oil to prep the tin (or whatever you prefer)

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine buttermilk, eggs and vanilla

Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients, then stir in melted butter. If batter is too thick, stir in a little milk.

Spray a mini-muffin pan generously with coconut oil. Fill cups 2/3 full. If using chocolate chips, drop 2 to 3 onto each cup.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Let sit in the pan for 1 to 2 minutes, then turn them out of the pan. (Use a small knife if any are stubborn.)

Serve warm with warm syrup!

Buttermilk Waffles

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School  just started up again and breakfast time can be a bit of a hassle, and I love having waffles in my freezer for easy, no-brainer breakfasts. I doubled this batch and it made 14 – 1/2 cup waffles that I “healthified” slightly by using whole wheat pastry flour and some grapeseed oil instead of all butter. These are lightly crispy, fluffy with just a touch of sweetness; and they don’t even need syrup. Once the waffles cool, I pull them apart, stack them, bag them and freeze them. Depending on how much time I have in the mornings, I’ll reheat them in my oven at 35o for 7-10 minutes – or if we’re running late, the microwave works just fine. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Buttermilk Waffles – slightly adapted from Completely Delicious

**Click the link for the unmodified recipe**

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions –

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, melted butter and vanilla. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

Preheat a waffle maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Grease with non-stick spray if necessary. Pour scant 1 cup batter into the hot waffle maker (1/2 cup for smaller waffle irons). Cook until golden brown, and serve.

Easy, Stove Top, No-Roux Macaroni and Cheese

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This couldn’t be easier and it’s so tasty, quick, creamy and surprise – there is no butter in this recipe! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Creamy No-Roux Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese – adapted from The Kitchn

  • 1 pound pasta, any shape
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups shredded cheese, like cheddar, monterey jack, or colby
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Directions –

1. Bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil over high heat in the pasta pot. Add the pasta and a tablespoon of salt. Cook until the pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. When the pasta has finished cooking, prepare the cheese sauce. Begin warming 1 cup of the milk in the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup of milk and the flour until there are no lumps. When you just start to see tendrils of steam rising from the warming milk, whisk in the milk-and-flour mixture. Continue whisking gently until the milk thickens slightly to the consistency of heavy cream, 3-4 minutes.

3.Turn the heat to low and begin mixing handfuls of cheese into the milk. Stir in the salt and mustard. Stir until all the cheese has melted and the sauce is creamy. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Remove the sauce from heat.

4. In a large serving bowl, combine the pasta and 1/2 of the cheese sauce. Stir to coat the pasta evenly. Add the second half of the sauce and any extra add-ins.

French Toast Sticks

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My kids loved these, but what’s not to love? I like that the whole pan is finished at one time, so no standing by the stove waiting to flip each piece of bread. I used four thick slices of this egg bread, and there was just enough custard for them. Next time I will have to double the recipe so we have quick, no-effort school breakfasts perfect for those mornings when I just need five more minutes of sleep! 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Baked French Toast Sticks – adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

  • 4 slices Texas Toast (or other hearty, thick-cut bread)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon melted butter, slightly cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees then spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray very well and set aside. Cut bread slices into thirds then set aside.
  2. In a large shallow dish, whisk together eggs, milk, melted butter, vanilla, and cinnamon. Dunk bread sticks into batter, let excess drip off, then place onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 16-18 minutes, spraying the tops of the French Toast Sticks with non-stick spray before flipping halfway through.
  3. To freeze: Let French Toast Sticks cool then place onto a baking sheet and freeze in the freezer. Transfer to a freezer bag or container when hard. To reheat, microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Pina Colada Popsicles

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I haven’t made popsicles since last Summer, but I have been so inspired by the pretty pictures floating all over Pinterest. The kids were excited about these – because you know I never make sweet things! But these are the kind of treats I don’t feel guilty about giving them and they’re quite healthy. These are so easy to make and I’m sure I will try out a few more popsicle recipes before school starts up again 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

**If you’re interested in making these “boozy”, you could swap half the water with light rum**

Pina Colada Popsicles –

    • 8 ounces frozen, diced pineapple and mango
    • 1/2 cup orange juice
    • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
    • 1/2 hot water
    • 1 TBSP unsweetened coconut flakes

Directions-

Simply mix ingredients together, by hand or in a blender/food processor, and pour into individual popsicles molds.  Add a popsicle stick in the center of the mold and place in freezer for at least 4 hours.

Remove popsicles from freezer and run exterior of popsicle molds under hot water for a few seconds and then gently pull on popsicle stick to release from mold.