Baked Oatmeal with Bananas and Blueberries

The best weekends always go by way too fast. As I sit here on Sunday evening (listening to Big Guy try to calm our anxious 5 week old) I can’t help but think how lucky I am to have spent the weekend with my two favorite people in the whole wide world. We did absolutely nothing that would be exciting to anyone. Big Guy sent me away to get a manicure and pedicure on Saturday morning after my workout and took over all baby duties for a few hours. It was glorious – yet weird…I actually missed that nugget while I was gone. I enjoyed a delicious glass of sparking rosé and we ate our weight in meat and cheese. And on Sunday we laughed and Blakely Gray took her longest nap to date. See, nothing too exciting, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

This past week I made a breakfast bake that fueled me through busy mornings around the house. I’ve found that breakfast needs to be pulled together quickly but it also needs to keep me full. If there are oats involved, even better.

To make this baked oatmeal, you start by slicing a couple of bananas and placing in a dish along with blueberries, honey and cinnamon. This is then covered and baked for 20 minutes before being topped with an oat and pecan mixture and then a combination of milk, an egg and vanilla. The entire dish is topped with a few more blueberries and pecans and baked to perfection.

I enjoyed a slice of the baked oatmeal with a little 2% Greek yogurt and a scoop of peanut butter.


Even Big Guy loved this breakfast…and after this morning, it’s gone.

Do you have a favorite make-ahead breakfast?


Banana-Walnut Bread

Remember how I used a “secret” oil a couple of weeks back to make a delicious pasta dish?   Since walnut oil isn’t an oil I come across in recipes often, I was excited that in the same issue of Cooking Light there was a recipe for banana-walnut bread using walnut oil.  Muffins and bread are something I like to keep on hand for Big Guy to have in the morning for breakfast.  And while Big Guy couldn’t detect the walnut oil, he did say that the bread was extra “nutty.”

To start the recipe, soak raw oats (I used old fashioned oats) in buttermilk (I used milk mixed with vinegar) for 10 minutes.  While that is soaking, combine the flour, baking powder and soda, and salt.

Next make your streusel topping:  brown sugar, oil, walnuts (I actually used pecans), cinnamon, salt, raw oats and flour.  I love banana bread with a streusel topping.

Once the oats and buttermilk have soaked, add in mashed ripe bananas (the key to ALL banana breads), vanilla, eggs, brown sugar, and walnut oil. Once mixed, this is spooned into the loaf pan and then topped with the streusel before being baked.

I can’t even describe how amazing the house smelled while this was cooking.


Look at the edges on that bread.  I love a little crunchy edge from the caramelization of the sugar.  This bread is fantastic straight out of the oven or store at room temperature and warm before eating.  Big Guy made his a little more decadent and filling with a smear of cashew butter.

Now I just need to find a few more recipes using walnut oil…

Pancake Bake with Cinnamon Streusel

And the Christmas brunch continues…

Yesterday was all about the savory, but today we’re all about the sweet.  This bread-pudding-esque breakfast casserole is filled with homemade pancakes that are soaked in an egg and cream mixture and then topped with streusel before baking to perfection.

This recipe is mostly make-ahead but does a require a little time the day before due to the batch of homemade buttermilk pancakes.  The pancakes are a simple mix of flour, a little sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, buttermilk, eggs and melted butter.  The pancakes are then cooked on the stovetop or pancake griddle, 1/4 cup batter at a time, for 4 minutes each side.  Once cooked, the pancakes are halved and then layered in the baking dish.

The cream and egg mixture that is poured over the pancakes to soak overnight, is a mixture of eggs, heavy cream, whole milk, sugar and vanilla.  The casserole is then refrigerated overnight.  Before cooking, top with the streusel, a mixture of flour, pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and butter. Cook for about 50 minutes.  The casserole can be served with maple syrup on the side, but we found it to be sweet enough without the syrup.


Just like your favorite stack of pancakes – but even better with the cinnamon streusel.

Other menu items included:

Country Ham Hash (Big Guy adored this dish)

Romaine with Creamy Olive Dressing (I really loved this crisp and fresh addition to the spread)

I also made sweet and spicy bacon from the magazine but the recipe is terrible with the instructions and we ended up with overcooked bacon.  I also set up a mimosa bar with cranberry juice, apple cider and orange juice along with cinnamon sticks and sugared cranberries to fancy the glasses up.  I had to stick to soda water spiked with apple cider.

So there you have it – my Christmas brunch menu.  What’s your favorite Christmas brunch menu item?


Sausage-and-Cheese Grits Quiche

Like I mentioned yesterday, on Saturday we hosted a “Christmas” brunch at our house.  Since I’ll be eating Christmas brunch again on Christmas, I wanted to make sure, for my sake, that the menu was completely different.  In the latest issue of Southern Living, there was a spread on a “make ahead Christmas brunch.”  I decided it was fate and turned to the magazine for help this past weekend.  And while I wouldn’t say it’s “make ahead” because you still spend a few hours in the kitchen the day-of, I will say there were some show stopper recipes.

The favorite of the morning was the sausage-and-cheese grits quiche.  I have a feeling I’ll be making this quiche over and over again because it truly was delicious.  It actually combines two of my favorite breakfast casseroles that my grandmothers make on Christmas morning – cheese grits and a sausage and egg casserole.

The day before your brunch, prep the grits which are insanely decadent with whole milk, butter, cheddar cheese and Velveeta cheese.  Once the grits thicken on the stovetop, pour into a well-buttered springform pan (aka cheesecake pan) and allow to cook before placing in the fridge overnight.  I also cooked the sausage the day before our brunch, as well as sliced up the green onions.

The day of your brunch, whisk together the eggs and cream (more decadence), along with salt and pepper and Dijon mustard.  Fold in the green onions and the browned sausage before pouring on top of the grits layer.  Bake for an hour and ten minutes (it too mine a little longer).  When you take the quiche out of the oven, top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and allow the casserole to stand for at least 20 minutes before removing the outer ring.  Before serving, sprinkle with chopped chives.


I would serve this at ANY brunch.  And you can keep it simple with just a side of fruit.  But of course since it’s the holidays, we didn’t keep it simple…a sweet breakfast casserole is coming your way tomorrow.

Cranberry-Apple Granola Muffins

A fall-inspired muffin that is sure to make even the chilliest (and earliest) mornings a little better.  These muffins are packed full of dried cranberries for tartness, granola for some crunch, applesauce to keep them tender and full of apple flavor and then topped with diced Honeycrisp apples for even more sweetness.


This muffin recipe truly took very little time to make and they’re rather fool-proof.  You simply mix the ingredients and then add the diced apples and a little more granola on top.  I did not use parchment paper to bake them – instead, I went the easy route with muffin/cupcake liners.  There is absolutely no reason to add stress to making muffins.  And I left off the sweet drizzle (though I’m sure it’s incredible) to make these a little more “figure friendly.”

The perfect little muffin to have on hand – whether your expecting guests or not.

Apple Crisp Muffins

I didn’t mean to disappear on y’all but life sometimes happens.  For those who sent me “feel better vibes” – thank you!  My stomach/pregnancy issues have been tamed but now I’m stuck with a nasty cold.  Let’s hope that I lose the cough and runny nose ASAP.  Thankfully I didn’t let my ailments slow us down this past weekend as we headed to Ocean Isle Beach for the Oyster Festival.  Last year we kind of started a tradition with two couples and it’s a fun weekend getaway that we look forward to each fall.  We ate good food (the crab cake wrap at the festival is insane), laughed and laughed some more, enjoyed golf cart rides, listened to beach music and just enjoyed each other’s company at one of the most relaxing places on earth.  Last Thursday I made a batch of muffins to take with us to have around in case we needed a little snack.

And it turns out that these apple crisp muffins are amazing.  I’m not one to “toot my own horn” but all the guys couldn’t stop gushing about them.  And while the recipe isn’t necessarily “healthy” it sure beats store bought muffins.  These muffins are loaded with apple flavor thanks to applesauce and fresh diced apples.  The best part is the crumb topping – crumbly and buttery.  Instead of cinnamon, I used apple spice seasoning since I had some on hand which simply has a few more spices in addition to cinnamon but it’s totally not a necessary swap.


I highly recommend you bake a batch so you can have a sweet treat (or breakfast!) right at your fingertips.  Bonus points if you’re able to pick your own apples! (p.s. that’s definitely on my bucket list for one fall in the near future.)




Almond Butter Banana Yogurt Muffins

This is what happens when you have super ripe bananas staring at you and your freezer is already full of frozen bananas.


Almond Butter Banana Yogurt Muffins are the perfect breakfast or snack and I think Big Guy is going to be verrrrry happy to sample these.  The recipe is very similar to other banana muffin recipes except there is NO oil.  Super ripe bananas and Greek yogurt give these muffins extra moisture to keep them from drying out.  And instead of pieces of nuts, almond butter!  Peanut butter (what the recipe called for) would be equally delicious but I’m OUT.   (Don’t worry, I’m working on my Trader Joe’s shopping list as we speak.)  In addition to sweetness from the bananas, a little maple syrup (or honey) and brown sugar add just the right amount. Feel free to adjust the amounts if you’re watching your sugar intake.  The only other changes I made to the recipe were that I used 2% milk instead of the soy milk and I used all-purpose flour instead of whole wheat.

Since I wasn’t really in need of a lot of muffins, I allowed the muffins to cool before freezing half of them for later.  Also, I think this recipe would make more than 12 muffins – mine turned out HUGE.

Happy Snacking!