The Best Oatmeal Cookie on Earth

I love oatmeal cookies so recently I decide to experiment a little.  As a result of that experimenting I came up with what I consider as the best oatmeal cookie on earth.  This cookie is moist and tender, not too sweet, and is loaded with delicious dried cherries and mini semi-sweet chocolate chips.    

If you are not a raisin fan then using dried cherries is the answer.  Cherries are a healthy filler that gives your cookies the flavor, texture, and heartiness they deserve.  

Chocolate Chip Cherry Oaties

1 c. margarine, softened

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. light brown sugar

1 large egg

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. old-fashioned oatmeal

1/2 c. dried cherries

1/2 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Makes about 2.5 dozen cookies.

In a large mixing bowl, cream margarine, sugar, vanilla, and egg together.  Stir in remaining dry ingredients and mix completely.   Using a dining sized teaspoon, drop cookie dough onto the prepared sheets about an 1 1/4” apart.  Bake for 10-11 minutes, or until a light golden brown.  Cool before transferring to baking rack.  Store in airtight container.

What is your favorite dried fruit?

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Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

There is nothing more enticing than a pan of homemade cinnamon rolls waiting to be dug into. Is there? 

Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

1/4 c. butter

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. milk

1 tsp. salt

4 tsp. instant yeast

1 c. warm water

1 egg, beaten

4 c. all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading

Cinnamon & Sugar Mixture

3/4 c. granulated sugar

1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 stick of butter, softened

Icing

1/2 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tbsp. milk

In a medium sized saucepan, add butter, milk, salt, and sugar.  Heat until butter has melted.  Remove from the burner and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, add 2 cups of flour, yeast, and water.  Add egg and milk mixture to the flour; mix thoroughly.  Add remaining flour ensuring all ingredients are mixed completely.

Place the dough on a moderately floured surface.  Knead until dough is no longer sticky – use more flour if necessary by adding about a tablespoon or two at a time.  Place dough into a large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow dough to double in size; about 1 hour.

Once dough has risen, place on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper about 15”x20” in size.   Punch dough down and roll into a rectangular shape – the size of the paper.  Brush softened butter on dough, sprinkle with prepared sugar & cinnamon mixture.  Roll dough into a log starting on the longest side of the rectangle.  Cut 1” slices and place in a greased 8”x13” baking pan.  

Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 1 hour. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for about 20-22 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool before drizzling icing on top.   

Simple Sunday Morning Breakfast–Fill Your Bellies; Warm Your House

 

I suppose it was to be expected.  Cold temperatures and snow flurries have intruded upon those of us that live in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State.  I’ve switched to wearing boots and a warmer jacket when I venture out.

But what about inside?  This morning our house was cooler than it has been and I was eager to get a fresh pot of coffee brewing.  And while the coffee warmed my soul and awakened me, it didn’t help warm the house.   Yes, I could have turned up the heat, but I had a much better idea like making breakfast in the oven.

With a plan in mind, I turned on the oven and started by raiding the fridge.  I came up with lot’s of healthy veggies, my favorite cheese -Jarlsberg Lite, low-fat ham, and of course our farm fresh eggs.  You can see where this is going can’t you?  All the fixings for a delicious frittata!

Making a frittata does not require a recipe or an exact science.  It’s more about adding a variety of your favorite ingredients. or those ingredients that you happen to have on hand at the time.

Here is how simple it is:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Grease a pie pan with non-stick cooking spray
  • Beat (4) large eggs in a large mixing bowl
  • Add 1 cup of milk to the eggs (I used skim)
  • Add diced veggies, grated cheese, and cooked meat to the egg and milk mixture (I added onion, red pepper, spinach, ham, mushrooms, and Jarlsberg to mine frittata)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Top with a little more grated cheese
  • Bake until the frittata is firm and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool about 10 minutes before cutting

I opted to go for a crust less quiche for a couple simple reasons.  Less calories and  less fat.

This is a perfect dish to prepare in advance if you are having overnight guests. Think about the holidays that are fast approaching.  

What ingredients would go in your favorite frittata?

Planning For A Long Cold Winter–Let’s Start With These Muffins

Our garden was pretty much a big wash out this summer. I’m thankful that our harvest, or lack thereof, doesn’t mean we will have to go without this winter.  It just means we will be buying more canned goods and frozen veggies from the grocery store which never taste as good as those you preserve or freeze yourself.

Because of this, I have started stocking up on many of the canned goods I anticipate we will need to get us through a long cold winter.  Fortunately, I did get around to freezing some delicious sweet corn that our good neighbors gave us, and I have made several containers of homemade applesauce that went directly into the freezer too.   Today, I decided to add to my freezer stockpile by making a batch of these ever so tasty breakfast muffins (Banana Oat Mini Chocolate Chip) that should help make any morning just a little warmer and brighter – no matter the temperature. 

If you’ve got some brown bananas sitting around that you just aren’t sure what to do with, you MUST make a batch of these muffins!   These muffins are a bit heartier than my mom’s banana bread recipe. They also have mini chocolate chips in them which helps capture your taste buds attention.  I’m also thinking that a quarter of a cup of chopped walnuts would really send these muffins over the moon but I didn’t add any to this batch.  Maybe next time!

Banana Oat Mini Chocolate Chip Muffins

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

2 eggs

1 stick of margarine (or butter), sliced

3 ripe bananas, mashed

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. sour milk

1 c. old-fashioned oats

2 c. all purpose flour

3/4 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Place baking papers in muffin tins.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put mashed bananas in a large bowl and cover with both brown and granulated sugar; let sit for a few minutes.  Add sliced butter and eggs; mix thoroughly.  Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and vanilla.  Mix in flour and oats until combined.  Fold in mini chocolate chips. 

Fill baking papers about 2/3 full.  Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean when inserted into the center.  Allow to cool before removing from the tins.

There is nothing sweeter smelling than ripe bananas covered in brown sugar.  Is there?

How do you prepare for long cold winters?  Does it involve preserving or freezing?

Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

This spring I’ve been thinking about all the projects that will keep me busy throughout the (hopefully) warm summer months.  Of course my list is forever growing, but one thing I’m particularly excited about is planting our garden.  Last year we enjoyed fresh vegetables in and out of season.  I froze lot’s of veggies and made a gazillion jars of homemade dill pickles.

I figure somewhere around mid March we ran out of our frozen French cut green beans.  Can I tell you how much I miss them?  My favorite way to cook them is in a little garlic and olive oil with a touch of parmesan cheese  – oh yum!

One thing I haven’t run out of yet is the grated zucchini I froze.  I usually freeze enough to make zucchini bread all winter long.  Since I already have posted my recipe for Quick Zucchini Oatmeal Bread  here before, and today I was in the mood for chocolate, I decided to get a little crafty in the kitchen and come up with a for Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins.  And as luck would have it, I succeeded and these turned out great!

What I like about these muffins is… the zucchini is barely visible.  If you’re trying to pass off some veggies to your picky eaters I can assure you that this is one way to do it.  Also, these muffins are moist, not greasy, and have just the right amount of chocolate to satisfy my taste.  As with most baked goods that I make, I also share, and the recipients of these muffins have given them great reviews.

And now for the recipe…

Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/4 c. brown sugar

2/3 c. canola oil

2 c.  grated zucchini

3/4 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 c. cocoa powder

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 c. dark mini chocolate chips, plus some for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 325.  Line muffin tins with cupcake papers (makes 1.5 dozen muffins).

In a large bowl, add eggs, sugars, oil, and grated zucchini; beat with an electric mixer until completely blended.  Add in baking soda, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly.  Beat in flour, and lastly, fold in mini chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared muffin tins – filling each cup about 2/3 full.  Bake for about 18 – 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Immediately sprinkle some mini chips on the muffins once they are removed from the oven, and cool completely before removing the muffins from the tins.

Do you plant a garden?  If so, what is your favorite veggie to grow? And do you have a favorite?

Hearty Oatmeal Cookies with Mini White and Dark Chocolate Chips

Of all of the cookies out there I think the oatmeal cookie has to be the healthiest.  I mean really, how can a cookie recipe that calls for 3 cups of oatmeal be bad for you?  Talk about hearty, these cookies are just that.

I got this recipe from That Skinny Chick Can Bake.  (Thanks Liz!) I did make a few minor adjustments to the recipe.  I used margarine instead of butter,  increased the vanilla from one teaspoon to two, and used 1/2 cup of mini dark chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips instead of the butterscotch chips.  I also added a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon to the batter.  I noticed Liz’s cookies appear to have a slightly different texture than mine, but let me tell you this, these cookies are delicious!   I love how the white and dark chocolate chips compliment each other in these cookies. 

Hop over to the blog That Skinny Chick Can Bake to get her original recipe.  And take special notice in what Liz dipped her cookies in.  Oh man!

Grab & Go Bran Muffins

If I were going to invite (you) some of my closest friends over for a cup of coffee to catch up on things, which I really need to do, I’d make these yummy muffins to share.  This is by far is my most favorite muffin recipe – ever.  I can’t really explain why, but I’ll try.  These muffins are moist, a little sweeter than most, and their flavor is unique.  In other words, not so branny.

This recipe originated from one that my mom had.  Her recipe makes a whopping 50 muffins.  I certainly don’t have room for that many muffins in my freezer – do you?  So,  instead of making enough muffins to feed an army, I did a little adjusting and cut the recipe down considerably.  Now I can make a dozen at a time without having muffins up the wazoo.

These are some of the easiest muffins to make.  I just throw the ingredients in a large bowl and mix them up by hand.  This recipe makes a dozen muffins.

Grease muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grab & Go Bran Muffins

1/2 c. sugar

1/4 c. butter, melted

1 egg, beaten

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. sour milk

1 c. bran flakes (If you like raisins, use substitute raisin bran flakes)

Mix all ingredients together and pour into prepared muffin pan.  Bake for approximately 13 minutes.  Check with a toothpick to make sure center is done.  Remove from oven; let cool before removing them from the pan.

What is your favorite muffin?