Healthy Applesauce & Oat Muffins

Despite what my blog full of decadent desserts and copious comfort food recipes might suggest, we’re actually pretty healthy eaters. I mean, sure, I love a good breakfast pastry, a dreamy creamy (I meant creamy) bowl of macaroni & cheese, or even a thick slice of loaded beer bread on occasion, but most of the time… we keep it pretty healthy. In order to keep breakfast a relatively healthy affair, and let’s be honest with our oldest out the door around 5:15 for JV football practice, we don’t have a whole lot of time to be cooking in the AM hours, I try to keep healthy, grab-and-go options on hand. That’s where these little beauties come into play.

A great wholesome applesauce oatmeal muffin that’s delicious, nutritious and low in fat. They’re perfect for breakfast on the go or as a lunch-time treat. The hubs & son # 1 take one of these (or another protein inclusive muffin) and 2 hard boiled eggs for breakfast on their ways to work/football practice. Even with son 1’s grueling practice regime it keeps him fueled. Seriously, these hearty muffins will fill you up with fiber and flavor instead of fat. Who wouldn’t want that?

We love these as is, but I have to be honest, warm out of the oven with a big ol’ pat of butter on em, these are pretty dang amazing. Everything in moderation, right? 😉

Healthy Applesauce & Oat Muffins

 Healthy Applesauce & Oat Muffins

1 3/4 cups all purpose, or whole wheat, flour
1 cup quick cooking oats*
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup coconut oil, melted
2 eggs
1/4 cup nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
1 cup chunky or home-style unsweetened applesauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

*To make your own quick cooking oats from rolled outs, place rolled oats into the food processor and pulse 4-5 times until they are coarsely chopped but not powdery. Cutting them makes them faster to cook, but do only those few pulses or the oats will turn to mush when cooked.

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, oats, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder. Set aside.
2. In another bowl, cream together sugar and oil by hand.
3. Add in eggs one at a time and mix well. Stir in yogurt, applesauce and vanilla until well incorporated.
4. Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Do not over mix.
5. Drop muffin liners into muffin pan, and then fill 3/4 full with the batter. Bake at 425 for 3 minutes, and then turn the oven to 350 and bake for an additional 17-18 minutes. The muffins are done when a toothpick comes out with crumbs on it. Remove the muffins from the pan and cool.

Looking for more healthy recipes? 

4 Sons 'R' Us: Healthy Chocolate Fudge

Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

4 Sons 'R' Us: chocolate peanut butter protein shake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake 

4 Sons 'R' Us: Healthy Peach 'Milkshakes'

Healthy Peach ‘Milkshakes’ 

Strawberry Bread with a Strawberry Cream Cheese Glaze

Umm banana bread what?!

Look out kids there is a new snack food on the block and its kicking that old fashioned banana bread to the curb!

Boom.

The old timer’s going down!

Seriously, this strawberry bread is beyond delicious.

We all know I’m not one to exaggerate (much) and although it may seem like I say that every new recipe I post is the newest bestest thing to hit your tastes buds this bread . . . ohmywordthisstrawberrybread!

You need it in your life!

Today!

See this spring I made my first strawberry bread and since then it’s quickly become a summer staple, which I’m sure we’ll see continue to return year after year. This time I thought I’d jazz it up a bit by adding a a little something extra. I ended up adding a sweet strawberry glaze (or if I’m being honest– icing), because go big or go home – amiright?

Fresh strawberries meet an almost cake-like bread. You could forgo the glaze and just spread each slice with butter or strawberry flavored cream cheese and it would be just as delicious!

Like I said, you need this in your life.

ASAP.

Glazed Strawberry Bread

 Glazed Strawberry Bread

recipe adapted from Cookies and Cups 

1 cup chopped strawberries
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup milk
1 3/4 cups flour

Glaze

1/4 cup strawberry jam or preserves
1/4 cup (2 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Directions

1. Put the chopped strawberries in a small bowl. Add flour and stir/toss making sure they’re coated well. Set aside.
2. In a mixer, or by hand, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes of vigorous mixing. Next, add the eggs and vanilla mixing until fully incorporated, scraping the sides, as necessary.
3. Add in the baking powder and salt and mix to completely combine.
4. Turn the mixer to low and slowly begin adding in the flour and milk, beginning and ending with flour, but alternating between the two.
5. Continue mixing until batter is smooth and evenly combined.
6. Using a spatula, fold in the strawberries until they’re fully incorporated, evenly, into the batter. Pour the batter into a greased 9×5 in. pan.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until center is set and a toothpick or knife that’s inserted into your loaf comes out clean.
8. Allow the bread to cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove from the pan and allow it to finish cooling on a wire rack.

Glaze

Beat the strawberry jam/preserves, cream cheese, and powdered sugar together until smooth. Spread over the cooled bread, allowing it to drip down the sides. Wait about 10 minutes to allow the glaze to ‘set’ before slicing and serving.

Sous Chef Sunday: Teddy Bear Toast

I didn’t think anything could shift son # 4’s love of eggs for breakfast. But, one morning of helping me with these and he was hooked. He’s asked for it again every morning for a week straight. I’m so glad we found a way to put a little fun back into our breakfast routine. These adorable little teddies take less than two minutes to whip up, and make a perfect healthy and FUN breakfast option for the little ones. Don’t like peanut butter, or wanting more variety. Sub nutella!

Teddy Bear Toast

Teddy Bear Toast

a few slices of your favorite sandwich bread, toasted
banana, sliced
raisins
creamy peanut butter
 
Directions
 
1. Start by toasting the piece of bread in the toaster. Then spread the creamy peanut butter, or nutella, all over it.
2. Cut up the bananas into thin slices and put two at the top corners of the toast and one in the middle.  
3. Add three raisins making the bear’s eyes and nose.
4. Isn’t it just soooo cute?! This is a great way to sneak in some healthy options (bananas and raisins) without them complaining.

Glazed Lemon Zucchini Bread

The gardening gods have seen to it that this summer I have more zucchini than I knew what to do with. Fortunately for me, that’s led to finding all these awesome new recipes, and I’m constantly, and pleasantly, being surprised by all the wonderful ways I’m discovering this summer that zucchini can be used. And for someone who does not particularly like surprises, that’s saying something. Flecks of zucchini give a delicious third dimension to the popular lemon and quick bread combination in this moist, breakfast/dessert hybrid. Seriously, lemon and zucchini are a match made in flavor heaven. Who knew?!  This little loaf is easy to make. Quick breads are a perfect starting point for non/new bakers and an easy, old faithful recipe for those who’re already in the ‘fold’.

Glazed Lemon Zucchini Bread

4 Sons 'R' Us: Glazed Lemon Zucchini Bread 2

recipe adapted from Lil Luna

2 cups cake flour*
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup buttermilk
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup grated zucchini
 
For The Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp milk
 
*To make your own cake flour: for each cup of all purpose flour, remove one tablespoon of flour and replace by adding one tablespoon of cornstarch

4 Sons 'R' Us: Glazed Lemon Zucchini Bread

Directions

1. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir to equally incorporate and set aside.
2. Add eggs to the bowl of a mixer and beat well. Continue mixing and in the oil and sugar until evenly combined. Next add in the lemon juice, buttermilk, and zest to the batter and blend until combined completely.
3. Gently fold/blend in the zucchini until fully incorporated.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and blend together until evenly combined.
5. Add the batter into a greased 9×5 loaf pan.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until done.
7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool some. While still warm, make glaze and spoon over the bread. Allow the bread to stand for a bit so that the glaze ‘sets’ before serving.

Sous Chef Sunday: Snickerdoodle Crescent Rolls

While I could go on and on about these perfect little pastries, I’ll get straight to the point for you guys. Today the sons and I are bringing you peanut butter, cinnamon, and sugar wrapped up in crescent rolls for an easy breakfast, snack, or even dessert. Be sure to sit down with a glass of milk, then pile up a gorgeous Snickerdoodle mountain of them. Eat your way to the top one crescent at a time!

Snickerdoodle Crescent Rolls

 4 Sons 'R' Us: Snickerdoodle Crescent Rolls 2

1 tube Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
4 teaspoons peanut butter (crunchy or creamy)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

4 Sons 'R' Us: Snickerdoodle Crescents

1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
2. In a small bowl combine the cinnamon and sugar.
3. Unroll the crescent dough and carefully seperate into individual triangles along the perforated lines. Spread 1/2 teaspoon of peanut butter onto the top side of the crescents, starting at the wide end and leaving a little space along the edges. Sprinkle each with a pinch of cinnamon sugar. Roll into crescents.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes, until golden brown. While still hot carefully roll them in the cinnamon and sugar.  Roll again after they’ve cooled.
5. These can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Can also be frozen for up to one month. Then you’ve got a quick, on-the-go breakfast or snack for busy days!

Cinnamon Roll Dippers

Growing up I remember my Grandma always having a pie or two cooling. Boy, did she make good pies. Peach, cherry, apple, rhubarb…you name it. And it wasn’t just the fillings that were delicious. The buttery, flaky crusts were pastry perfection. The real treat for us grand-kids wasn’t the pie we had to wait on dessert for though, it was what we knew she would do with the leftover pie crust. She would sprinkle them with cinammon and sugar and bake them into sweet little sticks. These are so similar to what she did, but the dip blew my mind. Sorry Grandma, but the dip is where it’s at.

A sweet start to the morning? These can be for breakfast or dessert. The sticks are soft and buttery and then dipped in that cinnamon sweet sauce makes it just right. And yes, I know they’re on the sweet side for breakfast, but you’ve got to treat yourself every once in a while, right?

Cinnamon Roll Dippers

4 Sons 'R' Us: Cinnamon Roll Dippers

recipe originally from Creme De La Crumb

1½ cups flour
4 tablespoons sugar (divided)
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, softened +1 tablespoon (divided)
3-6 tablespoons ice cold water
1 teaspoon cinnamon

for the glaze dip

2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1½ cups powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla
milk
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

1. Combine flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Cut in ½ cup butter with pastry cutter or two forks until crumbly. Add 3 tablespoons ice cold water and mix to combine. Add more water 1 tablespoon at a time as needed until mixture comes together. Flatten dough into a round disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill 15 minutes or overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 375 and grease a baking sheet with cooking spray.
3. When dough has chilled, unwrap it and use a pizza cutter to cut into 1-1/2 inch strips. Place wtrips on prepared baking sheet. Use a rubber spatula to spread 1 tablespoon butter over the tops of the strips. Combine cinnamon and 1 tablespoon sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle mixture on top of buttered strips. Bake uncovered 12-14 minutes, until lightly browned.
4. Prepare the glaze dip by combining softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a bowl. Use a hand mixer to mix well. Add milk 1 teaspoon at a time until a smooth consistency is reached. In a small sauce pan combine brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon and whisk until butter melts and mixture is smooth. Drizzle cinnamon mixture into prepared glaze dip. Serve

*These can be made ahead by making the dough and glaze up to two days beforehand and chilling until ready to eat. When ready, simply bake the sticks as the directions suggest (may need to increase time by 1-2 minutes) and warm the glaze in a microwave safe bowl before serving.

Cinnamon Roll lover? Try these recipes next…

4 Sons 'R' Us: Cinnamon Roll Popcorn

Cinnamon Roll Popcorn

4 Sons 'R' Us: Cinnamon Roll Waffles

Cinnamon Roll Waffles with Cream Cheese Glaze

Sausage & Grits Chowder

A bowl of steaming grits is a Southern wake-up call in many homes, mine included.

While I love grits, I’ve been a bit jaded with the same ol’, same ol’ breakfasty/brunchy blend. A lot of recipes for a pairing of grits and anything incorporate TONS of butter, cheese and eggs. My version is somewhat conservative when it comes to making a typical meal of it. For example, there’s no butter, or eggs, and the cheese was only a garnish. It’s going against the grain, but I’ll let you in on a little secret, Grandma’s grits aren’t only for breakfast or brunch anymore.

Move over shrimp & grits. We’ve upgraded. Sausage & Grits are an award winning combo, and while a chowder may not be a ‘typical’ use for grits in my neck of the woods, one bite and you might be calling it Southern Heaven.

Sausage & Grits Chowder

4 Sons 'R' Us: Sausage & Grits Chowder 2

recipe adapted from Plain Chicken

1 lb sausage
2 cans Cream of Potato soup
1 (14.75 oz) can cream corn
3 cups milk
1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
1/2 cup quick grits
1 1/2 cups chicken broth

4 Sons 'R' Us: sausage & grits chowder

Directions

1. In a small saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of broth to a boil. Stir in 1/2 cup of quick grits. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes, until grits are done, stirring often.
2. Brown sausage over medium-high heat in a 4- to 5-quart Dutch oven. Stir in Cream of Potato soup, cream corn, 2 1/2 cups milk and cajun seasoning. Stir in cooked grits. If soup is too thick, add more milk. Simmer over low heat until heated through, approximately 10 minutes.
3. Serve with toast & shredded cheddar cheese for garnishing.

Homemade French Vanilla Coffee Creamer

I like coffee. A lot. This is no secret if you follow me on Facebook, where I always feel compelled to share my love for the taste, smell, and (of course) effects of coffee.

I have kind of gone back and forth about my coffee addiction. I mean, adoration. In the past, I occasionally felt too dependent on caffeine and tried hard to whittle myself down to a few-times-a-week drinker v. an every day drinker. When I got pregnant, I pretty much gave up coffee completely. And then I had a newborn and – WHAM! – I was back to my old ways. Hello, caffeine. I love you so hard. I need you in my life.

Homemade coffee creamer had intrigued me for a while. The hubs & I can easily go through two bottles of the stuff in a week (don’t judge us). At $3 a pop, that’s $24 per month on coffee creamer. No bueno. So, it’s no wonder I took a stab at making my own.

If you’re hooked on store-bought creamer, just looking to save a few bucks, or (like me when I was forced to stop contemplating & actually take a stab at it) have run out of coffee creamer and are either unable or too lazy to run to the store…then today’s your day. Here are over 2 dozen recipes using regular ingredients so you can make your own rich and affordable creamer from home.

Homemade French Vanilla Coffee Creamer

4 Sons 'R' Us: Easy French Vanilla Coffee Creamer

recipe (s) originally from Mrs. Happy Homemaker

14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 3/4 cup milk or cream (whole, lowfat, skim, almond, soy, heavy cream, half & half etc – whatever your preference, however the more fat, the more creaminess)
2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

1. Pour into a large mason jar and shake, shake, shake until combined.

It’s literally THAT easy! Looking for a different flavor? I’ve got you covered. Make the ‘base’ recipe which is the condensed milk with the addition of the regular milk or cream. Then add in any of the following flavor combinations.

Vanilla Bean Coffee Creamer
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
Chocolate
2-3 tablespoons chocolate syrup
(1 tsp vanilla extract, optional)
Chocolate Almond
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon almond extract
Strudel 1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
Vanilla Caramel
2 tablespoons  caramel ice cream topping
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Chocolate Raspberry
2 teaspoons cocoa powder 2 tablespoons raspberry syrup
Irish Cream
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
Coconut
2 teaspoons coconut extract

Haven’t found your flavor yet? Let’s keep going…

Samoa (like the Girl Scout Cookies)
2 teaspoons coconut extract (or sub coconut milk or cream of coconut, heated & strained, for the milk/cream)
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
2 tablespoons caramel ice cream topping
Peppermint Patty
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Cinnamon Vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pumpkin Spice
3 tablespoons pureed pumpkin
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Honey Vanilla
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

And there’s more!

Almond Joy
1-2 teaspoons coconut extract (or sub coconut milk or cream of coconut if you heat it first, strained, in place of the milk & extract)
1 teaspoon almond extract 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
Sweet Cream
Use 1 3/4 cups of heavy cream instead of the milk in the base recipe
2 teaspoons vanilla extract OR the inside of a vanilla bean, scraped
1 teaspoon almond extract
Chocolate Orange
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1-2 teaspoons orange extract
Hazelnut
2 teaspoons hazelnut extract
Chocolate Hazelnut
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
2 teaspoons hazelnut extract
Cinnamon Cake
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Salted Caramel
2-3 tablespoons caramel ice cream topping
1/2 teaspoon salt
Eggnog replace milk in base recipe with equal amount of heavy cream
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons rum extract
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Toasted Almond
2 teaspoons almond extract

In all these recipes, anything that has a dry or thick ingredient (like cinnamon, honey, etc..) should be heated up with a small amount of your milk/cream from the base recipe so it can dissolve properly. You don’t want grainy creamer! Then, add the rest of the milk/cream along with the sweetened condensed milk.

Your creamer will be good up til the expiration date on the milk or cream you used in your base recipe.

Sous Chef Sunday: Cinnamon Roll Waffles with Cream Cheese Glaze

These a without a doubt the easiest waffles ever. They literally take 5 minutes to make/bake. So, break open a tube of cinnamon rolls!  That’s all you need for an amazing cinnamon roll waffle breakfast.  Well, that and a waffle maker. 

The sons loved these! And by loved, I mean asked for them for breakfast every morning for 7 days in a row. I loved that they’re so simple, they can make them themselves. (Of course, the younger ones would need supervision around a hot waffle iron.) Monday morning, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday… well, you get the idea. Mama does not cook breakfast. At least not in the morning. I value every last second of my sleep. Often I will have prepared something ahead of time that the older sons can pull out of the chest freezer and pop in the toaster oven. Sometimes not. And then your options are a) yogurt, b) a bowl of cereal or c) go hungry. So again, we all love simple, but yummy breakfast recipes! This is the sons favorite, BY FAR.

Cinnamon Roll Waffles with Cream Cheese Glaze

4 Sons 'R' Us: Cinnamon Roll Waffles

1 can refrigerated cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

Directions

1. Heat waffle maker; spray with cooking spray. Remove cinnamon rolls from can; set icing aside.
2. For each waffle, place 1 cinnamon roll in center of waffle maker; close. Bake 3 to 4 minutes or until waffle is thoroughly cooked and golden brown. Make sure to spray the waffle iron in between each waffle since the sugars in the roll will make them more likely to stick.
3. Meanwhile, in small bowl, stir together reserved icing, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until glaze is smooth.
4. Serve glaze over hot waffles. The sons love these with yogurt, and/or some fresh fruit.

For those of you early birds who actually like to cook breakfast, or if you’re a breakfast for dinner kind of person, check out our breakfast enchiladas. They don’t disappoint.

Nutella Crescents

Nutella, a dangerous friend indeed. Sometimes, though, sometimes … you just gotta give in to temptation. For better or for worse.

 These are so simple, they’re simply amazing! Prepare for them to disappear right before your eyes. Serve them immediately or (if you have will power) store them in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. While they’re to die for all by themselves, they go great with milk or coffee.

Nutella Crescents

4 Sons 'R' Us: Nutella Crescents

Nutella
1 tube of crescent rolls
chocolate syrup, for drizzling (optional)
powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Unroll the crescents and spread each triangle with a huge healthy amount of Nutella.
3. Starting withe the wide ends, roll each triangle into crescent rolls. Place filled, rolled crescents on your parchment line baking sheet. Make sure to leave room for expansion as they bake.
4. Bake 10-12 minutes. Let crescents cool completely after baking.
5. If desired, before devouring serving, lightly dust crescents with powdered sugar and then drizzle with chocolate syrup.
6. Serve with milk or coffee and enjoy!

4 Sons 'R' Us: Nutella Crescents

Nom Nom Nom