Browsing Category

Sweets & Savories

Sweets & Savories

Healthy Banana Bran Muffins

January 27, 2016
Healthy Banana Bran Muffins |

Who’s in the mood for a muffin? I can’t remember the last time I made these healthy banana bran muffins (originally posted here), so I think it’s about time to bring them back into our routine baking rotation. I’m really happy to say that we’ve re-purged a lot of refined sugar from our diet lately- something that I started doing about two years ago when I decided to cut sugar out of my morning coffee and to drastically cut down sugary snacks throughout the day. Now I’m the “a little coffee with my cream” kind of gal- another thing I need to work on, hahaha- and though I got into a really bad habit of making a yummy chocolate cake from scratch over the holidays (that post is coming soon), dark chocolate and homemade granola are what I try to stick to for dessert.

And let me tell you, it’s so worth it. I can’t tell you how much more energy I have when I’m not constantly craving and eating all of the sugary desserts! And when I do have an occasional piece of cake I don’t have to worry so much, knowing that it’s not a habit I’m stuck in anymore. By the grace of God, hopefully it will stay this way!

These healthy banana bran muffins is a recipe that I modified from this recipe, in which I replaced the brown sugar, butter, and white flour with honey, Greek yogurt, and whole wheat flour.


-1/2 heaping cup of plain greek yogurt
-1/2 cup natural honey
-3 mashed bananas
-1/4 cup milk
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-2 eggs
-1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
-1/2 cup wheat bran
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
-1/2 cup walnuts

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a muffin pan or line with paper muffin liners.
2) In a large mixing bowl, cream yogurt and honey together. Add bananas, milk, vanilla and eggs; mix well. Stir in flour, bran, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices; blend just until moistened. Stir in walnuts. Pour batter into prepared muffin cups.
3) Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool in the cups for 5 minutes, then remove muffins and place on a wire rack to cool completely.


Sweets & Savories

Chick Pea Cutlets, Delicious & Vegan!

January 11, 2016

A vegan recipe for chick pea cutlets |

I’ve been cooking up a storm lately, which means that I’m back to my usual self! It’s only taken nine months (since we had Finn, moved to Germany, and finally got over the whiplash of all of that) to start enjoying cooking again. But now that our- very little European style- kitchen is back in full swing, I thought I’d start sharing some of the staple recipes that we make almost weekly. This one in particular just so happens to be vegan, but don’t let that scare you off! Because here’s the thing; I’m married to an all-American, burger loving man, and though it may be hard to believe, he was the one who kept requesting these chickpea cutlets. And I can’t say I’m all that surprised, because they’re truly yummy!

If you’re looking for a new dinner idea, give them a try. They’re super healthy, energy packed, and very versatile. You can top them with sour cream and or/avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, and cumin to give them a Mexican vibe, or sweet chili sauce and nuts for a Thai flare. That’s what I usually do with them, but I’m sure the possibilities are endless. The boys eat it them with ketchup, and they could probably be eaten with a bun as a good burger substitute as well.

A vegan recipe for chick pea cutlets |
A vegan recipe for chick pea cutlets |


INGREDIENTS (I always double this recipe)

  • 1 can of chick peas
  • 2 T (Tablespoon) olive oil
  • .5 cup of Vital Wheat Gluten
  • .5 cup of plain bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup of water or vegetable broth
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • .5 t (teaspoon) lemon pepper or lemon zest
  • .5 t thyme
  • .5 t paprika
  • .25 t sage

DIRECTIONS¬† Using a food processor (or by hand) mash the chick peas and olive oil together until there are no whole chick peas left, and then add the remaining ingredients and kneed for a few minutes until it’s well mixed. Then form them into patties and cook them in a stove top skillet on medium-high with olive oil until they’re warmed through and golden brown.



Fun With Tots, Sweets & Savories

Our Third Annual Christmas Cookie Baking Day

December 24, 2015


I’ll begin this post with a picture of a mess because, well, a mess is what we made today! A lively, boisterous, fun and chaos-filled mess of flour and dough as lots of little hands and mouths made sure to get their fair share contributing. Even Finn played a part as he- sometimes happily, but towards the end not so happily– observed from the nearby high chair. Anyway, I can’t say we made the most impressive of cookies (maybe next year we’ll get to the icing part), but sure did have a grand old time! I also used a new sugar cookie recipe that is so, so great. It’s simple, doesn’t need to be chilled, and doesn’t expand during the baking! This is the third year in a row we’ve made Christmas cookies together, and hopefully this is a tradition that will stick.

Christmas-cookies-5 Christmas-cookies-8Christmas-cookies-6 Christmas-cookies-3 Christmas-cookies-4 Christmas-cookies-7Christmas-cookies-11Christmas-cookies-10 Christmas-cookies-12

There’s so much more I’d love to say about life lately, but there is never enough time! We’re happy, healthy, and- though missing our family dearly and dreaming of being home for Christmas- doing well in Germany. God’s grace abounds in our lives, and so does his patience towards us (amen for that!)

Merry Christmas!

Fun With Tots, Sweets & Savories

Chocolate Chip Cake Batter Cookies

November 12, 2015


Oh my. You just never know what may happen when you find yourself standing in the middle of a room full of bored, crying kids and desperation strikes. Who’s seen the scene from I Don’t Know How She Does It where Sarah Jessica Parker bribes her kids with the classic “who wants to watch cartoons?!” line? In my house, it’s “who wants to bake cookies?!” Anyway, that’s what lead to trying this new recipe {from Sally’s Baking Addiction}. I’m usually very unadventurous when it comes to cookie baking and I stick with the classic back-of-the-bag Tollhouse chocolate chip recipe. But this time we just so happened to have everything we needed to try something new.


I actually stuck to the directions to refrigerate the dough for at least two hours, and it was worth the wait. I was also kind of interested to see Sally’s method for forming “tall” cookie balls {plus adding a few extra chocolate chips to the top of each ball}, something I’ve actually been doing for a while but had never seen anyone else mention! That’s about my only semi-original baking tip.

Needless to say, the tears dried up real quick once the cookie factory was open for business…


I set the timer for exactly ten minutes and that was perfect. They look slightly underdone when they come out of the oven, but they’re just right.


I think these are going to have to become a staple recipe, especially for birthdays!

1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 and 1/4 cup yellow or vanilla boxed cake mix (I used Betty Crocker’s Butter Yellow)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup sprinkles

In a large bowl, mix the flour, cake mix, and baking soda. Set aside.

Cream the softened butter and both sugars together until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Add the flour, chocolate chips, and sprinkles and mix. Use your hands to knead it if the dough is powdery.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 3-4 days. Don’t skip this or the
cookies may bake too flat. You may also freeze the balls at this point for up to 3 months. {Then bake as directed adding 1 minute to the bake time without thawing.}

Once dough has been chilled, preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

Scoop rounded balls of the cold dough onto an ungreased baking sheet. Shape your cookie dough balls to be “taller” than they are wide, as pictured above.

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until edges are slightly browned. Mine took 10 minutes exactly. The centers will still appear very soft, but the cookies will set as they cool.


Sweets & Savories

Homemade Flax Seed Bread

November 11, 2015

Flax-Seed-Bread-Recipe-2FLAX SEED BREAD

1 Cup olive oil
1 Cup maple syrup or honey
5 Cups warm water
1 Cup cornmeal
2 Teaspoons salt
4 Tablespoons flax seed
2 Tablespoons yeast
10-14 Cups of flour {white, whole wheat, or a combination}

-Mix all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and use enough flour to make it thick and non-sticky.
-Let the dough rise for 45 minutes, until doubled in size.
-Knead and put into greased bread pans.
-Let it rise for another 45 minutes.
-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until bread is golden and makes a hollow sound when tapped. {I like to under cook ours slightly to get a soft, moist, chewy texture}.
-Turn out immediately and cool on a cooling rack.

This flax seed bread is simple, yummy, and a new staple in our house. But best of all, our first taste of it began with a dear friend’s act of kindness. A couple of hours after arriving home from a long car trip with the boys, my neighbor Becky pulled into my driveway with a half gallon of milk and a loaf of this flax seed bread. We’d been out of town for over a month and Thane was deployed, so fresh food and the familiar face of a good friend was a welcomed sight. What a blessing she was! And not just on that day. She’s opened her home to us countless times, watched our boys more times than I can remember, and is always a fresh source of encouragement. Also, she’s a fellow Army wife who recently went through a deployment of her own. That means she’s well acquainted with the joys and challenges of it all, and there is such sweet fellowship in that. This bread will always be a warm reminder of her friendship, and I’m so grateful to God for putting her in my path!

One last thing, if you’re looking for a healthy snack idea for the whole family {with no refined sugar!}, see my banana bran muffin recipe here. Happy baking!

Sweets & Savories

Homemade Chocolate Pudding with Oreo Crumbs

March 24, 2015

Homemade-Chocoloate-Pudding-DessertHappy 30th Birthday to Thane! This year we celebrated with a couple of dinner outings and then an evening at home on the night of his actual birthday. Instead of a cake, I surprised him with- you guessed- pudding! {Which may or may not have been spurred on by our conversation about how much we loved eating dirt & worms- the Oreo & gummy worm dessert- when we were little. Who remembers that yummy concoction?!}. This happens to be a family recipe, and let me just say two words; more, please! With the exception of homemade granola, we’ve been on a fairly consistent no dessert eating streak at home. But I’m already scheming to make more of this pudding… It’s so much better than what you get at the store!

2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate baking squares {add more or less according to taste}
Half cup of brown sugar
4 cups of milk, I used whole.
4 T cornstarch
1 Egg
Whipped cream for the topping {optional}
Oreo crumbs or crumbled up Oreo cookies for the bottom of the bowl and/or topping {optional}
1 t vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate in a small bowl.
Heat three cups of milk in a double boiler, while adding the cornstarch and the brown sugar to the remaining cup of milk and stirring constantly to avoid hardening.
Once the milk is heated in the double boiler, add the remaining cup with the cornstarch, mix thoroughly and heat.
Remove about a cup of the milk mixture from the double boiler and add a raw, whisked egg.
Pour the milk and egg mixture back into the double boiler and add the chocolate and vanilla extract.
Stir until thick.
Pour into ungreased serving bowls/cups, {with the oreo crumbs already added to the bottom} and cool in the refrigerator.

P.S. If you want to make a healthier version of this, cut out half or even all of the brown sugar. I accidentally didn’t add the sugar this past time and we still loved it. Or use 2% or skim milk instead of whole.

What are you guys indulging in lately? Leave a link to your favorite dessert recipe below!