What’s in Your Trashcan?

simple lightened granola

If I were the cookie monster, I’d stash a lot more than Oreos and Mint Milanos and double chocolate chip cookies in my tin trashcan. I’d hide brownies, cupcakes, nutella, Reese’s minis, Godiva dark chocolate truffles, and… Granola. Yes, granola. And not just for a healthier option!


I’m addicted to granola. I first munched on it back in high school, and over the years, I bounced around between Trader Joe’s, Cascadia Farms, and my own cinnamon blend. But one morning as I poured my daily breakfast bowl, I ran out. No more crumbs, no more hidden boxes, nothing.


My brain raced into overdrive. Safeway! Safeway was across the street. Maybe they carried an edible substitute… I scoured their cereal aisle and finally discovered a bag of raspberry almond clusters. Generally not a fan of nuts in my granola, I decided that something was better than nothing and hurried home.   Continue reading for recipe.


December 7, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Midweek Meals. 11 comments.

Candy for Breakfast!

just-like-reese's chocolate and peanut butter oatmeal

Just before Halloween, I elbowed my way through last-minute shoppers on the candy aisle at Walmart. Pausing in front of the large mixed packages with 3 or 4 different types of sweets, I sighed aloud. None of them, not a single one, included miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups!


Dejected, I went with the next best thing: a bag of Rolos, Kit Kats, and Reese’s Pieces. But those Reese’s Pieces just aren’t the same… I can’t nibble off all of the chocolate and let it melt on my tongue before biting into the peanut butter, not with that thin candy coating shell instead!   Continue reading for recipe.

November 30, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Midweek Meals. 20 comments.

Pumpkin Pie for Breakfast!

pumpkin pie pancakes

Last Friday morning, my internal alarm clock buzzed a little earlier than my electronic one, so I hopped out of my steamy shower with some extra time to spare. After the chilly weather that blew into town, my bones begged for a hot breakfast to warm them up. I nixed my usual bowl of oatmeal and reached for milk and flour instead.


Within 10 minutes, my skillet of pancakes filled the house with their toasty sweet aroma, encouraging my guy to stumble into the kitchen rubbing his eyes and ask for the leftovers. Since I only mixed up enough for me (he rarely wakes up before I leave in the mornings!), I promised him another batch over the weekend before riding off to work.   Continue reading for recipe.

November 13, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss, Midweek Meals. 11 comments.

A Celebration of Life

pumpkin scones

On my way into work, I biked past countless jack-o-lantern graveyards. People lay the pumpkins down to rest on the edge of the street after they valiantly served their purpose last Wednesday night, flickering to light the porches and welcome hungry trick-or-treaters.


Some people paid the pumpkins very little respect, barely noticing as they molded or laughing as passing cars squashed them to pieces. Determined to properly appreciate these poor pumpkins, I decided to bake their departed cousins into a sweet treat to celebrate their lives, even after their deaths.   Continue reading for recipe.

November 6, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss. 4 comments.

When The Road Gets Rocky, Make More Muffins!

rocky road muffins

Ever have one of those days where everything goes wrong?


You crashed your bike on a morning exercise ride and the chain fell off…

You spilled coffee on your white dry-clean-only dress shirt on the drive in to work…

Your friend canceled your lunch date at a trendy new bistro in town 5 minutes before noon…

The person in front of you at the grocery checkout stand bought the last bag of freshly baked bread…

You banged your shin on the coffee table while cleaning up the kids’ Barbies and Legos…

The dog jumped up on the kitchen counter and inhaled half of your fresh-baked cookies meant for your weekly book club…   Continue reading for recipe.

October 19, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss. 4 comments.

Falling for Fall

apple and cinnamon muffins

Oh autumn. The rusty orange leaves, the gray morning fog, the briskly blowing breezes… Yeah, I could do without the last two. While they give me the perfect excuse to curly up inside with a fuzzy fleece blanket, I much prefer other reminders of the changing seasons. Ones that warm my bones instead of freezing them stiff and solid.


Like pumpkin. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cheesecake… Or ginger. Gingerbread, gingersnaps, gingerbread cookies… Or apples.   Continue reading for recipe.

October 15, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss. 2 comments.

I Baked!

marbled chocolate muffins

Yes, I baked! I baked, I baked, I baked! I know, I’m bouncing up and down like a five-year-old on a sugar high but…


Finally, eons after moving into a new house (okay, more like two weeks), I unpacked the last of my cookie sheets and cake pans. Although the kitchen cabinets were designed for Amazons instead of 5’3” ladies, I still managed to pull the sugar down off of the top shelf without climbing on the counter. Or spilling any.   Continue reading for recipe.

September 17, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss. 3 comments.

Scones (or Bust!)

On the last Sunday of the month, the country club in my parents’ town hosts a gourmet buffet brunch. Long white-clothed tables tremble from the weight of bacon, sausages, hash browns, shrimp, salads, eggs benedict, chicken cordon bleu… At the end of the spread, a smiling chef stands ready to cook waffles or omelets to order, complete with fresh hand-carved meat. Yet another table holds the desserts, ranging from New York cheesecake and crème brûlée to chocolate-dipped strawberries and glazed fruit tartlettes.


In June, my brother discovered the buttery cranberry scones, and despite a shower of crumbs falling to his plate, he quickly recommended them as he stood up to take another. I followed him back to the buffet line to snag my own. After my first bite, I nearly took the entire platter back to our table, but my little conscious whispered that wouldn’t be the politest thing to do…


So I waited (rather impatiently) until July to eat a second. And promptly scolded my goodie-two-shoes conscious. That batch lacked both flavor and texture, and I left the half-eaten pastry on my plate.   Continue reading for recipe.

August 5, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss, Midweek Meals. 5 comments.

Fudging the Definition of “Dessert”

Because of Mom’s unwritten rule, “No dessert for breakfast,” we only found healthy cereals in our childhood pantry. Forget about Frosted Flakes or Cinnamon Toast Crunch; we ate Raisin Bran, Grape Nuts, Cheerios, and the occasional Life or Fruity Pebbles (a real treat!). We enjoyed our small sweets after dinner, or sometimes with lunch, but never in the morning.


Although my inner chocoholic hated admitting Mom was right, I was nearly ready to wave the little white flag on this battle—until I stumbled across this recipe. Go ahead, scroll down. With those ingredients, no health nut could ever describe this breakfast as an indulgent splurge! But the taste proves otherwise…   Continue reading for recipe.

July 30, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss, Midweek Meals. 4 comments.

Little Girl, Lots of Love

After my mini muffin tin arrived in the mail, I really wanted to make a batch of true mini muffins. (Cornbread just doesn’t count!) The problem? Most of the recipes on my “To Try” list involved fruit. With such tiny little cups, only one apple chunk, blueberry, or raspberry would fit inside!


But then I remembered another tasty option: lemon poppy seed. Growing up, I loved this flavor more than any other. I always picked off the thin slivered almonds pressed into the top before peeling down the sides of the wrapper to pick at the bottom first. Even though the soft sugary top begged to be eaten, I still managed to save the best for last! (Most of the time…)   Continue reading for recipe.

May 18, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss, Midweek Meals. Leave a comment.

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