Sweet Hearts

heart-shaped cranberry muffins

Every Valentine’s Day, my brother and I would stumble into the kitchen. After rubbing the sleep from our eyes, we’d sort through the little piles of chocolate kisses and conversations hearts on the table that Cupid’s fairies dropped off during the night. (If Christmas has Santa and Easter has the Bunny, why wouldn’t Valentine’s Day have its own candy-carrying character?)


Then Mom would sigh and reluctantly allow us each to eat one sweet treat before making us a special breakfast. She usually whipped up pancakes, waffles, or cinnamon sugar toast — practically a dessert itself! As soon as she set our plates in front of us, we’d inhale the food before rushing off to school.


But if February 14th fell on a weekend, we’d enjoy a more leisurely breakfast. Mom would bake Pillsbury croissants or even homemade muffins, if we promised not to sneak extra chocolates while the pastries cooled on the counter. And with such festive muffins waiting for us, we readily agreed!   Continue reading for recipe.


February 8, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss, Delicious Desserts, Midweek Meals. 24 comments.

Sweet and Sneaky Ways to Eat Your Veggies: Onions

aka “Sweet Machine Malfunctions”

caramelized onion breakfast muffins


A year ago, my friend and I stood glaring at the SPR machine. (Surface Plasmon Resonance, in case you were wondering.) In theory, we could twiddle a few knobs and punch a few buttons to calibrate the monster. In actuality, it hiccuped and laughed in our faces.


So we ignored it to talk about food.   Continue reading for recipe.

January 25, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss, Midweek Meals. 40 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.

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.

Running With Cereal


With the leisure and relaxation of winter vacation ending, children dread the start of school. Impending homework and tests keep kids in bed long after their alarms go off, leaving them with 20 seconds to slurp up their morning cereal before running to the bus stop.


While tempted to skip breakfast instead of rushing and sloshing milk all over their new shirts, your kids probably still want their morning cornflakes. To make their favorite cereal portable for their dash to the bus, bake the cornflakes into a muffin! Moist, sweet, and easy to grab, these tasty pastries are sure to start your kids’ days off on the right foot.   Continue reading for recipe.

January 8, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss, Midweek Meals. Leave a comment.

A Vegan’s Guide to Vending Machines

We’ve all been there. Stayed too late at work, forgot to bring healthy snacks, desperately need to cram food into our mouths. The vending machine starts to look like an angel come to rescue us from our hunger pains, but navigating the choices gets tricky for a vegan. Oreos, chocolate chip cookies, even Chex mix—all nixed. So what can a vegan safely snack on?   Continue reading for recipe.

May 31, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Have a Heart. 4 comments.

“Zukes Alors!”

My zucchini and pepperoni pizza took care of half a zucchini, but 27 more sat chilling in my fridge. And although I find both zucchini bread and muffins irresistible, I wanted something slightly more creative, something that reflected the warm spring sunshine that finally made an appearance this past weekend. A bag of juicy lemons picked from my parents’ backyard caught my eye, and the wheels in my brain started turning.    Continue reading for recipe.

April 21, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss. 2 comments.

Carrots for Breakfast

The only time I’ve seen carrots involved in baking is for carrot cake.  Otherwise, carrots are reserved for side dishes, soups, and rabbits.  Maybe there’s some unwritten rule I’m missing, but carrots have too much natural sweetness to be reduced solely to a single type of cake.  If people eat zucchini bread, then why not make a carrot quick bread?  Or carrot muffins? Continue reading for recipe.

December 15, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Baked Bliss. 5 comments.

Have Your Veggies, And Eat Them Too

When I was seven or eight, I absolutely adored my grandma’s zucchini bread.  Every time I she visited, I begged her to make me two loaves so I could bring a piece in my lunch, have another piece for an after-school snack, and eat a third for dessert after dinner.  It’s a wonder I didn’t turn green from a zucchini overdose!

I began craving zucchini bread recently, and I set out to find a recipe to rival my grandma’s.  I slightly amended the zucchini muffins recipe that I found because (1) I didn’t have honey, so I substituted brown sugar and an extra ½ tbsp of milk, and (2) I added ½ tsp of nutmeg because it smelled scrumptious sitting next to the cinnamon on my spice shelf.  The zucchini muffins exceeded my expectations, and it took every ounce of self-discipline I possess not to eat all 12 after I pulled them out of the oven!


November 6, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . Baked Bliss. Leave a comment.