Mini Chocolate Chip Donuts – The Secret Recipe Club

I hope you all had a great Valentine’s Day and are ready for a little more sweetness! It’s time for the Secret Recipe Club and I did a little baking for my kids. They’ve been begging me for donuts lately and while going through my assignment for this month’s SRC, I decided to go with Lauren’s recipe for donuts. Lauren pens the blog, Sew You Can Cook. Seriously, such a fun name for a blog! Lauren is a SAHM to 2 adorable little boys and has dreams of one day becoming a caterer. You’ll get there Lauren, you’re so talented!

This recipe is so quick and easy! I made it twice in the last week…the first time I didn’t grease my donut pan well and the donuts stuck. We still enjoyed them! I loved the subtle flavor of the olive oil…yes, they use olive oil! Lauren made them as a part of the #EVOOChallenge and I loved checking out all the other recipes that she made as part of the challenge. I followed her recipe closely, just swapped out the dark chocolate chips for mini chocolate chips, added a splash of vanilla extract and a little dried vanilla beans. They came out great the second time and my kids are going to enjoy them for breakfast this morning.

Mini Chocolate Chip Donuts | Join Us, Pull up a Chair
1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp milk
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously spray a donut pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix in the chocolate chips to coat them to help them from sinking to the bottom of the donuts.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract, olive oil and milk. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Divide the batter between the six donuts. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. The muffins will be a light brown on top and darker on the bottoms. Allow to cool before removing from the donut pan.

Check out all the other great recipes from this month’s reveal in the link below!

Squash and Kale Quiche

Having breakfast for dinner is one of our favorite meals and recently I’m looking for ways to sneak in veggies into our dinners. My kids have become picky and hate vegetables, but if I can sneak them into something there’s a better chance of them eating them. Anyone else struggle with this? I don’t know what happened. They used to be really good about eating veggies, but then a flip switched and they gag and refuse to eat them. I don’t fight the issue since dinner time falls in “witching hour” and we have enough other problems to work through.

This recipe did the trick and they both gobble it up. I served it with a side of roasted potatoes and some fruit. The squash and kale went perfectly together and made for great leftovers too!

Squash and Kale Quiche | Join Us, Pull up a Chair
l small acorn squash, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes (butternut squash would work well too)
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
deep dish pie crust, frozen
1 cup diced onion
2 oz shredded kale
4 eggs
1 cup half and half
4 oz swiss cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat the squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until the squash is soft and slightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. In a large skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Saute the chopped onion until softened and then add in the kale. Continue to cook until the kale has wilted. Remove from heat and toss in the roasted squash.

While the vegetables are cooking, whisk together the eggs and half and half. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the shredded cheese.

Spread the vegetables on the bottom of the pie crust and then carefully pour the egg and cheese mixture over it. Spread out the cheese if it stuck together.

Bake for 35 minutes or until the top is light golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.


Source: Taste and Tell


Breakfast Quinoa – The Secret Recipe Club

Welcome to October’s reveal for The Secret Recipe Club! This month, my assignment was Pretty Polymath. You might recognize Hetal from last season’s Masterchef US! I was a little intimated by Hetal’s blog knowing that she was cooking at a caliber that far exceeds where I’m at, plus she cooks a lot of Indian food that I’m not familiar with. There were a few recipes that looked intriguing and I would love to try them, but I’ll need to find a grocery store that carries some of the ingredients that my little store has on the shelves.

I settled on her recipe for Breakfast Quinoa. I’ve been mentioning to my husband about trying quinoa for breakfast in place of oatmeal, but he just gives me this sideward glance when I mention using quinoa in another recipe. It’s been my go to grain lately and I love how many nutritional benefits it has. It was a hardy breakfast for me last week on one of our cold mornings. It’s been really cold her in PA this week and I could have gone for a bowl of yesterday morning when the temps were barely at freezing! I topped my quinoa with sliced bananas and some walnuts. I think next time I make it, I’m going to add a dollop of almond butter and swirl it in. YUM!

Breakfast Quinoa | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

1/4 cup quinoa
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 Tbsp honey
1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
fruit and nuts to top

In a small saucepan, bring the water and milk to a boil. Add in the quinoa and oats, stir to combine. Reduce heat and cover with a lid. Simmer on low for 15 minutes. Add the pumpkin pie spice, honey and brown sugar. Cook for an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until the quinoa is completely cooked. Serve in bowls and top with fruit and nuts.

Check out all the other great recipes in this week’s reveal using the link below!

Zucchini Breakfast Casserole

I’m always looking for recipes that made good leftovers and this one definitely did not disappoint! My husband and I actually think it tasted better the next day after it had a chance to sit in the fridge over night. This recipe for zucchini breakfast casserole is great for breakfast, brunch or dinner! I love that I was able to mix in a bunch of fresh veggies and herbs straight from the garden. I had a half of a loaf of country french bread leftover from making a french toast casserole earlier in the week and it was perfect way to use it up!

Zucchini Breakfast Casserole | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

6 – 8 eggs (I used 8 since my eggs were on the smaller side)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp hot sauce
salt & fresh ground pepper
3 cups grated zucchini
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes, squeezed to remove the excess moisture
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
4 cups cubed day-old bread
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9×13″ baking dish with olive oil and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and then mix in the ricotta until smooth. Add in the Parmesan cheese and hot sauce. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper.

Add the tomatoes, zucchini and basil to the egg mixture. Moisten the cubes of bread with a little water and then squeeze out any excess water. Add the moistened bread crumbs to the egg mixture and stir well. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread out the mixture evenly.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. If the casserole is not brown enough after 30 minutes, increase the heat to 425 and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Source: Simply Recipes

Banana & Oat Breakfast Cake

Once again I found myself with a bunch of overripe bananas and need to use them up. My kids go in spurts with eating bananas and this past week wasn’t one of them. I found this great recipe for breakfast cake that I was able to use up most of the bananas and had a few leftover that I froze to use in smoothies.

The cake was really good and filling. It’s also vegan which is a huge plus and packed with healthy ingredients like flax seed and coconut oil. I enjoyed warming it up slightly in the microwave for breakfast and both kids enjoyed it as a snack after daycare.

Banana and Oat Breakfast Cake | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

1 Tbsp ground flax seed
3 Tbsp water
5 medium bananas, mashed
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup cane sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup white whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a round or square baking pan with coconut oil and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the ground flax seed and 3 tablespoons of water to make a flax ‘egg’. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas and then add in the maple syrup, coconut oil, sugar, vanilla extract, vinegar, cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Stir until well combined. Make sure your flax egg has thickened and then add it to the wet mixture. Using a whisk, make sure the mixture is well combined.

Add the oats to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Add the flour and baking soda on top of the mixture and fold the mixture together. Pour in the prepared baking pan and smooth out the top. The batter will be thick.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool completely and then remove to slice.

Source: Ceara’s Kitchen

Strawberry Vanilla Chia Muffins

It’s strawberry season here and we’re all happy about that! Last weekend, we went out to one of the local farms and bought a half peck. I had plans to make a variety of things with them, but my kids ate the majority of them! I’m planning to pick up another batch this week to make some strawberry butter or jam.

11393022_10206925109356104_6422620984987126721_nIf you’re a regular follower, you know I like making muffins for the kids. I loved this version and so did both kids. They’re made with whole wheat flour, packed with fresh strawberries and Chia seeds. They’re really moist and even better when you warm them up with a little pat of butter.Strawberry Vanilla Chia Muffins | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

2 cups whole wheat white flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup of sugar (or more depending on the ripeness of the strawberries)
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups diced strawberries
1 cup nonfat Greek vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup milk (I used cashew milk)
1 heaping Tbsp Chia seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, mix the egg and sugar together until it is well combined. Add in the coconut oil and vanilla and then stir in the yogurt.

Gradually add in the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Add in the milk and stir until the batter is just combined. Gently fold 1 cup of the strawberries.

Fill the cups 3/4 of the way and top the muffins with the reserved strawberries. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until they’re golden brown. Allow the cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to completely cool.

Source: Keeper of the Home

Dark Chocolate Chia Granola

Who would have thought losing one hour for daylight savings time would totally screw up my entire week? I’ve been trying to play catch up all week and haven’t been very successful. I’m working to catch up over the weekend and with today’s rainy weather, it’s definitely helping. I’m always on the lookout for granola recipes and this one I found through one of the link parties I participate in. I saw dark chocolate and I was sold! I threw it together one night after dinner…it was so easy to make especially since I had all the ingredients on hand. It’s crunchy and I love the added health benefits of using chia seeds. I ate is a cereal one morning for breakfast and my daughter used it to top her vanilla greek yogurt. Regardless of how you like to eat granola, this is definitely one you want to try out!

Dark Chocolate Chia Granola | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 Tbsp chia seeds
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
3 Tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix together the oats, coconut, chia seeds and cocoa powder in a large bowl until well combined. In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil and stir in the maple syrup and vanilla. Pour over the oat mixture and stir until everything is evenly coated.

Spread the granola evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes to keep the granola from clumping together. Once baked, remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to completely cool. Once the granola is cooled, sprinkle on the chocolate chips and transfer to an airtight container. Enjoy!

Source: Natural Chow

Double Berry Quinoa Muffins

Madeline asked me to make muffins the other day and after giving her different options, she said she wanted blueberry ones with cranberries. Ok..that would be too difficult to do since I had both types of fruit and it was the perfect opportunity to try out a new muffin recipe using cooked quinoa! I’ve been wanting to use quinoa in baked goods for a while and this recipe was a success! Madeline loves them, they’re super moist and packed full of protein – she’s actually been skipping her morning snack at school because she’s still full from breakfast.

Double Berry Quinoa Muffins | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

1 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled to room temperature
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I used vanilla)
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup frozen cranberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a muffin pan with paper liners, set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the quinoa, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, yogurt, oil, egg, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in the fruit.

Scoop out the batter into the prepared muffin pan until they are 3/4 of the way full. These muffins only rise slightly and are much more dense that regular muffins. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool 5 minutes in the pan. Remove from pan and place on a wire rack to completely cool.

Slightly adapted from: Follow the Ruels 

Overnight of the Living Dead French Toast – Cookbook Review

I was excited when I was asked to review another cookbook…this time about how to eat through a zombie apocalypse. Yes, you read that right!

Dead of Winter Blog Tour Survivor | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

I’m the second stop on the “Dead of Winter Blog Tour Survivor” of The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse. A Cookbook and Culinary Survival guide by Lauren Wilson. I was intrigued by the title and couldn’t wait to get a copy in my hands and check out it. Not only do you get great recipes, you’ll learn how to survive on the land. There’s even an entire chapter devoted to making meals with MRES .

I had a few recipes to select from and decided to go with the Overnight of the Living Dead French Toast. It was the perfect breakfast to start a busy Sunday morning tackling laundry and a trip to Costco with the kids…I swear they act like zombies sometimes running around all crazy! I am planning to make Nice Rice Pudding and Mental Fruit Lentil Soup in the near future! I loved the texture of french toast and used almond milk in place of regular milk or cream since I’m trying to eliminate dairy as much as possible. This was a huge success and I’m looking forward to making it again!

Overnight of the Living Dead French Toast | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
12 oz. bread, sliced into strips 2–3 fingers wide (I used Italian bread and a multi-grain cranberry walnut batard bread)
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
6 eggs
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cup almond milk
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of salt

In a small mixing bowl, mix together the melted butter and brown sugar, and spread on the bottom of a 9×12 baking dish. Place a layer of the sliced bread overlapping the gaps and mixing the different breads together. Sprinkle the dried fruit on top and then repeat with another layer of bread and the remaining fruit.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until the sugar has completely dissolved. Stir in the milk, vanilla and spices until well combined. Pour the custard over the bread and dried fruit. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight for at least 4 hours. If you’re not making in the night before, you can let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and baked uncovered for 30 minutes. Cover the pan with foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Serve it with maple syrup.

Cookbook Review: The MD Factor Diet & Giveaway

The MD Factor Diet: Review & Giveaway | Join Us, Pull up a ChairI was excited when I was asked to participate in another review of a cookbook – The MD Factor Diet. Perfect timing especially with the new year and everyone making resolutions – including myself! The book is written by Dr. Caroline J. Cederquist, who is an expert in the field of weight loss and metabolism. The book focuses on a proven diet for metabolism correction and healthy weight loss.

I know I’ve said “why is it so hard for me to lose weight?” After having my son, I dropped the pregnancy weight and then hit a plateau and tried numerous things. Dr. Cederquist found that after treating patients for twenty years, weight problems are not just about overeating or under-exercising – but metabolic changes. I definitely noticed the switch that flipped in my metabolism and it was harder and harder to lose weight. She calls this the MD Factor. Your metabolism changes when you gain belly weight for any reason, you have hormonal changes, and as you age. Makes sense!

The book is broken down into four parts –

  • Part I – Discover your MD Factor
    • This section has a quiz that will help determine if you have the MD Factor. You’ll also be introduced to three people along the way who have shared their struggles with weight.
  • Part II – Understanding the MD Factor
    • The second part is goes into really explaining the MD Factor – what causes it, triggers, what you need to be eating and what you need to watch.
  • Part III – The MD Factor Action Plan
    • The action plan gives you a detailed meal plan focusing on reclaim days, transformation days, and stabilization days to reach your goal weight. Also included are stabilization and maintenance phases plans.
  • Part IV – Recipes
    • What’s a lifestyle change without recipe suggestions? In the book, you’ll find recipes for main courses, sides, sauces, toppings, salad dressings, and snacks.

For the recipe review, I decided to go with a breakfast frittata. It was a great excuse to use my new cast iron skillet too! I made a few modifications to the recipe just based on what I had in my pantry. I used shallots instead of onions and couldn’t find chicken sausage, so I had to substitute it with turkey breakfast sausage. The recipe below is directly from the book. The frittata was really good and my kids loved it! I’ll definitely be making again and trying out different types of veggies.

Breakfast Frittata - The MD Factor Diet | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

1 (10-ounce) package chopped, frozen spinach
spritz of olive oil
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 teaspoons raw onion, minced
4 fully cooked chicken sausage links, diced into small pieces
2 whole eggs
1 cup egg whites
1 cup cheese, reduced fat

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Thaw spinach and drain the excess water. Spritz a pie pan with olive oil. In a small skillet over medium heat, heat the teaspoon of olive oil, then add in the onion, sauté until translucent, and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and egg whites. To the eggs, add the onion, sausage, spinach, and cheese. Pour mixture into pie pan and bake for 20–30 minutes until the eggs set.

I’m excited to offer you the opportunity to win your own copy of The MD Factor Diet! Click on the link below to enter!

Enter Giveaway

Check out the rest of the blog tour and the bloggers who are reviewing The MD Factor Diet book.