Whole Wheat Oatmeal Apple Muffins



I have, finally, found a cure for what is known around here as the bewitching hour. You know what I mean… that time of day when tears are flowing (mostly yours), dinner is but a wish and a dream, husband is miles away, and house looks like a daycare threw up. Yes, I have found a solution for this trying time. What is it?



I lamented a while ago how hard it was to make dinner with a screaming toddler thrashing around my ankles. A friend remarked, “I give mine a muffin! He’s happy!” {thanks, Megan!}

Not one to believe in magical cures, I delayed in trying this. But when I did…WOWZAS!! It works! I make mine into “mini” muffins, which, along with the purpose of tantrum-squashing, can be used for the following:

  • pleasantly easy breakfast, with a scrambled egg on the side
  • small snack with coffee
  • breakfast for the hubby on the road
  • dessert for kiddos after meals!

I have tweaked my recipe from the cookbook “Food Allergy Mama’s Baking Book.” This book has been really helpful for me, although it’s not very “healthy,” so I have adapted it a bit. (Where she uses margarine, I use palm oil shortening or coconut oil; I use whole-wheat flour in place of white, and coconut milk in place of place of soy…)

But I really loved her recipe for “Apple Muffins,” which advertised chunky apple texture in the muffin tops so I tweaked it a bit to get the following. They’re really hearty, and so yummy!



  • 4T palm shortening, dairy-free butter, or coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 c coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c regular oats (sorry…not pictured!)
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups diced, peeled apples (about 2 apples…I have used green Granny Smith and sweeter red apples, and I actually prefer the green apples!)
  • Topping: cinnamon and sugar


In mixer, combine melted oil, applesauce and coconut milk. In separate bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, and stir by hand just until combined. Then add the chopped apples, being careful not to overmix.

I made mini-muffins, so I made sure to dice the apples pretty finely:


Grease your muffin tins (or use liners) and scoop batter into the cups. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture and bake at 375 degrees. For mini-muffins, bake for 10-12 minutes. For regular, test at 20 minutes for doneness.

I cool mine completely and put them directly in the freezer, then take one out to thaw before I want to use it. (Or, if I’m feeling like a really bad girl, I zap em in that cancer-radiating microwave for 10 seconds each. 🙂



Quick and Easy Stovetop Baked Apples (and eight ways to use them!)

Before I start on the baked apples, let’s talk about husbands.

I have learned a few things about the husband species in the last five years. I’d venture to say I’m even an expert. Don’t tell Todd, though. He gets uncomfortable when he thinks people have him figured out.

Anyways, here are some things about husbands.

  1. You will use up more bar soap, toothpaste, and hot sauce than you ever, ever thought was possible in a household when you have one.
  2. Husbands are way happier when they have “adventures.” It’s not cool to call them “adventures,” though. They masquerade as trips to “get some light bulbs,” “pick up a milkshake,” and “look at prices of ______ “(fill in the blank with any random object). Basically, husbands are roamers, and hunters. They do not like to be kept as domestic pets. They must get out, and be free, and roam around. It is best to let them.
  3. Husbands love to give compliments, but sometimes they need prompting.

Today, for instance, I called out: “Todd, come in here and see how frugal and wonderful I am. See, I didn’t want to buy berries this week for oatmeal, so I’m baking up these delicious apples to give the boys for breakfast. Aren’t I amazing? Aren’t you so glad you married me?”

Todd fervently agreed that he did, in fact, have excellent taste in selecting a spouse. Although he thought I needed to work on humility.


Anyway, if you’ve got a few apples lying around, you, too, can be woman of the year by whipping them into amazing-ness. Now is the perfect time, when they are so cheap!


Here are the things you need:


  • 3-4 apples
  • cinnamon to taste
  •  T brown sugar (might not even be necessary!)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 c water
  • Peel, core, and slice apples very thinly. It’s okay if they have a little bit of peel remaining. I like tasting a bit of peel every now and then, and it adds fiber. 🙂
  • Add the apples and the water to a sauce pan, cover, and turn on high. When it begins to bubble, turn it down to to medium.
  • Stir every 3-4 minutes and watch for apples to reach your desired level of tenderness. I like them slightly firmer than apple pie texture.
  • When they’re done, add your cinnamon and brown sugar.

And as promised, here are eight different ways to use these apples:

  1. Mixed into oatmeal with coconut oil stirred in. This tastes like dessert.
  2. As a topping for a frozen waffle. This, with an egg on the side, is a breakfast of champions for a mom. (When I make an apple for myself, I don’t even add the sugar and I don’t miss it!)
  3. Spooned onto the top of a sizzling pancake, then flip. Yum!
  4. With a spoonful of yogurt for a snack.
  5. Topped with (coconut?) ice cream for a company-worthy dessert. For company, I’d do cherries or cranberries instead of the raisins!
  6. Inside a Pillsbury crescent roll and then baked. (Yes, I know these Pillsbury rolls are the devil. I learned recently that they are {suspiciously} dairy-free, so I reserve them for a special treat for my little Sam, once in a blue moon. We all need a special treat every once in a while, right?)
  7. As a topping for pork chops. I made a Rachel Ray recipe along these lines.
  8. As a side for any toasty fall meal! Like applesauce, but gourmet!



Banana Bread – yummy, easy, allergy-friendly

One of the most special birthday presents I got this year was a steaming loaf of banana bread. It was extra special because it was dairy and egg free (so I could share it with my little Sam), and because it was made by my sister, who at the time had a two-month-old, and a sick toddler. Wow, she must really love me! 🙂

Julie has the “Midas touch” of cooking. Anything she makes tastes like it was made by Paula Deen. I was doubtful I could re-create her bread, but dare I say, I almost did! I adapted it slightly and made it into muffins.

This recipe is much simpler than any other banana loaf I’ve made, but tastes equally delicious. I’d recommend it to anyone. What a great gift this would be to a new mom eating dairy-free! (Or a new mom! Or a mom!)

My sister based her recipe on this one.


Like how I put the flour in the sifter so you wouldn’t forget that step? And ps, those bananas are the perfect amount of ripe for banana bread!

  • 1/3 cup shortening, butter, or, my choice, coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, minus 2 T
  • 1 3/4 cup sifted flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 mashed, ripe bananas
  • 1/4 applesauce (can be omitted – I used because my bananas were small, for additional moisture)


  • 2 T white sugar
  • 1 T cinnamon


Lightly grease and flour 8x4x3 loaf pan or one muffin tin. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash the bananas well with a fork.

Cream together coconut oil and sugar. In separate bowl, combine the sifted flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir into coconut oil mixture, alternating with mashed bananas and applesauce. Mix until smooth. Pour into pan.

Sprinkle batter with cinnamon and sugar mixture. My mom says to let it sit and let the sugar melt into the batter for 10 minutes or so and then bake. Trust me on this one – she’s right. My husband says the sugar topping is the best part. Go figure.

I cleaned out an old spice container and put in my cinnamon and sugar to sprinkle easily. Glad I took a picture of the craftiest DIY thing I’ve done all year.

For bread, bake 50-60 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean. For muffins, bake 18-20 minutes.

Adaptions: Add 1/2 c chocolate chips to mixed batter, or 1/2 c fresh blueberries. Yum!

cozy, crispy, easy fall treat!

I’ll be honest. I am not the biggest “fall” fan. I hate Halloween, I hate being cold, I hate losing my tan, and I don’t care who you are, wool sweaters are not “cozy.” They are itchy.

However, there are two redeeming things about fall. 1. the food. 2. Even I was getting sick of the 1,284-degree weather.

So back to the food. Today was rainy, cold, dark…don’t days like that just make you want to make Picnic Roast and Apple Crisp? What’s that?? You don’t know what Picnic Roast is?!? Do you not have a Polish uncle who made you picnic roast? Poor you. It’s the epitome of polish yumminess: hot dogs, bacon, cabbage, potatoes. Dollap some ketchup on the top and…yum!

I know my inbox will be flooded tomorrow with requests for that recipe.

In the meantime, here’s my dessert one. I wanted a pie, but didn’t feel like making a crust. So apple crisp seemed perfect. I based my recipe on this one; I thought the baking soda/powder was weird, and, wow , 1+ cups of sugar seemed a little much. I’d make it again my way.


  • 6 granny smith apples (if your apples are not tart to taste, be sure to add tsp. of lemon juice)
  • tsp. cinnamin
  • T white sugar
  • T flour
  • dash nutmeg
  • handful of dried cranberries
  • cup of quick oats
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 butter, melted (I used dairy free) or coconut oil


Peel and slice apples. The thinner the better. Add to sliced apples the next 5 ingredients (don’t do the oats). In separate bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, and melted butter. Grease a pie pan and put apple mixture in first, topping with oat mixture. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cook for 45-50 minutes.  Bet it would be great with vanilla ice cream.

Julie’s Peach-Berry Crumble

My sister Julie is my culinary hero. Everytime I come over, there is something delicious carmelizing in the oven, simmering on the stove, or out on the counter to taste. And whenever I try to duplicate, it never quite works. She is a great chef, but, as this dish shows (I just tried it), a great baker too!
Peach-Berry Crumble Recipe
4 – 6 peaches, sliced
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup Quaker Oats
2 Tablespoons Whole Wheat Flour (*Rice flour or cornstarch may be substituted)
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons Olive oil
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat over to 365.  Toss sliced peaches, blueberries, lemon juice, and sugar in a bowl. Pour into a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Mix flour, oats, and brown sugar together. Drizzle in olive oil and combine together with your fingers until nice and crumbly. Sprinkle crumbles all over fruit and press down with your hand. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake covered for 35 minutes, remove foil, and bake for another 15 – 20 minutes. Serve hot with dairy-free ice cream.

top ten things to do with a crock pot

Is there really anything more wonderful that walking in the house, starving, and smelling something amazing simmering in crock pot? There probably is, but you get the point. Here are some ideas to use that perfect fall appliance :)  

  1. Crock-pot Mexican Chicken, served over rice on tortillas. Highly recommend!
  2. Old Timey Beef Stew – Paula Deen’s recipe, in the crock pot.
  3. Pasta Fagioli via crock pot – serve with italian salad and rolls, if you wish.
  4. Becky Lee’s Pulled Beef Barbeque – my blog’s winning recipe!!! Delish!
  5. Slow Cooker Pot Roast
  6. Crock-pot Rotisserie Chicken – I recently made this and it is soooo good. Melts in your mouth!
  7. Roasted White Beans – this is a knock-off dish from a local restaurant called Zoe’s. You might think, beans, that’s it? Waste of a dish? But nooooo, trust me. These beans are so good. You will eat them on tortillas, aside chicken, as a dip for corn chips, out of the bowl, and, probably, for dessert later. They are great. Just follow the recipe except with a crock-pot. Make sure you use enough olive oil. *Recipe coming soon* (or ask my sister Julie:)
  8. Turkey Breast – Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cook until tender. Serve with mashed potatoes and frozen green beans.
  9. Black Bean Chili – the classic crock pot dish, with a twist.
  10. Sweet and Sour Party Meatballs – {omit eggs and substitute rice milk, and you have the perfect – allergy free – party dish!}