Jumbo Bakery-Style Muffins

Yesterday’s weather was beautiful – sunny and 60 degrees.  I had clothes hanging to dry on the line and the sun was shining, but I couldn’t do much outside because Jack was napping and our baby monitor only reaches so far.  I remembered that I had some blueberries that needed to be used up, so I did a quick online search for blueberry muffins and found this recipe over at Sally’s Baking Addiction.  A read-through linked me to her chocolate chip muffin recipe, which is virtually the same as the blueberry ones.  You know me – if I’m going to make 1 batch, I might as well make 2 batches!

2014-02-24 14.54.11Since these were jumbo and bakery style, I opted against using regular muffin cup liners and made my own parchment paper ones, just like in many bakeries.  They’re easy to make and hold a bit more batter – here’s a good tutorial if you’re interested.  Each parchment paper cup is a 5×5 inch square, and you mist the muffin pan with either some baking spray or water to make the parchment paper stick (just be sure that the paper is pressed flat against the sides so that your muffins don’t have big creases with paper in them).

I doubled the batter recipe, then poured half into the bowl that I used to mix up the wet ingredients.  One bowl got chocolate chips.

2014-02-24 14.52.17The other bowl got blueberries.

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I followed Sally’s recipe pretty much to the letter.  The only differences were that (a) I cut the sugar by 25% (so for a double batch, 1 1/2 cups of sugar instead of 2 cups) (b) I left off the sparkling sugar sprinkles, and (c) I made 12 huge muffins rather than 15 – 16 standard muffins, and (d) I measured out my flour in the scale (6 cups of flour = 750g, or roughly 125g per cup… measuring it in a scale is so much easier than doing scoop after scoop, and more accurate in my opinion).

2014-02-24 14.53.35I popped them out of the pans and set them on paper towel to dry (the paper towel helps absorb some of the moisture that is released through the bottom of the muffins while baking).  Once cool, I popped 6 blueberry and 6 chocolate chip muffins in the freezer for a later date.  The rest went into the fridge for special snacks and dessert.  Something about having a giant muffin in it’s own parchment paper liner makes the day feel so decadent.  Joe seems to agree.

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Do you have a favorite giant muffin recipe or a favorite bakery that makes this type of muffin?  Be sure to share in the comments below :-)

Banana Blueberry Flaxseed Waffles: Fun Activity, Fun Lunch

The recent cold snap has hit us in Williamsburg, though not so badly as our family in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Indiana (stay warm you guys!).  The lower temperature has meant staying indoors more than normal, which calls for some creative play.

Enter waffle making!

119Joe loves to help in the kitchen.  I’ve never had him (or Jack) out of there when I’m cooking.  It’s nigh impossible.  Where I am, there they want to be.  I once tried rigging up baby gates to have some separation (“Do you really need to follow me everywhere?!”) but our current kitchen won’t allow for that.  I make sure that the fridge and oven have safety latches, keep all cleaning supplies out of the bottom cupboards and only store things down there that I don’t mind them getting into, but other than that the kitchen is a family territory.

128Yesterday morning I went online and researched waffle recipes.  I had ground flaxseed and coconut oil in the pantry that I recently purchased from Vitacost along with rice milk chilling in the fridge.  I found a few recipes that I liked and morphed them into one.  Joe helped with measuring flour and baking powder, helped count tablespoons of coconut oil, poured the rice milk, and (gently and slowly!) stirred the mixture together.

Waffles are great to make because (a) you can make healthy versions, (b) there are usually a few minutes between pouring the batter in the iron and the waffle being done which gives time for things like cleaning up, getting kids in highchairs for lunch, etc., (c) it’s easy to make a bunch for freezer breakfasts, and (d) you can eat them for just about any meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert!).

Oh goodness, I’m starting to sound like Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation.

image via

The waffles were a big hit.  I put peanut butter on top of Joe’s and he gladly ate them for lunch.

174Okay, maybe “gladly” is an understatement – more like ecstatically :-)

Jack loved ‘em, too.


Happy tummies.  Happy kids.  Happy mom.  You’re welcome.

Here’s the recipe that I came up with.  I had a bag of frozen blueberries in the freezer so I added a few of those, too.  I’m sure you could use fresh blueberries or leave them out entirely – whatever suits your needs and preferences.

Banana Flaxseed Waffles with Wholewheat Flour (makes 5 – 6 waffles)

1 ripe banana, mashed with a fork

2 C rice milk (or other milk)

2 T ground flaxseed

6 T very hot water

4 T coconut oil, melted

1/2 C wholewheat flour

1 1/2 C unbleached all-purpose flour

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 – 3/4 C blueberries, fresh or frozen (optional)

In small bowl, combine ground flaxseed and hot water.  Set aside.

In medium bowl, combine ripe banana and rice milk (if you don’t want any banana lumps, pour banana-milk mixture in blender and pulse for a few seconds).  Add coconut oil and flaxseed mixture.  Stir to combine (if your milk is cold, the coconut oil may harden somewhat – this is fine).

In another medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, and salt.  Stir together till fully incorporated, then add to wet ingredients and mix well.  If adding blueberries, stir these in last.

Spray waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray or brush with some extra melted coconut oil.  Pour batter into waffle iron according to your machine’s instructions and bake.  I like a crispy crust, so I always set my waffle iron to well-done :-)


If you want to save $10 off your order at Vitacost, click on the links in this post (I get a referral of $10 off an order, too).  They offer domestic and international shipping (with free domestic shipping for orders over $49) and, added bonus: you can save an extra 4% if you shop Vitacost through Ebates.

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Early Mornings and Make-Ahead Individual Oatmeal Servings

Last night was night #3 of feeling like we were back to the newborn stage with Joseph.  Up at least every 2 hours?  Of course.  There was no sleep for me till after 2am this morning, and then he was up at 6:30am.  Sigh.  And yawn.  I’m ready for his fever and congestion to vacate the premises.

After nights like that I’m especially thankful for having breakfast made in advance.  It’s so nice to be able to pull something out of the fridge or freezer, heat it, and serve.  It’s even nicer to know that it’s healthy, homemade, has no preservatives or weird chemicals, and that my little boy will eat it without any complaints.

I saw the following recipe making the rounds on Pinterest (Are you following me?  You should!) and decided to test it out…

Our family gave them a big “thumbs up”.  In Joe’s case, it was more like a fistful of oatmeal raised in exultation, which was then quickly crammed into his mouth :-)

You can find the original recipe by clicking here – be sure to check out her blog in general for other great recipes.  She’s got some good suggestions for modifications to this recipe or you can make it the way that I did.  I couldn’t find flaxseed, ground or not, at our local grocery, so I fiddled with it and used other ingredients instead.  If you decide to try them (or have made them before) be sure to let me know what you think!

(Recipe after the photo)

Make-Ahead Individual Oatmeal Servings

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 C unsweetened applesauce (here’s a link to my applesauce recipe)
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • Scant 1/2 C honey
  • 5 C old-fashioned rolled oats (I’ve also used wholewheat oats which result in a more chewy texture)
  • 1/4 C ground LSA (linseed, sunflower seeds, and almonds – original recipe used ground flaxseed but our grocery doesn’t carry flaxseed)
  • 1.5 T ground cinnamon
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 C almond milk
  • 1.25 C milk of choice (too much almond milk would make these quite sweet – I used trim/skim milk)
  • Toppings of choice: I made them plain and with raisins, but others have used walnuts, chocolate chips, berries, etc…

Preheat oven to 180C/350F.

Mix first 5 ingredients in a large bowl.  Add remaining ingredients minus the milk, stirring well to combine.  Add in milk and stir till fully incorporated.  If you’re adding fruit “toppings”, such as berries, add these into the batter now.  Other toppings will be dropped onto individual servings later in the process.

Line 18 regular-sized muffin cups with paper liners, then spray liners with non-stick cooking spray.  Partially fill muffin cups with batter (she recommends using a 1/4 C measure – I used a dough scoop similar to this and added 2 scoops per muffin cup).  Place any desired toppings onto individual muffin cups.

Bake for 30 minutes or till toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  If freezing, allow to cool somewhat before placing in freezer container or Ziploc plastic bag.


Please be sure to check out the original recipe for further suggestions.  I found that placing the oatmeal servings into Ziploc bags while they were still warm helped to preserve the moisture.  You can thaw these by placing in refrigerator overnight.  Alternatively, take directly from freezer, remove liners, and re-heat in microwave (she suggests pouring a little milk over them, but we didn’t have to do this).

I decided to make some of these into mini muffins and decrease the baking time accordingly.  My reason for doing this?  I had one standard sized muffin pan and one mini muffin pan.  I really didn’t want to make one standard muffin pan, wait for them to cool, and then refill and bake some more (I ended up having to do that anyway since there was leftover batter).  The mini muffins turned out very well and were great snacks for Joseph.  Chris remarked that they were a lot like regular muffins and were probably one of the best “healthy” mini muffin recipes that I’d ever made.  Nice.

How are you guys doing?  What sort of morning life-savers do you have on stand-by when you didn’t get much sleep the night before?  Are there any great make-ahead breakfast recipes that you rely on?

Overnight Oats: Vegan Version

I’ve heard about overnight oats before.  Thought, “Eh, that sounds interesting” and then moved on with my day.

I’m not sure what inspired me this time around, but I decided to give them a try.  Before Joe, Chris and I had a fairly even split as to who decided what we ate.  I did most of the shopping and cooking, but there were days when he would throw stuff together, too.

Now that Joe is here and I’m at home most of the time, the responsibility of cooking and meal planning has fallen to me almost entirely.  Rather than complain about this, I’m embracing it and looking for ways to steer our family toward a healthier eating lifestyle.  Overnight oats is one of those ways.  Food isn’t broken down and nutrients aren’t lost by heating the ingredients.  Instead, it all stays in one bowl which I get to eat in the morning!

I researched several recipes, but ultimately decided to start with one that seemed the most basic and that did not use any unsweetened yoghurt.  I like unsweetened yoghurt, but I also think that there can be too much of a good thing.

I turned to “Oh She Glows” (a site that’s been around for awhile but that has only recently come into my regular rotation) and found a recipe for vegan overnight oats.  You can make these using any type of milk (though if you use cow’s milk, they’ll no longer be vegan, which is fine with me) and they’re sweet enough as is that I haven’t needed to add any of the “morning of” ingredients, such as honey, maple syrup, or peanut butter.

I whipped up my first batch, stuck it in the fridge, and the following morning, voila!

It may not look too appetizing, and the thought of eating cold oats might turn you off, but don’t let it.  It doesn’t have the consistency of oatmeal, and it’s not the consistency of cereal, either.  It’s somewhere in-between.  The chia seeds add a really nice bit of texture, and the sweetness from the bananas is just enough.

For those of you who are interested, click on over to “Oh She Glows” for the recipe!

And yes, Chris does tease me when I tell him that I’m “making my oats”.  He neighed like a horse once, and from that point on, I’ve just said that I’m making my breakfast :-)

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