Slow Cooker Sunday: Cinnamon Almond Oatmeal

After the first time my dad got sick and returned home from the hospital I used to make oatmeal every morning for breakfast for him and I. I wouldn’t say I mastered making oatmeal, but, I got it down pat as to how much milk to oatmeal to sugar ratio I needed to make the perfect bowl of sweetness and creaminess. Funny thing is, now a few years later I struggle to make oatmeal for just myself. It either comes out too sweet, too blah, too thick or too watery. Somehow I have forgotten the magical combination. Maybe I’ve somehow blocked it out since I can’t have those morning breakfasts’ with my dad any longer. Our subconscious is a funny thing! Thankfully, my slow cooker is the answer and one of best things about it is that I don’t have to worry about walking away while the milk is heating up and ultimately boils over and leaves a mess on my stove. I cannot even count how many times that happened to me. And cleaning up warmed milk is no fun task.

After combining all of my ingredients in my slow cooker and letting it cook on low for a few hours I had a delicious breakfast. I topped mine with almonds, but since oatmeal is so versatile you can pretty much top it with anything. Have you seen some of the flavors they sell in the instant packets?

I’ve come to realize that I am not a big fan of cinnamon so I think I will reduce the amount I use the next time I make it, or omit it completely. I am sure the honey would provide enough sweetness for it.

One last thing, this was the first time I’ve made steel cut oats. My reason for using them… I thought they would hold up better in the slow cooker since they are not processed as much as much as old-fashioned and quick oats. They take longer to cook due to their texture, but taste just the same.

Slow Cooker Cinnamon Almond Oatmeal

  • Servings: 5 (1 cup each)
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Ingredients:

1 cup steel cut oats

5 cups almond milk*

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of honey

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon**

1/4 teaspoon salt

Sliced almonds, for topping

*I used vanilla flavored almond milk

**Feel free to use more or less to your liking

Directions:

Combine all ingredients, except for the almonds, in your slow cooker and stir until well combined. Cool on low for 4 to 5 hours, or until desired consistency.

*I cooked my oatmeal for a little less than 4 hours. I was planning on refrigerating it to eat for breakfast over a few days so I didn’t want to cook it to a point where it was super creamy, it was a bit watery since I knew that as it cooled it would thicken up.

Chocolate Chip Muffins

It seems like I am on a muffin kick… Last week I brought you Blueberry Crumb Muffins and this week I am bringing you Chocolate Chip Muffins. The real reason why I made these muffins… I was going on a road trip and thought they would be a good snack/treat/breakfast for the road. When you have chocolate chips in a muffin they can be for anything I think. While this recipe was written for 12 servings (aka a cupcake size muffin) I opted to make 6 large ones as I didn’t want that many muffins for the road.

 

Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • Servings: 12 small or 6 large
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Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425F and line a muffin tin with liners and then spray it with baking or cooking spray. This is just in case the muffins bake onto the pan so you can easily remove them.

In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips, set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the melted butter, sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla extract. Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and fold together until just combined.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups and bake at 425F for 5 minutes and then lower the oven to 375F and bake for another 12-15 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes and enjoy!

 

Recipe from Little Sweet Baker

Blueberry Crumb Muffins

Do you ever notice that you don’t normally see oddball (maybe that’s not the best word choice) muffin flavors like you do for cupcakes? I guess since muffins are traditionally a breakfast food people don’t want to eat anything to out of the ordinary that early in the day. I don’t know if I would eat a lavender vanilla muffin as quickly as I would a lavender vanilla cupcake! Today, I am bringing you a tried and true muffin flavor… Blueberry. Maybe another day I’ll make something a little more adventurous… Pumpkin Spice season is quickly approaching and I am sure that would make the base for a delicious muffin.

What makes these muffins a real stand-out is the streusel topping. It’s an added layer of yumminess and sweetness.

 

Blueberry Crumb Muffins

  • Servings: 8 small or 5 large
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Ingredients:

Muffins:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 egg, beaten

1/3 cup milk*

1 cup fresh blueberries

*I used whole milk

Crumb Topping:

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line the muffin tin with liners and then spray the top of the muffin pan with baking spray. Doing this will allow you to remove the muffins easily if they happen to rise and bake onto the pan.

Crumb Topping:

Mix together all of the ingredients in a medium bowl with a fork or with your hands until well combines, set aside.

Muffins:

Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Measure the vegetable oil in a measuring up, add the egg and enough milk to bring the mixture to 1 cup. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and mix well. Fold in the blueberries. Fill the muffin cups to the top and sprinkle with the crumb topping.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack before enjoying.

Recipe from Allrecipes

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

When it comes to pancakes I’m a bit of a traditionalist. I’ll take plain old regular pancakes or buttermilk ones over any flavor (i.e. banana, pumpkin, corn, etc…) or additions (i.e. chocolate chips) – although blueberry pancakes are quite delish! A few years ago though I decided to try Lemon Ricotta Pancakes at a wonderful breakfast spot in Brooklyn – Tom’s Diner – and was instantly hooked. I don’t know what it is about this particular flavor that makes them so delicious – the hint of lemon, the swirl of ricotta cheese, or the combination of both – but they are definitely one pancake everyone should try. And while there are recipes for pancakes made from scratch I opted to make these pancakes using store-bought pancake mix… short-cuts aren’t always a bad thing. And with Easter just around the corner these would be perfect addition or main dish for your Easter breakfast or brunch.

To begin I whisked together pancake mix, milk and lemon oil (I didn’t have any lemons on hand to zest.) Some things to note, I used Aunt Jemima Complete Pancake Mix and while it calls for water to be used with the mix I always opt to use milk for richer tasting and fluffier pancakes. Also, the equivalent of lemon oil to lemon zest is 1/4 teaspoon vs. 1 tablespoon.

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I then folded in the ricotta cheese; folding in the ricotta helps to maintain the texture of the cheese and allows the ricotta to swirl into the batter.

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I’ll admit I’m not the best pancake maker. Usually the first one I pour into the pan is my “test” one that gets thrown out. I just haven’t mastered getting the pan to the right heat. This time around I almost nailed it.

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After topping my short-stack with syrup…

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It was time to enjoy them!

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Lemon Ricotta Pancakes*

Makes 5 4-inch pancakes

Ingredients:

1 cup pancake mix (I used Aunt Jemima complete)

3/4 cup milk (I used 2%)

1 tablespoon lemon zest (or 1/4 teaspoon lemon oil)

1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

Directions:

1. Whisk together the pancake mix, milk, and lemon oil (or zest) then gently fold in the ricotta cheese.

2. Spoon approximately 1/4 cup (I used an ice cream scoop) of the batter onto a lightly buttered pan or griddle heated over medium-heat.

3. Cook until bubbles form on the surface and then flip and cook for another minute or two until golden.

*This recipe can easily be doubled.

Peach Streusel Cake

I tend to rip recipes out of magazines and file them away for quite some time before actually trying them. I recently made a turkey meatloaf following a recipe from a 2008 issue of a magazine. I wish I had made it sooner… It was quite good. So, when I was looking to make a cake to give as an anniversary treat for a friends’ parents I turned to a Peach Streusel Cake recipe that I had ripped out from a 2011 issue of Food & Wine magazine.

I started the cake by making the streusel. I combined flour, light brown sugar, salt, butter and pecans in a bowl…

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And mixed it together with my fingers to form small clumps with the mixture and then set it aside.

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Next up I whisked together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set this aside as well.

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In a separate bowl I began making the batter for the cake by beating together butter and sugar.

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I then added in two eggs one at a time.

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And then sour cream and vanilla extract.

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Once all of the wet ingredients were combined well I added in the dry ingredients.

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Once the wet and dry ingredients were mixed together it was time to pour it into my prepared pan.

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I started by spreading two-thirds of the batter into the pan.

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I then folded in chopped frozen peaches into the remaining batter. I had to go to about 4 different places to find frozen peaches. Each supermarket I went to had strawberries, blueberries and other frozen berries but no peaches. I ended up finding them at my local Target. It’s always the last place you check that has what you want.

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I then spread this batter on top of the non-peach batter already in the pan.

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And finally I spread the streusel topping on top.

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I baked the cake in a preheated 325F oven for 90 minutes, covering the cake with foil for the last 15 minutes so the streusel topping wouldn’t brown too much. It looked amazing when I took it out of the oven.

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I let it cool for a bit before placing it inside of a tin.

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And although it was meant for someone else, I did end up trying a piece and overall it was quite good, but, I think next time I’ll use fresh peaches instead.

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Peach Streusel Cake

Ingredients

Streusel

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 cup chopped toasted pecans

Batter

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

One 10-ounce bag frozen peaches, coarsely chopped

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 325F and butter flour a 9-inch springform pan.

2. Make the Streusel: In a bowl using your fingers, combine the flour, brown sugar, and salt. Add the butter and mix until smooth. Add the pecans; press the mixture into clumps.

3. Make the Batter: In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar at medium-high speed until light, 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time; beat in the sour cream and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and beat at a low speed until incorporated.

4. Spread two-thirds of the batter in the pan. Fold the peaches into the remaining batter and spoon into the pan. Scatter the streusel crumbs on top. Bake the cake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean; loosely cover the cake foil for the last 15 minutes of baking. Transfer to a rack and cool for 30 minutes them remove the ring and let the cake cool completely before serving.

Bluberry Crumb Cake

I’ve always enjoyed baking, but, it wasn’t until a few years ago that it really became a hobby where I would challenge myself to actually make things from scratch… frostings, pie crusts, pie fillings, cakes and so forth. One of the first things I attempted back then was Barefoot Contessa’s Blueberry Crumb Cake and it instantly became a favorite amongst my friends. It had been a while since I made one but during a recent trip to the supermarket I decided to bake one when I came across some perfectly ripe blueberries in the produce aisle.

To start, I began by making the crumb topping for the cake. First I combined granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg together and then added in melted butter and lastly flour. Once it was mixed well I set it aside and began working on the cake.
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I gathered all of my ingredients together so they would be within arm’s reach.
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As with most cakes I started by creaming the butter and sugar together.
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I then added in 2 eggs one at a time.
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Following that I added in vanilla extract, lemon zest and sour cream.
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I set the wet mixture aside and sifted together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt.
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I then added the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mixed it until it was just combined.
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And finally I folded in about a cup of fresh blueberries.
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I then spread the batter into my prepared – I sprayed it with baking spray – 9-inch round pan.
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And then it was time to add the crumb topping.
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After baking for 45 minutes the cake was ready to come out of the oven. You definitely don’t want to over bake this cake because then the crumb topping will burn and become dry and a bit crunchy.
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Once the cake was completely cooled I sprinkled it with confectioners’ sugar. You may be tempted not to add the sugar, but believe me, that little touch of sweetness makes such a difference.
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The cake was delicious, so much so that I ended up making another one a few days later.
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Blueberry Crumb Cake

Ingredients

For the streusel:

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

For the cake:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (3/4 stick)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

2/3 cup sour cream

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup fresh blueberries

Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan.

For the streusel:

Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and then the flour. Mix well and set aside.

For the cake:

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, lemon zest, and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Fold in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out with a knife. With your fingers, crumble the topping evenly over the batter. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely and serve sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.

Marbled Nutella Banana Bread

A few months ago I came across a recipe for a Marbled Nutella Banana Bread on a fellow bloggers’, My Ninja Naan, blog  and I have wanted to make it ever since. I was all set to make it last weekend but then my dad ate one of my perfectly ripened bananas. It was probably for the best though, the bananas were practically over-ripened in my book so I am sure the taste of the bread would have been overpowered by the banana taste and the Nutella flavor would have gotten lost in it. While I am a fan of bananas I prefer to eat mine when they are pale yellow without any spots – when most people would say they are not ready to be eaten – so they won’t have the overpowering banana taste I am not fond of. So, I bought three bananas that were on the verge of turning a darker shade of yellow and let them sit for a week to ripen up a bit to make the bread.

I started off by sifting together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. While I do have a traditional sifter, I prefer to use a sieve to sift my dry ingredients as it’s much quicker and I find that it does the job just as well.

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I set the dry ingredients aside and I began to mix together the wet ingredients. First up, I mashed three ripe bananas.

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Next, I added in the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract and used my hand mixer to combine them all.

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I then mixed in two eggs.

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And finally I added in the flour mixture.

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Once the batter was well combined I divided it into two bowls and added the Nutella to one of them.

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To get the marbled effect I alternately spooned the banana and the Nutella-banana batters into my prepared 9-inch loaf pan (I just sprayed it with baking spray) and then swirled it with a knife.

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After baking for an hour in a 350 degrees F preheated oven the bread was done.

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I let it cool for a bit and then sliced a few slices to see the marble effect and of course to try it and it was delish!

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Marbled Nutella Banana Bread

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (3 bananas)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/2 cup Nutella

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift the together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together banana, butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until creamy and well combined – about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs until well combined – about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and beat in flour mixture until just combined.

Divide 1/2 of the batter into a medium bowl; stir in Nutella until combined.

Alternate spoonfuls of batter into loaf pan until all of the batter is used up. Swirl batter gently with a knife (not too much!).

Bake 1 hour or until well risen, deep golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into bread comes out with moist crumbs attached.

Makes 1 loaf.