Learn How to Make a Simple Sourdough Bread

Sourdough is not as complicated as it seems. Once you learn the basic procedure, it’s actually – in my humble opinion - a super simple way to make a delicious and healthy loaf of whole-grain bread. 

And today, I’m over at Baking Whole Grains with a super-simple method for baking delicious and healthy loaves of sourdough bread. This is the recipe I use every week (in fact, I have one in the process now!) to bake our bread, and it honestly could  not be any more simple. Click here to find out how to make Super Simple Sourdough Bread.

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Maple Cream Scones {Secret Recipe Club}

Can you believe I have never made scones before? (Oh, wait. I take that back. I did make them once, about 5 or 6 years ago. As I recall, they were really quite good, but for some reason I have never made them since.)

Until just recently. I was inspired to give them a try again after browsing through PheMOMenon, my assignment for the Secret Recipe Club this month (If you’re a food blogger, find out how to join here – it’s so much fun to cook and bake from other blogs!). Holly, PheMOMenon herself, writes about her family and her kitchen adventures as she “conquers the world one recipe at a time”.

I had some trouble figuring out which of her recipes I wanted to conquer myself, so I pinned a few recipes to try later. Her Super Almond Granola is at the top of that to-try list, and I promise will be made in the very near future. Since I’ve been on a bit of a mug cake kick lately, I also want to try her Chocolate Mousse Mug Cake, which sounds divine and has only four ingredients! And these Cinnamon Roll Waffles look like they’d be great for a decadent weekend or day-off breakfast, don’t you think?

But what I actually made was her Maple Pecan Scones - I love the maple flavor, and I was interested in trying my hand at scones for the first time in years.

Unfortunately, my scones did not turn out very scone-like, but that was 100% completely my fault. Although I did fiddle with the ingredients, my biggest mistake was cramming the triangles into too small of a pan so that they smooshed together, making them look more like a coffee cake or something than actual scones. Next time, I’ll know, and will use a bigger pan! But otherwise, they turned out quite delicious in my opinion, and I’m going to be adding scones to my regular breakfast repertoire.

I used freshly ground white wheat flour, made in my WonderMill grain mill from soft white wheat berries, and you would never know these scones were made with whole grains. Delicious with a tender crumb… yum!




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Gluten-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free (And Delicious!) Bread

I am so thankful I no longer need to fuss with these kinds of recipes unless I really want to. My Certain Little Someone is no longer allergic to wheat, and can tolerate eggs and milk when they’re baked into something. This doesn’t mean I’m going to completely abstain from using all those other grains in my baking and cooking … oh no! I learned a lot during those years and intend to continue including a variety of grains in our diet.

One recipe I came to rely on heavily when I could not use wheat, eggs, or dairy, was this fabulous bread recipe from Paula at Whole Intentions. Over the course of time, I adapted it slightly with a few changes of my own and my lazy simplified method of rising and baking. I’m sharing my adapted version today over at Baking Whole Grains. Enjoy!

 

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5 Days Series: Tried and Tested Whole Wheat Recipes

Join my friends and I as we spend 5 days together, exploring a variety of topics all related to mothering and homemaking!

Welcome back to 5 Days with Whole Wheat Flour! If you’ve missed any of the posts in the series, here they are:

I’m going to close out the series by leaving you with a list of tried-and-true recipes that utilize whole wheat flour. Some of them consist entirely of 100% whole wheat, some only partial. Some are from my blog, many are from blogs I read and love. But they all have one thing in common: they are tested recipes that work. Most of them I have made myself on more than one occasion; the others come from trusted sources that have found them to be reliable. Keep this list handy, because you will need it!

At the end of the post, I’ve included a link-up so you can add your own favorite whole wheat recipes! Add as many as you like, just make sure they’re recipes you can recommend to anyone. And share with your friends – the more recipes we have, the more comprehensive the resource.

Breads

Mashed Potato Crescent Rolls - This is a family favorite recipe that I adapted for the bread machine.

Honey Whole Wheat English Muffins – This one also utilizes the bread machine.

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (one of my variations) - I make the master recipe differently almost every time. This is a very successful version.

Flatbread Sandwich Thins – A creative twist on the artisan bread in 5 minutes a day recipe.

Anyone Can Make it Homemade Bread – Make it with half whole wheat flour for a delicious and healthy homemade bread!

Whole Wheat Sourdough Starter – As soon as I get my nerve up, I’m going to attempt this.

Quick Breads

Ugly Savory Pumpkin Muffins - You’ve had pumpkin muffins before, I’m sure. But have you had savory pumpkin muffins?

Better than Red Lobster Garlic Cheese Biscuits – I admit I love those biscuits at Red Lobster. These take care of the craving and are a lot healthier!

Pumpkin Bread – I’m ready for pumpkin season now; are you?

Whole Wheat Sourdough Biscuits – Recipes like these make me want to give sourdough another go.

Very-Little-Bother Bread – My friend Steph’s favorite bread recipe

Great Harvest Honey Whole Wheat Bread Copycat – This one is on my list to try. I love Great Harvest!

Breakfast

Individual Oven Pancakes – I had to play around with it a little bit to get this just right when using whole wheat flour.

Grandma’s Biscuits with an Autumn Twist - The twist? Pumpkin!

Pumpkin Donut Holes – These are awesome. We gobble them up around here.

Healthier Blueberry Muffins – Every cook needs a blueberry muffin recipe in their repertoire.

Whole Wheat Waffles - Yes, even waffles can be healthy! Er.

Dessert

1-2-3 Fruit Crisp – Fruit crisp is the perfect vehicle for whole grains!

Sugar and Spice Cupcakes – Based on the wacky cake recipe, these are flavored with spices like ginger, cloves, and cardamom. This is awesomeness.

Gingersnaps – Whole wheat flour in the yummiest little package ever!

Oatmeal Jumbles – Cookies, actually.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Blondies – You haven’t really lived until you’ve eaten a few of these.

Ginger Peach Shortcakes – You’re going to want to keep this one handy. Peach season is coming soon!

Strawberry Summer Cake – Make it before strawberry season is over!

Main Dish

Cream of Chicken Soup – Yes, you can use whole wheat flour as a thickener!

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup – I’ve made this one, and it’s delicious.

Savory Oven Pancake – The Dutch Pancake gone savory.

Slow Cooker Chicken & Whole Wheat Garlic Dumplings – I shouldn’t type such things when I’m hungry.

Perfectly Frugal Pizza Crust – Everybody needs a good pizza crust recipe.

The Entire Series

What’s your favorite whole wheat recipe?


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How to Bake with Whole Wheat Flour

Join my friends and I as we spend 5 days together, exploring a variety of topics all related to mothering and homemaking!

Welcome back to 5 Days with Whole Wheat Flour! So far we’ve discussed the different types of wheat availablewhy you should choose whole wheat , and the benefits of grinding your own wheat. Today, it’s all about the point where the rubber meets the road: actually baking with whole wheat.

Now that you are fully armed with information about wheat, it’s time to learn how to use it. Baking with whole wheat is kind of tricky, not only because of the taste, but because of the texture as well. Not to mention that it behaves somewhat differently from white flour in baked goods, so you have to use it in a slightly different way.

 

Grind

I know I already said this yesterday, but if you missed out on that post, I will repeat it just for you: grind your own wheat berries for the freshest, best tasting flour ever! Whole wheat flour gets a bad rep in part because it is often already rancid when you buy it from the store. Part of that bitter taste comes from the tannins in the bran, but part of it is also the rancid quality. Freshly ground flour tastes nutty and sometimes sweet, not bitter.

Sift

As we discussed in the post “Why Whole Wheat?”, there are some concerns about the digestibility of whole wheat, particularly the bran. Some people resolve the issue by soaking or sprouting their flour, but I feel that sifting the flour is sufficient. Since (at least) the days of Rome, flour has traditionally been sifted to remove the larger pieces of bran left behind in the milling process. If you grind your wheat in the Vitamix, there’s not likely to be  a lot of bran to sift out, but both store-bought and home-ground whole grain flours still benefit from a good sifting before baking. Sifting aerates the flour, which helps result in a lighter product in the end.

Weigh

The American system of measurement in baking – cups – is horridly inaccurate when it comes to measuring dry goods. One cup of flour can weigh 4 oz., or it can weigh 5.5 oz. Clearly, this makes a difference in whatever it is you’re baking, so it makes the most sense to weigh your flour when baking rather than using unreliable cup measurements. You can convert recipe measurements to weight, but it’s easier to start with a weight-based recipe in the first place. The easiest place to find such recipes is on British sites, like AllRecipes.co.uk. You can also find a huge list of measurement conversions at Convert-to.com.

If you don’t have a kitchen scale, I can highly recommend the one I use: The EatSmart Kitchen Scale. It’s small and lightweight, so it doesn’t take up a lot of space (a precious commodity in my kitchen!). Plus, it’s really easy to use and has proven to be very accurate.

Here’s a video of me sifting and weighing whole wheat flour to make bread. (I know, another vlog! Two days in a row! What is the world coming to?)

LinkedTube

Orange Juice

King Arthur Flour – the expert on the subject – recommends replacing up to a 1/4 cup of the liquid called for in a recipe with orange juice. The orange juice is supposed to offset the bitter taste that whole wheat flour can sometimes project, but it doesn’t make the bread (or whatever you’re baking) taste like orange juice. We don’t normally have orange juice sitting around, but when oranges are in season, I do make use of this tip. Maybe this winter, I will freeze some extra orange juice so I can have it all year long! Some people recommend adding a pinch (just a little pinch!) of citric acid to the dough for presumably the same reason.

Moist & Flavorful

The stronger flavor of whole wheat flour works very well in recipes that have a complementary strong flavor. I personally think that whole wheat flour adds a lot to recipes that have a lot of spices, like gingerbreads and gingersnaps. Pumpkin breads and cakes also work well with whole wheat flour, in my opinion. The molasses and ginger in recipes like this really go together well with the hearty whole wheat flavor. Carrot cake is another one that I believe is a good candidate for whole wheat flour. Also, these recipes generally have more moisture to them, another reason whole wheat flour works well in them. Whole wheat flour loves moisture! So if you’re just starting to bake with whole wheat, I suggest you start with a recipe like one of these.

Replacing White Flour

When starting with a white-flour-based recipe, you can replace up to 1/3 of the white flour with whole wheat flour and not have to make any adjustments.

More Liquid

Keep in mind that whole wheat flour absorbs more liquid than white flour, so if you’re adapting a white-flour-based recipe, you’ll want to add more liquid. Add just a tablespoon at a time until you get the consistency you desire.

Consider a Different Flour

If your only exposure to whole wheat flour is the kind you buy at the grocery store, consider trying a different type of flour. In particular, I would recommend either white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour (the latter is not particularly good for bread, though, if that’s what you want to bake). Whole wheat pastry flour can be difficult to find, but white whole wheat flour is readily available at most grocery stores. Both of these flours will have a lighter taste and texture than the whole wheat flour you are more accustomed to.

Baking Bread with Whole Wheat Flour

Everybody loves a slice of fresh homemade bread, but making a 100% whole wheat loaf of bread that rises beautifully and tastes hearty but delicious can be a seemingly impossible task. I admit I’m not there yet, but I’ve learned a few things along the way that have helped me in my journey to bake a better loaf of bread.

Vital Gluten

Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, my own personal favorite guide to bread baking, recommends adding 1/4 cup of vital gluten to a 4-lb batch of dough (7-8 cups flour) to aid in the rise and elasticity of the dough. Gluten is the element of wheat flour that helps create the rise and elasticity of the dough, so that the final product is light but not crumbly. This is why most bakers prefer to use a high protein type of wheat (like hard red spring wheat) to bake bread, because high protein is high gluten. Unfortunately, when using whole wheat, the bran cuts into the strands created by the gluten, reducing the elasticity and hindering the rise. Sifting helps with this, but so does adding gluten.

Personally, I haven’t followed this advice because it’s just one more thing to put on my grocery list. My grocery budget is pretty tight, and doesn’t really have room for extra stuff. I also admit to being more than a little fearful of ingesting too much gluten, considering the rise of wheat allergies, sensitivities, and celiac disease. I am not 100% convinced that it is in fact the healthiest way to make bread. I am also not 100% against using it, should I ever decide to spend money on it. You will have to make that call for yourself. If you want to check it out, Amazon.com carries Hodgson Mill’s Vital Gluten.

Ginger

I like to add a few dashes of powdered ginger to my bread dough, because it is also a conditioner. It makes the yeast happy, which helps give the dough a happy rise.

Eggs, Sugar, Milk & Butter

These ingredients are all considered “dough conditioners” and will help produce a lighter loaf of bread when baking with whole wheat flour. Most sandwich bread recipes contain one or more of these ingredients because they will all help create a more delicious and higher-rising loaf of bread, the kind most of us are familiar with when it comes to sandwiches.

What are your favorite tips for baking with whole wheat flour?

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5 Days with Whole Wheat Flour: Getting the Most Out of Your Wheat

Join my friends and I as we spend 5 days together, exploring a variety of topics all related to mothering and homemaking!

Welcome back to 5 Days with Whole Wheat Flour! So far we’ve discussed the different types of wheat available, and why you should choose whole wheat (for the most part) over white flour. Today, we’re going to discuss the benefits of grinding your own wheat.

Say what? Yes, grinding your own wheat. No, not by hand. (Heavens, that would take forever!) Not even with a stone.

These days, you can purchase appliances that will speedily grind your wheat (and any other grain or seed) for you so that you can have the freshest possible flour in a minute or less.

Why? Why would you want to invest in such a tool? I know that I don’t part with my (husband’s) hard-earned money easily, and I suspect you don’t either. Allow me to convince you of the necessity of such a tool, and encourage  you to save up for one if you don’t have ready money for it.

The reason why whole wheat should be freshly ground if at all possible is the same reason why we avoid certain oils: rancidity. Polyunsaturated fats easily turn rancid simply by exposure to heat, light, or air, making them very unstable. Oils made from these fats are full of free radicals, which become the source of a large number of diseases in the body.

The oil in wheat comes from the germ. Here’s the picture from yesterday so you can see what it looks like:

Storebought whole wheat flour might not contain all the oils and the germ in its entirety, but even so, it does go rancid much more quickly than white flour. This is a good thing. Living food will go bad much more quickly than dead or dying food. The trick is to consume it before it turns rancid so that you can get the benefit of all its nutrients without the risk of free radicals.

In the case of certain oils (most vegetable oils), this is nigh unto impossible, which is why many experts recommend avoiding such oils. (The Good Fat Cookbook by Fran McCullough explains this in great detail.) But thankfully, with whole wheat, there is a way to easily acquire fresh whole wheat flour without worrying about rancidity and free radicals.

The answer is to grind it yourself. When you grind your own whole wheat, you can be sure it is as fresh as possible. The bran (the outer covering of the wheatberry) protects the inside contents of the grain so that it can stay fresh for years. It’s only when the bran is crushed (or milled) that the germ is exposed to light and air and begins to rancidize.

If you’re still not convinced, consider the “rat study” mentioned by Katie of Kitchen Stewardship (who, as I mentioned yesterday, has extensively studied this topic of wheat, and has a lot of great information on her blog) in her post about the nutrition of freshly ground wheat. In the study, rats were fed a variety of types of wheat; some freshly ground, some 15-day old ground flour, and some store-bought white flour. Within 4 generations, the rats fed the old flour and the white flour had become completely infertile. Four generations of rats is the equivalent of 100 human years… Americans have been eating white flour for about 130 years, and what has become a widespread problem? Infertility. I think it is no coincidence!

So whether you sprout it or soak it or not, clearly the healthiest wheat is the freshest wheat. Many experts suggest that freshly ground whole wheat can be refrigerated or frozen and used within 2-4 months. I say better safe than sorry. Grinding wheat in the appropriate equipment takes less than a minute, so it’s easy enough to grind your wheat right before you need to use it. If you have extras, you can store it in the freezer to use a tablespoon at a time as a thickener or sourdough feeder. But generally speaking, it’s best to use the flour you grind right away.

I have no experience with grain mills, so I will direct you Kelli at Lady of the Barn, who is also participating in the 5 Day series, and presented the results of her extensive research on grain mills earlier this week. She will direct you to the best grain mills for your purpose.

What I do have experience with is my Vitamix! With a Vitamix dry blade, you can grind wheat berries in a minute! It’s so easy to use, and I love that it’s a multi-purpose appliance. Aside from my yogurt machine, my rule for the kitchen is that all of my appliances must be multi-taskers, and the Vitamix certainly is that. I use it at least once a day, and for all kinds of things: smoothies, coconut milk, rice milk, brown rice flour, milk shakes, ice cream, etc. etc. But I especially love to use it for grinding fresh flour.

And whaddyaknow, I actually made you a video about it! This is my first ever vlog, can you believe it? I’ve been blogging for how long, and this is my first vlog? Crazy! And for you non-video-watchers (because I confess, I am one), I’ve written out my flour grinding method below the video. Enjoy!

LinkedTube

My Flour-Grinding Vitamix Method

  1. Store the wheat berries in the freezer. Grinding in the Vitamix generates a lot of heat, which can damage some of the vitamins, and it also means you have to give the flour some time to cool down before using it. If you freeze your berries first, that will help with both issues. I can use flour ground from frozen berries right away.
  2. Only grind grains in the Dry Blade, which must be bought separately.
  3. Grind one cup at a time. The Vitamix manual says you can grind up to two cups at a time, but I find that it grinds better when I only do one cup at a time.
  4. Turn the variable speed to “ten”, then the switch to High. Grind for one minute (set a timer if you need to).
  5. Sift the flour through a mesh strainer before using.

That’s all there is to it! To clean it, you can fill the container half way with water and a drop of dish soap, and blend it on high for about 30 seconds, then rinse. When there’s just dry dust from grains, Isimply give it a good rinse and let it dry.

Purchasing a Vitamix with a dry blade costs about $600, plus shipping. Gulp. I know! El Cheapo here can’t even think about that cost without shuddering! But you have a few options:

  • Consider a reconditioned machine. They cost about a $100 less, and come with a 5-year warranty.
  • Purchase it at Costco. Periodically Costco will have a Vitamix show where a vendor will come to demonstrate the product, and it’s usually cheaper then.
  • Save up! That’s what I did. I saved my spare pennies until I could afford one.
  • Follow Granola Mom 4 God’s example and put it on your wish list. Ask everyone to contribute what they would spend on your birthday or Christmas present to your Vitamix fund instead.

And if you think a Vitamix is still not worth it, I strongly urge you to think again. I normally don’t pay anymore for anything than I have to, and I’m famous for buying the cheapest thing possible. But can I tell you how many blenders and food processors I burned through before I finally threw up my hands in defeat and declared I wouldn’t purchase another one until I purchased a Vitamix!? I wasted probably several hundred dollars anyway on machine that just didn’t last. The Vitamix (a new one) comes with a 7-year warranty and usually lasts much, much longer than that.

Well. I seriously did not intend for this post to be such a Vitamix commercial, but I just got excited and a little carried away! Ahem. At any rate, I can assure you, Vitamix did not sponsor me in any way for this post, but I am a Vitamix affiliate. So if you click on my Vitamix links and make a purchase (yay, you!), then I will earn a small commission. The good news for you is that you also earn $25 in free shipping just for clicking my link, a win-win in my opinion! Or you can take my advice and wait until Vitamix comes to Costco for a better price. I totally understand, because that’s exactly what I did. At any rate, I really think you need to go get yourself a Vitamix.

And grind some grain, baby!

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Flatbread Sandwich Thins

flatbread sandwich thins

Anyone who’s been around here for a while knows of my love affair with 5 Minute Artisan Bread. I truly believe it is the easiest way for the average home cook/chef/baker to make their own delicious, healthy bread for their family. It saves money, and it really is pretty much the quickest way to make bread.

But to be honest, I rarely make loaves with it. Plain old sliced bread is just so yesterday. Instead, I usually make sliders , dinner rolls, pizza crust,  pocket sandwiches or flatbread with it. Each option is so super simple and a lot less fussy than a loaf of bread. You know, all those technical terms about crumb and crust and fermentation blah blah blah. I’m not into all that. It takes too much time, effort, and skill that I just don’t have.

I just like to make bread that’s tasty and healthy and not too complicated. And although I love the master “healthy” bread recipe in Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, I stumbled a while ago across an even easier and less complicated artisan bread dough recipe that is just as versatile.

I always – always – have a batch of this dough in the fridge, ready at a moment’s notice for whatever bread-like goodness I want to whip up, which just adds to its attractive qualities. Recently, I found yet one more use for this amazing bread dough: mini flatbreads. They are reminiscent of sandwich thins, although not exactly the same thing because the official sandwich thins are technically smooshed rolls, and these are definitely flatbreads. Two different things.

But I like to think these are even better. Flatbread is my favorite all time form of bread because it’s so soft, and yet a bit chewy. But it doesn’t necessarily make a great sandwich because it’s usually too thick to fold effectively like a tortilla into a taco or burrito shape. And way too floppy to stack on top of another piece to form a real sandwich shape. Enter the mini flatbread: all the yummy taste and texture of traditional flatbread, but miniaturized to make the perfect sturdy little sandwich.

Trust me. It’s way better than sliced bread.


Notes: 

  1. The ginger is a dough conditioner and is totally optional. It does not add flavor.
  2. You can also use 1 or 2 TBSP of orange juice as part of the liquid; according to King Arthur Flour, orange juice improves the texture of whole-wheat-flour bread dough. Once again, it doesn’t affect the flavor.
  3. You can make a few flatbreads at a time, as you need them, and store the remaining dough in the fridge.
  4. This recipe is halved. You can double it all except the yeast, which only increases to 1.5 TBSP.
  5. This recipe really is truly best when the ingredients are weighed. I use the EatSmart Digital Kitchen Scale. I also like to sift the flour through a mesh strainer as I’m pouring it into the bowl; it really creates a lighter finished product.
  6. I even make an allergen-free version using this recipe for gluten-free egg-free artisan bread.
Fill your mini flatbreads with whatever filling you would normally put between regular sandwich bread slices!
Don’t be put off by the lengthy instructions and storing bread dough in the fridge: this really is QUICK! Stove-top flatbread is pretty much the quickest ever way to make bread. And making the dough easily becomes part of your weekly (or bi-weekly) routine; at least it has for me!
It is soooo incredibly EASY also. If loaf bread scares you, then try this!
Making your own bread is so much CHEAPer than buying it. I typically buy 10 lbs of flour every 6 weeks, and it costs me (at most) $6.00. This flour not only makes all my bread, but all my other baked goods as well. So my DH and myself get all our bread (including dinner rolls and pizza crusts) for less than $1 a week. (My children are another story. Let’s not discuss the cost of wheat-free flours.)
And it goes without saying that this bread is considerably HEALTHY-er than the vast majority of breads available in the store. And the ones that might be healthier are also quite heftily expensive, so take that into consideration.
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Sticky Buns, a Family Christmas Tradition

sticky buns

My family is huge and crazy. Well, the people aren’t huge. The amount of people is huge. But the people in my family are definitely crazy. As Mark Twain once said, “In one way or another, all men are mad.” I think he was on to something there.

Here’s a little taste of Christmas in my family (both sides): (oh, and the box of Cocoa Puffs you see is totally a Christmas thing! I do not buy those normally! And my Certain Little Someone eats them as a special snack, and not for breakfast.)

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And in my huge family – as in any family – it’s a matter of course that we each differ from each other in many ways, and occasionally (of course, only very occasionally) disagree on matters of minor importance. But one thing we all agree on: we love Christmas! My parents did a great job of creating very special Christmas memories that we all treasure to this day, even as we get deeper into our thirties and um, forties (hoping my oldest sister doesn’t read this. Ahem.).

Our traditions are too numerous to count, but one of our favorites is having sticky buns for breakfast Christmas morning. My mom started making these when I was a little girl, and she taught each of us to make them. They’ve been a part of our holiday season for as long as I can remember, and this time of year doesn’t seem complete without them.

This year, we didn’t have time for such a breakfast on Christmas morning, because it happened to be Sunday, and Sunday means church. Especially Christmas Sunday! Can’t skip church on Christmas Sunday, that just doesn’t seem right. Anyway, we (or I, rather) decided that Christmas Eve morning would be the perfect day to have our traditional Christmas breakfast. And the fact that everyone in the family agreed with and listened to the middle child should be a sign to you of the importance of this tradition.

I convinced my littlest sister (already an amazing little baker at the age of 19) to make a couple batches of sticky buns for us all to eat on Christmas Eve morning, and she did a phenomenal job! Fluffy and sweet and soooo delicious!

I am going to give you my mom’s recipe in all its unaltered glory, as we ate it on Christmas Eve. (When I make them, I usually adapt the ingredients to be healthier, and I cut down on the caramel glaze to be cheaper (and healthier). Also, I leave out the nuts for my DH’s sake. ) In my normal day-to-day life I don’t eat this much sugar or refined flour, but for Christmas? Bring it on!


I also shared our own little family’s new tradition of a Sausage Ring for Christmas Eve morning, and it was well received! Can’t go wrong with sausage!

This recipe is neither QUICK, nor EASY, nor CHEAP, nor HEALTHY. Just so you know.

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Pumpkin Muffins… but Savory!

pumpkins spice nice pumpkin muffins

I will be the first to admit that these pumpkins will not win any beauty contests. Thanks to the oats, they have a crumbly texture and bumpy exterior, and thanks to the lack of eggs and sugar, they don’t bind together and rise quite as well as a good little muffin should. But before you turn around and head back out the door – or off to your next blogging adventure – they do have a redeeming quality!

Two, actually:

  1. They have no sugar.
  2. They are moist and delicious! Dee-lish-us, I tell you!

These ugly little savory muffins have amazing flavor that is the perfect accompaniment to an autumn soup. I served ours with potato soup, and it was a match made in heaven. So who cares what they look like? They taste good, and after all, that is the point.

pumpkin muffins

pumpkin muffins
Muffins are such a great QUICK bread that you can serve with soup or salad for a light dinner or lunch.

And so EASY, too! Just be sure not to overmix the batter, or they will get really tough.

This particular recipe takes a lot of pumpkin, so it’s not necessarily CHEAP (depending on how much you paid for said pumpkin). Around here, that’s at least a couple dollars. However, this time of year is the cheapest pumpkin’s gonna get, so now’s the time to make them!

These muffins are probably the HEALTHY-est I’ve ever made. They have no sugar, use whole grains, and are largely based on a very healthy vegetable. Very healthy, indeed!

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SRC: Chocolate Banana Cinnamon Roll Muffins

Welcome to the September edition of the Secret Recipe Club, where we get to secretly snoop out a fellow foodie blog and try new recipes on the sly. Today is the grand reveal, when we all find out who was snooping around our blog and trying out our recipes! I look forward to it all month long; it’s almost like Christmas once a month!

This month, I had the pleasure of snooping around Dinners, Dishes and Desserts, written by Erin, a SAHM to a little boy, and a “Midwest girl who loves to cook and bake”. She has a lot of Asian inspired recipes that I strongly considered, like Asian Meatballs for example, but in the end I went for a sweet breakfast treat. Silly of me, for someone who blogs about “healthy food”, I know! I had a good reason, though: I was attending a bridal shower brunch, and I purposely signed up to bring a baked good so that I knew there would be something there that I could eat (dairy-free and egg-free). And not that you care, but I’m glad I did, because pretty much I ended up eating my muffin and a ton of fruit! (mentally patting myself on the back for my think-ahead smarts)

Oh, which breakfast treat did I make, you ask? I started with Erin’s Cinnamon Roll Muffins (by the way, she has lots of awesome muffin recipes, this is just one of many that I considered!). Now, Cinnamon Roll Muffins would be perfect just like that, but I added my own special twist and turned them into Chocolate Banana Cinnamon Roll Muffins. I suppose a little over the top… but so worth it!

Here are the specific changes I made:

  • I replaced the egg with banana, mostly because I was getting a little tired of using flax gel as a substitute, but also because I wanted to add a little banana flavor. Smart move; the result was a delicious and flavorful muffin!
  • I used raw sugar instead of brown sugar, and reduced the amount of sugar in the filling (you know, so I can pretend it’s healthy).
  • I used part white whole wheat flour. See, healthy!
  • Added a little cocoa and doubled the cinnamon in the filling.
  • Swapped out the powdered sugar glaze for a decadent chocolate glaze that took the muffins over the top.



*I just added some lemon juice to non-dairy milk.
Considering that you have to roll out the dough and do the whole cinnamon roll, thing, this is not as QUICK as most muffin recipes.
It is much EASY-er, though, than regular cinnamon rolls, but with much of the same flavor, if not exactly the texture.
It’s pretty CHEAP, using mostly basic pantry ingredients that most people have on hand.

As for HEALTHY, well, no, not really. I feel good about the healthy swaps I made, but in the end, it’s still a treat that should be reserved for special occasions. Like bridal shower brunches, for example. Anybody getting married?

Want to join in on the Secret Recipe Club fun? It’s easy; just follow the instructions here . Many thanks to Amanda of Amanda’s Cookin‘ for organizing all of this, and hosting Group A this week!

I’m also posting at Your Recipe, My Kitchen, Sweet Indulgences Sunday, and These Chicks Cooked.

Check out the other Secret Recipe Club reveals below:



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