Oatmeal Cravings

apple oatmealI’m not a huge oatmeal eater.

But every so often – like maybe once a year – I decide that for some reason oatmeal sounds really good.

I’m not sure why I think this since the last time I had a bowl of oatmeal that I actually enjoyed was …


Let me see…

Still thinking here….


Okay…that would be never.

But still – the urge hit last week.

I wanted a bowl of steaming hot oatmeal for breakfast.

I got the water boiling, added my oatmeal and decided in my foggy just barely awake mind that an apple would taste yummy in this bowl of delicious healthy food.

So I went to the porch to choose an apple – the perfect apple – from the box of “just picked from our very own trees” apples.

By the time I returned to the stove with my perfect apple washed and diced – my oatmeal was scorched on the bottom of the pan.

This should have been my first warning. But did I heed this warning? No. I started a second pot of water, added my oatmeal and apple, and began to scrounge in the cupboard for the cinnamon, because everyone knows that oatmeal with apples needs cinnamon.

I tear the cupboard apart looking – while stirring my oatmeal every few minutes – until I find the jar.

The almost empty jar.

The “there is just a dusting of cinnamon in the bottom” jar.

I pour all 1/120th of a teaspoon of cinnamon into my oatmeal.

This is sad.

Then I remember that we have cinnamon sticks. In my sleep deprived mind I thought surely I could just grate a cinnamon stick on a micro plane and have fresh cinnamon.


Or not.

After grating for several minutes (while stirring my now done oatmeal) all I had was a few flecks of cinnamon in my oatmeal and two fingers missing skin.

On to plan C.

What if I break off a piece of cinnamon stick and grind it the coffee grinder?!


Or not.

After several seconds all I had done was break the stick into lots of little sticks.

But I added them to my now overdone mushy oatmeal anyway – figuring they would eventually soften and dissolve. Right?


These are called cinnamon sticks for a reason. They are sticks. Sticks don’t grate. Sticks don’t grind. Sticks don’t dissolve.

Sticks stay sticks and I was picking them out of my teeth for the rest of the day.

So much for this year’s oatmeal craving.

I should be good for another 12 months.

My All-Time Favorite Egg Casserole

EggsYou could tell it was a holiday at our house yesterday – there was an egg casserole on the table!

And not just any egg casserole – but my all-time favorite “this is what I mean when I say egg casserole” egg casserole.

Seriously – this is my gold standard for egg casseroles.

My sister Sandy brought the original recipe home many years ago after spending a week helping a friend do VBS at her church.

It was the first time I had ever tasted an egg casserole and loved it immediately. The cream of mushroom soup on top makes it deliciously creamy!

Egg Casserole

8 slices of cubed soft bread (day old works well) about 8 cups
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound pork sausage, browned and drained, (or 2 cups of chopped ham or fried and crumbled bacon)
6 eggs
2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup of milk

Layer the bread cubes, cheese, and sausage in a greased 9 x 13 pan.

In separate bowl, mix the eggs, 2 cups milk, and dry mustard. Pour over the bread, cheese and sausage. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Before baking – mix the cream of mushroom soup with the remaining 3/4 cup milk.  Pour over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour.


Blackberry Streusel Coffee Cake

breakfastIt’s back to reality around here this week.

The kids are all home again – the washing machine has been going non-stop and there are muddy shoes all over the porch.  🙂

That also means it’s  back to cooking in large batches since those teens are bottomless pits who can empty a fridge in 36 hours or less!

But after my little “vacation” I should be full of creative thoughts – right?!

Well – this little breakfast experiment worked. I think you could even say it was a huge hit!

I combined 2 different recipes and threw in some frozen blackberries to make it fun.

If only all my experiments tasted this good! 🙂

Blackberry Streusel Coffee Cake

1-1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
6 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cup oatmeal
4-1/2 tablespoons oil
2 eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cup milk

Blackberry Filling

1 quart frozen blackberries
1-1/2 cup sugar (or less – to taste)
4 tablespoons corn starch

Streusel Topping

1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons butter

Put the blackberries, sugar and corn starch into a saucepan and heat until thickened. Set aside.

Then make the streusel topping by combining the sugar & flour. Cut in the butter to make crumbs. Set aside.

Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and oatmeal. In a separate bowl combine the oil, eggs, and milk. Add milk mixture to oatmeal mixture until just moistened.

Spread into a greased 9 x 13 pan.

Top with the blackberry mixture and streusel crumbs.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.


Breakfast Bread

Breakfast BreadEating at my sister Sandy’s house is always a culinary treat.  I think I could gain 5 pounds just thinking about what she might be making!

Our recent visit was no exception. My amazing nephew put together a to-die-for breakfast bread that is still making me drool.

I won’t even tell you how many pieces I ate – but let’s just say it’s a good thing he made three loaves so that everybody else got some, too!

He made it with bacon (yum!) but I think he should definitely make some with ham or sausage, or even pepperoni!  I’d be happy to taste test them!

I also don’t think this bread should just be for breakfast – I would eat it any time. Like right now.

I was quite impressed with the fact that he made it ahead, froze it, and baked it up fresh for us in the morning – making it a perfect meal for overnight guests!

And – the best news of all – he shared his recipe!

Breakfast Bread

1 batch of White Bread Dough
1 [0.7 oz. or 19 grams] packet of dry Italian dressing mix
2 cups of cheddar cheese
2/3 cup of real bacon bits

Mix the envelope of Italian dressing mix into the bread dough, put it into a greased bowl, cover with a clean towel and let rise till doubled.

On a floured surface, roll out into a large rectangle. Evenly spread the cheese and bacon bits over the surface.

Starting on the longest side, roll up the dough as you would cinnamon rolls. Place the roll on a greased jelly roll pan to rise.

Once risen, bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Freezing directions:

Once the roll has been made, do not let it rise. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and freeze for one hour.

After one hour, remove the roll from the freezer ad completely wrap in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze up to 1 month.

When you are ready to bake, remove from the freezer and unwrap it. Set it on a greased jelly roll sheet and cover with a clean dish towel. Let thaw and rise overnight.

Then bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Note: This makes one loaf, but would be very easy to double or triple!  You could use frozen bread dough, but could not freeze the unbaked roll.


Apple Pie Bagels

Apple BagelI was pretty tired Saturday night and had forgotten to get bagels out of the freezer for Sunday morning breakfast.


I also realized that the only cream cheese we had was still frozen.

Double oops.

And the kids had their friend Bethany overnight.

Triple oops.

We could all eat stale cereal and Bethany would see how we really live – or I could get creative.

As I tossed the frozen bagels on the counter, I thought, “Now what can I do with these?”

Then I remembered  of all the apples we still have left – and how my kids love apple pie and apple crisp – and thought to myself what a treat that would be for breakfast.

And so the Apple Pie Bagel was born.

I took diced apples tossed them in cinnamon and sugar and put them on top of a buttered bagel and sprinkled it all with a streusel topping.


Apple Pie Bagels

1 package bagels (I used plain – but I think cinnamon raisin or wheat would be great, too)
butter to spread
2-3 cups of apples, peeled and finely diced (Golden Delicious were perfect)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons oatmeal
3 tablespoons browns sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Cut the bagels in half and lay each half out on a baking tray. Butter them liberally.

Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and toss it with the diced apples.

Layer the cinnamon-sugar apples on the buttered bagels.

Combine the melted butter, oatmeal, flour, and brown sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle it on top of the apples.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until the apples are soft and the streusel slightly browned.


I’ve linked this post up with  Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed With Grace and Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

Sharing a Moment

I’m sitting in a quiet house – the ticking of the clock on the book shelf and the hum of the furnace are my companions.

The sun is just beginning to rise, painting the sky outside my window.

The kids are still sleeping and I’ve just kissed my husband and sent him off to work.

This wasn’t always the case. For years he worked from home and our days would begin slowly – and a little later.

I am not a morning person so it was an adjustment when he first started the new job. For awhile he told me to just sleep in – he could grab some breakfast for himself.

So I did. I had his lunch packed and sitting in the fridge ready for him. He made himself breakfast and was on the road long before I was ready to start my day.

It was fine for a little while – but I gradually realized that I was missing something. It really didn’t feel right to start my day without my man.

So one morning, while he was in the shower, I got up and fixed him a nice breakfast. He looked confused at first as he walked into the well-lit kitchen and then broke into a huge smile when he saw the spread on the table!

I sat with him while he ate and he held my hand. I could see in his eyes that my small sacrifice made him feel cherished and loved.

I had discovered his love language.

It’s now become our routine. For the last 2 years I’ve had breakfast waiting when he comes down at 6:15. It might just be cereal and juice, but he doesn’t mind. Actually, he doesn’t demand or ask for anything, he just appreciates it.

We sit together for a few minutes in the quiet of the early morning and discuss the little things that couples talk about- the daily things of life.

What are your plans for the day? Can you stop and get milk on the way home? Could you mail the letter on my desk? Do you have any jobs for the boys to do?

Then I kiss him good-bye and send him off knowing that he is loved.

In an episode of The Walton’s, a young house guest comes down early in the morning and discovers John and Olivia Walton sitting at the table sharing coffee.

She describes it so well, “I knew it would be like this, the two of you sitting here together sharing a moment before you start your day.”

Yes, that’s just what we’re doing.

We’re sharing a moment, enjoying each other, reconnecting as we start our day.

We’re taking the time before the busyness of life interferes to appreciate each other.

Now that’s a moment worth sharing.

I‘ve linked this post up with Thought-Provoking Thursday at Some Girl’s Website and Wifey Wednesday at To Love honor and Vacuum.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

chocolate chip muffinsWe went a little overboard buying ripe bananas last fall. Our freezer was so full of them that banana split muffins were a weekly occurrence  on our breakfast table. (You can read that story by clicking here.)

We had so  many of them that the children have revolted.  Too be honest – I’m not sure I ever want to see them again!

It was time for a new muffin.

My quest for a yummy – somewhat healthy and must have chocolate – addition to our breakfast table yielded these little delights.

There were almost like eating a chocolate chip cookie for breakfast and the oatmeal helps me to pretend they are healthy.  (I’ve always been good at make-believe!) 🙂

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 – 1/4 cups quick-cooking oats
1 – 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used melted butter)
3/4 cup brown sugar (packed and divided)
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup nuts(I used walnuts – but pecans would be wonderful also)
1 – 1/4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl combine the oatmeal and milk; allow to stand for 15 minutes.  Grease or line muffin tin with paper liners.

Stir egg, oil, 1/2 cup brown sugar, chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup nuts into the oat and milk mixture.

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the oatmeal mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until just moist.

Fill each muffin cup 2/3 fill.

Combine the remaining brown sugar and nuts, sprinkle on top of the muffins.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

These are heavenly right out of the oven – but they do freeze well and heat up nicely in the microwave.

Yum! We were so ready for these!

I’ve linked this post up with Lisa over at Stop and Smell the Chocolates and at Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum.

Oven French Toast

Oven French Toast It was several years ago that my sister first introduced us to this yummy breakfast dish.

It is now a staple at our family reunions. Actually – I’m not sure we’d let Teresa come if she didn’t bring some! 🙂

So… when it was my turn to host my husband’s family a few weeks ago – I got the recipe and made it for them.

It was a rainy, cold and dreary morning. But the recipe was so fast to make that Aunt Julie and I had the toast in the oven and smelling delicious as everyone made their way to the table.

It was a huge hit and it sure brightened that morning!

Oven French Toast

1/2 cup melted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
12 slices Texas toast
1 1/2 cup milk
2-3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix together the melted butter and brown sugar. Spread it evenly over the bottom of a greased 11 x 17 inch baking pan.

Lay the Texas toast over the butter and brown sugar.

In a separate bowl mix together the milk, eggs and vanilla. Pour evenly over the toast and bake at 325 degrees for 1/2 hour.

When the toast is done, carefully remove each piece from the baking dish with a spatula and invert it to the serving platter or plate.

These can be served with maple syrup, or fresh fruit, but I love them hot out of the oven – all by themselves!

Cinnamon Topped Muffins

Cinnamon Topped Muffins Breakfast is always the hardest meal for me to do when I have company. For starters, I am not a morning person. My prefect day would start about 9:00 (would someone please tell that to my children?!)

Planning ahead is the only way I can function at breakfast, especially when there’s company expecting a meal.

These simple muffins are a snap to put together in the morning, even when I’m not quite with it, and taste great.

They go wonderfully well with scrambled eggs or egg casserole, either at breakfast or for an easy and cheap supper.

I often double the recipe so we have enough for another meal.

Cinnamon Topped Muffins

Mix together: 1 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 3/4 tsp. salt. Set aside.

Combine 1 well-beaten egg, 1cup milk, and 1/3 cup oil.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir just until moistened. Drop in greased muffin tins and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

While muffins are baking, melt 3 Tbsp. butter in a shallow container and set aside.

In another shallow container combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.

When the mufins are done, remove them from the muffin tins and quickly dip the tops in the melted butter and then in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Makes about 1 dozen.