Breakfast Casserole ‘Muffins’ & VISA Giftcard Giveaway! {#sponsored}

I was provided coupons and a gift card to purchase ingredients for this post by Nature’s Harvest® to facilitate my review of Nature’s Harvest® Bread. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Where has the summer gone?! I’ve already heard of some kids going back to school, and my own go back in a couple of weeks. I really don’t feel like we’ve had much of a break! However, with school being out, I have really been off my normal routine, and with that, meal planning has gone out the window. I’m very ready to get back to planning healthier, balanced meals. This will mean planning for super busy mornings, lunch boxes, and meals in hurry due to various sports practices.  

With so many meals eaten on the go, or prepared in a hurry, it’s easy to opt for convenience foods. However, I still want our nutritional needs met. For example, did you know it is recommended that adults eat 48 grams or more of whole grains daily and children ages 4-13 eat a minimum of 40-48 grams per day? (You can read more about whole grains and guidelines here and here.) Many of us are not getting enough, which is why Nature’s Harvest® bread has launched the “Whole Grain Challenge”. The challenge is to encourage moms and families to incorporate 48 grams of whole grains into their diets every day. You can find educational content on the Nature’s Harvest® website and Facebook page to help stay on track and participants can take the whole grain pledge on the Nature’s Harvest® Facebook page and automatically be entered into a weekly sweepstakes, but hurry, it ends August 10th.

Nature’s Harvest® bread has at least 8 grams of whole grains per serving, no artificial flavors or colors, and no high fructose corn syrup. That gives them an A+ in my book!
These portable Breakfast Casserole ‘Muffins’ incorporate whole grains, protein rich eggs and cheese and best of all, they are portion controlled, easy to eat on the go, re-heat beautifully (I actually prefer them re-heated the next day!) and I imagine they could even be frozen…but mine have not lasted long enough to find out! They are also a great way to use up leftovers or fresh veggies from the garden, the recipe can be modified to whatever your family likes – add pepper and onions, use ham, sausage, mushrooms, vary the cheeses and spices, get creative!

Breakfast Casserole – To Go!

3-5 slices whole grain bread (enough to fill your muffin tins almost to the top) I used Nature’s Harvest® Butter Top Made with Whole Grain White Bread
1/4-1/2 cup bacon pieces (or meat of choice; I used this)
1 cup shredded cheese 
8 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sage (optional)
1/2 teaspoon basil (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
  • Tear or cut bread into 1/2 inch pieces. Place in prepared muffin tin, filling 3/4ths full.
  • Sprinkle bacon pieces over bread, top with cheese.
  • In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk and spices. Carefully pour into muffin tins, dividing equally. (I just eyeballed this!)
  • Bake for 15-20 mins, or until eggs are set and cooked through.
Recipe adapted from Thriving Home and Makin’ it Mo’Betta
 
These make a handy breakfast, lunch or dinner. I served mine for ‘brinner’ with grits, then reheated the leftovers in the microwave for breakfast with a side of fruit. As I stated earlier, I actually preferred them reheated, which is a rarity, but definitely puts these in my keeper file! 
GIVEAWAY:
Now, how many of you would like to win a $25 VISA Gift Card and a coupon for free Nature’s Harvest® bread? To enter, please use the Rafflecopter form below.  This giveaway has a quick turnaround so go ahead and enter!
 

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Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

My son always asks for bananas when I am forced to go grocery shopping with my children, and it’s really hard to deny your children fruits and vegetables if they ask for them…even when I know they will not get eaten. Unless I buy one, which I never do, because lets face it – having bananas sitting around going bad is an excuse to make stuff like these muffins. Or this!

Y’all…these are good! As I’ve mentioned every time I post something with bananas, I don’t even like bananas, but these were really good. They had a good texture, they rose well, they were nice and chocolate-y, with only a hint of banana flavor (of course, I didn’t use the full amount of banana called for….I subbed in some Greek yogurt to make up the difference.) All THREE of my kids liked them, which almost NEVER happens..but admittedly happens much more frequently when chocolate is involved!
Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
(Yields 12 standard muffins)
 
1 1/2 cups mashed banana*
1/3 cup oil (I used this Mediterranean Blend)
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar*
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup mini chocolate chips
Raw sugar for tops (optional)

*If you do not have the full amount of banana, you can sub in applesauce, yogurt, pumpkin…pretty much any pureed fruit or mild flavored veggie to make up the difference. I used Greek yogurt.)
*The original recipe called for one cup of sugar. I reduced it since my bananas were very ripe and therefore very sweet.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a muffin pan with non stick cooking spray or line with cupcake liners.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine mashed bananas (and yogurt in my case), oil, and egg. 
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder. 
  • Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture, stir until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips, reserving a few extra for the tops if desired. (This just makes them look pretty!)
  • Fill prepared muffin cups approximately 3/4 full. Sprinkle the tops with raw sugar and remaining mini chocolate chips if desired. 
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until done. (Can check centers with toothpick if unsure…should come out clean, unless you hit a melty chocolate chip!)
Recipe Source: Chef in Training

 

 

Meyer Lemon Muffins {low fat}

Meyer lemons are like the regular lemon’s more awesome cousin. They are a cross between a lemon and an orange, and are less acidic and slightly sweeter. They are also only in season for a few short months in the winter. I’m wondering if they are having a bad season because I haven’t seen too many of them. However, I have bought them from Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart.

Aren’t they pretty? It’s nice to have something so bright and cheerful in season during the gray, cold, gross and dreary winter. Winter isn’t my favorite season, can you tell?! Even though I would love to bake and bake and bake with these lovelies, my waistline just can’t afford it. That’s why when I discovered this low fat recipe, I was all over it.
Meyer Lemon Muffins {low fat}
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
zest from 2 Meyer lemons
1 cup low fat milk 

1 tablespoon fresh Meyer lemon juice

2 large eggs
3 tablespoons oil (I used a canola/olive oil blend)
Glaze:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
Meyer lemon juice – enough to achieve desired consistency
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or use paper liners. (Since this was a low fat recipe, I sprayed my liners just to be sure they didn’t stick.)
  • Zest your lemons and add zest to medium sized mixing bowl.
  • Juice lemons and add one tablespoon lemon juice to one cup low-fat milk in a separate bowl or measuring cup. Set aside. (Save remaining juice for glaze. See note regarding lemons.)
  • To the zest in mixing bowl – add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk together until blended.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and oil. Add the milk and lemon juice mixture – it should look lumpy (it is a buttermilk replacement. You could use buttermilk instead.) Whisk until blended.
  • Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

NOTE: if the Meyer lemons are very ripe, with a thin soft skin, you can finely chop up the entire lemon (or both if you really like lemons) that you have juiced and zested and add to batter. If the lemons have a thick, firm skin, you may not want to do this as it will cause you to have bitter chunks in your muffins.

  • fill muffin cups 3/4th full and bake for 15-20 minutes or until done.
  • While muffins are baking, mix together confectioner’s sugar and enough lemon juice to achieve desired consistency of glaze. Add vanilla if using. If you do not have enough lemon juice to thin out the glaze, add milk until desired consistency is achieved.
Recipe Inspired By: Renee’s Kitchen Adventures (Weight Watchers info can be found at source. Keep in mind that Renee made 16 servings from recipe and I made 12, and I added a glaze.)
These were good re-heated in the oven the next day, and freeze well too.

This recipe was featured at:
saving4six
Saving 4 Six

Blueberry Greek Yogurt Muffins

I cannot tell you how many muffin posts are on this blog…well, I could, but it would take entirely too long to count them all. We love them. The kids always want some form of chocolate muffin, and even though I’m a chocolate freak, my absolute favorite muffin is blueberry. The other day I was really craving them…

Real blueberry muffins. No frills, no added crumb topping (even though I love those too), I just wanted a really good, really blueberry muffin.

I went searching through my breakfast Pinterest board and found this recipe that had blueberries, Greek yogurt and whole wheat.
They were so healthy, I didn’t feel guilty about slathering on a little butter 🙂 Or eating more than one. Or two. Or…let’s not talk about it, let’s just say craving satisfied.

Blueberry Greek Yogurt Muffins

2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (can use a mix of all purpose and whole wheat too)
1/2 cup sugar (may want a little more if blueberries are not very sweet)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1 heaping cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup applesauce (I used unsweetened)
1/4 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
pecans, coarsely chopped (optional, for tops)
raw sugar (optional, for tops)

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Generously grease a muffin pan, or use cupcake liners. Spray the liners well with non-stick spray if using. (*important*)
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the yogurt, applesauce, milk, egg, and vanilla.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix just until combined.
  • Fold in blueberries. Mixture will be thick.
  • Fill muffin cups 3/4ths full.
  • Top with pecans and raw sugar if using. I sprinkled a little wheat germ on mine as well.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned and done.

(Made 18 muffins)

 Recipe Source: Finding Joy in My Kitchen

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouMaking the World CuterI Should Be Mopping the FloorThis Gal CooksHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Tickle My Tastebuds TuesdaySowdering About in SeattleNaptime CreationsMandy’s Recipe Box, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew LifeVMG206Anyonita Nibbles,Tasty Tuesdays (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterMostly Homemade MomAdorned from AboveLady Behind the Curtain,Ginger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Project Inspire,Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Foodtastic FridaysJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better BakerThe Best Blog Recipes,Close to Home30 Handmade DaysA Peek Into My Paradise,The Jenny Evolution Walking on SunshineVintage Chic (Saturday) Six Sisters’ StuffMade from Pinterest

Citrus Blueberry Loaf with Meyer Lemon Glaze {quick and easy version!}

Krusteaz provided me with complimentary product to help facilitate this post. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.

I don’t know about where you are, but Spring was here. It was awesome! And then it left….but hopefully by the weekend it will be back. (Fingers crossed!) The warmer temperatures and amazing sunshine really put me in the mood for everything citrus! Lemon, lime, orange…you name it, and I’ve probably pinned it in the past couple of weeks. The only problem with having a huge list of things on my “to bake” list is finding the time to actually make them. The kids have had sports, then they got sick with all the pollen and stuff floating around, my little guy’s asthma acted up…the list goes on. SO, enter the quick and easy recipes that I love so much – like this one!

This bread starts with a mix and has a hint of citrus from lemon and orange zest. Then it is topped with a glaze made with Meyer lemons that really gives it a pop of sweet lemon flavor that makes your taste buds do a happy dance!
Glaze is good. Am I right, or am I right?
Look at that gorgeous color! Mother Nature may not be screamin’ spring where you are, but this is! It gets the rich yellow color from the eggs, and I used farm fresh eggs (for the first time ever) and was amazed at their vibrant color. If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw a pic.

Citrus Blueberry Loaf with Meyer Lemon Glaze

  • 1 package Krusteaz Wild Blueberry Muffin Mix (you will need the pouch of mix and the can of blueberries that comes in the box)
  • 1/3 cup water*
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest (I used the zest of one orange and one Meyer lemon)
*I used the juice of my orange, plus enough water to equal 1/3 cup
Meyer Lemon Glaze
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • approx 1 T. Meyer lemon juice
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease or spray an 8″ loaf pan with cooking spray.
  3. In a medium bowl, blend together the muffin mix, water, oil, eggs and zest.
  4. Drain and rinse blueberries and gently fold into batter.
  5. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
  6. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then place on wire rack.
Glaze – Mix powdered sugar and enough lemon juice to reach desired consistency. Pour over warm cake.
Recipe adapted from Krusteaz
The only thing I would do different is to add some additional fresh or frozen blueberries. You could also skip the glaze or use orange juice in the place of the lemon juice. For more quick and easy recipe ideas, check out the Krusteaz website. They have several recipes using their mixes as a base, which is pretty darn convenient. They even have a special section for Easter! Next on my list…Cinnamon Rolls made with their Country White Bread mix. My kids looovvveee cinnamon rolls!

Super Skinny Chocolate Muffins {copycat Vitatops}

If ya don’t like chocolate, you’re at the wrong place today (and uhhh, how are we friends? Just kidding.) I know there are some people who just don’t care for chocolate. Some of these people even share my same genetic pool. I truly don’t understand it. Anyway…these are for the chocolate fans out there. Especially the chocolate fans who loooove chocolate, but don’t necessarily care to wear their fat pants on a daily basis. These be some skinny muffins. Pinky swear.
and yes, I ate both of these as soon as I took the picture.
Super Skinny Chocolate Muffins {copycat Vita Tops}
Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used Hershey’s Dark)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (I used cinnamon, b/c it’s all we had!)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or regular plain yogurt)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup hot water (I think coffee could be used here too)
  • 1/2 cup sugar or sugar substitute (I used half Splenda and half xylitol) Update: I prefer to use half stevia or xylitol and half real sugar. 
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray (or use cupcake liners).
  • Using a food processor (or a blender), blend all of the ingredients together except for the chocolate chips. Blend until oats are ground and mixture is smooth. (Note: grinding oats first, before adding other ingredients may make it easier to get a smooth consistency. I still had a few pieces of oats, but I was fine with that.)
  • Pour mixture into prepared muffin pans. These aren’t going to rise a lot, so you can fill them pretty full for larger muffins, or about half to 2/3rds for the traditional VitaTop look. Add a few chocolate chips to each muffin cup (about half of them) to ensure each muffin has chips in it. (If you add them to the batter bowl, they all just sink to the bottom.) The other half of the chips will be added to the tops in the next step. If you don’t want any on top, add them all now.
  • Place muffin tins in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove from oven and distribute the other half of the chocolate chips on top of each muffin. This just makes them look all pretty and like VitaTops.
  • Place the muffins back into the oven and bake for an additional 2-5 minutes (mine took 5-7), or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Source: Lady’s Little Loves

 We got 12 decent sized muffins for 3 points plus each. I think next time I will make them smaller. I haven’t had Vita Top muffins in a while, but from what I remember, these are pretty darn close. I thought they were good, and my kids thought they were okay, but not great…but they don’t have to worry about fat pants and 41 year old metabolisms. ugh. This recipe also does not contain flour, so I’m assuming could easily be made gluten free.



Thanks to DIY Vintage Chic for featuring this recipe!

DIY Vintage Chic


I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseHomemaker on a DimeSkip to my LouMaking the World CuterI Should Be Mopping the FloorThis Gal CooksWatch Out, Martha!Huckleberry LoveThe Newlyweds PilgrimageSowdering About in SeattleCraft and Repeat (Tuesday) Naptime CreationsMandy’s Recipe BoxLove in the Kitchen, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew LifeSarah Lynn’s SweetsBeBetsy and VMG206Twinkling Trees , Anyonita Nibbles (Wednesday) Fluster BusterMostly Homemade MomAdorned from AboveLady Behind the CurtainGinger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeThe Real Thing with The Coake FamilyTessa the Domestic Diva  (Thursday) Project Inspire ,Joyful HomemakingDesigned DecorMiz Helen’s Country CottageThe Mandatory Mooch,   Lamberts LatelyThe Girl Creative (Friday) Not Your Ordinary Recipes,  Simple Living and EatingJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,CraftionaryOne Artsy MamaThe Best Blog RecipesOne Creative Mommy, Michelle’s Tasty CreationsClose to Home30 Handmade DaysA Peek Into My Paradise,The Jenny Evolution Walking on Sunshine, Vintage Chic (Saturday)  Or So She Says…Six Sisters’ StuffIt’s OverflowingMade from Pinterest (Sunday) Mommy’s Sweet ConfessionsWho Needs a Cape?Sweet 2 Eat Baking;

{egg free} Lemon Curd

I L-O-V-E me some lemon curd.  Creamy, sweet, tart, lemon-y deliciousness. Of course, as with most things I adore, it isn’t all that good for you. I have wanted to try an egg free version for a while, and I have to say, I was quite pleased with my first attempt at homemade lemon curd! I guess I should point out, this version isn’t healthy either, it’s just eggless. Oh well..can’t win them all.

Egg Free Lemon Curd

adapted from Expendablepolo
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup heavy cream (can also use Half and Half creamer)
3/4 cup lemon juice (I used meyer lemons)
4 tablespoons cornstarch (Update: I now make this with 3 Tablespoons)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
lemon zest (from squeezed lemons *optional)

Zest lemons (about 3 large or 5 Meyers – depending on size), then juice.
Whisk together lemon juice, almond milk, cream, cornstarch, and sugar in a medium saucepan.
Continue to whisk while heating on high heat until mixture is hot, but not boiling.
Reduce heat to medium, and whisk until mixture thickens.
Once it has thickened, remove from heat and add vanilla and lemon zest.
Remove from saucepan immediately and allow to cool. Once cool, store in refrigerator in a sealed container.
I used some of mine to make these…Blueberry Muffins with Lemon Curd, which I have deemed the best muffins ever. I love, love, love them. 
The muffins pictured above were made with store bought lemon curd (with eggs)…you can see how it is much more yellow, but other than that, the flavor was very close.  The only thing about my homemade version, is once it was refrigerated, it got thick and pasty/lumpy looking. I am guessing due to all the cornstarch? But it still tasted delicious and when heated in the muffins, it was nice and smooth.  I will definitely be making my own lemon curd again!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

It’s no secret that we love muffins around here.  We are not, however, such a fan of the banana, but when you put them in bread form with a little chocolate…well, that’s a whole other ball game!  I made these quite a while ago, and realized I never posted them, so here ya go, just in time for the very wet weekend (if you live in the path of Tropical Storm Andrea, which we are currently getting the effects of. Rain, rain, and more rain. Yuck.)

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

adapted from here. My changes are in italics.

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup stevia)
1/3 cup canola coconut oil, melted
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lightly grease 12 cup muffin tin or use cupcake liners.
  • Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix the sugar, oil, and mashed banana.
  • Add chocolate chips, water and vanilla to the sugar/banana bowl.
  • Add the flour mixture and mix everything well.
  • Fill the muffin tins about 2/3 full. (You will probably have extra batter for a few more muffins)
  • Place in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of your muffins.

I’m linking up at –

Foodie Friends Friday   

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

Want a big bowl of bran twigs for breakfast? What? That doesn’t sound appetizing? Hmmm, what about a warm, moist muffin reminiscent of pumpkin pie with a crunchy cinnamon topping? Sounds a little better right?  Now, what if I tell you these muffins are full of those twiggy bran pieces.  Not just any bran either.  Fiber One bran cereal.  So not only are you getting a muffin full of fiber, you are also getting the health benefits of pumpkin – full of antioxidants.  But the most important part….they taste delicious!
 Pumpkin Streusel Muffins
slightly adapted from Crazy for Crust
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 cups bran cereal (I used Fiber One original, not flakes)
1 1/4 cups fat-free milk
1 cup canned pumpkin
For streusel topping:
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or butter spread, melted
Handful of rolled oats (optional)
 
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a 12-cup muffin cup with cooking spray.
  2. Place the bran cereal and milk in a large bowl. Let soak while you mix your dry ingredients.
  3. Place 1 1/4 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a separate bowl and whisk.
  4. Add pumpkin to bran mixture and stir to combine. 
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet. Stir until just combined. 
  6. Evenly divide batter among 12 muffin cups (they don’t rise much, so you can fill them pretty full).
  7. Mix melted butter, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon flour and rolled oats in a small bowl. Sprinkle on top of batter.
  8. Bake for 14-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly before serving. Best served warm.