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:
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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

Pancake and Sausage Muffins

Did you know February is National Pancake Month? I couldn’t let the month go by without honoring my beloved pancakes, and what better way to celebrate than with a giveaway! Free stuff is fun, and free food stuff is mo’funner. Not only are we celebrating pancakes, but I have a new recipe that will make your busy mornings easier and tastier. The idea came for these Pancake and Sausage Muffins came from my Speedy Sausage Muffins recipe.

Pancakes and sausage….made portable! I know right?! Awesome. Even better is the fact that these are quick and easy to make with the help of Krusteaz Pancake Mix, and can be made healthier with turkey sausage. My girls loved them, as did I.
If you are not a sausage fan, I feel sure you could use bacon. Or, skip the meat and add in some blueberries (that’s next on my list. Krusteaz also makes a Blueberry Pancake Mix!), or go all cray and add chocolate chips! I’m also thinking you could add syrup right into the mix, which I didn’t do this time, but I think would work out fine…just cut back on the water used. I love versatile recipes!

Pancake and Sausage Muffins

1 lb. sausage (I used turkey sausage)
3 cups Krusteaz Pancake Mix
2 cups water
  • Cook sausage until browned and crumbled. Drain fat if needed. Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Whisk pancake mix with water, as directed on box. (Batter will be a little lumpy.)
  • Fold in cooked sausage.
  • Let batter sit for 5-10 minutes.
  • Scoop batter into greased muffin tins, filling about 2/3 full.
  • Bake until done (12-15 mins) – remember they will not brown like muffins….they’re pancakes!

Serve warm with syrup if desired or allow to cool and store in airtight container in fridge. I’m sure they can also be frozen, but ours didn’t last long enough to try it. I got 18 muffins from this recipe.

FOR THE GIVEAWAY-
My friends at Krusteaz will provide one winner with FIVE FREE Product coupons! Coupons are good for the above pictured pancake mix, plus much more! Check out their line of products here. I am a fan of their fat free muffin and cornbread mixes too. To enter, complete the options in the Rafflecopter form. Shipping only available to US addresses.

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Disclosure: Krusteaz has provided me and will supply the winner with 5 free product coupons. No other compensation was received. All content is my own unless otherwise stated.

{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.

Speedy Sausage Muffins

I came across this recipe for Speedy Sausage Muffins at Susie QTpies Scraps of Life.  It is a recipe from one of the Gooseberry Patch cookbooks.  It seemed simple enough, and more importantly, it seemed like something at least 2 out of my 3 kids would eat.
I took the recipe, and made a few healthier substitutions…..my changes are in italics.

(Healthified) Speedy Sausage Muffins

1 lb. ground turkey sausage, browned and drained
3 c. Bisquick Heart Healthy biscuit baking mix
1 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
10-3/4 oz. can Cheddar cheese soup
3/4 c. water

11 ounces skim milk

Directions
Combine sausage, baking mix and cheese in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.  Stir together soup and water; add milk to sausage mixture, stirring just until combined.  Spoon into lightly greased muffin cups, filling to top of cups.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden.  Serve warm.  Makes 16 12 muffins. (I filled my muffin tins very full!)

We had these for dinner with fruit salad and grits. (We do love our breakfast for dinner!) The verdict…..AWESOME.  My girls loved them, as did I.  They tasted like a sausage biscuit or a huge sausage ball.  They also freeze and reheat well!