Tag Archives: cinnamon

Banana Nut Snack Cake (Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free)

2014-04-08_GFBananaNutCake-12014-04-08_GFBananaNutCake-3

I really enjoy each of the seasons as it comes. I’m always ready for the brisk air and cool nights in the fall. I get excited about the first snowflakes every winter. And, when spring finally rolls around, I embrace it.

I love cleaning out the flower beds and planning the garden for the coming summer. I enjoy getting out for some fresh air, going for a run, or chasing the kiddo around on the playground. And, when we have rainy, dreary days, I enjoy those, too.

Monday was a particularly dreary day, and I decided to embrace it. It was a bit on the chilly side, so we stayed in. I read the same book about Clifford’s First Christmas over and over again (yes, we are currently reading Christmas books… don’t ask), stopping to point out puppy Clifford on every page. We colored, and we watched it rain out the windows.

Then, in the afternoon, I took full advantage of nap time and decided to do some baking. Dreary days just call for baking, don’t they? The pile of overly ripe bananas sitting on my counter was calling my name, so I set out to bake a banana nut cake.Continue Reading

Almond Pecan Butter with Cocoa and Cinnamon

2014-03-11_AlmondPecanButter-5

It’s a funny thing sugar.

I think it is probably one of the most loved and most hated foods that we eat. One look on Pinterest and you will find more sweet and decadent treats than you could ever possible eat. (A few of them may have even come from this site.) But, you’ll also find equally many people posting about how sugar is addictive and the root of all evil… At least, the root of all health evils.

It can be hard to navigate it all, and I certainly don’t have all of the answers. But, I’m working on figuring out what works for me.

Until very recently, I ate a lot more sugar than I’d like to admit. At first, it stemmed from baking on a regular basis, often to post recipes here. Then, as I had less time to bake and write, I found myself needing a sweet treat in the afternoon. I’d munch on anything from cookies to candy to chocolate chips straight from the bag. I knew it wasn’t real healthy, but I also felt like I couldn’t stop. I craved it constantly.

Eventually, I decided it was time to stop. I was determined. While I’m not necessarily convinced that sugar is the root of all evil, I certainly knew that I needed to cut back.  That was the primary reason I decided to do a 10 day detox from sugar, gluten, dairy, and caffeine a few weeks ago (more about that coming soon, I promise!). I knew my habits and I knew that I was having trouble just “cutting back” on my own.Continue Reading

Sugar and Spice Cookies

2014-01-14_SugarandSpiceCookies-14

Today is a special day… Why? Because today we are having a baby shower for Jamie from My Baking Addiction!

I’ve “known” Jamie for quite a while… I think I probably knew her before she knew me. You see, she is a far more fabulous blogger than I am… She is the authority on all things baking, and I have been reading her site for forever. And, her photographs? They are absolutely gorgeous.

I had the pleasure of meeting Jamie in person at the Big Summer Potluck a few years back. And, as it turns out (and as I always suspected), she is even sweeter and fabulous in person.  She was kind enough to keep me company and hang out with me even though I was rather pregnant and rather cranky. I sincerely hope our paths cross again soon so that we can catch up!

2014-01-14_SugarandSpiceCookies-2

In addition to a love for all things baking, Jamie and I have something else in common… Our blog names are somewhat similar. We both get the same crazy pitches for TV shows about people who eat laundry detergent and other strange things and emails about rehab facilities. And, on occasion, there are people who think that I am Jamie… I always consider it a huge honor. And, then I promptly correct them and send them on their way to one of Jamie’s fabulous recipes!

2014-01-14_SugarandSpiceCookies-10

When I started thinking of what to bake for Jamie’s baby shower, the popular rhyme came to mind… “What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice, And everything nice. That’s what little girls are made of.”  Sounds like the start of a lovely recipe, doesn’t it?

I’m hoping Jamie will enjoy these sugar and spice sugar cookies (they’ll be arriving on her doorstep in a day or two!)… I’ve added just a bit of spice to a traditional sugar cookie.  Instead of just using granulated sugar, I’ve also added some brown sugar since I love how the caramel and molasses-y flavor pairs with the warm spices.

2014-01-14_SugarandSpiceCookies-1

I chose to decorate the cookies for Jamie, but you could also just slather them with a bit of buttercream and sprinkle them with some spiced sugar.  They’d also make an adorable cookie sandwich, too.

2014-01-14_SugarandSpiceCookies-11

My inspiration for these cookies actually came from a pair of Maddie’s pajamas.  She has a cozy pair of cream colored flannel PJs with a cute pink and brown leopard print pattern.  I decided to try my hand at the leopard print (every little lady needs some leopard print in her life, right?) and then use that color scheme to decorate the rest of the cookies.

2014-01-14_CelebratingJamie

Want to see what other bloggers are baking up for Jamie and her sweet little girl? Don’t miss these great recipes!

Amber from Bluebonnets & Brownies | Lemon Strawberry Cupcakes
Julie from The Little Kitchen | Pistachio Pudding Cupcakes
Shaina from Food for My Family | Vanilla Raspberry Mini Meringue Kisses
Glory from Glorious Treats | Modern decorated cookies
Cheryl from TidyMom | Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Buttercream
Katie from Good Life {Eats} | Raspberry Hibiscus Soda
Aimee from SimpleBites | How to freeze a big batch of homemade waffles
Amanda from I am Baker | Heath Bar Cake
Steph from Steph Chows | PB Oatmeal cookies
Allison from Some the Wiser | Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins
Megan from Stetted | Strawberry Jalapeno Palmiers
Shelly from Cookies & Cups | Bacon Cheddar Scones
Emily from Jelly Toast | Meyer Lemon Scones
Kristan from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen | Samoa Layer Cake

2014-01-14_SugarandSpiceCookies-62014-01-14_SugarandSpiceCookies-9

Sugar and Spice Cookies
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground ceylon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Royal icing or frosting of your choice

2014-01-14_SugarandSpiceCookies-32014-01-14_SugarandSpiceCookies-8

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners and set aside.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sea salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom in a small mixing bowl.  Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar.  Beat on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise.  Scrape the seeds out and add them to the creamed mixture.  Add the egg and vanilla extract and then continue to beat on medium speed for an additional 1 – 2 minutes, until the egg is well incorporated.

While mixing on the lowest setting, gradually add the flour mixture.  Mix just until the flour is incorporated. Gather up the dough and divide it into two sections.  Roll each portion of dough out to 1/4-inch thickness.  Use a cookie cutter to cut cookies out of the dough and transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheet. Gather any scraps and re-roll the dough as necessary.

Bake the cookies for about 14 minutes, until the edges are just starting to turn a golden brown.  Cool the cookies on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting or decorating.

2014-01-14_SugarandSpiceCookies-52014-01-14_SugarandSpiceCookies-7

Cocoa Granola Clusters

2014-01-08_CocoaGranolaClusters-12014-01-08_CocoaGranolaClusters-2

Today’s recipe has been in the works for over a year… It all started when my sister-in-law brought us a package of cocoa granola clusters.  She thought they would be a great snack to have around the house when we were just adjusting to life with a newborn. She was right. We were hooked.

When I first tried the granola clusters, I immediately said, “I could make these.” But, the process of adjusting to having a baby to take care of didn’t leave me with a lot of time to work on developing a recipe. I was lucky to take a shower. I still am.

So, I’ve fiddled around with the recipe on and off for over a year.  The first batch turned out to be more like a chewy granola bar with far too much liquid.  There were some batches that didn’t clump up very well, some batches that clumped a bit too much and turned into granola rocks.

I am happy to announce, however, that I have finally achieved the granola clusters that I had been dreaming of for so long. The secrets? Instead of rolled oats, I use quick oats… They usually aren’t my favorite, but they seem to clump up a bit better. I also add an egg white to the liquids in the recipe to help to bind everything together. It seems so simple now, but it took me a while to get it right!

Now that I’ve got the recipe down, it’s become one of my favorite gifts for new moms.  It’s especially good for moms who are breastfeeding because it’s packed with great nutrients including oats, almonds, ground flax, and coconut oil.

2014-01-08_CocoaGranolaClusters-42014-01-08_CocoaGranolaClusters-3

You don’t have to be a new mom (or dad!) to enjoy this one, though… I think just about anyone will enjoy snacking on these granola clusters.  The addition of cocoa makes them taste like a special treat, but as far as chocolate goes, these are a relatively healthy choice. Plus, they are gluten-free (assuming you double check your ingredients to make sure they aren’t processed with any gluten), so they are a great alternatively to lots of gluten-filled snacks, if that’s a concern for you.

Cocoa Granola Clusters
Makes about 5 cups

  • 3 1/2 cups quick oats (preferably organic and gluten-free), divided
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg white

Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper or a silicone liner and set aside.

Combine ½ cup of oats with the almonds in a food processor.  Pulse the mixture until the almonds are well chopped.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl.  Add the remaining oats, cocoa powder, flax, cinnamon, and sea salt.  Stir to mix the dry ingredients well.

2014-01-08_CocoaGranolaClusters-52014-01-08_CocoaGranolaClusters-6

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, and egg white.  Pour the liquids over the dry ingredients and use a spatula to stir until everything is evenly moistened.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet.  Use a spatula to press down gently on the mixture to press it together and spread it evenly in the pan. Bake for about 55-60 minutes, turning the pan once or twice to make sure everything bakes evenly.

Allow the granola to cool on the baking sheet.  Then, break into clusters before snacking.  The granola clusters will keep in an airtight container for a week or so, but they aren’t likely to last that long.

Spiced Banana Muffins (Munching with Maddie)

2014-01-06_SpicedBananaMuffins-62014-01-06_SpicedBananaMuffins-4

I may still be writing 2013 whenever I write (or type) the date, but the new year is here… I can never decide if I love or hate this time of year.

I love the holidays, and I am always slightly sad that the holiday season is over.  But, in many ways, I really love the “slow stretch” that starts in January.  Taking down the Christmas decorations is bittersweet. While I do love the twinkling lights, I also love the fresh, clean, de-cluttered house that is left once the decorations are packed away.

I feel the same way about resolutions. Part of me can relate to the desire for a fresh start.  The coming of a new year is a great time to reflect on the past year and set goals for the coming year. At the same time, it can become a time for great extremes and unreasonable expectations.

I tend not to set resolutions each year.  Instead, I try to approach each month, week, and day with the same fresh start that comes with the new year. Instead of a December full of nothing but fudge, cakes, and cookies followed up with a January of smoothies and salads, I try to approach the entire year with an attitude of moderation. There is no reason to wait for a particular date on the calendar to start over or make a change. Sure, there are some days (and probably more of them in December than other months) where I may overindulge in sweets and treats. I’m not perfect. But, I try to balance those days out with days where I enjoy lighter foods.

I don’t really keep score, and I’m certainly not scientific about it. Perhaps the numbers on the scale would be a bit lower if I was. But, it just doesn’t fit my personality or lifestyle these days.  The honest truth is that I’m a mom with a toddler who does her best, regardless of what month it is. Sure, I could probably stand to lose a few more of those “baby pounds” but it’s not my daily focus.Continue Reading