Saturday, October 17, 2015

Quick Monkey Bread (from scratch)

Sometimes you just need a hot cinnamon and sugar dessert for breakfast. Cinnamon toast is good, but a little basic. Cinnamon rolls are delicious but take a while to make. I have a monkey bread recipe using tube biscuits, but I was all out of tubes. This is my new go-to. It's a simplified version of a recipe I found here.

Ingredients (Biscuit)

  • 4 C all purpose flour
  • 4 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1/4 C "Buttermilk" (1 cup yogurt + 1/4 milk or 1/4 C milk + 1.5 T vinegar)
Ingredients (Sauce)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2/3 C brown sugar
  • 1 T cinnamon

  1. Make the buttermilk and let it sit for ~5 minutes
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Add butter to non-stick saucepan on low heat. Once melted, add sugar and cinnamon, Once incorporated, turn off heat.
  4. Mix dry biscuit ingredients, then add buttermilk. Mix and turn out onto countertop. Knead until dough comes together, then roll out as if making biscuits.
  5. Slice a checkerboard pattern with roughly 1" between cuts.
  6. Add all biscuit pieces to bundt pan. Add sauce, then toss thoroughly and distribute evenly.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  8. After baking, let sit for a minute then turn out into a plate.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Cinnamon and Spice Oatmeal (By the Pound)

Last year our kids started eating oatmeal for almost every breakfast. We'd buy it in the 42-oz cylinder (the big one at your local supermarket), add a little cinnamon and sugar, nuke it in the microwave, and serve it up. The kids liked it a lot... until they discovered the pre-made packets from Quaker. They liked it all, but "Cinnamon and Spice" was their favorite. They went through it as if their lives depended on it.

Here's the thing, though: Quaker flavored oatmeal isn't nearly as good for you (LOTS of sugar), it's a lot more expensive, and the packets are a pain. After some experimentation, we were able to come up with a recipe that tastes like the "real" stuff (not quite as sweet) and is crazy cheap. We buy oats in 10-pound increments, but this recipe works for the big cylinder you'd find at your local grocery. If you buy the oats from the store, this recipe will cost you about $3.50 for about 30 breakfasts, so just over $.10 per meal. If you buy the oats in bulk, it's half that.


42-oz cylinder of quick oats
1 cup dried milk
1 cup brown sugar
1 T cinnamon
1 t ginger
1 t salt
1/2 t nutmeg


  1. Take 3 cups of oats from cylinder and add to food processor or blender. Process for 10 seconds.
  2. Pour processed oats in large mixing bowl. Add dried milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and nutmeg. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Add remainder of oats (about 9 cups) to mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.
  4. Pour entire mixture into resealable container.
  5. To serve, boil water (we love our electric kettle), pour 2/3 cup of oat mixture in a bowl, and add boiling water to your own preference.
I like my oatmeal a little runny, my wife likes hers closer to a brick. To each their own. After a bowl or two, you'll know how much water to add.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Banana Oat (Chocolate?) Muffins

I don't create many recipes. Mostly I steal from recipe writers I like, and maybe do a tiny bit of tweaking. But these banana muffins are becoming extremely popular in our house, and this one is all (or at least almost all) mine. We have a batch cooling in the kitchen right now, and Jenna (who turned 8 last month) did every step herself. These are not complicated.

Oats and bananas are staples in our family: the kids have oatmeal every morning and we all eat at least one banana a day. Years ago, Judi and I would joke that we kept a small Ecuadorian banana farmer in business, but we've doubled our consumption since then. Perfecting this recipe hasn't helped.

I add the chocolate chips because the kids beg for them, but honestly I don't think the muffins need them. You won't be disappointed if you add them, and you won't be disappointed if you don't.


Dry Team
1 1/2 C flour (all-purpose or white whole wheat)
1/2 C sugar
1 T cinnamon
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

Wet Team
1 C milk
1 C rolled oats
1 egg
1/3 C canola oil
1/2 t vanilla
1 banana, mashed

1 banana, chopped (I cut slices, then quarter the slices)
1/3 C chocolate chips (optional)


  1. In a small mixing bowl, add the milk and the oats. Yes, the oats are part of the wet team. By soaking them for a couple minutes first, they soften up in a way I could never get them to do otherwise.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry team.
  3. In the small mixing bowl, combine the rest of the wet team.
  4. Add wet to dry (Muffin Method!), stir and fold to combine.
  5. Add mix-ins, stir and fold to combine.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes.
  7. Let cool briefly, then allow your family to consume almost all of the muffins in one sitting. Try to hold a couple out for school lunches.