The Frantic Holiday Season Calls for These Muffins!

The Frantic Holiday Season Calls for These Muffins!

If you have kids (or grandkids!), you know how busy early mornings can be. You also know how important it is for kids to have a fairly nutritious breakfast. It can be tough fitting that in, especially given the frantic pace of the holiday season. Well, I have the answer! Yummy, tummy- filling muffins.

I swear you can make these muffins (any muffin, really) in minutes! From first banana mash to last scooping of batter, you won’t spend 10 minutes. They bake in about 20 minutes, which is just about the time you need to get everyone washed, brushed, dressed and packed up! If you’re one of those plan-ahead people, you can make a batch of muffins on the weekend and dole them out during the week.

You can add things to your muffins like any kind of nut, dried fruit, grain, oats and fun things, like chocolate chips and candied ginger. You can top your muffins with a sprinkle of sugar or a powdered sugar glaze. It’s all good, and a banankin muffin is way better than a cardboard-tasting, cellophane-wrapped processed bar. At least it is in my opinion!!

Bananakin Muffins

Yield about 12 to 16 Muffins

40 Minute Cuisine (10)

What’s better than combining bananas with pumpkin? Well, nothin’!! So, let’s give into our passion and mix up a batch of moist, yummy muffins to go great with that first, early morning sip.

2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

3 to 4 ripe bananas

2 eggs

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 ½ cups canned pumpkin puree

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°. Place cupcake liners into one or two cupcake pans. You’ll have 12 to 16 muffins depending on the size.

Whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Mash the bananas in a larger bowl. Stir in eggs, vegetable oil, canned pumpkin, and both sugars. Stir in the seasoned flour. Use an ice cream scoop (pictured below) to fill the muffin cups with batter. Bake, until a tester inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean, and the top springs back when touched, about 20 to 22 minutes.


Fuel up for the day ahead with this Thanksgiving breakfast idea

Fuel up for the day ahead with this Thanksgiving breakfast idea

If you are da one… da one who gets up at the crack of dawn on Thanksgiving morning to organize, roast, peel and set, then you are probably also the one that looks askance at the first peep to enter your kitchen that morning, asking “What’s for breakfast?”

Umm…Really? You’re probably up to your eyeballs in pie dough and giblets. Who thought about breakfast? Well, here’s a FUN, seasonal breakfast recipe that you can make a couple of days in advance, and lay out on the table for all the peeps, whenever they show up. It’s yummy, and light enough that they’ll probably come back into the kitchen at noon and ask, “What’s for lunch?”

Pumpkin Pie Spice Yogurt

With Pumpkin Granola and Berries

Serves 6 to 8

20 Minute Cuisine plus some Chilling

Nothing screams Fall like pumpkin. Just look at all the flavored coffees, smoothies, cakes and donut spreads… it goes on and on! So, why not pumpkin-up your favorite breakfast foods? Stir some pumpkin pie flavorings into your morning yogurt, and make your weekday breakfast just a little more pumkinfied! It’s yummy on Thanksgiving morning……..

For Yogurt:

1 (24-ounce) container Greek yogurt

½ cup half and half

1 teaspoon pumpkin spice

½ cup brown sugar

For Granola:

¼ cup honey

¼ cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 cups rolled oats

½ cup whole almonds

½ cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped

¼ cup roasted unsalted pumpkin seeds

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

For Berries:

1 pint blueberries

1 pint blackberries

1 pint raspberries

1 pint strawberries, stems removed, cut in half (or quarters if they’re large)

Stir together the yogurt, half and half and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. Sprinkle the brown sugar over top. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and better if it’s overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Heat the honey, maple syrup, and butter in a saucepan until just combined but not boiling, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Toss together the oats, almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl.  Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients.  Quickly stir together, so that all the ingredients are well coated.  Spread out, in a single layer, onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  The granola should be crispy and golden.  After the granola has cooled on the baking sheet, you can place it into an airtight container and store for several days.

When you are ready to dig in, remove the yogurt from the fridge. The brown sugar will have formed a bit of a crust. This is what you want. Spoon berries into bowls, top with yogurt cream and sprinkle with granola. It’s pretty yummy!

Cook’s Tip

You can buy pumpkin-pie spice in the spice section in your grocery store. Or, you can make your own. You probably have all the spices in your pantry. Combine 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon with 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground cloves and ½ teaspoon nutmeg. Whisk everything together and store in a small jar.






Sammy’s Doughnut Factory!

Sammy’s Doughnut Factory!


That’s my grandson. livin’ it up in his Happy Place!

One of my grandson’s favorite things to do with his Papa is to visit the doughnut factory! This, if you haven’t guessed yet, is Krispy Crème. There’s something about watching the dough fry in the hot oil, and then travel through that sugar shower that no six-year-old can possibly resist!

With the addition of my new fryer, I’m experimenting with all sorts of fried delicacies. I’ve come to grips with the fact that I can’t match Papa’s doughnut factory experience, but I’ve come up with my own… guaranteed to catch the delight of my grandson and my adult pals as well.

Welcome to my Churro Shop. With just a bit of effort, you can set up your churro shop at home too! Give it a try!!

Churros with Cinnamon Sugar & Chocolate Dipping Sauce

Serves a crowd

30 Minute Cuisine

You cannot eat your way through Spain without finding your way into a Churro shop. Kinda like Krispy Crème, these doughnut-like wedges are served warm, right out of the fryer. They differ in that they are doused in cinnamon sugar, and served with a pot of warm chocolate for dipping. It’s pretty darn delicious.

For Churros:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon Kosher salt

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 large eggs, beaten

Vegetable oil for frying

For coating:

½ cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For Chocolate Sauce:

½ cup heavy cream

12-ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat 2 cups water, butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a deep saucepot over medium-high heat until the butter is melted about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and add the flour. Use a wooden spoon to mix the flour into the wet ingredients until it forms a dough ball. You want everything mixed together well. Let the dough cool to room temperature, about 5 to 10 minutes. Use an electric mixer to combine the dough with the eggs.

Transfer the dough (in batches) to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until you are ready to fry.

Mix together ½ cup granulated sugar with ground cinnamon in a bowl. Transfer this mixture to a sugar shaker if you own one.

Heat heavy cream with chocolate chips in a bowl in the microwave, cooking 1 minute at a time. Stir in between cooking, until all the chocolate is melted.

Heat the oil in a fryer or deep pot to 375°. Remember to make sure that the oil only comes ⅓ up the side of the pot. The oil will bubble up when you add the churros. Cut the piped dough into 4 to 6-inch long pieces. (Basically, churros can be as long as you like, if they fit into your fryer). Place the dough lengths into the hot oil. Use a slotted spoon to gently move the churros in the oil. Cook until just golden brown. Transfer the churros to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Generously sprinkle the hot churros with cinnamon sugar. Serve with hot chocolate for dipping.

Time to Make the Donuts!

Time to Make the Donuts!

I have a new puppy, Brownie (obviously a food name…) who likes to wake up early! I find myself walking her at zero dark thirty in freezing temperatures wrapped in a long coat, gloves and scarf sweetly recommending that she “hurry up, good girl”.  Flashback to that early Dunkin’ Donut commercial of that sweet, balding, old man waking up in the dark because it is “time to make the doughnuts!”

Doughnuts are a process. Make the dough, let it rise, cut out the circles, not forgetting the holes and frying them up in batches. Well worth the effort, yes, but what if we could short cut the procedure and have similar results?

Say, “Hello” to DOUGHNUT Muffins! I ran across a recipe in a recent issue of Fine Cooking magazine. I am a fan of their recipes because they explain the why behind the steps. It is almost a scientific approach to baking, which really helps the novice cooks. Of course I tweaked the recipe, just a bit, and will continue to do so, but for now these results are worth posting.

With the holidays upon us it is great to have an easy, go-to baked treat to start the morning off, or in my case to serve at my granddaughter’s Christmas tea party.

Let me know what you think and how you would tweak your doughnut muffins. Remember, Dunkin’ has seventy varieties and still counting!

Sugared Doughnut Muffins

Close your eyes and take a bite of this sugary, warm, light-as air treat and convince me you are not eating a doughnut! Then again, try a second one and convince yourself!

Makes 12 muffins
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30-35 minutes

Preheat the oven to 350°

For Muffins

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature, 1 ½ sticks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • ¼ cup buttermilk

For Topping

  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoon butter, melted, 3/4 stick

Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable oil spray and dust each cup with flour. Use an electric mixer to cream together ¾ cup softened butter with 1 cup sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and stir in the vanilla. Remove the bowl from the mixer.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and baking soda into a bowl. Do this by putting all of the ingredients into a fine sieve colander and shaking it over the bowl. It works!

Stir together the milk and buttermilk in a third bowl.

Use a wooden spoon to stir ¼ of the flour into the butter. Stir in 1/3 of the milk. Stir until the ingredients are just combined, taking care not to overwork the batter. Continue this process until all of the ingredients are combined. The dough will be thick and sticky.

Use an ice-cream scoop to fill each cup in the tin. Bake the muffins until firm to the touch, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the muffin tin from the oven and allow the muffins to cool slightly. Carefully lift each muffin from the tin to a rack to cool for at least 5 minutes.

Stir together the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Brush each muffin all over with melted butter. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the tops, sides and even the bottoms of the muffins. Serve warm!


  • Brush warm muffins with maple syrup and dust with granulated sugar.
  • Add chopped blueberries or other fresh fruit to the batter before baking.
  • Add peppermint extract in place of vanilla. Brush the tops of the muffins with butter and sprinkle with crushed candy canes or peppermint candies.

Little Hands

Get everyone into the act when making these doughnut muffins. Little ones can brush the warm butter and sprinkle the toppings. Older kids can stir the ingredients together and wash up the bowls!