Bakery Review – Grandma Ruth’s in Branson, MO

Cinnamon Roll

My friend Shana had raved many times about a little place in Branson, MO called Grandma Ruth’s that apparently has some of the BEST cinnamon rolls around.  So the first opportunity I got, I high-tailed it down to Branson and stopped into this little hole in the wall cinnamon roll shop!

CinnamonRollDough

Counter

The first thing I noticed was the music coming from the room that had the table and chairs where people were eating their treats…it was live music!  A guy with a guitar singing your typical country western tunes and he wasn’t bad!  And there is nothing fancy about this place, just basic tables and chairs in one room and then you enter the next room and it’s the “kitchen” and counter where you place your order.  It’s completely open so you can see all the baking happening and Grandma Ruth herself is sitting there making cinnamon rolls!  Adds a nice personal touch!

GrandmaRuth

Musician

Avery Music

The day we visited they had three kinds of rolls: Cinnamon, caramel and toffee.  We purchased two of each kind and made our way back to the tables and chairs area to eat them.  My favorite was the classic cinnamon followed by the caramel and then the toffee.  These rolls were HUGE, enough for two people to share!  And they were indeed delicious!  Tender, yeasty, not to sweet (ok the toffee was a tad too sweet for me!) and so good, just like you expect a classic cinnamon roll.  My daughter LOVED them and my hubby and I both enjoyed ours immensely.

Toffee Cinnamon Roll

Cinnamon Rolls

If you’re in Branson and looking for some sweet indulgence, these cinnamon rolls are just the thing!

Enjoy!

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Banana Nut Crunch Muffins

Banana Nut Crunch Muffin and Butter

 

I know there are many holidays right around the corner that I should be blogging about…St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day….on and on and on.  But yesterday I had an INSANE craving for banana muffins so I went with it!  And I’m SO glad I did.  These banana muffins are to. die. for.   Seriously some of the most moist, flavorful, yummy banana muffins I have ever had.  The original recipe is by Ina Garten so you know you’re off to a good start when you begin with one of her fabulous recipes.  I made some minor changes and was so pleased with the results!  Treat yourself to these for breakfast tomorrow morning…but make them tonight!  They are even better the next day!

Banana Nut Crunch Muffin

Banana Nut Crunch Muffins

Enjoy!

Banana Nut Crunch Muffins
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 1 c. Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 t. Baking Powder
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 2 sticks Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 3 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 c. Whole Milk
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 c. Mashed Ripe Bananas (I used 5 medium bananas)
  • 1 c. Toasted, Chopped Pecans
  • 1½ c. Granola
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffins cups with liners.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together flour, both sugars, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low, beat in the melted butter. Whisk together the milk, eggs, vanilla and bananas and add to the flour-butter mixture. Mix until everything is just combined--do NOT overmix.
  3. Scoop ⅓ cup batter into each muffin cup.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together pecans, granola and melted butter. Spoon a couple of tablespoons over each filled muffin cup. Bake for 20-25 minutes (mine were done at 23) until the tops are brown and a tester inserted comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes and then remove from the pan and cool completely.
Notes
Makes 24 muffins.

 

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Raspberry Cream Cheese Pull-Apart Rolls

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pull Apart Roll

One last recipe before the big day of love tomorrow!  This one is for a super simple and delicious breakfast, Raspberry Cream Cheese Pull Apart-Rolls.  The original recipe was first published in Cooking Light Magazine in 1999.  It was a little different with dried fruit and citrus zests and far less fat and calories than my recipe has.  But I’m not going for “light” on this one.  I wanted full fat and loads of sugar!  And that’s exactly what I did.  Because it tastes good.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pull Apart Rolls

Imagine a soft, fluffy yeast roll, brushed with butter, studded with tart raspberries and finished with a layer of cheesecake topping.  That’s what you get with these rolls!  They are simply divine.  The only thing I didn’t get to do (and regret immensely) was drizzle them with a yummy glaze.  I highly suggest whipping up a simple powdered sugar/milk mixture and drizzling it over the rolls while they’re still warm.  Just too add a little more sweetness since the only sugar is in the cheesecake mixture.   They would make a great Valentine’s Day breakfast treat or even dessert!

Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pull-Apart Rolls
 
Ingredients
  • One, 25 oz. Package Rhodes Dinner Rolls (36 rolls total)
  • 1 stick Butter, melted
  • 12 oz. Frozen Raspberries
  • 2, 8 oz. pkgs. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. Powdered Sugar and ⅔ c. Milk whisked together until smooth
Instructions
  1. Thaw rolls at room temperature for 1 hour. Place 36 rolls in two, 9-inch round pans (18 rolls in each), coated with cooking spray. Brush melted butter evenly over rolls. Cover and let rise in warm place, free from drafts for 1 hour.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Sprinkle rolls with frozen raspberries and then pour cream cheese mixture over rolls. Cover and let rise 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with powdered sugar glaze.
  4. OVERNIGHT VARIATION: After pouring the cream cheese mixture over rolls, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 12 hours. Remove plastic wrap from rolls and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Proceed with baking the rolls as directed.
Notes
Makes 36 rolls.

 

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Baked Caramel Soaked French Toast

Baked French Toast Casserole
Photo by Food Network

A big, indulgent breakfast is very, VERY rare around our house.  Which is why I looooved this past Christmas with my in-laws.  We did breakfast together at my brother and sister-in-laws house on Christmas morning and it is a breakfast I shall never forget.  Bagels, toast, doughnuts, waffles, pancakes…what are those??  No, no, no people.  I’m talking BREAKFAST.  Ham, hashbrown casserole, thick-cut maple bacon, fluffy scrambled eggs and a yummy fruit salad.  Oh and…..Baked Caramel Soaked French Toast Casserole.  Holy crap.

My sister-in-law Rachel, of Foodie Rachel, did the majority of the baking and cooking and man, she totally outdid herself, especially with this French toast casserole.  My intention was to have a small piece of the sweet, syrupy baked goodness but once I had a taste, I was mentally restraining myself from eating whatever was left in the pan.  It was TO. DIE. FOR.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of her French toast casserole that morning but just envision thick slices of French bread, drenched in a sticky, gooey caramel syrup sauce.  (The picture above is the best I could come up with but definitely does NOT do the casserole justice.)

Are you drooling yet?  Yeah, it’s good.  Try it this weekend or maybe make if for a special New Year’s Day breakfast!  Fabulous way to start the new year.

Enjoy!

Baked Caramel Soaked French Toast
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ c. Brown Sugar
  • ¾ c. Butter
  • ¼ c. plus 2T. Corn Syrup
  • 1 lb. Loaf French Bread, cut into 10 slices, about 1¾ inches thick
  • 4 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2½ c. Half and Half
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 3 T. Sugar
  • 1½ t. Cinnamon
  • ¼ c. Butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Cook the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until bubbly, about 5 minutes. Pour into a 9x13 baking pan.
  2. Arrange bread over syrup.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, vanilla and salt. Pour over bread layers, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or at least eight hours.
  4. Remove casserole from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Combine cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over casserole. Drizzle with butter.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes. Serve immediately.
Notes
Serves 8.

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Spiced Granola

Up until recently I have bought Jeremy granola every week for I don’t even know how long.  I buy a very specific organic brand that is healthy and he likes it so even though it’s a little pricey, I don’t mind pay a little extra for the health benefits.  I’ve even made my own granola before but he really likes this specific kind so we’ve always stuck with it.  Until now.

That’s right, I managed to find a granola recipe that BEATS THE CRAP out of the store-bought granola.  Yesssssss.  Not only does he LOVE it, it is even healthier than the organic stuff and, oh yeah, cheaper.  The original recipe is here and yes, I took a little liberty and changed some things (shocker, I know).  The combination of cinnamon and almond flavor totally works in this recipe and it turns so crunchy after it has cooled.  It’s honestly hard to stay out of it.  I like to mix some Nature’s Path Heritage Flakes into mine just to give it that cereal aspect so feel free to add or not add…totally up to you.  You could throw in nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc.  Whatever sounds good at the moment!

Enjoy!

Spiced Granola
 
Ingredients
Dry
  • 1 c. Thick Rolled Oats (if you don't have access to rye or red wheat flakes, just use all thick rolled oats)
  • 1½ c. Rye Flakes
  • 1½ c. Red Wheat Flakes
  • ½ c. 7-Grain Cereal (can be found in bulk section of health food store or substitute uncooked millet)
  • 2 T. Chia Seeds
  • ½ c. Sucanat
  • 1¼ t. Sea Salt (I prefer pink himalayan)
  • 1½ t. Cinnamon
Wet
  • ⅓ c. Safflower Oil
  • ¼ c. Light Agave
  • ¼ c. Maple Agave
  • ⅓ c. plus 1 T. Raw Almond Butter
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 t. Almond Extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk all dry ingredients together. In a medium bowl, stir together all wet ingredients. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir to combine. It will seem dry at first but keep stirring and it will all get coated.
  3. Divide the mixture between the two pans and spread in an even layer.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring, rotating pans and switching racks (if your oven cooks unevenly, like mine does) halfway through. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack and store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 5-6 cups.

 

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Gluten-Free Oat and Almond Protein Pancakes

It’s the middle of summer.  It’s freaking hot.  Like hotter than it has ever been in my 31 years of life.  Sweating, sticky and smelly are pretty accurate descriptive words of just about everyone around me, including MYSELF.  Who knew it was possible to gross yourself out SO much?!?  But it totally is.

Naturally, people are wearing less clothes.  And thinking about their figure a little more.  Ok, not all people are thinking about their figure but I know I am!  Can’t you tell by all the low-calorie, fat-free, sugarless, uber-healthy recipes that I post?!  Oh.  Maybe not.   Ok, usually my recipes are sinful and totally NOT healthy but I like to think of them as treats and hope that other people think of them the same way (am I delusional or what?!).    However, I have posted a few nutritious cookie, cake and brownie recipes and hope to keep that list growing.  And these pancakes most definitely qualify as good-for-you food!   We are totally addicted to these things in our house.  I have made them once a week, every week for probably the last month or two.  They are an absolutely fabulous gluten-free option and are perfect for breakfast or a snack.  I have even thrown some cocoa powder in them for a chocolate version that was quite delicious!

Of course you could always throw in some chocolate chips but I like the cocoa powder because it gives it that chocolate factor without all the added fat and sugar.  Feel free to use this recipe as a base and and throw in things like nuts, dried fruit (unsweetened is best) or whatever you happen to be craving at the time!  It is so, so good.

Enjoy!

See original recipe here.

Gluten-Free Oat and Almond Protein Pancakes
 
Ingredients
Dry Ingredients
  • 3 c. Gluten-Free Oat Flour (I just process thick cut oats in my processor until I get three cups of oat flour)
  • ½ t. Aluminum-Free Baking Soda
  • 1 t. Aluminum-Free Baking Powder
  • 1 t. Ground Cinnamon (feel free to add more if you really like cinnamon...I probably do more like 1¼ t.)
  • ½ t. Fine Ground Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
Wet Ingredients
  • 3 c. Water
  • 1 c. Creamy, Unsalted, Raw Almond Butter
  • ¼ c. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 4 t. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ½ c. Light Amber Agave (or honey, sucanat, etc)
Add-Ins
  • 6 T. Chia Seeds
  • ¾ c. Thick-Rolled Oats
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. In a blender, mix the wet ingredients until smooth and it has a milk consistency. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until thoroughly combined. Fold in add-ins. The chia seeds will make the mixture VERY thick as it sits (almost the texture of a drop cookie) so if you'd like it thinner, don't add as many or just thin it out 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach the consistency you want. Warm a griddle to medium (I do 325 degrees) and coat with a bit of coconut oil. Scoop batter with a large spoon onto your griddle. Cook for four minutes on each side, until the sides and tops start to look dry. Top with maple agave and fresh blueberries (my personal favorite way to eat them!) and enjoy!
Notes
Makes 20-22 medium sized pancakes.

 

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Blackberry, Almond and White Chocolate Muffins

Every time I walk into the grocery store lately, all the beautiful berries are calling my name. Strawberries, blackberries and raspberries are just begging to be bought right now and I just had to find a recipe that I could use some of them in.  I was struggling to find something that wasn’t a pie or layered cake when all the sudden I remembered a recipe I had made years ago for Strawberry Almond Muffins.  I also remembered it was very good so I thought maybe I’d give it a shot…but with a few changes, of course. 😉

Instead of strawberries I decided to use blackberries and also wanted to add some white chocolate.  The original recipe called for all-purpose and whole wheat flour but I wanted a slightly lighter muffin so I went with cake flour in place of the whole wheat.  What resulted was one of the most delicious, tender and tastiest muffins ever!  Now you could say this muffin was verging on cupcake status but hey, I see nothing wrong with that!  All I know is I loved these and if you need a recipe to use up some berries, I encourage you to try this one!  Feel free to substitute raspberries or sliced strawberries, if you’d prefer.  You really can’t go wrong with whatever you choose.

Enjoy!

Blackberry, Almond and White Chocolate Muffins
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1 T. Almond Extract
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 c. Whole Milk, room temperature
  • 2½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 c. Cake Flour
  • 1½ T. Baking Powder
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 c. Sliced, Toasted Almonds
  • 1 c. White Chocolate Chips
  • 2 c. Blackberries (or more if you'd like)
Instructions
  1. Line 2, 12-cup regular muffin tins with cupcake liners. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in almond and vanilla extracts.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt. Beat ⅓ of the flour mixture until the butter/sugar mixture, then beat in half the milk. Beat in another ⅓ of the flour. Beat in the final half of the milk and then the last ⅓ of the flour. Fold in white chocolate chips and almonds. Very gently fold in the blackberries and divide the batter evenly between the muffin tins (some of mine were quite full so you could probably get more like 25-28 muffins out of this recipe).
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack or eat while they are still a bit warm...they are VERY good like that. (I topped mine with a little white chocolate and single blackberry for the photos..up to you if you want to do that but be sure they have cooled completely if you do.)
Notes
Makes 24, regular size muffins.

 

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Blueberry Almond Meal Muffins

I have to say that this whole new world of baking without flour is really quite exciting to me.  I never knew that there were so many options!  I wanted to do another gluten-free recipe and also wanted some kind of muffin and was so excited when I stumbled upon this recipe from So Good and Tasty for Cherry Almond Meal Muffins.  I only modified it a bit by subbing blueberries for the cherries and throwing in some applesauce and additional spices and extracts.  And wow, this muffin is delicious!  I absolutely love the taste of texture from the almond meal and can honestly say I think I like it better than flour!  Jeremy also loved them which was the real test to me..he could hardly wait for them to cool off before trying one!  We ate them warmed up for just a few seconds with a teensy bit of unsalted butter and a drizzle of honey (not needed but oh so good)…mmmmmm!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Blueberry Almond Meal Muffins
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. Almond Meal
  • ½ t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Sea Salt
  • ¼ t. Cinnamon
  • 2 Eggs
  • ¼ c. Honey
  • ¼ c. Olive or Safflower Oil
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ c. Unsweetened Applesauce (I used all-natural, chunky applesauce)
  • 1 c. Fresh Blueberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a regular size muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate, large bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add in the honey, oil, vanilla and applesauce and stir to combine.
  4. Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients, stirring just until combined. Carefully fold in the blueberries.
  5. Pour batter into the muffin tin, filling to the top if you want a nice muffin dome. Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in muffin tins for about 5 minutes then remove and place on wire rack until completely cool.
Notes
Makes 8 muffins.

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Soft Baked Cinnamon Apple Pecan Oatmeal Bars

Have you ever wanted a nice warm bowl of oatmeal in the morning but just didn’t have the time to actually make AND eat it??  Yeah, been there.  Our mornings are fairly rushed around here and we hardly ever have a sit down breakfast, except for the occasional big splurge breakfast on a lazy Saturday morning.  And those are few and far between.  What a shame.

So, if you’re like us and just want something to grab on your way to work, these baked oatmeal bars are what you need!  It’s all of the ingredients in a hearty, filling bowl of oatmeal put them into one neat little bar.  Besides heart-healthy oats, they’re sweetened with honey and have wheat germ and wheat bran for added fiber and protein.  They’d even be great for an afternoon snack when vending machines are practically screaming your name.  Delicious, nutritious, yummy and most importantly, travel-ready!

Soft Baked Cinnamon Apple Pecan Oatmeal Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 3½ c. Thick Rolled Oats
  • ¼ c. Wheat Germ
  • ¼ c. Wheat Bran
  • 2 t. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ t. Nutmeg
  • ¼ t. Cloves
  • 2 t. Baking Powder
  • 1 t. Sea Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ c. Honey
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¾ c. Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 2 T. Safflower Oil
  • 1 c. Skim Milk
  • ¾ c. Chopped, Dried Apples (or raisins, cherries, etc)
  • ⅓ c. Chopped, Toasted Pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the oats, wheat germ, wheat bran, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl stir together the eggs, honey, vanilla, applesauce, oil and milk. Add wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add chopped apples and pecans.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes.
Notes
Makes about 18 bars. Tip: Feel free to substitute any kind of add-in for the dried apples and pecans...whatever nut, fruit, chocolate chip, etc you may like.

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Weekend Getaway B&B

The Bellevue Bed & Breakfast

Jeremy and I decided to take a last minute trip this past weekend and stay in a new (to us) B&B called The Bellevue.  He found this absolutely beautiful historic home in Cape Girardeau, right on the Mississippi River, in the heart of the downtown area.  We left Friday night, stayed in Poplar Bluff and got up early the next morning to hit the road so we could arrive to Cape Girardeau in time for all the shops to open.  We spend Saturday visiting antique shops, seeing historical sites, had an amazing dinner at a place called Bella Italia and relaxed the rest of the evening in our amazing bedroom.

Front door with beautiful stained glass transom above.
The men's parlor.
Beautiful windows and draperies in the women's parlor.
Love the chandelier and seating in the women's parlor.
Pretty mirror in our bedroom.
Cove bedroom upstairs.
Homemade pecan pie tassies and chocolate covered cherries in our bedroom.

The next morning we were treated to one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had.  It was 3-courses and started with the cutest mini bundt shaped blueberry muffin.  It was an amazingly moist cake bursting with blueberries and a hint of cinnamon and had a homemade blueberry sauce spooned over it.  Second course was thinly sliced sweet strawberries, drenched in an amaretto infused Chantilly creme topped with homemade whipped cream–DIVINE.  Finally, we were treated to enormous omelettes stuffed with cheese and, to our surprise, vegetarian “ham”, all smothered in a rich hollandaise sauce!  I was super excited to find out the “meat” inside the omelette was actually a vegetable based, high-protein, low-carb substitute.  It was delicious!

Strawberries in Amaretto Chantilly Creme.
The spacious dining room.
The china--too pretty to eat off of!
We came through the back entrance and this was the first thing I saw--LOVE.
Fun sitting area in the dining room.

After stuffing ourselves at breakfast, we hit the road to head back home and stopped at a place called Big Spring and another place Jeremy and I had both been to as young children, Alley Spring.  It was so neat to go somewhere that we both vaguely remembered from our childhood and make our own memories together as adults.

Big Spring. Pictures can't even begin to show how amazingly clear and blue the water was.
Big Spring.
Alley Spring Mill.
Alley Spring.
Alley Spring...beautiful water.
Bridge over the water at Alley Spring.

Oh and how could I forget!  Much to my surprise and extreme delight, there was a BAKERY in Cape Girardeau.  Here’s a sneak peak picture–I’ll give my full review next week!

My Daddy's Cheesecake Bakery.

It was so much fun I really did NOT want to come home–a  fabulous weekend and great early Valentine’s Day getaway!

Me and Jeremy at Alley Spring.

 

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Bring On The Weekend: Saturday Morning Breakfast

Needing some inspiration for breakfast tomorrow morning?  Me too!  As I was researching some seriously sweet breakfast recipes, I came across so many I couldn’t decide which ones I wanted to share, they all looked so good!  So I thought, why not share them all?  For me, there is nothing better than actually having time to cook or bake on a Saturday morning and filling your whole house with delicious smells of a homemade breakfast.  And since Saturday is usually our “cheat” day around our house, it’s a great time to try one of these not-so-healthy, but oh-so-delicious recipes.  Yay!

Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!

Banana Bread by Whipped

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes by Recipe Girl

Homemade Pop-Tarts by Smitten Kitchen

Apple Cinnamon Buns by What Katie Ate

Monkey Bread by Gimme Some Oven

Chocolate Chip Waffles by Tasty Kitchen

Overnight French Toast Casserole by The Girl Who Ate Everything

Red Velvet Donuts by Taste and Tell

 

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Lola’s Pastries and Eatery

Jeremy and I recently had the chance to visit a restaurant, Lola’s Pastries and Eatery, in Nixa that I’ve been meaning to try out for awhile. I had heard that they have delicious, made-from-scratch desserts and that the food is quite good too so I was curious. On our way back from Branson a couple of weekends ago, we finally stopped in to see if the desserts lived up to expectations.

Lola’s is actually a former house that was converted into a restaurant and has a nice tea room feel to it. They have a pretty good breakfast and lunch menu and of course lots of desserts to choose from. We hadn’t had hardly anything to eat that day so we decided to split a BLT sandwich in hopes of curbing the inevitable sugar rush. The sandwich wasn’t bad but it was shockingly void of key BLT players…one half of the sandwich had ZERO bacon and the other had maybe 1 1/2 pieces. Like they forgot to put it on! It came with chips and we added a side salad which was small but tasty. We probably should have said something about the sandwich since it wasn’t cheap (about $7) but didn’t want to mess with it. I will say that the other sandwiches everyone else had looked quite “meaty” and tasty so I’m not sure what happened with ours. Anyway, enough of that, on to the main event–dessert!

There were alot of choices…strawberry cake, chocolate cake, coconut cream cake, key lime pie, carrot cake, Oreo cheesecake, no-bake cookies, monster cookies, cupcakes and more! It all looked mouth-watering but I knew for sure I wanted to try the strawberry cake since that’s kind of what they’re known for. Jeremy chose the carrot cake and we also got a piece of the Oreo cheesecake.

The Oreo cheesecake was really good, very smooth and creamy and not an overly sweet cheesecake at all. I didn’t think the Oreos were that noticeable though. The graham cracker crust was probably my favorite part, it was a little on the thicker side and had the perfect amount of saltiness to it to contrast with the cheesecake.

The strawberry cake was also very good and definitely made from scratch–no nasty strawberry Jell-O in this cake, just real strawberries! It was three (yes, three!) layers high with strawberry buttercream sandwiched between each layer and all over the top and sides. It was indeed delicious, just as people said. However, the strawberry buttercream was a tad too sweet for our taste. I think we prefer cream cheese frosting on our strawberry cake. But still a seriously delicious strawberry cake!

Jeremy’s choice, the carrot cake, ended up being our favorite. It was a massive three layer cake with vanilla cream cheese frosting between each layer and on the top and sides. The cake was super moist and very straightforward, no pineapple pieces or chunks of pecans or walnuts in the batter, just a moist, dense, perfectly spiced carrot cake. It did have chopped walnuts sprinkled on top which I thought were a nice touch. We loved it and will definitely be going back for more.

If you are in or around Nixa, check this place out!  The desserts do not disappoint!

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Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

As of today I’ve been in Destin, Florida for five days.  Surprise!  Jealous?  You should be, it’s awesome here.  Sun, sand, emerald blue water and doing a whole lot of nothing.  It’s been glorious.  But of course I had to take a little time out of my day and tell you all about a little road trippin’ snack I made.

See Jeremy and I are actually pretty health conscious (despite what I blog about) and have been getting in shape for this vacation for awhile.  Knowing that we would be in the car for 12+ hours, I wanted something healthy to snack on should hunger strike.  And let’s face it, the healthy options at a 7-Eleven are pretty much limited to the bottled water.  We had to be prepared!

So I thought a nice snack would be homemade granola.  I’ve seen a few recipes but never attempted it myself, so after doing some research I found one that sounded like it had potential and was super versatile (because no way in heck was I NOT going to change the recipe!).  I started with Playgroup Granola Bars from Allrecipes.com.  I modified it alot but the bones of the recipe were great…the granola turned out awesome!  I could not keep my hands out of it and seriously didn’t know if there would be any left by the time we actually got on the road.  And yes, this recipe is healthy.  But healthy can taste really, really good.  Like, “no way can this be healthy” good.  Eat it by the handful or pour some milk over it and enjoy it for breakfast.  And DO play with the recipe…experiment with flavors and ingredients!

Enjoy!

Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola
Breakfast, Snack, Dessert
10 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. Thick Rolled Oats
  • 2 c. Hard Red Wheat Flakes
  • ½ c. 7-Grain Mix (If you can't find it at your local health food store, substitute Wheat Germ or Flax Seed)
  • 2 c. White Whole Wheat Flour (I like King Arthur)
  • 1½ t. Salt
  • ½ c. Sugar in the Raw
  • ¼ c. Cocoa Powder
  • ½ c. Chocolate Protein Powder (I like the All Natural Chocolate Muscle Milk)
  • 2 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¾ c. Honey
  • ¼ c. Safflower Oil
  • ¼ c. Peanut Oil
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ c. All-Natural Peanut Butter
  • ½ c. All-Natural Dry-Roasted Peanuts (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large cookie sheet with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oats and the next 7 ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl, thoroughly stir together the eggs and the next 5 ingredients.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Spread evenly into the cookie sheet, pressing down with the back of a spoon or your hands. Sprinkle the dry-roasted peanuts on top and gently press into the mixture. Bake for 22 minutes and let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, or until the granola is cool enough to handle.
  5. Get another cookie sheet and break up the granola into small pieces (the peanuts will probably fall off but that's ok), dividing between the two cookie sheets. Bake both cookie sheets of granola for another 10 minutes. Let cool completely and store in an air-tight bag.

 

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Triple Chocolate Muffins

Today is National Chocolate Chip Day and to celebrate I came up with these super easy Triple Chocolate Muffins.  If you need something in a hurry, these are perfect and quite frankly they could pass as cake.  I’m really not sure who eats this kind of stuff for breakfast, but I will admit they would go perfect with a cup of coffee.

I adapted this recipe (as you can see I use Allrecipes.com quite a bit) and didn’t have the full cup of sour cream so I did part Miracle Whip which I’ve used in baking before with great results.  I made a few other changes and ended up with an awesome super soft, super chocolatey muffin.  Enjoy!

Triple Chocolate Muffins

2 2/3 c. AP Flour

1 1/2 t. Baking Soda

1/2 t. Salt

1/2 c. Cocoa

3/4 c. White Sugar

3/4 c. Light Brown Sugar

1/2 c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, softened

3 Large Eggs

1 T. Vanilla

3/4 c. Sour Cream

1/4 c. Miracle Whip

1 c. Whole Milk

3/4 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

3/4 c. White Chocolate Chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line or grease 24 regular size muffin cups.

Beat together butter and white and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa.  Add eggs, one at a time to the butter/sugar mixture and beat in vanilla.  Beat in the sour cream and Miracle Whip.  Add one-third of the flour mixture and mix thoroughly.  Add half the milk and beat until thoroughly incorporated.  Add half the remaining flour, beating until incorporated.  Add the rest of the milk and beat thoroughly and the rest of the flour.  Stir in both kinds of chocolate chips.

Fill cupcake tins 2/3 with the batter and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool 5 minutes before removing from the pan.

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Strawberry Doughnuts & Milk Punch

I had really grand plans for breakfast today.  I mean, it was going to be a breakfast of epic proportions, unmatched anywhere, in any kitchen in Springfield, MO. Nothing would go wrong and everything would be AWESOME.  Right?  Right????

Yeah, not so much.

I’ll cut to the chase.  First, the doughnuts.  I wanted an old-fashioned, strawberry cake doughnut.  The batter came together easily but was quite sticky which required an absurd amount of flour on my counters, rolling pin and hands.  And they fried up nicely but I won’t lie…they weren’t the soft, moist cake doughnut I had in my mind.  The texture was dense and almost the teensiest bit chewy.  It could have been my tinkering with the recipe that doomed them so I will most likely try another recipe and omit MY changes next time.

And finally, the milk punch, apparently popular in New Orleans and really how can you go wrong with heavy cream, sugar and vanilla?  It turned out good.  Really, really good.  Of course this was after I let it thaw from solid milk hockey puck to nice slushy drink.  Whatever you do don’t leave this stuff in the freezer overnight.  No matter what any recipe/blogger tells you, it’s a bad idea.  Stick to 3-4 hours and you should be safe.  The recipe calls for alcohol of some sort (think eggnog alternative) but for those of you who don’t care for booze, feel free to just leave it out.

So at least try the milk punch, it’s totally delicious.  And as for the doughnuts…by all means, suggest a recipe if you have a good one!

Milk Punch

1 c. Powedered Sugar

3 c. Heavy Whipping Cream

2 c. Whole Milk

1/4 c. Pure Vanilla Extract

1 1/2 c. Bourbon (or Whiskey, Brandy, whatever you like), optional

In a large bowl or pitcher, whisk together milk, heavy cream, bourbon, vanilla, and sugar.  Freeze until slushy, 3-4 hours.  Stir before serving in chilled glases.

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Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Chip Scones

Earlier this evening I whipped up some “test” scones for a baby shower tomorrow.  The reason they were “test” scones is because it was the second time I had EVER made scones.  I knew that I LOVED the recipe I had made just a few weeks earlier, but it was for a savory Jalapeno Pepper Jack Scone so I determined to adapt it and make it work.  And it did!  Much to my relief.

In my opinion, these are the best scones and so easy!  They are soft, buttery and flaky with a perfectly crisp outside and the combination of raspberry and dark chocolate is divine.  I always thought scones were hard to make but they definitely are not.  I think it just comes down to having a good recipe.  Enjoy!

Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Chip Scones

2 c. AP Flour

1 T. Baking Powder

1 t. Salt

1/4 c. Granulated Sugar

1 Stick Unsalted Butter, cold

2 Large Eggs

3/4 c. Heavy Whipping Cream (plus more for brushing tops of scones)

1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract

1 c. Frozen Raspberries

1 c. Dark Chocolate Chips (I used Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Bittersweet)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl.  Dice butter into small cubes and work into the flour mixture with your hands until it resembles a coarse meal.  The flour should be nice and crumbly.

Whisk together the eggs, heavy cream and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients and fold together with a fork until almost fully incorporated.  Gently fold in chocolate chips and then lightly flour the surface of the counter where you will turn out the dough.

Divide dough into two portions.  Working quickly, toss 1/2 cup of the frozen raspberries in flour and then gently, but quickly, incorporate them into the dough.  It will be quite sticky.  Flour your hands and turn the dough onto the floured counter, and quickly but gently form the dough into a rectangle about 14 inches long and 2 inches thick.  Press against sides with a large knife to get straighter edges.  Cut dough in half and then cut the halves diagonally.  Repeat with remaining half of dough.  Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with heavy cream.  Bake for 20 minutes, rotating pans once, until scones are golden brown.  Let cool completely and drizzle with vanilla glaze (optional).

Makes 8 scones.

Vanilla Glaze

1/2 c. Powdered Sugar, plus 2 T.

5 t. Milk

2 t. Pure vanilla extract

Directions

Whisk together all ingredients until smooth.

 

 

 

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