oatmeal raisin waffles

As I’ve gotten older {and more adept} in my kitchen, I’ve come to the realization that if I can make it from scratch, I want to do just that. There’s something so satisfying about knowing every exact ingredient, and every measurement, that goes into the food that I prepare for myself and for the hubs. Sure, I’ll take a little help when the timing doesn’t work out {or if we are just insanely busy!} but I find it so refreshing to spend time in my teeny kitchen measuring ingredients, doing meal prep, and laying out dishes.

Today’s recipe is no different. As far back as I can remember, I’ve always loved waffles. As kids, my sisters and I would get so excited when we got to enjoy the frozen waffles from the grocery store {that didn’t happen to often, as my mom would frequently make homemade ones!}; there was something so fun about watching them jump out from the toaster, perfectly round and golden…just begging to be slathered with butter and syrup. While my taste buds have matured a bit since those days, my love and appreciation for said breakfast treat still remains.

I’ve been making waffles in large batches lately; they come together quickly, require minimal work, and freeze beautifully for easy morning meals during the work week. My go-to recipe has definitely stood the test of time, but recently, I decided I wanted to shake things up. Not wanting to go the safe route, I did some research and settled on testing my culinary skills with a new kind – one that used oat flour as the base! I’m such a huge fan of oatmeal raisin ANYTHING, I knew that this would be an ideal flavor combination to try out. And there’s no denying it; these waffles are on.point. They are so fluffy on the inside, and chock full of raisins…one bite and you’ll be in heaven. The edges get perfectly crisp, similar to the edges of an oatmeal raisin cookie right out of the oven{!!!!}. And as as far as toppings go? Plain, buttered, a scoop of ice cream {yes, I went there}, smeared with jam – there’s no wrong way to do it. Your favorite way is the correct way : )

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Oatmeal Raisin Waffles {recipe adapted from Girl Makes Food}

A fun twist on traditional waffles, this {easily adaptable} gluten-free version is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters! The oat flour is perfectly nutty and sweet, and when paired with the overload of raisins that we stir in, is reminiscent of an oatmeal cookie {a healthy one, to boot!}. These freeze beautifully, too; I definitely recommend making large batches because you’ll find yourself craving these for breakfast constantly! Makes 12-14 waffles. 

Ingredients:

3 cups oat flour*

2 Tbsp. baking powder {aluminum free}

pinch salt

4 large eggs

2 cups milk {I used a low-fat buttermilk in mine, but any milk of your choice is fine!}

4 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

1 cup golden raisins

*to make oat flour, simply add 3 cups of rolled oats into the body of your food processor and pulse until it resembles flour…- how easy is that!

To Prepare:

In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients, whisking well to combine. Set aside.

In a smaller bowl, mix the eggs, milk, and maple syrup.

Gently fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture, adding in the raisins at the end. Let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes {this helps the batter to develop flavor and marry together as one}.

Using a 1/4 cup measure {I have this waffle maker, but feel free to use the correct amount for your machine!}, ladle in the batter and cook until done. Mine took about 4-6 minutes; usually when the waffle iron stops releasing steam, the waffles are done!

Serve immediately with desired toppings.

If freezing, allow waffles to cool completely on baking racks. Transfer to storage bags; waffles will keep at least one month when frozen. To serve, simply pop into the toaster and reheat until desired “crunch” is reached. 

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Enjoy!

thirsty thursday: bulleit rose sangria

Sangria. Need I say more?

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Not too long back, a good friend of mine {hi, Suzanne!} and I were chatting about summer time and some of the fun things that I should be whipping up. When she mentioned “sangria” I was instantly sold. A self-proclaimed wine lover, I have been known in years past to whip up a mighty fine sangria. And since it’s been awhile since I’ve shared one with y’all {this one, so far back?! gee whiz!}, I determined that I was well overdue for a new recipe. After time spent pouring over ingredients ::and perhaps a few poured glasses of wine, cough cough:: the hubs and I came up with a winner!

I am particularly excited about this one because not only are we using tons of fresh, in-season fruit, but we’re marrying two things the hubs and I love the most – WINE & BOURBON! Woohoo! In all honesty, I had no idea that the two spirits would pair so nicely together, but let me tell you…they are indeed kindred spirits. Dry rose wine and spicy, warm bourbon dance so nicely on your palette; it is indeed a thing of beauty. And when you get to the bottom of your glass, those wonderful bits of fruit have leeched all the glorious tastes from said spirits. You’ll find yourself reaching for another  glass…and perhaps another…

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Let’s not waste any more time, shall we?

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Bulleit Bourbon & Rose Sangria 

A playful twist on sangria, this pitcher is sure to pack a punch to your taste buds! A perfect summer drink, ideal for long evening spent sitting around the fire pit, chatting and catching up with friends. And by all means, feel free to swap out fruits for whatever you might have on hand/like better/what you have in your garden!

Ingredients:

1 bottle rose wine {we opted for a drier version}

1 pint of strawberries, washed and hulled

1 orange, sliced thin

2 Anjou pears, cut into wedges

1/2 cup bourbon {we used Bulleit, but feel free to use your preference!}

1/4 cup Triple Sec liqueur

additional fruit wedges for garnish, if desired

optional “toppers” for the drink: non-alcoholic {or alcoholic!} ginger beer, lemon-lime soda, tonic water, plain club soda, flavored club soda, sparkling water. **keep in mind that these are used to provide an effervescence, but can also be used to help dilute the drink to your liking..and potency : ) 

To Prepare:

Combine the rose wine, bourbon, triple sec, and sliced fruits into a large pitched with a tightly fitted lid. Stir to combine; you want the fruits to distribute and the different alcohols to merry together.

Chill for at least 4 to 8 hours, or overnight.

Serve over ice with additional fruits for garnishes, and fill as desired with liquid “toppers”.

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Cheers!

mom’s granola

A lot of the recipes that I love to make are the ones that remind me of memories – special occasions, holidays, that kind of thing. But I have to say, the ones that are the most special are the ones that take me back to my family’s kitchen. Spending time in there, especially as my sisters and I got older, are some of my most cherished memories. Nowadays, whenever we can all make it back home for a visit, that’s where we spend the most time. Grouped around the kitchen island with assorted goodies and drinks, bumping elbows and sharing in conversation, I find myself brimming with happiness and love.

Since the hubs and I live several hours away from my parents, I find myself recreating dishes that remind me of home. It’s a great way to “transport” us there, in a way. It might not be exactly the same, but it certainly does a great job of making me feel there! That’s where today’s recipe comes in – for lack of any better name, I’ve dubbed it Mom’s Granola. It’s a super simple, super customizable recipe, but it takes me back into her kitchen each and every single time I make it.

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Most of the ingredients I’ve called for are ones you probably have on hand. However, like any other cook, I’ll find myself in a pinch…a few ingredients short…and have to sub in or swap out certain items for others. I’ve shared a few of my favorite *optional* add-ins, but don’t hold back! They can be added in as you see fit, in any amount. That’s the beauty of home cooking, in my opinion. It is so easy, and so satisfying, to take a recipe and make it your own, but still have it take you to a special memory or place.

Enjoy!

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Mom’s Granola 

A nostalgic recipe that brings me home every time I make it, this granola can be easily adapted to fit the taste buds and needs of anyone who wants to make it. It comes together in no time, leaves the house smelling wonderful, and most importantly – it’s good for you!

Ingredients:

5 cups rolled oats

1-1/2 cups slivered almonds

1 -1/2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped

1 cup raisins

1 cup cranberries

2 tbsp. cinnamon

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 small can of sweetened condensed milk {can be any fat content}

1/4 cup molasses

pinch salt

optional add-ins: chia seeds, flax seeds, unsweetened coconut, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, assorted dried fruits, pumpkin seeds…etc. 

To Prepare:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Generously spray a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients {except for the molasses, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla}. Toss liberally to combine, making sure that the cinnamon is evenly distributed. Add in the sweetened condensed milk, molasses, and vanilla; fold in carefully, making sure to evenly distribute.

Pour onto the prepared baking sheet and smooth into one even layer. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes; remove and toss the granola {you want to give the top some contact with the bottom of the pan, ensuring everything gets crispy}.

Turn the oven up to 350 degrees, and bake for another 15-20 minutes, depending on how dark and crunchy you prefer your granola. Once cooked to your liking, removed from the oven and let cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week; any longer, transfer to the freezer to maintain freshness.

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harvest pumpkin muffins

I’m sure y’all have noticed from this earlier recipe, but I am a total sucker for all things pumpkin.

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But we’re not talking sugary-sweet, over-the-top pumpkin creations here today. We’re keeping it short, simple and to the point. Because for me, it’s not about tasting pumpkin PIE. I just want to taste PUMPKIN.

And that is why I love this recipe. It is absolutely loaded with pumpkin. Minimal sugar does nothing to overwhelm its delicate flavor; rather, it helps to enhance it. A dash of cinnamon and nutmeg warms you up with each bite. The Greek yogurt provides the perfect body and balance, creating a moist and fluffy muffin.  Brimming with cranberries, these not only taste delicious, but look beautiful while doing so.

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These are easy enough to whip up at a moment’s notice,  and freeze beautifully if you’re feeling inclined as to prepare a double batch. Simply cool completely, wrap individually and store in plastic bags. You’ll be the perfect hostess when company drops by for coffee on a chilly morning!

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Harvest Pumpkin Muffins {recipe adapted from Spontaneous Tomato}

Perfect to whip up at a moment’s notice, and easily adaptable to whatever add-ins you have in your pantry, these muffins are a crowd pleaser! We’re keeping them healthy by using white-whole-wheat flour and minimal sugar, so they’ll be sure to fill you up and keep you powering on all morning long. 

Ingredients:

2-1/2 cups white-whole-wheat flour

1 cup sugar

2 tsp. baking soda

1 heaping tsp. ground cinnamon

dash nutmeg

2 eggs

2 cups pumpkin puree

6 ounces plain, non-fat Greek yogurt

3/4 cup dried cranberries

optional: cinnamon-sugar mixture, to sprinkle on top 

To Prepare:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease and line a muffin tin {I used a 12-spot tin, but feel free to adjust according to your culinary tools!}.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add in the eggs, pumpkin puree, and Greek yogurt.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir until the  dry ingredients have just been incorporated, sprinkling in the dried cranberries and you stir. Be careful not to overmix!

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Evenly distribute the batter between your muffin tins. Sprinkle the tops of each with a bit of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

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Bake muffins for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from tins, and allow to cool completely before serving. Muffins will keep, tightly covered, on the counter top for up to 3 days.

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summer popsicles

I have lots and lots of frozen fruit in my fridge from earlier this season, just waiting to be blended up and poured into adorable little molds.

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I promise y’all, it doesn’t get much simpler than this! If you’re looking for a way to use up {and healthfully, I might add!} and overload of summer produce, you have come to the right place.

For the past several summers, I’ve been a popsicle-making freak. Odd combinations of fruits and veggies are the least of my worries when it comes to these tasty treats – in fact, the fruit used will often mask any sort of veggie hint. So when you see cucumbers listed in the ingredients below, fear not! You know that I will never steer you wrong.

I promise. I mean, just look at these lovelies…how can you go wrong?!

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Summer Popsicles {makes 6 popsicles}

This is probably one of my favorite combinations to make – I love that the sweet berries are the star of this treat. The bright notes of cucumber simply amplify the taste of the berries, and provide just a teeny bit of flavor to make you question “what is that fresh taste in there as well?” Balanced out with a drizzle of honey, this dessert screams summer. And if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, or in the search of happy hour…place this popsicle in a bowl and let it sit with a shot {or two!} of good gin. It will be our little secret. 

Ingredients:

one 16 ounce bag of fresh strawberries {you can also use frozen}

1/2 of a large cucumber, cut into chunks

1/2 the juice of one fresh lime 2 tablespoons of honey

*special equipment: high powered blender, popsicle molds

To Prepare:

Place all the ingredients, except for the honey, into the barrel of your food processor. Process all ingredients until a very smooth, velvety consistency is reached.

Add in the honey {I used the above-mentioned 2 tablespoons, but depending on how sweet you like them, feel free to use more}, and puree for another minute or two, until all ingredients are incorporated.

Pour into popsicle molds of choice, and freeze until solid. Serve on a hot day with plenty of napkins – no one likes sticky wrists!

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Let’s discuss: did you like popsicles when you were a kid? What about ice cream? Is there one or the other you are partial to?

pumpkin-apple doughnuts with maple & bourbon drizzle

Do I even dare to ask…who doesn’t love a warm, fresh-made doughnut? Anyone? ANYONE?

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That’s what I thought. For as long as my family has called Virginia our “home base” homemade doughnuts, from a local bakery up the street, were always considered a treat for my sisters and I. These were not a weekly recurrence, at all – it was more along the lines of “Your grandma is in town visiting so we have to get some!” or “Company’s coming for the weekend, we need some on hand.” or “It’s the holidays! Doughnut time!” These, to me, are what made this delicious puffs of dough so awesome.

I know it might sound crazy, but I can pretty much catalog my childhood and adolescence by doughnuts from this particular shop. As a little girl, I loved the classic ‘sprinkles’ doughnut…but honestly, what kid (and adult? Yes, I’m talking to you) doesn’t like this kind of doughnut? Flash forward a few years, and I had moved on to the cream-filled topped with thick chocolate buttercream. Sometimes I would mix it up and throw in a cinnamon-sugar coated doughnut, but I had my routine, and I knew better than to stray too far.

Flash forward to today. Whenever the hubs and I head home, my mom and dad are sure to put in an order for a dozen or so of the family staples. My new love is their whole-wheat cake doughnut….yes, I know it’s simple, but tasting the nuttiness of the whole wheat flour, and the slightly sweet after notes, I am in absolute heaven. I’ve made it a habit of dunking it into my coffee and it’s over the edge for me. I could die right then, and be totally happy.

And that’s my doughnut story. But, you ask, what does this have to do with today’s post? The answer is that I’ve always wanted to try making homemade doughnuts. And I’m not talking the deep fried kind…I’m talking a basic cake doughnut, with fresh, simple ingredients and clean flavors. I recently purchased a doughnut pan and set my sights on conquering this goal.

I’ve spoken before about my love of autumnal flavors (remember my autumn granola?), and yes, we’re taking a page out of that book and going in that same direction. But! We’re going to kick things up with a little bit of apple, and a little bit of booze. I know you’re not complaining about that! We’re going to split the difference of the all-purpose flour and swap in some oat flour, to add in that sweet nuttiness that we all know and love (I’m talking to you, classic oatmeal cookie!). What takes the doughnuts over the top is the Maple & Bourbon drizzle, done at the very end. If you plan on serving these to children or those who don’t drink, feel free to swap out the bourbon for apple juice, or even just plain milk. Regardless, one bite into this moist, flavorful beauties and you will fall in love, just like I did.

I suggest making these for the upcoming weekend and you will be set – a warm doughnut, a hot cup of coffee (or tea!) and a nice, relaxing morning. Enjoy!

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Pumpkin-Apple Doughnuts with Maple & Bourbon Drizzle {adapted from King Arthur Flour}

Makes 15 individual doughnuts

For the doughnuts:

1/2 C. pumpkin puree (can swap out for 1/2 C. of vegetable oil – I find that the additional pumpkin makes for a very moist doughnut)

3 large eggs, room temperature

1/4 to 1/2 C. maple syrup

1-1/2 C. pumpkin puree

1-1/2 tsp/ pumpkin pie spice (or 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon plus heaping quarter tsp. each ground nutmeg and ground ginger)

1-1/2 tsp. salt

1-1/2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 C. oat flour*

3/4 C. plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

For the caramelized apples:

2 apples (I used a Granny Smith and a Gala), finely diced

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 ounce of bourbon (you can use the same one as you’ll use in the drizzle) you can omit this if serving to children or non-drinkers

pinch salt

several dashes of cinnamon

1 Tbsp. butter

honey, as necessary, to sweeten

To make the doughnuts:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two standard doughnut pans. If you don’t have doughnut pans, you can use regular or mini-muffin sized pans, but they won’t be a true ‘doughnut’.

Saute the apples, vanilla extract, bourbon, salt, cinnamon, butter and honey on a medium-low stovetop until the apples are soft. Allow to cool slightly, as these will be folded into the batter.

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Beat together the oil (or additional pumpkin puree), eggs, maple syrup, pumpkin, spices, salt and baking powder until smooth. Add in the flour, stirring just until smooth. Fold in the cooled apple mixture, taking care to not overmix the batter.

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Fill the wells of the pans about 3/4 full – it should be a scant 1/4 C. of batter in each well.

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Bake the doughnuts for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Once removed from the oven, let them sit for about 5 minutes, then loosen the edges and take out of the molds. Place on a rack to cool.

Make the drizzle while the doughnuts bake:

Combine 1 C. of powdered sugar with 1 ounce of your favorite bourbon. I like to stir in a few dashes of vanilla extract for extra flavor. Whisk until free of lumps, then spoon onto the tops of each doughnut.

Coat with the drizzle; you’ll see how much each doughnut will absorb it!

Cool completely and store (not wrapped tightly) at room temperature for several days…that is, if they last that long!

*to make your own oat flour, simply process the required amount of quick oats in your food processor until finely ground. If you don’t have a food processor, simply swap out for an equal amount of all-purpose flour.