Classic Monkey Bread

This Classic Monkey Bread is a simple, easy, no-frills recipe that you will make again and again! {Brittany's Pantry}You may have already noticed that I don’t have a recipe on this blog for caramel rolls or cinnamon rolls. After several years of posting recipes, I decided to remedy that fact. Honey Buns are the closest I have come, and as good as they are, sometimes you just need a good, gooey, caramel laden treat.

These are those. Or this is them. Or that is thus. Caramel laden treats. Right here.
This Classic Monkey Bread is a simple, easy, no-frills recipe that you will make again and again! {Brittany's Pantry}I haven’t always been a baker of Monkey Bread. I didn’t grow up eating it, and had no idea of its existence until college. However, sometime in the last few years, after seeing various kinds plastered all over Pinterest, I figured I better find a master recipe to keep in my menu arsenal. Nothing fancy, nothing pumpkin spice or that trendy salted caramel, and no crazy amount of extra steps. Just a straight up, classic and easy recipe.

Ok fine. To be completely transparent with all of you, I am going to have a house full of guests at Christmas and I really wanted to get this dish down pat so that I can serve it with ease to a crowd.  Ulterior motives, yes, but it all leads to the same thing. Really good Monkey Bread.

I tried several (Oofdah! Recipe testing for this was tough!) and made adjustments as I went based on personal taste and preference. For example, most recipes call for canned biscuits as the bread in here, but the texture of actual bread dough is SO much better and much less salty. It is just as simple to use, but less expensive, and you get a better quality to your food. So in the end, I just kind of went with the basics and kept it simple. Turns out that is what makes this the best.
This Classic Monkey Bread is a simple, easy, no-frills recipe that you will make again and again! {Brittany's Pantry}Fresh out of the oven and ready to be turned out! Careful! Its hot!
This Classic Monkey Bread is a simple, easy, no-frills recipe that you will make again and again! {Brittany's Pantry}Classic Monkey Bread

2 lbs (loaves) frozen bread dough, thawed
1 c granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c (1 stick) butter
1/2 c brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a bundt pan and combine the white sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut each bread dough loaf into 16 pieces and toss the pieces in the cinnamon and sugar. Shake off the excess and place them evenly in the bundt pan. Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, warm the butter, brown sugar, and 1/2 c of the leftover cinnamon/sugar mixture. Heat over medium heat until it JUST comes to a boil. Immediately remove and carefully pour evenly over the bread dough pieces. Bake for 30 minutes until risen and evenly browned. Remove from the oven and carefully invert onto a deep plate or platter to catch the extra caramel! Let cool a bit and enjoy!

Maple-Almond Granola

This Maple Almond Granola is crunchy and toasty and incredibly easy! {Brittany's Pantry}As I type this post, I am sitting at my dining room table and gazing out the window.  Now that hurricane Joaquin is gone and the rain has stayed away from South Carolina for a week, we have dried out a bit and the leaves are starting to turn.  I could sit here and stare at the trees all day, provided there were plenty of snacks within arms reach.  There is quite a nip in the air (a bit odd for this time of year in the South), but this Minnesota gal is thrilled.  My friends, it actually feels like fall here right now and I am positively giddy.

While some people crave cozy casseroles, hearty soups, and pumpkin spice lattes at this time of year, I have been craving granola.

Is that weird?

I’m not sure why, but every time I have seen it in the store, I commence to drooling.  Its embarrassing really.  I see those toasted oats and nuts studded with colorful dried fruits and it sets my stomach to growling.  I refuse to buy it because I can make it so easily, but I haven’t had time.  This past weekend I was sure to MAKE time, and after a lot of experimentation, I made exactly the kind of granola I have been yearning for.This Maple Almond Granola is crunchy and toasty and incredibly easy! {Brittany's Pantry}This version is crispy, but not so crunchy that it will shake loose a filling.  Its spiced, but just enough to add a fantastic warmth to the food, not enough to overwhelm.  And the maple?  Gaaaah.  Its lovely.  When you bake this it will smell like your house has been invaded by a stack of syrup drowned pancakes, but the end result is much more subtle.

I took to Instagram on Saturday to share my success with the world.
Maple-Almond-GranolaAfter this picture was taken I added a banana.  Stupendous is the only word I can use to describe it. Absolutely stupendous.

If you have never made granola at home before, I highly recommend giving it a try.  It is ridiculously easy and you can customize it to your own tastes.  In addition, it is just fun to share with people.  Throw it in a jar with a ribbon around the top and VOILA!  Instant gift.  It would be a fantastic thing to bring to the host or hostess of a party this holiday season instead of the usual bottle of wine.  Personally, I would rather have granola under the tree than a reindeer sweater so consider sending some to long lost relatives.  It travels well and smells so good, it will make the security dogs at the post office go berserk! :) Because nothing says ‘I love you’ like crunchy, nutty, cinnamon-y food.  Right?  I thought so.
This Maple Almond Granola is crunchy and toasty and incredibly easy! {Brittany's Pantry}Maple-Almond Granola
Several weeks ago we made homemade almond milk here at our house.  We had quite a bit of ground almonds leftover after draining off the ‘milk’ so we dried them out in the oven and stored them in the freezer until we could decided what to do with them.  They were PERFECT in this granola, so keep that in mind if  you make your own almond milk!

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
In a large bowl, add:
2 c rolled oats
1 c ground almonds or almond flour
1 c sliced almonds
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 c brown sugar

Mix all ingredients together until thoroughly blended.
In a glass measuring cup, combine:
1/4 c coconut, canola, or grapeseed oil
1/3 c pure (real) maple syrup
1/2 tsp maple extract

Mix and pour over oat mixture.  Combine well, making sure the moisture is evenly distributed.  This will take a bit.  Dump onto a dry, unlined sheet pan and spread out into an even layer.  Toast in the oven for 15 minutes, stir well, toast for another 15 minutes, stir, and toast final 15 minutes.  The granola should be dry and crunchy and slightly browned.  Remove and let it cool on the pan.  It will continue to crisp a bit as it cools.  Once cool, feel free to add the dried fruits of your choice.  Cranberries are especially fantastic with this.  Store in an airtight container.

The Ultimate Gluten Free Zucchini Spice Muffins W/Walnuts & Cranberries via Brittany's PantryMy sister is staying with us for awhile.  Did I mention that before?

We get her as a house guest for a few months while she finishes settling into employment here on the East Coast.  We kind of love it and while there are always adjustments with long term visitors, most of the adjusting is happening on her end, I assure you.  To go from living on your own in downtown Seattle, to sharing a house with three kids in the steamy South is quite the change of scenery.  My sister is a very healthy eater, skipping dairy due to an allergy and avoiding gluten because she just feels so darn better when she does!  She does regular workouts, she runs, and is currently training to be a personal trainer while simultaneously working full time.

In short, she is my hero. :)

Here at our house, we generally eat…okay.  My husband and I don’t drink pop, we limit fruit juice with our kids, and the majority of bread in our house is whole grain.  We like natural sweeteners, low fat dairy, and snack on whole fruits and fresh veggies as much as we can.  Ultimately, we just do our best, because that is all we can do, right?  And most of the time, thats good enough.

But I know that my sister misses her pristine diet.  She never complains, but I kinda like the gal so I try to accommodate her as well as I can.  The dairy free thing is no problem, but cooking gluten free is not my normal practice.  I do it, but not exclusively.  Enter-THESE MUFFINS!  Everyone should be able enjoy a good spiced muffin in the fall and these darlings are my contribution.  I bake them up (beat my kids away from the kitchen with a stick because they try to steal them) and tuck them in the freezer just for her!  My next gluten-free endeavor? Pumpkin muffins!!The Ultimate Gluten Free Zucchini Spice Muffins W/Walnuts & Cranberries via Brittany's PantryGluten Free Zucchini Spice Muffins

1 c sugar, granulated or  raw
2 eggs
1/2 c canola, coconut, or grapeseed oil
1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
Whisk together above ingredients until smooth.
Fold in:
1 1/4 c all-purpose GF flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp EACH of ground ginger, cloves, and nutmeg
Mix two or three times (it will not be combined yet) and add:
1 small zucchini, shredded
1/2 c dried, unsweetened cranberries
1/2 c chopped walnuts

Continue to fold together until combined but JUST MIXED!  Bake in paper lined muffin cups at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone and always will be! #SpringIntoFlavor #CollectiveBias
Sweet Potato & Veggie Breakfast Wraps are a great new way to use Alexia Potatoes! Recipe via Brittany's PantryWe love breakfast around our house.  Like, really love it.

My family and I can eat breakfast anytime of day and, in part, love that it is so fast to make.  Eggs cook up in no time so any variation of eggs is high on our list of favorites.  I recently was hankering for a kind of sweet potato hash/breakfast burrito hybrid and this recipe is the result of those very same cravings. Instead of starting from scratch with my potatoes and adding a whole extra step, I turned to my freezer to cut down on the prep time and got a little help from Alexia.

Since we are STILL in the process of moving and packing and unpacking and building, any convenience food that makes my life easier but tastes like I made it myself, is a food that is saving mealtime in our house right now! I love the Sweet Potato Fries from Alexia but decided to use the Spicy Chipotle version for this breakfast wrap.  And OH MY LANTA!  The explosion of flavor with the rest of the vegetables was hearty, filling, and exactly what I was looking for! This meat lover didn’t even miss the absence of sausage or bacon!
Sweet Potato & Veggie Breakfast Wraps are a great new way to use Alexia Potatoes! Recipe via Brittany's PantryAnd look!  See those Rosemary Fries W/Sea Salt?  They are brand new and just may be our new favorite.  My kids couldn’t keep their hands off of them and since they don’t like things as spicy as the hubby and I do, I used those fries in the kids breakfast wraps. They inhaled them, and then proceeded to eat every single rosemary fry left on the sheet pan.  When I made the rest of the bag a day or two later to go with burgers, my daughter actually wrote them on the grocery list for me so I wouldn’t forget to pick up more. I have no problem with that and trust Alexia products.  They are all natural and fit into the healthy, balanced menus I make for my family. Sweet Potato & Veggie Breakfast Wraps are a great new way to use Alexia Potatoes! Recipe via Brittany's PantryThis is the packaging so you can look for them the next time you head to the store.  This, and other Alexia products are super easy to find at Walmart, or your local super market.  Just head to the potato area of the freezer section and proceed to make the difficult choice of how many of the products to limit yourself to!
Sweet Potato & Veggie Breakfast Wraps are a great new way to use Alexia Potatoes! Recipe via Brittany's PantrySweet Potato & Veggie Breakfast Wraps are a great new way to use Alexia Potatoes! Recipe via Brittany's PantryYou can find more recipes using your favorite Alexia products-and get updates about new products-by liking them on Facebook and following along with their Pinterest page!

So how do you throw these beautiful, vegetarian, breakfast wraps together?
Sweet Potato & Veggie Breakfast Wraps are a great new way to use Alexia Potatoes! Recipe via Brittany's PantrySweet Potato & Veggie Breakfast Wraps are a great new way to use Alexia Potatoes! Recipe via Brittany's PantrySweet Potato & Veggie Breakfast Wraps are a great new way to use Alexia Potatoes! Recipe via Brittany's PantrySweet Potato & Veggie Breakfast Wraps are a great new way to use Alexia Potatoes! Recipe via Brittany's PantrySweet Potato & Veggie Breakfast Wraps are a great new way to use Alexia Potatoes! Recipe via Brittany's PantrySweet Potato & Veggie Breakfast Wraps are a great new way to use Alexia Potatoes! Recipe via Brittany's PantrySweet Potato & Veggie Breakfast Wraps
We have eaten these with almost every Alexia product out there (including the Onion Rings-YUM) and we cannot agree on a favorite.  Personally, I think the Spicy Sweet Potato Fries W/Chipotle Seasoning is the best in these wraps. This recipe is just a guideline to make one wrap, but build as many as you like, just how you like them.

1 handful Alexia Spicy Sweet Potato Fries, or other Alexia potato product
1 large handful of fresh baby spinach
4 oz fresh mushrooms
1/2 sweet bell pepper, diced
2 eggs
bit of butter for the pan
1 large whole grain tortilla

Cook the fries according to package directions.  In the meantime, add a small pat of butter to a sauté pan and place it over medium heat. Gently cook the mushrooms until golden brown and then add the spinach and bell pepper.  Cook until the spinach is wilted but the peppers are still crisp tender.  Add the eggs, stir gently, and cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until the eggs are creamy and cooked to desired doneness.  While the eggs and veggies cook, place your crispy potatoes down the center of the tortilla. Top with eggs and veggies, wrap, and enjoy immediately. I HIGHLY recommend a shake of Sriracha!
Sweet Potato & Veggie Breakfast Wraps are a great new way to use Alexia Potatoes! Recipe via Brittany's Pantry

Homemade-Breakfast-Sausage-Brittany's-PantryI have been trying to make really great homemade breakfast sausage for years now, but without success.  Now that I write that sentence, I realize that doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in my culinary abilities…

Let me explain.

My parents made it all the time when I was a kid, but they can’t seem to remember the recipe, so, no help there.  Once, when I was in the hospital having a baby, my Mom went through my freezer and found some ground pork and whipped up some sausage for breakfast.  When I returned home and warmed up the leftovers, I went bonkers (because it was so incredibly good) and begged her to tell me what she had put in it.  Of course, she didn’t remember and had just grabbed random spices from the cabinet.  She wrote down what she thought it was and I meticulously followed the notes she had scrawled on the back of the envelope from the electric bill, but it wasn’t even close.  Grrr.  I have made just about EVERY recipe I have found on the internet and all of them are either too complicated for what I am after, bland, off, ridiculously sweet or salty, tough, dry, or they taste like Italian sausage instead of the traditional breakfast version I want.  I tried creating my own and starting from scratch, but kept missing the mark.  All of my previous attempts were good, but not very great.

Until this one.  I don’t know exactly what I did all that differently, but after making sure that I wrote the ingredients down exactly, I went on to make several batches, just to ensure that it really was the winner I was looking for.  And Oh My Lanta-it really is.  Turns out I had a great sausage recipe rolling around in my head after all!

This recipe has just enough spice to make it interesting, but not so much that it doesn’t taste like meat.  We can’t stop eating this stuff and it is now happily stored in my freezer in bulk to be browned and used in breakfast casserole, and also shaped in patties, ready to defrost and fry up for breakfast.  *sigh* My work here is done!
These Homemade Breakfast Sausage Patties are so fantastic, you won't miss the store bought version! {Brittany's Pantry} Homemade Breakfast Sausage
I have discovered that buying 80/20 ground pork gives me the flavor that I want in the sausage, without being super greasy.  Anything leaner and I have to add something for moisture and results don’t end up consistent.  Rub the thyme and fennel seed a bit in your hands to crush it up just a touch before you add it to the recipe.  It makes all the difference in the world!

1 lb ground pork (80/20 fat ratio)
1 T pure maple syrup
1 tsp ground sage
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp fennel seed

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl using a fork to toss and gently mash the ingredients until well mixed.  Be gentle, as too much handling can make the sausage tough.  Scoop of whatever portions you desire, flatten, and fry in a pan over medium heat until firm in the middle and brown on both sides.  Alternatively, store the whole pound of sausage in a well sealed container in the freezer, cooked or uncooked!  Both freeze great!

Hot Cross Buns

Hot-Cross-BunsGood Friday is nearly here and I needed to finally share my most favorite recipe for Hot Cross Buns.

I did not grow up eating these at Easter and as a child, thought they were some foreign kind of food that was only mentioned in nursery rhymes. Now that I am older and have access to Google, I love the story behind them. I started making them Easter weekend several years ago, but that new tradition kind of disappeared. In the last six years, on, just before, or just after Easter weekend, I have had a baby (twice), moved (twice) or been out of the state due to celebrations of previous baby births. I am crossing my fingers that the drama during this holiday in the future is limited to the celebration of the risen Christ, since neither moving or additional children are in our plans.

This recipe happens to be from Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman. I followed it exactly with no tweaking. If you are new to yeast breads and regard them as a rather scary endeavor, this is perfect for you. No kneading or guessing about how much flour. It is straight forward instructions and a very forgiving recipe. I highly recommend giving them a try. I also suggest that you eat one right out of the oven, with no frosting. Yeasty and wonderful!

Hot Cross Buns

For The Buns:

2 c whole milk
1/2 c oil-I recommend canola or grapeseed
1/2 c sugar
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (this is exactly one little package)
4 c flour + 1/2 c for later in the recipe
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 big pinches of salt
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c raisins or currants-I use raisins because I always have them on hand and they are easier to find in the supermarket

For The Icing:
1 egg white
powdered sugar

To make the rolls, combine the first three ingredients in a large saucepan. Place it over medium heat and stir occasionally, without letting it burn, until hot (not boiling please!) Remove from heat and set aside to cool until its only warm. When it is no longer hot, sprinkle the yeast over the top, add the 4 cups of flour, and stir until combined. It will be a very soft, sticky dough. Leave it in the saucepan and let it sit, covered loosely with a towel or plastic wrap, for an hour. Add the last 1/2 c of flour, the baking powder and soda, and the salt. Mix well.

Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper, or very lightly oil it. Set aside. Lightly flour your VERY CLEAN countertop and pull the dough down onto the surface, pressing all around to flatten the dough a bit. Combine the last 1/4 c of sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle one third or so onto the dough, along with a little less than half the raisins. Fold the dough in half and press and flatten, squishing the raisins and cinnamon/sugar inside. Sprinkle on more raisins and cinnamon and sugar and repeat. Repeat a third time, pressing gently to ‘mix’ the raisin mixture in layers inside. Pinch off a golf ball sized piece of dough and gently roll it into a ball, pinching the edges together at the bottom of necessary to form a smooth ball. Place on the prepared sheet pan. Continue until the pan is full, placing the rolls at least 2 inches apart, and cover lightly. Set aside to rise in a warm place until very puffed. I like to set them in the sunshine in front of a window!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. With a fork, beat together one egg and a splash of water to make an egg wash. Brush the tops and sides of the buns with the egg wash and bake for 20 minutes, or until the buns are a nice golden brown. They smell so good!!!

Allow to cool on a cooling rack, but only after you have eaten one or two of them warm. So. Amazing. Don’t frost them too soon, or it will all melt off! When they are just barely cool, combine the egg white with enough powdered sugar to make a super crazy thick frosting. How much will depend on the size of your egg. Add a tiny splash of milk until you get the consistency you want. Make sure the frosting is thick enough to stay on the buns! Spoon or pipe the frosting in a ‘cross’ shape on top of your Hot Cross buns. Enjoy!

Sweet Pineapple Casserole

Sweet Pineapple Casserole is a cross between bread pudding and pineapple upside down cake!  And it goes great with HAM! {Brittany's Pantry}Just a quick post to pass along a favorite side dish recipe.  Just in time for Easter!

About a bazillion years ago, a sweet southern woman served me this kind of baked, scalloped, pineapple, bread, thing.  I was hooked.  I have no idea what she called it, but we ate it with breakfast and I have been dreaming about it ever since.  With a holiday coming up that has a meal traditionally centered around ham, I thought this was the perfect time to bring that tasty memory to reality.

To be honest, I don’t really remember if this is anything like the version I ate all those years ago, but I love it so much I don’t really care anymore.  This stuff is addictive.  In the past few weeks, I have eaten it with burgers, breakfast, and yes, some roasted meat.  All good.  All very very good.  It is like the jack-of-all-trades of the side dish world.  I’ve seen this wonderfulness served with Thanksgiving dinner as well as brunch.  It is at home alongside quiche as well as barbecue.  And yes, you can be sure it will be crazy good with that ham you will be making in a few days.

Pineapple and ham?  Perfect.
Sweet Pineapple Casserole is a cross between bread pudding and pineapple upside down cake!  And it goes great with HAM! {Brittany's Pantry}Sweet Pineapple Casserole

1 stick of butter (1/2 c) of softened butter
1 c sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1-20 oz can of chunked pineapple, drained
1 small loaf of french bread, cut into 1 inch chunks (4-5 cups)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray or butter a small casserole dish or glass 9X9 dish.  In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until incorporated.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.  Fold in the pineapple and the bread cubes until well mixed and bread is coated.  Pour into greased dish and spread evenly.  Bake until bubbly in the center and golden brown on top, 35-40 minutes.  Enjoy!

Honey Peanut Cereal Bars

Honey Peanut Cereal Bars via Brittany's Pantry-A no-bake snack or treat!I have kids.

Ere go, I have purchased an alarming number of boxes of little ‘0’ cereal made of oats, such as Cheerios or something similar.  Cereal that shows up in my couch cushions, on the bottom of my purse, and in my laundry.  This kind of cereal is always around so anytime I can quickly throw together a fun snack or treat with items already in my kitchen, I consider it a good thing.  If they are so scrumptious even my husband and I can’t stop eating them and we end up trying to hide them from our kids, well then that is a VERY good thing.  I mean, you know.  In a joking, I’m-not-really-hiding-food-from-my-kids-sorry-not-sorry-kind of way.

I have had bars like these before but I haven’t actually made them myself since God was a boy.  I couldn’t remember the exact method or ingredients to make them stick so I turned to that necessary evil (I speak of Pinterest) and searched out some good ones.  I settled on this version here from a blog called Chew Out Loud and they were exactly perfect.  Just as I remember them.  Better actually.

I do believe that it is the combo of the crunchy cereal with the chewy cranberries that really keeps me hooked.  Also, is it weird that I think these bars just look friendly?  I want to make huge batches of them and wrap them up individually and tuck them in everyone’s pockets.  Then when they discover them later they have a snack that makes them smile.  Corny, yes.  But still a good idea.  Such a good idea, I bet it will make you run out and buy cereal to make these, wether you have kids to throw them onto the floor of your car or not.
Honey Peanut Cereal Bars via Brittany's Pantry-A no-bake snack or treat! Honey Peanut Cereal Bars
Recipe from the blog Chew Out Loud

4 c oat ‘o’ cereal
1 c dried fruit, such as cranberries, raisins, or a mix of both
1/2 c dry roasted peanuts
1/2 c honey, preferably raw
1/2 c creamy peanut butter

Spray an 8 inch square pan or line it with parchment paper or wax paper.  In a small microwave bowl, heat the honey and peanut butter together until melted together.  Stir until smooth and runny.  Meanwhile, mix the first three ingredients together in a large bowl.  Pour the melted honey mixture over the cereal mixture and mix will with a large rubber scraper.  When it is all coated evenly, pour into the prepared pan and press evenly to compact the cereal a bit.  Press firmly so that the gaps are filled.  This ensures the bars will hold together once they are cool.  Let set completely, cooling at room temp or in the fridge.  Cut into bars.  These will keep for up to three days, sealed tightly.  Enjoy!!

Mini Corn Muffins W/Bacon, Chives, & Spicy Whipped Cream CheeseSometimes, inspiration just strikes.  Like lightening.  Or in my case, like cream cheese and bacon.

A few years ago I started adding bacon and chives to my regular Mini Corn Muffins.  I still make them plain all the time and usually serve them with chili, salads, or just as a snack to munch on. But filled with extras, they make the perfect addition to a brunch buffet or breakfast.  With the green of the chives and the chunks of bacon, they are more than a little tempting all piled up in a big basket.  A nice, savory change of pace.  And bite sized!  How cool is that?!  I decided to make them for a little get together I was at recently, but couldn’t shake the fact that they looked like they needed something extra.  Hats of cream cheese?  Yuppers.  Perfect.  All dressed up and ready for a party.  It was my husbands idea to top them with bacon.  I wanted to add some chives to the top for color, but bacon won out due to the enthusiastic and threatening insistent cries of my family.  Ultimately, you decide which you want to top them with!

These are so easy to bake up and top that you are going to want to make them for everything.  Parties are an obvious choice, but set out with a spread for a bridal shower or baby shower, these are a fantastic, non-sugary appetizer that are irresistibly pop-able.  They are also the perfect size for little fingers so try adding them to a table at a kids party, with or without the topping.  Bursting with flavor and fantastic textures, these little bites of wonderfulness are definitely ready for their close-up.
Mini Corn Muffins W/Bacon, Chives, & Spicy Whipped Cream CheeseMini Corn Muffins W/Bacon, Chives, & Spicy Whipped Cream CheeseMini Corn Muffins W/Bacon, Chives, & Spicy Cream Cheese Whip
Top the mini muffins no more than an hour or two ahead of time.  You can bake them up a day ahead and store them in an airtight container.  Mix up the topping and chill it in the fridge until you are ready to use it and everything will be ready when you are.

Cook 1/2 lb of bacon and chop.  Set aside several pieces for garnish.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly spray a mini muffin tin.


Mix together in a medium bowl:
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 c buttermilk
2 eggs
1/4 c canola oil or grape seed oil
1 c white whole wheat flour or all purpose flour
1/3 c cornmeal
2 T sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Mix all ingredients just until combined. Do not over mix.
Fold in 1 c frozen corn, thawed
2 T chopped fresh chives
Add most of the bacon, still reserving a bit for garnish on the tops.

Divide batter among the mini muffin cups and bake until puffed and golden, 9-11 minutes.  This makes about 40 mini muffins so it may take two passes through the oven.  Remove to a cooling rack.

4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 T sour cream
1 tsp bottled hot sauce
1 T honey
1 tsp milk

Whip all ingredients together until smooth.  Pipe, spread, or dollop whip on the cooled mini muffins and garnish with reserved bacon, more chopped chives, or both!  Can be made and assembled an hour ahead.

Spiked Eggnog Cinnamon Bread

Spiked Eggnog Cinnamon Bread from Brittany's PantryNo doubt, the title of this post has you intrigued.  Or at least has you drooling.

I never get sick of quick bread recipes and this time of year is the perfect opportunity to branch out.  Bloggers go bananas trying new things and showcasing special recipes.  The list of recipes I had to share with you was epic.  I am talking EPIC here people!!  Alas, life gets in the way.  So does bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus infections, fevers, and all the other fun stuff that comes with three kids who obviously need to be washing their hands more.  Our whole family has been sick and in the moments of health, concentrating on the continuing construction of our new home.  I have not been in the kitchen nearly as much as I have liked and am sadly, setting aside cookie and holiday treat recipes for another year.

But.  I have rallied for one last hurrah-er, recipe.  We have been quite addicted to this bread, which you may have noticed on Instagram.  It is so darn easy to mix up, my kids have been doing it for me.  Which is why there are twice as many cinnamon chips in this batch than normal… It is definitely a snack bread and lacks the really super sweet taste of a dessert.  But the flavors are so special, you can serve it either way.  It will make anything it touches smell good.  Wrapped tightly, I store it in my fridge for a day or two and the whole thing smells like rum eggnog.  It is heavenly.  And just in time for Christmas.Spiked Eggnog Cinnamon Bread from Brittany's PantrySpiked Eggnog Cinnamon Bread
Recipe adapted from UniHomemaker
This bread is even better the next day so make plans to whip it up before you actually need it.  Your house will smell ah-MAY-zing.

1/3 c canola or grape seed oil
1 c eggnog
1/4 c spiced or dark rum (both are good)
1 egg
2/3 c sugar
1 c white flour
1 c white whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt
1/2 c cinnamon chips

Preheat oven to 350 and spray an 8 or 9 inch bread pan.  Whisk first five ingredients together until smooth.  Fold dry ingredients into the wet until just incorporated.  Gently fold in cinnamon chips and pour into greased pan.  Bake 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with just a crumb or two attached.  Cool 10 minutes in pan and then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.  Store, wrapped well, at room temp for a day or two, or in the fridge for up to three days.

Crustless Sun-Dried Tomato Quiche

Crustless Sun-Dried Tomato Quiche | Brittany's PantryI grew up with big breakfasts.

My Dad always liked to make the works on the weekends and he was good at it.  Fried potatoes with onions, a big platter of fried eggs, sausage patties, toast-everything a good breakfast purist would want.  And you wouldn’t believe how perfect my Dad can make an egg over-easy.  The best I have ever seen, using a tiny cast iron frying pan that makes a perfectly sized egg.  Gorgeous.  My husband loves the tradition of a big breakfast just as much and we have a good time going all out on a saturday morning; taking our time and making a huge menu.

I almost always serve an egg dish because…well because I love them.  I always have.  In college I would microwave beaten eggs in a mug and spoon it over toast.  It was cheap, fast, and SO good at 1 in the morning!  Now, you can always find a hardboiled egg or two in my refrigerator, and my children proudly know what it means to order eggs scrambled, sunny side up, over-easy, over-hard, or poached.

Which is why, if you are a guest at my house on a weekend or holiday and it is before 11:00 am, there is a very good chance that you will be served this egg recipe.  Why?  It satisfies everyone!  Its healthy, gluten-free, and vegetarian.  But most importantly, it is an incredibly tasty dish that is ridiculously easy.  Two things we are always looking for in breakfast food, right?  I put sun-dried tomatoes in it, people.  SUN DRIED TOMATOES!  Little chewy bites of exploding flavor that you will want to mix in to every egg dish hereafter- which you totally have my permission to do, but the way.

Unlike a lot of quiche recipes, this one isn’t overly loaded down with ingredients.  No big chunks of vegetables, but certainly no less appealing.  It isn’t made in a tiny cast iron frying pan, but I am fairly certain my Dad would allow this on the table on a Saturday morning.  Being the breakfast expert that he is, he knows a good thing when he sees it.

Crustless Sun-Dried Tomato Quiche | Brittany's Pantry
**This recipe was created in collaboration with the Casper.  Check out their mattress here to learn more about how they are creating ‘The Mattress Reimagined.”  As always, all opinions and content are my own.

Crustless Sun-Dried Tomato Quiche
In addition to breakfast or brunch, I love to serve this alongside a salad and crusty bread for a light dinner.

1/4 c sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and roughly chopped
1/2 c Vermont white cheddar
1 scant T snipped fresh chives
pinch of salt
ground black pepper to taste
8 large eggs, beaten
1/3 c milk

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Spray a glass or ceramic deep dish pie dish.  Evenly sprinkle the bottom of the pie plate with the tomatoes, then the cheese, then the chives.  Beat the remaining ingredients together until uniform and fluffy and slowly pour the egg mixture into the pie plate.  Gently slide the dish into the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until puffed and JUST SET in the middle.  Remove dish and let sit at room temperature for a full  five minutes before slicing and serving.  Can be enjoyed hot, warm, or room temperature. Leftovers are great the following day, slightly warmed in the microwave and eaten on toast like a breakfast sandwich!

Sweet Orange Knots

Sweet Orange Knots | Brittany's Pantry - Frozen bread dough make these fun little treats quick and OH so easy!I have been making these darling little pastries for years and I have yet to get sick of them.  Who would turn down bread coated in orange flavored sugar?

I learned how to make these when I was catering during the earlier years of my life.  I thought they were the most ingenious thing I had ever seen.  So easy, yet so impressive.  I learned a lot working with professionals in the food industry, but I think one of the things that stuck with me the most is that it just doesn’t have to be so hard.  Case in point, these babies.  Four ingredients.  Four.  And they are absolutely de-LIGHT-full.  I have made them for bridal showers, baby showers, brunch, and even just for a fun snack on a weekend.  These are also a great recipe to make with your kids!

As you may have guessed this is the first recipe in a series of recipes I am making to continue the ‘cozy’ theme that I started with a giveaway a few days ago.  If you haven’t entered yet (*gasp* For SHAME!), check out the post here and see the loot I am giving away from the top rated ETSY shop, Pine Tree Goods.  Remember, there will be two winners and you have a chance to add your name up to 5 times!  If you don’t want to wait and see if you win (And you totally want to get some Christmas shopping done ahead of time!) take advantage of the free shipping code provided just to Brittany’s Pantry readers!  Enter BPGIVEAWAY14 at checkout and it ships free!!

And while you wait for your warm and cozy accessories to arrive, you can enjoy filling your house with the smell of warm bread.  Mmmmm…..
Sweet Orange Knots | Brittany's Pantry - Frozen bread dough make these fun little treats quick and OH so easy!Sweet Orange Knots | Brittany's Pantry - Frozen bread dough make these fun little treats quick and OH so easy!Sweet Orange Knots | Brittany's Pantry - Frozen bread dough make these fun little treats quick and OH so easy!Sweet Orange Knots | Brittany's Pantry - Frozen bread dough make these fun little treats quick and OH so easy!IMG_0746IMG_0771Sweet Orange Knots

1 lb frozen, refrigerated, or homemade bread dough
1 c sugar
zest of 1 large orange
1 stick (1/2 c) butter, melted

If your dough is frozen, defrost in the fridge overnight.  Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and set aside to rest.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the melted butter in one medium bowl and the sugar in another bowl.  Be sure to zest the orange directly over the sugar so that the oils and flavor from the zest all go into the sugar!  With clean hands, combine the zest with the sugar, rubbing to break up any clumps and to evenly distribute the orange flavor throughout.  Working one ball of dough at a time, gently roll the dough to create a ‘breadstick’ shape 6-8 inches long.  Dip the dough in the butter, then toss in the sugar mixture, coating well.  Tie the dough into a knot and place it on a silpat or parchment lined sheet pan.  Continue with the other pieces of dough until all are done, spacing evenly apart on the pan.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.  Baking time will vary depending on your dough, but make sure to check them after 15 minutes so they don’t burn on the bottom.  Don’t over bake them or the sugar will scorch!  Let cool slightly and then remove to a cooling rack.  These are best eaten the day they are made.

Sweet Northern Cornbread (Yankee Cornbread)

Sweet Northern Cornbread | Brittany's PantryIf you read my blog with any regularity, you know that my family moved to South Carolina a few months ago.  I am finding it a bit of a trial to keep a balance between my Northern upbringing and wanting to experience and immerse myself in my new region of the south.  Case in point-cornbread.

So why, you may be asking, am I not posting a good southern cornbread recipe where the batter is poured into a cast iron skillet and baked to a perfectly crusty disc?  The kind of cornbread that practically thirsts to be doused in black eyed peas?  Cornbread that is to gravy as Curly is to Moe?

Because I haven’t perfected it yet.  Everyone makes their cornbread a bit different around here and since I have Mississippi ‘family’ that influences me as well, I need to cover all the bases and possibilities.  This requires more testing to come up with the final version and it will be, I assure you, coming soon.  It will even be baked to the perfect state of crustiness in my cast iron skillet.

That said, I am, as you know, from the North.  We Minnesota folk like our cornbread tall, fluffy, and sweet and I am not ashamed of it!  That is how I grew up with it, and, if I may be so bold as to say, it is still my favorite way to eat it.  *gasp*  Its true.  This is a safe place, friends.  We accept fans of all kinds of cornbread here.  No judgement.

Often called Yankee Cornbread, my version has flour in it, as well as cornmeal, to lighten the batter a bit.  Most traditional southern cornbread recipes I have come across, either researched or those served to me by southern women, have little or no flour in them and much less baking powder, if any at all.  The Northern version gets flack for being more cake like, while its counterpart is often criticized for lack of flavor.

Never one to discriminate against food (I am an equal opportunity eater), I like them both.  In turn, I like to eat them in different applications.  Today’s recipe is fantastic served with breakfast or brunch, spread with butter and jam.  Generally though, my kids and I like to eat it plain.  The texture and flavor is enough to warrant only a glass of milk on the side.  It is great baked into muffins as well and is a nice balance between crumbly enough to still be cornbread but firm enough to eat out of hand.  Since cornbread is just so darn easy to mix up, this is SO much tastier-and better for you-than reaching for a box of processed mix.  Occasionally, those come in handy, but for straight up cornbread, there is no substitute.

So below is my staple, straight-up, no messing around, no frills recipe for sweet cornbread.  Use it well and enjoy.  No matter which side of the Mason-Dixon Line you call home.
Sweet Northern Cornbread | Brittany's PantrySweet Northern Cornbread
Equal parts flour and cornmeal have always been my standard for cornbread.  My mom made it that way, so I make it that way.  I add a bit more baking powder to mine because I like it extra fluffy.  The white sugar forms just a bit of a sweet crust on the top that I can’t resist.  Makes great muffins too!!

1 c flour
1 c cornmeal
2/3 c sugar
pinch of salt
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 c milk
1/3 c grape seed, canola oil, or even melted butter

Preheat oven to 375.
Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl with a whisk.  In a large measuring cup, mix the egg, milk, and oil together with a fork.  Slowly combine the wet and dry ingredients with the whisk, careful not to over mix!  Pour into a greased, 9X9 glass or metal baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until puffed, golden, and a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pan until just barely warm.  Cut into squares and enjoy!

Cranberry Orange Pumpkin Spice Muffins via Brittany's PantryI should warn you.  I will never have enough pumpkin recipes.  Muffins, quick breads, dip, pie, shakes-everything.  I.  Love.  Pumpkin.

You will probably never find me with a pumpkin spiced latte as the sweetness level is a bit much for me, but other than that, I happily submit to all the pumpkin craziness that ensues from Labor Day to the end of the year.  And beyond, as I make pumpkin muffins and quick breads year round.  These Pumpkin Pie Muffins are my go-to, make ALL the time, never fail, can’t-get-enough-of-them-type of recipe.  So much so that I only ever so briefly stray from my loyalty to them.

Until now.  (Cue dramatic music)

I saw a version of the following recipe on the food network website.  I did my usual changes and tweaked things to make it a bit more streamlined, shave off a few steps, and make it ever so more healthy.   More healthy means I can eat more of them, yes?  But the point here is that I made these up and thought I may have just found my new favorite pumpkin muffin.  Then I made another batch and was sure I had found it.  The tang and chewiness of the cranberries make these extra special and just so darn irresistible.  They have been inducted into the Brittany’s Pantry hall of fame, which may sound prestigious, but actually just means they are a recipe that I make on a regular basis.  High praise for my family.  And since these adorable muffins are a kind of dressed-up, boss is coming to dinner, pumpkin muffin, they make  a great quick bread to give as a gift this season.

Or just do as I do and eat them all yourself.  I won’t judge.Cranberry Orange Pumpkin Spice Muffins via Brittany's Pantry Cranberry-Orange Pumpkin Spice Muffins
Inspired from Food Network

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl, whisk together:

1/3 c canola or grape seed oil
zest of one orange
2 eggs
2/3 c sugar
1/2 c pumpkin puree
1/3 c unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c milk
Combine ingredients until smooth.  Add:
1 c all-purpose flour
1 c white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 tsp baking powder
Gently fold in the dry ingredients.  When nearly combined, add:
2/3 c dried cranberries

Continue to gently fold batter together until JUST COMBINED!  Do not over mix.  Portion the batter evenly amongst 12 sprayed or paper lined muffin cups.  Sprinkle each muffin cup with just a pinch of granulated sugar, raw sugar, or casters sugar, if desired.  Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a moist crumb  or two.  Let set for a few minutes then remove to a cooling rack.  Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Honey Oat Protein Bites | Brittany's PantryAbout a year ago, when I still lived in central Illinois, I was given this recipe from a friend and fellow Mommy.  She was on a mission to get more fit and make some long lasting, healthy changes in her life.  One of her discoveries was this recipe that she got off Pinterest.  As a rockstar mom of boys, she was looking for a quick, homemade snack that she could make ahead and share with the whole family and this fit the bill.  (Personally, I think she just needed a quick bite of something that would keep her on the move.  Why are boys so exhausting?)  She was so surprised at how delicious they were, she made sure to share it with everyone she knew!  I recently started experimenting with all variations of no bake, granola-type, snack bite kind of recipes and thought I would start with this one.

Score!  I am a huge peanut butter and chocolate fan so this was one of the flavors that was top on my list.  Man, are they good!  I have several family members and friends that are gluten-free due to celiacs disease or other health issues so I am psyched to be able to pass this on to them!  My Mom used to make something similar to this when I was a kid so I can’t help but feel like these are kind of a retro snack making a comeback as a food fad.   There are so many recipes similar to this that are floating around the internet, I am glad to have narrowed them down to just one!  I am still working on another version; different flavors so that we all get some variety, but I’ll leave that for another day.  For now, know that these awesome little bombs of heart healthy flax and oats are a powerhouse of good things for your bod!

My initial taste testers of this recipe, who coincidentally eat GF and include at least one health professional, all gave a full stamp of approval.  They liked that you can really taste the ingredients, which in my opinion, makes them that much more scrumptious.  My kids went crazy for them and have requested they be tucked in their lunches, sent for snack, or both!  My husband is a runner and even though he has had them as a boost before and after his runs, the rest of the time I need to physically separate him from the container.  While they are healthy and full of good things, too many would really up your calorie intake.  So don’t eat them like popcorn!

Ultimately, they are just a smart, easy, kid and adult friendly food that is a good idea.  They are a faster, more simple recipe than making a full batch of granola bars and easy enough for your kids to make by themselves!  They last for quite awhile stored properly in the fridge and can be frozen too.  Very convenient if you are little, grown, single, married, new parents, old parents…or a rockstar mom of boys.
Gluten-Free Honey Oat Protein Bites | Brittany's Pantry**This recipe is fourth in the healthy eating series I am featuring over on the J Rose Fitness Facebook page!  It is a great resource for healthy living tips, ideas, motivation, and the occasional challenge!  Check it out and ‘like’ it to get your daily dose of information and humor.  I guarantee it will make your day!  Jessica, the brain behind the page is ready to answer questions, give support, and keep you going!  I am loving being a contributor and you can see all my submitted recipes on her site.  I don’t receive any compensation for contributing-I just really love her page!  Check it out!

Gluten-Free Honey Oat Protein Bites
Recipe via Danielle (friend of BP) via Pinterest
These can be altered a bit depending on your tastes.  I have specified substitutions where applicable.

1 c peanut butter or almond butter
1 c ground flax seeds
2 c rolled oats, gluten free if desired
1/2 c mini chocolate chips or 1 c raisins or dried cranberries
2/3 c honey, preferably raw

Combine all ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon.  Cover and chill until the mixture firms up.  Scoop by level tablespoonfuls and roll between the palms of your hands until they are smooth and round.  Chill.  Enjoy!  Can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for…I don’t know! We always eat them too fast! :)  I like to freeze them in bags of six to pull out later and make them last longer.