This Harvest Fruit Spread is just the thing to smear on a biscuit or hot roll! {Brittany's Pantry}Hello friends! You may not know it, but you have stumbled upon DAY #2 of the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Tour! Traci, the fabulousness behind the blog Traci & Co., has organized a special blog tour of recipes, crafts, and gift tutorials to get us all ready for the holidays! There is a different blogger each day so don’t forget to click here to see all the amazing stuff we have for you!

And it gets better! There is a HUGE giveaway after the tour wraps up so be sure to head over to see what is happening each day and to enter the GIVEAWAY! There will be several winners and, among other outstanding prizes, one lucky friend will win a copy of my holiday eCookbook, Cooking Through The Holidays, releasing November 1! It has been quite the project and I am thrilled to be able to announce its debut here on the 12 Days Of Christmas Blog Tour!

So what do I have for you today?
This Harvest Fruit Spread is just the thing to smear on a biscuit or hot roll! {Brittany's Pantry}The gift of food!

I am all about passing along a plate of cookies or a fruit cake to the neighbors (or RECEIVING a plate of cookies or fruit cake…) but occasionally I try and shake things up. A little jar of this Harvest Fruit Spread will definitely bring a smile to whoever enjoys it! Tuck it into a gift bag and pass it on as a hostess gift at an upcoming holiday party or top it with big bow and leave it for a teacher! This spread would be perfect as a secret santa gift. Make a gift for under the tree and fill a pretty mixing bowl biscuit mix, a fun mixing spoon, a seasonal kitchen towel, and a little jar of this! Boom! Better than Santa! Just don’t forget to save some for yourself!

The ingredient list may be a bit different, but cooked down, it becomes a smooth, spiced spread that has been know to make a fellow swoon. The flavor is a bit sweet, a bit tart, and perfectly spiced! This Harvest Fruit Spread is just the thing to smear on a biscuit or hot roll! {Brittany's Pantry}This Harvest Fruit Spread is just the thing to smear on a biscuit or hot roll! {Brittany's Pantry} This Harvest Fruit Spread is just the thing to smear on a biscuit or hot roll! {Brittany's Pantry}This Harvest Fruit Spread is just the thing to smear on a biscuit or hot roll! {Brittany's Pantry}If you plan to make a batch or two and want to share the love with family and friends, I made a handy dandy printable to make that a bit easier! Although a ribbon and a holiday tag work just as well!

harvest-fruit-spread-printable

Harvest Fruit Spread

This will make you house smell divine! The mix of flavors is comforting and just a little addicting! Be sure to cut the squash extra small; it will take the longest to cook. Any variety of apple and pear will do!

2 c small cubes fresh butternut squash or fresh pumpkin

1 large apple, peeled, cored and cubed

1 large pear, peeled, cored, and cubed

1 c raisins

7 ounces dried figs, snipped into small pieces

1 scant T freshly grated ginger or 1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon-or 1 whole tsp if you like things nice and spiced

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 c apple cider

2 cinnamon sticks

1 c water

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Simmer gently until fruit and squash is VERY tender and falling apart. If the pan starts to go dry before everything is soft, add more water. This will vary depending on the ripeness of your fruit and how big the chunks are! When everything is soft and most of the moisture has evaporated, let the mixture cool a bit. When ready, remove the cinnamon sticks and pulse in a food processor until desired consistency. I like it uniformly smooth, but not to the point of baby food. You decide! Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender to puree the spread. Mix well and be sure to give it a taste! If your fruit is extra tart and the mixture makes you pucker a bit, now is the time to stir in some honey. This spread is not supposed to be like candy, but feel free to adjust it to your liking. I won’t tell! Store it sealed, in the fridge for up to two weeks or freeze for later for several months. Enjoy!

Note~These are all the ways we devour this fruit spread:

  • smeared on a panini with turkey, cheese and mustard
  • spooned over pancakes and waffles
  • as a dip for graham crackers
  • spread on a tortilla with cream cheese and rolled up for a snack
  • on a peanut butter sandwich
  • paired with salty butter on these Sweet Potato Biscuits (Good LORD its good!)
  • on cinnamon raisin toast
  • smeared on crostini, topped with crumbled goat cheese, and served as an appetizer
  • tucked onto a cheese plate and served with crackers and brie
  • directly out of the jar with a spoon 🙂

12-Days-of-Christmas-Blog-Tour

Don’t miss out on all the fun! Click here to go to ALL of the handmade tutorials for The 12 Days Of Christmas Blog Tour and to enter the GIVEAWAY!!

This Cream Cheese Blueberry Breakfast Bake can be made the night before and baked in the morning. The buttery croissants make it a cinch to throw together and SO delicious! {Brittany's Pantry}Ok friends. Here is the deal. This breakfast dish is da bomb. Do people still say that…?

Do you need another fruit and bread breakfast bake recipe? Definitely. If you were sitting across from me right now and we were chatting over a cup of coffee (you, no doubt with a trendy Americano, and me, sipping a non-fat frosted spicy mayan mocha, no whip) I would lean forward, look you in the eye and declare earnestly, “You have GOT to try this.” And because you have been making my recipes for years now, you trust my judgement and take my advice. Right? RIGHT? Exactly. Just trust me.This Cream Cheese Blueberry Breakfast Bake can be made the night before and baked in the morning. The buttery croissants make it a cinch to throw together and SO delicious! {Brittany's Pantry}The above picture is from the Brittany’s Pantry instagram feed, where I documented the bazillions of times I tested this recipe.

I have always loved a good breakfast dish that I can just throw in the oven. I host playdates at my house several times a month and this recipe has been tested again and again, adjusting it and trouble shooting the process. Thankfully, no one seemed to mind having to eat it over and over until I got the recipe juuuuuuuuust right. As with most recipes that contain cream cheese, it is the addition of that tangy goodness that makes this so…gaaaaaaaaaaaah. Rich and creamy, it stops just before it gets to dessert status. Not overly sweet, this really IS a good addition to a breakfast or brunch menu. It is always a breeze to throw together-my kids get the job of tearing up the croissants and it sits in the fridge all night and is ready to pop in the oven in the morning. Breakfast. BOOM!

Are you planning for company Fourth of July weekend? The addition of strawberries with the blueberries makes this perfect for a patriotic brunch! I have been meaning to try this with diced fresh peaches (a local staple here in South Carolina) but haven’t deviated from blueberries yet. As you can imagine, this would be wonderful for family/holiday mornings, or any time you need to bring something with you in the morning. Flaky. Creamy. Lovely. All good adjectives for food.

Trust me.
This Cream Cheese Blueberry Breakfast Bake can be made the night before and baked in the morning. The buttery croissants make it a cinch to throw together and SO delicious! {Brittany's Pantry}This Cream Cheese Blueberry Breakfast Bake can be made the night before and baked in the morning. The buttery croissants make it a cinch to throw together and SO delicious! {Brittany's Pantry}Cream Cheese Blueberry Breakfast Bake
Recipe adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything
I buy croissants when they are a day old and a little cheaper. Into my freezer they go until I need them for a recipe like this. Or to make this dessert. FYI, raspberries tend to be a bit too juicy for this dish, but still taste great. Give them a try if you like!

6-7 large croissants
2 c blueberries, diced strawberries, or blackberries (fresh or frozen)
2-8 oz packages cream cheese (I use the 1/3 less fat version) softened at room temp for a bit
1 c sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 c milk
zest of 1 lemon, optional

Lightly spray or butter a 9X13 inch baking pan and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Tear the croissants into one inch pieces or so and place in the baking dish. As I mentioned above, I let my kids do this part. The size of the pieces doesn’t matter much so it is impossible to screw up! Sprinkle fruit evenly over the top of the bread. In a separate, medium size bowl, beat the cream cheese with the sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla, and then the eggs, beating thoroughly after each one. You want to take it slow so that the mixture stays smooth and creamy. Any chunks will sit on the top of the pan and bake up dry and kinda weird. Slowly whisk in the milk and zest and pour evenly over the croissants. Let sit on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown and set in the middle. OR, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning, let it sit on the counter while the oven preheats and bake as directed. After baking, let it sit for a few minutes to set, then scoop and enjoy! Leftovers are awesome cold the next day!

Strawberry Milk

This Easy Strawberry Milk is the perfect summer treat for the whole family! {Brittany's Pantry}Strawberries and summer just seem to go together, yes? Yes. That was a rhetorical question…we all know they do.

Strawberries are a universal favorite for kids and adults alike and early this spring, I found myself with 30 pounds of them. Yes 30 pounds. There was this farm and they were doing this sale and the fruit was so good and yada yada yada. You get the picture. For several days, my family washed, hulled, and froze a LOT of berries. We also ate a lot. As many as we could stand. Because when life gives you a ridiculous amount of strawberries, you eat them like popcorn until your fingers are stained red.

And that is exactly what we did.

Like most families, we love fruit and there are no shortage of strawberry recipes in the Brittany’s Pantry archives. You can check them out all at once by clicking here! Sweet and savory are both included so whatever kind of strawberry fix you need, I have you covered! When I wanted to try something new, I decided to try this craziness called ‘strawberry milk’.

Wow! is it delightful!

Kids think this drink is just about the coolest thing since sliced bread. My own children had a blast helping make it and if you have never tried it, Memorial weekend would be the perfect time. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, this can be festive or perfectly plain. It is fresh and clean and wonderfully simple. As most delightful things in life seem to be.

This Easy Strawberry Milk is the perfect summer treat for the whole family! {Brittany's Pantry} This Easy Strawberry Milk is the perfect summer treat for the whole family! {Brittany's Pantry}This Easy Strawberry Milk is the perfect summer treat for the whole family! {Brittany's Pantry}

Lets make Strawberry Milk! Click here to head over to the Columbia City Moms Blog and get the recipe!

Cinnamon Oats W/Vanilla & Cream

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BringYourBestBowl #Target #CollectiveBias
These Cinnamon Oats are cooked in milk and cream then finished off with vanilla and pure maple syrup. Breakfast will never be the same! {Brittany's Panty}For me, there are few things that are connected to memories as much as food is. They go hand in hand.

Several years ago, my family and I were visiting relatives in Minnesota and we took a mini road trip up to Duluth. A city that sits at the point of Lake Superior, Duluth has an incredible location with a history all its own. Even though it was summer, it IS northern Minnesota and the weather was chilly. So while perusing the breakfast menu of a little local cafe, my eyes settled on the perfect warm-me-to-my-bones type of breakfast.

Oatmeal.

And not just any oatmeal, but oats that had been cooked in cream. CREAM! I ordered them on the spot. Duh.

I don’t usually purchase things at a restaurant that I can make easily myself at home, but the thought of cream cooked oats was intriguing, mouthwatering, and undeniably comforting to me at the time. I am happy to say that I did not regret my choice at all. Not one little bit.These Cinnamon Oats are cooked in milk and cream then finished off with vanilla and pure maple syrup. Breakfast will never be the same! {Brittany's Panty}It was the most perfect bowl of lightly sweetened creamy goodness I had ever had. Dried fruit and extra cream had been stirred in and I could NOT get enough of it. Needless to say, it made a lasting impression on me as I have been thinking about that particular breakfast since then. Seriously. Dreaming about it keeps me up at night.

Here we are in present day South Carolina and once again, the weather is a bit chilly. Not the deep freeze and sub-zero temps the midwest is dealing with, but enough to freeze our pipes and make us bundle up. Just the type of weather that requires a bowl of something warm and comforting. So I set out to make my own version of that spectacular dish I remember from up north.These Cinnamon Oats are cooked in milk and cream then finished off with vanilla and pure maple syrup. Breakfast will never be the same! {Brittany's Panty}I picked up my Quaker® Oats at Target, which is incredibly convenient since I am always there anyway. They are easy to find in the isles market with ‘oatmeal’, but you will also see that there are end caps with whatever kind of Quaker® Oats you happen to be looking for. So many options!
These Cinnamon Oats are cooked in milk and cream then finished off with vanilla and pure maple syrup. Breakfast will never be the same! {Brittany's Panty}These Cinnamon Oats are cooked in milk and cream then finished off with vanilla and pure maple syrup. Breakfast will never be the same! {Brittany's Panty}You may notice some missing boxes in the above picture. That is because we stocked up. We go through a LOT of oatmeal in our house and it is NEVER fun to run out in the morning before the kids head to school. The natives get cranky…

Our current obsession? Today’s recipe; one so good it will make you want to dance with joy and your socks roll up and down. Old Fashioned Quaker® Oats cooked in milk, studded with raisins, and finished with cream, vanilla, cinnamon, and pure maple syrup. Just a handful of ingredients, but they are definitely the right ones, and all are available at Target. One stop shopping!These Cinnamon Oats are cooked in milk and cream then finished off with vanilla and pure maple syrup. Breakfast will never be the same! {Brittany's Panty} These Cinnamon Oats are cooked in milk and cream then finished off with vanilla and pure maple syrup. Breakfast will never be the same! {Brittany's Panty}Are you always creating scrumptious bowls of oatmeal too? Quaker® is currently on the hunt for a delicious recipe that has between 2-5 ingredients. There are cash prizes and the opportunity to inspire Quaker® on a new flavor of oatmeal! You can find details on specially marked canisters and boxes of Quaker® Oats or you can click here to read about and enter the national sweepstakes. Stop by Target and pick up all the ingredients you need to Bring Your Best Bowl with Quaker® Oats!
These Cinnamon Oats are cooked in milk and cream then finished off with vanilla and pure maple syrup. Breakfast will never be the same! {Brittany's Panty} Cinnamon Oats With Vanilla & Cream
Leftovers reheat wonderfully the next day, thinned out with just a bit more milk

3 1/2 c milk
2 c Old Fashioned Quaker® Oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c pure maple syrup
1/4 c heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c raisins

In a large saucepan, gently heat the milk over medium heat until just simmering. Add the rolled oats and stir them occasionally until cooked through and thick, about 5 minutes. Don’t let the oatmeal bubbly to profusely, and turn the heat down to low if you need to. When cooked through, remove from the heat and add the cinnamon and raisins. Stir to mix and let the heat soften the raisins a bit. After a minute, stir in the cream and syrup. Spoon into bowls and top with additional raisins and cinnamon if desired. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Cinnamon Granola

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #StartWithJifPowder #CollectiveBiasPeanut Butter Powder is what makes this granola so tasty! {Brittany's Pantry}I know I have mentioned my obsession love of peanut butter on previous accounts and I have no intention of changing that attitude. At all. My unofficial mantra is ‘All peanut butter, All the time.’ I really really love peanut butter. I always have and I assume I always will. When I got to college and was buying groceries for myself, I quickly discovered that JIF was quite possibly the best peanut butter ever. I have not strayed from them since. So when I found out that they were releasing a new product, Jif™ Peanut Powder, I was positively giddy.

The calories of a traditional peanut butter are really the only thing that gives me pause. I could eat it several times a day, and while I know that some is beneficial, the fat content has me stopping one step from just eating it straight out of the jar for breakfast. Ok, sometimes I still do that, but I have really cut back…

As I approach the end of my 30’s, I am aware that while it is still worth it to eat the things I really love, I could definitely be making adjustments. I have been trying to drink more water and I plan to run my first 5k this year. More veggies and less meat. All kinds of little things to improve my health and well-being. Jif™ Peanut Powder is part of that. It is a new year people! I am making some changes!
Peanut Butter Powder is what makes this granola so tasty! {Brittany's Pantry}Peanut Butter Powder is what makes this granola so tasty! {Brittany's Pantry}See that package in the picture above? That is the peanut powder. It is made from only one ingredient-peanuts. Thats it! All the protein but much less fat than traditional peanut butter. No added salt and no added sugar; two ingredients often hiding in foods. Not here. Just. Peanuts. I add a scoop to my smoothies and wow. Thick and creamy. I have even stir it into my oatmeal. Then I got really smart and created this peanut butter granola. Simply outstanding. A great breakfast or snack, now even better for me!
Peanut Butter Powder is what makes this granola so tasty! {Brittany's Pantry}Peanut Butter Powder is what makes this granola so tasty! {Brittany's Pantry}I easily located this new product at my local Walmart, snuggled in with all the other kinds of peanut butter, making it very convenient to grab some. And yes, as  you can see above, they have a chocolate version as well. Either flavor is perfect to add to baked goods like muffins or scones and it fits nicely into your meals if you are dieting or just trying to eat a bit better. Like this recipe. We make granola on a regular basis in my house, but I like to switch things up so we don’t get bored. Different mix ins, different spices, that kind of thing. Not to be cliche, but a banana with a scoop of peanut butter is something I regularly enjoy so I figured I would just combine my loves to save time.

Booya! This granola is full of good things for your body, but warm and scrumptious at the same time. Toasty oats and ground flax are mixed with Jif™ Peanut Powder and an extra dose of cinnamon. So easy and so ridiculously crunchy, we can’t stop eating it. We love to eat it as is with dried bananas added and sprinkled over yogurt, or in a bowl with milk and a whole sliced banana. The flavors of the fruit with the peanuts and the cinnamon…..gaaaaah. Mouth watering.

Peanut Butter Powder is what makes this granola so tasty! {Brittany's Pantry}Granola freezes wonderfully, so be sure to make an extra batch so that you have it on hand for a quick, protein packed option for breakfast or a quick snack. Then you can see what else you can make with Jif™ Peanut Powder. How would YOU use it in your kitchen? Post in the comments below! Because us peanut butter fanatics have to ‘stick’ together.

Peanut Butter Cinnamon Granola

2 c rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1/3 c Jif™ Peanut Powder
1/4 c ground flaxseed
1/4 c brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c canola, grapeseed, or coconut oil
1/4 c pure maple syrup
dried bananas, fresh bananas, optional

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients. Add the oil and syrup and stir well, mixing completely and evenly coating the oat mixture. Spread the oats on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Stir well, spreading out into a thin layer again, and bake for another 10 minutes. Stir well and bake for a final 5 minutes. Granola should be slightly darker and nice and crunchy. Let cool on sheet completely and it will crisp up even more! Stir in dried bananas or serve with fresh bananas, if desired. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or well sealed in the freezer for several months.

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
milk

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.

Muffins:

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
Add:
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.

Topping:
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.