Category Archives: Breakfast/Brunch

Stovetop Apple Cinnamon Butter

Stovetop Cinnamon Apple Butter @ NancyC

Last fall, I made some homemade applesauce. I thought it was so much better than store-bought. After making that, I decided I needed to try making homemade apple butter sometime. Several friends have given me homemade apple butter the last few years–it makes a wonderful food gift, especially around the holidays. I discovered you can make apple butter with the slow cooker or on the stovetop, and for my first try I decided to make a stovetop version.

This recipe is really easy and it’s weetened with honey and apple juice or apple cider. You basically just put all the ingredients in a large pot and let it cook on low for an hour, until the apples get all tender and mashable. Then you let the mixture cool a little and puree to a smoother consistency in a food processor or blender. I love the cinnamony taste and I think that homemade apple butter, like homemade applesauce, is so much better than any you can buy!


Makes 3 3/4 cups

  • 8 cups peeled, cored, and chopped apples (about 8 medium, or 2 1/2 pounds)–I used Gala apples; if using organic apples, you can leave the skin on if you want
  • 2/3 cup apple juice or apple cider
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

In a large pot or saucepan, combine chopped apples with the rest of the ingredients. Stir well, cover pot, and cook on low for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Let mixture cool for 15 minutes, then, in several batches, put mixture in blender and puree until smooth (be careful not to overfill your blender or food processor!).

Store in jars with tight-fitting lids or airtight food containers and refrigerate for up to one week.

This apple butter is great on toast, muffins, biscuits, and scones. You can stir it into plain or vanilla yogurt to flavor it up more, or layer it with yogurt and granola for a breakfast parfait.

Have you ever made your own homemade apple butter?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Weekend Potluck.

Whole Wheat Honey Apple Muffins

Whole Wheat Honey Apple Muffins @ NancyC

I promised you an apple recipe and here it is! I have apples on my mind now that it’s October, and this is a great apple muffin recipe! It’s pretty healthy, too, with whole wheat flour, Greek yogurt, honey, and olive oil as some of the ingredients.

I don’t use whole wheat flour in my baking very often–I’ve found it hard to substitute in many recipes because the flavor comes out a little too wheaty for my taste. But I think it’s perfect in this muffin recipe! I don’t really notice the wheatiness that much–maybe it’s because the spices and chopped apples give this muffin such a good flavor. I like to chop my apples into small chunks for these muffins, too–that way, there’s lots of apple taste in every bite!

The streusel topping does have a lot of brown sugar in it, but you can substitute raw or organic sugar if you like. Also, when you mix the topping, it will seem like a lot of topping, but you’ll be putting about a Tablespoon of it on top of each muffin. You’ll have extra, but it’s better to have too much topping than not enough, right? You can always save it for other muffins or a coffee cake. If you don’t want to put so much streusel topping on these muffins, cut the streusel ingredients in half, and you should have more than enough to lightly top each muffin!


Makes about 19 muffins

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup light olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 1/2 cups peeled and chopped apples (if you use organic apples, peeling is optional–I like to use organic Gala apples)
  • Streusel Topping: 1/3 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, 2 Tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line two muffin tins with 19 paper muffin cups.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground spices; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, then add the honey, olive oil, and vanilla extract, blending everything well. Stir in the Greek yogurt.

Add the flour mixture to the egg/honey mixture and stir just until combined, being careful not to overmix. Fold in the chopped apples.

Fill muffin cups with batter, filling about 3/4 full.

Mix streusel topping ingredients together in a medium size bowl, then top muffins with streusel topping–use a heaping 1/2 Tablespoon per muffin (or less, if you prefer).

Bake at 350˚F for 14 to 15 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or almost clean (be careful not to overbake, or muffins will be a little dry).

Let muffins cool in pan for a few minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

I really like the flavor the ground spices give these muffins–and all the tasty chunks of apples in them!

What kind of recipes do you like to make with whole wheat flour?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday.

Mixed Fruit Granola

mixed-fruit-granola-nancycGranola is one of my favorite breakfast items and I love making my own–I’m definitely hooked on homemade granola! I often used dried fruit like cranberries, raisins, and blueberries, but this crunchiestime I used some freeze-dried fruit. I recently received some complimentary samples from CRUNCHIES® and thought they would work great in granola.

CRUNCHIES® offers a variety of freeze-dried fruits (and even freeze-dried beets, which are pretty tasty), and their process retains most of the nutrients of fresh fruit. They are light with a great crunchiness to them–kind of like a chip, which makes them perfect for snacking on! I really liked all of the fruits they sent me–my favorites were the strawberries, grapes, and mangos. You can visit their site to see all the freeze-dried items they offer. In my granola, I used some of their freeze-dried strawberries, strawberry banana mix, raspberries, and grapes. So this granola is definitely fruity!

This is also a very versatile recipe–you can substitute other freeze-dried fruit or regular dried fruit like blueberries, cranberries, raisins, and banana chips, for example. The flavor of the freeze-dried fruit I used was really good, though, so you may just want to try that out!


Makes 16-18 servings 

  • 6 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup wheat germ (or you can substitute flaxseed)
  • 1 1/2 cups raw sunflower kernels (or use roasted kernels but add them to the mixture after baking)
  • 2/3 cup non-GMO canola oil or light olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups honey
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups freeze-dried fruit (or regular dried fruit–I used a combination of CRUNCHIES® freeze dried strawberries, strawberry banana mix, raspberries, and grapes)
  • parchment paper for lining pan

Adjust oven rack to middle of oven. Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a 13 x 18″ rimmed baking pan with parchment paper; set aside (or use two rimmed 10 x 15″ cookie sheets).

In a very large bowl, stir together the oats, pecans, wheat germ, and sunflower kernels.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, stir together the oil, honey, cinnamon and salt; heat in microwave for 30 to 40 seconds, then stir until well-blended.

Pour honey mixture over oat mixture in large bowl, stirring to coat evenly. Spread mixture in an even layer on the lined 13 x 18″ pan.

Bake at 325˚F for 20 minutes; remove from oven, stir mixture (so it will bake evenly), then return to oven for another 20 minutes–for a total baking time of 40 minutes. Remove from oven and stir in the dried fruit. Let granola stand until cooled, then stir again to break any large clumps. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

This granola not only makes a great breakfast, but it’s a great snack for later in the day, too. The fruit in it gives it a nice natural sweetness and tartness. I love how colorful it is too–that freeze dried fruit really adds some color punch!

Tomorrow it will be October already! I mentioned last week I have a some apple recipes to share with you, and I’ll be posting one next week! Have you made any good apple recipes lately?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday. Weekend Potluck. Inspire Me Monday.

Yellow Squash Muffins

Yellow Squash Muffins @ NancyCYellow squash in a muffin? I know that may sound a little strange, but believe me, these muffins are deliciously moist and sweetened just right with honey and brown sugar! I thought about trying yellow squash in muffins after using zucchini in quick breads and cake. So why not yellow squash in baked goods? I found a recipe that I tweaked a little at Taste of Home and wasn’t sure what to expect, but I love the way they turned out!

YELLOW SQUASH MUFFINS by NancyC, adapted from Taste of Home

Makes 11-12 muffins

  • 2 1/3 cups (about 1 lb.) sliced yellow squash, cut into 1/2″ slices-cut larger slices in half or quarters)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey*
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar*
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line muffin pan with 12 paper liners; set aside

Fill a medium size saucepan with 1″ of water; add squash and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until tender. Drain water from pan and mash the squash. In same pan, blend in the butter, honey, brown sugar, and egg.

In large bowl, blend flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the squash mixture to this flour mixture and stir just until moistened.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 375˚F for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes, then remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

NOTE: Instead of using honey and light brown sugar, you can substitute 1/2 cup of granulated sugar.

This recipe made 11 muffins for me. If you’re all out of yellow squash from your garden, you’ll have to keep this in mind to try next summer, or just buy some at the grocery store! What kinds of things do you like to make with yellow squash?

Also, Happy Fall to all of you! It’s hard to believe it is autumn already! I have some great apple recipes I’ll be sharing with you soon!

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck.

Cheesy Zucchini Cornbread

Cheesy Zucchini Cornbread @ NancyC

I had one more cup of shredded zucchini to use up, and this is the recipe I made with it. During this time of year when summer gradually turns into fall, I think of cornbread for some reason. And savory cornbread sounded good–so savory cornbread it was. Speaking of summer turning into fall, I usually am sad to see summer end, since I really enjoy the warm weather and long days. But this year I’m focusing on all the things I love about autumn–the pretty fall leaves, apples and pumpkins, fall craft fairs, candlelight, and baking cinnamon-flavored treats.

But back to the cornbread. Not only is this is a savory cornbread, flavored with Italian seasoning and a hint of garlic and onion, it’s also cheesy. Cheddar cheese is mixed in the batter and sprinkled on top. Savory and cheesy flavors are hard for me to resist–I love that combination! The shredded zucchini and corn kernels make this cornbread moist and hearty, too. You could serve this instead of rolls with a meal and it would be great with a bowl of chili!


Makes an 8×8″ pan

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup thawed frozen corn kernels
  • 1 1 /2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease an 8×8″ pan; set aside.

In large bowl, blend cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In medium size bowl, mix eggs, honey, melted butter, and plain Greek yogurt. Add this mixture to the flour mixture in the large bowl, stirring just until blended. Mix in Italian Seasoning, minced onion, and minced garlic. Fold in the shredded zucchini, corn kernels, and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese (save the other 1/2 cup cheese for sprinkling on top).

Spoon batter into prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese evenly over the top. Bake at 350˚F for 32 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

This cornbread tastes great with or without some butter–it definitely has enough flavor to stand on its own! Are you a fan of cornbread? And are you looking forward to autumn?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday, Create With Joy.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread @ NancyC

After I made those Blueberry Zucchini Muffins, I still had some zucchini left, so here’s another zucchini recipe for you! This Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread is so moist and has some yummy ingredients like brown sugar, a little honey, and best of all, a whole cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips! That’s a pretty good amount of chocolate. The grated zucchini is probably the healthiest ingredient in this (well, there’s also some canola or olive oil in there, too).

This bread is very chocolatey and has a hint of cinnamon flavor. Have a slice for breakfast if you like having chocolate in the morning, or have it as a snack or dessert later in the day!


Makes one 9×5″ loaf

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup canola or light olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour a 9×5″ loaf pan; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; set aside.

In a large bowl, blend light brown sugar, honey, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Mix until everything is blended.

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix just until everything is combined. Fold in the grated zucchini, then the mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, mixing until these ingredients are evenly distributed in the batter.

Pour or spoon batter into your prepared loaf pan. Bake at 350˚F for 50 to 54 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove loaf from pan. Serve warm or let loaf cool completely, refrigerating any leftovers.

I think there still may be one more zucchini recipe I’m going to make before summer is over. What kinds of things do you like making with zucchini?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday. Weekend Potluck, Create with Joy.

Blueberry Zucchini Muffins

Blueberry Zucchini Muffins @ NancyCI don’t have a veggie garden of my own this summer, but friends and coworkers have been so nice to share from their gardens with me! That’s how I ended up with some zucchini. Since I also had fresh blueberries just waiting to be used, I decided to make these muffins that I first made several years ago. The zucchini and blueberries make these muffins really moist and the cinnamon gives them a great flavor. If you like, you can top the muffins with a homemade cream cheese frosting and fresh blueberries (you can use fresh or frozen blueberries in the batter). You can also try substituting blackberries, raspberries, or chopped strawberries for the blueberries.


Makes 24 to 25 regular-size muffins or 12 to 13 jumbo muffins

  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup light olive oil or non-GMO canola oil
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line two 12-cup regular muffin pans or two 6-cup jumbo muffin pans with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini.

In large bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.

Add the egg mixture from the medium bowl to the flour mixture in the large bowl; stir all ingredients together until moistened. Gently stir the blueberries into the batter.

Spoon batter into the muffin cups, about 3/4 full. Bake regular muffins for 22-24 minutes and jumbo muffins for 32-34 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean (if using frozen berries, your baking time may be a few minutes longer).

If you want to get a little fancy, you can top these muffins with some cream cheese frosting and garnish with a few fresh blueberries. Here’s a frosting recipe I’ve used with these muffins before:


  • 1 8-oz. block of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • fresh blueberries for garnish

In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese and butter together, then add the powdered sugar a cup at a time. Blend well. Using a rounded scoop about the size of a tablespoon, put a dollop of cream cheese frosting on the center of each muffin. You should have enough frosting to put big dollops on if you want to. Then add some fresh blueberries to the top of each muffin.

That’s pretty easy, isn’t it? If you’re not going to eat these until later, store in a covered container in the refrigerator to keep the blueberries fresh. This recipe is a great way to use your garden zucchini! Are you growing zucchini this summer?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck.

Easy Cherry Almond Coffee Cake

Easy Cherry Almond Coffee Cake II @ NancyCI had a can of cherry pie filling sitting on my pantry shelf just begging to be used in something. And then I found a coffee cake recipe at that seemed perfect for this cherry filling–it sounded quick, easy, and looked really yummy! I made a few changes to the recipe and was able to whip up a tasty coffee cake one Saturday morning in a short amount of time–it really was pretty easy to put together and tasted great!

This coffee cake is perfect when you want to make something simple, but also want something a little different! And it’s nice for a weekend breakfast or brunch, when you can linger a little longer over a nice large square of this coffee cake with a mug of your favorite coffee or tea!


Makes a 9×13″ pan

  • 4 cups baking mix (like Bisquick™)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk or Half & Half (light cream)
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • Optional: 2 Tablespoons sliced or chopped almonds, toasted or untoasted, for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease bottom and sides of a 9 x 13″ pan with butter or cooking spray.

In large bowl, mix the baking mix, sugar, melted butter, milk, and almond extract. Then add the eggs and mix everything well. You’ll end up with a very thick batter.

Spread 2/3 of the batter in a 9 x 13″ pan. Spoon pie filling over batter and spread to about 1/4″ from the edges of the pan. Drop remaining batter by heaping 1/2 tablespoonfuls onto pie filling.

Bake 23 to 24 minutes, until top batter and edges of coffee cake just start to turn lightly brown (don’t overbake, or coffee cake will be too dry).

While coffee cake is baking, make the glaze: stir  powdered sugar, milk or Half & Half, and almond extract until smooth and thin enough to drizzle.

Drizzle glaze over warm coffee cake, then sprinkle with sliced or chopped almonds. Serve warm or cool–I think it tastes best warm!

Easy Cherry Almond Coffee Cake @ NancyCI do like the added touch of having almonds sprinkled on top of this coffee cake!

Easy recipes like this really come in handy when you’re short on time. Do you have any easy coffee cakes you like making?

Linked to Fiesta Friday.


Banana Bread Granola

Banana Bread Granola @ NancyCI was needing to make some granola and I had also been thinking about making banana bread, so instead I made Banana Bread Granola. It was also handy that I had a bag of dried banana chips too, since those make a perfect add-in for this recipe! Just so you know, it’s very lightly sweet (unlike the granola  you buy at the store, which is too sweet for me). But you can make this Banana Bread Granola a little sweeter by adding some packed brown sugar, which I’ve noted in the recipe below. If you’re serving it with milk or yogurt for breakfast, you can also drizzle some honey on it, which tastes really good!


Makes about 7 1/2 cups

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • Optional: 2 Tablespoons flaxseed or wheat germ
  • 3/4 cup raw sunflower kernels
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans (or use a little of both)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: 1/4 cup packed brown sugar (if you want your granola sweeter)
  • 1/4 cup light olive oil or canola oil
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 medium bananas or 1 medium) and 1 small)
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped banana chips (add these after the granola is done baking)

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a large 13 x 18″ rimmed baking sheet or two 10 x 15″ rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In large bowl, mix the oats, flaxseed or wheat germ (if using), sunflower kernels, chopped nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together until combined (also add the brown sugar, if using); set aside.

In medium bowl, mix the oil, honey, vanilla extract, and mashed bananas until well-blended. Pour over the oat mixture in large bowl; mix until everything is moistened and evenly coated.

Spread mixture evenly onto lined baking sheet and bake at 325˚F for 45 minutes total, stirring the granola every 15 minutes so mixture bakes evenly.

Remove from oven and let granola cool on baking sheet(s) for about 20 minutes (the granola will get crunchier as it cools). Transfer granola into a large bowl and stir in the banana chips.

Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Serve with yogurt, milk, or eat it plain as a healthy snack!

Since I started making homemade granola about 5 years ago, I rarely buy store-bought! It’s so easy to make your own, and it’s fun making it with different add-ins! Are you a granola-maker too?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday, Show and Share, Full Plate Thursday, Create It Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things.

Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins

Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins @ NancyC

I’m looking forward to blueberry season when I can pick my own berries! Until then, I have to settle for buying them at the store. I prefer using fresh blueberries when I bake, but the two markets I went to were totally out of them! So I had to use frozen, but this muffin recipe works well with either fresh or frozen berries.

Some muffins are dense, but these muffins have a lighter, more cake-like texture. They also have lots of juicy blueberries and a simple cinnamon sugar topping. So there’s nothing real fancy about these–they’re just good, basic blueberry muffins. And this recipe makes 24 muffins, so you’ll have plenty to go around!


Makes 24 regular-size muffins

  • 4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups low fat buttermilk
  • 1 1/3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Cinnamon Sugar Topping:

  • 1 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line 2 muffin pans with paper liners; set aside.

In large bowl, mix flour and baking powder.

In medium size bowl, cream softened butter and sugar (it will be more crumbly than creamy), then add eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk, blending well. Add this mixture to the flour mixture in the large bowl, mixing just until everything is moistened. Fold in the blueberries.

Spoon batter into muffins cups, filling 2/3 full. Make sugar topping by blending the sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle topping over the top of the batter in each muffin cup (you’ll probably have a little topping left over).

Bake at 350˚F for 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

I really like how these muffins puff up with rounded tops as they bake. Do you have a favorite blueberry muffin recipe?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Inspire Me MondayWeekend Potluck, Show and Share.