Chocolate Chunk Banana Baked Oatmeal Bites

Healthy? Check. Delicious? Check. Portable? Check.

All the makings for an awesome breakfast-on-the-go that keeps the waistline slim and trim. 🙂 And OF COURSE! It’s food storage! 🙂

Okay. Honestly you guys… you have GOT to try these. These little gals are so tasty and so good for you, that it would almost be a crime NOT to try them. I eat these as a breakfast, a snack, and even as a dessert (if I’ve been naughty the rest of the day). 🙂 It’s baked oatmeal, yes, but don’t let that deter you. I am actually not a fan of traditional baked oatmeal. And neither is Hubby. But when he tried these, he LOVED them. Now he even requests them!

They’re gluten free (in case that’s an issue for you), chock full of good-for-you ingredients, and have just enough sweetness to keep you coming back for more… and more… and more. 🙂

So give ’em a try! I promise you’ll be happy that you did!

Chocolate Chunk Banana Baked Oatmeal Bites

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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats (old-fashioned or quick oats)
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs (or reconstituted egg powder)
  • 1¼ cups milk (or reconstituted powdered milk)
  • 1 cup mashed bananas* (about 3 medium)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 to 1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chunks (or chips)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ºF. Lightly grease roughly 18 muffin cups with non-stick spray.
  2. Combine the oats (note: if using old-fashioned oats, I like to lightly grind mine in a food processor for a bit), brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir together.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the mashed bananas, eggs, milk, and vanilla.
  4. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and give it a good stir until fully combined. Add the chocolate chunks and stir again. {Note: Use 1 cup of chocolate chunks for a regular amount of chocolate, or up to 1½ cups if you like it really chocolatey.} 🙂
  5. Spoon the oatmeal mixture into the prepared muffin tins. (Note: These will not rise a lot–if at all–so go ahead and fill each cup at least ¾ full.)
  6. Bake uncovered for about 18-20 minutes, or until oatmeal is lightly browned and starting to turn dark at the edges (and/or a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean).
  7. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for a few days, or these are great to throw in the freezer (in a freezer baggie) and have on hand for a quick breakfast/snack/dessert. Just toss one in the microwave (on the defrost setting) for about 1 minute (or about 20 seconds on HIGH) and it’s ready to go! 🙂

Yields 16 – 18 oatmeal bites.

*Store bananas in the freezer for food storage. See tips HERE.

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What’s For Dessert? Gorilla Poops!

I’ll bet I lost half of you right there at the title. 😀 Well, for those of you with a strong enough stomach to have made it past that… these little delights are also known as Chocolate Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies. Sounds a little more appetizing that way, but not nearly as entertaining… especially for little kids (which is when I happened to learn how to make these). 😀 The first time I made these was in a church girls activity group (called Valiant Miss– does anyone besides me remember when it used to be called that??) Anyway, our leaders taught us how to make them and told us they were called Gorilla Poops (clearly a result of the way they look) so I went home and told my mom that’s what they were. She thought that was absolutely disgusting and has hated that I call them that ever since. But it’s just so much fun! 😀

Well, regardless of what you call them, these cookies are so delicious, SO easy, and SOOO addicting! (Sounds like a perfect little cookie if you ask me!) 🙂 The recipe I currently use to make these has been slightly adapted over the years as I’ve found other things to add and enhance the cookie, but it’s mostly true to what I started out loving as a youth. However, I’ll go ahead and give you both versions, since the original recipe is super basic, as well as shelf stable. But the second version is my preferred version. 🙂 So go ahead and whip up a fresh batch (haha… doesn’t ‘fresh’ take on a whole new meaning when you think of the title?? Sorry. Overly gross. My bad.) and I dare you to eat just one!

{Side note: I’m having computer issues these days and can’t save any PDF files in Word or edit and save my pictures in Photoshop, hence I don’t have any nicely arranged pictures to show you nor a printable version of the recipe for you to download. However I was tired of just waiting to figure out what’s going on and decided to go ahead and post this anyway. But I promise to add the nicer photos and files when my computer is back up to full working status. :)}

Gorilla Poops – a.k.a. Chocolate Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies {Original Recipe}

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup shortening
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup milk (reconstituted powdered milk)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 cups rolled oats (quick oats is best, but old fashioned will work fine)

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat and melt together the shortening and cocoa.
  2. Add the sugar, milk, and salt to the saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Once the mixture has come to a rolling boil, start timing for about 1 minute (and continue to stir).
  3. At the end of 1 minute, remove the pan from the heat and add the oats. Mix everything together thoroughly.
  4. Drop large spoonfuls of the mixture onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet and allow to cool and set up for approximately 30 minutes. Eat and enjoy.

Gorilla Poops {Modified/Preferred Recipe}

Ingredients:

  • 1¾ cups white sugar
  • ½ cup milk (reconstituted powdered milk)
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • 4 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups quick oats

Directions:

  1. Measure and prepare all of your ingredients in advance. Prepare 1-2 cookie sheets lined with wax paper. (This makes the process go so much more smoothly since things will start happening quickly!)
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring frequently. As soon as it reaches a full boil (i.e. the top is all foaming up with bubbles), start timing for 90 seconds while constantly stirring. (Do not overboil the mixture or your cookies will be dry and crumbly. Do not underboil or your cookies may not set.)
  3. Immediately remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the peanut butter until melted. Then add the salt, vanilla, and oats. Mix until fully combined.
  4. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared lined cookie sheets. (I like to use two spoons for this, since the mixture is really hot. Use one spoon to scoop the mixture from the pot, and the other spoon to scoop the mixture off the first spoon and onto the wax paper.)
  5. Let cool until set/hardened (30-40 minutes). Eat and enjoy!

Well, I hope you enjoy your tasty jungle treat! 😀 (I know, I know, Mom… that’s disgusting.)

What’s For Breakfast? Puffy Egg Pancake Casserole

Hey y’all! I tried a new breakfast recipe this weekend for Hubby’s and my anniversary and found it thoroughly enjoyable. And since breakfast meals tend to be one that I get in a rut of doing the same thing over and over again (cold cereal anyone??), I thought I’d pass along this recipe to anyone else in my same rut who would like to venture out a bit. 🙂

These are originally called The Hotel Magnolia Puffy Pancakes and the recipe comes from (any guesses?) The Hotel Magnolia. (You’re so smart.) But calling them ‘puffy pancakes’ seems a little deceptive because, to me, they’re nothing like a puffy pancake. 🙂 These are more like a combination of a french toast/pancake/egg casserole type deal. So I call them Puffy Egg Pancake Casserole to be a little more true to the dish. 😀 But regardless of what you call them, they’re yummy, and tasty, and the next time I make them I definitely think I want to try some fresh fruit on top! Mm-Mmm! That would be de-lish!

And one last note from me before I give you the recipe. This recipe would definitely need to fall under the ‘with electricity’ category of food storage recipes, because not only do you need to use freezer storage for the orange juice concentrate and butter, but this recipe also calls for 6 eggs. And while I am a big proponent of using powdered eggs in your food storage meals, this is one recipe where I would hesitate to do so. For this recipe I would suggest using the freezer style of eggs storage (assuming that fresh eggs aren’t available, of course) to maintain the integrity of the recipe. {Note: For tips on how to freeze eggs, check the first comment in the comments section of THIS post.}

Okay, and now onto the goodness. Hope you enjoy!

Puffy Egg Pancake Casserole

Download Printable Version
Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk (reconstituted powdered milk)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup orange juice concentrate (undiluted)
  • 1 Tbsp butter, softened

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450º F.
  2. Spray an 8×8 pan, or a 9×9, 11×7, pie pan, quiche dish… you know… something about that size. 🙂 (Or see the note at the end.)
  3. Combine the eggs, flour, milk, sugar, and oj concentrate in a blender. Blend well. Add the butter and blend again.
  4. Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean. (Mine needed at least 25 minutes and probably should have gone a little longer.) Oh, and this would be the perfect time to cook up some bacon or sausage as a delicious side. 🙂
  5. Scoop the pancake casserole out onto plates and serve with syrup, powdered sugar, fresh berries, etc. Serves approximately 4-6 people.

And on a side note, I believe the original recipe calls for baking these in 4 (1 cup) ramekin style dishes (with a Tbsp of butter melted into each dish prior to adding the mixture into the dish). I think I might have preferred doing that (as opposed to baking it all in one big dish) so that the center area would not be quite so soft set, but either way works. Enjoy!

What’s For Dessert? Peach Cobbler!

Hey y’all! Just thought I’d pop in to say hi and share this devilishly delicious food storage dessert! It’s Peach Cobbler… Paula Deen style! 😀 Yes… that means butter. Lots of it. But not enough to make you feel guilty about eating it! 😉 Anyway, it’s so easy and so so SO delicious. So go whip one up to enjoy for dessert tonight!

Heavenly Peach Cobbler

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large can (29 oz) sliced peaches (preferably in juice instead of syrup), drained*
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • ¼ cup water
  • 4 Tbsp butter (½ stick)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup self-rising flour (not all-purpose)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Combine the peaches, ½ cup of the sugar, and the water in a saucepan. Mix well. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Put the butter in the bottom of an 8×8 square pan (or equal sized baking dish) and place it in the oven to melt.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, mix the remaining ½ cup sugar, flour, and slowly add the milk to prevent clumping. Pour the mixture over the melted butter in the baking dish. DO NOT STIR.
  5. Spoon the fruit mixture on top, gently, pouring in the syrup. (If this looks upside down to you, don’t worry. The batter will rise to the top during the baking process and soak in all the yummy juices… which is why we use the self-rising flour.)
  6. Bake 30-45 minutes, until golden brown on top.
  7. To serve, scoop into a bowl and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on top. ENJOY!

*Tip: If you are trying to conserve water and energy (like you would be in an emergency), you can keep the peaches in their syrup instead of draining them and skip the ½ cup sugar and ¼ cup water mixture as listed in Step 2. Instead, just add the can of peaches (with the syrup) into the baking dish as listed in Step 5. (If the peaches are in juice instead of syrup, you will want to still add about ¼ cup sugar to the peaches and juice in a saucepan and simmer that for about 5 minutes.)

Recipe adapted from Paula Deen’s Peach Cobbler
Note: This recipe is for ‘With Electricity’ due to the butter, unless you have butter powder, or canned butter or something equal to it.

What’s From The Garden? Refrigerator Pickles!

We have gotten a WHOLE LOT of cucumbers so far from our garden, so I’m trying to figure out some good ways to use them. My first thought was to make some homemade relish, but I need bell peppers for that (which I don’t have enough of those growing yet), we’ve done home canned pickles before and they have just sat on our shelf because we’re not huge pickle eaters (unless it’s on a burger or something) and then I remembered my grandpa’s canned pickled cucumbers from my childhood. My grandpa was an avid gardener and one of my favorite things he made was homemade pickled cucumbers. They taste more like a cucumber than a pickle, but with a hint of dill and a hint of sweetness to boot. At this memory I immediately knew what I wanted to do with ALL my cucumbers! However, Grandpa passed away a few years ago, and my mom was out of town so I couldn’t get the recipe from her. So I checked online and found something similar. This isn’t exactly the same as Grandpa’s (it doesn’t have any dill in it… which I’m sure I could have just added) and these aren’t canned either, you just keep them in the fridge. I like the fridge option for easiness, but I also want to can some as well so I can keep them on the shelf. So anyway, here’s a great recipe for you to enjoy and I promise to share Grandpa’s as well as soon as I can get my hands on it! 🙂 And if you’ve got some cucumbers growing, you have GOT to try these. They are so refreshing and delicious. But caution, you can easily sit and eat a whole jar at a time! 🙂

Homemade Refrigerator Pickles

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Ingredients:

  • approximately 2 quarts of thinly sliced cucumbers (about 6-7 cucumbers)
  • 1/2 to 1 whole onion, thinly sliced (depending on how much onion you like)
  • 2 Tbsp sea salt (or regular salt)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup vinegar

Directions:

  1. Slice your cucumbers and onions as thin as you can. (I used my 2-quart drinking pitcher to hold the cucumbers so I’d know when I had two quarts. :))
  2. Place the cucumbers and onions in a large bowl and cover with ice cold water (add 8-10 cubes of ice). Add the salt and stir to combine. Let stand for about 2 hours.
  3. Drain the water. Then add the sugar. Mix the sugar until the cucumbers are evenly coated (I just use my hands).
  4. Add the vinegar and mix.
  5. Spoon it all into mason jars (a canning funnel definitely helps) or some other airtight container and let it sit in the fridge for approximately 24 hours. Note that there will not be enough liquid to cover all the cucumbers initially, so just divide the liquid as evenly as possible among your containers. And as it sits, the cucumbers will make their own juice and eventually they’ll be full almost to the top. You want the cucumbers in liquid if possible, since that is what will enhance the flavor as they sit.

And that’s it! Easy right? Next time I think I’ll definitely add some dill, and maybe some ground mustard seed. But I like these the way they are too. Hope you enjoy! Happy Gardening!

What’s For Breakfast? Homemade Pancakes!

I know I’ve already done a pancake recipe before using a Bisquick mix, but these delicious pancakes are made from scratch! AND whole wheat! AND they are light, fluffy, and yummm-my! 🙂
Nothing makes me feel better in the morning than knowing I’m putting healthy, hearty food into my stomach that tastes good to boot. I serve these up with some homemade strawberry syrup (just frozen strawberries pureed with a little bit of sugar) and it is a happy, happy day! 😀

{And for St. Patrick’s Day, just throw a little bit of green food coloring into the batter to enjoy some holiday spirit. Don’t forget to put some green in your glass of milk too!} 🙂

Homemade Whole Wheat Pancakes

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Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups white whole wheat flour (or you can do half wheat, half all-purpose)
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 cups milk (reconstituted powdered milk)
  • 1 egg (2 Tbsp egg powder + 4 Tbsp water)
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the middle.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together the milk, egg, butter (or oil), and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
  3. Pour pancake batter onto a hot griddle (I put my pan over medium to medium high heat) and cook until little bubbles start to form and pancake is golden brown. Flip the pancake over and cook the other side until golden brown as well.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Fun tip: We put the cooked pancakes in our tortilla warmer to keep them warm while we cook the rest of the pancakes up. That way we’ve all got warm pancakes when we sit down to eat together. 🙂

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What’s For Dinner? Green Bean Chicken Alfredo Casserole!

This yummy little dinner is one that I came up with after watching a roommate in college make a similar concoction. If you can use fresh tomatoes and green beans from the garden (oh, okay… or from the store too), then by all means do. Otherwise, the canned alternative works wonderfully as well.

Green Bean Chicken Alfredo Casserole

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 pint canned chicken
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tsp McCormick’s Grill Mates Montreal Chicken seasoning
  • 1 (15 oz) can green beans, drained (or about 1½ cups fresh beans, cut up)
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced, seasoned tomatoes (whatever you favorite seasoned kind is), drained (or 1-2 large tomatoes, diced)
  • 1 jar of your favorite alfredo sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups (8 oz) fresh grated mozzarella or parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Cook your pasta according to package directions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, drain and rinse your canned chicken. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add your chicken. Sprinkle the grilled chicken seasoning over the chicken and saute for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Drain the cooked pasta and transfer it into 9 x 13 baking dish. Add the chicken, green beans and diced tomatoes into the dish and give it a stir to evenly distribute the ingredients.
  4. Pour the alfredo sauce over the top and lightly mix it in (just enough to get the sauce settled into the pan). Sprinkle salt and pepper over the top according to taste and then layer with the cheese (if using).
  5. Bake, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and all the ingredients are warmed through. Enjoy!
  6. Serves 6-8 people.


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