National Pumpkin Day! Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Muffin Recipe

Happy National Pumpkin Day! Happy Friday! Today is a great day because pumpkin day and Friday happened to land on the same day this year. That calls for celebration! Celebration in the form of these super tasty, borderline addictive Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Muffins. I’m one of those people who believes pumpkin is a year-round flavor but I still love celebrating its abundance in the fall. Especially in the form of baked goods. Considering my love for pumpkin, I was a bit shocked at the lack of pumpkin recipes in the index! Clearly that needs to change, starting with these muffins…

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Cinnamon Roll French Toast Bake | Holiday Recipes

3 Days until Christmas!! I don’t know if I’m excited or just hysteric at this point. Anyone else feel that way? To sweeten up the realization of this countdown, we have one final holiday recipe for you and this is one for the books. You may have seen several French Toast casseroles around these parts before. It’s because they’re so easy and so good! This one, a Cinnamon Roll French Toast Bake, is quite possibly the best one yet.

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Who doesn’t love cinnamon rolls? Who doesn’t love to make them? Yeah, me too. This recipe preps the night before and finishes in the morning. It’s easy and tastes just like a cinnamon roll. Everyone will be begging for seconds. Start like you would with any other casserole. Butter a baking dish or spray it with cooking spray, fill with bread cubes and pour the egg mixture evenly throughout the entire dish. Cover with plastic wrap and pop in the fridge to chill overnight.

The next morning, mix up the cinnamon mixture and evenly pour over the casserole. You could leave it as is but I wanted the cinnamon mixture to incorporate throughout the casserole as much as possible. If you want to do the same, grab two forks or a spatula and toss the bread cubes to move the cinnamon mixture around. Bake in the oven covered at first and finish uncovered. It’s important to keep the top from burning before the rest of the casserole is cooked through.

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If you’d like, you can top it with a simple glaze. If not, just leave it as is. It sure is sweet enough without it! Obviously, this isn’t a breakfast you’d want to have every day of the week but it’s a nice treat for the holiday. Pair it with a nice fruit salad, some sausages or bacon and a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice...or in my case, a hot steaming mug of coffee.

I will actually be bringing this baby back to life on Christmas morning in a few days! This will be the last recipe for a bit as we take a holiday break. In the meantime, I hope these recipes the last few weeks have inspired your own holiday cooking and that you have a wonderful weekend with friends, family and lots of great food. See you in 2018!

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Cinnamon Roll French Toast Bake
Ingredients:
1 loaf of Cinnamon Bread cut into chunks (or any regular loaf. Italian, Ciabatta, Brioche all work)
10 large Eggs
2 cups Milk
¼ cup Brown Sugar + 1 cup
½ tsp. Vanilla
2 tbsp. Cinnamon
2 tbsp. Flour
¾ cup Softened Butter

Glaze (optional):
¾ cup Powdered Sugar
2 tbsp. Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla

Directions:
1 - Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray. Evenly add the bread throughout the dish.

2 - In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, ¼ cup of brown sugar, and vanilla. Pour evenly over the bread and cover with plastic wrap. Set in the fridge overnight.

3 - Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the casserole from the fridge. In a small bowl, mix together the butter, 1 cup of brown sugar, cinnamon and flour. Drizzle all over the casserole so that the cinnamon mixture coast the bread on top pretty well. Gently use two forks or a spatula to toss the bread and cinnamon mixture together to even it out a bit.

4 - Bake uncovered with tin foil for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and finish baking 25-30 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

5 - (optional) Mix together the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth. Drizzle over the top of the casserole for a sweet, frosted finish.

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Fall Spice Latte - Seasonal Coffee Recipes

I have an announcement to make. I took a sip of my very first PSL yesterday. It was delicious and divine and nearly $5! Thankfully, I had a free drink so I wasn't set back...this time at least. Seasonal coffee drinks are comforting, nostalgic and straight up delicious. But unless you get them once in a while for a treat, they start to add up. Always one to save money where I can, these cravings have inspired me to come up with my own seasonal drinks at home. Nothing will ever replace a holiday designed cup holding a potent peppermint mocha but what these drinks all have in common is: 1) they'll cost a fraction of the price and 2) you don't have to go anywhere but your kitchen. The perfect solution to those frigid wet days. 

The first of our seasonal coffee recipes is simple and easy to whip up. It's probably the least involved of all the recipes but is delicious just the same. Our Fall Spice Latte is warmed milk with a cinnamon stick and a few spices. Pour it over coffee or a shot of espresso for a quick morning pick-me-up. You can compare it to the Cinnamon Dolce Latte at Starbucks but with a little more spice. The warm flavors give you that fall flavor but because it's essentially just heated milk, it's not so heavy or involved per se. It's also a great start to break into the seasonal coffee mold. Best of all, it's not overtly sweet. I add a touch of agave nectar for the final touch but unlike drinks at coffee shops, the sugar content is low. In other words, the calorie content depends on your choice of milk.

FALL SPICE LATTE
Ingredients:
1 cup milk
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg and allspice
1 cup Strongly Brewed Coffee or 1 shop Espresso
1 tbsp. Agave Nectar

Directions:
1. Whisk milk in a small saucepan over medium heat with cinnamon stick and spices. Whisking the milk while it heats will prevent it from burning and give it a little frothiness. 

2. Brew coffee or espresso and pour into a mug. Add spiced milk and agave nectar. Use the cinnamon stick to stir and add extra spice. Enjoy!

Bringing The Force Into Breakfast With General Mills and Star Wars

This post is sponsored by General Mills through Linqia but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

In just a few short weeks, the newest addition to the Star Wars legacy is premiering in theaters. Tickets are already beginning to sell out, if not already, for the midnight premiere and fans all over are vigorously counting down the days till they are reunited with their favorite characters. Just a few days after the premiere is another big date, Christmas! With the holiday season officially here, we can lose sight of important, every day tasks like breakfast. Whether you're short on time or too drained to actually make something, the trusty breakfast routine that never fails is a classic bowl of cereal. If you have some extra time on your hands one night, it's also nifty to whip up a  batch or two of jumbo muffins. They're easy to grab on the go and always satisfying. Keep reading for my Cinnamon Apple Muffins with a crunchy topping. 

Regardless of what time of day it is, cereal is one of the best comfort foods that is out there and it's the easiest to prepare. Nothing reminds me of my childhood more than mixing together my favorite cereals. I used to go nuts whenever we would have a few different boxes open at a time. I still will pour myself a bowl at night when I'm working late or just craving something I can't put my finger on. Now with the specialty marked boxes of General Mills cereal, I have an excuse to open several boxes with my little cousins who are HUGE Star Wars fans, show them my favorite way to eat cereal and see exclusive scenes from The Force Awakens movie in the droid view finders. There are six to collect and who doesn't love a special surprise from a cereal box? In fact, get your own droid view finder with a coupon for 75 cents off all General Mills cereal. Choose from Mini Trix, Honey Nut Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Reese's Puffs. Each General Mills Cereal is made with whole grain oats and contains at least ten grams of whole grains per serving. 

If you happen to want something different than a bowl of cereal for breakfast or perhaps you don't want to eat something cold when it's 25 degrees outside (welcome to Chicago), I have a tasty muffin recipe that you will love. These Cinnamon Apple Muffins are made with applesauce but would also be great with chopped apples for an extra punch of flavor. For a little texture, I lightly crushed some Cinnamon Toast Crunch and sprinkled it over the tops of the muffins before baking them. You don't want them to be crumby but you want them to be lightly broken up. Put these in the microwave for 10-15 seconds and you've got yourself a warm breakfast. Bring fun back into your breakfast with General Mills and The Force AwakensMake sure to visit the Big G Cereal Tumblr page to fan out on all things Star Wars. 

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Cinnamon Apple Muffins with a Crunchy Topping
Mix breakfast favorites, cereal and muffins, in this tasty recipe.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2.5 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1/4 cup Butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup Applesauce
  • 1/2 cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal, lightly crushed
Instructions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin cups before placing in the muffin tin and set aside.Mix together in a large bowl flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and cinnamon. Slowly fold in the egg. Add in milk, butter and applesauce. Mix until well incorporated. Pour into a muffin tin about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full. Top with Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until a knife or toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the muffin tin and allow to cool.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6 jumbo muffins or 12 regular sized muffins

Celebrating National Apple Day: Cinnamon Apple Bread with a Brown Butter Glaze

We are in the prime of apple season. What better time to celebrate National Apple Day? To celebrate, we have a delicious recipe that you'll want to make triple batches of: Cinnamon Apple Bread with a Brown Butter Glaze. This recipe is packed with fresh apples and plenty of cinnamon. Everyone will be asking for anonther piece before they're even done with their first.

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Using fresh apples gives this bread extra moisture so that it never dries out. I also subbed the oil for applesauce to cut calories which also enhances the sweetness of the apples. This bread is so good that it honestly doesn't need the brown butter glaze but it definitely doesn't hurt. 

This would also be good with pears. If, for some reason, apples aren't your thing, pears would be a good substitution, cranberries, or simply no fruit at all. You can just keep this a simple cinnamon bread recipe. This recipe gave me a loaf of bread and six jumbo muffins with enough glaze for the bread and two muffins. 

A tip for the glaze, it will take about 10-15 minutes for the butter to brown. You want to keep it moving so it doens't burn. There's a big difference between burnt butter and browned butter. The melted butter will deepen in color getting golden brown. It will give off a sweet, nutty scent as well which is a big clue to knowing it's almost ready.

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Cinnamon Apple Bread with a Brown Butter Glaze
Moist, delicious cinnamon apple bread perfect for fall and holiday get togethers. The brown butter glaze is 100% optional but phenomenal.
Ingredients
  • 1 2/3 cup Sugar
  • 2/3 cup Applesauce
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 4 large Eggs
  • 3 cups Apples, chopped (about 3 total)
  • 3 cups Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 4 tablespoons Milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of a loaf pan and 6 jumbo muffin cups.In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, applesauce, milk, vanilla and eggs till smooth. Add in the apples and mix well. Slowly add in your dry ingredients until the batter is well combined.Pour batter about 2/3 of the way in a greased loaf pan. Fill the muffin cups with the remaining batter. The muffins will bake for about 20 minutes and the bread will take about an hour. Test with a knife or toothpick to make sure the inside comes out clean. Let cool.While your bread is cooling, prepare your glaze. Brown one stick of butter in a small saucepan. It will take about 10 minutes or so but the end result should be a rich, golden brown color. Take off the heat and slowly incorporate the powdered sugar, vanilla and the milk one tablespoon at a time. If you find your desired consistency before 4 tablespoons of milk, that's fine. If you need a little extra, that's ok too. Just follow your gut.Pour the glaze over the bread and let cool for a few minutes until it because sticky. Serve!
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 loaf + 6 jumbo muffins