Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Banana-Berry Baked Oatmeal Brunch

A couple of weeks ago I shared these Grab and Go Breakfast Bars in collaboration with Quaker Oats. And today I have another make ahead morning meal for you. This Banana-Berry Baked Oatmeal is quick and easy to make in the morning. But you can also prepare everything the night before so you can pop it in the oven for a quick breakfast or fun brunch with friends.

Plus, if you make it the night before, then you can get on with your day instead of starting it off by washing a bunch of dishes on a Saturday morning.

Okay, let’s get going. Oats, brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.

Toss them all together in a medium bowl.

Layer the oat mixture in an 8-inch baking dish with your favorite fruit. I’m feeling bananas and cranberries today.

Then mix up the wet ingredients. Milk, vanilla, melted butter, egg, and maple syrup. Oh yes!

Gently pour the milk mixture over the oats mixture.

The liquid will cover the ingredients, but I reserved a few uncoated pecan pieces, cranberries and bananas to place top. Now, cover and refrigerate overnight or bake right away.

When you take it out of the oven, let it sit for a few minutes before diving in.

I used these mini casserole dish ramekins to serve the baked oatmeal in and they made it just too cute.

Almost as cute as it is delicious. Make sure to get a berry in each bite for that extra burst of flavor. So so good.

Banana-Berry Baked Oatmeal

2 cups Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup cranberries
1 large banana, sliced

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease an 8 X 8 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. (I used a 9-inch round dish and you can also use a 7 X 11 oblong dish.)
  • Mix oats, brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl until combined.
  • Pour oat mixture into prepared dish.
  • Using the empty bowl, you can then whisk the egg, milk, vanilla and maple syrup together before slowly adding melted butter. Set aside.
  • Place cranberries and banana slices in dish. Toss with oats to evenly distribute.
  • Gently pour milk mixture evenly over oat mixture until completely covered.
  • Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the top of the oatmeal is set. Let rest for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy as is or with an extra drizzle of maple syrup.


  • You can reserve a few cranberries, banana slices and chopped pecans to dress up the top before baking.
  • Try toasting your pecans. Place them in the oven for 8-10 minutes, tossing once. Watch closely to make sure they don’t burn.
  • You can dip banana slices in lemon juice to help delay them from turning brown. If you’ll be preparing the oatmeal the night before though, then tuck them under the surface and then add a few freshly sliced banana pieces the next morning right before baking.


This post is in collaboration with The Quaker Oats Company. #OffYouGo
For more tips to make mornings easier, visit:

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sweet Art

I ordered this delicious ice cream print a few weeks ago and I love love love it more in person than I did when I first saw it online. It’s part of a series of three different ice cream cone pairings. And I may have just ordered the other two. Whoops. I think I’m obsessed.

The artist is Joël Penkman and she creates the most amazing still life paintings of food and everyday objects.


Here’s a print that I bought a couple of years ago, but I think it may be sold out now. These sweet candy sticks are so happy and colorful … they make me smile every time I look at them.


And here’s another one. Just look at those doughnuts. A stunning dozen!


So if you’re looking for a fun gift for your favorite food lover, then check out Joël’s Etsy shop for some sweet art.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Grab and Go Breakfast Bars

I eat granola bars for breakfast almost every day. It’s my go to morning meal when I’m in a hurry or when I’m traveling and need an easy on-the-go treat. So when I teamed up with The Quaker Oats Company to share a recipe that makes my morning easier, I couldn’t wait to make these Cherry Almond Grab and Go Granola Bars for you guys.

Of course, we’re starting off with Quaker Standard Oats. They’re 100% whole grains and the star of these breakfast bars.

And I’m including other goodies, too. Sliced almonds, rice cereal, dried cherries, peanut butter, honey, chocolate chips, vanilla, and maple syrup.

And oh honey… these are going to be good!

Warm the peanut butter, honey, maple syrup and vanilla and mix together so you can easily pour it on the dry ingredients.

Oh my! Now mix all the ingredients together until everything is completely coated.

Once coated, transfer the granola mixture to an 8 X 8 inch dish lined with parchment paper and press all the ingredients down as flat as you can.

I used a 6-inch round cake pan to do the work for me so my hands didn’t have to get sticky.

Sprinkle a few mini chocolate chips on top and press down gently.

Now just bake the bars for about 20-25 minutes and then cool completely.

I let these cool for about an hour and a half on the counter and then I transferred them to the fridge for about an hour. They’re easier to work with when chilled.

Once cold, cut them into 12 equal bars while they were still in the dish.

I wanted to nibble on these right away, but I needed to wait so I could get them all dressed and ready for the week ahead.

With the bars still cold, wrap them in strips of parchment paper and tie each with string.

Then just slip them into treat bags and tape them shut.

Cherry Almond Grab and Go Granola Bars

1 1/2 cups Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
3/4 cup slivered almonds
2/3 cup rice cereal
1 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line an 8 X 8 inch baking dish with parchment paper overlapping on opposite sides so you you can easily lift bars from the dish when finished.
  • Toast almonds. Spread them in an even layer on a large baking sheet and place in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Watch closely so they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and reduce temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place oats and toasted almonds in a food processor and give it several pulses to break the shapes up into smaller pieces. This will make the ingredients press together more compactly in the baking dish.
  • Place all the oats, almonds, rice cereal, dried cherries and chocolate chips in a large bowl and mix together until evenly distributed. Reserve about a tablespoon of the chips to sprinkle on top at the end.
  • In a medium bowl, microwave the peanut butter, honey, syrup and vanilla for about 10-20 seconds so you can easily stir it together. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir until completely combined and all the dry ingredients are coated.
  • Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish and press down as flat, even, and compact as possible. You can use a smaller baking dish to help or press using your hands coated with vegetable oil. Once the mixture is as flat as you can make it, sprinkle any reserved chocolate chips and gently press them on top.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove and cool completely for at least 1 1/2 hours. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for another hour. Remove and cut into 12 equal bars using a thin serrated knife while still in the baking dish. Lift the bars from the dish holding the parchment paper.
  • Makes 12 bars. Bars will be good for several days at room temperature or for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.
  • To prepare them for the week ahead: Working with chilled bars, wrap each one in a strip of parchment paper and tie with a string. Place in a plastic treat bag to travel with. You can also dip the bottoms in a little melted chocolate or candy coating and let dry before packaging.

Adorable! Now you have individually wrapped and ready breakfast bars handy and a yummy way to brighten the beginning of your day. Just grab one and go.


This post is in collaboration with The Quaker Oats Company #OffYouGo! For more tips to make mornings easier, visit:

Monday, November 23, 2015

Candy Crush Brownies

So it turns out that I way overbought on Halloween candy this year. I even used a bunch candy bars a couple of weeks ago to make these Cheesecake Bars. Well I finally just had to stop eating them since Thanksgiving is almost here, so I decided to make these Candy Crush Brownies to share.

I call them Candy Crush because these are all my fave kinds of chocolate candy.

I love Reese’s, Butterfingers, Kit Kats, Twix, M&M’s and Peanut Butter Snickers Bars.

And I love brownies. Brownies are like my comfort dessert. They always seem to make me feel better.

These brownies are no fuss when it comes to decorating, too. Just evenly distribute the chopped candy bars throughout the batter.

Then layer on more batter.

And then top it all off with a final assortment of candy before baking.

I feel good already.

And I feel even better now.

Brownies to the rescue. Never fail.

Candy Crush Brownies

14 tbsp unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup all purpose flour
12-14 assorted fun size candy bars, cut into small pieces

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Line an 8 X 8 inch baking dish with parchment paper allowing it to overhang on each side. (Note: I used a 6 X 9 inch dish, but either works.)
  • In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Mix in sugar, vanilla and cocoa until combined. Remove from heat and let cool before adding eggs.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla, whisking vigorously until completely combined. Stir in flour until just combined.
  • Pour a layer of batter in prepared pan and lay on candy pieces. Repeat two more times arranging the final candy pieces nicely on top.
  • Bake for 35 minutes. Cool and then lift brownies from pan with parchment paper and cut into squares.

Note: You can also just use one kind of candy with these if you’ve already depleted leftover Halloween stash.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Shipping Sweets and Traveling Treats

The holiday season is such a happy time to bake and share sweets with friends and family. And cake pops are one of my favorite treats to gift. But they are also easy to ship and send to your favorite people. I’m often asked what’s the best way to package them so they make it safely to their destination. So, when the opportunity to work with Scotch® Brand came about, I thought I’d share with you exactly how I’ve shipped them in the past.

But, before we can ship, we need some cake pops to dip. Super cute candy-themed cake pops, that is.

Here are my basic instructions for making cake pops in case you haven’t given them a go before.

Because the cake is mixed with frosting and completely enrobed in candy coating, they will stay fresh and tasty for several days.

To make simple round cake pops look like hard candy, just draw swirls and pinwheel designs on the coating using edible-ink writing pens. I filled in the color just a bit so you can see where I’m going, but basically, drawing on the pops helps tremendously with the next step.

Use a small brush to paint a thin layer of corn syrup over the drawn shape and then sprinkle colored sanding sugar right on top and it will attach like glue. You can also easily use a toothpick to coerce the sanding sugar in position if it breaks out of the drawn lines. I love the sanding sugar effect because it makes the pops look sparkly and sugary.

So cool! You can also apply candy coating using a toothpick over the drawn shape and then add the sanding sugar, but this can add a little extra bulk and I like it when this design looks a bit flatter.

When you’re applying the sanding sugar, make sure you do it over a bowl so you can catch and reuse any that doesn’t attach.

And voila! The cutest candy cake pops. Oh, wait… not the cutest yet.

Instead of using treat bags as they’re intended, fold the bag in half and snip a tiny opening out of the center/side of the bag. Insert the pop, stick first, into the bag and then through the opening. Then use twist ties (cut into 1 1/2-inch sections) to secure the cake pop on each side.

Okay, now they’re the cutest. Using sweet little treat bags really seals the deal and makes you think of these cake pops as candy.

And this is how I package them. There may be better ways, but this has worked for me every time I’ve mailed them in the past.

Tucked in and ready to go. I use 1 lb. candy boxes (they’re roughly 7” X 3.25″ X 1.75″) and cake pops using 6-inch sticks. Place a small section of tissue paper in the bottom of the box and lay pops (always in treat bags) in alternating directions. Depending on the size, I can get 3-4 in each box. When you close the box, the tissue they’re wrapped in will keep them secure. You just don’t want them moving around in the box.

So now let’s spruce the boxes up a bit so they can brighten someone’s day.

This Scotch® Expressions Glitter Tape reminds me of the sanding sugar so I thought it would be fun to carry through the colors when packing them up safe, sound and super cute.

To make a sweet garland banner, fold tape over twine and then snip off the ends or cut into pennant shapes.


The next step is taping them up securely in bubble wrap.

Then place them in a larger box filled with more packing material around the bottom, top and sides.

Depending on how much extra room you have… use more bubble wrap, paper packing, peanuts or tissue paper like above.

When all taped up and secure, you should not feel or hear the contents inside move around.

Then your sweets are ready to ship out overnight. You can also ship 2-day, but I wouldn’t wait longer than that.

Other small sweets perfect for shipping are: fudge, cereal treats, marshmallows, caramels, sugar cookies and caramel corn. And, if you want to send something by regular mail, then fudge would be perfect.

Wait … Going home for the holidays? Want a tip for traveling with your treats?

I’ve had to fly with cake pops several times and this is my go to carrying case. Yep. A cooler. This one is a 9-quart size (roughly 13” X 9” X 9”) and it will hold nine of these candy boxes with a little room left over.  I can get at least 36 cake pops inside. And using tape to decorate the boxes works perfectly because it’s flat and won’t get damaged in transportation. The perks? The sides of the cooler take the brunt of any accidental knocks, it fits nicely under the airline seat in front of me, it has a handle, and people tend to step aside when they see me carrying a small red cooler. Perfect!

Anyway, I hope this helps you a bit if you’re thinking of shipping or carrying your delicious treats this holiday season!

So that’s how I ship, but that’s not all… Scotch® Brand is having a fun contest to see how great you can wrap.


Enter the Scotch® Most Gifted Wrapper™ Contest for the opportunity to win $10,000!
Enter at: between November 2nd and December 9th.
LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE U.S. and D.C. (excluding AZ, CO, NE, MD, NJ, ND, TN and VT), who are 18 (19 in AL and 21 in MS) and older. Ends 12/9/15. To enter and for Official Rules (including prize descriptions), visit Void where prohibited.

This post is in partnership with Scotch® Brand.

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