What I Ate: Top Your Own Oatmeal Bar

What I Ate series is a Friday post that was fun and/or delicious but doesn’t require a recipe. These guys are easy to whip up and can make your Friday fun and delicious. Happy Friday!

My office has the best appetites! We decided to have an oatmeal bar and it was a fun and quick meal to share. I brought in oatmeal and everyone brought fun toppings. We use hot water from our water cooler. It was easier than our usual elaborate potluck.

I offered anyone who doesn’t-do-oatmeal could bring-their-own cereal or yogurt/etc and enjoy our toppings. I had pumpkin butter, cinnamon chips, and a dash of cinnamon on mine. It was very festively fallish.

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I mayyy have thought it was more fun than anyone else. Trust me, it was awesome. Don’t listen to my colleagues.

What I Ate: Pumpkin Muffins

I’m about to rock your socks off. And if you’re not wearing socks because it has been lovely at 63-degrees & sunny here in Boston then I’m going to rock your shoes off. I made the fastest and easiest muffins ever. I’m about to have muffins on hand all the time.

Ready for 2 ingredient muffins? Two. Count ‘em.
Pumpkin Muffin

Ingredients:

1 box Spice cake mix
1 can pumpkin

Directions:

Mix together
Bake

See? Omg. Totally the easiest thing ever. I added cinnamon chips because I love them. These were super easy and gave me some baking courage. I drizzled some maple glaze over the top. Somebody was taunted by my photo staging set up:
Pumpkin MuffinGood thing those chair spindles aren’t any wider apart! Isn’t he just the cutest?! You know what I say to that?

Aww MUFFIN!

Enjoy the weekend! I’m home from Santa Barbara, and from LA, and from NYC! Woohoo! I have lots ‘o blogging to catch up on so stay tuned for some picture heavy posts coming up next week! This doesn’t count towards my fall foods list, but I have a pumpkin post to prep that will count on my list, for sure!

Portland Maine’s Holy Donuts

I can’t even describe how lovely our Portland, ME weekend was. Well, I’m nothing if not wordy so I’ll try. I fell in love. I’m in love with Mr. J and we LOVED celebrating our one year anniversary in Maine for the weekend. It was beautiful and the Old Port is just too cute. Why didn’t I know about this before?!?! It was so great to wander, eat, shop, gaze at light houses, and not run around like crazy tourists.

Check out Mr. J’s Portland pics here.

My mum suggested we check out The Holy Donut. What. A. Find. I didn’t know I liked donuts that much until I went here.
The Three Bite Rule - Portland Donut

They make these amazing homemade potato donuts in incredible flavors (think sweet potato ginger, or pomegranate, or dark chocolate peanut butter glazed, or dark chocolate sea salt). Before you bail. Don’t think you’re “not into donuts” if you’re only thinking spongy sogged donuts of the legendary Dunkin. I’m not into those. I’m all about these Holy Donuts. Amazing. Life changing!
Portland Maine Holy Donut
I don’t know if I want to admit how many we got…let’s call it a sampler.

Portland Maine Holy Donut

I eased my way in falling hard core for the dark chocolate seasalt. The special of the day was apple with cider glaze. Ohh my fall-goodness.
Portland Maine Holy Donut

This one was created for me and was hands down my favorite: bacon and cheddar donut. I was surprised that it was a filled donut. None of their others are filled but this one is warm and oozing salty bacon and melty cheddar inside a sweet donut. It is like a monte cristo. Mr. J didn’t love it as much. Muhahahaha. All the more for me!
Portland Maine Holy Donut

The building was charming with some outside seating. Early Sunday morning folks made their way here to eat outside with the pup or on a leather couch with a newspaper. Nobody else seemed to have quite the spread we had, but hey, we were on vacation! The staff were great and enthusiastic. It reminded me of the family owned and run candy business I grew up working at. Although that business wasn’t my family, there was care in every item sold and consumed.
The Three Bite Rule - Portland Donuts

Now, to continue the important matters. Coffee. I ordered an ice coffee and then they filled my cup with coffee ice cubes. Love it!
Portland Maine Holy Donut

 

I have a bunch more amazing meals to share too, so pull on your fat pants and get ready!

Cheese Danish Squares

So you know that I’m not a great baker, right? I’m trying more often. I recently made lemon squares which came out pretty decent and now I made these Chess Squares or Gooey Butter Cake and it was 50% successful.

If I was only 50% successful then why are you still reading? I’m sure you want to know which half worked Well! Tricky, tricky, I split it into 2 pans and brought one to a weekend with the fam in Maine and left one home. Unfortunately I brought the over-done-one to Maine (not pictured) and Mr. J demolished the successful one at home (pictured below).
The Three Bite Rule - Cheese Danish Squares
It didn’t look like it was going to set so I baked one longer (as in too long) and they weren’t as gooey. I think that’s my baking problem. I deviate from the recipe. I need to follow the instructions exactly. I need to trust the system. They were totally edible though and definitely the easiest baked good ever.

Cheese Danish Squares

(Chess Squares by Kevin and Amanda, Gooey Butter Cake by Paula Deen, & anyone else who makes this)

Ingredients:

1 (18 1/4-ounce) box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 16-ounce box powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 and spray a 9×13 dish with cooking spray.
Mix cake mix, melted butter and one egg to a soft dough.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheese Danish Squares
Press into the bottom of the pan.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheese Danish Squares
Mix powdered sugar, softened cream cheese and remaining two eggs until smooth, about 1-2 mins.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheese Danish Squares
Pour on top of crust.
Bake at 300 for 40-50 minutes until top is golden brown.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheese Danish Squares

They reminded me of a cheese danish so I’m throwing one more name into the mix. I like them as a sweet brunch item but call it another name and you’ve got a dessert.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheese Danish Squares

They were suuuuper easy and would be great to throw together last minute…I mean. ehh. you totally planned ahead. and had everything you needed. and looked as organized as Martha Stewart. and didn’t arrive empty handed like Emily Post taught you.

Hash Brown Crust Bfast Pizza

Wayyy back when, I was making breakfast pizza I was also thinking what else I could do with breakfast pizza. There’s nothing cheaper or easier than bfast. I always have eggs and bacon around so poof! It became pizza topped with “fried” egg. I was wondering about scrambled egg too. My mind then went to crispy hash browns. I know, you don’t want to know where my food-brain goes.

What if the hash brown cakes were the CRUST. I’m a genius. Or this might exist somewhere. I’m not sure. All I know is that I’ve never seen it on a menu and I’ve been to quite a few diners and breakfast spots and I’ve never seen this. Come on people!
The Three Bite Rule - Bfast Pizza

Mr. A recreated the egg one and tweeted it to me. Love it! It got my butt in gear to adapt it for another method.
bfast pizza

Ingredients:

½ bag shredded potato hash browns
1/3 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz shredded cheddar
4 slices of bacon
3 eggs, scrambled

Directions:

Mix shredded potatoes and soup together.
Then spread it out onto a pan and bake for 30 minutes at 400-degrees.
The Three Bite Rule - Bfast Pizza
Cook bacon while crust is crisping.
When the potato has formed a crispy crust, top with cheddar and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Bfast Pizza
Cook the scrambled egg (in the pan you cooked the bacon in for some extra bacon flavor!)
Cook the crust until the cheese melts into a delicious melty layer.
The Three Bite Rule - Bfast Pizza
Remove and top with scrambled egg and bacon.
The Three Bite Rule - Bfast Pizza

This was definitely a good pizza! I would have liked the crust to crisp a bit more but I really feared I’d burn the edges. I would recommend being mindful of the thickness. I could have spread it out then squished the edges back in to form the edge/barrier. It also might work better to make individual ones! Smaller ones could be pan fried if potatoes, eggs, and bacon isn’t too much for you to manage at the same time.

If you’re cooking for a crowd or for kids it might be fun to make individual ones that people can top as they like. I’ll make it again, and maybe I’ll even pan-fry the potato cakes…oooo!
The Three Bite Rule - Bfast Pizza

It isn’t a dinner that produces leftovers for lunch the next day. That’s usually a considering factor in my meal planning but hash brown cakes with cheese and bacon would still be good even if the eggs don’t reheat well!

A biscuit crust would be good if hash browns aren’t your thing either! I’d love it as potato crust, topped with cheese, and bacon and finished with a poached egg the very last second. Yum!

Which is your idea of a great start to the day?
The Three Bite Rule - Bfast Pizzaeggpizza_baked_290_200

Everything Bagel Cream Cheese Dip

I’m pretty obsessed with Pretzel Crisps right now. I love them…especially the everything ones. They remind me of everything bagels which then brought me to a cream cheese dip for them!

I made it for mother’s day brunch but am just getting around to posting it. Make this. Take my word for it. It’s a fun brunchy item that nobody else will have. It is super addicting too.

Ingredients:

8 oz cream cheese (softened to room temp)
1 tbs crushed garlic
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp dried onion
½ tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
3 tbs milk/cream
Pretzel thins (everything or sesame or plain)

Directions:

Mix softened cream cheese with garlic, spices, and sesame oil.
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Add milk 1 teaspoon at a time until the mixture is dip-able.
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Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight before serving.
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I think everyone liked it. I chose flavors I thought we’d like with the pretzels but there are tons of alternatives. Crushed garlic, garlic powder, and chives would be good. Or bacon and scallions (my fav at Breuggers).
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What is your go-to brunch item?

Elvis Would Love: Peanut Butter Banana Bread

When I saw the discount bananas I couldn’t pass them by. Seriously, $0.38 for 4 bananas! How crazy is that? I love the discount produce. The discount alone was my motivation to make banana bread.

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When I thought about Banana Bread, I figured I should consult a baker since I am not one. I stopped by Jess’ blog and she even has a whole banana section! Chippy Peanut Butter Banana Muffins (adapted from Noble Pig by way of Flying on Jess Fuel)

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3-4 ripe bananas
1 cup milk
1 cup chunky peanut butter
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
1 cup cinnamon chips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flours, sugars, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl.
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In another mixing bowl, mash the bananas. Then add the milk, egg, vanilla, oil and peanut butter and mix well.
Pour the wet ingredient into the dry and mix until just combined.
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Fold in the chips.
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Pour the batter into muffin tins lined with cupcake liners or sprayed with nonstick spray. Depending on how big you like them, the batter will make 12-18 muffins.
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Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Mine made one loaf and 6 small muffins. They were pretty gooey since I upped the banana and peanut butter ratios. I really liked the peanut butter in there…it made it richer. Peanut butter and banana are so great together.
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Biscuits and Gravy…it’s not just for Breakfast

Sometimes I’m full of dinner ideas and others I’m racking my brain. I don’t know how I came up with biscuits and gravy but I was feeling especially southern. This is more of a what-I-ate rather than a recipe but I wanted to share my biscuit success!
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Some of my thought was I haaaaad to prove it to myself that I could make a biscuit. I tried to make some that looked simple enough for thanksgiving that were a huge flop.

I made simple bisquick biscuits and they came out great! I used a juice glass to cut them. I brushed the tops with butter after cooking for a few minutes. They were light, fluffy, and absorbent.
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I crumbled 2 sausage links and made a simple creamy gravy. The sausage and gravy topped biscuits.
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I felt like we needed something else so I baked apple slices with some brown sugar, maple syrup, and oatmeal.
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Festivus Brunch

I thought you might need some eye candy on this Monday. Feast on this! I went to a brunch hosted by some fun ladies and I have to say, I was totally impressed. Not that I expected anything less from these gals who host some pretty rockin’ parties, but this was one for the lesson books. I think everyone can take some brunch pointers from them. It was so convenient that they had a brunch. At a time of year where there are get-togethers and cocktail parties all the time the brunch was really refreshing and fit into my schedule perfectly. Now, onto the lesson!

Rule 1: Choose quality products.

They had some high quality bread by the toaster rather than the expected bagels.
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The sky is the limit for the hot chocolate bar and they had all the best additions
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This strata had gruyere, mushrooms, and spinach. Wonderful choice of interesting ingredients!
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Rule 2: Know your strengths/Use what you have.

If you make fantastic quiches all the time, why not serve ‘em? This one is tomato, basil, goat cheese and is delectable!
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One of these ladies bakes regularly whipped up bakery-quality muffins and frosted them.
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Call in an expert to make their specialty dish. If you’ve ever had Mrs. P’s coffee cake you’d know what I was talkin’ about.
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Rule 3: Concentrate on a few special (yet do-able) distinctive touches.

Of course there was a butter snowflake
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Their resident baker has the best cake decorations…especially for gingerbread muffins
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They served a pretty memorable jam selection
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Rule 4: Keep ‘em happy with some variety

What a fun treat for a non-breakfast person? Also a beverage option for anyone not wanting to spike their cocoa/coffee.
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I missed photos of the bacon, tator tots, and ham and egg in a crockpot. See what I told ya about their variety!?!

P.S. I brought some ebilskiver with candycane centers!
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Festive Pumpkin Breakfast for Dinner

These pumpkin pancakes were supposed to be festive Halloween dinner since they’re orange. Long story, but they got a bit delayed. They were dinner another night and they were delicious! Cross it off my list!
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Pumpkin pancake batter is definitely more sticky than regular pancake batter. I made pumpkin waffles way back when for a girls night dinner. I recall them sticking A LOT and these lovely girls being sweet pretending it was fine that I had such trouble getting them out of the waffle iron.I made them as ebelskiver because that’s (almost) the only way to eat a pancake! Dropping some of our fillings into a standard pancake would be A-OK too. This is a half recipe which will feed 3-4 people.
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Ingredients:

½ cup flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp pumpkin pie seasoning (or ginger, allspice, and nutmeg)
½ tsp cinnamon
1 egg
½ cup milk
½ can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tbs vegetable oil

Directions

Mix dry ingredients.
Add wet ingredients mixing only until combined (lumps are OK).
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Cook pancakes.
These pancakes are a bit wetter/looser than regular pancakes which is perfect for ebelskiver. I pour some in each well of the pan. Then the filling goes in, before more batter covers that. One little flip ensures the even cooking.
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I used cinnamon chips as a filling. Have I proclaimed my love for these here? No? Ohh my goodness. These are so great in anything! Cinnamon chips make such a wonderful difference in pumpkin bread too. I grab some whenever I see them in the baking aisle…and by some I mean 3 bags.

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I also did maple sausage and some apple ones too. The apple wasn’t enough on it’s own. I think chopping apples with cinnamon and sugar might have made it sparkle more. It sure was fall feeling though!

The savory fillings get me every time. Yum. So, tell me. Is breakfast for dinner OK in your house?