Bread Machine Dinner Rolls

dinner rolls | the lively kitchen

These rolls are much loved in our house.  They are lightly sweet, heavenly when buttered and all around fantastic.  They almost always accompany Oven Baked Lentils and Rice on the table.  Lately I’ve been using them as slider buns.  Slider night is my son’s favorite night of the week and when the beef is local and pastured and the buns are homemade, I’m okay with it.  Sometimes I even serve sliders with french fries (I like the Alexa Organic Frozen Fries) and then I get to be his absolute hero, on par with his beloved Batman, Ben 10 and Ninjas (but even sliders and fries won’t put me on par with Harry Potter).

dinner rolls 2

I love my very old bread machine. Click here for my favorite loaf recipe.  The bread machine works great with this recipe, although I imagine you could make the dough by hand if you were so inclined.  I like to give the rolls ample time to rise after shaping – 3 hours at least.

dinner rolls 3

Bread Machine Dinner Rolls


  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp sugar or honey
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • (optional: 1 beaten egg for glazing before baking)


  1. Place all ingredients in bread machine and start dough cycle.
  2. Once dough cycle is complete, remove dough and shape into 9-10 equal sized balls.  The dough is thick.  Place dough balls in either a greased 9in cake pan or a greased 9in square pan.  Cover and let rise for 2-4 hours in a warm place.
  3. When ready to bake, uncover rolls and place in a pre-heated 350 oven.  Bake 12-18 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.  (optional: can brush risen rolls with a beaten egg glaze before baking to give a shiny top).

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

banana chocolate chip muffins | The Lively Kitchen

Want to know how I stay in my kid’s teacher’s good graces? These muffins.  (tucked in a bag with a little gift card). *

Want to know what I bring when it’s my day to provide snacks for preschool? These muffins.

Want to know why I generally separate three bananas from each bunch I buy so they can quietly get really ripe in the fruit basket and not be consumed as a snack before they are baking ready? These muffins.

* My boy’s teacher gets more than my girl’s, as he needs more grace.  It’s tough to keep hands to yourself when you’re a five year old boy.  It’s even tougher to be a teacher in class of five year olds.  They deserve much more than muffins!

banana chocolate chip mini muffins | the lively kitchen

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

Makes about 36 mini-muffins.  

This recipe can easily be made into 12-14 regular sized muffins, 4 mini loaves or 1 standard loaf.  But they won’t be nearly as cute.


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1.5 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream (or plain yogurt)
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Grease or line 3 mini-muffin pans.
  2. Using a mixer, cream together softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time and mix well after each addition.
  3. Mix in bananas, sour cream and vanilla and beat until well blended.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda and salt.
  5. Add flour mixture to butter/banana mixture and stir by hand until just combined and moist.  Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Bake at 350 for 10-13 minutes, or until tops spring back when touched.
  7. Cool on wire rack.

Chocolate Cherry Almond Bars (grain free)

Chocolate Cherry Almond Bars | the lively kitchen

I have this thing with bars.  Which sounds like I’m about to admit a drinking problem, so I better clarify. (although I do have a tea drinking problem lately….)

I have this thing with energy bars. As in I can’t go grocery shopping without picking up at least one.  As in I’m quite territorial about my ‘bars basket’ in the pantry and my husband knows to ask which ones he can have since I’ve (ridiculously) over-reacted more than once when he innocently grabbed a bar I was saving for a special day. As in I consider them ‘treats.’  Pretty much – don’t get between me and my bars.

This homemade bar recipe has become a new favorite in our house.  It makes 12 which means I don’t have to hoard them.  They are also grain free, kid friendly and pretty customizable.  Plus, the husband just grabs one from the fridge on the way to work, leaving my precious ‘bars basket’ in the pantry alone.  {insert mischievous grin}

Chocolate Cherry Coconut Bars | The Lively Kitchen

Chocolate Cherry Almond Bars


  • 1 cup almond flour or almond meal (I use Trader Joe’s Almond Meal)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat (optional)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup diced dried cherries


  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. Combine almond meal and salt in a food process, pulse twice.
  3. Pulse in coconut oil, water, honey and vanilla
  4. Pulse in coconut, sunflower seeds, almonds, buckwheat, pumpkin seeds, chocolate chips and diced cherries just until combined.
  5. With wet hands, press mixture into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
  7. Let cool completely before cutting with a sharp knife.  I use the parchment paper to lift the baked bars out of the pan, place the whole pan worth on a cutting board and then cut them with a large butcher knife.
  8. Store bars in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Homemade Jalapeno Cilantro Ranch Dressing

Earlier this year I got to mark the 11th year of being married to the perfect guy for me.  He still hasn’t seemed to notice that I got the way better end of the deal and I’ll spend the next 11 years trying to keep that fact hidden from him.  Distraction is key.

Enter this Ranch Dressing recipe.

My guy has loved Ranch Dressing ever since I’ve known him.  You know how some folks are said to put ketchup on their ketchup?  Well he puts ranch on his ranch.  And maybe some pickled jalapenos too.

Back when he was living the bachelor life, one of his favorite meals was ground beef sautéed with zucchini served over white instant rice and smothered in bottled ranch dressing.  (I just read that sentence aloud to him and he wanted me to clarify that he added ‘just a touch of ranch for flavor’.  I experienced the dish and stand by my description.  He says ‘just a touch’ I say ‘smothered’.)

Thankfully he has willingly joined me on the clean(er) foods bandwagon in the last few years.  I’ve tried to replace shelf stable bottled ranch dressing with a few different refrigerated brands (which tend to have less preservatives and funky stuff) but none have been a clear winner.  No preservatives = a need to keep the product pretty acidic for a respectable (and profitable) shelf life = very tart dressing.  Same issue with hummus.  Someday in my stay-home mom life I’ll solve the shelf life problem of high water activity, non (naturally) acidic foods for food companies and make millions of dollars…. mmm’kay?

—back to the story at hand—-

I was skeptical to make a homemade version of Ranch Dressing.  For no good reason.  Just unexplainable skepticism.  Story of my life.

Then I saw this recipe.  And thought ‘hey, that isn’t so bad.’ So I printed it out, modified some to suit our tastes and voila, came up with a fantastic version that we both love.  It’s got a cleaner ingredient list than any store-bought version, it is customizable and, most importantly, it’s darn tasty.

Jalapeno Cilantro Ranch Dressing | The Lively Kitchen

Homemade Jalapeno Cilantro Ranch Dressing


  • 1/4 cup organic mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup organic sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (lime works too)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk + 1 tsp lemon juice that you let sit for a few minutes)
  • 4 green onions, white bottoms removed
  • 2 Tbsp chopped, seeded jalapeno
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor.
  2. Dressing will thicken considerably in the fridge, so add more milk/buttermilk if you like it runnier.

Apple Cinnamon Baked Doughnuts

At some point before my kids hit middle school I pledge to get the hang of the school morning routine.  It’s quite honestly pathetic that I am still struggling with getting the girl and husband out of the house by 7:20, especially since generally I’m not trying to get myself or the boy out of the house at that hour too.  At one point in my life all four of us were leaving the house by 7:30 – the husband and I both for work and the kids for daycare – but somehow with the whole stay-home mom gig, I’ve simultaneously eased up on the morning schedule and created a harried pace.  Ironic juxtaposition – my middle names.

I have learned that having a pre-made breakfast like pumpkin bread, peanut butter and banana breakfast cookies and/or Oatmeal and Wheat Bread Machine Bread for toast cuts a good 5 minutes out of the breakfast prep.  And those 5 minutes are golden.  Those 5 minutes are the difference in me getting to drink me tea or not.  Which, truthfully, sets the tone for the rest of my morning.  Hot tea  = gonna be a good day!  Cold tea (or, worse, no tea) = oh dear.

(I’ve also learned that packing the entire lunch for the girl and husband the night before saves me a good 10-15 minutes, but that requires mammoth motivation in the evening hours when the couch and a good book are screaming at me to join them.)

I modified my  Baked Vanilla Doughnuts recipe recently when I was craving something with apple cinnamon flavors.  They turned out great and made two mornings into hot tea mornings.

These could be baked into muffin tins too – just watch them closely the first time to determine bake time.


Baked Apple Cinnamon Doughnuts

Enough for 6-7 doughnuts (or about 6 muffins)

  • 1/2 c whole wheat or spelt flour
  • 1/2 c white flour
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash nutmeg
  • 1/4 c + 2 Tbsp buttermilk
  • 1/2 -3/4 c shredded apple
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Optional Glaze Ingredients: 3/4 c powdered sugar + 2 Tbsp milk


1. Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly coat a donut pan with cooking spray.

2.  Combine flours, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl and stir well with a whisk.

3. In a second bowl, combine buttermilk, egg, apple and vanilla, stirring well with a whisk.

4.  Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and mix until just combined.  Don’t over-stir, as it will make the donuts less tender.

5.  Either spoon batter into the donut pan, or, if you’re a perfectionist like me, pipe the batter into the pan using a large plastic bag with the corner cut off.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until donuts are slightly golden on bottom.

6. Cool in pan about 5 minutes and then cool completely on a wire rack.

7.  When doughnuts are cool, top with glaze.

8.  Enjoy.

Sesame Ginger Peanut Dipping Sauce

This has become my new go-to sauce to keep in the fridge.  We eat it over steamed vegetables and brown rice, stirred into plain hummus and even as a salad dressing.  I just picked up more peanut butter at the store last night, so I have ‘make peanut dipping sauce’ on my to-do list for today.  Once the Monday motivation hits….

Random story (skip to the bottom for the recipe): My girl, age 7, all of the sudden loves peanut butter.  As in requests PB&J sandwiches for lunch instead of just tolerating them, eats peanut butter + celery for after school snacks and recently looked at me like I was the greatest person in the world when I gave her peanut butter + sliced apples.  I am taught over and over again that kids come around to things on their own time – be it with eating peanut butter, potty training, learning to read and so much more.  It’s pretty cool to watch, but it’s also a lesson I keep learning the hard way.

Sesame Ginger Peanut Dipping Sauce


  • 1/3 c low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 c unsalted peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds or Gomasayo
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 minced garlic clove


Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Will need to shake before serving.

Oatmeal and Wheat Bread Machine Bread

I am the proud owner of a very old breadmaker.  It once belonged to my grandmother and, at my best guess, it’s 22 years old. Despite it’s age, it is still working wonderfully.  I use it once or twice a week and the only fault I can find is that it’s not exactly dainty.  Considering how much of my small pantry it takes up, it should be obvious that I value the appliance.

I’ve been tinkering around with a recipe for a whole grain-ish bread that my kids will enjoy.  The 100% whole wheat breads are tolerated, but their heart belongs to the softer, partially white flour loaves.  This recipe uses equal parts white and whole wheat flour and includes some oatmeal for texture and nutrition.  It makes a soft loaf that makes very kid friendly pb&j for school lunches.  It’s also quite good as toast for breakfast or made into a grilled cheese.

Oatmeal and Wheat Bread Machine Bread


  • 1 c bread flour (I use King Arthur organic bread flour)
  • 1 c whole wheat or spelt flour
  • 2 Tbsp honey or sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 c instant oats
  • 1/4 c regular oats (could just use 1/2 cup total of either oat)
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 tsp yeast


  1. Place all ingredients in bread machine and follow manufacturer’s instructions.  I use the whole wheat cycle on my machine, which has the longest rising time.

Besides loving it for making bread for me, I also love it because when I get out the recipe book/manual I get to see my grandmother’s distinctive handwriting on the notes and recipe modifications.

She’s been gone for 3 years and, while we were so glad to see her suffering end and celebrate a life well lived, I really miss her.  She was a spunky, determined, free thinking and just all around classy lady.

I know she’d love that we are using her bread machine and recipes and that my two spunky, determined and free thinking (jury is still out on the classy part) kids are enjoying the nourishment of freshly made bread.

White Bean and Vegetable Pesto Dip

I’m 2.5 for 5 this year in my garden.  No luck with squash or tomatillos.  I got two little jalapenos off the pepper plant before it bit the dust (this the 0.5).  My cherry tomatoes and basil, however, are still doing pretty good.  Not good enough to give us more than a handful a week of tomatoes, but I count ‘not killing the plant’ as a success.  My basil is growing slowly but surely and wilts dramatically at the end of a hot day (I call it my drama queen plant), but after some water and a break from the sun overnight, it looks perky each morning.

I love pesto and was inspired by a recipe in Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton to make a white bean pesto dip with some other veggies from my fridge.  It came together quickly and was delicious on sprouted -grain-bread toast and my beloved Mary’s Gone Crackers.


  • 2 cups cooked white beans (I used navy beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 3/4 cup fresh spinach
  • 1/2 medium zucchini squash (about 1/2 cup worth)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1-2 Tbsp water (as needed)


  1. Place all ingredients except water in a food processor and process until smooth, stopping several times to scrape down the side of the bowl.
  2. Add water if needed to get desired consistency.

Fall Flavors Protein Smoothie

Alternative Title #1: Pumpkin-less Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Alternative Title #2: Is it odd to drink squash?

Alternative Title #3: Butternut Squash Smoothie – give it a chance!

I’m slowly developing more than just a taste for Butternut Squash.  For the last few years I’ve slowly increased my fall/winter squash consumption and have moved past eating it because it is good for me, past tolerating it, past ‘it’s not so bad’ and am now in the ‘who knew I could actually crave butternut squash?’ territory.

Olives, don’t get any ideas.  I will never crave you or even tolerate you.

Last week I had some roasted butternut squash in the fridge.  On that same day I wanted a smoothie.  I knew I wanted it to have a nutritional punch, but I wasn’t feeling the green smoothie.  (sorry kale)  I remembered seeing a smoothie recipe with butternut squash and thought I’d try making my own.  The smoothie turned out quite tasty, tasty enough that I took a few sips and then reached for my camera.  It’s gotta be good if I deem it blog worthy.


Fall Flavors Protein Smoothie


  • 1/2 -3/4 cup roasted butternut squash (canned pumpkin could work too)
  • 1 carrot (if your blender can handle it)
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I like Sun Warrior and Garden of Life rice protein)
  • 1/2- 1 cup water – depends on how thick you like your smoothies
  • a bit of ice if you like your smoothies extra cold (which I do)


Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.


If prefer to consume your butternut squash with a utensil besides a straw, try these recipes from this blog:

Fall Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash and Onions

Butternut Squash and Coconut Bisque

Repeater Recipes – Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Energy Bars

This is a recipe in my Repeater Recipe series, a series of posts where I feature previously posted recipes that show up often in our meal rotation. It’s also a good chance to introduce some ‘classic’ recipes to my new readers.

You’ve got to give me props for waiting until the end of October to post a pumpkin recipe. While I don’t seem to pumpkin-gasm like some folks in the food blog world, I do like to partake in pumpkin dishes when the temperature drops.  I’m still waiting for that temperature drop here in San Antonio (as in my kids went swimming Saturday night and I let my little guy run through the hose while watering today), but I’m going ahead and cracking open some cans of pumpkin.

I dug out my recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Energy Bars last week and we finished off the pan quickly. Even if I have to call them swim snacks, I’ll be making a few more batches soon.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Energy Bars

original air date: November 4, 2011

  • 3 Tbsp ground flaxseeds
  • 1/4 c water
  • 2 c dry rolled oats
  • 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1/3 c chocolate chips
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c almond butter
  • 1/3 c pumpkin puree (could use applesauce)
1. Preheat oven to 375F
2.  Mix flaxseeds and water in a small bowl, set aside.
3.  Mix dry ingredients (oats-chocolate chips) in a large bowl.
4.  Mix wet ingredients in a small bowl (maple syrup – pumpkin).  Stir in flax/water mixture.
5. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix well.
6.  Pour into a greased 8×8 pan and bake 15 minutes, or until set.
7.  Let cool completely before slicing into bars. Make about 12 bars (depending on how you cut).