Daily Eats 3.17.14

It’s been awhile since I’ve been a consistent blogger posted my daily eats.  I love the accountability that posting your meals for the whole world wide web brings, so I took pictures of my food on Monday which just happened to be St. Patrick’s Day.

Daily Eats – 3.17.2014

Tea (green jasmine) while juicing:

(if you look close you can spot me in the juicer reflection – like a Where’s Waldo except the cup is striped, not my shirt)


juice bonanza.jpgI made juices for a couple of days (kale, cucumber, apple, ginger, tumeric, lemon and cilantro), some green apple juice to make Key Lime Smoothies and spinach juice for the Green Doughnuts I had planned for later in the day.

Second Tea for the Road


Snack (not pictured) – Granola Bar + Almonds



Carrots, black berries, crackers, Kerrygold Dubliner cheese (seemed appropriate) and celery + peanut butter. Berry + Hemp Powder + Almond Milk smoothie.


green donuts.jpg

Naturally Green Baked Vanilla Doughnuts


St Patricks Day Dinner.jpg

St. Patrick’s Day dinner: rainbow fruit tray and fettucini alfredo with broccoli. And an unpictured glass of wine (made from green grapes so, festive, right?)


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.

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.

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.

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).

Zucchini Lemon Spelt Muffins

Ah zucchini – the poor little veggie that becomes almost a culinary burden in the hot summer months.  It can’t help being such a prolific garden plant. Except in my ‘garden.’  I use the term loosely.  But seriously, I’ve never successfully grown even one squash of any kind.

Luckily it’s bountiful and cheap at the farmer’s market.  For main courses, zucchini stars in the following recipes:

Summer Vegetable Brushetta pasta

Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna (from Peas and Thank You)

Vegetable Sautes over rice or quinoa

Stacked Vegetable Enchilada Bake

For breakfast, though, this recipe is pretty stellar.  I think the secret to baking with zucchini is to squeeze the ever loving tar out of it.  Get out all the moisture you can – I use a couple of clean dish towels and pat/press vigorously. On advantage to using zucchini in whole grain flour recipes is that the fiber in the grains absorb the moisture better than white flour.

I used spelt flour in the recipe, as I’ve been experimenting with it in baked goods.  When the kids are in school again and I can have a complete thought At some point, I will do an Ingredient Spotlight post on Spelt.  For now, know it’s a whole grain and it works well in the following muffin recipe.

Zucchini Lemon Spelt Muffins


  • 2 cups spelt flour (could use whole wheat or all purpose flour)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp grated lemon rind (save the lemon for the icing)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup coarsely shredded zucchini, patted dry
  • 3/4 c refrigerated coconut milk (not the canned kind) + 2 Tbsp coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 egg
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest and salt in a large bowl.  In another bowl, combine zucchini, milk, oil and egg and stir well.
  3. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir gently to combine.
  4. Place batter in 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes, checking for doneness around 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from pans immediately and cool on a wire rack.

You could stop there.  Or you could add some completely unhealthy glaze.  Which I most certainly did.

Lemon Sugar Glaze

Mix Together – 1 cup powdered sugar and 2-3 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice

Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

We lived in Minnesota from 2002-2008.  I miss many, many things from our time there and most of those things (like our friends, the spring/summer/fall, my job, the culture, the lakes and the state fair) are not able to be recreated.  However, last week I was able to recreate one of the things I miss, the cinnamon sugar mini donuts that we’d buy at the Mill City Farmer’s Market.

Mill City Farmer’s Market – Rooster and My Girl – July 2007

We were there  the summer the market started and went most Saturday mornings throughout the summers.  Each week we’d pick up produce and a little brown sack of freshly fried cinnamon sugar mini donuts made by the pastry chef at Spoonriver Restaurant.  The grease would stain the bag.  The cinnamon sugar topping would coat our fingers.  We’d hope for a number of donuts that was divisible by 3 so we’d all get an equal amount.  It was greatness.

These donuts are not mini (although the could be if you had a mini-donut pan).  They are not fried.  They are not made by a pastry chef and sold on the banks of the Mississippi next to the Guthrie Theater.  Still, for coming out a home kitchen in San Antonio, they aren’t so bad.  Just wish I could eat them with some of my MN friends.  Only not during the winter.  Minnesota winters are the one thing I do not miss.

Baked Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

1 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp salt
3/4 c buttermilk
2 eggs
1/4 c honey
1 Tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla

2 Tbsp melted butter – for topping application

Cinnamon Sugar Topping (mix together):

1/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon


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, eggs, honey, butter 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.

7.  While donuts are still warm, brush melted butter over donuts and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.

8.  Enjoy.

Happy Friday everyone!  Hope you have a great weekend.