Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Want to know what it’s like to have a large family? (And, BTW, after seeing my cousin with her seven kids last week, mine doesn’t seem that big!)

Friday morning I decided to make muffins bright and early, before the kids came downstairs. The recipe ended up making 21 muffins. They aren’t huge muffins, certainly not bakery big, but pretty standard for homemade muffins.

My husband ate one, because I needed him to taste-test, even though he doesn’t usually eat breakfast at home. I am on Whole 30, so no yummy muffins for me.

Then the kids came downstairs. By the time we got them to school. they had eaten ten muffins among the four of them. So that’s 11 gone, 10 still left.

All the muffins were gone by the time my husband got up at 8:30 or so on Saturday morning. I don’t know why I ever make a single batch of anything. (Although if I had made a double batch, I’m sure no one would have liked them. See: Zucchini Muffin Debacle of 2017.)

Obviously these were a big hit in our family, and I’ll be making them again soon!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes

Total Time: 28 minutes

Yield: about 21 muffins

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

Slightly adapted from Money Saving Mom


  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup turbinado (raw) sugar (or regular or brown sugar)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups whole buttermilk*
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened, plain applesauce
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (I used a combo of mini and regular)


Preheat oven to 400F. Line muffin cups with papers or silicone muffin cups.

In a large bowl, whisk together oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl or big mixing cup, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and applesauce. Pour wet ingredients into dry ones and stir until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.

Scoop batter into muffin cups, filling each cup about three-fourths full.

Bake about 18 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and tops are a little brown.

*I think whole (not lowfat or nonfat) buttermilk is the key to super delicious baked goods. I try to keep it on hand for pancakes, biscuits, cakes, and muffins. If you don't have it, you can make buttermilk with milk + lemon juice or vinegar, or just use regular milk. If you use lowfat milk, I might use oil or melted butter instead of applesauce in this recipe.


Apple Cider Braided Bread

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These mini-braided breads make perfect gifts or a lovely addition to brunch.

Braided Apple Cider Bread

I know it’s late in the season for an apple cider recipe, but my ALDI is still carrying it. I am not a big fan of apple juice, but I love apple cider and cider-flavored goods. I combined a few recipes to come up with this beautiful bread that makes a fantastic gift.

I doubled this recipe and had little loaves to give out to my daughter’s supplemental class teachers last week. Homemade bread doesn’t take that much effort, but seems extra special when it is such an anomaly in our culture.



Apple Cider Braided Bread

Yield: Two small or one large loaf


  • 1/2 c. warm water
  • 2 1/4 tsp. bread machine or instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 T. honey
  • 1/2 c. apple cider
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. turbinado or white sugar
  • 3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced finely (optional)
  • for baking
  • milk
  • turbinado sugar


In the bowl for your mixer, stir together warm water, yeast, and honey. Let sit for 10 minutes to proof and become bubbly.

Add apple cider, salt, and sugar and stir.

With mixer on knead setting and using a dough hook, gradually add flour about 1/2-cup at a time. When all is incorporated, also add apple pieces if using. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic; it may still be somewhat sticky, which is fine.

Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with a towel, and let rise for an hour in a warm place.

(You can also make dough in your bread machine on a dough setting.)

After this first rise, divide dough in half. Separate the half into three balls, then roll each ball out into a "snake" about 14 inches long. The strands will shrink; that is fine. Press the strands together at one end, then braid just as if you were braiding hair. Press together and fold under on the other end, then transfer braid to a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Repeat process with second half of dough.

Cover with towels again and let rise for a half-hour.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Remove towels. Brush loaves with milk and then sprinkle with turbanado (raw) sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the loaves sound hollow when tapped.


You can also make this as one larger loaf. Adjust cooking time as necessary.


Layered Lemon Dessert

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I’m a sucker for lemon desserts. Tart and sweet is kind of like chocolate and salty–you can just keep eating its perfection forever. (OK, that’s not necessarily a good thing.)

I came across the recipe this morning on VocalPoint and something in it just screamed, “Make me, Jessie!” I knew all I would need was lemons, so I listened the voice. I am bringing dinner to my Bible-study group tomorrow night and thought it would make a perfect sweet ending. As a somewhat wise cook, however, I also knew I’d better test it before I took a new recipe to a bunch of people I’m just getting to know. Wouldn’t want to poison anyone.


This dessert is like a sponge cake on top and a custard on the bottom. Mmmmm. It’d be even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top to balance out the tart lemon. Maybe I’ll pick up a pint for tomorrow night. (If you’re interested, I’ll also be serving Jo-Lynne’s beef enchiladas and Mexican Corn Dip AKA Magically Delicious Dip according to Amanda.)

I modified the recipe to fit with my whole-foods-hopeful lifestyle. If you use white flour and white sugar, it will probably be a much lighter color.

De-luscious Lemon Cake


  • 3/4 c. sucanat or turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated–let the whites warm to room temperature while you prepare the rest of the recipe
  • 3 T butter, very soft
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (from about 1 lemon–zest before you juice)
  • 3/4 c. lemon juice (from about 3 lemons. Meyer lemons are actually cheaper than regular ones right now, and very flavorful!)
  • 1 1/2 c. milk


Heat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8×8 pan with cooking spray (or butter it, if you’re anti-Pam).

In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks about 1 minute. Stir in butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, and milk. Add sugar mixture and stir together well.

Beat egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer until stiff peaks appear. Add contents of other bowl and mix on medium for a minute or until the batter is smooth.

Pour batter into your prepared pan. Place that pan in a larger dish (like a lasagna pan or roaster) and fill with hot water to about 1 inch up the sides of your cake pan.

Cook for 40-50 minutes or until top is brown and starting to crackle. Serve warm or chilled, preferably with ice cream!


Linked up to Tasty Tuesday & Lemon Recipes at The Happy Housewife.


Slow Cooker Lexington Pork Barbecue

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Mr. V and I are on a search for the best barbecue in Chattanooga. If you have a suggestion, please, do tell! We tried Rib & Loin, which I liked but was not tongue-wagging crazy about. (Oh Jim ‘n Nicks, we miss you already.)

While we search, we’ll be eating this pork barbecue I adapted from Cooking Light for the crockpot. It’s a little spicy, so adjust the amount of cayenne to your taste.

The Best Barbecue Around

Yield: 8-10 servings

Adapted from Cooking Light


  • 2 T turbinado sugar or sucanat
  • 2 T coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 T paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 5-lb bone-in or boneless pork shoulder (Boston Butt)
  • 1 c. cider vinegar
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. olive oil or butter
  • Sauce
  • 1 c. cider vinegar
  • 1/3 c. ketchup
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 2 tsp. sweetener of choice (turbinado sugar, sucanat, maple syrup, etc.)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp.pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper



Mix together sugar, pepper, paprika, salt, and cayenne. Set aside 2 T. Rub remainder into pork. Refrigerate overnight if possible.

In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, water, salt, oil, and 2 T of rub you set aside. Heat until sugar is dissolved.

Place the roast in a large slow cooker. Pour sauce over it and let cook on low 8-10 hours. Shred meat with two forks.


Bring all ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan. Let boil until reduced to 1 1/4 cups–about 5 minutes. Serve over pork.


Photo used with permission of the Flickr Creative Commons License from user Southern Foodways Alliance

Family Recipe Fridays: Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

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While this is not a recipe passed down through my family, it’s a recipe our little family ADORES—as does everyone else who has come into contact with it. I even sold these coffee cakes at the craft sale at our work one year. They are THAT good.

The cream cheese adds a richness to this that many other coffee cakes don’t have. The turbinado (raw) sugar is my person addition. I love the crunch it gives the topping. If you don’t have any, though, and don’t want to buy it, regular white sugar or sucanat will work just fine. The batter for this is VERY thick—so don’t be worried about it when it won’t pour. You’ll just need to spoon it into the pan and smooth the top.


Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Serving Size: 1 slice


  • 1/4 c. butter, softened
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries, unthawed
  • cooking spray
  • 2 T turbinado sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon


Beat butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add the 1 cup sugar. Add egg; beat well.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into butter mixture. Stir in vanilla; fold in berries.

Pour batter into a 9-inch round cake pan sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle top with turbinado sugar and cinnamon.

Bake at 350 F for one hour; cool on a wire rack.


This is versatile: serve for breakfast as coffee cake, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream as dessert! It also freezes very well.



Ingredient Spotlight: Blueberries and Ingredient Spotlight: Cream Cheese and Fruit.