the best corn muffins


the best corn muffinsI know it’s a bit bold to say that these are the best corn muffins, but in my humble opinion they are. I’ve sampled many corn muffins over the years, and these bad boys are basically what a corn muffin should taste like. They’re moist, a bit sweet and savory and have a nice texture and crunch from the cornmeal. They also brown up perfectly. I mean take a look at the above muffin, it’s nicely browned on the top and the bottom, perfection!

Another reason I declare these the best corn muffins is that they’re SO easy to whip up, I mean they are virtually foolproof. They take 10 minutes to prep and 15 minutes to cook, (25 minutes total) so they’re really just as easy to whip up as the boxed  version, and taste SO much better.  I also love that these muffins are made with basic pantry ingredients, so it’s likely that you will have everything you need on hand to whip these up (besides maybe the cornmeal).

So, if you’re looking for the perfect corn muffin to accompany your favorite soup or chili, or to serve up for breakfast paired with some butter and jam, give these muffins a try. I whipped up a batch of these for kids last week as an afternoon snack, and they were VERY happy campers. I think next I’m going to live on the edge try making a batch of these in my cast-iron skillet!  Oh yeah, just put that skillet on the table and dig in!

the best corn muffins… 

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almond flour pancakes

almond flour pancakes

almond flour pancakesOh my gosh, these pancakes are my newest breakfast obsession, (alongside my overnight steel-cut oats and my 5-minute hot quinoa cereal) and that’s strange coming from a gal who has never been a huge fan of pancakes.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the taste of pancakes, but I always felt like they were a breakfast indulgence and not the sort of breakfast that would provide me with fuel or the power needed for a trail run or long mountain bike ride. Also for some reason, pancakes totally zapped me of energy.  I would eat a pile of pancakes and within an hour I would want to take a nap?  Weird right?  Well, all of that changed when I tried these pancakes, not only are they a guilt-free breakfast treat, but they are packed with fuel to keep you going for hours.

A friend of mine surprised me with these for breakfast one morning before we were to head out for mountain bike ride.  I was a bit skeptical and nervous that I was not going to have any fuel to power up the mountain, and that I would fall flat within an hour, but you know what, I tore up the mountain and had energy to boot.  I was also full for hours, which is very rare for me because I’m a gal who eats a meal every 3 hours.

These are pancakes that you don’t have to feel guilty about eating because they’re made with almond flour, (which is basically ground up almonds) honey for the sweetener and coconut oil as a substitute for butter or vegetable oil.  They’re also lower in carbs than traditional pancakes, and gluten and dairy free as they’re made with almond flour and almond milk. Top these with some plain Greek yogurt, toasted almonds, fresh fruit and you have yourself one power house of a breakfast that not only tastes great, but will give you the fuel to power through your day.

almond flour pancakes… 

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ham and gruyere stuffed french toast

ham and gruyere stuffed french toast

ham and gruyere stuffed french toastEaster is just around the corner and this ham and gruyere stuffed french toast is the perfect entrée for Easter brunch or dinner.  Actually in my opinion, this stuffed toast is good anytime of year and anytime of day. I baked this up the other night for dinner and it was amazing, and needless to say it got the double thumbs up from both of the kids. Eli was literally licking his plate, of course he slathered his piece with maple syrup, but he was still licking his plate, and that makes any mom happy. Sometimes breakfast for dinner is the best!  This french toast is perfect for those that like a sweet and savory combination. To get the sweet, you just add some maple syrup.  I love the sweet and savory combination for breakfast or brunch, but for dinner I tend to omit the maple syrup and go for more of the savory route.  Eli on the other hand likes the maple syrup on all occasions.


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quinoa snack bars

quinoa snack bars

quinoa snack barsSo, I will confess to you all that I haven’t been cooking up any new recipes this past month, total lazy mama here.  Hey, I’ve been trying to juggle my new full-time job, crazy kid’s schedules and basically life in general, and at the end of the day I just want to come home and whip up something quick and easy, but nutritious as the same time. I’m seriously so happy that I created this blog because all I have been doing is cooking from it this past month. Yep, Marin mama is totally cooking from her blog.

I’ve come to realize that I initially created this blog to share my favorite recipes with friends, but in the end I think I actually created this blog for me, because I’ve come to rely on it so much for easy, healthy and tasty weeknight meals.  I’ve been digging into my old archives and finding recipes that I had forgotten about, but totally love!  You’ve all been super supportive lately with my limited posting, and I’m receiving so many emails from those of you that have gone back into my recipe archives and made something and loved it!  I know lately I’ve pretty much been just posting quinoa and uber healthy recipes, but for those of you that are looking for some tasty family friendly savory recipes, I have some recipes in the work. I’m looking to make up an easy skillet rosemary chicken dish this week and plan on serving it up with some sweet potato wedges with a lime yogurt dip. So, I do have some new recipe ideas folks, but I just need the time to cook and photograph the recipes (with some natural light at night please, daylight savings can you any come faster). Ok, enough about me, lets move onto these bars.


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easy overnight steel cut oats

easy overnight steel cut oats with blueberries and honey

easy overnight steel cut oats with blueberries and honeySo most of you know that I was a cereal addict since the age of 17.  I literally ate a bowl of cereal everyday, usually grape nuts topped with some other kind of fiberish cereal and granola. I’m one of those people that wakes up hungry and can’t sit around and wait a 1/2 hour for breakfast to cook, so cereal was the breakfast of choice, or should I say breakfast of convenience. Steel cut oats were reserved for those fancy hotel vacations or breakfast out with the family, as I was under the assumption that steel cut oats were a labor intensive and timely breakfast to whip up. I changed that way of thinking though when I cooked up my hot quinoa and oat cereal for the first time. I learned the trick to a quick breakfast of steel cut oats, and that was to bring them to a quick boil and then let them sit out overnight. I still eat cold cereal on occasion, but lately I have been devouring these steel cut oats, my 5 minute quinoa cereal and my quinoa and oat cereal.  I would have to say that my breakfast routine has changed for the better!

So I’m posting this recipe for those fellow cereal addicts out there as well as those of you that want a quick and nutritious breakfast but were intimidated by the whole steel cut oat cooking process. This is seriously one of the easiest ways to cook up steel cut oats and I bet this will change your morning breakfast routine. So grab your tablet or laptop and join me in the kitchen as we cook up some steel cut oats.easy overnight steel cut oats


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5 minute hot quinoa cereal

5 minute hot quinoa cereal

5 minute hot quinoa cerealOk, here’s another quinoa cereal that I tell you is super simple to whip up, like 5 minute simple. I love my other quinoa and steel-cut oat cereal, but I have to plan ahead the night before in order to make it, and sometimes I just want to wake up and have some hot cereal, like NOW!  I’m not the type of person who likes to fuss a lot when it comes to breakfast.  I like to have my coffee and cereal ready within 10 minutes of waking. That’s just how I roll. I’m finally getting tired of my traditional cold cereal fix (after 20 some years) and have been experimenting with some new hot and healthy (ooh, I really like the sound of that) cereals. I recently saw these quinoa flakes (see below photo) at the grocery store (in the cereal section, next to the oatmeal) and decided to try them. I mean the package said it could be ready in minutes, and that sentence alone sold me.


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hot quinoa and oat cereal with goji berries

hot quinoa and oat cereal with goji berries

hot quinoa and oat cereal with goji berriesMove over grape nuts, there’s a new cereal in town. Seriously, this is by far my newest cereal obsession.  I mean I’m literally OBSESSED!  I’m now substituting my regimented daily bowl of grape nuts for this warm and comforting cereal. This is a big deal folks because I have been eating grape nuts since I was 17.  Yes, it’s the honest to goodness truth, I kid you not. I explain more about my cereal habit/obsession in this old, what I ate last week post.  I’m really just a creature of habit, especially when it comes to my breakfast routine.  I’m a carb junkie and always have been.  I need carbs to get me going in the morning, and eggs or pancakes just don’t cut it.

This is seriously the easiest hot cereal (besides instant) to prepare. What’s even better is that it can be made the night before.  Whoo hoo! All you do is bring the quinoa, oats and goji berries to a boil, then shut off the heat, cover the pot, and let it sit till morning. Overnight the grains absorb the water and cook through perfectly.  All you have to do in the morning is get up (of course) and re-heat the cereal.  I love it because on a cold winter morning, it’s the perfect comfort fuel to start the day.  I love steel-cut oats and to mix them with the protein power and nutrition of quinoa and the antioxidants of goji berries, well you have yourself a breakfast fit for champions.  You could ski for hours or run a half marathon after eating this breakfast concoction.


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pumpkin muffin poppers

pumpkin muffin poppers

pumpkin muffin poppersPinterest is one of my new favorite places to find fun recipes.  I found my favorite heirloom tomato soup there and now these pumpkin poppers!  Pinterest rocks!  When I saw the photo of these muffins, I just had to make them.  They reminded me of my sugar-crusted popovers, and I knew if they tasted anything like those, then they would be a winner.

I have made these 3 times so far and they are gone, like gone, in a heartbeat.  The muffins are unbelievably moist and when you cover them all over with the sugar and cinnamon mixture, you have yourself a killer snack.  They’re crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside.  We’ve been eating them for breakfast, after school with some warm chai tea and even after dinner for dessert.  They are so versatile!


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best ever banana bread

Hey, I’m not claiming this to be the best banana bread ever. Let’s face it, banana bread is banana bread, plain and simple. Paul McCartney gave this title to the bread and I liked it, as reminded me of something a toddler would say, so I kept it.  This banana bread was super moist, and stayed moist before it was consumed.  I loved that it used some whole grain gluten-free flours instead of the traditional white flour, and my kids loved it even though there were no chocolate chips hidden in it.  

Best ever banana bread:

recipe from The Meat Free Monday Cookbook

  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup ground rice flour
  • 1/2 cup cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Superfine sugar (sometimes called baking sugar) is granulated sugar that has been ground into finer crystals than your regular granulated white sugar. Bakers like it because the smaller crystals cream very easily into butter, this leads to products that have a finer crumb and lighter texture when finished.  You can make your own superfine sugar by by processing regular granulated sugar in the food processor until it is very fine. A minute or so is usually more than enough time to process the sugar, and the newly chopped crystals will work just as well in recipes as store-bought superfine sugar. I was to lazy to make my own so I just purchased it.  

Preheat oven 350°F.  Grease a 9×5 loaf pan; set aside.  
Mash the bananas in a small bowl with a fork.
Cream together (with either a hand held mixer, standing mixer or by hand) the butter and superfine sugar until light and fluffy.   I used my handheld mixer.
Beat in the 2 eggs, one at a time.  

Using a rubber spatula, gently stir in the 3 mashed bananas.  

Sift together over a bowl, the 1 cup rice flour, 1/2 cup corn flour, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. 
  Fold the dry ingredients into the mixture until incorporated.  You will be left with a very thick batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.  Smooth the top with a spatula. 
Bake for 1 – 1 ½  hours or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. 
My bread took only 1 hour to bake, so make sure to keep an eye on it.
Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out to cool completely on a wire rack.
Slice up and top the bread with some butter if desired.
This bread is the perfect afternoon tea or breakfast bread.  I paired a slice with some greek  yogurt topped with fresh blueberries and strawberries for breakfast the other morning.  It was a nice break from my grape nuts routine!

blueberry coffee cake


I am so excited today because I am going to Berkeley to meet my blogger friend Em!  Em and I started commenting on each others blogs about 3 months ago and we just clicked.  We actually wrote “real” comments on each other’s blogs instead of the usual, “yum, your dish looks great.”  Em is witty and funny and her posts always give me tons of information as well as a chuckle.  Her blog is full of nutritional facts (as she is a nutritionist) and delicious recipes, check it out here.  Em resides in London but recently moved back to Berkeley to study for a few months.  Perfect timing as far as I’m concerned.  I promise to take pics!  Em, is that OK with you?  You better put something cute on, just kidding.

Anyway lets move onto to this scrumptious recipe.  This is my go-to Easter brunch cake.  I have been making this cake for the past 5 years and it has become an Easter hit!  When I get invited to the Fisher’s for brunch each year, the one request I get is to be sure to bring this cake.  I am beginning to think that it’s actually the cake that is invited to brunch and not me.  Hmmmm….

You don’t have to save this cake for Easter brunch, as it’s a great cake for any occasion.  I often make this up to enjoy on a lazy weekend with a nice strong cup of coffee.  This cake goes quickly so make sure to grab yourself a slice before the crowd dives in.

blueberry coffee cake:

recipe from Celebrate!

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces – You will use 10 tablespoons for the cake. Make sure to place the remaining 2 tablespoons in the fridge till you make the topping.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, picked over, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • Optional – confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Butter a 9-inch springform pan.

Combine the following into a large bowl:

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons cold butterMix up the ingredients with either a pasty blender or an electric mixer until it resembles coarse meal.  

I actually used a pasty blender to break down the butter and then used my electric mixer to combine it all.  Remove 1 cup of this mixture from the bowl and set aside for the topping.Add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder to the remaining mixture in the bowl and stir to combine.

With the mixer running on low, mix in the 3/4 cup buttermilk until combined.
The batter will be a bit thick at this point.Once the buttermilk is combined, add in the egg and the 1 teaspoon vanilla; mix the ingredients together until combined.

Mix the batter for 1 minute on high speed to aerate the batter.

See how much lighter the batter got after adding the egg and vanilla? Fold in the blueberries, using a rubber spatula.Mmmmm, I just love fresh blueberries.Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and use a spatula to flatten the top and make things even.Place the reserved 1 cup topping mixture into a bowl and add the 1/4 cup brown sugar and the 2 remaining tablespoons of cold butter.  Mix with a pastry blender or your fingertips until crumbly.

Tip:  Make sure that you get the 2 tablespoons of butter out from the fridge right before you are going to use it.  You want your butter to be cold for this step.Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the cake batter.Bake the cake until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50-55 minutes.Allow the cake to cook in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

Then carefully remove the sides of the springform pan and place the cake on a serving plate.
Throw on some confectioners’ sugar if you want to make it look fancy.
I usually do this last step, but I forgot to today!   Pour yourself a nice dark cup of coffee, sit back, read the Sunday paper or your favorite blog and just relax!

Bring this coffee cake to any brunch and you will be sure to be invited back!

big dutch baby


Remember on Monday when I told you I went skillet crazy?  Well, this was the first dish I made that day. The big dutch baby, oh yeah! This is one of the easiest pancakes you will ever make. I mean it, it’s so easy, easy peasy! It’s a one-dish pancake and who doesn’t like that?  I’m calling the dutch baby a pancake for simplicity sake, but it’s not really a pancake, it’s less cakey, lighter and spongier.  It actually is more reminiscent of a crepe in its taste and texture. We all like to treat ourselves and kids to a fun breakfast on the weekend but who wants to slave over a stove flipping pancakes, not me. I would rather throw something together, relax with my cup of coffee and let the oven do the work.  Sound good to you?


This is the perfect pancake for sleepovers or any large breakfast gathering. You can serve a lot of people with minimal effort and everyones jaw will drop when you pull this puppy out of the oven.  It’s fun because it rises differently every time, almost like popovers.  Don’t fret when you look in the oven and see this huge monstrosity; it deflates a bit when you take it out of the oven.

The other great thing I love about this breakfast is that the ingredients are basic and you don’t have to bring any eggs or butter to room temperature.  I made my dutch baby in a cast iron skillet but it can be made in any oven-safe dish such as a pie dish, square or rectangular glass baking dish or even a roasting pan.  So you don’t need a cast iron pan in order to make this for breakfast say, TOMORROW!  You are going to make this for breakfast tomorrow, right?  Haven’t I enticed you yet?

big dutch baby:

recipe from Food 52
Serves 2 to 4 – You can double this recipe and break it up into 2 large skillets or half it and
serve it in a smaller pan.  I used my 12-inch cast iron for this recipe.
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole milk or 1 % – I used 1% milk as I did not have whole milk, and it was perfect
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons (half stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

 Below are all the ingredients you will need (see I told you it would be easy)!Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Whisk your two eggs together.  Add the flour, milk and nutmeg to the eggs.  Beat lightly. Leave the batter a little lumpy.  When your oven is preheated, melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet (or oven safe pan of your choice) with a heatproof handle.  When the pan is very hot and the butter is melted, pour in the batter. Put the pancake in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the pancake is golden brown.

Sprinkle with the confectioners’ sugar and return briefly to the oven.
Remove the pancake from the oven and sprinkle with the lemon juice and top with more of the confectioners’ sugar if desired.
The pancake tastes absolutely perfect with just the confectioners’ sugar and lemon, but you can jazz it up a bit by adding any fresh fruit of your choice.  The cool thing about dutch babies is that you can play around with them.  Just serve them up and let people have fun with the toppings.  You can make large ones for people to share, or smaller individually sized ones.  Zoe is not a fan of this with the lemon on top, so I give her a piece before I squeeze the lemon on it.  Eli loves it with the lemon!
If you’re looking for another amazing breakfast treat with a “wow” factor, try these sugar crusted popovers. They will literally melt in your mouth they are sooo good!
Do you have any easy breakfast treats that you would like to share?  If so, feel free to comment and add a link!