Banana Oat Pancakes (*Gluten free )

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oat banana pancake

Hello friends!   What a summer so far!  We just returned from almost a month in Utah visiting family and friends.  It was so wonderful–we loved every minute–but I must say it is nice to be back home too!  I am slowly getting back into the swing of things.  I had a HUGE amount of weeds to contend with but I am happy to report after hours of labor and a load of fresh mulch, that  I have won that battle for now.  Phew!  Now for catching up on the blog.  I have missed you!  I keep promising to post more and I do have the best intentions, but then life gets busy and my computers have been misbehaving terribly, which makes posting very time consuming and frustrating.  My laptop is the worst, I have given up on using it now and my PC has its own set of issues–grr!  I think a trip to Best Buy is in order.  Do you have a favorite laptop that you would recommend?  I would love to get your opinions.  It is time for a new one, for sure.

Anyway–let me tell you about these absolutely delicious pancakes.  My sweet friend Kimberly gave me this recipe and we LOVE it.  I especially love that I can easily make it gluten free if I use certified gluten free oats.  This recipe comes together quick and is a very healthy alternative to your regular pancakes.  You can easily change it up by sprinkling cranberries, blueberries, pecans, apple slices, coconut, chocolate chips etc onto the poured batter on the hot skillet.  So fun and so good!  ENJOY!!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Banana Oat Pancakes (*Gluten free )
*You can purchase oats/oat flour that is certified gluten free--using this will insure the pancakes are gluten free. Regular oats test positive for gluten. **oat flour can be make by blending oats in your blander until smooth flour is formed.
  • 2 bananas
  • 1½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 TB oil (coconut or grapeseed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups oat flour **
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  1. Place all wet ingredients in blender (I use the Blendtec) and blend to combine.
  2. Add dry ingreients to the wet ingredients in the blender and blend on high for 1 minute
  3. Pour a small amount of batter onto hot nonstick pan or griddle (butter or oil if desired)--turn when full of bubbles. Cook until golden brown. Enjoy

Butter Pecan Sweet Potatoes

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Well hello again!  I have happy news for you!  First of all I have some very tasty recipes to share over the next couple weeks–yes I am back to regular posting again, promise!  BUT the really happy news is that I have a very talented person creating a new design  for The Sisters Café!  What I have seen so far is awesome!  It will be very nice and much easier to use too!  Stay tuned:)  I am excited!

Well I have had a very eventful last couple of weeks–thus the lack of posts!  The biggest event was my 40th birthday.  I guess you really aren’t supposed to announce your old age to people–but o well,  I am among friends here:)  Anyway, my Mom and sweet sisters all surprised me and flew across the country to help me celebrate!  I had no idea and was absolutely shocked to see these women that I love and miss so much all seated at the table of a restaurant for what I thought was just a little dinner date with my husband.  I think my heart stopped for a minute as the realization hit me–It will go down as my best birthday ever!!  We had a Sisters reunion!  Just our sweet Mom and us girls, no kids( except for new baby Ririe–so fun to finally meet her) or husbands or responsibilities.  It was HEAVENLY!  Tomorrow I will post more about our fun in Chattanooga at Melandboys here.


And of course while we were together we made some yummy food in my kitchen.  These sweet potatoes were one of the dishes we tried and all LOVED!  I have  a few others to share too, including a pineapple salsa we served with grilled fish and some divine homemade (all natural) Peanut Butter Cups!  YUM!  But first lets focus on these amazing sweet potatoes.  They are wonderful!  Something about the sweet topping with the hint of spice from the cayenne just puts them over the top!  It is making my mouth water now!  Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!


5.0 from 1 reviews
Butter Pecan Sweet Potatoes
Recipe type: Dessert
Recipe Source: Martha Stewart
  • 8 medium sweet potatoes (5 lbs.), or one per person
  • coconut or olive oil
  • course salt
  • 2 T. butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 T. light brown sugar
  • ⅓ c. chopped pecans
  • ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel potatoes and halve lengthwise; slice crosswise ¼- 1/2 inch thick.
  3. On a baking sheet, toss potatoes with coconut or olive oil (we brush it on both sides); season with salt.
  4. Transfer half the potatoes to a second baking sheet; cook both sheets until potatoes are tender, tossing occasionally, 25-30 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with butter, brown sugar, pecan pieces and cayenne pepper, dividing evenly.
  6. Bake until sugar is carmelized and hard, about 10 minutes.
  7. Toss gently; serve immediately. Serves 8.


Oatmeal and Brown Sugar Muffins

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Is your life as crazy as mine with the wrapping up of another school year?  It is so fun, but exhausting too!  I guess it makes you ready for summer all the more:)  I can’t wait!  Now to these delightful muffins…simple, quick and tasty!  Really you can’t ask for more sometimes!  I am finding these to be my go to muffin for breakfast, to add to dinner or a sweet after school snack!  My boys LOVE them and so do I.  I love that the ingredients are always on hand in my kitchen and they come together quick and easy!  I think we will be enjoying these for years to come!

Oatmeal and Brown Sugar Muffins
Recipe source: 5Boys Baker
  • 1¾ cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup honey
  • Extra brown sugar for sprinkling
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line 12 muffin cups with liner or spray with vegetable spray.
  3. Mix oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.
  4. Set aside. In a medium-size bowl, whisk egg, butter, buttermilk, and honey until well blended. Pour liquid over dry mixture and fold in with rubber spatula just until combined.
  5. Don’t overmix.
  6. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin tin.
  7. Sprinkle the tops of each with brown sugar.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.


Cinco de Mayo Menu Suggestions

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sizzling chicken fajita salad

I get excited about Cinco de Mayo–I think it is my love for Mexican food!  It gives me the perfect excuse to bust out a big bag of tortilla chips and make fresh pico de gallo and guacomle!  YUM!  This year,  I am going to serve Burrito Bowls, but we have LOTS of yummy options…

Just a few Suggestions:

Honey Lime Enchiladas  (always a HUGE hit!)

Chili’s Classic Fajitas

Café Rio inspired sweet Barbacoa Pork Salad/ Burritos

Sizzling Chicken Fajita Salad


Don’t forget dessert:

Tres Leche Cupcakes   (these are Uh-mazing!!)

Coconut Tres Leche Cake (if you are a fan of coconut–you will LOVE this!!)

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake (OK it is originally posted as Picnic cake–but if you add the optional cinnamon-it tastes just like Mexican hot chocolate–so yummy!!)

I hope you have a wonderful Cinco de Mayo!  There are plenty more recipes that work for a great menu tonight. Just look through the recipe index or use the search box on the right hand side for other options!



Lemon Bread

lemon bread
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lemon bread

Hello friends!  Are you enjoying Spring? We are here in Tennessee!  Here the world is a million shades of green, with blossoms everywhere you turn. I love it  We are currently putting in a swimming pool in our backyard and my boys are so excited!  Its been fun to watch the progress everyday.  In my opinion it is still too cold to swim, but that hasn’t stopped my boys from swimming almost everyday!  They are crazy!! The summer heat and humidity will be here soon enough and then I will be happy to join them:)  With all the construction going on in my backyard and baseball season in full swing (that is 6 games a week for our household of boys)  I have been so busy, that posting  has been pushed to the back burner!  I am determined to squeeze in the time to post more though, I  have several really delicious recipes to share with you!  First up is this sunshiny Lemon Bread–such a classic treat for this time of year!   I have been making this recipe for years and love it every time.  All of the called for ingredients are almost always available in my kitchen, making it quick and easy to make.  This sweet and tangy  bread is just perfect for Spring and it freezes very well to save for summer!  Hope you enjoy!

Need a little inspiration? –I shared a fantastic video here on Melandboys.

Lemon Bread
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup butter (softened to room temperature)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • Glaze
  • 4 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a bowl combine the sugar, eggs, butter, milk and lemon zest.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. I like to squeeze a little lemon juice into the batter, maybe a tablespoon or two.
  5. Bake in 2 8x4 inch greased and floured pans at 40-50 minutes.
  6. Glaze: Mix freshly squeezed lemon juice with powdered sugar.
  7. When you take the bread out of the oven let the glaze drip and drizzle over the loaves.
  8. If you want you can poke holes in the top first.


Chipotle Marinade

chipotle marinade
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chipotle marinade

This recipe has totally got me dreaming of summer time and “cookouts” as they call it here in the South.  Out west we said BBQ but here that is the type of meat not the event.  It is so funny how different parts of the country have their own way of talking, huh?!  Let me tell you though, anyway you say it this marinade is the BEST for when you are ready to use the grill!  We used it for tacos and some quesidillas and salad a couple nights later.  I am going to be using this recipe a lot this summer, I am sure of it!   Tacos, Burrito Bowls, Salads, Quesidillas…mmmm.  Be sure to make some Pico de Gallo and guacamole to go with it!  Seriously YUM!

In other cooking news…last weekend I helped a couple of cute boys ask girls to prom using  giant cookies.  It was so fun! I shared how they did it here.   The finished product turned out so cute!

chiptole marinade 2

Chipotle Marinade
Recipe Source: Summer Harms
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup minced garlic
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup tabasco chipotle sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  1. Heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 15 seconds--do not burn the garlic!
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining ingredients.
  4. Return to heat and bring to a boil.
  5. Cool down and pour over meat to marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
  6. Grill when it's taco time:)

Baby Onesie Sugar Cookies

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I recently hosted a baby shower for a dear friend who is having her 4th boy!  4 (or 5) sons is pretty special and deserves a special celebration, don’t you think?!  Actually, I think all babies deserve a celebration whether they are the first or one of many!  Parties are fun and I say the more the better:)   I had a great time making these sweet little onesie cookies but they really made me miss my babies.  How do they grow so darn fast?!  I can’t believe that I did it 5 times!  I had 5 sweet little onesie clad boys and it went by in a blink of the eye. I miss those little guys but I do love the young men they have turned into:)  OK back to the recipe… so I used my FAVORITE sugar cookie recipe that I have posted before.   I will repost the recipe here for your convenience:)  It is the best recipe because it actually tastes good! I am not a fan of those darling decorated cookies that are fun to look at but do not belong in your mouth!  I think royal icing is yucky.  This icing hardens up pretty good, similar to royal icing but it tastes fantastic too!  Cookies should be good in my opinion!

I ordered my onesie cookie cutter here on Amazon.  I wrapped them in little cellophane bags to give to each of my guests as they were leaving.  Sweet and tastey to boot

Baby Onesie Sugar Cookie 2

Baby Onesie Sugar Cookies
Serves: 24
Powdered Sugar Glaze: This frosting will harden upon standing, giving cookies a glazed surface. **To give the glazed look ...simply outline the cookies with some frosting in a tube or pastry bag. Then add a bit of milk to a portion of the frosting and fill in the lines. I use a toothpick to "push it" into the corners. Let is set up somewhat and then add any decorative writing or accents. Be sure to let the icing dry for a couple of hours before trying to wrap in bags. Enjoy!
  • Cookie Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 t. almond extract
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 ½ c. sifted flour
  • Powdered Sugar Glaze Ingredients:
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • ¼-1/2 tsp almond extract
  • Food coloring optional
  1. Cream butter.
  2. Add powdered sugar.
  3. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour.
  4. Chill dough until firm.
  5. Roll to ¼” thickness on well-floured surface.
  6. Cut with cookie cutters.
  7. Place on greased cookie sheets.
  8. Bake at 375° for 8-10 min.
  9. Cookies should not brown.
  10. Frost and decorate when cool.
  11. Yields ~approx 2 dozen cookies.
  12. Powdered Sugar Glaze: This frosting will harden upon standing, giving cookies a glazed surface.
  13. Directions In small mixer bowl, combine the powdered sugar, milk, butter, and extract. Beat at medium speed until smooth, adding additional milk, if necessary, to reach the desired spreading or “flooding” consistency. Color with food coloring, if desired
  14. **To give the glazed look ...simply outline the cookies with some frosting in a tube or pastry bag. Then add a bit of milk to a portion of the frosting and fill in the lines. I use a toothpick to "push it" into the corners. Let is set up somewhat and then add any decorative writing or accents.
  15. Be sure to let the icing dry for a couple of hours before trying to wrap in bags. Enjoy!


Pulled Pork with Cilantro Coleslaw

Cilantro Coleslaw
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My Mom shared this fabulous recipe with me last week after she had it at a church function and as you can see, I wasted no time in trying it out on my family!  She was right…it was fabulous, I am not kidding!  This sandwich is  soo good!!!  We loved it!  This coleslaw is creamy and surprisingly NOT sweet like so many other recipes.  It seemed to balance the tangy BBQ pork perfectly!  This dinner was a hit and it couldn’t have been easier to make!  My kind of dinner!  I can see why they served it for a church function. It would be really easy to prepare this recipe for a large group!  I guess I am getting antsy for summer,  I am already planning a backyard pool party with this sandwich in mind!  Now if only the weather would cooperate!  Today we had flurries–ugh!!  Crazy spring weather!  How is it in your neck of the woods?

Pulled Pork with Cilantro Coleslaw
Recipe Source: My Mom via Kelsey A.
  • Cilantro Coleslaw Ingredients
  • ½ cabbage sliced OR you can use 1 small bag of coleslaw mix (that is what is pictured)
  • ¼ c cilantro chopped
  • ½ c sour cream
  • 2 T vinegar
  • 1T water
  • ½ t salt and pepper
  1. Pulled Pork
  2. There are lots of ways to make pulled pork. I like to use a Pork Butt (shoulder) roast with some fat on the bottom, but a tenderloin was used in the above picture and it worked great! The key is slow roasting. I like my crockpot or stoneware baker for creating pulled pork. Here is what I do:
  3. Season your pork--try Montreal Seasoning or just some salt and pepper
  4. Place in crockpot (or heavy pan or stoneware baker) with about a cup of water (or I use chicken broth)
  5. It using crockpot cook on low for 6-8 or high for 4-5. If using the oven--bake at 300 for 3-4 hours, depending on the size of meat you use. Cook until is can be shredded. Drain off the excess liquid if there is any and remove any fat. Once you shred it, add your favorite BBQ sauce. We like Sweet Baby Rays. YUM!
  6. Mix sour cream vinegar, water, salt and pepper.
  7. Pour over cabbage and mix well.
  8. Serve a scoop of the coleslaw over the BBQ sauce smothered pulled pork in split bun. Enjoy!



Peanut Butter Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies

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For some reason, I have been making cookies a lot  this winter!  The cooler weather just puts me in the mood to bake.  I know that soon enough it will be so hot here in the South that the desire to bake will not be so strong!  I am sure they won’t last for long, but right now, my freezer is full of several different kinds of cookies (gluten free too)!  Perfect  for my boys school lunches, snacks and all of those  events that someone is in charge of bringing a treat to!  My children always seem to spring that one on me at the last minute!   Silly boys!  At least now they are in luck–since I can whip these babies out of the freezer!  And let me tell you –these cookies are a hit especially if you love anything with peanut butter in it, like us!   I am thinking instead of white chocolate chips, next time I will try chocolate ones for a classic PB and Chocolate combo.  Really you can’t go wrong with this recipe, I am sure!

Life has been so busy but I am finally back to posting here and on my other blog Melandboys too.  I have some yummy recipes and fun posts scheduled:)

Peanut Butter Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies
Recipe Source: Peanut Butter Comfort Cookbook via 5 Boys Baker
  • ½ cup butter
  • ⅓ cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ cup white chocolate chips
  • ½ cup peanut butter chips (I left these out--but I am sure they would be good)
  1. In a medium In a medium-sized microwave safe bowl, melt the butter for about one minute, add the peanut butter and cook for 30 more seconds. Stir until mixture is smoother and combined.
  2. Add the brown & white sugar to the melted butter & peanut butter mixture and stir. Set aside to cool for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the egg, yolk and vanilla and whisk until smooth and combined.
  4. Add the flour, oats, baking soda and salt and stir until combined. Fold in the white chocolate chips and peanut butter chips and stir. Place dough in the refrigerator and chill for at least two hours or overnight.
  5. After dough as chilled, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using a small cookie scoop, form balls and drop onto silpat or parchment lined baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Flatten the mounds slightly with your finger.
  6. Bake 9 to 11 minutes. The bottoms will have set, yet the tops will look quite under-done. That’s ok, don’t over bake because they will set up more while cooking. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheets for at least 10 minutes or until they have firmed up.

Crispy Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free)

crispy almond chocolate chip cookies
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Happy Thursday everyone!  How is your week going?  This week has been a crazy one for us here in the South!  We got pounded by 8 inches of snow, but it is melting fast with warmer temps on their way–thank heavens!  Although my boys have loved every minute of this stormy weather!  The kids are going on their 3rd day of no school, giving us lots of time to do some baking!  These cookies are fantastic–light, crispy and melt in your mouth!  I have been so excited to share this recipe with you, because honestly they are so good that even if you are not gluten free you would still LOVE them!  I have 2 boys with Celiac disease, but the rest of us really like them too, even my husband (which is really saying something).  I am feeling good about the fact that they are much healthier than your average run of the mill chocolate chip cookie.  By the way, these freeze perfectly!

Crispy Almond chocolate Chip Cookies

Crispy Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free)
Recipe Source: Summer Harms *You can buy almond flour/meal, but to make it yourself simply put raw almonds (blanched or without the skins will be a lighter color, but it doesn't really matter) in a food processor until they were very fine.
  • ½ cup softened coconut oil (or palm shortening)
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar (I use regular brown sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup almond flour or meal*, toasted (at 350º for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly golden)
  • ¼ cup brown rice flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350º.
  2. Toast almond meal.
  3. In a small bowl, cream the soft coconut oil and sugar until smooth and light in color.
  4. Stir in the cocoa powder, egg, and vanilla until well combined. In a separate bowl, sift together the toasted almond meal, rice flour, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add this to the wet ingredients and just before the mixture all comes together, add the chocolate chips.
  6. Stir until well combined.
  7. Place spoonfuls of dough on a cookie sheet lined with 2 sheets of parchment paper.
  8. Leave 2 to 3 inches of space around each cookie because they spread.
  9. cookies per baking sheet works perfectly.
  10. Bake at 350º for 9-11 minutes, or until just golden around the edges and center is still a bit unset. Cool for a minute, and enjoy!! They freeze very well , but you must eat a couple of them warm:) YUM!!


Lumberjack Chili

lumberjack chili
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lumberjack chili

My friend Stephanie shared this chili recipe with me and my family LOVES it!!  The name seriously bumps it up a notch…what boy wouldn’t be excited to eat “lumberjack” chili?!  It sounds so manly!  So much better than plain old chili, right?  Kids are so funny:)  Let me tell you though, even without the cool name this chili is fantastic!  This recipe has no sugar in it or ketchup, making it less sweet and more savory.  I like to use a combination of ground beef and ground pork and we prefer smaller beans like chili beans or pintos instead of Kidney.  Such a great hearty chili recipe for a cold winter night and so nice to be able to throw it in the crockpot if you want!

Lumberjack Chili
Recipe Source: slightly adapted from Cooking with Ruthie *if you don't want to use your slow cooker. Simply follow instructions but put in large pot on the stove and simmer covered for 1 hour or so until all the flavor meld and veggies are soft. Stir occasionally and serve!
  • 2 pounds of ground beef (or ½ ground pork)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 (46 oz) can tomato juice
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 (15 oz) cans red kidney beans or chili or pinto beans (or a mix)
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • Garnish:
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • frito corn chips
  1. Saute onions and beef/pork, drain well.
  2. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.
  3. Cook for 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
  4. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and frito corn chips.
  5. Enjoy!


Reeses Pieces Peanut Butter Cookies

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Oh my goodness these cookies are good!  Just looking at this picture makes me want to run to the kitchen and whip up another batch!  I think I would too, if I had any more Reeses Pieces, but it may be awhile before I can get some! Have you heard we got 2 inches of snow and the South is pretty much shut down now? After living in Utah for 12 years, it is a new experience for us.   I wrote about it on my other blog here.  Although the kids love it, this white stuff causes all kinds of problems here in the deep South!  School always gets cancelled in a hurry and if you have no where to go, it is pretty darn fun!  We have baked cookies, drank lots of hot cocoa and gotten the most fun possible out of our little bit of snow! In fact, school is closed again today so I am off to try a new cookie recipe with my boys…crispy oatmeal with cinnamon chips!  I will let you know if they are good!  Hope you are all staying warm and enjoying this last week of January!

PS You know I have 2 gluten free boys, but I cheated and just added Reease’s pieces to a GF dough that I already had for them.  I will work on a creating a GF version of this recipe soon though!

plate of cookies


Reeses Pieces Peanut Butter Cookies
Recipe Source: Just slightly adapted from 5Boys Baker. These cookies were a favorite of mine years ago but I think must have lost the recipe and forgot about them. Thanks Jodi for reminding me about these awesome cookies! They are back up there on the favorites list for sure!!
  • 1 stick butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ sugar
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 cup mini Reese’s pieces ( or regular if you can't find minis like me)
  • ½ cup milk chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add peanut butter, egg and vanilla and continue beating until creamy.
  2. Add baking soda, salt and flour. Mix until well combined. Add chocolate chips and mix on low until chips are mixed in. Gently stir in Reese’s pieces.
  3. Using a cookie scoop, scoop cookie dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat liner. Bake for 8-9 minutes. Don’t overbake, they will look undercooked when you take them out. Allow them to rest on cookie sheet for about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.



Hasbrown Breakfast Casserole

Hasbrown Breakfast Casserole
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This morning I made this dish for ‘The Happy Cart” (treats for the teachers that we take from room to room–today was a brunch theme), and realized that I had not every posted this favorite of mine!  This is a super easy, and delicious breakfast casserole.  You can add whatever veggies/meat/ cheese  you want to suit your mood and what you have on hand.  This is a staple at our house, since it is also gluten free.  It can also be prepared the night before and go straight from the fridge to the oven in the morning.  This morning I made it with ham, sweet bell peppers, onion, and cheddar cheese.  The teachers loved it!  I made a second one for my family and they loved it too!

Speaking of appreciation, I wrote about the importance of writing thank you notes here today.  I think it is so important, especially in this day in age where texting or emails are easier.  I am trying very hard to get the habit instilled in my boys.  How do you get your kids to write thank you notes?  I would love to hear how you do it!

Hasbrown Breakfast Casserole
*This is one of those recipes that you can add to and change to fit your needs and tastes. You really can't go wrong:) **If making ahead of time and storing in the fridge, be sure to add extra 15-20 minutes to the baking time **To save time you can put the thawed hashbrowns in the greased baking dish and bake in a 425 oven for about 15 minutes and then continue the recipe. This will cut some time off of baking depending on your oven and the ingredients you decide to use. So then bake 35-45 minutes covered and another 10-15 uncovered.
  • ¾ (16 ounce) package frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 10 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup vegetables of choice (chopped sweet bell pepper, broccoli, canned chopped chilis)
  • 1 pound of bacon, cooked and crumbled, or cooked and crumbled sausage, or diced ham
  • 2-3 cups grated cheese of choice
  • ½- 1 tsp salt (depending on how salty the meat is you are using)
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • Fresh chopped parsley--couple tablespoons for the top
  1. First grease a 9x13 pan or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Layer the hashbrowns, then the meat and veggies of choice.
  3. Sometimes I like to sauté the onion and veggies in a little butter or olive oil beforehand but you don't need to.
  4. In a separate bowl combine the eggs, milk, salt and pepper and cheese.
  5. Mix together well and pour over the hashbrowns, veggies and meat.
  6. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.
  7. Cover with foil.
  8. At this point you can put it in the oven or save it in the fridge.
  9. Bake at 350 for 60 minutes and then remove foil and bake for 15 minutes more or until the top is set and golden brown.
  10. Enjoy!

Savory Cream Cheese Spread or Dip

photo (28)
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photo (28)

Happy New Year!  I love this time of year when we start fresh with a clean slate:)  At least that is what I try and do!  I get a new planner, set new goals, and clean up and organize my life.  It feels so good to have things in order.  To kick off the new year on Melandboys, I am sharing a job chart system that really works!  More on that here.  What are you doing to kick off the new year?

I have had some requests for this spread that I created for a friend’s wedding reception last month.   It is so easy to make and really tasty too!  It has helped us keep one of our New Years resolutions to eat more veggies!  We also love to spread it on crackers or baguettes, bagels, sandwiches, and even add it at the very end to scrambled eggs!    Enjoy!


Savory Cream Cheese Spread or Dip
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 TB milk, or half and half ( you can add more if you are using as dip)
  • 2-3 TB packed fresh green onions, sliced thin or minced
  • ½ tsp garlic salt (or just a good shake of the bottle:)
  • ¼ -1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (fresh--NOT the stuff in the canister)
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. I use my kitchen aid, any stand mixer or hand held electric beaters would work too.
  2. Mix until well incorporated.
  3. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Some Favorites of 2013

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Happy New Years Eve!  I thought it would be fun to go back and spotlight some of my (Melanie’s) favorite posts from each Month of 2013! It was so fun to look back  through all the yummy recipes, and it was hard to choose just one…but here you go!

pretzel rolls

 January : Pretzel Rolls


 February: Homemade Caramel Sauce

Thai Coconut Lime Soup

March: Thai Coconut Lime Soup

Chocolate Chip Lava Cookie

April:  Chocolate Chip Lava Cookies


May:  Quinoa and Vegetable Stir Fry

sizzling chicken fajita salad

June:  Sizzling Chicken Fajita Salad

Homemade JDAWG Sauce

July:  Homemade J Dawgs Sauce


August:  Nacho Cheese Sauce (without Velvetta!)


September:  Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

Spooky Spider Nest Dip

October: Spooky Spider 7 Layer Dip

Pumpkin Spice Cake

November:  Pumpkin Spice Cake with Buttercream Drizzle

flourless chocolate torte

December:  Flourless Chocolate Torte

Chipotle and Rosemary Spiced Nuts

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year friends!  Are you enjoying the holidays so far?  I hope so!  I am sorry we have not posted as much as usual….we have all been so busy this last month.  You know how it is, I am sure!  Busy or not, I just couldn’t wait another minute to share these nuts with you!  You really need to try them before the holidays are over.  They are very easy to make and would be a perfect treat to add to your table for New Years!  My sweet friend Wendy introduced me to these amazing roasted nuts and I am hooked!  They have such incredible flavors that are quite intriguing!  The first time I had them, I kept going back for more, trying to figure out all the wonderful flavors I was tasting!  Sweet and spicy, these unique nuts are  the perfect holiday treat to share!  And gluten free!  YUM!


Chipotle and Rosemary Spiced Nuts
Recipe Source: I got this recipe from my friend Wendy--after a little research, it looks like it is originally an Ina Garten Recipe.
  • 3 c whole roasted unsalted cashews
  • 2 c whole walnut halves
  • 2 c whole pecan halves
  • ½ c whole almonds
  • ⅓ c pure maple syrup
  • ¼ c light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3 T freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 t ground chipotle powder
  • 4T minced fresh rosemary leaves, divided
  • vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Brush sheet pan generously with vegetable oil.
  3. In a large bowl combine all nuts, 2 T vegetable oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, orange juice and chipotle powder.
  4. Toss nuts so they are evenly coated.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons rosemary and some salt and continue to toss.
  6. Spread nuts on an 11x17 cookie sheet.
  7. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times with a metal spatula.
  8. Remove and add 2 T rosemary, 2 tsp salt and toss again.
  9. Stir occasionally until cooled.

Eggnog Muffins

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I love this time of year with all the twinkling lights, yummy food and awesome Christmas music that is constantly on repeat in our house!  Yesterday I made these eggnog muffins and my family LOVED them! They were amazing–melt in your mouth good!  I think they would be perfect for Christmas morning or really any time this holiday season.  They come together quickly and taste so good.  Sweet and moist with the perfect touch of eggnog!  I have to admit that I couldn’t wait and tried one without the glaze, fresh out of the oven with a little butter….oh my it was perfect!!  I think I may like them better without the glaze (although it was great that way too!).  So if you are looking to cut down on the sweetness you can get away with no glaze.  They are just a fantastic muffin!

I posted our all time favorite songs that are currently on our Christmas playlist here at Melandboys.  Do you have any favorites that we are missing?  I would love to add some new tunes to the rotation this year!  Please share! xo

eggnog Muffins

Eggnog Muffins
Recipe Source: Motherthyme
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup eggnog
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup white granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • (Eggnog Glaze)1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons eggnog
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners or spray with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.
  4. In a large bowl whisk eggnog, vegetable oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla.
  5. Gradually stir wet ingredients into dry until combined.
  6. Pour batter about ⅔ full into each muffin tin.
  7. Bake for 14-16 minutes until cake tester comes out clean and muffins are firm on top.
  8. Cool for about 5 minutes in pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Eggnog Glaze
  10. In a medium bowl stir confectioners sugar and gradually add milk until mixture is thick yet can run off a spoon easily.
  11. Dip tops of muffins in glaze and set back on wire rack until set.
  12. Store in an airtight container.

Kids in the Kitchen: Christmas Tree-ts

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Hello friends!  How was your Thanksgiving?  Ours was great!  And we have wasted no time in getting up our Christmas tree and holiday décor.  I love this time of year!!  I will update the sidebar in the next day or two with lots of our most favorite holiday recipes.  I wanted to start off the season with these adorable little Christmas trees.  They make the perfect holiday treat for little ones. They are easy to prepare, so fun to make and relatively healthy:)  Perfect for class parties or after school snacks!  You will find these are  a big hit!  Children LOVE “decorating” their own little trees.  Yum!

Kids in the Kitchen: Christmas Tree-ts
  • Green Apple Sliced thin
  • Tootsie rolls, unwrapped
  • Cheese cut into a star with the tip of a knife
  • fruit loops cereal
  1. Lay apples on a plate to form a tree (three to a side--see picture)
  2. Lay Star on top, tootsie roll at the bottom for the stump and decorate with fruit loops for ornaments. Enjoy!!