Cinnamon Oatmeal Raisinet Cookies

Cookies!

This past weekend when I was being especially productive, I made a lot of cookies. Baking cookies is the definition of productivity if you didn’t know.

Of the two varieties I made, this being one and the other coming to the blog soon, neither turned out quite the way I expected, but I can’t complain. Expectations are a funny thing. It’s nice to have something to look forward to – a vacation, seeing someone for the first time in awhile, and the important things like eating a homemade cookie… – but when expectations aren’t met, what happens? Disappointment can ensue.

Let me clarify. The cookies were not bad, and I really shouldn’t say I was disappointed, but they were different than what I was originally hoping.

The good: They were full of texture, not overly sweet, and the warm cinnamony flavor (from both ground cinnamon and cinnamon chips) made them perfect to be called a “breakfast cookie” if you so desire.

The bad: What they were lacking were enough Raisinets. I had a box (about 1/2 cup total) of dark chocolate Raisinets and was giddy over the idea of incorporating them into the cookie dough. But I needed MORE! One box was simply not enough to live up to my expectations.

The solution(s): A. From the beginning, expect a cinnamon oatmeal cookie with an occasional dark chocolate raisin surprise or B. Double the amount of Raisinets.

If you chose option B, please let me know how it is.

Once I took a second bite and got over the initial feeling of these not living up to my expectations, I quickly realized what I created was just as good as my original idea.

The moral of the story: let go of expectations and take one step in life (or one bite of cookie) at a time.

…Easier said than done, right?

One day, I’m sure I’ll get around to meeting those Raisinet overload cookies that formed in my head, but until then I have other cookie recipes to tackle. I have a difficult time repeating or trying to re-do a recipe when I have hundreds of others catching my eye.

Cinnamon Oatmeal Raisinet Cookies
(Adapted from Annie’s Eats)

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen small, or 1 dozen large, cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup oats
1/2 cup dark chocolate Raisinets, or other chocolate covered raisins
1/4 cup mini cinnamon chips

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl combine flour, cinnamon and baking soda.
2. In a separate bowl add the butter and beat with a handheld mixer until creamy. Add sugars and beat again until creamy. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until well combined. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two batches, beating on medium-low speed until just incorporated. Add oats and beat again until just combined. Fold in Raisinets and cinnamon chips. Chill in fridge for 20-30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop dough into golf ball size balls and place about two inches apart on a cookie sheet (use silpat mats or spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray).
4. Bake for 16-18 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 5-10 minutes before moving to cooling rack. Enjoy!

July Blog-A-Day #30: Celebrating Two Years with Birthday Cake Oatmeal

Today Counting My Cupcakes celebrates her second birthday. Two years old. Wow, time flies. I still feel like such a beginner most of the time when it comes to blogging. The site has come a long way, but there is also so much room for improvement (obviously). 
Then again, I say that and immediately want to take it back. Why do I feel like there is SO much room for improvement? Well, mostly because I am comparing my blog to other blogs. Other blogs with better pictures, more interesting words, easier site navigation, and infinitely more followers. Some of that may be opinion, but some of that is fact. Either way, I take back my previous statement. 
My blog is beautiful just the way she is and I’m proud of her.I have devoted so much time into this little baby of mine. Sure, things will change over time. I may update the color scheme, redesign the layout, improve my photography skills, or gain (or lose) readership. But that’s life. Things evolve in their own time. 
Thank you to each and every one of you who are reading these words right now. Although I mostly write for me, because it is something I have always enjoyed, I really do love sharing my thoughts with all of you. Whether this is the first post you have ever read or if you have been a loyal reader all along, THANK YOU. 
Happy Birthday to CMC! Here’s to hoping the “terrible twos” don’t apply to the blogosphere 😉
Oh, and that oatmeal up there? I felt like I needed to celebrate the birthday in style. Who says you can’t put sprinkles in your oatmeal? Not me.
Birthday Cake Oatmeal
Makes 1 serving
Ingredients:
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon vanilla protein powder
1/3 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1/3 cup water
1 banana, sliced
1 teaspoon sprinkles
Directions:
1. The night before you want to eat this, combine oats, cinnamon, salt, chia seeds and protein powder in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Add milk and water. Cover bowl and place in fridge overnight. (You don’t have to prepare this overnight, but it helps make the oats thicker!)
2. In the morning, slice the banana and add half of the slices to the oatmeal bowl. Microwave for about 1 minute and 20 seconds. Stir, add remaining banana slices, and microwave about 15-30 seconds longer. Add a splash of milk or water to thin the oatmeal if desired. Top with sprinkles and serve immediately. 

July Blog-A-Day #11: Granola Cookie Wedges

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I am breaking the standard blog-a-day list of prompts I started with in order to feature this recipe. I don’t anyone will object to that, right? I’m still blogging so it still counts.

I was craving a snack and it wasn’t frozen yogurt. Weird.

I scrolled through my Pinterest boards, and rummaged through my fridge and cabinets. I wanted something with texture. I wanted something with chocolate. Most importantly, I wanted something that wouldn’t take much effort and that would come together quickly.

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Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner!

If anything has ever ‘hit the spot,’ this was it.

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In terms of size, the amount this recipe makes falls between my Instant Oatmeal Cookie for One and a normal batch of cookies (like these Cinnamon Oatmeal Raisin Cookies). AKA, the perfect amount for when you have to spend a couple of days as a single girl. A little for a snack here, a little for dessert there, and a little for breakfast the next day. And there won’t be anyone standing in your way. 
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Switching gears now to a completely unrelated note…I’m watching Katy Perry: Part of Me on Netflix. Have you seen it? Oh em geee, I’m loving it. I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of hers, but I do enjoy most of her songs and usually like seeing behind the scenes stuff with celebrities (at least celebrities I’m half interested in). She’s obviously got much different taste and style than I do, but she’s down to earth (okay, maybe that’s not the best way to put it), has maintained close relationships with her family, and has such a positive attitude. 
Sorry for being so random. But I’m not sorry for this. Go make it!
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Granola Cookie Wedges
(Adapted from Yummy. Healthy. Easy.)

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients: 
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg white
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup pecan halves, chopped
2 heaping tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips (it doesn’t hurt to add an extra tablespoon though!)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8 or 9-inch round cake pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, oil, butter, vanilla, salt, baking soda and egg white. Whisk well.
3. In the same bowl, add flour and oats. Stir to combine. Fold in pecans and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
4. Pour dough into cake pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Press down so batter fills the entire pan.
5. Bake for 12-13 minutes. Cookie will be raised and dark golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool about 5-10 minutes. Slice into wedges and serve.

{Vegan} Banana Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

Breakfast hasn’t tasted this good in a long time. 
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Yes, I’m baking with oats…again. Yes, I’m baking with bananas…again. But you know the saying. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” When it comes to oats and bananas, it’s hard to go wrong in my book. Combine the two, then add some chocolate chips and, well, we’ve got quite the delicious treat. 
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I instantly pinned these when I saw them on Jenna’s blog a while ago and have been dreaming about the day I would make them ever since. 
These are so perfect for breakfast. I’ve been eating them all week. I almost feel like I get to eat a cookie for breakfast. 
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Almost.

Don’t get me wrong. They are great for a mid-day snack or even dessert too. But something about them screams: BREAKFAST! I guess it’s probably the oats screaming that. 
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The bars are just the right amount of sweet without being too sweet for breakfast. You know me – I love a good sugary doughnut or sweet pancakes for breakfast. But especially during the week, I try to keep breakfast as healthy as possible. I don’t know about you, but I do (and feel) so much better throughout the day when I eat a healthy breakfast and lunch. Then, after a well-rounded dinner, I don’t have a problem treating myself to a bowl of fro yo or chocolate candy. If I start off with something like a doughnut, I only crave sugar that much more throughout the rest of the day.

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What I’m trying to say is that these bars are a great compromise. They’re satisfy my sweet tooth without bringing on more cravings, and still offer the healthful benefits I look for in my breakfasts. They’re hearty and filling and, and, and…
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I’m obsessed. So obsessed.

{Vegan} Banana Chocolate Chip Oat Bars
(Adapted from Eat. Live. Run.)

Makes about 8-10 bars

Ingredients:
1 very ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon chai seeds
1 3/4 cup rolled oats
6 tablespoons chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 baking sheet with non-stick spray and set aside.
2. Add mashed banana, oil and brown sugar to a large bowl. Whisk until well combined.
3. In a separate medium-sized bowl, add flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, chai seeds and oats. Stir to evenly distribute all ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in the large bowl. Stir until well combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour mixture into the pan and gently spread with a spatula or spoon in an even layer. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting into bars.

Instagraming.

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Lunch date with my most favoritest sister at Charleston’s Cafe. I’m a little late here – we went over the holidays – but definitely still worth sharing. Best salad I’ve had in a long time, hands down. Salmon, strawberries, sundried tomatoes, cheese (normally served with parmesan, but I subbed goat cheese. They forgot to make the switch originally. No worries. I scooped the parm right off, and threw the goat right on).
Charleston's Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Homemade latte made via one of Greg’s (our) Christmas gifts – a Krups expresso and coffee maker. Served in my new favorite mug, which was a Christmas gift to myself. After using Greg’s ‘G’ all the time, I figured it was time I get my own.
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I think you know what this is. 
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And this. Puppy Wuppy. Excuse me, Princess Puppy Wuppy. 
photo 2
I officially declare stuffed baked sweet potatoes one of the best dinners ever. This one was topped with roasted peppers and onions, peas, corn, and salsa. Want another idea? Try this
Pencils! Had to hunt down a sharpener in the office but it was worth it. #nerd
Nerd. No further explanation necessary. 
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Chipotle for life. 
Happy Friday!

Cinnamon Banana Crunch Baked Oatmeal

Okay. I promise this is the last baked oatmeal recipe for awhile. 

Promise. Promise. Promise. 




Let’s just say life has been crazy. Lots of traveling and working late shifts has resulted in minimal groceries at home and minimal time to cook. We’ve been eating out more than usual, which has been a pleasant change of pace, but after one final weekend trip for the winter coming up this weekend, I will be able to stock up my cabinets again. 




Since I haven’t been able to play much in the kitchen in the past few weeks, I already made a list of the recipes I want to tackle starting next week. I’m pushing myself to cross several of the recipes off my list by the end of February.

Some of the things I’m looking forward to most are: Cinnamon chip blondies, strawberry scones, sweet potato biscuits, and crock pot lasagna. 




Baked oatmeal is just as satisfying as those will be…or at least we can pretend 😉 Seriously though, this is my new favorite twist on a simple hot bowl of oatmeal. I love the sweetness of the banana and the crunchiness from the granola on top. 


Cinnamon Banana Crunch Baked Oatmeal (For One!)

Ingredients:
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/3 cup milk of choice (I used almond milk)
1 teaspoon syrup (I used the light variety)
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 banana, sliced
Extra sprinkle of cinnamon for topping
1 tablespoon granola

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray small loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, add oats, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda and brown sugar. Whisk thoroughly.
3. In a separate small bowl, add milk, syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk until well combined. Add to oat mixture and whisk or stir until all ingredients are well incorporated. Gently fold in sliced bananas and sprinkle with a little more cinnamon.
4. Pour mixture into loaf pan. Bake for 17-18 minutes (oats will become golden brown). Remove from oven and top with granola. Let cool in pan 5-10 minutes. Serve while still hot. 

~About 200 calories for the entire loaf~


Other Baked Oatmeal Varieties:


Vanilla Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

That football game last night. 
Yeah.
You’re either really happy or…well, let’s just not go there.
Then again, I bet some of you couldn’t care less. Am I right or am I right?
Whether you’re celebrating the win, trying to forget the loss, or don’t even know who the heck played in the game (you might be saying, “Wait – what game and why are you still talking about it?? All I know is that The Bachelor was on last night.”)
…we all have one thing in common.

You have to eat breakfast! Okay, so you don’t have to. But you really should. So can I make a recommendation? Baked oatmeal. 
Ever since I made Apple Walnut Baked Oatmeal, I have been trying new variations like crazy. I just can’t get enough of it.  The possibilities really are endless. And this is only the beginning. You just wait to see what else I have in store. 

Vanilla Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
(Inspired by Apple Walnut Baked Oatmeal and Peanut Butter Fingers)

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:
1 cup rolled oats
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini loaf pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, whisk oats, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and baking soda.
3. In a seperate small bowl, whisk applesauce, almond milk and vanilla.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir to combine. Fold in blueberries (don’t be afraid to smash some while you’re mixing!).
5. Pour mixture into loaf pan and bake 18-20 minutes. Top of loaf will be golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool in pan about 5 minutes. Serve hot.

~About 420 calories in the ENTIRE loaf!!~
…210 per serving…