Lunch With Loni

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Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal October 20, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — lonislens @ 7:00 pm

We’re trying to eat less processed foods.  With a busy schedule and a lot of late nights, it’s sometimes hard to stray from the cereal, granola bar, packaged instant oatmeal routine.  I had seen several people post about slow cooker oatmeal and decided to try it out about a month ago.  While that recipe was okay, it didn’t impress me enough to post it on the blog.  This one was much better!  It calls for steel cut oats.  Unfortunately I didn’t have those on hand, so I used old fashioned oats.  It still turned out well, but I’m going to try the steel cut ones next time since they’re supposed to be better for you.  I used almond milk (unsweetened) and coconut milk which added a nice sweetness without having to load up on sugar.  I also threw in some dried cranberries.  This recipe is seriously so easy to throw together, and is husband and daughter approved.  She ate seconds!  Thankfully I doubled the recipe so we still have plenty for the next few days.

  Original Recipe Located At:

 Slow Cooker Oatmeal


  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2-1/2 to 3 cups chopped)
  • 1-1/2 cups fat-free milk (or substitute non-diary alternative like almond milk) I used a mixture of unsweetened almond milk and coconut milk. 
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (or substitute maple syrup or other desired sweetener)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into 5-6 pieces (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional garnishes: chopped nuts, raisins, maple syrup, additional milk or butter


Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for approx. 7 hours (slow cooker times can vary). Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add optional toppings, if desired. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Freezes well.

To reheat single servings: Put 1-cup cooked oatmeal in microwave proof bowl. Add 1/3 cup fat-free milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking for another minute, or until hot.

Recipe can be doubled in 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Increase cooking time 1 hour.

Nutritional Info (per 3/4 cup serving): 149 calories, 3.6g fat, 27.3g carbs, 3.9g fiber, 4.9g protein; Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 4 pts

Feel free to switch this up by adding raisins, nuts, or cranberries! 


Apple Pie Muffins October 16, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — lonislens @ 2:12 am

Throw the topping for these muffins onto some chopped up apples and you’d still be happy.  But I suppose you’d have to have the bottom portion to actually call it a muffin.  I spotted this recipe in a Parents magazine (yes, I actually have a subscription…my how my life has changed).  I saw the recipe a bunch of times since my daughter was flipping through it over and over again in the car (anything to keep her entertained on a longer drive).  I promised her I’d make them and even though she might not hold me to that since she’s not even one-and-a-half yet, I kept my promise.  While I don’t know if the magazine’s website can truly call them healthy without feeling a little misleading (they do have half a cup of butter when you add what’s in the batter and the topping), you could lighten that up a little and they are made with whole wheat flour, a nice dose of fruit, and some oats.  I substituted sliced almonds in the topping as I didn’t have pumpkin seeds.  I also tossed in a little ground flaxseed for good measure (I’m getting bold ever since trying that in a recipe for the first time the other day).  These really give off such a perfect fall smell when they’re baking; and you have to eat one when they’re still nice and warm out of the oven.

  Original Recipe Located At:

 Apple Pie Muffins


  • 1 1/2 cups  white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup  packed brown sugar
  • 2  teaspoons  baking powder
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon  salt
  • 3/4 cup  buttermilk
  • 1   egg
  • 1/4 cup  butter, melted
  • 2  medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup  regular rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup  roasted, salted pumpkin seeds (I used sliced almonds, only because I didn’t have pumpkin seeds.  The almonds lent a nice crunch to the topping as I’m sure the seeds do.)
  • 1/4 cup  chilled butter, cut up
  • 1  tablespoon  packed brown sugar


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 36 1 3/4-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups or grease the cups (for mini muffins; I just used my normal-size silicone muffin liners and the recipe yielded 16 good-sized muffins); set aside. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and melted butter. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in the apples. Set batter aside.

3. In a food processor combine the oats, pumpkin seeds, chilled butter, and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Pulse to combine and chop the pumpkin seeds.  I used my pastry cutter as opposed to the food processor.  With the pumpkin seeds you may need to use some type of food processor since they are harder, but the almonds were soft enough to manipulate with the pastry cutter and it meant one less item that needed to be cleaned in the kitchen!

4. Spoon the batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each nearly full. Sprinkle each with about 1 teaspoon of the topping mixture. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in cups for 5 minutes. Remove and cool completely.


Chocolate Chip Gingerbread Cake October 14, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — lonislens @ 11:42 am

I now know what to bring to any holiday party I may be invited to.  This is something a little “different” than the pumpkin pie, apple pie or regular gingerbread you may see.  Since I’m not a huge fan of frosting, bundt cakes are perfect.  Sure, you could put a glaze on this.  But it doesn’t need it.  It can be prettied up with some confectioner’s sugar or a dusting of cocoa powder/cinnamon on top.  If you leave it just as it is, though, you’re not going to go wrong.  Please, though, do not put anything but GOOD cocoa powder and chocolate chips in it.  I’ve made the mistake of straying from my trusted Ghirardelli every so often, and I’m always disappointed.  I digress; the point is that I have made this twice in the past three weeks which means you need to at least try it once!  The first time I made it I brought it to work and some people said they almost didn’t try it because the combination sounded odd, but then they wound up asking me for the recipe because they liked it so much.

Original Recipe Located At:

Chocolate Chip Gingerbread Cake


  • 2 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup natural cocoa powder, plus more   for dusting
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 package (12 oz.) miniature
    semisweet chocolate chips
  • 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at   room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup dark molasses
  • 1 cup very hot water


Position a rack in the middle of an oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour a 10-cup Bundt® pan.
In a bowl, whisk together the 2 1/2 cups flour, the 1/2 cup cocoa powder, the baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg and pepper.
In another bowl, toss the chocolate chips with the 2 Tbs. flour.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a 4-cup glass measure or a bowl, whisk together the molasses and hot water. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the molasses mixture in 3 batches, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with the spatula and beating just until well blended. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and is firm to the touch, 55 to 60 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely.
To serve, lightly dust the cake with cocoa powder and cut into wedges.

If you make bundt cakes frequently, I recommend picking up a silicone bundt pan.  Actually, if you make them infrequently because you’re afraid it won’t turn out well, then pick up a silicone bundt pan.  I LOVE mine.

(Not) My Mom’s Muffins October 13, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — lonislens @ 1:44 pm

Nope, not my mom’s muffin recipe…this one is apparently from The Pioneer Woman’s mom!  I love that these can easily become the “kitchen sink” go-to breakfast muffin recipe that you can alter depending on what you’re in the mood for or have on hand.  Peanut butter/banana/chocolate chip?  Sure!  Dried apricot/cranberries?  You betcha.  These are very moist thanks to the applesauce and banana, and don’t have butter or oil in them.  My first time venturing into flax seed territory and I was quite happy.

  Original Recipe Located At:

 (Not) My Mom's Muffins

(I use silicone muffin liners that are slightly smaller than regular size cupcake liners, so these are a bit smaller/shorter.)


  • 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup Ground Flaxseed/flaxseed Meal
  • 1 cup Regular Oats
  • 1/2 cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup Walnuts, Roughly Chopped (I omitted nuts as not everyone I was making them for is a nut fan.)
  • 1/2 cup Raisins (I substituted cranberries, as usual!)
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 1 whole Banana, Peeled And Mashed With A Fork
  • 1/2 cup Applesauce
  • 1/4 cup Molasses
  • Extra Buttermilk As Needed For Thinning


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Thoroughly grease a 12-count muffin pan.

In a large bowl, combine flours, flaxseed meal, oats, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, walnuts, and raisins. Stir together until combined.

In a separate bowl, mix together the buttermilk, egg, banana, applesauce and molasses.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until it just barely comes together. Batter should be wet and sticky; if needed, splash in a couple extra tablespoons of buttermilk.

Scoop 1/4 cup helpings into the muffin cups and bake for 16-18 minutes, or until deep golden brown.

I recommend letting the batter sit for 5-10 minutes before baking.  The oats soak up some of the liquid and they seem to bake “up” more (this picture is from one where the batter didn’t sit, the second batch was taller) and I prefer the consistency.  If you want more “chew” to them, then don’t do that. 


Oatmeal Cranberry Scones October 7, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — lonislens @ 12:20 am

If I pretend these don’t have a stick of butter in them, I can tell myself they’re super healthy!  In all seriousness, though, these scones are made with whole wheat flour, oats, and have hardly any sugar in them.  If you’re going to treat yourself at breakfast or with your afternoon cup of tea or coffee, this is a good way to go.  The original recipe calls for raisins but I didn’t have any so I used cranberries.  Quite honestly, I prefer cranberries to raisins, anyhow, so it wasn’t a problem in my book!  I recommend chilling the dough for a bit before slicing the scones because it makes it easier to cut and then place them on the baking sheet.

  Original Recipe Located At:

Oatmeal Cranberry Scones


  • ½ cup raisins (I used cranberries.)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1½ cups plus 2 tbsp. (6½ oz.) white whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup (1½ oz.) old-fashioned oats
  • 2½ tbsp. (1¼ oz.) granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Dash ground ginger
  • 8 tbsp. (4 oz.) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • Sparkling sugar, for topping (optional)


Place the raisins (or cranberries) in a bowl and cover with hot water.  Let stand for 30 minutes.  Drain the raisins and spread into an even layer on a clean kitchen towel.  Press gently with another towel to help blot away all the excess water.

To make the dough, combine the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl.  Whisk briefly to blend.  Add the butter to the bowl and cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal and the largest butter pieces are the size of peas.  Stir in the vanilla and buttermilk and mix gently with a fork until a dough forms.  Fold in the raisins.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface  and knead a few times by hand until the dough is cohesive.  (Be careful to avoid over handling the dough, as it can result in tough, dense scones.)

Anyone else care for a spot of tea?