Big & Fluffy Blackberry Yogurt Pancakes

greek yogurt pancakes

Ninety degree weather in September? In Wisconsin?  I was pretty sleepy this morning what with the dark mornings that usher in the fall season. But I did have one eye open while watching the early morning forecast and a forecast like that called for a summer-y breakfast.  Something perky to wake up my taste buds and my sleepy brood.

Blackberry pancakes made with Greek yogurt are big and fluffy and definitely qualify as a perky breakfast. Yogurt pancakes not only come together in a jiffy but are a tasty way to sneak in an extra nutritional boost as well as probiotics.

yogurt pancakes with blackberries

My typical buttermilk pancakes are never this fluffy. A very flat contrast to these blackberry yogurt pancakes that are a pillow of puffy pancake goodness. Such a sweet way to start the day.

Speaking of sweet, I used Chobani vanilla yogurt in this recipe and completely omitted any additional sugar in my first batch. I didn’t miss it and none of my sleepyheads piped up with a complaint.  Just for kicks I decided to add 2 teaspoons of sugar in the second batch and, really, it didn’t make a big difference. Blackberries are sweet-tart and it’s a matter of personal taste. If you like your blackberry pancakes on the sweet side, go ahead and add a bit of sugar. If, like me, you’d rather let a generous swirl of real maple syrup add some extra sweetness, skip the sugar.

Wishing you many sweet mornings,

Big & Fluffy Blackberry Pancakes made with Greek Yogurt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour -or- ¾ C all purpose flour + ¼ C wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt (Chobani is my favorite brand)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg white
  • 3 tablespoons 2% milk
  • 2 teaspoons sugar {optional}
  • 1 cup blackberries (fresh or frozen)
  1. In a large bowl, gently blend flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, mix yogurt, sugar, vanilla extract, eggs and milk. Beat until smooth.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until fully incorporated.
  4. Gently fold in fresh or frozen blackberries. (The batter will be thick.)
  5. Lightly coat a non-stick griddle with cooking spray and place over medium heat.
  6. Drop batter by ⅓ cup onto skillet and spread a bit with the back of a spoon.
  7. Cook until bubbles appear on the top and edges begin to golden.
  8. Flip and cook for another 2 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Repeat with remaining batter.
  10. To freeze, place cooled pancakes in a single layer on baking sheets and freeze 4-5 hours or until completely frozen. Transfer to plastic freezer bag.
  11. Microwave desired amount of pancakes on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with paper towel and microwave on high for 50-60 seconds or until heated through.


Blueberry French Toast Bake

blueberry french toast bake

I had never been fond of French toast.  There’s something about the soft, flimsy, egg-y texture that turned my pallet in a not-so-good way.  Until one day my darling Hubby made a version of Ellie Krieger’s  blueberry french toast bake and now I’m a French toast hating hypocrite.

This make-ahead breakfast is unbelievably delicious and will undoubtedly come in handy during hectic weekday mornings.  I was hooked at first bite.  But then again, what’s not to love? The bread isn’t soggy (thanks to a whole wheat baguette), there’s a bit of crunch from toasted almonds, a hint of sweet from real maple syrup, and plenty of plump blueberries. How could I be such a stooge?

A few months ago I was on quite the blueberry kick what with blueberry crisp, those yummy yogurt muffins and -one of my favorites – blueberry orange bread.  But, I shamefully scoffed at this blueberry french toast bake, jumping to wrongful conclusions before taking a bite.

Lesson tastefully learned.

Blueberry French Toast Bake
Serves: 4
  • ½ whole-wheat baquette cut into 1-inch cubes (about 9 inches long)
  • 1 cup low-fat milk (1%)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 egg whites
  • ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Cup fresh blueberries
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  • 1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
  1. Spray a 9" pie plate with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together milk, eggs and egg whites, syrup, flavoring (vanilla or almond) and cinnamon.
  3. Arrange bread cubes in a single layer and pour mixture over the bread. Be sure that the bread is evenly saturated.
  4. Scatter the blueberries on top and sprinkle with toasted almonds and brown sugar.
  5. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
  6. Uncover and bake at 350F preheated oven for 50-60 minutes.


Pear Sauce then and now

pear sauce

Cheesy alert! I’m posting such a warning in the far chance either of my Beauties ever stumble upon this post. (I’m sparing them an eye roll.)

But I’ll tell you that I had one of those nostalgic moments again. One of those moments when I’m doing something mundane, like cleaning a bowlful of pears from the backyard, and voila, you’d think I just chopped an onion. Not the full out bawl kind of onion. No, no, just the teary, misty eye kind of onion. Except replace the onion with a pear.

Our backyard pear trees have been fruiting profusely- a very welcome contrast to last year’s single lonely pear harvest.

pear tree

Pears should be picked when greenish yellow in color and allowed to fully ripen indoors, not on the tree. If they ripen on the tree, they’re likely to taste mealy and mushy and resemble pear sauce. Which is what I made yesterday and hadn’t made in years. Many, many years.

cooking pears for pear sauce

As in the last time I remember making pear sauce it was for my little girls. My girls who started their senior and junior years of high school today. Makes you want to eye roll, doesn’t it?

Now I’m not “that” kind of mother who wishes her kids would stay young forever. Heck no, not at all. I have thankfully relished every phase of their growing up and continue to relish their maturing, their new and exciting experiences, and the prospect of all those that lie ahead.  But there’s that itty bitty pang of realization that time continues to pass. A reminder to keep hugging and holding and cherishing those sweet moments of, “oh, I remember when you used to make this when we were little” sweet pear sauce memories.

~ ~

If you’ve never tasted pear sauce you don’t know what you’re missing. Sweet, cinnamon-y,  and satisfying, pear sauce is a bowl of comfy warmth both literally and figuratively.  Low in fat and calories, high in fiber and essential nutrients, pears are naturally sweet on their own so the sugar in my recipe is completely optional.  Enjoy!

Pear Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 6 Cups sliced pears, peeled, cored, and seeded
  • 1 Cup water
  • 1 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (optional)
  1. Place all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Simmer 10-15 minutes or until pears are tender and the mixture has cooked down.
  3. Blend to desired consistency.




Blueberry Crisp – Healthy and Guilt-Free

I had no idea that July is National Blueberry Month. I also had no idea that these bitty blue berries contain the highest level of antioxidants of all fresh fruit.  Goes to show one can learn something new every day, just as one can also make a blueberry crisp healthy without tons of fat while venturing into new fruit dessert territory at the same time.

I love fruit crisps, crumbs, cobblers, bettys and bops – pretty much anything that gives fruit a crunchy layer of goodness. But, surprisingly, in all my 44 years I do not recall ever having a blueberry version of any of the aforementioned treats.  I must have been in an apple/peach/blackberry/pear slump (oh, that’s another yummy fruit dessert) and paid no mind to the powerhouse of all fruits.  I’m not sure what moved me the other night, but by golly I had a taste for blueberries and decided to be daring.  Make a blueberry crisp and healthy at that? Yep, that’s living on the edge.

blueberry crisp healthy and delicious

A guilt-free dessert is my kind of treat and this blueberry crisp was long on flavor and short on fat.  Thank you to the nice people at Cooking Light whose website is chock full of healthy blueberry crisp recipes –one that served as the basis for my recipe.

Oatmeal is a traditional crisp topping but cornmeal? Oh yes, cornmeal. Try it. You’ll like it.

After freezing over ten pints of blueberries within last few weeks, I used what I had on hand  Next time – maybe next week – I’ll try this crisp with fresh blueberries to compare textures. Two blueberry crisps in one month – over the top.  Maybe the week after that I’ll make a blueberry betty.  If anyone has a recipe for a blueberry bop, be sure to pass it along.

Blueberry Crisp - Healthy and Guilt-Free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
Brown sugar, oatmeal and cornmeal provide a sweet crunch topping to plump blueberries and almond flavoring lends a special touch to this healthy blueberry crisp.
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen blueberries
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • ¼ cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Coat an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons cornstarch evenly around the dish.
  4. Combine remaining 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, almond, and blueberries in a large bowl. Toss well and spoon into prepared baking dish.
  5. Combine flour, remaining brown sugar, oats and cornmeal in a medium size bowl and cut butter into mixture using two knives or pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Spoon topping evenly over blueberries.
  6. Bake at 375° for 40 minutes if using frozen berries, 30 minutes if using fresh blueberries.


Blackberry (drop) muffins made with yogurt

What do you get when you cross a scone and a muffin? A scoffin! Not very original, huh? Hubby tells me my funny bone was removed with my adenoids. Call these whatever you wish, I call them deliciously-irresistible-good-luck-eating-just-one blackberry muffins.

blackberry scone muffins - scoffins

I seem to be hung up on what exactly to name these little treasures. “Blackberry drop muffins” is fitting since there’s no forming involved and they are tender, moist and sweet just like a muffin top. Hence the cross between a scone and muffin.

In between baking and lamenting on what to name my baked goods, I’ve been trying to take to heart the words spoken so meaningfully and eloquently at my niece’s high school graduation. I’m reducing the multitasking, unplugging to live in the moment more and finding sheer pleasure in even the minutest things by not thinking about a gazillion other things – just living in the moment.

And on that happy note I hope you try these randomly named blackberry drop muffins made with yogurt. Let me know if you come up with a clever name. 🙂

Blackberry Drop Muffins
Serves: 12
Yogurt cuts the fat but the taste soars in these blackberry drop muffins. A cross between a scone and a muffin - tender, sweet, delicious.
  • 1½ Cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ Cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ Cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 Cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ Cup melted butter (unsalted)
  • 1 Cu fresh or frozen blackberries
  • Optional Glaze:
  • ½ Cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon lemon juice
  1. Stir wet ingredients into dry until just moistened.
  2. Fold in blackberries.
  3. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto greased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake at 400F for 15-18 minutes.
  5. Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice and drizzle glaze over warm muffins.


White Chocolate Apricot Scones

apricot white chocolate scones

I’m making good on my promise and sharing my family’s absolute all-time favorite white chocolate apricot scone recipe. Light and moist, and not overly sweet, these apricot scones are enhanced by creamy white chocolate and are a perfect compliment to a strong cup of fresh brew.  It’s an easy recipe that I am convinced is 100% goof-proof.

apricote white chocolate scone close up view

My food photography skills are a work-in-progress, though I’m rather proud of this picture. The melted white chocolate surrounding the chunks of apricot look luscious. Makes you want to go ahead and bake up a batch of these scones right now, doesn’t it?

freshly baked scones

These white chocolate apricot scones are longtime Easter morning tradition in our household and who knows, maybe my Beauties will someday make it a part of their own household traditions.  Of course,  each of my three Loves complain that I don’t bake these scones very often during the year, and I suppose that’s subconsciously purposeful. I don’t want to ruin tradition.  I think we all tend to associate certain foods with certain holidays – it’s part of coming together with those we love and part of the memories. These white chocolate apricot scones are simple in many ways, yet oh so special.


White Chocolate Apricot Scones
Serves: 8
White chocolate and apricot are a delightful combination in these scones. Light, slightly sweet, and delicious served warm or cooled, these scones make for a special breakfast any time of year.
  • 1¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ⅓ cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped dried apricots
  • ⅔ cup white chocolate baking chips
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup half-and-half cream
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease a cookie sheet with shortening or lightly spray with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, and baking powder. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles the size of small peas.
  4. Stir in chopped apricots and white chocolate baking chips into flour mixture.
  5. Add egg and half-and-half cream until dough just leaves side of bowl and forms a ball. NOTE: When making scones, work the dough quickly and do not over mix.
  6. Place dough on greased cookie sheet and pat into an 8-inch circle.
  7. Cut the disc into 8 wedges, but do not separate.
  8. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp sugar and spread the sugar lightly by hand to cover each wedge.
  9. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately remove from baking sheet; carefully separating wedges.



Blueberry Orange Bread

Blueberry orange bread is springtime in a loaf pan.  Sans pollen.

blueberry orange bread loaf

The Badger State is in full bloom, as are my eyes, and the photo below identifies some of the many gorgeous culprits to blame for my unpleasant appearance. The four flowering trees are two pear trees and two dwarf apple trees. They looked like this last March, before a nasty frost came and zapped every last blossom, rendering our fruit trees fruitless last year.

spring fruit trees in bloom

Thankfully, the warmer temperatures  and sunny skies are occurring in the correct month this year and have kicked off a flurry of pollen production.  While the burst of color and abounding sweet fragrance is uplifting, the floating fluffy white fluff can be quite a downer.  Pollen snow showers: the trigger that causes countless eyes across the country to blossom into oversize, watery welts. A minor inconvenience compared to what others are dealing with and a good reason to count my blessings as I reach for another tissue.

Chock full of plump blueberries with a hint of citrus, I forgot all about the pedometer when I cut myself a generous slice of blueberry orange bread.

slice of blueberry orange bread

Baking in between eye-dabbing was worth every bite.  I adapted this recipe from another blueberry orange bread recipe that I found among a collection of loose pages that at one time constituted a softbound cookbook. I would give credit where credit is due if I had the cover page, inside copyright page, or back cover. The pages I do have are 20+ years worn, stained with spills and splotches, but the recipes are still readable and include my family’s Easter breakfast delight (I’ll share it in a future post). Back to blueberry orange bread: I replaced the milk called for in the original recipe with orange juice, and opted to use a blend of whole wheat and white flour. I also omitted the salt since baking powder and baking soda contain plenty of sodium. Those changes, along with using frozen blueberries instead of fresh (or thawed and patted dry) give the bread a moist, chewy texture. Delicious to eat as is or use for French toast.  Enjoy!

Blueberry Orange Bread
Serves: 12
Sweet with a hint of citrus, blueberry orange bread is delicious on its own and makes terrific French toast!
  • 1½ Cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • ½ + ⅓ Cups sugar
  • ⅓ C unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ C orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (could substitute orange zest or omit entirely)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • ¼ Cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 Cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar for topping (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease a standard size loaf pan.
  2. Mix sugar, applesauce, orange juice, zest and eggs in a large mixing bowl until well blended.
  3. Stir in blueberries.
  4. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix gently to avoid crushing the blueberries.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  6. Sprinkle the tablespoon of sugar on top, if desired, to form a sweet crust.
  7. Bake 50-60 minutes or until bread tests done.



Vegan Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

I was assessing the fridge after Thanksgiving last year and found a half bag of cranberries and a small bit of pumpkin puree that somehow never made their way into their respective dishes.  As much as I disliked cranberries, I didn’t want to waste. Hence I decided to bake a bread that I could turn into French toast or easily disguise in some other way should it turn out awful. (I wasn’t hopeful,  I was using cranberries so I didn’t waste time formulating a Plan B.)

Lo and behold I baked a wonder bread! A moist and delicious combination of sweet and tangy with a subtle hint of orange and just the right amount of crunchy pecans. Deeeeelicious.

Vegan Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

I’m thankful for the remnant ingredients that were hanging around or I might not have conquered my disdain for the rock hard berry.  Though I still say no thanks to on any form of cranberry relish, I won’t pass up a slice or three of this bread. For all of you anti-cranberry eaters out there, give this vegan pumpkin cranberry bread a try and you too could be converted. Well, at least partially.  Enjoy!

Ingredients for Vegan Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

1  1/4 cups of all purpose flour
3/4 cup of whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup orange juice
¼ cup canola oil
1/3 cup cooked pumpkin puree (pure canned pumpkin if you’re using help from the cannery – not pie filling)
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1 Tablespoon grated orange peel (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Stir in orange juice, oil and pumpkin. Mix until well blended.

Stir in cranberries and nuts and orange peel, if desired. Turn batter into prepared pan and bake for 50 – 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before running a butter knife along the edges and removing the bread from the pan.  Finish cooling on wire rack, or feel free to skip this step and proceed to cutting a nice big slice. Enjoy!