Recipe: Healthy Breakfast Cookies

Mrs. Fields Secrets Breakfast Cookies
How many times have you wanted to start the day with a cookie in your hand? It seems like a cookie for breakfast is the ticket to a surprisingly wonderful day, and it is! Today’s recipe is not only a delicious cookie, but a healthy, energy-rich, low-fat meal. These cookies are loaded with whole grains, fiber, vegetables, fruit, nuts and tons of flavor! It’s sooo much better than a granola bar, and you can giggle with mischief knowing that you’re having cookies for breakfast!

Breakfast Cookies
adapted from Ellie Krieger

3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup (1 small jar) strained carrot baby food
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup bran cereal flakes
2 tablespoons flax seed
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup walnut pieces, lightly toasted in a dry skillet for 2 minutes, until fragrant and chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Combine butter, oil and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on high speed, scraping down sides if necessary, until sugars have dissolved and mixture is light in color, about 1 minute. Add egg, carrot puree and vanilla and beat an additional 30 seconds. Add flour mixture and beat an additional 30 seconds. Add oats, flakes, flax seed, cranberries and walnuts and mix over low speed just until incorporated. Dough will be slightly sticky and less cohesive than traditional cookie dough. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using 2 tablespoons of batter, form a ball and place on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining batter, leaving about 3 inches between cookies. Wet hands and use palm of hand to flatten cookies until about 1/4-inch thick. Bake for 12 minutes, until cookies are fragrant but still soft. Let cookies cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Yields 18 cookies.

National Cookie Month Giveaway: Free Cookies for a Year!

Tomorrow marks the beginning of October, or as it’s known around here, National Cookie Month! We’re kicking things off with a fantastic giveaway that could mean a year of Mrs. Fields cookies delivered to your doorstep for free! We’ll also have great offers, recipes and ideas all month long at Mrs. Fields (don’t forget to sign up for our emails to get exclusive offers).

Ready to play? Leave a comment answering this question: Who makes your favorite cookies? 

We’ll gather comments until midnight, Sunday, October 6, 2013 and choose a random winner to receive one full year of our Treat of the Month Club. (That’s a $350 value!) And in the mean time, here are some great ways to celebrate National Cookie Month with your friends and family:

31 Days, 31 Cookie Recipes
Healthy Breakfast Cookies
What’s Your Cookie Personality?

Let’s get started on a month of fun!

**Giveaway closed.**

Breakfast Brain Foods

Mrs. Fields Secrets Brain Foods for Breakfast
The difference between a good day and a great day can be a smart breakfast, packed full of vitamins and nutrients that will keep your brain alert all day long. Trade in starches, carbs and sugar for some of these delicious high-powered alternatives:

  • Yogurt parfait with plain Greek yogurt (protein), walnuts (omega-3s), and fresh berries (antioxidants) with a small drizzle of honey
  • Omelet (protein) cooked in olive oil with fresh tomatoes (antioxidant) and spinach (iron and fiber)
  • Fresh smoothie made with Greek yogurt (protein), fresh bananas (potassium), berries (antioxidants) and a spoonful of flax seed (fiber)
  • Homemade granola (fiber)  with fresh peaches (antioxidants)
  • Fresh muesli (flavanoids, fiber, protein) topped with fresh berries (antioxidants) and bananas (potassium).
  • Lox (protein and omega-3s) on whole grain toast (fiber) with a small smear of cream cheese
  • Breakfast cookies loaded with bran cereal and flax seeds (fiber), carrots (vitamin A), cranberries (antioxidants) and walnuts (omega-3s)

Try them out and see the difference!

Bake This Not That

Around here, we like to adopt a sensible approach to sweets. Life is short and we think it should be savored. It seems that finding the right balance when it comes to indulgence is a key to happiness. If you’re trying to recalibrate after a particularly indulgent holiday season, here are some choose-this-not-that ideas for your favorite baked goods.

Craving cookies? Bake Cranberry Oatmeal  instead of Triple Chocolate Chip. You’ll save about 35-50 calories per cookie! You can also make half-size cookies by cutting each ball of cookie dough in half. (Remember to monitor baking times, which will be 3-4 minus less for smaller cookies.) A half-size cookie means half the calories. (Our Nibblers bite-sized cookies are a perfect way to indulge with balance.)

Craving brownies? Try our Reduced-Fat Chocolate Brownie recipe. Or, if you’re using a mix, swap applesauce for vegetable oil in your recipe. You’ll save calories and fat, but won’t notice a difference in taste!

Craving cake? Our No Frosting Chocolate Bundt Cake is so rich and moist, it does not need frosting (which saves a ton of calories).

Craving bread? The darker the bread, the better for your body. If you’re not a fan of whole wheat or multigrain, try using half and half (white flour and whole wheat) to ease into the flavor. If you’re used to buying artisan breads, ask the baker to pre-slice it for you extra thin. You’ll save half the calories.

Craving donuts? Our Baked Cake Donuts recipe is still one of our most popular. You’ll get the great flavor of a cake donut, with nearly half the calories.

Craving a sugary breakfast or snack? Try our Healthy Breakfast Cookies, Homemade Granola or these No-Bake Energy Bites instead of a pastry in the morning. They will satisfy your sweet tooth, but keep you from having a sugar crash. These are also great for an afternoon snack.

Cutting back on gluten? Our Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe is so good, you won’t believe that gluten didn’t get invited to the party.

Do you have other tips for being sensible with your sweet tooth? Share them in the comments!

25 Favorite Back to School Movies

Bake some cookies and gather the family on the couch for a movie night dedicated to our favorite back-to-school flicks!

1. Dead Poets Society
2. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
3. Fame
4. The Breakfast Club
5. Footloose
6. Sixteen Candles
7. Pitch Perfect
8. 10 Things I Hate About You
9. Say Anything
10. October Sky
11. Mean Girls
12. Grease
13. Fast Times at Ridgemont High
14. Lean on Me
15. The Outsiders
16. Napoleon Dynamite
17. Clueless
18. Never Been Kissed
19. Lucas
20. Hoosiers
21. Rushmore
22. The Karate Kid
23. Stand and Deliver
24. Superbad
25. Back to the Future

Did we miss any? What’s your favorite school-themed movie?

{Image source.}

Fun Facts on Olympic Eating

If you’re caught up with the rest of the world in the Olympics, here are some fun facts about what’s on the menu in Sochi for athletes and guests of the 2014 Winter Games:

  • The US Olympic team has a private chef to prepare familiar, healthy food for the athletes. Chef Allen Tran says the US athletes prefer spicy ethnic foods.
  • Mexican food is the favorite among US skiers.
  • The US brought maple syrup and Sriracha hot sauce with them for fear that it couldn’t be found locally in Sochi.
  • Inside the Olympic Park, the most popular food items are pizza, hot dogs and baked potatoes.
  • Favorite local foods in the Olympic Park are blini (buckwheat pancakes served with sour cream) and grilled shashlik (lamb kebabs).
  • Sochi is famous for a spiced meat dumpling called khinkali.
  • Craving  a Big Mac? There’s a huge McDonald’s right in central Sochi and another right on site in the Olympic Village for the athletes.
  • A favorite drink in Sochi is cha-cha, a grape vodka from Georgia that is usually illegally imported.
  • The concession stands at Olympic events sell Russian staples like cabbage coulibiac, meat coulibiac (a stuffed puffed pastry) or salmon and cream cheese bagels.
  • Snowboarder Sean White says he always eats a big steak the night before a competition.
  • After a big competition, some of the favorite “recovery foods” of Olympians are chocolate milk, pickle juice, sweet tart cherries, and beet juice.
  • The daily calorie intake for athletes varies greatly by sport. Downhill skiers need around 4000 calories per day, compared to half pipe athletes who need around 2000 calories.
  • Almonds are always on hand for snacking since they provide quick energy and protein.
  • Greek yogurt is a go-to ingredient in the Olympic diet. It’s perfect for breakfast or a snack, plus it’s a protein-rich substitute for mayo and sour cream.
  • Although sugar and candy are not a big part of Olympic diets, Chef Tran says that a box of oatmeal cookies has gone missing from his kitchen. Good to know our athletes have their cookie priorities straight!

5 Tips to Make Houseguests Feel Welcome

If you’re hosting houseguests over the holidays, there are simple things you can do to help their stay go off without a hitch. I’ve got five great tips that will make all the difference:

1. Keep a well-stocked bedroom. Anticipate your guest’s needs by stocking their room or sleeping area with a few essentials: bottled water, tissues, a packaged snack food, and a magazine or book. If there is a TV in the room, leave a channel guide near the remote control. Leave a note with the wi-fi name and password, and extra pillows and blankets are a must. A nightlight is helpful, as is a small flashlight in case they need to find the bathroom in the night and don’t want to turn on lights.

2. Keep a well-stocked bathroom. No guest wants to quietly tap you on the shoulder and ask for a bathroom item, so have your bathroom well-stocked and organized. Have ample toilet paper, fresh towels, fresh soap, cotton balls, Q-tips, feminine products, and even a new toothbrush and toothpaste just in case. My other favorite bathroom item to keep stocked is a bottle of this little gem. It really works!

3. Plan for free time. Both you and your guest will likely need and want some time apart, especially during the busy holidays. Equip them with helpful information like maps and transportation information so that they can get around independently. Pick up free brochures of local attractions ahead of time so they can browse options. Supply them with an extra set of house keys, so they have the freedom to come and go as needed.

4. Have accessible snacks and food. Keep a bowl full of fruit out for snacking and a jar full of cookies out and ready for enjoyment. Make sure they know where to find a drink if they need one, and have easy self-serve breakfast food options in case they wake up earlier or later than you.

5. Let them help out. Nobody likes to feel like a burden as a houseguest. Invite them to help you make dinner or read to the kids while you’re  running a quick errand. If they offer to help, have a short list of tasks in mind that would be easy for them to do: wash the dishes, walk the dog, take out the trash, or even vacuum.

Do you have any other tips? Be sure to share them!

Recipe: Homemade Granola

 

Have you ever made homemade granola? It’s so easy and delicious and definitely one of my favorite homemade staples because it can work as a breakfast food, an ice cream topping, an on-the-go snack, a yogurt topping, or even the crunchy, crumbly crust for a fresh fruit cobbler. And it makes anything you buy off the shelf taste like cardboard. One batch makes a lot (about 2 cereal boxes worth) and can be stored in an air-tight container for several weeks. Use this recipe as a basis and add your own favorite twists with dried fruits, nuts, or other add-ins to create your own special mix.

Homemade Granola

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup water
4 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped pecans or slivered almonds
1 cup bran flakes
½ cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour

Directions
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and reserve. Combine brown sugar and water in a 4-cup microwave-proof glass measuring cup or bowl. Place in microwave on high for 5 minutes and cook until sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside the flour, butter, and dried cranberries. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients. Remove brown syrup mixture from microwave, add vanilla extract and salt. Pour liquid mixture into dry mixture and stir until thoroughly mixed. Add flour and butter, mixing with your hands to form small clusters. Spread the granola onto cookie sheets and bake 25 minutes, then stir and switch oven position between the two cookies sheets. Cook an additional 20 to 35 minutes or until golden and crunchy. When the mixture comes out of the oven, it is still very pliable. Add in dried cranberries as a finishing touch at this time. When granola has cooled completely, store in an airtight container.

Recipe: Bite-Sized Brunch

MF Bite-Sized Brunch

I’m having a group of friends over for brunch and when I was thinking up a menu, I found inspiration in our bestselling Nibblers® bite-sized cookies. Bite-sized portions make it easy to sample everything without feeling too full (or too guilty). With classic french toast bites, creamy cheesecake strawberries, and savory breakfast sliders, this bite-sized brunch is the bomb!
MF French Toast Bites
French Toast Bites

1 loaf (1 pound) artisan bread
1/4 cup flour
6 eggs
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
butter

Directions
Cut bread into one-inch cubes without crusts. Add bread to a bag and add flour. Seal bag and shake it until bread cubes are evenly dredged in flour. Preheat a skillet on medium-high heat. Mix eggs, milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a shallow dish. Quickly soak cubes in the egg mixture then transfer to a buttered pan and toast until brown and crisp on each side. Serve with powdered sugar and a side of maple syrup.

 

MF Cheesecake Strawberries
Cheesecake Strawberries

1 pound large strawberries
1 (4 ounce) package instant cheesecake flavored pudding mix
1 cup milk
1 cup whipped topping

Directions
Stir pudding mix and milk by hand for five minutes, or until thickened. Gently fold in whipped topping until combined. Cover and chill while preparing strawberries. Cut the bottom off each strawberry to create a base. Cut the top off each strawberry, then carefully remove the light-colored hull. Transfer pudding mixture into a pastry bag and pipe it into the hollowed strawberries. Serve  immediately or chill until serving.

 

MF Breakfast Sliders
Breakfast Sliders

12 small dinner rolls
12 thin slices salami
12 eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup butter
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
fresh chives for garnish

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a microwave-safe bowl heat butter, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and pepper. Stir and set aside. Slice the top third off each dinner roll then, using your fingers, create a hole in the base of the roll by removing breading and leaving a thin crust around each edge. Arrange the rolls into 9 x 13 baking dish. Fill each hole with a slice of salami, tucking it into the hole and creating a cup for the egg. Crack each egg in half, reserving the half with the yolk and some egg white, discarding the half with only egg white. (HINT: Use discarded egg whites in the French Toast Bites.) Pour the egg into the middle of each salami cup and top with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese and the top of the roll. Brush sauce on top of the rolls and drizzle any excess evenly over the top. Cover dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Top with freshly chopped chives and serve immediately.

Tips for Perfect Care Packages

Have you ever received a care package? It’s a rare and wonderful surprise, and always so appreciated. But do you know how to put one together? Here are my five best tips.

1. Choose a theme. Rather than a hodge podge of various items, decide on a theme for your package. Not only will it keep you more focused in you selecting items, it shows thoughtfulness to the recipient. It could be a theme like favorite cookies or pampering items, or even a color theme integrating several small gifts of a certain color.

2. Finesse the details. Incorporate interesting or beautiful papers, ribbons, or trinkets to polish off the presentation.

3. Wrap items individually. We all know that unwrapping a gift enhances the experience, so make each item special by giving it individual wrapping. Tissue paper or cellophane bags are great for smaller items.

4. Packing materials can be pretty. If you’re mailing your package, use popped popcorn, mini balloons (blown up), or shredded colored paper to make it secure for shipping. It keeps the wow-factor high. Use stickers, decorative tape, or paper to decorate the outside of the box.

5. Include a note. The most important part of any care package is the little hand-written note tucked inside. In my opinion, a gift without a note is only half a gift. Personalize it with your own words.

Need more inspiration? Check out these beautiful care packages.

Sunshine in a Box via Katherine Marie Photography

Breakfast in a Box via Style Baggage

Birthday Party in a Box via You Are My Fave

Of course, some of my favorite care packages are sent out every day to thousands of people across the country. If you don’t feel like putting together a care package, we can always do it for you!

Springtime Flower Box by Mrs. Fields

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