Banana Nut Bread Oatmeal

Banana Bread Oatmeal

Hello everyone! Long time no see, eh?

This past month has been CRAZY. I gave birth. ‘Nuff said.

I don’t have the words to describe to you how horribly hard, frustrating, rewarding and sweet it has all been.


But this little girly is so worth it. Soon, I’m sure, the sleepless nights, slow recovery and endless feeding sessions will all fade into distant memory. Hopefully.

Banana Bread Oatmeal

One of the hardest parts of recovery is not being able to do ANYTHING. I didn’t realize how much I took for granted the little things like combing my hair, fixing a cup of tea and doing the dishes. I have really missed being able to create in the kitchen.

Banana Bread Oatmeal

This oatmeal was one of the last things I was able to concoct before little Helen arrived. I had just discovered how easy and delicious steel cut oats are. Yes, they do take a while longer to cook, but I believe it’s worth the wait.

Here’s a scrumptious way to spice up your morning oats. Hope you enjoy – and create something fun in kitchen! You never know when that privilege will be taken from you.

Banana Nut Bread Steel Cut Oats | Recipe by Erica Lea of Cooking for Seven |
Makes 4 servings | PRINTABLE PAGE


  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Generous pinch each of: cardamom, nutmeg and cloves
  • 2 large, ripe bananas, plus extra for serving
  • 2 tablespoons natural sweetener of choice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans
  • Butter, cream and maple syrup for serving


1) Bring the water and milk to a brisk boil. Stir in the oats, salt and spices. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the oats are tender, about 30 minutes.

2) Meanwhile, toast the pecans. Mash the bananas until fairly smooth. Once the oats are finished cooking, stir in the bananas, sweetener and vanilla.

3) Serve immediately with butter, cream and maple syrup, if desired. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.


Aaaand one more of this little dolly. Because I can’t help myself.


Crunchy Maple Granola + Baby Update

Maple Granola

Hello there! Hope you all had an awesome holiday season. I wish I could say ours was rockin’, but it seems like we’ve been battling one sickness after another.

I was going to make Nutella Stuffed Cookies for ya’ll, but after the indulgence pigging out from the holidays, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Maple Granola

So I went a little healthier route and made granola instead.

{1/52} Granola

For Christmas I received the lovely Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, from which I got this granola. I think I’m going to really enjoy cooking my way through that book.

This granola is bonkers good. The flavors are simply wonderful and it bakes up nice and crunchy. Plus, it super-customizable — always a good thing in my book. You can change up the type of nuts or fruit for a totally different result.


And now for a bit of a baby/pregnancy update. I’m at 34.5 weeks (the above photo was taken at 33 weeks), or 5.5 weeks from my due date! It kinda scares and excites me to think that we’ll be responsible for the life of a tiny, helpless baby in a little over a month.

For now I’m doing my best to eat right to keep this life inside of me healthy. Onward to this new adventure!

You can read more about my pregnancy on my personal blog.

Maple Granola

Recipe Notes:

  • I think the use of egg white to help bind the granola is brilliant. It didn’t make the granola as “clumpy” as the recipe suggested it would, but it was still quite crunchy.
  • The fruit made the granola get a tad softer. Next time I might leave it out altogether. After all I’m not a huge fan of fruit in my granola.
  • Coarse sea salt makes this granola really lovely. Every once in a while you get a bite with a little salt crystal. Delightful!
  • The original recipe called for olive oil, but I used butter since olive oil can break down with baking. You could also use coconut oil if you prefer.

Crunchy Maple Granola | adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook | makes about 7 cups | PRINTABLE PAGE


  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup pecans or nuts of choice
  • 1/4 flax seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 1/2 cups dried fruit of choice (I used figs and apricots), optional


1) Preheat your oven to 300° F (150° C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2) In a large bowl, mix together the oats, coconut, nuts, flax seeds, cinnamon and salt. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Mix in the maple syrup.

3) Pour the butter/maple syrup mixture over the dry ingredients and toss to coat well. In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Add to the dry ingredients and toss.

4) Spread the granola out onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, until the granola is nicely toasted, golden, and feels dry, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

5) Remove from oven and let cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack. When completely cool, break up the granola and stir in the fruit. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. You can also store in the refrigerator of freezer for longer periods of time.

Dirty Chai Pancakes with Spiced Caramel Sauce + The Winner!

Dirty Chai Pancakes

Alright, time for the promised pancakes!

When Emma pinned these Dirty Chai Pancakes the other day, I knew I needed to make them. And so I did.

Reuben loved them. “These are really good pancakes,” he told me with his mouth full.

Dirty Chai Pancakes

Lovely Chai spices are mixed in with the dry ingredients. Fresh-ground espresso makes these “dirty” pancakes.

You should whip these up. Today. For breakfast, lunch or supper! They’re good any time.

Recipe Notes:

The original recipe called for spelt flour, but I subbed whole wheat and AP flour with great success. It also called for non-dairy milk, but I just used regular whole.

I didn’t have any maple syrup on hand, so I just mixed up a spiced caramel sauce. You could also mix a few spices into warmed maple syrup if you prefer.

Dirty Chai Pancakes with Spiced Caramel Sauce | adapted from The First Mess and Foods of Our Lives | serves 3-4 | Printable Page


For the Spiced Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch each of: ginger, cardamom, nutmeg and cloves

For the pancakes:

  • 1 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup white whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup all-purpse flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground espresso
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or sweetener of choice
  • 1 tbsp melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


To make the caramel sauce:

1) Place the sugar in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts. This will take a few minutes.

2) Once the sugar has all melted start adding the butter one piece at a time. Whisk until the butter is completely melted. Wait about 3 seconds and then add the cream slowly. Whisk as you add until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Remove from heat.

3) Add the salt and spices and whisk again a couple times just to incorporate.

To make the pancakes

1) Combine the milk and vinegar in a liquid measuring cup. Stir lightly and set aside to curdle for at least 5 minutes.

2) In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground coffee, cinnamon, ground ginger, cardamom, nutmeg and cloves. Add the curdled milk, maple syrup, melted butter and vanilla extract. Stir gently to combine, taking care not to over mix.

3) Heat a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Brush the pan with melted butter. Drop 1/3 cup measures of the pancake batter into the pan. Allow the first side to cook for 1 to 1-½ minutes, or until bubbles pop on the surface and the edges appear dry and lightly browned. Flip the pancakes over and cook for another minute. Remove pancakes and keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter.

4) Serve pancakes with lots of butter, spiced caramel sauce or maple syrup. Yum!

Now for the winner of the Mignon Kitchen Giveaway!


Using, I have selected a winner!

And the winner is…

Commenter #51, Carrie J.L. who said: “Fish sticks, homemade tartar sauce, and green beans! Simple, quick dinner =) Really enjoy your blog by the way! And can’t wait to check out this kitchen website! =)”
Congratulations, Carrie! I will be emailing you soon with further details.

Thank you all for participating in my giveaway.

Have a lovely day!

Dirty Chai Pancakes

Raspberry Muffins + The Winner

Raspberry Muffins

Did you know that I have some of the best in-laws ever? When my husband and I were on our honeymoon, my husband’s mother and sister planted our garden for us. Even though the deer and rabbits attacked it with abandon, we were able to glean some organic produce this year. Without my in-laws, it would have been too late to start a garden this year.


Not stopping with that, they have showered us with their own amazing produce – fresh strawberries, raspberries, green beans, garlic, and more. Plus, they taught me how to can green beans so we can savor them all winter.


Which brings me to these raspberry muffins. I had a whole gallon bucket of lovely raspberries from Reuben’s family in the fridge, and I wanted to bake something delicious with them. We were having soup for supper and I thought these would be a nice addition to the meal. And they were a success! Reuben loved them.

“How to did you get them to be caramelized on top?” he asked.

My evening was made.


  • Of course I substituted part whole wheat flour and natural sweetener. The original recipe called for lemon zest, but I didn’t have any on hand so I skipped it. It also called for pecans in the topping, but Reuben doesn’t care for nuts in baked goods so I left them out.
  • I felt that the recipe did not call for enough buttermilk. I ended up adding 1/4 cup of cream or more to the batter to get it to the right consistency.
  • It will seem like there’s way too much topping for the muffins, but that’s not the case. It’s just right. Trust me.

Raspberry Muffins

Printable Page | Makes 12 muffins


For the topping:

  • 1/3 cup demereara sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

For the muffin batter:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 demerara sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten slightly
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries


1) Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease or line with muffin papers 12 standard muffin cups.

2) To make topping: In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and flour. Stir in the melted butter until the mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

3) To make the muffins: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate small bowl, combine the egg, butter, vanilla, and buttermilk. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir just to moisten. Add the raspberries and gently fold in with a rubber spatula. Do not overmix.

4) Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Evenly distribute the topping over the batter. Bake in preheated oven until golden and springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Place pan on a cooling rack and allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to the cooling rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature, with butter of course!


Now for the Winner!

The winner of my RiceSelect giveaway is:

Commenter #78: j.hodge who had yogurt for breakfast.


Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway. I have several more giveaways lined up this fall, so stay tuned!

Keep eating and cooking what you love!

Erica Lea

Baked Oatmeal, Old & New


Fascinating how much your photography can change in just 1.5 years. Way back in December of 2008 I blogged about a delicious recipe I had concocted: Fruit on the Bottom Baked Oatmeal. Here was my original header photo:

I was so proud that captured this image early on a Winter morning.

All of this to say, go and see my guest post on the Tasty Kitchen blog: Fruit on the Bottom Baked Oatmeal.

Portuguese Broa

Are you looking for a light, airy bread recipe? This one is not for you. Are you looking for a hearty, whole-grain bread filled with complex flavors? Keep reading.


Portuguese Broa

I must admit that I had my doubts about this recipe. I threw all of the ingredients into the bread machine, set it to the dough cycle, and left it for hours. When I returned, it hadn’t risen very far and the dough smelled strongly of yeast. Being an optimist at heart, I scraped it out of the pan, formed it into a ball, and set the oven.



Portuguese Broa

To my surprise, it rose beautifully. I slashed it, sprinkled it with water, and placed it in the oven, and it baked up just as the recipe described. It was delicious spread with butter and honey; it was even better toasted.



Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Printable Page


  • 1 cup (4 1/8 ounces) yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup  milk, warmed
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons  honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


1) Mix together the cornmeal and hot water in a small bowl. Stir in the warm milk, and let the mixture cool to lukewarm. Then add the remaining ingredients and mix and knead them together — by hand, mixer or bread machine — to form a smooth, slightly sticky dough.

2) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and turn it over, so that the top is oiled. Cover the dough and let it rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until it’s puffy; this rising time will develop both the flavor and the gluten.

3) Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased or floured work surface, knead it lightly (just once or twice), and form it into a ball. Place it onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, or one that’s been sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover it and let it rise for 45 minutes, or until it’s very puffy.

4) Just before placing the loaf in a preheated 450°F oven, spritz it lightly with water and make four slashes, each about 1/4-inch deep, into the top crust. Place the loaf in the oven and bake it for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 400°F, and continue to bake for another 15 minutes, or until it’s golden brown.

Yield: l round loaf, 12 slices.



Portuguese Broa

4 Responses to “Portuguese Broa”

  1. Prerna says:

    As soon as I read “Are you looking for a light, airy bread recipe?” I was like ‘YES,YES!” And then you said “This is not for you” and I was like ‘What?? Why?”
    But then I read further and loved it!
    I sooo want to learn making breads but somehow manage to get busy and ‘idea drop!’ would love to learn some recipes from you.. Bookmarked!
    Thanks for visiting my space and for your lovely comments.. Stay in touch and keep inspiring!

  2. Somehow you read my mind… I’ve been searching for whole grain bread recipes for like 20 min and I wasn’t convinced with any of them… this sounds perfect! I will definitely make it this weekend! thanks for sharing!

  3. astheroshe says:

    Very nice!!I am trying some bread this week.. I find i want to bake it more and more.. will keep for my “”to do”list

  4. Sophia says:

    This looks like a delicious bread recipe. I especially love the photo with the butter! Divine! Have you ever tried Apple Bread? It’s a traditional Samhain recipe. Thanks for your great post by the way!

Raspberry Crumb Bars

One evening, when I was in one my baking moods, I felt like making something special for breakfast. I saw these over at Smitten Kitchen and decided that they needed to be made. Of course I made my usual adjustments – whole wheat flour and a natural sweetener. I also left out the lemon zest (as we had none).

To be honest, I thought these bars were a little on the tart side. However, I was overall very pleased with them, and will most likely try them again.

We served them with both liquid and whipped cream. Delicious.


Raspberry Crumb Breakfast Bars
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen


For the crust and crumb:
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 cup Demerara sugar or Sucanat or rapadura
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

For the raspberry filling:
1/4 cup Demerara sugar or Sucanat or rapadura
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 pound raspberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled


Make the crust and crumb:

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up the two short sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends. This will make it easy to remove the bars from the pan after they have baked.

2) Put the flour, sugar, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until combined. Add the butter and pulse until loose crumbs form.

3) Reserve 1 1/2 cup of the mixture and set aside. Pour the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan and use your hands or the back of a large wooden spoon to push the crust into an even layer at the bottom of the pan. The crust should touch the sides of the pan. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the crust cool. Keep the oven on while you make the raspberry filling.

Make the raspberry filling:

4) In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, cinnamon, and flour together. Add the raspberries, lemon juice and butter and use your hands to toss gently until the raspberries are evenly coated.

Assemble and bake the bars:

5) Spread the raspberry filling evenly on top of the cooled crust. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture evenly on top of the filling.

6) Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until the top is golden brown and the filling starts to bubble around the edges.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then cut into squares. Serve plane or with liquid or whipped cream. The bars can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two days.