Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo YaYa

 "Chicken and Sausage Gumbo YaYa starts with a roux and the holy trinity of celery, onions and green peppers. Throw in some spicy smoked sausage and boiled or roast chicken and you've got yourself a party. Pass the Tabasco, please."

I'm sure I've mentioned that Manservant has roots in Mississippi, just down the road from New Orleans. It was there that I discovered my love of Cajun and Creole food. It was there that Paul Prudhomme and I became soul mates-well-at least in my head. And it was there that shrimps became srimps-because that's how they say it. It was also there that I discovered a jovial side of the family who are warm and generous and that I hardly see at all.

Whenever I go to N'awlins I eat my brains out. Good food is hard to resist and good rich food is even better. Stuffing my face with cream filled food and lordy lordy, a lot of spicy spices, and then the muffalettas and the beignets and the chicory coffee and we haven't even gotten to drinks yet.  Yep, this was the first place I had okra; and I liked it. No, on oysters. I'm weird that way. However you can pry my mouth open when they're fried or perhaps covered with a ton of garlic and grilled. Pralines? Pass one my way.And the list goes on. New Orleans food is a wonder and I remember getting on the plane to come home. Manservant and I both felt a tad nauseous. That's what happens when you put a Northerner into a vat of richly seasoned food and fun loving folks.

gumbo with chicken and sausage

My brain starts wanting me some good Cajun food 'bout now. I think my body is a walking calender. Yep, it's Fat Tuesday and my body needs more. Don't I wish? Now I've never been to Mardi Gras or celebrated Lent, but that is what we're talking about. Eat all you want. Drink all you want. Party like there's no tomorrow and then tomorrow it's time to get ready for Easter and the ritual fast. So it is I started digging out all my cookbooks from Paul and Emeril and Brennan's and Commander's Palace and I have even more....until I found Gumbo YaYa. Don't you all be jabberin' at the same time now. Because that's what YaYa means. When you can't hear each other talkin'...found in a 1945 Cajun cookbook...all you hear in the kitchen is yaya!

Gumbo YaYa was described as a Creole dish, but I think the author got it wrong. Creole food is city food. It usually contains tomatoes and butter; not oil. Those aren't in this recipe. Cajun is country food. Not as refined. Never has tomatoes. Often contains seafood and chicken or sausage. Andouille sausage is Cajun food. Whatever. Manservant was thrilled to see me stirring the roux. I stirred my roux in my Le Creuset Dutch oven. It made it easy-not that making a roux is hard, but it came together really quick because I was able to turn my heat higher and not worry about scorching the roux. If you have a not so heavy pot, than turn your heat lower. Have all your ingredients ready. Don't leave it for a second. Though Manservant would say that a touch of scorch is what makes a good roux, but what does he know?

gumbo with chicken and sausage and rice, tabasco

Now quit your jabberin'! And start cookin! Tonight's a party, y'all. You may not think so, but this gumbo sure does. Let the good times roll!

yield: 8-12print recipe
gumbo with chicken and sausage

Gumbo YaYa

Gumbo YaYa is Cajun cooking at its finest. Filled with spicy Andouille sausage and chicken, this spicy gumbo gets the good times rollin'!
prep time: 60 MINScook time: 45 MINStotal time: 105 mins


  • 3 cans low salt chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 c brown roux approximately
  • 1 lb Andouille Sausage or any spicy smoked sausage
  • 1 T canola oil
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 t dried thyme leaves or 4 sprigs fresh
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 T tabasco
  • 2 T Worcestershire
  • 1/2 - 2 t salt (This is your preference and depends on how salty your stock and sausage is.)
  • 1 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-4 c shredded chicken (I use a roast chicken from the grocery, but if you make your own chicken stock, you can use the chicken from that.
  • 3 c cooked white rice (You may want more. It depends on how many rice lovers you have.)
Brown Roux
  • 1 c canola oil
  • 1 1/2 c flour, divided into 1/4 cups
  • 1/3 c finely chopped onion
  • 1/3 c finely chopped green pepper
  • 1/3 c finely chopped celery
  • 1 t minced garlic


Brown Roux (Make sure to have all ingredients ready and a whisk.)
  1. In a heavy bottomed 4 quart Dutch oven, add oil and heat to smoking over medium high heat. Be careful! As soon as oil is smoking whisk in flour in 1/4 c increments until flour becomes a dark nutty brown. When that happens add the next 1/4 cup and so on. Continue to whisk, through out the entire process until flour is incorporated and deep brown. Do not leave for one second because the roux can burn fast. When all is incorporated, remove from heat.
  2. Once removed from heat immediately add onion, pepper, celery and garlic. This helps cool the roux and adds flavor. Pour or spoon roux into a 4 cup measure and set aside. It is very hot so be careful. Now wipe out your Dutch oven and get ready to make your gumbo.
Gumbo YaYa
  1. Slice sausage into 1/4" slices and cut in half. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium high heat and add sausage. Cook until the fat is rendered or it starts to brown.
  2. Add garlic, green pepper and onion. Saute about 3 minutes or until veggies are softened. Pour in stock and bring to a simmer. Add thyme and bay leaf.
  3. Add reserved 1 1/2 c roux, whisking until roux is incorporated. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 30-45 minutes.
  4. Stir in chicken, Tabasco, Worcestershire and pepper. Add salt to taste. Serve over rice with biscuits or corn bread. (You may also want to adjust the tabasco if you don't like things too spicy.)
Created using The Recipes Generator

More N'Awlins Food:

           Shrimp Piquant                   Cajun Fish with Pecan Butter            Mardi Gras Recipes

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Chicken and Sausage Gumbo YaYa is made with simple ingredients and a brown roux. So good and heartwarming! www.thisishowicook.com #gumbo #mardigrasfood #chicken #sausage

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Famous Fudge Pie and Shanghai

"This gooey chocolate fudge pie is the perfect dessert to please any chocolate or pie lover. So easy to make, easier to eat, this is a pie that disappears in a hurry. Maybe that's why it's so famous!!"

Fall came so fast and winter is hardly noticeable. It actually seems time to think about the garden, but I know that winter will rear its ugly head again soon! In the meantime, I've been tackling home projects, but haven't given up on documenting our China trip. I last left you when we departed Chengdu and were heading to Shanghai.

Shanghai, (8th largest city in the world) is home to my boy, Alex Odie San China Boy! I couldn't wait to get there to explore where he lives and frankly, see what he likes about it so much. We decided to stay near Alex, which coincidentally is near where Manservant used to work. We headed back to his old stomping ground at the I.M.Pei Mansion, an elegant art deco home built in 1934, which was renovated 10 years ago into a boutique hotel. Very interesting it is, and one can only imagine what it was like in its hey day, but unfortunately now feels a bit worn. Currently owned by the city of Shanghai, it is to bad they have let it fall.  It does however have a 5 star toilet that we couldn't figure out how to flush.Try explaining that to the front desk when they doesn't speak English and you don't speak Chinese!

Saturday morning found Alex and Zoe greeting us with savory scallion pancakes, fresh from the street! That fortified us as we began our day of  exploring the 'hood. Alex designed our custom tour around food. No one complained. We started with jiao bing (a Chinese equivalent of a burrito), but way, way better. Choose what you want in these giant crepes; they are found on many streets. China Boy explained  that street food is wrapped in paper so you never have to touch the food directly with your hands. As most street food is greasy, keeping it surrounded by paper keeps your hands clean and it also means you don't have to wash your hands before you eat!


After the bing we walked into a Chinese open grocery where seperate stalls contained eggs, rice, seafood, produce, etc... all from different vendors. It was clean and basic.  And then off to the Jing 'An Temple. Not to see the Temple, but to see the food! (Actually there was a holiday that day and the Temple was quite crowded, though next time I will go in. It contains the largest jade Buddha in China, was built in 247 A.D. and was renovated in 1983 after it had been converted to a plastic factory during the Cultural revolution.) Jing'an temple is surrounded by a large mall and plaza with many places to eat. Taiwanese rice rolls were new to us and sold in an upscale fast food place. Zoe dove right in.

The mall also contained a luxurious Japanese grocery which had everything you could ever want. I thought the prices were similar to a high end grocer in any big city. Prepared food, gorgeous fish and sushi, meat and  truffles of every size and mushrooms of every variety were just a few of the offerings. My jaw was open. But no eating at this place. Alex had us moving on to the Famous Special Shop, Fu Chun, a Chinese style diner specializing in xiao long bao- another name for dumplings! Everything is in Chinese, one orders at the small counter and then stakes out a spot on the dining room floor, while hovering over a staked out table.

As soon as the patrons leave, you sit and only then does the waitress take your slip that shows what you ordered. Not fancy, but truly the best I've had. Honestly, I didn't know soup dumplings could be so good. The crab soup dumplings were amazing and we required two orders. We could have kept eating but China Boy assured us we had more eating ahead. Of course, right around the corner was a scallion pancake place and a European bakery with cake rolls that Zoe just had to try! Then it was more walking.

Alex loves the Shanghai streets because Shanghai is one of the few Chinese cities where trees line the street. It is picturesque in a European way.  We walked and walked, went by some lovely European style boutiques filled with designer clothes, suits and home goods, until we made a stop at Alex's favorite coffee/bookshop where a seat in the garden was ready for us. After coffee and what was supposed to be a brownie, it was on to the former wine store where Alex used to work. Located in a very trendy area, it was surrounded by tiny boutiques and bakeries and upscale restaurants. The wine store had an upper open air deck where they served wine and only wine-no food-and we enjoyed a lovely rose. I could easily do this every weekend for perfect relaxation.Then it was back on foot until we reached the shop where Alex always buys me beautiful plates before he comes home. I could have easily filled my carry on, but then I would have had no room for clothes. They don't ship because of breakage...go figure.

Finally we arrived at Alex's apartment, the peachy pink place above. Can't say that after a long day of walking, climbing 7 flights is much fun, especially in unairconditioned common areas which were also a bit grungy. Apparently cleaning common areas is not often done. We arrived to Odie-San's place-built in 1990-I would have guessed 1970- and though it was quite large and considered quite nice by Chinese standards, it reminded me of an old college dorm. However his room was quite spacious and being at the top of the building meant he had an upper roof top deck that was his to use. The deck was lovely, except that his roommates didn't care about keeping it up and so the plants Alex so lovingly planted were almost dead. This convinced him to move on and December found him in new digs with two fewer roommates. Unfortunately this one has no deck, but looks very similar to the above. After watching the sunset from his rooftop, we left for the hotel, wiped the sweat off, and did a quick change before joining his old roommate from Sweden for Yunnan food. Yunnan food was new to me. Featuring mushrooms, goat's cheese and lots of fresh vegetables-we really enjoyed crunchy lotus root-Yunnan is a province located in Southern China.

Sunday began with Manservant and Alex finally taking the subway to the airport to recover what they hoped would be Manservant's missing luggage. Countless phone calls had determined nothing and no one ever called us back. Sure enough as Zoe and I were having coffee, Alex and Manservant came sauntering up with luggage marked RUSH. Boy that tag sure helped. Then it was on to breakfast near Alex's office building.

Well fortified we headed to the center of Shanghai where we browsed through neighborhood alleyways when someone decided to have his neck shaved. The barber treated him like a celebrity!

I thought he was quite brave! Slowly we ended up at the Yu Gardens. Finding the entrance to this 5 acre garden is not easy. One traverses through a packed touristy shopping area to finally arrive at the garden. Inside the "Garden of Happiness" is a beautiful spot built in 1559. It is unlike any garden we had seen in China and I particularly liked the dragon's tail running the entire perimeter along the top of the rock wall. We were lucky because it was the end of the day and therefore there was not a line to get in. However it was still quite crowded and not the peaceful escape it was intended to be. But certainly it was not to be missed!

Then it was rush rush back to change, as that night we planned to see the night lights of Shanghai. We washed off the sweat, changed our clothes, thought we knew where we were going to meet Alex and ended up being hijacked by a taxi driver. Turns out we didn't need a taxi and Manservant misunderstood Alex Odie San. When you hire a taxi in China it is very important to have where you are going written in Chinese characters. In this case, we did not AND our phone battery was running low. We thought we were going close by and as we kept geting further and further away Manservant tried to reach Alex on his low battery. Alex immediately started yelling, "Get out of that cab now. Make him stop. Put me on the phone." Well, whatever he yelled at him, meant us being unceremoniously dropped on the side of a street while not having a clue where we were and also without a working cell phone. Stupid on our part. Luckily we immediately found a cab and had the card of the Pei Mansion so the driver knew where to take us. There our two children awaited us and proceeded to scream with worry. Well... just a little excitement for the evening.

Having used a bit of time, we settled on a quick dinner at one of Alex's favorites. After a few beers and some good chow, all was better. Then it was on to the lights of Shanghai. We ubered on down and though we didn't walk on the Bund, we viewed it from the other side of the river. Colored lights are very popular in China and it was a pretty sight. Alex then took us to the bar at the Park Hyatt, located high in the sky, where we finally calmed down with a nightcap as we watched the clouds roll in and the lights slowly turn off. Much better than paying to go to a viewing balcony.

Monday morning found Zoe and I looking for breakfast while Alex had a meeting. We then met at his apartment and did a bit more of discovering his 'hood by shopping for our next meal. After visiting a produce place for veggies, a fruit place, a store for drinks, a place for chocolate, a place for nuts to snack on, a grocery for cheese and I think one other...three sets of  hands were full. It was then a matter of lugging the bags-one of which contained a giant pomelo and a watermelon, up 7 flights to repack in a box of ice which Alex had specially delivered. We then repacked while Alex went to get a rental car, (after just earning his China driver's license) carried down all of our stuff, drove to the Pei to pick up Manservant and pack up our car.

And then it was on to Moganshan.

Moganshan began in 1898 as Shanghai elite wanted a get away from Shanghai's summer heat. Eventually a train was built, but until then porters were used to haul people and their belongings up the mountain where stone villas were built to house the summer community. Even Chiang Kai-Shek had a place there. Taken over in 1949 by the People's Liberation army, the villas were handed out to different work units. Today it is being revived and there are various places to stay. We stayed at the original Moganshan villas where different villas are available depending on the size of your party.   Our house had two bedrooms and one bath and was quite quaint. Stone houses of European style have been renovated, hotels have sprung up and it was a great respite 8 days into our trip. Alex did a great job driving and it was especially fun to have our license plate photographed every time we got on and off the highway. It is easy to forget that China is a communist country, until one truly looks around and sees cameras everywhere!

 All was going well until it started to pour. And pour. And then it got dark. And darker. And we found ourselves in the little village of Moganshan, where unbelievably they were working on the roads in the pouring rain. Mud was everywhere. After crossing what seemed like a raging river we finally found ourselves headed to the national park in which Moganshan is located. How Alex found this, I have no clue. After paying the entry fee, we then called the caretaker who showed us where we were going. She asked if we wanted to walk the short route or the long. We chose short and soon found ourselves getting off the side of the road as she points and says it's up that way. Now remember we had luggage and food and well, you know the drill. Off she goes taking the first 12" high stone step to show us our way. Remember it's pitch black and she hands us each a torch (flashlight) to light the way. The rain had slowed to a drizzle, but everything was slick and muddy. As you can imagine from the group of photos below, at night this was a very treacherous path. Well,  it was to me as I'm not the most sure footed person in the world.

After arriving with all of our belongings we began to make dinner. Turns out you can eat in a dining room, but Alex didn't know this. As it was already 8PM we sat down to a great, really great meal, of grilled cheese. I am not kidding. It was great! The kitchen was well stocked, utensil wise, but with one light bulb it was quite hard to see. Then we watched movies. Nothing like watching "Elvis and Nixon" while lounging in China. Quite a good flick, I must say.

The next morning we made eggs for breakfast, sat outside at the picnic table, and watched two older workers find their way down our path. They seemed quite surprised to see us and Alex graciously asked them ,"Have you eaten?" a polite, common way of adressing elders. "How are you", is not a phrase used often in China. Apparently it is not considered sincere and though people don't expect to be fed, "Have you eaten", is considered more caring. Jovially, they were quite surprised that the boy spoke Chinese. But with  huge smiles, jaws open, eyes staring, they continued on the rocky stairs with a polite thank you.

Upon finishing our breakfast we headed up the mountain, on the trail that was treacherous the night before. And yes there were still narrow, slippery parts in my opinion, but the muddy path was much more easily traversed during the day. Into the bamboo forest we went for  a somewhat easy hike over the paths through the park. We met some interesting signs

and crossed a suspension bridge that I made everyone cross before me, so it would shake less! After a few hours it was happy hour and we enjoyed a bottle of wine on the neighbor's deck. Of course the neighbor's weren't there! Then it was back to cooking salmon in our tiny unlit kitchen and spending a warm evening with my family.

The perfect respite... it was good to escape the city, and enjoy the tranquility of nature. Next stop Hangzhou... Until then settle in for a piece of pie. Really good pie. Really good fudgey pie. Thanks for reading. I sure thought I'd never get this one finished...unlike this pie which disappeared fast!

 Yield: 8 slices   print recipe

Famous Fudge Pie

This gooey chocolate fudge pie is the perfect dessert to please any chocolate or pie lover. So easy to make, easier to eat, this is a pie that disappears in a hurry! Maybe that's why it's so famous!
prep time: 20 MINScook time: 30 MINStotal time: 50 mins


  • 3/4 c melted unsalted butter
  • 3/4 c dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/3 c Dutch processed cocoa
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla or 1 T bourbon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c dark chocolate chips
  • 1 c toasted pecans
  • 1 unbaked pie shell


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Mix melted butter, sugars, flour, salt, cocoa, vanilla or bourbon and eggs together. Mix well.
  2. In an unbaked pie shell, sprinkle chocoate chips and pecans over bottom of crust. Spread above filling on top.
  3. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until center is just jiggly and the top of the pie is shiny. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream or a cold glass of milk!
Created using The Recipes Generator

More from China:
Eggplant with Pork and Garlic and China        Chengdu and Apple Cake with Caramel


More Pie:
                  Fudge Pie 1                   Chocolate Cherry Skillet Pie                    Berry Hand Pies


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Monday, February 13, 2017

Lobster Scampi de Jonghe #Whole Foods

"Lobster Scampi de Jonghe is rich with butter, sherry and garlic. Crispy bread crumbs soak up this delectable sauce and the best part is this special dish can be prepared in under thirty minutes."

lobster, shrimp, scampi, clam shell

I think I was the only one that didn't know Valentine's Day is tomorrow. When the kids were little ones I knew this. Perhaps it was the planning of the parties that alerted me or perhaps it was making those special mailboxes to collect all those valentines, but let's just say that this year I thought Valentine's Day fell on Thursday, which leaves me scrambling like most people to find a decent card that's still on the rack.

It also left me in a rush to get to Whole Foods where they are celebrating Valentine's Day big time. Not only do they have a great deal on roses, they have great deals on steak and lobster. I've always been a fan of lobster but sometimes the big tails are a bit too much for me, in which case I turn to the small 4 ouncers. When Manservant is craving steak I go buy a few of these and they make my meal as special as his. In fact, I also buy these cute petite tails when they are on sale, so I always have some to grill or add to dishes like paella.

I don't remember when I first discovered  I loved lobster but it was some time in my teen age years. One year I even remember ordering it for homecoming, which shocked the heck out of the guy I was sitting next to. Not sure I ever saw him again! After that I learned never to order the most expensive thing on the menu!

lobster, shrimp, scampi, clam shell

My mother, on the other hand loves to tell a different story of lobster. It so happens that on the night she met her future in laws she thought she was being quite sophisticated and ordered the lobster. My father's parents, who were simple people and kept kosher, almost blew a gasket. "What kind of a girl are you marrying? Is she a shiksa?" Well the marriage did go as planned, (I am living testimony...) but I have learned that lobster has protocols that one must follow if eating in a restaurant with people you don't know very well.

In Kankakee, lobster was not easy to come by. Well maybe it was and my parents never told me about it. So I discovered shrimp. (You can see the keeping kosher part of the family must have been ruined by the Jewish shiksa!) After earning my driver's license, my friends and I would take drives into the "country" along the river where there were always a few good restaurants. Eagle Island Supper Club was where we often found ourselves chowing down on Shrimp de Jonghe or fried frog's legs. To bad it has disappeared into the sunset. Even Al Capone ate there in his day. I remember they used to begin meals with a relish tray, which was a good thing because we used to work up quite an appetite getting there. Carrots and radishes never looked so good. Hmmmm.

lobster, shrimp, scampi, clam shell

Shrimp de Jonghe, if you've never heard of it, is similar to shrimp scampi. In fact I might dare say, that they are virtually the same dish, but scampi is served with pasta and de Jonghe is not. Scampi is also made with oil, where as de Jonghe has the richness of butter; in its favor, I would say. Shrimp de Jonghe originated in Chicago,  but the restaurant that made it famous was shut down during Prohibition when it was discovered they were bottlegging liquor. Go figure. There is even sherry in the sauce!

Whole Foods wanted us to celebrate Valentine's Day (which is kind of funny because they just announced they were shutting down the Ambassador program) with lobster or steak. Since I haven't made Shrimp de Jonghe in years, I decided to adapt it to Lobster Scampi de Jonghe, that way you can decide whether or not to serve this with pasta. With all of its rich buttery savory sauce, it is enough to satisfy and savor all on its own.  Lobster versus shrimp, makes it all the more luscious, so if you don't feel the need to add pasta then don't. You won't miss it. A simple green salad is more than enough to round out your meal.  I'm pretty certain that you will love this lobster as much as I do. Perfect for a last minute special dinner, this lobster scampi de Jonghe is ready in under 30 minutes.

lobster, shrimp, scampi, clam shell

yield: 2-4print recipe
lobster, shrimp, scampi, clam shell

Lobster Scampi de Jonghe

Lobster Scampi de Jonghe is rich with butter, sherry and garlic. Crispy bread crumbs soak up this delectable sauce and the best part is that this special dish can be made in under thirty minutes.
prep time: 20 MINScook time: 10 MINStotal time: 30 mins


  • 4 four to five ounce petite lobster tails
  • 1/2 c melted butter
  • 2 T sherry
  • 1 1/2 c Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 T minced parsley
  • 2 T minced shallot
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 t sweet paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1 t fresh minced tarragon
  • 1 T minced sweet onion


  1. Preheat oven to 400. Boil lobster until just pink. This should take about 2-3 minutes. Do not over cook. Lobster will not be cooked all the way through, but will finish cooking in the oven. With cooking shears cut throught the middle of the underside of the tail. Remove both slices of lobster and slice into good sized chunks.
  2. Combine lobster chunks with half of the melted butter and sherry.
  3. Mix remaining butter with bread crumbs and remaining ingredients.
  4. Using four baking shells or a shallow casserole dish, spoon half of the lobster into each shell or the casserole. Top with half of the crumb mixture. Top that with the rest of the lobster. Finish off with the rest of the bread crumbs.
  5. Bake in 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until bread crumbs are lightly browned. Garnish with fresh tarragon if desired. Serve immediately!
Created using The Recipes Generator

Happy Valentine's Day to all my Valentine's and thanks to Whole Foods for sponsoring posts over the last three years!

A Few More Romantic Recipes:

4 Ingredient Fettucine Alfredo       Scallops with Lemon and Garlic              Chocolate Lava Cake


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lobster, shrimp, scampi, clam shell

Thursday, February 2, 2017

One Bowl Oatmeal Fruit Muffins #BrunchwithFiona's

"These no fat blueberry oatmeal muffins are bursting with fruit, fiber and protein. Feel good about sending your kid out the door with one of these!"

One Bowl Oatmeal Muffins

"Samples were provided though no compensation was given and opinions are my own."

Almost every day someone in our house is eating a bowl of oatmeal, which kind of makes us experts on oatmeal, does it not? I know for sure that I'll never let Manservant prepare my bowl as it always turns out so hard I could cut it with a knife. He, on the other hand, will always let me make him a bowl. We also love to eat oats in the form of granola, and I know you know about my addicting crack granola that right now is hiding in the depths of the pantry, so we don't devour it immediately.

All that being said, I felt quite qualified attending a brunch sponsored by Sprouts Farmers Market at Fiona's Natural Foods. I felt like a kid on a field trip as I walked into their massive freezer, which I think is as big as our house. Then it was on to the room with the oven  I could easily stand in. It's always fun seeing how food gets to our plate. Bet you didn't know that Fiona is from Boulder and started selling granola there. Well, now it's owned by Jarrett Eggers who has expanded and added some great new products that soon will be nationwide.

Fiona's products which include trail mixes, granola and oatmeal are all gluten free, non GMO, diary free, soy free and vegan. Wish I could say they were calorie free, too! A nice thing about all of Fiona's granola is that they are fairly high in protein. Pea protein, to be exact. 9g per serving which is pretty high for most granolas on the market. Slow roasting and hand tossing keeps this granola crunchy and full of toasted flavor. Fiona's also contributes to Feed My Starving Children and has contributed 90,000 meals thus far. I mean how cool is that?

Oatmeal Muffins

 Sprouts and Fiona's also made sure we were well fed before we hit the road. The granola parfait bar and mimosa's were enough to put me in a good mood all day. The products they sent us home with were a good start to making this happen. Look for them or order online...Fiona's is well worth checking out. Thanks Sprouts Farmers Market and Fiona's Natural Foods for taking such good care of us. Sure beats eating Manservant's oatmeal any day!

There are loads of recipes on Fiona's site but I felt creative enough to throw together some oatmeal muffins. Manservant pulled an all nighter-yes they still do that at age 60- and when I woke up the next morning there were 4 gone. Guess he liked them. Truth is these are pretty good for you. With only about 160 c a muffin, they also contain 2.5 g of fiber and 4 g of protein. Not bad for a snack. I'm not telling you these are the cakey blueberry muffin of your dreams, but with no added fat, these are something you could feel good about sending your kid out the door with.

Oatmeal Muffins

yield: 12 muffinsprint recipe

One Bowl Oatmeal Fruit Muffins

These no fat oatmeal muffins are bursting with fruit, fiber and protein.
prep time: 15 MINScook time: 20 MINStotal time: 35 mins


  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c Greek yogurt
  • 1 mashed ripe banana
  • 1/2 c brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 3/4 c oats (I used Fiona's cherry oatmeal)
  • 1/2 c cranberry or apple butter
  • 1 c flour
  • 1 c fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 c Sprouts freeze dried bananas
  • 1/3 c sliced almonds


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray or line tin with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl beat eggs, yogurt, banana, sugar, vanilla, baking soda, cinnamon, oats and cranberry butter until somewhat smoothish.
  3. Add flour, blueberries, freeze dried bananas, and almonds to bowl. Mix gently.
  4. Spoon batter into the 12 cups. These do not rise to much, so don't worry about making the cups too full.
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the muffins turn golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool and then devour.
Created using The Recipes Generator

A Few More to Try:

Banana Blueberry Baked Oatmeal       Almost Crack Granola              Crunchy Coconut Oil Granola


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One Bowl Oatmeal Muffins.."These no fat blueberry oatmeal muffins are bursting with fruit, fiber and protein. Feel good about sending your kid out the door with one of these!" www.thisishowicook.com #muffins