Power Spinach Waffles

waffle, breakfast, spinach waffle, recipe

Book:  The book club pick for this month is “Rebel Queen” by Michelle Moran.  I don’t know anything about it other than it is fiction and sounds like it is from “Star Wars”.  I could be wrong on that one…. my friend doesn’t seem like the Star Wars type.  I guess she will comment here if she reads this 🙂


Power Spinach Waffles 3


Spinach – the ultimate superfood!   Kids like fun colors, right?  Instead of green eggs and ham, we have GREEN waffles.  No dye!  The waffles really are THIS green.  I didn’t go crazy with saturation and vibrance like, ahem, some other food bloggers do.

Start your day off right with one of the potently powerful veggies – spinach!  We had a lot of fun eating these 🙂  They taste great – I would recommend definitely some added maple syrup, sugar free syrup, strawberries or other fruit and a little real whipped cream.  Delicious!

These babies are packed with vitamin K, protein, fiber, riboflavin, vitamin A, vitamin C and flavanoids!!

I make them entirely in the blender, but you can mix in the mixing bowl as long as you have your oats already ground up.  The blender just eliminates dishes for me. 🙂

*This recipe fills my blender.  You can reduce it by 1/3 by using 1 egg, 1/3 cup oats, 1/3 cup yogurt and 1 handful of spinach.

Power Spinach Waffles 2


Power Spinach Waffles
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Serves: 8 waffles
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 packet of stevia (or 1 tsp. sugar)
  • 3 handfuls of spinach
  1. Add the oats to the blender and hit start. Turn up to high speed until all of the oats are ground into what looks like flour. Oats can also be ground up in a food processor.
  2. Once ground, add the remaining ingredients.
  3. Blend all of the ingredients until smooth. You may need to push the spinach down with a tamper or other short object (not your hands!)
  4. Pour about 1/2 cup of batter (or the amount your waffle iron states) onto your waffle iron and cook per the directions for the iron.
  5. Remove with plastic tongs and repeat with the remaining batter.
  6. Eat immediately with syrup, fruit, etc.
  7. Feel free to freeze remaining waffles and reheat in the toaster or toaster oven.
Recipe from : http://slimsanity.com/spinach-protein-waffles/


Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

whole wheat chocolate zucchini bread snack dessert


Here are some of the latest fairy photos from a park photo shoot last week.  I just love the sun behind trees and bushes!!!  Creates such pretty bokeh.

fairy photo, Wentzville, Family Photographer


fairy photo, Wentzville, Family Photographer


Book:  I continue to read “Washington” by Ron Chernow in hopes that no one else in St. Charles county will request the book.  It is 800 pages and no way will I finish it in 2 weeks!  Again, there are pieces of his life illuminated within just the last few years that never made it into the history books that we learned from as children.  It really goes to show that just because we learned something in school doesn’t mean it is 100% accurate.  Chernow has uncovered many new essays and letters in the past few years on some of these influential men in US History.

Another death has occurred in the Washington legacy  – this time it is his stepdaughter Patsy.  The poor girl had epilepsy and constant seizures.  She died and half of her estate went to her brother Jacky and the other half to Martha and George Washington.  This development was rather significant to our history in a number ways.  #1, Patsy was never ever left alone because of her frequent seizures and therefore Martha would never have joined George much – if at all – during the Revolution. #2 George now had the financial flexibility to lead the country in the American revolution without requiring a salary (which he didn’t take and Alexander Hamilton didn’t either… though he was so poor that after his death the family requested some of his pay just to buy food and such).  Without this financial security, George may never have left Mount Vernon for such a lengthy amount of time to attend the Continental Congress, lead the Continental Army in the Revolution or accept the presidency for two terms.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread Recipe 3

Recipe:  I thought I couldn’t compete with the Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread that we have been making for years and years.  It is a favorite even among the pickiest of eaters.  But this one is just as good or better!  You see…. another favorite of ours is the recipe for Chewy Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookies  🙂  Drool…..

Oh right.  The new recipe.

So, Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread is a combination of these two favorite recipes.  We used 100% molasses which gave the bread a dark color and deep, rich flavor.  It does taste wonderful with chocolate.  The flour is replaced with all 100% whole wheat flour.  The oil can be swapped out with applesauce.

Feel free to freeze this bread.  Make into smaller loaves.  Make into muffins, mini muffins, whatever!

The flavor is complex and not too sweet.  The texture is typical for a quick bread without being too gummy even when using applesauce instead of oil.  I’m sure the bread would last a few days, but I don’t think ours lasted more than 24 hours in this house.

whole wheat bread, zucchini, chocolate chip


Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Serves: 1 loaf
  • 2 eggs (large or 3 small/medium)
  • 1/3 cup molasses (or honey if you don’t like molasses)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or applesauce
  • 1/3 cup (2.5 oz) brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups (8.5 oz) white whole wheat or whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups shredded and unpeeled zucchini (choose a medium size one)
  • 1 cup (6 oz) chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (Or convection oven to 325 degrees)
  2. Grease with baking spray, butter or cooking spray a 9×5″ loaf pan.
  3. In a great big bowl, mix the wet stuff: eggs, molasses/honey, oil/applesauce, brown sugar and vanilla. Stir or whisk together until there are no lumps.
  4. To the great big bowl with the wet mixture, add in the dry stuff: flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix well. Since it is whole wheat flour, we don’t have to worry about gluten forming!
  5. Add in the zucchini and chocolate chips. Stir with a large spoon or spatula.
  6. Put the quick bread mixture into the loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes. (It may be done in 45 minutes with a convection oven).
  7. Test the center of the bread with a toothpick and you may get some melted chocolate, but there shouldn’t be any bread on it.
  8. Cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Turn the bread out of the pan and allow the bread to cool directly on the cooling rack.
Recipe from King Arthur Flour[br][br]Weigh the ingredients for the best accuracy!!! Or spoon the flour into the measuring cup. This is how KAF develops their recipes and provides the best match.


Homemade Yogurt and Greek Yogurt | Instant Pot Recipe

Homemade Yogurt and Greek Yogurt on Whisk TogetherI hope you had a fabulous weekend!

We had a lot of fun in the backyard this weekend with the cooler tempetures.  It was so much fun to watch the kids catch fireflies outside in the woods in the backyard.  Here are a couple of photos I took last week of the kids trying to catch them in jars:


Maddox web

My Instant Pot has a yogurt option that I had been wanting to try for a while.  Since it is summer and we don’t have school to run to anymore, I thought it would be a good time to try and make our own yogurt.  Plus, the kids like to eat it for breakfast and snack – which results in 2-3 tubs per week.  That equals to about $10-12 in yogurt!

Homemade Yogurt and Greek Yogurt 2 on Whisk Together

Instead, the Instant Pot will turn 6 cups of milk (less than half of a gallon or about $1.50) into 2 tubs of yogurt (instead of paying $6-8).  The kids and I all loved the taste of this yogurt and would make it again.

Here is a photo of what we store our yogurt in.  I throw these into the dishwasher when we are finished with them and use them for making different colors frosting, making yogurt and taking someone a meal so they don’t have to worry about returning the dishes.

Homemade Yogurt and Greek Yogurt 3 on Whisk Together

No Instant Pot?  That’s fine!  If you do not have a Instant Pot, you can still make homemade yogurt.  It will require a little more hands on, but nothing too bad.

I tried straining the yogurt with cheesecloth first and it ended up a large mess.  The yogurt likes to cling to the cloth.  Then, I tried my coffee filters!  These worked great!  The yogurt comes right off of them as well.

Homemade Yogurt and Greek Yogurt on Whisk Together

It’s summer and this doesn’t require the house getting hot.  Plus the kids can learn about bacteria and you get to save money!  It is a win-win 🙂

Homemade Yogurt and Greek Yogurt 4 on Whisk Together

Homemade Yogurt and Greek Yogurt
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
  • 6 cups milk (2% or whole or raw milk)
  • 2 Tb. plain yogurt (make sure it contains “active cultures” – most of them do)
  1. First, scald the milk. In the INSTANT POT , add the milk and hit “yogurt” then “more” so that it says “BOIL” on the front. It doesn’t matter if you seal or vent. It will beep when the milk is ready. In the SLOW COOKER, pour the milk and cook on high for 2 hours – make sure the thermometer says 180 degrees. Turn the slow cooker off.
  2. Second, wait about 1 hour. For both devices, allow the milk to cool to 115 degrees. Once at 115 degrees, stir in the plain yogurt. You can speed this up by putting the container in a bath of ice water.
  3. Third, push the INSTANT POT button on Yogurt until it says “YOGT”. Place the lid on and toggle to “seal”. It will count up to 8 hours. After 8 hours the yogurt is finished and ready to cool in the fridge. In the SLOW COOKER, cover the cooker with a large towel with the lid on. The machine is off for 10-12 hours. You will have yogurt now.
  4. Fourth, put the yogurt in the fridge and eat! If you want thicker or Greek yogurt, Add a colander to a larger bowl. Into the colander, lay the coffee filter or cheesecloth. Fill with yogurt to the top. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge. 1-2 hours later you will have Greek yogurt.



Greek Yogurt Waffles

Greek Yogurt Waffles

Waffles Made Healthy: Greek Yogurt, Oats & Eggs!

I hope everyone had a fabulous 4th of July!!!

Fireworks Wentzville Missouri Mary Riley Photography

Book:  I am almost halfway finished with “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow.  I highly recommend it!  One of the best comprehensive works on Alexander Hamilton to date as there really wasn’t much written on him until the last hundred years.  His early childhood in the Caribbean was more a mystery since little was left from that time as well.  We still are not even 100% sure what year one of our Founding Fathers was born!  1755 or 1757?

It is a great read discussing his life, the Revolutionary War and the starting of our nation.  The very same ideas and problems that they were grappling with in starting a nation it seems we still seem to face today.  The line between freedom and anarchy.  The line between having knowledgeable people in power and common.  The line between the central government power and the states.  An interesting paper could be made if Hamilton had lost and George Clinton had won the battle:  no Constitution, no central government, no national bank, no national military.  Back then they also had problems with politicians that were trying to appease the masses instead of voting to do what was right for the future of their nation (wow, can you believe it?  ;-)).

Greek Yogurt Waffles Breakfast

Recipe:  I made Power Pancakes the other week and really wanted to try to make a waffle version.  Unfortunately, the pancake batter for Power Pancakes is too thin for waffles.  It just wouldn’t work.  Instead, these waffles are made with Greek yogurt and eggs for protein and old-fashioned oats for fiber.  The kids said they were a hit!  They don’t eat as many of these as the regular waffles – the Greek yogurt waffles seem to really fill them up.

Greek Yogurt Waffles Breakfast

These waffles came about because Kodiak Cakes was one of our favorite mixes.  Whole grains, added protein and nothing to add but water.  Then Costco stopped selling it 🙁   They would be great for camping too because they just need water.  The mix does taste amazing and the ingredients are homemade.

Greek Yogurt Waffles 1

Serve with maple syrup, cooked apples, berries, whipped cream, peanut butter and bananas – whatever you like!

Greek Yogurt Waffles 2

Greek Yogurt Waffles
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 16 waffles
  • 2 and 2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (plain) or cottage cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or water
  • 4 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Add the dry stuff to a blender: oats, baking powder and cinnamon.
  2. Run the blender slowly up to medium-high and grind the oats into a flour. This will take about 30 seconds depending on how powerful your blender is.
  3. Add that dry oat flour mixture you just made into a great big bowl.
  4. Add the wet stuff to the now empty blender: Greek yogurt, eggs, milk, olive oil and vanilla.
  5. Blend on medium until smooth and homogeneous.
  6. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir or whisk together until smooth. There is no gluten here, so there is little chance to “over-mix” it. I let the oats sit then for a minute or two to absorb the liquid while the waffle irons heat up.
  7. Add 1/2 cup of batter (or whatever your waffle iron says) to the hot waffle griddle. Cook and eat!
Recipe adapted from Chris Powell’s on ABC’s Good Morning America


Fun Brunch Ideas: Breakfast Sundae & To Die for Blueberry Muffins | Book Review


Blueberry Muffins Recipe
 Breakfast Sundae with Greek Yogurt and Fruit


The following book I highly recommend to ANY TEACHER OR PARENT:



Ron Fournier writes a deeply honest and poignant story about his son Tyler who has Asperger’s.  However, this is not a book about one child and one disability.  Fournier ties together research from psychology, education, popular culture and his own life experience into a tale that every parent and teacher should read.  It summarizes many paradoxes that the modern parent is facing currently:  push your children hard to excel and be the best, but don’t push too hard and allow them to fail.  The new norm is to be above and beyond the average.

Why display all your child’s successes on Facebook and tell everyone?  Because the underlying notion or premise is that:  I’m a good parent.  Look at me – my kid got a (fill in the blank).  This puts enormous pressure on kids so much so that sleep deprivation is high among young children and teenagers.  High schools now need “sleep ambassadors” because the lack of sleep is such a large health problem.  “You’re only as successful as your child is popular.”
Interwoven into these issues, Tyler and Ron visit former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.  The interviews are different for each president and we learn something new about Tyler through each one.  Ron, I believe, also learns something about himself as well.

From the the two year old who is not potty trained yet, to high school students who are not making higher than a 4.0 GPA, parenting expectations have been out of whack for quite some time.  The victims are the children and the relationship between parent and child.  This book helps to unveil the problem and offer some solutions – or at least books and researchers that can elaborate what that solution might be.

I have read other books that discuss their child with some kind of disability.  This book was the best.  The book doesn’t utilize hagiography that a reader may find with a parent authored book.  It is a soul-bearing story of a father who learned more about himself through his “non-perfect” son than any perfect-sports-loving-baseball-hitting-football-throwing son could have.  I understand we must have high expectations for our children and not just accept their attempts.  However, research seems to imply that the constant intervening is what is driving students of all socioeconomic statuses to depression.

The summary at the end gives Fournier’s essential “what to do” as a parent and how to avoid the pitfalls of being overly passive or overly authoritarian.  The list includes: Celebrate all victories, Make different cool, Slow down, Be a spouse first parent second, Share even the bad news, and Fight for your kids.

I would highly recommend this book to any teacher or parent.  The conversational style of writing makes the book a quick read.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

Breakfast Sundae with Yogurt and Fruit



These blueberry muffins are in one of the oldest of cookbooks I have where I copied down the recipe.  The yummy topping is a must.  I love making these with whole wheat flour or white flour, oil or applesauce – you really can’t go wrong.  They are the #1 blueberry muffin on Allrecipes.com and a great go-to recipe with simple ingredients that are ripe this time of year.  I have used frozen in the past, but there is something about the huge blueberries that are in season this time of year that make these muffins exceptional.

Blueberry Muffins with Crumble Topping Breakfast

The second recipe for our little buffet is a breakfast sundae my son made.  My kids would NEVER add this much fruit to their yogurt and granola.  Ever.  But it is in a fancy cup!  So they ate every bit 🙂

Breakfast Sundae with Yogurt and Fruit

Gotta love kids.

Blueberry Muffins with Crumble Topping

These two recipes are perfect for a brunch or breakfast buffet because everything can be put together ahead of time.  Or a breakfast buffet can be made out of the yogurt sundaes.

The kids made both of these recipes themselves.  My 9 year old likes to make muffins and learned to bake following kid cookbooks.  The first thing we taught him?  When you get burned, take it to the sink and put the burn under cold water.  Then we worked on making muffins and the muffin method:  mix dry, mix wet, add wet to dry and stir to combine.  You can make any muffin, pancake or waffle if you know this method.

Blueberry Muffins with Crumble Topping

My 5 year old learned how to use a serrated knife several months ago and you can find her making us fruit salad almost every lunchtime.
Fruit salad is a great start for learning how to use a knife because the fruit yields easily to the pressure of a knife.  The serrated knife isn’t as sharp as my other knives, so if she makes a mistake it won’t be bad.  Plus the serrated knife is great for cutting up apples anyway.  For her fruit salad, she will cut up one banana, one apple, several strawberries and throw in some blueberries or other fruit that we have.  I found a small colandar at World Market for $3 which is great for small hands and small portions of fruit.

Girl eating Blueberry Muffins


Fun Brunch Ideas: Breakfast Sundae & To Die for Blueberry Muffins | Book Review
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Serves: 18 muffins and 3 sundaes
  • Muffin: 3 cups AP flour or white whole wheat or mix of the two
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil or applesauce or mix of the two
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries (or frozen)
  • Sundae:
  • 3 cups favorite Greek yogurt (we’ve used lemon and vanilla)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups fresh berries
  • 1 and 1/2 cups granola
  1. Muffins – Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray 18 muffin cups with baking spray or use muffin/cupcake liners.
  3. In a great big bowl mix the dry stuff: flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Take about 2 Tb. of the mixture and toss with the blueberries to coat them.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix the wet stuff: oil, eggs and milk.
  5. Add the wet to the dry and stir until barely combined. Add the flour coated blueberries and stir gently.
  6. Divide the muffin batter among 18 muffin cups. Fill to about 3/4 full. Top with crumble topping which should fill the well completely. Pat down gently.
  7. Bake 18-20 minutes. A toothpick should come out cleanly. Remove and cool on cooling racks. remove muffins from the pan after 10 minutes to prevent further cooking.
  8. Breakfast Sundae: Layer the yogurt, berries and granola in plastic wine cups, or ramekins, or clear plastic cups.
Crumb Topping:[br]Mix 2/3 cup brown sugar, 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, and 1/4 cup flour. [br]Add 2 Tb. cold butter cut into pieces. Toss together and use fingers to make into coarse crumbs.[br][br]Muffin recipe adapted from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/6865/to-die-for-blueberry-muffins/


Power Pancakes

Protein Pancakes Recipe with Eggs and Greek Yogurt

Hello everyone!  I hope the dads had a fabulous Father’s Day yesterday!

Book Update:  Our book club is reading “An Uncomplicated Life” by Paul Daugherty.  It is a biography of his daughter who was born with Down’s Syndrome and her life up through college.  I would give it 4 out of 5 stars.  The author is a very popular sports writer for a Cincinnati newspaper.  The parents threw away the documents on what to expect Down’s syndrome children to look like and do.  Jillian, the daughter, is a very vivacious, hard-working young woman that loves her life.

Question:  Anyone else notice that many times Amazon will have raving reviews and Goodreads has more critical reviews?  This book is a good example.  Amazon shows about 5/5 stars.  But Goodreads is showing 4/5 stars.  I agree with that, but I see that a lot though.  Amazon will have much better reviews than Goodreads.  I don’t know why.  Other than Goodreads readers are perhaps overall more critical of their books.  That’s my theory anyway.


These are super pancakes!  Chock full of 6 whole eggs, 2 cups of Greek yogurt, oats and whole wheat flour, they are sure to keep you full all morning long.

Back in the day, Kid 2 and I enjoyed these fabulous homemade Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes.  However, Kid 1 won’t have anything of it.  He hates eggs!  Now he’ll eat things with eggs.  But, if it tastes “eggy” like the Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes or Cherry Clafoutis, then he won’t eat them.  Sigh.

Now don’t get me wrong.  He serves himself plain Greek yogurt almost every morning.  But that still left me trying to figure out how to make a healthier pancake with more eggs and more whole grains.  This hits the mark!  Now, it isn’t paleo.  We don’t really follow the Paleo anything.  What I do like about that diet is that it started a whole host of yummy and nutritious cookbooks with more healthy ideas!

If you substitute the whole wheat flour for coconut flour, the oats with almond meal and the milk with almond milk.  We may have a paleo version on our hands.

Here is a photo of my blender.  This is super easy to add and blend without getting much dirty in the kitchen.  If your blender is smaller, simply cut the recipe in half.

Protein Pancakes Recipe with Eggs and Greek Yogurt

Do not try using baking powder.  It didn’t work.  TRUST ME.  Just stick with the baking soda in this recipe.

Protein Pancakes Recipe with Eggs and Greek Yogurt


Power Pancakes
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Serves: 20 pancakes
  • 1 cup milk or almond milk
  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Add everything into a large blender and blend until smooth! If you do not have a blender that will hold all of this, feel free to cut the recipe in half. It works just as well!
  2. Heat your griddle to 375 degrees. Or, heat your skillet to medium heat. Coat with a pat of butter or oil if you do not have non-stick.
  3. Pour the batter from the blender pitcher onto the griddle. It is VERY THIN!!! Pour carefully! Just warning you.
  4. Let cook until tiny bubbles show: about 2 minutes. Flip and cook another 2 minutes or golden brown. Serve warm.
  5. Freeze any leftovers into a freezer bag or freezer safe container. Reheat in the microwave for yummy pancakes super fast the next morning!
Recipe adapted from Pinch of Yum.com



Rice Pudding & Book Review | Instant Pot Recipe

Rice Pudding on Whisk Together Photo by Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

Happy Summer Everyone!  I have been busy painting the house from top to bottom and hope to have photos very soon!!

My children and I were at Costco and tried a sample of Kozy Shack rice pudding.  We all LOVED it!  And since rice pudding is one of those staples, I had to try and make it myself.  This recipe is also great for leftover rice in the fridge.

Understanding Exposure

Book Review:

This book is a must read for any D-SLR owner who wishes to get their camera off of “Auto” mode.  The three items for exposure – ISO, aperture and shutter speed – are discussed in detail with accompanying full color photographs.  I particularly enjoyed the section about “Creative Exposure” and how there are 6 different correct exposures you can take.  In addition to the exposure triangle of the camera, light is discussed section by section as well.  Sidelight, backlight and frontlight are discussed as well as some “tricks” on how to make it look like it is raining on your flowers.
“Understanding Exposure” also goes beyond the basics and introduces to readers about flash photography and using special filters.
Peterson writes in a very conversational tone with easy to understand vocabulary.  Although the book does not go into a lot on composition and posing, those items really do not matter until exposure is perfect and second nature.  That is why I think this is a go-to book about photography.
This book is helpful at any photography level.  I have been reading and doing photography for years and never knew that the sharpest aperture of your camera is f8-11.  This is due to the ellipsoidal shape of the lens.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Rice Pudding 3 on Whisk Together Photo by Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri


Rice pudding is one of those go-to desserts (or breakfast?) because you almost always have the ingredients on hand:  rice, sugar, milk and eggs.  That’s pretty much it!  I throw in a little vanilla and cinnamon just for some fun.  It is eaten traditionally hot or cold – but in these hot summer months we like it cold.

Now I added the brown rice spin on it to make it healthier.  The kids like the white rice medium grain version they tried at Costco.  Go figure :-/

Well okay.. it IS tastier with the medium grains.  Use medium grain rice!!

The brown rice was cooked in the pressure cooker (Instant Pot aka Magic Pot)… but of course you can make brown or white rice on your stove top!  The pressure cooker just makes everything fast and easy.  Instead of 45 minutes of cooking, the brown rice only takes 18 minutes.  But what I really like about it is that it cooks large cuts of meat (2-3 pound roasts) in 35 minutes instead of 8-10 hours like a slow cooker.

Rice Pudding 2 on Whisk Together Photo by Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

Rice Pudding & Book Review
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Serves: 6 servings
  • 1 cup medium grain white rice (or 1 cup brown rice)
  • water per directions on bag
  • 2 cups milk, divided (or cream or half and half or mixture of them)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Optional toppings: whipped cream, raisins soaked in water, bourbon or whiskey, ground nutmeg or cinnamon, etc.
  1. Cook white rice per the directions on the bag. Or select “rice” on the Instant Pot and cook with 1 cup water. If using brown rice, cook on “high” (15 psi) for 22 minutes in pressure cooker, then allow to cool 10 minutes at least before releasing the valve or allow valve to go down naturally.
  2. Once the rice is cooked, add 1 and 1/2 cups of milk and 1/2 cup sugar. Stir thoroughly.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the 2 eggs and 1/2 cup of remaining milk. Strain this through a fine mesh strainer and add to rice. If you don’t strain it – you will still be fine.
  4. Cook over medium heat until boiling. Stir often. Once at a boil, the egg should be cooked.
  5. Remove pot from heat and stir in vanilla and cinnamon.
  6. The mixture should be thicker and coat the back of a spoon. Eat while warm, or as we prefer, put into the fridge until chilled. Add toppings and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from: http://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/the-best-pressure-cooker-rice-pudding/

Rice Pudding 4 on Whisk Together Photo by Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

Chocolate Cherry Baked Oatmeal

Chocolate Cherry Baked Oatmeal


Nom nom nom….

But first… here is what has been going on for TEN weeks!!!  I was Babette in this year’s production of “Beauty and the Beast” and had SOOOOO much fun!!!!!  As my friend said, being in a play (or musical) is like having a baby.  At first, you’re all excited.  Then, you get tired.  Then, you just want it over with.  During the show, you are exhausted and promise never to do another show.  Right after the show, you are screaming “Let’s do it again!”


Babette Beauty and the Beast Band and Cast Mary Riley Photography LLC Wentzville Missouri copy


Recipe:  Weird things happen during shows.  One of them is you develop a chocolate craving.  See the preggo theme here?  I don’t care for chocolate.  But for ten weeks I loved it and couldn’t get enough.  So, Juliana and I repeatedly taste tested and sacrificed our breakfast for you eating chocolate 🙂  I had some extra frozen cherries in the freezer and used those to pair with the chocolate.  But you could use bananas or strawberries.  Whatever fruit that tastes like chocolate.

Don’t want the added chocolate calories?  Omit the chocolate!  We make this baked oatmeal ALL the time with whatever fruit is in season.  It tastes great heated up if you make a big batch on Sunday for the week.  Pair it with what tastes good.  We like orange zest mixed with the oats and topped with blueberries or strawberries.  Lemon zest is also yummy.  Add vanilla or almonds to the cherries for an almond cherry bake.  Add pecans to some chopped up apples.  Whatever floats your boat!

Chocolate Cherry Baked Oatmeal
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 servings
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 2 cups milk or almond milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 Tb. applesauce or pumpkin puree or any puree
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cherries (no pitts/seeds), chopped or whole
  • 1/8 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Optional but very tasty: a few teaspoons of brown sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spray a 7×11″ baking dish with cooking or baking spray.
  3. Add the dry stuff right into the dish: oats, baking powder, salt and optional cinnamon. Stir the ingredients around with a fork.
  4. Add the wet stuff into the dry: milk, eggs, applesauce, vanilla, and fruit. Stir that around well with a fork.
  5. Sprinkle fruit on top. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Bake for 35 minutes. Shake the pan slightly and the middle should not jiggle. If the middle is jiggly, put it back in the oven for 3-5 minutes.
  6. Cool for 5 minutes. Top with brown sugar and enjoy!



Peanut Butter Spinach Smoothie

Peanut Butter Spinach Smoothie 4 Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

Smoothie time!  But before we get to smoothie time, here is a quick pic of the beautiful senior I had the pleasure of photographing last week.  The next day I learned that the park had mowed the grass  — so we got there right on schedule!

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Back to smoothie time!  I am a huge fan of peanut butter anything.  This recipe has peanut butter powder.  Every grocery store (well, except maybe Aldi) now carries Peanut Butter Powder.  There is PB2 and this one I used here is JIF brand.  Costco carries another brand that is organic.  You can reconstitute the powder with water to make peanut butter.  But, what I do is make peanut butter smoothies!  Only 3 tablespoons of powder is 70 calories and enough to flavor one drink.  I usually need 2 Tb. of regular peanut butter.  It was something fun to try and lowers the calories of the drink.  I think it would also be great in milkshakes.  🙂

This stuff is a dieter’s dream!  I know I stayed away from peanut butter the whole time I was trying to lose weight.  It just wasn’t worth the calories when all you could have is a small spoonful!  190 calories in 2 Tb. of regular peanut butter – or 70 calories in 3 Tb. of PB powder???  But the peanut butter powder tastes like peanut butter because it only has one ingredient: peanuts.

Peanut Butter Spinach Smoothie Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

The powder blends very well in a smoothie.  The regular peanut butter can get stuck or clumpy in the blades of some blenders.

Or add it to your oatmeal.

Or add it to frozen bananas that are pureed to be like ice cream.

Peanut Butter Spinach Smoothie 3 Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

Or add it to muffins, pancakes, cookies, cakes or brownies.

Here’s a blog post with a lot of ideas.  I really don’t think I will be adding this stuff to my chicken though. … It also doesn’t taste good if you dip your fruit right into it.  Now, if you mixed it with some cream cheese and dipped that might taste better.

Peanut Butter Spinach Smoothie 2 Mary Riley Photography Wentzville Missouri

Peanut Butter Spinach Smoothie
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Serves: 2 servings
  • 2 cups almond milk (I use vanilla unsweetened), or regular milk
  • 1 banana, cut in half (or frozen banana chunks)
  • 1-2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 6 Tb. peanut butter powder
  • 4-6 ice cubes
  1. Blend everything in the blender until smooth.
  2. -Add plain Greek yogurt for more protein!
  3. -Add strawberries to make a PB &J smoothie

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