Snowflake Cinnamon Wreath

Cinnamon Wreath Bread

Hope you are having an awesome weekend!!

Here is the recipe and instructions for the snowflake cinnamon wreath that I created for Thanksgiving.  A number of things I learned while making this especially if you are used to making homemade cinnamon rolls:

  1.  Don’t make this ahead and put it in the fridge.  Normally I make the cinnamon rolls and wreaths ahead of time at night in order to pop it in the oven in the morning.  Unfortunately, it oozes everywhere and does not work out well.  In a pinch, it WILL work.  But it won’t yield the best results.
  2. Make sure to use a dough recipe that is rich and pliable.  I tried several of them and you need one with eggs and sugar.
  3. The egg on top is pretty, but you will still get a beautiful wreath without it.
  4. Try it!!!  Making it is NOT complicated at all and took me 10 minutes tops to make all the cuts and twists.

Snowflake Cinnamon Wreath
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12 servings
  • Dough:
  • 1 cup warm milk (110 degrees)
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 1/3 cup margarine, melted
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. bread machine yeast
  • Cinnamon Filling:
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tbs. cinnamon
  • 3 Tbs. butter, melted
  • Raspberry Filling:
  • 3/4 cup raspberry jam
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom
  • Topping:
  • 1 egg yolk
  1. Add the bread dough ingredients to your bread machine per their instructions. My Oster Bread Machine states to add all the liquids first. Then, pile the flour on top, poke a small hold in the top of the flour to add the yeast. Put bread maker on “Dough Cycle”.
  2. Mix together your filling ingredients.
  3. Once the dough is finished, divide into 4 equal pieces. On parchment paper, roll the first ball into a 10″ circle. Brush with butter if using cinnamon filling. Add one third of your filling. On another surface, roll out a 10 ” circle. Put it on the filling. Add one third of your filling. Repeat and add the final 10″ circle on top.
  4. Now to twist! Simply make a 2-3″ circle outline in the center of your dough. I used a biscuit cutter. You could use a glass or cookie cutter, but just press LIGHTLY. Next, using a paring knife or kitchen scissors you will cut the dough towards the circle into 16 equal pieces. To do this, I cut it into fourths, then eighths, then sixteenths. Now the fun part!! Lift up two pieces next to each other and twist them AWAY twice. So they should twist both towards the outside. Once twisted, lay it down and pinch the ends together. Do this for each pair of twists and you will have 8 pretty snowflake points.
  5. Cover and let rise another 30-60 minutes. Beat the 1 egg yolk and brush on top. Bake on a rimmed cookie sheet on parchment paper at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
  6. Feel free to add a sprinkle of powdered sugar on top or powdered sugar icing with powdered sugar/milk/vanilla drizzled.
Recipe based on my Cinnamon Roll Bread Machine Recipe post


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:

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

Cranberry Apple Cake and Merry Christmas!


Cranberry Cake- Christmas

Firstly, I wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.  No, I am not blogging on Christmas morning 🙂  These blog posts are usually written and then scheduled for the morning.

Some of us are busy.  Some of us may finally have the time to sit and read a blog post instead of going off to work.  So, I decided to post this cake which may save someone if they need a quick dessert or breakfast to bring to someone’s house this holiday weekend.

Cranberry Cake-Whisk Together


Why I love this recipe:

1.  All of these items are usually on sale together and in season at this time.  (Aldi was selling bags of fresh cranberries for 25 cents each!)
2.  I have used this recipe for breakfast and dessert and snack.
3.  You can make this the day of or the day before you need it.
4.  It is a little like a pie… but without the need for a pie crust.
5.  Kid approved too!  My kids love this and eat it whether I make it the original way or the “healthier” way.

Cranberry Cake-on Whisk Together

Recipe Notes:  I have made this recipe 4 times in the past two weeks and the following are my observations:

Freezing fresh cranberries yields great results.  As mentioned above, I found bags of fresh cranberries at Aldi for 25 cents each.  I stocked up and froze them in ziplock freezer bags.  To use them, I thaw them in the fridge first overnight.  I am sure you could use them frozen and just watch the cake baking time – it might take longer to bake with frozen cranberries.  I do this all of the time with frozen blueberries.

Keep in mind, I have lowered my tolerance for sugar/sweets.  So, the original brown sugar content was too sweet for me and I lowered it to 1/4 cup.  Some reviewers of the original recipe complain that the 1/2 cup of brown sugar is not sweet enough.  I believe this is all your preference and what you are used to.

I noticed NO discernible difference between using all-purpose flour and white whole wheat flour.  Again, my family is used to eating almost all whole wheat/whole grain products.  So, again I think it is all what you are used to.  If you want to try white whole wheat, go for it!

My butter and applesauce notes-
#1 First try was with all butter:  of course it was delicious!  Nice buttery background flavor to the cranberries.  The top had a slight crunch with cake like interior that melts in your mouth.
#2 Second try was with 4 Tb. melted butter and 4 Tb. applesauce.  I couldn’t tell much difference.  The finished product tasted very similar.  The texture was slightly more gummy than the airy all butter #1 cake.
#3 Third try was with all applesauce:  it was delicious too!  The cake part was a little more gummy as is typical with substituting applesauce for oil or butter in most recipes.  The slight crunch on the top was gone completely.  The taste was very good and you definitely taste the cranberry.  The butter flavor was gone… but without eating the pies side by side, I didn’t miss it.

For serving guests, I make version #1 because it is delicious and decadent.  If I make this recipe for close friends or family, I go ahead and make version #3 because it is more economical as well as fewer steps in the recipe.

Cranberry Cake-6010 on Whisk Together

Even the pie pan is drooling because this tastes so good!  🙂

Cranberry Apple Cake and Merry Christmas!
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
  • 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained; or a bag that was frozen and thawed
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced (you can peel it too if you like)
  • 1 and 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar (1/4 cup for a tart cake, 1/2 cup for a sweet cake)
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup + 1 Tb. sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled; or 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour or white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Spray a 10″ or 9.5″ ceramic or glass pie pan with cooking spray. Set it on top of a rimmed cookie sheet or rimmed pan.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together cranberries, chopped apple, 1 tsp. cinnamon and brown sugar. Zest the 2 oranges to get 1 Tb. of orange zest. Now, cut them in half and squeeze out 1/4 cup of orange juice. Pour into pie pan.
  4. In another large bowl, beat the eggs with a mixer for 2 minutes on medium-high. Add 1 cup sugar, butter (or applesauce), vanilla and sour cream (or Greek yogurt). Beat on medium until mixed together.
  5. On low or “stir”, add the flour and salt. Mix until it just combines. Pour this batter over the fruit.
  6. Mix together the other 1 Tb. of sugar and 1/8 tsp. of cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of the cake batter.
  7. Bake 55-60 minutes. The top will be a pretty golden brown.
  8. Wait for this cake to cool an hour or two. I like mine cold from the fridge similar to how I like to eat apple pie. Or, warm it up. Or serve while warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Or simply serve for breakfast or quick snack.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten “How Easy is That?”


Easy Cinnamon Rolls

Quick and Easy Cinnamon Rolls_5 on Whisk Together


Book:  No books!  Just running lights and baking cookies this week.  🙂  The kids and I are reading the Harry Potter series, so I won’t bore you with those reviews.

Photography:  I have started to update my photography business cards and websites.  The youngest is going to school in August, so I thought I would update my indoor studio lighting and props.  This indoor studio shot is still one of my favorite photographs.  I love the age and “writing” on the “chalkboard”.

Juliana with Chalkboard copy

Catchy color, huh?
Front Business Card Etsy


Recipe:   Do you love gooey delicious cinnamon rolls in the morning as much as I do?  These are among my favorite breakfasts on days that we won’t have a heavy meal.  I really don’t like making them on “special” days like Christmas and Thanksgiving because we’ll have so much food later.  I DO love making them the day after Thanksgiving when we decorate for Christmas and grab some gooey rolls with a hot cup of coffee.  Or the day after Christmas when we all lounge around in our new Christmas jammies and play with our new toys.  Toys meaning possible photography or food equipment 🙂

Did you SEE how high that roll was on the first photo???  YUM-O!

Quick and Easy Cinnamon Rolls_2 on Whisk Together

This recipe is a little different than my tried and true bread machine cinnamon rolls.   That recipe is quite a favorite among Whisk Together readers.   The rolls need about three rises – two in the machine and one after forming the rolls.  These easy cinnamon rolls just need ONE rise time.  You can whip them up while going to take a shower.  Or whip them up the night before!  Then, all you have to do is take them out for about an hour and bake for a short 15 minutes.  So easy even the kiddos can do it.  So let’s get started!

Quick and Easy Cinnamon Rolls_1 on Whisk Together

A word about yeast:  I really do like the Red Star Platinum Yeast.  But any *instant* or *bread machine* yeast will work.  Same thing —  different names.

Quick and Easy Cinnamon Rolls_3 on Whisk Together

Easy Cinnamon Rolls
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 11 rolls
  • 2 and 3/4 cups (345 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tb. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 package instant yeast (2 and 1/4 tsp.)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 and 1/2 Tb. butter
  • 1 egg
  • For Filling:
  • 2-3 Tb. butter, soft
  • 1 Tb. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • For icing:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2-3 Tb. milk, cream, half and half, or coffee
  1. For the dough: In a stand mixer with paddle attachment or in a mixing bowl, whisk together 2 and 1/4 cups of flour, sugar, salt and yeast.
  2. Melt the butter in the microwave. Mix it with the milk and heat in the microwave until warm, but not too hot. Add warm water. Whisk in the egg.
  3. Add all the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix together until dough becomes less sticky. It will hold itself on the bottom of the bowl and pull away from the sides. Add the extra flour little by little as needed to get the right consistency.
  4. Now, change to the bread dough hook if using the stand mixer. If not, knead by hand for 3-4 minutes. Knead in the mixer for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Rest the dough for 10 minutes.
  6. On a floured surface or non stick silicone mat, roll the dough out into a 14″ by 8″ rectangle.
  7. Spread the 2-3 Tb of soft butter onto the dough. You might not need it all. *Leave the top 1″ empty and do not butter it*
  8. Mix the 1 Tb. of cinnamon and 1/4 cup sugar together. Sprinkle onto the buttered dough. Slightly pat the sugar mixture into the dough with your hands. Slowly, roll of the dough on the long side into a log. Pinch the top where the unbuttered part of the dough meets. It will stick nicely since it has no butter on it.
  9. To cut the rolls: use a piece of dental floss or serrated knife to cut the rolls into 11 pieces – about 1″ thick.
  10. Spray a 9″ pie pan with baking or cooking spray. Lay the cinnamon rolls cut side down into the pan. Cover with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray. Let rise for 60-90 minutes. Any room temperature will work. The rolls will be puffy and double in size when they are ready to bake.
  11. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and pop the rolls into the oven on the middle rack for about 18 minutes. The rolls will be golden brown on top and the middle not raw. Place on a wire rack to cool slightly.
  12. While cooling, mix the powdered sugar, vanilla and milk together. Add milk as needed just a little at a time. It is much easier to add a little milk than to keep adding sugar. Drizzle all over the rolls and serve warm.
  13. Cover with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for 1 day or in the fridge for 2-3 days.
  14. For overnight rolls: Put the rolls into the pie pan and cover with plastic wrap. Store in the fridge overnight. Pull them out and let them sit out at room temperature for 45-60 minutes and bake as usual.
  15. For freezing rolls Put the rolls in a disposable pan. Cover with plastic wrap and foil. I try to seal mine in a freezer bag if possibly by putting the whole pan into the bag and sealing it. This will give you 1 month to thaw the rolls and bake at your leisure. It is similar to using the frozen Rhodes rolls in the grocery store.
Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction


Cinnamon Roll Cake and Flourishing


Cinnamon Roll Cake

Update:  Next year’s MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) theme is “A Fierce Flourishing”.  After two years of research and one graduate Positive Psychology class, I did a presentation back in March on “Thriving” and thought this would be the perfect time to post that in my blog.  I have included the PowerPoint Presentation as well as my handout.  I hope someone can find these items useful in teaching other women about thriving.  As I state in the conclusion of the presentation: we work on our hobbies, we work on our house, we work for a living, how about we take an hour to work on one of our greatest sources of happiness: our family.

Thrive Handout

Thriving Powerpoint Presentation


Chocolate Stuffed Strawberries-2586 on Whisk Together


Okay, I know this is NOT the recipe to follow up with my doing to the Total 10 diet.  But, it was Mother’s Day!  After 3 dishwasher loads, a trip to teaching at church and feeding 10 people I get to eat cake 🙂  So then, without further ado I have had to add this cake to my BEST EVER Top 5 cakes.

Cinnamon Bun Cake-2595 on Whisk Together

My other Favorites are:

Strawberry Cream Cake

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Devil’s Food Cheesecake

Berry Tiramisu

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Well.  Now, I’m up to 6 cakes!

Cinnamon Bun Cake-2593 on Whisk Together

This cake is so good, we’ll have to make this an even number top cakes ever.  It’s super delicious, super easy.  I wish I could just make like hundreds of them and sell them at stores because it would make EVERYONE happy.

Cinnamon Bun Cake-2599 on Whisk Together

I thought this was a pretty original idea…. only come to find out of course that there are no original ideas in cooking and baking.  Like…… ever.  This recipe is also floating around as Honey Bun Cake.  But since I was trying to make it look and taste like a cinnamon roll in cake form, I’m calling it Cinnamon Roll Cake.  And yes, the lower calorie swaps WORK!!  Usually they don’t in some cake mixes and applesauce goes terribly wrong.  But this will go terribly right and you will thank me.

*Note:  This recipe has been changed since perhaps some of the people have posted it on and  Why?  Because those lovely cake mix makers decided to reduce their cake mix from 18 ounces to 16 ounces per box.  What does this mean to you?  Well, it means all those lovely old cake mix based recipes might not turn out the same.  This recipe uses 2/3 cup of oil.  Most recipes you find will use 3/4 and this is because of the reduction in dry mix.

Cinnamon Roll Cake
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil or applesauce or mixture of both
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tb. milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees or 325 degrees for pyrex/glass, nonstick or dark pan. 325 degrees for the Cinnamon Roll pan I used.
  2. Grease and flour a 9×13″ pan or 10 cup bundt pan or cinnamon roll cake pan.
  3. In a great big mixing bowl, mix the cake mix, oil or applesauce, eggs and sour cream (or yogurt) for 30 seconds on low. Mix for 2 minutes on medium high.
  4. Pour only HALF the batter into the pan.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together. Sprinkle all over the pan.
  6. Dollop the remaining cake batter onto the brown sugar. Spread and even out the batter to cover up the brown sugar mixture..
  7. Take a butter knife and make gently long strokes through the batter and swirl it in big swirls.
  8. Pop the cake into the oven for 44-48 minutes in a 9×13″ pan. Check the bundt pan after 35 minutes. Check the cinnamon roll pan after 39 minutes.
  9. When removing from the oven, if using a shaped pan like the bundt or cinnamon roll, let the cake sit for 15 minutes to cool. Then, invert onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  10. While the cake bakes, mix the powdered sugar and vanilla in a small bowl. Add milk until the icing because the consistency you like.
  11. You can drizzle the icing on while the cake is warm, or wait for it to cool.
  12. Cool the cake about 1 hour before serving.



Pumpkin Crumb Muffins

Pumpkin Crumb Muffin on Whisk Together

Happy February!  Here are some great Football Feast recipes to help get you through the evening! 🙂

 Chunky Chicken Chili

Chunky Chicken Chili_2 on Whisk Together

Taco Chili

taco soup_2CR

Pizza Rolls

pizza rolls_10CR

Kachumber Salad

kachumber saladCR

Book:  I finished teaching how to decorate sugar cookies with royal icing and not much time to start our book club book.  My next venture presentation is in March teaching moms how to “thrive” instead of just surviving.  We will cover exercises used in positive psychology that lead us to be happier people.  Woo hoo!

I noticed there are not a lot of savory dishes recently.  I do cook.  Really I do.  I had this yummy omelet this morning, but then we ate it all up and there is nothing to photograph!  Next time I really must make more 🙂  It had green bell peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes and cilantro.

Pumpkin Crumb Muffin_4 on Whisk Together

Recipe:  After making my last blog post, stovetop pumpkin oatmeal, one might be left with quite of bit of canned pumpkin leftover.  Never fear!  Pumpkin Crumb Muffins are here.  Because I love almost anything with crumb topping!  And the crumb topping must be big and chunky and fill every bite!  These muffins are quite moist and the kids and I loved them.  Throw some mini chocolate chips on top and the kids will eat up their vitamin A.  I just love mini chocolate chips – so small but quite a lot of chocolate flavor.

Pumpkin Crumb Muffins


  • 1 cup (8 oz.) pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) brown sugar
  • 3 Tb. vegetable oil (or substitute applesauce)
  • 1 Tb. molasses
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (substitute: 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground cloves and 1/4 tsp. ground ginger)
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) milk
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (6.75 ounces) all purpose or whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • Topping:
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tb. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 and 1/2 Tb. butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet stuff: pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, oil, molasses and milk.
  2. In a great big bowl, whisk together the dry stuff: salt, spices, flour, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. In another medium bowl, mix the topping ingredients.
  4. Grease and flour, or use muffin liners, in a 12 cup muffin pan. Divide batter among the wells. Divide the topping and put on the batter. Lightly pat down. Bake 18-20 minutes. Let sit on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then remove the muffins and let them cool on the wire rack.
  5. Muffin recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

Pumpkin Crumb Muffins
yield 12 muffins

1 cup (8 oz.) pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1/2 cup (4 oz.) brown sugar
3 Tb. vegetable oil (or substitute applesauce)
1 Tb. molasses
1/2 tsp. salt
1 and 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (substitute: 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground cloves and 1/4 tsp. ground ginger)
1/2 cup (4 oz.) milk
1 and 1/2 cups (6.75 ounces) all purpose or whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tb. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 and 1/2 Tb. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet stuff:  pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, oil, molasses and milk.
In a great big bowl, whisk together the dry stuff:  salt, spices,  flour, baking powder and baking soda.
In another medium bowl, mix the topping ingredients.
Grease and flour, or use muffin liners, in a 12 cup muffin pan.  Divide batter among the wells.  Divide the topping and put on the batter.  Lightly pat down.   Bake 18-20 minutes.  Let sit on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then remove the muffins and let them cool on the wire rack.


Muffin recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

Stovetop Pumpkin Oatmeal

Stovetop Pumpkin Oatmeal_3 on Whisk Together


Book:  Well, I checked a book out at the library today and that is as far as I’ve got!  I made Super Bowl cookies tonight and will post those later.

Stovetop Pumpkin Oatmeal_4  on Whisk Together

By the way, here is me at Disney World as an extra in the Indiana Jones Spectacular.  Let me just say… it is more spectacular as an extra!



Recipe:  As you may know, I have this obsession with pumpkin and oatmeal.  I also make creamy baked pumpkin oatmeal and pumpkin oatmeal ALL the time in the fall.  But sometimes, you just don’t have 45 minutes to prep and bake breakfast!  What if you only have 5 minutes and you want your pumpkin oatmeal NOW!  Well, here’s the recipe that solves that problem.  Instead of eggs, I used a ground flaxseed substitute.  The milk was exchanged for water and the brown sugar was placed only on top of the oatmeal.  Enjoy!

Stovetop Pumpkin Oatmeal_5 on Whisk Together

Here’s a photo of my partner in recipe development right now.  We both LOVE this stuff.

Stovetop Pumpkin Oatmeal on Whisk Together

Stovetop Pumpkin Oatmeal


  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 2 Tb. ground flax seed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4-1/2 cup pumpkin puree (depending on how "pumpkin-y" you want it)
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon (or up to 1/2 tsp. if you like cinnamon a lot)
  • dash of ground ginger, nutmegs, cloves and allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar


  1. In a medium pot, add the oats, ground flax seed, water, pumpkin and spices. Cook on medium high until boiling. Bring down the heat to medium and continue to simmer another 5 minutes. You may need to add additional water.
  2. Take pot off of the heat and stir in vanilla. Divide the oatmeal between two bowls and sprinkle brown sugar on top.
  3. Eat warm and enjoy!

Stovetop Pumpkin Oatmeal
serves 2

1 cup old-fashioned oats
2 Tb. ground flax seed
2 cups water
1/4-1/2 cup pumpkin puree (depending on how “pumpkin-y” you want it)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon (or up to 1/2 tsp. if you like cinnamon a lot)
dash of ground ginger, nutmegs, cloves and allspice
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brown sugar

In a medium pot, add the oats, ground flax seed, water, pumpkin and spices.  Cook on medium high until boiling.  Bring down the heat to medium and continue to simmer another 5 minutes.  You may need to add additional water.
Take pot off of the heat and stir in vanilla.  Divide the oatmeal between two bowls and sprinkle brown sugar on top.
Eat warm and enjoy!

Totally off topic….

Below is what I think of my tax bill this year!!  Grrr!

Stovetop Pumpkin Oatmeal_7 on Whisk Together

One Hour Cinnamon Rolls

One Hour Yeast Cinnamon Rolls_3 on Whisk Together

Book Update:  I finished “Secret Daughter” by  this week – it was really good.  The book was an international bestseller and on the NY Times bestselling list.  The book follows two families:  an American couple wanting to adopt (the husband is from India and the wife is from California) and an Indian couple.  The wife of the Indian couple gave birth to two girls.  The first girl was murdered after she was born because she was a girl.  The second girl was whisked away before the husband found out and the mother gave her up at the orphanage.  The girl is adopted and grows up in America and moves to India for a year to learn about Indian culture and write a story for the newspaper about the poor in the urban area of Mumbai.

One Hour Yeast Cinnamon Rolls_5 on Whisk Together

Recipe Update:  We were craving cinnamon rolls, but not the 3 hour wait.  My daughter and I did indeed start eating cinnamon rolls in an hour.  Of course, the yeast flavor I love wasn’t there as much as I’d like since there wasn’t time for the flavor to develop.  But, if you want puffy, delicious cinnamon rolls in an hour – this will fit the bill.  Just make sure to double the recipe.  I wish I had!  

One Hour Cinnamon Rolls


  • Roll Dough (feel free to use for regular rolls!):
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast or bread machine yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (7.5 oz.) AP flour or bread flour
  • Filling:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3-4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk


  1. Preheat oven 400 degrees.
  2. Butter or spray with baking spray or cooking spray a pie plate or 9x9" or 8"x8" pan
  3. In a large bowl or your mixer's bowl: gently stir the water, sugar and yeast. Let stand 10-15 minutes. There should be a lot of bubbles (see photo below). If it looks nothing like my photo, the yeast is probably dead and you need new yeast.
  4. During the waiting period, in a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together in the filling ingredients.
  5. Add salt, butter, and flour. Knead for 5 minutes with your hands or use the mixer with the dough hook. The dough will stick a little to the bottom and come clear of the sides when it is ready.
  6. Using a roller, rolling pin, or wine bottle: roll out the dough to about 9x11" rectangle.
  7. Spread the melted butter from the filling ingredients on the dough. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixtures. Press lightly with your fingers into the dough. Make sure NOT to put sugar at the top 1/2" of the dough to seal it later.
  8. Roll the rolls up starting on the long end. Pinch to seal. Cut with dental floss or a serrated knife into 6 rolls.
  9. Put in the pan and sit 5 minutes.
  10. Bake 13-14 minutes. The tops will be light brown.
  11. In another small bowl, add the powdered sugar. Add a little less than 1 tablespoon of milk and stir. Add milk a tiny bit at a time until it looks like the consistency of honey - or thicker if you like. Feel free to add cream cheese or vanilla extract. Spread on rolls and enjoy!

One Hour Yeast Cinnamon Rolls_1 on Whisk Together

One Hour Yeast Cinnamon Rolls_2 on Whisk Together


Recipe adapted from Crazy for Crust

Low Fat Sweet Potato Casserole

sweet potato casseroleCR

This is my favorite sweet potato casserole recipe ever.  EV – ER.  I don’t like the marshmallow one and I think the pecan one is pretty good, but I love this one.  The calories on the other hand… well, they loved me a little too much.  Particularly on my hips!  So, I tweaked the recipe and took out some butter to make this just as tasty as the original without all the fat.  Here is the original recipe I posted last year.  Several friends contacted me that they were impressed how good this was AND that their kids would eat it.

I have also tried scraping the topping off.  I know … I’m weird.  But, it really did taste good.  So, I might just make them in the future without the topping.  Unless you have never tried the apple topping, make sure you do first.  It is GREAT.  Then you can try it without.

In regards to the amount of potatoes – it is really hard to judge since potatoes come in all shapes and sizes.  I boil the peeled and cut-up potatoes in my 5 qt. pot and they almost come to the top – about 1.5″ from the top.  I also have a 5 qt. Kitchenaid Mixing Bowl and when I turn it on some of the potatoes come flying out.  That is how full it is.  I have tried reducing them and changing this or that – NOTHING worked out.  This amount of potatoes always made this dish taste perfect.  Believe me.  I’ve made this sucker like 10 times.  I should be orange by now.

Low Fat Sweet Potato Casserole
yield 16-20 servings

6 -7 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3 Tb. butter, cut into chunks
3 eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup Splenda or real sugar
1 Tb. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tb. skim milk
1/4 cup whole wheat flour

4 packages of instant apple cinnamon oatmeal or 2 Oatmeal Express Apple Cinnamon
2 Tb. flour or whole wheat flour
2 Tb. brown sugar
2 Tb. butter, cold and cut into chunks

1.  Boil potatoes until tender.
2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3.  Add potatoes to mixer and beat the living daylights out of them.  Whip it – whip it good.
4.  Add 3 Tb. chunks of butter to the hot potatoes and this will melt the butter.
5.  While the mixer is on, I add the eggs, salt, sugars, vanilla, cinnamon, milk and whole wheat flour.
6.  Then I beat it some more.
7.  Add this mixture to a sprayed/greased 9×13 pan.  Bake for 25 minutes.
8.  While it bakes, mix the oatmeal, flour and brown sugar together.  Cut in the butter.  Top the casserole and bake another 10 minutes.

You can also make this ahead of time by putting the un-baked potatoes in the 9×13 pan covered in the fridge.  Simply take them out when you want to bake and throw them in the oven.  You can also FREEZE it this way as well and put the topping mixture in a separate baggie on top.  I end up eating all this myself sometimes and make two small pans instead of one 9×13 pan.  So, I freeze the one and bake the other.

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