Cinna-mmmmm-mon Muffins

Cinna-mmmmm-mon Muffins

On a trip to Penzey’s Spices, I idly picked up the catalog as I purchased my delicious shallot salt. As Bill drove us back home, I was perusing the listings and recipes when I stumbled across this muffin recipe. Since Bill is a HUGE fan of cinnamon, we both love muffins, and it looked super-simple, I decided to make muffins for dinner that night.

Since then I have not been able to stop making these muffins! Bill took them to school of the first day, I made them this weekend for a lacrosse coaches meeting, and I think we’ve had them for breakfast every other weekend for a few months now.

It’s basically a one-bowl recipe, no mixer required, and I have all the ingredients on hand in my pantry just by default. Try them, and let me know if your family loves them too!

Cinna-mmmmm-mon Muffins

  • 1 cup and 2 Tbsp. flour, separated (all-purpose or whole wheat)
  • ¼ cup and 2 Tbsp. sugar, separated
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup oats (any kind will work)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the 1 cup flour, ¼ sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add the oil, egg, vanilla, and milk. Stir only until moistened.
  4. Gently stir in the oats.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the 2 Tbsp. flour, 2 Tbsp. sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. S
  6. Fill greased or lined muffin cups 2/3 full.
  7. Sprinkle each muffin with topping.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes until puffy and golden brown.

based on recipe from Penzey’s Spices


S’mores Crunch Cookies

S’mores Crunch Cookies

These cookies are one of those baking miracles that occasionally happen. Let’s say you suddenly remember you want to make cookies for your husband’s co-workers one evening after work, but didn’t prepare at all and don’t really have an idea in mind. So, you comb through your Evernote “Cookies” notebook, looking for something you can make with what you have in the house.

You stumble upon Toffee Crunch Cookies from Shugary Sweets, a recipe you saved years ago and completely forgot about. The ingredient list looks a little intense and random, but behold! the pantry contains everything you need. Plus, your husband loves toffee. The cookies come together quickly, only dirtying one bowl, which your dishes-hating self loves.

So, you make the cookies as he attends some weird coaches’ training and are shocked to discover, upon removing the cookies from the oven, that they taste NOTHING like toffee. But they are delicious! A renaming is in order as you nom your delicious cookie, crunchy with rice crisps, hearty with oats, and chockful of little baby marshmallows and chocolate chips.

Well.. duh! They must be s’more crunch cookies! All of the delicious flavors of the fireside treat, plus the crunch and heartiness you remember from the elementary school’s cowboy cookies, and a side of wonderful, ooey, gooey baked goodness.

Take them to your husband’s co-workers. They will love you, they will be impressed. Take them to your co-workers. They will love them, they will demand the recipe 🙂

S’mores Crunch Cookies
(makes approximately 28 medium cookies, or two cookie sheets worth)

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • ½ cup shortening (or another stick of butter)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon almond extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 1 cup Rice Krispies
  • 1-¼ cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • I think that pecans or walnuts would be delish as a mix-in too. Customize the shiz out of them!


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Line 2 cookie sheets with a silpat or parchement paper.
  3. In your mixer bowl, beat butter, shortetning, sugar, and brown sugar together on medium until light and fluffy.
  4. While the beater runs on low, add eggs one at a time, then add almond extract.
  5. Add flour, baking soda and baking powder to mixer bowl, then beat on medium until well-combined.
  6. Remove bowl from mixer, and fold oats, Rice Krispies, chocolate chips and marshmallows with a spatula until everything is well distributed.
  7. Roll batter into 1-2 Tablespoon balls, and place on cookie sheets, 1-2” apart.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until centers are set.
  9. Cool on the cookie sheets for 5-10 minutes, then enjoy!
  10. Store in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.

Based on a recipe from Shugary Sweets


Balsamic Salmon with Parmesan Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach

Balsamic Salmon with Parmesan Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach

I do not claim to be the wisest woman in all the land, with lo my 2 1/2 years of marriage, but let me impart some wisdom on to you, oh Internet. Wisdom which, hopefully, will lead you to a delicious and happy life.

Wisdom number 1: If your husband is from the Northern lands, trust him with fish. Even if you just wanted salmon to make sliders this week, and your eyes goggle out when he returns with a $24 package of just 1 3/4 pounds of fish. Trust him in this – he has magical knowledge which leads him to the delicious-est fishes.

Sub-wisdom number 1: If your husband knows how to divide and grill fish, make him do it. If you’re like me, you’ll wind up with some funky-sized and -shaped pieces which cook funny otherwise.

Wisdom number 2: If your husband declares dinner the best thing you’ve ever made, make it again. We had this recipe for dinner on Sunday, thinking just to use up some of the ‘extra’ Atlantic fresh-caught salmon Bill chose before I made sliders for dinner on Monday. Behold, we had this exact recipe 3 nights in a row. It is delicious.

Balsamic Salmon with Parmesan Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach

So, yeah. Bill and I made the best, most delicious salmon of all time. And it is the SIMPLEST marinade. I do not know what sort of hoodoo voodoo is contained within the Williams-Sonoma Newlywed Cookbook that my aunt gave us  when we got married, but I trust in it. And you should too.

Balsamic Salmon with Parmesan Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach

Succulent, flavorful, simple salmon, topped with a tasty herbed compound butter, served alongside oven potatoes with a salty Parmesan zip and spinach sauteed with shallots. I mean, are you drooling?

Balsamic Salmon with Parmesan Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach

I mean, the butter just melts into all the little crevices of the perfectly cooked salmon, turning in into this creamy luscious main dish, with the fresh green pop of spinach and the crispy crunch of the potatoes. The balsamic and parmesan used throughout the dish make it a truly cohesive dish that’s not too heavy, but is perfectly filling.

This recipe may seem a little complex, but I have timed just right after making it so many nights in a row!

Balsamic Salmon with Parmesan Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach

  • 6 fresh salmon fillets, skin on (Bill recommends North Atlantic)
  • 1 stick salted butter, softened
  • ¼ + ½ cup Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon + 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons herbes de Provence
  • 2 large garlic cloves, diced
  • 2/3 cup + 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 pound small gold potatoes, cut into thin rounds
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or freeze-dried shallots
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F.
  2. First, make your delicious compound butter.
    • Place butter, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, and the herbes de Provence in a food processor.
    • Pulse butter mixture in food processor until well-combined, add pepper to taste.
    • Scoop out butter mixture into a plastic ziptop bag and squish into a cylinder. Place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  3. Next, create the marinade
    • Combine 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar with diced garlic, 2/3 cup olive oil and thyme in a wide, shallow dish.
    • Add salmon fillets to marinade dish and turn to coat well.
    • Cover dish and place in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Now, get the potatoes going.
    • Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, and add potato rounds.
    • Add 1/3 cup olive oil, sea salt and pepper to potatoes on cookie sheet. Lift up edges of aluminum foil and shake to combine all ingredients.
    • Place cookie sheet in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. When the oven timer goes off at 20 minutes:
    • Top potatoes with ½ cup Parmesan cheese, and return to oven for 5 minutes.
    • Heat a grill pan over medium heat.
    • Saute the spinach!
  6. Spinach time!
    • Melt a pat of the compound butter over medium heat in a medium pan. When butter is melted, add shallots and spinach.
    • Stir constantly until spinach is wilted, then cover the pan and remove heat.
  7. Turn the oven off, but keep the potatoes in to continue crisping up that yummy cheese.
  8. Let’s cook the salmon!
    • When grill pan is heated, add salmon fillets and a nice glug of marinade to the pan. (The oil from the marinade will keep the fish from sticking).
    • Cook the salmon for about 3 minutes on each side, or until crisp on the outside and opaque all the way through.
  9. Remove potatoes from oven.
  10. Serve salmon fillets with potatoes and spinach, topping the salmon with another slice of the compound butter.
  11. Enjoy! (make sure you remove the salmon skin before eating)

Based on a recipe from the Williams-Sonoma Newlywed Cookbook, plus potatoes and spinach from my brain 😉

Balsamic Salmon with Parmesan Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach


Lovely and Liquor-ish: Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lovely and Liquor-ish: Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Friends! We’re back in the world of recipes, and I’m bringing you a boozy doozy 🙂


Bill’s dungeon-master-ing a group of fellow teachers on an adventure once a week, so I’m having college D&D flashbacks. Since the fellas can’t meet at our apartment (they’re allergic to the Finnmonster), I’m trying to be a good DM’s-wife/hostess by sending some snacks along with my boy to their meetings.


This week, I was stocked up on cooked turkey bacon from a recent household addition (did you know it’s so much better for you than normal bacon? and still tasty?), and had been in a bourbon mood, because that’s the sort of girl I am. Bourbon, bacon and chocolate go together that peanut butter and jelly, so my obvious choice was to make some delicious ‘adult’ cookies for my full-grown nerds to enjoy 😉


This is based on my very favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, with just a hint of bourbon-y goodness and some salty bacon to take it to the next level 🙂

Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 Tablespoons bourbon (or more, to taste)
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • 4 slices of crispy, cooked bacon (or turkey bacon), diced
  1. Preheat the oven to 350◦ F.
  2. Cream the butter and sugars together until creamy and smooth. Add in the egg, extracts, and bourbon.
  3. In medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together. Slowly mix the flour into the butter mixture, until combined.
  4. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add in chocolate chips and diced bacon
  5. Roll dough into Tablespoon-sized balls. Place on baking sheet and slightly flatten with the palm of your hand.
  6. Bake for 12 minutes or until cookies are golden brown and set. Remove from the oven and let cool on baking sheet for two minutes.




Cheddar-Bacon-Chile Cornbread

Cheddar-Bacon-Chile Cornbread

There’s a huge debate in the South: sweet or savory cornbread? Is it truly cornbread if you include sugar or honey? My family’s always gotten around the argument by calling the sweet stuff Johnnycake instead of cornbread, and enjoying both to boot!

Today’s delicious cornbread definitely falls into the savory category several times over, though. It combines the salty and spicy flavors of green chiles and bacon with melty sharp cheddar cheese to make a dense and flavorful cornbread. The taste is reminiscent of enchiladas and breakfast tacos, with a tang and depth of flavor from the buttermilk that’s all its own.
Cheddar-Bacon-Chile Cornbread from Mancktastic! at

We start with equal parts cornmeal and flour, then add baking soda, baking powder and salt for lift and rise, plus sugar as a little nod to Johnnycake, then come in the delicious bits. Sharp cheddar and crumbly bits of bacon join the party to add their own tasty notes to the dish. Next come the wet ingredients: melted butter for savory richness, buttermilk for tang, eggs and, finally, lightly spicy green chiles. Everything is stirred together to spread the yummy bits throughout, then topped with extra cheese and bacon to form a crispy crust on top. Into the oven it goes for 35 minutes, then out comes an extra-yummy and savory treat!

Cheddar-Bacon-Chile Cornbread from Mancktastic! at

Cheddar-Bacon-Chile Cornbread combines all the great tastes of Tex-Mex into a one-dish, easy-clean-up delight that is delightful solo or as the accompaniment to chili or Chicken Tortilla Soup. With a moist, rich interior and a smoky, crispy cheese and bacon crust on top, it’s a dish that’s worth turning the oven on even in the middle of summer!

Cheddar-Bacon-Chile Cornbread from Mancktastic! at

Cheddar-Bacon-Chile Cornbread

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cupcooked, crumbled bacon
  • 4 ounces diced green chilies
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ stick butter, melted
  • additional cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon, to taste
  1. Preheat your oven to 400° F.
  2. Whisk cornmeal, flour, cheese, baking powder, baking soda, bacon, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the chiles, buttermilk, eggs and melted butter and stir well until completely combined.
  3. Pour batter into a greased and floured 8-inch square baking dish, top with additional cheese and bacon, and bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

based on a recipe from Eat, Live, Run

Cheddar-Bacon-Chile Cornbread from Mancktastic! at

Greek Mac & Cheese (αφρογαλακτώδης & νοστιμότατος! )

Greek Mac & Cheese (αφρογαλακτώδης & νοστιμότατος! )

Greek food holds a special place in my heart. The taste of dill, oregano and garlic send me back to one of my first dates with Bill where we discussed everything under the sun. You can still regularly find us at the site of that date, Niko Niko’s, now often accompanied by family and friends. A few days before our wedding, we took Bill’s parents and brother to Niko’s; we celebrated Mom’s most recent birthday there. At the end of each school year, Bill meets with his Latin classes there for an end-of-year celebration with gyros and baklava. Once we take you to Niko’s, you’re officially part of our little clan. It’s at Niko’s that I discovered my cumin allergy, at Niko’s that we celebrate any occasion, and at Niko’s that we began falling in love. Is it any wonder that Greek food is special to us?

Greek Mac and Cheese from Mancktastic! at

One of our other favorites in all the world is, of course, Macaroni and Cheese! Simple box macaroni and cheese was the first dish I made after Bill and I got engaged, and I’ve made several versions of mac n’ cheese here on Mancktastic. From the fancy Brie-based Manckwhite Mac & Cheese to the decadent Gnocchi Mac and Cheese, it’s pretty clear that our family loves pasta and cheese sauce together. Macaroni and cheese is a wonderful base for delicious customizations to enjoy. It can be part of any flavor family by simply changing up the cheeses and mixing up the spices used.  Last week I thought, why not combine one of our favorite foods with our favorite flavors? And thus, we enjoyed Greek Mac and Cheese!

Greek Mac and Cheese from Mancktastic! at

This tasty dish combines fragrant dill with creamy graviera cheese and aromatic shallots, creating a rich, filling dish that you won’t be able to stop eating. Baby spinach wrapped in velvety cheese sauce finds every nook and cranny of your pasta, so you get a delicious bite every time. The feta and breadcrumb topping is the perfect mix of savory, salty, crunchy and chewy to cap this dish. I recommend you enjoy Greek Mac & Cheese as a side with yogurt-marinated chicken kabobs or a thick, juicy steak.

And I know you’ve been wondering about the squiggles in the title above; my Greek scholar husband assures me it means creamy and delicious in Greek! 🙂

Greek Mac and Cheese from Mancktastic! at

Greek Mac & Cheese

  • ¾ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 8 ounces hollow pasta
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 cups grated graviera or kefalotyri cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 16 ounces baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • ⅓ cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • 1¾ cups crumbled feta
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When the water has reached a rolling boil, add pasta and cook until cooked halfway through, about 3 minutes. Drain pasta and rinse pasta, then set aside.
  3. Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When butter is melted, add flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Continue whisking while you slowly drizzle in the milk. Continue to cook until the sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
  4. Stir cheese into the butter and milk mixture, then season with salt and pepper; set aside.
  5. Heat olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add shallots and spinach to the oil, stirring for 1 minute, then cover and let cook for 3 minutes. Add the sauce, dill, and pasta to the pot and stir to combine.
  6. Transfer mixture to a 9″ x 13″ baking dish and top with breadcrumbs and feta. Bake until golden brown and aromatic, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

based on a recipe from More Than Just Dinner

Greek Mac and Cheese from Mancktastic! at

The Sweet Basic: Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Sweet Basic: Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Apparently I’m on of a bit of a cookie run here on Mancktastic! Today, I’m pleased to bring you my very favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. These little buggers are soft, sweet, and tasty, which makes them a great base for customization or a staple to enjoy.


I whipped up this batch in their most basic format as a last-day-of-Latin treat for Bill’s seniors. In the past, I’ve turned these into almond joy delights, confetti cookies and even triple chocolate cookies, but who doesn’t love a warm, tasty, plain ‘ol chocolate chip cookie?


These come together in about 20 minutes total, which makes them a great school night treat. Simply cream together butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla, then beat in flour, salt and baking soda to create the buttery, soft basic dough. Mix in itsy bitsy chocolate chips studded throughout the cookies, roll them into Tablespoon-sized balls, and pop ’em into the oven to bake.


Since they’re smaller than your average cookie, they bake up quickly which means they can be in your belly extra-quick! I love the little hint of almond extract in these cookies; it really sets them apart from your average bear with a delicious, sweet flavor.


Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chocolate chip
  1. Preheat the oven to 350◦ F.
  2. Cream the butter and sugars together until creamy and smooth. Add in the egg and vanilla extract.
  3. In medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together. Slowly mix the flour into the butter mixture, until combined.
  4. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add in both sizes of the chocolate chips.
  5. Roll dough into Tablespoon-sized balls. Place on baking sheet and slightly flatten with the palm of your hand.
  6. Bake for 12 minutes or until cookies are golden brown and set. Remove from the oven and let cool on baking sheet for two minutes.

Based on a recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod


PS The lovely husband got me a new camera! I’m still tweaking the manual settings and my Photoshop workflow, but hopefully you can tell a positive difference in the photography. I think they’re at least better than my iPhone, yeah? 🙂