Category Archives: Breakfast & Brunch

Healthy Spiced Apple Granola

This shop has been compensated by Vons. All opinions are mine alone. #AStockUpSale #Vons #CollectiveBias

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Whenever I get stressed, I go on these epic grocery store raids. They wouldn’t really be a problem, either–I mean, who doesn’t need 15 boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch sitting around, right?–…IF I had a car for transporting all of my crazy impulse buys back to my place.

As it turns out, I don’t have a car, and with the first week of school upon us (FINALLY) stress levels are at simmering somewhere around a pleasant 7 out of 10. Apart from spending way too much time trying to figure out enrollment issues and kick-start a regular study group schedule with my fellow grads, I’ve also been going to Disneyland and watching a sneak peek screening of The Martian two nights ago um, not been going to Disneyland and definitely not spending my time watching awesome movie screenings. Pffft. (You guys have to see this movie, though.)

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Staying true to the spirit of stress shopping, I decided to take the afternoon off yesterday after class + 6 hours of extra office hours and make the 3-mile trek–yes, on my feet–down to Vons so that I could raid their aisles for some serious schooltime snack food.

Now, this is where things get silly. Have you ever walked into a grocery store with exactly two items on your shopping list…and come out carrying twenty instead? Oh, and here’s the real kicker: it’s only when you’re on the way home in your (hypothetical) car that you realize you’ve completely forgotten to buy the things for which you went to the store in the first place?

This happens to me all. The. Time.

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Now, when you’re without a car (like me) and weak (like me) and seriously distracted (like me), impulse buying + forgetfulness is not a good combo.… Read more


Filed under Breakfast & Brunch, Healthy, Snacks

Easy DIY Peanut Butter Honey Greek Yogurt Scoops

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Have you ever heard that saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”?

Well, I’ve got a will–so can we pleeeeeease just have a few more weeks of summer? Please?

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Not that I have any reason to complain: here in the southern locales, the sun is still beaming and the temperature these days ranges from a svelte high 80s to a sweat-bullet-projecting low 100s…

But then again, who ever needed a REAL reason to gripe anyway? If we all waited for legitimate concerns to crop up before we started moaning and groaning about them, I’d never get to embark on all of my crazy life rants about schoolwork and parents and professors and cookie drama and everything else that makes up 100% 70% of my discussions here, and let’s face it: nobody wants to spend all day reading about my picture perfect imaginary world record winning collection of stuffed animals…

(well, except maybe me)

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The absurdly high end-of-summer temps is one of the big reasons why I’m still reluctant to go anywhere near my oven, even though it’s already the first week of September. My parents visited the other day and practically blew the lid of the place off in annoyance because I turned on the oven on the hottest evening of the week, so the whole place felt like the brimstone-and-flames inner core of Mount Doom…

So I’m sticking to no-bake snacks & bites for now. Which brings me to this awesome, creamy, protein-filled, no-bake, & Mount-Doom-free snack.

Haaaaave you met yogurt?

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When the lovely folks at Chobani reached out to me about whipping up a summer celebration recipe with their iconic yogurt as part of their #MadeWithChobani series, I just had to say yes. I’m kind of a diehard fan of their Greek yogurt–

and by kind of, I mean the “kind of” that you say when your in-laws ask you if you love chocolate cake and you say “kind of” just so that you don’t seem like that person who’s going to eat them out of cake and home, but in reality you love chocolate cake so “kind of” is kind of a really big lie.… Read more


Filed under Breakfast & Brunch, Healthy, Homemade/DIY, Snacks, Snacks, Vegetarian

Easy Mickey Mouse Waffle Iron Omelettes: Guest Post on Neighbor Food Blog!

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Growing up, our house was chock full of Disney paraphernalia: classic Disney VCR tapes here, Ariel candles there, the obligatory Winnie-the-Pooh plushies sitting on top of our piano, right next to my Pochahontas and Lilo & Stitch stuffed collections. In our hallway, there even hung a framed portrait of Mickey Mouse from my mom’s old Disney days that, I later learned, was actually a rather rare reproduction of the same portrait that hung in Walt Disney’s animation office. (Say whaaat?)

Mickey Mouse was such a big part of my childhood, I honestly couldn’t imagine growing up without him and the rest of the Disney crew. That’s why, when my WONDERFUL blogger friend Courtney from Neighbor Food asked if I would guest post on her blog during this exciting time with her adorable baby boy, I knew exactly what recipe I wanted to share. Because let’s be honest: is there anything more emblematic of childhood happiness than this little round-eared, adorable mouse in Waffle Iron Omelette form?

No, I didn’t think so, either 8:) <–those are supposed to be cute Mickey ears on a smiley face, FYI

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I’m sharing the recipe for this Memory Lane breakfast idea over on Courtney’s blog today–so make sure to hop on over and give her (and these ridiculously cute omelettes) some lovin’!

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Hope your day’s as bright a one as these smiley little bites, Courtney and all the rest of you lovely folks!






Filed under Breakfast & Brunch

Pumpkin Banana Breakfast Cookies

Whether we’re out searching for our ideal partner, building relationships with friends, or already happily settled in a 50-year marriage, it’s no surprise that we spend the better of our lives seeking affirmation from the people around us. On a recent trip to Seattle, we gave ourselves plenty of “nothing” time–time to really back away from our busy day-to-day lives and think about what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, where our lives our headed. Every night at the hotel, Richard would look over and grin when he saw me just sitting on the bed and hugging my pillow, thinking.

He called it pondering time, and (apart from the donuts, and the reunions with friends, and okay maybe the pizza) it was probably the part of the day I looked forward to most.


Between blogging and baking and schoolwork and teaching and working, I hardly give myself much down time to think any more, so it quickly became apparent that I had a lot of catching up to do. For starters, I had no idea I had so many thoughts about friends and life relationships to sort out–and visiting all these new places and seeing so many old faces gave me plenty to think about.

One way I like to gauge my development is to periodically play a game we called Three Attributes. You start by listing the top three traits you looked for in an S.O., and each one is supposed to reveal something about not only your ideal mate, but yourself as well. If you’re interested in playing, I’ll give you the breakdown so you can try it for yourself before I do the big spoilers:


So you start by picking your top three traits for a significant other–this can be either your ideal potential one or the one you already have.… Read more


Filed under Breakfast & Brunch, Cookies, Healthy

The BEST Bread Pudding for #OXOCookware

Disclaimer: I was selected to be part of OXO’s Blogger Outreach program, for which I received an OXO Stainless Steel Pro 5 Qt. Casserole Dish + Cover. All opinions in this post are 100% my own.


So my latest trip to Disneyland proved that I am the queen of not being able to spot celebrities, ever. Period. Even when I pass by them so close I actually have to maneuver to avoid hitting them in the ribs with my elbow.


Two nights ago, we paid the Happiest Place on Earth a fond visit to celebrate–along with other annual passholders–the 20th anniversary of the Indiana Jones ride. Twenty years. Geesh! I still remember when the attraction first opened and they still handed out those little flimsy AWESOME decoder cards where you could read the ancient runes on the walls while you waited.

Wow, I just dated myself, didn’t I?


Anyway, one of my friends hadn’t eaten anything the entire day. It was past 9 PM when we arrived at the park, so I decided to go with her to grab a bread bowl from New Orleans Square. Of course, she was so hungry at this point that I could barely do more than dodge through the crowds and keep her bobbing head in sight through all the moving bodies. At one point she screeched to a grinding halt and ducked behind a group of folks taking pictures–naturally, I sped up, swerving dangerously close to the subjects of the photo on my right as they arranged themselves. It wasn’t until I had already hopped between them and the camera that my friend grabbed me by the arm, yanked me around, and pointed to the guy in a black and white checkered shirt whom I had nearly decapitated with my elbow a second earlier.… Read more


Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Breakfast & Brunch

Mini Samoas Sticky Banoffee Cake Donuts {+ topwithcinnamon cookbook giveaway}

Looking for a special, last-minute way to say “I love you” this Valentine’s Day? Check out my selection of baked goods and other treats on Etsy!

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All food bloggers have their obsessions. The lucky ones are obsessed with things like kale, quinoa, and detox smoothies made from a combination of leafy things that should never be placed in a blender together.

What about me? I’m obsessed with donuts, toffee, coconut, salted caramel, dates, coffee, and Top with Cinnamon. So basically, everything that is antithetical to what kale stands for. And today I’m ready to share my obsessions with all of you!

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As part of a blogger-hosted Valentine’s Day Cookbook Giveaway Affair, I’m here to a) spread the Top with Cinnamon gospel, b) give you the chance to win your very own copy of this magnificently published cookbook, c) make you wish you could lick some Mini Samoas Sticky Toffee Banoffee Donuts off your screen, and d) introduce you to a group of the loveliest bloggers who are participating this month!

So let’s get started. You’re going to thank me for this, I promise…

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Have you met Izy? She’s the fabulous blogger from England who possesses some of the finest photography skills in her hemisphere and creates some damn delicious recipes to boot, tons of which are vegan/healthified/gluten-free. As if these weren’t accomplishments enough, the girl is nineteen years old. 

Yes, you read that right: this girl isn’t even two decades along, and she has already turned her food blog into a worldwide phenomenon AND published a freakin’ cookbook. She’s also one of the most hilarious writers in the blogosphere, with a totally down-to-earth sense of humor and humble, self-deprecating, but incredibly engaging set of stories to tell about her fabulous life as a teenage food blogger.

When I was nineteen, the biggest accomplishment I could claim was dragging my sorry behind around and watching reruns of Sailor Moon episodes for 72 hours straight without sleeping.… Read more


Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Breakfast & Brunch, Giveaways

Mickey Mouse Waffles for #SundaySupper

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Raise your hands if you love Disney!!!!

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There are few surer ways to my heart than through an enthusiastic conversation about all things Disney. Heck, if Lord Voldemort showed up on my doorstep tomorrow night and told me he wanted to chat about this 3-year old with cancer who–thanks to the Make A Wish Foundation–will now have the chance to visit Disneyland, I would invite him in and ask him whether he wanted his Mickey Mouse waffles served with maple syrup, butter, or both.

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Disneyland is very much an American institution, but it is also a distinctly Californian landmark and experience as well. Conveniently located among the sunny orange groves of Southern California, I grew up visiting the theme park at least once a year–sometimes more, and always with a churro and a chocolate-dipped waffle ice cream cone from Gibson Girl’s Parlor on Main Street. While Disneyland isn’t my hometown (sorrows!), I might as well be an honorary citizen of the old mouse’s town.

I love the whole darn place, but my favorite part has got to be that swelling feeling in your chest when you step onto Main Street for the first time that morning. There’s something incredibly magical and old-timey that just can’t be found anywhere else…especially not with a double-scoop from the parlor!

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This Christmas, for Secret Santa, my cousin gifted me this amazing Mickey Mouse waffle iron, which is ten times classier than anything I would ever buy for myself. Actually, it only costs $20–but if you know me at all, you’ll know that I am a total appliance prude. Pans? Dozens. Useless utensils and kitchen tools? By-the-drawerful. But appliances?

Every single one of my appliances has been gifted to me. Food processor, blender, hand mixer, and now……cue contented sighs, because this waffle maker is the best thing that happened to me all last month.… Read more


Filed under Breakfast & Brunch

Apple Pie Overnight Oats {+ a giveaway!}

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Sometimes I like to talk about food. Other times, I like to talk about deep and meaningful topics relevant to a betterment of the human mind (or something like that).

And then there come the days where I wonder where the heck my Hogwarts letter got to and mope around the kitchen, dragging my finger through every bowl of batter sitting half-heartedly on the counter.

Today was one of those days.

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This morning I woke up from one of my many recurring Harry Potter dreams. Now for most people, this might sound like a really fun dream to have–flying, playing Quidditch, exploring the secret passages of Hogwarts: but not so, my friends. Not so!

Harry Potter dreams are my version of stress dreams.

Yes, read that one again. Harry Potter dreams are my mind’s freaking sadistic version of stress dreams.

….How messed up is that, right?? It’s about as fair as locking a puppy in a room with a fully-grown Blast-Ended Skrewt, in my professionally nerdy opinion.

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I’m a pretty vivid dreamer as it is, so when I have a HP dream and all my neurosensors are firing like crazy automatics in my sleeping subconscious, I remember the dreams really well. Sometimes, I am Neville Longbottom in the fifth book and am being chased by a bunch of Death Eaters who laugh maniacally whenever I try to cast a spell (presumably I have a nosebleed like Neville does in the book, so instead of saying Stupefy! and stunning my enemies, I say Stoobefy and am absolutely useless).

This morning, however, was the first day of classes with my brand new composition students. Unlike the classes I’ve taught in the past, I’m not a TA for this one: the curriculum is entirely my own, which means that the fates of 20 young, impressionable minds are completely, absolutely in my hands!… Read more


Filed under Breakfast & Brunch, Healthy

Gingerbread Granola {Gluten-Free} for #BobsRedMill

{Congrats to Linda for winning my My Bakers Box giveaway last week! Can’t wait for you to bake up a storm, girl!}

So today I’m actually going to talk about food on my food blog (instead of completely random things like my year in Facebook statuses and goodness in this world). Imagine that.

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Exactly zero times a year before I became a food blogger, I ate gingerbread. Zero, zip, zilch.

Watch Harry Potter movies 1-7 five times on ABC Family? You betcha. But toss me the whole lot of holiday favorites–pumpkin pie, peppermint, figgy pudding, fruitcake–and you might as well be feeding your sink’s garbage disposal for all I cared.

Don’t get me wrong: I loved gingerbread in theory. And I adore the spicy smell of it wafting through the bustling supermarkets during holiday season. But gingerbread was to me what suave guys who get your number after a 5-minute conversation at Starbuck’s are to me now: romantic in theory or Hollywood rom-coms; kinda gross in real life. I may or may not be referring to a off-puttingly familiar Starbuck’s incident last Wednesday.

These days, though–boy, am I a canary singing a new tune! Ever since I bought my first jar of molasses a year ago, I’ve been scouring and searching and scavenging to indecent proportions for something to do with it. You might have seen my Gingerbread Obsessive Round-Up on Friday?

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But shopping/gifting/browsing season is inversely correlated to the amount of time any of us has in the kitchen during this busy season, meaning the more gingerbread recipes I bookmark, the less chance I’ll ever have of actually making one before next Christmas. Does anybody else face this (very real) struggle? Jeepers, I must’ve bookmarked at least 50 in the past 72 hours alone!

That’s why, when I was browsing my dear friend Kelly’s blog the other day, I was so so excited to see a recipe for gingerbread granola!… Read more


Filed under Breakfast & Brunch, Healthy

Mini Peanut Butter Jelly Parfaits {+ My Bakers Box Giveaway!}

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What is your resting face? Do you wear a worried frown or a mild smile or a cheeky grin or–dare I say it–the classic resting bitch face? (No offense meant–some people just have it! And if you’re one of them, it’s totally okay. Seriously.)

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I ask because I like to play something called the Resting Face Game when I’m walking around the town, traveling, en route, etc. It’s the sort of zany social/mind game only somebody like me would play, but the goal is simple: break as many “resting faces” as possible. Is someone frowning? Make them smile! Is that passerby already smiling? Make them grin! Usually this involves making eye contact and doing something silly….like acknowledging the existence of a fellow human being. Sigh. I really am hopeless, aren’t I?

I was walking back home today and counted 4 cases of eye contact + smiles–but I also walked past 3 people who actively stared me down and glared at me, which seems a bit intense, even if it IS finals week (jeepers!). My friend and I compared notes a few weeks ago and we have an average success rate of about 1 in 35 people. What do you do when people pass you by?

As you might easily guess, my resting face is pretty chipper, though as the school year wears on and a bunch of random emotional stuff has come up, I find myself making an increasing effort to keep it up. So that’s the second game I play when I’m too tired to break resting faces (that sounds kind of violent, doesn’t it? Sorry). It’s called the Let’s Smile Because I’m Alive game, and you’d be surprised how many people need to be playing it right at this very moment. Do you?

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If that’s the case, let me help give you a reason to smile!… Read more


Filed under Breakfast & Brunch, Healthy, Snacks