The Alton Browncast

I’m late to the game with podcasts.

My sister, on the other hand, is a podcast junkie. I like to blame this on the fact that she and her husband haven’t owned a television in over five years, but I have a feeling she’d be listening to them regardless. Especially now that she lives in Brooklyn and commutes to the farm on the subway.

“YOU haven’t been listening to the Alton Browncast?!”

Well, nope.

But I love, love, love Alton Brown, which might be why my sister was all shocked when I told her that I hadn’t even heard of it while we were on vacation last summer.

Alton Browncast

So, after the initial shock and horror wore off, I did what any self-respecting Alton Brown fan would do: I quickly subscribed to his podcast, and was completely and immediately sucked in. The tips, the Q&A with callers, special guests, food trivia, recipes – ALL THE THINGS!

It’s fantastic.

For instance, have a child who’s a picky eater in the house? Alton’s fix for that was to tell his young daughter (paraphrasing here), “You can’t have that; it’s for grown-ups.” And it worked. She’d eat sautéed kale with garlic without protest. What kid doesn’t want something they can’t have? Genius.

And, in a sneaky bit of irony, I used this logic with my 9-year old during several recent long-ish car rides.

“Oh, you wouldn’t like the Alton Browncast. It’s for grown-ups.”


Actually, my daughter’s introduction to the Alton Browncast wasn’t quite so mischievous. I simply asked if she’d like to give it a listen on the way back from our road trip to Virginia Beach, instead of my usual Mumford & Sons Pandora station.

“Okay,” she said. And then she was hooked too, asking for the Alton Browncast anytime we’re in the car.

Or maybe she’s just tired of Mumford & Sons, the Avett Brothers, Eddie Vedder, the Shins, Deathcab for Cutie and Regina Spektor. ANYTHING TO GET AWAY FROM MOM’S PANDORA STATION. But, I’d like to think the former’s true.

“Who is Alton Brown?”

Who is Alton Brown. WHO IS ALTON BROWN!?

I guess it’s a fair question, given the fact that Food Network no longer airs Good Eats and we only just got the Cooking Channel last month. I mean, my kid’s watched Food Network Star and Iron Chef America. She’s seen ads for Cutthroat Kitchen.

Interestingly, Alton Brown’s not actually a nerd, although he kind of plays one on TV. He’s unique, clever, witty and a holds wealth of foodie knowledge. And then there’s Good Eats.

Alton Brown "Good Eats"

The Alton Brown I grew to love was the Good Eats Alton.

Quirky, simple and over-the-top sets and scripts – that’s one reason I love Good Eats.

Matter-of-fact cooking instruction that TO THIS DAY happens to be my go-to when I’m trying to cook something for the very first time – that’s the other reason I love Good Eats.

How’d Alton do it? Lemme check. Google, Google, Google.

The Alton Browncast reminds me of Good Eats Alton. I’m hooked.

{Now leaving…}

Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Muffins

Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Muffins

May, June and July proved to be three of the busiest months of my life. OF MY LIFE.

Okay, perhaps I’m being a little melodramatic.

The reality is, we did have a lot going on – mostly good stuff – and I’m glad that it’s all over.

We sold our house and moved to a new house. My daughter had her dance recital, final competition in southern Maryland and Nationals in Virginia Beach. I traveled to Boca Raton, Fla., as a blogger for ADMERICA! My husband coached a travel lacrosse team. My son had a week long kindergarten camp. I changed jobs (same company, different position). We finished renovating the garage to a family room in the new house. My sister got married! And we spent a week with my family at Slaughter Beach in Delaware.

And I didn’t write at all. I miss writing.

What’s the saying? Distance makes the heart grow fonder. (Right?)

So, the craziness is starting to die down, and I’m [clearly] writing again. WRITING!

That feels good.

You know what else is good? These strawberry banana oatmeal muffins.

Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Muffins

I baked a big batch in June just when the craziness was in full swing so that we could grab and go for breakfasts and snacks. The chunks of strawberries and bananas were a HUGE hit with the kiddos and the husband, and I loved the texture of the oatmeal.

They’ll also freeze well, which can be extremely helpful if you bake a super huge gigantic batch of muffins. Simply stand them in a zip top bag (flat) and then lay the bag (flat) in the freezer. Pull one out to throw in a lunch bag – it will thaw by lunchtime, or microwave it for a few seconds for an easy breakfast.

Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Muffins

I mean, how can you go wrong?

Deep breath. Hello, August!

5.0 from 7 reviews
Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Muffins
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A delicious grab & go breakfast or snack!
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup quick cook oats
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup roughly chopped strawberries
  • 1 cup chunky mashed bananas (2-3 over-ripe bananas)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and place paper liners in your muffin pans.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl until they're combined.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fixed with the paddle attachment, add the eggs, oil, butter, milk and vanilla. Place the setting on medium and mix for 2 minutes. Gradually add the flour mix to the wet ingredients, and continue mixing until the batter is just combined. Add the oatmeal, banana and strawberries, and mix on low for 30 seconds.
  4. Use an ice cream scoop to fill each muffin tin about half-way to two-thirds full, and then sprinkle each one with a little more oatmeal.
  5. Bake the muffins for 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden and they bounce back when you gently press with your fingertip. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 24 muffins.




Summer Dessert Recipes

It’s officially SUMMER.

School’s been out for two weeks already for my kids, so technically summer vacation started in spring. “Spring” vacation doesn’t quite have the same ring though.

This summer’s a little different for us. We’ve just moved to our new house on my parents’ property, about 40 minutes away from our old house in Frederick. It’s a little more rural, and unlike the past decade…we’re no longer part of a neighborhood with a community pool.

Believe me when I say you get used to having pools at your fingertips over the summer, especially when kids are part of the equation. It’s wonderful.

But, with acreage at our fingertips now, I don’t think we’re going to miss those pools TOO much. There are forts to build. Veggies, berries and eggs to gather. New neighborhood kids to meet. Fireflies to catch!

Another great thing about this time of year are all the summer dessert recipes. I can’t get enough of the berry cobblers, pies, ice cream…. Oh my!

And speaking of summer dessert recipes, here are a few of my favorites from the blog over the years:


Summer Dessert Recipes

1. Lemon Curd Tartlettes

These little mini tarts are bursting with lemon flavor, and they’re so incredibly easy to prepare for a crowd. Bonus: the lemon curd will keep for about two weeks in the fridge, so use any leftovers for topping pancakes, over ice cream…or simply by the spoonful!

2. Homemade Key Lime Pie

I talk about this pie a lot. A LOT. It’s a family favorite, so much so that my sister requested three pies for her birthday one year – one to eat now, and two to freeze later. Another easy recipe, you’ll make it time and time again!

3. Raspberry Crumble Bars

After the my blueberry crumble bars went viral on Pinterest, I quickly decided a raspberry version was in order. I mean, who doesn’t love raspberries? (Now’s the perfect time to make these!)

4. Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

This twist on the original summer favorite is perfect for a birthday party, or just because. The whipped cream frosting really sets it off (although I suspect cream cheese frosting would also be delicious)!

5. Homemade Frozen Fudge Pops

Why bother buying frozen fudge pops when it’s ridiculously easy to make them from scratch at home? This particular recipe sweetens with real maple syrup instead of sugar, so they’re better for you too (but taste just as good).

6. Blueberry Crumble Bars

Pictures are worth a thousand words, and in the case of this recipe – it’s SO true. One look and you’ll want to lick the screen. Or rush into your kitchen to make a batch.

7. Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

Bake the cookies from scratch, make your own ice cream (or buy your favorite), and then look at crazy easy it is to make your own ice cream sandwiches. I dare you to buy them from the store after this. Dare you!

8. Lazy Cook’s Banana Pudding

Disclaimer: This recipe is a couple years old and uses things like “instant pudding” and “whipped topping” that I’d probably not use today. (Although my in-laws enjoy this version, so I make it for them now and then.) If I were to do it today for our family, I’d make homemade whipped cream and pudding from scratch. It really wouldn’t be that hard….

Spring House Manor Farm Visit

A couple weekends ago my husband and I were invited to visit Spring House Manor Farm, about 10 minutes away from our old house in Frederick. The owners of the farm are Abby and Tony Brusco, ALSO known as the owners of Hometown Harvest (blog sponsor and organic+local grocery delivery service extraordinaire!).

Spring House Manor Farm

The Brusco family moved out to Spring House Manor Farm a little over a year ago, and they wanted to share the experience with me and fellow blogger Rachel. The farm’s property is stunning, backing up to the watershed and full of lush, green pastures.

It was quiet, serene and only a stone’s throw from downtown Frederick. Perfect, right?

A group of 12 of us (including the Brusco kids) gathered to tour the small farm, complete with chickens, a family garden and big plans for moving the Hometown Harvest offices and warehouse to a chunk of their acreage in the next couple of years.

We ate a large farm-style dinner outside under a tent, adjacent to the beautifully restored farmhouse and the small orchard. Two of the recipes (lasagna rolls and summer couscous salad) were inspired by recipes on my blog – a terrific surprise!

Hometown Harvest Farm Lunch

Rachel, who grew up in the city, wrote a really great recap of our visit here (complete with lots of photos), and since I’m still getting our house in order after the move to my parents’ farm and don’t have time to write a longer post (yes…it has happened!! More to come….), I’d suggest you visit hers for all the details. We had a tremendous time!

Hometown Harvest is a blog sponsor, which means I’m being compensated for things like spreading the word about what they do. Interested in learning more about their delivery service in Maryland, Washington DC and Virginia? Click here for all the details!

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