SRC: Apple Cider Pancakes

Flavorful fall pancakes–made with apple cider and topped with cinnamon sugar, these pancakes are a real treat! 

Flavorful fall pancakes--made with apple cider and topped with cinnamon sugar, these pancakes are a real treat!  #secretrecipeclub

It’s time for a FALL DISHES themed edition of Secret Recipe Club! Even though I’m still sad that the club is retiring next month, I’m pumped for today because fall food is my favorite!! Pumpkin and apples and squash… yes, please! For this special edition of SRC, I was assigned to Erin’s wonderful blog, The Spiffy Cookie. Fun fact: the word “spiffy” was one of my favorite words in junior high/early high school. My friends and I were really kind of weird, and had all sorts of nicknames for ourselves. I was Spiffy Sarah. Or Scarah. Or Schara. I don’t know how I spelled it but it basically sounded like “scary+Sarah” combined. Like I said… we were weird. was weird. But I digress…

I don’t know how I first met Erin through blogging, but I’ve been fortunate to be part of a variety of blogging events with her over the years [like our weekly Menu Plan posts]. She always makes such creative dishes, especially for her #PBChocSat where she celebrates all things peanut butter chocolate to support her Buckeyes. 🙂 I obviously had a tough time to choosing what to make from her blog. Some close runner ups to these AMAZING apple cider pancakes included: Penne with Butternut Squash, Kale, and Goat Cheese, Apple Maple Turkey BurgersSpeculoos & Pumpkin Spice Oreo Lasagna, and S’mores Pumpkin Pie. There were a bunch of other runner up recipes too, but I couldn’t link to 20 of her recipes in one post. That would just be crazytown.

Flavorful fall pancakes--made with apple cider and topped with cinnamon sugar, these pancakes are a real treat!  #secretrecipeclub

So let’s talk pancakes, specifically these Apple Cider Pancakes. Pancakes are, without a doubt, my most favorite breakfast food. There’s just something about them that I love. It’s more than just the crispy edges and versatility… but they can be SO flavorful and can be the basis for SO many toppings, it’s unreal. They just seem like breakfast for special days, and who doesn’t like special days?!? I just love them! ❤ I’ll admit they are a little time consuming to whip up and cook on the stove, but homemade pancakes are way better than the plain pucks you can purchase at the grocery store. Did I just say that? Whoops. 🙂

These Apple Cider Pancakes are full of REAL apple cider flavor. Be sure to use good apple cider so all the warm fall spices and apple-y goodness comes through. 🙂 Erin topped her pancakes with a fabulous cinnamon sugar topping, a la an apple cider doughnut from an apple orchard… Let me just say–DON’T SKIP THIS PART.

Flavorful fall pancakes--made with apple cider and topped with cinnamon sugar, these pancakes are a real treat!  #secretrecipeclub


The cinnamon sugar topping takes these pancakes to the next level. They are unbelievable; a real treat without being a big sugar bomb. I know you’ll love them! Enjoy! Thanks, Erin for a great recipe!

one year ago: Beef Stroganoff 
two years ago: Honey-Thyme Roasted Pork Tenderloin
three years ago: Sweet Potato Pie with Cranberry Compote
four years ago: Pumpkin, Kale, & Black Bean Stew
five years ago: Individual Pumpkin Pie Parfaits
six years ago: Aunt Charlotte’s Tex Mex Corn

Apple Cider Pancakes

  • Servings: 20 pancakes
  • Time: 30 minutes
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from The Spiffy Cookie


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt, regular or Greek
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • canola oil
  • butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon


In a large bowl, stir together both types of flour, baking powder, and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, olive oil, buttermilk, yogurt, honey, and apple cider. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, then stir until combined. Mixture will be lumpy. Let batter rest for 10 minutes.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.

When skillet is hot, add 1 tablespoon of canola oil to pan. Pour batter onto hot skillet in 1/4 cup increments. Cook for two to three minutes on the first side until bubbles form, then flip and cook on other side until golden brown. Add extra oil as needed so pancakes don’t stick, and don’t be afraid to adjust heat as needed if pancakes start to get too dark over time.

Meanwhile, mix sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.

After pancakes are removed from pan, melt butter on top of each pancake, then top with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes: If your pancakes are, for lack of a better word, greasy enough already – no need to top with extra butter before adding cinnamon sugar. I found I only needed the butter on about half of the pancakes to make the cinnamon sugar stick.

Check out other fall dishes at the link below!


Salted Caramel Mocha Overnight Oats for #Choctoberfest

Dress up your oatmeal to taste just like your favorite fall mocha… and add some extra caffeine too, because we all need more of that, right? Or is it just me? Ha. Thank you to Caveman Coffee Co. for providing the product used in this recipe! All opinions are my own.

Dress up your oatmeal to taste just like your favorite fall mocha... and add some extra caffeine too, because we all need more of that, right? Or is it just me? Ha. Thank you to Caveman Coffee Co. for providing the product used in this recipe! All opinions are my own. #sponsored

Oatmeal and coffee… these two items have filled my plate, err bowl and mug, since #BabyVolde was born in May. Breakfast is important, yo. Oatmeal is a healthy breakfast choice for anyone, and there is some anecdotal evidence that it helps with milk supply for breastfeeding moms. So I’ve tried to eat a bowl most days because it can’t hurt, right? And I love oatmeal so there’s that too. 🙂

You know what else I love? Coffee. Mmm, coffee! I’m drinking some now, actually. I think coffee has become more important lately since baby life=not a lot of sleep for the parents. Our sleep journey has been up and down–the first two to three weeks, he wouldn’t sleep unless held. By about two months, he was pretty much sleeping through the night [don’t be mad!]. That lasted, with a few bumps in the road, until four months. Over the past month we’ve been on a downward spiral with lots of wakeups alllll night long. Womp womp. Oh well, things have got to get better soon, right? But until then… lots of coffee! A cup of coffee at home, a travel mug at work in the morning, maybe an iced coffee in the afternoon… just depends on the day. I’m not a crazy coffee drinker by any means but I do love my coffee more than I did before! So putting it in oatmeal was just the natural choice, along with chocolate for #Choctoberfest too! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway before Friday, btw!! 🙂

Dress up your oatmeal to taste just like your favorite fall mocha... and add some extra caffeine too, because we all need more of that, right? Or is it just me? Ha. Thank you to Caveman Coffee Co. for providing the product used in this recipe! All opinions are my own. #sponsored

This isn’t my first rodeo with chocolate oatmeal, but it is the first time I’ve made overnight style. I know cold oats sound weird, but they are refreshing and it is great to not have to make breakfast in the morning! For this version, I paired the mocha base of the chocolate and coffee with a teensy bit of salted caramel. The result? Fabulous overnight oats like your favorite fall coffee beverage!

The sweet drink from coffee shops is certainly a treat, but dare I say that I like this version better? It’s not quite as sugary but still has that classic mocha + caramel pairing, with a hint of salt and a bit of indulgence to start your day. Salted Caramel Mochas have been my surprising go-to coffee shop order this fall [I used to be a PSL girl all the way], and now that I can enjoy those flavors in my oats, I am one happy girl! Hope you enjoy these as much as I have been! ❤

Dress up your oatmeal to taste just like your favorite fall mocha... and add some extra caffeine too, because we all need more of that, right? Or is it just me? Ha. Thank you to Caveman Coffee Co. for providing the product used in this recipe! All opinions are my own. #sponsored

Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn’t brag on how good the Blacklisted coffee from Caveman Coffee Co. is. This small batch coffee is rich and flavorful. Sometimes dark roasted coffee is too intense for me, but I love this kind! They also sent some Cacao Butter for me to play with–I can’t wait to bust it out in the kitchen! So fun. Thanks to Caveman Coffee Co. for sponsoring this event! Please check them out on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

one year ago: Coconut Oil Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
two years ago: Pumpkin Bagels
three years ago: Peanut Butter Apple Oatmeal Cookies
four years ago: 30 Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup
five years ago: Sweet and Sour Chicken
six years ago: Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Salted Caramel Mocha Overnight Oats

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 5 minutes + overnight to rest
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adapted from my base recipe for Maple Berry Overnight Oats


  • 1/2 cup coffee – I used Caveman Coffee Co. Blacklisted
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • salted caramel sauce – I used Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce
  • mini chocolate chips


In a medium bowl, whisk together coffee, milk, and yogurt. Stir in oats and cocoa powder. Divide between two bowls or mason jars, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, top each serving with salted caramel and mini chocolate chips. I like it with about 1/2 teaspoon of salted caramel sauce and mini chocolate chips, but feel free to adjust quantities to your taste.

If I wanted to healthify this, I would make this date caramel sauce to use in place of the traditional caramel sauce. 🙂

Click below for more chocolate recipes!

Mashed Potato Casserole

A cheesy, creamy, baked mashed potato casserole that’s perfect for ANY holiday or just a special meal with family and friends. 🙂

A cheesy, creamy baked mashed potato casserole... perfect for every special meal!

Sometimes it’s the simplest recipes that are the best, aren’t they? My family has long tried to find the best cheesy potato recipe because everyone loves them. My sister is pretty much the biggest cheesy potato fan I know, and my husband is pretty much the biggest mashed potato fan I know, so this is a dish to please them both!

A cheesy, creamy baked mashed potato casserole... perfect for every special meal!

Regular ‘ole mashed potatoes aren’t my favorite Thanksgiving side dish of all time, but add in a bunch of cheddar and parmesan, and you make this girl veryyy happy! All that cheese + some sour cream or greek yogurt jazz up plain mashed potatoes, but it’s the baking of them that take this dish over the edge! I don’t know what it is about baking dishes but that just adds an extra layer of deliciousness to the final product… especially when there’s cheese involved. Think about stovetop mac & cheese vs. baked mac & cheese. I’m right, aren’t I? There’s just no competition! Baked wins every single day. 🙂

A cheesy, creamy baked mashed potato casserole... perfect for every special meal!

I’ll admit that some may take issues with this dish because it’s not traditional enough… and there isn’t even any butter in it [gasp!]. But all the cheese and sour cream sure makes up for it. One of the best parts about this creamy ‘n cheesy side dish is that you can make it ahead AND it reheats beautifully in the microwave. Regular mashed potatoes can get kinda weird after the microwave but these absolutely do not! Have I convinced you to make them yet?!? I sure hope so, because they’re pretty much the tastiest version of mashed potatoes I’ve ever enjoyed and I bet you will too!

one year ago: Pumpkin Pie Peanut Butter Cups
two years ago: Chipotle-Cilantro Mashed Potatoes

three years ago: Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese
four years ago: Crockpot Saucy Italian Chicken
five years ago: Layered Taco Dip

Mashed Potato Casserole

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 60 minutes
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from The Kitchn


  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 8 ounces sour cream or plain yogurt [regular or greek]
  • 1/2 cup half and half or milk
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 large shallots, minced – about 1/2 cup
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place potatoes in a large stock pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are tender, when a fork easily pierces through. Drain and return potatoes to pot.

Off heat, add sour cream and half and half to potatoes, then stir to combine. Use a potato masher to smash until desired texture is achieved. Stir in cheddar, shallots, and pepper. [If desired, shallots could be sauteed in butter or olive oil for a few minutes to soften.]

Transfer potatoes to a medium baking dish – a 10 inch round, 8×8 square, or the like, at least 2.5 quarts. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle with Parmesan and extra freshly ground black pepper, and broil for about 2 minutes until golden brown.


Dish can be prepared up until the baking step up to 24 hours in advance. Let dish come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before baking.

If desired, shallots could be sauteed in butter or olive oil for a few minutes to soften before adding to the potatoes. The flavor was fine when raw, but even though they were minced small, we found them a little crunchy, especially the ones that were left on the top of the dish.


Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Easy and healthy, this perfectly spiced pumpkin quick bread is made with fresh cranberries! It is the best fall treat. 🙂

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread - this easy, healthy quick breadis the best fall treat! Recipe via thepajamachef.comAs deep as my love for pumpkin is, my love for cranberries–FRESH cranberries–is almost just as great. There’s just something about that tartness that is super appealing to me! Every fall, you can find me raiding the produce section at my grocery store, filling my freezer with bags of fresh cranberries just in case a craving for fresh cranberry relish strikes in mid-March, when nary a bag of cranberries can be found. The fact that most of those bags get used up the following fall is something that I hope my husband doesn’t notice… but truthfully, he probably does [especially since we moved this year and had to empty our fridge/freezer entirely in the process. But that’s a subject for another day, right?!]. I was a Girl Scout back in the day and fully believe in being prepared.

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread - this easy, healthy quick breadis the best fall treat! Recipe via thepajamachef.comBeing prepared is always a good thing when it leads you to the kitchen where a slice of this lovely pumpkin cranberry bread is waiting! This bread is everything that fall should be–filled with warm spices, a little indulgence, and a hint of crisp tartness. Mmm, my mouth is just watering at the thought of this bread… even though it’s long gone. #mustmakeanotherloafsoon

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread - this easy, healthy quick breadis the best fall treat! Recipe via thepajamachef.comI always go back and forth between whether butter or oil makes the best quick bread or muffins. It really just depends, I think. I have favorite recipes in each category, but usually they call for quite a bit. Not this recipe! The three tablespoons of oil below is definitely not a typo–that oil, combined with yogurt, eggs, and pumpkin provides the perfect base for this quick bread. If fresh cranberries aren’t your thing [tear!], stirring in some dried cranberries or even chopped apples would be divine! For the chocaholics, try this recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip mini muffins–you won’t regret it! Enjoy!

one year ago: Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins
two years ago: Pumpkin Graham Muffins
three years ago: Pollo alla Poggia Alloro [Roasted Chicken]
four years ago: Homemade Maple & Brown Sugar Almond Butter
five years ago: Pumpkin Soup & Homemade Croutons

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

  • Servings: 12 slices
  • Time: 75 minutes
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from The Sweets Life


  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour [or 1 cup whole wheat flour + 1/2 cup all-purpose]
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 7 1/2 ounces pumpkin puree [half of a 15 ounce can, about 1 cup]
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/3 cup plain or vanilla yogurt [applesauce could probably work too]
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cranberries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Stir together flour, pumpkin pie spice, and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.

With a mixer, beat together sugar, pumpkin, eggs, canola oil, yogurt, and milk. Fold in flour mixture and beat until just combined. Stir in cranberries.

Transfer batter to the prepared pan, then bake for about 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Don’t overbake! Cool completely before cutting–you can let cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes before loosening with a knife and inverting on a wire rack. Store covered at room temperature for up to three days. This bread also freezes great!

SRC: Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice

Panfried falafel served up with lots of creamy tzatziki [cucumber sauce] and a tangy Greek rice. No one said vegetarian food had to be boring!

Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice | #SRC #vegetarian

I’m so glad it’s a Secret Recipe Club [SRC] day! What’s SRC? Basically a fun blogging group where you’re secretly paired up with another blogger. Everyone makes a recipe from their assigned blog and posts on the same day. The club has grown over the years and now has four groups. Since I first joined a few years[!] ago, I’ve been in group A. But when I had the chance to switch groups, I got SO excited because–hello!–new blogs to explore! 🙂 So now I’m in group C and loving it! This month I was assigned to Jamie’s blog, Our Eating Habits. Jamie lives in Canada and like any food blogger, loves food. She says on her about page: “Eating is a big part of my life, so I make sure everything that goes into my mouth is tasty.” A sentiment I agree with! [And that is EXACTLY why I bought jalapeno cheetos on Saturday at the grocery store. Those are SO good. Anyway…] Jamie loves cooking and baking for her family and has an impressive number of recipes on her blog. It was so fun to browse her recipes! I was tempted to make these red velvet M&M cake mix bars for Valentine’s Day, and will make this Butterscotch Confetti at Christmastime this year! I was all set to make those red velvet bars when I saw that Jamie had a falafel recipe…and I was sold!

Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice | #SRC #vegetarian

Though I love falafel, sometimes I’m hesitant to order it at restaurants because it’s easy to make it too dry since it’s basically deep-fried chickpea balls/patties. Chickpeas are a drier bean anyway, so it makes sense. That’s why I’ve been excited to see so many pan-fried recipes for falafel lately. This recipe doesn’t disappoint! It’s so flavorful and moist [sorry!]. I changed the recipe a little from Jamie’s version, using lime juice instead of lemon, and adding the zest in for a little something special. Jamie used an egg as a binder and I decided to exclude it just so I didn’t have to worry about not cooking the falafel enough. I compensated for the lack of egg by using more chickpeas and less bread crumbs. Served up with some creamy tzatziki, chopped tomatoes and red onion, on a pita or lettuce-wrap style, this is an awesome meal! I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make this tasty vegetarian meal. Jamie added mayo to her tzatziki sauce and I thought that was genius! The mayo made the sauce a little creamier and added a little extra zip, but it also tasted good without.

Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice | #SRC #vegetarian

As a side, I made a super easy lemon rice. It has just four ingredients: jasmine rice, chicken broth, rosemary, and lemon juice and is SO addictive. The bright, fresh flavor was perfect alongside the falafel. This is not a meal to be missed! Hope you try it today. 🙂 Thanks, Jamie, for a great recipe!

one year ago: Fresh Cranberry Coffee Cake
two years ago: Go-To Pancakes
three years ago: Sunrise Muffins
four years ago: Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 50 minutes
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Falafel and Tzatziki from Our Eating Habits; Greek Lemon Rice from Thank Your Body


for falafel

  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/2-1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1-2 cans chickpeas [15 ounces each]
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • oil for cooking

for Tzatziki

  • 2 cups plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber, seeded and grated, pressed dry with a clean dish towel
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill [or 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped]
  • 1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

for Greek Lemon Rice

  • 1 cup jasmine or basmati rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • juice of 1 lemon [approximately 1/4 cup]
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

for serving

  • pita bread
  • chopped red onions
  • chopped tomato
  • romaine lettuce


Begin by making the tzatziki. In a medium bowl, stir together yogurt, cucumber, dill, and mayo. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate while cooking falafel and rice.

Next, mix up the falafel. In a food processor, pulse together onion, parsley, garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne, lime zest, and lime juice. Then add 1/4 cup bread crumbs and 1 can chickpeas and pulse together, being careful to not completely pulverize the chickpeas. Check to see if mixture holds together, then add additional bread crumbs and/or chickpeas, pulsing gently, until mixture can be shaped into patties. I used 1/2 cup bread crumbs and 1 1/2 cans chickpeas [approximately 2 1/4 cups chickpeas]. Season to taste with pepper and salt. Shape into small patties–I used about 1/4 cup for each. Place on a plate or baking sheet and pop in the fridge to chill while starting the rice.

In a small saucepan set over high heat, combine rice, chicken broth, rosemary, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then stir. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for 15-20 minutes until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Fluff with a fork and season with pepper and salt to taste.

While rice is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and when hot, cook falafel patties, about 3-4 minutes per side until heated through and browned on each side.

Serve falafel in a pita or with lettuce, topping with onions, tomato, and tzatziki. Rice is great on the side or in the pita too!

Be sure to see what other SRC members made this week: