Shelly’s Banana Chocolate Chip Oat Muffins

So it’s looking like I’m going to write an entry about every 2 months or so 😛  The plan going into this was to keep up with it so much better but, what is it they say, “best laid plans…”?  A lot of the problem is that I do things in such a hurry so I can beat the end of Tucker’s nap or squeeze in a workout that I don’t remember to take pictures of the process.  I could just write something up quickly for things but pictures make it so much more interesting and helpful!

This entry is inspired by a blog post that my friend, Beverly, over at Saucy Mommy, wrote recently.  She wrote up an entry (including nice step-by-step photos…see, interesting and helpful and made me wanna try) for Banana Oat Bran Chocolate Chip Muffins.  Perfect timing!  I had 4 VERY ripe bananas sitting on the counter that were about to find themselves in the garbage (or sliced and frozen for smoothies).  I didn’t want to slice up mushy bananas and the muffins looked so good so muffins it was!

For two months now, I have really been trying to eat healthy and exercise 5-6 days a week.  More recently, I’ve started “running”.  The last time I tried running I really hurt my knee and switched to other types of exercise.  So I’m starting out slow.  I’m up to running 5k but I walk and jog so it takes about 38 minutes.  I’m also about to invest in my first pair of good running shoes and I hope to sign up for a 5k at the end of October!  Now, it’s even more important to me to try and eat healthy.

I liked the bones of the Banana Oat Bran Chocolate Chip Muffins but I wanted to try some things.  The recipe called for sugar and 1) I didn’t have enough, 2) I didn’t want to use sugar (I consume enough as it is).  The recipe also called for eggs.  While I have nothing against eggs, and often include them in my breakfast, I wanted to try something…ground flax seed “eggs”.  Also, there were some things I didn’t have, like whole wheat flour.  I have a lot of different flours and thought I had some whole wheat but after already getting things started I discovered I didn’t have any.

After all is said and done, here is my recipe for Shelly’s Banana Chocolate Chip Oat Muffins 🙂  My son enjoyed one and I later had one for a snack, lightly toasted with a smidge of cinnamon butter on top.  I enjoyed the muffin…moist, dense (but by no means hockey puck status), good texture and good flavor.  There was a bit of a bitter undertone which I couldn’t put my finger on.  I didn’t use whole wheat flour so it wasn’t that.  Maybe the flax?  Maybe using honey instead of sugar?

Shelly’s Banana Chocolate Chip Oat Muffins (inspired by Saucy Mommy)

Makes 18 muffins (185 calories each)

  • 1 c. oats (the original called for rolled oats or oat bran – I only had quick oats…boooo)
  • 2/3 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of your choice)*
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. honey
  • 5 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp. cinnamon (I like cinnamon so I added 3/4 instead of 1/2)
  • 1/2 c. butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 flax “eggs” (2 Tbsp. of ground flax mixed with 6 Tbsp. water, microwave for 30 sec. and let cool)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups mashed bananas (I had 4 small bananas so that’s what I used…don’t know how much it actually was but looked to be about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 c. chocolate chips

Instructions

Combine oats and almond milk (or milk of choice) in medium bowl and set aside.

Image

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. It is important to whisk dry ingredients when baking to break up any clumps and incorporate the ingredients well.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Add the melted butter, flax “eggs”, honey, vanilla and mashed bananas to the oat and milk mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon to gently combine.

Image

The flax “eggs”

Image

I, obviously, did not start out with a big enough bowl when mashing my bananas 😉

Pour the wet mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients, and add the chocolate chips. Gently fold everything together until the flour is moistened – do not over mix.  My batter seemed a tad on the dry side.  I cut back on the almond milk because, when you replace sugar with honey in a recipe, you are supposed to reduce other liquids.  *I would recommend maybe doing 3/4 c. milk instead of the 2/3 c. I did.

Image

Grease or line your muffin tins, fill the tins and bake for 18-20 minutes.  Mine took 18 min.  Make sure you put a little water in any empty muffin cups to keep the muffins moist.

Image

Let the muffins cool in the muffin tin for five minutes and then remove them from the tin and let them cool on a wire rack.

Image

Yummmmm 🙂

Image

Quiche…Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner!

When my daughter was baptized, it was on a Saturday evening, so afterwards we all went to a restaurant for dinner to celebrate.  Then, when my older son was baptized, the church no longer had Saturday evening services so he was baptized on a Sunday morning and we followed that up with brunch at a restaurant.  Recently, for our baby boy, the celebration was held at our house.  We’ve been in our house for a little over 2 years now and it is more spacious than our condo was and we have a huge yard so we have enjoyed celebrating many special occasions here 🙂

I certainly didn’t want to return home from the church with a crowd of hungry people and have to stand at the stove and make them eggs and pancakes and bacon and other various breakfast/brunch goodies and not be able to enjoy the day with everyone!  I read various blogs to gather some ideas on things that I could make ahead and serve room temperature or heat up quickly.  One of the dishes that I made was quiche.  I had never made one before but had heard that it was easy and I figured I could cook them up in the morning before church and just reheat when arriving back home.  I made two different kinds, ham and cheddar and a spinach, feta and cheddar one…the latter was definitely the favorite and the one that I have made a few times since.

Once again, I turned to good ol’ www.allrecipes.com to search for a highly rated recipe.  As per usual, I found one with a lot of reviews suggesting variations and I took a bunch into consideration.  For instance, the recipe only called for cheddar cheese but I saw several people recommend feta, a cheese that I had not been a fan of in the past but I thought it would lend a nice flavor to this quiche.  You can find the original recipe here, Light and Fluffy Spinach Quiche and below is what I do (although, this recipe is very forgiving and easy to change up and I have never made it the same way twice).

Shelly’s Fluffy Spinach & Feta Quiche

  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 6 ounces shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
  • 2 ounces crumbled feta*
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry**
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion**
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced***
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • (1) 9-inch deep dish unbaked pie shell (if you can find Oronoque Orchard pie shells in the frozen food aisle, they are soooo good!)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a cookie sheet with foil.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and milk until smooth. Whisk in eggs. Layer spinach, cheese, and onion in pie shell, making several layers of each. Pour in egg mixture. Place quiche on prepared cookie sheet. Cover quiche with foil sprayed with cooking spray (unless you want to lose the top layer of your quiche…yes, been there)
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove cover, and bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until top is golden brown and filling is set.
* You can add more or less feta, depending on your taste.  The last time I made this, I used an herbed feta.  I also made this quiche once and didn’t have feta on hand so I upped the cheddar and it was still delicious.
** The first time I made this quiche, I used the frozen chopped spinach and raw onion – tasty!  After that first time, I started sauteing the onion in a bit of olive oil and adding in fresh baby spinach or frozen whole leaf spinach – YUM!
*** If you would like another layer of deliciousness, saute some minced garlic along with the onion and spinach

Let’s Dig Right In!

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to visit my blog!  I hope to inspire you to try new things and to share with you my experiences with cooking and crafting while raising my three kiddos.  It’s not always easy but it’s (usually) rewarding!

I thought I’d start you off right away with a recipe I tried a week ago.  I had 3 bananas that were getting very ripe and I had never made banana bread before (at least, not from scratch).  I went to a site that I go to very often to search for a recipe:  www.allrecipes.com.  I always try to look for a recipe that has great reviews and a lot of them.  I mean, how can hundreds of people giving a 4-5 star rating be wrong?

My search resulted in the following recipe and, with 4.5 stars and over 700 reviews, I knew it was the one!  One thing that I really like about reviews on allrecipes is that people make suggestions to improve upon the original recipe.  I’ve seen some complain about this but I try to take a couple different suggestions that seem good and allow me to make the recipe “my own”.  Sure, some say, “why rate the recipe so high if you’re not using the actual recipe?” but I think if the bones of the recipe are good, then a small change here or there shouldn’t matter.

The original, Cathy’s Banana Bread, and here is:

Shelly’s Banana Bread

1 cup mashed bananas (I didn’t measure, just used the 3 I had…was probably more than a cup)
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 400. Grease one 9×13 inch pan, or two 7×3 inch loaf pans.
2. Combine banana and sour cream. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and banana mixture. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; stir into the banana mixture. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan or pans.
3. Bake at 400 for 6 min and then, for glass pan, turn down to 350 and for dark/non-stick turn down to 325 and bake an additional 40-45 min. (or until toothpick comes out clean).

Enjoy 🙂