Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Hands down, one of my all time favorite smells is banana or zucchini bread cooking in the oven. I love the sweet, spicy small that makes every inch of your home smell warm and welcoming - especially on a cold winter day. There's also not much better than that first bite of warm bread with melting butter, but add in gooey chocolate chips to the mix and you've hit the highlight in your life! Period.

I've always loved all of the baking recipes from King Arthur flour and knew I wouldn't be disappointed when I found this recipe. It has a combination of whole wheat and all-purpose flour which creates the perfect balance of light and fluffy and whole and hearty. I originally made a batch of these for Neal and I to eat for breakfast throughout the week, but they ended up completely disappearing in about 3 days.. Ha. And I think Neal only ate about 2 or 3... I have no shame. They were worth every little calorie. Plus, they have bananas and whole wheat flour in them, so technically I'm eating healthy, right?.....

(Recipe and picture courtesy of King Arthur Flour)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup mashed banana (about 2 large or 3 medium bananas)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips OR 1 cup blueberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large muffin tin, or place 12 muffin cups in each hole. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the mashed banana, egg, vanilla and milk. Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and flours, stirring until smooth. If the mixture has a lot of lumps, continue stirring until they've nearly disappeared. Stir in the chocolate chips or blueberries.

Heap the thick batter into the muffin cups, mounding them quite full. Sprinkle the tops with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired. Bake the muffins 20-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the oven and tilt them in the pan to cool a bit; this will prevent the bottoms from getting soggy. As soon as you can safely handle them, transfer the muffins to a cooling rack to cool completely.

But you HAVE to sneak one or two to eat warm with butter if you really want to live your life right. :)

Makes about 12 muffins.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Zucchini Onion Pie

I always seem to get in a rut every time I try to think of side dishes for dinner. The usual potato or rice is always an option, but trying to come up with a vegetable side that's different and not just a frozen or sauteed version of some vegetable is nearly impossible for me. I knew when I saw this recipe in a recent Taste of Home magazine that I had to cut it out and try it. And to be honest, it actually exceeded my expectations! It bakes up similar to a frittata due to the eggs and baking mix, but has a wonderful savory, cheesy and herbacious flavor that complements the zucchini and onions perfectly. After I made it, I had tons of little variations run through my head of different vegetables you could add to make a new variety of savory pie! Squash, carrots, corn, or a mixture of two or three to get all of those veggies in for the day. And an added bonus, this dish literally takes about 5 minutes to throw together, aside from the baking time. That's a HUGE plus in my book when I'm trying to prepare the main dish and don't want to waste time preparing the sides. :) (Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home).
  •  3 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp. minced parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 3 cups sliced zucchini
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup biscuit/baking mix
In a large bowl, whisk together the first 7 ingredients. Stir in the zucchini, onion and baking mix. Pour into a greased 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes or until lightly browned. (Serves 6-8)