Peanut Butter Banana Mini Muffins

Hey All!  Anyone still there??  Nicole and I are still alive, I promise.  I’m speaking for Nicole, but I think we both thought we would have more time for this as the years went on and the kids got older.  WRONG.  Nothing has been posted since the beginning of last school year.  It was a busy one, people.

But, I’m going to try and add a few this summer that I love.  So, the kids made these basically by themselves tonight.  They are super easy, healthy, and my kids love them.  WIN!!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 med size very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1-2  Tb ground flaxseed
  • Optional toppings of choice: chocolate chips, raisins, coconut, etc.

Preheat oven to 400.  Place all ingredients except for toppings in a blender and blend until well mixed.  Pour batter into greased muffin tin.  Add the toppings in to each muffin and stir.  I made 24 mini muffins with this and cooked for 9-10 minutes.

I’m envisioning lots of uses for these.  Breakfast treat with some sort of protein, school lunch addition, after school snacks, travel snacks, etc.

Crescent Rolls

I. Love. Bread. Of all kinds.

20140223-160635.jpg

I don’t like chemicals in bread, so when I saw this recipe for crescents, I decided to give it a go…I’d still been buying cans of rolls on occasion because they’re so easy, but now that I’ve made these, I won’t go back.

Yes…it takes some time to make them. BUT, one batch makes a whole lotta rolls. I baked all of them and froze the leftovers after they cooled, and they are absolutely delicious thawed and reheated, too.

I made mine a little smaller than the original recipe, which is good for portion size and for the number you’ll yield. My other changes from the original: I needed about 5 1/2 cups of flour to get to the point of the dough not being really wet and sticky. It was still a very soft dough, so I’m not sure why there was a difference (and I was nervous about having used so much), but they turned out perfect. The only other thing was that I didn’t use the Tbl of oil to coat the bowl…it’s just not necessary. And, I found the second rising time to be unnecessary, which speeds up this whole process considerably.

2 c warm water
2/3 c nonfat dry milk powder
2 Tbsp active dry yeast
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp salt
1/2 c butter
1 egg
4 1/2 – 5 1/2 c all purpose flour

In a Kitchenaid mixing bowl, stir in warm water and nonfat dry milk powder until it dissolves. Add yeast, then sugar, salt, butter, egg, and 2 cups of flour.

Mix on low speed until ingredients are wet, then 2 minutes at medium speed.

Add 2 more cups of flour, mix on low speed until ingredients are wet, then 2 minutes at medium speed. (You can switch your attachment to the dough hook at this point for easier mixing.)

Add 1/2 cup flour again, mixing on low speed until wet, then 2 minutes at medium speed. You can add an additional 1/2 – 1 c if your dough is still too wet.

Dough should be soft, not overly sticky, and not stiff.

Scrape the dough off the sides of the bowl.

Spray some plastic wrap with non-stick oil and place the plastic over the bowl. Allow it to rise in a warm place until the dough doubles in size and rises to the top of the bowl.

Once the dough has risen, place your dough on a flat floured surface, then divide the dough in thirds. Roll 1/3 of the dough into a circular shape, and using a pizza cutter, trim around the edges to make it into a circle (unless you are a magical fairy, there’s no way you’re going to roll this into a perfect circle). You may be able to use the scraps to make another roll or 2, so don’t throw it out.

Cut the dough into 16 pieces, like you would a pizza. Begin to roll the slice of dough in, starting from the outside. Tuck the small point under the roll.

Place on parchment-lined or Silpat-lined baking sheets.

Bake at 375 F for 15-20 minutes or until golden-brown.

If you’re freezing them, just let them cool completely before putting in a ziploc bag!

Zucchini Muffins

The boys love having muffins for breakfast, and I don’t mind when I’ve made some at least moderately-healthy substitutions (plus, what’s easier than telling them to grab a couple of muffins off the counter for breakfast?).

zucchini muffins

I found this recipe and modified it to make it a little less sugary. Also, I doubled it, because if I’m going to the trouble of making muffins, I need more than 12, and these freeze just fine.

Couple of tips:
1. if your kids will balk at the sight of the green of the skin, you can peel the zucchini first.  Mine don’t care, and it’s much less work for me, so I just leave it on.
2. I realize zucchini isn’t exactly in season right now. Aldi’s has them in 3-packs of good-sized zucchini (each yields about 2 shredded cups) for crazy cheap…last week, it was $1.59. I shredded all 3, and then froze 4 1-cup servings.

Here’s the recipe!

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 lightly beaten eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil (you can use vegetable, too…I prefer coconut. If you use coconut oil, make sure it’s in liquid form – microwave a few seconds to melt it down if needed)
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup skim milk with 2 tsp. white vinegar or lemon juice (let sit for 5 minutes)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cup finely shredded zucchini
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (more if you’d like)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin pan or line with 24 paper liners.

In large mixing bowl, stir together flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.

In separate bowl, lightly beat egg and add to it the oil (or oil and applesauce), milk and vinegar or lemon juice mixture and vanilla. Pour into dry ingredients and combine thoroughly.

Fold in shredded zucchini and chocolate chips. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.

Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

(about 160 calories/muffin for those of you counting)

Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins

Adapted from here, and I’ve made them probably 4 times in the past month. The boys LOVE them.

2.5 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup plain low fat greek yogurt* (see substitution note!)
1/2 cup honey or agave nectar*
2 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3-4 Tbl ground flax seed
1 tsp vanilla
3 large ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400. Line 18 muffin tins with liners (the muffins will stick to the liners right out of the oven, but after they cool, they’re fine!).

Put the oats in the food processor and pulse until fine (you want it flour-like – some small pieces remaining is fine, though). Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT CHOCOLATE CHIPS to the food processor and blend. My food processor is small, so I always do the oats first, dump them in a bowl and add the dry ingredients to the bowl. Then, I put all of the other ingredients in the food processor to mix, then add to the bowl and mix by hand. Stir in chocolate chips.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

*I don’t always have Greek yogurt in the fridge, but I almost always have Dannon Lowfat Natural Vanilla. If I use the Dannon, I only put in a couple of tablespoons of honey or agave since it’s already sweet. I’ve also done half Greek, half Dannon and they’ve turned out great!

Gorgonzola Garlic Bread

If you like gorgonzola, this is a must-make, no question about it.

Another successful recipe from Plain Chicken!

The only change I’ve made is cutting back the butter a little bit. Yes, yes, butter is delicious. But, it’s also evil, and I think with the creaminess of the melted cheese, you’ll not miss it.

2 Tbl butter, softened
1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese
1-2 garlic cloves, minced (I just run them through the press…use as much or as little as you’d like!)
1/2 tsp dried parsley
black pepper
1 (16oz) loaf Italian bread
Parmesan cheese

Preheat broiler.

Slice bread in half lengthwise.

Cream the butter with the gorgonzola cheese. Mince garlic and add to cheese mixture. Add chopped parsley, and season with pepper. Spread cheese mixture on each half of bread. Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese.

Place bread under the broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly, which only takes a couple of minutes. Cut into slices and serve.

How to Make Roasted Garlic

OK, so during our lots o’ time at home together with my boys being sick, we’ve been watching a LOT of the Food Network. Yesterday afternoon, after the boys all said “hey y’all” several times with Paula Deen, they left the room to play something and I half-watched while making headbands.

It was an old episode where Paula makes Zesty Roasted Garlic Bread and lasagne. And she makes a lasagne sandwich out of a half-loaf of bread…I literally watched this with my mouth hanging open, aghast at what I was watching…you won’t believe the last 15 seconds of this video:

Right.

Ok. Moving on.

I decided after watching, though, that I did want to roast my own garlic, and remembered that I’d pinned a how-to to Pinterest via For the Love of Cooking a few weeks ago. I checked both recipes, and decided on this combination for my first try:

1 head of garlic
1 tsp olive oil
sea salt

Preheat oven to 400. Cut the tops off all the heads of the cloves of garlic (but leave it all together – no need to separate the cloves)…doesn’t have to be perfect, and you can leave the papery skin on it, too.

Set the head of garlic on a small square of foil that’s big enough to close around the head. Drizzle olive oil over the top, sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and close up the packet.

Put the foil-wrapped garlic on a cookie sheet, and bake for 30 minutes.

Let it cool slightly, and you should just be able to squeeze the roasted garlic from the head and into a bowl.

this was just one clove that i pulled away, but you really don't need to do that...just squeeze the whole head of garlic and all of the delicious, roasted goodness comes right out!

 

Smash it up.

I mixed mine with half a stick of softened butter (not two sticks, as Paula suggests), about a tablespoon or a little more of parsley flakes (I didn’t have fresh), a little bit of fresh ground pepper, and a little shake of dried basil. I didn’t add salt because I used salted butter, so I think that’s enough.

I just stuck this in the fridge to use in the future. It’ll be great on french bread (just broil it for a minute or two to get it melty and the edges crispy), and I’m even thinking that when I make eggs tonight for dinner, I’ll use just a bit of it either to season the pan or butter toast for egg and cheese sandwiches.

I’ll post more uses for roasted garlic as I try out new recipes!

7Up Biscuits

By now, most of you have probably seen/tried these because they’ve been all over Pinterest forever. I’ve made them numerous times, and I know Sonya has, too. They’re simply the best, easiest biscuit can you make at home. Big thanks to Plain Chicken for posting the recipe!

And I feel like I’ve let you down for not sharing these on here earlier…my apologies, dear readers, if you haven’t seen these until now and I’ve been keeping them from you!

You’ll notice in the picture on the original post linked above that she actually makes hers look like biscuits. I don’t bother…they’re gone so fast it doesn’t matter what shape they are. If we had company, maybe I’d try a little harder…

2 cups Bisquick (I use the Heart-Healthy kind, like it’s really any better)
1/2 cup sour cream (I’ve used both full-fat and light, and haven’t noticed a difference)
1/2 cup 7-up, Sprite or Sierra Mist (DO NOT use diet…in fact, you’re not supposed to bake with diet soda ever)
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 450.

Cut sour cream into Bisquick and add 7-Up. Makes a very soft dough. You can add a bit more Bisquick if needed to make them less sticky, but be careful not to overdo it, or they’ll get tough.

Sprinkle additional Bisquick on board or table and pat dough out. If you want, cut dough into circles. If you don’t care, just use a knife to cut the dough into large pieces.

Melt 1/4 cup butter in a 9 inch square pan. Place cut biscuits in pan and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. These also freeze well!

Here’s what they look like going in the oven:

yes, i know it looks like one big mound of dough, but they actually are separate pieces all shoved in there together.

And coming out:

perfectly browned and they bake evenly all the way through with no problem, even though the pan is really full.

even though they look in the pan like they aren't separate biscuits, they come apart easily after they're baked.

I DARE YOU to eat just one of these.

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