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.

Peanut butter oatmeal bars

Yet another recipe found on pinterest. I love this one for many reasons. One, it’s so quick and easy to put together. Two, it’s a great snack, breakfast food with fruit, or as a source of protein in the kids lunch. Some of my kiddos aren’t huge sandwich fans, so this is nice to put in there lunch As a sandwich alternative.   This is very rich. You won’t want to eat a big portion at once. I had a very small piece with a smoothie for breakfast this morning.

1 cup of peanut butter

1 cup honey

3 cups oatmeal

combine all together and press into 8×8 pan. Cover and let sit overnight. That’s it! Oh- and from now on I am going to add flaxseed also. Not sure why I didn’t think of doing that this time. 🙂

Homemade Waffles and Syrup

Our family is going through the slow, sometimes-painful (when we realize a favorite of ours contains it) removal of red dye from our diets. There are lots of things that got cut out years ago: fruit snacks and the like, Koolaid type drinks, etc.  But it’s in SO much more than you realize when you try to completely cut it out. A few convenience foods that I still bought despite their lack of nutritional value (because let’s face it, sometimes we just need a quick dinner) contain red dye. Like Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and Hungry Jack Belgian Waffle Mix. Really? Why is red dye in these?

Sidenote: I’m not freaking out over birthday treats at school, a snack at a friend’s house, etc. The boys don’t have to be the odd kid out in these situations. I’m just taking it out of our diet at home.

So. Back to waffles.

I used 100 Days of Real Food’s waffle recipe as the basis, thanks to Sonya’s recommendation. I changed up a few things, primarily to make it easier to mix and to be able to use the ingredients I already had in my pantry (I didn’t have any King Arthur white whole wheat flour; just regular white flour and regular whole wheat flour). I made a batch and a half of the original recipe (and that’s what I’m posting below), so there are plenty to freeze. It made 8 huge Belgian waffles.

3 large eggs
2 1/2 cups + 2 Tbl skim milk
1/4 cup oil (I used coconut oil – because it’s a solid at room temp, melt it down to liquid before using by putting what you need in a measuring cup in the microwave for a few seconds at a time until it’s a liquid)
1/2 cup applesauce
1-2 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2-3 Tbl ground flaxseed

Preheat your waffle iron.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cinnamon, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and flaxseed. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, applesauce and honey.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk together (doesn’t need to be perfectly mixed). THEN, add the coconut oil while you are whisking the batter, so that it gets evenly distributed. This is important, because the batter is cold and the coconut oil will harden in the batter; you want it to be in tiny bits, not large clumps.

When the waffle iron is hot, ladle some batter onto the center of the iron. I found that, due to the coconut oil, I did not need to grease my waffle iron. Cook as long as you need – my Belgian waffler takes about 3 minutes/waffle.

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These are delicious with maple syrup, of course, but if you want to try something really amazing, make this Buttermilk Caramel Syrup. Oh my goodness…it’s amazing and super easy to make. Three bits of advice: 1. use commercially-prepared buttermilk (instead of adding vinegar to your own milk to sour it, like you can when baking) 2. Using 1/4 cup of butter is fine. 3. Prepare the syrup in a big pan. Bigger than you think is necessary, because when you add the baking soda and have a bubbly chemical reaction, you don’t want to lose this delicious concoction all over your stovetop!

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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!

Breakfast Casserole on a Weekday?

{tapping the mike…is this thing on?}

I’m back! I have several recipes to share that I hope to get to over the next few weeks.

I’ve mentioned here before that my oldest, Luke, LOVES a hot breakfast. I’m pretty sure it’s his love language.

With our 7:15am out-the-door time, there’s no way he’s getting a freshly-made hot breakfast. It just isn’t going to happen. So sometimes, I make these breakfast pockets in an afternoon, and freeze a whole ton of them for him to eat his way through. While good, those are time-consuming to make, so I started trying to think of an alternative, and gave this a try.

**If you’re just making this for your family, know that you can make it up to 12 hours in advance and keep in the fridge, and then just bake in the morning (or, for brinner, if you’re me).

I’m sure this will work on any breakfast casserole; just follow the freezer instructions at the end.

1 lb Jimmy Dean sausage (regular)
10 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups milk
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups bread cubes
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup mushroom, sliced (optional)
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped (optional)
1/2 cup green onion, thin-sliced (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°F.
In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until throughly cooked and no longer pink.
In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, mustard and salt; stir well.
Distribute half of the bread evenly in a buttered 9 by 13×2-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with half the pepper, half the cheese, half the sausage and half of the optional ingredients.
Repeat layering using remaining bread, pepper, cheese, sausage and optional ingredients.
Pour egg mixture evenly over casserole; Bake uncovered for 55 to 60 minutes, or until eggs are set; tent with release foil if top begins to brown to quickly.

Let it cool in the pan enough to be able to handle the pieces. Put a sheet of parchment paper or a silpat on a cookie sheet.
Cut casserole into 12 servings. Set each square on the pan, and place in the freezer.
When frozen solid, remove from pan and put in a ziploc bag. Put back in freezer.

On a weekday, stick one in the microwave for about a minute, and you’ll have a hot breakfast!

Breakfast Pockets

I made these for dinner last night, and they were REALLY good! A bit time-consuming, but since it makes a lot (we had several pockets leftover for the freezer, which means Luke will get a hot breakfast on a school day in the weeks to come, which will make him really happy!) I was okay with that.

You do make a bread dough, but it was really easy and totally worked. In fact, now that I have this dough recipe, I’m thinking of all kinds of stuff to fill these pockets with! It makes a light, not-tough bread that’s perfect for filling with something, and dough that was very easy to work with.

I mostly followed the original recipe, found here. My only change was to use crumbled bacon instead of sausage, since that’s what I had on hand (and what we prefer). I just sprinkled it over the top of the egg filling when I had it on the dough already, so it stayed crispy. That meant that instead of frying the sausage with the onion, I just needed to saute the onion in a tiny bit of butter before I added the egg and hash browns later.

A note about the filling: instead of frozen hash browns, thawed, I just bought Simply Potatoes hash browns (I used the southwest seasoned ones – these are found in the refrigerated section of the grocery near eggs). And, next time, I will omit the hash browns completely. We just don’t eat a lot of potatoes around here, and Luke even commented that he loved them, but next time he’d like no hash browns. To me, it was just filler. I’ll add a couple more eggs to make up the difference in volume.

Dough
1 1/2 Tbl yeast (2 packets)
1/2 c warm water (110 degrees – I microwaved for about 30 seconds)
3/4 c evaporated milk (110 degrees – again, microwave, but only about 20 seconds because it’s not as cold as the water to start with)
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/4 c sugar
1 egg
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 c flour

Filling
1 lb bulk sausage (or bacon, as described above)
1/2 c onion, chopped
1 1/2 c hash brown potatoes (thawed or use Simply Potatoes)
7 large eggs
3 Tbl milk
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 1/2 c cheddar cheese, shredded

Dough:
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in the water.
Add milk, oil, sugar, egg, salt, and 2 cups flour; whisk until smooth.
Add enough flour until it makes a soft dough but do not knead. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Filling:
Cook the sausage and onion over medium heat until browned. Drain. Whisk the eggs, milk and spices together in a bowl. Add the hash browns and egg mixture to the pan. Cook and stir until set. Sprinkle with cheese and keep warm.

Assembly:
Preheat oven to 350°.
Punch down the dough and cut into 16 equal pieces.
Roll or stretch each piece into 7 in circle on a floured surface. Top with 1/3 c filling, fold, and pinch shut (I didn’t have any problems with filling oozing out while baking, and I just pinched them closed with my fingers). Bake for 15-20 minutes.

To freeze:
Allow to cool completely. Once cooled, place in the freezer on the baking sheet until frozen. Store in a ziploc bag in the freezer for 3-6 months. To reheat, place on a paper towel and microwave for 1 1/2-2 minutes.

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