Banana Chocolate Chip Blender Muffins

Banana Chocolate Chip Blender Muffins

I think I need to just bow out while I'm ahead with this one - I will never try another muffin recipe again.  My children have declared these to be the best muffins they've ever had.  And if you knew my kids, you'd know that they are pretty tough little food critics (my fault, I'm sure). 

I've made a couple batches of these over the last week, and they are inhaling them as fast as I can bake them. But it's totally ok, because these are super easy to make, and relatively healthy, as far as things containing chocolate chips go. We're talking from starting to in the oven in like 5 minutes. 

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Basic recipe: pancakes and waffles

Basic recipe: pancakes and waffles

Add to the list of things that I can't for the life of me figure out why I ever bought in a box: pancakes. 

Pancakes and waffles are so easy to make from scratch. Call me lazy, but I love a recipe that's versatile and adaptable to a number of uses. I like to think about it once and use it a lot - and this one definitely fits that bill.

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Easy Lemonade Lemon Cookie Recipe

Easy Lemonade Lemon Cookie Recipe

I first came across a couple different versions of this recipe over the summer and made some with the kids.  We loved them!  They taste like summer, they are light and tangy and just the right amount of sweet. I think it's a little bit genius to make a lemon cookie using concentrated lemonade (the frozen kind) - you get all that great lemon flavor, but it's so quick and easy!  I use an organic lemonade concentrate, so it does not contain high fructose corn syrup.  

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English Muffins

English Muffins

English muffins are one of those fond childhood memories - bumpy and full of holes, toasted and soaked with butter.  They're great just by themselves, or they are the beginnings of the best breakfast sandwiches, or super simple and fun do-it-yourself kid pizzas.  

As with just about anything, there are as many different recipes for this as there are cookbooks and food blogs.  I don't claim that my way is the only way, but this is just how I've been doing it and it works great for me.  My family loves them, so as far as I'm concerned that's all the approval I need.  And since these so-called "English" muffins aren't really English, or really muffins, and I don't think are traditional to anywhere - I don't think there is a right or wrong way to make them.  So here is how I do it. 

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Zucchini Bread

I do love a good quick bread - and this is the time of year for zucchini bread. We have a small backyard garden, and with just a few squash plants we are up to our ears in it. Fortunately my kids like the bread and muffins just as much as I do - so we have been devouring it. I went looking for recipes online, and there are so many! I found this one that I thought sounded like a great one to try - it has so many great reviews! I do try to constrain myself with baking, and follow the recipe pretty closely the first time I make something. So I made them according to the recipe. It was really good, but a little too sweet and to oily for my taste. So let the tinkering begin!

First, I changed the flour to whole wheat. (I've also experimented with subbing out some of the flour for some rolled oats - that's good too!) Then I cut the sugar and oil in half. That's much better. I've played with adding a little ground flax in too, which I like. I've been leaving the nuts out because I'm freezing muffins to send to school with the kids, but I did make one batch with nuts and it was really good. I've even made a vegan version - using a mixture of ground flax and water in place of the eggs - I'll be doing that more as it tasted great and nobody noticed the difference. And one time I forgot the oil altogether and the muffins were still really good, although a little dry.

Ingredients:

3 cups whole wheat flour (or 2 cups oats + 1 cup wheat flour)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups white sugar

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

3-4 cups grated zucchini

1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

I go about this in an unusual way. First of all - don't drain your grated zucchini! You'll notice that there isn't much liquid in the recipe, that's because it gets the liquid from the squash. I've found it works best to mix the zucchini with the sugar first and let that sit to draw out the moisture for a few minutes while you mix the dry ingredients. Then mix the rest of the wet ingredients with the zucchini and squash mixture. Otherwise - if you go about it the traditional way of stirring the zucchini in last, you have a very dry mixture, more like a dough - when what you want is a batter.  Then, combine the two.  then add your nuts if you want.  Raisins would be great too.  I also added some grated carrot once.

I've been doubling this recipe pretty much every time. And I've done it as full size loaves, mini loaves, regular muffins and mini muffins. Grease and flour the pans. Actually I've mostly just been greasing them. One time I sprayed with oil and then coated the muffin tins with oat bran. Or use cupcake papers and you don't have to do anything to the pan. Bake at 325. The time varies depending on what size you're making and how moist your batter is - 30 - 60 minutes.

I think the one pictured here was actually the vegan version, and the coating of oat bran gave it a nice extra texture.

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