Saturday, May 7, 2011

Healthy Banana Oatmeal Muffins

This is one of my go to recipes for muffins and one of the few the kids actually eat.  The dark chocolate chips are just sweet enough to of set the whole wheat blandness that usually accompanies the flour, even with sugar.

These are great to use up leftover bananas and they store well in the freezer to pull out for a quick breakfast or snack.

Healthy Banana Oatmeal Muffins

½ Cup All Purpose Flour
½ Cup Whole Wheat Flour
½ Cup Quick Cooking Oats
¼ Cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
½ tsp Cinnamon
¼ tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Milled Flax Seed (Optional)
2 Tbsp Wheat Germ (Optional)
¾ Cup Milk
¼ Cup Honey
1 Egg
¼ Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
3 Ripe Bananas, Mashed
½ Cup Chopped Walnuts
½ Dark Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 325 Degrees.  Spray muffin pans with cooking spray (makes about 15 muffins)

In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, salt, wheat germ and flax seed.  In a medium bowl, mix together milk, egg, honey, applesauce and bananas.  Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix well.  Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.  Pour ¼ cup into muffin cup and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Momma's Fluffy Waffles and My Favorite Syrup

Last night my husband and I finished watching the last season of Deadwood.  It was a western on HBO that lasted 3 seasons, which was really unfortunate since it was nominated so many times.  HBO decided not renew after season 3 and it had left so many unanswered questions and the series finale was quite uneventful.  For all the heavy, heavy profanity and lack of clothing of some for some of the characters, it was a really good show.

These are the waffles my mom would always make for us growing up.  She had received the recipe through our public library when looking for a waffle recipe (back in the 90's). These are so light and fluffy and absolutely delicious.  I topped these with my favorite syrup, Coconut syrup.  I found it at The Sister's Cafe while I was looking for some French Toast recipes.  I fell in love and have been obsessed with coconut ever since.

Momma's Fluffy Waffles

2 Eggs, Separated
1 Cup Milk
3/4 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Oil
2 Cups Flour
4 tsp Baking Powder
1 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt

In a stand mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.  Mix in egg yolks, milk, water and oil, until well combined.  Fold in egg whites.  Pour batter into waffle maker and cook according to manufacturer directions.

Coconut Syrup
adapted from The Sister's Cafe

½ Cup Butter
¾ Cup Buttermilk
1 Cup Sugar
½ tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Coconut Extract

Place butter, buttermilk and sugar in a pot. Then turn stove on medium and stir until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and boil one minute. Remove from heat and add soda and flavoring. It will bubble up; just continue to stir and give it a few minutes for the 'fizz' to reduce before serving.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cream Cheese Sheet Cake

Well I am glad I didn't attempt to start any gardening, because Mother Nature would have just killed it all.  After a few weeks of beautiful weather and a few thunderstorms....I am now looking at a blizzard outside.  Ugly, horrible, freezing snow.  And we are supposed to get 6 inches.

So I did what any one else would do.  I went to the kitchen to bake.  I made this cream cheese sheet cake while I cried a little on the inside watching the snow blanket our green grass.

Cream Cheese Sheet Cake

2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Butter, Softened
8 oz Cream Cheese
4 Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
3 Cups Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 Cup Butter Softened
4 oz Cream Cheese
3 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
3 Tbsp Milk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Food Coloring

In a large bowl, beat together sugar, butter, cream cheese and eggs until well combined.  Add in vanilla and beat for about another minute.  In a small bowl add flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder.  Add flour mixture, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.  

Spread batter into a 11x17 inch pan with sides.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool completely.  

For the frosting, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Add milk and vanilla extract and 1 cup powdered sugar, beating until smooth.  Add remaining powdered sugar, 1 cup at time until desired consistency.  Spread over cake and cut into bars.  Refrigerate remains.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Frozen Banana Pops

More banana fun!  I had intentions of making Christy's Bananas in Red Stuff but I seemed to have accidentally bought sugar free strawberry glaze.  Bleh.  I don't like splenda, and I thought it gave the glaze a fun taste.  So I went about making something else with the bananas.

Another great warm weather treat that doesn't require any cooking.  It's a great way to get the kids in the kitchen and they'll love chowing down on them.

You can use any toppings that tickle your fancy.  Her I used coconut, chopped walnuts, toffee pieces and easter sprinkles.  Go nuts with them!

Frozen Banana Pops

4-5 bananas sliced into 4 pieces each
Popsicle sticks
Chocolate Almond Bark, melted

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Place a Popsicle stick into each banana piece and lay on the baking sheet.  Freeze bananas until firm, about 1 hour.  Melt chocolate and set up your toppings.  Dip bananas into chocolate and then quickly into toppings (chocolate will harden fast)  Lay back on baking sheet until completely harden.  Enjoy or store in an air tight container in freezer.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Frozen Fruit Medley Salad

This is another recipe using up leftover frozen bananas, but you can use bananas sitting on your counter if you please.  This salad is filled with various types of fruit and are great for the hot weather coming our way.

You can easily make this your own, substituting different fruits, using sour cream or whipped cream or mixing and matching like I did here.

*Tip* To freeze bananas, you can either mash bananas and place in a freezer bag, laying flat in the freezer until firm, for better storage.  Or you can place the banana, peel and all, into a freezer bag and toss into freezer.  Let thaw to use.

Frozen Fruit Medley Salad

1 Cup Orange Juice
16 oz Frozen Sliced Strawberries, Thawed
15 oz Can Halved Apricots, drained and diced, reserve juice
3 Mashed Bananas 
20 oz Can Crushed Pineapples, drained and reserve juice
14.5 oz Can Red Tart Cherries, drained and reserve juice
16 oz Container Greek Yogurt
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 Cup Honey

In a small sauce pan, combine orange juice, juices from cans and honey.  Heat over medium heat until honey dissolves.  Remove from heat. 

In a large bowl, mix strawberries, apricots, bananas, pineapples, cherries.  Mash with potato masher if you would like smaller pieces.  Mix in yogurt.  

Beat whipping cream until soft peaks form.  Mix into fruit.  Pour cooled juices into fruit and mix well.  

Line muffin tins with muffin liners*.  Spoon fruit mixture into liners and freeze for a few hours until firm.  Remove liners from tins and store in a ziploc bag or air tight container in freezer.

Makes about 48

*I've found that the tin foil liners are easier to use then regular paper.  If using regular paper, submerge muffin tin in warm water for a few seconds to remove from tin.  Silicone muffin cups also work well.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Banana Split Cake

While I have been doing some heavy duty spring cleaning and trying to organize everything better, my first task, was the kitchen.  I spend most of my time there and ends up being the worst in house.  While cleaning, I checked out the freezer and seen that I had a lot of bananas that needed to be used up.  So in the coming weeks, you will be seeing a lot of banana recipes.  

This recipe however was using up some bananas on the counter that needed to be used.  This cake is so yummy and doesn't require the use of the oven or stove and makes a great dessert for summer.

Banana Split Cake

1 1/2 Cups Finely Crushed Nilla Wafers
1 1/4 Cups Sugar, Divided
1/3 Cup Butter, Melted
2 pkgs (8 oz) Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 Can (20 oz) Crushed Pineapple, Well Drained
4 Bananas
2 Cups Cold Milk
1 Large box Vanilla Pudding
2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Cup Chopped Pecans

In a medium sized bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, and melted butter.  Press into the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan.  Beat together remaining sugar and cream cheese until well mixed.  Carefully spread over cookie crust.  Top with pineapple.  Slice bananas and layer over pineapple.  

In another bowl mix together cold milk and vanilla pudding and set aside.  In a large bowl, beat together whipping cream, vanilla and powdered sugar until soft peaks form.  Remove 1 cup of whipped cream and mix into pudding.  Layer pudding over bananas.  

Spread remaining whipped cream over pudding and sprinkle with pecans.  Chill for 5 hours serving.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Apple Butter - Slow Cooked

With Spring in full swing, I wanted to try my hand at canning before all the fruits start coming in (strawberries soon!) and get the hang of it.  I've been terrified of canning.  Still am, but a little more confident.  I'm afraid of large pots of boiling water spilling, burning hot jars dropping and/or exploding.  But I am trying to move past it all.  I took a stab at it with apple butter and I had much success with it!    Although next time, I think I will make the apple butter overnight, I was up quite late last night trying to get it canned.

Apple butter is absolutely amazing.  Sweet and slightly spicy from the cinnamon and cloves (not the hot spicy if you haven't had it before).  An amazing comfort food.  Use it on toast, biscuits (Mmm Buttermilk Biscuits), French Toast, Pancakes, or anything else you can think of.

I made these cute labels from a word document downloadable I found at  They are very easy to customize.

Apple Butter
Makes 5 pints + a little extra ( I had about 1/4 pint left over)

10 Lbs Apples (Use any kind you desire, even mix and match flavors.  I used 5 lbs Granny Smith, 2 Lbs Gala, and 3 Lbs Red Prince)
2 Cup White Sugar
2 Cups Brown Sugar
6 tsp Cinnamon
3 tsp Ground Cloves
1 tsp All Spice
2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract

Peel, core, and dice your apples.  Place in the slow cooker (you'll want to use a large slow cooker, about 7 qt)  Mix together the rest of your ingredients and pour over apples.  Carefully mix it up.  Cover and cook on high for 1 hour.  Reduce heat to low and cook for 8 more hours.  Using a hand blender or potatoes masher, break up apples, so it resembles apple sauce.  Cook for 1 more hour on low so it cooks down and thickens.

*Note* Adjust sugar and spices as desired.  If you would like it less sweet or spicy, amounts can easily be reduced.  Apple butter will be strong while its cooking, but won't be once it has cooled down.

For Canning Videos and Tutorials, visit the following pages.