Category: Breakfast

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Banana Muffins, Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins – nothing new, nothing fancy, but oh so delicious. I have tried numerous recipes looking for the perfect muffin and this is it and I have to add that my boys love them.  Like, really, really love them.  Whenever I ask them what they want for breakfast these Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins are in their top three items they will ask for.  And….I have to admit they are one of my favorite breakfasts as well.

I was given this recipe by a teen that used to watch my boys.  He was telling me about these amazing muffins that his mom always made and actually had the image of the recipe on his phone. He said that so many people asked for the recipe after tasting the muffins that this is how his mom would give out the recipe.

These are a basic banana muffin – but a really, really good muffin. There is no fancy ingredient or big secret, just the perfect combination and proportions for a scrumptious treat.  They are moist and fluffy, but not dense or dry.  I attribute the perfect, moist texture to using oil instead of butter. While butter gives great flavor and I would never use anything else for cookies, these muffins benefit in a major way from using oil.  I also find that the rich, delicious flavor of the bananas is elevated by using oil.

These are great any time and keep well, but are especially fantastic right out of the oven.  There is nothing like watching the steam escape the inside of the fluffy muffin as chocolate chips slowly melt onto the delicate crevices.  When I feel like being a real rebel I love to slather mine with butter. Nothing like some additional fat added to the all-purpose white flour baked goodness to really put you into a full on food buzz.

Try these, you won’t regret it.

Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie – Healthy & Dairy Free

It is the New Year and like many people I indulged and enjoyed in glutenous baked goods and enjoyed many, many, many savory appetizers at holiday parties.  I didn’t want to be rude and not eat.  So I am feeling a little bloated and am looking to lighten up my diet up a bit so feel healthier and more energetic.

In an effort to try and feel less bloated I decided to try this smoothie I saw featured on YouTube and wow – it is really, really good.  The original recipe was featured on Miss Glamorazzi’s channel where cookbook author and blogger Claire Thomas shared several recipes that were quick and healthy.  You can see the video featured here that also has other delicious recipes.  In the meantime, here is the recipe for the Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie that is amazing!  Enjoy!

Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie Ingredients
Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie Ingredients

Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie
1 frozen banana
1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tsp. chia seeds
2 T. agave nectar (I didn’t have this so I used brown sugar – YUM! (perhaps why I have gained some weight…))
1 pinch of salt
1 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T. flax meal
1/3 c. gluten free oatmeal
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup crushed ice

Put all ingredients in your blender for about a minute and enjoy!

Banana smoothie and fresh banana on wooden background.

The Neiman Marcus Popover with Strawberry Butter

I was talking with two of my very close friends recently and they were talking about their amazing lunch at Neiman Marcus and in particular the Neiman Marcus Popovers with Strawberry Butter they enjoyed.  It immediately took me back to lunches that I used to share with my mom at the luxe Neiman Marcus restaurants and all of the memories I shared with her.

My mom was old school and loved the crisp tablecloths, fine napkins and of course the doting that comes with all things Neiman Marcus.  After hearing my friends speaking of these heavenly bites I found the recipe in my Neiman Marcus Cookbook and made my own batch of these scrumptious, eggy, airy bites of heaven.

A few of the chef’s notes in the cookbook states that it is important to make sure to have the eggs and milk warm before mixing.  Also, make sure to let the batter sit for an hour before baking them and always make these fresh.  Popovers that are frozen or trying to make popovers from batter that has been pre-made tends to not work well.  So, in a nutshell, you must commit when making these.  No shortcuts for these little babies.

There is something that is irreplaceable when recollecting memories with loved ones that have passed on.  I will never forget the lunches I shared with my mom at Neiman’s and making these delicious popovers brings back so many memories filled with love, nostalgia and deliciousness.

3 1/2 cups milk
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 large eggs, at room temperature

To make this recipe, you will need a Teflon-lined popover pan with a 12-cup capacity. These are available at kitchen equipment and specialty stores, and some cooking mail-order catalogs.

Preheat the oven to 450° F. Place the milk in a bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes, or until warm to the touch. Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl.

Crack the eggs into the work bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until foamy and pale in color. Turn down the mixer to low and add the warm milk. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Turn the machine off and let the batter rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

Spray a popover tin generously with nonstick spray. Fill the popover cups almost to the top with the batter and place the popover tin on a cookie sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn down the oven temperature to 375° F and bake for 30 to 35 minutes longer, until the popovers are a deep golden brown on the outside and airy on the inside. Turn out the popovers and serve hot with strawberry butter. Yields 1 dozen popovers.

Strawberry Butter

1 pound butter
1 1/4 c. strawberry preserves

In an electric mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy.  Add the preserves and mix until just combined.

Homemade crunchy buttery popovers

Sweet Brown Sugar Dutch Baby Recipe

I love when a recipe only uses one pan or pot.  As the primary person cooking in my house I am all about less mess which is why I love this Sweet Brown Sugar Dutch Baby Recipe that is made in one pan.  For those unfamiliar with Dutch Babies they are similar to a popover, but they are sweeter and are much larger and flatter.  This is due to the large round skillet Dutch Babies are cooked in as opposed to traditional popover pans that are deeper and look more like muffin tins.

There are so many reasons I love this recipe, I am just going to list them (after all I do love me a list):

  1. One pan (yes, stated above but I love this so I am mentioning again)
  2. All ingredients are those I always have on hand
  3. This is one of those recipes where countless variations can be made – extra sugar, no sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, berries, apples, lemons, lemon zest, orange zest…you get the idea.
  4. Easy to make
  5. Looks impressive

I usually make this as a breakfast treat served with warm maple syrup, a touch of velvety butter and some fresh berries.  However as noted above, the variations are limited to only ones imagination.  One thing to note as that these will puff up in the oven but once you remove the little “baby” from the oven it will deflate as you will see in the pictures below.

IMG_5487 OK, so you need to try making on of these.  Not only are they so simple to make, these are so much less work compared to pancakes.  Aside from not having to flip flapjack after flapjack I actually prefer the taste of dutch babies with its light, eggy consistency.  These are so good (and easy) though don’t just make this for breakfast make it whenever!  Lunch, snack, dinner – why not?

Hope you try these and love them as much as my family does!

Sweet Dutch Baby Recipe
2  eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 pinch salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Berries, dusting powdered sugar, maple syrup (optional and to your taste)

Place a 10 inch cast iron skillet inside oven and preheat oven to 475 degrees.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs with a whisk until light. Add milk and stir. Gradually whisk in flour, sugar, nutmeg and salt.

Remove skillet from oven and reduce oven heat to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Melt butter in the hot skillet so that inside of skillet is completely coated with butter. Pour all the batter in the skillet and return skillet to oven.

Bake until puffed and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle the top of the Dutch Baby with brown sugar.  Return to oven for two more minutes.  Remove promptly and sprinkle with powdered sugar, maple syrup, fruit or whatever you like.



J-Lo’s BodyLab Green Smoothie featured in InStyle

I am a little obsessed with Jennifer Lopez.  It is amazing how she has managed to actually age backwards.  Looking at pictures of her from ten years ago, I can’t believe how much better she looks as the years have gone on.  So, while I was perusing the July 2015 issue of InStyle magazine and came across her recipe for a green smoothie I knew that I had to try it.

The smoothie features her BodyLab Vanilla Whey Protein Complex which I unfortunately did not have on hand so I opted for my Trader Joe’s Whey Protein in vanilla.  I am guessing they are pretty similar, so I moved forward with the recipe.  The smoothie includes rice milk, spinach, banana, chia seeds, sunflower butter and protein powder.  This was a convenient recipe for me since I usually have all these ingredients on hand.  Not having too many ingredients was very helpful.

Now for the taste, it was surprisingly good.  I honestly wasn’t sure how the sunflower butter would marry with the rest of the ingredients but the banana and sunflower butter take over most of the flavor and the spinach adds a freshness without being to overpowering.  I may even actually pick up a container of the BodyLab protein powder when I am done with my current protein powder to see how the BodyLab version compares to the Trader Joe’s variety.

I would definitely recommend trying the recipe for this shake.  Looking at J-Lo, there are many things she is doing right and I will try one of them to see how it works continuously.  Not only is it delicious, but if this is one of the items J-Lo is eating I am going to give it a try as well.

*For an additional Maca smoothie recipe as well as an extremely knowledgable post about Maca and all the amazing benefits, check out this article on Some of the benefits noted are increased libido and hormone balance (something I could definitely use, especially a few days a month).

J-Lo’s BodyLab Green Smoothie (1 serving)
1 cup rice milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
1 handful spinach
1 frozen banana, sliced
2 T. chia seeds
2 heaping teaspoons sunflower butter
1 dry scoop BodyLab Vanilla Tasty Shake Complete Whey Protein Complex (I used Trader Joe’s Vanilla Whey Protein)

Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  Serve.