Banana Cake Muffins

24 01 2013

banana muffins

An icy cold day like today needs something warm baking in the oven. But what to make? I’m not sure how I happened across this recipe for Cake Mix Banana Bread from Real Mom, but it sounded ideal for it’s simplicity and likeliness of being tasty. And, by making them into muffins instead of a loaf, I got to use these spunky Drömmar bakery cups that I picked up from Ikea.

And they did turn out lovely and yummy! I would call them banana cake muffins over banana bread muffins because the texture was more light and fluffy rather than dense and banana-y. Maybe add another banana next time?


Here’s my adapted recipe:

1 (18.25 oz) package yellow cake mix

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

5 egg whites

1/4 cup oil

1 Tbs Coconut Oil

3 medium ripe bananas, smushed

Mix all the ingredients together until smooth. Divide batter evenly among 12 large muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops with a little granulated and/or brown sugar. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes, until it passes the toothpick test.


As a side note, if your bananas aren’t ripe enough, try baking them until they blacken. This makes them super sweet! Just be careful to cool them down a little before mixing with the eggs.


Recipe ideas with Fillipo Berio Olive Oil #imabzzagent

13 06 2012

There are many different kinds of oils jammed into my cupboard, but the one that’s sitting in front is Filippo Berio Olive Oil.  Filippo Berio is one of the brands that I like to buy, so I was excited to participate in the BzzCampaign. I’ve been brushing up on the health benefits to using olive oil over butter and other oils. Inspired to make some meaningful substitutions in our family’s diet, I started looking for more places to use it beyond the typical sauteed onions and garlic.

Once I started keeping track of how many things I can use olive oil in, I was surprised by how versatile it really is. With a bit of balsamic vinegar, a cutting of basil from the garden, and some salt and pepper, olive oil makes a tasty dressing for grape tomato halves. Adding a splash of olive oil to jarred spaghetti sauce makes it taste more like homemade. (And it only takes a tiny bit to keep cooked spaghetti from sticking to itself while trying to keep it warm until the kids have finished cleaning their room and are ready to eat dinner…that can be awhile!)

One of the new recipes I tried was this one for grilled pork from Leite’s Culinaria, using olive oil in place of the canola oil in the marinade. When I broiled the meat, the olive oil made a shiny crust on the outside of the meat just like canola oil would have. And, my goodness, the board dressing should not be optional! Using Filippo Berio Olive Oil gave it a bright, almost fruity flavor that really bounced off the sweetness of the meat. My family agreed that it had exceptional flavor, and ate it up before I could get a picture.

So, I made it a point to get some pictures of another flavorful dish, our family potatoes. During grilling season, we eat a lot of potatoes cooked on the grill in foil packets. Usually, I add butter, but have found that olive oil makes it a less heavy side dish and doesn’t burn as easily. This is an easy dish to make with kids, who love to shake the spices on! Here’s the recipe:

Family Potatoes Recipe:

1. Slice each potato into 8 wedges.

2. Add potatoes, enough olive oil to coat the pieces, and your choice of seasonings to a sturdy plastic bag. (Think beyond salt and pepper to rosemary, Old Bay, dill, etc.) Close and shake until coated.

3. Wrap in foil and throw on the grill or bake in 450 F oven about 20-30 minutes, turning once, until tender.

If you need more exactitude in your measurements, try this recipe for Oven Baked Parmesan Fries. Love them with freshly grated parm!

My next step is to find the Filippo Berio Extra Light Olive Oil and start subbing it into my baking and desserts. Here’s some of the recipes I’ve found on Pinterest that I’m drooling over:

Olive Oil Granola (from a blog called “Love & Olive Oil,” no less)

Olive Oil & Sea Salt Palmiers (I didn’t think those could be made in a healthier way)

Olive Oil Pancakes (I love pancakes!)

 Do you have any recipes with olive oil that I should try too?

PS–Just a disclaimer, this is my own opinion of Filippo Berio Olive Oil. As a bzzagent, I got a free sample bottle as part of this BzzCampaign, but the opinions are all mine. You can take my review with a grain of salt…Or a whole sprinkle of salt over a small dish of olive oil with some crusty bread to dip in it. That would be nice.

A Few of My Favorite Things (#imabzzagent)

14 11 2011

Here’s a few things going on right now that make me smile…

Orange Vegetables
Yes, my grocery bags are being overtaken by carrots, squashes and oranges. Maybe because of their sunny hue (it’s been quite grey weather since the rogue snowstorm on Halloween weekend) or maybe my body’s telling me I need some extra nutrients, but I can’t get enough lately! This curried carrot soup is on my list to try next even though I have a butternut/carnival squash lasagna in the freezer I should finish up first.

Springerle Molds
Watch out, Christmas cookie season is coming up fast! While I’m no expert on springerle, I am fascinated by the old-fashioned cookie molds. Our mom has a growing collection that I’m looking forward to trying out. Meanwhile, I’ll just drool over beauties like these leaves.

Burt’s Bees Natural Skin Care
Right now, I’m also loving Burt’s Bees Natural Skin Solutions for Sensitive Skin. Having three kids leaves little room for any fancy beauty routine and my skin is as finicky as my toddler at dinnertime. Being a BzzAgent gave me the chance to try the new Burt’s Bees Natural Skin Solutions for Sensitive Skin line. (That’s a mouthful to say!) So here’s my morning beautification schedule… Every morning, I use the facial cleaner in the shower. It’s thick but not irritating and rinses off quickly (Anyone with little kids knows there’s a limited time in the shower before they find where you’re hiding out). After getting dressed, I pump a little bit of Burt’s Bees daily moisturizing cream, slap it on my face, pull up my hair and go. I particularly like the gentle scent of the cream that doesn’t fight with any perfume I might wear.  And it comes in this cute pump bottle (I’m a sucker for clever packaging) A month later and my skin feels awesome! My face hasn’t broken out like other products I’ve tried. I should really be using the facial cleaner before I go to bed although I don’t see how my skin could be much softer. The Sensitive Night Cream is on my list to try next, so maybe I’ll start using the facial cleaner at the end of the day, if the baby ever stops teething and goes to bed on a regular schedule again. *sigh* Well, I always have my morning pampering! Keep an eye out for coupons to try Burt’s Bees for yourself, like from their facebook page (hint, hint!)


So what’s on your list of favorites this week?


Meal Plan in MA ~Sept 26

26 09 2011

Starting up again with some meal planning… I’m aiming to make more well-rounded meals and inspire my kids to ask for more exciting foods. So, I’m participating in the plan it ~Don’t Panic challenge. Be sure to visit her for some great ideas on making you own meal plans!

Today we’re also going to make some more applesauce in the slow cooker from the apples we picked earlier in the month. Don’t you love Mighty Man’s expression? He was the most efficient apple picker and would not rest until the bag was overflowing!

Our dinner plans for the week…

Monday: Emeril’s Turkey and Pinto Bean Chili (Food Everyday magazine, Sept. 2011)

Tuesday: “Andouille” Chicken Sausage with Red Bell Pepper Rice and Onions

Wednesday: Slow cooker split pea soup (Woman’s Day, Oct. 2011) and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Thursday: Spaghetti and Meatballs, French Cut Green Beans, Polenta

Friday: Baked Scallops, Asparagus Spears

Saturday: Slow Cooker Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs, tomato salad

Sunday: Mixed Munchies (aka leftovers!)

Ping goes to school

29 08 2011

No, Bean isn’t reading about computers or submarines…It’s a duck! With much enthusiasm, we’ve started part of our home school for the year with the Five in A Row Series. The first story we’ve read together is A Story about Ping, a little duck living on the Yangtze River. Some of our projects included drawing motion lines with colored glue, talking to relatives about ducks, and discussing Chinese culture. We finished off our week with a homemade Chinese food dinner. Bean’s favorite takeout dish is “beef on a stick.”  Wasn’t sure we could replicate it at home, but this recipe got her seal of approval as “the best dinner ever.” Meanwhile, Mighty Man ate 3+ of the shrimp egg rolls they made together. Looking forward to next week’s adventures!


Menu Plan Monday in MA ~April 4

4 04 2011

Baby could be here tomorrow, or in two weeks, so here is our flexible meal plan of 7 dinners… Most of the meals can be (or stay) frozen or put “on hold.”

Quick roasted chicken & potatoes (March issue of Everyday Food)

Chicken (leftovers) with Parmesan noodles, brocolli

Shaved beef sandwiches on french bread, salad

Ham Sandwiches on rolls [Made ahead and frozen individually. Put ham, cheese, and a little butter/mustard mixture on a roll. Perfect for the day-old bakery finds! Heat from frozen, still wrapped in foil, for about 20 minutes at 350F to melt the cheese]

Breaded fish fillets  and haricots verts (yes, just fancy green beans)

Hot dogs and home-made baked beans (Cooking these in the crockpot today. Will freeze in batches for eating later in the week/month.)

Spam frittata (spam cubes, potatoes cubes, black olives and eggs. We like the saltiness of spam, but real ham would work just fine.)


For many more meal plans and menu ideas, visit I’m an Organizing Junkie.

Menu Plan Monday March 21 (AK)

21 03 2011

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketLooking for a new recipe for salmon to go with the coconut rice recipe I wanted to try, I stumbled upon this gem: Thai Fish Cakes.  Luckily for me from recent attempts at Thai food (never as good as my friend Nancy makes) I had most of the ingredients to attempt this.

And I must say YUM!!  It was a hit and was gobbled up by the entire family.  Not that we need much incentive to eat salmon, but it’s always nice to find a new way to eat our freezer full!

And here is my menu plan for this week…

Monday: sausage gravy on noodles, leftover veggies
Tuesday: Shake ‘n Bake Ranch chicken and stuffing
Wednesday: slowcooker stew adapted from this recipe
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: trout, asparagus
Saturday: backstrap, brown rice pilaf
Sunday: salmon gyoza, yakisoba

Stop by I’m and Organizing Junkie to find more meal plans.  Try out a new recipe today!


Meal Plan March 7

9 03 2011

Better late than never- the meal plan for this week!  Note, I did make it Monday morning but we have had extra kids this week so I haven’t had a chance to sit down to the computer to post.

Last week was a success and so far this week is shaping up that way too. 

So it looks like another yummy week.  Not too yummy though, because we are supposed to be sacrificing!  I can’t say I’m going to pare down my cooking for Lent since I’ve already pared it down because of the new baby. But for the next few weeks I’m going to try out new recipes that take advantage of what I already have on hand and we’ll see if I can’t pare down my pantry a little- use up all those items that got shoved to the back!

Monday:  Polish sausage stirfry, pierogies
Tuesday: Rabbit stew (yes, rabbit- from hubby’s winter hunting- this recipe turned out really good),  biscuits
Wednesday: Simple supper of soup and bread for Ash Wednesday (maybe trying a version of this recipe: Morocco’s Best Lentil Soup  Note: this soup was great!  It looked like “prison food” according to my husband, but it tasted very good and was even better the next day.  The bread was easy and good, but very crumbly.  Perfect with the soup though.
: leftovers
Friday: Knights of Columbus fish supper
Saturday: buttermilk fried chicken (recipe cut out of a newspaper years ago and yet to be tried- I’ll post if it comes out)
Sunday: pizza

For other meal plans each week check out I’m an Organizing Junkie.

Have a great week!


Egg Roll or Roll of Egg?

8 03 2011

Looking for something quick for a Mardi Gras dinner, I found a recipe for a “baked omelet” in my Taste of Home Cookbook. Basically, you blend 6 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup flour, and some seasonings, then bake it in a greased 13×9 inch pan at 450 F until the eggs are set. Sprinkle with cheese and roll from the short end. I also fried up some black olives, diced potatoes and cubed ham to put on top of the cheese.

Overall, I’m not sure that it’s an authentic omelet texture (it’s been awhile since I ate a good omelet), but the flavors are not too strange to keep the family from trying it. And eating it!
I think it could be improved by adding chopped herbs like parsley to the egg mixture to give it more color and a brighter texture/flavor. Also, once fillings beyond the cheese are added, enlist your sous-chef to help transfer the roll from the pan to the platter. It’s very wobbly!


Meal Plan Monday returns to AK

28 02 2011

While shopping at Michael’s the other day, I stumbled upon the “every calendar for 30 cents” display. They had a cute weekly planner that sticks to the fridge that I thought was perfect for planning meals and grocery lists. And so I am motivated again to get my meal plan made each week.

Here is what I am planning for the week. And a note to my husband- be flexible. I now have another interruption to contend with!

Monday: ribs, spicy mac ‘n cheese bake, salad
Tuesday: slow cooker sloppy joes, corn on the cob
Wednesday: leftovers
Thursday: turkey fajitas with homemade tortillas and rice
Friday: spicy pepperjack salmon
Saturday: chicken and dumplings
Sunday: brunch- salmon broccoli quiche
dinner- polish sausage and pierogies with grilled onions

Join the fun of meal planning at I’m an Organizing Junkie. It’s never to late to get back in the game!