This past week, I opened up the freezer and could not help but notice the 3 very unsightly frozen bananas taking up way too much space in the freezer door. Because of their shape, they don’t exactly fit nicely anywhere. I tried to stack them on top of something, but the stupid things kept slipping off when I would open the door and they would always, inevitably land on my toes. So I decided to do something about them. P.S…I laid them out to thaw for a bit, and when I went to use them, they were quite a slimy sight to see (and feel)…but they sure made some DELICIOUS Banana Oatmeal Raisin muffins!
We really like muffins because we can eat on them for a few days, then freeze the rest and pop them in the microwave whenever we need one. I wanted to try a new muffin recipe since I had been using the same one the last few times. I wanted a recipe that was healthy, hearty, and delicious. Lo and behold, I found one. I took them out of the oven and wanted to eat all 18 of them. I was home alone so no one would have ever known…
Warning: DO NOT make these muffins if you expect a cupcake-like sweet dessert.
DO make these muffins if you desire a hearty breakfast item, a mid-afternoon brain/body boost or a pre/ post workout snack.
DO make these muffins if you feel good about eating something packed with whole grains, potassium, fiber, protein, manganese, iron, thiamin, magnesium, calcium, iron, antioxidants, vitamin B6, and omega 3’s. I hope I have convinced you.
I tweaked the recipe a bit, of course, so my changes are below:
-I used 3 ripe bananas, mashed
-I used light vanilla soymilk instead of dairy milk
-I reduced sugar to ~1/3 cup
-I used slivered, unsalted almonds instead of walnuts
-I added a couple dumps of flaxseed and a little extra cinnamon
This weekend’s weather was so delightful. It felt like spring outside. Tim and I decided to go into the District and check out some museums. Because of the warm weather (I didn’t even wear a jacket…and I’m always cold), we figured everything would be packed…but to our delight, DC was almost completely empty!
There was maybe 4 other people in the entire building when we visited the National Archives (unbelieveable!) where we saw the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights, and several other important documents. After the Archives, we wandered over to the National Museum of Natural History, which houses the famous Hope Diamond and many other really neat exhibits. We ended that Saturday meeting up with some new friends for Lebanese food in Old Town.
Sunday, we were in a Cajun mood and I made some simple red beans and rice with marinated, broiled tofu. The recipe started out as Saag Paneer, but after I drained the tofu…I just wasn’t feeling it. So I opted for a soy sauce/chili pepper/onion/garlic marinated tofu, broiling it until it was the perfect texture…then just put it over basmati rice and beans with some Lousiana Hot Sauce. Easy enough, and quite delicious.
On Monday, January 9, we got the first snow of 2012! The flurries were GIANT, but unfortunately didn’t stick because the ground was too warm. But it was so pretty while it lasted!
Because of the snow, I felt like it was chili weather. Last month, I had frozen some vegetable bean chili, so I threw that on the stove and decided to test out a honey cornbread recipe to go along with it. The only changes I made were to use half whole wheat flour, a little less sugar, skim milk, and 1 T. light cream cheese.
Oh, and it was right back up to 52 degrees on Tuesday. What is this, Kansas weather?!
Let me preface something right now... though my husband is always, always very complimentary of my cooking, he doesn't get nearly as excited about food as I do. I'm a self-proclaimed "foodie," and he is not. I have decided this is a good thing, because if he were also a foodie, we would spends all of our days and nights talking about food, eating food, and browsing foodgawker, and that would most likely take all the magic out of it. You know, like when you do something constantly, it is no longer as fun as when you used to do it only occasionally. Anyway, all that to say...when Tim came home from work, the house smelled incredible. And then, as we began the meal, something amazing happened...and I quote, “This is the best cornbread I’ve ever had!”…YES! I made something that landed in the “Best” category! Boom. Done. On to bigger and better goals.
We have been attending a church in Arlington called Portico Arlington, I believe I've made mention of it in previous posts. Aside from regular Sunday morning services, they have small groups (they call them Community Groups) that meet weekly in several different locations around Northern Virginia (otherwise known as NOVA). Last night, we decided to attend a community group lead by a couple we met on Sunday, Chris and Cynthia. There were about 18 people in attendance...we started off mingling and chatting, then all met together to talk about the sermon from Sunday (we are going through the book of Luke). After the big group discussion, we broke off into girls and guys groups for some prayer time. Tim and I came away from the evening very excited and rejuvenated...we met lots of new friends and felt like we could really relate with the people in the group. It was so good to feel connected again with fellow believers, as finding a church/small group can sometimes (I've heard) be a challenge when moving to a new city. God is good, He is teaching and growing us in so many ways...and it's only been 2 1/2 months!
I'll leave you with one of my favorite recipes that actually just came out of my oven - Butternut Squash Pesto Pizza...super easy, versatile, and very flavorful. The best part is, you can use any pizza dough and whatever cheeses you have on hand in the fridge. Mmmm!
Until next time...