Peanut Butter Banana Cupcakes

Wow…it has been a full year since I’ve last blogged. Ha! As I wrote that, I spoke it out loud and it sounded like “It has been a year since my last confession.” I’m not Catholic so I’m not quite sure how that whole thing works but like many of us I am an expert via many hours of TV and movie watching 😉

Anyway, I’m not going to bore you with why I have been absent. Nothing major happened…my last post was about Blue Apron and I still use them about once a month or every other month. I’m going to start posting again but probably not monthly as I used to.

This idea of combining peanut butter and banana came about because I had leftover baking ingredients in my fridge from when my good friend came over and made cupcakes for her boyfriend’s surprise party. Her cupcakes were a combination of chocolate, rum, peanut butter and some other ingredients that I won’t give away because it is her personal recipe. It was so delicious and she told me that adding peanut butter to the batter makes the cupcakes super moist. So with the leftover peanut butter, milk, eggs, etc, I decided to give these a go!

Ingredients: yellow cake mix, 3 tblsp peanut butter, 1 cup milk/almond milk, 3 eggs, 2 bananas, 1/3 c. butter, buttercream frosting (from can)

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I basically followed the directions on the box and added the peanut butter and bananas.

1. Preheat oven to 350. Melt the butter in a bowl to soften, add milk and eggs. Then mix in the peanut butter.

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2. Peel the bananas and mash with a fork in separate bowl. Add the cake mix and mashed bananas to the liquid mixture.

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3.Mix until smooth…this is where I regret not investing in an electric mixer. Now that I am baking more often, I should at least look into buying the electric hand mixer. My friend who came over had one and it elevated the entire baking experience for me. The picture above is me struggling to get the batter smooth using my weak arm strength.

4. After the batter is smooth, use an ice cream scoop or spoon to put it into the cupcake pan. I had cupcake liners. This recipe makes 24 cupcakes and my cupcake pan holds 12 so I put the leftover batter in a cake pan.

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5. Put in the oven and bake for about 20 min

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6. Wait a few minutes for them to cool before frosting with the buttercream.

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The taste of the peanut butter is pretty faint but it definitely makes these cupcakes so moist and the banana/yellow cake combo is heavenly.

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Since it has banana, I assumed it can be eaten in the morning for breakfast. I mean what are muffins?? What I’m trying to say is that I have eaten this cupcake after each meal: breakfast, lunch, and dinner…Probably not good to have 3 cupcakes a day but whatever 🙂

Banana Nut Cranberry Bread

Today’s recipe is a fairly simple banana nut bread with the wonderful addition of dried cranberries. I will add dried cranberries to pretty much anything including but not limited to: salads, oatmeal, cereal, muffins, yogurt, and ice cream. See my Nutella Craisin Muffin recipe..which reminds me that I should make that again really soon.

Banana Nut Cranberry Bread: 1 banana, 1 c. flour, 1 c. cane sugar, crushed walnuts, 1/2 c. dried cranberries, 1 tblsp. baking powder, dash of salt, 1 egg, 1/2 c. soy milk, 2 tblsp. melted butter

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Preheat oven to 375. Mix all the dry ingredients together: flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, dried cranberries, and walnuts. In another bowl mix the egg, melted butter, soymilk, and smashed banana together.

Put both mixtures together in one bowl and mix well. Then, add the batter to a greased bread pan and bake for 45-60 min or until crust is golden brown.

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It was delicious, the sweetness of the banana and cranberry almost made it a dessert 🙂

In unrelated news, I got an Edible Arrangement for V-day; and with all this sweet fruit in my life, I am on cloud nine!

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Pineapple Peach Smoothie

Guess what I got myself for Christmas yall? A Nutribullet! I’ve been eyeing it for a while now especially since I’ve been trying to incorporate more fruits in my diet. I got it on sale for like $65 online and it’s usually around $100. The blender I have now was a gift from my wedding, and it’s not exactly high quality..it takes entirely too long to blend anything…it’s like the blades are made out of plastic instead of metal or something.

Anyways, I’ve been having smoothies and slushies almost every day. The Nutribullet is perfect for me because the single-serve cup makes it so easy to go straight from blending to slurpping and so easy to clean too.

My favorite blend that I am sharing with you today has the following simple ingredients: frozen pineapple chunks, frozen peach slices, Silk soy milk, a few ice cubes, and a dash of sugar (optional)

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I had some left over soymilk “juice boxes” lol so I put the entire juice box in the cup. The vanilla flavored one adds to the awesomeness of this drink. I put about 5 pineapple cubes, 2 or 3 peach slices, and 3 or 4 ice cubes. I add a small spoonful of cane sugar, but if you don’t want the drink to be too sweet then you don’t have to add it.

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Isn’t she pretty? I should be on a Nutribullet infomercial. It works so fast and takes up minimal countertop space. It’s so easy to set up, and as long as the top is screwed in tight there is no leakage.

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Mmmm, so refreshing and almost like an ice cream. It also kind tastes like a pina colada minus the colada. You can also substitute the soymilk with almond milk. I’ve stocked up on a variety of frozen fruits and have been trying different combinations.

Fresh fruits work well too, but I always feel pressure when buying loads of fresh fruits. I feel obligated to use them before they go bad, and I don’t like that kind of pressure and commitment…The same goes for getting a ton of fresh vegetables. I only buy what I know for a fact I am going to use in a specific recipe within the week. I guess that tells you a little bit about what kind of person I am. 🙂

Pumpkin Bread with Sunflower Seeds

The holidays always put me in a baking mood so I’ve decided to attempt the classic fall dish that involves pumpkin of course! I’ve seen plenty of pumpkin breads with walnuts but I wanted sunflower seeds because I just love the added flavor.

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Ingredients: 2 c. flour, 1 c. sugar, 1 can of pumpkin puree, 2 eggs, 1/2 c. melted butter, 1 tsp ginger, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1 tbs cinnamon, 1 tbs baking powder, a pinch of salt and a pinch of black pepper, 1/2 c. sunflower seed kernels (or more if you want)

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Preheat oven 350 and mix all dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, baking powder, spices/seasonings). In a separate bowl, melt the better and wait for it to cool before adding the eggs. Mix all of the wet ingredients together in that second bowl (pumpkin, butter, eggs).

Combine the pumpkin mix with the dry ingredients and make sure it’s all blended well together. After that, mix in the sunflower seeds.

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Pour the mixture into a greased bread pan and sprinkle some sunflower seeds on top. Bake for about 45-55 min.

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Sorry for the poor lighting and bad cutting of the bread but it turned out amazing! I’m so glad I went with the sunflower seeds, it was perfect. All of the spices just made it so delicious.

Last year my holiday song for 2013 was Underneath the Tree by Kelly Clarkson and I still rock out to that one but now my favorite holiday song of 2014 is…..Santa Tell Me by Ariana Grande! I love her voice and this song is the perfect “I don’t want to be alone on Christmas” song lol.

And as a bonus, my favorite CLASSIC holiday song of 2014 is Baby its Cold Outside with Michael Buble and Idina Menzel..Two of my favorite voices on one song and the most adorable video!

How cute are those kids?!

Happy Holidays everyone! Enjoy the family, friends, and the food!

 

Blueberry Scones that turned into a Cake and Fun Fall Activities

I’ve actually been trying to make scones for a really long time. It’s one of my favorite baked goods so I decided to finally try it (especially since I conveniently had all the necessary ingredients). However, as I was putting the ingredients together I realized too late that the frozen berries I was going to use were supposed to be drained. When I added them to the mixture, the berry juices made the dough more of a batter and it became a cake. So there’s that..but I’m not complaining because it is well-known that I love cake. Also included in this post are some pictures of my fun fall adventures..now that I live in the Northeast I am now in to things like “apple picking” 🙂

Blueberry Cake-ish Recipe: 2 c. flour, 2 tbs sugar, 1 tbs baking powder, frozen berries (I will try to use fresh ones next time), 1 tsp salt, 1 c. almond milk, 1 egg, 5 tbs butter/margarine

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Stir all dry ingredients together and then mix in the butter. I put the frozen berries in a bowl and put them in the microwave for a little bit. Then add the egg, milk, and berries to the mixture. Pour into greased baking dish and sprinkle sugar on top. Preheat oven 400 and bake for about 20-30 min.

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It was great but I’ll try to actually make a scone next time 😉

Now for my fun fall adventures..first I went to a local farm and got to go through a corn maze, sip hot apple cider, and actually pick apples from the tree.

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It was such a gorgeous day..there were soo many different kinds of apple trees to pick from too!

I’m so excited about the upcoming holidays minus the winter “vortex” or whatever they are going to call the crazy weather that’s coming up. I’ve already started jammin to my Christmas playlists and my next post will be my annual Christmas/holiday post where I will reveal my favorite Christmas song of the year!

Chocolate Avocado Muffins/Cupcakes

I really love the food blogging community. Even though I’m not as active as other bloggers, there’s so many great ideas out there and I love how everyone willingly shares those ideas with the world. Anyway, as I was perusing the food blogosphere, I came across these Chocolate Avocado Muffins from The Chocolate Bottle who in turn adopted the recipe from another site.

I’ve always found that there was a fine line between muffins and cupcakes. I goggled it and it has something to do with the addition of eggs. I’ve always associated muffins with bread and cupcakes with..well, cakes. But honestly, I don’t think there is a huge difference. Anyway, I decided to add an egg and sugar to this recipe because I had some..and also, I’m not a huge fan of avocados (not even guacamole) so I was a bit skeptical.

It turns out there was no need to be skeptical, and one of the reasons I wanted to try this recipe is because I need to sneak some more “good things” like avocados in my diet. I think I’ve said this before but just because I’m vegetarian doesn’t mean I’m a healthy eater. I’m trying to do better though..slowly but surely.

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I used maple syrup, self rising flour, avocado, applesauce, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, milk, 1 egg, and brown sugar. See here for original recipe: Chocolate Avocado Muffins

Preheat at 350. Mix dry ingredients first, then wet ingredients and mix all together. Also, I’m out-of-town so I didn’t have my cupcake pan, had to just use the cups which turned out fine. Without a food processor, I mixed by hand so I didn’t really get to mix/mash in the avocados the way I wanted.

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I sprinkled brown sugar on top. One thing I forgot is to spray or put some olive oil on the cupcake liners..they kind of stuck to the paper. Bake for 18 to 20 min.

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They turned out more cupcake-like in texture, but I have them for breakfast so that makes them muffins in my book  🙂

Potato and Green Pepper Frittata

Looking through my fridge, I realized I only had a few items to try to piece together a dish. I had potatoes, green pepper, onion, and eggs. I googled some recipes and this is what I found: Potato and Red Pepper Frittata from Martha Stewart. Frittata sounds fancy but it was really quick and simple.

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Cut up the green peppers and onions and cook with olive oil until onion slightly brown, then put in a bowl to the side. Peel and slice the potatoes thin and put them in the pan with some olive oil. Make sure they are kind of tender before mixing them with the onion/pepper mixture.

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Preheat oven 400 degrees. In another bowl, beat eggs with seasonings of your choice. The recipe called for rosemary which I don’t have. Grease a 8 x 8 pan and add potato mixture, then pour the eggs over it. Bake for 15 to 20 min.

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The potatoes were nice and tender and it was really well seasoned. I don’t know why I’ve never done this before, I’ve had potatoes and eggs separately but never thought of putting them together in a dish..makes you think..what other foods can I put together lol