Friday, February 26, 2010

Banana Muffins (a little healthier)

My sister just can't buy bananas! Well, she can, and she does...but then she always lets them go bad. Ok, not ALWAYS...but a lot of the time! What does she do then? She brings them to my house because she knows that I simply CAN'T throw away a banana. It would be a sin. Really.
So, quite often, I am forced to bake banana muffins or banana bread, or banana pancakes, or banana gumbo, banana Wellington, banana rarebit...just kidding. But you get the idea.
She means well. (Although I secretly think she's trying to make my bottom bigger!)
This recipe is kinda, sorta healthier than the regular, fully leaded stuff...but it still has all of the flavor of the not as healthy ones.

This is what I start out with: bananas, applesauce, egg, flour, Splenda (or generic in my case) sweetener, baking powder, baking soda, salt, butter, cinnamon, and a tiny bit of sugar that didn't make it into the photo.

First, I preheat the oven to 375*, and line some muffin tins with paper cups...but you could just spray them, I do that, too. Mash the bananas with a fork. Add the applesauce (I used unsweetened), egg, and Splenda. (Ignore the fact that there are two eggs in this photo...I was doubling the recipe, but I'm only writing the recipe for a single batch.)
Stir it all up.

On top of this I dump the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

Stir until just combined.

If you are like me and can't help but be a little bad, throw in some chocolate chips at this point. But only if you want to. They're really not necessary, but chocolate is full of antioxidants and so I like to think that I am doing my body a favor by adding it. About 1/2 cup would do. Or you could even throw in some walnuts. Can you say omega 3's?

Really! Only stir until JUST combined.

Fill the muffin cups about 2/3 to 3/4 full. One recipe makes 10 to 12 muffins depending on how many other goodies (i.e. chocolate chips, nuts) that you add.

For the topping, I take some REAL sugar, a bit of cinnamon, and a dab of butter and mush it all up with a fork until it is coarse crumbs.

I put about a teaspoon of topping on each muffin.

Throw those bad boys in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. (I use the toothpick method for testing for doneness.) Also, please ignore my dirty oven racks. The oven gets a workout in my house!

Goodness gracious! These are delicious!

I always have to make a few without topping for my youngest that has an aversion to the sugary crumb topping. I know, right? Who could not like the best part! Strange child!
Anyway, here's the recipe:
Banana Muffins (a little healthier)
3 bananas, very ripe
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup Splenda
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray 10 muffin cups or line with papers.
Make the crumb topping in a small bowl and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, mash bananas with fork and stir in applesauce, Splenda, and egg.
Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt. Stir until just combined. (Note: if you are adding any goodies, add them at the same time as the flour mixture.)
Fill muffin cups 2/3 to 3/4 full. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of topping over the muffins. (This recipe makes ample topping so throw on more if you like.)
Bake 20 to 25 minutes (but start checking them at 18 minutes) until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Enjoy! Guilt free...kinda...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

More U.S.A. Stuff!

My daughter needed a little jewel set on a pretty little box that she received as a gift. (It was NOT made in the U.S.A.) Anyway, off to buy glue I went!

Elmers! A name we all know from our youth. We started out with Elmers paste glue and advanced to the glue in the bottle. We've all got a million glue stories from the kid who ate paste to all the cool things we would make out of nothing but first "press on fingernails!" (Anybody else make those?) Anyway...I needed to buy something special. Something that would dry absolutely clear. This is what I found. And guess what?
Yep! It's made in the U.S.A.!!!

On a side youngin' went to the dentist yesterday and came home with this:
a tiny tube of Colgate toothpaste.

Also made in the U.S.A. (The toothbrush they gave her was not.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Made in the U.S.A.

Oh! How could I have forgotten the joys of one of my favorite childhood toys?
I often pick up "little goodies" to go into a drawer I have at home that is devoted to nothing but gifts. It comes in very handy when your child says "I need a gift for so and so tomorrow," and you have absolutely no time to shop. Or if, like me, you simply can't drive yourself into town because you:
1. have dinner in the oven
2. have to be somewhere else in 10 minutes
3. you haven't shaved your legs yet, or
4. you just put on your jammies and you really want nothing more than to sit on the couch for the rest of the evening.
Whatever the reason, it's a handy drawer to have.
This just went into the drawer:

I'm telling you, for a dollar, you just can't beat it! And it's...


Yeah, Baby!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day...a Love Story

On this Valentine's day, and every Valentine's Day, I can't help but think about my parents. After all, they were married on Valentine's Day. It was my dad's idea.

This is the face of a true romantic!
My parents met when my mom's girlfriend called her brother and said: "Get over to my house right now! You need to meet this girl!" My dad showed up returning a that he hadn't borrowed in the first place! The short story is that they met, fell in love, and decided to marry.
My dad, the romantic, wanted a big wedding...on Valentine's Day. My mom, the practical one, wanted a little wedding...NOT on Valentine's Day. They, of course, compromised. They had a little wedding on Valentine's Day. The romantic got what he wanted... The practical one got what she wanted... Each other!
This is my parents opening their wedding gifts. (My dad was 1 foot 3 inches taller than my mom. He isn't standing on a box!)
I'll try to keep this brief:
They we're madly in love. They had 4 children in 8 years. He left her love notes and cards (that she still has) in places where she would find them. His lunchbox was a frequent depository of these little love morsels. They were happy.
Then dad got sick. It was cancer and nothing could be done. He died at the age of 33 leaving my mom a widow with 4 kids age 10 and under. I, the baby, had just had my 2nd birthday.
But the love story doesn't end there. Mom never re-married. She never so much as went on a date...not that she wasn't asked. I've asked her, over the years, why she never re-married. The practical one, turns out, is really the hopeless romantic. She simply has never fallen out of love with the man she married.
Happy Valentine's Day everyone!
May you have love to last a lifetime!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Made in the USA!

I gave myself a personal challenge this year: whenever I need to buy something, to try and buy something made in the U.S.A.
I really don't think that this is going to be an easy quest.
I've been needing to get some glasses. We aren't exactly easy on glasses in this house and to tell you the truth, the only ones that seem to last are the plastic ones, but I hate drinking out of plastic glasses all of the time. Occasionally, I like to feel like an adult. Like I can drink out of a real "grown up" glass...made out And I also love the way ice cubes clink around in them...but I digress...

These are what I found today. I was shopping at Target (because they have a Starbucks and I need to multitask.)

They came in a four pack and only cost $7.99!
I thought: "No way are these made in the U.S.A."

They are nice and big and came in several different colors of stripes and dots.
I loved these green ones.

I flipped the box over and this is what I found!
Whooo hooooooo!

This brand also had plates and bowls too.
I thought: "Hmmmmm...maybe I need new dishes."
I flipped the box over and, sadly, they were NOT made in the U.S.A.
Not sold!
For today, I will love my new glasses and be happy that I supported some American workers.
I'll let you know what else I find. If I have to shop every day, all year, I guess I will sacrifice myself to the cause!
Wish me luck.
p.s. neither Target nor Starbucks know I'm alive, and they paid nothing for the advertisement.