Ugly Muffins (Spiced Banana Muffins)

Banana bread can be so tricky (in my opinion). There are a million recipes out there and it seldom fails that I forget what recipe I liked best (or least) the last time I made it.

spiced banana muffins (with pumpkin and coriander)

Spiced Banana Muffins with Pumpkin and Coriander (and a cinnamon sugar topping!)

But this recipe….oh my lanta is it a winner! I know these “look” ugly but, they taste out of this world! I made these muffins and they were gone in 3 days flat. I had very little guilt about them too as the ingredients are healthy and the sugar fairly low. (Though I’m going to experiment and lower it even more!)

The recipe is from the thriftyhippie blog by the way! Here is the basic recipe.

  • 1 1/2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 3/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar* 
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 6 Tablespoons Coconut Oil (or butter)
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • 3 Bananas, Mashed well
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Allspice
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla

*denotes my change in the recipe

Heat oven to 350.  

Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, sugar, allspice and nutmeg.  

In a separate bowl, beat together the bananas, vanilla, milk, egg and coconut oil until well incorporated.  

Add the dry to the wet and mix until it just comes together, try not to over mix the batter.  

Fill your lined muffin cups 2/3 full with the batter (1/4 cup).  Top with a cinnamon sugar mixture before baking to add a delicious crunch to the top of the muffins.  Bake for 22-25 minutes.  Remove from the tin and cool on a rack.

My family ate these warm out of the oven with some fresh salted butter (which immediately melted) and we all swooned over how delicious all the flavors were together! Enjoy these tasty babies!

I wanted to try a little switch up on these muffins just for fun, so here is the “Less Sugar Pumpkin and Coriander” version!

  • 1 1/2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup honey
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 6 Tablespoons Coconut Oil (or butter)
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • 2 Bananas, Mashed well
  • 1/2 Cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Allspice
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Coriander
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla

Same gig as above and remember to top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar!


Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (No flour, no butter)

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies without butter or flour!

This is not my recipe, but I highly recommend you check it out.  It’s from a blog called, Ambitious Kitchen I found on Pinterest. These cookies are a great lighter version of a traditional Chocolate Chip cookie. While they are not exactly the same thing as a traditional chocolate chip cookie, they are the perfect portion and treat for someone watching what they eat.

Notice, I did not say they are healthy. But in moderation, they are a great substitute. I use a 1″ melon baller to portion these cookies out and I usually get around 30 cookies (as opposed to her 16-20). I’m guessing that puts them a little less than 100 calories a piece (according to MyFitnessPal). I do use natural peanut butter and don’t have any problems with it. I’m wondering if it is because the PB is already cold?  She also says you can try other butters, but I haven’t yet!

  • 1 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats (gluten-free if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In small bowl mix together the oats and baking soda; set aside.

In a large bowl beat peanut butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth, about 3 minutes. Mix in dry ingredients with a wooden spoon, then gently fold in chocolate chips.

Roll cookies into 2 inch dough balls and place onto cookie sheet 2 inches apart, then BARELY flatten the top of the cookie with your hand. The dough should be pretty sticky so if you find this method annoying, simply use a cookie scoop to drop the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheet. The cookies may not be as round in shape and perhaps a bit thicker, but that’s okay, they will still be delicious.

Bake cookies for 9-11 minutes and remove when edges barely begin to turn a golden brown. The cookies may look a little underdone, but they will continue to cook once you remove them from the oven. Cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookie dough. Makes 16-20 cookies.

You can use less sugar or less chocolate chips to save calories — I have tried using 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips and they turned out great!
Feel free to substitute almond butter or another nut butter in replace of peanut butter.

Lindt Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Corn

2 bags popped, microwave popcorn (I did Newman’s Own Organic)
1 1/2 cups mixed nuts (I used peanuts, almonds, walnuts and pecans)
1/2 bar of Lindt Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt Crystals chocolate bar
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons salted butter
1/3 cup grade B maple syrup (Trader Joe’s)
1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Pop popcorn. Break chocolate bar into pieces. In a very large bowl (with a nice lid) place cooled popcorn, nuts and chocolate.

2. In a medium saucepan melt butter. Stir in maple syrup and brown sugar. Cook until sugar dissolves, stirring a few times. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil (don’t stir it). Boil about 2-4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda (watch out, it’ll rise!).

3. Pour caramel over popcorn mixture. Place lid on bowl and then shake, shake, shake you’re bowl to get the popcorn nicely covered with the caramel.  Transfer to 2 rimmed baking sheets (I lined mine with foil for easy clean up) spreading in a single layer. Bake about 35-45 minutes stirring twice. Test doneness by removing a few pieces from the oven. If they crisp up within one minute, it’s done.

4. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with a little salt. Allow to cool COMPLETELY and totally. Zero heat can remain before you pack this baby up! (It’ll get soggy if it is still warm when you store it)

5. Once it’s nice and cool transfer to an airtight storage container. Depending on the humidity, it should last a couple of days.

Mmm….salty, sweet, goodness!

Oh and PS! Try to pick out the un-popped kernels before you toss everything together! They can hurt your teeth!

Pumpkin Cream

I made this pumpkin goo today! It’s from Rachael Ray’s magazine this month. She recommends it on pastry shells, but I’m thinking waffles!

Pumpkin Cream:

1/2 Cup Cream Cheese
1/2 Cup Confectioners’ sugar
1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin Pie seasoning to taste

Blend it all until combined!

Black Bean Hummus

My BF makes this hummus that is so delish. I love it with carrots and pita chips. It is such an easy recipe because it is made with things that I almost always have on hand. I have no picture of it, but just imagine mushed black beans. The recipe hails from Melissa d’Arabian.

There is a slight change I’ve made from the linked recipe. I think she uses it as a dressing on salad. Since I like a little thicker texture for dipping veggies, I changed the amount of black beans. I’ve written the recipe here to reflect my change. If you want it thinner, click on the link and check out her portions. Either way, this is a great twist on a summer time snack. Especially if garbanzo beans bother your tummy…

Black Bean Hummus

1 can black beans (unseasoned, drained)
1 garlic clove
2 Tablespoons EVOO
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste


In a small food processer, combine all ingredients. Blend until almost smooth. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

P.S. the garlic in this gives it a little kick. The longer you let it set, the more flavor it will have. It isn’t spicy, it just has a tiny bite to it.

Grandma Johnson’s Scones

This recipe hails from the ever loved! I’ve tweaked it though. 😀 I have made these multiple times and I find that using the food processor to blend the cold butter with the dry ingredients gives the best texture (but you totally don’t have to do that if you don’t want to). Super yummy!

Author: All

1 C Light Sour Cream
1 t baking soda
4 C unbleached, white flour
1 C bakers white sugar
2 t baking powder
1/4 t cream of tartar
1 t salt
1 C cold butter (2 sticks, unsalted)
1 egg (use 1/4 C Egg Beaters to save you lots of calories!)
1 C fresh/frozen cranberries or other fruit

makes 16 scones

1. In a small bowl, blend the sour cream and baking soda. Set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350. In a food processor (or large bowl if cutting in by hand), add butter, sugar, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt. Process until light and crumbly.  Pour mixture into a bowl and create a center well. Stir the sour cream mixture and egg mixture into the flour mixture until just moistened. Mix in the cranberries or other fruit.

3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead briefly. Roll or pat dough into a 3/4 inch thick round.  I usually split the dough into two rounds and pat them flat, then cut each into 8 triangles.  (These rise quite a lot so think about whether you like big or small scones.) If you want your scones to have better shape, let them chill out in the fridge 1 hour before you bake them. Then, place them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. ( I use my silpat) I also sprinkle mine with a little sugar on top right before they go in the oven…because I like it that way.

4. Bake 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown on the bottom.

Notes: I’ve tried these with dried cranberries and the fresh/frozen cranberries are better by far! I’ve also tried them with frozen raspberries, which is what you see in the pictures. Feel free to jazz up the fruit you stir into these. 😀 Or just make them plain and put jam on them…mmmmmmm….But if you do use fresh fruit, be thoughtful about whether it will squish when you stir it and/or dye your batter a color you may not want it. Like for example, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, etc. If you were to use fresh peaches or apples, who cares? Got it?

Spinach Dip with Crispy Pitas

This recipe was featured in Penzey’s Spice magazine a couple of years ago around the holidays. I made the dip thinking it might be fun to try something new, but the flavor was WAY better than the ingredients imply. Zesty and warm and creamy…it’s a great party hit!

Author: Penzey’s Spices
Serves: 10-12
Prep Time: 10 minutes (baking time is 20 ish)


1 10 oz package frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
6 T milk
2 Cups tomatoes, seeded, chopped (=about 4 medium)
1/2 C onion, minced (=1 small onion)
2 t crushed jalapeno pepper, rehydrated in 1 T of water

4 large pitas, cut into 6ths
1 t ground cumin
1 t lemon pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400. Squeeze the excess water out of the spinach. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, cream cheese, milk, tomatoes, onion, and crushed jalapeno pepper. Mix well to blend thoroughly. Spoon into an ovenproof quiche/small pie pan. Bake for 20 minutes.

2. While the dip is baking, cut the pitas into wedges. Mix the cumin and the lemon pepper together in a small bowl. Place the pitas on a nonstick baking sheet (lined with parchment paper or your silpat) and brush with the EVOO, sprinkling the spice mixture as you go.

3. When the dip is finished baking, broil the pitas until LIGHTLY browned, about 3 minutes. Let the dip cool briefly, then serve with the toasted pitas!