Chocolate Chip Muffins

I’ve been craving chocolate cake and all kinds of cupcakes lately, and trying really hard not to eat them too much. I have to admit, while I like muffins and they are always good in their own right for certain situations, they are still always just muffins. A muffin is like a cupcake’s annoying little brother. Until these ones. These ones have chocolate chips in them and are so light and fluffy and delicious. And have chocolate chips in them. Need I say more?Chocolate Chip Muffin

These are a perfect morning treat with a cup of coffee, or an afternoon pick me up. They’re best after being reheated in the toaster oven for a few minutes to warm them through right before eating. I may have also turned them into complete dessert by sticking one in a mug and cutting an X in the top and sticking more chocolate inside (or a whole Trader Joe’s chocolate peanut butter cup) and then microwaving it for a few seconds. Yum. I may have had multiple ones of these for the last few days in a row. I wonder if three chocolate chip muffins in one day is really better than eating a cupcake? Somehow I worry it may not be…Chocolate Chip Muffins

This recipe is from Little Sweet Baker and I did not alter it at all when I made these. I may play around with it a bit just to see what else can be done with these, but for now her recipe is quite perfect for a wonderful, fluffy chocolate chip muffin.

:Chocolate Chip Muffins:

INGREDIENTS

2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

ASSEMBLY

Preheat oven to 425°F and spray a 12 cup muffin tray with non-stick cooking spray.

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips in a large bowl.

Whisk together melted butter, sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla and then add it to the dry ingredients. Gently fold together until JUST combined.

Pour into muffin cups (it will fill them all right to the top) and bake at 425°F for 5 minutes, then turn the oven down to 375°F and bake for another 13 minutes. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes but take them out of the pan before they have completely cooled so they don’t stick.

Recipe from Little Sweet Baker

Chocolate Chip Muffin

I had to mutilate one so you could see how chocolatey and delicious it is on the inside!

Coconut Waffles with Whipped Cinnamon Butter

Waffles are undoubtedly one of the best breakfast foods out there. I personally tend to go for pancakes on a more regular basis because I love them and they always seem much easier, but there’s something about waffles that just seem a little bit more special. It’s like pancakes are for breakfast, but waffles are for brunch. I used to love waffles and I still do, but I haven’t actually had a waffle iron in a while so I haven’t been making them myself. No joke, I got a Belgian waffle iron for my graduation from elementary school. It’s the only thing I wanted and the only thing I mentioned when my parents said they wanted to get me something to celebrate. But, it’s been at my parents house ever since because when you get kitchen appliances at such a young age it tends to merge into the other family household appliances and by the time I moved out I didn’t even really think of it as mine and didn’t even think to take it. Anyway, once we had that Belgian waffle maker we never used our plain old regular waffle maker again.Coconut waffles with cinnamon butter

Luckily, my family is the sort that never throws a thing away so I had the good fortune of inheriting the old regular waffle maker the last time I visited because my mother had finally dug it out of a cabinet and set it aside to decide if they should get rid of it. I am now the proud and happy owner of a waffle maker again, albeit a 20 year old one. It still works! I decided to embrace regular waffles again. After all, who says you always must be in the mood for a light and fluffy, thick Belgian waffle? I wanted to make a regular thin waffle that could hold it’s own. Enter, a hint of coconut and whipped cinnamon butter. There really is no question that these are some of the best waffles you could make.

:Coconut Waffles with Whipped Cinnamon Butter:

INGREDIENTS

1 3/4 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 1/2 cups milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon coconut extract

For the butter:

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 teaspoon cinnamon

ASSEMBLY

Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl. In another bowl whisk eggs, butter, milk and extracts together. Add wet to dry ingredients and whisk together. Pour onto hot waffle iron, about 1/2 to 3/4 cups depending on your iron probably, and close until iron indicates that it’s done. Meanwhile, place the softened butter in a bowl and add cinnamon, whipping by hand or with an electric mixer until the two are completely combined and the butter has reached a soft, fluffy consistency. Top warm waffles with butter. Drizzle with maple syrup if desired.

Peanut Butter Banana Nutella Dessert Smoothie

One of the first purchases we made for our new home when we were buying the house was our nice blender. We seriously bought it right away and it came months before we were even able to start moving into the house. It killed me to see it sitting there in it’s box every single day and not be able to take it out and use it. I think the anticipation of getting to try it out and the deprivation of not getting to use it made me use it even more once I finally could. I really didn’t even make smoothies or anything in a blender that often before, even when I had one. I think part of it was due to the fact that it always seemed like such a pain to hoist it out of its cabinet every time, and also I never had a very nice one so it didn’t work very well anyway. peanut butter banana nutella smoothie

Now our shiny beautiful blender sits right on the counter. It has had prime real estate ever since we first set up the kitchen. And it gets a lot of use! I use the blender almost every day, and sometimes more than once a day. I love a smoothie in the morning (although I usually have it as more of a mid morning snack because I often want something more substantial when I first wake up). And especially in the summer, with all kinds of fresh fruit andberries around, it can make the perfect afternoon pick me up. There are all kinds of different things you can blend up, and while I generally stick to fruit smoothies, I also sometimes blend my iced coffee into a kind of homemade frappuchino, or do a peanut butter banana smoothie if I want something a little more decadent. This peanut butter banana Nutella one tastes like dessert, but it’s only got one scoop of chocolate in it. (And I know plenty of people who don’t even consider Nutella the same as chocolate- it’s a snack! It’s breakfast! It can be anything, apparently). With the peanut butter, banana, and greek yogurt, it’s a snack that will get you through the rest of your day, but with a little extra sweetness that makes you think you just might be drinking a milkshake. And that’s always a treat.

:Peanut Butter Banana Nutella Dessert Smoothie:

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla)

1 banana

2 tablespoons peanut butter

1 tablespoon Nutella

1/2 cup milk

1 cup ice

ASSEMBLY

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend on smooth until smooth. Add more ice to make it thicker, if desired.

Healthy Coconut Granola

I have always loved granola but don’t love how expensive it can be at the store or all the added sugars that get put into it, making it less good for you than you think. I never thought about making it myself until the beginning of this summer when I kept seeing recipes for it that looked amazing and even my mother told me she made some homemade granola and it was great. I ended up combining a lot of different recipes I saw and throwing in whatever I thought looked like it would be a good addition, and ended up with a super simple, unique granola that is worth making every week or so to have on hand. It makes a yummy, filling breakfast, or you can have a small bowl or a dry handful for a satisfying snack. I end up having it right before bed when my tummy starts grumbling and nothing else sounds good.

Coconut Granola

I like to make this on a Sunday afternoon while doing chores around the house. It’s super easy to make, but you do have to keep an eye on it in the oven to make sure it doesn’t start to get too brown– it can literally be a matter of seconds when it goes from toasted to burned. Making a jar of this makes it feel like I’ve done something to prepare for the week and I like knowing I have something healthy to eat whenever I’ll need it, no matter what comes up!

:Coconut Granola:

INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 cups Oats

1/2 cups Sliced Almonds

1/2 cups Coconut (shredded, flaked, or combination)

1/4 cups Flax Seeds

1/4 cups Sunflower Seeds

1/4 cups Chia Seeds

1/4 cups Maple Syrup

1/4 cups Coconut Oil

ASSEMBLY

Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix together oats, almonds, flax, sunflower, chia seeds in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl combine maple syrup and coconut oil (if it gets thick, microwave for ten seconds and stir again). Pour syrup mixture over oat mixture and stir to incorporate. Spread onto baking sheet in an even layer and bake for ten minutes. Remove from oven and carefully mix with a wooden spoon so that the pieces that were on top and browning get mixed back in. Spread back out into even layer and bake ten more minutes. Remove from oven again and add coconut, mixing carefully to combine. Spread back out and make for ten more minutes. You may want to mix it up again halfway through this time, depending on the size of your coconut (big flakes that stick out more will burn faster so you will want to stir it after five minutes again). Once it is all looking nice and toasty light brown, remove from oven and let cool. When completely cool, pour into a glass jar to store.