Maui Girl Cooks

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” Luciano Pavarotti


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Amazingly Delicious Banana Nut Muffins

Banana Muffins final

If you are a banana nut bread lover, you must try these muffins.  They are dense, moist, banana-y, and just plain delicious.  I have put my own spin on them to make them healthier and even tastier than the original recipe.  The list of ingredients is perhaps a little longer than most muffin recipes, but they go together quickly, and are definitely worth your time.

As far as I’m concerned, any banana bread or muffin must contain walnuts & be eaten with butter;  preferably the bread is cool enough so that the butter just sits on top so you can really taste it.  There is something special about the flavor combination of sweet banana bread, crunchy walnuts & creamy butter.  Another “must ingredient” for me in these muffins is cacao nibs.  Cacao nibs are one of my favorite ingredients.  As you can see from the package, they are a Mayan Superfood, with antioxidants, iron & magnesium! Don’t expect to snack on them from the package, because they have no sweetening, so aren’t like popping chocolate chips.   I buy these from Amazon:

Cacao nibs are a nice addition to banana breads because they add a little punch of chocolate flavor in every bite.  What's not to like about that?

Cacao nibs are a nice addition to banana breads because they add a little punch of chocolate flavor in every bite. What’s not to like about that?

The original recipe calls for strong coffee & suggests water if you don’t have coffee.  I highly recommend using coffee, even if you are not a coffee drinker, because it adds a layer of flavor that you can’t detect as coffee; it’s just good.  I buy the Starbucks Via packages from Costco when they go on special.

Starbucks Via fina;

Banana Nut Muffins
Adapted from http://busterbucks.hubpages.com/hub/Worlds-Best-and-easiest-Banana-Nut-Muffins

Wet Ingredients:
2 ripe bananas
1 large egg
1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp. strong coffee {you can use water, but I highly recommend the coffee}
Milk, buttermilk or coconut milk-enough to make 2 cups TOTAL wet ingredients {if you use 3 bananas you may only need a few tablespoons; if you use one banana, you may need to add 2/3 cup or more}

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
1 tbsp. ground flax seed {preferably grind your own from whole flax seeds}
2 tbsp. hemp seeds
2 tbsp. raw cacao nibs
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg {I use whole nutmeg, freshly grated on a rasp.  Definitely worth it!}
1 cup broken walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Be sure to put the muffins in a fully preheated oven.

In a small bowl, put all of your wet ingredients-make sure you mash the bananas thoroughly with a fork.  Stir in the egg with the fork, and then add the remaining wet ingredients.

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix your dry ingredients.  I always put the measured baking soda & baking powder in my hand & smash any lumps; it’s not pleasant to bite into a lump of baking soda in your muffin.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Stir gently {12-14 quick strokes}.  Do not over mix-this will result in tough muffins.  Who wants tough muffins?  There may be a few streaks of flour but that is ok.

Spray your muffin tins with coconut oil spray {or Pam}, or grease them with butter.   Lightly spoon in your batter {don’t pack it in}.  You can fill the tins up to the top.

Put the muffin tin into the preheated oven & bake for 20 minutes {I always start checking at 18 minutes}.  They are done when a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Leave the muffins in the tins for 5-10 minutes, and then remove them to a wire rack.  Enjoy with butter!

Here are a few other ingredients I like to use.

Penzeys Nutmeg2

Hemp Seeds

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

Penzeys Cinnamon final

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A Leafy Green Breakfast

Breakfast Salad final

This is what we had for breakfast this morning, and it was quite tasty.  There are those who have to eat “breakfast food” for breakfast, but here at our house, we eat most anything that tastes good and is good for you.  Sometimes we like to start the day with a salad, to get a jump start on the day’s vegetables.  You may remember from my Saturday is Market Day post that we stock up on lots of fruits and vegetables on Saturdays, and it can be a challenge to eat them all in a week.

The salad included red leaf lettuce, super thinly sliced onion, creamy avocado, cherry tomatoes, freshly made hard cooked eggs, dried plums, cilantro, freshly grated ginger, hemp seeds and lilikoi.  I dressed it with freshly ground salt & pepper, champagne vinegar & extra virgin olive oil. The produce & eggs all came from local farms.  We also enjoyed toast made from Whole Wheat Seeded Sourdough Bread from the Moana Bakery and Cafe  located in Paia, topped with the herb butter I made the other day. Green tea washed it all down.  Delectable!

About the lilikoi. . .I was always planning to make a lilikoi vinaigrette, but I once saw someone cut a lilikoi in half and squeeze the contents onto her cottage cheese.  So I decided that squeezing the contents right on top of the salad and then putting dressing on was probably just as good, and it is.  We eat it all, including the seeds.  Of course, you can always strain them out if you don’t want the added crunch.  Everytime I eat lilikoi, the taste and smell take me right back to the Radford High School {Oahu} locker room, where we had a vending machine with canned juices.  After every P.E. class, I would always buy a Passion Orange drink to help me cool off.  Taste and smell are powerful senses.  Best to have lilikoi trigger that locker room memory than sweaty bodies!

Try a salad for breakfast-it’s a delicious & healthy way to start your day!