Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

This recipe was originally posted on my Thoughtful Eats column on the Woburn Patch.

2 overripe bananas, chopped
½ cup of sour cream
2 eggs
1-2 tsps of vanilla
1-1/4 sticks of butter (10 tbsps) melted and cooled
2 cups of flour
½ cup of sugar
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of baking powder
a dash of salt
1 heaping cup of milk chocolate chips*
Cooking Spray
*I recommend Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Chips
This makes 12 medium-sized muffins.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, add your chopped bananas. With a handheld mixer, blend the bananas until it looks like the consistency of baby food. Add the sour cream, eggs, vanilla and cooled melted butter and mix again with your mixer.
In a larger bowl, add your flour, sugar, baking soda & powder and salt. Mix then toss the chocolate chips in the flour mixture. Add the banana mixture and fold it into the dry ingredients until thoroughly incorporated. Don’t over mix. Mix only enough so that you no longer see flour.
Take a medium-sized muffin tin and spray with cooking spray. Spoon in the mixture into each well evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until they are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes but enjoy warm. You can always zap these in the microwave for a few seconds if you refrigerated them. Enjoy!

A Dominican Feast for Thanksgiving

Carlos and I headed to my parents house for Thanksgiving lunch. We dressed up in our best.

I asked my mother to cook a Dominican meal rather than a traditional American Thanksgiving. Carlos and I have a Thanksgiving lunch with my parents and a dinner with his family and frankly that's a lot of Turkey and fixings for one day. I'm not a big fan of the traditional Turkey dinner so it was great to mix it up.

A nice big pot of beans. My mom makes it with onion, carrots and bacon. Delicious!

A big pot o' rice. It is Dominican after all.

Slow cooked beef with peppers and olives.

My mom also cooked a Turkey breast and filled the cavity with stuffing.

I'm on a Pescatarian diet (which means I don't eat meat or poultry just fish and seafood) so my mother baked a Cod & Potato dish that has tomatoes. It's so delicious! Technically that's a Portuguese dish but who is counting?

Carlos tucked in his tie and was ready to eat!

There's my mom, the chef.

Even on my Pescatarian diet, I was a little lenient. I had the beans even though it had bacon and I had some stuffing with gravy. But I skipped the beef and Turkey. Carlos had plenty for the both of us.

My mom outdid herself and served up some homemade Baklava for dessert. Again, not Dominican. So far this is a Dominican-Portuguese-Greek-American feast!

We had some pumpkin pie along with the baklava.

Today is my birthday but yesterday we celebrated. Here is my birthday cake! Overall, it was a great Thanksgiving. I'm glad my mother cooked up the feast that she did. I'm so grateful for my family, for Carlos and for my life. 

How was your Thanksgiving?

Boozy Pumpkin Pie

This recipe originally appeared on my Thoughtful Eating column on the Woburn Patch.

Boozy Pumpkin Pie

15 oz of canned pumpkin
½ cup of sugar
1 tsp of cinnamon
¼ tsp of ground cloves
¼ tsp of ground nutmeg
2 eggs
1 jigger of brandy (1.5 oz)
1-1/4 cup of milk
A thawed but uncooked pie shell

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, add your pumpkin, sugar and spices and mix. If you’d like, add a pinch of salt at this stage too. Then add your eggs, brandy and milk and mix thoroughly with a handheld mixer or a spatula and some elbow grease.
Add the pumpkin pie mixture to your uncooked pie shell. Transfer the pie to the oven and bake for an hour or until the center of the pie no longer jiggles and the filling is relatively firm. You can give the pie a slight shake to test it out.
Let the pie cool on your counter for about 30-40 minutes then cover in plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator. Cool overnight and serve within 1-2 days. If you prefer warm pumpkin pie to cold, heat your pie up in a 325 oven.
It’s important to note that this pumpkin pie cannot be served hot. The brandy separates from the pumpkin mixture and leaks out the bottom. When it’s cold or slightly warm, the brandy stays with the filling. Enjoy responsibly!

Whole Wheat Nut Pancakes

Last weekend we had a freak snow storm that made the locals call the month "Snowtober". Snow is pretty unusual for October in New England but a full-on snow storm in October is even more rare. I was sick all weekend with bad migraines so on Sunday, instead of making my usual Sunday Brunch we headed to Bickfords Grille, a local restaurant chain that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was a nice treat and an excuse to get out of the house since I was trapped inside for most of the snow storm. Carlos and I got two plates with 3 whole wheat nut pancakes, 3 eggs, 3 sausages and 3 strips of bacon each. With hot tea on the side, it was divine. I kept dreaming about delicious that meal for days afterwards. So when a new Sunday rolled around, I decided to make my own version of Bickfords Whole Wheat Nut pancakes at home along with a side of homemade strawberry sauce and some sausage links. Not as good as Bickfords but it comes pretty close.

This recipe originally appeared in my Thoughtful Eats column at the Woburn Patch.


1-3/4 cups of whole wheat flour

1 tbsp of baking powder

2 tbsps of sugar

2 eggs

2 cups of low fat milk (or Almond or Soy milk)

1 tsp of vanilla

1/2 cup of finely diced walnuts

a few pats of butter

Makes about 8 pancakes

In a small pan, add your finely diced walnuts. Turn the heat up to low-medium and toast the walnuts until they start to become fragrant; about 3-4 minutes. Watch them closely so they don't burn. Set aside.

In a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder and sugar and mix. Then add the eggs, milk and vanilla and mix thoroughly until all the lumps have smoothed out. Heat up your griddle and grease with a pat of butter. Add a cup full of batter to your griddle for each pancake and sprinkle some of the toasted walnuts on top. Cook for a few minutes until the top of the pancake bubbles and pops then flip over and cook for a couple of minutes more.

Product Review & Giveaway ~ Yoplait Smoothie

MyBlogSpark gave me an opportunity to try out the newest flavor of the Yoplait Smoothies: Chocolate Banana. I was pretty excited to try it because I have an affinity for banana yogurt and I love chocolate so I figured these were a match made in heaven. Unfortunately, I could not find them anywhere. I tried my local Target and various supermarkets and no one carries the Chocolate Banana flavor. Market Basket, my go-to super market, has stopped carrying Yoplait Smoothies altogether. Oh well.

I have reviewed Yoplait Smoothies in the past and today Carlos and I shared a Mango Strawberry Smoothie as a sweet treat after lunch (and a tough morning of cleaning). In my previous review of Yoplait Smoothies, I noted that when properly blended the smoothie is very smooth. It's quite delicious too although it has a slight artificial aftertaste. It's a bit pricey but it's the equivalent of making your own with fresh fruit or buying one at a local eatery like Panera. Maybe my area will start carrying the Chocolate Banana flavor soon so I can try it.

MyBlogSpark has given me the opportunity to give one lucky reader a Yoplait Smoothie prize pack! It includes a coupon for a free Yoplait Chocolate Banana Smoothie, a cushy travel neck pillow, a Lavender scented eye mask (with it's own bag) and a Yoplait Smoothie branded tumbler complete with straw. It's a pretty sweet package, perfect to use on a day in which you want to pamper yourself.

Contest rules and form below. Good luck! If you want to try out Yoplait Smoothie, download a $1 off coupon on their website.

Yoplait Smoothie Website
Yoplait Smoothie Facebook Page
Yoplait Smoothie Twitter

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