Kids in the Kitchen: Sweet Potato Banana Muffins

Today, I’m kicking off a series of kid-friendly recipes – ones they’ll be able to help make and like to eat. I generally get a lot of questions about how I incorporate Jake into the cooking process. There’s nothing really earth-shattering about my approach: I just let him jump in wherever he can. Yes, it’s sometimes a mess. Yes, we have plenty of over-mixed muffins. But, he’s learning – and that’s important.

These mini muffins are a great place to start if you want to get your kids involved in the kitchen. They’re super simple and come together quickly. These definitely ebb on the healthier side of muffins – if your little one has a big sweet tooth, try mixing in 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips.

Kids can:

  • Mash the sweet potato & banana
  • Help measure ingredients
  • Mix
  • Help spoon the batter into muffin wells

Adults will need to:

  • Crack eggs
  • Put the muffins into the oven and take them out

SweetPotatoBananaMuffins

Sweet Potato Banana Muffins
(from The Lean Green Bean)
Makes 1 dozen mini muffins

1/2 cup cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup mashed bananas
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a mini-muffin pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

Mix all ingredients together until well combined. Divide evenly between muffin wells.

Bake for 18 minutes.

 

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Cranberry Honey Banana Bread #RecipeMakeover

Disclosure: I received products from Barlean’s free as part of #RecipeMakeover week. All opinions are my own.

While I’m pretty decent at whipping up a healthy dinner when need be, my baking projects are decidedly different.  Tackling a makeover of one of my most-frequently-baked items – banana bread – seemed like the perfect challenge.

CranberryHoneyBananaBread1

As I was working on this recipe, I turned to products from #RecipeMakeover sponsor, Barlean’s. Their Butter Flavored Coconut Oil can be subbed 1:1 for butter – so that was a great place to start. Roasting the bananas brought out some more natural sugars, and using Barlean’s Digestive Blend punched up the flavor while adding some good-for-you stuff to the bread (it’s a mix of ground flaxseed, chia seed, quinoa, unsweetened shredded coconut, and a pumpkin blend that is remeniscint of pumpkin spice!) My added sweetener here was a local cranberry honey (fun fact: New Jersey is the 3rd biggest cranberry producing state in the US!) – I Iiked the flavor it added, but if you don’t have this available any honey would be great in this recipe.

The result? A banana bread that was really good – and much better for you than my usual go-to loaf.

CranberryHoneyBananaBread2

Cranberry Honey Banana Bread
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes 1 loaf

4 medium bananas
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Barlean’s Digestive Blend
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of ginger
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup melted Barlean’s Butter Flavored Coconut Oil
1/2 cup Cranberry Honey (or regular honey)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Line  a baking sheet with foil. Prick the banana peels with a fork, place them on the baking sheet, and roast for 15 minutes. Remove to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, Barlean’s Digestive Blend, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, Barlean’s Butter Flavored Coconut Oil, and honey until well combined. Mash bananas and add to the wet ingredients – stir until well combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until the everything is just moistened.

Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins

I have been in total use-it-up or throw-it-out mode. I think it’s part of nesting. I’ve cleaned out both freezers, the refrigerator, the pantry and our overflow canned good stock in the basement the last few days. I’m not sure the kitchen has ever looked better!

We had a few bananas that were just past prime. I probably could have given them a day or two and someone would have eaten them or tossed them in a smoothie – but my must-clean-off-the-counters brain couldn’t handle that, so I decided to try a new muffin recipe.

I’ve yet to meet a banana muffin I didn’t enjoy, but these were really good. Using mini chocolate chips keeps the banana flavor from being overwhelmed and the oatmeal added a nice chewiness.

BananaChocolateChipOatmealMuffins

Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins
(from The Taste of Home Baking Book)
Makes 12

1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
3 medium, ripe bananas, well mashed
2 cups flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the egg, oil and sugar until smooth. Stir in the bananas until evenly combined.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir into the wet ingredients until just moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.

Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for five minutes before removing from the pan.

Sweet Potato Muffins

Every time I make a batch of muffins, I wonder why I don’t make them more often. And then we inhale them in about two days and I remember why they’re a “sometimes food.” Jake and I both loved these. I think he ate three the day I made them.

The recipe calls for canned sweet potatoes but next time I’d go for just mashed sweet potatoes. Also, the sugar can be reduced and the dates omitted if you like a less-sweet muffin.

SweetPotatoMuffins

Sweet Potato Muffins
(from The Homesick Texan Cookbook)
Makes 12

1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 15 oz. can sweet potatoes, drained and mashed
1 cup dates, chopped
1/2 cup pecans

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and prepare a muffin pan with liners or by greasing and flouring.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugars, vanilla and vegetable oil until well combined. Whisk in the sweet potatoes until evenly combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until everything is moistened. Fold in dates and pecans.

Divide between muffin wells and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Remove from pan and serve.

Grilled Bread with Rosemary Dipping Sauce

As soon as warmer weather hits, I want to grill everything. I’m pretty sure that 90% of the recipes I’ve pulled out of magazines or bookmarked in the past month have been grilling-related. Besides just feeling summery, it generally means that Mark does more of the cooking and there are fewer dishes to wash – wins all around.

This was a great way to serve a loaf of Italian bread. I usually end up making garlic bread or just slicing and buttering – this was a nice, different treat. And with the fresh herbs starting to come out of the garden now, it’s especially perfect!

BreadRosemaryDip

Grilled Bread with Rosemary Dipping Sauce
(from Tastes Lovely)
Serves 6-8 as a side

1 loaf Italian bread, cut in half horizontally
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic

1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1-2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Cut the bread in half, horizontally and brush each cut side with olive oil. Grill on high for 2-3 minutes, until you have char marks. Remove from the grill and rub the cut side with the clove of garlic. Slide into strips

On a deep plate, stir together the olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary.  Add the balsamic vinegar.

Serve the bread along with the oil for dipping.

Guinness Pizza Dough

I never make it through Lent without doing one pizza Friday so it seems fitting to finish out this year’s Lenten meal series with a pizza. I originally started this series to get away from just ordering a pizza every Friday – it was a bad habit and something we’d do so often it didn’t feel like anything special. Things have really swung the other way – breaking out this Friday pizza was such a treat.

My go-to pizza recipe is on the plain side. It works perfect on the grill or paired with lots of toppings (which we usually load on) but falls a little short for a plain, oven-baked pie. I ran across this recipe when we still had a bottle of Guinness left from St. Patrick’s Day so it was meant to be. The beer adds just the right amount of flavor to this dough to make it perfect for a more plain pie.

GuinnessPizza

Guinness Pizza
(from Baked By Rachel)
Makes 1 12″ pizza

1/2 cup Guinness
1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 tsp. granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil

In a small saucepan, heat the Guinness to 115F degrees. (I used a candy thermometer to keep track.) Stir in the yeast and sugar until dissolved and let stand for five minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour and salt. On low, mix in the Guinness, followed by the olive oil. Add additional olive oil or flour as needed to get a dough ball to form.

Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour.

To bake: spread into a 12″ circle, top as desired and bake for 20-25 minutes in a 425F degree oven.

Pecan Streusel Muffins

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here, but in January I officially became a stay-at-home Mom. It wasn’t something I was really planning on doing so the last few months have been a bit of a scramble to figure out how I’m going to fill my days now. My best find so far? The local moms club.

We’re hosting some new friends for a playgroup this morning. Tomorrow, we’re meeting up for stroller club. Wednesday is a tiny-person-friendly hike at a local park. Thursday, there is a playground play date. And Friday is mom’s night out – we’re going to take a wine glass painting class. I can’t tell you how much saner I feel when I get out of the house so having all of these things to do is pretty much heaven-sent at this point.

It’s also a new audience to bake for. I made up these quick muffins for one of our meetings and I loved them. I’m planning to make another batch for Easter breakfast!

PecanStruselMuffins

Pecan Streusel Muffins
(from The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!)
Makes about 1 1/2 dozen

 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 package yellow cake mix
2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees. Line a cupcake pan with papers.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cake mix and flour. Add in the sour cream, oil, water, eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined.

Spoon a heaping tablespoon of batter into each well. Cover with a teaspoon of the streusel. Top with remaining batter. Sprinkle remaining streusel over the tops.

Bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for five minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Blueberry Quick Bread

I’m a one-note baker when it comes to quick breads. And that one note is banana bread. I honestly can’t remember the last quick bread I made that wasn’t banana. When Heather picked breads as the theme for this month’s What’s Baking? challenge, I knew it was the perfect excuse to finally try something else.

This bread was awesome – a nice crunch to the crust while being soft and fluffy inside. It’s not too sweet so it could pass for a breakfast bread but it’s just sweet enough to be dessert, too. Also, it makes for some pretty amazing French toast. I’m sure this will be making several repeat appearances during blueberry season!

You can check out the roundup of the breads made by other bloggers at Heather’s blog, Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks, later this month!

BlueberryQuickBread

 Blueberry Quick Bread
(slightly adapted from Crunchy Creamy Sweet)
Makes 1 loaf

2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a 9×5″ loaf pan with parchment and grease the parchment.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix in blueberries.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla, oil, egg and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined – it’s fine if it’s slightly lumpy.

Pour batter into prepared, lined pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, until golden on the outside and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cinnamon Rolls

I love lists. I make a lot of them. Probably too many. One of my current favorite lists is for the Day Zero Project – a challenge to tackle 101 goals in 1001 days. I’m currently on my second list – and I’ve only got about five months left. Hello, crunch time!

One of the things on my list was to make cinnamon rolls and I finally tried them out for Christmas this year. Since two dozen were a lot for us, we delivered some to our parents and neighbors too. I’m pretty sure making them for everyone is going to be an annual tradition from now on! So, so happy to have these under my belt.

CinnamonRolls

Cinnamon Rolls
(as seen on Sugar & Spice by Celeste)
Makes approximately 2 dozen

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 cup melted butter, plus more as needed
1/8 cup ground cinnamon for sprinkling
1 cup sugar, plus more as needed

In a saucepan, combine the milk, vegetable oil and sugar. Scald and then let cool for 45 minutes.

Sprinkle yeast over the warm milk mixture and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 4 cups of the flour and transfer to a large bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for an hour, until doubled in size.

Stir in the additional 1/2 cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Sprinkle your work area generously with flour and roll the dough into a large rectangle. Spread melted butter over the dough, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Roll up from the long side and pinch the seams together to seal up the rolls. Cut the log into 1 1/2″ rolls.

Place 1 Tbsp. melted butter in the bottom of each pan you’re using (a little more for larger pans) and arrange the rolls. You’ll get about 4 8″ round pans with 6 rolls each.

To bake now: Let rest for 20-30 minutes and then bake at 375F degrees for 13-17 minutes, until golden.

To freeze for later: Cover pans with foil and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then follow the “bake now” directions.

Banana Bread

There are a few reasons I love doing recipe swaps. One is that it encourages me to post (hello, unplanned blog break). Another is that I often find things I didn’t know I had in common with other bloggers. Like, the perpetual search for the perfect banana bread.

I currently have three banana bread or muffin recipes on the blog. I like them all for different reasons, but I always end up trying new ones – just to see what my other options are. Right after we got our assignments for this swap, I had a bunch of over-ripe bananas sitting on the counter. Hmm, does Carrie’s Sweet Life have any banana bread recipes to try out? I wondered.

The answer is yes, yes she does. At least a dozen, actually. She is, apparently, a chronic banana bread recipe trier, like me. Banana bread jackpot, as far as I was concerned.

I picked a simple recipe for this go around because I already had everything in the house (always a bonus!), but I’m drooling over some of her other versions, too. I’d like to say this one will stop my banana bread quest but, let’s be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever give up the hunt.

BananaBread

Banana Bread
(from Carrie’s Sweet Life)
Makes 1 Loaf

3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

Preaheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease a loaf pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the mashed bananas and melted butter until thouroughly combined. Add in sugar, egg and vanilla and stir to combine. Add in baking soda and salt and stir to combine. Add in flour and stir until just incorporated.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.