Friday, May 29, 2015

Dark Chocolate Banana Muffins

Summer is here.  At least I think it is...can't really tell since we have had so much rain down here in Texas!  Monsoons everywhere!  Good news is my lemon tree is budding!!!!  Next recipe might have lemons in it : )

Warmer weather can only mean one thing!  Chocolate and banana smoothies all the time!!  Yeah Baby!  Super grateful for my awesome Vitamix my sister and Mom bought us for our wedding - love that thing! turns out that smoothies can get old really I decided to skip my daily smoothie and opted for veggies and hummus...then 1 hour later all I was craving was chocolate and bananas!  I am obsessed I tell you, straight up addicted!  I decided to switch it up a bit and made dark chocolate banana muffins way or another I was going to get my chocolate/banana fix :)

These were super simple muffins and they were so delicious and moist!  Winner winner chicken dinner...actually winner winner muffins for dinner! : )  This recipe has sugar in it, but you can probably swap honey/maple syrup for it if you want...I am going to try to do it next time with 1/4 cup honey instead of the 2/3 cup sugar.

Dark Chocolate Banana Muffins
yields 12 muffins
Adapted slightly from here

  • 1 cup mashed ripe or over ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup canola oil, or melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp unsweetened almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1-1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (semi sweet or dark)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees...or in my case with my gas oven 350 degrees
  2. In a large mixing bowl, use the back of a fork to mash the banana until only very small lumps remain. Add the vanilla and the egg and use the fork to whisk the mixture together until completely combined. Add the oil and milk and stir to combine. Add the sugars and stir again.
  3. Using a spatula, stir in the cocoa powder, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix until the cocoa is completely incorporated. Stir in the salt and baking soda, then gently fold in the flour, until just combined.
  4. Divide the batter among 12 paper-lined muffin cups, about 3/4 full. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Bake for 15-17 minutes, rotating once, until the muffin tops look set, and a cake-tester inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes, before removing and cooling completely on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room-temperature.

Share these muffins with someone who is cranky...chances are they are just hungry : )

Eat your heart out,


Italy vs. France in a showdown...who wins? Part deux

Welcome to France!

The land where everyone walks around with a Baguette tucked under their armpit.
The land where Baguette is part of every meal...seriously every meal.
The land of delicious cheese.
The land of abundant pastry of the highest quality.
The land of "be sure to bring your fat pants because our food is really that good!"

We loved France!  In a food battle they would beat out Italy...sorry to all the Italian Fans out there...but in our books France take the cake...or should I say Baguette? : )

We stayed at the Best Western in the Latin district close to Notre Dame and the Odeon station.  Great location - close to a lot of restaurants and sights.  The hotel was cozy and the employees were very kind - we would stay there again.

The Smiths Bakery, Paris

As soon as we arrived in Paris we checked into the hotel and then wandered around looking for some pastry...I wasn't kidding when I said eating was the main mission of this trip for me...poor Andrew had to stop at every bakery we passed while I admired their displays and treats.

The first place we decided to try was called "The Smiths Bakery" - totally not a French name, but it looked really delicious so we decided to try it out.  Total bliss, utter and complete bliss.  Everything we tried from this place was a winner!  We went back twice in our 3 days stay there.

 This Palmier was so good!  It had a dark nutty taste to it almost like caramel or burnt butter - best one I have ever eaten!
 Super Moist Praline cake...really it was a cupcake without a wrapper - but it was delicious

They had a gelato cart in front of the bakery, it looked so good but we never got around 
to trying time!

Le Bistrot Mazarin, Paris

After we walked off the calories from our Pastry we stumbled upon this place - it was packed, but the servers were very friendly and even stopped us from ordering the lining of cows stomach stew...that was close...
 Sauteed Leeks with a balsamic dressing topped with a deep fried soft boiled egg...very yummy!
 Roast Chicken in a cider sauce with French Fries

The next morning we were tempted to return to the Smiths Bakery, but instead we tried a place next to it that lots of people were going in and out of

 Andrew got a Pain au chocolat...of course...
Delicious and simple egg quiche.  They serve them room temperature in a lovely flaky pastry....speaking of eggs, I noticed at the grocery stores they keep the eggs on a shelf near cereal and not cold in a refrigerator...super awesome!

This is us on an awesome Blue Bike Tour of the city!  Great tour to get an overview of the city - definitely do it if you are in Paris!

The lovely Notre Dame

Lots of options for grab an go sandwiches on baguettes...this one was delicious!  Some sort of paprika chicken with yummy!

After the bike tour we stopped and got this super refreshing fresh fruit and sorbet treat.  It was so light and delicious with lots of weird fruits including some gooseberries and fresh coconut slices.

Mass at Notre Dame, such a beautiful Church!

After our best day of the whole trip, a romantic walk along the Seine river...this dude was awkwardly following us along the river and I kept glancing behind me just to make sure he wasn't about to mug us...third time I turned around he was urinating on the wall...haha super weird.

We decided to try this place out because they had Beef Bourguignon on the menu...we loved it!

Fresh greens with a creamy balsamic dressing and avocado
Oh yes, escargot...we tried it, he loved it...I was indifferent, but it is so pretty looking
Yes!  Beef Bourguignon was so delicious!  
They served it with mashed potatoes and mashed carrots - perfection!

Then we wandered around and found a whole street with tons of walk up Crepe places...
so divinely amazing!

Such an art!

I think this one was sea salt and caramel...not too sure what we ordered, all that matters was that we ate it and it was good!

Artisan Boulanger Patissier

Lovely chocolate financier cake made with ground up almonds, such a simple
but scrumptious little cake

At Versailles

Smashed almond croissant we ate at Versailles, it was so good!
RADISHES EVERYWHERE at a market in Louviers

Our last meal in France was Italian...haha...go figure.  It was also better then the Italian food we ate in Italy!  What are the odds!
Amazing fresh salad with sliced avocados, hearts of palm, grilled corn, pureed roasted tomatoes, mushrooms, and fresh melon - so refreshing.

Pizza with perfectly crunchy and thin crust.

Fruit de Mer Pizza, "Seafood Pizza"

Au revoir dear France, we will return to eat more of your delightful food one day.

France: 1     Italy: 0

If you want to get an idea for what France is like please watch the Flight of the Conchords video : )