Monday, September 28, 2015

Whole Wheat Banana Nut Muffins

My husband and I teach at a different school than the one that our kids attend.  For the most part, this is a non-issue.  However, the fact that we don't always have the same schedule as our kids can sometimes be a childcare nightmare.  At the beginning of the year, John and I had five days for which we needed someone to watch our kiddos because they hadn't started school yet.  And "someone" really turned out to be a village.  Between family, friends, and neighbors, the outpouring of offers to help was awesome.  When I took my kids to their home for the day, I wanted to bring something that everyone could enjoy as a breakfast treat.  Yet, I didn't want to "sugar up" my kids for someone else to deal with.  (I can be considerate like that.)  I was also interested in using my overripe bananas and the whole-wheat flour that I had on hand.  Enter this recipe, which seems to have a perfect balance of ingredients for a filling treat that is not too sweet for breakfast.


  • 1½ cups whole-wheat flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted OR 1/2 cup Coconut Oil, melted
  • ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 very ripe bananas, peeled (the riper they are the sweeter they'll be)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper or silicone liners and set aside.  (This recipe makes 12 full-sized muffins or 36 mini muffins.)
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Make a well (hole) in the center of the flour mixture and drop in the eggs, butter, and syrup. Mix with a fork until it just comes together and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl mash the two bananas together with the back of a fork. Carefully fold the bananas and walnuts (if using) into the muffin batter and distribute evenly into the 12 muffin cups (or 36 mini muffin cups). Bake until they begin to brown on top and a toothpick comes clean when inserted in the center, about 20 to 22 minutes for regular sized muffins or 12 to 14 minutes for mini muffins.

Difficulty: easy as far as baking goes
Time: 10 min prep and 20-22 min baking

Monday, September 14, 2015

Sausage and White Bean Orecchiette

For a long time, pasta was something that my family ate multiple times per week.  As I look back, I realize that we have made a gradual (kind of unintentional) shift away from eating as much pasta and we tend to have more brown rice, quinoa, etc. in our meals alongside our veggies and protein.  That isn't to say that we don't eat pasta - absolutely unfathomable!  We just have fewer meals where pasta is the main component.

This meal is a great way to increase the protein and veggie components of a meal while still including pasta - there is just a smaller proportion of pasta per serving than you may be used to.  Instead, protein-packed white beans take up some of that space, and yummy sausage and veggies take up the rest.  I LOVE this meal, and my kids do, too!


  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 12 oz. sweet Italian sausage (bulk)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 red, yellow, or orange pepper
  • 1 15 oz can cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed (no salt added recommended)
  • 1 tsp crushed rosemary (or 1 Tbsp fresh, finely chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt (omit and salt to taste if using salted beans)
  • 8 oz. dried orecchiette pasta
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Follow package instructions to cook pasta.  Once prepared, drain and reserve 3/4 cup of cooking water.
  2. While the water boils and pasta cooks: In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Brown sausage, breaking it up as it cooks.  Transfer sausage to a bowl using a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Discard all but 1 Tbsp of the fat left in the skillet and return to medium heat.  Add the onion and pepper and cook until tender, 6-8 minutes.  Add zucchini and cook until just tender and beginning to brown, about 4-6 minutes.  Add beans, rosemary, and salt.  Cook 1-2 minutes more or until beans are heated through.
  4. Stir pasta and reserved sausage into the skillet mixture.  Stir in cooking water, 1 Tbsp at a time to create a sauce of desired consistency.  Season with pepper and top with cheese.

Difficulty: easy
Time: about 35 minutes
Source: Adapted from December 2014 Parents Magazine