Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Berry Banana Muffins - and hello again!

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Hello. I am the blogger formerly known as The Harried Cook. My name is Marsha. Remember me? Probably not! :)

It has been one year since you last heard from me on the blog - and what a year it's been! I've lost a loved one, and gained another. I've lost some weight (yay!) and gained a lot of gray hairs (not fun!). I've lost a lot of sleep and gained a lot of hugs and kisses. It's been busy, overwhelming, sad, happy and extremely eventful since I last posted here.

I said goodbye to my dear grandmother in August 2012. That was a really sad day. I still miss her and I have so many moments when I want to just pick up the phone and call her like I used to. She was really sick and went through a lot of pain and suffering, and in that sense, I am glad it's all over now. She was an inspirational woman with an inspirational story, and she did so much for me. For that, and for her, I am so grateful! She was a great cook too, especially when it came to her favorite thing to eat - dessert! And she could eat dessert for breakfast, lunch and dinner - and she often did! :) I plan to share one of her recipes soon on the blog. 

In happier news, we welcomed a new family member early this year. This is our second baby - my little girl,  Zoe Hope Thompson.
She's five months old now, and such a sweetheart (most of the time!). Both my girls are absolutely thrilled to have each other in their lives, and I am the proud momma of two perfectly precious girls! Thank you, Lord! Can you believe my older girl is in school now? Wow! How time flies! 

So much more has been happening, that it would take me forever to share all the news. I have meaning to get back to blogging, but hardly find the time to sit down at the computer these days. Life is just too full right now, and in a good way. But I need to get started, even if I don't post so regularly, just to give me something to do that's mine! 

So, here's a simple recipe to get started. These muffins are really tasty, pretty easy to make, once you have all your ingredients assembled, and will have everyone coming back for seconds or thirds. 
This is a small batch recipe - makes 4 jumbo or 6 regular sized muffins. I made the jumbo muffins. 

Berry Banana Muffins

1 large banana, mashed (about 1/2 cup)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
30g butter, melted and cooled
2 tbsp neutral flavored vegetable oil
1/3 cup soft brown sugar
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp oat bran (or) wheat germ
1/8 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder 
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries (I used a combination of frozen blueberries and diced, fresh strawberries once, and the other time, I made it with just diced, frozen strawberries.)
2-3 tbsp chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat your oven to 180C/350f degrees. Line a muffin tray with liners or grease and flour the tray. Set aside. 
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, banana and vanilla. 
3. Stir in the melted butter and oil and whisk until well-combined. 
4. Whisk in the brown sugar and mix well for a few minutes. Set side. 
5. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, the wheat germ/oat bran, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Mix well so all the dry ingredients are combined. 
6. Add the fresh/frozen berries into the flour mixture and stir lightly to coat the berries. This will keep your berries from sinking to the bottom of the muffins while baking. 
7. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir gently until combined and no dry flour is visible. Don't overmix. If you stir/mix too much, you will have tough, chewy muffins. 
8. Spoon the muffin batter into the prepared tin, filling each cup 3/4 full. If using the walnuts, sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the top of each muffin. 
9. Bake until golden and risen, or until a toothpick/cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. 
10. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin and then gently remove from the tin and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Serve warm. 
(Doesn't this muffin look positively evil? It's actually looking at you, daring you to eat it! Scary Muffin!)

I hope you enjoy this recipe! My family did. My older daughter and my husband are both big fans of muffins. They loved this recipe - especially because it was loaded with nuts, berries and bananas. This is going to be a staple recipe in our kitchen!
I am so excited to be blogging again! I hope to be able to post at least one recipe a week. I really hope I can! I have missed all my readers and blogger friends so much! Thank you for being there for me and writing in to me this year. You have no idea how much that means to me!

To keep up with what is happening in The Harried Cook's kitchen, and to receive updates on new recipes as soon as they're posted, don't forget to follow me on Facebook!

P.S. - Please excuse the photographs in this post. They were all taken on my cellphone. When I have the time to whip out the "big camera", I will update the post with better pictures!

P.P.S. - Thank you to my dear friend, Gitu, for nagging me into blogging again. I doubt I would have a post out if not for her! You are an prizeworthy nag, darling! xoxo
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