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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Kimby said...

Marsha, welcome back -- so good to see you again! I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother. She sounded like a lovely lady and her "dessert" philosophy tickled me greatly. My sympathies. Your baby daughter is a doll! I recently spent time with my sister and she's so precious to me. Your girls will grow up having that special relationship, too! Looking forward to your posts again "whenever" -- delighted you jumped into the fray again.

theharriedcook said...

Kim! You have no idea how much your comment and your words mean to me! Thank you so much! <3

Renuka Nadkarni said...

Good to see you back to blogging Marsha! So sorry about your grandma, but I'm sure her inspiration will always guide you. Your lil' munchkin looks adorable! Lots of love...

Marysol said...

What a roller coaster year you've had. My condolences for the loss of your grandmother.

You've been blessed with a beautiful baby girl that's sweeter than any dessert you've ever made. And you've made many wonderful treats. Congratulations Marsha! And welcome back.

AnnaPetralia said...

Hey Girl! Welcome back! Congrats on your beautiful daughter! And I am so sad for the loss of your grandmother. The muffins love MAR-Vo-Lous!! Looking forward to seeing you more! :)


theharriedcook said...

Thank you so much, Renuka! It is so good to be back... Thank you for your kind words about my grandmother... You're so right! Hugs...

theharriedcook said...

So happy to hear from you, Marysol! And thank you for your sweet, sweet comment! Makes me so glad :) yeah, iit's been quite a year! Thanks for the warm welcome back :)

theharriedcook said...

Thank you, Anna! It's so lovely to see familiar names leaving comments on the blog... Makes me feel so part of the community! Missed you all so much! Thank you for the sweet comment :)

Jill Colonna said...

Great to see you back here again, Marsha! Boy, what an eventful time you've had. So sorry about your Grandmother but then, as you say, you've been blessed with Zoe - bet her sister is so proud of her new sis as well as her Mummy!

theharriedcook said...

Jill! Thank you so much for your sweet comment :) yes, while I miss my grandmother and am sad she didn't get to see Zoe, my little girl is such a sweetheart and makes us all so happy :) Aimee is being a wonderful big sister and helps me with whatever she can do! Thanks for stopping by, Jill! Hugs xoxo

JC said...

Welcome back! Congratulations on welcoming your baby into your family. Sweet condolences on losing your dear grandmother. I'm sure you will cherish her memory always. I admire you getting back in the swing of things and won't mind sporadic posts now and then. Your creations are lovely and I welcome them whenever they come.

theharriedcook said...

Thank you so much! This is one of the sweetest comment ever! Makes me feel soooo good :) thank you! <3

Jackie Hale said...

Marsha, welcome back. I often check'd on your blog and I see that you are back! How great is that for all your readers. I know what you mean when you say life is just too busy sometimes. I've slowed down on my own blog and hopefully, now that Fall is rearing it's cool head I can get back to blogging. We'll see. Your baby girl is so precious! Yes, life does fly by. My eldest is now in the Middle school, grade 5 and my baby is in 2nd grade. It saddens me and it makes me happy to see them grow. Looking forward to your recipes, updates and pics. Your friend, Jackie

theharriedcook said...

I've missed you, Jackie! I was looking for your Facebook page a while ago and couldn't find it. Wanted to connect with you. These kids grow up so fast, don't they? Feels like I just had a baby and she's already almost 8 months old!

mayceegreene said...

These pretty, fruity muffins did my cold winter heart good!
Thanks for the recipe. :)
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Nadia Santos said...

These muffins looks and sound absolutely delicious.

I'm trying your version soon.

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