Double Chocolate Whole Wheat Banana Muffins and why I wake early

double chocolate whole wheat banana muffins

There is a lovely poem by Mary Oliver titled “Why I Wake Early.”
It’s in one of her books at my bedside and I think of the poem often during the spring and summer, when the sky lights early and I wake effortlessly at dawn with barely a yawn and a stretch. It’s the most peaceful time to wake, especially on weekends…The kids don’t need to be woken and my husband sleeps just a little longer.

double chocolate whole wheat banana muffins
Early morning is a lovely time to bake.

I can hear the birds outside as I work and the morning light is best in our kitchen.
This is how I spent the Monday morning of our lazy long weekend. It was drizzly and suddenly lush with the fleeting sun and heat of last Friday and Saturday. I set aside thoughts of weeding and gathered the mixing bowls to bake Double Chocolate Banana Muffins.
Not too sweet these muffins have no refined sugar and only 1/3 cup of molasses. That’s it – the bananas take care of the rest.

double chocolate whole wheat banana muffins

Why I Wake Early
by Mary Oliver

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and crotchety–

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light–
good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

 

double chocolate whole wheat banana muffins

Double Chocolate Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

Adapted from Sweet Sugartbean
Makes about 14 muffins

  • 1 cup whole wheat or spelt flour (spooned in)
  • 1 cup white flour (spooned in)
  • 6 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 2 medium bananas, mashed
  • 2/3 cup grape seed or canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup chopped dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 375*F.
  2. Line muffin tin with papers, or grease well.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until light and frothy.
  4. Whisk in the milk, molasses, mashed banana, oil and vanilla.
  5. Gently stir the wet mixture into the dry, add the chocolate, and continue mixing until just combined.
  6. Scoop the mixture into muffin cups.  Bake for 18 – 20 minutes, until set

 

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email. The sign-up form is on the top right hand side of this page. We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. Our Making Life Delicious newsletter includes cooking tips, menu ideas and featured recipes. Here’s the link to our monthly email sign-up form.

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Wholesome banana oat muffins for hungry kids

wholesome banana oat muffins with molasses
My son has hit the stage where he’s always hungry. He eats a good supper then before you know it he’s making peanut butter toast. Or I wake in the morning to see that he’s been eating hard boiled eggs as a bedtime snack. He writes grocery lists.

I heard that this sort of thing happens, that teens can plow through your kitchen like a swarm of locusts, leaving the fridge and cupboards half bare and then still say “I’m starving.”

My aunt Ann, the mother of seven boys, used to lock the baking supplies high in a kitchen cupboard, pocket the key and then flee to our house just as the afternoon school bell rang.

She and mom would have a peaceful chat over coffee while some animated version of Lord of the Flies was raging on up the road in her kitchen.

(That exaggeration is only slight.)

banana oat muffins with molasses are wholesome and nutritious

When my son makes his way through the back path and in the door after school these banana oat muffins with molasses are one treat that fills his belly. They’re a nutritious grab-and-go snack that’s wholesome and just sweet enough.

I freeze great bunches of over ripe bananas so I always have some on hand for baking. Just peel them first, and lay them on cookie sheets to freeze before packing them away (otherwise they’ll all stick together).

banana oat muffins with molasses are wholesome and nutritious

Banana Oat Muffins with Molasses

 Adapted from Our Lady of Second Helpings

Makes 12 muffins (or 18 mini muffins)

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
    1/3 cup sugar
    2 large eggs
    3 ripe bananas, mashed (approximately 1 1/4 cups after mashing)
    1/4 cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
    1/2 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    1 1/2 cups flour, spooned in (can use half whole grain)
    3/4 cup rolled oats

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare muffin tins.
  2. In a large bowl beat butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  3. Add the bananas, molasses, yogurt, and vanilla and mix well.
  4. Sprinkle over the baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix well.
  5. Add the flour 1/2 a cup at a time, mixing gently until just incorporated. Gently stir in the oats.
  6. Spoon into prepared tins and bake for 20-25 minutes, until set.
  7. Let cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.

A delicious variation: Add 1/2 cup dried cranberries and one tsp. of orange zest to the batter.

banana oat muffins with molasses are wholesome and nutritious

More baking with bananas recipes:

moist and delicious gluten free banana bread recipe, with molasses

Gluten free banana bread

decadent banana bread with nuts

Decadent banana bread

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email. The sign-up form is on the top right hand side of this page. We’d love to send you our monthly email too. Our Making Life Delicious newsletter includes cooking tips, menu ideas and featured recipes. Here’s the link to our monthly email sign-up form.

Here’s to eating well, everyday,

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Whole wheat apple cinnamon muffins with molasses

Apple cinnamon muffins with molasses

I always loved the smell of our house in the fall. We’d arrive home from school to the warm spicy smell of homemade pickles cooking on the stove and fresh muffins cooling on the counter.

My mom baked a lot with apples and I grew up eating apple pie with Sunday supper, apple dumplings, apple sauce and lots of apple crisp.

Apple cinnamon muffins with molasses

When I was little we had the greatest crab apple tree in our back yard. It was always laden with apples and each year mom would make spiced crab apples and crab apple jelly.

On apple picking day we’d climb the tree and give it a good shake while my brother Michael, wearing an old Harbour Bridge Authority hard hat of my great uncle’s, would dash under the tree and gather the apples in a bucket.

Apple cinnamon muffins with molasses

One day the tree just fell over.

We watched it fall, as though it was laying down for a nap.

It turned out the roots had rotted, leaving a hollow spot in the ground like a little nest in the roots. There in that little hole were a bunch of oyster shells. We later found out that the previous owners of our house used to bury them around the tree as fertilizer.

If you love baking with apples give these apple cinnamon muffins with molasses a try. They’re light and moist and not too sweet.

Apple cinnamon muffins with molasses

Adapted from Table For Two

Makes 12 regular sized muffins

  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat or spelt flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ cup buttermilk or sour milk*
  • ½ cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup canola, grape seed or olive oil
  • 2 cups peeled and chopped apples (about 2 medium apples)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F and grease muffin pan (or line with muffin cups).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, molasses, eggs, vanilla, and oil.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Stir gently until almost combined.
  5. Add the chopped apples and gently fold them into the batter.
  6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups and bake for 15-20 minutes.

*To sour milk, add ½ Tbsp. of vinegar to your measuring cup and fill to the ½ cup mark with milk. Let sit 5 minutes.

We have loads more apple recipes in our e-book: Cooking with apples

Cooking with apples - nine recipes for sweet and savoury dishes made with apples

Wholesome snacks for kids – a free e-book

Wholesome Snacks, a free e-book featuring 16 recipes for healthy homemade snack food

Will I spend the rest of my life craving new pencils and pens at the end of August?

It’s warm and sunny. We’re still mowing the lawn. My tomatoes have yet to ripen. It is very much summer. But, I keep thinking about September. I’d say this preoccupation was a little cruel, if it weren’t for the fact that I get a nostalgic sort of thrill each time I think of September.

I can’t be the only one who has this kind of seasonal anticipation. Am I?

Yes, we have kids in school but even before our kids came along we got into back-to-school mode each year towards the end of summer (although we had left school behind a decade earlier.) At the same time, the back-to-school flyers drive me crazy. They remind me of the work it takes to get back into the swing of things. I prefer to focus on the pleasure of new beginnings. Sure there is a little bit of dread (we’ll be busy with kids’ activities) but the newness of it all is exciting.

And there are ways to simplify the routine, which brings me to our new e-book full of healthy snack recipes.

Wholesome snacks for kids - a free e-book featuring 16 recipes for lunchbox and afterschool snacks

Wholesome snacks for kids

A free e-book featuring 16 recipes for lunchbox and afterschool snacks

Part of getting back into the swing of things is baking more, and planning snacks for school lunches, our lunches and afterschool. To make it easier to get set for the fall routine we have gathered 16 recipes for muffins, cookies, bars and brownies into a convenient e-book. These are wholesome grab-and-go snacks, made healthier with nourishing ingredients. There is something for everyone, including gluten-free options, snacks that go with breakfast, and brownies with a healthy twist.

They’re satisfying snacks that pack well, travel well and freeze well.

Everything you need for homemade convenience.

This is a free e-book in a simple PDF format for easy viewing, downloading and printing. No e-reader required. Download our free e-book: Wholesome Snacks for Hungry Kids

Wholesome snacks for kids - a free e-book featuring 16 recipes for lunchbox and afterschool snacks

Visit our library of free e-books, download our free e-books, print them, share them with friends.

Almond butter energy balls recipe – no-bake & speedy

almond butter energy balls are no-bake, speedy and gluten free

 

I don’t always have time to bake and sometimes I feel bad about it. Keeping my kids well fed is something I often obsess about but it can be challenging. (Not that keeping cookies in the house means my kids are well fed, but it’s all part and parcel of our wholesome and homemade approach to life.)

Take today for instance…

It’s my anniversary. I have a trunkful of Sauvignon Blanc and delicious dinner aspirations.

My son’s lacrosse game is at 7:15. I’ll spend the evening at the rink and won’t be baking cookies or sipping wine.

This is not a complaint, it’s life and there is always Friday night.

This almond butter energy balls recipe is the sort of recipe that fits into busy days and evenings. It takes may be five minutes to pull together and another five minutes to roll into balls. You could even mix it up in the food processor if you think it’ll save time.

They’re tasty bites that are healthy enough to eat for breakfast and are a great snack on the go. They’re also gluten free (if that’s important to you).

 

almond butter energy balls recipe are no-bake, speedy and gluten free

Joy’s almond butter energy balls recipe

No-bake and speedy

  • 1 cup rolled oats (gluten-free if that suits your constitution)
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
  • ½ cup almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • ½ cup ground flax seed
  • 1/3 cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (mini chips or an extra dark chocolate bar, chopped)
  1. Blend and roll into balls.
  2. Refrigerate or freeze

Makes about 2 dozen balls.

A few tips:

To make them more nutritious use an extra dark chocolate in place of the chocolate chips. I like to use a bar that’s 70% cocoa content, or higher.

For the oatmeal use large flake or quick oats, not instant oatmeal. (Instant oatmeal goes gluey and is lower in fiber).

Are you looking for more gluten-free recipes? Try oatmeal flax bars:

Gluten-free oatmeal flax bars

 

Alan’s ginger molasses muffins are light and healthy

light and healthy ginger molasses muffins. A healthy bran muffin enhanced with fresh ginger

 

I’m a big fan of muffins. True muffins, that is. Muffins that aren’t too cake-like but that have enough sweet to be satisfying.

 

Ginger molasses muffins, healthy and light.

 

And I love muffins that are light textured but still manage to be loaded with wholesome ingredients. (You’ll notice these have bran in them. But they’re not heavy as lead.)

 

Ginger molasses muffins are light and healthy

 

That’s what makes these ginger molasses muffins so great. They’re wholesome and healthy but not too sweet. Just perfect.

The recipe came from molasses fan Alan Brown. Thanks Alan!

 

Alan’s Ginger Molasses Muffins

(slightly adapted)

Make 12 regular-sized muffins

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ cup natural bran (or ground flax or wheat germ)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Grandma Fancy Molasses
  • 2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger (or 1 ½ tsp dried ginger*)
  1.  Grease a 12 cup muffin pan and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F
  3. Combine dry ingredients in a medium size bowl and set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl beat together eggs, oil, milk, molasses and fresh ginger.
  5. Carefully add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir gently until just incorporated.
  6. Pour batter into greased muffin cups and fill 2/3 full.
  7. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes and remove when nicely browned.
  8. Loosen edges with a knife and remove from pan when cool.

*If using dried ginger combine it with the flour mixture.

If you’re a big muffin fan too try my sister’s healthy blueberry wheat germ muffins or these rich and dense ginger muffins.

wheat-germ-muffins-2dense and spicy ginger molasses muffins