Dark Chocolate Banana Muffins

Gluten and dairy free dark chocolate banana muffins

Is there any better start to a morning than enjoying a banana baked good with a warm cup of coffee? I honestly cannot think of one. Whether it is banana bread, muffins, cakes, donuts, or pies, anything baked that contains banana is a guaranteed way to my heart. But, let’s be honest for a second here, some banana breads and muffins sold in today’s world as a “breakfast food” are really just cake in a different form. When I was finally old and wise enough to come to this realization, it slightly broke my heart. I love banana bread. I mean lovvvveeeee. The aroma of a fresh cooked loaf makes my heart swell and immediately feel all things comfort. So, instead of giving up on this love affair, with my new-found baking ability and determination to create new recipes, plus a kitchen filled with browned bananas after clicking too many times on last week’s instacart order, I decided to make my own healthified version. These dark chocolate banana muffins are sweet enough to fill that dessert void while also including approved ingredients making it an acceptable breakfast (yes, dark chocolate if purchased in the right form is acceptable in the mornings in my book). Plus, I used Kite Hill’s new unsweetened drinkable yogurt to make these muffins extra moist. Yea, I said it, MOIST. The word that everyone hates using or hearing until a person uses it to describe something you baked and you immediately jump with joy. Behold, the way to my coworkers, neighbors, friends, and family’s hearts.

Recipe .

Apple Pie Muffins

Healthy and easy gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, apple pie muffins

I have always found baking extremely intimidating. I am someone who enjoys cooking because there are no rules. Want to add some of this spice? Go ahead. Want some more vegetables in that dish? Throw them in. While cooking is an art, baking is a science. There are rules to follow, recipes to read, and instructions to stick to. Because of these restrictions, and the fact that one quarter cup of an ingredient can automatically ruin your recipe, I have always steered clear of baking. Then, my friend Lara of @_littlemissfoodie kept posting all these insanely decadent baking photographs and encouraging and inspiring me to finally take the plunge. So as the notorious muffin (wo)man she is, I decided to tackle this baked good first. While I was contemplating what muffins to make, simultaneously my next-door neighbor’s 3-year-old daughter knocked on my door and told me she was having a farmer’s market with all of the apples she harvested at her house outside the city. As she handed me over a bushel of massive beautifully bruised and imperfect apples, I knew exactly what I was going to thank her with: a batch of homemade apple pie muffins. I put my big girl pants on and got to work in my kitchen and after a few test runs can proudly say I have officially created a recipe that revolves around baking. These will definitely be on repeat in my kitchen throughout the fall and they should be in yours also!

Recipe

Strawberry and Banana Overnight Oats

Strawberry and banana go together like Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. At one point in everyone’s childhood, this was their favorite combination, but overtime, we have all slowly put it on the back burner and forgot about it while moving on to bigger and better things, such as banana and peanut butter (the Beyonce and Jay Z). But, hold the phone. Let’s rewind and revisit this childhood love affair. Because we all may have moved on and all, but it is still incredibly delicious and worth talking about again. Try this recipe out, sit back, and take a trip back to the 90s while enjoying your breakfast.  (And if this is what it takes for Britney and JT to get back together than I will eat this breakfast every god damn day).

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Cinnamon Bun Overnight Oats

When I was growing up my family’s weekends were always jam packed with soccer and lacrosse tournaments. No matter the season, we were packing up Friday morning, jamming in 8 plus games over the span of two days, and returning home late Sunday night only to do it all over again the next weekend. Fortunately for me and my sisters, we had parents who never questioned or complained about this absurdity, but instead got behind the wheel with a smile and a cooler packed with Gatorades and road snacks. Within the blink of an eye my sisters and I would quickly demolish this cooler that probably should have lasted us over 3 days. With full bladders and somehow still hungry stomachs, we would insistently beg our parents to pull over to the nearest rest stop. You’re probably wondering, “why the hell are you telling me about your ever too frequent visits to rest stops?” Because, my friends, no matter how many Nature Valley bars or boxes of Goldfish I had just devoured in our Suburban, as soon as I walked in to any of those rest stops that smell of cinnamon maple glaze hit me like a brick. Immediately, my stomach began growling and I ran as fast as I could to the CinnaBon that was no doubt overpowering all of the nasty scents I would have otherwise smelled. To me, no road trip was complete without CinnaBon. My obsession began at an early age and over time transformed to loving anything cinnamon filled. Now more aware of the ingredients in these things, I’m a bit grossed out by my childhood consumption, but still nonetheless in love. So in an effort to make the meal that a CinnaBon is somehow meant to serve (breakfast) without sending you into a sugar coma, I created these Cinnamon Bun overnight oats. Long story short, enjoy a trip down memory lane.

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Freckled Foodie’s First Catering Experience

Hello everyone! A bit of a different post today; mainly in the sense that it does not contain a recipe, but instead a reflection on my first catering experience. This past Saturday was truly one to remember. While I have always enjoyed cooking for others and prepping for large dinner parties (I find any excuse to feed my friends), I had never considered catering an event. About a month ago my mother was telling me about a brunch she was hosting and asked if I had any ideas to give the caterers. My immediate response? “I have a thousand ideas and would love to BE the caterer”.

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Gluten, Grain, and Dairy Free Banana Pancakes

To me, no meal is cozier than banana pancakes. Growing up, pancakes encompassed all things “weekend”. Family brunch? Pancakes. Slumber party with an insanely large amount of chatty pre-teen girls? Pancakes. Rainy Sunday morning? You better believe that calls for pancakes. Now that I am grown, no longer living with my parents, and  responsible for making my own breakfasts (sigh, why can’t we be kids forever), pancakes bring back all of those warm feelings of home. They exemplify one of the reasons I love food so much: one simple meal is able to spark so many memories and emotions and, even if for just one second, transport you back to a happy past time. So excuse me while I take my plate of banana pancakes back up to bed, get under the covers, and devour this stack way you are supposed to.

Recipe

Sweet Potato Boats with Kale, Bacon, and Egg

One of my goals during Whole 30 was to incorporate new dishes into my day instead of continuously rotating through the same ones like I usually do. Being unable to enjoy my usual kefir puddings, overnight oats, and fistfuls of granola (by the bag), breakfast has become seemingly difficult. Then I realized: who said vegetables can’t be the star of your breakfast. So with that mindset, and the success of finally finding Whole 30 compliant bacon, I created this new brunch superstar. Not only is this dish absolutely delicious, but it is aesthetically pleasing and will impress any brunch crowd you have invited to your kitchen. Plus, every once and awhile we all need to cut back on our morning overload of sugars, whether its natural or not, and include some more hearty vegetables.

Recipe