Between household projects and getting ready for the baby to arrive, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time in the kitchen. I must say some days are really productive and fun and others are pretty boring. I’m still getting used to this not working gig but soon I’ll have a little bundle of joy and a steady flow of houseguests to keep me company.
The baby room is pretty much complete. I just have a few more things to wash (prepping cloth diapers) and one item to paint before he gets here. I’m going to try and tackle the last of the fixer upper projects and sand and stain our “new” dresser this weekend. I love projects like this and should probably thank my dad for letting me hang around in the garage as a kid and assist with his projects. It probably also helps that I’m a picky designer with a picky designer husband and sometimes it’s easier to create what you want than to buy it new. Reusing old furniture is a joy. It is so hard to find a good piece of affordable furniture (unless you buy it used) and much of that time you need to fix it up.
Back to the kitchen where our dresser is hanging out awaiting transformation…. We moved in to our place exactly one month ago. I unpacked the kitchen as quick as possible so we could cook asap rather than eating out for each dinner meal (makes a huge difference) and have enjoyed our kitchen immensely. It’s not common to rent a house with an amazing kitchen, but we got lucky. We have new Bosch appliances and beautiful (yet finicky) marble countertops. Surprisingly we lost some storage from our San Francisco kitchen so we had to buy a few things to store my baking supplies and bulk pantry staples. We’re fairly settled in and I’ve been cooking and baking as much as possible (or as much as Michael and I can eat without feeling too gluttonous).
If you’ve ever been pregnant before, you may understand that it’s not a great idea to go grocery shopping while hungry without a list… because you end up with a bunch of things you need to use up rather quickly. This happened to me the day I went to Costco to get yogurt. I only needed a tub of yogurt (they sell my favorite brand Mountain High and it’s sooo cheap) and I came out with a few bags full of groceries. In these bags were a bunch of organic bananas and a giant tub of blueberries. Since it’s been warm here the bananas ripened in one day and got spots the next. Michael and I are not fond of overly ripe bananas so I decided I’d bake with them. Never throw away a spotty or brown banana! I used half for the blueberry banana muffins and the other half I turned into “ice cream”.
Let’s start with the Ice Cream. I keep italicizing it because it technically has no components of traditional ice cream but is a sneaky ice cream substitute. I know that people have been making this a while but I just stumbled onto it so I thought I’d share. What is so amazing about this ice cream? Well, it’s just frozen bananas. One ingredient and done. All you need is a powerful blender or food processor and you can turn frozen bananas into a great treat without all the shame of eating a giant bowl of ice cream. I found the step by step instructions on The Kitchn and mine turned out great. The only recommendation I have is not to overload your food processor or blender. It takes a while to chomp up the bananas and turn them into ice cream texture so don’t overfill and be patient! Also try some of the mix-ins that they suggest at the bottom of the Kitchn blog post.
Blueberry Banana Muffins are the second thing I made with the ripe bananas. I modified my banana bread recipe slightly to create a less dense version that I thought would be a better vehicle with the added blueberries. It took about 5 minutes to throw together and 22 minutes to bake, so in less than 30 minutes you’ll have a delicious breakfast treat or afternoon snack that gets better over time (just like regular banana bread). The blueberries make delicious juicy pockets inside the muffin and I have to restrain myself from eating more than one each morning.
I’ve almost used up the rest of the giant costco size tub of berries inside smoothies or as a yogurt topping. I also made a fruit pizza with Mascarpone Cream and topped with Fresh blueberries. All blueberry baked goods have been delicious so far and Michael likes them even though he’s not a huge fan of the indigo morsels. I keep reminding him they are powerful little fruits that are full of antioxidants and good for your brain and nervous system, so maybe he’s only eating them for health reasons…
Blueberry Banana Muffins
- 1/3 C oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ C Wheat Flour
- ½ C unbleached white flour
- ½ C sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 3 medium mashed bananas
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 C chopped walnuts or pecans
- 2 C fresh blueberries shaken with ½ T of flour
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F (or 325˚ for Convection)
- In a large bowl, mash bananas with a whisk. Add in eggs, sugar, vanilla and oil.
- Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add flour mixture to banana mash and fold with spatula until just moistened.
- Add in nuts and blueberries and fold until evenly mixed.
- Divide among greased muffin tin (or use liners) and bake for 22-25 minutes. Muffins will spring back when ready or use a toothpick to test doneness.
- Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or store in ziplock bag in the fridge for up to one week.