Tag Archives: vegetarian

GF (SF, NF) Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Although many people can’t wait to get out there and go shopping just after Thanksgiving, I find it much more enjoyable to stick around the house. I tend to read, watch a movie, work a bit, and of course-bake something. Now that Daughter is soy free, nut free, and GF, cooking and baking just got a bit more complicated, but I love a challenge.

I found a wonderful recipe by Gluten Free in Orlando for GF Mexican Chocolate Banana Muffins and I was inspired. I lived in Gainesville, FL for a few years and love Central Florida. It’s beautiful and the weather is quite lovely most of the year. I’m homesick when I read her blogs, and I get hungry since she has a lot of great ideas and recipes. Today, there were two bananas on the counter dying a slow death and waiting to be used.

But…you know how you want to make something and then you get in the kitchen and you don’t have everything you need to make that thing and you have to decide should I improvise, go to the store, or just forget it? Here I was in the kitchen pondering just that. Of course, improvise is the obvious choice. It’s an adventure, right?

Orlando’s recipe calls for Gluten Free Pantry’s All Purpose Flour mix. I only had Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Biscuit and Baking Mix. Orlando’s recipe calls for Tazo Mexican chocolate, I have only Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips. Orlando specifies four bananas mashed in her recipe, I have two. Still doable? You bet!

There’s nothing wrong with giving something a try, right? We won’t talk about the GF stuffing that pretty much bombed on Thanksgiving and will definitely not be making a repeat appearance. But the point is, don’t be afraid to experiment. These muffins came out amazing. They are a bit more substantial than a cupcake, which is what I like in a muffin. They are chewy, dense, full of flavor and I will definitely be making them again. Judging by the fact that Daughter has eaten 6 mini muffins already, and they are still warm, I’d say they were a success.

So, here is the recipe I used, which is just a bit different than Orlando’s. Go to her recipe and give hers a try, I imagine they are a bit lighter and have a bit more banana flavor. I’ll definitely try her recipe when I’ve got a few more bananas and Bob’s All Purpose Flour on hand.

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GF Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 1/2 C Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Biscuit and Baking Mix
2/3 C sugar (I use organic cane sugar)
1  tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cinnamon
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter — melted
1 large egg
1/4 C half and half (Orlando called for milk, but all I had was half and half. Use milk if you have it)
1 C mashed bananas — about 2 large bananas
2 TBS fresh orange juice (Juice of one small orange)
1 tsp GF vanilla extract
3/4 cup Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray mini muffin pans with cooking spray.
2. Melt the butter in a bowl in the microwave and set aside to cool.
3. Whisk together baking mix, sugar, baking powder, baking soda,  salt, and cinnamon in a separate bowl.
4. In another bowl, beat the egg, milk, mashed bananas, orange juice, vanilla, and butter.
5. Add banana mixture to the flour mixture.  Do not over mix.  Stir in the chips.
6. Fill muffin pans. (I used mini muffins, just like Orlando did, but you can make these bigger if you want. Just up the baking time and watch them.)
7.  Bake for 15 minutes. Keep a watch since they will brown pretty quickly.
Makes about 30 mini muffins. I added a bit of water to two of the empty muffin spots to keep the muffins moist while cooking. I baked mine for 15 minutes and they were quite done.


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Veggie-stuffed peppers

This is a quick and yummy meal that I thought up at the last minute. I was watching the Food Channel and saw someone making a traditional stuffed-pepper meal, meaning hamburger and bread crumbs. Uhm, not gonna work. But I remember loving my Mom’s stuffed peppers when I was a kid. So, with my daughter by my side, we came up with an even better, gluten-free, vegetarian version.

Quick and easy veggie-stuffed peppers

Veggie-stuffed Peppers

3 large peppers (I prefer red or orange since they are a little sweeter)

1 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms

1/2 chopped zucchini

1 large sweet onion, diced

olive oil/salt/pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1 bag Trader Joe’s frozen Jasmine rice (about 2 cups)

1 cup shredded Mexican cheese

Oregano, basil (dried)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place olive oil, onions and garlic in saute pan and cook till tender. Add salt and pepper.

3. While onions are cooking, slice the top off the peppers. (when choosing peppers, try to pick out ones that will stand on their own.) Clean out the peppers and leave whole, placing them in a glass baking dish or pie pan so they stand on their own, then dice up the tops and reserve those for the filling.

4. Add peppers to the pan and saute till tender, then mushrooms to the pan and saute till brown.

5. Add zucchini last and cook for a few minutes until just tender.

6. Finally, add the rice, a bit more olive oil, oregano, basil, salt & pepper to taste. Cook until the mixture is warm and mixed well.

7. Fill each pepper halfway, then add a pinch of cheese (a little less than 1/4 cup) in each one.

8. Finish filling peppers and mound it on top.

9. Top off each pepper with another pinch of cheese.

10. Bake for about 30 minutes, then let sit for about 10 minutes. (These are piping hot inside and so good you’ll burn your mouth for sure.)

These can also be made with brown rice (which I didn’t have at the time) and any veggies you have hanging around in the fridge. It’s a great way to use up any leftover veggies, just saute with some rice and stuff a pepper. Enjoy!

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