Happiness Project#87: Banana Muffins!

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PTSD. I’ve been through a ton of scary medical situations in my life, but none have created such a strong reaction from me as living with cancer has. Recently, someone very close to me was diagnosed with breast cancer, and has already gone through her 1st round of chemotherapy. Fortunately, although she’s had a couple of side effects from the chemotherapy meds that she started, she’s doing much (MUCH) better than I did when I went through chemotherapy. Which is SUCH a relief. To everyone.

But because of seeing her start chemotherapy, and seeing how tired it has made her, the PTSD that I have from my own experience, has been hitting me HARD. For the past 7 days, I’ve been trying to quell this crushing anxiety about it. Because it reminds me too much of the hell that I endured last summer. A hell which I honestly did not think I would survive. And even though I feel like I’ve come pretty far this year since walking out of that terrifying experience, just the word, “cancer,” strikes dread within my heart. To where I’ve been struggling with sleeping, and eating, and leaving my house.

So for the past couple days, I’ve been working on new fondant products, and baking. A lot of baking. Since the act of baking (usually) provides me a small dose of therapeutic relief. The messier, the better.

Hence these new Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins, which my Daughter will be taking to her teachers tomorrow, as a THANK YOU for everything that they do. A quick little baking project, with a wonderful punch of flavor. Stress therapy has never been sweeter.

2 cups cake flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

pinch of cinnamon

3 ripe bananas, mashed well (I use a fork to mash them all up nice & good)

1/4 whole milk plain yogurt

2 eggs, lightly beaten

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line two cupcake pans with 18 paper liners.

In bowl #1 combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix well.

In bowl #2, either on a stand mixer, or handheld, combine all 3 mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla extract, mixed well. Slowly add the wet mixture (bowl #2) to the dry ingredients (bowl #1), and gently stir until the flour mixture is absorbed. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Scoop the banana mixture into each of the 18 paper cupcake liners, filling them 3/4 of the way full.

Pop the 2 pans into the oven, and bake for 18 minutes. Pull both pans out of the oven, and let cool on a wire rack. And serve, with or without butter.

The best part of this recipe? When a 4 year old bites into one, saying, “YUM!” That always makes my day. Even though they’ve recently been a little darker.

Happiness Project#83: The Fruitastic Breakfast Smoothie!

 

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Let’s talk about smoothies. Or milkshakes. Or maybe both. Since starting chemotherapy 4 weeks ago, my taste buds have gone, well, a wee bit wacky. Many of the things that I used to love to indulge in, I simply don’t love anymore. Like coffee and chocolate. I know. Two things that simply don’t taste like coffee, or chocolate anymore. Truly saddening, right? *sigh* I can only hope that next year, one I’ve completed chemotherapy, I’ll finally be able to enjoy both of these Mom “staples” again.

Until then, I’ve developed a list of things that I DO truly still enjoy right now. Mashed Potatoes, White Rice, Buttered Toast, Broccoli, Snap Peas, Peaches, Grapes and best yet, Strawberries! Can I get a hallelujah for strawberries?? Whew. Thanks Be. So to celebrate the list of things that I DO still enjoy indulging in, I’ve been on a smoothie/milkshake making frenzy! Because somehow, this Mama is determined to create the BEST fruity mix!

After a couple of trail & errors, I’m overjoyed to say that I’ve finally got it JUST right! And I truly know so, after my 3-1/2 year old came running up to me in the kitchen, hugging my leg while saying, “You make the best smoothies, Mommy!” Yeah, I nearly crumbled up into a giant puddle of love right then and there. Thanks Be for my greatest fan: my beautiful, sassy, enthusiastic Little Girl. She makes everything better.

Anyhow, back to this smoothie. Or milkshake, since true to any classic milkshake, this does incorporate milk.  You ready for one of the fruitiest breakfast drinks you’ll ever come across? Let’s do this! You’ll need:

2 cups fresh, rinsed and sliced strawberries

1 cup fresh, sliced peaches, either white or yellow, your choice

1/2 cup sliced banana

1-1/2 cup ice cubes

3 scoops vanilla ice cream

1/2 cup whole milk or orange juice

Throw all of those fresh ingredients into a blender, and pulse for 3-5 minutes until each of the ingredients is fully blended.

Spoon out this fruitastic smoothie into 4 of your favorite serving glasses. And serve while it’s cold!

Your tummies, and your mornings will thank you!

Until next time, xoxoxo

Happiness Project Recipe #63: Fathers Day Fun Bowls!

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Fathers Day Year 3! Fathers Day this year within my little Family of 3 wasn’t quite what I had hoped it to be. I had PLANS for the Father of my beautiful Little Girl. But we all know that life sometimes happens when you’re out making plans. With no exception this year. That grandeos plan of creating this lovely toddler painted hand print, decked out in a cute homemade photo frame? Nope. Instead of cute toddler prints with glitter and glue, the middle of this week consisted of emergency back surgery (for me). Which meant rest. And very little (nearly non-exsistent) physical activity. Which meant NO kitchen time. None. Imagine, just imagine, how depressing this is. Could you keep yourself away from your own kitchen for 6 to 8 weeks?? Yes, 6 to EIGHT weeks. See? Depressing. So needless to say, nothing that I had wanted to create for my beloved Husband happened.

HOWEVER. You want to know what DID transpire instead? A dessert recipe incorporating two of my Husband’s favorite things: vanilla ice cream and waffles! A chocolate dipped waffle bowl that required NO oven time! Which, in turn, required very little physical activity on my part. Doctor approved. And since no Fathers Day treat would be complete without something special just for his Little Girl as well, I threw (literally threw) in a whole lot of rainbow sprinkles. Which (naturally) ended up everywhere but on the actual waffle bowl. Chloe Girl approved.

So who’s ready for one of the simplest and cheeriest of no-bake desserts? Husband approved.

4 Waffle Bowls

1 8oz bag of chocolate candy melts

1 carton vanilla bean ice cream (homemade or store bought)

1 large banana, sliced up into equal parts

8 to 12 fresh strawberries, rinsed and pat dried

1/2 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and pat dried

*Rainbow sprinkles, optional

*If you’re eagerly wanting to whip up some home-made ice cream beforehand, here’s one of my favorite (& easiest) go to vanilla ice cream recipes.

Firstly, line up all of your ingredients for easy assembly. 4 waffle bowls, 1 bowl of strawberries, 1 bowl of cut bananas, 1 bowl of blueberries.

In a large bowl, heat up the candy melts, stirring in 20 second intervals until completely melted and smooth. Remove from the microwave.

Place the 4 waffle bowls on parchment paper and then, one at a time, dip the bottom half of each bowl into the bowl of melted chocolate. Deposit each bowl, upside down, onto the parchment paper to dry.

*If you want to add sprinkles to the waffle bowls, hold each bowl up by the rim, one at a time, and sprinkle on however many jimmies you want, until the chocolate is fully covered.

Next up? The strawberries! While pinching the head of each strawberry, dip each tip into the chocolate, one at a time. Let each strawberry sit on it’s side to dry.

Once the chocolate on each waffle bowl has hardened up and dried, grab up that yummy carton of vanilla ice cream and load those bowls up!

Followed with a generous heaping of those chocolate dipped strawberries, banana slices and juicy blueberries.

And maybe, just maybe, another pinch of sprinkles. More so for that eagerly awaiting toddler, than anyone else.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you all celebrated a lovely Fathers Day! xoxo

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