Sweet Baked Life

my sweet journey through life…


Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Muffins

Go bananas for breakfast! Get ready to make your morning a little sweeter by whipping up a batch of these soft and satisfying Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Muffins.

Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Muffins

Are your mornings crazy like mine?

It seems no matter what time I wake up, I always seem to be rushing around just about the time I need to leave. And that I don’t like. I like to wake up early enough so that I don’t have to do the rush thing, but for some reason it is inevitable. At the last moments before I jet out the door, I seem to be frantically packing my kid’s lunch, making sure my hubby knows the schedule for the day, remembering to unplug my cell phone from the charger; and the list goes on!

And sometimes my stress raises and my morning time shortens when I am the one to take my son to school. With the 50,000 times I have to tell him to get up and the 50,000 more times I have to nudge him to get dressed. At this point I’ve gone bananas myself! I thought as they got older, it got easier. Not!

Anyway…I really am an organized person. And sometimes I do the morning prep the night before. But sometimes I am just too tired and then my mornings become crazy. The only good thing is being able to unwind during my drive to work, which takes about 30 minutes. OK, yes, this seems like a strange comment. But even though there are insane drivers on the roadways and highways, I really don’t let those people get to me, especially in the morning. I really like to have a clear head when I step into my office and am ready to take on the day! And it’s made that much better if I have a good breakfast to eat.

Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Muffins

Well now we all can rest a bit easier and make sure that you and your family have a yummy to-go breakfast or wonderful mid-afternoon snack. These muffins are definitely the way to go. I love grabbing a few to take with me to work; they are a tasty and healthy alternative to the vending machine!!

You see, I always buy bananas with the intention of eating them in their natural state. But for some reason, at the end of the week I always end up with uneaten, ripe bananas. The other morning I woke up and thought, “What can I do with these bananas?” Ah, yes, I could make some classically delicious banana bread. Then after one millisecond, I changed my mind and Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Muffins were born.

This was a no-brainer — as well as the bananas, I also had some left over mini chocolate chips and thought this would be the perfect combination; soft, creamy bananas surrounded by bittersweet chocolate morsels in a light and fluffy base with a hint of a nutty flavor from some oats. Just the thought of these sweet gems makes my taste buds tingle!

Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Muffins

Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Muffins

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large ripe bananas
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Turn your oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Note, this recipe made 18 muffins and you can easily double the recipe.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, oats, baking soda and salt. Whisk together until combined and set aside. Then in a small bowl mash bananas — I like to use a potato masher here. Set aside.

In a large bowl of an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment add the butter and sugar. Mix on medium-high speed until creamed. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until well blended then mix in the vanilla. With your mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture until just combined. Remove bowl from stand and add the mashed bananas. Stir until just combined. Then fold in the oats and chocolate chips.

Evenly spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin tins. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Muffins

I hope your mornings are a little less stressed and more sweet with the addition of these Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Muffins.

Have a great day!



Creamy Banana Pie Smoothie

A pie for breakfast — I’m so there! Start your morning off on the right track with this Creamy Banana Pie Smoothie. Sipping on this goodness will surround you with a glow of sunshine and provide a great boost to the beginning your day!

Creamy Banana Pie Smoothie

Did you know that September is National Breakfast Month?

So to celebrate the most important meal of the day I’m raising my glass filled with rich, thick banana delight! And if you love banana pie, you’re sure to love this Creamy Banana Pie Smoothie. Get your blender ready to whirl some ripe banana, creamy Greek yogurt, chilled milk, tasty vanilla and cold ice. You’re boring morning routine will be turned into a pleasantly flavorful experience that you won’t mind repeating often!

For me, I always struggle with eating breakfast. I never seem to have enough time to get-it-together when it comes to eating first thing in the morning. What about you? During the week I’m usually so busy I seem to forget about myself, unless of course I prepare something in advance — and unfortunately that does not happen very often.

This Creamy Banana Pie Smoothie is easy enough to whip up and take with you on-the-go during the week days and can also be thoroughly enjoyed over a lazy weekend reading the newspaper. And who wouldn’t want to sip the flavors of an incredible creamy pie for breakfast? Let’s get ready to take the plunge!

Creamy Banana Pie Smoothie

Creamy Banana Pie Smoothie

1 cup Greek yogurt (I used vanilla)
1/2 cup milk (non-fat, almond, your choice)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large ripe banana
1 cup ice cubes
crushed graham cracker for garnish
dash of cinnamon for garnish

Add yogurt, milk, vanilla extract, banana and ice cubes to blender. Pulse on high until well blended. If you like thicker consistence add more ice.

Pour into tall glass. Sprinkle with a bit of crushed graham crackers and cinnamon and drink immediately.

Creamy Banana Pie Smoothie

Now wasn’t that easy? Have it as a breakfast or mid-afternoon snack, either way you can’t go wrong. Cheers to mornings and cheers to a satisfying Creamy Banana Pie Smoothie!



Apple Cinnamon Caramel Crunch Ice Cream {no-churn}

Are you feeling stuck between two seasons? Me too! So get ready to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of fall by serving up a big bowl of this scrumptious Apple Cinnamon Caramel Crunch Ice Cream! You’ll be glad you did as it will satisfy your sweet tooth from season to season!

Apple Cinnamon Caramel Crunch Ice Cream

Yep, it’s that time of year when it’s still hot enough for cool summer meals, but your heart-strings may be pulling you towards warm comfort food! It’s true…before we know it the fall months will be upon us. Can you believe that? Where has the time gone?

The stores are already filled with fall inspired gold and brown themed decorations, bright orange pumpkins and everything to make that perfect Thanksgiving feast!

Really?! I’m still trying to enjoy the last glow of summer and now my mind is filled will all things fall!

Apple Cinnamon Caramel Crunch Ice Cream

What’s a girl to do?

Go with the flow I guess! And for me that means celebrating both seasons with one mouth-watering dessert.

Now I’m not one to be burning the oven all hours of the day when it’s still 90 degrees outside and that’s when this recipe came to me. A cool, creamy ice cream surrounded by all of the flavors of fall without having to bake and for that matter you don’t even have to break out your ice cream machine for this easy no-churn ice cream.

Apple Cinnamon Caramel Crunch Ice Cream

This warmly cool concoction is super simple to make and even though your heart may still be in the summer, your taste buds will be doing somersaults for more of this traditional apple-cinnamon flavor combination. The soft vanilla base with a hit of cinnamon will instantly give you that sense of warmth, while the sweet apples, gooey caramel and crunchy toffee bits will provide an amazing flavor and texture combination. Just one bite will have you making this ice cream all-year round!

Apple Cinnamon Caramel Crunch IceCream

Apple Cinnamon Caramel Crunch Ice Cream {no-churn}

2 Pink Lady apples (or apple of your choice), pealed, cored and chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups heaving whipping cream
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk, chilled
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2-4 tablespoons caramel sauce (homemade or store-bought)
1/2 cup Hershey’s Heath Bits’O Brickle Toffee Bits

Place chopped apples, butter, sugar, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a sauce pan over medium heat. Cook for about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally until apples are tender. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Cool completely. You can also place in the refrigerator to quicken the cooling process.

When the apples are completely cooled, make the ice cream base. In a bowl of an electric stand mixer with the whisk attachment, add the heavy whipping cream and beat on high-speed until stiff peaks form.

In a separate large bowl, add the sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and stir to combine. Then fold in the whipped cream a little at a time and stir lightly until smooth. Add apple mixture and gently fold in until just combined.

In a loaf pan or ice cream container, add 1/2 of the ice cream. Top with about 1-2 tablespoons of caramel sauce and run your knife through to swirl, then sprinkle with about 1/4 cup of toffee bits, and repeat ending with the toffee bits on the top. Cover with plastic wrap and put in your freezer for about 6 hours, until firm, or overnight.

Apple Cinnamon Caramel Crunch Ice Cream

Place large scoops of this luscious Apple Cinnamon Caramel Crunch Ice Cream into bowls, and if you dare, drizzle with a douse more of caramel and an extra sprinkling of toffee bits. Then serve immediately to your hungry family and friends!



Crunchy Pea Salad

Sweet peas never tasted so good! This simple Crunchy Pea Salad is a delightful change from the leafy green salad variety and it’s perfect to eat on a hot summer day! It’s easy to make and great served with just about any main course. And to me, cold peas are much better than hot!

Crunchy Pea Salad

Truth be told, I didn’t like peas when I was growing up. As a matter of fact, I didn’t much like any type of vegetable as a kid. It was a struggle for me to get through a dinner without my dad repeating over and over again, “eat your vegetables” and “you cannot leave the table until you eat your vegetables”.

My family was part of the “clean your plate” club. Not something I was a willing participant. Yes I was stubborn. Back in the day, I spent many hours staring at my plate filled with the vegetables I despised until my dad finally gave up and excused me from my duties of guarding the uneaten veggies.

I dreaded dinner on a nightly basis. What I really wanted was dessert! What about you?

Crunchy Pea Salad

I guess it’s true with most kids — they don’t like veggies and they will refuse to eat them. It then becomes the parents struggle to get their kids to eat these nutritious things grown from the ground. When my son was little I did not force him to eat anything, rather I would offer him a bite of this or that, just a little bite to try.

I discovered that by doing this daily ritual, it made our mealtime a pleasant experience. And eventually my kid found the veggies he enjoyed. However still to this day, my  teen will not eat anything green! Give him a raw, uncooked, cold carrot and he is a happy camper!  Now I am not complaining. I would rather him eat some raw carrots every day than no veggie at all! I still offer him other veggies with hopes that he will one day find something green that puts a smile on his face!

Crunchy Pea Salad

And thank goodness that I evolved as well. I am a huge veggie lover. I probably love veggies more than fruit – I know that’s kind of weird since I love to cook sweet things! However, I still really don’t like cooked peas – but served cold and mixed with some of my favorite things well now that’s a different story!

So, even if you are not a green veggie or “pea” fan, you have got to try this salad. You start with a bag of thawed frozen peas, add some green onions, water chestnuts and cashews for the crunch. Then you toss it with some delicious buttermilk ranch dressing and voila — you’ve got a great salad to serve to your family, friends and guests alike. And it passed the taste test from my ever so picky hubby — he had two servings! So get ready to pass the peas!

Crunchy Pea Salad

Crunchy Pea Salad

1 (10.8 oz.) bag petite frozen peas, thawed
1 (8 oz.) can sliced water chestnuts, thinly sliced
4 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup cashews, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup Homemade Buttermilk Ranch dressing (or your favorite store-brought brand)
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl combine peas, water chestnuts, green onions and cashews. Add the Ranch dressing a bit at a time until and mix lightly until you get the ratio of salad and dressing that you like. Chill for 1 hour before serving.

Crunchy Pea Salad

This Crunchy Pea Salad is also one of those delightful transition type salads. It’s great served in the summertime along side barbecued chicken and can made an appearance during a Thanksgiving day brunch and even continue on through to Easter as a wonderful accompaniment to your succulent sweet ham.

Now come on and eat your peas with this delicious Crunchy Pea Salad!



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