Blueberry Banana Muffins

Who else loves banana muffins?

Studded with blueberries, these simple, healthy, and super cute muffins are sure to be devoured. Loaded with banana flavour from three large bananas, the cinnamon-vanilla batter tastes fantastic with fresh (or frozen!) blueberries.

I also love the use of applesauce in this recipe to keep the muffins tender. Enjoy!

Blueberry Banana Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups flour (180 g)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Grease 12 muffin cups.
  3. Toss one scoop of flour (from the 1.5 cups) with the 1 cup of blueberries. If you wish, you may reserve some for the topping.
  4. Place all ingredients, except flour and blueberries, in the blender. When fully combined, stir in flour. Do not over-mix.
  5. Fold in the flour-coated blueberries.
  6. Pour into muffin cups and bake for 20+ minutes.

Yum. Let’s get baking!

PS: you need to slather these with almond butter. Please.

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Have a beautiful rest of the week, everyone ❤

New Things

A new thing from last week: moving for my first time. I’m scarred.

#sleptonthefloorforfivenights #nevermovingagain

Another new thing: before I left Waterloo, I visited Perimeter Institute with my friends. One of them works at Perimeter, which is an institute for theoretical physics. It’s a beautiful, massive, modern, bright building with a lovely bistro and great desserts. You can bet that I had two desserts + two mugs of tea with milk and honey.

New thing #3: I met up with Vivian, an incredible Schulich Leader and WE Day speaker from UBC. We enjoyed dinner at The Chickpea, a new vegan restaurant on Main Street in Vancouver. I ordered the fried eggplant dish, which was topped with yams, chickpeas, and garlicky tahini. There was a great hummus on the side, along with salad and chickpea fries.

Not including the lovely conversation, dessert was the highlight of my night. This was a vegan carrot cake, super tender and just sweet enough, served with the richest, creamiest vanilla ice cream (vegan, made with coconut milk). L-O-V-E. Honestly I cannot say enough good things about this coconut vanilla ice cream.

Mom made a great dinner a couple days ago – braised chicken with taro. On the side, I made a rolled black sesame and red bean crepe sweetened with brown sugar.

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Indian food! I need some. Where is my palak paneer at?

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A couple days ago, I made pesto pizza on naan flatbread, topped with stir-fried mushrooms.

So yummy! Seline’s had garlic tomato sauce instead of pesto, and some Tex Mex cheese on top. We loved, loved, loved this dinner. 5 stars from me, 4 from Seline 😉

This morning, I savoured some buns that Grandma bought for me. I’m super lucky to have a lovely 奶奶 (granny) who buys me all kinds of buns. Here, we have:

  • cocktail buns filled with sweetened shredded coconut
  • red bean bun
  • taro bun (my #1 favourite because it was soft and perfectly sweetened, with a “bolo” topping)

On another note, another new thing: I went skating yesterday. I grew up doing competitive figure skating, so it completely filled my heart to be back on the ice after three years.

Grandma ❤ Her nails are always on point, as her her hand-knitted sweaters.

Grandma and I had lunch at Pho99, a Vietnamese restaurant where we both enjoyed lemongrass chicken with rice, bone broth soup, and fresh cabbage.

The best new thing! À la Evangeline (check out her new post, by the way – I have hearts in my eyes), I enjoyed a waffle breakfast yesterday. I made the batter with one egg, 1/2 a banana, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1/8 tsp baking soda, and plenty of vanilla and cinnamon. After a few minutes in the waffle maker, my waffle tasted great with nut butter and blueberries. ❤ Have I been converted? Maybe 70% 😉

An oldie, but a goodie – I made some chocolate banana bread. It’s my favourite recipe, which uses applesauce, a small amount of sugar, and no eggs. It tasted wonderful with yogurt, more summery blueberries, and crispy coconut cookies. I had seconds thirds.

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Enjoy the rest of your week, everyone!

BC, I’ve Missed You ❤

I’ve missed having big, fluffy blueberry-studded pancakes topped with the creamiest nut butter and a smattering of more fresh blueberries.

So much, in fact, that I had this breakfast three days in a row. Half a mashed banana in the batter makes quite the difference for texture and subtle sweetness, in my opinion.

I made banana pancakes another morning, bunny-style. Pretty proud of how these turned out, in terms of taste and presentation!

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Seline is a fabulous artist, and she persuaded me to do some doodling with her. We drew the same picture of a goddess character from her favourite anime, Seven Deadly Sins. My rendition is on the left, and hers is on the right.

My mom cooked Hainanese chicken rice another day, which we enjoyed with braised broccoli and carrots.

We played with the aerial silks at the Vancouver Circus School, went to the Kaleidoscope Arts Festival in Coquitlam, and looked over LaFarge Lake.

More delicious Hainanese chicken rice was devoured. This is one of my favourite versions of chicken + rice. I love Chinese bok choy, stir-fried with garlic.

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There is always a plethora of cookies and baked goods in the Wei family home. Here, I have dessert: yogurt with a blueberry-banana muffin top, lemon poppyseed muffin, cream cheese pound cake, and a coconut cookie.

Mom is looking so cute here as she cooks. Seline put a removable tattoo on my wrist, and I think it’s fun to look at.

Mom makes a great winter melon stew with krill, as well as braised chicken drumsticks with taro chunks. I adore taro. Do you like taro? Have you tried it in sweet and savoury dishes?

More dessert: I made an Earl Grey cake on my second day home, and that was super flavourful and crumbly. On the right: cream cheese pound cake turned into French toast for one breakfast, topped with a generous smear of Nutella.

This morning, my breakfast consisted of a large mug of unpictured English Breakfast tea latte, and a big plate of two scrambled eggs, baked treats, a chopped peach, and creamy honey-flavoured yogurt with flaxseeds and blueberries. Breakfast was followed by a little too much nibbling on shortbread cookies.

The family doggie turned nine a few weeks ago, but he is still full of energy. He loves the park!

Yesterday, met up with the grandparents in Burnaby, where we ordered lots of great sushi. My favourite rolls are the Aburi flame-seared ones.

This is completely out of place, as it’s from back in Waterloo – Famoso Pizzeria, where I savoured this great Cavoletti pizza with (get this!) toasted walnuts, chopped dates, honey, crispy prosciutto, brussels sprouts, and gorgonzola. For my side, I chose a salad topped with Caprese ingredients – mozzarella, tomato, and pistachio pesto.

With tiramisu and a scoop of salted caramel gelato. Yummmm. Tiramisu is amongst (among?) my top five favourite desserts.

Rouzao rice is a Taiwanese specialty that my mom cooks once in a while. It’s essentially a stew of ground pork and pork belly, spiced with soy sauce, star anise, onions, and garlic.

A couple nights ago, my family and I went to the Richmond Night Market, where Seline and I shared a carton of takoyaki (deep-fried octopus balls), and I had a bag of sesame bubble waffles and a taiyaki (Korean fish-shaped waffle filled with red bean).

Recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time working on our vacation plans. My family is going to Salt Spring Island in two weeks, so I am very excited about all the activities we’ll be doing.

With a mug of tea, I spend some mornings designing the activities of each day. It’s such a short vacation (~3 days total), but so much to do there.

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I can’t wait to go to a public skating session. Skating is great in the summer, in my opinion.

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Yesterday, I feasted on the most delicious homemade crepe I’ve made. Here’s the super simple recipe:

Easy Nutella Banana Crepes

Serves 1

Crepe INGREDIENTS

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Topping INGREDIENTS

  • 1 banana, sliced thinly
  • 3 tbsp Nutella

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Whisk together all crepe ingredients.
  2. Grease pan with butter or coconut oil. Pour batter into large pan and rotate pan in circular motion so batter coats the surface evenly.
  3. Cook over medium-high heat. Cook for 2 minutes, until bottom is cooked. Flip and cook the other side.
  4. Place crepe on a cutting board and generously spread Nutella on the entire crepe. Top with sliced banana, fold, and place on a plate. Decorate with more banana slices.

NOTE: You can place banana slices on the center third of the crepe and then fold the two sides over, or place bananas on 1/4 of the crepe and do two half-folds.

I also baked up a storm!

These lopsided round-ish treats are muffin tops that I found via Evangeline on Nutrition with a Mission, who discovered them on Athletic Avocado. I made a couple small changes here and there:

Blueberry Banana Muffin Tops

Makes 6 large, 12 small

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 packed cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup nut butter (I used a mix of brazil nut and cashew nut butter)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/3 cup crushed nuts (I used a mix of roasted nuts from Costco, like cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, peanuts, etc.)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Combine almond butter, egg, maple syrup, vanilla, and banana in a bowl. Whisk until well-combined. Add a splash of water or milk if needed.
  4. Add almond flour, cinnamon, and baking soda. Mix in blueberries, and combine.
  5. Mix all topping ingredients together.
  6. Spoon batter into 6 large or 12 smaller muffin tops.
  7. Bake muffin tops for 20 minutes, or until done.

I also made these tasty lemon poppyseed muffins.

Vegan Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp flaxseed meal + 5 tbsp water)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or grape seed oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup flour

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease or line a standard muffin tin.
  2. Prepare flax eggs. Allow to rest.
  3. Add applesauce, lemon juice and zest, oil, almond milk, maple syrup, sugar, baking soda, salt, and whisk for one minute. Foaming will occur as the lemon juice reacts with the baking soda.
  4. Add flour, almond meal, and oats. Stir with a spoon until combined. Do not over-mix. If batter appears too thick, add more almond milk. It should be thick and not pourable. Stir in poppy seeds and whisk again.
  5. Divide batter evenly between 12 muffin tins.
  6. Bake for 17-22 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Cool for several minutes in the pan. Remove from tins, and let cool on a cooling rack. Will keep, covered, for several days.

The muffins, and the muffin tops, were both incredible. If you have a day in the kitchen, I highly recommend giving them a shot!

Another recipe I tried, adopted heavily from Allrecipes to reduce sugar (original was 2 cups), and swap 75% of the oil for unsweetened applesauce.

German Apple Cake

Serves one 9×13, can cut into 12 medium-sized pieces

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 heaping cups apples, peeled, cored, and diced (I used 4 gala apples)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour one 9×13 inch cake pan.
  2. Toss diced apples with a scoop of flour to coat (prevents sinking).
  3. Beat oil and eggs until creamy. Add sugar and vanilla.
  4. Add cinnamon, baking soda, then salt.
  5. Add flour, and mix until combined. Fold in the apples.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes, until cake tests clean.

Have a beautiful week, everyone ❤

Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Hi everyone! I was super bored this afternoon, so for our potluck party tonight, I whipped up a blueberry-lemon coffee cake before the SWEATIEST hot yoga class. 🙂
This recipe was inspired by Ina Garten’s on Food Network, with some modifications. Below is the recipe that we used, but I think next time I will replace sugar with coconut sugar (in streusel) and maple syrup (in cake batter). Next time, I’ll also be using a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon instead of the lemon zest, simply because I’m not a lemon fan! I’ll also be adding a bit less sour cream – maybe a scant 2/3 cup. I might even use Greek yogurt next time!
I’m thinking raspberries would be perfect here too… next time, next time. 😉
We cut ours into 16 slices, which were pretty small but very filling after our big potluck dinner. I was stuffed afterwards! Sorry – no pictures today because I was too busy popping fallen pieces of streusel into my mouth. This streusel recipe is AMAZING and I’m going to add pecans next time. Enjoy!

Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Makes 6-8 servings
INGREDIENTS
For the streusel:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
114 g coconut oil, melted
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
For the cake:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (3/4 stick)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Generous 2/3 cup sour cream (eyeballed this!)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
Confectioners’ sugar for sprinklingDIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round baking pan.
  2. Combine both sugars, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Add flour. Stir in the coconut oil. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar in a separate bowl (we used our KitchenAid). Beat for 4-5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time. Then, add vanilla, lemon zest, and sour cream.
  5. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Remove some of the dry ingredients (mixed), and flour the blueberries. Roll the wet blueberries in the dry ingredients to coat them in the flour mixture.
  6. Turn mixer to low speed and add dry ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix.
  7. Carefully fold the blueberries into the batter. Stir with a spatula.
  8. Pour batter into prepared pan. Spread with a spatula or knife.
  9. Use fingers to crumble the topping evenly over the batter. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.
  10. Cool completely and cut into slices to serve. You can enjoy this with confectioner’s sugar, more berries, ice cream, or whipped cream.

6 slices (198 g each) = 685 calories, 34.5 g fat, 44 g sugar

8 slices (148 g each) = 514 calories, 25.8 g fat, 33 g sugar
12 slices (99 g each) = 343 calories, 17.2 g fat, 22 g sugar
16 slices (74 g each) = 257 calories, 12.9 g fat, 16.5 g sugar
24 slices (49 g each) = 171 calories, 8.6 g fat, 11 g sugar

Scholar’s Dinner Banquet

Good morning everyone! I have a couple of meals to share with you guys today. These are actually pretty old photos that were taken in early June! This was a dinner I enjoyed – leftover quinoa mixed with coconut curry sauce, chickpeas, spinach, and chicken breast. This was served on steamed broccoli.

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This Mexican-inspired lunch also involved quinoa – as well as sautéed corn and scallions, canned black beans, half an avocado, freshly-grated white cheddar, and a big scoop of salsa. These are all my favourite Mexican toppings. What a filling and delicious lunch. I love how there’s an emphasis on lean protein and healthy fats here.

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Breakfast one morning was pumpkin oatmeal topped with berries and sliced figs, as well as hemp hearts. According to Seline, this looked “like some biological cell”. She thought it looked bizarre with the rows of fruit! Well, I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder – and I happen to think oatmeal is super pretty. 😉 Do you like figs?

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We had dinner one night at the school. Our chef and his team of culinary students cooked up a yummy dinner. The counsellors, administrators, and leadership student volunteers helped to set up many large tables for families and gold scholars.

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Everyone was dressed up in suits and dresses. This was our first graduation-related event, and it was so exciting!

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Dinner was buffet-style. I scooped up some salad with ranch, potato salad (spicy with paprika), rice and shrimp in a jambalaya-style dish, a lemon-herb chicken drumstick, and some of the best parmesan penne pasta with vegetables.

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My favourite bites here were definitely the spiced rice with shrimp and the pasta with zucchini and broccoli in cream sauce.

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There was also dessert – my sister and I LOVED the crumbly graham chocolate square, and I also enjoyed the mixed chocolate brownie. It tasted like a truffle bar. Both desserts were incredible! I wish I could find the recipe for the graham chocolate.

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Breakfast the next morning was pancakes. I tried a new recipe, using homemade buttermilk (almond milk + lemon juice). This banana-less recipe didn’t get thick and fluffy, but had great flavor from the acidic lemon. I’ll need to make this recipe a couple of times to make it 100% the way I like it – then I’ll update it onto my Recipe page. 🙂

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Topped with fruit, hemp hearts, and maple syrup, pancakes are always my weekend go-to breakfast.

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Oatmeal comes as a close second when it comes to my favourite brekkie. This shell bowl was topped with chopped cherries, toasted coconut chips, and crumbled chocolate espresso muffin. I love cherry oatmeal, especially when it’s made with fragrant vanilla almond milk.

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A similar but different bowl – adorned with halved cherries, coconut chips, and a scattering of hemp hearts. 🙂 Such a filling and energizing breakfast. You can make it even more satiating with a scoop of almond butter. Have you tried cherry oatmeal?

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That’s it for today! We just spent two nights in Madeira Park, near Sechelt. It’s 7:04 AM and I’m typing this on our little patio, with five, yes, FIVE muffins in front of me! I can’t wait to show you guys all the things I’ve been eating and doing here on she Sunshine Coast. I have some awesome photos to share with you guys in a couple weeks – stay tuned 🙂

Prom Princess Meals

Prom was yesterday! I had such a great time with my friends last night – AfterGrad ended at 4:00 AM and I was exhausted. The whole day was incredible, though most of it was spent in the hot sun and in an uncomfortable dress. But the lovely photos were worth it! Started the day with pancakes at 7:00 AM before dashing off to a friend’s house for hair and makeup.

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These pancakes were made using my all-time favourite pancake recipe. After mixing the wet ingredients, I separated the batter into two bowls and mixed cocoa powder into one bowl. That’s why two pancakes are chocolate and the other are plain. 🙂 It’s a great way to add more flavour, colour, and texture into your meal.

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One chocolate and one plain where topped with coconut chips – honestly, I put them on everything now – and another chocolate and another plain were smeared with peanut butter and sprinkled with hemp hearts.

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Yogurt is back! Mom bought a large container of honey Greek yogurt from Costco, which was on discount. I love mixing it with a bit of flax and cinnamon before dolloping it onto my pancakes. They add a bit of coolness, creaminess and tang. If you haven’t tried adding yogurt to pancakes, do it! It’s like the icing on your cake. 🙂

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After hair and makeup, we headed to another friend’s house for snacks and conversation. Before the limo arrived, we enjoyed veggies and dip, chocolate brownies (they reminded me of my black bean brownies!), and…

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sandwiches and wraps from Superstore. I had a spinach wrap with turkey – you’ll see in a bit. 🙂

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There was also a massive platter of sliced meat, cheese, and crackers. I found the gouda and mild cheddar a bit plain and bland, but the aged cheddar (orange one) was super flavourful. The crackers had a nice crispiness and taste as well. I didn’t have any meat, but Dad said they were quite tasty.

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There were also chips! The table was so beautiful with all the food and flowers.

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Another friend, Sally, brought a T&T black forest cake. Unfortunately, we didn’t open it. Looked really yummy, though. Here’s my spinach wrap, stuffed with sliced deli turkey, lots of bell peppers, and a bit of lettuce. I devoured this quick lunch and spent some time with everyone in the beautifully-decorated garden for lots of photos. Then, the limo came at around 3:00 and we piled in!

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My first time in a limousine was SO memorable. We drove off to Queen Elizabeth Park, and later Stanley Park (near the water), where we took about 23480923 more photos.

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This is Natasha, one of my close friends, who looked absolutely gorgeous in her mermaid-inspired white prom dress and vintage Hollywood waves. And isn’t Queen Elizabeth park amazing?

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Dinner was enjoyed at about 7:15 at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver. More photos were taken, and by then I had already switched my heels into Fast Flats. :mrgreen:

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The menu featured numerous cold salads and several hot meat and vegetable dishes. This was buffet-style, so I was so worried that I would overeat. Dessert was a buffet as well, which is D-A-N-G-E-R-O-U-S for me.

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While we waited for our table of ten to be called up, I snapped some photos of our table and the entire dining room.

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There were blue and silver GRAD balloons at every table, as well as neatly-arranged menus and cutlery. All of my friends and classmates looked so elegant in their dresses and suits.

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Sadly, we were one of the last tables to be called up. I was pretty hungry by then, and got a little bit of everything on my plate. Some of my favourite dishes here include the penne pasta with breadcrumbs, the mango and coconut rice salad, and balsamic asparagus with parmesan. The cooked (I just wrote cookied!) zucchini and BBQ salmon were great, too. I thought the chicken breast was very tender. 🙂

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This definitely gave me some “party food inspiration” for our next family get-together. I want to try baking maple BBQ salmon and making coconut rice salad. Yum! I was stuffed after this plate.

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But as I always tell my friends – I have another stomach for dessert! At the dessert table, I snabbed a white chocolate cheesecake square, a fruit tart, and a strawberry shortcake coupe, which I learned is simply a glass container for serving dessert – usually featuring cream and fruit.

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I also stole a bite of chocolate mousse. 🙂 The white chocolate cheesecake was my favourite dessert here – loved the crumbly graham bottom and chocolate coating. YUM. I’m still thinking about this cheesecake right now! 😛 Hopefully I’ll get a chance to recreate this cute little guy before leaving for Paris in the summer. Maybe for a family party or gathering?

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That’s it for now guys! I’m actually typing this on a couch in our beautiful lodge in Sechelt, BC. It’s Day 2 of our vacation and I am super excited to share all of our Sunshine Coast meals and adventures with you guys when I get back! They’ll be up in about two weeks, but I’ll still be posting. 🙂 I hope you all have an incredible week like we are here in the Sunshine Coast!