Unchronological Order

Good morning, everyone! I hope you are all having the loveliest of mornings. This was a meal of garlicky cheddar broiled pita, scrambled tofu with peas, and sautéed zucchini with mushrooms and peppers. Eaten about a month ago, and I’m just posting this now because I’m terribly disorganized.

These treats are from Vincenzo’s (specialty European grocery store in Waterloo), and I can’t wait for my family to try them. I also bought these and took these pics back in May (whaaaat?) and I’m not sure why I’m just sharing them now.

  • caramel milk chocolate
  • Scottish all-butter shortbread
  • white chocolate cranberry shortbread
  • tiramisu cream milk chocolate
  • 99% dark chocolate for my very health-conscious grandfather
  • French pure butter cookies
  • 3 bags of Italian black truffle chips

During a FaceTime session between my mom and I, she decided it would be a good idea to DRAW a picture of me – this is what I got. :O

Another day, my friends and I went to Menchies for frozen yogurt to celebrate after our Physiology final exam.

My Menchies cup was loaded with:

  • taro frozen yogurt
  • Nutella frozen yogurt
  • Oreo frozen yogurt
  • chocolate frozen yogurt
  • cinnamon toast crunch cereal <– my favourite cereal as a kid, next to Corn Puffs and Reese’s. Multigrain Cheerios and Lucky Charms (only the charms, though, let’s be real) were so good, too. Man, I could write a whole post about different cereals. What was your favourite?
  • peanut butter crackle
  • chocolate crackle
  • cheesecake chunks
  • brownie chunks
  • Nanaimo bar
  • yogurt-covered pretzel
  • peanut butter sauce
  • peanut butter cookie dough <– I need more of this in my life
  • Oreo pieces

And 12 hours before the Menchies, we were studying on campus. I am going to miss Athena and Jasmine so much. 😦

Recently, I’ve been living off of Minimalist Baker recipes. I adapted her chocolate breakfast quinoa bowl and have been loving this breakfast with a banana + lots of peanut butter in the morning. It’s so easy to make, and is wonderful meal prep for the days that you feel like having a variation from oatmeal.

I made two batches over the last 1.5 weeks, and will buy another can of coconut milk later today so I can make another 4 servings!

Rich Chocolate Breakfast Quinoa

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup uncooked white quinoa
  • 1 can of coconut milk + enough water to make 2 cups total
  • sea salt
  • 3 heaping tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Rinse quinoa well. Drain.
  2. Heat saucepan over medium heat. Add rinsed, drained quinoa. Toast for 3 minutes while stirring rapidly to dry up water.
  3. Add coconut milk and water mixture, a pinch of salt, and stir. Boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low. Cook for 20-25 minutes, uncovered. Stir occasionally. If it stops simmering, increase heat to medium-low. It should be slightly simmering.
  4. When the liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender, remove from heat and add cocoa powder, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir to combine.
  5. Adjust flavours if needed, adding more water if you prefer a thinner texture.
  6. Eat! Don’t forget to top with chocolate, berries, more milk, or sliced banana. Nut butter is a must for me.
  7. Leftovers keep in the fridge, covered, for 2-3 days.

This morning, I realized that my milk was due to expire soon so I quickly whipped up a giant mug of hot chocolate. This mug was warm, sweet, but not too sweet, comforting, and absolutely delicious despite the hot and sunny weather. I enjoyed it with a chocolate almond croissant that I froze a few months ago. Thank you, past Cindy.

Easiest Hot Chocolate

INGREDIENTS

    • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 tbsp honey
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

PREPARATION

    • Whisk together the cocoa, maple, salt, and about 2 tablespoons milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until cocoa and honey are dissolved. Whisk in the rest of the milk and heat it over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until it is hot. Stir in the vanilla and serve.
    • If you like it frothy, blend it in the blender or use a milk frother.

Cocoa powder, guys. Apparently every recipe I made this week involves that good stuff. Since I didn’t have any coconut oil, I resorted to this recipe which is entirely free of added fats. The verdict? Not my favourite. I thought it had an odd bread-y texture, which was off-putting for brownies. I wouldn’t make this again. 😦

Fat-Free Vegan Brownies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup flour (I used spelt)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp flax meal plus 6 tbsp water, whisked together

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Sift all the dry ingredients, including the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt, into a bowl and set aside.
  2. In another bowl mix together the maple syrup, water, flaxmeal mixture, and vanilla extract. Whisk until well mixed.
  3. Add the flour-cocoa mixture to this in 3 batches, mixing after each addition using a ladle or spatula. The batter will be thick.
  4. Prepare an 8 X 8-inch baking pan by lining it with parchment. Leave an overhang on each side of the pan so you can easily lift the brownies. Pour the batter in and spread evenly.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool thoroughly. Lift out the brownies using the foil overhang as handles, and cut into squares. Enjoy!

And that’s it for today! I hope y’all have the best rest of the week, and I cannot wait to share some exciting stuff with you. Seriously exciting.

Stay on your toes!

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Baking for the Smell of It: Brownie Recipe!

Brownies! Yesterday was my last day of classes. With final exams on the horizon, what better way to spend my morning than go grocery shopping and baking? Baking is definitely the best way to procrastinate.

Is there anyone on the planet who doesn’t like brownies?

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Sweet, fudgy, chocolatey, rich, with a perfect crackled top, these brownies are definitely some of the best I’ve ever had.

Even better? They are incredibly easy to make and only require one bowl and less than 15 minutes of prep time. You probably have all the ingredients in your pantry already.

If you like cakey brownies, add an extra egg. For even fudgier brownies, bake for 25 minutes instead of 30. You could even add crushed candy canes on top for a festive holiday treat!

Super Easy Brownies
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • 150 mL melted coconut oil, butter, OR a combination – COOLED
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.25 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • sprinkle cinnamon (optional)
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Grease a nonstick 8×8 baking pan.
  2. Melt butter or coconut oil. Allow to cool.
  3. Add eggs when cool. Whisk. Add vanilla, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Whisk very well.
  4. Stir in the flour. When there are some streaks of flour left, add chocolate chips. Stir until there are no more streaks of flour.
  5. Pour batter into the pan. Spread batter, then swirl with knife if desired.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife comes out almost clean.
  7. Cool in the pan for 1-2 hours, until completely cool.
  8. Transfer brownies to a cutting board.
  9. Use a very sharp chef’s knife to cut the brownies into 16 squares, using quick, strong motions to prevent the top from crackling and breaking.
  10. Enjoy!

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I’m sure you will love these. 🙂

Let me know if you give this recipe (or any of my other recipes!) a try! I’d love to hear about how they turned out.

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Happy Tuesday, and good luck to fellow students who have upcoming final exams!

Blender Banana Pancakes

Good morning everyone! I have a quick and easy recipe to share with you guys today. I made these about a month ago and haven’t had the chance to touch up the post until now. I present to you – banana pancakes made in the blender!

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This recipe was simple and made the most perfect, round pancakes. However, they were a bit flat, so next time I’ll either amp up the leavening agents just a bit, or add less almond milk. The texture is different than my normal pancakes in that it’s more dense, and the banana flavour is distributed evenly throughout. I prefer chunks of fluffy “banana marshmallows”! Drizzled in maple and served with berries, this batch was still devoured!

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This batch was topped with berries, pecans, and hemp hearts. One was mixed with cocoa powder for a special chocolate pancake! Still, I find this batter a bit bland. I’m going to play with the proportions a bit, even though I still prefer making pancakes with spelt flour. 🙂

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Superfood Blender Banana Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • Pancake toppings!

Directions

  1. Blend rolled oats until they are a fine flour.
  2. Add other ingredients (except coconut oil) into the blender and blend for approximately 30 seconds.
  3. Let the batter rest for 10-20 minutes and cook in coconut oil.
  4. Serve immediately with fresh fruit and maple syrup, plus any other toppings you desire. This recipe makes 6 pancakes.

1 serving: 3 pancakes = 275 calories with maple syrup


You can find my other pancake recipes on my pancake page HERE, including the recipe for my all-time favourite everyday pancakes (which I am enjoying as I type this right now!). I seriously love pancakes!

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How about you?

  1. Do you like pancakes?
  2. How often do you use the blender?

Nuts for Coconut {Customizable Pancakes for One}

I have a problem. I love coconuts too much! Toasted coconut chips, to be exact. These came in HUGE bags from Costco (for cheap, which is why we bought them 😉 ) and are incredible. Subtly sweet, super crispy, and with a lovely coconut flavour. I am eating these every single day now! Here, I used them as a delicious oatmeal topping. The base of the oatmeal is made with mashed banana, and I also added hemp hearts, pitted cherries, and some chocolate-espresso muffin that Mimi brought from Whole Foods.

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This awesome bowl also featured a banana in the base, and was topped with homemade spelt-blueberry muffin, fresh blueberries, coconut chips, and hemp hearts. Do you like this shell bowl? 😀

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Pear pancakes were devoured another day – with spelt flour, cinnamon, and half a grated pear, these pancakes had awesome flavour and a hint of vanilla.

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Pear pancakes are so IN right now – I think they’ve temporarily won my heart over banana pancakes. I just love them! This was topped with hemp hearts, maple syrup (didn’t actually need syrup, to be honest) and coconut chips.

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These super yummy pancakes were made with mashed banana and cocoa powder. They look so perfect! I topped it with coconut chips, fresh raspberries, and coconut chips.

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The mashed banana imparted such a sweet, fruity flavour that maple syrup was completely unnecessary! These pancakes were super soft. Aren’t fresh raspberries the best? They are definitely my favourite summer berry. Here’s the recipe for these incredible pancakes.


Everyday Pancakes for One

Makes 3 or 4 pancakes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 mashed banana // 1/2 grated pear or apple // big scoop yogurt or pumpkin puree
  • Splash of almond milk (about 1-2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • OPTIONAL: 1 tsp flax // 1 tsp chia seeds // 1 tsp hemp hearts
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon (can increase to 1/2 tsp if you’re a cinnamon lover like me!)
  • OPTIONAL: sprinkle of nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons spelt flour (can increase to 4 tbsp, which is 1/4 cup if batter is too runny)
  • OPTIONAL: 1 tbsp cocoa powder for chocolate pancakes (decrease to 2 tbsp spelt flour)
  • OPTIONAL: berries, chocolate chips, raisins, shredded coconut to mix in
  • Coconut oil for cooking
  • Pancake toppings!
DIRECTIONS
  1. Mash banana, grate pear/apple, or plop yogurt/pumpkin into a bowl.
  2. Whisk in an egg.
  3. Add almond milk and all of the ingredients up to spelt flour.
  4. Add spelt flour and stir carefully just to combine. Be careful not to overmix! Fold in desired mix-ins.
  5. Heat a nonstick skillet to medium-high. Add a smidgen of coconut oil.
  6. Cook the pancakes for a couple minutes over medium heat. When bubbles appear, and the base is golden brown, flip and cook for another minute or so.
  7. Remove from skillet and serve with maple syrup and whatever toppings you like! 🙂

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And cherries are my favourite fruit by far! I could eat cherries every day. These cherries were from the farmer’s market and are so sweet and juicy.

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This base also had a spoonful of cocoa powder stirred in. It tasted like a black forest cake with the chocolate and cherries. Loved it!

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This bowl was also very chocolatey. I surrounded a big pile of coconut chips with fresh raspberries and hemp hearts.

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More pancakes! I used the cocoa powder addition that I mentioned in the recipe above. This batch had chocolate chips and chopped cherries stirred inside to make a ‘black forest’-themed batch of pancakes.

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I can’t say it enough – these pancakes are so incredibly tender and moist (I know, it’s not a very “pretty” food word!) and have great texture, thanks to the spelt flour. With chocolate chips, toasted coconut, and sweet fresh berries, this plate didn’t need a drop of syrup.

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Yes, you guessed it – more pancakes! This batch of pear pancakes was topped with the last of our raspberries and some more coconut chips. I really, really hope you give my pancake recipe a try – it’s definitely my best yet and I’ve had it at least ten times since discovering it! 🙂 You can find some of my other pancake recipes here. I really encourage you to give this one a try, though!

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Like I promised in a previous post, I have super exciting news to share with you guys! TWO bits of exciting news, actually.


1. My family is travelling to the Sunshine Coast next week! We are leaving on Sunday for the Powell River, and several other tourist destinations, like Earl’s Cove. Here’s a brief summary of what we have planned. We booked it with BC Ferries, by the way 🙂

2 nights: Painted Boat Resort Spa and Marina (Madeira Park)

  • Restaurant dinner 5-9
  • Spa Wed. to Sun. from 10-6

1 night: Beach Gardens Resort and Marina (Powell River)

2 nights: Beach Club Resort (Parksville)
*includes two free lunches at Pacific Prime Steak and Chop Restaurant
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These are the beautiful hotels that we’ll be staying at – the Beach Club Resort and the Painted Boat Resort, respectively. 🙂
Horseshoe Bay —> Lansdale
Earls Cove —> Saltery Bay (Jervis Inlet)
Powell River // Westview —> Comox // Little River
Nanaimo // Departure Bay —> Horseshoe Bay

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I’m so excited about this trip! I’ve already made a page dedicated to our seven days in Coastal BC. You can follow my adventures on my blog (I’ll be blogging afterwards) and reading the special page. Especially after checking out all the menus. I don’t think it’s possible to get fresher seafood anywhere in the world! Here are some of the other restaurants in the Sunshine Coast that I’m dying to visit:

  • King Ludwig’s German Restaurant
  • Daisy’s Place
  • Harry’s on Buderim
  • Little Hut Curry
  • Royal Zayka
  • Laughing Oyster
  • Chasters Restaurant
  • Costa del Sol Latin
  • Coastal Cookery
  • Smoke on the Water BBQ Shack
  • Blue Heron Inn
  • Edie Rae’s Cafe
  • Ty’s Fine Foods and Bistro
  • Alchemist
  • SweetWater Bistro (DESSERT)
  • River City Coffee (DESSERT)
  • The Green Rosette Bakery
  • Nancy’s Bakery
  • Laverne’s Grill (ice cream)
  • Nagomi’s Sushi Bar
  • Absolutely Thai
  • The Old Boot Eatery
  • Sita’s Spag Shack
  • Leo’s Tapas and Greek Cuisine
  • Beach Bouy Waterfront Restaurant
  • Gumboot Caf

The second bit of news is even better! I’m actually smiling as I write this right now:

My sister and I will be living in Paris, France, for 3.5 weeks in August!

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You might know my sister, who is fifteen years old (two years younger than me!). She travelled to Ottawa, Ontario a couple months ago, and I did a couple blog posts about her adventures in Canada’s capital. You can read the “Ottawa Girl Eats” post here!

Here are some of the details:

  • I’ve been babysitting and reading to the three children of a very kind family friend for about three years now. Her sister, the sweet Aunt Maggie, is married to a man who lives in Paris. They live five minutes from Disneyland, Paris, and invited me to live with her during the summer while caring for her 3.5 year old son, Alexandre.
  • I will take care of little Alexandre for 1.5 hours in the morning and 1.5 hours in the evening. Meanwhile, Seline will help with housework.
  • We will have the middle of every day to ourselves – I want to fully immerse myself in the incredible French culture and visit museums, famous streets, historical monuments, and of course, eat French specialties!
  • Fortunately, I know a bit of French from the six weeks I spent in Quebec last summer. 🙂
  • When we get back, I will have less than 48 hours to rewind at home before my mom and I fly off to Waterloo, Ontario for university!

Escargots in a Paris restaurant ???????

A couple days ago, I composed a list of must-see places in Paris!

  • Disneyland Paris
  • Versailles Castle (Chateau de Versailles) and gardens, shopping
  • Eiffel Tower // Trocadero Square
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • Champs Elysees (shopping)
  • Musee du Louvre
  • Quartier des Halles: Pompidou Centre, City Hall
  • Musee d’Orsay
  • Musee National d’Art Moderne
  • St. Martin Canal
  • Notre-Dame Cathedral
  • Sainte-Chapelle
  • St. Michel district (Sorbonne and Luxembourg gardens)
  • Montmartre district
  • Sacre-Couer Basilica on Montmartre
  • Tuileries Garden
  • Concorde Square
  • Rivoli Street (famous for shopping and fashion)
  • Cruise on the Seine (bateaux mouches)
  • Marais district (Bastille Opera, Vosges Square, Victor Hugo House)
  • Les Catacombes
  • Pantheon
  • FARMERS MARKETS!

MUST-VISIT BISTROS

  1. Le Bistrot Paul Bert
  2. Frenchie
  3. Chez Georges
  4. Josephine Chez Dumonet
  5. Le Regalade
  6. Le Pantruche – Bistrot Gourmand
  7. Le Comptoir du Relais
    • Chez Michel
    • Chez l’Ami Jean
    • A La Biche au Bois
    • Le Baratin
    • Breizh Cafe
    • La Point du Groin
    • Allard
    • Quincy
MUST-VISIT CROISSANTS
  1. Du Pain et des Idees
  2. Pierre Herme
  3. Ble Sucree
  4. Le Grenier a Pain
  5. La Patisserie Cyril Lignac
    • Maison Kayser
    • Sebastien Gaudard Patisserie des Martyrs (almond croissant)
    • Gerard Mulot (almond)
    • Poilane
    • Bread and Roses
    • Landemaine
    • Au Levain du Marais (almond croissant)

Italicized cafes and restaurants are maybes – the first 5 to 7 are must-see places!


I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited – or scared (first time in another country without parents!) – in my life! Will definitely keep you all posted on everything. I’ve even made a page for my adventures in France – you can check it out here. 🙂
Thanks for reading this super long post… have a delicious week!

Almond Banana Muffins

Would you believe me if I told you that these are the butteriest, softest, and most banana-ish muffins I’ve ever made – but without a speck of butter OR flour? They taste kind of like these incredible banana pancakes – in healthy muffin form!

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Please excuse these hideous photos taken on my mom’s I-Phone. I’m honestly so embarrassed to even be posting this right now but this recipe was requested! 😛 I didn’t take photos of the muffins on my camera because I was too busy working on a new Quebec post. Check out the first three posts of my amazing Montreal trip by clicking HERE (Part I), HERE (Part II), or HERE (Part III)! Don’t worry about losing this page because the other posts will open up in separate tabs. 🙂

This recipe, which I featured on this post back in April (whoa), was designed by Judy at Stone Soup and then adapted by Honest Fare, then Simply Scratch, and now… me! 🙂 I saw this recipe on Simply Scratch a long time ago. I couldn’t make it before because we didn’t have cocoa powder, but now we do and I absolutely love it!

Back to the muffins. These are some of the tastiest banana muffins I’ve ever made. They’re (I repeat) super buttery, tender, and not overly sweet. They’re spiced with a bit of cinnamon and have a great texture. Plus, they have a rich chocolatey centre that takes it over the top. No one will know about the chocolatey middle until they bite into it, which is always a lovely surprise! Oh, and did I mention how much I loved decorating the top? Right – and these are probably the healthiest muffins ever (zero flour, oil, or butter, plus low in sugar!). Now on to the recipe.

 

Almond Banana Muffins

Makes 12 muffins (approx. 45 minutes)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 9 ounces Sliced Almonds, plus more for topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • A pinch of Kosher Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 ounces Sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Heaping 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 ripe bananas, chopped, plus more for topping (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees and spray a standard muffin tin {you could also line it with paper liners}. I like to grease muffin tins and bread pans with coconut oil. It doesn’t affect the taste in any way.

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Add nine ounces of sliced almonds into a food processor and blend until finely ground. Make sure they’re blended up nice and powdery, but don’t blend for TOO long or you’ll end up with almond butter! Place the almond meal into a large mixing bowl along with the 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. Stir the almond meal with the baking powder.

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Add the two eggs, sugar, bananas, vanilla, and cinnamon into the processor and blend until smooth like pancake batter. Pour the banana mixture into the bowl with the almond meal and stir until incorporated.

Remove a third of the batter to a smaller bowl and stir in two tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder.

Measure out a couple spoonfuls of the plain banana mixture into each of the muffin slots. Then top with a couple of spoonfuls of the cocoa-banana mixture and top with one spoonful of the remaining plain banana mixture.

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Top with slices of banana and sliced almonds. We also decorated some with flax seeds, shredded unsweetened coconut, and chocolate chips. Place the muffins into your preheated 300 degree oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

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Let cool for 10 minutes before using a rubber spatula to loosen and remove the muffins. Let them cool on a cooling rack and enjoy some still warm! They also reheat well, and you can keep them in an airtight container for 2-3 days (if they last that long!). We also froze five in a baggie for busy mornings in the future. 🙂

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That’s it for the recipe! They make a wonderful breakfast, snack, and dessert. I also like them crumbled up on yogurt or oatmeal. Mmmm… muffin oatmeal.

By the way, my aunt and uncle are coming back from NEPAL tomorrow! We’re going to have a party on Tuesday. 😀 Grandpa treated us to Cactus Club for lunch today and I’m still stuffed right now. More on that in a future post! Got to go finish up a lab, review Calculus, and study for my Solution Chemistry test. See you next time and have a great Sunday evening. 🙂