Chocolate & Peanut Butter Chip Banana Muffins

Muffins

Why in the heck does anyone in their right mind decide to bake muffins on a  90+ degree day?  They realize they have bananas piling up on their counter, their freezer is empty of any grab and go breakfast treats, and they haven’t created a blog post for months.

Yes, once again, other circumstances have prevented me from spending time baking in my kitchen  and have kept me away from blogging.  This is so FRUSTRATING! And if that isn’t bad enough, earlier this  month I also had a huge decision to make where my blog is concerned.  I had to  decide if I would continue to keep my domain and continue blogging or if I would shut my site down and walk away from six years of fun, creativity, and hard work.  In the end I decided that I’m not quite ready to retire TJOC just yet.

So, here I stand!  I’m ready to carry on with my  blogging and  I’m thinking about ways to bring new life to it.  I’m  interested in finding great sponsors to work with.  I would like to  freelance for real money, and I want to continue to grow The Joy of Caking.

In the past some of you have suggested that you would  like to see more camper remodeling projects  so I have been on the lookout for another camper to work on, but that may take some time since  many campers are overpriced, in horrible condition, or are just plain hard to find.   In the meantime, I will try to keep you entertained with new recipes and content.

Today’s recipe is a good one.  These muffins are sweet and moist thanks to the ripe banana’s and the chocolate and peanut butter chips.  I like keeping a batch of these in the freezer so on those days when I don’t know what to eat for breakfast I can grab one and go.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chip Banana Muffins

Serves 24
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Meal type Bread, Breakfast, Snack
Misc Freezable
By author Eileen @ The Joy of Caking
These are not your typical banana muffin thanks to tasty chocolate and peanut butter chips.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Butter (Softened)
  • 3 Bananas (Mashed)
  • 1 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup Peanut Butter Chips
  • 1/2 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two muffin pans with papers.
Step 2
Cream together butter, eggs, sugar, and mashed banana.
Step 3
Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Step 4
Spoon batter into lined muffin tins.
Step 5
Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center of muffin comes out clean.
Step 6
Cool before removing from pan.

Happy muffin making!  Now for a couple of tough questions…

Have you ever came to a crossroads with your blog like I did?  If so, what did you decide to do?   How do you feel about blogging today?  Is it gaining or losing it’s popularity?

Spring Projects That Are Keeping Me Busy

Spring gives me a renewed energy and a bounty of creativity.   I have been working on several projects both indoors and out.

My first project is this big arrow sign.  I had hubby make me a few of these with some scrape pine lumber and I am in the process of painting this one.  My plan is to put hooks on it and use it in my freshly painted bathroom to hang towels on.  I’ll share the finished version with you when I’m done.

Get crafty by DIY

I tried a new cake recipe I found on Pinterest and I was extremely disappointed in it.  In defense of the recipe, I may have over mixed this batter which made the cake a bit heavier than I expected.  However, I didn’t change the ingredients and this cake tasted very floury.  I’m not sharing this recipe.  My tried and true frosting was the winner here!

Small Vanilla Cake

I bought some great  looking herbs at the Home Depot for $2.50 each.  Ooh they smell so good!  I’ve got hubby making wood herb box to plant them in.  I’m going to try more container gardening this year.

Spring Herbs

I mulched my flower garden and I’m thinking I need to purchase some more perennials – any suggestions?

Our front steps have been replaced.  This project turned into more work than we expected after we found carpenter ants had taken up residence in the wood behind the old steps.   They are gone now and this doorway is getting a face lift.  Do you know how hard it is for me to decide on a color to paint our front door?  Stay tuned…

Step replacement project

We also have some baby chickens that we will be adding to our flock but I haven’t gotten around to taking pictures of them yet.  We are waiting for more warm days before we introduce them to the others.

What projects are you working on this Spring?  Are they inside your house or out?  Or both?

Kellogg’s Cereal Cookies

Healthy and homemade cookies

I’ve been pinning a lot of cupcakes and big slices of cake on Pinterest this week and I can tell you that both are super popular right now.

So what do I go and bake, knowing that cupcakes and cake drawing masses to my boards?  Cookies!  But not just any cookies, cookies that are a bit healthier and totally delicious.  I’m sure they don’t look as sweet as a big piece of cake, or a cute overly frosted cupcake, but they are worthy of a gazillion pins too.

What makes these cookies healthier?  Walnuts, dried cranberries, coconut, and grains.  Okay, maybe I could have left out the white and semi-sweet chocolate chips but what fun would that be?

I decided to call these Kellogg’s Cereal Cookies because I couldn’t think of anything more fitting because that’s what they are loaded with.  No, I’m not getting paid to write this post for Kellogg’s, nor did they provide me with the cereal – I just like it enough to blog about it.  For a quick second, I thought about calling them  Everything But The Kitchen Sink Cookies.

These cookies are chewy and buttery with a little crunch.  They compliment a good cup of coffee that’s for sure.

Kellogg’s Cereal Cookies

Serves 24
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 9 minutes
Total time 29 minutes
Meal type Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
These cookies have everything but the kitchen sink in them. They are healthier because they are loaded with oats, cranberries, coconut, and nuts. A great after school or work treat!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Butter (Softened)
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 tablespoons International Delight Caramel Macchiato
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup Kellogg's Origins Fruit & Nut Cereal
  • 1/4 cup Quick Cook Oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup Coconut
  • 1 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup White Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Note

These cookies should be named Everything But The Kitchen Sink.  Read the recipe before you start baking and you'll see why.

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Step 2
In a large bowl, cream butter, sugars, and egg. Add baking soda, salt, caramel creamer, and vanilla; mix thoroughly.
Step 3
Add cereal, coconut, oatmeal, flour; mix completely. Fold in white and semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Step 4
Using a dining sized teaspoon drop onto prepared cookie sheets about 1" apart. Bake for 9-10 minutes until cookies are light golden brown. Cool before removing from cookie sheet.

What’s popular on your Pinterest boards, or Instagram these days?

 

 

Chicken With Long Grain & Wild Rice Soup

Nothing is better than a warm hot bowl of homemade soup

This morning when I woke up the shine was shining brightly. I welcomed it after having snow and cold for the last few days. After feeding the hungry birds that have optimistically migrated back to the Finger Lakes Region, and savoring my first cup of coffee, I decided short order that I wanted to spend a good part of my day in my kitchen whipping up easy and tasty meals that we could enjoy for the remainder of the week.

The first dish on my list was something that I haven’t gotten around to making much of this winter; homemade soup.

I opted for chicken soup because it’s good for you. Some would even suggest it has mysterious healing powers. Perhaps? And since I’m not a fan of canned chicken soup this was an easy choice.

While my husband enjoys cooking, and does a lot of in our house, I like days when I can cook and create. I told him to plan on a nice lunch that consisted of homemade soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.

After a mad dash to the grocery store to pick up a few things I started making this delicious healthy soup.

Now, I have to rave about this chicken broth (not a sponsored post) that I stumbled upon recently.  This product made the soup extra tasty and I am issuing a chef’s warning…  Don’t make this recipe without using this white wine and herb chicken broth!

This product makes this soup delicious

Chicken With Long Grain & Wild Rice Soup

Serves 6
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Soup, Starter
Misc Freezable, Serve Hot
This is a tasty homemade chicken and rice soup that's easy to make for lunch or dinner.

Ingredients

  • 2 Large Cloves Garlic (Cushed)
  • 1 Medium Onion (Diced)
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 cups Chicken (Cubed)
  • 1 box Long Grain and Wild Rice (Prepared, minus the seasonings)
  • 1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 quart Chicken Broth
  • 1 quart Culinary Inn White Wine & Herb Chicken Broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Dried Parsely
  • 1 cup Grated Carrot
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Butter
  • 2 tablespoons Flour

Note

This product is my new found friend -   This is a must use when making this recipe

Directions

Step 1
In a large soup pot add olive oil, crushed garlic, and diced onion. Cook on low heat until onions are tender.
Step 2
Add cubed chicken, salt & pepper, and cook until chicken is no longer pink.
Step 3
Add butter and flour and stir thoroughly.
Step 4
Add chicken broth, cream of mushroom soup, garlic powder, dried parsley, prepared rice, and grated carrot.
Step 5
Cook until completely hot.

This soup is simple to make and lunch was ready in about an hour. Boy did it  hit the spot.

Great Grilled Cheeses

Thanks to everyone who chimed in on my last post regarding stats and blogging.  It’s great to have a strong community of bloggers to share with!

Stay tuned because I also made another belly filling dish today that I will be sharing soon.

No-Cook Peanut Butter Raw Bars

Peanut Butter Raw Bars

It’s true, I have been neglecting my blog.  There are no legitimate excuses for it other than work, work, and more work.  At one time I posted almost daily.  When I did that my stats shot through the moon.  And now, they are back to just a mere pittance.

It is true that quality far outweighs quantity where most things are concerned.  But I’m afraid that’s not true where blogging is concerned.  At least that’s what I’ve noticed from my own personal blogging experiences.

So how does one go about bringing their stats up when they own a baking blog and they are short on time?  Not to mention that they don’t really want to bake because they don’t need delicious high calorie things in the house tempting them.

In this instance I decided not to bake at all and decided to stay on the healthier side of the track by making some no-cook peanut butter raw bars.

Lot’s of healthy ingredients are packed into these bars.  The sugar is limited, as is the butter.  And the best thing?  There is absolutely no flour in these babies.

I have never made no-cook, raw, granola type bars before.  So yes, this is a first.  I researched a bit before  I started throwing the ingredients around.  My only regret is that I didn’t, but wish I had, added some toasted coconut to this recipe.

These bars are great for breakfast or snacking.  One warning, they are a bit tender due to limiting the use of butter and honey which helps bind them together. Flavor wise – yum!  I enjoy eating mine with yogurt, a piece of fruit, and of course a great cup of coffee.

No-Cook Peanut Butter Raw Bars

Go granola!

Peanut Butter Raw Bars

Prep time 15 minutes
Allergy Peanuts
Meal type Breakfast, Snack
These Peanut Butter Raw Bars are a great breakfast alternative for busy mornings.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Quick cooking oats
  • 3/4 cups Peanut Butter
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Dry Roasted Peanuts
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tablespoons Honey
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 dash salt

Directions

Step 1
Measure oats and chopped peanuts into a large mixing bowl.
Step 2
In a separate bowl, add honey, brown sugar, butter, and peanut butter. Microwave for about 1 minute.
Step 3
Add microwaved mixture, plus vanilla, a dash of salt, and chocolate chips to the oats and nuts. Mix completely until all oats are coated.
Step 4
Pour into a parchment paper lined 8x8 baking dish. Pat down and refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove and cut into bars. Wrap individually or keep in airtight container.

Blonde Brownie Bars for Valentine’s Day

Sweet Blonde Brownies

February has finally arrived here in Upstate New York.  What does that mean?  Blonde Brownie Bars.  Sorry, I got sidetracked for a minute.  It really means cold and blustery winter weather is here.  Lucky us, not!

The older I get the less I like the winter months.  I’d rather be sunning myself rather than taking a vitamin D supplement, camping in the Pink Paradise, and picking fresh fruits to use in my homemade jams and jellies.

So what do you do when it gets cold and blustery in Upstate New York?  You bake.  And since Valentine’s Day is sneaking up on us I decided to make a batch of Blonde Brownie Bars loaded with both peanut butter and chocolate chips.

I am planning on making decadent chocolate cupcakes for the big day but I couldn’t pass up making a pan of blonde brownies to get the celebration started.

These bars go great with a glass of milk or under a big scoop of ice cream.

Blonde Brownie Bars

Blonde Brownie Bars With Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chips

Serves 12
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 28 minutes
Total time 43 minutes
Allergy Egg
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Occasion Barbecue, Birthday Party, Casual Party, Christmas
These blonde brownies make a great dessert, snack, and yes, Valentine's Day treat. Make a batch today!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Margarine (Softened)
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Peanut Butter Chips
  • 1/2 cup Chocolate Chips
  • 2-3 tablespoons Milk

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 9x11 glass baking dish.
Step 2
Cream butter, eggs, and sugars together. Mix in baking soda, salt, and vanilla.
Step 3
Add in flour until completely mixed.
Step 4
Fold in peanut butter and chocolate chips. Add milk.
Step 5
Bake for about 28 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Step 6
Cool and cut into bars.

If you’re really creative and want to make these Blonde  Brownie Bars super festive for Valentine’s Day use a heart cookie cutter to make heart-shaped brownies.

What sweet delight are you whipping up for this Valentine’s Day?

Are There Benefits In Drinking Oolong Tea?

Oolong Tea

I recently stumbled across an article that claimed there are significant health benefits of drinking different types of tea.

After reading the article I decided to put my coffee on the back burner and go tea shopping.  While I could never give up my coffee I do like tea, and like most people, I’m all for trying something that may be a healthier for me.

During my tea shopping trip I picked up one box of tea.  I’m interested in proving or disproving some of the health claims made for each of the teas on the list so I decided to start with Oolong tea. I didn’t buy an expensive brand either.  I bought a box of twenty Wegmans store brand tea for the small price of $1.99.  No, this is not a sponsored post.  I just like shopping at Wegmans.

If you’re interested in the history of Oolong tea then take a look at this Wikipedia link. And please don’t skip this link to WebMD which provides an overview, the uses, side effects, interactions (and there are many),  and dosing that is associated with drinking Oolong tea.

Wegmans Oolong Tea

This particular brand of tea has a nice inviting floral scent when it’s steeping.  I really like this tea because it’s light and refreshing.  While it does have caffeine I haven’t been overly affected by it –  but I’m still careful of it.

So, what do you think?  Can a tea help you lose weight, provide anti-inflammatory  properties, fight cancer, detoxify, help you get a good nights sleep, calm your nerves,  give you clearer skin, help prevent tooth decay, control blood sugar levels, and fight cardiovascular disease?  I’d like to think so, and I’m willing to experiment.

Here is a link to a slide show at the Dr. Oz Show that’s worth a look if this topic interests you like it does me.

Follow along as I sample new types of tea and share my opinions of them.

Oolong Tea

Frozen Bananas Make Great Muffins

I always buy one too many bananas in a bunch, and without question, that extra banana will end up in the freezer.  Eventually, that one frozen banana turns into one too many bananas and that’s when I deem it time to make banana muffins.

Use frozen bananas to make these delicious muffins

When it came time to make this batch of muffins I decided to lessen the flour in my go-to banana muffin recipe and substitute some of the flour with oatmeal.

There is something about using oatmeal in muffins that makes them seem so much healthier.  And I imagine they are in a small way.

Muffins like these are great to grab and go when you don’t have time to sit down and have breakfast.

I prefer to make multiple batches of different flavors of muffins and freeze them so when I’m  hankering a blueberry muffin over a banana muffin I have that choice.  In other words, muffin mania!

Banana Oat Muffins

Serves 18
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 18 minutes
Total time 28 minutes
Allergy Egg, Wheat
Meal type Bread, Breakfast, Dessert, Snack

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick margarine (softened)
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 3 Medium ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal

Note

These muffins are great to grab & go when you need a quick breakfast.

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put papers in muffin tins.
Step 2
Cream sugar, margarine, and eggs together. Add in mashed bananas.
Step 3
Stir in salt, baking soda, baking powder, and flour. Add oats; mixing thoroughly.
Step 4
Fill prepared muffin cups about 2/3 full. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Step 5
Cool before removing from muffins tins. Store in airtight container.

These muffins turned out great.  They are sweet, moist, and heartier than typical banana bread.

Do you have a favorite muffin flavor?

Homemade Baked Dog Biscuits

Homemade Dog Biscuits

DIY Dog Treats

Our Christmas tree is up and it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas here at The Joy of Caking.  Now let the baking begin!

The first item on my “To Bake List” was homemade dog biscuits.  These  bite sized treats are for sweet little Annie and all her cute furry brothers and sisters – our granddogs.

The best part of making homemade dog treats is knowing exactly what goes into them – EVERY DAY INGREDIENTS and LOVE.

It is alarming to hear of all of the product recalls on pet treats these days.  When you make your own you take some of the worry out of it.

For these treats you will need:

2 c. rye flour

1 c. chicken broth

1/2 c. peanut butter

1 tbsp. baking powder

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix all of the ingredients together and form into a ball.  Place a large piece of parchment paper on a flat surface and sprinkle with rye flour.  Roll dough out to about 1/4″ thick.  Using a small cookie cutter cut out shapes and place them on prepared baking sheet.  Bake for about 6-8 minutes until light golden brown.  Cool completely.

I bought a cute little jar to store these biscuits in because they are going to be a gift.

Homemade Dog Biscuits

Do you have furry little friends to buy or bake for?

Worth a Second Look – Peanut Butter Fudge Sauce

Peanut Butter Fudge Sauce on a Spoon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been MIA for a bit while I was making goodies for a holiday craft fair I signed up for.

Feeling quite guilty for neglecting my blog,  I decided to re-share a peanut butter fudge sauce recipe that I posted here a couple of years ago.  I didn’t feel as if it got the attention it should have.  So let’s try again!

Now that the craft fair is over I’ll be back to posting more often.

In the meantime, check out this great holiday food gift idea.  It’s perfect for the peanut butter lovers in your life.  And if you really want to make someone’s day, don’t forget to whip up a batch of homemade vanilla ice cream to go with it.

This recipe is far more simple to make than you might expect it to be which makes it all the better!

Peanut Butter Fudge Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Step 1
In a saucepan, add chocolate chips, sugar, salt, and peanut butter. Melt slowly on low heat.
Step 2
Pour in cream and milk and continue to stir constantly on low heat until sauce is smooth, creamy, and thickens.
Step 3
Add vanilla extract.

So, as you can sense, with Thanksgiving  behind us I am slowly getting into the holiday spirit.  I feel like baking, decorating a pretty tree, and yes, picking up a few gifts to boot.

How about you, do you make food gifts to give friends and family?  What’s your favorite food gift to give?