Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Banana Chocolate Chia Seed Muffins

Breakfast win! With three bananas rapidly turning black on my counter, it seemed like the perfect time to experiment on a replacement for my beloved morning bagel.

I started with Daphne Oz's recipe for Fudgy Chocolate Banana Flax Muffins as a guide. But I didn't have any flax or wheat germ. Substitution time! Through a happy accident, I also realized that I could cut the coconut oil and increase the applesauce.

Chocolate Banana Chia Seed Muffins
Makes 12
Wet Ingredients:
1/4 c. coconut oil, microwaved briefly until just starting to melt, plus more for greasing muffin tin
1/4 c. brown sugar
3 very ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/4 c. applesauce
1/4 c. water
Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 c. whole wheat white flour (I recommend King Arthur brand flour)
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 Tbsp. chia seeds (you could used ground here, but I used whole. They have a texture similar to poppy seeds)
1/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare standard, 12 cup muffin tin by rubbing cups with coconut oil or prepare with paper liners.
Cream oil and sugar in stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add bananas to mixer and beat until smooth. Beat in remaining wet ingredients.
Whisk dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Stir in wet mixture until incorporated.
Divide batter between 12 muffin cups. They should each be about 3/4 full.
Bake muffins 15-18 minutes, until a tester comes out with a few crumbs clinging.

Nutrition facts per muffin: 199 calories, 9 g. fat, 29 g. carb, 3 g. fiber, 12 g. sugar, 5 g. protein (per myfitnesspal.com nutrition facts calculator). For those following Weight Watchers Points Plus, this calculated to 6 points plus per muffin.

These muffins are so yummy, if somewhat unconventional. I hope you'll try them, or Daphne Oz's original recipe with flax and wheat germ. Be creative and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dollar Store Frames Redone: High-Impact, Low-Cost Photography Display

Our downstairs half bath is . . . .a challenge. Regular readers know that I've been trying to convert, cover, and cope with a lot of dated decor in our house. The powder room on the first floor came complete with a goldenrod-colored sink sitting atop a homemade plywood base. Yikes.

Until we're ready to replace the sink, my strategy has been to distract visitors from its hideousness. On one wall, I displayed a rustic wood and metal piece of wall art I had painted white. On the opposite wall, I put up three floating shelves. One for towels, one for a candle or small vase of flowers, and one for . . . . What, exactly?

I decided to create a photo display. Two problems: 1) I didn't have any photos that seemed worthy of display, and 2) I didn't have any frames. Much like throw pillows and quilts, frames are crazy expensive! I finally broke down and bought some at a department store, but I felt so bad about the cost that I decided to take them back. Then, on a chance trip to the Dollar Tree, I found the cheapest, ugliest frames. But they had potential. And they only cost a dollar apiece. A coat of silver spray paint left over from a previous project and they were good to go!

For the photos themselves, I decided to peruse my old SD card. It holds pictures from our four years living in St. Louis. I found lots of blurry images of my niece as a baby, far away shots of my husband and me posing in front of landmarks, and too-dark photos of various craft projects for this blog. Amidst the rubbish, though, I did find a few promising images. I finally settled on the three below. The angel is a statue in the Missouri Botanical Garden (I think), the rafters are in the Reading Room in the Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, and the rocks are at the shore of Lake Michigan. I used Picassa to edit the photos and ordered prints online from Walgreen's. With a coupon code I retrieved from their website, the total for my photos was $4.09. Combined with the cost of the frames, my project totaled less than $8. Not bad at all!

If you are considering putting together a photo display or gallery wall, look through your own pictures first! You might find a few gems. Be creative and enjoy!