Monthly Archives: May 2014

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Muffins

Chocolate Chip Banana MuffinsToday is a BIG day in the Fowler household.

Mr. Remy The Goldendoodle Fowler (yes, he changed his last name too) turns 7 years old. That’s crazy! Somehow, I can’t seem to wrap my mind around the fact that he’s 7. It just sounds so much older to me. And this year I feel more nostalgic than most. Remy is my best buddy. We’ve been through so much together. This little-big man brings so much joy into our lives. He’s the goofiest, snuggliest beast there ever was. You can’t watch him for more than a few seconds without laughing. One of my favorite things in the entire world is taking Remy for walks. Our daily hour-long trek is easily a highlight of most days. Remy has taught me so much about myself, too. Above all, I’ve learned that one of my best qualities is my ability to nurture the people (and dogs) I love most. Few things bring me more joy than caring for them and watching them thrive (even if they occasionally eat tissues, paper towels, and napkins). So here’s to Remy, my silly furry pup that I absolutely cannot imagine my life without. Thank you for making life so much fuller and happier because you’re in it. I love you so much.
The day I brought him home & now
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Oh yeah, today happens to be my birthday, too! The big 3-0! (Cue minor freakout). A new decade is a serious milestone and I think it will take me some time to wrap my mind around it. But what a year I’ve had and I’m beyond excited for the year ahead. Robert and I plan to celebrate with a date night tonight. We’re flying to New York tomorrow where we’ll see my family and he’s surprising me with a bunch of activities Friday and Saturday (no idea what he has up his sleeve!) Saturday night we’re going to a wedding. Happily, we’ll be in town to celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday with my family, too.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Muffins

Maybe it’s the fact that I’m getting older, but lately I’ve been on the hunt for recipes to end all recipes. By that I mean building up a repertoire of go-to recipes that are the best of the best. As much as I love experimenting with foods, I also love having an arsenal I can dig into whether we’re hosting a party or I’m bringing something to someone else’s table. Well, these chocolate chip banana bread muffins hit the jackpot for me. I’ve made them several times over the past few weeks (our freezer is stockpiled with them) and they really are the best I’ve ever had. They’re easy to make, light and fluffy, and the perfect balance of banana and chocolate flavor. You can use this recipe to bake muffins or traditional loaves (I’ve made both). They’re also extremely versatile–Robert eats them for breakfast and I love cutting up one or two for dessert.

While I’m sure I’ll down plenty of ice cream and cake over the next few days, I’m happy to kick off the birthday celebrations today with these muffins. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Muffins

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Muffins

Makes 24 muffins, 12 muffins and 1 loaf, or 2 loaves

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp milk
  • 3 overripe bananas
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, plus extra for sprinkling on top

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350. In the bowl of a stand or electric mixer, whip together butter and sugar, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, cinnamon, milk, and bananas. Mix until completely combined. The batter will appear curdled, but it’s okay. Add the whole wheat flower, mix slowly until combined. Add the all-purpose flour and baking soda, mix until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into greased muffin tins (or use cups) or greased loaf pan. Sprinkle extra chocolate chips on top. Bake muffins for 15 to 25 minutes and loaves for 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool 15 to 30 minutes before removing from pans.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla SoupWell, shucks. I’m a day late posting a Cinco de Mayo recipe. But once you make this soup you won’t care what day it is, what time it is, or what year it is. You’ll just be focused on shoveling it into your mouth quickly enough. This recipe completely took me by surprise in the best possible way. I dumped the ingredients into the slow cooker Sunday morning and hoped for the best. I was absolutely thrilled when I lifted the lid, took a taste, and discovered it was bursting with flavor. A happy dance in the kitchen ensued. It’s among the best tortilla soups I’ve ever had!

My love for tortilla soup is well established. I order it everywhere. I even have a vegetarian tortilla soup recipe here. And oh man do I still love that recipe. But THIS. This one is a keeper, too. Sometimes you just want some chicken in your tortilla soup and you want to use the convenience of a slow cooker. Feel free to top your soup with whatever you like–cilantro, chunks of avocado, fresh lime juice, or some cheese all work great. I kept it suuuuper simple and just crumbled some tortilla chips on top. It’s so easy and tasty. I’m already planning to continue the fiesta and put it on our menu for next week. I think you should, too!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1-1.5 lbs)
  • 15 oz diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup salsa (I recommend one that says “fire-roasted” or “chipotle” for a smoky taste)
  • 1 15 oz can (or box) of kidney beans or black beans, undrained
  •  1 cup frozen corn
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Any toppers of your choice: cilantro, avocado, cheese, sour cream, lime juice
  • Tortilla chips for topping/dipping/snacking

Preparation

Place the chicken breasts through the bay leaf in the slow cooker. Combine onion, garlic, jalapeño, and olive oil in a microwave-safe glass bowl. Microwave in 1 to 2 minute increments, stirring after each one until onion is softened, about 4 to 5 minutes total. Add to slow cooker. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low 6 to 8 hours. When it’s done cooking, remove chicken breasts to a cutting board and shred with two forks. Return chicken to slow cooker. Stir, taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve in bowls with toppings of your choice such as cilantro, diced avocado, cheese, sour cream, or lime juice. Serve with tortilla chips.