Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

Cute lil mini muffins filled with bananas and chocolate are perfect lunchbox treats!

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins | thepajamachef.comEven though it’s pumpkin season, I bet you still have some brown bananas hanging about, needing to become banana bread, right?!? Well, next time you do, you will have to try these adorable Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins! I have a million banana bread recipes on my blog, and I love every one of them. :) This one is no exception! Each muffin is full of mini chocolate chips and tons of banana flavor. You know how some banana recipes only call for one banana? That’s never enough, and this recipe knows it. That’s why it includes THREE bananas. Triple the banana love, folks!

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins2These muffins are extra moist and rich thanks to the double dose of butter and sour cream in the batter. Is it weird that the first thing that came in my mind while typing butter and sour cream is, “boy, I’d like a baked potato.” Wait–don’t answer that. I guess I’m hungry. :) While baked potatoes and banana muffins don’t go together, these muffins pair perfectly with a tall glass of milk or a cup of hot cocoa. Ben has become, can we say, a bit obsessed with chocolate milk recently, so he’d say you should serve the little guys with chocolate milk, but I say, drink whatever kind of milk suits your fancy. :)

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins | thepajamachef.comNormally I prefer our everyday lunch/snack muffins to be on the healthy side, but sometimes you gotta live it up and enjoy the chocolate! :) There’s plenty to go around!

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins | thepajamachef.comJust look at all those mini chips on top! That’s why I love mini chocolate chips…spreading the wealth! YUM!

one year ago: Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cake with Nutella Frosting
three years ago: Roasted Vegetable Soup
four years ago: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

  • Servings: 36
  • Time: 30 minutes
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from The Lively Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana [about 3]
  • 1/3 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line mini muffin pans with paper liners or grease with cooking spray.

With a mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one by one, mixing well in between. Beat in bananas, sour cream, and vanilla. Slowly mix in flours and baking soda by hand until just combined, then fold in chocolate chips.

Spoon into prepared pans and bake for 10-13 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely before storing in an airtight container. These freeze well!

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Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer is a must for fall coffee drinking!

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer | thepajamachef.com

I love Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks like none other. I know, I know. They don’t contain pumpkin. I DON’T WANNA HEAR IT! They are delicious, and the lack of pumpkin isn’t my biggest gripe with them. But my biggest gripe with them is that they are so freaking expensive. Seriously, paying $5 for a grande isn’t something I do very often. So, I have a few of them every season, say that’s that, and go the DIY route to save some cash monies. I’ve made pumpkin spice lattes at home before with homemade syrup, but this method is MUCH easier for your pumpkin spice coffee fix. And bonus? It doesn’t have any weird ingredients–just your usual milk/cream or half and half, plus pumpkin, maple syrup, and spices. Easy easy!

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer | thepajamachef.com

Basically you just mix everything up on the stovetop and let it simmer away for a bit, then strain, chill, and enjoy! If you’re into pumpkin yogurt, you can stir the leftover pumpkin puree/spice mixture into some plain yogurt. Heavenly! I’ve made this in years past but this is my first go-round this year, and I just discovered the yogurt trick. It’s nice!

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer | thepajamachef.com

Normally, when I use flavored creamers I just like them with plain coffee. But we’ve recently discovered that this creamer with Apple Crisp Coffee from Paramount Coffee is incredible! [No affiliation, we just buy and love their coffee! It's available online and sometimes TJ Maxx.] And why wouldn’t it be? Apple and pumpkin are the flavors of fall, right? I think this creamer would be tasty with almost any seasonal spiced coffee, or even with hot chocolate or chai. Mmm, the possibilities! Enjoy!

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer | thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Cream of Broccoli Soup with Cheese
two years ago: No Bake Tropical Energy Bites
three years ago: Pumpkin, Sausage, and Spinach Lasagna
four years ago: Southwestern Pepperjack Baked Penne

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

  • Servings: 2 cups/16 ounces
  • Time: 30 minutes
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from Next to Heaven

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole milk*
  • 1 cup heavy cream*
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 cinnamon stick, optional
  • a few whole cloves, optional
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Whisk milk, cream, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and maple syrup together in a saucepan. Add the cinnamon stick and cloves, if using. Set over medium heat. Reduce heat to low when it gets steamy, then let it simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Use a fine sieve or a coffee filter set over a colander to strain out the cinnamon stick, cloves, and pumpkin puree/spices. Don’t skip this step! I usually strain everything in my sieve into a measuring cup, then pour the mixture into a jar or pitcher for storing in the fridge.

*I have also made this using all half and half, and while it might not be traditional “creamer” it is still really good! Use what you prefer. :)

 

 

Asian Turkey Meatballs with Carrot Rice

Flavorful Asian turkey meatballs served over carrot rice is an awesome, easy 30 minute weeknight dinner. Kids love it too!

Asian Turkey Meatballs with Carrot Rice | thepajamachef.comThis is one of our absolute favorite dinners. I’ve made it more times than I can count, but it’s never appeared on the blog because I never get a photo before it’s gone-zo. It’s pretty simple, as most meatball dinners are, but it feels so special because of the Asian flavors and wonderful aromatic ingredients in the dish. The meatballs are zingy with just a hint of spice. If spice isn’t your thing, feel free to leave out the Sriracha or use less. Don’t be afraid of the fish sauce though–a little goes a long way to making the meatballs extra tasty! Just don’t smell it. Take my word on that one. Can you say gross?! :)

Asian Turkey Meatballs with Carrot Rice | thepajamachef.com

One of the best things about this dinner is that it’s SO adaptable. Normally I make the meatballs with ground turkey, but if that’s not your thing, use pork or chicken or a combination. I also love that the rice isn’t boring. I stir carrots and cilantro [or Thai basil] in for some extra flavor and texture. To make this a 30 minute meal, using white rice is key… but if you have more time, brown rice would work too. Sometimes I make the rice with another liquid besides water, like chicken broth or coconut milk, for a lil extra something. But even if you just make the rice plain, it’s still amazing!

Asian Turkey Meatballs with Carrot Rice | thepajamachef.comI love to serve this dinner with steamed broccoli or edamame. It’s the perfect meal to take to a family with a new baby. I’ve done that so many times and have gotten rave reviews from everyone, including the kiddos! Just don’t forget the lime wedges. A squeeze of lime over the whole meal is essential! Enjoy!

two years ago: Maple Cornmeal Drop Biscuits
three years ago: Garlicky Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil
four years ago: Pillow Cookies

Asian Turkey Meatballs with Carrot Rice

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Print

from Everyday Food Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white rice
  • 2 cups liquid for cooking rice – like water, chicken broth, or coconut milk
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1/3 cup cilantro or Thai basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 pound ground turkey [pork works too!]
  • 2 green onions, green and white parts chopped and divided
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 3 teaspoons Sriracha
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger, optional
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • lime wedges, for serving

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large saucepan, combine 2 cups water [or coconut milk or chicken broth for extra flavor] and rice. Bring to a boil, stir, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook until rice is tender, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and top with carrot and cilantro. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes, then stir to mix all ingredients and fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons water. Let stand for 5 minutes, then add turkey, white parts of the green onions, cilantro, fish sauce, Sriracha, sugar, garlic, and ginger if using. Gently stir to combine, then shape into 24 small meatballs.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Work in batches to brown meatballs on all sides, then transfer to a large baking dish to cook for 10 more minutes in the oven, or until cooked through. Serve meatballs over rice with green onions and lime wedges.

SRC: Baked Caramel Apple Mini Doughnuts

These mini apple doughnuts are dipped in an easy sweet caramel sauce for the ultimate easy fall treat!

Baked Caramel Apple Mini Doughnuts | thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub #src

For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned to Cookaholic Wife, a blog written by Nichole. Nichole has SO many delicious recipes on her site. I had such a hard time deciding what to make! In the end, I chose these cute lil mini caramel apple doughnuts because they seemed so seasonally appropriate. I do love pumpkin but wanted to show apple some love. :) Recipe runner ups included this Apple-Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Pork that Nichole just posted last week, Hawaiian Burgers, Caramel Grapes, and Coconut Lime Cookie Bars. If it was summer, those cookie bars would’ve definitely won! Aside from being into pretty much every one of Nichole’s recipes, I think the two of us could be BFFs. We’re the same age, both have two cats, and ideally would either be baking or reading on the beach. Yup, sounds about right. :) While I have a 30 before 30 challenge, Nichole had a 28 before 28 challenge. How fun! [And speaking of fun, read this post about Nichole's mom and her burning water habit. Hilarious!]

Baked Caramel Apple Mini Doughnuts | thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub #src

Anyways, I was psyched to see this recipe because I a) love caramel apples but hate biting into one, b) have a mini doughnut pan that I never use, and c) they just sounded AMAZING! And that they were. These mini doughnuts were a little bite of fall, perfect for dessert or breakfast. One word of caution though–the caramel sauce is super hot, so don’t take a bite until it’s cooled down a bit. The roof of your mouth will thank you! :) [I learned that from Nichole's first hand experience.]

Baked Caramel Apple Mini Doughnuts | thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub #src

Since I only have one doughnut pan, and wasn’t about to mess with letting the pan cool down in between batches, I used half the batter in my mini muffin pan for some adorable doughnut holes. So if you don’t have a doughnut pan, try that out! You may just need some additional caramel sauce for dipping since they’re a tiny bit bigger. Hope you enjoy! Thanks, Nichole for the great recipe! :)

Baked Caramel Apple Mini Doughnuts | thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub #src

one year ago: Baked Strawberry French Toast with Strawberry Maple Syrup
three years ago: Pumpkin Spread
four years ago: Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal

Baked Caramel Apple Mini Doughnuts

  • Servings: 24 doughnuts
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • Print

from Cookaholic Wife
Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup apple, minced
  • 1 cup chewy caramel candies – I used Kraft caramels, the ones they advertise for making caramel apples
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Directions:

Grease mini doughnut pan(s) or mini muffin pan(s) with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. In a measuring cup, whisk together egg, sugars, oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined. Fold in apples.

Spoon batter into prepared pans, filling about halfway.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove to a wire rack to cool for 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place caramels and milk in a microwave safe small bowl. Microwave for 30 second increments on 50% power, stirring after each burst. Repeat until a caramel sauce comes together.

Dip doughnuts into caramel sauce then return to wire rack to set. Serve warm! Enjoy within a couple days, but they are definitely best the first day.

Be sure to check out other recipes from the Secret Recipe Club today!

Book Review: Captured by Love

Another book review! I have a stack to catch up on so bear with me. :) Jody Hedlund’s newest book Captured by Love is awesome. I received it over the summer from Bethany House’s book review program and am glad for the chance to check out new books every month!

Captured By Love by Jody Hedlund - reviewed on thepajamachef.com

Here’s a description of the book from the publisher:

Michigan Territory, 1814. A voyageur and a young woman swept up in a time of upheaval and danger discover firsthand the high price of freedom.

The British Army has taken control of Michilimackinac Island and its fort, forcing the Americans to swear an oath of loyalty to the crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a fur trader who returns after being away from the island for years, only to find the family farm a shambles and those he cares about starving and at the mercy of British invaders.

Torn between the adventurous life of fur trading and guilt over neglecting his defenseless mother, Pierre is drawn deeper into the fight against the British–and into a relationship with Angelique MacKenzie, a childhood friend who’s grown into a beautiful woman. She now finds herself trapped by the circumstances of war and poverty, and the cruelty of her guardian, Ebenezer Whiley.

As tensions mount and the violence rages on, Pierre and Angelique must decide where their loyalties rest and how much they’ll risk for love.

My five point review as usual:

  • Though I’ve read Jody Hedlund’s books before and loved them, I was especially interested in this one because it’s set on Mackinac Island! I grew up visiting my grandparents in Midland, MI [where Jody is from] and going on vacation to their cottage on Higgins Lake. Our day trips, especially when it was raining, were to Mackinac Island. It was so fun thinking about those times as I read about the history of the island. Jody Hedlund’s writing is so descriptive and I wanted to be there on the island, even though the British occupation during the War of 1812 made life very difficult, especially during the long winter months.
  • I really enjoyed the storyline between Angelique and her guardian. If you read the description above, you might think that’s strange since he is so cruel. However, considering that this situation was probably a reality for many women throughout history makes me really sad…and I loved reading about her redemption from him by Pierre, as well as his brother, Jean.
  • There’s a love triangle in this book [when is there not?] between Angelique and Jean, who she promised herself to while Pierre is away and Angelique and Pierre, who she’s always been in love with but thought he’d never come home. Craziness, I tell ya. Though I like both men, I didn’t like the decision Angelique was forced to make. The relationship with Pierre was portrayed as fun and amusing, but I hate that Jean would have to be thrown under the bus for that relationship to succeed. I do appreciate that this relationship wasn’t determined by death as most wartime romances are. I won’t tell you what happens but it’s good!
  • In reading some reviews online I noticed that some people consider this book to be too racy or graphic. I thought it was fine, but you can judge for yourselves once you read it.
  • All in all, this was a great book. Intriguing, captivating, well written, and well researched. It was the location that drew me in and the characters that made me read it in two days. A great read! Check out this post if you want to hear more about why the author wanted to write the book. It’s fascinating!

What are you reading lately?

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Bethany House for the chance to read this great book!