I may still be writing 2013 whenever I write (or type) the date, but the new year is here… I can never decide if I love or hate this time of year.
I love the holidays, and I am always slightly sad that the holiday season is over. But, in many ways, I really love the “slow stretch” that starts in January. Taking down the Christmas decorations is bittersweet. While I do love the twinkling lights, I also love the fresh, clean, de-cluttered house that is left once the decorations are packed away.
I feel the same way about resolutions. Part of me can relate to the desire for a fresh start. The coming of a new year is a great time to reflect on the past year and set goals for the coming year. At the same time, it can become a time for great extremes and unreasonable expectations.
I tend not to set resolutions each year. Instead, I try to approach each month, week, and day with the same fresh start that comes with the new year. Instead of a December full of nothing but fudge, cakes, and cookies followed up with a January of smoothies and salads, I try to approach the entire year with an attitude of moderation. There is no reason to wait for a particular date on the calendar to start over or make a change. Sure, there are some days (and probably more of them in December than other months) where I may overindulge in sweets and treats. I’m not perfect. But, I try to balance those days out with days where I enjoy lighter foods.
I don’t really keep score, and I’m certainly not scientific about it. Perhaps the numbers on the scale would be a bit lower if I was. But, it just doesn’t fit my personality or lifestyle these days. The honest truth is that I’m a mom with a toddler who does her best, regardless of what month it is. Sure, I could probably stand to lose a few more of those “baby pounds” but it’s not my daily focus.
So, while everyone is posting recipes for salads, smoothies, and all things “skinny,” I’m here to share a recipe for banana muffins. They are made with the whole grain pancake mix that I keep on hand for Maddie. I’ve cut back on the sugar a bit and used some blackstrap molasses for a bit of a gingerbread flavor. I’ve also added some of my favorite winter baking spices.
I think they are the perfect whole grain marriage of gingerbread and banana bread. The flavors work surprisingly well together. Maddie’s a big fan, and so am I. They’re a great option for breakfast with some yogurt or fruit, and they also make a tasty afternoon snack. We’ve even been known to enjoy them with a green smoothie… Just not every day!
Spiced Banana Muffins
Makes 12 regular muffins
- 2 ½ cups Maddie’s whole grain pancake mix
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup blackstrap molasses
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
- 1 cup mashed banana
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the pancake mix, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, brown sugar, molasses, and coconut oil. Whisk until the mixture is smooth.
Add the wet ingredients and the mashed banana to the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Stir gently until all of the dry ingredients are moistened. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 – 45 minutes. (This helps the whole grains to absorb some of the moisture and keeps the muffins from spreading too much when they bake.)
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325ºF. Line a regular muffin pan with paper liners.
Gently stir the batter and then divide it (rather generously) among the 12 muffin cups. Bake the muffins for 18 – 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Let the muffins cool for 10 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container for a day or two, or pop the muffins in the freezer to enjoy later!