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Banana Muffins of Perfection

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I got this recipe from my friend, Staci, and have made them twice in the last month. They were originally called “Banana Nut Muffins” but Dennis insisted on this new title and since it makes me laugh, I obliged him.  They really are perfect, so much so that I’m thinking about turning this recipe into a loaf and entering it into the fair this year.  Such a nice, soft, texture!

I shared them with an old co-worker and she deemed them the “best muffins ever.”  The base recipe is a good one that results in a tender, moist muffin with great banana flavor.  These are now my favorite thing to make with bananas!

Banana Muffins of Perfection

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

2 cups (9 oz) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter
1 cup (7 oz) granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups mashed ripe bananas
1 cup mix-in’s

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in mashed bananas. Add dry ingredients all at once, stirring just enough to moisten. Gently stir in mix-in’s. Spoon into greased muffin tin, filling 2/3 full. Bake in 350F oven for 18-20 minutes or until golden. Makes 15-18 muffins.

Staci’s & V’s favorite mix-in’s: chopped nuts, diced prunes, chopped strawberries, blueberries, dried cranberries, chocolate chips. Staci also likes to add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom, but doesn’t measure so you’ll have to figure out how much you like if you add them. I’d add a teaspoon total of spices (max) if it was me, but you might like more or less.

I make mine nut-free to keep them easy to chew for Joshua. My two favorite ways (so far) are with blueberries (above) and dried cranberries (first picture)! I can’t wait to try them with FRESH cranberries come fall. Oh my!

Cranberry & Apple Cider Punch


There’s probably not a huge need amongst the masses for an ice-cold autumnal punch recipe, since usually you want to start drinking hot beverages when the weather cools, but this is a nice refreshing drink that is a great alternative to serve at holiday gatherings. Thanksgiving, even?  My sister, Lacey (that’s her hands pouring the punch below), mixed up a big punch-bowl full for my Lil’ Pumpkin Baby Shower and there was hardly a drop left by the end.  It was so perfect with the pumpkin cupcakes and the entire theme and tasted wonderful!

And if you’re in need of more Thanksgiving recipes, I’ve updated my current favorites on the side bar. I love everything over there and can’t wait to eat some of it soon! Gobble gobble! :D

Cranberry & Apple Cider Punch

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1/2 gallon apple cider
1 (64 oz) bottle cranberry juice cocktail
1 (2 liter) bottle ginger ale
1/2 gallon orange sherbet

Combine the apple cider, cranberry juice, and ginger ale in a large punch bowl.  Scoop the orange sherbet on top and allow to sit for at least half an hour before serving.  Stir the sherbet into the punch and serve.  Fills 1 large punch bowl.

*Veronica’s notes: I made ice cubes by freezing two batches of the single serving recipe for this punch linked to below, however the ice cubes aren’t really necessary with the orange sherbet, which keeps the punch cold. Also, Dennis added the sherbet and only used half of the half gallon, but I think it would be best with a full half gallon.

Recipe source: adapted from Jam Hands (click the link to get Ali’s single-serving recipe)

Other favorite autumn drinks from my archives…

Skinny Pumpkin Spiced Latte

Easy Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte

Butterbeer

Cranberry Chicken

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Before I get to today’s post, I want to do a quick update for The Postcard Project.  People have started signing up but I want to encourage everyone that is participating to add your name to the list. Many have told me they are sending mail but aren’t on the list yet.  The list is where I’ll be drawing from for the prizes!  Oh, did I forget to mention there are prizes at stake?  My blue ribbon chocolate chip cookies, to be exact!  I’ll be drawing at random from those signed up each Friday this month (winners will be announced each Saturday), then at the end of the month I’ll award a batch to the person who sent the most mail.  So you have a chance to win whether you’re sending 1 letter or 100!  Every letter makes a difference, especially to the person who receives it.  This project will never take over the focus of my blog, but I do intend for it to be ongoing.  I’ve already started on my own goal and it has been so fun writing to people I rarely correspond with.  I can’t wait to share some of the funny cards I got with you guys.  In the meantime, I give you Cranberry Chicken! :)

*****

Pinterest.  Have you heard of it?  Bloggers have been annoying me with their urgings to get on there for months and I fought it hard, not wanting yet another reason for internet addiction in my life.  Even when I was getting 15,000 views a day on my blog (which is not the norm, I can tell you) because of people “pinning” my cupcake bites on Pinterest, I did not sign up.  I was steadfast and strong in my resolve.  But then a personal friend sent me an invitation to join, telling me I “had to do it” and I guess she was right because I did it, despite myself.  It was almost like some evil force in the universe overcame me and made me forget all my reasons for not wanting to.  An evil force named Tracy.  Oh yeah, girlfriend, I just called you out! :)

So, what does this have to do with cranberry chicken, you might ask?  Well, if it weren’t for Pinterest, I would never have made this cranberry chicken!  I bookmarked it ages ago and forgot about it because I never go back to look at things I’ve bookmarked.  But when I signed up with Pinterest, I decided to use it instead of bookmarking things and I transferred all my favorites into boards on Pinterest.  This chicken was one of the first things I transferred and I could barely remember marking it.  And I made it the same week!

I don’t know if this is how everyone uses Pinterest, but I “pin” things, mostly recipes, that I want to try in the future and it is so much more useful to me than bookmarks.  I can categorize things and then I see a visual picture to remind me of what I wanted to do and when I click the picture, it brings me to the web page I got it from.  It’s very handy, but it is also addicting because I can spend an hour looking at everyone else’s pins and repinning them to my own boards for future reference.  Handy and evil!

OK, so let’s talk chicken.  This recipe is another super-simple one with just a few ingredients and fantastic flavor.  It doesn’t have an overwhelming cranberry flavor, in fact the only cranberry taste comes from the whole cranberries themselves because the sauce has onion and Catalina dressing in it to make a flavor all of its own.  It’s a little sweet, a little tangy, and a lot delicious.  Dennis and I both give it two thumbs up!

Cranberry Chicken

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 (8 oz) bottle Catalina or French Dressing
1 (1 oz) envelope dry onion soup mix
1 (15 oz) can whole-berry cranberry sauce
6-8 boneless, skinless chicken pieces (breast halves and/or thighs)

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a large casserole dish with oil and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the dressing, soup mix, and cranberry sauce and whisk together until blended. Pour enough of the sauce in the dish to make a thin layer, then place the chicken in a single layer on top. Pour the remaining sauce over the top, making sure all the chicken is well-coated. Bake, uncovered, for 1- 1 1/2 hours.  Serve over rice, ladling extra sauce over the top.

Recipe source: Very Culinary

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