spinach banana muffins {aka “monster muffins”}

Hi, guys! I’m just poppin’ in with a little recipe to share with you today. I made these muffins for St. Patrick’s Day and they were a big hit! I promise, you can’t taste the spinach at all! They taste like banana muffins and have an added boost of good-for-you nutrients thanks to the spinach. These muffins would be a great way to get picky kids to eat more greens. Call them “monster muffins” and serve them all year long, not just for St. Patrick’s Day! ūüôā

This recipe was adapted from this one by Pamela Salzman.

spinach banana muffins

spinach banana muffins

  • ¬†1¬†cup white¬†wheat flour
  • 1 and 1/4 cup oats
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • ¬ĺ cup maple syrup
  • ¬ĺ cup milk¬†{I used vanilla rice milk}
  • ¬ľ cup vegetable¬†oil
  • 6-7 ounces of fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • optional: 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  3. Into a blender, pour in applesauce, maple syrup, milk, oil, and spinach. Process until pureed. {I did in multiple batches in my Nutribullet!}
  4. Add spinach mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until combined, being careful not to over-mix.
  5. Stir in the egg. Fold in the mashed banana and chocolate chips.
  6. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tin. It will be a little runny/thin — that is okay! This means the muffins will turn out¬†moist.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

*Note: these muffins freeze very well… if they last that long in your household! They didn’t in mine. ūüėČ

Hope you enjoy! Happy Wednesday. Have a wonderful rest of the week, my friends!

 

if you liked this recipe, you might also want to try:
apple oat banana muffins
carrot cake coconut muffins w/chickpea flour
berry cream cheese muffins
coconut zucchini muffins

year of virtues, month three: silence

Hello, friends, and Happy Friday! Hope you had a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day yesterday! I donned a lime-green shirt, made some deep green spinach-banana muffins {recipe coming soon; promise you can’t taste the spinach one bit!}, joined my grandparents for a homemade dinner of corned beef and cabbage, and then met up with my dear Dana for our third St. Patty’s celebration in a row! It’s become a new tradition for us and I love it. Her house is always all decorated for the holiday, we put on four-leaf-clover headbands, she makes delicious Irish coffees, and we chat away! Time with her always flies by and before I knew it, I was glancing at my clock and it was 9:45, and time for me to head home! Do you have any little traditions with friends that totally brightens up your year?

Photo from our St. Patty's date last year!

Our first¬†St. Patty’s date!

 

st pattys with dana

Last year!

 

me and dana st patricks yr 3

This year {with our leprechaun friend}

This month, my focus on Ben Franklin’s List of Virtues is on silence. He writes: “Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.” I am choosing to interpret “trifling conversation” to mean gossip, complaining, shallow arguments, etc. I do not consider myself much of a gossip, and strive to be an optimistic and empowering presence for myself and others, but I have noticed that sometimes it can be easy to try to connect with other people through mindless complaining, venting, or gossiping. I think conversation has an extremely valuable place in our lives, but truly nurturing and fulfilling conversation comes with deep reflection, listening, and thinking. We have all experienced the difference between speaking to express something true and important, versus jabbering away mindlessly just to hear ourselves talk. This month, I am making a conscious effort to be mindful of the way conversation ebbs and flows in my day-to-day life… and to choose silence more often.

Another way I am choosing silence is to focus on quieting down the chattering voices inside my head. My yoga teachers call this the “monkey mind.” I am spending just five minutes a day in quiet meditation/reflection/contemplation, simply trying to focus on my breathing and clear my mind of all the clutter. I have already noticed that this has made me feel more at ease as I go about my day, and helps me stay more present and worry less about what might happen in the future. Even good things we are looking forward to in the future can still be a source of stress or worry, as I am learning while planning my wedding! Sometimes the best¬†thing to¬†do is breathe and let go.

I am also experimenting with driving around in silence, rather than listening to music or podcasts during my commute. You all know how much I love podcasts, but I wanted to see what it would be like to purposefully add more quiet time to my day. And, you guys — a magical thing has happened! I look forward to my commute time more than ever now. It has become my time to daydream, to drift, and has become a super powerful time for connecting to the characters in the new novel I am working on. In the quiet, I can hear their voices speaking to each other, giving me dialogue and ideas for new scenes and development. It almost feels like I am able to hear the story straight from their mouths, and now all I have to do is write it down. This might sound crazy to some people, but as a writer this is one of the most magical experiences — when your characters come to life, and become companions you think about and¬†converse with¬†throughout your day. I believe this silent time has been absolutely crucial for this magic to happen.

The final way I have embraced silence is by listening to my heart about what I would like to share publicly, and what I would like to keep to myself. I have been a little silent on this blog of late, because I have been doing some deep reflecting about this subject — what I want this space to look like, what I am craving to lean into more, what I want to connect with you about… and what I want to keep private. I have a post all written and ready to go about how my sweetheart proposed to me, but over the past few weeks something in my heart has kept me from pulling the trigger and clicking that PUBLISH button. I can’t quite describe it, but I think there is something about the memory of that experience that feels too precious for me to share publicly, at least right now. It is something I want to keep between my sweetheart and me. And that is okay. I am hoping you all will understand.

I would, however, like to share this song with all of you, a song that has very special meaning to Allyn and me, that is perfectly fitting on this topic of silence. I think Ben Franklin would approve! ūüôā

Here’s hoping you are having a fabulous Friday and that your weekend is filled with all the good things your heart is yearning for… and maybe just a little bit of quiet time all to yourself.

xoxo,
Dallas

Questions of the day:

  • How do you find quiet moments in your busy life?
  • What are your favorite ways to reflect and slow down?

a year of living simply: week 9

Happy St. Patty’s Day, friends! Hope you are wearing green today so you don’t get pinched! ūüôā I’m excited to get together with Dana tonight to continue our tradition {started last year} of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with homemade Irish coffees, created by the talented Dana herself. I’m really looking forward to seeing her and catching up!

Photo from our St. Patty's date last year!

Photo from our St. Patty’s date last year!

Before heading over to Dana’s this evening, my plans for the day include a few hours of tutoring, making headway on a copyediting project, and some festive baking! I’m going to attempt to make snickerdoodles with green sprinkles mixed into the cinnamon-sugar topping. We’ll see how they turn out!

Now, onto the simplicity…

year of living simply

Last week’s challenge¬†was¬†to do something to simplify or improve your commute.¬†I did a couple things that were SO simple, but that have improved my car time a great deal!

1. The first thing I did was to clean out all the miscellaneous items and trash old Larabar wrappers that had accumulated in¬†the backseat of poor Charley, my PriusC. I was amazed at the difference it made! Even though I hardly¬†ever use the backseat to transport people, glimpsing a clean car as I climb into the driver’s seat just makes me feel good, like I’ve got my life in order.¬†Combined with my new¬†“arrive everywhere five minutes early” habit, my drive time has never been so stress-free! It’s crazy what a difference a few minutes can make.

2. I started listening to podcasts while I drive. I love music, but I was getting tired of my CDs and the same old radio tunes. Dana told me about a podcast she listened to at the end of last year called Serial, and after listening to the first episode I was immediately hooked. I stopped by the Verizon store and bought an inexpensive auxiliary cable so I can listen to my phone through my car’s speakers; all I have to do is load up the podcast, click “play” and I’m set to go! {Apologies if my excitement is lame — I’ve never really stored music on my phone, so this is a new experience for me!}

Listening to podcasts during my car time has opened up a whole new world for me. I love learning and I love podcasts, but I can’t ever seem to find the time to listen to many — that is, until now! Twenty minutes in the car here and fifteen minutes in the car there really adds up. I’ve finished all twelve episodes of Serial and today I started listening to This American Life. Now I actually find myself looking forward to my car time instead of being annoyed by my commute! If you have any podcasts to recommend, I’d love to hear about them in the comments section.

charley!

This week’s challenge is to get rid of some paper clutter in your life.¬†How you interpret this is up to you! Perhaps you want to sort through/get rid of one¬†of the paper piles on your desk. Or maybe clean out your desk drawer filled with old receipts. Paper is personally one of my major clutter weaknessnes. I’m planning to attack a certain shelf in my closet where all the pieces of paper¬†I don’t know what to do with tend to congregate in a big tall lilting stack.

Before I go, a couple updates:

  • This month my friend Julie is participating in The Minimalism Game {hosted by The Minimalists}¬†and invited me to play along! The game is to get rid of one thing on the first day of the month, two things on the second day, three things on the third day, etc. I’m doing a slightly less intense version where I am trying to get rid of one thing every day in March. So far I’ve donated 8 books, 3 magazines, 2 shirts, 1 sweater, and recycled 2 boxes I was hanging onto in my closet for I have no idea what reason. Not sure yet what I’m getting rid of today, but it will be something!
  • A few weeks ago I said that I wanted to continue¬†arriving everywhere a few minutes early, and I’m happy to report the routine¬†is still going strong! Setting my clock three minutes early was a BIG help {I usually forget it is early} and, generally, I’ve gotten into the habit of getting ready to leave about ten minutes before I *think* I need to start getting ready to leave. I’m feeling so much less rushed in general, that I’m definitely planning to hang onto this habit!

Questions for the morning:

  • Do you listen to podcasts? If so, what are your favorites?
  • What brightens up your commute?

happy st. patrick’s day & weekend recap

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, friends! Hope you’re doing something fun to celebrate. I made myself a spinach-green smoothie paired with some delicious edamame hummus & crackers for lunch.

hummus & smoothie

Then tonight I’m getting together with Dana to do something fun. I’m excited!

Here’s a round-up of delicious, healthy “green” recipes that would be perfect for St. Patrick’s Day, or any day:¬†http://greatist.com/health/healthy-green-recipes-st-patricks-day

This weekend was a blast. I went to Sausalito for the first time, and it was a gorgeous day to explore this adorable seaside town.

sausalito
in sausalito

There was a man making amazing sculptures along the water simply by stacking rocks and bricks and balancing them. I have no idea how he does this! I was blown away.

sculptures

On Sunday, Allyn & I got together with Dana & her boyfriend Brad for lunch. It was another beautiful day and we sat outside and chowed down on delicious burgers. Perfect way to wind down the weekend!

Dana and Brad

me and Al

me and Dana

Tomorrow I’ll be back with this week’s “year of Wooden” post. Have fun tonight and be safe!

Questions of the afternoon:

  • What were your highlights of the weekend?
  • What are you doing to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?