whole wheat banana chocolate chip muffins

You know you really like something when you find yourself craving it just by seeing a picture.

These muffins have been saving my mornings (and afternoon snacks) lately! I’ve been trying really hard not to snack on super sugary things, but honestly, that’s all I’m craving lately. This schedule of baby napping-feeding-trying to do things in the house while I can is so overwhelming. Overwhelming in the BEST way, but overwhelming regardless.

So having something – anything – that’s easy to grab is kind of necessary. Fresh fruit, nuts, trail mix, cookies, and these muffins have been keeping me sane. And….sometimes they fill in as lunch if I just can’t make anything that requires 2 hands.

whole wheat banana chocolate chip muffins

But these muffins!

They feel so indulgent, but are really pretty good for you!

I use all whole wheat flour, and the they’re chock full of banana, healthy oil, and maple syrup as the sweetener so you’re not getting pumped full of sugar with these.

Plus, the chocolate I use is 60% dark (my favorite for baking), which means it doesn’t make me start craving more like milk chocolate does.

whole wheat banana chocolate chip muffins

Fluffy, light, and just sweet enough. You can’t get any better than these!

Or, if you can, feel free to mail me a dozen. I’m always in need of extra food around here.

whole wheat banana chocolate chip muffins

Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

These muffins have been my saving grace lately. They're perfectly soft, light and fluffy, and full of banana flavor and melty dark chocolate pockets. There's just enough chocolate to make these feel a little indulgent, but they're completely whole wheat, so it all balances out.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup safflower oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 medium super ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour, or a mix of the two
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Either grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line with cupcake/muffin liners and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the oil and maple syrup together with a whisk. Add eggs and beat well. Mix in the mashed bananas and milk.
  3. Add the flour, baking soda, vanilla extract, and salt to the bowl and mix with a large spoon, just until combined. Fold in the dark chocolate chips.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups, filling each cup about two-thirds full.
  5. Bake muffins for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
  6. Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack to cool. You might need to run a butter knife along the outer edge of the muffins to loosen them from the pan. Enjoy muffins as is or with a spread of butter.

life lately

I have no idea where the last 7 weeks have gone.

Well, I do…but still. It has FLOWN by!

We are all doing great – hubs, me, and the mini muffin, plus the pets. We’ve had lots of family visiting to meet the little man, and he’s a champ. He’s the snuggly-est little baby, meaning most days I don’t get much of anything else done, and I am completely okay with it.

breakfast

There still isn’t much of an actual schedule, except that he does sleep really well at night, thank goodness. We usually get at least one 3-5 hour stretch, plus another 2.5-3 hour closer to morning, so I can’t complain! Plus, most of his crankiness seems to happen during the day – and not in the middle of the night – so it could definitely be worse.

snuggles

Besides getting used to having another person in the house – and one we have to keep alive – we’ve been doing good! The hubs has been back at work for about 5 weeks, so we’ve tried to get back into the habit of planning/cooking meals for ourselves now that meals from friends is slowing down.

When my mom was here a few weeks ago, we prepped and got some things in the freezer (which has been awesome). I’ve been trying to plan for simple, easy to prep/make meals since we’re both usually preoccupied with the baby and pets and house stuff.

And we’ve been eating pretty well!

On Nick’s birthday last week, little man was taking a great morning nap with Nick, so I made us some chocolate chip pancakes as a treat. Pancakes really are a good idea, any time. And this felt like such an indulgence. It was nice to have a big breakfast on his special day.

pancakes

A friend of ours also got us a gift certificate for Blue Apron, so we’re working through some of those meals this week. We made the arepas the other night, and they were so good! I love that they send everything you need – down to the seasonings – already measured out. It makes pulling a meal together super easy without having to think much or doing a bunch of prep when you really don’t have time.

arepas

And lucky for me, a farmer’s market opened up in the town next to us so I’ve been trying to get over there every weekend. The one I usually go to is about 35 minutes away, and I just can’t make the trip every week depending on what’s going on or who’s here.

I’m so happy to have fresh veggies from the garden again! We’ve been swimming in cherries this week and got the first of the peaches.

market

Another thing I’ve been snacking on a lot? Jessica’s Lactation Cookies (seriously addicting) and some banana chocolate chip muffins that I’ve made the past two weeks now. Recipe coming soon!

muffins

 

Now that berries are back in season, fruit salad is going to be a mainstay in our house.

I love having fruit prepped and ready to eat – it makes grabbing a healthy snack so much easier!

orange vanilla honey fruit salad

One easy way to make your fruit salad even better is to add a little bit of extra flavor that will also help keep the fruit looking great. This is definitely important if you’re using bananas or apples because you don’t want them to turn brown.

And lucky for me, I’m working with the right company this year! Dole is one of the companies I am proud to be working with, so stay tuned this the summer and fall for lots of fresh goodies!

orange vanilla honey fruit salad

This variation on fruit salad is full of Dole strawberries, blueberries, and bananas, plus an orange for a little citrus punch. I also squeezed out all the extra fresh juice from the orange core and mixed it with a little bit of honey and vanilla to dress the salad with. There’s not so much honey that it overpowers the fruit, leaving you with a fresh, light fruity treat!

orange vanilla honey fruit salad

Dole’s Get Up and Grow Tour!

Dole is convinced that the secret to a happier, healthier world is increased fruit and vegetable consumption so it is hitting the road this summer to directly challenge North Americans to make healthy eating their #1 priority!

After spending the past few summers sampling recipes and working with retailers to show what’s possible, they are turning up the volume in 2015 with the largest North American tour in its history and a first-ever customizable healthy-living pledge that rewards participants with various wellness incentives including Fitbits®, DOLE® produce and the chance to win a six-day health-makeover getaway to California.

Kicking-off in Dallas, New Orleans and Pittsburgh, the Get Up and Grow! North American Tour brings an expanded version of Dole’s popular mobile fruit and vegetable feast and nutritional celebration to 480 supermarkets and special events spread across 45 cities in 25 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces through September. The 115-day, 11,700-mile journey represents a joint effort between Dole Fresh Fruit of Westlake Village, Calif., Dole Fresh Vegetables of Monterey, Calif., and the Kannapolis, N.C.-based Dole Nutrition Institute (DNI), and is co-sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze®.

Multiple colorful Get Up and Grow! Tour caravans with rolling kitchens will deliver innovative new recipes, product samples, a do-it-yourself smoothie bar, free giveaways for the whole family and other activities specifically created to showcase the fun, flavor and preparation possibilities of fresh fruit and vegetables and a plant-based diet. Visitors can also present a grocery receipt showing a qualifying level of DOLE® fresh purchase to receive a limited-edition, commemorative Get Up and Grow! item.

The new recipes available for sampling range from the Banana and Blue, Breakfast Smoothie, Power Punch Smoothie and Spinach-Avocado Hummus to the Grilled Banana Parfait, Southwestern Gazpacho, Caesar’s Bounty Salad and Charred Summer Salad, which Dole has proclaimed 2015’s “Official Salad of Summer.”

Jenn LaVardera, Dole’s registered dietitian and the nutrition and health communicator for DNI, is heading up the Tour from a nutrition education perspective, and is attending a number of the Tour stops. She helped create the exclusive Get Up and Grow! scorecard being distributed to participants to help them track their summer eating.

“With Get Up and Grow!, we’re going beyond past Dole tours to directly challenge the public to adopt a healthier daily routine including eating more fresh fruits and vegetables,” said LaVardera. “Our role as nutrition leader comes with an obligation to inspire North Americans to set their own personal diet, fitness or other goals – and then provide the recipes, resources and motivation to help them reach those milestones.”

The new Get Up and Grow! Pledge is an interactive online exercise that allows visitors to create their personal Get Up and Grow! page where they can commit to living healthier in 2015, eating more fruits and vegetables and setting their own health and happiness goals. Those who return to their page to track their goals throughout the year will have the chance to receive free Fitbits, DOLE fresh fruits, vegetables and salads, and other rewards.

All pledge-takers will automatically receive a regular stream of health and nutrition tips from DNI while one lucky participant will be rewarded with a wellness getaway to the California Health & Longevity Institute at the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village combining medical, nutrition, fitness and life balance instruction, and spa services.

Most-ever U.S. and Canadian Tour Stops

Due to increased demand by retailers who participated in past Dole programs, the Get Up and Grow! Tour has been expanded to three regional caravans in the U.S. plus a separate ongoing effort in Canada – representing the most far-reaching Tour in the company’s history. A full Tour schedule is available at www.dole.com/getupandgrow.

The Eastern Tour departs from Pittsburgh and visits Carlisle, Pa.; Baltimore; Edison, N.J.; Morristown, N.J.; New York City, Boston; Albany, N.Y.; Rochester, N.Y.; Charlotte, N.C.; Greenville, N.C.; South Georgia; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Miami.

The Central Tour leaves New Orleans; Indianola, Miss.; Cincinnati; Columbus, Ohio; Cleveland; Detroit; Grand Rapids, Mich.; St. Louis; Springfield, Mo.; Kansas City, Mo.; Des Moines, Iowa; Minneapolis; Omaha, Neb.; and Lincoln, Neb.

The Western Tour leaves Dallas and visits Houston; San Antonio; Phoenix; Los Angeles; Berkeley, Calif.; Sacramento, Calif.; Portland, Ore.; Seattle; Spokane Wash.; Boise, Idaho; and Salt Lake City.

The Tour also visits Vancouver, Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto and the Maritime Provinces.

Orange Vanilla Honey Fruit Salad

The best part about fruit salad is that you can use anything you have! I love having a big bowl of fruit in the fridge as an easy snack or addition to breakfast, or even as dessert! The fresh orange juice, vanilla, and honey mix adds just a touch of sweetness and helps keep the bananas from browning.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Dole strawberries, sliced
  • 1 cup Dole blueberries
  • 1 Dole banana, sliced
  • 1 Dole orange, peeled and segmented
  • the juice from the remaining orange
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, gently toss the strawberries, blueberries, and banana together.
  2. To prep the orange, slice off both ends so it can stand up on a cutting board. Slice off the peel from around the orange. To segment the orange, take a sharp knife and slice between each segment until they come out easily, leaving the core behind. Add the orange segments to the fruit mix.
  3. In a small bowl, squeeze all the juice out of the orange core. Stir in the honey and vanilla.
  4. Drizzle the orange and honey mixture over the fruit and gently toss together.

As mentioned, this post is sponsored by Dole.  All thoughts and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting brands that support us!

Spring Carrot and Raisin Salad

It’s finally gardening season!

I am itching to get to the farmer’s market and pick up some of the things we don’t grown in our yard, like carrots and potatoes and cherries.

spring carrot and raisin salad

To help get into the summer season, I whipped up this veggie-filled carrot and raisin salad with SunMaid Raisins, and I’m so excited to share it with you!

This isn’t your normal carrot and raisin salad. Thanks to everything in season right now, there’s also some shredded apple and radish tossed in and a light, tangy dressing to bring it all together.

spring carrot and raisin salad

Check out the recipe over on the SunMaid Raisin blog!

I am working with SunMaid Raisins as a Blogger Ambassador and was compensated for this recipe/post. All recipes and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting brands that support us!