Blueberry Banana Streusel Muffins

I have decided Sunday morning baking is my favorite. I've also decided it needs to become a ritual. I love getting up while everyone is still asleep and the house is quiet. Make some green tea, put on my apron, turn on the oven and get baking. Food Network is likely to be playing in the background. 

A few weeks ago I woke up with a huge itch for blueberry muffins. I tried to make them healthy, but every time I try to make baked goods healthy I'm reminded that I should just stop trying. Baked goods are meant to be filled with sugar, butter and eggs and there really is no replacement. Anyway, my last Sunday morning baking adventure failed. Exhibit A. This morning was blueberry muffin redemption day. 

I woke up at 6:48am this morning. My body doesn't know what sleeping in is. With several hours ahead of me before my roommate woke up, I decided it was baking day.

Blueberry muffins had to happen. I also have a stock pile of overripe bananas in my freezer that were begging to be used. Blueberry banana muffins it was. With a streusel topping added because like I said baked goods require lots of sugar and butter. 

They turned out just perfect and helped redeem myself after my previous muffin fail. I edited my pictures and jumped straight onto my computer this morning because I decided you need this recipe NOW. Also, if you have little kiddos at home about to go back to school, make these for them. No better way to beat the back to school blues than with blueberry banana streusel muffins!

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Blueberry Banana Streusel Muffins
yields 1 dozen

Ingredients:
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Streusel:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. butter

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.  

Combine bananas, sugar, oil, milk, beaten egg, and extracts in a large bowl with wooden spoon.  Add in the dry ingredients; flour, baking powder, and baking soda and stir to combine. Fold in the blueberries. Using an ice cream scoop, evenly divide the batter into the muffin tins.

In a small bowl combine brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and cold butter. Using your fingers, break up the butter with the sugar mixture to form the streusel. Evenly distribute over the muffins.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. 

Sunday morning baking for the win. What should I make next Sunday?

Annie

The Restaurant Style Ginger Dressing Everyone Loves

I love going out to get sushi, but my favorite part is that lick-the-plate-good carrot ginger dressing most Japanese restaurants serve on their house salads. Back at the beginning of the summer my roommates and I went out for sushi and we got to talking how much we loved the dressing. At this point I knew I had recreate it. Last Friday we went out for sushi again. Not my best example of manners, but I couldn't stop dipping my chopsticks in the little dish of dressing. I even saved a little to dip my sushi in. 

I'd done some research on recipes a while ago and tt was time to finally whip up my own. Lot's of fresh ginger and some carrots processed together with asian oils and seasonings and you get carrot ginger dressing just like your favorite Japanese restaurant! I added some ground ginger as well to give it a little more ginger kick. I could eat this by the spoonful. I sort of did while I was making it...

Japanese Style Ginger Dressing adapted from Pure Wow
yields 1 cup

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. chopped shallot
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1-2 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
pinch of sugar
pinch of salt

Directions:
In a food processor, process the carrots, fresh ginger and shallot until finely grated. Add in the ground ginger, oil, rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp. soy sauce, sugar and salt. Process all ingredients until everything is incorporated. Then taste test, the best part! I needed a little more soy sauce, but it's up to your taste buds. Add more if needed and combine until it tastes perfect. Transfer to a jar and store in the fridge. Dressing will stay fresh for one week.

Perfect dressed up over some fresh greens, edamame, tomatoes, red onion and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Restaurant style at home yo!

Annie 

Rise and KiZe

I can't tell you how giddy I am about today's post. KiZE is a locally made energy bar created right here in Oklahoma City. It's an energy bar, meal replacement, snack, or really whatever you want it to be!  Their goal is to help others maximize their success and live a happier, healthier and more purposeful life where they passionately pursue progress in mind, body, and soul. Their passion for mission is incredible. They constantly strive to serve others as well as giving back to the community - for example their partnership with Project Orphans to build family and community style homes for orphaned children in rural Haiti. I encourage you to view their GoFundMe Page to help support this mission!

Let me start by telling you a funny story. KiZE started a few years back, actually by one of my sorority sister's brother. They used to come to the house to share samples of the products. The only problem being that all five of their flavors were made with peanut butter. Major problem for the allergic over here. 

I talked with them a random handful of times on how they need to make bars with almond butter! It's healthier and so delicious-I mean why not? After a few emails back and forth, I was even deemed the "almond butter girl" by one of the employees.

Well three years later, guess what? KiZE is about to unveil their almond butter bar! Ahhhh the heavens just opened. I expressed my almond butter obsession last week after I made my own. Then, the very next day I got to try KiZE's new AB bar! It has yet to hit the market, but I got to have a sneak peek bite at their new flavor. I may be biased, but I think it's going to be a top seller! The flavor tastes like pure almond butter. They've added in raw sage honey, organic rolled oats, whey protein and even a little shredded coconut. It doesn't taste like coconut but adds the perfect depth of flavor!

I like eating my KiZE bars for breakfast on those days when I'm rushing to work and need to grab something quick. Pictured here looks like a casual slow morning where I'm enjoying a cup of tea and blogging with my KiZE bar. Ya, so this is totally staged. Five seconds after I took this I threw my bar in my purse and bolted out the door! 

Meal on the flash! One of the fundamentals KiZE was built on. They started as a way to provide nourishment for those who are too busy to eat, or don't have the time to eat a healthy meal. No time to eat? Crazy talk, I always make time to eat. But I will admit sometimes it means scarfing something down as I speed off to work in the morning!

Packaging is still in the works, but they are hoping to roll out the new flavor by end of August! In the meantime KiZE is offering a special discount code for all Take A Bite readers who want to purchase any of their bars! Just use the discount code TAKEABITE  at checkout and you'll receive 15% off your order! This code is available through tomorrow, so get your orders in!

If you want to find out more about KiZE you can visit their website, follow on FacebookTwitter or Instagram! You can find them in local Whole Foods, coffee shops and fitness studios. 

Annie

KiZE allows you to give back to your body as well as others! Here is the link again to assist their mission in building homes for young Haiti orphans!

Homemade Almond Butter

Hello there, today I want you to meet one of my favorite foods. Yes, almond butter. Almond butter is a relatively new favorite. Having been allergic to peanut butter my whole life I grew up deprived of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, reese's and just a good ole spoonful of peanut butter. Deprived no more, once almond butter became popular.

The first time I had AB was my freshman year of college. I hated it. I love every kind of nut, especially almonds, but almond butter...yuck! I gave it a couple more tries and somehow I fell in love. Now you can find flavors like vanilla, honey + flax, espresso, and chocolate. It was the fancy flavors that warmed me up to AB, but now I'm just a simple girl. 

I've made almond butter before, but this recipe is a winner. It's really more about the technique this time. My past almond butters have always come out thick and grainy.  When you roast your own almonds then process them while they are still hot, the oils release much quicker and create a super smooth butter.

Almond butter takes a while. After a few minutes it will just look like ground almonds, but just keep letting the food processor do the work. After a few more minutes the natural oils from the almonds will release and start to form the butter. Once it comes together you can then add in extra flavors! Adding coffee grounds or vanilla extract is one of my favorites! This time I added one tablespoon of coconut oil and it really helped with the smoothness of the butter!

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Homemade Almond Butter
makes 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients: 
3 cups raw almonds
Optional add ins: coconut oil, cinnamon, coffee grounds, vanilla extract, sea salt, honey

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Roast your almonds for 10 to 12 minutes making sure they don't burn. While they are still warm, move directly into your food processor. Process for 7 to 10 minutes. Stop half way through to scrape down the sides. Add in desired additions. I kept it simple with just a tablespoon of coconut oil this time! It made it extra smooth and glossy!

Almond butter enjoyed best with granny smith apples, in my perfect green smoothie, spread on rice cakes, stirred into oatmeal, on birthday toast, and sandwiched between pretzel crisps

I'm just a girl living in a peanut free world!

Annie