Banana Nut Muffins

Who wouldn’t like to wake up Easter morning to a big basket of muffins!?

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If you have some time today, I highly recommend throwing these together.  You’ll thank yourself in the morning.

I found the recipe here, but I substituted walnuts for pecans.  I’m not sure that it’s a 5-star recipe, but it’s easy and a solid 4.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1  1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 overripe bananas
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup melted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

I set the oven to 375°F and prepared 2 muffin tins.  I used silicone baking cups, courtesy of The New York Baking Company.

First I mixed together 2 bananas, the melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla.  The other two bananas, I only mashed gently in a separate bowl.  Then I added the flour, baking soda, and salt into the butter and egg mixture.

Then, I gently folded in the mashed banana and nuts, then scooped the batter into the muffin pan, filling each cup about 3/4 of the way.

Last, I baked them for 18 minutes.  You might need to leave them in for 20, depending on your oven.  They can be served warm or room-temperature with a nice slab of butter.

I tore into mine straight of the oven, and I really liked how they popped right out of the silicon cups.  I didn’t have to grease them, so no added oil.  And they’ll stay a fun vibrant color, unlike how paper cups turn brown with chocolate cake.  I’d never used them before, but I’m a convert.  Plus they’re environment and dishwasher friendly :)

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Hope you enjoy, and have a very happy Easter!

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Skinny Bite Frittatas

Frittatas

Who knew that four ingredients and 30 minutes could make a week’s worth of delicious and healthy breakfasts?  Unless you’ve got a crowd on your hands, that is.  It would take a family of 5 less than 2 minutes to polish these off (and to be honest, they’d be clamoring for more because these things are THAT good).

And with bikini season creeping up on us, it seems like this is the perfect time to share my not-so-naughty “secret” recipe.  So I’m gonna spill it.

You’ll need:

12 eggs

Turkey Sausage (I used about 8 oz. of Jennie-O brand)

1/2 a red bell pepper, diced

2 green onions, sliced (toss out the onion part at the bottom)

Olive oil & Non-stick spray

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Preheat your oven to 350° F.

In a large bowl, beat together the 12 eggs.

Meanwhile, brown up the sausage on the stove (I used 1/2 of the package above).  Chop it up as it browns so that you have lots of little crumbles.

Once the meat is cooked through, add it to the egg mixture.

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Add some olive oil to the pan (the same one you cooked the meat in, because doing dishes sucks).  Sauté up the peppers and onions for about 5 minutes, or until slightly softened.  Some leftover crispy bits of sausage might get mixed in, but that’s ok- it just adds to the flavor.

Add the veggies to the egg and sausage mixture.  Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray and fill each with an equal amount of egg.

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Bake for 20 minutes.  They’ll pop up a bit towards the end, but settle back down as they cool off.

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Suitable for enjoying with friends (and champagne) or gobbling in your car on the way to work.  You could even naughty them up a bit with some bacon and cheese, but I’m totally serious when I say they don’t even need it .

I’d never lie to you.

 

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Tasting Temecula

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Napa clearly dominates the California wine scene, but here in Southern California we have our own lesser-known (and to be objective, lesser-quality) wine country called Temecula.  And though it’s not world-renowned, it’s still a really fun way to spend a day or two.

After a morning hike up Cowles Mountain Mom and I took quick showers and hopped in the car to cruise up to Temecula, which is about an hour away from San Diego. We started at Ponte, which came highly recommended.  The grounds there are beautiful, with a mission-style inn and a gorgeous outdoor restaurant.

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We popped into the tasting room/gift shop where we were greeted by a warm woman with a big smile and  a heavy hand.  When it comes to bar tenders, she was just my type.  She even snuck us a couple of “secret” wines that weren’t on the menu!

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Afterwards we took a quick stroll through the gorgeous grounds, snapped a few selfless, and headed across the street to South Coast for some more pours.  I immediately fell in love with the gorgeous walkway there, draped in wisteria that waved in the wind.

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Unfortunately, it was packed and we were in no mood to throw bows to get to the bar, so we turned on our heels and headed elsewhere.

Stop number 3 was Mount Palomar.  The tasting room was dark and intimate, which was nice for a while but we eventually stepped outside to enjoy the sunshine and live music.

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The band covered classic rock songs while Mom and I shared a proscuitto pizza and enjoyed each others company.

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It was a delightful day with wonderful company, and I was heart-broken when the day ended and I had to drop Mom off at the airport.  We had a wonderful weekend that ended too soon.  Can’t wait to see her again next month in Vail!

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And then there were two…

Clemcon

Keen readers will have noticed an adorable little shadow in some of my recent photos.  It has short legs and pointed ears and it belongs to my new(ish) dog, Clem.  I adopted him late last year, and it just occurred to me that I’ve never properly introduced him.  I’m so rude sometimes.  And I’m sorry. But I’m going to set things right immediately.

Meet my corgi, Clemson (Clem, Clemmy, Clemmycakes, Snuggle Nugget, Buddy, et al.)

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He’s a happy-go-lucky little guy that I whisked away from my parent’s house back East.  It took him no time at all to adopt the Cali lifestyle.  He basically became a “bro” overnight.

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IMG_1189Expect to see quite a bit more of this dapper chap around the blog.  I’m sure you’ll be as smitten as I am in no time at all.

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The Great Maple

GreatMaple1 My mom is one of my favorite people on the whole planet, and I’m not saying that just because she carried me inside of her for 9 miserable months.  I’m saying it because she’s smart, funny, and just generally fun and awesome to be related to.

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I’m lucky enough to have her around this weekend, and since she was kind enough to fly cross-country to see me I’m trying to return the favor by showing her all the fabulous pieces of San Diego that she missed on her last trip out here.  We’ve had dinner in Little Italy, cartwheeled through dog beach (OK, I cartwheeled, she photographed), and this morning we met my closest circle of girlfriends for brunch at The Great Maple in University Heights.

Now, I’d heard that this place was good, but that doesn’t do it justice.  We had to wait about 20 minutes for a table and we spent the whole time salivating over the meals other patrons were enjoying.  Literally everything looked amazing, but one thing stood out as being particularly spectacular.

Feast your eyes on these babies:

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Bacon Maple Glazed Donuts.  And I can confirm that they’re every bit as warm, gooey, salty, and delicious as you want them to be.  We ordered some to share as an appetizer (yes, breakfast appetizer… don’t judge).

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As we were savoring these gooey pieces of Nirvana, this plank-o-goodness made it’s rounds.  It’s like dim sum, where they just bring it ’round the restaurant offering some to every table.  Ashley’s excitement over these blueberry scones is clearly visible, and after stealing a nibble I couldn’t blame her.  They were some of the best scones I’ve ever tasted- not even slightly dry or bland.

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Then our entrees arrived.  Mom and I split chilaquiles, which she’d never had before.  They’re kind of like breakfast nachos, with crisp tortillas, chorizo, and salsa.  They were delicious, but even between the two of us we could barely make a dent in this heaping dish!

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As we were getting ready to leave, they came around with another pastry board.  This time it was malt ball donuts, which looked simply divine.  It was with deep regret that I had to pass on these, but there’s only so much a stomach can hold.

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I don’t throw around superlatives lightly, but I think it’s fair to say that my old favorite breakfast place has been dethroned.  If you’re ever in San Diego, “Do-nut” miss this place!!

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Mammoth [Part II]

Mammoth

Last year my friend Katie and I went to Mammoth Mountain and had a fabulous time.  So we decided to return again this year… twice.

This past Friday morning the two of us and approximately 52 other thirsty adults boarded a bus.  As soon as the driver shut the door, the bottles started popping open.  We’d packed a full bloody mary bar to start the day.  Other people sipped on fireball, SoCo, beer or champagne- I even caught one guy with a cocktail shaker.  Everyone was fast friends and the hours basically flew by.

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We pulled into the lodge late in the evening.  After finding our rooms and dropping our bags, the group shuffled down to the Yodler for some bavarian cuisine.  Everyone was giddy about the weather. After months of drought, the sky had started dumping snow.  They’d gotten over 2 ft. by the time we arrived.

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Stuffed to the gills with carbs and cheddar we retreated to bed.

The next morning we sprung out of bed at dawn.  We dressed quickly, inhaled some oatmeal, and were at the lefts within moments of opening.  Now, I have to admit: the conditions were a bit of a shock to me.  I’m sort of a corduroy queen.  I love relaxing cruises down freshly groomed slopes.  But that’s not where the lift dropped me off Saturday morning.  It dropped me off in about 2 feet of powder.  I panicked a little, but quickly gathered my courage dropped in.  I hit the [fluffy] ground almost instantly.  Then I got up, and tried to make a turn.  Then another.  I face planted again.  Here I am after one particularly spectacular yard sale (that’s my ski sticking straight out of the snow behind me).

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This went on the entire way down the run.  Fortunately, it got better.  The rest of the mountain was at least slightly more favorable and we got 10 good runs in before lunch.

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By 12:30 we were famished so we stopped in for some lunch.  Bread bowls of chili and a salad to share really hit the spot.

IMG_1528IMG_1531We sat and enjoyed hot cocktails before getting back on the mountain.  Once we’d thoroughly exhausted our legs for the day, we retired to our room for happy hour.  And by “happy hour” I mean “drinking wine and eating cheese in bed”.

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Yeah, that happened.

And I loved it.

With our batteries fully recharged, we met up with the rest of the group to get some drinks in the village.  Sadly, our favorite bar from last year shut its doors recently, but we still found some stiff drinks and cozy nooks to warm our bones.  We crawled into bed exhausted from what was essentially the best day ever.

The next morning started more leisurely as we packed our things and nibbled on oatmeal and fruit.  When everything was collected, we hit the mountain for a few GLORIOUS runs down the mountain.

IMG_1506Then, almost instantly, everything changed.  Clouds set in and the temperatures dropped.  It was a complete white-out by lunch.

After a tasty burrito, I headed back to the hotel to slip into leggings and Uggs (side note: I am not an Ugg enthusiast, but nothing feels better on your feet after hours in the torture-device that is ski boots).  I sat around the lodge checking email and playing trivia until our bus loaded back up and headed home.  It was a rowdy crew and things were lively the whole way home.  And check out this scenery we had as a backdrop for the shenanigans.

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It was midnight by the time I walked in my front door and I was pooped.  It felt amazing to crawl into my own bed.  That said, if I could go back up there tomorrow, I would!

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The Solar Vortex

So, word on the street is that it’s really cold right now in places that aren’t Southern California.  My instagram feed is punctuated with icicles and people making snow angels. But here, it’s warm and sunny, so I’ve been spending a lot of time at the beach.  Here are some of the photos I’ve snapped.  Warning: photos may invoke an impulsive urge to book a one-way flight to San Diego, abandoning all responsibilities.

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… Have you started packing yet?IMG_1189

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IMG_1299So what time do you land?  :)

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