365 Self-portrait Project (week 12)

I’m so happy that despite all those problems I had last week I made it to this week and the project is still up and running :)

Shots from this week are not really good. They are dark and grainy and I wasn’t very inspired in general. My contractions decreased around Monday, mostly because I stopped doing almost everything. Since then most of my time I spent on the sofa watching tv, reading a book and playing with my almost forgotten old photos because I didn’t have anything new (only my self-portraits) to play with… ah and in the meantime I wrote something for World Moms Blog. Post is up today: “From Picky Eater to Spinach Smoothie Enthusiast”. Feel free to stop by and grab a recipe for a delicious spinach smoothie!

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Saturday I was playing with my reflections in the ovens’ door and my daughter joined along :) She loves when somebody sits on the floor. She gets very excited when that happens.

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Lady Big it should say ;)

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As I said… Most of the time I’m on the sofa. Here, I’m reading Terry Pratchett’s book. I forgot how I love this guy but now I got a few of his books that I haven’t read and I’m all set for my bed rest. 

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After we came back from the doctor’s appointment where I was introduced to not so satisfying news. My doctor said she wants to keep me pregnant as long as 39 weeks despite those contractions. She just said that in case if they get really bad and regular I have to go to the hospital and most likely I will have that baby delivered. As of today I have just a few contractions during the entire day and they are not very painful. It looks like the baby will come on scheduled time. Good for her but not very comfortable for me.

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(…)

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Reading my cook book I won from The Country Cook giveaway more than a month ago. I was so happy I won it! It’s actually pretty good with many great recipes. So far I made only one dish but it’s because I haven’t been feeling very creative in the kitchen lately. 

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Starting my day with a pill for heartburn. Each day, every day :)

 Today after my morning routine I saw my daughter playing with a tripod so I joined her. 


There is a photographer’s soul growing inside her.


Have a great weekend, my friends. I’m getting back to my book :)

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?Photo Art FridayIn The Picture


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Polish “Babka” with almonds and white chocolate

I suppose to be on bed rest but it’s not that easy when you’re pregnant and when you crave so many different homemade goods. Last week, for example I had homemade chocolate milk pudding for dinner. Four times. What means that for four days I didn’t eat anything else for dinner just my pudding. Oh wait… I did have something else. A few slices of fresh strawberry and a banana on top of my pudding ;) That counts, right?!

I want to share that recipe here on my blog, but every time I make it there is almost no time between when it’s made and when it’s in our bellies.

Last Saturday when it was raining and dark outside I finally decide to make Babka. Finally, because that cake was stuck in my head for a long time. “Babka” is Polish name for a sweet yeast cake but actually it can be made without the yeast and then it resembles pound cake. That’s how my mom and my sister used to make it – without the yeast. It’s not very babka-like but many people do that and call that cake babka and when they use the original recipe with yeast then they call it “yeast babka”.

My mom wasn’t a baker and she even didn’t tried to become one. Whenever she baked something (and it happened really rare), she would always make something VERY easy and fast to fix. Babka and a simple chocolate cake were our most often eaten desserts (and pudding or kisiel, of course). She almost never made a glaze. It was too much work with something that she actually didn’t enjoy – baking. Instead of glaze she would spread a homemade jam (raspberry or black currants) on top of each slice of those cakes and that was it. Just like you would do with open-faced sandwich. It actually was pretty delicious.

These days those simple dishes are my comfort food and whenever I feel under the weather I always come back to it.

Following my family steps I made my babka without the yeast. Although, I do want to try to make it the original way someday. But not when I am on bed rest ;)

This cake is really moist and not sweet at all, at least not too sweet like you would think after reading the recipe.

I do not have the right pan for baking babka but I used 9inch loaf pan and it worked great.

Ingredients for cake: 

1/2 cup white chocolate cut into really small pieces (or white chocolate baking chips),

5 1/2 Tbsp. butter, softened and cut into small pieces,

8 tsp. sugar,

1 tsp. baking powder,

1 tsp. baking soda, (if you don’t have it, don’t worry, this cake will be fine without it)

3 eggs, yolks separated from whites,

1/3 cup all-purpose flour,

1 cup ground almonds, blanched

2 tsp. orange zest,

Ingredients for glaze:

3/4 cup milk chocolate, cut into pieces (milk chocolate chips will do), or if you want to make white chocolate glaze use white chocolate (or chocolate chips),

1/3 cup whipped cream,

1 tsp. fresh squeezed orange juice (or orange liquor),

1 tsp. orange zest.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Into a glass bowl put chocolate and butter. Put that bowl over a pot with small amount of boiling water. Stirr until ingredients melt together. Now you can take it off the heat and add egg yolk, but still over the double bath. Add one yolk at a time stirring really fast. Add sugar and mix well.

Remove the bowl from the pot and add sieved flour with baking soda, baking powder and ground almonds. Stirr with a spoon.

Beat the egg whites until stiff and add to the almond-chocolate batter. Mix well with a spoon. Add orange zest.

Transfer the batter to a greased pan and bake for about 40-45 minutes. After about 40 minutes you can check with a toothpick if it’s done.

Cool on cooling wrack.

While the cake is baking prepare the glaze:

Again, over double bath melt together chocolate and whipped cream. At the end add orange juice and orange zest.

Wait until cake and the glaze are cool then spread the glaze over the cake.

Enjoy!

Self-Portrait 365 Project (week 11th)

 
 

… I barely made it this week.

I am not thinking about leaving this project but it seems like if nothing will change it might happen. I don’t want that to happen because I really enjoy it. It became a part of my everyday life.

Will see.

So far I keep going and this is what I took this last week.

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Yep, I am a Nikon Girl and nothing is going to change it :)

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My daughter playing with my hair, actually pulling it really hard. That was painful but worth the picture :)

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On Monday I had a doctor’s appointment and I think that her asking me about contractions and talking about early labor put something in my head because a few hours after we left I went to an early labor. I didn’t know that it was happening then so we waited till the next day.

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Counting my contractions. It appeared that I wrote down only one in about 4 contractions that were happening every hour. I was told that in the hospital where we finally got late in the afternoon.

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We got home from the hospital a little after midnight. The next day I got up and my husband went to pick up our daughter from a friend’s house. She stayed there for the night and I really appreciate that. It made everything much easier.

Two more self-portraits from that day and a story what happened in the hospital here.

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I call this picture  “Bed rest”. I sit on the bed for a few minutes every day – resting ;)

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Beautiful weather today. After I’ve taken a few shots I got a contraction (actually a few) so I had to stop and go with what I had taken.

I keep my fingers crosse that next week on Friday I’ll have at least 7 more pictures for this project to share them with you.

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Too early to come out!

… and I thought everything will go smooth this time.

Even with our hospital being very liberal about “natural” birth giving after primary cesarean delivery, and being ask that question (“Which way you want to deliver?”) many times I know, I want c-section again. There is no way I will want to go through a half of what I went during my first labor.

The plan was simple. On given me day I show up at the hospital and they take my baby out. It couldn’t sound any better. It suppose to happen in 3 weeks.

On Monday my contractions started and they were very regular for 24 hours. Yesterday we decided to go in and have me checked. So we went and we spent 7 hours in Labor & Delivery. They hooked me up to the monitoring machine and after 2 hours of observation I was hooked to an I V . That didn’t help. So I lied there for next hour while the doctors deliberated what to do with me.

After that hour I was given a shot which stopped my contractions but I had to be under observation for almost 3 hours after that. I do not remember the name of it but it made my heart beat 3 times faster and my temperature jumped sky-high. I saw weird lights flying in front of me and I just wanted to go home, have something to drink and eat (since I got to the hospital they didn’t let me eat or drink at all), and when I was about to fall asleep they decided to let me go home.

So, we left the hospital with an advice to try to keep that baby inside me for at least one week.

I’m gonna try!

And here I am. No baby, yet. On bed rest with only one contraction today, so far. Today I got up with the hospital wristband and a bandage where my IV was. Last night I was too tired to take those off.

and  then, she {snapped}Black and White Wednesdayparenting BY dummies


Tired hugs!

The Big Sister

It is finally happening… 

In between contractions I’m writing this post. I figured I might be gone for a few days so this will be my last post for a while.

From about 4 pm I’ve been experiencing 2 or 3 contractions per hour. My doctor said that to go to the hospital we need to wait until they are about 4 in one hour. It has never happened, though, so I think I’ll just go to bed hoping that tonight we are not going to end up in the hospital.

So far contractions stopped (it’s 12:40am) and I’m hoping for a good night of sleep.

Because of what’s been happening I decided to post some photos of the Big Sister To Be. Pretty soon there will be newborn photos all over this blog.

We got so lucky with our first baby that I’ve thought a lot about how the second one is going to be like?! From the day she was born she hasn’t stopped smiling. She is the happiest baby ever and she is the best entertainer in our house. I remember days when I cried thinking how picky eater she is and how many things she does not want to eat.

Just looking at some of those pictures below you have to admit, my worries no longer exists. 

She likes to explore new flavours, especially when they come with milky after taste :) As for a baby who for months hated milk today she is clearly a milkaholic.

She loves her books.

She looks pretty in her yellow dress (which I’m happy isn’t pink!!!, btw)

She is not afraid of the doggy toy which actually was bought for her. Yes, her dad has this tendency for buying her toys that come from “for dogs” shelf.

Scattered Horizons

She LOVES balloons!

and she snuggles a lot when she get sick.

At the end I need to mention that she just LOVES to drink water from the bathtube (it’s gross, I know) :)

At the begining of my pregnancy I was hoping that those two will have the same b-day date. Today I’m really hoping for the pregnancy to be over with as soon as it’s possible. Ok, maybe I do not wish for it to be over tonight but at least in those few next days.

Will see what’s gonna happen.

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365 Self-portrait Project – week 10th

… and it’s Friday.

… and it’s week 10th of my project which I have never though will last that long. The funny part of this project is that at the beginning I struggled with taking one photo a day… I didn’t have many ideas and it seemed to me like I was trying way too hard to be creative and to think out of the box. I felt like this project is some kind of competition so each and every photo needs to be perfect and… oh… ah… SO CREATIVE. I spent too much time each day thinking and worrying about it.

Today it looks so different. Sometimes I don’t take a picture till 11pm and I do not panic because of that what would have happened a few weeks ago if I did that.

Overthinking it I struggled with ONE photo a day. Today I struggle with picking ONE photo from many I’ve taken during the day. The perfect example of it is today’s post. I just couldn’t pick ONE. Like that triptych (365/67) with our dog. She was making such a funny faces that at the end I couldn’t decide which picture is the best example of her and her way of begging for some attention and love. Those three are only a small part of what she was doing, actually.

It was a lazy week. It’s been dark, cold, and rainy outside so altogether with the weather everything is cloudy. Mostly my mood. I feel heavier than ever and really tired all the time. A few days back I told my husband that I feel like I’m going to go into a labour much sooner than my surgery is scheduled for. Maybe it’s just because I am so uncomfortable that I wish it was over and that’s why I have all those thoughts. Who knows. Will see what happens.

So this is what I came up for this week:

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Saturday. Bath time.

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Sunday. One of those days: “Oh darn. I almost forgot…” So in this case there is almost always a mirror involved ;) This time I struggled so much with the top photo I was about to give up. I had something a little bit different in mind but I’m quite happy with the finall effect.

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Here she is. Our Lady Di begging to be pet.

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It’s been really cold so those are my comfy, warm socks I got as a gift from my friend a while ago. They always work altogether with hot green tea and Food Network. Comfort to my body and comfort to my soul ;)

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And again: late at night… it was right before midnight and I am not cheating here. They were taken BEFORE midnight :)

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Cup of tea and my glasses. And no, I wasn’t wearing them. As I said before. Rain and clouds. Sunglasses aren’t necessary. Even less necessary if you’re sitting indoors all the time. Although I really like to use them for photography purpose. While I was taking those pictures…

… my daughter got up from her nap…

… and she saw them…

… and she couldn’t take her hands off them… .

So we played for a while until I saw her trying to step on them… .

… and the play was over.

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Today’s morning. After shower.

Hope you enjoyed them my friends and have a wonderful weekend. Ours is going to be pretty busy it seems like. So I better put my feet up, rest and enjoy the period of silence and empty home.

Photo Art FridaySunday SnapshotMommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?Chic Homeschool Mama

 

ewa samples, almond milk peanut butter smoothie

Almond milk dark chocolate peanut butter smoothie

I am not the biggest fan of drinking any kind of nut milk just by itself. When I had to stop breastfeeding for the first month I had to feed my daughter with almond and coconut milk because she wouldn’t drink the formula or cow milk. Btw, today she a milkaholic where milk means the real stuff :)

A few weeks ago, when I had to start taking iron supplement I’ve decided to change my diet a little bit, as well.

The easiest way for me was to make all kinds of smoothies but instead of regular milk or fruit juice I’ve decided to start using almond milk. Homemade almond milk. I buy all our nuts in bulk and the first few times I bought already blanched and cut almonds. Though, after comparing prices of not blanched and blanched (and cut) almonds I stopped acting lazy in this case ;)

The recipe couldn’t be any easier to make and to find on the Internet. So being a little redundant, here is the recipe:

1 cup raw almonds (soak overnight, peeled and rinsed)

3 cups of filtered (bottled) water

Blend, extract milk from the pulps by using a nut milk bag, a clothe, strainer…

Honestly I still don’t drink that milk by itself but in a smoothie is really delicious. I think, I’m hooked to it. In addition I do not strain pulps from the liquid. I love the thick texture and more nutty flavor it creates in smoothies. I did it once just to have a picture of it for this post :)

I kept it, though and later added to my smoothies.

As for the recipes I almost never remember the quantity of fruits and veggies I use. I always have the idea of what I want to incorporate in a smoothie and I follow the plan. Almost always, though, when I try it there is something missing in taste so I start adding a little bit of this and a little bit of that to make it taste better.

The same happened this time.

More or less the ingredients were:

1 cup of fresh made almond milk (with pulps, of course),

1 apple,

1/2 small banana,

1 Tbsp, fresh squeezed lemon juice (more if desired),

1/4 cup chia seeds,

1 Tbsp, Dark Chocolate Dreams,

fresh mint leaves, to garnish (they would work perfect if blended together, as well).

A little more about Dark Chocolate Dreams – I bought that stuff thinking that it will help me to eat more peanut butter but when I tasted it at home I didn’t like it at all. As a somebody who really doesn’t like throwing food away I kept it. Finally I found a great use for it. Smoothies. I use it instead of sugar or honey or any other sweetener. It works beautifully for that purpose.

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Homemade Cinnamon Rolls (health-ier version)

I’ve made those cinnamon rolls twice before I got my bread maker. Each time they came out looking and tasting pretty good, but I wasn’t thrilled with the effect in general. Neither my husband. We ate them with cream cheese frosting which actually made them more enjoyable.

Last Saturday I decided to give them one more chance and I was craving cinnamon rolls.

I got up MUCH too early and I though it’s a perfect time to make those as the process takes about 2 hours. This time I used help of my dear friend, the bread maker :) and that was the best decision I could ever made. Those “nothing special” cinnamon rolls came out as THE BEST CINNAMON ROLLS I have ever had !!!

Fluffy, soft inside and with a crunch on the outside. Those previous two times I made them they weren’t half that big and fluffy. I guess I am not as good in hand kneading as I though I was. In addition in my entire apartment there is no place warm enough for the dough to raise. A few times working with yeast dough I tried to leave the dough in warm oven but that didn’t work for me at all.

Look at those beauties. They were so good that I didn’t have to make any frosting just a little bit of butter spread over hot rolls and that was it.

This recipe is adapted from Chef in Training. I changed a few things to make them more healthy. 

Ingredients for the dough: 

2 cups milk

1/2 cup olive oil

3/4 cup brown sugar

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup bread flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 Tbsp. salt

1 packet (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast

1/3 cup flax seed meal

1/4 cup chia seeds

Ingredients for the filling:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened, divided in half

10 Tbsp. brown sugar (more or less), divided in half

4 Tbsp. cinnamon (divided in half)

Directions:

For hand kneading directions go to Chef in Training ‘s Cinnamon rolls post. 

I used bread maker. 

Mixed milk and brown sugar in a sauce pan and heat it up just until the sugar is dissolved and milk is slightly warm. Transfer to bread maker. Add olive oil, salt, all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour. Sprinkle yeast on top. Set the bread maker on “dough”. During the second kneading open the bread maker and add 1/2 cup bread flour, baking soda, baking powder, chia seeds and flax seeds meal.

After it’s done (in my bread maker it takes 1h 10 min), divide the dough in half. I never use rolling pin to roll the dough out. I use my hands to stretch it in into about 11 inch x 9 inch rectangle shape. 

Don’t be greedy and spread a generous amount of softened butter (in my case it’s about 2 Tbsp, sometimes a bit less sometimes more – it depends on how big the rectangle is) over the surface of rolled out dough. Rub half of the brown sugar over the dough. You might start with 4 Tbsp. and if you decide it’s not enough add more until the surface is covered. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp. of cinnamon. Feel free to add more.

Starting from the longest side fold the dough towards you.

Cut rolls into 1 1/2 inch (2 inch is fine too) pieces.

Put them into greased pie pan or on a baking sheets. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.

Repeat with second half of the dough.

Bake in 375 for 18 minutes for pie pans or 12-15 minutes for baking sheets. 

This time I used both: pie pan and baking sheets to compare which is better. 

I used two 9 inch pie pans. In the first one I put 8 rolls in the second 7.

7 seems to be a perfect amount as you can see on the picture above.

Rolls on baking sheets were 1,5 inch apart.

… and while in the oven they leaked out the filling:

Rolls baked in pie pans where clean and nothing leaked out. They came out bigger and fluffiest, too. 

They were so delicious and with the perfect amount of sweetness that we didn’t need any frosting at all. I spread a little bit of butter while still hot to make them more moist and not so dry on top. 

I still highly recommend the cheese cream frosting from the original recipe. It’s so good that every time I make it I eat half just by itself.

This Little Lady ate 4 of those huge rolls on the first day and she kept asking (in her own language) for more.

“too much tv” face

I had to hide them as I was afraid she’s gonna get sugar rush. That’s there is the best indicator that the rolls were really good. Before, she wasn’t really a big fan of those. She would eat a half of one small roll and she was done, she didn’t want more even on the second day.

Now I know that the secret for a perfect rolls is in the bread maker :)

oh… and if I just had a coffee… those would be just perfect, but for now milk will do the job – it has to :)

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365 Self-portrait Project (week 9)

New week and new pictures of my tired self but instead of complaining about it I’ll start this post with a few photos taken by my friend while she visited us two weeks ago. Those are beautiful and I couldn’t be any happier that she was able to visit us at this particular moment of my life. I don’t want to spoil her work by posting all the pictures she sent to me before they are up on her blog. I think I already did post all of them. lol

BUT

I know that there is many much better photos – and I’m not saying those are not good ( I LOVE THEM ALL), but I saw many more pictures she had taken during those two days with us and I know that she holds the very best for herself until she is ready to post them on her blog. I CAN’T wait!!! and I promise I won’t post any more pictures from this session before they are on her blog.

Back to my tired self from this past week.

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Saturday. More pictures of us in the kitchen. As you probably remember there was a few shots of this kind in the past. I can promise you that there will be more in the future. The kitchen is a place where we spent a lot of our time, and whenever I’m there our Little One needs to be there as well plus the “For Scraps Looking” and “If I Make Sweet and Puppy Eyes She’ll Drop Something For Me” dog. 

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Sunday. Beautiful weather. Gardening day. Getting dirty day.

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Monday. Early morning. On the way for a doctor’s appointment. Tired. Waiting for my husband while he went to the store to get some water and snacks.

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Tuesday. Got up at 6:30 am. Went to a doctor. Spent there the entire morning. The rest of my day looked just like that.

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Wednesday. I totally forgot about this project. Seriously. I was in the bathroom getting ready for bed when it hit me: “I NEED TO TAKE A PHOTO!” But gosh… I was so tired and there wasn’t a single idea in my head of how to do it. In moments like that a mirror or my big belly are always my saviours.

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My point of view whenever I look down. My belly is always first. Most of the time there is my daughter hiding under it and of course the dog… hoping for some love or food.

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Today, I got up with this particular feeling. I REALLY NEED A HUG or two, wouldn’t mind three. Delicious smoothie for breakfast improved my mood a little.

While sharing it with my daughter I got more than three hugs with many more kisses. I think she liked that smoothie and she just wanted more. She’s sneaky like that. Anyway, I got what I needed and that made me feel better :) It didn’t even matter that I broke a pot with growing little basil in it while not being really into re-poting them for a second time. I’ve got so many basil growing this year that those 4 plants ( I actually rescued 2) didn’t make a big difference, anyway.

Have a great weekend my friends. Spring is here and I hope it’s whenever you live, as well.

Photo Art FridayChic Homeschool MamaMommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?

ewa samples, eating muffins

Banana Crumbs Muffins with Chia seeds

When it comes to food I haven’t done much lately. At least nothing worth sharing. Most of the time it’s a very quick and easy dinner. For lunch my husband has all kinds of “goodies” from the pre-made frozen food section. Our Little One is happy with smoothies, cheese cream-jam sandwiches, eggs, cheese or some pretzels. SHE LOVES PRETZELS!!!

I know, I know, those are not the best choices but I am not able to make anything more these days. I wish I had more energy and I was in less pain, but I am not, and it is what it is. A few more weeks and all will get better. I’ll be back to my old self. 

This morning I took an advantage of feeling pretty energetic and in a good mood. I made banana crumbs muffins with some extra healthy kick: chia seeds. I made them before and my husband LOVED it. They are really easy and fast to make and taste delicious. Fluffy, soft and moist inside and very crunchy on the outside. I changed a few things in the old version and I think this one is much better.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds

Crumbs

Feel free to double the crumbs recipe as they are really delicious and the more of it on top of the muffin the better it tastes.

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon almonds (or any kinds of nuts), finely chopped  (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 or 11 ( I made 11 from this recipe) muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and chia seeds. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Fill prepared muffin cups to about 3/4 with batter.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter. Mix with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Mixed in chopped nuts. Sprinkle topping over muffins. I mean, cover completely the top of the muffin with the crumbs (if you made double batch).
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Knowing for sure that my husband is going to enjoy them I had to check if those will be toddler approved, as well. And here are the results:

You think she liked it ?! :)

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