Overripe Bananas to Banana Nut Muffins

My eldest sister and I had a quick chat about muffins the other day. She mentioned that she liked cupcakes with frosting more than muffins and I told her that I wasn’t a muffin person as well. But despite my lack of passion for muffins, I still find myself being intrigued by the muffin method and the countless sweet and savory muffins I could possibly make and tweak! So, when we had quite a handful of overripe bananas last Sunday, I immediately thought of experimenting on a new Banana muffin recipe.

Banana Muffins
Banana Muffins

The recipe I used produced 15 regular-sized muffins. They didn’t taste bad, but they weren’t the best ones as well. The muffins had the right amount of sweetness and banana flavor, but I prefer them to be more fluffy, light, and moist. Generally speaking, they were “just okay” muffins and because of this, I was a bit disappointed.

Banana Muffin Batter
Banana Muffin Batter

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Later that evening, we invited some of our relatives to our house to celebrate my eldest sister’s birthday. While my parents, uncle, and aunt were having their coffee after the dinner, my older sister suggested that we serve the muffins I baked that morning. At first, I hesitated to bring them out because they weren’t the best muffins I’ve had, but eventually, I agreed and hoped that somehow it wouldn’t be THAT bad. Haha.

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Banana Muffins
Banana Muffins

As soon as my aunt (Tita Marie) ate one of the muffins, she went to me and gave a comment on the moistness of the muffin. She asked about the ingredients I used and then she said: “I know how to make it more moist and I can teach you.” My eyes lit up and I smiled as I continued to listen to her tips and suggestions. It was a humbling moment for me because I was very much aware of my weaknesses, but at the same time, I was privileged to have a tita (aunt) who naturally cooks and bakes delicious food and who was graciously willing to share her secret tips and recipes to me.

Banana Muffin
Banana Muffin
Banana Muffins
Banana Muffins

 

While she passionately shared some of the experiences she had in the kitchen, she mentioned something that I will never forget. She told me that she was able to read some of my blog posts before which gave her an idea to mentor me in the kitchen someday. She had an idea of teaching and helping me improve in my skills and knowledge when it comes to cooking and baking because she saw how much interested and passionate I was in these things. My tita and I don’t get to regularly talk and see each other, so these words from her were very heartwarming.

Banana Muffins
Banana Muffins
Banana Muffin
Banana Muffin

After the dinner party, I remember lying down on my bed with a heart that was pumped with excitement because my passion for cooking, baking, and food was revived. I felt like a plant being watered on a hot sunny day. It was very, very refreshing. Before I slept that night, I thanked God for what happened. Despite the discouragement I previously had with the “just okay” Banana muffins earlier that day, He reminded me to continue dreaming big, doing my best, and having hope in Him when it comes to the passions He has blessed me with.

Banana Muffins
Banana Muffins

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Ptr. Peter Tan-Chi once said “When you look at people, don’t look at them where they are today, but look at how they can become through Christ in the future.”

I remembered this quote that night because I saw how my aunt didn’t give up on me or on my passion for food and culinary. Even though I wasn’t able to bake the best, moist muffins in the world that evening, she still saw the potential in me and she helped me see it too. If my aunt was able to express her desire to mentor and help me improve after seeing my weakness, I know that God (who loves me in spite of every speck of flaw, sin, struggle, and limitation in me, and knows the past, present, and future) is so much more able to work in and through me and my passions for His glory.

Banana Muffins
Banana Muffins

 For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” [Philippians 2:13]

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The day before I baked the Banana muffins, I posted a photo of the overripe bananas in the kitchen with a caption: “I can already imagine freshly baked banana muffins. Hahaha. Maybe I should bake today. ‪#‎baking ‪#‎overripe ‪#‎bananaEven if the overripe bananas didn’t look like they were the best bananas, I still saw the possibility of making muffins by using them. In the same way, by God’s grace, I pray that I will learn to look at myself and at the people around me through the eyes of Christ – to look at how we can become through Christ in the future.

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Overripe bananas
Overripe bananas

 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” [Ephesians 3:20-21]

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Banana Muffins

Banana Nut Muffins

Recipe Adapted from Cooking Light:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup cake flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter, softened

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas

1/3 cup plain sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup of diced nuts

*Bake at 350 degrees.

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

So, You’re Insecure?

A few days ago, my mom handed me a bunch of overripe bananas. Instead of throwing them away, she wanted me to do something useful with them. When I saw the bananas, my instant thought was “Eew… Mushy, slimy, almost rotten stuff. -_-” However, as I examined them more, I noticed that they were still edible and slightly firm.  So, I decided to give them a try and make banana muffins.

mashed overripe bananas

As I was searching for a nice recipe online, I saw photos about muffins. And to my surprise, it was the first time that I encountered this statement in my life:

“Muffins are just ugly cupcakes.”

www.fumaga.com

In the photo, we can see how some find cupcakes to be more desirable than muffins, maybe because of the texture or the frosting. But, even in this simple idea, we can see how natural it is for us to compare things, ourselves, or even the people around us.

banana muffin

Even though it seemed like it was more fun to bake cupcakes, I still proceeded to make a batch of muffins that day. While I was making banana muffins, God reminded me of three things:

1. INSECURITIES & LIES

I first removed the banana peels and other dark spots on the bananas before mashing them in a bowl. The bananas did not look appealing, but, they were the PERFECT ones to use for the recipe because of their natural sweetness and soft texture.

It was so easy for me to look at the appearance of the overripe bananas and show disgust when I first saw them. In the same way, God reminded me of how I’m easily concerned with how I look, what my status/lifestyle is, how much money I have, and other things that last only for a moment. He also reminded me of those times when I’d be insecure. Sadly, I would tend to compare myself to others and choose not to be grateful and satisfied with how He made me and with what He has given me.

www.mademelaugh.com

However, I thank God for His encouragement through His word:

“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.””

-1 Samuel 16:7

“Anytime we look for fulfillment or happiness in anyone or anything other than God, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.” –Nancy deMoss

2. HUMILITY & THE ULTIMATE SECURITY

While I was baking the banana muffin batter, I began to appreciate the overripe bananas even more. The sweet smell of the vanilla extract and bananas filled the air and I found myself enjoying it.  Once the banana muffins were done in the oven, I immediately placed them in a wire rack to cool down.

But then, I remembered a tip that Alton Brown shared in one of his Good Eats episodes. He suggested that the muffins must be cooled upside down on a thin towel for better volume. I tried doing it and was amazed by what I saw. The muffins looked like they were bowing down. They didn’t look “insecure”. They looked humble.

Humble Muffins

God spoke to my heart and reminded me that being insecure and being proud are inseparable.  I’ve had (and still have) my share of insecurities. But, by His grace, He continues to encourage me to see myself and my situations through His eyes. In the process of doing so, I realize that I shouldn’t be insecure because I know that God loves me and He would only want what’s best for me.

Our security is none other than God Himself. –Pastor Peter Tan-Chi

“Rest in what God thinks about you. He loves you. How do you know He loves you? Remember what Christ did for you on the cross.” –Pastor Vince Burke

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

-Romans 8:28

God works for the good. God loves us. God made us the way we are because He loves us. He is our Ultimate Security. :)

 

3. PURPOSE & DESIGN

After cooling the muffins, I decided to put the finishing touches. :) I invited my eldest sister to help out and we started working on one muffin at a time. It was fun! We ended up using different toppings on half of the batch of baked banana muffins.

By God’s grace, they all looked so nice and yummy. And I thought to myself, “These muffins aren’t ugly. Haha.” :)

Some say that the difference between a cupcake and a muffin is the frosting that cupcakes have. But, according to Alton Brown, the difference is in the mixing method. In making cakes, the butter and sugar are creamed first until fluffy; eggs are added; and finally, the dry ingredients are incorporated. On the other hand, in making muffins, the dry ingredients are combined; the wet ingredients are combined; and then both wet and dry ingredients are mixed together.

In the same way, God showed me that He also uses different methods in our lives. He had a purpose in mind when He made each of us and we just have to continue trusting in His goodness and faithfulness in our lives.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

-Jeremiah 29:11

“You Were Meant To Be Touching
The Lives That You Touch
And Meant To Be Here
Making This World So Much More
Than It Would Be Without You In It”

-Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Meant To Be”

The day before I made banana muffins, I was struggling with insecurities again. But, God knows exactly how and when to encourage us. Thank You, Lord!

I pray that we may continue to find our security in Him all the days of our lives. God bless you, guys!

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

 

 

RECIPE: By Ina Garten

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar (I used 3/4 brown and 3/4 white sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 bananas)
  • 1 cup medium-diced ripe bananas (1 banana)
  • 1 cup small-diced almond nuts

Steps:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Line 18 large muffin cups with paper liners.

3. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.

4. Combine the butter, eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas, and add them to the flour-and-butter mixture. Combine well, but don’t overmix.

5. Fold the diced bananas and nuts into the batter. Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each 1 to the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

6. Cool slightly, remove from the pan, and serve.

 

*By the way, if you want to read more about cupcakes, you can go to this link: http://encouragingtreats.com/free-cupcakes/ :)