Today I’d like to give a shout-out to Kate, who has apparently fallen off the face of the (blogging) earth and can’t get up.  Actually, she’s probably composing a goat post as we speak.  Read.  Whatever.  In her honor I’d like to compose something that isn’t about children’s lit.  Is that even possible anymore?  We’ll find out.

1.  First, and appropriately so, is my love of the Banana Chocolate Chip Pecan Muffin (recipe courtesy of the very same Kate, naturally).  They are a force of nature.

BANANA MUFFINS WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS AND PECANS

¾ cups all purpose flour or whole wheat flour
¾ cups wheat bran or flax
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup pecans, chopped

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare your muffin tin with liners or butter. Whisk first 5 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Combine chocolate chips and pecans in small bowl; add 1 tablespoon flour mixture and toss to coat.

Beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Beat in mashed bananas, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans.  Spoon into muffin tins.

Bake for about 18-20 minutes, testing with a fork.

So, this time I made them with white flour, bran, and 1/2 cup sugar.  They are still sweet and desserty.  Next time I might try whole wheat, more bran, or just a hint of sugar.  I like the chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate) and they might be enough sweetener on their own.  I want to feel like I can eat them for a snack and have it feel moderately healthy.  (BB, I made your carrot apple muffins last week and they were also delish – I’m going to play around with that recipe next time I muffin it up.)

2.  “If You Care” 100% Unbleached Large Baking Cups are, despite their obnoxious name (nothing makes me want to NOT care more than a name like that) marvelous.  The muffins slide right out of those puppies like nobody’s business.  I think my last set of muffin cups was the plain white ones at Fred Meyer, and I thought they were okay until I Cared at the Four Seasons.

3.  Corporate job + iPod = sanity.  I can sit at my desk, block out my coworkers’ noise, and have a party in my head with Bob Dylan and the Leopard-Skin Pill-Box hat.  Now I just need to get some books on there and I’ll be in business.

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