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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Over the Top

So these two items put me over the edge. The friend that made these doesn't know that I will be calling her as soon as Sam hits school age and I need to bring in themed treats to his classroom.
This cake was for a "water party" for her son Aaron, I thought it was utterly hilarious. Look at the powdered donut life preservers!
Thanks for sharing Julie, you are amazing!

Monday, September 28, 2009

What I've Been Doing Lately

Watching a lot of Sesame Street, baking, and eating. Like this towering piece of carrot cake from Gibson's Steakhouse a couple weeks ago. The thing was seriously 9 inches tall.

And no, I did not eat it all by myself.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Autumn Day Muffins

I wish you were at my house right now, enjoying the scent of these muffins wafting by your nose. They are for my Bible Study ladies tomorrow, and will hopefully also feed Scott, his office and other special people this week (Sophie and Kathy, they have your name on them!)

I got this recipe from a roomate in college, more years ago then would be lady-like to mention, and have used it annually ever since. One recipe makes 24 muffins, and it's one of those awesome muffins that is BETTER made the day before. They'll keep two days in fact, wrapped well and kept cool. I serve them with a dollap of cinnamon sugar butter smeared over each half.

Autumn Day Muffins
3 1/3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 TBS. pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
4 large eggs
1 lb. can plain pumpkin
1 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 cups ghirardelli chocolate chips
raw sugar, for sprinkling on top (optional)

Thoroughly mix the first six ingredients in a large bowl. Break eggs into a small bowl and whisk, add melted butter and pumpkin. Mix well. Pour wet ingredients over dry and fold in with a rubber spatula, mixing only until moistened. Gently stir in chocolate chips. Scoop batter evenly into greased muffin tins and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30-40 min. Check doneness at 25 minutes, muffins will be puffed and springy to the touch in the center. Can be wrapped when cool and kept for 1-2 days. Best when made the day before.

Cinnamon Sugar Butter
Soften two sticks of unsalted butter to room temperature. Use a hand mixer to mix in enough cinnamon sugar and salt to taste. That's it.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Who needs Krispy Kremes?

For the past two years, I have been mourning the loss of our local Krispy Kreme Donuts shop. Where's a girl to go for her hot, freshly made donut fix? You know, where your tongue tastes the remnants of the oil for the rest of the day?

Then, this morning, walking to the market with Scott and Sam, I smelled it. My pregnant nose picked up the scent of hot, sweet oil frying SOMETHING four blocks away. Something familiar. And friends, I have urgent, need-to-know information for you who live in and around my town.
There are three guys making donuts from scratch at the French Market this morning. First time ever. They bought the machine back in June and have been developing their recipe and techniques ever since, this week was the trial run. Unfortunately they haven't quite worked out the logistics yet, no on had thought to get change when the first lady handed them a $20 bill.

They looked at each other and said, "Wait, how are we going to do this?" One guy ran down to the Great Harvest Bread stand and came back with a stack of singles, luckily. The chocolate frosting wasn't melted enough to use yet, but none of that mattered in light of the sublime TASTE of freshly made donut about slide down my throat.
Friends, the smell alone is enough to draw you in. I'm assuming they'll be back next week, offering donuts by the dozen, half dozen and singles. We bought half a dozen for $4 and I'm afraid I'm going to eat them all myself. They dissolve away in your mouth, so so good.

Fun times at Great Grandma's and Grandpa's

My dear grandparents are endlessly patient with my energetic son, Grandma frequently utters, "Ohhh, he can't hurt anything!" I beg to differ, but appreciate her sentiment none the less. He knows where the 40 year old toys are kept, and runs to that closet as soon as we get there. I remember playing with this grocery cart and the funny shape thing when I was 2.
Sam decides to do a little work in his "office." I can only hope he didn't mess up any of my grandpa's files.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Fourth of July

We were lucky enough to be included on a fun weekend up at Gull Lake, MI with two other couples and their kids, a fabulous time was had by all. Great food, swimming, fireworks, reading in the hammock during nap time and Sam was totally enthralled with the two older boys by the end of the weekend.

A favorite pastime for the boys, gathering rocks from the lake into buckets and throwing them back in. For hours.
All tuckered out, time for nap!



Thursday, September 03, 2009

See? I WASN'T jumping the gun...

I'm actually behind the seasonal eight ball, according to Costco.
Unbelievable, Christmas trees and decorating items at Costco on September 2nd.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

"Where's Sammy?"

Hiding in Daddy's closet one day after work.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Hello Again

Well Scott has informed me he's sick of looking at that cupcake recipe post and that it was high time I got around to blogging again.

Admittedly, it's been at the bottom of my list these days, dealing with the natural exhaustion a 2 year old boy generates, combined with being 4 months pregnant and all that goes with that. We are happy though, and I have many war stories from the past few months involving markers on our rugs and walls, Aquaphor spread everywhere in Sam's bedroom and on his person and other highjinks that we won't talk about here involving poop.

All that being said, where'd the summer go? September is my favorite month of the year and I am full throttle into all it entails: over 65 pumpkin/gourd related products strewn around the house, a freezer full of homemade stock for stews and soups, Diana Krall and Nat King Cole in the iPod and a fire built in the fireplace ready to go.

It's good to be back, I'll post some pictures of our summer next...

Guess Who's Going to be a Big Brother?

Most of you (my few readers who may still check once in a while) know this already, the rest of you probably don't care. It's big news in our house though, due in February.
Sam is very excited, when we asked him what we should name the baby he cocked his head, stared off into space and responded, "Rick."
Hilarious, because we don't KNOW any Ricks. I have no idea where he even heard the name.

Monday, August 17, 2009

My Favorite Person in my Favorite City

Happy Birthday honey! I cannot imagine life without you.
P.S. Nice hat.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Black Bottom Cupcakes

Well hello there! I have been basically non-existent on the blog this summer, busy with my two year old who has been coloring walls and carpet with dry erase markers and yesterday discovered what happened when he emptied an entire tub of Aquaphor onto himself, his walls, comforter and most of his toys.

Everything glistened wetly in the morning light. Yuck.

Anyways, I've made these cupcakes five times this summer. They travel GREAT, freeze well and are still good three days after they've been made. I like 'em cold, my aunt likes them at room temp, you can't really do these wrong.

Black Bottom Cupcakes, makes 20 large cupcakes
Sift together in a large bowl:
1 & 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa (the richer and darker the better, Penzey's or Valrhona are great)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda

Mix in an electric mixer:
1 cup cold water
1/3 cup oil
1 TB. vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla

Add dry ingredients slowly to wet in the mixer, mix on medium until blended. Line a muffin tin with liners. Fill cups about 1/3 full with chocolate batter. Put 1 TB. of filling (beat together 8 oz. softened cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 egg then add 1 cup ghiradelli chocolate chips) on top in the middle. Bake at 350 for 20 min. Let cool in the pan about 15 min.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Whipped Cream

I thought I'd share a weekly outing with you that Sam and I enjoy together.

Our neighborhood Dominick's grocery store has a Starbucks in it, praise the Lord, and when we go, sometimes I'll treat myself to one as we shop. Months ago, we started getting to know a barista named Kathy, a woman a little younger then my mom with six children of her own. She took a shine to Sam, loving little boys, and decided he needed his own "coffee."

Kathy turned back from the register, grabbed a tall cup and filled it to the brim with whipped cream. On a good day, she or her other partner Lucy will drizzle it with chocolate or caramel sauce, pushing it towards Sam with a spoon tucked into it.

Sam thought he had died and gone to heaven. At barely 18 months he'd say "Coffee? Coffee? Whipped cream?" when we even DROVE by a Dominicks and quickly realized that stand alone Starbucks offer the same benefits.
So this morning, we'd just walked into the store, chosen a cart and rounded the corner when Kathy popped out from behind the counter and handed Sam his "coffee" with a huge smile.
Such a little thing makes us both so happy.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Easy Meals

I'll admit it, I've been lazy.

Like, really lazy when it comes to our week night meals. I wanted to quickly share a few that took less then 30 minutes to pull together and really were no trouble at all. All of these rated a "I'd eat that again," from Scott.

1) Chicken Chili Verde (mexican frozen section at Trader Joes), cooked until reduced by half on the stove top, then add a cup of frozen corn and a cup (or less) of shredded cheese, stir until melted
-Serve on warmed tortillas with with shredded lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream

2) Trader Joe's Marinated Mahi Mahi filets, grilled, I added fresh lime juice and kosher salt
-served with white rice (I made it with half pineapple juice and half water, added shredded pineapple and the juice and zest from one lime after it was cooked)
-steamed green beans in their bag, also from Trader Joe's, tossed with lemon juice

3) Good pasta tossed with pesto, sun dried tomatoes and peas
-I'm sauteing chicken apple sausage to throw in there too tonight, almost all these ingredients are also from Trader Joes...are you sensing a theme?


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Marmalade Emergency!

Mildly funny story.

I decided to make my dad some homemade marmalade for Father's Day this year, seeing as it's a favorite thing of his. Canning is not my forte, let me preface with. I've done a recipe or three of the famous Loibner salsa and that's about it. Maybe an unsuccessful batch of Ina Garten's strawberry jam a year ago as well.

So Anna Pump's Orange Marmalade was entirely new territory.

Most of my ten half pint mason jars were already tied up with the formerly mentioned salsa, but I was betting that the two I had remaining and several other small ones would be enough for the 3 pint recipe.

Wrong.

Making this marmalade is a two day process, and the second day requires about 3 hours of watching, stirring and skimming to make sure that all goes well. After finally coming to the end of the recipe and pouring it into my two jars, I still had a least half the pan left.

Of course. Because I am an idiot about math and have been since we hit long division in fourth grade. (Ironically I was bond trader, but I always told people that I only work with numbers in the "millions.")

So what to do, what to do with the quickly cooling jam in my pot?? I threw a protesting Sam in the carseat, jumped in my car and drove to our nearest Williams-Sonoma in hopes that the utterly fabulous and infamous Dana Williams (no relation to Chuck, at least I don't think so...) would be working and be able to direct me to some new jars within the hour. (I was lucky enough to get to know her during our wedding registry process...five full pages long and I got every item on it. Knew and loved almost everyone in the store by the end of that year.)

Walking into the store, I announce "Marmalade emergency Dana!" and she runs me over to the wall with the plethora of gourmet jams. I proceeded to explain that I was attempting to make it on my own and had run out of jars.

Her face fell, eyes flickering behind her funky black glasses as she thought out loud rapidly, "Nope, not a jar in sight. We carried canning items about five years ago or so, there was a huge display right there." She glanced over towards the checkout and then looked back at me, a smile coming to her face.

"ACTUALLY", (her voice rising and words coming quickly as she became more excited). "I bought a bunch of canning equipment when it went on clearance way back then and I think IT'S STILL IN THE BAG IN MY BASEMENT!!!"

She raced over to the phone behind the desk and says, "Stay right there, can you wait two minutes while my son Max checks to see if it's still down there?"

Sure enough, Max dug around their basement, by the "Fourth of July chairs, over in the corner" and there it was.

Two gorgeous Williams-Sonoma bags, full of $100 worth of beautiful german canning jars and canning equipment that she bought for something like $9 five years ago.

Thanks to the adorable Max, and a quick trip to their house, all the marmalade is now in it's new home and I am utterly grateful for my friend's generosity.

It is now 8:48pm and the 2 hr 30 min (yeah right Ina,) project is finally at a close.

Dana, check your mailbox tomorrow. It'd be really good on your homemade french bread. Love you.

Anna Pump's Orange Marmalade (totally worth the hassle)
4 large seedless oranges
2 lemons
8 cups sugar
8 cups water

Cut the oranges and lemons in half crosswise, then into very thin half-moon slices. (You can use a mandoline if you wish.) Discard any seeds. Place the sliced fruit and their juices into a stainless-steel pot. Add 8 cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Cover and allow to stand overnight at room temperature.

The next day, bring the mixture back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 2 hours. Turn the heat up to medium and boil gently, stirring often, for another 30 minutes. Skim off any foam that forms on the top. Cook the marmalade until it reaches 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer. (Unfortunately very necessary for this recipe, but only a $5-$10 purchase.) If you want to be doubly sure it's ready, place a small amount on a plate and refrigerate it until it's cool but not cold. If it's firm, neither runny nor too hard, it's done. It will be a golden orange color. If the marmalade is runny, continue cooking it and if it's too hard, add more water.

Pour the marmalade into clean, hot Mason jars; wipe the rims throughly with a clean damp paper towel and seal with the lids. Store in the pantry for up to a year. (Ina didn't call for you to boil the jars in order to create the vacuum, but I did anyways, just to be safe.)

Yield: 3-4 pints (hint, you will need MORE then 2 half pint jars. Ahem.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The World-Is-Ending Blueberry Muffin

I'm not even kidding you, if I knew the world was ending I'd flip through our wedding photos one more time, make a few phone calls involving words of love to family and friends and eat as many of these muffins as I could.
Seriously, I've made my second batch in a week and they are heavenly, only involving two more steps then your average blueberry muffin recipe. With much credit and love to Cooks Illustrated.

Best Blueberry Muffins

Lemon Sugar Topping
1/3 cup sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons finely grated zest from one lemon

Muffins
3 cups fresh blueberries, picked over
1 & 1/8 cups sugar, plus 2 teaspoons
2 & 1/2 cups flour
2 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
2 extra large eggs
1/2 stick (4 TB) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

For the topping: stir together sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl until combined, set aside.

For the muffins: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Bring 1 & 1/2 cups blueberries and 2 tsp. of sugar to simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with spoon several times and stirring frequently until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 6 minutes. Cool to room temp, 10-15 min.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining sugar and eggs together in a medium bowl, add butter and oil until combined. Add buttermilk and vanilla to egg mixture until combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining 1 & 1/2 cups of blueberries into the flour mixture just until moistened. Do not overmix.

Divide the batter evenly among about 14 muffin cups. Spoon one teaspoon of blueberry jam into the center of each and swirl slightly with a toothpick. Sprinkle lemon sugar evenly over muffins.

Bake until muffin tops are golden brown and just firm, 17-19 minutes. Cool in tins for 5 minutes, the finish cooling on a rack. They freeze well and can be reheated in the oven for a freshly baked texture.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Back at last

I apologize for missing the entire month of May!  Between being sick on and off with random colds and flu's, and entertaining half the town at our house for birthday's/dinners/pool parties, blogging has been at the low end of my list of things to do.

New recipes coming up, pictures of Sam's birthday and more coming.  

"Big-Bed"

Somebody moved out of his crib last night and is loving life in his "big-bed."  

That phrase is usually whispered in my ear as I'm putting him down in his crib, "Momma, lay in the big-bed?"  We finally pulled the trigger and let him spend the night in it.

Didn't hear a peep until 6:30 am this morning when I heard his door open, then the sound of little feet pattering towards our room, and finally saw his blonde head sticking up at the foot of our bed.  Scott and I leaned up and said "Good Morning littl budd..." and were interrupted by something soft and round flying towards our heads.  It hit me squarely in the forehead.  I looked at Scott in the darkness and he said, "I think that's a dia..." and another one came shooting towards us.

Sam starts cackling manically and says "I throw skinky pee-you's at your head!"  Lucky for us we throw the truly stinky ones immediately into the garage garbage, there were only two wet ones left in his waste basket.  Tightly rolled too....phew.

He's been giggling out loud randomly throughout the day today, whispering, "Stinky pee-you's at Momma's head."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Man-Pants

Today marks a historic occasion in our household.  Sam decided two days ago that he thinks it is great fun going potty on the toilet, (I believe it is more linked to his deep love of dark chocolate m&m's then anything else), and caught me completely unawares.

All I had heard from family, friends and books was that you shouldn't bother trying to potty train a boy until closer to three.  My 23 month old evidently didn't read those books.  So today we headed out to Gymboree to stock up on super-cool, manly, baby boy briefs.  I can hardly look at them without laughing hysterically, and am not holding my breath with this potty training thing.  

In case you can't tell, the navy blue ones on the bottom left have alligator heads on them.  "Alligator bite chew!"  Inside joke for Great Grandma.  :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Boomsticks

So last night, Scott and I thought we'd give Sam a thrill by taking him to our local Guitar Center, seeing as he has been obsessed with all things drum-related for the past couple of months.  He has a specially dedicated cabinet in the kitchen filled with metal bowls, wooden spoons and other implements that are lovingly referred to as his "boomsticks."  Seriously, this child will sit on my lap and watch video after video of Buddy Rich and Neil Peart playing drum solos at drummerworld.com.  We pull up to church and he shouts out "BOOMS" and runs to the drum set in the corner to pester poor Phil, the amazingly talented (and patient) percussion guy.

So, I thought it was time for him to maybe take an up-close look at some electronic drum sets, and to see if there was anything small we could buy for him to play with at home.  We had no idea what we were in for.

On a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon, we walk into the unsuspecting store and head to the left, into the room devoted especially to drums.  There was an entire WALL with cymbals of all sizes mounted and ready to be hit.  Drum sets, snare drums, electronic drum kits, shakers, cow bells, bongos of all sizes, rain sticks...you name it, every kind of percussion instrument filled the room.  He ran in, the drool started to drip from his mouth, he began pounding with his fists on the cymbals at his level.  

The tattoo covered clerk, with a massive metal ring through his ear, asks, "Can I help you?"  and proceeded to be quite awesome about the whole thing.  Loved that Sam was into drums at not-quite-two and totally let him play on the electronic kit in the back.  My problem came when I stupidly handed Sam a set of junior drum sticks and let him run back to the cymbal wall.  After seven seconds we realized it wasn't a good idea and I attempted to take them back.

Big mistake.  My mild-mannered boy who has yet to have a public tantrum (knock on wood), lost it.  It was like I was trying to remove a kidney or something.  

His eyes filling with tears, he screams out, "NNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooo, moommmyyyy", and dissolves into a limp puddle on the floor, hugging the sticks to his tiny, heaving chest.  The guys behind the counter are watching and I'm sweating and Scott is getting mad that we brought our toddler into a room filled with such temptation and basically I'm totally regretting the entire adventure.  

I look back at the tattooed man and giggle nervously and say to the clerk, "well, we'll take these drum sticks for sure."  And a shaker.  And a small set of bongos.  Scott thinks I am rushing it, but only time will tell.

He slept with the drum sticks last night in his crib.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cracking Up

video
Scott and Sam enjoy a big ball from Target, random video for friends and family far away.  We love you!

ANGRY Peeps

I saw a big display of these at Target on Friday and could not stop cracking up about them.  Does this strike anyone else as a little strange? (Almost as strange as me taking a picture of the peeps at Target)  And dangerous for white carpeting and sticky hands.

They're watching you, always watching.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Oh, crap.

I know some people (my fabulous third cousin (what are we, anyways, Anita?)) would look at this as an opportunity, to enjoy one last taste of winter, or to focus on the coziness of the quiet morning, but I can't.  I just can't.  

I am done with winter.  It is APRIL 6th for God's sake, what is going on here!?  A part of me died inside when I looked out our window this morning at the two inches of snow laying on my newly sprouted chives and daffodils.  

There is something obscenely wrong with the sound of wind chimes over snow.

Wedding Pictures

I just spent WAY too much of Sam's precious naptime uploading a bunch of old wedding pictures to Facebook.  If anyone wants to view the album, click on this link.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Place Where You Should Go...in Naples, FL

The second-to-last night of our two week vacation with family down in Naples, FL, Scott and I visited a magical little restaurant called Baleen's, in the La Playa Hotel.  We didn't feel up to ponying up for dinner, so our plan was to just have drinks and dessert and watch the sunset.
It was breathtakingly gorgeous and these sad little pictures I snapped with my phone don't near do it justice.
Every night when the sun goes down, they ring the big brass bell up on the porch and everyone claps.  The waiters light torches and heat lamps that lurk everywhere and the firepit is going to keep you cozy by the ocean, the sound of the waves in your ears.  
It was so fun to bury our toes in the sand, watch the sun slip into the Gulf and sip on pomegranate martinis as we fought over the last bite of homemade bananas foster ice cream over a moist dark chocolate cake, sitting on a bed of caramelized bananas, "Monkey in the Middle."  Scott had the White Chocolate Key Lime Tart, but I like mine better.  Good thing for him.

I highly recommend seeking out this spot if you're in the area, but prepare yourself for mediocre service if you sit in the bar section, as we did.  With only one waitress working the entire area it took an hour and half for us to order and receive one round of drinks and dessert. Worth it though...the drinks ended up being free.  Whoo hooo!

The perfect end to a wonderful vacation.

Friday, March 27, 2009

More Pictures from Morro Bay, CA

Incredible homemade ice cream at Hoppe's, a gem of a restaurant right on the ocean in Cayucos, CA.  Amy, Garett her husband and I had a wonderful meal my last day there.  What fun memories!  
The hot and sour soup Garett made on Valentine's day, I can still taste the ginger in that...awesome.
Amy on a walk down Morro Bay Beach.
Lunch at Rosie's, with sea lions swimming in the water down at our feet.  Great fish tacos and ohmygosh garlic fries.  Ohhhh.  Amy, Garett, their adorable son Wyatt (who is Sam's pen-pal, he just doesn't know it yet) and her dad, John.
Elephant seals sunning themselves, mating, and generally being huge and (the males at least) gross along Highway 1.
Morro Bay Rock.  Nothing like it.
Chefs in the kitchen on Valentine's Day.  Thanks again sweet friends!

Gale Gand's Cocoa Krispy Treats...for Mary

This was a dessert I made probably five times in two months over the Christmas season last year.  Super easy, better for you then regular Rice Krispy Treats (protein from peanut butter, ahem.) and just plain delicious.

Gale Gand's Chocolate Krispies (From her Chocolate and Vanilla Cookbook)
4 cups cocoa krispies
1/2 cup light Karo corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
4 oz. chocolate chips, melted (optional if you're lazy like me)

Boil the sugar and syrup together until sugar is melted completely.  Remove from heat, stir in peanut butter.  Add cocoa krispies and combine well.  Press into a greased 9x13 pan and drizzle the melted chocolate over top.  

Unfortunately, they don't freeze well, that's about the only bummer.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Trip to Central Coast, California

These pictures are LONG overdue, I had a dream trip back in February to see my precious friend Amy out in San Luis Obispo.  Our first night we stayed at this brilliant little place with Yurts, called Treebones.  Check it out, great concept and super affordable for that part of the country.
Cozy little bedroom with a sink and an electric heater.  Now that's what I call camping!

I was obsessed with the fact that succulents grow in the wild out there...who knew those tiny plants at Trader Joe's in the pots had flowers!

A New Talent

Sam learned this new trick while we were down in Florida, more to come.
video

Saturday, February 21, 2009

"Whatcha doing, Sam?"

I was busy preparing for a small dinner we were having last night when I heard a funny noise coming from the dining room.  
video
What a funny little fellow.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (Scott's Favorite)

I've been staring at the four brown bananas on my counter for the last couple of days, not having enough energy to do anything productive with them until today.  This recipe, based off Kathleen Tate's, is fabulous.  Moist, dense and tasty, you've got to use Ghiradelli semi sweet chocolate chips to get the full effect.  A four star recipe in our house, they freeze beautifully and you can heat them up in the oven for a few minutes to fool your friends into thinking they're freshly baked.  No one will be the wiser.
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. table salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tps. vanilla
2 large eggs
1 & 1/2 cups smashed bananas (about 4 medium, you can squish them up right inside the peel and then squeeze them out into the mixing bowl...no need to dirty another dish!)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 & 1/2 cups Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips
About 2 TB. raw sugar for topping the muffins

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare about 18 muffin cups, or use the fun medium sized white baking cups from Schweppe's, you don't even need a muffin pan then.

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.  Cream the butter and sugars in a mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla and eggs and mix well.  Squeeze in the bananas and mix in the sour cream.  Fold in the flour mixture, then the chocolate chips.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups.  Sprinkle them with raw sugar if desired, it gives them a little crunch on top which can be nice.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.