Banana Walnut Mini Muffins with Granola Sprinkles

12 Sep

These muffins are insanely easy to make. None of the ingredients are particularly finicky, they bake quickly, and they’re cheap.  Bananas are on sale at my Vons for .79 cents a pound and then you get to forget about them until they’re soft enough to use (which you can claim was your intention the whole time). If you’re too broke for walnuts (the most expensive part), just throw some extra granola into the batter for an replacement crunch.

Banana Walnut Mini Muffins with Granola Sprinkles

  • 3 or 4 large very ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup granola

Makes either two trays worth of mini muffins or two dozen regular sized muffins. For mini muffins, I spray the tins with cooking spray.



Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix banana with sugar, egg and butter. In a different bowl, combine baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour. Combine wet and dry ingredients and then mix in walnuts.

Scoop batter evenly into muffin tins then sprinkle with granola.

Bake at 350 degrees 15-18 minutes for mini muffins or 20-25 minutes for regular sized muffins.

Transfer to wire rack to cool.






Chicago Trip, Entry Two, John Hancock Center Photodump

4 May


After the lovely boat tour, we went up to the Signature Room in the John Hancock Center. We looked at the menu, and then decided to just steal the view. Amusingly enough, my best pictures were taken from the lady’s bathroom. Never though I’d say that.


Encrusted Pesto Baked Tilapia with Lemon Couscous: 20 Minutes Of Win

2 May


Sometimes life is easy and you succeed on all fronts. This is one of those times. This meal took 20 minutes to make and cost about $6 for the two of us and represents all the lovely major food groups. Booyah.

Encrusted Pesto Tilapia

Price breakdown

  • 0.65lbs (3 small fillets) for $3.24 Fresh Tilapia from Ralph’s (on sale this week)
  • 1 cup dry couscous, $1 or cheaper (we get ours from the bulk section of Wholefoods)
  • 1 lemon, $0.50
  • 5 Tablespoons Coscto Pesto, approximately $0.75 (it was $4ish dollars and has made us maybe 6 meals so far and is half full)
  • 2 Tablespoons Italian Breadcrumbs, approximately $.10
  • 2 cobbs of corn, $0.50 (4 for $1 at Ralph’s on sale this week)

    $6.09 dinner for two


    How to Make it Happen

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
    2. Spray baking dish with baking spray
    3. Place fish into a baking dish with sides DSC00194
    4. Cover each piece of fish with approx. 1 1/2 generous Tablespoons of Costco Pesto or any pesto you might fancyDSC00197
    5. Sprinkle breadcrumbs overDSC00198
    6. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, then broil for 5 minutes to get a bit of a crunch
    7. Eat. Nom.



    Lemon Couscous

    • 1 cup dry couscous
    • 1 1/4c water
    • bit of salt
    • 1 lemon worth of juice

    This is some tangy lemon couscous and works best when accompanying something that can be on the milder side, like tilapia. It balances with the pesto in a really pleasant way.

    Boil water, lemon juice and salt. Turn off heat. Put in couscous and stir, replacing the lid as quickly as possible after stirring the couscous in. Ignore for 5 minutes. Fluff, eat. Huzzah.

    Corn on the Cobb

    I don’t need to list ingredients for this … do I?

    You boil water, put corn in, wait 5-9 depending on how firm/squishy you want your corn (I like minute 7 personally), take corn out of boiling water, wait for slightly shorter than you should and burn your fingers on cobb, eat.

    Too much butter and salt optional but obviously welcome.

    Chicago Trip, Entry 1

    29 Apr


    I recently went to visit my good friend David (who has a wonderful blog you should all read in Chicago. I met David in Mexico one Christmas when I hit him in the head with a volleyball and asked if that was the Necronomicon he was reading (it was the Crytonomicon which you should all also read)  and a friendship was born. Now that we’re adults and both have the sort of jobs where we can travel without great disruption, we’ve averaged about a visit a year. This time it was my turn to visit him in Chicago and I seem to have timed it perfectly. Los Angeles has recently gotten uncomfortably warm for my anti-desert sensibility so it was nice to break out the real jacket and spend some time in the 50s.


    Chicago is a beautiful city, I have a total crush on it and have ever since my college class on pre-1900 public architecture and learning about the World’s Columbian Exposition. In more recent years, it’s been fueled by reading (and re-reading) The Devil in the White City (which I recommend even to people who don’t squee over buildings like me).  Anyway, all this builds up to me being determined to  get my touristing in with an architecture boat tour so boat tour we me with these people.  Great fun.

    On the way there,we stopped at the Tribune Tower. Did I mention I just got a new camera? I do love me some Neo-Gothic detailing.


    Wikipedia says, “Prior to the building of the Tribune Tower, correspondents for the Chicago Tribune brought back rocks and bricks from a variety of historically important sites throughout the world at the request of Colonel McCormick. Many of these reliefs have been incorporated into the lowest levels of the building and are labeled with their location of origin.”  So yeah, I touched a bit of Scotland. Such an interesting idea for a journalism building, sort of a global theft feel to it.



    The Wrigley Building is across the street from the Tribune Tower. My snazzy piece of trivia from the tour guide was that Wrigley used to make soap which wasn’t very popular, so they put gum in as a bonus. People still hated the soap but a gum empire (and a bad bass clock tower inspired by this) were born.



    Marina City along the river is probably were I would live if I had all of the money. It’s basically a self contained city, complete with marina and bowling alley.


    River City, further down the river, is by the same architect and is equally sort of Gaudi-esque in it’s lack of straight lines. The usefulness of having a city with a real working river is kind of driven home when you keep going past sky scrapers with vast railroad tracks underground underneath them, next to picturesque self contained cities were you can ostensibly go downstairs and take your boat to work.


    Our boat wasn’t so tall but bridges in Chicago aren’t so tall either. I got this great (well, I think so) shot of sparks coming off one of the bridges as a traffic rolled by on top.


    The Carbide & Carbon Building has this wonderful factoid “According to popular legend, architects Daniel and Hubert Burnham designed the building to resemble a dark green champagne bottle with gold foil.[citation needed]”

    Roasted Golden Beet and Blood Orange Salad

    10 Mar


    After this roaring success of beet salad, and when the Santa Monica’s Farmer’s Market had cheap delicious blood oranges, Kyle had the bright idea to make a golden beet blood orange salad. I did the execution since I tend to be more the saladmaker, even if his knife skills are way better than mine. IMAG0022

    Step One: Roast some beets.

    This was my first time roasting golden beets, they were the same price as red ones and I thought, eh, why not? All in all, this was way easier than dealing with regular beets since there wasn’t all that imitation blood everywhere. Even when cut open, these golden beets didn’t have much extra juice.


    Cut the greens off the beet and wash them under some cold water. I scrub a little to get the extra dirt off but once they’re cooked, you skin them, so it isn’t super important how clean they are. Place your beet on a square of tin foil, drizzle the beet with olive oil (1/2 T) and give it some salt and pepper. Fold up your tin foil into a little beet packet like so:


    When they’re airtight-ish, they steam while they bake and the skin just sort of falls off far.

    Roast at 425 for 1hr. If they’re HUGE beets, it might take 1 and a half hours but most regular beets will be well roasted after an hour.

    Take them out of the oven and let them cool. Once they’re a reasonable temperature, use your thumbs to nudge the skin by the top of the beet where the greens where cut away. The skin usually separates and falls off in chunks. 

    Roasted Golden Beet and Blood Orange Salad

    • 1 roasted golden beet, peeled and chopped
    • 1 blood orange, peeled and chopped
    • various greens
    • 2 mini bell peppers, yellow, minced

    This salad is really simple, Kyle had his just the first three things, I tend to like more Things in my salad so I threw in some peppers.  We dressed it with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and s&p.


    Aren’t blood oranges pretty?