Big Sister Banana Nut Muffins

Having a big sister usually means you have a best friend for life. Someone who knows you longer and better than anyone else; who protects you and teaches you everything they’ve already learned about school, style, boys and life. As my big sister and I grow and become wiser, I have a lot to thank her for since she has always been a source of love, inspiration and of course great baking ideas.

Here’s a super easy, possibly healthy way to bake scrumptious banana nut muffins. Turn your weekend (or any day) into a sweet treat!

So I woke up yesterday, made my coffee and went to grab a banana and lo and behold, the last three I had were soft and brown. Somehow this always happens.

Then my sister popped into my head. One time when I visited her she just happened to have fresh, homemade banana nut muffin bread seducing me from inside the oven. She gave me a tip to salvage any over-ripe bananas with her quick recipe and I wanted to share this with you.

Well, I didn’t have a loaf pan readily available and decided to use the foundation of her recipe and modify it to make muffins.

{What You Will Need}
Good news is  you probably have many of the ingredients already and you can be clever and substitute when necessary.

3-4 over-ripe bananas (mashed)
3/4 cup granulated pure sugar cane (or white sugar)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or regular salt)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 cups whole wheat flour (or all purpose flour)
1/2 cup ground or chopped nuts (skip for any food allergies)
1 egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Lemon juice from one whole lemon (or 1 tablespoon of bottled lemon juice)*
A little extra lemon juice, sugar and brown sugar to create a simple glaze
1 Toothpick

*I love the taste of lemons and add them to recipes whenever I can. For this recipe, I used the juice inside the batter to work in tandem with the Baking Soda. Since I didn’t have Baking Powder (which has a combination of Baking Soda and Cream of Tartar to help breads rise), the lemon juice should bring enough acid to react with the Baking Soda (click here for a more thorough explanation of pH chemistry for baking . Apparently, baking soda + lemon juice is great for a green household cleaning agent and can also safely whiten teeth!).

First, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin pan or line with liners (I prefer pretty little liners).

I used a small 4-cup processor to chop and grind whole nuts. I had to use the last bit I had from the container, so some of the pieces were already small. I just pulsed the processor twice for each setting: chop and grind, chop and grind.

To mash the bananas, I took the easy way and used a spoon to cut and press until I achieved a smooth, thick consistency.

In a large mixing bowl, add the smaller ingredients, the sugars, salt, oil and egg. Mix these into a yellow paste. Then add the mashed bananas and chopped nuts and mix together.

Next, incorporate the flour, baking soda, vanilla extract, spices (cinnamon and nutmeg) and the lemon juice. Mix all ingredients evenly until you have a medium thick batter.

Tip: I use my Ikea ice cream scoop to transfer batter into the muffin pan. This helps me control the portions and minimize mess.

Once all the cups are full of banana batter, place the tray onto the top shelf of the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes. By this time the muffins should rise and take on a delicious medium brown glow. Take a toothpick and insert into the muffin in the middle of the tray and one on the outer edge. If no batter sticks to the toothpick, they are done! If batter sticks, whomp, place the tray back into the oven for another five minutes and check again.

At this point, I use a trick I saw my sister use to finish muffins. Make a simple glaze by mixing about a tablespoon of lemon juice and sprinkle in some white and brown sugar (add a dash of cinnamon if you love cinnamon like me!). Use a silicon basting brush to mix and drizzle the glaze over each muffin while they are still warm and let it can cool naturally. This will give you a pretty sheen for display and a yummy, slightly tart first bite.

Tip: This in another big sister tip. If you end up with extra batter for any cupcake or muffin mix and need to only bake a few more, make sure to begin placing the batter in the middle of the tray, moving outward. Since the cups on the outer edge can heat a little differently, starting in the middle when you only have a few cups to fill will help ensure a more even distribution of heat.

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My version is not overly sweet or dry but I can’t guarantee that you will be able to eat just one. I apologize in advance : )

Now you have a fool proof way to make banana nut muffins. Go ahead, bring these to  your next brunch or to the office. Your friends and coworkers will thank you. Just don’t forget to thank your sister, younger or older or twin, for all they have done 

{Cuteness Alert}

Speaking of muffins, here’s an adorable handmade “Stud Muffin” card  from Cherry Blossom Tree Designs. Very cute but not edible!

Available: Cherry Blossom Tree Designs

Retail: $3.50 USD

Do you have a favorite tip from your sister? Let me know!

XOXO Liz Signature

Best Summer Concealers Part 4: The Drug Store Score

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{The Drug Store Score: Revlon ColorStay Blemish Concealer}

{Formula} Created with a “time release” formula to keep coverage looking fresh for up to 24 hours, this drug store score is one of the best investments you can make. Affordable and accessible, you might want to stock up on a few as backups and to keep in your purse. Product glides on easily and the creamy texture makes for a smooth application; very easy to blend under the eye or on blemishes.

{Packaging} The ColorStay line from Revlon mimics the sophisticated, minimalist appearance of higher end lines such as MAC and Chanel. The doe foot applicator applies product directly onto skin; however I would recommend using a finger or concealer brush on any breakouts so you do not transfer bacteria into the tube.

Tip: because the doe foot applicator can bring unwanted air and bacteria into the tube, you should consider a simple way to sanitize. Having air trapped inside the tube (from taking applicator in and out) can promote drying out of product and makes an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.

How to quickly sanitize: Dab some isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol (at least 70% alcohol) on a cotton pad and wipe off excess product from of the applicator. Add some more alcohol to the pad and place on the tip for 30 seconds to ensure germs are killed. Alcohol evaporates fairly quickly. Once tip is dry, insert back into tube. Good job!

{Application} I like to take the product on my clean finger and apply directly to the areas that need it. I find it is strong enough to cover broken capillaries around the nose but is not drying, even when I have allergies.

Tip: to create a precise eye liner or lip liner application, use the concealer to line the area under eye liner or around the lips and blend with concealer brush or damp sponge. This particular formula is concentrated enough to create clean lines and fix any smudge situation.

Available: Target

Retail Price: $8.49 for 0.21 Fl oz.

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Have you tried this product? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!

In case you missed it:

Part 1: The Lightweight

Part 2: The Heavyweight

Part 3: The Multitasker



Weekend Style

It’s the first weekend of August and summer is in full effect. What looks are your sporting this weekend?

Here’s a roundup of some fun summer Saturday style:

{Summer Makeup & Hair}

Makeup By Camila is one of my favorite YouTube Beauty Gurus. Her tutorials are glam-meets-girl next door and this look is perfect for the weekend. The hint of summer color, blues and pinks, is like a mini getaway.


Next up is a bronzed goddess makeup and hair look from Nicole Guerriero. She’s a Florida girl, so I have to rep. She’s so talented and hi-larious. You’re going to get hooked watching her videos, if you aren’t already.

{Pinterest LookBook: Chic Casual Style}