Paleo Chocolate-Banana Muffins

Hello Strangers! Mr. Grassroofs and I have been a little off grid recently.  Being new land lords, coupled with back-to-school has made us busy old people.  You know, the kind who say things like “I just need to get off my feet” and “Is it 9 yet?”

Despite our crotchety ridiculousness, we have a great new recipe to share with you.  This recipe arose from a Spending Freeze we recently put upon ourselves.  More of that later.  One of the big tenants of the freeze, though, is to figure out how to make use of what you have.  In that spirit, I found myself needing a good home for some over ripe bananas.  I found some great recipes, but settled on this one because it needed the fewest alterations based on the ingredients I had. paleo banana muffins

While the oven is preheating, mash the bananas. banana muff 2

A couple awesome things to talk about here: First, I once got Mr. G a really lovely stand mixer…but then we went Paleo and hardly ever use it.  I’m using it here which was gloriously satisfying.

Also, I’m using the portrait lens Mr. G got me for my birthday! Huxley is unimpressed, but I think he looks great in all his hipster disinterest.banana muff 3

Fitzgerald was equally uninterested in muffins after a long morning at the beach and a lost frisbee to show for it.  Thank goodness for the random sleeping bag we laid on the floor for lounging.paleo banana muffins

Anyway, back to muffins!  Once the bananas are good and mashed, add all the wet ingredients.paleo banana muffins

Then I added all the dry ingredients.  If you use the original recipe, it calls for leaving out the chocolate chips; but I substituted chocolate chips for walnuts.  Oh, and also, sometimes I don’t read very closely- whoops! Cat’s out of the bag now.paleo banana muffins

Next comes the spooning in of the batter.  If you’re the amazing type of person who will willingly make two batches, then you can follow conventional wisdom to only fill the cups half-full.  I hate making two batches if I can help it, so I overfilled mine.  It didn’t really cause any problems though.
paleo banana muffins

The dogs were still uninterested in my baking skills, or lack thereof, after the muffins were in the oven.  I couldn’t get them to bite on the subtle vignetting of the photos either.  They are picky, I guess.paleo banana muffins

The muffins came out like this, so I was really glad I had “over filled” them.  They were especially delicious warm, with a fudgey gooeyness that was perfect for a Sunday afternoon.paleo banana muffins

Original Recipe, with my alterations shown in red

 

  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil or melted butter
  • 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 dropper of liquid stevia* (or 2 additional Tablespoons honey) I used the honey, would recommend it.
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup almond meal  I didn’t have quite a whole cup of almond meal, so I finished it up with Coconut flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour (if you don’t have coconut flour, you can sub 2/3 cup whole wheat or gf flour)
  • 1/3 cup cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, plus 1 tablespoon, divided I used a 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts which gave the muffin a nice texture

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with liners.
  2. Place peeled bananas in the bowl of a mixer. Beat until well mashed.
  3. Add oil, honey, stevia, egg, and vanilla, and continue to beat on medium until well combined. Add almond meal, coconut flour, cacao, baking soda, and baking powder and beat on low until well combined. Stir in ¼ cup of chocolate chips. Scoop batter into the prepared muffin liners. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips.
  4. Bake 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. These muffins are best served warm. I ended up having to cook mine for about 24 minutes.

 

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5 Reasons Family Vacation is Awesome

5 reasons family vacation is awesomeMr. Grassroofs and I recently got back from a family trip to Cape Cod with my side of the family.  Super Fitz went with us- have you read about his adventures?  But so did my mom, brother, grandmother, aunt, uncle, two cousins, another aunt, and a second cousin.  Phew! It was a lot of people to coordinate- getting out the door was always a multi-step process.  But we had a fantastic time and I wouldn’t give up family vacations for the world (of course, I do think they should part of a well-balanced travel diet).

Here are five reasons why my family vacations are so great:

1. You go to places you’d never think to go-

5 reasons family vacation is awesome

Mr. G and I probably wouldn’t have chosen to travel to Cape Cod if we were traveling alone.  As two young people with no children, we are always attracted to international travel.  Remember the honeymoon/funnymoon?  So, we would have written Cape Cod off and maybe never have gotten there in our whole lives! We are so glad we ended up there, though, because Cape Cod was awesome!  We loved noticing the similarities each small town had to our little beach community, while appreciating the nuanced differences too. We went lighthousing. We went wine tasting.  We went beer tasting.  And kayaking. And ate ice cream almost every day. So, basically, a hundred awesome things that we would have missed if we hadn’t gone on family vacation.

5 reasons family vacation is awesome

2. But you still get time to be normal-

5 reasons family vacation is awesome

I don’t know if this happens to you, but sometimes I fall into the trap of feeling like I always need to be going, to be doing something.  Otherwise I feel as though I’m not doing my destination justice, as though I may never be back so I better drink it all in.  Family vacation is a good reminder that there is as much beauty in doing nothing as there is in doing something.  Some of the greatest moments of week came from sitting around the dinner table watching a cousin douse his food in Mr. G’s white barbecue sauce or listening to my bro groan over a lost life in Call of Modern Duty Fare.

5 reasons family vacation is awesome

3. You get time to appreciate one another-

5 reasons family vacation is awesome

During the Rat Race that is 9 to 5 life, keeping all the plates spinning can get tricky.  Two jobs. Ducks. Chickens. Renters. Dogs. Friends. Husbands. Blogs. Oh yeah, and family.  Not that it is right, (and is certainly something I’m working on) but keeping in touch with far away loved ones can accidentally fall to the bottom of the to-do list.  Then, when we do speak, we are trying to make up for so much time that the chat ends up sounding more like a reading of a dossier than like a real conversation. Family vacation is great because if removes so many of those spinning plates.  My brother and I aren’t particularly good at talking on the phone, so I was thrilled to spend the week with him.  He is kind and patient and is a just-plain awesome SENIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL!  When did that even happen?! Okay, freak out over.

5 reasons family vacation is awesome

4. You may get different amenities-

5 reasons family vacation is awesome

I know this one sounds strange, but go with me.  Because there were so many people traveling to Cape Cod, we ended up renting a house which helped alleviate the cost of booking hotel rooms for 11 people for 7 nights. Plus, the addition of a kitchen cut down on the cost of meals we had to eat out.  The house was beautiful, of course- colonial and historic and decorated with blue tinted Mason jars. If Mr. G and I had been traveling alone, we would have stayed in a hotel and wouldn’t have had access to laundry facilities. Can I just say that it is lovely to travel home with a suit case of clean clothes.  But the biggest, best, most fantastic amenity that arose from renting a house instead of a hotel room is that we could bring SUPER FITZ!  It was simply perfect being on vacation with our pup and our family.

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5. Your Good-Byes are sweeter-

5 reasons family vacation is awesome

When you’re visiting a place, leaving the place can be a little sad. I am sometimes left with that feeling I mentioned before of not feeling like I did enough to appreciate that place or that I may never make it back.  But when you are traveling with family, the location is secondary to the company, so the good-byes are different.  If you have to say good-bye to family that you won’t see again for a while, for whatever reason, what a gift it is to have spent so much time celebrating with them.  All of my extended family lives across the country, so I’m really glad that when we had to say our good-byes I had a whole week’s arsenal of fantastic memories shored up to take home too.

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Mr. Grassroofs Movement: A Historic Drink

Mr. Grassroofs would like to add to this post that, “the dude spoke EIGHT languages.”


 

A historic Cocktail

Joe Scialom is bar keeping royalty. Former head bartender at the Long Bar in the Shepheard’s Hotel in Cairo he served some of the best cocktails to the who’s who from the 30’s through the 60’s. From Cairo to Cuba, the mythology that follows Joe the Bartender is also pretty tasty; being accused of espionage by multiple countries can have that effect on a reputation. Regardless, the trained chemist has left us with some of the most memorable cocktails around. While The Suffering Bastard was originally created to ease the morning hangovers of soldiers on WWII, I find it to be an excellent compliment to early NC falls where days can reach a humid 80+ and surrender into cool, low-60s bliss. So, without further ado:

A historic Cocktail

 

The Suffering Bastard

1 oz Gin (I like Bulldog)

1 oz Bourbon*(Honestly, Old Crow has a special place in my heart)

1 tsp of fresh lime juice

Bitters (Angostura is fine unless you’ve made your own!)

4 oz Ginger Ale (the spicier the better)

1 sugar cube

A historic Cocktail

 

Place sugar cube in a rocks glass and squeeze the lime over it. Add two dashes of bitters and shake the sugar cube around in the bottom of the glass to break it up. Add fresh ice (a sphere if you’ve got it) followed by the lime juice, bourbon and gin; mix briefly. Top with ginger ale and garnish with an orange.

“Mix well but Shake the politics”- Joe Scialom

A historic Cocktail