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Caramelized Banana Oat Muffins

By Polly Conner

These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

I love making muffins.

Maybe it’s because my figure somewhat represents one at the current time (i.e. 7.5 months pregnant) but for some reason I’ve been wanting muffins in the morning–and afternoon. OK maybe I had 2 for dinner the night as well. No regrets either.

Call me a muffin snob but I want a recipe that will actually keep me full. I hate puttering out on energy at about 10am so I gravitate towards hearty recipes like our zucchini flaxseed muffins or chocolate banana muffins.

I’m always on the hunt for new muffin recipes so when I saw this caramelized banana oat muffin recipe on Pinch of Yum, I pounced on it as quick as a two year old does when his toy is in the hands of another child. Or maybe just my two year old. I digress.

I tweaked and subbed a few ingredients here and there and came out with a recipe that I for sure plan on making again.

Here’s how it all went down… (recipe at the bottom of the post).

Rise and shine. Muffin making time.

The first step to this recipe is to caramelize the bananas. As with most things in my life, my children wanted to be right in the middle of whatever I may be doing. So here we are–in all of our morning glory–me in my husbands shirt because I hardly have any that actually fit me (thank you baby bump).

These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

This actually turned out to be a great task for little hands. I sliced 4 bananas about 1/2 inch thick and my little helpers placed them on a foiled and greased baking sheet.

These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

After baking them at 400 for about 15 minutes, they looked like this.

I mean, gross right? Not quite the image of the beautifully caramelized bananas that I was envisioning. Regardless, I persevered through the recipe.

These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

Next, it was time to make the oat flour.

Don’t be intimidated by this at all. Oat flour can simply be made in the food processor. I use the same technique for our oatmeal pancakes all of the time. Just dump them in and grind them up! It will end up yielding about 3/4 cup but that is totally fine. Don’t add any more!
These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

Now, in a large bowl mix together all of your dry ingredients minus the pecans (oat flour, whole wheat flour, flax seed, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg).

Then, you guessed it, in another bowl mix together all of your wet ingredients minus the bananas (half and half, yogurt, eggs, melted butter, maple syrup, vanilla). 

Make a “well” in the middle of your dry ingredients and pour your wet ingredients into the well. Stir until they are just mixed together (probably about 15 times). Now fold in your mashed bananas and pecans. Stir just a few more times.

Fill your muffin cups up about 3/4 full with this goodness. It’s worth mentioning that I highly recommend using silicone muffin cups. I’ve hardly ever had problems with my muffins sticking to them and I find they are much easier to clean than a pan. Just sayin. Here is an iphone shot of mine before they went into the oven.

These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

You can probably see that there is a topping sprinkled on top of the batter. I think this yummy topping is what makes this muffin extra special. It’s super easy to whip up. Combine some oats, maple syrup and butter and you are in business.

These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

Time to bake!

A 400 degree oven and about 15 minutes should do the trick. Just keep them in there until the tops start to brown and the muffins push back a bit when you gently touch the top.

Let them cool a few minutes before removing them from the pan.

These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

Then fend off your children as you attempt to take pictures of the final product. Oh wait, that’s just me. #FoodBloggerProblems.
These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

Make sure to check out all of our other muffin recipes we have in our recipe index. You shall not be disappointed in what you may find.

Happy muffin making!
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Caramelized Banana Oat Muffins

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

A delicious twist on the typical banana muffin recipe. These muffins have just the right balance of sweetness, heartiness and nutrition for a delicious, healthy breakfast. Freezer friendly too!


Ingredients

  • 4 bananas, peeled and sliced (NOT overly ripe)
  • 1 cup oats, pulsed through a food processor until coarse flour forms
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed (can sub wheat flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup half and half
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter
  • 23 tablespoons raw honey or real maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • For The Topping
  • ⅓ cup oats
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey or real maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice the bananas into rounds about 1/2 inch thick.
  3. After lining a baking sheet with aluminum foil, spray generously with nonstick cooking spray and place the bananas on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake bananas for about 10-15 minutes, flipping once and removing from the oven when the bananas are deep golden brown on the outside.
  5. Transfer bananas to a bowl and give them a good smash.
  6. Break down the oats in a food processor until a flour-like meal is formed. (This took about 45 seconds for me.)
  7. Combine all the dry ingredients (oat flour, whole wheat flour, flax seed, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg) in a large bowl. Stir to combine.
  8. In a separate bowl, whisk the half and half, yogurt, eggs, melted butter, vanilla, and honey until smooth.
  9. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet to the dry.
  10. Stir around the bowl until the batter is just barely combined (if you stir too much during this step, your muffins are going to have a gummy, chewy consistency).
  11. Fold the caramelized bananas and pecans into the mixture, stirring just a few more times.
  12. Transfer the batter to muffin cups. If you’re using a pan, make sure to grease it well.
  13. Mix the topping ingredients together and spoon over the muffins.
  14. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until the muffins are puffed slightly and spring back when you touch the tops.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:

To Freeze:
Bake muffins as directed in recipe. Let cool completely. Once cool, place in freezer safe bag or container for up to 3 months.

To Prepare:
Remove desired number of muffins from freezer. Let thaw in refrigerator overnight or warm slightly in the microwave.

The Best Everyday Smoothie {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Here it is. Many, many friends over the years have asked me for my husband’s secret smoothie recipe. And today is the day we’ve all a few of us have been waiting for…

The Best Everyday Smoothie Ever - Our family never gets tired of this delicious combination of juice, milk, fresh spinach, and tons of fruit.

“Hey Nathan, can you get up and make your smoothie?”

My husband peered at me through one open eye. “It’s Saturday morning, Rach.”

“Yeah, but you’re a dad, remember? Everybody knows you can’t sleep past 8.”

“Uhhhh,” he moaned, as he threw a pillow over his head.

“Nevermind. I’ll go try to make your smoothie. I want to get some pics before the lighting changes outside.”

20 minutes later…

Muted mockery covered his face and a quiet chuckle escaped as my bed-headed husband took one look at my attempt at his Everyday Smoothie.

“What are you laughing at?!” I demanded.

“You.”

“What about me?”

“You and your puke, purple-beige smoothie attempt.”

(I don’t know…what do you guys think? My smoothie on your left or his on your right?)

The Best Everyday Smoothie Ever - Our family never gets tired of this delicious combination of juice, milk, fresh spinach, and tons of fruit.

(Yeah, that’s what I thought. Look, between you and me, I never get it right. His is tastier. Much tastier. And a far cry from my “puke, purple-beige” version.)

The Best Everyday Smoothie Ever - Our family never gets tired of this delicious combination of juice, milk, fresh spinach, and tons of fruit.

So, it’s with a very humbled heart, that I publicly dub my husband the official Smoothie Master of Our Household. And I invite you to enjoy his version of The Best Everyday Smoothie we know.

The Best Everyday Smoothie Ever - Our family never gets tired of this delicious combination of juice, milk, fresh spinach, and tons of fruit.
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The Best Everyday Smoothie Ever

The Best Everyday Smoothie

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups (4 servings) 1x
  • Category: Smoothie
  • Method: Blending
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Seriously delicious and seriously healthy. We have this smoothie almost everyday!


Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk (he uses 2%, but it’s your choice)
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (he uses vanilla, but I like plain b/c less sugar)
  • 4 cups spinach, loosely packed
  • 1 banana (a frozen banana makes it even creamier)
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries (or frozen berry blend)
  • 2 cups frozen tropical fruit (we use a mix of mango, pineapple and strawberries)

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Add milk, juice, yogurt, spinach and banana to a high-powered blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Add frozen fruit. Blend again until smooth. Enjoy!

Freeze For Later: After making the smoothie, freeze it in a freezable mason jar, leaving at least an inch at the top. Prepare From Frozen: Place the mason jar in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. Stir with a spoon or throw in the blender again with a few ice cubes.

7 More Smoothies for You!

Try our new 7 Healthy Smoothie Recipes and learn how to make Freezer Smoothie Packs! You are going to love these recipes. We even created a free printable of all the recipes and shopping lists for you.

Creamy Avocado Dip: For One or For a Crowd

By Rachel Tiemeyer

creamy avocado dip recipe

As afternoon snacks go, dark chocolate chips and peanuts rank #1 in my book. But, Creamy Avocado Dip might come in at #2. This healthy and filling dip is a great love of mine for lunch or for snacking.

You can also whip up this Creamy Avocado Dip for an appetizer for a crowd. Pinky swear that it doesn’t taste “healthy”–just creamy and delicious! Serve with tortilla chips, carrots sticks, and any other fresh veggies you like.

I must note that my absolute favorite salsa in this recipe is the Double Roasted Salsa from Trader Joes. We always stock up on it when we’re in the city. As you may know, I heart TJs.

Check out more of our healthy snacks here and appetizers here. I hope you can enjoy some of this green goodness soon!

creamy avocado dip

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Creamy Avocado Dip

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 (single serving) or 8 (crowd directions) 1x
  • Category: Dip
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: American

Description

You can whip up this Creamy Avocado Dip for an appetizer or for a crowd. It is creamy and delicious! Serve with tortilla chips, carrots sticks, and any other fresh veggies you like.


Ingredients

  • For One:
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste
  • 12 tablespoons of salsa (I love Double Smoked Salsa at Trader Joe’s in mine!)
  • 12 tablespoons of plain Greek Yogurt (fat-free works fine)
  • For a Crowd (serves 8-10):
  • 8 avocados
  • 8 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice of 23 lemons)
  • salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa
  • 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt (fat-free works fine)

Instructions

  1. Remove the avocado flesh with a spoon and place in a bowl. Add lemon juice and smash with a potato masher or back of a fork until smooth.
  2. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Stir to combine.
  3. Add in salsa and Greek yogurt and stir until thoroughly combined.
  4. Serve with fresh veggies (carrots, celery, broccoli, peppers) and/or chips.

Banana Split Power Smoothie

By Rachel Tiemeyer
Want a healthy snack to power you through the morning or afternoon? This banana split power smoothie is it.

Want a healthy snack to power you through the morning or afternoon? Oh my. Please give this smoothie a try. My entire family can vouch for the “strawberry milkshake”-flavored deliciousness of this Banana Split Power Smoothie.

Want a healthy snack to power you through the morning or afternoon? This banana split power smoothie is it.


P.S. Don’t be weirded out by the cottage cheese in this recipe. It adds great richness and you’ll never know it’s there.

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Banana Split Power Smoothie

Banana Split Power Smoothie

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups or 2 servings 1x
  • Category: Smoothie
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Want a healthy snack to power you through the morning or afternoon? This banana split power smoothie is it.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk (your choice or substitute coconut water)
  • 1 cup cottage cheese (sub: plain Greek yogurt or tofu)
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 cup frozen unsweetened strawberries
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen pineapple

Instructions

Place all ingredients in the blender and blend on high until very smooth. Note: If you have a lower-powered blender, I would suggest blending the milk, cottage cheese, and banana first. Then add the frozen fruit a little at a time.

7 Layer Taco Dip Recipe (Healthified!)

By Rachel Tiemeyer

A simple, healthy appetizer fit for a fiesta or a quick low-key meatless meal.

I’ll give you 3 reasons why you need to make this dip soon:

1 – It’s an easy, no-cook and healthy meal. I left this in the fridge, and we ate on it for lunch, snacks, and dinner throughout the week. Not only can you dip tortilla chips but carrot sticks, as well. Seriously one of my favorite meals.

2 – Perfect for a Thanksgiving or holiday party appetizer. You can throw this app together in about 15 minutes and there’s no cooking required. Plus, who doesn’t love this dip? It’s sure to be a party favorite.

3 – This version of the 7 Layer Taco Dip is actually healthy! Let’s take a glance at what’s in my version:

Beans = fiber, protein, low in fat and calories (Make sure you either make your own refried beans or buy organic to avoid strange ingredients. I’ve found that the Vegetarian Refried Beans in my store had the least amount of ingredients and were the lowest in fat, as well.)

Avocados = good fat, vitamins, minerals

Yogurt = probiotics, calcium, protein (By the way, yogurt is a near perfect substitution for sour cream! It adds some awesome probiotics.)

A little cheese = calcium, protein

Veggies of your choice (lettuce, tomatoes, olives) = fiber, vitamins, minerals

And, to make this even cheaper and healthier, whip up some of your own taco seasoning to have on hand for this appetizer and more recipes like our favorite Cheesy Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas.

homemade taco seasoning mix

Cheesy Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

Now, you’re not sure your kids will eat 7 Layer Taco Dip, are you? And for moms like me, that’s always a factor when taking time to prepare food. Well, I’m here to say that at least one of my kiddos did eat this when I improvised a bit. I scooped out some of the beans, guac, and cheese part (minus the veggies on top), rolled it up in a tortilla, and warmed it up. She loved it when it looked “normal.” The other little people had to make due with leftovers or sandwiches that night.

Ready to get your 7 Layer Taco Dip on? Here’s my simple, healthy recipe fit for a fiesta or a quick low-key meal.

A simple, healthy appetizer fit for a fiesta or a quick low-key meatless meal.

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7 Layer Taco Dip Recipe (Healthified!)

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Mix
  • Cuisine: Americna==an

Description

A simple, healthy appetizer fit for a fiesta or a quick low-key meatless meal.


Ingredients

  • 1 can refried beans (look for organic or make your own)
  • 23 avocados, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups plain organic Greek yogurt or whole milk yogurt
  • 12 tablespoons taco seasoning (according to your taste)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup loosely packed shredded romaine or green leaf lettuce
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • a few sliced olives, optional for garnish

Instructions

  1. Spread refried beans in large glass bowl or pan.
  2. In a small bowl, smash avocado. Stir in lemon/lime juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Spread avocado mixture over dip.
  3. Combine taco seasoning with yogurt. Spread over avocado layer.
  4. Sprinkle a layer of cheddar cheese on top.
  5. Top with shredded lettuce, then chopped tomatoes, and then chopped olives (optional).
  6. Serve with tortilla chips.

Broiled Parmesan Tilapia {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

A comforting and non-fishy tilapia recipe that kids, and adults alike, will love. The flavorful sauce on this fish makes this a meal worth repeating again and again.

broiled parmesan tilapia

You know those dinners when you prepare something a little out of the ordinary for the fam?  Little kids cling to your leg and are whining all around you as you finish up dinner.  Your kitchen rapidly grows messier. 

One of the kids takes a look at the new dish and proclaims, “Eww, what is that? I don’t want that!”  Your enthusiasm about the new recipe wanes and doubt sets in as you corral everyone to the table.  You hold your breath, anticipating the backlash to come, as your kids take their first bite.

That was my scenario the first time I made this Broiled Parmesan Tilapia. It looked a little strange to my kids since it was new, but I insisted they try at least one bite of it. 

I watched out of the corner of my eye as my then 4-year-old reluctantly raised his fork to his mouth.  “Mmmm, this is so good, Mommy!”  Now that might be the best compliment a mom at my stage can hear.  To follow was a delightful–yes I actually said delightful–family meal with three small kids.  No whining, no crying. 

That’s…that’s why I share with you Broiled Parmesan Tilapia today. It was a “worth it” new recipe, and it was also super fast to make.

How to Make Broiled Parmesan Tilapia

This tilapia recipe couldn’t be simpler to make. Here’s the run down…

A comforting and non-fishy tilapia recipe that kids, and adults alike, will love. The flavorful sauce on this fish makes this a meal worth repeating again and again.

1.You’ll start by preheating the broiler and covering a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

2. Then, mix together the Parmesan, butter, greek yogurt, lemon zest and juice, fresh herbs, black pepper, garlic powder, and celery salt until combined in a bowl.

3. Next, pat your thawed tilapia filets dry and lay them on the covered sheet pan. Season both sides lightly with salt and pepper.

4. To cook: Place the fish under the broiler for 2 minutes on the first side. Flip and broil for 2 minutes on the other side.

5. Finally, remove from the oven and generously spread the Parmesan topping over the tilapia pieces. Broil for 2 more minutes, or until golden on top. Fish is done when it easily flakes.

This 10 minute fish recipe is so moist and delicious when you’re done! Serve over rice or pasta and try it with one of these side dish ideas…

Sides Dishes That Go with Broiled Parmesan Tilapia

Try serving your tilapia with one of these equally easy side dishes:

Oven Roasted Asparagus

Oven Fries

Oven Fries Recipe

Oven Roasted Broccoli

How to Make Broiled Parmesan Tilapia Into a Freezer Meal

You can also double the Parmesan topping and freeze it alongside any extra tilapia to have on hand for another winner dinner in the future. When you’re ready to prepare it, thaw it using one of these safe thawing methods and cook according to the instructions. Check out our Recipe Index for over 100 healthy and delicious freezer meals.

Broiled Parmesan Tilapia Recipe

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broiled parmesan tilapia

Broiled Parmesan Tilapia {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 minutes
  • Total Time: 26 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Broil
  • Cuisine: American

Description

A comforting and non-fishy tilapia recipe that kids, and adults alike, will love. The flavorful sauce on this fish makes this a meal worth repeating again and again.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/4 cup real butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons greek yogurt (or substitute real mayo)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs, minced (I use parsley and basil)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 pounds tilapia fillets
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Adjust the top oven rack to about 6 inches below the broiler. Preheat the broiler. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil (for easy clean up).
  2. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the Parmesan, butter, greek yogurt, lemon zest and juice, fresh herbs, black pepper, garlic powder, and celery salt until combined. Set aside.
  3. Rinse and pat tilapia filets dry. Lay filets on the pan. Season both sides lightly with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the fish under the broiler for 2 minutes on the first side.
  5. Flip and broil for 2 minutes on the other side.
  6. Remove from the oven. Generously spread the Parmesan topping over the tilapia pieces.
  7. Broil for 2 more minutes, or until golden on top. Fish is done when it easily flakes. Do not overcook.

Freeze For Later: Follow step 2. Place this mixture in a quart-sized freezer bag or small freezer container and seal. Freeze alongside the frozen tilapia filets (if not already frozen, then place the fish in a gallon-sized freezer bag).

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw the Parmesan mixture and the tilapia (preferably in the refrigerator overnight). Then, follow the cooking instructions, skipping step 2.