Whole Wheat Banana Bread Muffins

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I posted this recipe approximately eight million years ago, or in 2011. At the time, I wasn’t 100% happy with it, but I didn’t know why.

Last year, I started tinkering again, and found that lowering the oven temperature to let the muffins rise slightly slower and using whole-milk buttermilk did wonders. Now these are fluffy and luscious and one of my favorite muffin recipes. And they are all whole wheat, using the magic of white whole wheat flour. (Which they’ve stopped carrying at my Food City AND Walmart. GRUMP! This bag I found at Target.)

Next time you have some very ripe bananas, make these! In fact, make a double batch. Because they’re going to get gobbled up, especially if you have many small and hungry children as I do.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread Muffins

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12-16 muffins

Whole Wheat Banana Bread Muffins


  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/3 c. coconut oil or melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 c. whole buttermilk
  • 2 c. whole wheat flour (preferably white whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 T flaxseed meal
  • 12 walnut or pecan halves


Preheat oven to 375F. Grease 12 muffins cups or use paper liners.

Cream bananas, oil or butter, egg, honey, sugar, and vanilla with a mixer or a wooden spoon. Add buttermilk, then dry ingredients (all remaining except nuts). Stir until combined.

Spoon into muffin tins, filling about two-thirds full. Press a walnut or pecan half into the middle of each muffin.

Bake 20-23 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.


These muffins are definitely not commercial-bakery-muffin-sugarfest. Using the ripest bananas will help contribute a good sweetness.


The 2011 Jessie would have never believed she could take a picture that good with a phone. Kind of amazing! After holding out on getting a smartphone for a long time, we caved two years ago. And about two weeks ago, I upgraded to the iPhone 7 plus. It takes pretty pictures. And you know I need those of my babies.

(Four. Have I mentioned I have four kids now? It’s been almost 10 months and it still feels surreal.)

Pecan Doodle Cookies

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Do you suffer from grocery amnesia? I can’t count the number of times I’ve gotten halfway through a recipe and went to reach for that ingredient I was sure I had just to find it wasn’t there after all. My short-term memory is just nonexistent, so this is a regular occurrence in my kitchen.


A. Beg Send husband to store to pick up forgotten ingredient(s), while trying to maintain quality of already-cooked recipe.

B. Go to neighbor’s house. This works if you have friendly neighbors with well-stocked cupboards. If you live in a dorm with others who eat in a dining hall and are rarely home during the day anyway? Not so much.

C. Improvise or substitute.

The frequency with which I use Option C is the reason why I can’t direct my husband to just prep a recipe. It’s sad.

I was in the middle of prepping my Secret Recipe Club find for the month when I was forced to pursue Option C. Barb’s Almond Doodle Cookies looked delicious to me. And then I went to grab that bag of sliced almonds I was sure was in the freezer … and alas, it wasn’t there. Anywhere.

So I used pecans.

Fascinating story, right?

Barb’s blog, Mom’s Fridge, is full of monthly menu plans, simple recipes, and COOKIES. I love cookies. I don’t do much normal cooking anymore since we generally eat in the dining hall, but I do bake for us and for the boys who live in our dorm.

These delicious, puffy, sugary cookies will definitely be in my repertoire now. The cinnamon-pecan blend is a little unusual but absolutely mouthwatering.

Pecan Doodle Cookies

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

Pecan Doodle Cookies

Adapted from Mom's Fridge


  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. almond extract (or vanilla)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1 c. all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 c. sugar mixed with 1 T cinnamon, for rolling


Preheat oven to 375F.

With a stand mixer, cream butter, sugar, almond extract, and eggs. Add flours, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt and mix until well-combined. Stir in nuts.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls and then roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake on greased cookie sheet 12 minutes at 375F (do not flatten balls). Cool on wire racks.


Obviously Libbie (3) helped with making some of the cookies.

Cranberry-Citrus Cookies and Care Packages

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A while back, we did a post on ParentLife Online about mailing care packages overseas to active military troops.  It’s one of those things I’ve meant to do for a long time and just never have. The next time I was at the post office, I went ahead and got a flat-rate box and promised myself I WAS going to follow through on something this time!

My thoughts went to a new friend of mine whose husband has been overseas the whole time I’ve known her – and most of her son’s life. Her baby is two days younger than David, and I can’t imagine spending most of that first year on my own. No help with night wakings. No “please take the baby so I can take a 10-minute bath.” It’s all her.

I never hear her complain, though, and she has been nothing but an encouragement to me as our parenting styles are similar. I wanted to bless her family and show our thanks by sending her husband a package. My friend insisted it go to his whole unit, since they don’t all get packages. She is so kind!

I searched the Internet for cookies that would hold up to being mailed overseas during the dead of summer. No chocolate. Nothing soft. I finally found these Cranberry Cookies and modified them slightly. They are chewy, citrusy, and delightful; and from what I heard, the unit in Iraq thought they were pretty darn good, too!

Cranberry-Citrus Cookies and Care Packages

Yield: about 6 dozen cookies

Cranberry-Citrus Cookies and Care Packages

Adapted from Blisstree.com


  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 T orange zest (dried or fresh)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 c. AP or white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 c. chopped pecans
  • 1 to 1-1/2 c. dried cranberries (sweetened is fine, and you can sub any dried fruit you like, although I don’t think raisins would work very well)


Preheat oven to 375 F. Cream butter and sugars with an electric mixer until fluffy and combined. On low speed, mix in lemon juice, orange zest, and egg.

Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add pecans and cranberries and fold to combine well.

Drop by tablespoons onto greased cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes, until edges are brown. Let sit on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire cooling racks.

To package for shipping, put cookies in gallon plastic bags. Pop popcorn and cool; then put it in additional plastic bags. Pad the bag of cookies with the bags of popcorn inside a box. Add letters, cards (kid-decorated are fun!), magazines, or toiletries items. Send off!


Added to Foodie Fridays at Designs by Gollum, Ingredient Spotlight: Citrus, and Sweet Tooth Friday at Alli-N-Son.

Sweet Beet & Heat Salad

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure statement for more details.

For our first wedding anniversary, Mr. V and I had a little Nashville staycation. We spent one night at a bed and breakfast in Leiper’s Fork, saw a movie in the (now-closed) Franklin Theatre, used our season passes to see a show at the Boiler Room Theatre, and had a fancy dinner at Restaurant Zola (also closed now … are we bad luck?).

Perhaps other foodies can relate, but I remember pretty much every dish I’ve cooked and many that I’ve eaten out. Some sort of crazy Food Memory.

At Zola, I had a wonderful salad they called “Beet and Heat” (I think). While I’m not a huge beet eater, I love pickled beets on the salad bar. Last week, visions of this salad started floating in my head after I bought some lovely, organic beets at Green Life.

So I pretty much made it up as I went along. Forgive me lack of real measurements, and experiment to make it to your liking!

Sweet Beet & Heat Salad with Mustardy Vinaigrette

Yield: 2 servings


  • 1 beet, roasted (I used this as a tutorial)
  • 1/4 cup pecan pieces, toasted in a skillet and then sprinkled with brown sugar and cayenne pepper (lots of sugar, a pinch of cayenne is my preference. Stir to let combine and cool.)
  • romaine or spring mix lettuce
  • crumbled goat cheese
  • Mustardy Vinaigrette
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/4 c. white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil, to taste


Divide your lettuce among two salad plates. Slice your beet and put slices atop lettuce. Sprinkle with goat cheese and pecan pieces.

For vinaigrette, whisk together mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Stream in olive oil until runny but not too oily–you want it to still be very tart. Taste as you go along until it is how you like it. Drizzle over salads before serving.


Hopefully your husband will at least taste it. Ahem.

Linked to Mouthwatering Monday and Tasty Tuesday.

Family Recipe Friday: Turkey Pecan Salad

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Family Recipe Fridays

My mom has been here all week, which means: FOOD! For free! And I don’t have to make it!

I think if you’re a regular reader you’ve surmised that my mom is a very good cook and I have a lot of happy food-memories. I love her enchiladas, potato soup, and cabbage rolls.

This one is another Mom classic from my growing-up years. My directive for this week is: YOU MUST TOAST THE PECANS. It makes a huge difference. Enjoy this delicious summer salad! She often serves it with a Waldorf salad on the side.

Turkey Pecan Salad

Yield: about 4 servings

Turkey Pecan Salad


  • 1 lb. cooked turkey breast, cubed (can use smoked deli meat, cut 1-inch thick)
  • about 2 cups pecan halves, toasted in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes
  • 3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
  • Dressing
  • 1 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T sugar
  • a pinch white pepper


Toss together turkey, pecan halves, and celery. Mix dressing. Stir in dressing just before serving. Serve on a bed of lettuce or in pita pockets.


Gluten Free Meal Plan via Musings of a Housewife

The Lazy Woman’s Plan / Pretzel-Crusted Chicken

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OK, really, I’m not lazy, right? Just pregnant! Tonight we had frozen pizza for dinner. It was pretty good.

Here’s the plan for this week.

I still haven’t made Chicken Cordon Bleu. Is that completely embarassing? So we’re having it tomorrow night. I don’t think any of the ingredients are toxic yet. Speaking of toxic … I cleaned out the fridge on Friday. Everything with a bad date went. Everything scary. It left some milk, a bag of limes, and ketchup. (That’s a slight exaggeration. But I did throw out a ton of stuff and the fridge was pretty bare.)

I am making a triple batch of Ziti with Italian Sausage. Sometime when I have some energy…I am not sure when that will be because Tuesday night I am teaching Bible study, Wednesday night I am giving a presentation to one of the girls’ groups at church, and Thursday I am volunteering. So tomorrow it is, I guess! I am making one batch for us, which will feed us a lot (maybe eat some, freeze some), and two dishes to take to friends in the next month or so. It will freeze well, I think. I hope.

I also bought ingredients to make Pretzel Chicken, Stromboli, and a preseasoned tilapia fillet I can throw in the oven quickly. Since we’re leaving Friday for Ohio though and eat at church on Wednesday, I imagine the first chicken and ziti will last us this week, and the others will be next week’s meals. Yay! We did great budget-wise at the grocery so that makes me very happy we should be able to stretch most of it to two weeks. And I think it had been at least 10 days since I had been before today.

For your recipe-ing pleasure, here is the Pretzel Chicken recipe. I first made this for my wonderful friend Jill when her hubby tore his ACL and she was waiting on him hand and foot. She needed a break! It’s a yummy recipe and can easily be made with whatever chicken pieces you have on hand, including boneless breasts.

Pretzel-Coated Chicken Drumsticks

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Total Time: 70 minutes

Yield: 5 servings


  • 1/2 c. butter, melted
  • 1/4 to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, depending on your tolerance for heat
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 c. finely crushed pretzels
  • 1/4 c. chopped pecans
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 to 2 lbs. chicken drumsticks


In a shallow bowl, combine the butter, cayenne, and garlic powder. In another shallow bowl, combine the pretzels, pecans, and pepper. Dip chicken in butter mixture, then roll in pretzel mixture.

Place in a greased 9 by 13 baking dish. Bake uncovered at 350F for 50-55 minutes or until the chicken juices run clear, turning once.


from Simple & Delicious Magazine, May/June 2006