My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Friday, March 4, 2011

Banana-Date-Walnut Muffins

Well I dunno boutchoo, but I'm rather glad to see this week come to an end! Though not all bad, it's had more than its fair share of trials and tribulations and thus has required more than its fair share of comfort food.

Like Banana-Date-Walnut muffins! Here's my prescription:

Take one a day, preferably first thing in the morning, with a hot beverage of your choice (ours is Teeccino Organic Maya Chocolate Herbal Coffee or Dandy Blend). If symptoms of frustration, aggravation, hopeless despair and/or burnout persist, take a second one in the afternoon or evening with soothing herbal tea, as needed. :-)

BW loves dates and eats them every day. I'm not terribly fond of them, but I love them in these! This delicious recipe came (like oh-so-many of my favorite recipes do) from the FatFree Vegan Kitchen blog. I've tweaked it a bit and am sharing my version below, with Susan V's gracious permission. By the way, Susan has added a nifty new "recipe box" feature to her site, where you can stash your favorites along with the ones you plan to try later. (My FFV recipe box is already bulging at the seams!)

Banana-Date-Walnut Muffins
(slightly adapted from original recipe by FatFree Vegan Kitchen and shared with permission)


1¾ cups organic whole wheat pastry flour
1 TBSP baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup Sucanat
3 very ripe organic bananas, mashed (about 1¼ cups)
½ cup organic vanilla soymilk
⅓ cup organic unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup chopped dates
¼ cup chopped walnuts (omit to reduce fat)
demerara sugar (optional, for sprinkling on muffin tops)


Preheat the oven to 400ºF and spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray (I use silicone muffin cups which don't require any oiling). Sift together the flours, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In another bowl, mash the banana with the Sucanat, soymilk, apple sauce, and maple syrup.
Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until combined. Add in the dates and walnuts, and pour into 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops with demerara sugar if desired (for fun crunch and sparkle!) Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Unlike most sweet baked goodies without added fats like oil or margarine whose texture benefits if they're allowed to sit for a few hours, these can be enjoyed right away. But if you can bear to postpone the pleasure, these muffins freeze really well!

(I won't, but for goodness sake don't follow my bad example!) :-)

Update on Josie: We finally got her biopsy results on Wednesday afternoon, which just showed both chronic and acute irritation from her repeated bladder infections, an effect of the infections but not a cause. So we're continuing to treat her current infection and exploring plans to prevent future ones. She gets her stainless steel Frankenstein sutures out next week and continues to do well, enjoying hikes, cuddles, and eating her meals with gusto! She also sends you all love and sloppy kisses. :-)


  1. You aren't kidding when you say it was quite a week and I think your muffins look fantastic! Meanwhile, so glad that Josie's results came back good! Sasha wasn't so lucky which has made a real bummer for this week as well, but her vet isn't giving up and meanwhile, Sasha is having fun exploring the construction zone now that her stitches are out and her collar is off. Give Josie a big hug from us here and have a wonderful weekend!

  2. These muffins look wonderful. I think I might be willing to have an off day just so I could make these muffins.

  3. Laloofah -- They look delicious. Have a nice weekend and don't eat too many muffins. -- barbara

  4. Sorry to hear about your week! The muffins do look wonderful, though. And Teeccino makes me happy, too :)

  5. "I won't, but for goodness sake don't follow my bad example!) :-)" i love a good bad example:)

    and stainless steel sutures!!!
    wow, ive never heard of those. im so happy Josie is getting them out soon.Josie is really a good looking dog, love her dark eyes.

    you write/talk like how i talk! bouchyou and all that other slang:) lol

  6. Oh Laurie...was it really that bad? Poor thing! You certainly deserve a squirrel massage after all that. I hope that things will slow down on the problems front and you can get flying on all your positive projects: I mean it, I'm really intentionally hoping for that!

    The muffins sound like wonderful consolation treats! I bet they are delicious. I just bought some Dandy Blend, and wanted to thank you for letting me know about it; it's great. I'll have to try Teecino next.

    Stainless steel stitches! Wow, that's a new one to me.
    All in all, good news about Josie, so I hope that keeps up too!

    I do hope you get a least an eency bit of relaxing in this weekend, if not enjoy those muffins!

  7. Oh no, I was thinking about you all week & hoping I'd hear that things have gotten much better! I am very happy to hear that Josie is continuing to do well, though.

    May the weekend be much, much better than you're anticipating and if it's not, at least you have some delicious muffins around. :)

  8. Daphne ~ We weren't expecting anything shocking nor enlightening from Josie's biopsy, but are glad we didn't get any nasty surprises. I just wish the question of why she's been so prone to these infections for so long could have been answered! I'm sorry that Sasha wasn't as lucky, but I'm confused (probably because I'm behind on your blog!) I thought she had a tumor the vet already knew was cancerous removed... so did the biopsy show something besides that? I'm glad your vet's not giving up and that Sasha is having fun on her construction site safaris and is out of her collar! Give her a big hug from me, Josie sends you big hugs in return, and we're all wishing you and your furbabies a wonderful and relaxing weekend!

    Jennifer ~ They are wonderful, and worth having an off-day for - but fortunately there's no rule that requires that! You can enjoy these on good, lucky and happy days, too! :-)

    Barbara ~ No threat of that, since we polished off the last ones yesterday morning! :-) So I made these yesterday, but with some changes and additions. (The cookies are good, but the muffins are more comforting!)

    Cassie ~ Thanks, Cassie! Isn't that Teeccino good stuff? Especially with a little chocolate soy milk in it. :-)

  9. No you aren't behind. We did know it was a cancerous tumor and highly aggressive which is why the surgery wasn't done earlier as she wasn't expected to live more than a couple months. But it has now been 4 months! However, when the surgery was done, the tumor came out pretty well intact and the two lymph nodes the surgeon took apparently "looked" normal, so we were all hoping that one, the surgeon got all the cancer and two that it hadn't spread. It was a long shot, but that was the hope. And if it only spread to those two nodes and they are gone now, that is also good, but they weren't able to get it all and both her vet and I were bummed by the results, but we are looking into the option of chemo--4 shots with 3 weeks between each. If that doesn't make her too sick and if it gives a good chance for a longer life and if my vet can do it here on the island, then we may do that, but need more info. Meanwhile she is healing from the surgery at a remarkable pace. Wish you had answers for why Josie keeps getting these infections! I know some people are much more prone to them than others so I suppose the same is true for dogs. Have a quiet and restful weekend!

  10. DD ~ LOL! I'm really not being a good bad example, unless you consider a weekend doing little besides home improvement projects and spring cleaning a good example of relaxing! :-)

    I shouldn't have called them sutures, they're actually stainless steel staples. The vet used them because Josie had a bad allergic reaction to the sutures she used last time. I took a photo - the one BW said was "too gross" for my blog (he has more delicate sensibilities than I, lol) but you can see it here if you're overcome with curiosity! :-)

    Rose ~ The week started out so badly I had me a good ol' fashioned meltdown on Tuesday. Wednesday was better, and by Thursday things all started to come together at last (though UPS has really hosed poor BW the past few days!). We are in hopes that by Monday afternoon the pellet stove will once again be working, the first guest room will be all finished (it's nearly done), the ceiling in the second guest room will be done so I can start spackling, touch-up painting and cleaning the walls in there, and our taxes will be finished! Then my spring cleaning can begin in earnest. (I think muffins make a WAY better reward than spring cleaning does!!!) :-)

    Thank you for your good thoughts and positive intentions! They're no doubt helping, so please keep them coming! We still have lots to do, but project-wise at least we're seeing light at the end of this long tunnel. (I hope Daphne's project goes smoothly and finishes quickly too! This stuff can be really exhausting, and always takes longer than you think it will!)

    Please see my reply to Dirty Duck re: Josie's s/s staples. :-) And my reply to Barbara re: our gluttonous annihilation of the muffins yesterday, and a link to the coconut cookies I made to replace them! I had some okara in the freezer from some earlier batches of soy milk and this was a great use for it.

    BW and I do have our weekly Netflix movies to watch and our dogs to take on hikes, so we'll get some relaxing in - but at this point we're mainly chomping at the bit to get things crossed off our list! :-) I hope your weekend is lots of fun and that you enjoy the Tyner concert tonight!

  11. Molly ~ Thank you, dear Molly! Your hopes for a good week must have kicked in along with Roses, because mostly things did get better by yesterday (see my reply to Rose, I'll be emailing you soon!) I've been thinking about you too!

    Josie's still doing well but her post-op/back-home euphoria has worn off and today she was a couch potato extraordinaire. :-) She still has a pretty lusty appetite, though!

    Thanks so much for those great wishes for our weekend! I really hope we're able to get a lot wrapped up this weekend, with the pellet stove as our first priority! It's supposed to get cold again by Sunday. Hope you guys enjoy a lovely weekend of R&R! Got any fun plans?

    Daphne ~ Thank you for explaining about Sasha. That answered a couple of questions that were rolling around what passes for my mind these days... I had also been wondering why surgery was being done now, this late into what had sounded like a "there's nothing we can do" prognosis. I'm sorry the outcome wasn't what you'd hoped for. :-( But it's wonderful that Sasha has been and is doing so remarkably! Good luck on deciding your next step, I hope whatever you decide to do it will be able to help Sasha have both more quantity and more quality of life! She's lucky to have you.

  12. Glad to hear things have are better! TGIF: you have a good weekend too: get lots done and enjoy your hikes and movies!

    You have a good memory! We're heading out to the concert in about an hour...actually, our tickets are for 9:30 but we're going out for a few drinks and some food first.


  13. P.S. DD ~ Thank you for your compliment about Josie. She really is beautiful, and her eyes are amazing - their true color doesn't show up well in photos, but they're a dark golden color that match some of her fur. This photo shows their color best, but even it's not the same as seeing them in person! Anyway, thank you for saying she's good looking and for noticing her eyes! (When Dr. Lou first told me about her, he described her to me as "looking kind of like a very pretty hyena!" LOL She's much prettier than that, and I'm not just saying that because I'm her mom!) :-)

  14. P.S. Rose ~ I'm so glad you're enjoying the Dandy Blend! I think you'll really like the Teeccino, too. It's nice to have both, since the Teeccino has to be brewed (we use a coffee press), while the Dandy Blend is instant.

  15. I think I kinda need a few of those muffins, myself (minus the walnuts unless, of course, they're ground up so I can't see them. a-hem.) Perhaps tomorrow I'll take your prescription to heart and go for a cure.

    So glad to hear Josie is doing well. Sweet girl deserves some good health!

  16. Andrea ~ I'm sorry to hear that you "need" these muffins, as opposed to merely wanting them! I hope you'll get a chance to make and enjoy them, with or without walnuts (I confess, I add them! But I chop them up very finely so the fat leaks out. LOL), and that you're able to rest, relax and play this weekend!

    Josie and I thank you for your kind words, and we agree that she deserves good health (and she adds, "I also deserve extra breakfast, lots of treats, hours of belly-rubs a day, and to not have to come when I'm called.") ;-)

  17. Here's wishing for Josie to continue her recovery journey.

    Thanks for the muffin recipe, they look tasty indeed.

  18. Thank you, Vegan Elder, your well wishes for Josie are very much appreciated and had Josie wagging her tail in reply! :-)

    The muffins are... uh, were... very tasty! :-)

  19. Mmmmmm. Muffins. Looks like a tasty treat!

  20. Sloppy kisses back to Josie ;-).

  21. I'm so excited about this recipe! As as means of losing weight, I'm eating only things that are actively good for me, plus a thin scraping of margarine on my bread. These have no margarine! They have applesauce! Yay!!!! I've just had some dates (which I love) and almonds (ditto) with green tea (which I loathe!) for my morning break.

    'A very pretty hyena'? Huh! She's absolutely gorgeous! (And like a bigger version of one of our old dogs, Bunny (long story...))

    Glad things are loooking up for you now. I hope you'll post pictures of the new rooms. And that you'll be nice and cosy when the colder weather returns.

  22. Izzy ~ They definitely are! :-)

    Spud ~ Josie says your kisses smell too minty-fresh to actually count as true sloppy kisses according to her standards. Better luck next time! (LOL)

    Penny ~ Oh, you must check out the FatFree Vegan web site, then! Tons of easy, delicious recipes with no added fats ~ just fats from whole foods like nuts or avocado. We never use any oil, shortening or butter in anything (I find unsweetened applesauce to be a great oil replacer in baked goods, we even use it in yeast breads), and do our best to avoid it when eating out (though we will make some compromises when we have to when away from home). We're vegan for ethical reasons, but follow Dr. McDougall's diet for health reasons. So all the recipes I post here are free of added fats.

    Have you ever tried White Tea? I like it much better than green tea (it's got a lovely, delicate flavor), it contains less caffeine, and studies show it's higher in antioxidants. Here's just one article plucked from an internet search of green vs. white tea benefits.

    Thank you for agreeing with me that Josie is much lovelier than a hyena (even a "very pretty one!" LOL) We think she's really beautiful too. I'd love to hear about your Bunny sometime!

    I probably will take photos of all our rooms once everything is put back together and my spring cleaning is all done. I've got some before and after pics of other rooms in my stash, but since my other computer crashed they're all on my backup hard drive and aren't very organized. But here is a post showing some before and after pics of our living room, which we redid last November. (We had the bay window put in just a few months after we moved here in 1992). Do you have more photos of your house on your blog? I so love your dining room, I'd love to see more! I admit, I'm a voyeur. I love seeing inside people's houses! :-)

    Thank you for your good wishes, Penny! BW got our pellet stove working again yesterday morning, just in time for more snow and cold, and though today will be hectic it should mean more things coming together and wrapping up (fingers crossed!)

    Enjoy those muffins! :-)

  23. Thanks, Laloofah! I'm going to follow up all those links!

    There are quite a few photos of the house in my blog. I, too, love seeing inside houses, so I thought some folk might like to see ours! John and I love looking through interesting windows!

  24. This is in response to your last comment on my blog about spelling snags. I posted it there too but just in case you don't see it, go to this link and prepare to laugh 'til you cry.

  25. Penny ~ You're most welcome! :-)

    I need to make some time very soon to check out your book-lovin' post AND your other house photos! That'll be fun!

    I'm exactly the same (love looking in interesting windows!) I nearly crash my car at Christmastime, when people leave their drapes open at night so you can see their Christmas tree lights. If it's a house I like, I am not going to be satisfied with merely gawking at their Christmas tree lights! LOL

    Andrea ~ OMG, those are TOO funny!!! Do you think they're all for real? I love the Welshmen/windchimes and PENNE! ones especially, but they're all hysterical! Thanks for telling me over there that you shared that over there (on your blog). :-) I will now hasten there to leave a reply similar to this one. :-)

  26. Andrea ~ Obviously I meant to type, "Thanks for telling me over HERE that you shared that over there." Oy, my life needs to slow down a mach or two.

  27. You know I LOVE dates so if you who doesn't like dates that much love these, that's a real testomony. They look awesome.

    So glad the biopsy showed nothing serious but here's hoping that whatever you are doing to prevent another infection works. Poor baby has had enough!

    A big thank you to Andrea who put the link to the autocorrect website. I checked it out and I have tears in my eyes and my stomach hurts from repressing laughter (not appropriate to be LOL in my cubicle you know). My favorite was the Welshmen hanging from the neighbor's tree. I was fairly exploding!! Those were hilarious. I'm glad you checked them out too.

    I'm glad your week was improving day by day last week and I hope that trend continued through the weekend and this week too!

  28. Jo ~ I had emailed this recipe to you, didn't I? I think I did, because I DO know how much you love dates, and these are sooooooo good! :-)

    Wasn't that autocorrect web site Andrea shared a hoot? It's the Cake Wrecks of text messages! LOL! The Welshmen one was one of my favorites too, I'm glad I was able to read them in the privacy of my own home where I could laugh all I wanted - the repressed cubicle hysteria is painful! :-)

    Thanks for your wishes! I'd be doing well if I didn't have this stupid cold to contend with, but I'm soldiering on, have 1/3 of the kitchen done now. As for next week, it's spring break here so the neighborhood children will be home - and you know what that means! :-( I've got lots to do down in the basement, so I won't have to listen to the ruckus (at least most of the time).

  29. Greetings from Wisconsin!
    I hated to leave your post so abruptly today but after the third interruption, I had to claim defeat. I thought I'd treat myself to at least looking at your comment back on this post before I went to bed.
    I think you did send me the recipe expressly because of the dates but as I'm never baking, I never did make them. My enabler (enabling me to stay out of the kitchen), Melissa, will be gone in 5 short months so I'll be back in the kitchen before you know it! Then I'll bake again.
    I hope this is a short lived cold and cudos to you for continuing the spring cleaning despite it. I HATE spring cleaning and certainly would have used that as an excuse to quit. On the other hand, I love the after glow of a spring cleaned room so I do occasionally do it with Jim's prompting. Anyway - good for you!
    Good night!

  30. Jo ~ I remember your telling me you'd be in Wisconsin but I can't remember the reason! Wave to Molly for me (in the direction of Sheboygan!) :-)

    Perhaps these muffins can be the recipe that launches your next baking chapter after Missy leaves.

    What's this? You HATE Spring cleaning? But it's such FUN! Ack, it's killing me. This cold (which I still have - the whole town either has it or has had it) has given me a horrible sinus headache for days now. I WOULD quit, but I am super-turbo-motivated to get it done before the end of the month!


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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