Given the time of the year where school is a more distant concern for me and my time allows for trying new things, the quarantine lifestyle calls for experimental home cooking and baking. One of my favorite recipes is making banana muffins or banana bread. Though both common recipes, I find the fun in adding my favorite ingredients that help make each recipe a different one.

Baking for my family has always taken the form of using my mom’s banana bread recipe. It’s a loved dish that reminds me of home and always hits the spot when I’m craving something sweet. I think the biggest reason my mom loves making it is seeing my sister and my reactions after taking the first bite of warm bread. When we say it tastes great, she flashes a satisfied smile, finding joy from knowing that we love it as much as she loves making it for us. This sentiment has reflected itself in this newer muffin recipe. I bake it not only for myself but for my family and friends. When they say they love it, I feel the exact same way my mom does – glad that a simple baked good can make someone smile!

Banana Muffins

Serving size: 4 regular-sized muffins

After learning this quick recipe from a favorite blogger of mine, @extrapetite, they’ve become a quick-make recipe perfect for whipping up a ready-to-go breakfast or snack option. I usually double or triple this recipe for convenience.

1 banana – mashed with fork
2 tablespoons sugar – 1 white, 1 brown (all white is okay too.)
1 egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
Optional: chocolate chips (a must for me!); chopped nuts; sprinkle of cinnamon or oats

1. Take a large mixing bowl. Mix the banana(s), sugar, egg(s), and oil with fork or spoon until it is combined.
2. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon to the bowl and mix until combined.
3. Take a muffin tray and grease it or line it with muffin liners. Pour into pan.
4. Preheat the oven to 350° and bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes clean out of the center. Let them cool and enjoy!

Banana Bread

Serving size: 9" x 5" loaf pan

My mom’s homemade recipe, banana bread, is the dish you want to make to share with family or friends. There’s something special about cutting a piece of bread from the loaf that can't be found with muffins.

¾ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup sugar – half white half brown (or all white)
3 eggs
3-4 bananas
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/3 teaspoon salt
¼ cup milk
½ teaspoon vanilla
Optional: ¾ cup walnuts or pecans; ½ cup cranberries; ½ chocolate chips

1. Grab a large mixing bowl and mix the vegetable oil, sugar, eggs, and bananas together with a whisk until fully combined.
2. Put the rest of the ingredients, excluding the optional ingredients, in the bowl and continue to mix by hand or with a blender. When combined, scrape the sides of the bowl to mix in leftover flour on the sides.
3. Add the optional ingredients or some of your own not listed above.
4. Take a 9” x 5“ loaf pan and grease it. Preheat the oven to 350° and bake for 70 minutes. A toothpick should come clean out of the center, and the bread should have a moist texture when eating. Enjoy!

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