The Love-Your-Friends’-Kids Muffins

Last week, my best friend from high school came for a visit and brought her family along. We hadn’t seen each other in oh, four years? And another four before that? But time melted away the months and in mere minutes flat, her kids and my own are stacking pillows at the foot of the towering basement stairs. (Don’t worry, Mom, they say. We’re not going to jump; we’re just going to leap…)

We laugh as we reminisce over our 17-year-old selves while Ken and her husband talk of “p” words – projects, politics, parenthood. We chatter over sub sandwiches and salt and vinegar chips, pausing frequently for potty visits, or to heat the bottle. Three or four times, we interrupt ourselves mid-sentence to decipher the piercing howls from the basement – Are they playing wolves? Is she happy or hurt? The conversation stops, starts, restarts – lurching like a toddler’s first adventure with bumper cars.

In a short two hours, inevitably, one kid grows fussy. A tiny tantrum is brewing – we can feel it in the air – and so, reinforcements.

Can I offer him a muffin? I ask my friend, and as her son’s eyes light up, her’s do, too.

Sometimes (often), loving your friends well means loving their kids well. It means offering a hint of surprise – a hidden action figure here, a tub of Play-Doh there – so your friend can rest another few minutes, basking in the luxury of adult conversation before it’s time to leave and the inevitable car seat wrestling match begins.

Sometimes, loving your friends well means throwing a bunch of ingredients into a blender and turning it on high, then fifteen minutes later, finding the kids are fed and happily distracted with cinnamon under their fingernails.

And finding you are, as well.

Behold, the winning recipe – perfectly moist, perfectly chocolatey – courtesy of my friend Amy:

2 bananas
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
6 dates
2 eggs
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup almond butter
1 Tsp. cinnamon
1 1/4 Tsp. baking soda
Pinch of sea salt

Preheat your oven to 375°F, then blend all ingredients on high for 2-3 minutes. Fill a dozen cupcake liners with the batter and bake for 15 minutes.

Tell me: what’s your favorite go-to healthy treat? I’d love to hear!

  • This is my first visit to your blog. Your beautiful book has led me here. I’m on chapter 9 and you’ve stolen my heart. Now you have sealed the deal with this muffin recipe – I love baking. And I just so happen to have all of the ingredients so I’m off whip some up for my family right now! Thank you for sharing your heart with your gift of writing. Looking forward to learning more about you by visiting often.

    • So so so kind of you to leave such encouragement, Jess! And I hope you love these muffins!!! They’re a total crowd-pleaser around here. :)

  • OMG! I just made these with my two year old who is transitioning from 1 nap to no naps most days. This was the perfect afternoon activity for us both. An impromptu tea party followed! I just love this little space on the internet. I always leave encouraged and/or inspired. xo Erin!

    • Oh goodness, I’m so glad you tried and loved them, and your afternoon sounds JUST delightful. Nap transitions can be so hard – love that you’re finding fun ways to celebrate anyway! :)

  • My daughter’s school is a nut free zone, any suggestions on what I can sub the almond butter with? Seed butter maybe?

  • I’ll be trying this one tonight! My go-to “blender health muffins” recipe is this:

    1/2 cup of mashed sweet potato (or canned pumpkin in a pinch)
    1/2 cup mashed banana (I sometimes substitute my applesauce/spinach blend for extra veggies)
    1/4 cup nut butter
    2 eggs
    cinnamon or add ins are optional

    Put it all in the blender until smooth – pour into mini muffin tins and cook at 375F for 18 minutes.

    I usually double the batch and freeze (I only have ONE picky toddler in my household) and she loves them.

    Who doesn’t feel like a success when their toddler gets veggies (sweet potato counts right?) for breakfast!!

  • I have been so inspired by your book, Chasing Slow, and I have slowly (no pun intended) begun editing food for our family. Simply cannot wait to try these!

  • Ok I’m rather in shock. Found your book at a going out of business sale a few months ago & it was exactly the loving kick in the rear that I needed to maintain a semi nomadic camper life with 2 toddlers without losing my mind. I’ve been avidly following every since. Tried this recipe converted to loaf form as part of my batch cooking for this week. It was supposed to last all week. It didn’t make it past the 2 hour mark. Hubby announced that we have officially found our special occasion dessert. Thank you so much!

    • Oh, loaf form? THAT IS GENIUS. You are so kind, Beth – thank you for sharing such encouragement with me! :)

  • Just made these muffins and they are amazing!!! I used peanut butter because I didn’t have any almond. YUM! :)

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