Chocolate Banana Muffins
Given all that’s transpired the last few days, I’m not sure how any of us (or at least the 60,274,974 majority of us who cast the popular vote) are supposed to find a new normal. But we all have work to do, and families to support, so we put one foot in front of the other, figuring it out.
There’s a lot of compartmentalizing happening these days. I finally decided I needed to organize the dozens of tabs of post-election reading open in my browser. I originally created a private Pinterest board for myself, but decided to open it up for anyone who might like to read any of the articles. They’re articles I’ve seen posted on my various social channels that piqued my curiosity as a way to learn how we got here, and how we get to where we want to be.
And by we, I mean the many like-minded people who are reading. I really have zero interest in hearing from anyone blast Hillary, defend their Pro-Life stance when clearly life to them only matters inside the womb. Trump’s campaign was won on fear, bigotry, exclusion, and with no regard to women’s right. Listen folks, this is a personal blog. It is not Food + Wine. The lines have been blurred in what a blog is with so many of them competing for the coveted page views and ad revenue that comes along with it. I’m not trying to vie for that market share, even though I do have ads on my site.
I’ve always said In Jennie’s Kitchen is about the stories—food, family, life, and the crossroads where they intersect. If you don’t like what I write as I find my new normal, then all I can say is thank you for your support for however long you’ve been reading. Let’s part ways peacefully. Not all relationships are meant to be forever. For that reason, I’m setting forth a strict rule on the comments I moderate. You by no means have to agree with me, but I also don’t have to agree to publish rude comments criticizing what I choose to write about, the candidate I believed in, and most certainly not rude comments about my parenting or how to raise my children.
I will not take hours from my daughters defending my point of view that also happens to be based on facts, maybe just not the facts you’ve been reading and watching in this customized cable news generation we live in. I’m sure there will still be those people who choose to send mean, hateful notes. I’ll grow a thick skin, and press delete. It’ll be hard, but that’s just part of the new normal.
I thought these Chocolate Banana Muffins would be a good way to ease back into sharing recipes. I made them the night of November 7th, before going to bed. The next morning I woke at 5:30am, and went to my voting poll, muffins in hand, at 6:15am. Yes, it was quite silly to think I had to be at my poll when it opened. I live in a town of 4,400 people. That is quite a change from the 8.4 million I was used to voting with in New York City, where lines at the poll tend to be long. Still, this was a huge election, I didn’t know if there would be lines later in the day.
Figuring it would be a long, emotionally exhausting day for everyone who was working the polls, I decided to bake these Chocolate Banana Muffins to help start their day off on a sweet note. I will admit that for one moment, before I started adding the ingredients to the bowl, I thought about the party affiliations of the poll workers. I live in a very red, tiny town. The Trump signs I drive past now are a huge knife in my heart for the humanity that was sacrificed on Tuesday.
But then I banished that thought from my mind, and channeled my initial intent for wanting to bake the muffins in the first place. I wanted to do something nice for the people in my community, and thank them for making it possible for everyone else here to exercise their right to vote. I walked in with a smile, signed the voting book, took my ballot, and gave them the muffins. They were completely surprised, and touched by the offer.
I might never see any of them again, but I’m thankful I was able to put party aside, and put people first. That is what we all need to keep doing, now more so than ever. Put people first, because regardless of your skin color, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or religious beliefs, the one common denominator is that we are all human.
Chocolate Banana Muffins
- 1 1/4 cups 180 grams whole wheat pastry flour (white all-purpose flour will work, too)
- 1/3 cup 66 grams packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons 25 grams granulated natural cane sugar
- ¼ cup 25 grams cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon 3 grams baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon 1 gram baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon 1 gram sea salt
- 2 large eggs
- 3 very ripe bananas mashed
- 1/4 cup grapeseed oil canola or vegetable oil will work fine, too
- 1 teaspoon 5 ml pure vanilla extract
- Coarse natural cane sugar like Sugar in the Raw, optional
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin, or place paper liners in each compartment.
- Add the flour, brown and granulated sugars, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a medium bowl. Whisk to mix well.
- Add the eggs, bananas, oil, and vanilla. Whisk vigorously until just mixed and there are no visible signs of flour.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle some of the coarse sugar on top, if using. Muffins are done when they spring back after being tapped lightly, 17 to 19 minutes.
- Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.
Jennie – I have been following your blog for years now, and always get so much from your posts, because they are honest and thoughtful. I have sometimes shed tears following your journey, and have also had my heart warmed by the stories you share of the victories, challenges, growth and love that is shared by you and your girls. I cheer you on at every stage. I salute you and what you are sharing now – and I passionately share your sentiments. I saw a hateful comment in response to your post the night of the election, and I almost responded to that person, throwing more hate at hate – and I asked myself, “where does it end?”, and I erased my comment. I agree, we must rememer our humanity. So – thank you for the delicious and nurturing recipes, and the meaningful dialogue. They both will nourish my soul during these scary and sad times. Laurie
Baking is my therapy right now. I love your honest and sincere voice. It’s people like you who allow me to grieve for what could have been. Thank and let’s keep the conversation going until 2020. Blessings.
Thanks for your post – and all of them. I feel the same way you do, this is your blog – say what you want. I for one, appreciate your voice and I think you are an amazing parent. I lost my dad when I was young, I’m in the background cheering you on.
Have a wonderful week and thanks for sharing.
Jennie, I love your blog and everything you say. I don’t cook or bake, my kid is 50 years old, and I live alone. I love hearing the words of someone way younger than me but that shares the same views. This is your blog!!!! It is beyond my comprehension why other people can try to tell you what you should and shouldn’t write on your blog and how it upsets them you don’t limit your blog to food. Like you said, there are hundreds of food blogs out there; a perfectly acceptable place for them to go. Be true to yourself!!!
Although we are not in the same arena politically, I always respect and will continue to do so, read with an open mind all that you have to say. I have always said to you that no matter what you put in my mailbox, I always look forward to reading each and every thoughtful word that you write. At my advancing age I do not see that changing and yes, I am still wearing those elastic waist pants. Looks like you are stuck with me and I hope that is OK with you. These muffins will be a great addition for my Thanksgiving guests. Thank you.
I just wanted to tell you I really enjoy your recipes and your writing. I have different political beliefs than you, but that is why I still love America. We can believe differently and still move forward in this world. Thanks for writing from your heart and for the wonderful recipes. I hope and pray that the uncertainty, pain, fear and worry will decrease for everyone. Keep your wonderful blog going. From a southern grandma 🙂
Lovely post. This week truly hurt.
I have never posted before, but here goes. I figure that I am an adult and should live by adult rules. I agree with many of the things you post and I disagree with many of the things you post. I think that I try to be open minded about my beliefs. So when you post and I don’t agree, I just think not my way and move on from there. I don’t need to post my beliefs and disagree with you. Life is too short. I hope that everyone will get together on all of this soon. But that is not why I posted. I was thinking about your skills and creativity. So I have a question for you. Have you ever watched Chopped? Would you ever consider going on the show? I think you would be amazing.
You’re not the first to suggest that, Judy. A friend who’s a producer for the show asked me, and I just prefer to cook for the pleasure. Every satisfied person, and every smile for the people I feed is victory enough. But thank for you the smile! xo-Jennie
Thanks, M. xo-Jennie
Thank you for such encouraging, thoughtful words. Peace & love to you. xo-Jennie
I’m very happy to be “stuck” with you, Patricia! xo-Jennie
Another, Jennie. I love it. And I appreciate your note. I’m beyond humbled by the people who have embraced this post with comments, and notes to me. I truly love you all. xo-Jennie
Hope you have a lovely week, too! xo-Jennie
Definitely re: keeping the conversation up until 2020. It’s a marathon, so pacing & planning. xo-Jennie
Yes, as our First Lady, when they go low, we go high. That advice is so hard to follow these days, but if we preach love trumps hate, then we have to lead by example. Many have misinterpreted this for being complacent, but I believe you can champion for good AND work to make true change. It is not always easy, and I’m sure I’ll falter here and there. xo-Jennie
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’ve followed your blog for years, and commented infrequently, if ever. I look forward to keeping this new normal to its shortest possible life span for my son and you daughters. It’s not ok, and it’s real good to say it.
Put people first…. a new mantra for this crazy world. (Full disclosure I’m a Canadian who can’t get enough of your blog).
A sign seen on social media: “Stop reading the “news” and help your neighbour”.
Is this the silver lining? That the people who always put people first are going to step up and do even more of that? I like to think so. The muffin story illustrates this to me.
Thanks Jennie. Truly appreciate this blog, your stories, and the sharing you do of both your triumphs and your struggles.
My children are about all things banana and all things chocolate- so when the 2 year old goes down for her nap, these are going in the oven! I saw this morning that TRUMP won BOTH the popular vote and the electoral vote. All we can do when there is a new president in office is accept it and continue to strive for peace!
Totally making these today. Love you.
Thanks so much for sharing these thoughts! Couldn’t agree with you more. <3
I hope you all love them, Vanessa. Not sure where you saw that, because Hillarynis still more than 500,000 ahead in the popular vote. We don’t have to accept it all. That’s the point. We have to fight against it every single day for the next four years to make sure the people disenfranchised by his racist, sexist, homophobic rhetoric are protected. -Jennie
Tell it sister! You inspire me…
Jennie, I couldn’t agree more with you. I am wearing a Safety Pin to make sure people know I am a safe person. There is a big movement for people to start wearing them. I to am not going to sit by and watch people abused. What is going on in some schools is awful! It is flat out bullying. Perhaps Melanie Trump can start her task of doing what she promised to do and stop the bullying. Hard though when you are married to one.
How sad for his supporters he is already back tracking on his promises.
I moved from California to a very red state. I have been afraid to be outspoken because being brown and blue in a red state can be very intimidating. Thank you for speaking up and being unapologetically brave.
Beth (aka Bethycorrine)
Thank you for this post, Jennie. Especially needed on my Monday – I was away for work with all my liberal colleagues and we were DEVASTATED by the results. However, aside from keeping busy we mourned together, hugging and crying together. Now I’m back at the office and I swear it feels like I just heard the news for the first time. I’m just so sad and scared. Election morning I laid with my 13 year old daughter while she slept and whispered “I’m sorry”. So posts like yours they give me strength to keep fighting. A friend of mine wrote the following and it’s becoming my mantra:
“I want to be prepared to put myself on the line to fight for what’s coming for people of color, immigrants, LGBT folks, workers, their unions and women.”
Thank you – my 17 year old daughter crawled into bed with me the morning after and said “I’m going to be 18 in a year mom, what am I supposed to do now?” I told her that we keep fighting. Yesterday I told her I am taking her out of school for 3 days in January to the million mom march in DC. That’s just one of many ways I plan to keep moving forward, walking toward the light and showing my daughter the way. Blessings to you.
Jennie – thank you for your comments and speaking so passionately. As a Canadian, with a progressive Prime Minister and government, last week’s US results were so disappointing. Not only because it feels like our US neighbours are at polar opposites of the political spectrum but because it will be so challenging to collectively “do good” and “be good”. I hope your voice stays strong. I hope that Trump’s voice and views will moderate.
Hey Jennie! If we both agreed, one of us would be unnecessary! And besides, it would be boring! (At least, that’s what the marriage counselor told me!) 🙂
There are many things to appreciate and love about people who are different from myself. And one thing I love about you right now is your kind and thoughtful heart willing to bake muffins for the poll workers! My mother worked the polls for many years. When I was old enough to vote, I witnessed the camaraderie among the workers from our neighborhood, and also the goodies and coffee pot in the background to provide sustenance during their long day! Your muffins reminded me of that happy memory from long ago. My mother is in the middle stages of dementia now, but she was still able to go to the polls and vote one last time.
So even though we have our differences, thank you for being you! I appreciate you!
That is very kind of you, Rhonda. Thank you. -Jennie
Hi Jennie – I have been following your blog for a long time – I still remember when my niece told me about you, after I lost my only child in 2012 in a fire (he was 24). I devoured your posts, searching for words that would stop the constant pain in my shattered heart. I don’t have answers for what happened last week. Let the media stew on that for a bit. I will support whoever is in the white house. But in the meantime, I will keep coming to your blog – even though I disagree on some points, you have ALWAYS left me with joy and peace, even when I am on my knees praying for relief from this never ending grief. I have always been fearful in the kitchen. I remember watching a video of you talking about leaving your fear at the door when you enter your kitchen. To this day I say that when I walk into that room: No fear :):) Thank you for keeping me sane – I won’t ever leave this space.
Diane, I so appreciate your kind words, and thanks for sticking with me. I guess checking fear at the door is a good motto for life. xo-Jennie
There are many ways for this grief to be expressed — yours has especially resonated with me. Your recipes do too!
“Put party aside and put people first.” Such a heartening and heartfull sentiment. I just pulled my first batch out of the oven – they were so easy and baked up beautifully! I wanted to follow the recipe to the letter first but am tempted to swap in coconut oil and add cacao nibs or finely chopped nuts next time. I have a feeling that this is going to be popular around here.
As long as you like the flavor of coconut oil (sadly, my girls do not), that would be perfect. And the cacao nibs sound great! xo-Jennie