Friday, July 1, 2011

Banana Coconut Muffins


I'm out.  Yesterday I said goodbye to the hallowed halls of academia, my wonderful labmates, my brilliant undergrad and my faithful hood.  I made the trek to my new home sweet home, New Jersey.  This morning I woke up realizing that I wouldn't ever again be working seven day weeks.  I wouldn't see the sun rise and set while working at my bench.  No more would I lose days and weeks, only to realize that summer had passed me by.  It's time to revel in it, I'm a grown up!

It sounds strange to be excited about being a grown up, but I've been in the ranks of higher education for eleven and a half years.  And this isn't even a long time for someone with my degree.  I graduated undergrad in four years, even with taking a year to be a photography major.  I completed my PhD in exactly five years, defending my thesis on the exact day that I joined UW - Madison, five years later.  I worked as a Postdoc in a fabulous lab and completed a couple of natural projects. 

In the end I obtained the goal I set forth as a graduate student.  Most people make 30 before 30 goals.  I made just one goal and I made it, with a few months to spare.  Get a real job, before hitting the big three-O.  Now I'm making big plans of what to do with my weekends, how to spend my vacations and trying to figure out what real people do with three-day weekends.  At least I'll have help to fill my time. 

For eight years boyfriend and I have been a long distance couple, both of us moving around the country for jobs and school.  I'm very happy to tell you that I'm sitting in OUR apartment, writing this post.  Together at last, I hope I don't annoy him too much.  Better go make him some cookies to soften the transition.


Banana Coconut Muffins
Adapted from The Bread Bible

You can chooose to use unsweeted or sweetened coconut flakes, depending on whether you like a sweeter muffin or not.  These muffins are super moist and perfect for breakfast or an afternoon pick-me-up.

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 medium, overripe bananas, mashed
1 cup shredded coconut
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Mix oil, sugar and eggs on medium for about 2 minutes until light and creamy.  Add vanilla extract, bananas and coconut, mix until incorporated.  In a small bowl, sift together flour and baking soda.  Add flour to wet ingredients and mix until just combined.  Stir in walnuts by hand.

Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full and bake for 20-22 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes.  Remove and allow muffins to cool on a wire rack completely.
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