Baking with the Baby: Banana Muffins

A couple of months ago (you can tell ’cause we were wearing sweatshirts – I would never dream of even putting on a long-sleeved shirt with the weather we have now), my 17 month old daughter, the Little Rocker, was going nuts and I needed to entertain her.  According to the baby book that we have, the period between 12 months and 18 months is the most trying for parents because the toddler thinks they can do everything and really can’t and they need the most one-on-one attention from parents.  Now the Little Rocker  is really active and precocious and thinks that all buttons in the world are meant to be pressed.  When the hubby, Rocker Dude, was trying to get his radio show ready (check out www.Rock4Rookies.com – weekly rock awesomeness) the Little Rocker decided that the computer was fair game.  In order to distract her and to push off putting her to bed (she goes to bed at 8:00 and we don’t want her waking up any earlier – 6:00 is early enough), I decided to make her favorite banana muffins with her.  Conveniently we had three bananas on the counter turning all nice and brown just waiting to be used.  When I told the Little Rocker that we were going to be mushing bananas together she got very excited.  I started mashing them with a fork (I like having chunks of banana in my muffins) and she “helped”.  She loved mixing in the flour and pouring in the eggs.  When I mixed the batter she even tried to follow my hand moving with her head – it was really funny to watch.

Because, like most of the world, I have to work all day and often don’t get home until 6:00 or 6:30, it is important for me to focus on my daughter while she is still awake, then I can put the house back together and clean up all the toys that were taken out.  Sometimes I think that we have toys just so the Little Rocker can take them off the shelves – she doesn’t do much else with them.  She most loves reading her books and listening to music – she is definitely her father’s child.

Of course, like most people who work, when I get home I am exhausted and don’t have a lot of patience.  I am trying to work on this and whenever the Little Rocker starts whining or demanding that I pick her up when I am holding a pot of boiling water, I stop, take a deep breath and think, “She’s only a toddler once –  make the most of it.”  Now, mind you, this doesn’t always work and it doesn’t always calm her down when I have to tell her that I can’t pick her up right now, but it makes me feel like a better parent.  My new plan is to bake with her and allow her to participate because it lets her get involved and i am really focusing on her.

Here she is trying to cream the margarine and sugar.

Trying to get toddlers to look at the camera is a nightmare!.   We had a lot of fun together. The Little Rocker especially loved putting the paper liners into the cupcake pan, she carefully judged which hole needed a liner first:).  As soon as they came out of the oven she was there, ready to test her handiwork.  The muffin disappeared so fast that I knew she loved them.

Baby entertained: Check!

Made it to her bedtime: Check!

Quality time spent one on one: Check!

Banana Muffins

Recipe:

1 cup butter or margarine

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. salt

2 cups very ripe bananas, mashed

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup sour cream or soy milk

1  cup flour

Preheat oven to 350°F or 175°C.  Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

Cream the sugar and margarine together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Add the vanilla, salt and baking powder.  Then add the soy milk and the bananas.  Add the flour in three additions and mix only until combined.  Fill each liner 3/4 of the way full with batter.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until nicely browned on top.

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