Banana Cinnamon Muffins

A new year, a new start.

I don't typically make New Year's resolutions because I can't seem to keep up my unrealistic expectations after a week or two. This year I want to try something different. I want to make resolutions that are real and attainable, even if they do take a little work. I want to make resolutions I can keep. These are a few that I am going to work towards this year:

1. Be Healthy

I want to be healthy in both body and mind. I think the key to the new year will be balance. Last year held high highs and low lows in both aspects for me. I truly believe that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind so eating better and working out will bring about happiness and peace of mind.

This year I want to work on eating more fruits and vegetables, but, more importantly, I want to work on a lower sodium diet. Although I love everything about salt, my body doesn't. Working on cooking from scratch and eating less processed foods will keep out much of the salt (and more of the calories!). My mother also picked up a family membership for the gym and I'm excited to start using it. I find that working out helps me not only sleep better, but feel better.

2. Take a Photography Class

I first became interested in photography this year. I figured if I was going to be starting a food blog, I better learn how to take a good picture. Even though I know how to work all the manual settings on my camera, there is much much more to learn. Composition and lighting are always a struggle. Although I can judge which photos are more visually appealing to my own eye, I couldn't tell you why. A photography course could help me fill in some of those blanks (and that's something I am excited about).

3. Get a Job

After changing career paths, I am another unemployed member of society. Although I wouldn't mind continuing to spend my days baking and watching shows like Gossip Girl, I want to aspire to greater things. I have goals! I have aspirations! This year I would like to find a job that will allow me explore the culinary field, pick up some tricks of the trade, and learn more about what I love—food... Anyone hiring?

4. Keep Baking!

Something tells me this resolution will be the easiest to keep. I can hardly keep myself out of the kitchen as it is. This year I am going to focus on baking healthy. I plan to continue healthier substitutions (like swapping butter and oil for yogurt or applesauce), but I also want to work on cutting down the sugar content (while keeping the flavor a priority). I think we all get plenty of sugar as it is. My desserts may be darker and more decadent with less of the sweet stuff, but I certainly don't think that's a bad thing!

Do you have any resolutions for the new year?

I thought it was only fitting to start off 2011 with something that won't ruin our diets. These banana cinnamon muffins are healthy and delicious. Low in both butter and sugar, the sweetness in these muffins comes from the bananas (although you'd never guess it). At 150 calories each, these muffins will keep your resolutions intact and I think that's something we can all be happy about.

Banana Cinnamon Muffins

Yields 12 standard size muffins

1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
4 over-ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a muffin tin or line with baking cups.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and continue to beat. Mix in the mashed banana. Stir in milk and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Fold dry ingredients into wet until just blended.

Spoon the batter evenly between the muffin cups and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Serve warm, with a small pat of butter, or at room temperature.