Cooking and baking for the holidays!

Photo Credit: Fox and Briar

Don’t let the amount of ingredients listed in a recipe stop you from trying it. You’ll see that most of the ingredients are typically herbs, spices and other baking/cooking ingredients like oil, baking powder, etc. 

The trick is to get everything out on the counter that you will need.  This makes the process much easier and more efficient. It’s what the French call “Mise en place” or “everything in its place”.

Take this dessert muffin for example.  

One thing you will notice is that the only real prepping is mashing bananas and whisking eggs.  Everything else is a matter of measuring out, mixing and baking. 

I encourage you to read the whole recipe first before thinking it is too much for you (although you should always read the whole recipe anyway before you start!) You may be surprised that it’s easier than you think!

Lisa B. Smith, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with the Southern Ute Shining Mountain Health and Wellness.


Banana Pumpkin Dessert Muffins 

(these are naturally gluten free)


  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 ½ cups milk (cow, almond, rice…)
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, butter or coconut oil (butter/coconut oil should be softened)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (try walnuts, pecans…)  (optional)
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
  • ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350, line muffin pan with liners or spray with non-stick spray.
  2. Combine all ingredients and gently mix together (except nuts, chocolate chips and coconut), until dry ingredients are just moistened.
  3. Fold in nuts, chocolate chips and coconut.
  4. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full of batter.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden. Cool 5-10 minutes then remove.  

May be stored in an airtight container after completely cooled for up to five days. 

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