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Forget the heart-shaped trinkets and bake up some love — or even self-love — in these Peanut Butter Banana muffins.

How can it be that the iconic, love-centered heart emblem has anything to do with the fat, conical-shaped organ that is the center of our being?

Though Valentine’s Day has passed, I think of sugar and spice and everything nice at its mention, one cannot help but wonder if it IS the manufactured marketing ploy all the single-hood haters rise up and proclaim as if to fight back at its darker side. I mean, there is always a darker side. The unloved and lonely, whom it leaves out and abandons because it inevitably says nothing to the many who are journeying this world single.

If there were ever a shape to describe and represent love in its entirety, in its strength and power to move walls, heal nations, save lives, triumph over evil and the failures of this world, it would have to be the infinite round shaped symbol. But even still, love is life changing — an entity that saves and knows no boundaries and upbraideth not social or economic standing. Who can contain it or give it a shape? Not me.

In my own little act of rebellion against the unjust, which I believe the whole notion of heart-shaped Valentine confections convey, and the fact that I had several dark bananas rotting on the counter, here is a perfect, sweet, baked example of how much I love you.

Spreading love 24/7 is the best defense against the dark side of the one day some people dread — and rightly so.

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

1/3 packed brown sugar

1 T. baking powder

1 cup milk

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup mashed ripe banana

1 egg, beaten

2 T. vegetable oil

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup oats

Line a muffin or cupcake tin with cupcake liners.

Combine 1 cup flour, oats, 1/3 cup brown sugar, and baking powder. Whisk together milk, peanut butter, banana, egg, oil, and vanilla. Add banana mixture to dry ingredients, mixing just until moistened. Fill prepared muffin cups 3/4 full.

In a small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup flour, melted butter and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Sprinkle topping evenly over muffins.

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 18 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.

Janet McCormick is the author of “10-Minute Meals” and owner of Let’s Eat in Huntington. She lives in Lawrence County, Ohio. She can be reached at 304-654-2003 or www.10-minutemeals.com.