Do you like to see musicals on the stage? Though I have never seen one on Broadway – I’ve never been to New York – a Saturday matinee of the latest touring musical sensation is one of my favorite things. I have seen many that I have absolutely loved and would love to see again; there have been a few that I wasn’t a huge fan of as well. But for the most part, between the beautiful stages and scenery, the catchy tunes and snappy dialogue, and perhaps most importantly the great actors who have some of the most amazing singing voices, I am impressed and in awe of the shows I see.
My favorite at this time is without a doubt The Lion King. I was lucky enough to see it again this past weekend. The first time I saw it, it was absolutely magical. It is the most creative and unique show I have seen. Having no idea what to expect that first time, I became a five year old, my eyes wide with wonder, wanting to take in all that surrounded me, even though that was impossible.
The sets are great. There are many jokes interspersed in the somewhat heavy and very moving musical. I’m not ashamed to say it made me cry both times. The songs are fabulous and the actors’ voices soar. Some are familiar songs from the movie, others have been written just for the stage but are no less impressive.
However, it is the costumes and how the musical is presented that is truly amazing and keeps you engrossed every second the stage is occupied. I don’t want to ruin the surprise if you haven’t seen it and wouldn’t even know how to explain it, but the costumes transport you to the wild as you no longer see the actors but the animals they are portraying. It is a feat of the imagination and makes The Lion King certainly the most impressive and creative show I’ve seen.
Though a bit of the magic is gone the second time seeing it, I quickly became just as enthralled as the actors walked through the theatre and the music grabbed my attention and emotions. Five years old once again, the two hours and forty minutes vanished far before I wanted it to, my attention completely undivided, as I clutched my Simba stuffed animal souvenir in my hands.
If you ever have the chance to see The Lion King I highly recommend it. Even if you aren’t typically a musical theatre fan, even if you didn’t care for the cartoon, give this show a try. I bet you’ll love it, and sometimes we all need to bring out the kid still hiding inside of us.
After a busy day out at the theatre it’s great to wake up to a nice breakfast the next morning. I’m thinking Bananas Foster Muffins. This week’s Muffin Monday challenge was to make a muffin with bananas. As you know I never bake with bananas because I eat two a day and would prefer other flavors in my baked goods. But I was up for the challenge and figured a good banana recipe would make all of you very happy.
I fell in love with these banana muffins after one bite. They definitely taste like traditional banana bread with a deep flavor from the dark brown sugar. It is the chunks of bananas that really set these muffins apart from traditional banana bread. I sautéed them with butter and brown sugar and added a healthy dose of rum off the heat. Taste this mixture; it is fabulous and very reminiscent of bananas foster.
The pieces of banana throughout the muffin add a burst of pure banana flavor with just a hint of rum. The whole muffin is very moist with a tender crumb. The flavor will transport you right to New Orleans with a waiter flambéing bananas foster tableside. I think I’m going to have to bake with bananas more often.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 medium bananas, sliced ½ inch thick
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons rum
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup almond milk
- 2 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil 10 cups in a muffin tin generously including the tops.
- Make the bananas. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Melt butter in pan. Once melted add bananas and sugar. Cook until bananas have softened and are slightly caramelized and the sugar has turned into a thick syrup. Remove from heat and stir in rum. Let cool while you prepare the batter.
- In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, stir together sugar, oil, vanilla, milk, and eggs until well combined. Add ⅓ of the banana mixture and mash until it is well combined with the other wet ingredients. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Add the rest of the bananas and stir into the batter until evenly distributed.
- Using a regular sized ice cream scoop, scoop batter into prepared muffin tin, filling all the way to the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in pan. May be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or frozen wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for several hours or in a 350 degree F oven for about 15 minutes.