On our trip to South Africa, we did not get chased by any big game animals. No lions charged us. No elephants trampled our jeep. We did, however, get chased by a monkey.
On one of our last nights, we went outside to see the monkeys. We were more than excited to see them. (Ain’t no monkeys where we come from!) They were so cute and furry and could swing from tree branches and scoot around on all fours. Locals, on the other hand, couldn’t care less about monkeys. They are as plentiful as squirrels are to Virginia—but a lot more aggressive. We were warned by my in-laws not to feed or taunt them. We did no such thing. We just wanted to take some pictures. Harmless, right?
Everything was going fine and dandy for about 10 full minutes. My husband was snapping pictures, and I was keeping a safe distance away. (Something inside of me knew not to get too close.) Then out of nowhere, a monkey jumped out of a tree and scampered over to my husband and got THISCLOSE. The monkey then stood on its hind legs, snarled, and was fixin’ to bite him. My husband started hopping on one leg while yelling, “Woooo-ooo-ah-ahhhhhh!” From a short distance away, I maybe smiled for a split second before realizing what was about to happen.
My husband took off running and the monkey chased him. The monkey was right on his heels. At this point, I realized I needed to run as fast as I possibly could. The following thoughts crossed my mind: if you don’t run faster, the monkey will get YOU instead, how long is this thing going to chase us???, and finally, I AM GOING TO DIE!!! All the while, I was apparently screaming at the top of my lungs. (For reference, this all took place over a 10-second time span, but it felt much longer.)
After the monkey was satisfied we were thoroughly frightened, it just stopped and sat in the middle of the path, warning us not to cross it. By this point, my in-laws came out on their balcony after hearing my screams and a nice, little family who was having a picnic nearby decided to leave because their kids were crying about the monkeys.
Needless to say, monkeys are not as cute as we thought. And I wouldn’t dare offer them these banana chocolate chip muffins.
I will offer them to you, though. These muffins are quick to stir up and taste wonderful when they’re warm and fresh from the oven.
In separate bowls, stir up your wet and dry ingredients.
Add the wet to the dry and stir gently to combine. Do not overmix.
Get those chocolate chips ready to mix in.
Fill each muffin tin about 3/4-way full, and bake for about 25 minutes.
Remove from oven when pale golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large)
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup half-and-half or milk
3/4 cup chocolate chips (I used semisweet)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a muffin tin by using baking spray or softened butter.
Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Mix mashed bananas, beaten egg, melted butter, vanilla, and half-and-half in medium bowl. Stir banana mixture into dry ingredients just until blended. (It’s OK if there are a few flakes of flour in there.) Gently mix in chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
Divide batter equally among muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake muffins until tops are pale golden and knife inserted into center comes out with no crumbs, about 22 to 25 minutes. Remove from muffin tin to a cooling rack. Eat them while they’re hot!
Adapted from Epicurious
Photo credit for the monkey pictures goes to my husband before our near-death encounter.