I’m leaving on a jet plane… headed to incredibly sunny HOT weather to drink margaritas, eat cupcakes, mexican food, AND frozen yogurt. Maybe that’s not exactly how the song goes, but pretty close.
Okay seriously, I CAN’T FREAKING WAIT! I apologize if I’m making you jealous but I’m pretty sure my new favorite hummingbird cupcakes will provide you with a little happiness. I mean they are topped with a heavenly TOASTED COCONUT CREAM CHEESE FROSTING!
Again, sorry for the excitement and excessive exclamation marks. I had a giant iced coffee the size of my face this morning. WHOOOOOOOO!
Wow, this is the most outrageous post I’ve ever written so I should just stop right now and give you the recipe. Unfortunately, I still need to explain a few things about these spectacular cupcakes.
This past weekend was tough! I was in the midst of a juice cleanse and could not stop thinking about how much I wanted a salad the size of my face. Or grilled fish with a glass of wine followed by some Fro Yo with major amounts of sprinkles and pink-frosted animal crackers.
Then to make matters worse, I watched The Food Network again. They were playing Red Lobster commercials which nearly caused me to drool on myself. I guess you could say my cravings were pretty ridiculous; then again it was probably my own fault for watching Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.
There is good news though: I truly feel incredible and since I enjoy sharing my discoveries with you, I journaled my experience with the cleanse. I plan on posting it sometime this week. Perhaps it will inspire you, too!
Oh hey. I noticed that it’s been a while since I’ve given you a cookie recipe. Please forgive me as I made you these ridiculously good-looking, chewy, thick, fat peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Without flour or butter!
Wait… WHAT? I swear this isn’t a joke.
First I need to confess that I LOVE LOVE LOVE peanut butter. In fact, I think if I was allergic I’d probably still eat it. I’m definitely one of those people who feels like it completes me in some way. Some of you may feel this way about Nutella and I totally get it; nut butters are creamy, addictive and awesome spread on just about anything. I usually do it animal-style aka straight out of the jar with a spoon.
Hmmmm I think I’m displaying signs of an addict. Are there any nut butter support groups out there?
Every week on Instagram I’m posting some new photo of muffins that I’ve baked. You’d think I’m running some sort of bakery out of my house but nope, just a huge fan of compact little flavor bombs for breakfast.
And yes, I just referred to muffins as “compact flavor bombs”… Who the hell am I?
Do you know who I wish I was? Beyonce. I mean did you guys see her last night during the half-time show? What a goddess! Seriously, can someone just explain to me how to jump around with 6-inch heels and a microphone in some tiny outfit? These are skills they need to teach you in college. Maybe I can practice next time I make muffins? Yes, definitely… look for the Instagram pics.
Just kidding, I’ll stick to the things I do best for now. You know like baking muffins with fresh strawberries, sweet bananas, healthy oats, and a bit of chocolate chips? That’s just how my brain works.
In fact, I think it may be one of the best combinations out there. However whatever they put in my margaritas is also up top on my list. But margaritas and muffins aren’t quite the same so we’ll revert back to the subject of baked goods. I apologize, it’s Monday.
I’m getting to the point today. This bread is downright sensational. My goodness, I’m in love with it! I baked two loaves this weekend, and now sincerely hold the believe that it’s a little bit magical.
Honey Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Banana Bread. Doesn’t the name just scream ‘devour me’? The flavor combination is unique: a perfectly moist interior with a touch of sweetness from the honey with the bits of chocolate. Trust me, it cannot be matched.
Most of my banana bread recipes are healthy, use minimal sugar, no butter/oil, and focus on substitutes. I wanted this bread to fall under that category as well; however, I had never experimented with whole wheat flour in banana bread, nor unrefined sweeteners so I figured I would try something new.
The result? A gorgeous, perfectly moist bread with a golden brown crust! And not to mention, it’s now my new go-to banana bread. I just can’t get enough of this gem.
I was planning on giving you a recipe for hummus today, but after making these brownies I knew that I had to share them with you immediately! In fact after I ate half of the pan for dinner, I’m quite certain that these brownies are some of the best I’ve ever had.
I don’t even feel guilty about getting chocolate wasted with these bad boys.
I had heard about black bean brownies before, so I’ve been experimenting for a few weeks with various recipes and came up with this to surprise and delight you.
After baking these, I stood there smiling with chocolate all over my face because I had finally perfected a recipe for fudgy healthy brownies that taste AMAZING. Yeah, okay I know you’re doubting me right now. You might even think I’m super weird (which I totally am).
Yesterday I enjoyed the day grocery shopping, eating a huge greek lunch with tzatziki (my favorite!), and drinking a little white wine… or A LOT of white wine. No biggie. For a quality nutritious dinner, I destroyed a giant cup of frozen yogurt with four flavors: pistachio, cheesecake, vanilla bean, and red velvet cake batter. Seriously extraordinary.
But then today a little bit of magic happened.
Cause I made this banana bread.
And I made it vegan.
And irresistibly healthy.
Because I love you, duh.
This recipe was inspired by my dark chocolate raspberry oatmeal banana bread, which happens to be my favorite banana bread EVER. The ingredients call for gluten-free oat flour and I love making it myself; all you do is throw rolled oats (oatmeal) into your blender and blend until they oats are ground into a fine flour. Simple and easy!
I woke up early this morning eager to bake a banana bread. I silently mashed bananas in my kitchen and watched the sunlight creep through the windows. I mean to be perfectly honest all I wanted to do was turn on Jay-Z’s 99 problems, sing loudly and change the lyrics to “I got 99 problems but BANANA BREAD AIN’T ONE!” Too bad my roommates were still sleeping or it totally would have happened.
Now that I think about it I’m kinda glad I didn’t as I can’t say that rapping is one of my talents. And if you don’t know who Jay-Z is then maybe we’ll just move on and talk about the real star here: Banana bread. With peaches. Annndddd cinnamon. A brown sugar topping too!
It just makes me feel all cozy and wonderful.
Since there are an abundance of peaches in August, I wanted to bring you a fun recipe. Of course peach pie is delicious and peach cobbler is amazing but those are classics, and I wanted to bake something a little creative to make you swoon. The answer happened to be staring right at me: ripe bananas on my kitchen counter! I don’t know, it’s like these bananas just beg me to be mashed into delicious breads or something. Or to be made into pie.
Either way I know that anytime there are ripe bananas around, magic is about to happen. Hehe.
Look at that crust on the top of the banana bread! No seriously, stare at it for a good minute.
The crust is simply perfectly golden brown and the result of sprinkling brown sugar on top before baking. The brown sugar caramelizes and hardens when baked then forms a nice crusty exterior for that superb crunchy topping.
Oh and the inside? So flavorful and moist! Plus who can feel guilty about this bread? Not me considering I already ate 3 slices.
This bread is downright sensational. The peaches add a juicy flavor and a gorgeous addition to the top. Of course the bananas are more prominent that the peaches flavorwise, but nevertheless the juicy bits of peaches surprise you with every bite and the cinnamon really makes the flavor pop.
I wanted to keep this bread lower in fat and calories so I used minimal butter and nonfat greek yogurt. I didn’t have any whole wheat flour in my cupboard, or I might have used some of that in the recipe instead of only using white flour.
Peach Banana Bread. Don’t miss out. I enjoyed mine with a drizzle of honey and a cup of hot coffee. Then I busted out the Jay-Z.
Succulent fresh summer peaches combine with a low-fat moist banana bread made with greek yogurt and a touch of cinnamon.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus extra for dusting
1 cup mashed banana
1 cup finely diced peaches (about 2 peaches), plus about 8-10 thin peach slices for topping
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
2 tablespoons butter, browned or melted (you can also use coconut, olive, or canola oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup nonfat plain vanilla greek yogurt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together mashed bananas, butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar until well combined. Add vanilla and egg and whisk again until well combined. Whisk in diced peaches. Add in dry ingredients and yogurt alternatively, folding together well combined.
Pour batter into loaf pan. Top with thinly sliced peaches and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of brown sugar over the top. Dust lightly with cinnamon. Bake for 60-70 minutes, or toothpick comes out almost clean in center.
Cool for 10 minutes in pan, then remove from pan gently and transfer to wire rack. Cool completely. Cut into thick slices and enjoy!
Can replace some of the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour. Bread is better the next day. Awesome toasted and drizzled with honey
This week I joined a new gym, where I’m quite certain my trainer is either Big Foot, a marine, or a professional wrestler. He teaches my Nike Training Camp classes, which are a mix of plyometrics, military drills, cardio, and weights. Literally sweating waterfalls every time I walk out of there; it’s very similar to the Insanity videos! I just think he’s trying to kill me. But who knows.
I’ve also been enjoying living next to the ocean as much as possible. Every day I try and make it down to the beach. I don’t mean to make you jealous BUT look at this view from my rooftop! Amazing.
I’m not even prepared for Summer to end or these sunny days that seem to never cease. I’m dropping my roommate off at the airport in a few hours, where she’ll head to Greece for a vacation… on a yacht. WHAT! I can’t even talk about it because I’m so jealous. My weekend plans consist of more cooking, maybe a little surfing, and most likely a dinner with these mushroom + kale quesadillas and probably a couple of roasted blueberry basil margaritasto drown in my sorrows. Only kidding, I’ll be fine.
Maybe my trainer would chill out if I offered him a margarita? But then again, he’s there to push me to help me get in great shape; that’s why I made these skinny! I can’t go around eating pie and doing jump squats; those two activities would not mix well.
These strawberries are a great party appetizer or summer treat for anyone. The filling is made with reduced-fat cream cheese, nonfat vanilla greek yogurt (protein!), key lime juice and zest. All you have to do is hollow out the strawberries then fill them with this mix.
I topped my strawberries with sliced toasted almonds, but I think that crushed graham crackers would add a lovely texture and be more reminiscent of a true key lime pie or cheesecake.
After I filled the strawberries, I froze them for about an hour. I think they would be also delicious if you froze them before filling, but that’s up to you. I also found that I had a bit of the filling left over… UM, thank goodness because I spooned that on top of everything. And when I mean EVERYTHING I mean granola, bananas, almonds, in a smoothie, on a muffin, AND on top of graham crackers. My crazy drill sargent trainer would not be proud that all these things, but you act like I could resist putting this dip on everything in sight. It’s called recipe testing!
So really the filling can act as a dip, too! A creamy, healthy key lime cheesecake flavored dip perfect enough to serve to guests at a party, give your kids, or just to distract you from real pie.
Well until next week when pie takes over this blog and I throw pictures of oreos, bananas, peanut butter, and whip cream in your face. So just trust me, eat skinny things while you still can.
Strawberries filled with a sweet and zesty key lime cheesecake yogurt filling.
1 lb large strawberries
8 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup vanilla nonfat greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh key lime juice
1 teaspoon key lime zest
Optional toppings: Sliced toasted almonds, graham cracker crumbs, extra zest, chocolate drizzle
Rinse the strawberries and dry. Remove the top with a pairing knife; set strawberries aside until ready to fill.
Whip the cream cheese until it is fluffy and light. Fold in yogurt, key lime juice, and zest; mixing until well combined. Refrigerate to thicken, about 20 minutes.
Add cream cheese mixtue to a pastry bag or ziploc bag with the tip cut off. Fill each strawberry with the mixture and add additional toppings such as almonds, graham crackers crumbs, or chocolate drizzle if desired. Serve immediately or place in freezer for an hour for a cool treat.
I mean, have you ever wondered why old people love butterscotch candies so much? I did and I googled it… here is the answer. Please read the entire explanation.
I think the best part is the last sentence. Spot on, right?
I’ve discovered that my soul must be about 70 because some of my favorite sweets include butterscotch candies, Fig Newtons, peppermint patties, and Almond Joys. Simplicity is good in the candy world. The sweet and salty versions and contrasting textures that make up a good bar.
Almond joys are great examples: coconut, almonds, and dark chocolate. I mean, it’s kind of just simple perfection. Or perfect enough for me to want to put the ingredients on top of my ice cream anyway.
When you dream and work in the food world — you always want to experiment with what you create. To be wild and explorative makes things interesting. Adding bourbon to sauces and cookies, baking with brown butter, adding green chile to eggs. These things are totally what I’m about–keeping it fearless and sassy.
Anyway my point is that applying more spontenaity to my actual life could be beneficial. These days I tell myself to pursue the projects I think I might enjoy. If they don’t work out, then it’s not meant to be. Right now, I’ve got A LOT of thing I’m working on… including a guest post from someone VERY special this week!
Opportunities are endless.
Can ice cream be endless too?
Without a doubt. Especially when it’s healthy and vegan. Although I will admit that this really isn’t ice cream — it’s a one ingredient guiltless summer treat. All you need is a couple of frozen bananas and a food processor (or a blender). Once the frozen banana are processed, they turn into a creamy treat that mimicks your favorite soft serve! Make sure you use ripe bananas to ensure sweetness and an irresistable texture. You’ll be surprised by this one.
Banana “Ice Cream” with Toasted Coconuts, Almonds, & Dark Chocolate
To make the banana ice cream:
Start with 2-4 ripe bananas. Peel your bananas and cut them into small chunks. Freeze for just 2-4 hours on a plate or in a plastic bag. Place into food processor and process (you can use a blender as well), making sure to scrape down the bowl when they stick. Again process the bananas until they create a creamy puree. Serve in a cold bowl or in a cone. Each banana will make ½ cup of “ice cream.”
To make Almond Joy version:
Add 2 tablespoons of toasted coconut, 1 tablespoon of chocolate chips, and 1 tablespoon of chopped almonds to a medium bowl. Sprinkle on top of banana ice cream.