Sep
03

A few months ago I made giant cinnamon rolls the size of my face. From that moment on, I’ve basically fallen in love with the buttery cinnamon sugar little swirls that make them incredibly special. I didn’t post the recipe on the blog because quite frankly, I was a little embarrassed by how much butter I used. Hehe.

Of course, everyone I served them to were in love and agreed that were they the absolute best brunch treat and that of course, I should put them on the blog.

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May
21

Double Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Oat Bars — easy to make and healthy enough to enjoy for breakfast! Ready in less than 25 minutes.

Healthy Chocolate Oatmeal Brownies

I just got back from a trip to Miami and North Carolina where I ate copious amounts of food and baked way too many cookies for Tony.

I’ll admit that I’m eager to get back into my workout and normal eating routine. Do you ever crave consistency after being away from home for a while? I know I do. My friend (and fellow blogger) Maegan and I ate nearly every sweet treat we could find in Miami; from coconut cake shakes (OMG) and coconut pecan chocolate chip cookies to crunchy brownie brittle and 2AM insomnia cookies. Hey, you only live once and you better do it right if you’re in Miami!

Every time I attend a food conference or travel in general, I know I’m going to be eating way too much so I pack my workout DVDs. This time I decided to bring my dumbbells. FYI: TSA doesn’t like when you bring dumbbells onto planes because they are considered ‘club like’. Oops. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do though, right?

I’m never embarrassed to whip out my weights and take a work out break when everyone else is out and about. I know what’s important to me and my well-being. I also pack bento lunch boxes for the plane when I’m traveling; this helps me to make sure I’m eating healthy since it can be difficult to find decent airport food.

Double Chocolate Banana Bread Oat BarsSpeaking of food and traveling, my next adventure will be to New Mexico over Memorial Day weekend. I’ll be visiting my adorable Grandparents who probably love food more than me. Gloria (my grandma) makes about four homemade scratch recipes per day. Seriously have you made her buttermilk waffles yet? Incredible.

I’m actually a little terrified as I have a feeling she’s going to to be 10x more eager to bake with me. We’re kind of two peas in a pod in that way though; always trying to come up with new ideas. I suppose it’s a good thing that I’ve already packed several Jillian Michael’s DVDs and of course, there’s ZUMBA. She’s kind of obsessed with it.

Healthy Double Chocolate Banana Bread Oat Bars - vegan & gluten free

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Jan
05

A lightened up coconut oatmeal healthy banana bread with a few chocolate chips — you don’t have to feel guilty enjoying a slice or two!

You guyssssssss. I have made so many banana breads over the last few days. Sometimes I wish I could stop baking but when I get the urge to, I just can’t stop. I think I’m an addict.

HELLLLLPPPPPP.

Due to my baking urges, I’m often up late at night; unfortunately I don’t get the chance to photograph the recipe since it’s dark and because I’m a little bit of a perfectionist. But sometimes I just want to share a recipe with you right away so I took these photos with my iPhone… hope you don’t mind!

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Nov
02

Naturally sweetened banana bread made with whole wheat flour and oatmeal. Perfect for a healthy breakfast or snack!

I’m absolutely one of those people who believe that everything happens for a reason.

That tragedy is followed by opportunity and growth. That difficult times will eventually be followed by lovely moments. But I’m also the type of person who loves to plan, think ahead, or heck, just think about everything. My to-do lists are endless. My goals keep getting bigger.

But, I’ve also found that sometimes you have to live in the moment. Enjoy little moments with people who matter to you. Appreciate the messes, forget imperfections, and embrace the present. Still with me?

Remember last week when I told you about my vacation? Well it was the best! I went to the apple orchard, on long fall drives, baked apple crisp, coconut cookies, turkey meatballs, and more. We watched movies, drank wine, and laughed like nothing else mattered. In fact, we even went to the diner and ate pancakes at 2am on a Sunday. Sometimes you just need those moments; that little bit of time with someone special.

Other times you just need banana bread. That sweet aroma to fill your house and create a comforting atmosphere.

It’s obvious I’m in love with banana baked goods. Have you checked out my recipe index lately? It’s full of healthy banana breads.

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May
31

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Ahhh the weekend is here. I’ve been craving it like chocolate.

Now it’s unusual for me to bring you a recipe on a Friday, but I just had to share this epic banana bread with you.

Strawberries + Coconut + Chia Seeds. Have you ever heard of such a lovely combination? It’s like a cozy little slice of heaven.

Speaking of things that need to be shared: I have some exciting news to tell you… but I have to hold off a bit (sorry!). Ugh keeping secrets is pretty difficult for me too! Look for a fun announcement very, very soon!

Anyway this banana bread is something I can share. In fact, it’s pretty major — beautiful even! And guess what? It’s also full of healthy ingredients that most certainly deserve a little special attention.

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Jan
22

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.

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Dec
16

With the recent tragedy in Newtown, I can only express how heartbroken I am. I will continue to pray for the families and those affected by this devastating tragedy.

With that said, I’ve wanted to reach out and hug the people who mean the most to me.

And sometimes I say I love you with bread. As simple as that sounds it means a lot.

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Oct
15

I have a few foods that I have fond memories of. They continue to be my favorites throughout the years.

This got me thinking… what makes food memorable? It is simply the taste of it? Or more of what we associate with our food experiences?

Every time I have hot chocolate I’m taken back to when I used to ice skate with my girlfriends. We’d grab a cup of rich creamy hot cocoa with excessive jumbo marshmallows, whole milk, and all things that fitness magazines say we shouldn’t have.

When I want to indulge in things like that, I remind myself that I’m just living life. You know, enjoying those simple moments filled with laughter, good food and friendship. In fact, those moments are building memories. So damn right, I’m having that hot chocolate!

With extra whip cream thank you very much.

Often times I wonder why I find pumpkin pie to be the best dessert on the planet. I mean, it’s so simple! But eating pumpkin pie reminds me of the first time I made a pie by all by myself. How I crafted the crust with such determination. In that very moment, I was discovering my passion and creativity for baking. So really it’s not the dessert itself, it’s the memories that come with each bite.

Now it’s my soul food; it feeds me happiness in the form of good memories.

To date, one of my favorite meals was scallops with spaghetti squash, roasted red peppers, with this incredible creamy sauce. It was finished with a chocolate soufflé and rich chocolate ice cream. Which of course I devoured. I think it’s memorable to me specifically because of the person I was with.

Time spent with good people can make food special. This I know to be true. Just think about some of your favorite foods. Or the best meal you’ve ever had. It was probably more of an experience and memory rather just based on taste alone.

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Sep
23

I love when my weekends are full of good cooking.

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 gluten-free.

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!

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Sep
16

I’ll never forget the day I fell in love with baking. I was 7 years old.

My Mom decided that we would make a homemade pumpkin pie for the holidays. We spent hours deseeding and roasting pumpkins. I always enjoyed our time together in the kitchen because she gave me the best tasks.

On that particular day, I was in charge of making the pie crust look beautiful and fancy. Using my small hands, I tried my best to mimic the pie crust I had seen on the Thanksgiving dinner table, which of course resulted in something unsymetrical and pretty funny looking. Nevertheless, Mom was beaming at my accomplished pie crust and I was too! Eating the pie was the best part though; each bite brought me comfort and happiness knowing that I helped create a little slice of magic.

And so my love affair with baking began.

These days I find myself so busy that baking seems like a daunting task. It’s time-consuming, and sometimes a little bit complicated BUT I have to remind myself the results of home-baked goods are always unmatched. Lately I’ve been wanting to get back to real baking, the kind that is more like a project. And what’s more fun and interesting then making bagels from scratch? Seriously!

Now surprisingly, I don’t own bread machine, so I kneaded the dough by hand (talk about a calorie burner!); I felt accomplished and proud. Although, using an electrical mixer (such as a KitchenAid) would also work with this recipe.

Alas! I’m here to convince you to make homemade (handmade?) bagels. I’ll take you step-by-step through the recipe so that you can make these too! It’s a wonderful weekend project and great to do with kids. These bagels also happen to be lower in calories than bakery style, plus they’re chewy and toast perfectly. It’s some serious magic.

And since it’s Fall, we might as well make them pumpkin bagels, right? Then top them with a homemade whipped cinnamon honey butter.

So, here’s how we start: we’re going to proof the yeast (basically activate it)! Begin by placing warm water  in a large bowl and adding the yeast along with brown sugar. The yeast essentially feeds off the sugar.

After a couple of minutes add the pumpkin, spices, and 2 cups of bread flour and mix until a sticky dough forms (pictured above).

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