Nov
19

Healthy Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal topped with bananas tossed in a mixture of brown sugar and vanilla bean! A great breakfast!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this blog and what it represents to me.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s so much more than just sharing recipes; this blog is a place for inspiration and stories. At least that’s what I’ve always tried to make it; however, lately I feel like I’m getting further from that.

It just feels… redundant. I have to put my passion back into it.

So, we’re getting back to it! Back to when I shared my inspiration, fitness posts, healthy living tips, dreams, and stories! More personalized. I hope you don’t mind, but it’s not just food that makes me happy anymore; it’s the story behind the food.

First I’d like to tell you about the first time I fell in love with pumpkin. I was 9 years old and my mom and I baked a pie from scratch.¬†The comfort pumpkin pie brings me is unparalleled.

I’m also a huge fan of oatmeal which I really didn’t start eating until I was in college. Now I eat oatmeal pancakes, bowls of oatmeal, and oatmeal in muffins! I love how healthy it is and am constantly trying to find new ways to add it to my recipes.

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Nov
12

Healthy Chai-Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins with a lovely vanilla bean cream cheese glaze!

I spent last night catching up with one of my best friends; we don’t live near each other so it’s wonderful being able to chat for an hour or two. Unfortunately I haven’t seen her in almost a year, but I think a trip to Chicago for New Years is in the works now!

Speaking of Chicago, I’m actually headed there over Thanksgiving and couldn’t be more thrilled! Michgan Ave, high rises, shopping, incredible food, and that gorgeous water. For some reason that city speaks to my heart.

It just so happens that food also speaks to my heart (obviously). Lately, I can’t get enough pumpkin! Wait a sec. I can never have enough pumpkin. If you guys have been reading my blog, you know it’s just one of my serious obsessions. I’m even asking for pumpkin pie for my birthday this year! Weird, I know… but what else can you expect from me?

I’ve been hoarding these pumpkin oatmeal muffins for a good month! Shame on me. I’m sorry to do that to you.

To be honest, I couldn’t even remember what they tasted like so I convinced myself to test the recipe once more before posting; I will never forgot these again. The muffins were superb, full of pumpkin and chai flavors, and incredibly moist. Seriously probably my favorite muffin ever. EVER you guys!

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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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Oct
01

Hi guys! Sorry about taking last week off of blogging. I was in Boston on a little vacation with some of my friends from college. We had an unbelievable time baking cookies (new recipe coming soon), exploring the North End, running around Southie, and laughing until we couldn’t anymore. Life is good! I’ll have a recap soon of all of my Boston outings plus some favorite things of mine, too! But of course, Monday came and vacation ended. And now it’s October; I can’t believe it! I’ve been busy running outside trying to soak it all up before Minnesota weather comes swinging in with negative temperatures. Obviously since it’s been so lovely, I’ve been slacking in the baking department. Sorry about that! I’m back now… with tasty little bars. You’re excited, right?

You should be! I’m a HUGE fan of all things pumpkin. In fact if I had to choose my last meal on earth, it would be a simple slice of warm pumpkin pie with whipped cream. That’s my heaven. Seriously pumpkin is the JAM to my peanut butter. What I really mean is that it completes me.

These bars are just as wonderful as pie in their own way. They make mornings a little brighter. Somehow they feel romantic and will definitely have your house smelling like fall.

Oh and did I mention that they’re healthy? Yes, you can totally eat them for breakfast or as a snack — there’s only 128 calories per bar and healthy ingredients, too!

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Sep
18

I’m heading to Boston next week for a 5 day vacation. I literally cannot wait! I’ll be visiting my good friends from Australia; we’ve kept in close contact over the years and try and visit every so often.

Boston has great weather this time of year, too! I’m excited to check out some restaurants and explore a bit so definitely let me know if you have any suggestions!

I also have a new obsession to share: Banana bread breakfast cookies. Normally I would say regular cookies, but since these taste like banana bread AND oatmeal, I’m really quite in love. And when chocolate chips are thrown in the mix? OMG!

Plus they only take 15 minutes to make and clock in at around 60 calories per cookie. YES!

This really isn’t even a recipe. It’s me telling you to mix two things together for sweet satisfaction that you don’t have to feel guilty about.

For reals. No weird processed ingredients from a box. Just all natural stuff.

Dairy free. Gluten Free (use GF oats). Nut free. Vegan. Vegetarian. I think they’re a good breakfast (or healthy treat!) for whoever you are. That is unless you’re allergic to bananas or oats. Sorry!

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Sep
09

It’s been incredibly warm in Minnesota so I’ve been trying to workout outside as much as possible. Yesterday I biked¬†15 miles; my legs are feeling a little tired today! I find that drinking lots and lots of water helps with all of the aches. That and a giant spoonful of peanut butter. Hehe.

My meals are all prepared for the week, too! I’m trying to eat clean so I baked garlic chicken, and roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes. I also made some delicious gluten free pumpkin bars, and sauteed kale & garden veggies. I don’t have much free time on the weeknights so my meals need to be ready. Plus it helps me to stay on track when trying to eat right.

Last week I made this delicious vegetarian chili packed with lentils & quinoa. Mmmmmm!

This chili reminded me of my sweet potato and black bean quinoa chili; the flavors are very similar and deeeelicious!

So much goodness goes into a pot: lentils, quinoa, black beans, kidney beans, red pepper, fresh tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, plus a touch of curry powder.

Let’s not forget about the nutrition: a little over 300 calories, 17g of fiber, and 18g of protein. This chili will fill you up!

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Aug
18

In search of healthy muffin recipes? Look no further…

Hope you guys all had a great weekend!

Yesterday my Mom and I went on a lovely 20 mile bike ride through gorgeous Minnesota trails. I loved riding outdoors again; it had been too long! Of course now my legs are killing me, but I suppose that’s a good thing.

It occurred to me that I get incredibly hungry both during and after my rides, and so it’s probably a good idea to pack healthy snacks with me to provide me with extra energy. Granola bars are great and all but come on, who doesn’t love a lovely little muffin to snack on?! Obviously I’m a MUFFIN LOVER FOR LIFE and today I’m sharing my favorite muffin recipes from my blog.

All of these healthy muffin recipes have a few things in common: they’re healthy, focus on clean ingredients, and are all under 200 calories! They really are the perfect breakfast or snack — plus they’re freezer friendly, too! It’s great to have grab ‘n go breakfasts just in case you wake up late, or even for a kid’s lunchbox treat! Just pop them in the microwave for about a minute and you’re good to go!

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Aug
09

Zucchini Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins are healthy, moist and insanely delicious! Who wants one?!

Random Friday posts are good sometimes, right? They add a little jazz in between the food porn shots.

And so, here we go. I’m telling you 10 random things about me. There’s no rhyme or reason to it!

  • I blew out the speakers on my new car after a month. I’m going to go deaf. No biggie.
  • I eat peanut butter out of the jar on a daily basis. Don’t even try to judge that right there. That’s real life.
  • My dog is nicknamed Oscar de La Renta. He’s proud. I’m going to buy him a pink collar soon. He’ll figure it out.
  • I have plans to attend culinary school. Someday, somehow! Let me pay off all of my student loans first. Or win the lottery?
  • If I wasn’t so into food and cooking, I’d probably be a fitness instructor, doctor, or nutritionist.
  • I have to confess that I drank close to a bottle of wine after my juice cleanse. Do you think that reversed the cleanse? Meh.
  • I am addicted to BuzzFeed. You should be too.
  • That new Almond Joy frosting was spooned out of the jar last week…. straight into my mouth. I suggest you find it and do the same.
  • Zac Efron and I will get married someday. Obviously.
  • These zucchini banana muffins? MY FAVORITE MUFFINS EVER! NO SERIOUSLY. EVER.

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Jul
08

Ahhhhh I live for the weekends, and this last one was just so lovely and relaxing. I mean who doesn’t love laying in bed an extra half hour on Saturday mornings? These days, it’s a luxury.

That being said, I’m starting to realize that I can no longer be sleep deprived, over-caffeinate myself, and still function like a normal human being. My habits of staying up until 1AM on the weekdays are starting to wear on me. Also, I should make a note to stop checking my email at 3AM. Clearly I have no idea what the term ‘unplugged’ means.

Oh well. On to more exciting things…

On Saturday I found 10 bananas in a brown paper bag that I had purchased eariler in the week. Thank goodness because I was in a baking mood! MUFFINS, BREADS, COOKIES… I can’t stop.

Bananas are my absolute favorite! They pack potassium and digestible (good-for-you) carbs. So, what does this mean? Well, they give your body fuel and pretty much make you feel like a rock star. But not the kind of rock stars that do drugs.

In all seriousness, I love baking with bananas because they add moisture, act as a binder, and have enough flavor where you don’t need to add additional sugar.

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Jul
01

July is officially here! I booked a flight for a fun adventure. I have two jobs I love. Plus, I made you truffles, cookies, tacos, and this easy & fun Summer berry crostini.

I’m also currently obsessing over zucchini and have way too many ideas in my head; I literally had to force myself out of the grocery store after three hours of pacing the aisles. Pretty typical.

Besides being a grocery store stalker, I was quite busy this past weekend. The majority of my Friday was spent working then I caught a movie and stayed up until my eyes felt like heavy bricks. Saturday went by too quick; I hit a yoga class in the morning, did some editorial planning for the blog, and watched an episode of Cats from Hell. NOT KIDDING. I love cats.

I had a little ‘me’ time yesterday though and spent most of my day in the kitchen. I’m trying to get caught up on recipe creation so that I can take a little vacation over the weekend and relax. My wonderful mom also stopped over to show me her StitchFix collection (I got her hooked!). We haven’t seen each other in nearly two weeks so it was good to catch up. It’s important to remember you can never be too busy for your family. However, you can be too busy for when your mom tells you about how much she loves Jeremy Piven.

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