Banana Nut Muffins

Who doesn’t love muffins!? One of my favorite things about making these and then creating this post has been how many times auto correct wanted to change “nut” to “butt” – these are not banana butt muffins! You could call them that though and they’d still be equally as tasty.

photo (11)

I’m all about making and baking things that I won’t feel guilty about – that are extremely yummy but that don’t make me feel sick – baked goods that come from whole ingredients. With the exception of some brown sugar, these are just that.

photo 1 (15)

 

Nanananananas

photo 3 (13)

photo 2 (13)

I wanted to eat this with a spoon. #confessions

photo 5 (6)

These are a great snack to make when you’re having that evening sweet tooth. The recipe makes six little muffins so you won’t have to worry about eating 12 of them – it’s a legit concern – BEEN THERE.

photo 1 (16)

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A desire for something sweet
  • The patience to pre-heat the oven
  • The will power to not eat the raw muffin batter
  • 2 ripe bananas – the more ripe they are, the sweeter your muffins shall be
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt – or just a pinch
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp sliced raw almonds

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Mash together bananas and egg. Add in remaining ingredients. Grease 6 muffin pan tray (I like to use coconut oil). Evenly distribute the batter. Bake for around 20 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

photo 3 (14)

 

These muffins are DENSE (and not like that girl you knew from High School). They are so flavorful and moist (ugh I’ve always hated that word – soft, squishy, dewy and humid in muffin way?) you get the point.

photo 4 (13)

LOOK AT THE DENSE-NESS!!!

photo 5 (7)

Enjoy these with a cup of your favorite tea at night. It’s the perfect bedtime snack 🙂

Nutrition facts below.

mffinsfacts

Triple Berry Smoothie

Who doesn’t love berries?! Not only is this smoothie a rich full purple color but it’s also delicious and filled with 18g of fiber!

tripleberry

Round up your ingredients:

photo 4

Blend spinach, water, chia and flax seeds first. Then add the berries! What you’ll have is a 300 calorie smoothie that will keep you full all morning.

photo 3 (7)

This was my fuel for the morning after a rough T25 workout!!

photo 5 (2)

What a treat!!

photo 1 (6)

Zucchini Lasagna

I love lasagna and I love cheese. With that being said, I’m always looking for ways to make dishes a little healthier (even if they still have a lot of cheese). The other night I was craving lasagna like crazy but didn’t have any lasagna noodles. I’d heard about using squash before but was always a little hesitant.

photo 4 (2)

Luckily, I usually have fresh produce in my fridge and zucchini was the perfect experimental substitute for the job. The dish came out amazing and even my husband loved it. The first thing he said was “Wait! Where’s the pasta? There isn’t pasta in this?!” and then chowed down another bite.

I’m excited to try making this again soon and adding new things. The great thing about dishes like this is that there’s really no wrong way to make them and you can add as much (or as little) of anything in them as you want.

I forgot to take an after picture because we devoured it.

What you’ll need:

  • Fresh kale
  • Fresh spinach
  • 2-3 zucchini
  • 1 jar marinara/tomato sauce of choice
  • crumbled feta
  • mozzarella cheese
  • fresh Parmesan
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • oregano
  • onion or onion powder
  • salt/pepper

Start off by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. I then took about 4-5 cups of spinach and another 3 or so cups of kale and added them to a pan over low-medium heat with 2 TBSP of olive oil. Stir and add in seasonings to taste: garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, onion.

spinach

 

Next, start laying and building your lasagna. Make sure your pan is lightly greased with olive oil. Then pour marinara for the base, add thin slices of zucchini, spinach/kale mixture, and cheese as you like.

photo 2 (1)

 

I just did two full layers and then topped it off with more marinara and mozzarella over the entire thing.

photo 3 (3)

 

Bake for about 30-35 minutes until cheese is fully melted. Let sit for about 10-15 minutes to let it solidify. You’ll need to use a spoon to dish it up and will want to eat it out of a bowl. It was heavenly. One thing I’d recommend trying is using a cheese grater to make long, thin slices of the zucchini. I just sliced them with a knife and didn’t get them as thin as I wanted and risked cutting my fingers about eight times.

It’s even amazing the next day heated up in the microwave.

Banana Almond Butter Blondies

These.

photo 5

The other night I was craving a Hershey’s bar so bad I was making noises and embarrassing myself at the grocery store. I KNEW though that if I caved, I’d be upset. Not because indulging is bad but because Hershey’s bars are now made with more fake ingredients and isolates (ingredients found naturally that are then isolated and put into products in higher amounts than found in nature) than they once used to. Without going on a rant with this alone, I’ll get to the story about me laying in bed for over an hour pouting that my life was over that night because I wanted a chocolate bar and I couldn’t have it. The 26 year old version of a tantrum.

But I didn’t cave. Instead, I thought about what I had in my kitchen and decided to come up with a healthier recipe to satisfy my sweet tooth. Thus, the birth of the banana almond butter blondie bars was born and let me tell you, these are dynamite delicious! So much so that my husband and I inhaled the entire 12 bars within 20 minutes of them coming out of the oven. But you know, it was for science…and blogging…and all of you! I took one for the team! ….erm. Good lord I already want more of these!

This was also my first time buying and using dates. I’ll be honest, I was always hesitant because they look like a pile of bugs. But great odin’s raven are these things sweet and amazing! In fact, of all the dates I’ve experienced, these were definitely the sweetest (see what I did there – my Dad humor has no end). And while dates are high in fructose, they also are packed with magnesium, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. In other words. they are a MUCH better alternative to get some sweet in your baking that just using refined sugar.

photo 3

I’ll stop teasing and give you the recipe already 😛

Recipe:

  • 3 bananas
  • 6 pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup whole grain oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a smaller baking dish (I used a glass 6×8 or so) with wax paper and cooking spray. Mash together bananas until creamy. Slice up pitted dates. Combine all ingredients into a bowl with mashed bananas. Pour mixture into lined baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

photo 1

The beauty of these is you can eat them immediately for more of a bread pudding type treat. If you were really being bad you could add ice cream. Letting them cool for at least 20 minutes though gives them time to solidify more into bars. I can’t tell you what they are like cooled further or even refrigerated because we ate them too fast (nom nom nom) but I will do an update soon.

photo 4

Slice them into 12 pieces for the following nutritional info per serving.

nutrition

 

 

Baked Pickle Chips

There’s nothing like going to a bar and ordering a basket of deep-fried pickle chips, crispy, dilly bites of delicious. But they are deep-fried and then my body hurts. Last night I decided to try baking them homemade and not only did I like them more, but they were just as crispy and wonderful.

photo 3

There’s also something indescribable about taking the time to hand bake your own food. Gathering all of the ingredients, hand dipping each slice into the mixture and watching them crisp in the oven. Food always tastes more enjoyable when it’s not just something going mindlessly into your mouth, but something you’re proud of, something you hand crafted.

This recipe was inspired by some recent posts I’ve seen about baking vegetables into chips. You could do this with a variety of things like sweet potatoes, zucchini, carrots, kale, etc.

For this recipe (feel free to double it or quadruple it for more people) you’ll need:

  • A jar of dill pickles
  • Grated Parmesan (I used a store-bought bottle because it was what I had in my fridge, but fresh parm would probably be better)
  • Bread crumbs (I used organic ones from Trader Joe’s)
  • Cooking spray or olive oil
  • Eggs
  • Fresh dill

photo 1

Measurements:

  • 3 dill pickles
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • Loose and sprinkled fresh dill

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Start by rinsing off your pickles so they aren’t overwhelmingly salty. Then slice 3 of them into tiny chip size slices. Next time I might also try letting them air dry on the cutting board for an hour or so they get a bit more crispy in the oven. For this round, I used them right away.

Crack your egg into a bowl and scramble with a fork.

Mix together Parmesan, bread crumbs, and fresh dill.

Spray baking sheet with cooking spray or lightly coat with olive oil.

Then one by one, dip pickle slices into egg and then coat with bread crumb mixture. Press each piece firmly to make sure they stick. I had to wash my hands a lot since the mixture would clump on my fingers.

Bake chips for 8-10 minutes, then flip and bake an additional 5 minutes. The tops should be lightly browned and crispy. You should be able to dive right in. This recipe made about 35 pickle chips and clocked out at around 170 calories.

photo 2

photo 4

 

photo 5

Turkey Sandwich with Raspberry and Cream Cheese

Sandwich possibilities are endless, it’s probably why they are some of the most versatile and well loved food items around. This afternoon I made an amazing sandwich with cream cheese I just had to share.

Meet the turkey breast sandwich with cream cheese, raspberry preserves, and baby arugula. Nom nom nom.

photo 1

What you’ll need:

  • 2 slices of your favorite whole wheat bread (I used Dave’s Killer Bread thin sliced)
  • 4 oz turkey breast
  • fresh baby arugula
  • 1 tsp raspberry preserves (or fresh cranberry sauce if you have it)
  • 1 tablespoon cream cheese

Boom. You have a sandwich you won’t want to share 😉

photo 2

Each sandwich: 293 calories

 

Healthy Salmon Dinner Under 450 Calories

I don’t know about you but sometimes I just need food pictures to inspire me to eat healthy and cook something amazing. It’s probably why restaurants put pictures on their menus, that LOOKS delicious, I’m going to order it.

The other night I was feeling ambitious and excited about food. So I decided to make a super easy dinner that turned into a meal event with me saying “oh my god” about a thousand times as I ate my dinner.

A lot of people hate brussel sprouts but let me tell you, they are my new favorite.

Here’s what went down:

Caprese salad

  • 1 tomato
  • 1 slice mozzarella
  • 2-3 fresh basil leaves
  • Light dab of olive oil

tomate

Brussel Sprouts

  • 1/2 pound Brussel sprouts (only about 100 calories)
  • Sea salt
  • Ground Pepper
  • Olive oil

Season Brussel sprouts to taste and lightly top with olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned and crispy.

Baked Salmon with Lemon and Dill

  • Salmon
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Lemon slices
  • Fresh dill
  • Pepper to taste

I took a full piece of frozen salmon (fresh is always preferred but do what you can do) and then seasoned it with EVOO, lemon slices (squeezing them a bit over the top as well), fresh dill, and ground pepper. Bake at 400 degrees until fully cooked, usually around 15-20 minutes.

prebakesalmon

Best of all you can eat half of that salmon and EVERYTHING else and it’s only 440 calories. It was seriously one of the best meals I’ve ever had.

 

photo 1

Better Banana Bread

Whatcha gonna do with those extra banananananas?!? Well you’ll only need two for this recipe and the browner they are, the sweeter your clean banana bread will taste! This recipe ROCKS! I’m telling ya, you’ll want to gobble it right up. Each loaf makes 8 super soft and velvety 106 calories pieces of heavenly banana bread. When most recipes are close to 250 calories a piece and pushing 20g of sugar, you’re bound to feel guilty but not with this one!!

betterbananabread

What’s the key to healthier baked goods? Well for one thing, I’ve learned that you do not need mountains of flour to hold something together. All this time, I always thought that 2 1/2 cups of flour was a staple amount just because, I dunno, that’s what people have always done. I got away with just 1/2 cup of whole wheat pastry flour for this recipe and the bread is more spongy and soft and luxurious than anything I’ve ever had.

I always like to sub in some healthier alternatives for ingredients. So instead of regular butter and milk and white flour, I opted for some healthier alternatives. First up, I used Whole Wheat Pastry Flour. I love this stuff.

photo 4

I also used my favorite yogurt butter by Brummel & Brown that has only 45 calories per tablespoon.

photo 3 (2)

I also used almond milk instead of regular milk.

The Recipe:

  • 2 Bananas
  • 2 TBSP Brummel & Brown Yogurt Butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 TSBP almond milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 8 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

photo 2

photo 3

photo 5

photo 1 (2)

photo 2 (2)

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees
  • Mash together bananas in small bowl, add in almond milk, ground cloves, and cinnamon
  • In a separate bowl, combine eggs, sugar, applesauce, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer
  • In a third bowl, combine all dry ingredients; baking powder, baking soda, salt, and whole wheat flour
  • Pour banana mixture into butter and sugar bowl
  • Then add all dry ingredients and blend together with the mixer
  • Pour into lightly greased (I always use Pam or any spray) loaf pan. I think mine is around 5×9
  • Baking for 50-60 minutes or until knife inserted into center of loaf comes out clean
  • Drop out onto cutting board or flat cutting surface and let cool for 10-15 minutes
  • Slice into 8 pieces for 106 calorie servings. Bread will be very moist and will need to cool completely before storing in containers or Ziplocs to keep it from getting soggy.

bananabreadnutrition

photo 4 (2)

Zucchini Pasta with Garlic Avocado Sauce

Pasta is a magical food. I could eat pasta all day every day. Spaghetti night? How about spaghetti week!! Seriously, I can’t get enough of the stuff but my goals for this year and proving otherwise. When 2 cups of whole wheat pasta comes close to 350 calories, it can be hard to justify going back for seconds. That’s when I figured out that 2 cups of spiralled zucchini was only 55 calories and I ended up dancing around the kitchen with zucchini in my hands.

I introduce to you, the zucchini, a vegetable that you may not have given enough attention to. I’ll be honest, I certainly didn’t. So what’s so great about this cucumber wannabe? Well first off, it has the magical ability to transform itself into soft pasta-like swirls and if you invest in a vegetable spiraller like I did, your world will change.

pastaswirls

Before I get to the recipe, let’s talk about how awesome the zucchini is, so awesome that as you read this, you may want to pronounce it “ZEE ZOO CHINI!” It just feels worthy of some italian splendor. This veggie is chalk full of nutrients and fiber that you may end up getting as addicted to it as regular pasta. Plus you don’t even have to get out a pot to boil it with. The stuff is ready to go the minute you spiral it. Thanks, veggie.

Zucchini is full of vitamin C and other nutrients and is so low-calorie you’ll be amazed at how filling it is!

The best investment I’ve made in a while is my vegetable spiraller that makes creating zucchini (or any squash) pasta super easy.

zucchinispiraller

For one serving, I spiralled 1 large zucchini and it made close to 2 cups of “pasta.” I then mixed an entire hass avocado with some garlic powder to make the sauce and then mixed it with the zucchini.

avocadosauce

Next, just cut up some grape or cherry tomatoes and add in the garbonzo beans and you’ve got yourself a creamy and filling meal!

zucchinimakings

Ingredients:

  • 1 hass avocado
  • 1 large zucchini (yields about 2 cups pasta)
  • 10 cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup garbonzo beans
  • garlic powder

Directions:

  1. Spiralize zucchini
  2. Scoop out avocado and mash into bowl with desired amount of garlic powder
  3. Pour avocado sauce mixture over pasta and stir until well-coated
  4. Cut tomatoes into halves and drop on top of pasta
  5. Add garbonzo beans

zucchinipastacomplete

Eat for dinner or take with you as a satisfying lunch at work! Higher in calories but with 22g of fiber it will keep you full way past snack time.

nutrition

Chocolate Microwave Mug Cake: Less Than 8g of Sugar

I have a sweet tooth. And after the holidays I find myself craving chocolate like CRAZY! Instead of banishing all things sugar, I’m trying to work to find the right lifestyle balance. Tonight I embarked on creating my first mug cake and lord help me, I’m still sitting in my living room in shock at how good it was. There’s a 100% chance I still have hazelnut spread on my face…oh and apparently on my shirt, oops.

If you just HAVE to have a piece of cake, this is the way to go.

chocolatemugcake

What you’ll need:

  • A microwave
  • A mug
  • Cooking spray
  • A desire for cake
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour (or regular)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure honey
  • 1 teaspoon chocolate hazelnut spread (or peanut butter of your choice)
  • Sprinkles (optional)

microwavemugcakey

Directions

  1. Spray mug with cooking spray to coat bottom and sides
  2. Combine all ingredients except hazelnut spread or peanut butter (this will be the frosting) and sprinkles
  3. Beat together with a fork
  4. Pour into mug
  5. Microwave in 1 minute increments until top is fluffy and cooked through. It took my 800 watt microwave 2 minutes.
  6. Take out and pour onto plate. It should just plop right out and look like a cute little muffin and look something like this:

nakedmugcake

7. Let cool for 3-5 minutes (this thing is a little hottie!)

8. Take 1 teaspoon of chocolate hazelnut spread and frost your cake muggy!

9. Sprinkle on some sprinkles!

10. Try not to moan as you eat it

Tips and suggestions:

  • As I spooned on the hazelnut spread, it began to melt which made it easier but you may find that melting the spread or peanut butter ahead of time and then drizzling it on is easier.
  • I used Barefoot & Chocolate’s  hazelnut chocolate spread but try any kind you want! Regular peanut butter would work fine as well. Or White Chocolate Wonderful. I like Barefoot & Chocolate because they use all natural, fair trade, and organic ingredients.

IMG_2292I was amazed at how tasty, satisfying, and delicious this came out. Unlike some of my past alternative recipes (that have maintained the texture of sweets but not the taste) this actually taste like and felt like real cake!

The entire thing is under 200 calories and 8g of sugar. If you’re watching carbs it nets you 20g WITH the frosting. Below I’ve compiled the nutrition facts for my recipe and then some of the Betty Crocker cake mix and frosting. By the time it’s said and done, a regular piece of cake can be as much as 440 calories and 38g of sugar!

mugcakerecipe

Frosting_Rich_and_Creamy_Chocolate

SuperMoist_Chocolate_Fudge

Let me know how you like it!

mugcake