Category Archives: Breakfast

Healthy Chocolate Chip Matcha Banana Muffins [vegan + gluten free]

This is the story about how I tried three times to create a naturally green recipe and totally failed… but came up with two yummy recipes in the process!

St. Paddy’s Day is coming up this Friday, and I was actually thinking ahead a few weeks ago when I decided I wanted to come up with a sweet recipe that had a green hue, sans food coloring.

I first heard that the chlorophyll in sunflower butter can turn baked goods green when it interacts with baking soda/powder when a friend of mine accidentally wound up with a green colored sunflower butter recipe, so my original idea was to make sunflower butter banana muffins. The result? They did not turn green, and they also turned out a bit dry, so it was a no go.

I decided it was possible that because I mixed all of my muffin ingredients together in my food processor, it too vigorously combined the ingredients and broke down the baking soda properties too much to successfully interact with the sunflower butter enough to turn them green. So for attempt #2, I made sunflower butter breakfast cookies that I only mixed by hand until the ingredients were combined.

While the cookies turned out yummy & I’ll be sharing that recipe soon, they did not turn green at all. Whomp whomp.

Feeling over the whole sunflower butter idea after two failed attempts, I moved onto another idea: making something with matcha. Matcha is a green tea powder with powerful antioxidant properties and a bright green color.

So for naturally green recipe attempt #3, I made matcha chocolate chip banana muffins. The batter was looking like it may have had a green hue to it prior to baking, but when I pulled them out of the oven, I practically screamed, “NOO, they look normal!”

While these muffins aren’t green in color, it turns out they’re delicious, so I’m sharing the recipe with you today. Made with oats and banana, they have some of my favorite healthy baking hacks – including the use of apple sauce & coconut oil. They’re sweetened only with maple syrup, banana and dairy free dark chocolate chips, and the matcha flavor is subtle.

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Clementine & Carrot Morning Sunshine Juice

It’s interesting how sometimes we fall in and out of habits.

For a few years, I was using my juicer all the time. Making a morning green juice became something that I did several days a week. After all, I do love getting in a hefty dose of fruits & veggies first thing in the day to power me through the morning!

But somewhere along the line last year, I stopped using my juicer at home. I was still drinking green juice, I was just buying it out instead of preparing it myself.

I blame having to clean the juicer on my juice making laziness. I mean, let’s be honest, that thing is kind of a pain to clean!

Even so, I’ve decided to bring my at-home juicing habit back in 2017. I got back into my Jack LaLanne Power Juicer groove – which I swiped from my parents’ garage after it sat there unused for years and shipped it all the way across the country for me to use, starting my juice making craze – with today’s juice recipe: the Morning Sunshine Juice.

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Healthy Apple Almond Crumble {vegan + gluten free}

Happy Friday!

I felt like this work week has gone by so fast – not quite as fast as last week’s three day work week, but still quick! I have a feeling that’s how the entire month of December is going to feel.

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I don’t know about you guys, but I always get in sweet tooth + baking moods on the weekends – especially in the fall and winter when it gets cooler out. One way that I satisfy it without getting off track with my daily macro and calorie goals? Baking healthy of course!

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A few of my healthy swaps are using fruit and cinnamon to naturally sweeten baked goods up, using oats instead of white flour, and including sweeteners like maple syrup instead of refined sugar. Today’s recipe includes all of those tricks!
apple-almond-crumble

I first made this apple almond crumble a few months ago. The next time I made it, I tweaked a few ingredients to reach baking perfection…but for some reason I’ve been sitting on the recipe for a solid month. So here I am finally sharing it today!

sliced-apples

This crumble makes for a great healthy dessert or breakfast. It’d be perfect to make for family brunches this holiday season – and with no refined sugar, no dairy, and no gluten, it’s suitable for a variety of dietary preferences!

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Cherry Pistachio Energy Balls [vegan, gf]

Hi friends! Today we’re talking about nuts and balls! 😉

Everyone has their go-to favorite foods that they’re constantly eating, and for me, one of those categories is nuts + nut butters. I usually eat a serving of one on the daily. Healthy fats like nuts keep my belly happy & satisfied.

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Almond butter and peanut butter are my all-time favorites, and I was pretty into cashews & cashew butter for awhile there. Somehow I tend to forget that I like pistachios too.

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Recently I was about to whip up a batch of energy balls, and instead of using my go-to nuts of choice, I decided to switch it up and break open a bag of pistachios.

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Apricot Almond Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies [vegan + gf]

Hello,  hello!

Let’s sweeten up the start of this workweek with some cookies, shall we?

Apricot cookies-3

It’s no secret that I have a sweet tooth. One of my favorite ways to experiment in the kitchen is to come up with recipes and meal creations that are healthy ways to satisfy that sweet tooth. Today’s recipe is a perfect example of that: apricot almond oatmeal breakfast cookies. 

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Summertime is my favorite season for produce. I just cannot get enough summer fruit in. Cherries, nectarines, strawberries… you name it, I love it. The fruit star of today’s recipe is the adorable apricot.

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Cherry Coconut Chocolate Chunk Hemp Granola [gf, vegan]

Happy Hump Day!

How’s your week going? I’ve gotten back into the swing of things in SoCal since getting back from vacation. While Mexico was a dream, it’s not too shabby coming home when you love where you live, so I can’t complain! My work week is a bit more exciting than usual because an East coast friend of mine is in town and will be staying with me for a few days. I love when friends from out of town visit!

But I digress, onto food…

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Question of the day: Coconut – do you love it, hate it, or feel indifferent to it?

I used to not like coconut at all, and then all of a sudden last year, I developed a thing for shredded coconut. While I still don’t love most coconut flavored things, coconut shreds are now routinely sprinkled on top of my smoothie bowls – hence why I’ve shared two smoothie recipes on the blog with coconut: a chocolate coconut caramel smoothie and banana coconut match smoothie.

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One coconut product that I’m sure you’ve seen everywhere is coconut oil. It’s undoubtedly one of the ‘it’ things in the healthy food world these days. A few of the many benefits that coconut oil lovers tout are its heart protecting and disease prevention properties, along with helping to curb appetite and improve digestion.

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So, I hopped on the bandwagon and started experimenting in baking and cooking with coconut oil more. My conclusion? While I don’t mind baking with coconut oil if I’m making something coconut-y, I’m not really a fan of using it in things that shouldn’t taste like coconut in my opinion… as in, I don’t like my banana cinnamon muffins to have an underlying coconut taste to them.

But a recipe with coconut oil where coconut is actually one of the star flavors? That I can get behind. Thus, today’s recipe…

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Blueberry Chia Oatmeal Bars [vegan, gf]

Last year when I shared a recipe for cinnamon baked apple & peanut butter oatmeal, I proclaimed that it’d probably be the only hot oatmeal recipe that I ever post since I’m not a huge oatmeal bowl fan. However, what I’ve realized is that I love to use oats all the time in recipes.

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I love what a great source of fiber oats are, which definitely keeps my belly fuller for longer. When people come to me and ask how they can add more fiber into their diets, guess what one of the foods is that I always tell them to eat more of? OATS!

They’re a staple in my kitchen, and there have been countless recipes incorporating use of them on the blog – including PB & J oatmeal crumble bars, oatmeal walnut hemp energy bites and dark chocolate peanut butter banana oatmeal cookies, to name a few. And today I have another yummy oat-centric recipe to share with you: blueberry chia oatmeal bars!

Blueberry Chia Oatmeal Bars

Recently I received a package of goodies from the folks at Farmer Direct Co-op – a farmer-owned, fair deal, organic producer of grains, legumes and oilseeds based in Canada.
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They’re actually the only company in North America to combine farmer ownership, domestic fair trade and organics under one brand, which makes them pretty awesome in my book! One of their sister brands is Organic Valley, whose milk I buy for my husband every week to feed his love for chocolate PB protein shakes.

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My Top 5 Hot Breakfast Ideas

I absolutely love starting my day on a healthy note, which is why my mornings always include a nutritious breakfast. There’s a reason why our morning eats are called the most important meal of the day: Breakfast breaks the fast that your body has been enduring overnight, gives you energy, and gets your metabolism revved early in the day.

In honor of February being National Hot Breakfast Month, today I’m sharing 5 of my favorite hot morning meals with you guys. Let’s get to it!

protein blueberry pancakes

1.) Protein pancakes. A week never goes by without me making pancakes of some sort! Here’s one of my go-to protein pancake batter recipes:

Combine the following in a blender just until combined, then form into a couple of pancakes on a griddle over medium-low heat. Cook until lightly browned on each side, and pair with your favorite toppers…. such as sliced strawberries, blueberries cooked in the batter, some dark chocolate chips thrown in, banana slices + peanut butter topper… the possibilities are endless!  

  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ banana
  • ½ cup almond milk or milk of choice
  • 2 TBSP whole wheat flour or other flour of choice
  • ½ scoop vanilla protein powder
  • ¼ TSP cinnamon
  • Dash of salt & sweetener (I use either stevia or honey)
  • ¼ TSP baking powder

avo toast with apple

2.) Avocado toast. I’m kind of obsessed with avocado, and love incorporating it into this simple breakfast: Mash some avocado on a slice of freshly toasted wheat bread, and add a squeeze of fresh lemon & a sprinkle of sea salt. I often pair it with a sliced, cinnamon sprinkled apple.

Vans waffles with baked apple

3.) Van’s apple cinnamon waffles. I first started eating Van’s waffles when I had a brief stint with trying out a gluten free diet, and ever since then a box of them can often be found in my freezer. My favorite variety is their apple cinnamon waffles, and my go-to ways to eat them are a.) with baked apple chunks and honey, or b.) with banana slices, nut butter & honey:

Vans waffles with banana & nut butter

Van’s waffles are such an easy breakfast to throw together when I’m in a rush. Yum!

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Apple Cherry Walnut Pancakes (& Fit Body Bakery Giveaway!)

Pancakes are forever and always my favorite kind of breakfast.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to pancake ideas. In the summer I’m all about incorporating berries into my pancakes, and now that it’s autumn, I’m into seasonal pancakes that focus on foods like pumpkin and apple. autumn pancakes-1

Recently Fit Body Bakery sent me a few of their gluten-free, protein rich baking mixes to get creative with, including their Power Up Pancake mix. The Fit Body Bakery line was created to support strong, healthy, active bodies, so naturally, I was excited to experiment with their mixes. Designed to help customers to bake fresh AND healthy, their mixes contain:

  •  6g+ protein per serving
  • About half the sugar as conventional baking mixes and recipes
  • Unrefined coconut sugar and stevia for sweeteners
  • 100% gluten free whole grains
  • No preservatives or artificial ingredients

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With baked apple, dried cherries, chopped walnuts, cinnamon & maple syrup, today’s pancake recipe is all about those delicious autumn flavor favorites.

Fit Body Bakery Pancakes

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Cocoa Cherry Watermelon Smoothie

Sweet ripe cherries, how I love you so.
cocoa cherry watermelon juice

The same goes for smoothies. While I drink them year-round since I live in SoCal where it never gets really cold, my smoothie habit has been in serious full swing since summer started. I usually drink one a day, and lately my smoothies have been extra summery.

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A week or two ago I bought a huge watermelon. I was eating a lot of it on its own when I was hot and sweaty from working out or being outside in the hot sun or in my simple and favorite (and super refreshing!) strawberry watermelon smoothie. But I wanted to come up a new way to enjoy watermelon. And sweet cherries. And smoothies… which led to today’s recipe!

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A couple of months ago I went to a fitness event and ZICO was there giving out coconut water samples. In all honesty, I’ve never been a coconut water drinker, but I tried their chocolate flavored coconut water and was surprised that I really liked it! They gave me some samples to take home, which had been sitting in my fridge until this smoothie idea popped into my head.

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