Category Archives: Snacks

Strawberry Banana Muffins with a Cashew Crumble {dairy free + gluten free}

Day-to-day eating habits can be very individualistic. For instance, some people stick to three square meals a day, while others prefer smaller meals and a few snacks throughout the day. Though I have a set of general eating “rules” that I recommend for everyone, when I get asked what’s best in terms of frequency of meals, my answer is whatever really feels best for your body.

Personally, I’m a smaller meals and snacks kind of girl. I feel best eating something every 3-4 hours, rather than having big meals. The latter leaves me feeling like I can’t digest my food easily. I’ve definitely mentioned this before on the blog, and it’s the reason why I’ve shared so many snack recipes!

As for my go-to snacks, I like whipping up a smoothie, or eating a yogurt or fruit with nut butter. I also have protein and granola bars in every possible place in case hunger strikes.

It’s also a regular thing in my kitchen for there to be either freshly made muffins or energy bites. I like to whip up one or the other every week, then have them around as a quick healthy snack all week long.

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10 Recipes to Try This Memorial Day Weekend

Who else is looking forward to their holiday weekend? Today’s post shares some healthy summery recipe ideas to try! 

If you’re a blogger that shares a lot of your personal life and adventures, having a blog is like having an online diary of travels and fun (…ya know, a diary that other people read that is!), and sometimes it’s neat to look back at what I was doing at this time in another year.

Floating around an infinity pool in Cabo last year with my hubs

Looking back at past Memorial Day weekends, I went on vacation to Mexico last year (surprised my love for his 30th with the trip!), spent the weekend with friends during a deployment of my hubby’s another year, and went on a wine tasting getaway to Napa and hiked around at Muir Woods when I was living in the Bay Area.

Wine tasting in Napa, circa 2013

This year, I have some fun things planned for Memorial Day weekend, including a road trip up to Los Angeles for a day of hiking + a vegan food festival. I’m excited! I also will be getting some time at home, and I’m sure I’ll be doing a bit of cooking & baking.

Since many of us Americans will be attending family gatherings, relaxing in our backyards, and getting a bit more time to cook & bake over the long weekend, I thought today it’d be fun to share some Memorial Day recipe ideas.

Of course, let’s not forget that the holiday is meant to honor the men & women who have died serving in our military. THANK YOU to all of our service members protecting America.

Let’s get to the food!

1.) Orzo Caprese Pasta Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts & Spinach. This is a recipe I created for Shape recently, and it kind of screams summertime party. It’s a crowd pleaser, and it’s easy to make!

2.) Loaded Mediterranean Avocado Toast [vegan, can be made GF]. AKA the best avocado toast ever! Perfect for breakfast on a leisurely morning, or as appetizers if you’re having guests over.

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Chocolate Pistachio Energy Bites [gluten free]

I’m such a sucker for any kind of place where high-quality food is the focus. Farmers’ markets. Gourmet food shops. Italian markets. Bakeries. I love it all. It’s no secret that I love experimenting in the kitchen, and finding new foods and ingredients gives me inspiration to try new recipes… plus I just love eating food, obviously.

A few weeks ago, I was walking to a Starbucks to work for awhile before meeting a friend for dinner, when I passed by a spice shop. I’ve seen it before when it was closed for the day, but this time it was open.

Naturally, I walked in the shop and moseyed around smelling and tasting things. I wound up leaving with some goodies – all that were new to me, with the exception of local cinnamon infused honey (I pretty much buy that whenever I see it!).

For San Diego area locals, the shop is called Savory Spice in Encinitas, and it’s super fun to pop into if you’re a spice nut like I am!

One new-to-me thing that I bought was pistachio extract. I’m a fan of pistachios, but for some reason they’re a forgotten nut to me sometimes. I’m constantly all about peanut butter, almonds + almond butter, cashews + cashew butter… but pistachios seem to fall by the wayside. Then I make something with them and am reminded that I dig em.

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PB & J Banana Muffins {vegan + gf}

As with most food bloggers & writers, I love to bake and cook for loved ones. Whenever we have guests in town, I enjoy feeding them well. A lot of the time when I meet up with girlfriends, I’ll bring them some of my latest kitchen creations to try. I show my love for people by making them nutritious, delicious food.

When I stay at my parents’ house in Jersey, it’s fun to make snacks, dinners, and desserts for everyone to enjoy. A few weeks ago when I was there, I was a little off of my Chef Nicole game because I was under the weather, but I still whipped up some yummy recipes for them.

One night I made creamy spring veggie & asparagus puree soup for dinner, because I knew my mom would dig it (She did!).

I also made my most recently published Shape recipe, blueberry banana Greek yogurt muffins.

Continuing with the blueberry theme, I also made bluebery oatmeal chia bars one morning – except when I took the baking dish out of the oven, I mistakenly placed it on a burner that was on low heat….and then left it there for hours. I was in the kitchen the whole time and didn’t even smell the bars and pan burning because my sinuses were all congested! It actually worked out well because my dad loves burnt things. They wound up being super dry, but he was a fan of them anyways…so it was only half a kitchen fail!

Another muffin recipe that I decided to make were peanut butter & jelly banana muffins. I first shared the recipe on here years ago when I was a newbie blogger, and I hadn’t made them in quite awhile. My dad loves PB & J (and so do I!) so I thought he’d like these. I always like having muffins, bars, or energy bites around as a healthy snack, and we all snacked on these muffins throughout the week.

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Sunflower Butter Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies [gluten free]

Hi friends!

I have been down for the count with a killer ear infection + upper respiratory sickness. It’s a major bummer because I’ve gotten sick the last couple of times that I’ve visited Jersey to spend time with family, despite my nonstop rubbing of essential oils and drinking of green tea. I almost never get sick otherwise, and I think it’s the combination of a cross-country flight (the woman next to me was coughing the entire time!), going nonstop making plans with family & friends, the weather change, being around my adorable but very germ-y nephews, and drinking wine multiple days in a row. So, now I’m back home in Cali, resting up this week and taking it easy so that I can get back to normal.

But let’s talk about something more fun… like cookies! Breakfast cookies that is.

These sunflower butter banana oatmeal breakfast cookies were my second failed attempt at a green sunflower butter recipe for St. Paddy’s Day. The base of these normal colored cookies are rolled oats and almond meal. They’re sweetened with mashed banana, honey and apple sauce. You can sub in maple syrup to make them vegan as well.
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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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Blueberry Cashew Butter Energy Balls + 5 Of My Favorite Vegan, Gluten Free Energy Bite Recipes

When it comes to my eating patterns, I’m definitely more of small meals & snacks kinda girl. I like to eat every 3-4 hours, and feel like my body operates best this way.

If I eat a big meal, my belly feels heavy and too full, but when I eat smaller meals & snacks throughout the day, I feel great. Because of this, I always have lots of snacks around: in my purse, gym bag, car and obviously my pantry. Having healthy snacks around is the key to me not getting hangry!

One of my favorite kind of snacks is energy balls. I like to whip up a batch during the weekend to have on hand throughout the week. But since I get bored easily, I like to switch up my energy bite combos & am constantly coming up with new kinds. My latest energy ball creation are these Blueberry Cashew Energy Bites.

Made with rolled oats, cashew butter, raw cashews, hemp hearts, dried blueberries, and honey, they’re the perfect little snack full of healthy fats, carbs and protein.

{Note: Maple syrup, agave, or brown rice syrup can be substituted for honey to make them vegan.}

These blueberry cashew energy bites are my latest creation published on Shape. Get the recipe here!

And since I’m constantly making energy balls for my snacking pleasure, I’m also sharing 5 other kinds of energy bites that I love today. Check em out!

Chunky Monkey Protein Bites. Because banana + peanut butter + chocolate = the best combo ever!

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5 Healthy Valentine’s Day Desserts [All Dairy Free!]

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so today we’re chatting about healthy dessert recipes!

My hubby and I don’t get too crazy for Valentine’s Day. We’ll sometimes go on an adventurous date, like going kayaking in La Jolla as we did last year, or sometimes we’ll just have a nice dinner at home. To me, Valentine’s Day just serves as a reminder of what’s important in life. It should just be about spending time with the people you love – whether that be a spouse, your kids, your girlfriends, or even just dating yourself.

I’m not sure what we’ll be doing for V-Day this year yet, but if there’s one thing’s that for sure, it’s that I’ll be baking something fun surrounding the day of love…because I take advantage of any excuse to bake!

Baking is definitely a de-stressing activity for me, especially when I have time to get in the kitchen and just play around. As a healthy foodie, I like to substitute better-for-you ingredients into recipes to make them more wholesome. For instance, I’ll use maple syrup or coconut sugar instead of refined sugar, or I use oat flour instead of white flour. I love enjoying treats that I can feel good about eating!

I’ve rounded up 5 of my dessert recipes that would be perfect to make this Valentine’s Day, so let’s get to it!

1.) Chocolate Peanut Butter Brown Rice Crispy Squares. This healthier take on rice crispy treats has been a favorite in my household since I first posted the recipe on the blog last year. I mean, is there a better combination known to man than peanut butter + chocolate? In a word, NO! –> Get the recipe here

2.) Apple Pie Banana Bread. Made with oat flour and fresh cinnamon apple chunks, this banana bread is one of my favorite ways to use browned bananas. Sometimes I throw chocolate chips into the batter, but either way you make it, it’s delicious! –> Get the recipe here

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Easy Mediterranean Flatbread Pizza

Hey, hey!

Last Saturday’s sunset

How was your weekend? Mine was a good one that was full of sports!

My husband and I went to the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, which was neat. I’m not a huge golf person but find sporting events of pretty much any kind fun – plus it was my first time at the Torrey Pines golf course, and the views were beautiful as expected!

I also watched a lot of tennis, as the Australian Open came to a close. Watching the Williams sisters compete against each other in the finals was inspiring – I mean, they are such badass female athletes! – so on Sunday my hubby and I headed to the tennis courts nearby to get in a workout together. We’re not technically all that great at tennis, but we have fun and get some exercise, so that’s all I really care about.

Besides a weekend full of sports, my weekend was also filled with good food, as per usual. For dinner one night we enjoyed Mediterranean flatbread pizza, and today I’m sharing the recipe with you guys!

These flatbreads are a great healthy recipe idea for this weekend’s Super Bowl – and they’re ready in 20 minutes flat! Since I love to make a bunch of appetizers & finger foods to graze on during the big game, I tend to go for recipes that are easier to whip up. Otherwise, the game’s starting and I’m running around the kitchen like a madwoman trying to finish cooking. Anyone else ever been there on Super Bowl Sunday? 

The flatbreads center around Mediterranean diet-centric ingredients like baby arugula, crumbled feta, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, red onion, and olive oil that give these babies a ton of flavor, a nice dose of produce, and a bit of healthy fat without being calorically heavy.

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Dark Chocolate Cherry Sunflower Butter Cups [vegan + gf]

Hello, hello from the east coast!

I flew in via a red eye this morning, and am looking forward to lots of holiday  fun in Jersey. Bring on the relaxing family time!

chocolate-cherry-sunflower-cups-3-copy

I have one last holiday dessert recipe to share today… and this will also be the last Foodie Loves Fitness recipe of 2016!

chocolate-cherry-sunflower-cups-10

We all have our favorite traditional holiday dessert recipes, but sometimes I think it’s nice to switch things up and add in new ones. Truth be told, I get a little tired of seeing the same cookies all around every December… so  today’s recipe is a bit of an unconventional holiday dessert, but trust me, it’s oh so good!

chocolate-cherry-sunflower-butter-cups

These sea salt dark chocolate cherry sunflower seed butter cups are a mouthful – to both eat & say out loud! We’ve got the richness of dark chocolate, sweetness of dried cherries, and the salty contrast with the inclusion of sunflower seed butter and a touch of sea salt.

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