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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5 Yoga Poses & Moves to Strengthen Hip Mobility + One Tribe Apparel Giveaway!

Hi friends!

Today’s post is a fun one. First up, we’re talking about moves to strengthen & lengthen our hips, then it’s time for a giveaway!

Sometimes people think of strong hip mobility as something that only yogis and gymnasts should focus on. But the truth is, every single person can benefit from having better range of motion in their hips – from runners and weight lifters that don’t own a yoga mat, to people that don’t workout at all. Everything in our bodies is connected, and poor hip mobility can often lead to pain in other places in our bodies, like the lower back.

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite yoga poses & moves that stretch & strengthen the hips. I do these moves pretty much every day – whether during a yoga practice, at the beginning of a strength or cardio workout, or even sometimes when I’m just watching TV.

1.) Figure Four Pose. Start standing, then lift one foot off of the mat, placing the ankle on top of the other thigh. Draw your weight into your standing leg, and sink into the pose, hands in prayer. You can do Figure Four sitting or standing, but I like the shown standing variation because it also challenges your balance.


2.) Pigeon Pose. This pose is done in most yoga classes because it’s great for the hip flexors. One way to get into Pigeon is by starting on all fours, bringing one knee forward and placing it on the floor just behind your hand, with your heel pointing toward the frontal hipbone of your other leg. You can sink deeper into the pose by bringing your elbows to the ground, and you kick it up another notch by rotating behind you to grab the straight leg with your hand and bringing your foot up to hand, bending the leg.

3.) Hip Swings. I do this move nearly every day because I think it feels awesome! Start by standing on both legs, then bringing one leg off the ground, keeping it straight and bringing the foot slightly diagonal in front of you. Swing the leg out to the same side, aiming to get the leg up to hip level, then bring it back down in a controlled motion. Try to do 20 of these without your foot touching the ground, then switch sides.

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Healthier Fettuccine Alfredo with Spinach & Tomato

Hello strangers!

So, last week was probably the first full week that I did not post on this little corner of the internet of mine since I started this blog. Trust me, it wasn’t by choice!

I was pretty much in technology hell all week. My beloved computer had been running really slow, and I was troubleshooting and running back and forth to the Apple Store like my life depended on it – because well, it kind of does. I work on my computer every single day and depend on it as a publicist, blogger, freelance writer and health coach. So, you can imagine that I have a lot of stuff on this computer of mine!

To make a long story short, the good news is that my computer was salvaged and is now working fast. But what’s the bad news? Apple restored my computer without consulting me first, and wiped out many of my photos that I saved only on my computer + an external hard drive that randomly stopped working last week. And since my computer was running so poorly, I wasn’t able to successfully back up my photos. Believe me, I tried.

So yea, I’m majorly bummed about the photos being lost. I keep thinking of my travel photos, wedding shots, and captured family memories that I’ll probably never get to see again.

(Yes, my photos are now set up to automatically go to “the cloud” every day so that this never happens again.)

But on the bright side, I can recover some of them by looking at my past posts and social media, and saving them back one by one. Luckily I’ve posted a ton of photos on this blog of mine! And, I can resume working on my computer and it not take me 4x as long to do things. I know this sounds like such a first world problem, but with how much I rely on my Mac, the whole situation was very stressful. I’m thankful for yoga, baking and my bike trainer for keeping me sane when I wanted to rip my hair out!

So that’s that, but let’s get to the good stuff today… aka pasta.

Today’s recipe is one that I’ve been making for years. I first started making this dish after I had a craving for fettuccine alfredo, but when I ordered it out at a restaurant and ate half of the dish, I left feeling too full and kind of sick. That’s the thing about consistently eating healthy & light: When you eat heavier food once in awhile, your body does not like it! So, I did what any good food blogger would do: I came up with a lightened up recipe that leaves me feeling satisfied but not stuffed.

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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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Three Sisters Waterfall Hike + An Afternoon of Wine in Temecula {Weekend Recap}

Hi friends!

Hope that your week is off to a nice start! Did you have Monday off of work for Presidents Day? I had off from my publicist job, and actually didn’t do work for any of my jobs whatsoever. I think I only answered one email the entire day, which was nice! My long weekend was a great one, so today I’m rewinding it back a few days.

On Saturday while my hubby studied for an MBA exam all day, I took care of a lot of freelance & blogging stuff. I also ran a couple of errands, including a trip to Michaels to pick up a frame for a new addition to my travel-themed workout room.

The artist of this San Diego Modern Map Art was nice enough to send me a print, and I think it goes perfectly in my workout room. The room is full of canvas art and memorabilia of my travels, and now I have art in there of my current beloved city, San Diego!

Sunday first thing, I took my pup for a long walk along the coast on what was a misty morning. Afterwards, I got ready for the day & prepped some food for a picnic we were planning on having in Temecula wine country. I made Greek pasta salad and packed some healthy snacks, including hummus with carrots, apple and chickpea crackers.

We headed out to Temecula to meet up with my cousin Michelle and her boyfriend. Michelle’s birthday is coming up, so we had a celebratory afternoon together sipping wine and hanging out. First up, we stopped at Weins Cellars. Known for their big reds, Weins has a great outdoor area to picnic at, so after we tasted there, we nabbed a bottle and ate outside.

Afterwards, we headed over to Lorimar Winery, where my cousin is a wine member. I’ve been to Lorimar a few times recently, and they seem to always have interesting red blends on their tasting menu. Lorimar also has a great outdoor space for hanging out, along with a food truck if you’re hungry & live music on the weekends.

We had a lot of fun relaxing in Temecula, but then again I always enjoy myself in wine country. I mean what’s not to love? Even during this time of the year when the vineyards are looking scarce and the weather can be on the chillier side, Temecula always proves to be a great time.

Hydrating with pHenOH 7.4

After a laid-back, wine-filled Sunday, my Monday off went in a different direction. After taking my pup to the dog park for some playtime, Adam and I headed out to the California countryside to the town of Descansco for a hike to Three Sisters Waterfalls.

This was only my second time doing this hike. The other time I did it was almost exactly four years ago, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. The other time I visited Three Sisters, the San Diego area was in a serious drought, whereas this time, we’ve gotten a ton of rain lately. I had high hopes for raging waterfalls, and I was not disappointed!

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Get Out of Your Comfort Zone By Feeling the Fear & Doing it Anyway

Hi friends!

How has your week been? It has been quite a busy one for me. Lots of good stuff happening, including my participation in a workshop to get certified to teach Yoga Sculpt!

If you’ve read any of my monthly workout recaps recently, you may have noticed that I’ve been going to Yoga Sculpt classes. I love the mix of cardio, weight training and bodyweight exercises with a bit of Om sprinkled in. It’s a little bit of yoga, and a lot of sweating and sculpting. Out of the many kinds of classes that I’ve taken, the one I’d probably want to teach the most is Yoga Sculpt, so when the opportunity came up for me to take a certification class, I went with my heart and jumped on it.

While I’m obviously a longtime fitness lover and have gotten to do a lot of cool fitness-related things, like getting to workout with Jilian Michaels and attend awesome fitness seminars, fitness certifications are not in my usual wheelhouse. I’ve focused more of the nutrition and integrative health side of things with my health coaching certification. While a fitness certification is entirely new to me, when it came down to it, I asked myself, Why not?

I think that so many people are afraid to get out of their comfort zone, they go most of their lives staying within their little bubble – never taking risks or trying things that are new and exciting. I’m proud to be a person that is continuously just going for it – whether that means going to events where I don’t know a soul, traveling to unfamiliar places (my favorite way to get out of my comfort zone!), interviewing for jobs that are totally out of my usual realm (and then sometimes getting them!), or doing something new like getting a fitness certification.

When it comes down to it, if you want to lead a life that’s full of growth and excitement, you’ve got to feel the fear and do it anyway. Fear-based living is what leads to stagnation, and when you think about it, if you’re not going forward, you’re really going backwards.

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Healthy Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cinnamon Cookies {vegan}

Does anyone else just all of a sudden get in the mood for baking sometimes?

The measuring and mixing, pouring and stirring, baking and cooling. The smells of something delicious coming together and the anticipation of taste testing. It’s therapeutic to me.

Last week as I was jotting down a bunch of things to nab at the food store and planning out what healthy snacks I’d make this week, I got bitten by the baking bug. And I didn’t feel like just following a recipe, I was in the mood for experimenting and getting creative.

Today’s recipe is a result of that baking bug. These cookies center around a few of my favorite things: the combination of chocolate + peanut butter & cinnamon.

Cinnamon is without a doubt my favorite spice. I’m constantly sprinkling some on my fruit, in my smoothies, and on my toast. It gives meals a bit of something extra, au naturel.

I also love pairing cinnamon with peanut buttery goodness. Cinnamon sprinkled on top of sliced banana, topped with peanut butter. Oats with baked apple chunks, peanut butter & cinnamon.

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Appreciating Family Time in San Diego {Weekend Recap}

Hi there!

I haven’t done a fun little weekend recap in awhile, and since I had a great weekend a couple days back, it seems like a good idea to share what I was up to with you guys.

Taught yoga on Friday with this view!

After having a great day of meetings and health coaching sessions on Friday, I kicked off my weekend with a long walk at the park with my pup, then made some veggie orzo soup (my favorite lately!) to enjoy with my hubby. It was the kind of day that feels productive and busy, yet fun at the same time.

After taking care of some work and cleaning my entire house on Saturday, the family-filled part of my weekend began!

My cousin Michelle, who lives a few hours north in Long Beach, drove down to spend the night at my house. I made homemade pizza and farro Greek salad, and we drank wine, caught up, and watched crime shows. We both are into murder mysteries, which she refers to as “murder porn.” My husband is always rolling his eyes at my TV and movie picks – but can’t stop, won’t stop!

Sunday morning, we headed into Del Mar to meet up with my cousin Noelle and her friend Courtney. Noelle and I grew up together in Jersey, and she recently moved to the San Francisco area. She flew down for a long weekend, and I was happy to get to finally see her! We hadn’t seen each other since Christmas 2015.

We first grabbed brunch at Snooze, where I had the most indulgent pancakes. They were sweet potato pancakes topped with homemade caramel, candied pecans and ginger butter. I only ate one pancake out of fear of a serious sugar coma, but they were OUT OF THIS WORLD MY FRIENDS! Snooze had a lot of other dessert-ish pancakes that sounded heavenly, including one that had some sort of chocolate ganache topping.

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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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Introducing My Custom Meal Planning & Health Coaching Program!

Happy February!

How’s everyone doing with their New Year’s resolutions & goals for 2017?

According to Forbes, only 8% of people actually achieve their resolutions. JUST EIGHT! Not surprisingly, I’ve also read that the #1 New Year’s resolution for 2017 is to lose weight & eat healthier.

Personally, I’m less of a New Year’s resolution person, and more of a make-goals-at-any-time-and-crush-them kinda girl. Why? Because while I like the idea of a fresh start with a new year, I believe in the power of hard work & consistency to make changes in any month. I also believe that if you’ve already given up on your resolutions, you always have the power to start again with a renewed sense of motivation – no matter the time of the year.

When it comes to weight loss, eating better, & getting healthier, a lot of time people give up because they don’t have the support they really need to be successful – whether that means understanding their food cravings and unhealthy habits, having someone there to support & motivate them, becoming more knowledgable about nutrition, or a bit of all of the above.

So, I want to help you rock your New Year’s resolutions.

I want to help you develop healthier eating habits, shed unwanted pounds, and be the confident, happy person that you’ve been envisioning in your head.

ANNOUNCING… MY CUSTOM MEAL PLANNING & HEALTH COACHING PROGRAM!

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