Tag Archives: banana

Pumpkin Apple Banana Muffins {vegan}

Packed with apple, pumpkin, banana and cinnamon, and free of refined sugar, these healthy vegan muffins make for a great autumn snack, small breakfast, or guilt-free dessert!

One of my favorite September activities is apple picking. But since it’s pretty warm and summery feeling in San Diego in September, sometimes I forget that the apple orchards are ready to be visited. A few years we’ve been too late in the apple picking game and either a.) go when the orchards are pretty picked over, or b.) miss apple picking all together (like last year!). BUT NOT THIS YEAR!


Nope, in 2016 I was on high apple picking alert! In the San Diego area, the best area to visit for apple picking is Julian – a cute little town I’ve talked about before. It’s about a 75-minute drive from my house, and it’s like a whole different world there.

It’s known for its farming, apple pies and boutique vineyards. It’s the kind of place where some of the local establishments don’t have websites. It’s country living still close to the wonderful city of San Diego, and it’s a fun little getaway spot.


So even though it seemed early for autumn to already be here, off we went to Julian last weekend for some local apples.


For all of you locals, the orchard I chose is called MJ Ranch – mainly because they’re organic growers, had their opening day last weekend so I knew they’d be stocked with fruit, and because they’re dog-friendly and I wanted to bring my pup along. The Visit Julian website has a good list of U-Pick orchards listed here.


It turned out to be the best year yet that we’ve had with apple picking! The trees were lush with a variety of apples, and the farm also grows pears as well.

As you can see in the picture above, Harley made some friends at the orchard and enjoyed eating fruit from the ground (and this little girl had Harley lick the apple she was actually eating – not too sure about that!). There were lots of people there with dogs, which was fun.


We came home with two full bags of apples ready to be eaten. It’s funny comparing local, organic apples to typical store-bought ones. They’re smaller, flawed and not perfectly shaped – just how apples were meant to be I think!


Naturally, I had to do some sort of baking with a couple of the apples that very day.


I had been thinking of making pumpkin banana muffins, so instead, I added some chopped apple to the mix to make it a very autumn-ish muffin recipe – using just a food processor as my mixing bowl!

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Cocoa Banana Blueberry Protein Pudding

Happy Friday!!

I’m currently en route to Miami for my friend Meaghan’s bachelorette party – I haven’t seen her since last fall and am really excited to have an awesome girls’ weekend! – but I have a yummy recipe to share with you guys…

protein pudding-3

If you read this blog often at all, you probably already know that I love making dessert-like recipes that are actually healthy and can be eaten as snacks or meals as well. Enter Cocoa Banana Blueberry Protein Puddingprotein pudding-1

Blue Diamond recently sent me their dark chocolate almonds as well as sea salt almonds to try, and not surprisingly, I’m kind of in love with the dark chocolate ones.

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2-Minute Berry Banana Sorbet

Happy, happy Friday! Any fabulous plans for this weekend? I’m looking forward to my long weekend full of football watching, a hiking date with my hubby, doing some recipe experimentation, a workout with a girlfriend of mine, and a mix of both doing some productive things and relaxing.

Today’s topic is a never-ending love of mine – fruit. I have a serious obsession with fruit, from apples and banana to cherries and strawberries.


In fact, while I enjoy veggies, I have to kind of plan them into my meals mindfully. Otherwise, on the produce front, my diet would consist of all the fruit and none of the veggies.

berry bowl with almond butter

Since I have a huge sweet tooth, I’m always finding ways to make meals that could be dessert, but are also healthy and nutritious enough to be considered a wholesome meal. I’m sneaky like that.

Cue my latest lunch love: a frozen berry banana protein bowl.

berry bowl with granola

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Banana Almond Butter Muffins {Vegan & Gluten Free}

Happy Friday friends!

Hope that your first full week of January has been awesome, and that you have some fun weekend plans ahead. Speaking of fun, today I’ve got a fun recipe to share with you guys!
browned bananas

Whenever I go food shopping, bananas are always on the list. I buy a ton of bananas! A and I both use them for smoothies almost daily, plus I like to smear bananas with nut butter or top yogurt bowls with banana slices often.

However, I somehow wound up with too many bananas in the house over the past week. We couldn’t eat them fast enough, and before I knew it, I had 5 brown bananas sitting in my fruit basket. I threw a few of them in the freezer for later smoothie use, and then I had a yummy idea for the remaining ones…

banana almond butter muffins-2….baking some muffins! 

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Grilled Nectarines with Banana Honey Soft Serve

Last weekend my mother-in-law, hubby, and I were sitting at my kitchen table. We had just finished up a yummy dinner, and all of a sudden, I jumped up.

ME: “Ooooh I have to make dessert now!”

THEM: “But we’re pretty full. Why the rush?”

ME: “Because it’s going to get dark soon!”

THEM: “We’re using the grill for it? We can still grill after the sun goes down.”

ME: “No we can’t, because I have a feeling it’s going to be yummy, and if it gets dark, then I can’t take pictures and blog the recipe!”

Ah yes, bad lighting… classic case of #foodbloggerproblems.

nectarine slices


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[Virgin] Bananas Foster Waffles

If you read this blog at all regularly,  you know by now that I love pancakes. I usually whip them up a couple times a week, but once in awhile, I’m more in the mood for waffles than pancakes.
Bananas foster-1

This was the case a couple of weekends back, and so I broke out my waffle maker. But I wanted to make not just any waffles — I wanted to make decadent-weekend-treat-for-breakfast waffles.

Bananas Foster-2

In staring at my fruit basket, the idea of bananas foster came to my head. I haven’t had the scrumptious dessert of vanilla ice cream topped with bananas cooked in rum, banana liqueur, sugar, cinnamon, and butter in quite a long time — too long I would argue! — and so I decided to recreate the dessert with waffles as a most definitely delicious, kinda sorta acceptable breakfast (we can pretend right?).

Bananas foster-3

I’m not typically one to leave alcohol out of meals, whether it’s going in a glass or cooking in my pan, but I didn’t have any rum or banana liqueur on hand, so virgin it was.

While these waffles are not the healthiest recipe I’ve shared, they are so worth the splurge. Trust me! If I hadn’t packed my waffle maker up into a box of kitchen appliances last night in preparation for my move this weekend, I’d be tempted to break it out and whip these waffles up this very moment.

Bananas foster-4

If I ever own a restaurant, these bananas foster waffles will most likely find a way onto the breakfast menu….

5.0 from 2 reviews
[Virgin] Bananas Foster Waffles
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
For the waffles:
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • 2 TBSP ground flaxseed meal
  • ½ banana, mashed
  • ¾ cup + 1 TBSP almond milk
  • ½ TSP vanilla extract
  • ¼ TSP salt
  • ¼ TSP cinnamon
  • 1 TSP baking powder
For the topping:
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 2 TBSP light brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP [light] butter
  • 2 TBSP maple syrup
  • ¼ TSP cinnamon
  • 2 TBSP chopped pecans
  1. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, almond meal, flaxseed meal, salt, cinnamon and baking powder together.
  2. Add in the banana, almond milk, and vanilla extract, and mix together well.
  3. Pour batter into the waffle maker and cook until lightly browned.
  4. Meanwhile, to make the topping: melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Add the maple syrup, cinnamon, sugar, and pecans, and stir until well combined. Add the banana slices and stir again. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, or until the sauce is thick and banana slices are tender.
  5. Place the waffles on a plate and pour the bananas foster sauce on top. Promptly enjoy!!


Questions: What do you prefer, pancakes or waffles? Have you ever had bananas foster? 

Vanilla Peanut Butter Cinnamon Smoothie

Now that it’s spring and half the world is starting to get out of freezing temperatures and polar vortex slumps, smoothie season is getting underway.

PB cinnamon smoothie-2

I know what you’re thinking: I live in California and can pretty much drink smoothies year-round. But the truth is, here in the south bay area, the temperature swings are pretty nutty. It’ll get up to 75-80 degrees during the day, then drop down to 35-40 degrees at night. Literally, the temperature doubles most days! When I first moved here I couldn’t believe it.

Vanilla Bean Yogurt

While I drank smoothies somewhat often during winter, my smoothie habit wasn’t nearly as frequent as it has been the last few weeks and will be probably until late fall. You see, the house I’m living in stays really cool – as in, it’s 80 degrees out but I’ll work from my office with a sweatshirt and slippers on, my dog generating heat at my feet, and a hot cup of tea in hand because it’s chilly inside.



Lately, due to the nights being more mild and the days being warmer in general, the house has been staying around a nice 70 degree temperature…which means that my teeth aren’t chattering when I sip on a protein shake. Yes, smoothies have been drank all winter, but they’re so much more enjoyable when you don’t have to bundle up first!



And so, I know that I just posted a smoothie recipe recently, but I’m posting another one today because my smoothie obsession is fully back in action! This vanilla peanut butter cinnamon smoothie was inspired by Sprouts Natural Foods Cafe in Lake Tahoe (you can read all about my eats in Tahoe here), where I recently had a delicious, creamy drink that I wanted to recreate at home.

I’m not pretending like this is one of the most innovative smoothie recipes you’ve ever heard of, but it sure is a winning combo. It may be my new favorite simply because it highlights a few of my long-standing kitchen obsessions: cinnamon, banana and peanut butter. I’m not going to lie to you, I could eat all of these things every single day. Oh wait, I pretty much already do.

PB cinnamon smoothie

Vanilla Peanut Butter Cinnamon Smoothie
Serves: 1
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 6 oz vanilla bean Greek yogurt (or regular vanilla)
  • ½ TSP cinnamon
  • 2 TBSP peanut butter
  • ¼ TSP vanilla extract
  • Ice
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smoothie.
  2. Pour into a large glass and enjoy immediately!


Vanilla peanut butter banana cinnamon smoothie…get in my belly! 😉

Have you been drinking smoothies? What’s your favorite smoothie combo?

Banana Pumpkin Muffins with a Cinnamon Brown Sugar Topping

Hi everyone, happy Sunday!

I have a few updates for you all on the blog front. I’ve updated my recipe pages to include all of my latest kitchen creations. I also updated my workout page, which now includes a new section for my hiking spot posts. Lastly, I added a ‘travel & fun’ page so that all of my travel posts, restaurant and winery experiences, as well as random adventures are in one place. Fun stuff! And now onto food – banana pumpkin muffins to be precise…

ban pumpkin muffins-4

After a morning yoga session, running errands, and going hiking with my hubby and puppy yesterday, I came home and decided that a bit of baking was in order.

ban pumpkin muffins-1

Since I had an open can of pumpkin and some ripe bananas ready to be eaten in my fruit basket, and I’ve been loving muffins lately, I whipped up some tasty banana pumpkin muffins.

ban pumpkin muffins-2

As usual, Harley “helped” me by being underneath my feet the entire time in hopes of catching a good bite of something. 😉


Pumpkin & banana really compliment each other well. I sprinkled a cinnamon & brown sugar topping onto the muffin batter to give it that extra flavor oomph. At only 135 calories per muffin, these babies are perfect as a snack or part of breakfast or lunch.

ban pumpkin muffins-3

Banana Pumpkin Muffins with a Cinnamon Brown Sugar Topping
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 cup whole wheat all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup white all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup softened butter
  • ½ cup vanilla almond milk
  • 2 TBSP light brown sugar
  • 1 TSP vanilla extract
  • 2 TSP cinnamon
  • 1 TSP salt
  • ½ TBSP baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 muffin pan tin with muffin cups.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flours, 1 TSP cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
  3. In another bowl, beat the banana, pumpkin, vanilla extract, honey, butter and almond milk with an electric mixer until smooth.
  4. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together and stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
  5. Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin cups.
  6. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1 TSP cinnamon with 2 TBSP light brown sugar. Spoon the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly onto each muffin cup.
  7. Bake until a toothpick comes out of muffin center clean, around 20 minutes.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 muffin, Calories: 135, Fat: 2 g, Carbohydrates: 28 g, Sugar: 15 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 2 g


Hope that you enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Banana Apple Cinnamon Mini Muffins

Lazy Sunday mornings are the perfect time to play around in the kitchen. After sleeping in late today, I decided to procrastinate cleaning my house by first doing some baking.


Ever since I nabbed a mini muffin cup tin a few weeks ago, I’ve had mini muffin ideas floating in the back on my mind. The recipe started with a ripe banana and Granny Smith apple…


Hi, how cute are these mini muffin cups?!


I couldn’t resist snapping a picture with a few of the sunflowers I picked up at the farmers’ market yesterday for $3 [FABULOUS].

I love the idea of mini muffins because they’re small enough as a baby snack or part of breakfast, but big enough in size to be a nice little dessert to satisfy a sweet tooth, and also easy to grab on-the-go. I love the combo of apple, banana, and cinnamon, and so this wound up being my creation today:


First, I preheated my oven and lined the muffin tins with my adorable muffin cups.


Next I combined whole wheat flour, ground flaxseed meal, old fashioned oats, cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg, salt and baking powder.


Next I mashed a banana and peeled & chopped my apple…


I then mixed the banana, almond milk, and melted butter into the bowl, then added the chopped apple and combined everything well. muffins-5

I spooned the batter into the cups…


…mixed cinnamon & sugar together, then sprinkled some on top of each muffin. I baked the muffins until a toothpick came out clean, which took 15 minutes.




Oh, how I adore all things mini-sized.



Banana Apple Cinnamon Mini Muffins
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24 mini muffins
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple
  • 1 ripe banana
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed meal
  • ½ TSP cinnamon, plus ½ TSP cinnamon for topping
  • 6 TBSP light brown sugar, plus 1 TBSP for topping
  • 2 TSP baking powder
  • ½ TSP ground nutmeg
  • ½ TSP salt
  • ¾ cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup light butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 24-cup mini muffin tin (or a 12-cup regular sized tin) with muffin cups.
  2. Mash banana, and peel and chop apple into small pieces.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, flaxseed, ½ TSP cinnamon, 6 TBSP brown sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and salt.
  4. Add melted butter, almond milk, and mashed banana, and mix together.
  5. Add chopped apple, and mix well.
  6. Spoon batter into muffin cups.
  7. In a small bowl, mix together remaining 1 TBSP sugar and ½ TSP cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly on top of each muffin.
  8. Bake until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean, around 15 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool slightly before enjoying.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 muffin, Calories: 60 calories, Fat: 2 g, Carbohydrates: 11 g, Sugar: 3 g, Fiber: 1 g, Protein: 1 g


I’m off to take Harley girl to get some exercise, then my hubby and I are going to try a sushi place in town (probably edamame & soup for this girl!). Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Banana Pumpkin Pie Bowl

Hi friends! Hope that your weekend has been great. Here are the highlights of my past couple of days:

parkMy Friday morning began with a quick hour hike with Harley at our favorite nearby park. The hike became a bit adventurous when we found ourselves in a standoff with a fox – and I must say, my dog looks a lot like a fox! We all stared at each other for awhile, and then the fox ran into the fields and crouched down. I wasn’t sure if it was planning on attacking us or if it was just scared himself, but I didn’t want to take any chances, so we turned around. I snapped a grainy pic of him with my phone:


The park is crawling with ground squirrels that Harley has always been interested in, but ever since she caught one a few weeks ago and it squeaked for its life, she’s OBSESSED. It’s annoying and I’m paranoid that she’s going to catch another one! Post-hike, she was one happy girl who was tired from all of her hunting attempts:

HarleyTo my delight, when going to a doctor’s appointment later in the day, I found this in the courtyard of the medical offices:


After my appointment, I moseyed around and picked up some beautiful local organic fruit:


So yummy! Only in California can you probably find this. 🙂

And then, I spent some of yesterday around these beauties:

horses-1I attended a wild horse adoption event nearby that I’m covering for the newspaper in my town. The event was hosted by the Bureau of Land Management, whose in charge of herd management in California, as well as some other states. They brought wild horses and burros, and people were able to adopt the animals for a small fee. It was a new and interesting concept to me, as I wasn’t even aware that there are so many wild horses around that it’s necessary to manage them for the health of the animals and to maintain the resources they use. Horses are such gorgeous animals!


Last night my hubby and I went for a mountain biking adventure to our usual favorite spot. I love our biking dates! The scenery is absolutely breathtaking, and we get to exercise together while having a lot of fun. 
park-sunset-2park-sunsetAnd onto this post’s title, earlier today I was having a craving for pumpkin. I found a can of pure pumpkin in my cabinet, and decided to throw together a bunch of things in my food processor to make a pumpkin pie bowl. Since it was my post-workout meal, I added protein powder to the mix, but it’s definitely an optional ingredient. The bowl hit the spot and satisfied my pumpkin craving in a healthy way.


Banana Pumpkin Pie Bowl
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
  • 3 TBSP pure pumpkin
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • 2 TBSP chopped pecans
  • ¼ TSP pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • ¼ TSP vanilla extract
  • ½ scoop vanilla protein powder, optional
  • 1 packet of truvia sweetener, optional
  • Cinnamon, for sprinkling
  1. In a food processor, combine the banana, pumpkin, honey, pumpkin pie spice, almond milk, vanilla, protein powder, truvia, and 1½ TBSP of pecan pieces. Blend until well combined.
  2. Pour into a bowl, top with remaining pecans and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 350, Fat: 12 g, Saturated fat: 1 g, Carbohydrates: 57 g, Fiber: 6 g, Protein: 12 g


I’m off to make a couple of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-salads for my hubby and I for dinner. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday night!