Tag Archives: recipes

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!


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


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!


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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My 2015 Favorites

With 2015 drawing to a close, I love looking back at the year and thinking about all of my favorite travels and adventures, as well as my most memorable recipes and workouts of the year. I thought it’d be fun today to take a look back and highlight those memories. Let’s get to it!

My Favorite Adventures & Travel…

Miami-and-Santa Ynez-Collage copy


August in Northeast '15 Collage

Solvang-Collage copy


My Favorite Recipes….

Thin Mint Smoothie-5

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Chocolate Thin Mint Protein Smoothie

Happy Hump Day!

I’m still on the east coast, and it has been nice and toasty in Jersey with temperatures in the low to mid 90s. So naturally today I want to talk about smoothies – more specifically, what has been probably my favorite smoothie for all of 2015 thus far.  
Thin Mint Smoothie-5

I first came up with this Chocolate “Thin Mint” Smoothie when it was Girl Scout cookie season and I kept craving chocolate + mint. Since then I’ve made it countless times – minimum once a week all year long. It’s the perfect post-nighttime workout meal because it doubles as a healthy dose of protein and goodness plus dessert in one…. and we all know that I’m all about things that taste like dessert but are secretly healthy. 
Thin Mint Smoothie-2

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Maple Blueberry Fontina Grilled Cheese

Hi there and Happy Friday! Let me start this Friday post off with something sweet…

banana split

So, I totally ate this for dinner last night! I’ve been doing a thing where I eat dessert for dinner about one night a week, and it’s working out great for me and my sweet tooth. 80/20 balanced eating baby!

The above deliciousness is scoops of Halo Top Creamery vanilla bean, strawberry, & chocolate flavors (despite me talking abut them twice this week, I’m not affiliated with them at all…. yet! I’d certainly like to be since I love them 🙂 ) with banana, caramel, a TJ’s brownie & oats bar and some chopped up Bark Thins dark chocolate pretzel with sea salt chunks. I went on a kick butt hike with my pup yesterday and just was not feeling any kind of typical dinner, so a dessert bowl for dinner it was…and it was fabulous!

Hiking at Elfin-7.23.15

Scenes from yesterday’s hot & sweaty hike

But let’s get to the real matter at hand today: grilled cheese.

maple blueberry grilled cheese

Pretty much anyone that eats cheese likes grilled cheese. I like to get a little creative with my grilled cheeses: Sometimes I put avocado, tomato & horseradish mustard with a cheddar grilled cheese, other times I put lightly fried zucchini in the sandwich. Today’s grilled cheese is kind of fancy, and a combo you probably don’t see very often:

Blueberry Grilled Cheese

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Throwback Thursday: Wine Baked Peaches with Vanilla Fro Yo

Hi friends!

While it’s rare that I publish posts on Thursdays, I’m posting one today to linkup with my friend Britt‘s Throwback Thursday blog party. It’s 8 PM on the west coast already, but better late than never right?!


Now that I’ve had a healthy living blog for a couple of years, I think it’s fun to look back at posts I wrote 1 or 2 years ago in the same month, or even week or day. Today’s throwback post is on a yummy topic: wine baked peaches!


This post was originally published 2 years ago, when we were living in the San Fran Bay area down the road from a gorgeous little winery. I decided to repost this recipe because I’ve been eating some nectarines and peaches, and I think it’s time I make some wine baked peaches for dessert! Here I baked the peaches in sweet white wine from our favorite area winery at the time, but any sweet white or even red will work just fine. With only 5 ingredients – including the vanilla ice cream – this dessert is easy to make but seems like a fancy treat. Let’s get to it!


This week my favorite nearby winery, Clos LaChance, was having a sale on a bunch of their wines. Naturally, I felt the need to stop by the winery yesterday to nab a couple of bottles on my way to the gym. Can’t let a sale of yummy local wine pass me by!

Besides buying bottles of grenache and pinot noir, I also got a bottle of their sweet late harvest semillon nectar white wine with one thing in mind: dessert last night.


I had a couple of ripe peaches hanging out in my fruit basket ready to be eaten, and had the brilliant idea of baking them with some of the nectar wine, sugar, and cinnamon – because I love to sprinkle cinnamon on nearly everything – then pairing them with vanilla frozen yogurt.

wine baked peaches

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Chocolate Coconut Caramel Smoothie [Vegan & Healthy!]

Like most Americans – any Americans with a sweet tooth, at least – I have Girl Scout cookie memories. Growing up, my mom had a similar sentiment to the food kept in the house as I do now: lots of healthy food, and then a few “goodies” in one cabinet that were treats we broke out after dinner some nights for dessert.

Girl Scout cookies


My mom bought Girl Scout cookies, but she would usually get ones that I deemed weird (and that still wouldn’t be my pick today). I remember some sort of shortbread cookie and something with lemon (ick), and then there were the two I liked the most: Thin Mints and Samoas.

chocolate coconut caramel smoothie-1

This Girl Scout cookie season, I found myself craving the chocolate mint and chocolate coconut caramel flavors that I looked forward to as a kid for dessert at night. This led to me recreate these flavor combinations in smoothie form (this naturally happened since I’m obsessed with smoothies!), and today I’m sharing my healthy Samoas cookie smoothie.

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Cinnamon Almond Butter Date Truffles

Hey friends!

Hope that you had a fabulous weekend. A highlight of my last few days included meeting up with my friend Trish and her little pup for a hiking doggie date….

Elfin Forest Hiking with Harley

Temperatures were in the 80s on Saturday, but it didn’t feel too hot because it was nice and breezy. Harley wasn’t slowed down by the warm weather and was her usual maniac, super friendly self.

Harley & Cody

Harley & Cody

Another fun thing I did over the weekend was volunteer with a group called CropSwap. The organization is dedicated to harvesting produce from farms, which would have otherwise gone to waste, and getting it to people who can’t afford to buy fresh fruit and veggies. As a health coach whose passionate about the importance of nutrition and eating a healthy diet full of whole foods, I wanted to get involved because I think it’s an awesome cause.

CropSwap March 2015-Sisters Heritage Farm

On Sunday morning we met at a farm in the area and harvested oranges to be donated to Feeding America. The farm had tons of pigs (lots of piglets too!), goats and dogs to play with. The pigs are apparently fruit hogs, and they love to eat orange after orange!

Sisters Heritage Farms pigs

Another highlight of my weekend was food, obviously. I made this pancake combo – banana oatmeal protein pancakes with strawberries, blueberries & chocolate chips – two days in a row. How pretty are they?

fruity banana protein pancakes

Are you guys tired of my protein pancakes pictures yet? Don’t answer that… because I’m not tired of showing off my beautiful pancakes!

almond date truffles-1

I spent a good amount of time in the kitchen experimenting. My Marine worked all weekend, and it always seems like when he’s gone and I’m not working and have some downtime, I cook and bake up a storm. He gets home and I’m all, “Hey try this… oooh have some of that!” and shoving food in his face. I don’t think he hasn’t any complaints about it though. 🙂

almond date truffles-3

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Apple Pie Smoothie

While I like to get creative with my meals, there are certain foods/types of meals I eat almost daily. This list includes some type of protein/granola bar, Greek yogurt and smoothies. While my smoothies have for the most part been very summery lately (like watermelon smoothies every other day!), recently I was craving more of an autumn-ish type of flavor with my smoothie meal of the day.

Apple Pie Smoothie-2

Call me crazy, but sometimes on a dreary summer day – or even on a perfect sunny day for that matter – fall flavors are just what I’m craving. Enter this guy:

apple pie smoothie

In case you’re wondering, I know that the above image is a completely autumn themed photo and it’s July, but I’m taking a Photoshop class for work and brush strokes – including the above leaf one – was one of my recent lessons. You see, I’m being a good student practicing my newly learned Photoshop skills on my food photography! But back to the recipe…

Other foods I eat almost daily are both bananas and apple. In the mood for something cinnamony, I created an apple pie smoothie starring two of my favorite fruits.

Apple Pie Smoothie-1

Don’t be fooled, this smoothie may resemble a liquid apple pie, but it’s still perfectly refreshing for a warm summer day.

Apple Pie Smoothie-4

5.0 from 2 reviews
Apple Pie Smoothie
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
  • 1 red apple, quartered
  • ½ frozen banana
  • ⅔ cup unsweetened almond milk (or other type of milk)
  • ½ cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 TBSP honey roasted almonds (I used slivered almonds, but plain/whole almonds will work too)
  • ¼ TSP vanilla extract
  • ½ TSP cinnamon spice
  • A pinch of stevia sweetener
  • Lots of ice
  1. In a high powered blender, combine all ingredients and pulse until smooth.
  2. Pour into a glass and enjoy.
  3. Optional: Sprinkle extra cinnamon on top if you're a cinnamon lover like me!
Nutrition Information
Calories: 335, Fat: 9 g, Saturated fat: 1 g, Carbohydrates: 56 g, Fiber: 9 g, Protein: 15 g, Cholesterol: 5 g


Questions: What’s your favorite type of smoothie? Do you ever crave foods/meals that are quintessential in other seasons of the year? 

Veggie Pappardelle Bolognese

This lovely Friday marks what would have been my grandma’s 80th birthday.

2008 gram birthday

Before last month, I had never lost a person I was really close with. On one hand, I feel blessed to have lived nearly 27 years before experiencing the loss of a person that was so dear to my heart. I’m grateful that when I did lose a person so important to my life, it was one who had led a pretty long, happy life.

With my sister, mom, grandma, cousin, and aunt years ago

With my sister, mom, grandma, cousin, and aunt years ago

But on the other hand, it still hasn’t been easy by any stretch. As anyone whose lost someone close to them can probably relate, I think it may be the worst feeling in the world to have this aching that can never be satisfied, a hole in your heart because someone you loved has passed away. You wish you could talk to them and just hear their voice again.

grandma-wedding day

My grandma on her wedding day 58 years ago

I look for signs of her everywhere, and I try to fill that gap I feel by remembering all of her unique quirks and sayings, and all of our funny conversations and memories over the years. One thing I recently thought of was her comments about my being a vegetarian in the first several years of me nixing meat from my diet. She, an avid cook who showed her love with food, would say to me, “How are you going to find a boyfriend if you don’t eat meat? What would you cook for him? What will you eat on dinner dates, a salad?”

What can I say, as progressive as my grandma was in some ways, she was traditional in others. And her Italian ancestry and Brooklyn –> New Jersey roots dictated diet to include animal meat. I think it might have been said out of genuine concern… or perhaps frustration at my refusing her chicken cacciatore.  The funny thing about it is that I went on to become (as you all know) a food lover and passionate meal creator, and found a guy who loves my cooking, despite the fact that not one meal has contained meat.


After I created this blog, my grandma would often call me to discuss my recipe posts. She would talk about how everything looked delicious, and gush about how talented she thought I was, as only a grandma does. One time, I brought up her pestering me about my vegetarianism and asked her what she thought now.

She laughed her classic little chuckle and said, “I was wrong. You found a great guy and your food always looks so delicious!”


With my parents and grandma at my college graduation

And so, I thought it’d be nice to post a recipe today that reminds me of her. My grandma loved bolognese sauce. That would often be her choice when we dined out at Italian restaurants, and so it seems fitting to post a Foodie Loves Fitness veggie version of the Italian classic.


I used Lightlife veggie protein crumbles as the “meat” in the bolognese sauce, and I picked up egg pappardelle pasta at Trader Joe’s for the dish. I’m not a big egg eater and I never eat them on their own, but once in awhile I enjoy something that contains eggs, like a quiche or these egg noodles.

Bolognese Ingredients

The calories per serving is a bit higher than I typically like for dinner (650 cal), but whew, this dish packs quite the protein (47 g!) and fiber (18 g!) punch while being low in fat (7 g per serving) and providing lots of yummy carbs.


5.0 from 2 reviews
Veggie Pasta Bolognese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 16 oz dry pappardelle pasta (or other long shaped pasta)
  • 1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1-6 oz can tomato paste
  • 12 oz veggie "meat" crumbles
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 large carrot
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 sprigs of fresh basil
  • 6 sprigs of fresh parsley
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Grated Pecorino Romano to serve, optional
  1. Chop the zucchini and celery, grate the carrot, and mince the onion and garlic.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium low heat, and cook the garlic and onion until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the zucchini, celery, and carrot, and cook until slightly tender.
  4. Meanwhile, roughly chop the parsley and basil.
  5. Add the cans of crushed tomato and tomato paste to the pan. Add in the herbs, and season with salt and pepper. Stir well to combine, and cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to directions.
  7. Pour the red wine into the tomato sauce pan, and crumble the veggie "meat" into the mix. Mix together well, and cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Drain the pasta once it's done cooking. Return to pan. Pour the bolognese sauce on top of pasta, and toss together well.
  9. Optional: Serve the pasta with Pecorino Romano cheese sprinkled on top. To keep it vegan: Leave the cheese off or add vegan cheese or nutritional yeast.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 650, Fat: 7 g, Saturated fat: 0.5, Carbohydrates: 91 g, Sugar: 13 g, Fiber: 18 g, Protein: 47 g

[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?