Flourless Banana-Oatmeal Muffins

Oatmeal muffins for breakfast have been a staple in our home for the past 14 years. It doesn’t matter how many different varieties I come up with throughout each year, everyone ALWAYS asks for the Banana-Chocolate Chip ones…. over & over again.

To keep the family happy, I change the recipe up a bit each time so no one gets bored. You would think there wouldn’t be much to change. I mean a banana oatmeal muffin is just a banana oatmeal muffin. Right? Wrong. Instead of using milk, I’ll use kefir or Greek yogurt (that recipe is for another time). Instead of using cinnamon, I’ll try toasted milled flax seed. And instead of vanilla extract, grade A maple syrup. They may not be BIG changes, but even slight differences give some variety.

This time… I went flourless. It was a game-changer! These came out more “oatmealy”. They weren’t very muffin-like in the sense of them being airy. Instead, they are dense and extremely filling! Score! Because my son & husband can walk away with just devouring one each – which leaves some for me and my daughter & her husband to enjoy too!

Recipe:

2 Ripe Bananas – mashed with a fork

2 large Eggs

1 Cup Coconut Milk (or Almond)

1/4 Cup Grade A Maple Syrup

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/4 cup liquid Coconut Oil

Whisk all ingredients together until well blended.

In separate bowl combine the following:

3 Cups organic rolled oats

1 TBS milled flax seed – lightly toasted (optional)

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup of your favorite chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine well.

Spray muffin tins with cooking spray and divide batter among the muffin cups.

I used Extra-Large Muffins – (6) and baked for 45 minutes (you will see the tops turn a beautiful golden color). If you use the standard size muffins – (12) – bake 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool before removing them from the tins. Place on rack to cool completely – IF they last that long…. they are simple DELICIOUS hot out of the oven!

Store in airtight container. Can be heated in the microwave for 15 seconds if you like them warmed up a bit. Enjoy!!!

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Holiday Cookies for your Pup

The holidays are upon us… all the shopping, partying, visiting, wrapping, baking and cooking can get us in the most frenzied of states; or in the most festive! Depending upon the day, or the time of day, or who you’re with or if you just ran out of wrapping paper and you still have 17 gifts to wrap.

With everything that has to get done we tend to forget our furry little friends. Yes, some of us will buy a few new toys or perhaps a new bed but it’s rare to feel you have an extra 30 minutes to pamper your puppy with extra snuggle time or to even think of whipping up a batch of homemade treats. But don’t they deserve a little extra love this time of year too?

So if you can find an extra 30 minutes and want to make your puppy very happy this holiday season (or on any normal day too!), try these little cookies. They’re quick & easy and I find I usually have all the ingredients on hand throughout the year – so no rushing out to the grocery store for an ingredient you’ll only use once.

PuppyLove Treats

Recipe: Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1/2 Cup raw, organic peanut butter

1/4 Cup raw, organic honey

1 TBS organic olive oil

1 Cup chicken broth (preferably homemade)

Whisk ingredients until well blended. Add the following to the wet mixture:

1 Cup organic rolled oats

1 Cup organic rice flour (or wheat if no allergies)

1 Cup organic milled flax seed

Stir until well combined. ( It will be a sticky dough. )

On parchment lined cookie sheet – roll out with your hands and drop teaspoon size cookies – Keeping 1/2″ between each cookie. Flatten slightly with your finger. Bake 15 minutes. Remove and let cool. Keep in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

And watch Fido (or in my case, Maxx) go crazy for these! I’m sure you’ll get extra kisses tonight too!!

The Veggie-packed Veggie Burger

It doesn’t matter if you’re a vegetarian, vegan or even a carnivore… I think it’s safe to say a bunch of us have tried at least one veggie burger in their lifetime. And if you personally haven’t, here’s your chance.

I typically make my veggie burgers using black beans as the base – but I’ll occasionally do sweet potato burgers or chick pea burgers. Tonight I decided to just use whatever I had on hand, which was great northern beans. And since I was changing the base, I figured I’d go with the flow and mix in whatever vegetables I had sitting in my produce drawer in the refrigerator.

Hence, the spinach and mushrooms that I never get tired of. I did a quick sauté in coconut oil with a few garlic cloves for good measure. (My kitchen smelled amazing!)

I ended up chopping a bunch of kale along with carrots, cauliflower and red onion and massaged this little salad with fresh lemon juice and olive oil with salt & pepper. I was originally thinking this would be the accoutrement that I would nestle the burgers on. But on second thought, I figured why not add it all in? I mean, I know how much I love kale with lemon and I love spinach and mushrooms together – what’s the worst that could happen? I’ll answer that with confidence… Nothing. Nothing bad could happen because all those flavors blend beautifully together!

After adding fresh cilantro and other spices, it all came together like magic. The edges were crispy, the flavor was amazing and the texture was perfect! Not bad for a weekday dinner that took less than 30 minutes!

Here’s the lesson – use up the things in your pantry and refrigerator before you spend more time shopping and more money on items you may only get one meal out of. Go with your gut, or in this case, go with your tastebuds. You know exactly what vegetables and spices you like. You’re the one who is cooking – so why not custom a recipe to your liking?! Go ahead – don’t be afraid to try your favorite foods in new recipes. You may surprise yourself (and your family) with your next best meal!

Enjoy!

Recipe:

2 15-ounce cans Great Northern Beans

1/2 tsp EACH: smoked paprika, chipotle powder, & cumin

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Smash all together with your hands (you want to have some beans stay intact)

Add:

1 cup chopped kale

2 TBS chopped raw red onion

1 handful chopped cauliflower

1 large carrot chopped or shredded

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Splash of olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Massage the vegetable with the lemon, oil, S&P and let sit about 10 minutes

In sauté pan heat 1TBS coconut oil and sauté 3 large minced garlic cloves until fragrant.

Add:

1 cup chopped button mushrooms and sauté about 5 minutes

Add 2 cups fresh baby spinach and sauté until wilted (about 2 minutes)

Add all ingredients together and form into patties. In same pan used for the mushrooms & spinach, add 1 TBS of coconut oil and let heat – add patties (as many as will fit in the pan without over crowding). Let the edges brown before flipping over – about 5 minutes each side. Serve hot!

Can be served with an Aoili or Guacamole.

Serves 4 or more

Oatmeal Blueberry Bites

If your family is anything like mine, then you’ll appreciate these little gems!

I’m always looking for quick breakfast ideas to feed my family that are packed with nutrition rather than sugar & filled with protein rather than air. Oh! And did I mention, something I don’t have to bake?! But the most important thing my husband and kids look for in EVERYTHING I make them is, of course, it HAS to be delicious… especially if I deem it to be “healthy”!

I usually make my standard “protein bars” but wanted to come up with a quicker version as well as one with not a ton of ingredients that I just happen to be short on at the moment – oops!

After playing around with a bunch of nut butters and the old breakfast staple – oatmeal – I came up with these little bites of yumminess. Not only are they the easiest things ever… they taste so good that my first batch didn’t make it to day 2. Who knew they’d be the perfect mid-day snack too?! Bonus!!!

Obviously you can change things up to your liking (or your kids) – this is just a basic recipe – so please feel free to use it as your base… and then throw in your add-on’s. Enjoy!

Recipe:

1 cup Rolled organic oats

1/4 cup Organic Cashew Butter

1/4 cup Raw honey

1/2 cup dried blueberries

Dash of pink Himalayan sea salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients and let chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. After chilling, roll out bite-sized (or larger) bites. Done! Yes… done. That quick. That simple.

Keep in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week (IF they last that long!). This recipe makes 12… depending on how large you make them… could be more. Could be less.

Big tip of the day: Dab a little coconut oil on your hands prior to rolling… it will make this little recipe that much more enjoyable since it will be less sticky, less messy. You’re welcome 🙂

Adding a bit of CRUNCH


Who here are salad lovers?
Dare I believe most people are?
I mean, who doesn’t love the beautiful colors of crisp, fresh vegetables that when paired with the right dressing – or cheese, or fruit, or anything really – becomes a perfect meal in of itself?!?
But what do you do when you want to add a bit of a crunch to your salad?
Yes, I know – we all use nuts and the occasional homemade croutons – but there are times I want something a bit more savory – a bit of a different twist. This is where granola comes in! Yes… granola! But not your basic breakfast granola. (I mean, you could use that if you’re so inclined. Or if you don’t have time to whip up a savory batch that literally takes 3 minutes of prep time. But I think after you make your first batch, you’ll be making it again. And again. And… again. It’s that easy, and it’s that good!)

These 3 dry ingredients have become the staple in my pantry for adding to so many meals! Whether it be for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
When you put these together, it even balances out a healthy trail mix!

Adding the “savory” to the crunch is basically pulling items we all pretty much have in our pantry to begin with. No running to the store to buy an item that you will rarely ever use again!

The recipe: Heat oven to 350
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup dried edamame (or you can use any raw but you have on hand)
1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Mix together in bowl
In another bowl combine
1/4 cup olive oil
1 TBS raw honey
2 tsp Tamari (or reduced salt Soy Sauce)
1/8 tsp black pepper
Whisk together until smooth / Add to dry ingredients- stir well. Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Spread out in a single layer. Bake 10 minutes. Stir and bake additional 10 minutes. Remove and let cool. Add to your favorite salad and enjoy the yumminess!! Keep in a glass jar, refrigerated up to 2 weeks.
Disclosure: you will probably snack on this more than you’ll add to your salad

Stir (fry) It Up!

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Do you ever come home after a long day (from work, from the beach, the pool, the mall, or from running a million errands!) and realize you really had nothing “planned” for dinner?  It usually hits me after my son asks the cringe-worthy question “what’s for dinner?”.   My initial response (in my head anyway) is “you’re kidding me, right?”, but being the super-mom I try to be (cough) I reply “I’m just going to throw something together, I’ll let you know when dinner is ready”.  And then … I desperately (!) start searching through my refrigerator and pantry – high and low – for anything that will pass as ‘healthy & satisfying’!

If you’re like me, you always have some veggies laying around in your crisper drawer.  Especially in the summer!  I mean, there is nothing better than beautiful, bright, crisp vegetables! Right?!

But… what if you only have a handful of assorted slightly limp, not so bright and definitely not so beautiful vegetables that you had forgotten about laying at the bottom of that ‘crisper drawer’? The answer is easy: Stir Fry them!!  Those not-so-perfect veggies come alive when thrown together over high heat with just the right herbs and spices! And the best part… it only takes a few minutes to prep and cook! Now you have time to wash all that sand and salt out of your hair! Bonus!

RECIPE:

Chopped Assorted Vegetables (Broccoli, Peppers, Celery, Scallions, String Beans, Carrots, Kale, Spinach, etc, etc, etc.)

Minced Garlic

Chopped (fresh) Ginger

Raw Cashews (or other nuts, if you have them on hand)

Sesame Oil (or Coconut Oil if sesame is too strong for your taste)

Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids

Chopped (fresh) Basil

** Heat 2 TBS oil in saute pan.  Add minced garlic and chopped ginger- stir until golden and fragrant. Add scallions and saute an additional minute.  Add vegetables – starting with most hearty (broccoli, carrots) and let cook for about 2 to 3 minutes before adding the rest of what you have on hand; keeping spinach (or kale) and the nuts for last. When all vegetables are in the pan, sprinkle a few dashes of Bragg’s AA to bring out the flavors. (The total time should be no more than 10 minutes over the flame. You want the dish to be full of flavor and have a bit of a crispiness to the vegetables).

Now, call the kids in … dinner is ready!

Enjoy!!

Easter – Such a Sweet Day

Easter - hero2Easter is truly the sweetest day of the year, in my opinion that is. I love everything this day represents. Christ is Risen! (He is risen indeed!) I became a believer on March 25, 1997. It was 5 days before Easter. It was perfect! As my husband and I stood in church that Sunday it was the first time I was in pure amazement of His love for me. I was in awe that He died for me! Me! An awful sinner. And yet, in His eyes, I am righteous. (I still can’t get over this truth!)

What is more beautiful than a Savior dying for you?  All so you can live for eternity in His Father’s Kingdom! What greater love is this? That Jesus came to save ALL of us would have been enough. But to die upon that cross so that we may have life? It’s truly unfathomable. It should really bring us to our knee’s everyday of the year, not just this one Sunday.

I challenge you to stand – literally stand – in awe of all our Lord has blessed you with this Sunday.  Just stand. Close your eyes and just let the Holy Spirit take over and remind you of all God has done in your life.  I realize some of you may be going through difficult times right now, but if you truly let God speak to you, you will hear Him as He gently whispers your name. Don’t focus on anything else. Open your heart to Him who calls you His child. You will be blessed. Trust Him. Be still and know He is God.

And then praise Him! Praise Him that Jesus rose from the grave! Praise Him for knowing your name! Praise Him for not just for the blessings of the past, but for all He has for you in the future! Praise Him with all your heart! Think about it… has anyone else died so that you may live? Praise Him.

Let your children know the true story of Easter.  As you decorate your house, your table, your yard – speak of Jesus’ love for them. And have fun with adorning everything spring!

Easter candy eggs

When my children were small, I would let them help me decorate with using their stuffed animals. Even if your bunnies are a little tattered, they will still liven up the table with their cuteness of days gone by.

Easter bunny

If you’re like me, you like to host parties but never have enough matching plates or stemware.  Have no fear! Mix it up! I like to use modern stemware with colors along with vintage glasses to make a “pop” on the table!

Easter stemwareEaster stemware2

Choose your candy wisely! I think using pastel colored chocolate eggs are a sweeter touch than just the typical chocolate easter bunny.  And use your candy to decorate with! I always work on a budget when decorating. You can pick up paper “grass” and line your serving dishes with it and just add your candy! No sense spending money on high end decorations when everyone loves to just grab a few bites of yumminess!

Easter - table (sepia)

Easter - cut outs

Easter Eggs

Easter Table 2

Psalm 63:3 “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise You”