Breakfast Banana Bread

I love a good banana bread! Actually… I don’t think I’ve ever tried a banana bread that I didn’t enjoy. I definitely know what makes banana bread delicious (in my opinion), and that is lots of banana flavor and a little bit of crunch. I also prefer my bread to not be too sweet and to have a dense, moist texture.

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Aside from my love for banana bread (and really all things banana for that matter), I think I have said many, many times how much I enjoy breakfast food. Whether it’s a hearty smoothie bowl or a big bowl of oats, breakfast is definitely my favorite meal of the day. For these reasons, I decided to try to combine the two and make a banana bread that wasย  not only delicious, but could serve as a quick breakfast when I don’t have a lot of time.

A few other fun facts about my food preferences that explain a few of the ingredients in this recipe….

  1. I LOVE raw nuts like walnuts, cashews, pistachios, and almonds. I eat raw nuts every day as a snack or find ways to add them to my meals. I love a good crunch and they health benefits of eating a variety of nuts aren’t too shabby either!
  2. I love a good salty/sweet combo. I always have a difficult time picking savory or sweet when it comes to breakfast. Pancakes and waffles are always so comforting on a Saturday morning, but there is also nothing like a good hearty egg sandwich oozing with smashed avocado.

With that said, this recipe turned out better than I expected. I’m so excited to share it with you and hope you give it a try! I love it with a little nut butter spread on top after warming it for a few seconds in the microwave. Store this bread for 5-7 days in the refrigerator.

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Breakfast Banana Bread

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 2 medium sized bananas, mashed
  • 1 whole large egg
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • granola (for garnish/on top)

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

In a medium size bowl, smash banana until fairly smooth. Whisk in 1 whole egg, coconut sugar, olive oil, and almond milk.

Fold in flour, oats, baking soda, and spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt) until all flour is moistened. Lightly chop walnuts into smaller pieces. Stir in walnuts and cranberries.

Lightly grease a loaf pan and evenly distribute the batter. Top with granola of choice and an extra sprinkle of cinnamon. Bake for 28-30 minutes or until the center is firm and the top is golden brown. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.


All The Christmas Goodies!

Good morning everyone!! It’s 2 days after Christmas, and I am tired and ready to get back to a normal routine! While the past few days have been amazing, I am ready to go for a run, meal prep, and cook an easy and simple dinner tonight.

The past few days have been filled with lots of yummy food, family, friends, and drinks. We spent our first Christmas morning in our new home, and it was so nice to be able to wake up and cook a delicious breakfast for Jeff and I. I think I have eaten more chocolate and cheese in the past 72 hours than I have all year!

I have 2 yummy recipes to share that definitely should make your holiday menu next year. One is an easy sweet and salty snack that your guests will love, and the other can be added to your holiday brunch. Like I mentioned, chocolate has been a key ingredient in my diet the past few days so you can expect it to be a key ingredient in these recipes as well!

I love breakfast food, so any time I get a chance to make it a little extra special I jump on the opportunity! While my usual breakfast consists of eggs, oatmeal, or a smoothie filled with fruits and veggies, special times call for something a little more fun and definitely on the sweet side. Jeff and I both have a serious sweet tooth, so why not indulge a little on Christmas morning?

Side note —- it’s ok to indulge during the holidays!! A day or two of eating foods that aren’t in your “typical diet” is not going to make or break your health and fitness goals of 2017. So don’t sweat the small stuff and enjoy what is in front of you!

The two recipes I’m going to share today are for my Christmas Reindeer Chowย and Baked Chocolate Chip French Toast.

If I had to pick a favorite it would probably be the reindeer chow, but only because I’m a sucker for a salty and sweet combo. They are both super easy and can feed a crowd. I hope you all enjoyed your holiday weekend as much as we did! Merry Christmas and happy almost New Year! Let me know what you think if you give these recipes a try!

Christmas Reindeer Chow

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2-3 cups pretzel sticks
  • 1/3 cup red, green, and brown M&Ms
  • 3/4 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup lightly salted peanuts
  • 1 cup cinnamon Chex cereal (optional)
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp powdered sugar

Directions

Cover a large cookie sheet with wax paper.

Spread all ingredients out evenly onto wax paper. You can break apart some of the pretzels so all pieces aren’t so big.

Melt the white chocolate either in the microwave or with a double boiler. If microwaving, be sure to stop and stir every 15-20 seconds to avoid the chocolate from burning.

Drizzle the white chocolate on top of the pretzels, marshmallows, peanuts, cereal (optional), and M&Ms. Use as much chocolate as desired.

As the chocolate dries, sprinkle powdered sugar over the top of the ingredients. Let site for 15 to 20 minutes or until the white chocolate is fully dry. Once dry, break apart the mixture into bite size pieces. Some of the M&Ms and peanuts may fall off; that’s ok!

Put your Reindeer Chow into a large decorative or festive bowl for serving! Leftovers can be kept in a ziploc bag or air tight container.

Baked Chocolate Chip French Toast

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of freshly baked bread (I used a whole wheat loaf from a bakery)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (I used 1%)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (other options – fresh blueberries, blackberries, peaches, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, chopped nuts, etc.)

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut loaf of bread into large chunks. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk 2 eggs, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Once the sugar has dissolved, pour milk and egg mixture on top of the bread. Massage the bread to assure all pieces are moistened.

Grease a medium sized baking dish that is shallow enough to contain any extra liquid that may not be absorbed. Evenly distribute the bread in the pan. Sprinkle dark chocolate chips on top (I pushed a few into cracks between the bread as well).

Allow bread to bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top starts to become golden brown and crispy. Serve warms with a side of fruit, nut butter, syrup, or honey on top.


Apple Spiced Baked Oatmeal

Is anyone else in total Christmas mode?! We have our Christmas tree up, decorations out, and cozy blankets all over our house (because believe it or not it is COLD in the morning!). What is better on a cozy Sunday morning than a warm and comforting breakfast?! Don’t get me wrong, I love my smoothie bowls, but sometimes I want something a little more comforting and hearty when the mornings are crisp and cool.

This oatmeal bake is SERIOUSLY so easy. I don’t know if I can really emphasize that enough. All of the ingredients I already had in my house, and it took a total of about 30 minutes form start to finish. It is also delicious, so it was definitely a win all around!

This base of this recipe is very simple: oats, egg, and banana. It is slightly sweet and best straight out of the oven. If you are cooking for yourself, leftover oatmeal can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and re-heated for breakfast as desired!

I chose to top my baked oats with a little peanut butter. Other yummy toppings may include chopped nuts, honey, maple syrup, greek yogurt, or other nut butters. If you are looking for a simple and fast breakfast to serve at your upcoming holiday brunch, this would definitely be a good option! I hope you enjoy this tasty and simple recipe! Happy Sunday everyone!

Apple Spiced Baked Oatmeal

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 brown banana, mashed
  • 1 whole large egg
  • 1/8 c brown sugar, unpacked
  • 1 capful (~1/8 tsp) vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 whole Granny Smith apple
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • cooking spray

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

In a medium size bowl, smash banana until fairly smooth. Whisk in 1 whole egg, ~1/8 cup (or fill 1/4 cup half way) brown sugar, cinnamon, pink salt, and vanilla.

Dice 1/2 of a large granny smith apple (or apple of choice), and cut the other half into thin slices. Granny smith apples are fairly tart and flavorful, which is why they are a great choice when baking.

Add the oats, diced apple, and almond milk to the banana and egg mixture. Mix until all oats are moistened.

In a lightly greased baking dish or pie pan, spread the oats out evenly. Use the leftover apple slices to create a fun design on top of the oats or just place at random evenly across the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the sides of the oats begin to pull away from the dish and turn golden brown. Let cool for 3-5 minutes and enjoy!


Trail Mix Cookies

HAPPY SUNDAY! This is such a good Sunday, want to know why? I am so, so, SO happy to be done writing my Master’s final defense paper! Yay!!! Everyone just cross your fingers that it goes well in a few week! Once this is complete, I will have one class left and then I’m officially done! How stinking exciting is that?! Two years truly flew by, and I’m so proud of myself for checking (almost….) this box!

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So with all this excitement, I thought I’d bake cookies! You know, any time I’m feeling an emotion — happiness, sadness, stress — the kitchen is always one of my safe havens. These cookies came out way better than expected, so I’m extremely excited to share them!

Disclaimer:

OK… this is kind of a funny (but not really) disclaimer, so all of you dog lovers please read! If your dog is like mine and absolutely loves peanut butter, do not let these cool near the edge of the counter! These cookies contain raisins, almond milk, and walnuts, which are all things that dogs should not have…. especially raisins! Our household spent quite a bit of time on the phone with emergency vets and pet poison control yesterday afternoon after Eddie decided to jump up on the counter and have a little taste test for himself. Thankfully, he is perfectly fine (and I probably over-reacted a tad), but I just thought I’d pre-warn you…. they really do smell THAT good!

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Now that we got that out of the way, lets get to the recipe! These are super easy and perfect for a quick breakfast or pre-workout bite. I call these trail mix cookies because they have a lot of components of trail mix that I love such as dried fruit and nuts. I made this cookies fairly large, but you could always make them a little smaller to increase the final quantity. Because I made larger cookies, I got about 12-13 out of my cookie dough!

I hope you give these a try! I recommend you play around with different tastes and textures if you are feeling creative. Maybe try adding coconut shreds or using different nut butters! Let me know what you think, and as always you can message or comment with questions or general thoughts! Have a great Sunday everyone!

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Trail Mix Cookies

  • Servings: 12-13 large
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 brown bananas, mashed
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
  • 1/2 cup seedless raisins
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup unsalted PB
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch of pink salt

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

In a medium size bowl, smash bananas until fairly smooth. Add dry ingredients (coconut flour, oats, cinnamon, brown sugar, pink salt) as well as the walnuts, cranberries, and raisins. Lightly mix to incorporate the banana and cover the dry ingredients.

Add all wet ingredients (egg, coconut oil, peanut butter, and almond milk) and mix until well combined. This will be a chunky batter!

Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Scoop large spoonfuls of batter onto the sheet and use your hands to help form the shape of your cookie. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the edges start to become a light golden brown. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving!


Cinnamon Sugar Banana Crumble Muffins

Happy 4th of July weekend everyone! I thought it was about time I posted a recipe (I feel like it’s been a while?), and this one turned out better than I had hoped it would! Of course, banana anything always has a place in my kitchen. I have done a handful of banana breads (vegan, gluten-free, regular, etc.) but tend to not really do muffins! I use to be a total muffin lover and would make apple, pumpkin, or whatever flavor I was feeling in bulk to have as snacks or part of breakfast. I haven’t made a good muffin in a while, so this recipe made a little appearance this morning in my kitchen!

I think the reason I like banana-flavored bread and muffins so much is they are so versatile. You can make them extra savory with cream cheese frostings, fillings, or fit them into your breakfast with a little spoonful of your favorite nut butter. You can also add a variety of ingredients to change up the flavor or texture such as nuts, oats, or chunks of other fruits such as diced apples.

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These muffins are simple, easy, and use ingredients that I already had in my cupboard. They also cook fast, so watch your timer and be sure not to overcook them! Whole wheat flour tends to absorb a lot of liquid, so overcooking the muffins can dry them out significantly. I hope you give these a try and let me know what you think!

Side note, isn’t it kind of a bummer that the 4th falls on a Tuesday? The 4th of July use to be a huge celebration with my family. We would have a barbecue, go to the morning parade, dress up in red-white-and blue, and scramble for candy that people in the parade would throw to the crowd. It was a blast!! Jeff and I are going to spend some time at the pool with friends this 4th, which I am super excited about, but I need to start thinking about a little menu of pool snacks for that day. I will let ya’ll know if I come up with anything good! Have a great week everyone!

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Cinnamon Sugar Banana Crumble Muffins

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy-moderate
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Ingredients

  • 3 slightly-brown bananas, mashed
  • 1 1/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (unpacked)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of pink salt

Topping:

  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp oats
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • pinch cinnamon

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium size bowl, smash bananas until fairly smooth. Add dry ingredients (flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, brown sugar, pink salt) and lightly mix to incorporate the banana.

Add all wet ingredients (egg, coconut oil, vanilla, and almond milk) and mix until well combined. There should be few lumps, and the batter should seem light and airy.

In a separate, small bowl combine the topping ingredients, and mix with a fork to be sure the brown sugar, cinnamon, and coconut oil cover the oats. Set aside.

Lightly grease a muffin tin and put a few spoonfuls into each cup. The batter should almost come to the top of each cup. Top each portion with a spoonful of the cinnamon sugar topping. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow 10-15 minutes for the muffins to set before serving.