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.


Gluten-Free Gooey Banana Bread

Hi everyone! Whose excited it’s the weekend?! Sorry this post is a little later than I wanted it to be, but this week has been eventful and busy so it kind of got put on hold.

Y’all know I’m a huge fan of banana bread. The gooier, the better! This recipe gave me something decadent and special to look forward to each night this week (sad to say I finished it off yesterday!), so I thought it was necessary that I share it and hope you guys like it too!


This is the first time I have attempted to bake gluten-free, and I was pretty darn happy with the outcome! I really enjoy trying new things with baking, and I haven’t found much of a need for coconut flour until this recipe. The base of the recipe is bananas and coconut flour. It is extremely moist (hens the gooey) and tastes great both warm and cold. I actually preferred it cold, so I kept the pan in the refrigerator and just took a few bites throughout the week!


One thing to note, coconut flour definitely absorbs more liquid. If you choose to bake or cook with it, remember it is going to absorb more moisture, so use less flour! I think this is maybe why my past attempts at using coconut flour were so unsuccessful.

Thank you so much to everyone who sent me comments or picture of recipes they have tried! I love the feedback so please keep it up! Happy Saturday everyone, and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Gluten-free Gooey Banana Bread

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Ingredients

  • 2 medium brown bananas, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 capful vanilla extract (~1/8 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch pink salt
  • a few dark chocolate chips

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mash bananas with 1 egg and brown sugar. Once sugar has mostly dissolved, mix in olive oil, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, vanilla, and almond milk. Whisk together until well incorporated.

Add coconut flour and stir until most of the liquid is absorbed. The batter should still seem fairly wet. Grease a bread or loaf pan and spread batter evenly on the bottom. Top with a few dark chocolate chips.

Bake bread for ~35 minutes or until the ends start to pull away from the pan and turn golden brown. The middle should still seem a little gooey. Let cool 10-15 minutes before serving. Will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator covered with foil. Can be reheated or served cold!


Controlling the Cocktails

This is going to be a fun post… really! I think ya’ll are going to like!

Now, I know everyone may not be on the same page here so if you are like me and look forward a refreshing cocktail Friday after a long work week then you should probably keep reading. If that doesn’t sound appealing to you, maybe this post isn’t for you but please go ahead and read anyway! A lot of what I’m going to talk about can still be applicable for those who do not consume alcohol.

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Fruity Summer Wine Spritzer: 4oz white wine, splash of Lemon La Croix sparkling water, ice, frozen blueberries, frozen peaches

When 5 o’clock hits on a Friday, you better believe I’m thinking one of two things: 1. How fast can I get home to see my pup and hub. 2. Where are we going to dinner tonight. I think I’ve mentioned before that Friday is typically Jeff and I’s date night, so I am always looking forward to putting on a cute outfit, enjoying a fun and yummy dinner, and yes… finishing it off with a cool and refreshing cocktail!

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Because of the lifestyle that I choose to live, I am fairly adamant about not “over-doing” it with any type of alcoholic beverage. I am by no means promoting the consumption of alcohol, but having a glass of wine on a Friday or making a fun summer drink to enjoy on the patio with my husband I think is completely OK for me. I know for some, it is hard to find a balance with consuming alcohol, especially for those who are “dieting” or watching what they consume. That is why this post is going to be so fun! I’m going to give you some easy tips to cut back the calories, and have a fun and refreshing drink responsibly that won’t make you feel “guilty” or ruin your health efforts.

Whether it is altering a drink recipe, or just simply knowing your limits, there are many ways to keep you beverages under control and fitting into your lifestyle if you choose!

Tips to cutting down the calories:

  1. Choose your mixers wisely. Stick to things that are natural and have minimal added sugar. Skip the premixed drinks and make a cocktail on your own or order something with minimal ingredients. Utilizes fresh fruit for flavor, soda water or essenced sparkling water for bubbles, or a splash of 100% juice for a little sweetness.
  2. Don’t over-do it. Nothing is worse than someone who has been over-served so don’t be that person. Enjoying a glass of wine with dinner is one thing, but downing a bottle of wine in an hour is another. I hate feeling out of control, so for this reason I am fairly frugal with how many cocktails or beverages I will consume in one sitting. Are your friends bugging you because you aren’t “keeping up?” Order a tall sparkling water and ask for a little fresh lime and mint. The next time you are asked “where’s your drink?” smile and politely hold up your pretty little “mock-tail”. No one will know the difference! One last little note — NEVER drink and drive.
  3. Cut wine with sparkling water or soda water. I know this sounds odd.. but have you ever heard of a wine spritzer? Order 1/2 glass of white wine and ask for it to be topped off with a little sparkling water and a few ice cubes!

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If you are looking to make something special for your next dinner party or social event, try one of these fun and flirty cocktails with a “healthy” twist! I also provided an alcohol-free “mock-tail” that looked unbelievably yummy!

Grapefruit Mocktail

3 oz red grapefruit juice
3oz cranberry juice
2 oz seltzer water or sparkling water
1 lime wedge
Mint leaves

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Recipe & picture from Health Magazine

Basil-Cucumber Gin Cooler

2-inch piece of cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 fresh basil leaves
1 tsp agave nectar
1 1/2 oz gin
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
ice cubes
splash of seltzer
1 thin slice lemon, for garnish
1 thin slice cucumber, for garnish

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Recipe & picture from SkinnyTaste

Watermelon Cucumber Mint Cocktail

2 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
½ medium cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and sliced
10-12 leaves fresh mint
2 tbsp date syrup*
2½ tbsp fresh lime juice
⅓ cup vodka
*Date syrup: 10 medjool dates pitted and soaked, 1 1/2 cups water

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Recipe & picture from Hummusapien

Simple Cilantro Guacamole

Happy hump day everyone! With my family being here this week I haven’t had much time to test out new recipes, but I made this for taco night a few nights ago and it was a big hit! My mom isn’t a huge fan of cilantro and even she enjoyed it! I definitely made too much, but it gave me the opportunity to have a little leftover which is always a plus!

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This recipe is super easy and can be made in the food processor or a high-quality blender. If you like chunkier guac, I’d recommended just mashing the ingredients yourself with a fork to get a more hearty and chunky texture. While I love avocado, it doesn’t keep for long in the refrigerator, so I’d recommend consuming within 24-48 hours!

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If you are an avocado lover like I am, good guacamole is a must for taco night! While everyone has their own preference for guac flavors, I like fresh and light with a lot of garlic! I use lemon juice for my guac recipe, but I know lime juice is also popular. Avocados are filled with heart healthy monounsaturated fat, so don’t let the high fat content scare you away! They are also high in B vitamins, Vitamin C and E, and other important nutrients such as folate and potassium. While I don’t believe in “super foods”, avocado is pretty high on my list of nutrient-dense food favorites!

I would love for you to give this recipe a try during your next taco night and let me know what you think! Thanks for reading!

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Simple Cilantro Guacamole

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 soft avocados
  • 1 heirloom tomato
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • handful of fresh cilantro
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp garlic granules
  • pinch salt
  • pinch pepper
  • 1/8 tsp dried basil

Directions

In a food processor, pulse tomato and onion. Add avocados, seasonings (salt, pep, garlic, basil), and lemon juice. Pulse until you achieve your desired consistency. Add cilantro and either mix in or pulse a few times to incorporate. Decorate with a few leaves of cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice before serving!