Love. Live. Eat.

Breakfast

The Best Banana Nut Muffin…EVER

Best Banana Nut Bread

This recipe is hands down one of the best banana nut bread recipes out there. Personally, I prefer making muffins to the traditional loafs. In my opinion muffins are prettier than slices of bread and trick me into thinking I am eating something more substantial. I highly recommend making extra and freezing some in individual baggies for snacks or breakfast on the go. Trust me, these won’t last long 🙂

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • ¼ c almond butter
  • 2 T coconut oil, softened
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ c coconut flour
  • ½ t baking soda
  • ½ t baking powder
  • ½ t cinnamon
  • ¼ t salt
  • ½ c chopped walnuts

Extras:

  • ¼ c-½ c Enjoy Life chocolate mini chips (they are dairy, nut, gluten and soy free!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray, or use muffin liners, set aside.
  2. In the medium-large bowl combine bananas, maple syrup, vanilla, almond butter and coconut oil and mix until well combined on medium speed with an electric mixer. When mixture is smooth and creamy add in eggs, one at a time, mix on medium speed until combined.
  3. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add in coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; mix again until just combined. Gently fold in walnuts and chocolate chips if using.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until tester inserted into center comes out clean.
  5. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

 

Nutrition Fats:

Per muffin, makes 12 servings

Calories 126

Protein 3.7g

Fat 6.8g

Carbohydrate 14.5g

Fiber 3.5g

Sugar 6.9g

Goji Berry Bliss

goji berry

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c. of goji berries
  • 1/2 c. of yogurt
  • 1/4 c. of granola
  • 1 t. of maca root powder
  • 1/2 c. fresh berries

Directions:

  1. Stir above ingredients until all maca powder is absorbed. Fold in 1/2 cup of fresh fruit.

Maple Granola Recipe

Maple Granola I grew up baking with my mother for special occasions, holidays and some days for no reason at all. To give you an idea of how often we baked, about seven years ago I was invited to my boyfriend’s friend’s Christmas party. I would be meeting everyone for the first time (including parents) so naturally, I wanted to make a good impression. I brought beautifully decorated, freshly made sugar cookies packaged nicely in bakery boxes with holiday tissue (presentation is everything!). The funny thing is, they were convinced I bought them … not to toot my own horn but let’s just say they looked as great as they tasted 😉 Quite hysterical if you ask me! For my mother and I, baking was really about spending quality time together, talking, sharing stories and bonding. Heavenly desserts just happened to be a by-product. Thus, waves of nostalgia sweep over me each time I bake, taking me right back to my mom’s kitchen.

Unfortunately I can’t stick to the same recipes I grew up with. Now that I am aware of the health dangers granulated sugar, wheat and dairy, I look for alternative ways to bake. If I can’t find recipes, I create them! This is no easy task either. Baking sans white sugar, wheat and sometimes eggs can be a recipe for disaster. That is why my kitchen becomes a little test kitchen so I can actually see how well these new age recipes hold up before I decide to share them. This one I tweaked and made it scrumptious and nutritious.

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 c. GF oats
  • 1 c. nuts or seeds of your choice (almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, pepitas…)
  • 1/2 c. flaxseeds
  • 2/3 c. coconut, shredded
  • 1/3 c. maple syrup, grade B
  • 1/3 c. sesame seed oil
  • 1 T. vanilla
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. Whisk honey, maple syrup, oil, vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt in a small bowl.
  4. Combine with dry ingredients. Spread evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes.

 

Homemade Chocolate Energy Bars

Homemade Chocolate Energy BarsWho doesn’t like chocolate? If you know someone who doesn’t they probably don’t like puppies either which means you should probably stay away from them! 😉 Hahahaha, just kidding. But seriously, if you like chocolate these bars are for you. I came up with this scrumptious recipe because several clients were asking for a gluten free/dairy free bar. It can be difficult deciphering the ingredients of some of the bars on the market. Invertase, ferric orthophosphate, erythritol, disodium phosphate anyone? So why not avoid highly processed bars all together and make your own? I can be a control freak especially when it comes to what I put in my body and these bars only contain 12 ingredients, all of which I can pronounce.

 

Chocolate Energy Bars are a fantastic pre or post workout snack. The ratio of carbs to protein is perfect for muscle building and quick energy. If you don’t feel like exercising that day, grab one for an afternoon snack or a healthy dessert. Really you can eat them anytime! I suggest refigerating them in an air tight container. They also freeze really well so you can enjoy them at a later time.

IngredientsEnergy Bars

  • 1 can adzuki beans
  • 1/4 c. flaxseeds soaked in 1/4 c. water
  • 1/4 c. coconut nectar
  • 1/4 c. chopped dates
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. sea salt
  • 1.5 c. gluten free oats
  • 1 c. pea protein
  • 1/4 c. cacao powder
  • 1/2 c. walnut
  • 1/2 c. coconut shredded

Directions

  1. In a food processor, combine beans, binder, sweetener, soft fruit, extract, spice, and salt until smooth.
  2. Add the oats and dry base ingredients and pulse just to combine.
  3. Add stir-ins and pulse again just to combine.  If the consistency seems spreadable, you’re good.  If it’s too dry, add 1/4 cup of water; if it’s too runny, add an additional 1/4 cup of the dry base ingredient.
  4. Grease 13×9 pan with baking spray or rub with 1 tablespoon oil, then spread mixture into pan.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes.

Nutrition Facts Calories: 142 Total Fat: 5g Saturated Fat: 1g Sodium: 126mg Total Carbohydrates: 20g Sugar: 2g Fiber: 6g Protein: 6g

Overnight Power Oats

This is probably the easiest breakfast you will ever make. All you do is assemble the ingredients in an eight ounce mason jar at night, remove from the fridge the following morning and enjoy! Although I do not recommend eating on the go, this is the perfect breakfast for someone pressed for time in the AM because it is portable. Personally, I love having my Power Oats as a pre-workout snack since it provides long lasting energy to help me crush my workouts. The standard recipe is jam packed with protein, calcium and fiber. It is also low in fat and sugar making it ideal for anyone who wants to eat something “clean” and tasty. I encourage you to get creative and enhance the nutrient profile by adding some extras mentioned below.

Ingredients:Overnight Oats- blueberry

  • ½ c. raw oats
  • ½ c. milk alternative
  • ½ c. Greek yogurt or kefir or omit if dairy free and use an extra ½ of milk alternative
  • Cinnamon
  • 1-2 t. maple syrup or stevia
  • ½ c. frozen blueberries
  • 1 T. chia seeds

may also add:

  • 1 T nut butter
    • healthy fat to keep you satiated
  • 1 T cacao powder
    • antioxidant rich, promotes cardiovascular function, lowers blood pressure and improves circulation, rich in magnesium and dietary fiber
  • 1 scoop protein powder
    • muscle building 
  • 2 t. matcha green tea powder
    • antioxidant rich, cancer fighting EGCg, calms the brain, increases energy and endurance as well as boosts memory and concentration 

 

Directions:

  1. In an eight ounce jar or tupperware, add all ingredients (except fruit) and shake until well combined.
  2. Add blueberries and stir until mixed throughout. Return lid to jar and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.
  3. Eat chilled.

 

Break the Fast— Eat Breakfast!

breakfast

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is skipping breakfast. I am sure you have heard this over and over again but do you know the reasoning behind it?

Eat to Burn

Breakfast literally breaks the fast from the previous night by giving your body the nutrients and energy it needs to wake up and face the day. When you are asleep your body is busy at work repairing itself and digesting food from the previous day. When you wake up in the morning your blood glucose, the preferred energy for your muscles and brain, is usually low. When you eat something upon rising (ideally within an hour), your brain wakes up and sends a signal to your digestive system to start working again. This speeds up your metabolism throughout the day. Conversely, when you do not eat in the morning, your body goes into starvation mode and starts conserving energy. Your glucose levels stay low therefore you tap into your body’s energy reserves, including energy stored in your muscle. This causes your energy levels remain low and in turn, decreases your metabolic rate.

Starting your day off on the right foot also prevents you from binging later on in the day. When you omit breakfast you become ravenous by the time lunch rolls around. More often than not you reach for the quickest option to provide fast energy. These “quick” options are usually unhealthy, high in fat and can make up for more than half your caloric allotment in one meal! If you are trying to lose weight this is possibly one of the best ways to sabotage your goal. So make sure you consume the most important meal of the day to keep on track.

Size Matters

A number of studies have found that breakfast eaters are thinner than those who skip breakfast. Breaking the fast with healthy fat, lean protein and some fiber within an hour upon rising may curb your appetite during the rest of the day. A study published in 2010 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined the breakfast patterns of 2,184 Australians, ages 9-15, in 1985 and then about 20 years later. The study found participants who reported skipping breakfast both as children and again as adults were heavier, had larger waists, higher LDL or “bad”cholesterol, and were overall less healthy than those who reported eating breakfast as children and adults.

However, eating breakfast doesn’t necessarily mean we are going to lose weight, quality and quantity come into play here. In 2011, German researchers reported that the size of the breakfast matters: the people in their study who ate big breakfasts took in more, not fewer, calories on a daily basis. The study concluded that overweight people should consume smaller breakfast as well as smaller meals throughout the day to reach weight loss goals. It also found that the foods most often responsible for the variations in daily calories were among the morning’s favorites: bread, eggs, yogurt, cheese, sausages, marmalade and butter.

 

Tips for Success

Moral of the story is, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day and what you eat matters just as much as what time and how much. Below are some helpful hints to get your engine up and running first thing in the morning. Click on the “breakfast” category for some yummy recipes to get you started. Now what is your excuse???

  1. Eat within an hour upon rising- Consume protein, complex carbohydrates and a little healthy fat first thing in the morning. The exact quantities vary depending on caloric needs but a healthy, well rounded breakfast will set your day up right. If you are not hungry upon rising try a little warm water with lemon to wake up the digestive tract, this is also a great detoxifier.
  2. Shake things up- I love having shakes for breakfast. It is so easy and they can be very nutritious. They are also perfect for those who are pressed or time first thing in the morning. To save even more time you can add the ingredients (except liquid) to your blender the night before, refrigerate then blend first thing in the morning with preferred liquid. This leaves no excuse for skipping breaky!
  3. Egg it up baby- Eggs are fantastic food and a great source of protein. I am sure you have heard eggs cause cholesterol to increase, well this is somewhat untrue. Several studies show eating eggs instead of an egg substitute has a no effect on LDL cholesterol or total cholesterol and positive effects on HDL cholesterol and triglycerides. The quality of egg matters more than you realize. The healthiest eggs are eggs from hens that are raised on pasture or Omega-3 enriched eggs from cage free organically fed hens. These eggs are much higher in Omega-3s and important fat-soluble vitamins. Besides, chickens weren’t made to live in a cage and eat corn.  

 

 Resources
  • Kylie J Smith, Seana L Gall, Sarah A McNaughton, Leigh Blizzard,Terence Dwyer, and Alison J Venn.”Skipping breakfast: longitudinal associations with cardiometabolic risk factors in the Childhood Determinants of Adult Health Study.” Clinical Journal of Nutrition 2010.
  • Volker Schusdziarra, Margit Hausmann, Claudia Wittke, Johanna Mittermeier, Marietta Kellner, Aline Naumann, Stefan Wagenpfeil and Johannes Erdmann. “Impact of breakfast on daily energy intake-an analysis of absolute versus relative breakfast calories.” Nutrition Journal 2011, 10:5 doi:10.1186/1475-2891-10-5.
  •  Blesso CN1, Andersen CJ, Barona J, Volek JS, Fernandez ML..“Whole egg consumption improves lipoprotein profiles and insulin sensitivity to a greater extent than yolk-free egg substitute in individuals with metabolic syndrome.” Medline 2013 Mar;62(3):400-10. doi: 10.1016.
  • Schnohr P1, Thomsen OO, Riis Hansen P, Boberg-Ans G, Lawaetz H, Weeke T..”Egg consumption and high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol.” J Intern Med. 1994 Mar;235(3):249-51.

Mojito Protein Shake

Mojito-Shake-2

Chill out with this cocktail inspired postworkout shake.

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond or hemp milk
  • 1/2  tbsp honey
  • 10-12 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • Juice of 1/2 fresh lime
  • 1 cup ice cubes

 

Directions:

  1. Blend all ingredients, except protein powder.
  2. Pulse in protein powder.
  3. Enjoy 😉

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 150
Total Fat: 1 g
Saturated Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 5 mg
Sodium: 100 mg
Total Carbohydrates: 11 g
Dietary Fiber: 0 g
Sugars: 9 g
Protein: 24 g
Iron: 0 mg

 

From Oxygen Magazine 

Colon Cleansing Juice

Experiencing gastrointestinal distress? If so, try this juice to help alleviate symptoms like constipation, bloating and gas.

Colon Cleansing Juice

Ingredients ****All organic****

  • 1 bunch carrots
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 peeled lemon
  • 1 inch of ginger root

Directions:

  1. Toss your ingredients in your juicer in the order listed.
  2. Juice and enjoy!
Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 184

Fat: 1.3 g

Carbs: 59 g

Protein: 4 g

 

Photo credit: Plant Powered Living

Peppermint Ice Cubes

Frozen-Mint-Herb-Ice-Cubes

I came across this idea and instantly fell in love! It is so easy to make herbal ice cubes and the uses are numerous. You can throw them into smoothies, use them as a basis for compresses, add them to iced tea, spruce up your favorite cocktail or just let them melt and infuse glasses of water with the most delightful flavors. Below is a recipe for making delicious peppermint ice cubes. They are not only delightful, but also a great way to impress guests when entertaining.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 2 teabags or 4 Tbsp fresh peppermint

Directions:

  1. Pour room temperature water over herbs and let steep for 2-3 hours.
  2. Strain.
  3. Pour into ice cube trays.
  4. Freeze. You can leave in ice cube tray or pop out and put in zip lock freezer bag for future use.

Optional: Put a slice of strawberry or raspberry in each ice cube slot.

Banana Nut Cookie

It is as easy as 1-2-3-4! With only four ingredients you can whip up a healthy batch of cookies in no time at all.

 Banana Nut Cookie

Banana Nut Cookies

 

  • Bananas + Oats (GF) + Walnuts + Cinnamon 

Mash 2 large overripe bananas in a bowl. Add 1 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts and tsp of cinnamon. With a melon baller drop rounded tablespoons of batter onto a baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes at 350°. Makes 1 dozen cookies.

Nutrition Facts:
(per cookie)
Calories: 71
Total Fat: 2g
Saturated Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 1 mg
Total Carbohydrates: 11g
Dietary Fiber: 2g
Sugars: 2g
Protein: 2g

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