Gooey Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten free, no butter, no refined sugar!)

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Happy Monday!! Did you guys have a good weekend? Ours was pretty relaxed, but the weather turned SUPER winter in the DC area. We are even expecting snow next weekend which I am extra excited for since my mom and sister will be in town visiting for the holidays.

Now to these cookies…can you believe I snapped these pics with my phone? #vscocam for the win!! I dislike wasting anything (food, water, energy, time, etc)…but there is something about bananas where they just ripen too quickly for us to eat them and then they are black. What to do, what to do? I usually freeze the peeled bananas and save them for smoothies which is great or homemade banana ice cream (I know, yum!). But since it is fall/feels like winter, I am coming up with recipes to use them for baking.

Bananas have a lot of natural sugar so it’s so easy not to have to add a lot of additional sweeteners. I stay away from refined sugar as much as possible so I sweetened these with one cup of maple syrup (that’s it!). Rather than butter I chose coconut oil and I used oatmeal and gluten free all purpose flour for the base. They are very banana in taste (I love banana, though) and if you are a PB lover like I am, drizzle some warm Peanut butter on top and then die of love for these cookies.

Enjoy!

What you need:

  • 2 small-med overly ripened bananas
  • 1 Large Organic Egg
  • 1 Cup Maple Syrup (the good stuff!)
  • 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp of Vanilla Extract
  • 1.5 cups of gluten free old fashioned oats
  • 1.5 cups of all purpose gluten free flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp pink salt
  • 1 cup of organic chocolate chips or cacao chips (if using cacao chips, might want to add more sweetener such as agave!)

Directions:

  1. I used a kitchenaid but you can use a handheld mixer and one large bowl for this recipe. Combine the egg, bananas, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, and beat on medium for about 3 minutes (should be on the runnier side than traditional cookies)
  2. Stop mixer, add oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and beat together for another minute.
  3. Stop, add chocolate chips and either hand mix with large spoon or beat on low to mix together.
  4. REFRIGERATE DOUGH FOR AT LEAST 2 HOURS (up to 4 days!)
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit
  6. Place parchment paper on cookie sheet
  7. Using a 1/2 tablespoon measuring spoon scoop the dough and roll into little balls, placing on cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 10-13 minutes depending on the ripeness of your bananas and how long you refrigerate you might want to taste test and cook some more!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you (and non-wasteful!!), xo!

Healthy Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars, oh em gee.

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One more mommy, pleeeeease!

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Happy Monday! We left the DC area on Friday night and drove 14 hours straight to Florida (yes, it was soooo long.) Despite the drive I love coming down here to see family! I made these pumpkin bars before we left and brought them down with us for my parents and sister to enjoy. These were so yummy and easy to make. Definitely not overly sweet, more of a breakfast bar. I recommend drizzling almond butter over yours. I adapted a recipe I found at The Ambitious Kitchen…hope you all enjoy!

What you will need:

  • 3 cups gluten free oats
  • 1 cup organic canned pumpkin
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 small ripe banana
  • Shredded coconut for topping
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup mini vegan chocolate chips plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling on top (my little helper is a chocolate chip thief!)
  • 1/4 tsp pink salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 8×11 or 9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Prepare oat flour by putting oatmeal in blender or food processor and blend for a few minutes until all oats have been blended and mixture resembles flour.
  3. Measure 2 1/2 cups of the oat flour and place in a medium bowl. Whisk in baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.
  4. In a separate large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, brown sugar, vanilla extract, oil, and banana and maple syrup for 1-2 minutes until the consistency is smooth and creamy. Slowly add in oat flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  5. Gently fold in mini chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips on top.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes and let cool briefly before slicing into squares
  7. Top with shredded coconut and serve as is or drizzle melted almond butter on top!

TIP: These bars can be frozen and reheated in conventional toaster or microwave…!

Perfect breakfast bar for fall! Hope you enjoy!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo

 

Creamy, Spicy Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup (say that 3x fast)

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My little helper <3

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FALL is SOUP season. This Thai Butternut squash soup is so freaking yummy. I am sharing the vegetarian version, but you can easily add shrimp or chicken to this if you want! Sofia gets so excited to cook and bake with mommy, I always find a job for her to do in every recipe- it’s such a joy to share this with her. She’s also the best taste tester! What I love about this recipe is that it can be made as spicy as you’d like depending on the amount of curry paste you add- the flavors balance so nicely and it warms your whole body from the inside. The flavors also marinate well overnight so you can enjoy the next day or freeze (OMG YES) and save for later!!

What you will need:

  • 1 Can of Organic Coconut Milk (save a little for topping soup after!)
  • 4 cups of cubed butternut squash
  • 2 Cups of Organic Veggie Stock
  • 1/2 large yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger (this seriously makes the dish imo!)
  • 1 tablespoon red curry chili paste (or more if you’re up for it!)
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • Pink Salt, Pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Sriracha (for topping if you’d like it spicy)
  • A blender

Directions:

  1. Prepare the butternut squash (I LOVE to buy the one that’s already chopped up but in case you want to start from scratch).
    • Cut off each end of the squash
    • Peel the squash (Thank you Kiril for doing this part, it wasn’t that easy!!)
    • Cut and Cube, done! woo.
    • I found this video from The Kitchn here for additional help!
  2. Mince garlic, grate ginger, dice onion.
  3. Put tablespoon of coconut oil in large soup pot over medium heat.
  4. Place garlic and onion in pot, stirring frequently for about 3 minutes until onion is translucent and the smell is very fragrant! Season with pink salt and pepper.
  5. Add ginger and red curry paste (careful here, you can always add more later on after you taste test!)
  6. After another 3 minutes of continuous stirring add the cubes of butternut squash.
  7. Pour veggie stock directly over (it’s okay if it doesn’t cover all of the squash)
  8. Keep an eye on it until it starts to boil.
  9. Then cover and reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes, until squash is very tender.
  10. The tricky part here is to take the mixture in 2 batches, and blend in a blender. The consistency will be more like a puree.
  11. I like to pour the first blended batch into a bowl and then blend the second batch and pour both directly back into the soup pot.
  12. Once the contents are back in the pot, pour most of coconut milk in and mix together. Reserve the rest of the coconut milk for plating.
  13. Taste test and season with salt and pepper accordingly!
  14. Plate and top with Sriracha, coconut milk and cilantro!

This pairs really well with naan bread or coconut rice. Enjoy!!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you! xo

 

 

Life Hack #1 – Homemade Compost!

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Who doesn’t need a good life hack every now and then? Last week, Sofia and I made Gluten Free PB Banana Cupcakes  and we had banana peels and egg shells leftover. I decided that rather than throwing them away or put them in the food disposal, they could be repurposed! A few of our plants need some extra love so I decided we could make a super easy compost in the blender and voila…happy plants!

What you will need:

  • Egg Shells
  • Coffee Grinds
  • Banana Peels
  • Water

Directions:

  1. Blend all ingredients together adding water as necessary.
  2. Place spoonfuls on top of the soil.
  3. Water normally.
  4. Wait a few days, and the plants should be doing a little better!

I love finding ways to repurpose things and lessen our garbage output. This is a really great way to reduce and reuse 😉

Here’s to a healthy and happy you! xo

Sick? My 3 Steps to feeling better!

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It’s that time of year again…the sniffles, head cold, sore throat, allergies, feeling crappy “season.” I used to run to the doctor whenever I thought I had a cold and always left with a script for antibiotics. YIKES. If you read my blog before, you know how I feel about antibiotics- they are an AMAZING drug but scientifically it is best to save them for the time(s) you REALLY need them (hopefully never!)

Most common colds and ailments can be cured holistically by my 3 step method! The key is to start the regimen at the FIRST sign of feeling sick (waking up with a sore throat, a case of the sniffles, etc.)

What you will need:

  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Local Honey (better if Raw!)
  • Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (Bragg’s pictured above is my favorite)

My 3-Step Sickness Cure:

  1. Salt Water Gargle
    • Dissolve pink salt into warm water. GARGLE and spit out contents several times until the water mixture is gone. The salt will do a wonderful job of destroying the icky bacteria but leaves the good stuff in the back of the throat. Win, win.
  2. Shot of Apple Cider Vinegar
    • Shots, shots, shots! Take a shot of apple cider vinegar. WARNING- this is the toughest part of the 3 steps. I don’t pour an entire shot because it really is tough to take. BUT, the benefits of this outweigh the difficulty of keeping it down. You will get used to it!
  3. Spoonful of local honey with cinnamon
    • This is my favorite step to the process- pour some honey on a spoon and top with cinnamon. Both have beautiful natural antibiotic effects – try to coat the back of your throat as you suck on the spoon.

Pretty soon, you will be back feeling well in no time! I repeat this process morning and night until I am feeling better. It has worked for me for years and I swear by it!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo!

Gluten Free PB Banana Cupcakes!

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Happy FRIDAYYYY! My friend had a birthday yesterday so I decided to whip up these babies in the kitchen. I found a recipe online from GlutenFree with LB (Check it out here) and worked off of that to create my own! I typically try to stay away from Cane Sugar, but a birthday calls for something you don’t typically have on the regular 😉

Sofia was my little helper- she loves mixing things and taste testing. This Peanut Butter Cream Cheese frosting was seriously out of this world. Hope you guys enjoy the recipe.

What you will need:

For the Cupcake:

  • ½ c. organic butter, softened, unsalted
  • 1 ½ c. organic granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ c. milk
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 ¼ c. white rice flour – (I used gluten free all purpose flour)
  • ¾ c. tapioca starch
  • 1 t. xanthan gum (I had no clue what this was, a lot of GF mixes have it in already!)
  • (Or 2 c. all purpose flour for the non-GF)
  • 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. of pink himalayan salt
  • 1/2 c of mini chocolate chips
  • Cupcake Liners (I found an unbleached, eco friendly brand called “If you care”)

For the icing:

  • 4 T. cream cheese, softened, (I used half a block of organic cream cheese)
  • 4 T. organic butter, softened
  • ¼ c. organic peanut butter (I used a CUP!)
  • 6 c. powdered sugar (I used half this amount)
  • 2-3 T. milk
  • 1 t. vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes (I used my Kitchenaid but a handheld mixer will work, too!)
  3. Add eggs and bananas. Mix until combined.
  4. Combine soda, flour, starch and gum in a separate bowl. Alternatively add flour mix and milk to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour.
  5. Add chocolate Chips to mixture and the teaspoon of salt.
  6. Line cupcake tray with liners and spritz each one with Coconut Oil non-stick spray. Fill liners with batter to ¾ full.
  7. Bake for 24-28 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.
  8. While cupcakes are baking, prepare peanut butter frosting, I started with the butter and cream cheese, then added sugar and peanut butter and the rest of the ingredients. Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting– I put the frosting into a ziploc bag and cut off one of the bottom ends to filter the frosting out so it turned out pretty 🙂
  9. Enjoy!

 

Here’s to a healthy and happy you! xo

Do the D.

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Winter is Coming! (For all my GOT fans out there) – That typically means you are encouraged to get your flu shot and often times there’s a lot of illness passing around. One of our greatest deficiencies in the US as a whole is Vitamin D “the sunshine vitamin”. It is essential for your immune system. The BEST way to get some Vitamin D is directly from Mr. Sun himself (our skin creates vitamin D in response to sunlight-how cool is that?). However, particularly in the winter when we stay indoors more, we begin to grow deficient in this element resulting in illness, ailments, and other symptoms.

Vitamin D Deficiencies look like:

  1. Inability for the body to absorb calcium
  2. Inflammation in the body
  3. Unexplained Fatigue
  4. Muscle Weakness
  5. Bone Deficiencies
  6. Weight Gain
  7. Depression/Sadness

It’s important to always speak to a Medical Professional about your health and ask about your Vitamin D levels. You can get a blood test to examine the levels of Vitamin D in your system.

How is vitamin D deficiency treated?

According to an article by Healthline by Rachel Nail titled, “The Effects of Vitamin D Deficiency“:

Doctors often treat vitamin D deficiencies by prescribing or recommending vitamin D supplements. The amount you should take usually depends on how low your vitamin D levels are. For example, some people may reach their vitamin D intake by taking a multivitamin. These usually have between 400 and 800 IU of vitamin D with each serving. However, people who are very deficient in vitamin D may need higher levels of supplementation — about 1,000 IU per day. Ask your doctor how much vitamin D you need every day.

The ODS recommends the following dietary allowances for eating foods that contain vitamin D as well as taking supplements:

  • ages 0 to 12 months: 400 IU
  • ages 1 to 70 years (including pregnancy and lactating): 600 IU
  • ages 70 and older: 800 IU

Few unfortified foods in a person’s diet are high in vitamin D. Foods that are naturally high in vitamin D include:

  • fatty fish, such as mackerel, salmon, and tuna
  • beef
  • cheese
  • egg yolks
  • fish liver oils
  • mushrooms

After growing up in Florida and now living in the DC area, my vitamin D levels were running extremely low. Also, if you breastfeed for a long time you also run the result of having low vitamin D. For these reasons, I make sure to take a supplement on the days I cannot get natural yummy sunshine.

The photos above are of the supplement I take. It is organic, gluten free and comes from Mushrooms which are one of the best ways of getting Vitamin D. I have tried others but this has been my favorite so far because it has minimal “bad stuff” in there. The only thing I am not a fan of is in the capsule casing- carageenan. I will be looking for other ones and if you have any recommendations let me know. I love how easy it is to order from Amazon prime and have them here in 2 days! Also, if you do the subscriptions you can get even more discounts.

This coming winter, I recommend talking to your doctor and adding a Vitamin D supplement to your daily routine.

Here’s to a healthy and happy you! xo

Gluten-Free Almond Joy Granola (Bars)

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These granola (bars) are bomb. I accidentally just ate half- woops! These are a much healthier version of the “chewy bar” or the stuff you find at the grocery store. I wish I could call them BARS but they kind of crumble together and become yummy granola pieces. Apparently, this is because I adapted a recipe online that had brown sugar and butter and opted for coconut oil and maple syrup- so I will be experimenting in the future and coming back with another recipe. But in the meantime, here you go!

What you will need:

  • 2 1/2 cups of Gluten free old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup of slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup of Agave or Honey
  • 1/4 cup of Coconut Oil
  • 1/3 cup of maple syrup – I actually think it was too sweet, next time I will add less!
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pink himalayan salt
  • 1/2 cup of shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup (or more, who is counting anyways) of chocolate chips
  • Parchment paper or aluminum foil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit
  2. Place almonds and oats on a rimmed baking sheet
  3. Place in oven for 9 minutes (give or take) to gently toast
  4. In the meantime, in a small saucepan add the coconut oil, maple syrup and agave or honey
  5. When it has fully combined and started to bubble, remove from heat and add salt and vanilla extract
  6. Take the oat mix out of the oven and pour the mixture in sauce pan over the oats and almonds, coating generously…add the coconut and combine evenly. Allow to cool 10-15 minutes before adding the chocolate chips!
  7. Use a spatula and make sure all oats/and additions are coated in the syrupy sauce
  8. Take a 9×9 pan and place aluminum or parchment paper, spray with non stick spray (I love the coconut oil one!)
  9. Place chocolate chips on the bottom of the pan
  10. Take mixture from pan and place in pan, pressing firmly with the spatula
  11. Top with coconut and chocolate chips
  12. Refrigerate for AT LEAST 2 hours… I took mine out a little early because I was craving a taste
  13. These hold up well in the fridge or freezer. You can store at room temperature but there are no preservatives so eat within a few days

Let me know what you guys think! Sofia loved to steal all the chocolate chips as pictured above.

Here’s to a healthy and happy you! xo