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

bbee6cf3-1082-415e-a494-d9415b2a7b83a7c6ef4b-2a24-4d20-9235-6cf1c8a78e4906c8080a-fdc0-4106-9143-613d750c5a0666df6d1f-8712-40c9-8f84-cf273c6c9061be89d47f-bdc8-43b6-8231-0165594b73bef73eccac-2d1d-442c-834b-5e18e6c9cba4img_6445

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!

Snacks on Snacks… (healthy and toddler approved!)

img_6341dsc03848img_6340img_6348img_6349

dsc03792img_6357

Happy Monday, everyone!! Who doesn’t like snacks??? A few months ago Sofie used to call them “nacks” and would constantly say, mommy nack please…please mommy!!! Needless to say, nacks are the best. I find TONS of great options at Homegoods and TJ Maxx. A few online places I shop at are Amazon, Vitacost, and Jet.com.

I thought I would share some of our favorites with you. As a mom to a toddler, I know how important it is to always have some healthy snacks (that she actually likes) on the go. Most of these you can take with you!

Some of Our Favorite Snacks:

  1. Annie’s Organic Fruit Snacks…available at most grocery stores and online. Hard to tell who loves them more (Kiril or Sofia, haha!)
  2. Avocado Toast… Literally spread avocado onto a piece of toast and that’s it. If you want to get fancy you can season with pink salt and pepper, crushed red pepper, add roasted garlic, Sriarcha, whatever you fancy…goes great with eggs, too! (EASY BREAKFAST FOR THE WIN)
  3. Organic Dried Mango…Sofia’s absolute favorite fruit in the whole world. We buy the organic frozen mango cubes too and that’s another fun favorite. But these pouches are great to slip into our diaper bag and head on out for the day. I buy them in bulk from Amazon.
  4. Sustainable Indulgence Cookies… These are my favorite of this list. Put almond butter in between two and you have a yummy cookie sandwich. I found this brand at Homegoods–but they have tons of flavors. I recommend ordering online!
  5. Biena Chickpeas…So Kiril and I also found these in the snack section of Homegoods and after trying them he ordered an ENTIRE BOX of like, 40 bags. All different flavors (habanero, sea salt, cinnamon, etc). THEY ARE SO BOMB.
  6. Justin’s Nut Butters (Banana optional!)… These are sold at the grocery store. I like the little pouches but we also have the jar because let’s be honest, a spoon plus justin’s is heavenly
  7. Yogurt… Siggi’s is a pretty good brand of yogurt and Sofia’s favorite is Lifeway Organics. Both yummy and both Toddler Approved!

Hope you guys enjoy this list and have a chance to try some of these yummy treats. Happy nacking’!

 

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

Fall Quinoa Vegetable Soup (gluten free, vegan, healthy)

dsc04332dsc04339dsc04363dsc04368dsc04410

 

Sometimes the weather just says SOUP. Not like in the movie it’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (if you have kids you may have watched it, ha.) BUT seriously, I love cuddling up with some hot soup a blanket and Netflix. Add some wine and it’s a party for one!

Sofia as always is my little helper. She LOVED this soup (TODDLER APPROVED, what?) Bonus we froze half of it and thats a lunch or dinner I don’t have to make in the future. WINNING!

This soup was pretty easy to make. Have you thought about using quinoa in soup before? I have tried pasta and rice but not quinoa. IT is awesome. It’s hearty and filling while absorbing the flavors and being extra tasty.

I hope you guys enjoy!

What you will need:

  • 1 Box of Organic Veggie Stock (4 cups) or 2 if you subtract the water below
  • 4 Cups of water
  • 1 Cup Organic Quinoa (uncooked)
  • 3 Organic Carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 sweet potato chopped at the same thickness as the carrots
  • 2 Organic celery stalks chopped
  • 1 Large can of organic Diced Tomatoes, drained and rinsed
  • 6 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Small onions chopped finely, or 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 tsp dried organic thyme
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Zucchini and 1 Yellow Squash (or about 1-2 cups of seasonal veggies of your choice)
  • Pink Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
  • spinach or kale (1-2 cups)
  • 1 can of chick peas, rinsed (BPA free can!)
  • 3 TBSP Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Wash, Dry, and Chop produce
  2. In a large pot over medium heat add olive oil and then add onion, carrot, celery, and sweet potato. Season with salt and pepper
  3. Cook for 4 min or so when onion becomes translucent
  4. Add seasonal veggies, cook for 4 more min or so, stirring often
  5. Add the garlic and Thyme, cooking about 1 minute when it becomes extra fragrant
  6. Pour in the rinsed tomatoes and cook for 3 more minutes, still stirring quite often
  7. Add the cup of quinoa, broth and water (or just broth). It’s ok to use a little less quinoa if you’d like for extra soupiness and less stew-iness.
  8. Add 1 tsp of salt, 2 bay leaves and a couple shakes of red pepper flakes
  9. Generously season with cracked black pepper
  10. Raise heat to bring the soup to a boil, then cover partially with a little edge open to steam out and reduce heat to simmer for 25 minutes
  11. After 25 minutes add chick peas or rinsed canned beans of your choice and spinach. Continue cooking for 5 or so minutes more.
  12. If the soup is not broth-y enough for your desire from the quinoa soaking it up, add broth or water here.
  13. Taste and season as desired, remove the bay leaves and stir in the lemon juice
  14. Plate and enjoy!
  15. PS -You can freeze your leftovers!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you!

Thanksgiving Butternut Squash and Spinach Stuffed Shells w/ Sage Browned Butter (gluten free!)

dsc04258dsc04262dsc04267dsc04278dsc04290

Ok if you have any vegetarian guests to your Thanksgiving this year, you HAVE to make this dish. I made it for our Friendsgiving a few weekends ago and it is now one of my favorite recipes. These are not as sweet as traditional butternut squash ravioli, they are salty and savory and the SAGE BROWNED BUTTER IS THE BOMB.

I made these with gluten free brown rice shells however, you can easily make it with regular shells if you <3 gluten. Let me know what you guys think!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 container of butternut squash, precut (to reduce time, but you can always buy and cut yourself) **COSTCO sells the perfect size and it’s ORGANIC!!!**
  • 1 Box of Pasta Shells (gluten free if you’d like)
  • 2 Cups of Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/3 Cup Grated Parmesan
  • 1 big handful of spinach, chop after measuring with your hand
  • 1 Lemon (zest plus juice)
  • Pink Salt/Pepper
  • 10 FRESH Sage leaves
  • 1 Stick of Butter (original recipe calls for that, however, I chose 1/2 stick plus 1/2 cup olive oil)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Begin by preheating oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the cubed butternut squash with 1-2 TBSP of olive oil, pink salt and pepper and roast in oven for 15-20 min (should be soft and able to mash with a fork when done)–As soon as the squash is ready, take a handheld blender and make sure it is whipped up nice and evenly- place in fridge to cool to room temperature.
  2. Reduce oven to 400 degrees
  3. Boil Water for Pasta Shells and cook according to the box directions
  4. In a bowl, combine ricotta, parmesan, room temperature squash, garlic, spinach, egg, salt, pepper, and the fresh lemon zest from 1 lemon. MIX WELL!
  5. Spray a 9×13 inch pan (I used glass!) with coconut oil non stick spray
  6. When the pasta shells are finished cooking, run cool water over them and begin to fill them with the butternut squash and cheese mixture – you might not use all the shells depending on how much mix you use– I opted to make a quick fix with remaining cheese and spinach and made a few w/o the squash!
  7. Place stuffed shells in oven for 18-20 minutes, until hot all the way through
  8. While shells are baking, take a small sauce pan and place the stick of butter OR 1/2 stick plus olive oil mixture depending on your preference. Add the sage leaves, juice of one lemon and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Heat over medium low heat for about 10-12 minutes making sure to frequently stir the mixture. The mixture should be a darker color when it is finished and the leaves should be crispy.
  10. After the shells are finished cooking, pour butter mixture over top and serve with crispy sage leaves!

Enjoy!

 

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo

Maui Helicopter Adventure

dsc036872bdskdgsmjgqmez7c-kpy8zpq_fg8g7zk1awqbff7s4px92ib7q_ebopb8qhvd-tabjyvny5fqbvnm1cxoybwi0b4iospx92ibdsc03643dsc03645dsc03646dsc03647dsc03648dsc03649dsc03650dsc03651dsc03652dsc03654dsc03659dsc03661dsc03667dsc03668dsc03671dsc03676yi0r87rwyqpcg3qd3wmm-hn8xhynlow1bbcqydh_baopx92ibgzinyxw85dvegyzf5rxcbdfuq8y-kwwuyfvwnlitinopx92ibimage-1kprkkyo3hsr8jiozvteqwayjukelguwzz-rmm-cmhwgpx92ibqn9guvirvkjo1hu2e0uopwudqopdiohfgc7wxuzmwvwpx92iby7-llbipx5dj9f7qgufynrql5l-5aee7gnndeui6a3wpx92ibwwkmpsf1751st3egpspdqmaid6x3w1ropjvgoqxgoyepx92ib

I am having major Maui withdrawal today!! I wanted to share the AirMaui helicopter experience with you. It was by far the most incredible adventure we have done together. If you haven’t been in a helicopter before – Don’t be scared! I was surprised with how smooth the ride was. When you are ascending it feels almost like going up in an elevator. We were required to watch a mini safety video and to wear life jackets (pictured above). Our pilot, Richie, was awesome! He provided so much knowledge of the land as we flew above it — from pointing out Maui’s waterfalls which are home to one of the tallest waterfalls in the world, to learning about the Hawaiian heritage and history…we can see now why Maui is consistently rated a top island in the world.

I know this blog is mostly based on health — it’s important to do things that invigorate and excite you. Traveling and experiencing new things definitely fuels my spirit. Hope you guys enjoy the photos and let me know if you end up taking a helicopter ride sometime! I am deeply, deeply grateful for this experience and being able to share it with Kiril.

 

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

Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (no cane sugar, gluten free, healthy-ish…)

dsc04253dsc03973dsc03985dsc03999dsc04031dsc04062dsc04226dsc04238

Am I the only one who craves something sweet in the afternoon? We made these babies last night and they were sooooo good…they are all gone by the way (ahhh!). These were pretty easy to make. I adapted this recipe from DishingDelish, but I wanted to get creative and change up the white and brown sugar originally required. Next time, I am going to try coconut oil or coconut butter rather than the butter that this requires since I didn’t want to change up the recipe too much. How perfect would these be to bring for your next “friendsgiving”??? As you can see in the pics, Sofia enjoyed stealing all my chocolate chips and kept stealing cookies every time I turned around for ONE second!

***The keys to this recipe is to refrigerate the dough for AT LEAST 20 minutes before baking in the oven, use room temperature butter, AND use parchment paper for an easy removal and cleanup. ***

Hope you guys enjoy baking these, they are definitely on my list to make for Thanksgiving this year. They pair really well with some unsweetened vanilla almond milk…YUM.

What you will need:

  • Organic Pumpkin Puree (1 can)
  • Parchment Paper
  • 1 and 3/4 cup of Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
  • 1.5 cups of Gluten Free Old Fashioned Uncooked Oats
  • 1 Cup of Coconut Crystals Sugar (this stuff is amazing and you should be able to find at your local grocery store or on Amazon!)
  • 3/4 Cup of Agave Syrup
  • 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 2 sticks organic unsalted butter softened at ROOM temperature
  • 1 Large Organic Egg
  • 1 cup of mini semi sweet organic chocolate chips
  • 1½ tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp pink himalayan salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit, prepare baking sheet with Parchment paper
  2. In a large mixing bowl add flour, oats, coconut crystals sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and pink salt. Whisk together until well combined.
  3. In a different bowl mix together the egg, pumpkin puree, agave, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, along with butter.
  4. Using a hand mixer or kitchen aid, blend all ingredients together until well combined.
  5. Mix in chocolate chips gently with a large spoon.
  6. Place dough in refrigerator and allow to chill for at least 20 minutes.
  7. When dough is chilled, use a spoon to scoop dough onto cookie sheet, leaving about 2-inches of space between each cookie.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown and slightly firm to the touch. Remove and allow to cool…EAT UPPPP!

I hope you enjoy this recipe. If you want to refrain from the butter, use coconut oil/applesauce/or bananas and let me know what you think!!! (this will be on my to do list)

Here’s to a healthy and happy you xo

P.S. I am so grateful for you guys and your support on this blog, thank you.

Avocado, Tomato and Cheese w/ Balsamic Drizzle Sandwich (gluten free, quick and easy)

dsc03833dsc03864dsc03885dsc03900

Happy Monday! Did you guys see that moon last night? It was HUUUUUGE! We came back from a “Friendsgiving” weekend spent in a Cabin in the mountains and were too tired to cook a meal from scratch so we opted to make sandwiches. Kiril adds smoked turkey or chicken to this sandwich but mine is Vegetarian (obvi.) This is so so so good. The KEY is to use FRESH and Organic Ingredients and to SEASON w/ salt and pepper. It pairs really well with a warm vegetable soup or some sweet potato chips (recipes to come).

Hope you guys enjoy…I have something yummy in the oven right now that I can’t wait to share with you guys soon xoxox

What you will need:

  • 2 Slices of Gluten Free Bread (or bread of your choice)
  • 1-2 Slices of Organic Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 3 Slices of Organic Tomato
  • Organic Mayo
  • Balsamic Drizzle (one without any added sugar!)
  • Pink salt and pepper

Simple ingredients, but tasty sandwich!

Directions:

  1. Toast the bread
  2. Place cheese on bread
  3. Spread Mayo
  4. Add Avocado, tomato
  5. Drizzle balsamic reduction
  6. Season with Salt and Pepper
  7. Eat up!

 

Here’s to a healthy and happy you xo

Gluten Free Sesame Peanut Noodles

dsc03215dsc03228dsc03246dsc03279

It’s FRI-YAY!! Yesterday was a very busy day! By the time dinner rolled around I was so tempted to just order something, but the more I cook the less I seem to like eating out, especially to-go food! Since we are leaving today for Florida I decided to use whatever I could find in my fridge, and voila…Sesame Peanut Noodles were created. I had sweet potato noodles already spiraled from Wegmans and I was craving a dish that was sweet, salty and a little spicy for a balanced palate.

Let me know if you guys make this at home! It was so simple and all family members said it was one of their favorites (although Sofia will eat a cookie that fell on the ground so I am not so sure her opinion counts on this issue, haha). Enjoy!

What you will need:

  • 1 Small Onion
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Organic Sesame Oil
  • Sesame Seeds for topping
  • Spiraled Sweet Potato Noodles
  • Brown Rice Noodles
  • Broccoli cut into florets
  • 1 Tsp fresh grated ginger
  • Zest and juice from half a lime
  • Thai Basil or regular basil (1 big handful or more!)
  • Pink Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Honey
  • Chili Garlic Sauce
  • Sriracha or Red Curry Paste to add spiciness (optional- I left this out because of Sofia)

Directions:

  1. Soak Sweet Potato noodles and rice noodles in water
  2. Boil Water with Salt for rice noodles
  3. Steam broccoli
  4. Mince Garlic, finely chop onion
  5. Boil rice noodles for 4 minutes
  6. Remove and pour cool water over to stop the cooking process
  7. In a large wok or pan, drizzle sesame oil and place garlic and onion in there stirring constantly for 3 minutes, season with salt and pepper
  8. Add fresh ginger, lime juice, zest, peanut butter, a teaspoon more of sesame oil
  9. Optional, add red curry paste or garlic chili sauce here to make spicy
  10. 2-3 minutes longer, when the mixture has become more sauce like, add the sweet potato and rice noodles
  11. Mix Sauce throughout, adding a little water if sauce is too thick
  12. Add broccoli and basil and continue to mix together
  13. Season with Cayenne, red pepper flakes, pepper
  14. Drizzle 1 tsp of honey, taste test! Add any other spices at this time for your palate!
  15. Serve and top with toasted sesame seeds and/or Sriracha

Bon apetit! Have a great weekend!! Follow me on Instagram: @missjessashley for instastories of our upcoming trips to Florida and Hawaii!!

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

Peppermint Oil = Bye Bugs!

ant-1182282_1920dsc03191mint-1433826_1920

Nobody enjoys bugs in their home. I remember growing up in Florida and when it rained the creepy crawlies would come running in. I love essential oils (I DO NOT EAT OR DRINK THEM! Also, I do not represent DoTerra or Young Living – although my friend sells Young Living so I have this oil pictured.) I actually get most of my Essential Oils from a Small Business in Baltimore called PureSpiritPotions, you can find them on Etsy!

Anyways, a few years ago I learned that bugs do not like peppermint! Natural repellants are awesome. The key is to once a month or more if necessary, place drops of peppermint oil on window sills and in the door jams. This keeps the bugs away! I like to place it right in the crevices where they like to enter the house. If you have a green thumb, growing fresh mint or peppermint also works out well!

This is one of my favorite life hacks because it is so easy and it really works. Also, because most bug repellants are made with poisons which you certainly don’t want near your pets or babies.

Here’s to a healthy and happy you! xo

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

dsc03087dsc02869

dsc02890
My little helper <3

dsc02778dsc02987dsc02871dsc02886dsc02959dsc03017dsc03046dsc03067dsc03106

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