Chocolate Pumpkin Banana Muffins

These light, fluffy, crumbly and chocolatey Pumpkin Banana Muffins will be a perfect holiday breakfast. It has been WAY too long since I’ve posted, and I’ve missed it!  These Chocolate Pumpkin Banana Muffins were just the motivation to take a pause during life’s craziness and share this recipe. Am I the only one who self inflicts pure craziness upon myself?  The other day I was running in 10 different directions and stopped for a minute to think why things were so disarray.  Then it hit me… I’M the reason for the chaos.  From being a mom, wife, involved in my church, registered nurse, blogger, and organizing the most killer food blogger conference in existence, I chose every crazy thing going on around me AND I love it! I love the holidays where everything slows down for just a second and reminds me how my husband and kids are by far my most rewarding and energizing part of my life.  My baby boy is 15 months and his cheeks just scream ‘kiss me all day, mama’! My sweet girl is almost 4 and love her sassy, independent mother-to-anyone-smaller-than-her self.  AND I just celebrated yesterday 8 years with my husband, best friend, and equal partner in every way.  I’m one blessed lady!  No complaints here… except that I already ate all of these muffins. I know I’ve already confessed how I’m not a huge chocolate fan (inserts gasps).  However, even I can’t resist a little chocolate now and again AND I can still make it healthy.  I’m seriously addicted to muffins.  Like I make them almost every morning.  My Banana Muffins and Pumpkin Muffins continue to be... read more

Applesauce Chia Muffins

I cannot believe we’re on the last half of July!  Does anyone else feel like this year is flying by?  I want to slam the breaks on my summer days and prolong the summer as long as possibly especially since my baby boy is rapidly approaching his first birthday!!  I tear up thinking about it.  Am I the only mom who gets emotional on birthdays?  If so… just lie and say you get me. Well, at this point, all I can do is hang on, enjoy every second, and comfort myself with these light, fluffy applesauce muffins.  Not only are these approved by my husband and 3 year old, my cute baby smeared the muffin all over his face while he hastily ate his. Before I started blogging, I was clueless on how this all worked.  Extremely clueless.  It is hard work juggling everything!  I started meeting other bloggers and quickly realized this blogging business is packed with talented, educated, and family-focused individuals.  We have a passion and want to share it with others.  We spend long, late hours working while our kiddos sleep in order to build our businesses. Although I love creating healthy recipes and hosting my health challenge, I wanted to do more to support and encourage others in my same spot!  I united with my brilliant friend, Sabrina, and formed a plan on how to host a food blogger conference unlike any out there!  I now have 4 babies… my two beautiful children, No Diets Allowed, and Everything Food Conference.   All four require insane amount of work and diligence, but I have to say my two delightful, joyful kids are by... read more

Easy Italian Pasta Salad

Summer is busy.  BUT it’s the good busy.  Family BBQs, reunions, trips, and simply just enjoying the beautiful weather.  With all this fun, who wants to spend lots of time in the kitchen?  Not this girl!  I’m all about the quick and easy recipes during the summer.  However, doesn’t mean we need to skimp on the healthy side.  This easy Italian pasta salad is quick to throw together and will be gobbled up at any family function… including dinnertime tonight. I like to think I’m a pretty nice person, but when it comes to some things… I’m a total snob. Such as water.  I’m a total water snob.  I’m a HUGE water lover and drink around 3 liters each day.  Play one round of my health challenge and you’ll get me.  Water does not taste the same!  I have a few favorites but totally loving my alkaline ionized water from the wellness center. Just like my water, I’m pretty attached to quality ingredients.  The couple extra pennies make a HUGE difference for my tastebuds and health.  I’ll share a couple tips on how to make this salad as tasty as possible. I recently found Garfalo pasta at Costco and instantly could taste the quality.  Cheaper pastas seem to either get mushy or rubbery when cooked.  Higher quality, like Garofalo, has better flavor and texture than regular store bought pasta.  I’m hooked.  Cheap pasta… ciao! Same with mozzarella. I usually stay far far away from dairy, but I do add mozzarella to this salad.  There’s a vast difference between mozzarella quality.  You don’t have to go too crazy, but I recommend purchasing some quality mozzarella for this pasta salad.... read more

Fresh Fruit Salad

If you want something that will be consistently devoured by your family, you’ve come to the right place.  I make a large batch of this fresh fruit salad for every family gathering and it’s a hit each time.  Who would love juicy pineapple, crisp apples, and crunchy sweet grapes? Although a 3 ingredient fresh fruit salad is quick and easy, you don’t want to skip out on my tips. First, wash your grapes and apples!  And by washing, I don’t mean rinsing with water. Scrub those babies! Here’s a post on washing vegetables where you can see the difference between washed and rinsed grapes. I’ve used a few vegetable washes in my day.  I keep coming back to Fit Fruit & Vegetable Wash.  Big BIG fan! For grapes, I pluck them and place them in a large bowl.  I pour a cap full of Fit Fruit & Vegetable Wash over the grapes and fill the bowl with cool water until all the grapes are covered.  Let them sit for about 3 to 5 minutes and use your hands to gently scrub the grapes while still in the water in a circular motion.  Drain and rinse with water. For apples, spray each apple 2 to 3 times with wash.  Scrub the apples with your hands for about 15 to 20 seconds.  While rinsing under cool water, scrub the apple with your hands until you feel the residue wash off.  You’ll oooh and aaah over how great they feel!   After you finish cutting your fresh pineapple into chunks, don’t throw away the rind just yet!  Those crisp delicious apples need the juice from the rind in order to prevent them from... read more

Gluten-Free Pancakes

Happy 4th of July!  I’m gearing up for a full day of family fun tomorrow and hope you’re ready to do the same.  Am I the only one feeling like this year is flying by?  I can’t believe it’s already July! Well, the brutal heat makes it difficult to forget we’re mid-summer. Since the last thing I want to do is hang out by a hot oven instead of the refreshing pool, I figured out a quick breakfast solution for my gluten-free friends.  Actually, even if you’re not gluten-free, you must MuSt MUST try these gluten-free pancakes!  We have made them for breakfast 5 days in a row and still want them again tomorrow. My husband usually doesn’t like gluten-free recipes unless it’s my Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies or my Ooey Gooey Brownies.   When I made these gluten-free pancakes for him, he looked shocked.  I believe his exact comment was “these are actually really good!” Gluten-free baked goods can sometimes be… well, rubbery.  These pancakes are anything but.  You’ll only taste light, fluffy, and scrumptious pancakes. The main reason these pancakes are amazing is the Namaste all-purpose flour I discovered.  Oh. My. Goodness!  I have already used my entire bag.  I just went to Costco and bought two more bags since I can’t stop making these pancakes for breakfast.  Confession… we even had them for dinner one night.  This flour has a blend of gluten-free flours and xanthum gum.  We’re shouting for joy over here since finding this tasty flour.  Anyway, I think you get my point.  We’re fans.   You can quickly negate any and all health benefits by which toppings you use.... read more

Honey Peanut Butter Cookies

Frequently, I get mistaken for someone who does not like dessert or sweet things because I’m healthy.  I either try to convince them that I do very much like my dessert despite the ‘yeah right’ look in their eye or I just smile politely and think ‘if they only knew’.  Why has the universe convinced everyone that healthy eaters are poor deprived souls with an anti-dessert movement?  Tis not so.  These Healthy Honey Peanut Butter Cookies would have anyone singing praises for desserts! By now, you should know my husband is my guinea pig.  He knows it.  I know it.  It’s a mutual agreement!  I thrive off the challenge of sneaking health into my recipes.  I’m always plotting my next recipe with some hidden health benefit and hoping to knock it out of the park on the very first try. To be honest, I usually have to bake something a few times before I hear the magical phrase, ‘babe… this is REALLY good!’  Not this time.  As soon as my healthy honey peanut butter cookies were pulled from the oven, he downed at least 4.  They are chewy, soft, sweet and nutty.  Everything you dream a peanut butter cookie to be. I really love Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour.  I know, I know.  I keep mentioning it.  But have you tasted it’s fluffy goodness in my Banana Zucchini Muffins or Morning Glory Muffins? I’m not getting paid for my opinion… I seriously just love the flour.  It’s finely ground whole wheat flour which results in light, fluffy baked goods. I actually got the idea for this healthy peanut butter cookie recipe from the back of the... read more

Coconut Chicken Curry

We have a fabulous little hole-in-the-wall Thai place right around the corner from our home.  I’m embarrassed to admit how often I think of their coconut chicken curry.  I want to call up and request just a tall glass of their coconut curry sauce.  Mmmmm Mmm.  I could just drink it! Since I can only tame that temptation for so long, I have been in the kitchen tweaking and playing with this coconut chicken curry recipe for awhile now.  FINALLY I can now daydream about my own coconut curry recipe. One of the most common questions I get about coconut milk is whether I use the canned or carton kind.  Well… it depends on the recipe, and I’ll make sure to specify when I mean the canned coconut milk.  For coconut chicken curry, definitely use the canned kind. Coconut milk is loaded with fat!  Don’t be scared though, my friend, this fat actually helps with weight loss, reduces heart disease, and does many many more wonderful things for you.  When purchasing coconut milk, purchase the full fat and NOT the light.  The only difference is light canned coconut milk has added water which dilutes the coconut meat.  It’s a waste of money, doesn’t taste as great, and this is one cream you can totally indulge in.   I have 2 kids.  I have busy days.  Some days I don’t want to cook.  Am I alone? I’m betting not.  This is now one of my quick, go-to dinners.  I start preparing the dish while the rice is cooking and everything is usually done at the same time.  30 minutes in.  30 minutes out. I have lots... read more

Garlic Chicken Pasta

Sometimes I want something light for dinner.  And by light, I mean no heavy sauce but still rockin’ with flavor and satisfying.  I played around with this light olive oil sauce a couple times until my husband actually requested it!  Totally caught me by surprise since my steak-and-potato man usually doesn’t enjoy lighter dishes…. shows how amazingly tasty my garlic chicken pasta recipe turned out. Have you heard about the controversy between real and fake olive oil?  Apparently the Mob or some really scary rich people have been producing olive oil for 20 plus years with less quality oils (canola, sunflower seed, etc.) and claiming it’s 100% olive oil.  They might as well take out their huge wallets and smack us across the face! There are home taste tests, refrigerator tests, and other purity tests which can help you determine whether or not the brand of olive oil you’re using is the real deal.  AND there’s also controversy within the controversy.  So… what do I do with all the conflicting info?  My best research and stick with a brand I feel is legit. Unless you want to spend $54 for a small bottle of the most expensive pure olive oil (I looked it up), here are four brands that have passed the standards established by the International Olive Council.  Since I love my Costco, I usually go with Kirkland. You may have noticed that I’m a big fan of dinners that combine chicken and vegetables like my Chicken Fiesta Soup, Pineapple Chicken Fried Rice, and my Pasta Primivera recipes.  I’m not against side dishes.  Especially if the side dish is asparagus with coconut oil.  However, I love the combination... read more

Cajun Scrambled Eggs

My husband was born and raised outside Atlanta, Georgia. When I was 16, I moved to Georgia where we first met.  ‘Aaaah… high school sweethearts!’  NOT exactly. I’m 2 years older than my man.  In high school, dating a younger man was a serious faux pas.  Anyway, long LONG story short , we were family friends for 10 years until it clicked that we were more than just friends.  Over 7 years of marriage and 2 kids later, he continues to be the best decision I ever made. Love and scrambled eggs DO go together.  Hang in there with me.  After being married a year, we moved to Georgia for his internship with the Atlanta Hawks and Thrashers (such a BLAST!).  On our long painful drive back to Utah (30+ hours… I’m SO not a road-tripper), we stopped to visit my aunt and uncle in Louisiana.  Little did I know this quick visit would FOREVER change my view on scrambled eggs.  My aunt scrambled us some eggs for breakfast and we immediately notice the punch of flavor.  Louisiana… cajun seasoning… my aunt… I’m indebted. Cajun seasoning also makes an appearance in my husband’s two favorite recipes, Breakfast Quiches and Cheesecake Factory Cajun Jambalaya Copycat. Cajun is the perfect combination of spices and makes something simple like scrambled eggs pop!  It’s as necessary as salt and pepper in your spice drawer.  I haven’t tried Slap Ya Mama yet, but it’s Amazon’s best seller.  Louisiana and McCormick cajun are both really tasty. Have you seen Food, Inc?  I’m both informed and traumatized.  My takeaway… we need to do a little more research on the foods we put... read more

Jamba Juice Orange C-Booster CopyCat

Jamba Juice lovers… holla!  I didn’t realize so many people crave Jamba Juice like I do until my healthy copycat recipes started blowing up! Do you know what my Mango-A-Go-Go, Peanut Butter Moo’d, Razzmatazz, and Caribbean Passion have in common?  They are 4 ingredients or less, dairy-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, and scrumptious-FULL!  Let’s keep this party going by introducing Jamba Juice Orange C-Booster! Okay, I’ll try to chill out on using so many exclamation points…. really, I’ll do my best. When I’m under the weather, my mind immediately turns towards a soothing Jamba Juice Orange C-Booster.  It’s overflowing with vitamin C and nothing feels better on a sore throat than a cold smoothie. I had the flu (yes, the real flu) a couple months ago and it knocked. me. out. I was in bed for a week and my body felt on fire.  The body aches were the worst part!  I’ll stop complaining… there’s a reason nurses make the worst patients.  Since being sick is a form of torture, I of course needed Jamba to comfort me.  Thanks to my sweet honey, Orange C-Booster made an appearance.  It almost makes being sick worth it. Almost. Like my other Jamba Juice copycats, there are only 4 ingredients: orange juice, peaches, pineapple, and banana.  The original recipe calls for orange sherbet which contains added sugar and dairy.  A frozen banana quickly replaces the sherbet and its creamy texture tastes like vanilla ice cream.  Don’t believe me?  Try my 3 ingredient blender ice cream.    Freezing bananas is really simple.  Wait until your bananas are the perfect yellow (not green and not brown).  Peel your bananas (up to 6), place in ziplock gallon... read more
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