Vegan Chocolate Chip Coconut Banana Muffins

I love baking experiments. LOVE. I could bake all day and never get bored! Anyone else? Just look at the pics from my last post. I spent the entire weekend making desserts. :-D First up: these muffins! Bonus points: they are vegan (!) AND super easy.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Coconut Banana Muffins

I adapted the recipe from one of my favorite healthy food bloggers, The Balanced Blonde. Enjoy!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Coconut Banana Muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup ground flaxseed
  • 4 tbsp almond butter
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • A few dashes of cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut (I love Bob’s Red Mill Coconut)

How-to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Mash banana with a fork until creamy.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Grease a muffin tin and drop in spoonfuls of batter. (Fill all the way close to the top — they don’t really rise very much.)
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Let cool.

I stored these in a tupperware container at room temperature. After a few days, I moved them into the fridge. According to The Balanced Blonde, they will last up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Coconut Banana Muffins

Vegan Chocolate Chip Coconut Banana Muffins

Vegan Chocolate Chip Coconut Banana Muffins

Vegan Chocolate Chip Coconut Banana Muffins

Vegan Chocolate Chip Coconut Banana Muffins

Vegan Chocolate Chip Coconut Banana Muffins

 

**Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which may generate a revenue for my site when a purchase is made.**

25th Birthday

Hola! February has been a whirlwind. Not even talking about the weather! After two back-to-back weekend trips visiting my family and friends, I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday month. I first kicked off all the festivities with my friends in New York. We ate dinner at Galli in Soho. Regrettably, I forgot to take pictures — but I will say that the pasta primavera was incredible. :-D

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In my opinion, one of the best parts about birthdays is getting snail mail. I especially loved this card from my brother. Pink + glitter + wine + cake… couldn’t have combined more of my favorite things all into one!

Birthday Card

After part 1 of my birthday, I flew home to visit my family for Presidents Day weekend. Here’s a shot of all my airport essentials: giant water bottle + cereal snack mix! I always try to keep healthy snacks with me when I travel. And, of course, drink as much water as possible. Flying is so dehydrating!

Travel Essentials

On Valentine’s Day, I was feeling extra festive and whipped up these heart-shaped chocolate chip banana pancakes from Skinnytaste. They were ahhh-mazing! Pancakes never disappoint.

Heart-Shaped Pancakes

I followed up with baking project #2: vegan granola! Recipe coming soon. :-) PS — how do you like my leopard slippers + snowflake pajamas? Killin’ it!

Vegan Granola

That night, we celebrated my birthday with dinner downtown. I opted for pan seared walleye pike with steamed asparagus and quinoa (which you can’t really see in the picture). It was delicious!

Walleye Pike

Dessert was my favorite: red velvet cake with LOTS of frosting. It was almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

Birthday Cake

The next day, I jumped back into the kitchen for more baking! This time: vegan banana chocolate chip coconut muffins. They were to-die for! I adapted The Balanced Blonde’s recipe, and will share soon.

Vegan Banana Muffins

Vegan Banana Muffin with Coffee

Also a random side note: I’ve consumed a lot of V-Day candy over the past few weeks, which has led me to thinking… is it just me, or are Valentine’s Day colors the best for candy? They really should have pink and red M&M’s all year-round! Can’t get enough of ‘em…

Valentine's Day Peanut M&M's

Anywho, stay tuned for these recipes! I promise, they are worth the wait… :-D

Trader Joe’s Roasted Butternut Squash, Red Quinoa and Wheatberry Salad

I’m back today with another Trader Joe’s find: roasted butternut squash, red quinoa and wheatberry salad! Have you ever shopped in the TJ’s ‘to-go’ section? That’s where I found this. I typically cook my own meals, but sometimes I’m short on time (or patience!).

Trader Joe's Roasted Butternut Squash, Red Quinoa and Wheatberry Salad

There had to have been at least seven or eight different salads to choose from. I settled on this one. Probably because I can’t resist anything that involves butternut squash! :-P I also opted for a salad without meat, as I’m trying to cut it (and dairy) out of my diet as much as possible.

Soooo, on to the good stuff… how did it taste?

Pluses: the dressing tasted delicious as far as packaged dressings go. I highly recommend using it, because it gives the salad an extra punch of flavor. The protein and fiber stats are also very impressive, especially for a vegetarian salad.

Minuses: Not enough butternut squash! I felt a little cheated here, and the pieces they give you are really quite small (at least by my standards). Also, the sugar stats are SKY high at 22 grams. Mind you, the daily recommended value according to the World Health Organization is 25 grams. A day’s worth of sugar in one salad… yikes! I attribute this to the dried cranberries, which I pretty much avoided.

All in all, I still recommend this salad and would buy it again. At about $4, it’s a great value, and an excellent healthy alternative to many take-out, delivery and fast food options!

Trader Joe's Roasted Butternut Squash, Red Quinoa and Wheatberry Salad Nutrition Facts Trader Joe's Roasted Butternut Squash, Red Quinoa and Wheatberry Salad Ingredients List

7 Healthy Valentine’s Day Dessert Recipes

It’s almost time for the greatest dessert holiday of the year! Chocolate, strawberries, candy, cookies… I’m ALL about Valentine’s Day. And while I do love indulging (especially when it comes to chocolate!), I am ALSO a big believer in moderation. Whether it’s swapping in applesauce for butter, adding fresh fruit or using whole wheat instead of white flour, these 7 simple recipes will satisfy your sweet tooth without the added guilt. Take a look:

1. Strawberry Heart Fruit Kebabs via Modern Parents Messy Kids:

Strawberry Heart Fruit Kebabs

2. Chocolate Dipped Valentine’s Pretzels via Ms. Fox’s Sweets:

Chocolate Dipped Valentine's Pretzels

3. Healthy Red Velvet Cupcakes via Undressed Skeleton:

Healthy Red Velvet Cupcakes

4. Fudgy and Skinny Red Velvet Brownies via The Sweet Tooth Life:

Skinny Red Velvet Brownies

5. Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Blondies via Sally’s Baking Addiction:

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Blondies

6. Strawberry Banana Muffins with Greek Yogurt via Lauren Kelly Nutrition:

Strawberry Banana Muffins with Greek Yogurt

7. Chocolate Covered Strawberries via Skinnytaste:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

 

 

On Turning 25

At what age do most people start “feeling old”? I just celebrated my 25th birthday this past Thursday, and I’m already hopping on the bandwagon. How did time go by so quickly? I swear it was my 21st birthday just yesterday! Dang. Anyhow, it’s only led me to think about everything I want to accomplish at age 25. I came up with a list of 25 things — only fitting!

Question: what did / would / will you do at 25?

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1. Travel somewhere exciting. (Hello, Hawaii! I’m going in March.)

2. Visit college friends.

3. Be better at saying “no” (to myself and others).

4. Volunteer more.

5. Quit dairy. (I’ve touched upon this earlier, but ever since I started reading The Food Revolution, I’ve decided to make this change.)

6. Share my passion for healthy living and recipes… possibly even start a new blog on the topic.

7. Do more yoga. (I’ve found that the more I do it, the more benefits I reap. I try to go once a week, but I’d like to make this more regular and frequent. I also like changing it up and going to hot yoga once in a while. It’s just so calming / relaxing!)

8. Develop my own healthy recipes (especially desserts!).

9. Delete Facebook friends. This sounds random, but needs to happen. I’m ready to purge random acquaintances, especially people who post weird videos and negative rants!

10. Learn more about web and graphic design.

11. Read more books.

12. Take more cooking classes. (I really loved the Whole Foods Healthy Brunch Class!)

13. Train for another race.

14. Go to a comedy club.

15. Teach myself more about nutrition, whether from documentaries or books. I want to start posting articles on the topic.

16. Explore the New York area beyond what I know (i.e. beaches, upstate New York, etc.).

17. Visit my brother in Minneapolis.

18. Go to a winery.

19. Wear less black. Buy more COLOR!

20. Save and invest more $$$! I opened a Roth IRA last year, and want to keep the habit of saving as much as possible.

21. Do the Mast Brothers chocolate tour.

22. Go to an NHL game.

23. Stay positive, and be better at managing stress.

24. Watch less TV.

25. Don’t get held back by fear. (Sounds general, but can be applied to many different situations in life!).

**Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which may generate a revenue for my site when a purchase is made.**

 

Amy’s Bean and Rice Non-Dairy Burrito

I’ve been on a frozen kick lately. Not talking about the weather. :-P As much as I enjoy cooking, sometimes it’s just easier (and faster!) to whip up something frozen. I recently reviewed Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Mac and Cheese, and now my newest frozen find is from Amy’s. Have you tried their burritos? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I never had! I bought one for the first time at Whole Foods yesterday. My mom always raves about them, and I finally know why.

Amy's Bean and Rice Non-Dairy Burrito

I opted for the light in sodium, non-dairy version with rice and beans. As of late, I’ve decided to give up dairy as much as possible. Ever since I started reading The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World, my opinions and beliefs about dairy have entirely changed. I don’t find it necessary. Based on what I’ve learned, the negatives definitely outweigh the positives. This article “The Dangers of Dairy,” from Mind Body Green, pretty much sums it up.

Amy's Bean and Rice Non-Dairy Burrito

Anywho, back to the burrito! All you have to do is pop it in the microwave for a few minutes and you’re good to go. Couldn’t be easier! It tastes very hearty (even without the cheese). However next time I think I’ll add some hot sauce or salsa for a little extra flavor.

In sum, this burrito is an AWESOME substitute for pricey take-out or delivery food, and is a great option for a quick and easy lunch or dinner. Two thumbs up!

Amy's Bean and Rice Non-Dairy Burrito Nutrition Facts

**Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which may generate a revenue for my site when a purchase is made.**