Chocolate Chip Banana Bread {paleo, gf, rsf}

Let me introduce you to your new favorite baked good… She’s simple, healthy, and a party favorite! She’s even gotten the golden star of approval from the grandparents and TRUST ME that is hard to get! Here’s a picture of my grandpa (he turns 84 this weekend)!!

I probably make this loaf like every other week because what else do you do when your bananas turn spotty?? Okay okay, the occasipnal smoothie can do, but nothing compares to banana bread (especially this one)!! Only takes like 5 minutes to whip up, throw it in the oven, and you can thank me later! So easy. So nutritious. SO tasty.

I’ll go ahead and cut to the recipe because if you’re like me you probably already scrolled straight to the bottom so I won’t waste either of our time 😉

Ingredients

Wet:

3 spotted bananas, mashed

2 eggs + 1 egg white

1/4 cup almond butter (sub: any nut butter)

1/4 cup maple syrup

Dry:

1 cup almond flour (sub: any flour)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

Toppings/Add-ins:

3/4 cup chocolate chips or nuts/seeds of choice

Directions

In two separate bowls, combine wet and dry ingredients.

Then pour one into another and fold.

Add in any desired toppings/add-ins, then transfer to a greased 9″ x 5″ baking tin.

Bake at 350F for ~ 45 minutes (do 40 if you like it a little underdone in the middle).

Enjoy!

New Years Resolutions: 2020 Edition!

It’s 2020! It’s the start of a new year, a new decade, and a clean slate. It’s also the perfect time to set goals and intentions to shape your future, so you can come out in 2021 as an even better form of yourself!

In my family, we have always grown up writing our “New Years Resolutions”. When I was younger, mine used to be to score x amount of goals for my soccer team, or to be chosen to be part of the Olympic Development Program travel team (I’ve always been very athletic!). Sitting down and writing these resolutions on paper made them concrete. There was no backing out, but there were 12 months to move forward and work towards making these goals a reality. Nothing quite compares to the satisfaction of checking off boxes and watching your dreams come to life!

Over the years, the whole “New Years Resolutions” tradition has gotten a bad rap. But the beginning of a new year–and in this case also a new decade–can be a time to start fresh with a clean slate. So, you want to start eating healthier? That shouldn’t be such a crime! It’s okay to want to clean up your diet or workout more often if that is something that makes you feel good. Now is the time to set a few goals you want to achieve in the next 12 months that make YOU a better form of yourself. It’s okay to push yourself!

Here are a few of my goals this year:

Internally

I think we could all benefit from drinking more water! Water hydrates the body, clears the skin, and keeps the digestive system moving. Plus, when I’m hydrated, I just feel GOOD, ya know? Who doesn’t want to feel good?

I always see a huge difference in my energy levels when I incorporate more vegetables in my diet. Vegetables are filled with tons of vitamins and nutrients that are essential for our bodies to operate optimally. The best part is, they’re SO easy to slip into everyday meals. An extra handful of spinach in your smoothie. Riced cauliflower in your oatmeal. Your body will thank you later 😉

Lastly (and most importantly) I am making it a goal of mine to eat intuitively, and honor my body’s needs. Having a good relationship with food is extremely important. I will eat to fuel: my morning, my workout, my shopping spree, whatever it may be. I am going to make sure I listen to my body’s hunger cues and eat foods that make me feel good (because no one wants to see a hangry haley lol)!

Externally

Between school, sports, babysitting, dog-walking, I barely have enough time to sleep every day! So where do I make up for it? I usually set my alarm to the veryyyy last second and scramble to get to class on time. This year, I want to focus on having a solid morning routine. I am going to set 10 minutes aside to relax, stretch, and reflect every morning. I get stressed out very easily, and I believe that 10 minutes will make a huge difference on my mental state!

When there’s a lot on the agenda, it can be overwhelming. I always push things off until the very last second (procrastination is REAL). I seriously can’t tell you how many nights I have waited until 11:00pm to start studying (yikes!). But not anymore! This year, I am making it a goal to get work done when it’s assigned. It’s time for me to re-claim control over my life. Not going to stay a slave to late night studying this year (if I can help it!).

Getting my work done earlier will also allow me to fix my sleep schedule. Restoring my circadian rhythm is something I have been wanting to do for a while now: falling asleep soon after sunset and waking up with sunrise. I used to do this last year by leaving my blinds open and waking up with the sunlight and I felt so much more naturally energized. Trying to re-incorporate that!

And the one you’ve been waiting for…the fitness goal. As an athlete, fitness has always been part of my life. I love running, but I always feel more motivated when I have something to train for. This year, my goal is to run a half marathon! I love running long distance, but I have never run more than 6-7 miles continuously. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and discipline, but I’m excited to have a race to train for!

Overall

We ALL have goals for ourselves. It is human nature to want what you don’t have and it’s okay to demand more. It’s okay to strive to be better. But it’s also important to know that YOU are enough. These goals for the new year are just that–goals. They are something that you can strive to achieve, but they are NOT something to obsess over. Everything in moderation.

Here’s to a NEW year, a NEW decade, and a fresh start! These next 12 months are an opportunity for you to become an even better form of yourself. Overall, I am hoping to finish the first year of the decade less stressed and more intuitive in all aspects of life. Here’s to 2020!

Pumpkin Pie Mug Cake

Growing up as the only true health enthusiast in my family, I got pretty used to cooking all my meals for myself. I would meal prep on the weekends so I had all my food prepared for breakfast, lunch, snacks, afternoon sports, etc. When I came home, the one thing that I wanted more than anything was some HEALTHY DESSERT (and one that I could whip up FAST)!

And then…drumroll please…the mug cake was born! The easiest way for me to satisfy my sweet tooth without wasting any time at all! Seriously less than 5 minutes to prepare + make and 100% worth every bite. I swear that mug is absolutely magical (and even better when you’re exhausted and hungry). Easiest healthy dessert!

So naturally, I made sure that my mug cake was delicious, yet still completely filled with the good stuff and made out of whole food ingredients only. This mug is gluten free, dairy free (always), refined sugar free, and paleo–aka JUST how I like it 😉 Recipe below!

Ingredients

1 egg

3 tbsp almond flour

2 tbsp pumpkin puree

2 tbsp coconut sugar

1/4 tsp pumpkin spice

1-2 tbsp chocolate chips

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients, then transfer to a mug (or microwave-safe bowl).

Microwave for 2 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Add more chocolate chips and a drizzle of almond milk.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Almond Butter Cups

OKAY I know that I’m a bit late to the game with the whole pumpkin thing, but I mean, pumpkin recipes should be a year-round thing…right?! It’s just TOO GOOD to limit to one time a year in my opinion.

So–late or not–I bring to you, my Pumpkin Almond Butter Cups!!! These are seriously the most delicious, yet healthy version of homemade Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but with an EXTRA pumpkin boost! Not to mention, they’re vegan, dairy free, refined sugar free…the whole bit. What’s not to love?

If I haven’t captivated you yet, just LOOK at the ingredients. They’re all real, whole foods, and they combine to make the most delicious dessert (hint: they’re pictured above)! I’m a firm believer that when you’re eating healthy you should NEVER have to compromise! I promise you, these certainly don’t compromise in the flavor department 😉

Ingredients

Coating:

1 1/2 cups vegan chocolate chips

Filling:

1/2 cup nut butter (I used almond butter but up to you!)

1/3 cup pumpkin puree

2 tbsp vanilla protein (sub: almond flour and add more maple syrup)

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions

  1. Line a 12-muffin tin with muffin liners and spray with non-stick spray.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a double broiler or in the microwave in 30-second intervals (so the chocolate doesn’t burn).
  3. In a small bowl, combine all filling ingredients and set aside.
  4. Once the chocolate and filling are ready, fill them muffin cups in layers. Add 2 tsp of melted chocolate to the bottom of each cup. Then add 2 tsp of filling to the center of the cups (make sure it doesn’t touch the sides). Then coat the filling with an additional 2 tsp of melted chocolate.
  5. Store the muffin cups in the fridge to harden.
  6. Enjoy!

Paleo Banana Nut Bread

There are so many banana bread recipes out there, but there aren’t many that are both HEALTHY & taste GOOD–I never like to compromise!

I bring to you–my PALEO BANANA NUT BREAD recipe. It’s free of gluten, dairy, and added sugar ++ it’s LOADED with all the good stuff! This loaf is made with wholesome, paleo ingredients that make it incredibly satisfying and nutritious!

This is an absolute staple in my house! It’s the first thing I make when I’m craving something sweet, and I’m always making loaves to share with friends. It’s an EASY recipe that everyone loves!

Ingredients

Wet:

3 bananas

2 eggs + 1 egg white

1/4 cup almond butter

1/4 cup maple syrup

Dry:

1 cup almond flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

Toppings/Add-ins:

1/3 cup nuts/seeds of choice (optional)

2 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

Directions

In two separate bowls, combine wet and dry ingredients.

Then pour one into another and fold.

Add in any desired toppings/add-ins, then transfer to a 9″ x 5″ baking tin.

Bake at 350F for ~ 45 minutes.

Enjoy!

No-Bake Chocolate Almond Butter Oat Bars (V, Gf)

I love a good dessert. Especially one that’s clean and made with just a handful of ingredients. That’s why I love these No-Bake Chocolate Almond Butter Oat Bars!

These guys are my current favorite dessert because they hit all my macros (you can find yours using the Perfect Keto macro calculator)! Oats as a source of healthy carbs, vanilla protein powder and almond butter for added protein & healthy fats, and chocolate because…well who doesn’t love chocolate?? Each bite is like a little hint if heaven. No joke!!

These are also extremely easy to make! They don’t require any baking on your part–just stir some ingredients together, put them in a baking dish, pour some melted chocolate over it, and you’re all set. I’m always here for an easy way to satisfy my sweet tooth!

Ingredients

Base

1 1/2 cups oats

1/2 cup almond butter

1/4 cup vanilla protein

1/2 cup almond milk

Chocolate Layer

1/3 cup chocolate chips

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine all “base” ingredients, then transfer to a baking dish lined with parchment paper (I used a 9 x 9) and store in the fridge.
  2. Melt chocolate chips and evenly distribute over the “base” layer.
  3. Place the dish in the fridge for an hour to set, then remove and slice into squares.
  4. Store in the fridge and enjoy throughout the week.
  5. Enjoy!

Healthy Oatmeal Banana Pancakes

I’m ALLL about balance. Balance between school and sports, balance between workout and recovery, and balance between FOOD GROUPS!

Getting a balanced macronutrient meal is always a recipe for success. It ensures that you’re sufficiently fueling your body to operate at its best. But it doesn’t have to be boring! I’m here to tell ya that you can eat pancakes every day if you’re making them with the right ingredients. AKA, these HEALTHY OATMEAL BANANA PANCAKES!

Ingredients

2 eggs

1 banana

1/4 cup oats (blended to a flour)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking powder

Directions

  1. In a medium sized bowl, mash a banana and whisk in 2 eggs.
  2. Blend the oats to a flour, then add in to the batter with the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Heat a non-stick skillet to medium-low, then distribute the batter into pancakes.
  4. Cook for a few minutes on each side (but don’t press down with a spatula if you want them to be fluffy!)
  5. Add any desired toppings.
  6. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • For a fluffier pancake, allow the batter to thicken for 5 minutes before cooking, and don’t press down with a spatula!
  • Customize them to your liking. You can add vanilla extract, matcha, or some chocolate chips to spice them up.

Go-To Vanilla Chia Pudding

I don’t like to label my diet. I like to eat mindfully and analyze how I feel after eating specific foods. For me, I enjoy lower carb alternatives because they don’t retain as much water, and therefore don’t cause bloat (something i’ve struggled with in the past).

I used to eat oatmeal EVERY DAY, and I loved it! But, our bodies are constantly changing, and I’ve learned since that I can no longer tolerate such large amounts of carbs.

Instead, I opt for chia pudding, an excellent alternative! Here’s what makes chia pudding so great:

– high in protein/fat
– high in fiber
– excellent source of omega-3’s
– low glycemic index

Just a jar of it is enough to fill me up for HOURS. The high protein/fat content is what makes them satiating and naturally low on the glycemic index (so they don’t spike blood sugar). The omega-3’s and the low glycemic index of chia pudding are extremely beneficial to the skin, and give you that clear, vibrant glow.

What I like the most about this superfood, however, is how sustainable it is! It’s filling and doesn’t give you an energy spike/crash, but rather some steady, stable energy that fuels you up all day long.

Ingredients

3 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp vanilla protein
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
3/4 cup nut milk

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a sealable jar, (whisk in chia seeds thoroughly to make sure there are no clumps), then store in the fridge overnight.
  2. Add any desired toppings.
  3. Enjoy!

Haley Colette’s Guide to Cabo: A 48 Hour Adventure!

Cabo is a beautiful place between its sandy beaches, drought-friendly agriculture, and natural beauties. It also happens to be my FIRST TRIP OUT OF THE U.S.!!! I’ll be sharing all kinds of tips, tricks, safety hazards, and must-do adventures, all of which I covered in less than 48 hours!

Weather

The weather met my expectations precisely. It was warm and dry, when I went in the beginning of Spring. The first day, it was relatively overcast, but the sun there is strong, so lather up on sunscreen PLEASE! The last thing you want is to be burnt the first day.

Bring summer clothes! I spent most of my time in a bathing suit, but we walked around town in shorts and t shirts comfortably. The temperature doesn’t change much from day to night, so expect dinner to be warm.

Hydration

It’s really dry there, the sun evaporates all the water out of your system. Make sure you travel with a bottle of water, everywhere and hydrate as much as possible. Drinking lots of water the day before often helps aid your body’s adjustment to the arid climate. We drank from the hotel tap water because it was a resort and a reliable source, but if you go into town, be careful! Since Mexico is a Third World Country, you may want to buy bottled water just in case or even better, bring a filtered water bottle like a Berkey or Brita and save the environment while you’re at it!

Must-Do’s

Since our time was limited and we didn’t have a car to drive, we had to choose one spot to go to for the day. We went to Marina, Cabo San Lucas a great destination if you’re looking to do sight-seeing, whale watching, shopping, etc. We walked around the shops there and got to know the culture. We went on one tourist attraction, the water taxi, and it was WORTH IT! There are solicitors everywhere offering rides, but we went to an established company for safety reasons. The water taxi was a 45-minute boat ride which visited 9 attractions including The Arch, Lovers Beach, Divorce Beach, Scooby Doo Rock, etc. It was gorgeous and extremely affordable at only $10 a person!

Food

The part you have probably been waiting for! The food there is good, but traveling around is really expensive because they don’t have Uber, and taxis are $$! We stayed at the hotel for meals which had a small selection of different restaurants. When we went to Marina, we ate snacks all day instead of formal meals including fruit bowls from a local deli (which are way cheaper than here!), gelato, chips and guacamole.

Only advice–order MEXICAN food. I’m sure you already know this, but don’t order Chinese food in Mexico. It’s not a good idea. Trust me.

Bargaining

The best part (my personal favorite part) about Mexico is that you can BARGAIN! None of their prices are set in stone, so be careful when you make purchases. If they know you are a tourist, they will increase the prices drastically. Evaluate the item yourself and realistically determine how much you’re willing to spend on it before you ask for the price. They usually counteract your question with “How much do you want to pay for it?”, so be ready! We brought U.S. dollar bills in small increments ($10 and $20 bills) and when we negotiated, we took out a bill and put them in a “take it or leave it” situation, and trust me they don’t want to leave it…

Safety

Staying safe is your #1 priority. We made sure that all of our taxi rides, water travels, etc. were all stemming from an established company. At Marina, they had a tourist support center, where they recommended some companies to use for the water taxi and cab ride, and although the ones they recommend are usually more expensive, your safety is worth it.

There are people constantly soliciting products or boat rides up and down the streets. They often try to lead you into back rooms of stores or onto boats for god-knows-what. Make sure you always travel with a friend and have easy access to a way outside. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people offered us rides “for free” and tried to lead us down to their boat. Say NO!

So there you have it! How to do Cabo San Lucas in less than 48 hours. If you have any questions, please reach out and I’d be happy to help you! Please leave any favorite spots/activities in Cabo in the comments below. I’d LOVE to hear about your favorite places!

Soft Baked Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

There’s really nothing I crave more than a warmed, soft-baked, cookie with a latte in the morning or for a little something sweet after dinner. These Soft Baked Vegan Gingerbread Cookies prettyyy much do it for me. They’re so soft, they almost melt in your mouth, and they have the perfect touch of sweetness to ease a sweet tooth.

Also, they’re naturally VEGAN. No need for any flax egg/ banana substitutes to try to get the recipe to work out, I got you covered. There’s also tons of substitutions you can make if you see some ingredients you don’t have on hand. This recipe is meant to be easy and available for anyone to make–let alone all the benefits that come from a…COOKIE!

Ingredients

Dry:

1 cup almond flour

1 cup oat flour (1 cup oats, blended into a flour)

1/3 cup coconut sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp baking powder

Wet:

1/2 cup almond milk

3 tbsp molasses

Directions

  1. In two bowls, combine wet and dry ingredients, then pour one into the other and fold.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then use 2 spoons to distribute the batter into cookies (I did 18), leaving a little room for expansion.
  3. Top with more cinnamon and coconut sugar, then bake at 350F for 20 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool, then indulge in your healthy, soft baked treat!
  5. Enjoy!

Notes:

    If you don’t have coconut sugar on hand, sub in brown sugar at a 1:1 ratio for the same results.
    Oat flour can be made by blending 1 cup of rolled oats in a blender or food processor for a few seconds to achieve a fine flour.
    Almond flour and oat flour can be substituted with any other flours in a 1:1 ratio (with the exception of coconut flour)
    To achieve a crispier/firmer cookie, bake at a higher temperature, and check it periodically to prevent the cookies from burning.