Banana Walnut Cookies

Another cookie recipe? Yes. But they satisfy a very different need than the Lemon Raspberry Cookies I shared last week. While those cookies are sweet, light, and buttery- a perfect dessert, these Banana Walnut Cookies are chewy and hearty- a good breakfast or snack.

Banana Walnut Cookies

I didn’t even realize these cookies have NO added sweetener until I went back to write up the recipe. I’d planned to add maple syrup, but I luckily I forgot because I found I love these cookies just the way they are.

They’re so much fun to eat, because the soft cookie sort of melts in your mouth, but then the little nuggets of walnut provide an amazing texture contrast.

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These Banana Walnut Cookies would also be perfect for meal prep, as they are simple to make and keep well in the freezer. I layered the cookies with parchment paper in an airtight container and kept them in the freezer for about a week. Then, any time I wanted a cookie I unwrapped a couple, popped them in the toaster, and had a warm cookie in my hand in about 2 minutes.

 

If you make these Banana Walnut Cookies, be sure to comment and/or share with me on Instagram!

Banana Walnut Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9 cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 banana
  • 3 tbsp aquafaba (chickpea brine)
  • ⅓ cup almond milk
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F and line baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Whip aquafaba with hand mixer until frothy
  3. Mash banana, then stir in almond milk, vanilla, and aquafaba.
  4. Add flour, spices, and walnuts, then stir gently.
  5. Spoon onto parchment paper 2 tbsp at a time
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes

 

Egg Muffins

I’ve always liked the idea of egg muffins, because they’re a perfect easy, protein packed breakfast option. However, in my opinion, the fatal flaw is the lack of carbs. So when I have egg muffins, there needs to be some sort of toast or fruit on the side, but that sort of defeats the make-ahead, grab and go nature of egg muffins.

Therefore, I set out to create a “muffin” that rolled all essential components of a meal- protein, veggies, and carbs- into one adorable package. These muffins accomplish that mission perfectly, and they are absolutely delicious.

They crunchy, crisp tortilla provides the ideal contrast to the soft, savory filling. The veggies also provide some fresh, bright notes to balance out the custardy egg. Essentially, these muffins are the perfect balanced meal, both in nutrients and flavor.

If you make these muffins, be sure to comment and/or share with me on Instagram!

Egg Muffins
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Lunch
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Serves 2
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup chopped kale
  • ¼ cup chopped white onion
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 2 small tortillas
  • 2 eggs
Instructions
  1. Sauté kale and onion with a drizzle of olive oil.
  2. Mold tortillas into ramekins or muffin tins.
  3. Fill each tortilla cup with half of the veggie mixture.
  4. Crack an egg gently into each muffin cup.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes

 

Personally, I can never have enough lunch inspiration, so if you are looking for more easy lunch recipes, be sure to subscribe to the blog to receive a free PDF download of my Week of Lunches guide.

Lemon Raspberry Cookies

These Lemon Raspberry Cookies taste like the essence of sunshine and spring. They are so fresh and light, with tangy lemon and tart raspberries. At the same time, they are buttery, crumbly, and completely satisfying.

These cookies were created when I promised to bake for some friends, but then realized I had no chocolate chips. And in my experience, if you promise cookies, you only have two options. 1. Chocolate chip cookies, because you can’t really go wrong with chocolate. 2. Another type of cookie that is absolutely AMAZING. Essentially, if your cookies aren’t chocolate chip, they better be really good.

So I got to work incorporating some of the flavors I’ve been craving recently- crisp, refreshing, delicate- into a cookie I would be proud to present to my friends, despite the lack of chocolate chips.

Unfortunately, when I asked my family to taste test they fell in love and devoured nearly the entire batch. But now that they have the seal of approval from everyone from my little siblings to my grandparents, I will be making plenty more.

These Lemon Raspberry Cookies are so quick and simple, they will definitely be one of my go-to recipes for bake sales and potlucks. Maybe I can even use them to bribe my math teacher for a good grade…

If you make these cookies, be sure to share with me on Instagram and/or let me know what you think in the comments!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Lemon Raspberry Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
 
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil, softened
  • ½ cup honey (can sub maple syrup if vegan)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup. raspberries
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
Instructions
  1. Whisk together coconut oil, honey and lemon juice.
  2. Add flour, salt, and baking soda and stir gently but thoroughly until the flour is fully incorporated.
  3. Chop raspberries, then gently fold them into the dough.
  4. Chill the dough for one hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Form dough into 1 tbsp balls and place on baking sheet.
  7. Press lightly on each cookie to flatten the top.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cookies are golden brown.

 

Vegan Pizza: True Food Kitchen Style

As you can see from my last post, I feel head over heels in love with True Food Kitchen on my recent trip to LA. Everything on their menu sounded absolutely amazing, but I ended up getting the wild mushroom and brussels sprout pizza. Normally I’m not a huge cheese person, but the cheese sauce on the pizza was so light and fresh, it was absolutely delicious.

To my complete horror, however, they don’t have any locations near the Bay Area! I looked into using Postmates to deliver True Food from LA to SF, but apparently it doesn’t work like that. But I NEED that pizza in my life, so I got to work trying to recreate it at home.

The most important part of the pizza (and of pretty much everything) was the sauce, so that was what I focused on recreating. But to make sure everyone can enjoy the deliciousness, I took on the additional challenge of making it vegan.

Once I had the sauce perfected, I whipped up a batch of my favorite thin crust pizza dough (see notes for details) and sautéed some broccoli rabe to put my own original spin on things. However, you are absolutely welcome to use any veggies you like, and if you want to be more of a True Food purist, I can vouch for the fact that the mushrooms and brussels sprouts combo was absolutely incredible.

The sauce is deeply savory from roasted garlic and creamy from cashews, with bright notes of lemon to remind us that spring is just around the corner. If you need me you can find me spreading the leftovers on absolutely everything until further notice.

So here you have it: a True Food Kitchen inspired vegan pizza that tastes incredibly close to the real deal.

4.5 from 2 reviews
Vegan Pizza: True Food Kitchen Style
Author: 
Recipe type: Pizza
Serves: Serves 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 batch of your favorite pizza recipe (one that makes 4 servings)
  • 8 stalks broccoli rabe
  • ¼ cup vegan cream sauce
  • Vegan cream sauce:
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1.5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp almond milk
  • ¼ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Quick soak cashews by bringing a saucepan of water to a boil then turning off the heat and adding cashews. Soak for 20 minutes.
  2. While cashews soak, roast garlic for 20 minutes at 350º F.
  3. Drain cashews and add to food processor with olive oil. Process until nearly smooth, then add lemon juice, almond milk, garlic, and salt.
  4. Continue to process until mixture is completely smooth.
  5. Prepare and bake pizza dough according to recipe.
  6. Spread ¼ cup sauce on the pizza.
  7. Sauté broccoli rabe with a drizzle of olive oil, then add to pizza.
  8. Bake for 5 more minutes at 350º F then remove from oven and serve

 

Notes:

I used this recipe from How Sweet Eats for my pizza dough and subbed maple syrup for honey to keep it vegan.

Sauce will make more than you need for this recipe, but it is delicious and you will want to spread the leftovers on EVERYTHING.

SoCal Trip Recap

Day One

Around 2 pm on Sunday my dad and I packed up the car and left San Francisco. I brought one bag of clothes and one bag of real essentials. Real essentials = snacks (bare snacks apple chips, kind bars, and homemade trail mix), a full water bottle, my favorite notebook, and wireless headphones.

Since our washing machine was broken, I wasn’t able to pack any underwear (yeah, 3 different snacks, no underwear), so our first stop was Macy’s in South San Francisco. I think that’s a real right of passage- when you don’t have any clean undies so you go buy some instead. After spending way to long trying to figure out the difference between french cut, hipster, and bikini styles- apparently my lack of fashion sense extends to underwear- we were finally on our way.

I listened to the Fed + Fit podcast for a good amount of the drive, and by now I think it’s definitely fair to say I’m a podcast addict. I tend to go through intense phases with stuff like that, so I imagine it will pass eventually, but for right now give me all the podcast recommendations!

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After about 4 hours on the road, we arrived in Santa Maria. The restaurant options seemed to be pretty limited, but luckily the town has a Trader Joes and that’s really all I need in life. We grabbed dinner and stocked up on snacks, then headed over to the hotel to eat and watch NCIS. I had a lentil wrap with tahini sauce for dinner + dark chocolate almonds for dessert and it was AMAZING. To be fair, I was pretty hungry so my judgement may have been impacted. But it was really good.

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My skin has been a bit icky lately, so I put on my favorite clay face mask while we watched NCIS then went to bed.

Day Two

I’d been hoping to sleep in on vacation, but instead I woke up at 5:30 am. I tried to go back to sleep for a while but at 6:30 I finally gave up and watched Netflix on my computer for about an hour. By that time I was pretty hungry, so I just put a jacket on over my PJs and went down to the hotel’s breakfast buffet. Being the indecisive, breakfast loving person that I am, I find breakfast buffets a bit overwhelming. To keep it simple, I have a couple go-to meals such as oatmeal + fruit or eggs + toast. And always coffee, of course. I went with oatmeal (topped with brown sugar and walnuts) and cantaloupe.

After breakfast, we got in the car and drove a couple hours down the coast to Santa Barbara.The views along the highway were incredible and they reminded me how much I love seeing new parts of the world and how lucky I am to get to travel. We arrived with a couple hours to spare before the start of our UC Santa Barbara tour, so we hit the beach! We had a picnic with out Trader Joe’s goods from the night before, then my dad got on a quick conference call and I went for a walk on the beach. By the time we got back in the car to drive to UCSB, my pant cuffs were damp, my feet were sandy, and I was somehow missing a sock. The perfect first impression, right?

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For the next few hours we toured UCSB. I loved how the campus was so integrated with nature, and everyone seemed really happy. After the tour, my dad had a meeting in South Santa Barbara and I had some time to explore. I ended up at a cafe called The French Press. They had the foamiest lattes with gorgeous latte art and I felt very cool sipping my latte and working on this blog post.

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Then we got back in the car and completed the final 2 hours of our drive to LA. We checked in to our hotel in Century City (right by UCLA) then set out in search of dinner. There didn’t seem to be tons of real restaurants in the area (though there was TONS of fast food) so we settled for Cava Grill. I’d never been before, but it turns out it’s basically a Mediterranean version of Chipotle. So “fast casual” food with lots of veggies and fresh ingredients. I got a greens & grains bowl with 3 (!!!) kinds of hummus, roasted veggie mix (butternut squash + brussels sprouts), and a beet salsa type thing to top it off. My expectations weren’t all that high, but it was actually really good. The portions are pretty generous, but I loved it so much I managed to eat it all. It’s really a hard life when your delicious veggie bowls are a bit too big.

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As soon as we returned to the hotel I went to bed and fell asleep dreaming of beaches, beautiful colleges, and hummus.

Day Three

I slept in!! It was beautiful. In all honestly I only slept in until 8 am, but considering how conditioned my body is to waking up at 6 am for school, 8 is pretty good. I hit the gym first thing for a quick run on the treadmill. I kinda hate the treadmill and would much rather run outside, but we weren’t in a great neighborhood for running and I wanted to stay on track with my 10k preparation plan because I want to run Bay to Breakers in May! I’m on the 2nd week, so I did a 30 minute combo of running and walking.

We had to be at UCLA for a tour at 10:15 am, so I showered and got dressed then we grabbed breakfast to go at the Starbucks in the hotel. I got oatmeal and a latte then tried to eat and navigate at the same time as we drove to UCLA. After a few wrong turns we finally made it and the tour was lovely. The vibe was a bit more east coast college campus-y (it reminded me of Yale) and I learned they have the one of the best psychology programs in the nation! Now I’m just worried I’ll fall in love with every college I visit, but in the scheme of things that’s a good problem to have.

Once the tour was over we adventured into Beverly Hills to find Mitch and Cam’s house from Modern Family. My parents and I watched the show religiously in 2011/2012 so it was a pretty exciting moment.

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Since we didn’t have anywhere to be for the rest of the day, I convinced my dad to drive to Santa Monica for lunch at True Food Kitchen. I’d heard such great reviews on Instagram, and it did not disappoint! I wanted to try everything on the menu, but I controlled myself and we ended up sharing a kale salad and brussels sprout/wild mushroom pizza. Both were incredibly delicious and I can’t wait to try to recreate them at home. The people were so friendly and the weather was beautiful, so it was a wonderful experience all around. After lunch, we took a quick walk through a nearby park, then got in the car (again) for a 2 hour drive through crazy LA traffic to our hotel in Ontario.

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We decided to stay in Ontario because it’s close to the Claremont colleges, but as far as I can tell there’s not much there. There didn’t even seem to be any grocery stores nearby, so we ended up going to Target and getting sandwich supplies for dinner. To be honest that wasn’t tons of fun because I was hungry and tired and trying to buy dinner at Target, but it worked out and I ended up with a loaf of bread, a squeeze pack of Justin’s almond butter, and an apple. Back at the hotel, I put together a very sophisticated dinner of an almond butter sandwich, an apple, and a few chocolate covered almonds, ate in bed, then went straight to sleep. I’m pretty sure this is what everyone’s talking about when they mention the trendy LA food scene.

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Day Four

I’m writing the majority of this post at 8 am before beginning a day full of college visits and driving back  to SF. I don’t image anything too thrilling will happen, so I’ll spare you all the details, but I had so much fun on this trip and I really appreciate you following along. If you have any recommendations for fun spots/good eats in SoCal let me know because I hope to come back soon!

 

Trail Mix Remix

 

I’m leaving on a road trip to Los Angeles tomorrow and I can’t wait! For weeks I’ve been dreaming of taking in the views at Big Sur, listening to my favorite podcasts in the car, and trying all the amazing food LA has to offer.

I’m especially looking forwards to eating at Pressed Juicery (the freeze!!), Cafe Gratitude, and True Food Kitchen. I’ve been drooling over their food on Instagram for months and I’m so excited I’ll finally get to try it.

But until I get to the health food wonderland that is LA, I have to get through about 8 hours in the car, which means I’m going to be packing plenty of snacks.

I love finding creative solutions to the challenges of eating healthy on the road, so I see traveling as an opportunity to expand my healthy eating horizons. Some of my favorite snacks are sturdy fresh fruit (ex. apples, bananas, chopped melon), natural energy bars (KIND and Larabar are my favorites), and trail mix.

However, I find that classic trail mix can get sort of boring, so I prefer making my own. This mix combines salty, sweet, and crunchy with coconut chips, almonds, and cereal. I love that the sweetness in this trail mix comes from Bare Snacks coconut chips because while I love chocolate I find it can get very messy and melty on road trips.

This trail mix is fresh, fun, and filling, which, in my opinion, are essentials for a good on-the-go snack. The mix is beyond easy, made with incredibly simple ingredients, and totally customizable. If you try it, be sure to share with me on Instagram!

Trail Mix
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: serves 4
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup Bare Snacks original coconut chips
  • ½ cup roasted, lightly salted almonds
  • 1 cup Os cereal (eg. Cheerios)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients in medium mixing bowl and stir gently until ingredients are evenly mixed.

 

I received complimentary samples of Bare Snacks chips for review, but was not otherwise compensated for this post, and, of course, all opinions are my own.

Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew (Copycat Starbucks Recipe)

I don’t drink much coffee, so when I do you can bet it has a major impact. Like an “is this really just coffee or did they spike it with something” kinda impact. So naturally, my trick for crunch time essay writing is to go to Starbucks, order some form of latte/iced coffee/vanilla sweet cream cold brew (!!), and instantly transform into Super Katherine, who just happens to be an essay writing machine.

While employing this strategy last week, I discovered the best Starbucks drink I’ve ever had. The Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew that got me through my history paper was delicious, but that caffeine high was intense (and the ingredients are probably pretty sketchy) so buying one will definitely be a very occasional indulgence.

Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

Luckily, I was able to come up with a pretty great copycat recipe at home, which I can make with decaf coffee without the fear of being judged by a barista and has much less sugar than the original.

This is definitely going to be a regular part of my morning routine, and I’m confident it will become part of yours too!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Copycat Starbucks Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew
Recipe type: Beverage
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup dairy free milk (I used Ripple Foods)
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cold brew coffee (I prepared mine using a french press, but if you don't have one there are lots of great tutorials online)
  • ½ cup ice cubes
Instructions
  1. Stir together dairy free milk, maple syrup, and vanilla in a small pitcher or cup.
  2. Divide ice between two glasses, then pour half of the cold brew into each glass.
  3. Add ¼ cup creamer to each glass, and serve with a straw for the true Starbucks experience.

 

I used Ripple Foods milk in this recipe because I love its creaminess and protein content, so I want to share it with you, but this post is not affiliated with Ripple Foods in any way.

Spiced Applesauce

Sometimes I struggle with giving the people I love space to grow and change. I fear that I will no longer be able to connect with someone I care about or that they may lose interest in me. So and I have a tendency to distance myself from people in an effort to protect myself from loss.

Recently I’ve felt this happening with one of my best friends. We’re at pretty different points in our lives and don’t have many overlapping interests, so it makes sense that we haven’t been as close. I know friendships fluctuate though, and there may absolutely be a point when she once again feels like the Christina to my Meredith (we’re both obsessed with Grey’s Anatomy).

But I spent the afternoon with this friend and I realized how much I’d missed her and her family. As a strong introvert, it’s rare for me to find people that allow me to completely relax, and she is definitely one of those people. I think it’s the unconditional love I feel from her that allows me to be completely free from self consciousness.

If there’s someone in your life who makes you feel like this, or who you wish you were closer with, take a moment to call/text/write them a letter, then come back and make them some applesauce. Because obviously applesauce is the most authentic and complete expression of love.

But truly, this is such a great gift to others, yourself, and your entire household (it will make your kitchen smell AMAZING as it cooks). Sharing warm bowls of applesauce with my family gave me all the cozy warm feelings (both in my stomach and my heart).

I’m so interested in what you have to say, so let me know your thoughts about friendships, Grey’s Anatomy, and/or applesauce here or on Instagram.

Spiced Apple Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1.5 cups
 
Ingredients
  • ½ tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 cups chopped apples, such as fuji, gala, or honeycrisp (about 2 large apples)
  • ½ tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 cup water
Instructions
  1. Melt coconut oil in large, heavy bottomed pot.
  2. Add chopped apple, cover, and cook on medium low for 30 minutes.
  3. Add ginger and water to pot, bring to boil, then cover and simmer.
  4. Continue to simmer for an hour, periodically mashing apples with a large fork or potato masher. (Alternatively, blend in food processor once cooking is done. I haven't tried this, but I imagine it would create a smoother sauce.)

 

Bye Bye Boring Breakfast

Breakfast brings so much joy to my life. That may sound silly, but it’s true. All my life my family has taken time to eat together before school/work during the week, and on the weekends we enjoy relaxing breakfasts where we take time to talk, read, and eat delicious food.

So many of my best food memories involve breakfast foods, like the time my little sister and I made ourselves pancakes for dinner and threw in every random ingredient that sounded good, or when my siblings and I would try to make special anniversary breakfasts for my parents.

But recently I’ve been eating the same 3 breakfasts (yogurt + granola, eggs + toast, oatmeal + banana) over and over and over. And those are good breakfasts, but a girl’s gotta mix it up sometimes. Plus, my Instagram is starting to get a little repetitive.

So in an effort to have some fun with breakfast, I’m creating the Bye Bye Boring Breakfast challenge. All of these recipes can be prepared in 15 minutes or less and are sure to bring some variety to your routine.

This week, I’ll be making these recipes and sharing them on Instagram each day. I hope you’ll join me in trying some (or all!) of the recipes and banishing your breakfast blues. If you make any of these recipes, be sure to tag me on Insta or let me know in the comments!

Sunday:

Poached Eggs and Avocado Toast by Pinch of Yum

 

Monday:

Pecan Pie Oatmeal

 

Tuesday (Valentine’s Day):

Chunky Monkey Mug Cake

OR

Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls (these take longer than 15 minutes, but if you have time they’re really fun)

 

Wednesday:

Breakfast Tacos by Nutrition Stripped

 

Thursday:

Banana Chia Pudding  by Baked Greens

 

Friday:

Matcha Green Smoothie (personally I’ll probably have this with some peanut butter toast)

 

Saturday:

2 Ingredient Pancakes by Gimme Delicious

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Personally, I take it as an opportunity to show love to my family, friends, and myself. This usually involves taking time to enjoy some of my own favorite things (such as a face mask, a good book, Grey’s Anatomy, and chocolate), making breakfast for my family, and giving cards and little gifts to my friends. I love giving presents, but to be honest, I’m so indecisive that I’m not an amazing gift giver. And that’s where these Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls come in.

They are pillowy, melt-in-your-mouth tender, and, most important, chocolatey. Because nothing shows love better than chocolate. Especially Eating Evolved Chocolate, which allows you to show love to your body, the environment, and your tastebuds, all at the same time.

These rolls would make the perfect Valentine’s Day breakfast or gift, either to friends/family or to yourself. But if you don’t have time for baking this year, you could also order Eating Evolved products to be delivered right to your door, so you won’t even have to leave the house to give the best Valentines day present out there.

Check out Eating Evolved products here (by ordering through my blog you’ll receive a free jar of mint chocolate spread!) and if you make these rolls be sure to share with me on Instagram.

Happy early Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls
Serves: About 10 rolls
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • ½ cup all purpose flour/gluten free flour
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp instant yeast
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp Eating Evolved hot chocolate mix
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Pour warm water into a large bowl, add yeast, and sprinkle sugar on top of yeast.
  2. If yeast is activated, you will see small bubbles form in the center of the bowl. If yeast doesn't activate (as often happens to me), just try again!
  3. Melt coconut oil, then stir into water.
  4. Add flours and combine thoroughly .
  5. Allow to rise for ½ hour (at least), then roll into a 3 inch wide, ¼ inch sheet on a floured cutting board.
  6. Preheat oven to 350º F
  7. Sprinkle hot chocolate mix and cinnamon in the middle of the sheet of dough and roll the dough into a long cylinder.
  8. Cut into 1 inch pieces and place in a small nonstick skillet.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes.