Decadent PB Banana Bread (GF, Dairy-Free Option) 

I have been a bit stressed in the past few weeks as I anticipated my big cross country move. As the days dwindled, what did I do? No, not pack.

I baked and cooked endlessly! Luckily, this resulted in some new recipes and tasty treats, but I can’t say it was helpful for getting my suitcases packed…


I had three very ripe bananas sitting on the counter so I decided to go with a simple banana bread option.

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3c Better Body Foods PB Fit
  • 1/3c Better Body Foods coconut flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
  • Stevia, to taste
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1/3c Chocolate Chips (choose Dairy Free if you want; Lily’s Sweets makes great vegan chocolate chips)
  • 1/3c chocolate peanut butter (I used Wild Friends–use another type if you’re going the dairy free route)


1) Preheat oven to 325.
2) In a large bowl, combine bananas, egg, and vanilla.
3) Add in coconut flour, PB Fit, baking powder, and a dash of cinnamon.
4) Stir mixture until combined.
5) Add stevia to taste.
6) Stir in chocolate chips.
7) Pour batter into a greased loaf pan.
8) Swirl chocolate peanut butter on top of loaf for extra peanut butter flavor!
9) Bake for 35-40 minutes or until top is slightly browned and firm to the touch. The edges of the bread should begin pulling away as well.


10) Let loaf sit in pan for 10-15 minutes.
11) Let cool on a baking rack.
12) Enjoy!

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Do you always make the same banana bread recipe? Is peanut butter a must for you?

Smoky Seasonal Veggie-packed Rice (GF, Dairy-Free) 

I was craving something smoky, creamy, and different the other night. I had gone to the farmer’s market earlier that day and found some wonderful yellow zucchini that I was dying to use.
I started out with the sauce and the meal quickly evolved from there.


Ingredients:
3 tbsp almond milk
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
1 packet NuNaturals stevia
1 tsp liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
Dash salt
3-4 threads Saffron
1/2 tsp Paprika
Salt, to taste
1/2 Portabello Mushroom, chopped
1/2c Yellow zucchini, chopped
Miracle rice, prepared according to directions on the bag

Directions:

1) In a small sauce pan, combine almond milk, liquid smoke, liquid aminos, stevia, saffron, paprika and let simmer.

2) Chop zucchini and portobello mushroom into thin slices. Set aside.

3) Prepare miracle rice according to the directions on the bag. Stir sauce mixture occasionally as it begins to thicken at a slow simmer.

4) Add chopped zucchini and mushroom to the sauce, turn up the heat to medium-low.


5) Continue stirring mixture and after vegetables are nearly cooked, add in miracle rice.

6) Stir mixture well. Add a dash of almond milk and liquid aminos to taste if you need more liquid (be sure to add more liquid slowly).

7) Enjoy!

I’m sure this dish would be delicious with a wide variety of vegetables. I also thought of adding shrimp for an extra kick of protein. If you want to try Miracle Noodle, use code HANNAHJULY for a discount!

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Do you go to local farmer’s markets? What inspires your dishes?

Fresh Amore Yogurt Parmesan Baked Chicken 

What happens when you have random ingredients you need to use? I know I always get creative and come up with a new recipe. As you might guess, we had tons of yogurt in the fridge and a bag of crumbs from our Costco-supported Cello Wisp addiction (Cello Wisps are basically crackers made only of Parmesan cheese–high in protein and calcium, low in carbs!). With these ingredients, I came up with this idea for baked chicken bites. I hope you enjoy them!

1) Set oven to 375.

2) In a medium size glass container combine:

1c plain yogurt

1/2 lemon, squeezed

1tsp Amore garlic paste


3) Chop 2 chicken breasts into approximately 1.5×1.5in cubes.

4) Add the cubes into the glass container, cover and place in refrigerator.

5) Now, crush Parmesan cheese cello wisps until you have 2.5-3c worth of crumbs (feel free to sub in some Panko bread crumbs). Add 2 tsp Italian seasoning and stir until well combined.

6) Pour crumb mixture onto a large plate.


7) Take out chicken cubes and dip and roll (sounds like a dance move, right?) each piece in crumb mixture until fully coated. I used a big spoon and fork to do this!

8) Place dipped cubes onto foil lined, lightly oiled cookie sheet.

9) Bake at 375 for 18 min or until chicken is cooked through.


Enjoy! We had our chicken bites alongside roasted asparagus and spaghetti squash with marinara sauce.

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What’s your favorite way to use leftovers?

Breakfast for Dinner Days (+product review)

Summer at my house means late dinners and lazy evenings, but when my nephew comes to town we have to make sure to eat a bit earlier (aka before his bedtime). I would argue this is healthier, but it means we have to throw dinner together a little faster sometimes! Luckily, we thought of breakfast for dinner. This is a fun, special treat and how can you go wrong with sweet pancakes and savory eggs?

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I love developing new pancake recipes, but now was not the time for a pancake distasteful so we opted to try a new pancake mix I just received from Phoros Nutrition (it’s sold on Amazon).

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The mix contains just a few ingredients and you only need water and eggs. I love how much the batter rises–just a glimpse into how fluffy the pancakes are!

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The batter was absolutely delicious, and it wasn’t too sweet like so many pancake mixes out there. There was a slight banana taste that we all loved! We added just a small six-year-old handful of mini chocolate chips to our pancakes too…

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The pancakes cooked up quickly on our griddle set to medium heat (about 350 degrees). They were done just in time for us to enjoy them alongside some scrambled eggs with veggies.

We all enjoyed our pancakes topped with our preferred toppings…Nature’s Hollow Sugar-Free Maple Syrup, Betsy’s Best Almond Butter, and chocolate fudge syrup! The pancakes tasted perfectly thick and fluffy with a slight hint of banana flavor. They were a hit with everyone! I will definitely have to order another bag of mix!

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Disclaimer: I was provided a free bag of Phoros Nutrition Protein Pancake Mix to review, however this post represents my honest thoughts and opinions. 

Holding Out for a HERO!

The new Quest Nutrition hero BAR!

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I have tried two flavors so far, although I am DYING to get my hands on the chocolate caramel pecan flavor…

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I loved both flavors (blueberry cobbler and vanilla caramel) that I got the chance to try prior to the release. The rich white chocolate-like coating combined with the crunchy cereal-bar base created the perfect texture. Not to mention the caramel and blueberry layers; the caramel layer blew me away. They both were gooey, sweet, and delicious. No one would ever guess that these bars are healthy! Hero bars combine the best of the older seasonal pumpkin quest bars and the new cereal bars. These are my new go-to treat!

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These bars are sweetened with allulose, which is a sweetener that is new to the market. While the allulose is listed as a sugar on the label, the body does not absorb it…watch the video below for a more in-depth explanation::

Nutrition aside, these bars taste DELICIOUS!

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Are you excited to try the new Hero Bar? Which flavor sounds the best to you?

Coach Training Accelerator: A Review

I love learning, but I’ve always been a bit skeptical about online learning courses. When Coach Training Accelerator gave me the opportunity to complete their Certified Coach online training, I couldn’t turn it down–I had to try online learning for myself!

Confession: I was wrong about online learning.

This was amazing.

I was so surprised by how much I learned through the series of 20 lessons. The content is a supplement for the CTA Certified Coach Program and is delivered through audio and transcribed lectures that covers content ranging from interpersonal skills to financial decision making. As a psychology major, I thought I had a fairly good knowledge base on how to motivate and change behavior, but I learned so much more during this 20 class graduate-level online course series.

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I have never thought about the idea of self-employment, or taking on coaching as a part time job, but I am deeply interested (and qualified!) after taking this course. Coaching is not just weight loss or career focused; coaching can extend to a variety of unique domains. This course explained that you can become a coach for whatever you see yourself as an expert in; for example, I feel very connected to college aged women seeking holistic wellbeing. My knowledge and skills align with this population and I can relate well to them, which would make me a more helpful coach that I might be for a busy mom looking to lose weight.

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Beyond the basics, the course really goes step by step through what it takes to get your business started. These lessons were some of the most technically helpful and the weekly timeline is perfect. Every lesson has direct, clear goal-focused “homework” to help you get your business started and avoid the endless “I’ll do it later” excuses. I would recommend sticking to a routine when taking the course; putting the weekly lesson in your calendar and sticking to it is so helpful. Some days I honestly struggled to stop at just one lesson!

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When I missed a week in the midst of finals and my college graduation, I received an encouraging email from the program checking in on my progress and making sure I didn’t have any questions. I think this is one of the most unique aspects of the program; there is a clear line of communication to a support system within the program for questions, mentorship, and advice. Plus, this connection is not just while you are taking the course, it is a life-long connection.

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I learned strategies that will be immensely useful both in coaching, and in my everyday relationships and business endeavors on the whole. This course is unique in that it goes beyond basic coaching content–it includes so much about the business side of coaching and the importance of professional development. I’ve gained so much unexpected knowledge and I love knowing that I’ll always have access to the resources of CTA. Please let me know if you have any questions about my experience or any specific aspects of the program!

Click here to try the course!

Royal Hideaway Playacar

My parents were so generous and kind enough to book us a trip to Playa del Carmen as a congratulatory graduation gift! It was something of a mess getting there in one piece (I discovered my passport was missing only days before my flight!), but stepping off the plane into a cool Mexican evening felt spectacular.

We stayed at Royal Hideaway two years ago, but it has completely changed–and not for the better. I hate to sound ungrateful, travel is such an amazing opportunity, but I just want to share my experiences so you can choose a different hotel if you choose to travel to Playa del Carmen.

First, given that this is a food blog, let’s talk food. I remember delicious fresh salads, ceviches, afternoon snack buffets full of tasty, healthy options. Now the menu consists of hamburgers, French fries, and the “catch of the day” is always a (somewhat questionable) sea bass. Don’t be fooled by appearances, this fish tastes bland and was doused in heavy butter sauce (as were the steamed vegetables). 


Let’s just say I didn’t leave many meals satisfied and am grateful I brought a large stash of snacks.


There was a large corporate group at the hotel during our stay, which meant we had to eat at the same restaurant twice a day, every day. We were not told about this when we booked, which makes sense, but it really took away from our trip–and the food! My friends even remember my rants about the amazing options from my trip two years ago, but so much has changed.


The hot tub closest to our room was broken the whole time and my mom was scalded in the shower by temperatures that switched from hot to cold without warning. In addition, one of our sinks broke!

I have to say the general wait staff has stayed as wonderful as ever–the waiters, Concierges, and maintenance staff are so thoughtful and helpful. I would say all of these issues link back to corporate changes and attempts to cut cost at the expense of quality. All in all, the quality of the hotel has really decreased (while price has not!) so save your frustration and I definitely you go somewhere else. The beach is beautiful, but you can get the same beach somewhere else in Playacar. 

We met with management (Sergio was very receptive), but I’ll be curious to see if anything changes before we leave tomorrow. I’ll definitely keep you updated if things improve! 

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 Do you have any Playa del  Carmen hotel recommendations? 

Easy Amore Spring Pasta

Everyone knows that familiar feeling…it’s 6PM, your stomach is growling, you have no idea what to make for dinner…

An easy option is pasta, but then comes another question…what kind of pasta? Amore has tons of solutions! Our family loves using the Amore herb paste (a tasty mix of fresh herbs in olive oil) to toss the pasta and some freshly sautéed spring veggies! 

The paste is vegan, all natural, and tastes just like fresh herbs! A little goes a long way and adds the perfect light flavor to a pasta dish. A mix of whole grain pasta, herb paste to taste (2 tsp or so), and sautéed asparagus, bell peppers, and yellow summer squash is colorful, flavorful and healthy! 

The perfect side for salmon, or a tasty light dinner on its own!

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What’s your favorite easy go-to dinner?

Queen Bey Likes Popcorn 

I used to always be the party host in high school, but after coming to college I let go of that role. I loved it, but I can’t say it was always easy. The host has to plan, coordinate, invite, which is all fun, but also comes with a lot of responsibility! If you forget someone, you hurt their feelings. If you forget chips, the guac gets lonely. If you’ve ever hosted, I’m sure you understand! I’m a host of imperfection, and you see past all that (Beyoncé, 2006).

Now this imperfection bothers me less so when one of my good friends at college and I came up with a brilliant party idea, I knew it was time to bring back my host identity. And the planning for a baby shower for Beyoncé’s newly announced pregnancy began. We made sure to plan a few things ahead of time, but a lot of it was kept very low key. We divided the tasks and she generously offered her apartment for the venue. It could not have been easier or more fun!

Our guests were welcomed starting at the front door:

Obviously we also had plenty of (spiked) Lemonade

Blue(berry) Ivy Lemonade


When I learned from an article that Beyoncé LOVES popcorn, I knew that had to be on the party menu. Luckily, Live Love Pop was happy to provide some delicious popcorn to fuel our night of Beyoncé. Our snacks in formation:

 

Live. Love. Yoncé.

A bowl of my favorite salt and vinegar flavor, which was followed by getting down on the dance floor…

Get it poppin’

 

I love sharing my love of Live Love Pop–thank you!

And an even bigger thank you to my first college friend and fellow Beyoncé lover, Naomi:

“Freakum dress out my closet, Yoncé filling out this skirt I look damn good, I ain’t lost it.” (Beyoncé, 2013)


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Are you always the host? What’s your favorite party theme?

Chocolate Berry Milkshake (recipe+review)

A recipe that includes the word “milkshake” in the title sets a high bar, but I assure you this will not disappoint!


This is Designer Protein’s newest line of protein, “Native Whey.” This protein is cold filtered from non-GMO, grass-fed milk that has no antibiotics or artificial growth hormones. A lot of whey is a result of the leftover product of cheese-making, but native whey is different and processed at lower temperatures and is not exposed to ingredients involved in the cheese-making process. Native whey also more leucine, a crucial branched chain amino acid, and glutamine that most whey proteins. Leucine is an essential amino acid shown to help in muscle protein synthesis (aka turning that hard work from exercising into muscle) .

Beyond the nutrition, the powder tastes amazing. My mom, who hates the taste of stevia usually, really likes the flavor! That’s a win in my book.  Without further ado, here is the recipe:


Ingredients:
2 cups almond milk or water
1 cup frozen berries
1 scoop Designer Protein Vanilla Milkshake Native Whey
1 tbsp NuNaturals Cocoa Powder 

Combine all ingredients in high powered blender. Blend until smooth and enjoy! For a thicker, more decadent shake, add another tablespoon of cocoa powder. A note on the cocoa powder: NuNaturals is one of my favorites and using a Dutch-processed cocoa is a must to get the same rich flavor!

Use code HANNAH20 for 20% off your order from Designer Protein!