Banana Pancakes

IMG_3820Jack Johnson gets full credit for these Banana Pancakes. Not because he was here in my kitchen cooking with me (how awesome would that be), but because hearing one verse of his song on Pandora inspired this recipe. I’m sure I’m not the first person this has happened too. Now that I think of it, Jack Johnson should get some sort of royalty on Banana Pancakes.

I love bananas, but want my pancakes to taste like pancakes not like a full fledged banana. For that reason, I love this little gem of a pancake recipe. It has a very subtle banana flavor. Just enough to get the point across that they are made with bananas.

I used 2% milk in the recipe. Use any milk you have on hand or your favorite nondairy milk. Just be sure the nondairy milk is unsweetened.

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Oat + Berry Bars {gluten free}

IMG_3811A dear friend of mine recently introduced me to the raspberry oat bars at Whole Foods. OMG are they good. The Whole Food bakers have mastered the perfect ratio of crust to berries to oat topping. I bought one thinking it would last a couple of days…wrong. It was gone before I made it out of the parking lot. These bars only have one flaw- they are super heavy. I am pretty sure my biceps got a workout by lifting it up to my mouth. After tasting them I knew I had to make a lighter version. One that wouldn’t leave me feeling weighted down. After a few recipe tweaks I think I have found the perfect replacement. There is still a place in my life for the occasional Whole Foods Berry Oat Bar, but I will be keeping a stash of my version in the freezer for when I am having a craving.

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Herb Stuffed Chicken Breast

IMG_3804When we found out we were expecting a little one, Taber and I decided it was time to bid farewell to downtown living and move into a house with a yard.  This was a bittersweet decision. On one hand I was super excited to be able to let Lily out in the morning without having to change out of my raggedy sweat pants that should have gone to goodwill many years ago (not proper elevator attire). On the other hand, I was sad to leave the downtown life of being able to walk to restaurants and the dog park. Luckily we found a house five minutes from downtown, so we didn’t have to move too far away. It isn’t within walking distance to our second home usual dog park, but we can live with a short drive.  I immediately fell in love with this house. The large kitchen and closet both spoke to my heart, but what hooked me was the flourishing herb garden in the back yard. Once I saw that I was ready to sign the lease in permenant marker. It was meant to be. Since moving in I have been itching to use the herbs. Today was the day it happened.  And I have a feeling I am going to be using them nightly.

I made a herb stuffed chicken breast using fresh oregano from the garden, spinach, prosciutto, garlic and a white cheddar cheese. Putting melted cheese on anything pretty much guarantees it will be delicious, so I didn’t have too many worries about this recipe not turning out. “Stuffed Chicken” sounds like it would be difficult to put together, but it was quite simple. For that reason, it is the perfect dish to make while entertaining. Your guests will think you slaved over the stove all day when really you had enough time to prepare dinner, get a massage, pedicure and manicure.

To keep some moisture in the chicken, I suggest covering it with foil when baking it. That way the heat won’t dry out the chicken breast.

I used an organic raw milk white cheddar cheese to stuff the chicken. It paired well with the salty prosciutto and herbs. Any cheese would work well in this recipe.

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Peanut Butter + Jelly Smoothie

IMG_3768There are two reasons this peanut butter and jelly smoothie is a current favorite of mine.

#1- It transports me straight back to my elementary school days. Remember the good old days when all that mattered was how well you played in the tether ball game at recess? Yea, those days were the best. So were the PB&J sandwiches my mom would pack in my lunch every so often. She mastered the perfect ratio of peanut butter and jelly, which is essential for a good sandwich. Too much jelly results in it squirting out the sides of the bread causing a big sticky mess. No good. So, thanks mom for keeping my lunches mess free.
#2- It looks like cupid’s heart exploded in my cup. Valentine’s Day doesn’t top my list of favorite holidays, but I am a sucker for the pink hearts and lovey dovey decor. It screams happiness and makes you instantly feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Who doesn’t love that? A bright pink smoothie goes perfectly with the love that is in the air this week.

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Peppermint + Ginger + Lemon Tea

IMG_3746Flu season is in full swing and it isn’t pretty. I know this first hand because earlier this week it hit me like a wrecking ball. Let me tell you, Miley Cyrus is right…wrecking balls hurt.  One minute I was fine the next I was hugging the toilet. Ok, enough details. You don’t need to picture me embracing the porcelain god. I couldn’t keep anything down, not even water, but knew I needed liquids with electrolytes and needed to steer clear of straight water, because of the hard minerals. I had my husband pick up some watermelon juice from my favorite juice bar on his way home from work. He transformed into a nurse and fed me drops of watermelon juice every 5 minutes the rest of the night.  I felt and looked like a little baby bird.

Thankfully, the bug only lasted 24 hours and by the next morning I was able to keep my stomach in check. I went straight to the kitchen and made one of my immune boosting teas to help bring my system back up to speed. I made a Peppermint Ginger Lemon Tea. The list of health benefits goes on and on (and on and on). If I listed all of them this blog post would go on for days, which is a big no-no in the blogging world. Below is a run down of the health benefits of peppermint, ginger and lemon.

Please drink this tea to help ward off a stomach bug, flu, cold or just because it taste good. At one point during my 24 hour battle with the bug I am pretty sure I asked to die. It sounds dramatic, but the thought definitely went through my mind. I don’t want any one else to go through it.

 

Peppermint– aids in digestions, cold and flu remedy, protects against cancer, helps skin conditions, aids in IBS.

Ginger– cold and flu treatment, helps with nausea, migraine relief, heartburn relief, reduces menstrual cycle cramps.

Lemon– high in vitamin C, helps soothe sore throats, immune boosting, fights bacteria.

 

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Lemon + Basil + Pasta

IMG_3736Today is a big day. Possibly one of the most exciting Sundays of the entire year. When I tell you why it’s a big day you may judge me a little, but I am ok with that. Today marks the day  The Bachelor wedding is on TV. It’s a big day not only because The Bachelor is one of my favorite shows, but also because Catherine and Sean are one of the few bachelor couples that’s actually made it down the aisle. Most of the couples break-up when reality sets in and their dates consist of dinner and a movie rather than fantasy suites on private islands.   See what I mean, big day. By the way, I am fully aware I’m one of the few who still watches the Bachelor. In college my friends and I would gather every Monday night to watch the trainwrecks women compete for those valuable red roses. As time went on my friends slowly started to drop out of the viewing party until I was left with just myself. I can’t tear myself away from the show. It is one of my guilty pleasures and I am sticking to it.

In celebration of the big show tonight I had Taber choose what we had for dinner. Staying true to his pasta loving self, he chose one of his favorite dishes, Lemon Basil Pasta. I usually serve this pasta in the summer, but since today felt like summer here in Austin, I went ahead and made it. I am glad I did and so is he.

Disclaimer- Taber does not share my love of The Bachelor, so he isn’t looking forward to the show tonight, but he is happy he gets a good meal out of it.

In the recipe I posted 3-4 tablespoons of lemon juice for the creamy pasta sauce. I originally used four tablespoons which Taber thought was a bit on the strong side. I would suggest starting with three and adding more if you prefer. Personally, I like a stronger lemony taste. Adding some prosciutto would taste great in this pasta. Cook the prosciutto with a bit of olive oil and garlic in a small sauté pan and add it to the pasta after adding the lemon sauce.

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Veggie Spring Rolls + Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

IMG_3728Now that the Seattle Seahawks are officially in the Super Bowl (we all saw it coming), it’s time to start menu planning for the big party.  First on my list- Veggie Spring Rolls. They are the perfect balance to the typical heavy game day appetizers. Light enough to keep you out of a food coma yet fulfilling enough to keep you satisfied.

Speaking of the Seahawks…unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past week there is a very good chance you have heard about Richard Sherman’s interview declaring he is the best corner back in the NFL. Well if you haven’t, let me fill you in. He proclaimed his amazingness in an interview with Erin Andrews seconds  after he tipped the ball out of a 49er’s hand to secure the win for the Seahawks. His adrenaline was still pumping and he may have let his mouth run a bit too much. At the time I thought he should have kept his confidence on the hush hush, but after making these veggie spring rolls I can relate to him.   Had Erin Andrews been in my kitchen the moment I finished folding my 12th spring roll I would have proclaimed (with certainty) that they are the best appetizer of all football appetizers. Just like Sherman I wouldn’t have been able to control my words or my confidence. Unlike Sherman, my declaration that veggie rolls are the best super bowl appetizer would not have made it on national news or in every single facebook post.

On a side note- This may be the only time in my life I will be able to relate to a NFL football player. Actually check back in a few months when I am 9 months pregnant. There is a slight chance I will feel as big as a line backer.

 

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Coconut + Peppermint Patties

IMG_3704This recipe has been on my radar for awhile. Peppermint Patties have always been a favorite of mine, but I don’t love the ingredients that make them up.  Thankfully there is a healthier alternative, making my own. Same satisfying taste, but with ingredients you can feel confident about. My kind of dessert. Store these in the fridge or freezer to ensure the chocolate stays hard. Although there is a good chance they will all be eaten within minutes of making them, so you may not get around to putting them back in the fridge or freezer.

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Piña Colada Green Smoothie

IMG_3683The entire country seems to be jumping on the cold weather band wagon.  I think it is safe to say we could all use a break from the bone chilling weather. Lucky for you I have a way you can bring a tropical vacation into your kitchen, no airplane ticket or packing required. My Piña Colada Green Smoothie will take you from the numbing cold to white sandy beaches in seconds. It tastes like a vacation.

There are a few reasons this green smoothie has become a favorite of mine. Number 1- It tastes like a vacation. Number 2- it is the smoothie that turned my husband into a green smoothie lover. He is always a bit reluctant to drink my smoothies, but this smoothie was different. He smelled it, took a sip, took another sip and then finished it off in one big gulp. It was a proud moment of mine when he told me he could drink it everyday. I could too.

Swap kale for spinach or any other greens you have on hand. You’ll still achieve the full tropical vacation effect. If you don’t have any hemp seeds, feel free to use flax seed, chia seed or a mix of all three. They all blend well into this recipe

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Mint + Dark Chocolate Smoothie

IMG_3304Our house is officially ready for Christmas. This past weekend I bought Target, Hobby Lobby and Michaels out of all their Christmas décor and pasted it all over our house. Nothing makes me happier than walking through the door to a festive house. Actually, there is one thing that makes me happier than walking through the door to a festive house…that would be sitting on the couch, watching Home Alone while sipping on a holiday inspired smoothie. That is exactly how I spent my night last night. It was awesome. I put a festive holiday spin on my usual green smoothie by adding fresh mint leaves and dark chocolate. It tasted more like a milkshake than a smoothie. Very indulgent without being super heavy. A green mint smoothie is the perfect addition to a cozy night in or a great way to start a day of holiday shopping.

I used hempseeds in my smoothie. Flax seed or chia seed would also work well.

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