Monthly Archives: April 2016

Honey Nut Banana Muffins – Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free

This weekend, Southern California had our infamous “Santa Ana Winds.” Obnoxious gusts that are a hair-do’s worst nightmare. For some reason, they always seem to kick up during the weekend, rendering us indoor-bound.

On Friday night, we had packed our adventure backpacks with snacks, sunscreen, snacks, water, snacks, camera equipment and snacks for the 11-mile hike we planned on Saturday. We had our sights set on the highest point in Los Angeles – Mt. Baldy. But those nasty winds brought gusts of almost 50 mph which are pretty gnarly conditions, especially on mountains and in canyons. So on Saturday morning, we unpacked our backpacks and gave ourselves a much-needed lazy day at home. Palm fronds were falling from the sky like rain, littering the streets and the wind kicked up dust, limiting any desire to spend quality time outdoors.

Why is baking always my solution for bad weather days? My friends and family definitely don’t seem to mind, and I get to use all of the healthy ingredient staples already in my kitchen. Especially those ugly freckled bananas that we didn’t eat in time…..don’t feel like using them in a smoothie? Mix them with peanut butter and oats in a food processor and BAM. Perfectly-portioned and macro-nutrient balanced cups of coziness. Take that, Santa Ana Winds.

Healthy Honey Nut Banana Muffin Recipe on the Blog

These muffins are incredibly dense and I really don’t think I need to say this, but they go SUBLIMELY with a fresh pot of coffee.

Honey Nut Banana Muffins  Gluten Free and Clean Recipe

Unlike those preservatives-in-a-bag from Otis Spunkmeyer, these are sweetened naturally with ripened bananas and a touch of honey. They are gluten-free, dairy-free, oil-free, and can easily be made vegan with an egg substitute like a flax seed egg or greek yogurt. Peanut butter and crushed almonds pack these with a dense texture, while oats and flax seed create the fluffiness with extra fiber, omega-3’s, and antioxidants. Add in some cinnamon & egg whites and you are well on your way to a balanced, beautiful, banana-y breakfast (or dessert, or post-workout snack)!

Spoonful of Peanut Butter

I sprinkled a couple of these with mini chocolate chips and crushed pecans for a little fun topping. Afterwards, I remembered a recipe for vanilla protein powder icing I’ve been meaning to try. Guess I’ll have to save that one for next time!

Honey Nut Banana Muffins  Clean Recipe

Honey Nut Banana Muffins {Gluten-Free, Clean Recipe}

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 3 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 large extra-ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (almond butter would be fantastic too!)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 375 and prepare a muffin baking pan with muffin tins.
  2. In a food processor, grind oats and almonds until you have a flour-like powder. Add in ground flax seed, baking soda, and cinnamon.
  3. Add mashed bananas, nut butter, egg whites, honey and vanilla to the food processor; blend well.
  4. Pour into muffin tins until 3/4 full; makes 10-12 muffins depending on how much batter you sample ;)
  5. Bake for 17-19 minutes, the tops should be getting browned and cracked.
  6. Allow to cool. These are great cold or reheated, extra dense and (my least favorite word ever) moist from the pb and honey. Enjoy!

Healthy Honey Nut Banana Muffins on the Blog

Do something sweet for your office or your roommates and whip up a batch of these to share! Or just keep them all for your own study snack, no judgin’. :) Let me know if you try a different type of nut butter!

Five Things Thursdays II

Good morning! If you missed last week’s “Five Things Thursday” post, I am kicking off a new series where I share the five best things I’ve heard, seen, read and/or tasted in the past week. And as always, I encourage you to join in with a “Thing” of your own in the comments section! :)

Five Things Thursday New Blog Post Stronglikemycoffee

1.) Strong on NBC:

As a recently certified personal trainer, I immediately set my Tivo to record “Strong” when I heard the advertisement on Spotify. Initially I didn’t realize that the fitness trainers were primarily focused on crossfit; I had expected to see a wide range of fitness philosophies and approaches. I was also a little disappointed that all ten trainers are men. I mean, they aren’t horrible to look at ;) but as a female trainer myself, I would have liked to see a girl competing with the guys! I think female trainers are more empathetic and concerned with improving mental health along with physical health, so it would have brought a good contrast.

Regardless of the cast, it’s always inspiring to see healthy transformations from PURE HARD WORK. And it’s also really hard to eat ice cream while watching a show like this. If anything, it’ll increase the likelihood of you making that morning gym appointment. :)

2.) What She Knew: A novel by Gilly McMillan.

The fiction novel covers a child abduction case, written in first person. BUT WAIT-THERE’S MORE. Each chapter alternates from the point of view of the mother of the missing child and the detective overseeing the case. Lots of mystery TV shows cover the law enforcement perspective, or the limited perspective of the victim. Reading the detective’s strategy and then the mother’s interpretation of what is going on adds a whole new layer and really gets me as a reader thinking about the case as if it were real life. Highly recommend this book if you enjoyed Gone Girl!

christmas c

3.) Games of Silence on NBC. What really caught my eye in the preview for this brand new TV show was that it is from the same producer as Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, which are two of my favorite series! I expected some similar family dynamics in this new series, but I was surprised at how drastically different this Games of Silence is from the previously two mentioned shows. It’s a little gritty, and so far none of these characters can ever top Coach Taylor, but there were lots of little teasers in the show that will keep me tuning in. :)


4.) Building a Story Brand Podcast by Don Miller

Every day, I’ve been walking a couple of miles outside with my iPod. Mostly I just like to soak up the sunshine after a long winter indoors. But since I am by myself so much, I’ve been searching for a good podcast to replace my same ole’ iTunes playlist.

There are a handful of podcasts I tried out last week that will definitely NOT be becoming a “Thursday Thing.” One that stood out in a GREAT way is “Building a Story Brand” by Donald Miller. The 30-minute episodes are business/entrepreneurial oriented, specifically talking about creating a marketing strategy that ties a story into your brand and identity. It’s applicable to almost anything, but I’ve been thinking about it specifically in terms of blogging. Each week features an interview with a successful businessman or author, which is both professional and entertaining.

5.) Body Works Group Fitness Classes


Group fitness classes are hit and miss; the class atmosphere, the instructor, the music, and the other participants really effect how enjoyable the workout is. I stopped attending our regular Body Works classes at LA Fitness because a long string of substitute teachers kept me from feeling challenged. However on Saturday morning, I reunited with the total-body strength/endurance class. The teacher was top notch, incredibly energetic and very tough! I left feeling shaky and thoroughly exhausted, ready for next week’s class. Variety in our workout schedule is key to prevent burning out!

That rounds out the new five things I had to share this week. Let me know your suggestions for next week! Xoxo.

Behind the Scenes of Blogging: Food Style

When you share your meals and workouts on the web, there’s a little extra prep and effort that comes into stylizing the shot. If I’m starving, I’m not thinking about symmetrical lines of fruit in my yogurt. Just pour it in a bowl and GO. But if I’m snapping a blog post picture, the set-up is a little more calculated. Aesthetics are everything in this business.

Bloggers are all too familiar with completely arbitrary things like food presentation for a basic breakfast bowl. Exhibit A:

Coffee Chat  Blog Post

Yesterday morning I woke up to a text from one of my old high school cross country teammates saying she was on her way over to drive us to a local hike for our morning cardio. By the time we hiked up and back down, stretched around the park at the bottom and drove back home, it was 10:00am and waaay past my breakfast time. This fruit-filled combo of carbs and protein was a perfect post-workout meal so I knew I had to wait a few extra minutes before diving in to get a blog-worthy snap shot ;)

A few hours later, my stomach was growling and I searched for something easy to eat while I worked on some freelance writing jobs in between meetings with real estate agents and inspectors. It turned out, the best lighting was on my bedroom nightstand. A lot of food shots end up somewhere completely random, depending on the time of day. I’d be lying if I said I never took a dinner plate picture on the bathroom counter tops.

Homemade Pita and Hummus Plate  Healthy Snacks on the Blog

{Whole Wheat Pita cut into 8 triangles / bartlett pear / celery / baby carrots / bell pepper / roasted pepper & pine nut hummus}

This next shot was not stylized ( I would have been a little more picky about my clementine arrangement and paper bag situation) but it was too cute to not snap a picture of. Part of blogging is sharing real life moments, and this was a picnic with a college buddy. We opted out of making our own lunch and grabbed some You-Pick-Two combos from Panera and beach towels. Nothing too fancy this time.


Picnic Lunch  New Blog Post

Restaurant pictures are another story. We’re always told to use NATURAL lighting and shoot in the daylight. Restaurants are typically dimly lit with lots of clutter. Sometimes it’s also awkward to whip out a giant Canon SLR when there are other diners close by (although nowaday’s  everyone Snapchats everything so it’s becoming a little more mainstream). Window seats have become the blogger’s best seat!

Coffee Talk on the Blog

And of course any family members of bloggers eventually become trained that dinner is not ready when it’s served; it’s ready after 3 minutes of photographing with every lighting and positioning combo possible. I love cooking dinner for my parents, and after four years they are pretty accustomed to waiting for the mini photo shoot before touching their plate. Which does sometimes result in a meal gone cold. All in the name of a good picture!

Strong Like My Coffee Blogger

I thought I would share just a few #reallife moments as a blogger, since it’s fun to see what goes on behind the lens. Speaking of which, I have a fresh batch of oatmeal pistachio breakfast bars that isn’t going to photograph itself!


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