Tag Archives: healthy

Banana Bread with Granola Crumble

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A Girl Can Dream

Picture this: it’s 2 o’clock in the afternoon, and the baby is napping. You clean the house top to bottom, put all the dishes and laundry away, balance the checkbook, then do a nice little 20 minute home workout. After all that, the baby is still napping so you go get a piping hot cup of coffee and a warm slice of fresh banana bread from the kitchen. You curl up with your cozy fleece blanket and enjoy your snack while listening to the melodious birds outside your window.  Paradise. *sigh*

This is what I WANTED to happen when I made my banana bread, but honestly, those afternoons almost never happen. What actually happened was: I left the kitchen a mess, went to sit down on the couch with my coffee and banana bread when I heard, “MAMAAAA!” from upstairs. I ended up drinking lukewarm coffee and sharing my banana bread with Zemirah while simultaneously folding laundry (then re-folding after Z dragged it off the couch). The banana bread was so good and the company so cute, that I couldn’t help but enjoy my afternoon even though it wasn’t picture perfect.

Whatever your idea of the perfect day is, one bite of this banana bread and you will be transported to your own personal paradise! It’s cozy, warm, and perfect for the cooling weather, to either enjoy yourself or share with your little ones. No need to worry about sugar content making them hyper, because it is both gluten free and refined sugar free!

I have discovered the wonders of coconut sugar and will not be looking back! If you are wondering where to get coconut sugar, you can get it right here on Amazon as a multi-pack or a single bag. This is the brand I use and I absolutely love it; it smells amazing and adds a nutty/caramel flavor to baked goods. Yum! This recipe was also my first time baking with a gluten free flour mix so I was a little worried, but it turned out great! I used this blend of rice flours and tapioca starch; it rose beautifully and the texture is wonderful. (These are both affiliate links, but truly the brands I used with this recipe and others, and will continue to in the future!) If you need coconut sugar and/or gluten free flour, use the links, you’ll have them at your door in two days, then you can bake guilt-free to your heart’s content.

Other than the coconut sugar and gluten free flour, everything else is standard banana bread ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen! This is perfect for either breakfast or an afternoon snack, slathered with butter or ghee, and enjoyed with your favorite hot beverage. The laundry pile is optional.

Banana Bread with Granola Crumble

Makes one loaf or 15 muffins.

Ingredients:

For the bread:

  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1.5 cups gluten free flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

For the granola crumble:

  • 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts
  • 1/4 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Grease either a loaf pan or muffin tins and set aside
  • Mash bananas with a fork
  • Add in the rest of the wet ingredients
  • Stir until well combined
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (for bread only, not the crumble)
  • Combine dry ingredients into wet ingredients
  • Stir until well combined
  • Pour batter into pan (3/4 of the way full for muffins)
  • Make granola crumble by combining all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulsing until walnuts are chopped and it comes together loosely
  • Top batter with crumble, pressing down slightly
  • Bake 35-45 minutes for loaf (10-12 minutes for muffins), until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean
  • Cool completely before slicing
  • Store, covered, in refrigerator for a week

Whatever your personal paradise might be, I am almost certain it involves healthy baked goods 😉 Let this banana bread transport you there…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using the links, it is of no extra cost to you!

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Happy Fall, Y’all!

Hooray! Today is officially the first day of Fall! We are still wearing shorts and sandals here in sunny Southern California, but hey, it’s officially Autumn so I will sweat under my blanket while eating some warm soup no matter what the thermometer says.

I have never really been a huge soup lover, but I will slurp up bowls upon bowls of creamy tomato soup. Yum! I’ve made delicious tomato soups in the past, but usually they were loaded down with cream, which I now know to stay away from. For me personally, dairy really upsets my stomach, and if I want to have a bowl of soup and be all cozy, I’m pretty sure gas, bloating, and *digestive distress* (TMI?!) will ruin that for me.

On top of the discomfort dairy brings, usually homemade soup is quite the ordeal. Letting it simmer all day on the stove while constantly checking liquid levels is not my idea of fun in the kitchen. So here we have my VEGAN *dairy free* Creamy Tomato Basil Soup that takes literally 45 minutes start to finish! All you do is roast your veggies, then blend them up with some coconut milk. That’s it! Then go crazy with your toppings and you have a full meal that will leave you warm and cozy with a happy, healthy belly.

With cooler temperatures and the holiday season right around the corner, you will likely be making lots of warm soups and comforting sauces and need a reliable blender. My husband got me this KitchenAid blender for Christmas three years ago, and it has been amazing for everything from nice cream to baby food to sauces and soups. If you are in the market for a new blender, save this one to your Amazon wish list and give your hubby a helpful hint 😉

It may be only marginally cooler, but it’s late September so my tomato soup will be in the regular meal rotation until Spring. I truly hope you can ring in the Autumn season with this creamy, comforting soup, and maybe make it a regular for your family, too!

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Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Serves six. Serve with some crusty bread for dunking!

Ingredients:

  • Four large tomatoes, quartered
  • Small yellow onion, quartered
  • 3/4 cup sliced baby carrots, or 2 large carrots chopped
  • One bulb garlic, roasted
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5-2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 tsp pepper, divided
  • 2/3 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4-1 cup coconut milk
  • Optional toppings:
    • Chopped basil
    • Chopped scallions
    • Croutons
    • Lightly sauteed greens like kale or arugula
    • Avocado
    • Non-vegan options
      • bacon
      • parmesan

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 F
  • Get the garlic roasting first:
    • slice off the top of the bulb
    • drizzle with olive oil
    • wrap in foil
    • place directly on oven rack
  • While garlic is roasting, chop your other veggies
  • Prepare baking pan by spraying with cooking spray
  • Arrange tomatoes, onion, and carrots in a single layer on baking sheet
  • Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper
  • Place baking sheet in oven along with garlic
  • Roast for about 30-35 minutes
  • Carefully transfer all vegetables to the blender; the garlic should be able to be squeezed out like a paste
  • Add basil, vinegar, more salt and pepper, and coconut milk to the blender
  • Blend until desired consistency, adding more coconut milk if necessary
  • Serve warm with plenty of toppings

Wrap up in a scarf and eat some soup even if it’s in the 80s…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

Fruit and Nut Granola

A Healthy Snowball

If you’ve read my other breakfast posts, you know that mornings are early and slightly chaotic around here. If you haven’t read my other breakfast posts, you should 😉 I’ll even make it easy for you and leave you links here and here for some easy and healthy breakfast prep! But, seriously, it is tough to get in a healthy breakfast when you are trying to rush out the door in the morning. However, it is so important for your blood sugar and your metabolism…there’s a reason why they (whoever “they” is) say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

A healthy breakfast is good for your body, but I’ve found, also important for my mind. If I eat a donut for breakfast (and let’s be real, who eats just ONE donut?!), it is so much easier for me to make unhealthy choices the rest of the day. I will have low energy from my donuts so I won’t want to work out, but I will still be hungry because my nutritional needs weren’t met, so I may binge eat for lunch, and so on. But if I start my day out with a satiating, nutritional breakfast, that sets me on a healthy track for the rest of the day. After my healthy breakfast (and of course coffee), I will have the energy for a morning jog, then eat a healthy snack and drink some water when I get home, and it just snowballs in a healthy way.

So here I have refined sugar free Fruit and Nut Granola which you can prep ahead of time and grab and go! I hope you can make a batch to enjoy throughout your week and start your days with a healthy snowball!

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Fruit and Nut Granola

Delicious with milk, plain Greek yogurt, or by itself! Makes about three cups.

Ingredients:

  • One cup of old fashioned oats (GF if needed)
  • 1/2 cup of almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • One tbsp of chia seeds
  • One cup of dried fruit, chopped (I did half a cup of apricots, half a cup of dates)
  • 1/2 to one tsp of cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • One generous tbsp of raw honey, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 F
  • Prepare large baking sheet with baking spray
  • Combine dry ingredients except sugar on baking sheet
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, and honey
  • Pour over mixture on the baking sheet
  • Stir until everything is evenly coated
  • Spread out in a single layer on baking sheet
  • Bake for five minutes, stir, then bake for another 3-5 minutes until desired toastiness
  • While still warm, drizzle with additional honey and let cool and harden

I mean no ill will against donuts, but if I start my day with donuts I know my sugar monster will stalk me all day. Who wants a monster stalking them all day?! I hope making this granola gets your monster off your trail and sets your healthy intention for the day. Eat a healthy breakfast…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

Classic Garlic Hummus

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Generational Food

Hummus has gained popularity in the last few years as a healthy, good-for-you food, and it is! But at the risk of sounding like one of *those* people… “I was into hummus before it was popular”.  Actually, though, hummus and I do go way back.

My grandmother, Elizabeth Aijian Munroe, was a first generation American whose parents fled Armenia to escape the Turks. Because of their traumatic experiences in Armenia, they wanted to raise their children as Americans not Armenians. So they spoke English in their home and did not keep many Armenian traditions…except food. While my sisters and I wish that we knew the Armenian language or some of the customs and traditions, we are all thankful we grew up with the tradition of Armenian hospitality and food.

As a child, we lived about 6 hours north of my grandparents so it was always quite the ordeal driving down to Mimi and Papa’s. Whenever we would arrive, Mimi would always, without a doubt, have out an appetizer spread which always included hummus. To be honest, I hated it as a kid. I would much rather eat the pita bread, Armenian cheese, and kalamata olives she’d set out. Now, however, I love hummus!

My Mimi and Papa were married for 64 years, and just last year, they passed on into eternity a mere 12 days apart. So now, I see hummus in a whole new light: a love of culture, food, and hosting loved ones in your home…all in one little dip. In fact, when I was making this hummus, Zemirah helped me squeeze the lemon juice and I felt a rush of emotions (and maybe my eyes watered a bit) and gratitude as I thought about the history and love in this little bean dip. I imagined my great-grandmother making hummus with my grandmother, my grandmother making hummus with my mom, my mom making hummus with me, and now, here I was, continuing on in the tradition.

This recipe is based on the one found in the cookbook, Armenian Cooking Today, which was gifted to me by my sweet mom, who was wise and kind enough to have herself and Mimi write notes in the margins. Food has such history, can tell incredibly vast, beautiful stories, and brings us all together to enjoy eating with ones we love. I hope this simple, healthy dish can bring some history and love to your table, too.

Classic Garlic Hummus

Serves 10-12. Delicious as a veggie or chip dip, or as a spread.

Ingredients:

  • One 15 oz can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • Water as needed
  • Optional garnishes:
    • a drizzle of olive oil
    • chopped parsley
    • a sprinkle of paprika

Directions:

  • Combine chickpeas, tahini, and olive oil in blender
  • Blend until smooth
  • Add remaining ingredients
  • Blend until smooth
  • Adjust consistency with water if needed (I like mine thicker, but not too oily and heavy, which is why I use water)
  • Best if chilled overnight before serving
  • Garnish before serving, if desired

Thank you for letting me share a little about myself and my family. I hope you keep this easy hummus on hand for a quick snack or spread, but just be warned, you might want to pop a breath mint after eating it haha! Although, garlic is nature’s antibiotic, so eat up and stay healthy! Eat all the garlic…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

Roasted Potatoes

This post contains an affiliate link; if you purchase using the link it is of no extra cost to you, just a small pantry fund for me!

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A Happy Accident

What is the perfect side dish for basically anything and everything? Potatoes! Even better if they’re hot, crispy, and flavorful. These are not your average, plain roasted potatoes; the crust on these bad boys is insane, and they are covered in nutritional yeast to give them a cheesy flavor.

These potatoes came about as a happy accident when I was out of some of my usual seasonings. My husband took one bite, his eyes widened, and he said, “Oh wow! Did you do something different?! These are delicious!” I pretended I didn’t notice how amazing they were, and casually answered, “oh yeah, I used nutritional yeast.” Then we dipped our little crispy potatoes in Dairy free Garlic Herb Ranch and happily gobbled them up in silence. Well, mostly silence, except for Zemirah’s (and David’s) happy hums of “mmm” with practically every bite.

A happy table makes for happy bellies and a happy evening. I hope you add these potatoes into your side dish rotation this week and have a happy table, too!

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Roasted Potatoes

Serves six to eight.

Ingredients:

  • Three large russet potatoes, cut into one inch cubes
  • Half a tbsp of olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp of salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 F
  • Spray large baking sheet with cooking spray
  • Combine potatoes, olive oil, and all seasonings on baking sheet
  • Mix well until all potatoes are coated evenly
  • Roast for 30-35 minutes, stirring halfway through
  • While still hot, sprinkle potatoes with extra salt to taste

These are perfect to roast alongside my Crispy Brussels Sprouts and some chicken thighs for a quick and complete meal. I hope these crunchy roasted potatoes bring a nice change of pace to your side dishes like it did mine. Gobble them up…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

Turkey Sausage Breakfast Bake

The Most Important Meal of the Day

Mornings around here are always “A Pinch of Crazy”. My husband and I wake up around 5:30, and I try and sneak in some Bible reading time and possibly some stretchy yoga before Zemirah wakes up. When she wakes up around 6 (6:30 if I’m lucky, 7 if I’ve won the lottery), she hits the ground running; full of energy and immediately squealing “eeeat eeeat” over and over again, as I’m shuffling around in my slippers, gulping down my coffee, and trying to get us a healthy breakfast pulled together.

Breakfast meal prep helps us make wise choices even on the early, busy mornings. A lot of times I prep mason jars full of Peanut Butter and Chocolate Overnight Oats for David to grab and go…and to eliminate cooking from my morning, as I probably should not be trusted with flames before I finish my coffee. However, if we are craving something more hearty, I like to make a big breakfast bake to last all week. It keeps well in the fridge and reheats in the microwave! You can change it up by topping it with avocado, salsa, or hot sauce.

This can be made with a variety of vegetables, but I always like to include potatoes to help fill us up, and some form of greens. It’s always good to start your day with veggies! If made in an ovenproof skillet, it is a one pan meal, which is definitely a bonus! However, I have also cooked the filling separately, then transferred it all to a 9×9 baking pan. Either way, this healthy, hearty, on-the-go breakfast is fast, easy, and has minimal clean up!

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Turkey Sausage Breakfast Bake

Serves 8-10.

Ingredients:

  • Half a pound of turkey breakfast sausage (I like Jennie-O because there is not much sugar in it)
  • Half an onion, diced
  • Two cloves of garlic, minced
  • Three medium/large red potatoes
  • One cup (packed down) of chopped spinach
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 tsp pepper, divided
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp rubbed sage

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 F
  • Grease pan heavily with cooking spray/butter/coconut oil (we all know what a pain baked eggs are to clean)
  • Cook turkey sausage, crumbling as you cook
  • When almost cooked through, add potatoes, onion, and garlic
  • Season with salt, pepper, and dried herbs
  • Cover and cook on medium-low until potatoes are soft and onions are tender, stirring occasionally
  • In a separate bowl, combine eggs and coconut milk, whisk until well combined
  • Whisk in remaining salt and pepper and chopped spinach
  • Pour over cooked sausage/potato mixture
  • Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes until the eggs are set

I hope this helps make your mornings run smoother and gets everyone off to a healthy start. Drink that second cup of coffee…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

 

 

Mustard Potato Salad

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It’s the middle of August, kids are going back to school, Labor Day is coming up; all of these facts can only mean one thing: summer is coming to a close. And I have the perfect side dish for you to bring to that final summer cookout! Healthy Mustard Potato Salad! Leave that supermarket potato salad that looks like yellow mush on the shelf, and bring this instead. Light yet filling, fresh, tangy, and herbaceous, it’s the side dish everyone wants. Bonus: this potato salad can easily be made Whole30 compliant if you use compliant mayo (like my Lemon Garlic Aioli) and compliant pickles!

I’ve talked about this before, but the poor potato gets a bad reputation for being unhealthy, when in fact, he (just assigned the potato a gender) is full of fiber and vitamins and minerals. You can read more details on the nutritional facts of russet potatoes in this blog post. In this potato salad I used red potatoes, which are also high in fiber, a little lower in calories, and high in potassium. However, russet potatoes would work just fine, too!

So slather on the sunscreen, slice up that watermelon, bring a big bowl of Mustard Potato Salad with you to the BBQ, and be prepared for everyone to compliment you hehe. (You would get double the amount of compliments if you also brought along my Wholesome Chocolate Chunk Cookies )

I mean, you can do whatever you want, but who doesn’t want to be crowned Queen (or King) of the Backyard BBQ?! That should be a thing.

 

Mustard Potato Salad

Serves six to eight, and could easily be doubled.

Ingredients:

  • 5 large red potatoes, cut into large chunks (I leave the skin on)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 6-7 sprigs of fresh dill
  • 1/3 cup chopped dill pickles (either homemade or a store bought brand you like)
  • 1.5-2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

  • Cover potato chunks with water and boil until very soft
  • Drain and transfer to a large bowl
  • While still warm, mix with mayo and mustards
  • Add the remaining ingredients and combine well
  • Chill
  • Garnish with chopped scallions and dill

Get crowned Queen (or King) of the Backyard BBQ this weekend! Soak up your last few weeks of summer…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

 

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