Pumpkin Oat Muffins

Yes, yes, yes..its pumpkin flavored everything time! I am ready for pumpkin coffee, pancakes, pies, muffins, ice cream, oh and cheese cake, basically all the pumpkin goodies. Fall is the kickoff to baking season and I have been waiting patiently for the markets to start stocking their shelves. This muffin recipe is simple, flavorful, and immediately screams holiday season. I will admit that one muffin went missing prior to taking photos. Its so hard to wait when they smell so good:)


  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup natural maple syrup or honey
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • pumpkin seeds and oats for topping


Preheat oven to 325 degrees, line muffin tin with paper liners.

Mix all ingredients together, folding oats in last.

With an ice cream scoop measure out 1scoop per liner for a smaller 12 muffin tin and 2 scoops per liner for a 6 muffin tin.

Sprinkle pumpkin seeds and oats on top of each.

Bake for 25min, cool and then eat!!


Gingerbread Loaf with Poached Pears

Hello Fall Baking Season! Woo hoo!! My windows are open and my kitchen smells like warm cinnamon:) When I was in college living in a tiny apartment, my roommate and I would light spice candles. There's just something about those aromas that makes me want to snuggle under a blanket. Now, I actually take the time to bake! I mean, you can't eat candles and gingerbread must be tasted. I'm definitely a newbie when it comes to cooking and baking anything over simple recipes. However, as a photographer I am challenging myself to create more personal dishes to style. My inspiration stems from binge watching "The Great British Baking Show". The breads, cakes, and desserts are mind blowing, not to mention the fabulous subtle British humor:)

Baking a gingerbread loaf with poached pears was a personal first and it turned out pretty darn good. I found it "absolutely scrummy" without a "soggy bottom". Watch the show, seriously its a "spot on" "top bake"!



Poached Pears

~3 bartlett pears

~1 bottle red wine (I used a red table wine)

~1/2 cup organic cane sugar

~1 cup water

~3 cinnamon sticks

~1 vanilla bean

Gingerbread Loaf

~1/2 cup low sugar maple syrup (can substitute molasses)

~2 large eggs

~2/3 cup brown sugar

~1/2 cup vegetable oil

~1 tsp baking powder

~1 tsp baking soda

~1 1/2 Tbsp grated ginger

~1 tsp ground cinnamon

~1 tsp ground nutmeg

~1/4 tsp salt

~2 cups all purpose flour

~2/3 cups vanilla almond milk

Make Pears

Combine all ingredients into medium pot and bring to boil. Then let simmer 15-20 min until pears softened.  Remove pears and set aside.

Make Loaf

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line loaf pan with parchment paper.

Mix all ingredients together in large mixing bowl.

Place whole pears into loaf pan and spoon batter around them. Bake for 50-60 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Then place loaf on cooling rack for another 15 minutes.

Dust loaf with powdered sugar to serve. (optional)

*make sure pears are not too large or they will fall through loaf. Option to slice pears into halves and only use 3 half for better firmness of gingerbread.

Happy Fall Baking Friends!!


Simple Garden Fresh Salsa

salsa fresh-5BLOGO Tomato season used to mean sliced tomato sandwiches on white bread, with mayonnaise and a little pepper.  Thankfully I've become a little more daring with my summer veggie creations. After visiting my parents over the weekend, I came home with a bag of vine ripened beauties. There is never a shortage of mexican spices and ingredients in my house. If we run out of tortilla chips, its an emergency!

Grabing some fresh cilantro and a few limes, it's salsa making time baby:)


3 cups chopped garden tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped red pepper

1 cup chopped white onion

1/4 chopped green chiles or jalepeno

juice of one lime

1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Mix all ingredients together, can add a little tomato sauce for thickness if your heart desires. I dip with black bean chips and wash it down with an ice cold Corona Light.

salsa fresh-3BLOGO



Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Bread

When I get into a baking mood, I want to make all the things! Maybe its because a friend turned me on to the Great British Baking Show and I feel inspired. After enjoying the lemon zucchini bread and giving a banana walnut loaf to my dog sitter, the logical next flavor is chocolate. Chocolate with peanut butter is a perfect marriage that no one can dispute. Some dark cacao powder mixed with fresh creamy peanut spread is hard to mess up. Breakfast, dessert, mid day snack, or late night indulgence dipped in a glass of milk. Maybe just dig into the pan with a fork fresh out of the oven:) Whatever floats your boat!

chocolate bread-6CLOGO


1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

2/3-3/4 cup organic cane sugar

1/4 cup honey

8 Tbspvanilla  melted butter

3 eggs

3 Tbsp hot water

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3 1/2 Tbsp dar cacao powder

1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup fresh peanut butter

(can substitute honey for 4 more Tbsp of butter)


Mix all ingredients (except peanut butter)

Pour into greased bread pan

Level top of batter

Gently spoon small amounts peanut butter on top of batter

Take knife and gently swirl peanut butter, do not go deep into the batter

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min or until center is fully cooked

chocolate bread-7BLOGO

Lemon Zucchini Bread

So..I have awesome neighbors with an adorable box garden:) Living next to like minded foodies is a major plus. Why?..because we share! Anytime I make sweets or a hefty serving too big for two...I mail it to my neighbors. I know you are thinking I'm crazy, but... We all have wild schedules, so in the evening I will leave a tupperware in their mailbox.  Keeps me from pigging out number one, but I also find cooking to be more satisfying when you give it to your friends. Yesterday I received a huge beautiful zucchini ready for culinary creations. With fresh lemons already in the kitchen, their fate was sealed. Lemon Zucchini bread for the win!

**Warning- this is super moist and addictive- do not bake on an empty stomach or you will eat the entire loaf**

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1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour

1 cup organic cane sugar

1 egg

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup shredded zuchini

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

2 Tbsp lemon zest


Mix all ingredients in large bowl, folding shredded zucchini in batter last

Bake at 325 for 50 min or until cooked in center

Add a glaze drizzle of lemon juice and powdered sugar with a sprinkle of lemon zest

*Eat a couple of slices and then pass it around to your friends*

lemon bread-4CLOGO




Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes

Pancakes-5BLOGO Today I woke up feeling adventurous! No boring cereal or toast for this girl:)

It's a banana and chocolate chip pancake kinda day. I justify my decision based on eating lots of vegetables for dinner last night. Plus making your meal from scratch is always rewarding.


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 Tbsp organic sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/4 cup vanilla almond milk

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla

1/2-2/3 cup mashed bananas

1 egg

dark chocolate chips


Mix all ingredients together except chocolate chips

Set frying pan to medium heat ( add a little coconut oil to lightly grease pan)

3 normal spoonfuls of batter onto middle of pan, making about the size of a coaster

once batter is bubbling sprinkle chocolate chips on top

let them sink then flip pancake

lightly press until pancake is cooked


stack desired number of pancakes onto plate

add sliced bananas and chocolate chips

pour on syrup and dig in!!!!

*no need for butter, BUT a little peanut butter spread is pretty darn tasty:)!!!




Chocolate Dipped Pineapple

 I have never traveled to Hawaii but I can go their in my kitchen! Pineapple is my favorite fruit and who doesn't like chocolate? Need a fun afternoon snack..here yah go:)
I hope no one is judging my writing or punctuation skills...just stare at the food please.
Cut fresh pineapple into rings, remove core
I dap off some of the juice for easy dipping
Melt chocolate chips on stovetop
Dip or drizzle warm chocolate onto pineapple
Sprinkle coconut and almonds
Place in fridge to chill
YUM!! Fruity, chocolatey, almond crunch and coconut goodness just slaps you in the face:)

Fig and Prosciutto Flatbread

"When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore" "Scuzza me, but you see, back in old Napoli, that's amore"....
Quite often I feel the need to dance around the house and sing to the dogs as I cook:) So after several verses of 'That's Amore', I am ready to eat pizza!
Simple, flavorful, and delicious!
1 batch pizza dough (soon I will make one from scratch..promise!)..
1/3 cup fig preserves
2 oz. prosciutto torn into pieces
9 oz mozzarella cheese
1 tsp Rosemary
Crushed red pepper
Roll out pizza dough onto lightly floured surface
Place onto baking sheet
Evenly spread thin layer of fig preserves across dough leaving a 3/4 in border for crust
Next, cover fig preserves with mozzarella
Then add pieces of prosciutto
Sprinkle rosemary and red pepper as top layer
Bake at 475 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges of flatbread are crispy!
Grab a slice and dance around your kitchen:)

Flourless Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Today's reward for running a couple miles shall be cookies!! Yes, halfway through my run I decided chocolate and bananas were waiting for me at home:) In an effort to eat healthy, I no longer purchase packaged cookies from the grocery store. Oh Oreos..I miss you so much it hurts! Ok..back on track, my first attempt at flourless cookies turned out amazing..(patting self on the back) Quick to make and guilt free eating, you must try these.
3 over ripe bananas (the older the sweeter)
1 1/2 cups dry oatmeal
sprinkle in some cacao nibs and dark chocolate chips (I just eyeball a good amount)
chop and mix in walnuts (ditto^)
Mix together..Boom! That's it!
Spoon onto cooking sheet..mash into shape (they won't spread like regular cookies)
Bake 15 min at 350
Cool on cookie tray and enjoy your reward for working out:)!!

Banana Walnut Bread

There is something about baking bread that leaves the house feeling warm and inviting. Walking into a room filled with the aroma of banana bread instantly brings back memories of my mother's kitchen. I love how smells trigger flashbacks of people and places. Being quite the nostalgic, I fondly recall my childhood and savoring a warm slice with a glass of milk:)
Here is my favorite Banana Walnut Bread!
3 over ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup light packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Mix all ingredients in mixer or large bowl "except walnuts"
Once combined, fold in nuts
pour into non stick dish
bake for 45min at 350 degrees


Homemade Cherry Pie

Cherry season means pie making time!!! I love just about every kind of pie, but hot cherry pie with vanilla ice cream is a summer tradition. I refuse to even look at the bags of cherry pie filling in the grocery store..yuck!! If I am taking the time to bake, it needs to be done right. Especially if I am going to stray away from my diet, I want the real thing:)
Please follow the process of hand picked cherries to dessert satisfaction!
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup very cold unsalted butter ( I used 2 sticks, chopped into pieces)
8 tablespoons ice water
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp organic sugar
4 1/2-5 cups pitted fresh cherries (I used a deep dish pie pan, so 5 worked for me!)
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup organic sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt
cherry pie-2cherry pie-1d
~Pit cherries (remove stems first)
With fresh cherries, you must remove the pits. You can choose from two simple methods. Slit cherries in half or use a chopstick to push them out from stem side and retain cherry shape.
~Make the Crust
Sift flour into mixing bowl to remove lumps. Combine sugar and salt, then add butter pieces. Use hands to knead butter into flour.  Once throughly combined, add cold water.
Sprinkle fresh flour onto flat rolling surface and to ball of pie dough. Lightly coat dough with flour to prevent sticking. Roll out to an even layer about 1/8 inch thickness and slightly larger than pie dish. Leftover dough will be used for lattice. Gently place crust into dish and cut off excess dough.
cherry pie-3bcherry pie-6cherry pie-5B
cherry pie-22b


~Make the Filling
Mix cornstarch, sugar, vanilla, almond, lemon, and salt into small bowl. Then pour onto pitted cherries and gently coat them using a spatula in a separate bowl. spoon filling gently into pie crust.
cherry pie-23b
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~ Add your Lattice
Take remaining chilled dough, lightly pat with flour and roll out to an even 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 1/2 -3/4 inch strips. Lay out 4-5 strips evenly spaced and parallel across topping. Use fingers to press ends into sides of bottom crust. Fold back alternating strips as you weave each new piece from alternate direction. Continue until lattice weave is completely covering pie. Press edges in around the pie dish to secure lattice.
cherry pie-25cherry pie -10Bcherry pie-26cherryp pie-11clogo
~Signature Touches
Chefs are artists, so make your pie an original!
cherry pie -14B
~Bake that pie already
Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 40-45 minutes. Or when crust is lightly brown and cherries are bubbling in the center. About 15 minutes before pie is done baking, remove from oven, lightly brush lattice with almond milk and sprinkle with sugar.
Let pie cool for 1-2hrs before slicing. (this is very hard...trust me it will still be warm, but allows filling to set)
cherry pie-15bcherry pie-18b
~Prepare to eat
While the pie is cooling...get some plates and forks ready..duh!! This is a given, but make sure you have vanilla ice cream on stand by :)
cherry pie-19B
Slice yourself a big piece, be generous with the ice cream, and enjoy all your hard work! YES..this is the best cherry pie ever:)
cherry pie-29c

Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash Bowls

 Stuffing my face is a beloved past time, even better when I can have hot wings and pasta all at once!  Since discovering spaghetti squash, I have been obsessed with this dish. Easy dinner for two, that's filling and low carb..score:)
1 Spaghetti squash
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup grated cheese of choice (I use an italian blend)
1/3-1/2 cup greek yogurt (Fage for sure!)
1/3 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce (" I put that **** on everything".sorry I had too!)
1 jalepeno (remove seeds and white lining, chop into small pieces)
1/4 cup chopped green onion
salt and pepper
Make it:
Cut spaghetti squash in half..long ways..DO NOT cut yourself!
Remove seeds and pulp (think carving pumpkin..make sure not to scrape out spaghetti part!)
Lightly brush rim and inside with extra virgin olive oil
Bake at 350 for 40-45 min
While squash is baking...
Combine chicken, yogurt, hot sauce, jalepeno, cheese, salt and pepper in bowl
Once squash is done..
Scrape spaghetti out of shell into bowl of ingredients (recommend wearing oven mit to hold hot squash)
Once thoroughly mixed, fill shells with ingredients
Sprinkle on a little more cheese and chopped onions
Place back in over for about 10 minutes..until cheese is melted
Serve with blue cheese or ranch to drizzle on top!

Squash Fritters


Do you love pancakes? Do you love fresh vegetables?...if so, fritters are for you:)
Over the weekend I purchased a bunch of goodies at the local farmer's market. Tomatoes, squash, onions, and zucchini to be exact. It's so nice to have the opportunity to support local farmers and know where your food is grown.
When I was younger, my Dad always had a bountiful vegetable garden. We ate squash, tomatoes, and peppers all season long. Running to the garden to see if there was anything ready to pick was a daily adventure. I don't have the same green thumb as he does, so now I rely on friendly agriculturists to supply my veggies:)
I have never made fritters before today, but after a few bites I knew they would be a reoccurring summer favorite!
2 cups shredded yellow squash ( spiralize it baby!)
2 cups shredded zuchini
2/3 cup chopped onion (I just grab whatever onion is in the fridge, today was a white one)
2/3 cup chopped tomato
1 cup all purpose flour
2 egg whites
1 TBSP garlic salt
1 TBSP salt
1 TBSP pepper
Mix veggies together, squeezing out excess water
pour in rest of ingredients
mix with hands
Scoop medium spoonful of mixture onto lightly oiled (olive oil) skillet at medium-high heat
Mash into patty form
Cook 2-3 minutes per side or until crispy
Grab some sour cream or my fav..a bowl of mediterranean hummus..dip a fritter and pat yourself on the back for eating your veggies:)!

Oak Island Cocktail


 The Beach is my 'Happy Place'! Taking my own prescription for salt water therapy, I headed down to Oak Island last week. I'm not big into tourist attractions.  So, when I reach the coast, I want to put my feet in the sand, eat seafood, and drink mixed drinks while I stare at the ocean. That's it...I am completely content for days, just reading while my beagle hunts for crabs.
North Carolina is not quite a tropical paradise..although with enough coconut rum it can taste like one:) I may like to drink dark beers, but when it comes to cocktails fruit is king. If you are headed to the beach try my newly concocted "Oak Island"!
Coconut Rum
Banana Rum
Peach Schnaaps
Mango/Pineapple/Cranberry Juice
Fresh Banana
Handful of Fresh Strawberries
Either one or two shots of each Rum and Schnaaps
1-2 cups of Juice
Add Fruit
2-3 cups of Ice
Poor a tall glass, grab a book, nestle into your rocking chair, breathe in the salty air and relax..enjoy day drinking on your vacation:)

Lemon Coconut Gooey Granola Bars

 Happy Easter!!
 What a beautiful Sunday with sunny skies and a lovely breeze:)
One of my favorite Easter memories is from when I visited Rome. I remember the sound of church bells echoing through the streets as people hustled to the Vatican.  So many gorgeous flowers on display in every color imaginable throughout the courtyard. I was easily captivated by the sun reflecting off the intricate architecture. A city so rich with art and history, on that day was full of inviting warmth. After four years studying Latin, Rome was everything I thought it would be! If you ever get the chance to go..I highly suggest you do it:)
So..while I'm being all sappy and nostalgic, I decided to make a rich, yellow dessert to remind me of Italian bakeries.
1 3/4 cups organic toasted coconut granola (saw this at Trader Joe's and snatched it right up)
7 Tbsp softened butter
5 eggs
4 tablespoons coconut flour
2 cups of raw honey
1/2 cup lemon juice
Mix butter and granola..line 9x13 inch baking pan..bake at 350 for 20 min
Mix remaining ingredients in bowl..pour onto baked granola
Bake 20-25 minutes
Cut into squares
Sprinkle with lemon zest
Sit in the sun, smell some flowers, and dream of sunny Italy!


Coconut Flour Banana Oat Blueberry Muffins


Am I the only one who thinks about food during workouts?! Today, while swimming laps..all I could focus on was baking muffins:) So..off to the store for coconut flour.  while shopping I stumbled upon a jar of creamed honey. It was meant to be! The universe agreed that today I should have muffins with a creamy honey spread. I like to mix all my favorites into a recipe..be prepared for reoccurring themes of coconut, bananas, and honey.
3 medium sized over ripe bananas
1 cup of oats
1/2 cup honey (or sugar)
3/4 cup almond milk
3/4 cup coconut flour (very absorbent!! so start with a 1/2 and see how thick your mixture gets first)
2 tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs (must add more eggs for coconut flour)
6oz container of fresh blueberries
1/3 cup shredded coconut
Mash bananas
Mix all other ingredients except blueberries and coconut separately
Then add banana mash
Lastly stir in bananas and cocounut
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 min
**Most important**
Spread creamed honey on hot muffin...ahhh!!! Your welcome:)