Flourless Banana Oatmeal Cookies

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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.
Ingredients:
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

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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!
Ingredients:
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

 

Lamb Gyro at the Grecian Corner

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 Every city has a go to Gyro spot and I have found mine! I mean, who doesn't like a meat and veggie filled pita? The Grecian Corner in Winston Salem is nestled below I-40 near Baptist Hospital. The old diner atmosphere is filled with the aroma of greek spices. There is always a cake dish full of fresh baklava and friendly people behind the counter.
When I head to this popular lunch destination, I have one thing on my mind...the classic gyro!
Maybe its the crispy pita, or the spicy onions, or the most delicious tzaziki sauce..but this wrap just slaps you in the face with flavor. I hate to say I haven't tried anything else on the menu, because I am addicted to the gyro. I mean when my taste buds crave a favorite, I just can't deny them:) If you know a dish I should try..send me your recommendation!

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!
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Ingredients
Crust:
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
Filling:
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
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~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.
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~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.
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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.
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~Signature Touches
Chefs are artists, so make your pie an original!
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~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)
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~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 :)
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~EAT!!!!!!
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:)
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Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash Bowls

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 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:)
Ingredients:
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

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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!
Ingredients:
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
Make:
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

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 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"!
Ingredients:
Coconut Rum
Banana Rum
Peach Schnaaps
Mango/Pineapple/Cranberry Juice
Fresh Banana
Handful of Fresh Strawberries
Ice
Make:
Either one or two shots of each Rum and Schnaaps
1-2 cups of Juice
Add Fruit
2-3 cups of Ice
Blend
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:)
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Sharing Food!

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Do you have trouble deciding what to order at restaurants? I do..mainly because I want to try everything! I have found two solutions to this problem.
1.  Sharing Food
Order several main dishes or multiple appetizers and share across the table. When you are dining with friends, everyone can sample a mixture of the menu and split the bill. Or, in my case..my boyfriend and I simply share half of our meal.
2. Visit Restaurants More Often
Yes, this may sound like the least practical choice. But, sometimes you just want to eat the whole cheeseburger! When every appetizer sounds drool worthy, you need to try them all:) So..each time you visit your fav restaurant make sure you venture out and explore the menu.
I have tried both options this week and my tastebuds thanked me. For Tasty Tuesday, my boyfriend and I took the pups to Crafted. We gorged on tacos, a rice bowl and mac n'cheese. Happily sharing our plates with each other.
Fast forward two days..with a friend visiting from out of state, we ventured back to Crafted. Hello?! Score on downtown dining again.  Ravenous when we seated, I wasn't eager to split my lunch and decided to order the burger.. just for me. Selfish, I know..but it was worth it! A gooey pimento cheese burger with a side of sweet potato chips. Ok..maybe I let everyone sample the chips:)
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Lemon Coconut Gooey Granola Bars

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 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.
Ingredients:
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
Make:
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
Cool
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

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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.
Ingredients:
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:)

Raspberry Lime Moscow Mule

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Today was a perfect Sunday! Gorgeous 70 degree weather, a light breeze, and a fun walk in the park with the dogs. Now, for grilling and relaxing on the deck:) What compliments a wonderful spring afternoon?..A delicious lime and raspberry Moscow Mule of course!
Make your drink:
Grab your copper mugs from the shelf:)
2 shots of vodka
half a glass of ginger beer
juice from a half lime
drop in a few raspberries
add a couple mint leaves
Don't forget the ice cubes!!
Lay back in a lawn chair, turn on some tunes, throw some tastes on the grill, sip and savor the day!

 

Avocado Deviled Eggs

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The incredible edible egg!!..Sorry, I had to:) So, being from the south I have tried many versions of the deviled egg. Every southern lady has her own take on this classic concoction. Cookouts, holidays, reunions, birthdays, luncheons, etc...these babies go with just about any food event. Being a deviled egg Connoisseur, I have finally found the right formula for my taste buds.
Yes, they have avocado and splash of pickle juice!!
I like to taste as I cook, so don't hold me to the measurements...just adjust yours as needed:)
Ingredients:
Dozen large eggs (why skimp..you know you will eat them for breakfast the next day)
1 large avacado
white vinegar
pickle juice
mayonaise (Duke's of course)
yellow mustard
paprika
Boil eggs for 10-15min
Place eggs in large bowl and cool with tap water (seriously..took me a while to figure this out as I burned my fingers peeling eggs..where is Mom when you need common sense?)
Cut eggs in half and place cooked yolks in a bowl
Mix ingredients in a bowl..I add a good splash or two of white vinegar, 1tsp of pickle juice and squirt mayo and mustard as needed to make mixture creamy and tangy..I use more mustard than mayo..let the avocado work for most of your mayo needs
spoon mixture into empty egg halves then sprinkle with paprika
Store in fridge..because they are so much better cold!

Protein Balls

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Need a snack during the middle of the day, a quick protein energy boost before a workout, or just something to satisfy your sweet tooth?  These amazing little balls of goodness are a constant staple in my fridge. They are easy to make, tasty, and actually healthy:)
I do make my peanut butter at home. Basically throw some honey roasted peanuts in the blender until they churn into smooth and creamy. Be patient! You will have to stir maybe once to get the mixture to the blades. But then, magic happens and whola..peanut butter!! Store your leftovers in the fridge.
Ingredients:
1 cup dry oatmeal
2/3 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup mixture cacao nibs and dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 scoop mocha protein powder (optional)
Mix evenly with spoon in large bowl
Set in fridge to cool for 30 min
Roll into small balls
EAT!
Put extra balls in fridge for later:)