Banana Blueberry Muffins

I know that there are SO many different things I could be posting about, so it is a little absurd that out of my 7 ( count that, 7) blog posts to date, I will have posted about banana muffins twice. However, I am really trying to perfect a couple of recipes to replace my reliance on energy bars, and these muffins are a great substitute. I’ve found that I really need something in my bag when I’m doing a double workout and I’m not at home or going home any time soon. So I would for instance, swim, eat a Kind bar, run, eat a Luna bar, and then hurry home to try to get some real food in my system. This muffin doesn’t have enough protein for a solid post-workout recovery snack, but it something really good to eat in between workouts or right before one. It’s easily digestible, filled with healthy carbs and fats, and doesn’t have too much sugar. As soon as these muffins are cooled I put half of them in a Ziploc bag and pop them into the freezer. When I’m on the go I just wrap a frozen muffin in tinfoil and throw it in my bag. It defrosts on its own in an hour(ish), and is fresh, healthy, wholesome, not too sweet, and just filling enough to keep me going!

In the baking world, muffins (and loaf breads) are characterized as quick breads. You don’t need a lot of technique to prepare them, they are easy to make (hence their name), and most importantly they are very forgiving. So, if you are interested in playing around with different types of flours (oat, almond, rice, millet, spelt, buckwheat, etc) or fats (real butter, coconut butter, olive oil) quick breads are a great way to experiment.

I really liked my gluten-free banana muffins, but I personally am NOT gluten-free, and found myself really missing the proper muffin texture that wheat provides. Soooo, I took a standard banana bread recipe, cut the sugar, cut the fat a little, and substituted whole wheat pastry flour, spelt flour, and some almond meal for the all-purpose flour. I chose the pastry flour because it is finer and a little lighter than regular whole wheat flour. I added the spelt flour for its flavor, and the almond meal for some extra protein and healthy fats. Also, I know that blueberries are not in season, but I always have frozen blueberried on hand for smoothies, and I really like the extra tartness that they add to muffins. You can leave them out if you want! I hope you enjoy!


Banana-Blueberry Muffins

Yield: 12-18 muffins | Bake Time: 35 mins | Oven Temp: 350 degrees F


  • 5 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp coconut butter
  • 1 Cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 Cup almond meal (or flour)
  • 1/2 Cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 Cup organic dark brown sugar, packed down
  • 1/4 Cup organic cane sugar
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 Cup organic frozen blueberries
  • 1/3 Cup blanched slivered almonds (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a cupcake tin with muffin cups. **If you don’t have muffin liners, you can spray the tin with non-stick spray, but I think the liners help to keep the muffins more moist- especially if you plan on freezing them and eating them later.**
  3. Combine butter and coconut butter in glass bowl and melt in microwave in 20 second increments until just melted. Set aside
  4. Combine flours, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside
  5. Mash the bananas in a separate bowl. I like to leave it a little chunky to have bigger bits of banana in the muffins, but that is a personal preference. Add the melted butter to the bananas, the vanilla and the beaten eggs. Then add the sugar and mix again until combined.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture, and when combined fold in the blueberries.
  7. I like to use an ice cream scoop to portion out the muffins. It is cleaner and you get more evenly shaped muffins! img_2010
  8. Top the muffins with raw slivered almonds (optional) and bake in the center rack of the oven for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
  9. If you want to make this into a loaf, this will make 1 loaf of banana bread, and will take about an hour to bake.



Almond Milk

Almond milk, like granola, is another thing that I never made until recently. I just bought it because I thought that making it was too much of a hassle, and that there were plenty of great brands out there to buy, so why bother? Well, I’ll tell you why you should bother- it’s DELICIOUS!! Homemade almond milk is basically a completely different beverage than store-bought almond milk. Seriously, it tastes completely different! It’s creamy, nutty, rich, flavorful, thick, do I even need to continue? I still buy almond milk to have on hand, and to throw into a recovery smoothie, but I now try to make it at least every other week to have on hand. Like I’ve said, I am not vegan nor am I dairy intolerant, so I don’t use almond milk as much as some, but I’ve been putting it into smoothies, adding it to my oatmeal, and drinking it over ice at night before bed. (It NEVER goes into my coffee though! Sorry folks, thats strictly whole milk and half and half forever and always!)

Here are a few things you should get before you make this recipe. You need a high-powered blender. If you don’t have a Vitamix, I must implore you to save your money and buy one! It is so worth the investment! Seriously, I think it is the most essential kitchen appliance, and is worth every penny! (Side note: the company has a very interesting history, that you can read more about if you are interested here.) Second thing you need is a carafe or glass bottle to store the almond milk in when it is ready. And third, buy a nut milking bag. You CAN use cheesecloth, but it takes longer, can be super messy, and nut milk bags have a finer mesh so you will only have to strain your milk once. You can buy one on Amazon- I bought this one, but there are lots of options.

Almond Milk

Yield: 1 Qt | Prep Time: 5 mins plus 6 hour or overnight soak


  • 1 Cup raw almonds
  • 4 Cups filtered water (plus water to soak almonds- at least 2 cups)
  • 4 Medjool dates (or other good quality variety), pitted
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea or kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • optional: freshly grated nutmeg (2-3 grates on a microplane grater)


  1. Cover the almonds with water and soak overnight in the refrigerator, or for at least 6 hours. img_1867
  2. Rinse the almonds in the sink in a strainer under cold water for a couple of seconds and put in blender.
  3. This next part you could do in two different ways. I usually blend the almonds with the water first, strain it, and then add it back into the blender with the flavorings, and blend and strain a second time. But this is more of a hassle, and I honestly don’t think there is any difference in flavor. The consistency is just a little smoother. So, I’ll let you decide which way you want to do it, but here is the easy/time saver method- Add all of the ingredients into your blender at once. Cover tightly with the lid, and blend on high for 1.5-2 minutes depending on the strength of your blender. The result will be a frothy, white liquid with some brown almond flecks in it.71372293-0c17-421b-b296-537d29bf7d09
  4. Put your nut milk bag over a bowl and pour the liquid into the bag. Squeeze out all of the fluid.
  5. I would suggest pouring the liquid from the bowl back into the blender, and at this point you can adjust the flavoring, flavor it if you want to do the 2-part process, or just from there pour it into your bottle or carafe. This will save you from cleaning up a huge mess if you try to pour the liquid from the bowl into a bottle. Trust me!

The milk will be a little warm from the blender- the motor tends to heat it up during the blending- so if you want to drink it right away, maybe add some ice (unless you like warm milk, in which case drink up!) Or, just refrigerate for an hour or so before drinking! Enjoy it! img_1906

*Side note: the milk will separate in the fridge. The additives in store-bought almond milk (normally some sort of lecithin), are mainly used to extend the shelf life and emulsify the milk so it doesn’t separate. Just give it a little shake or swirl, and it will come back together! This lasts in the fridge for about 3-5 days.

**Another side note: you can leave out any of the flavorings and just make it plain. If that’s the case, I would keep the salt though. You can use 1-2 Tbsp of maple syrup if you don’t have dates, or you can leave out the sweetness entirely. Another slight alternative is to make almond/hazelnut milk- soak 1/4 cup of raw hazelnuts (skin can be on) with 3/4 cup of almonds and do everything else the same! Don’t be afraid to experiment!

***Lastly, I forgot to mention this when I published this post- you can save the pulp to make your own almond meal. I’ve never done this, but it’s what most vegan and gluten free bakers tend to do, to diminish waste and save money. An excellent idea that I will definitely write about once I actually do it myself. If you think this interests you, just freeze the pulp and reserch how to use it! Or gay tunes to when I finally try it myself! Ok that’s all for now! 

Basic Granola

Surprisingly, I have never made my own granola before. There are SO many great brands out there these days that I really like (Early Bird made in Brooklyn, NY is my jam!), so I never really had the urge to try it until recently. I had literally all of the ingredients in my pantry, so I decided to give it a try, and I am so happy that I did! So happy in fact, that since last Wednesday I’ve made it 3 times! Here are my top 3 reasons to make your own granola:

  1. You can control exactly how much sugar and fat to put in. And as much as I love other brands, sometimes I wish it wasn’t as sweet, or as coconutty (I know that’s not a real word), or didn’t have walnuts (don’t like them)…the list goes on.
  2. It makes your house/apartment smell AMAZING
  3. You can add anything extra to this recipe and empty out your pantry!
  4. Bonus reason- it makes a fun holiday gift! Put some in a small mason jar and tie a bow around it! Its healthy, yummy, easy, different, more yummy…

I made my granola with shredded coconut, golden raisins, pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds, and sunflower seeds, but you can add any combination of nuts and seeds and dried fruit that you want. Just make sure that they are RAW! If the nuts or seeds are already roasted, they will burn in the oven and your granola will become bitter. You can also play around with the ratio of sweeteners or types of sweeteners that you use. The first time I used more molasses than the second time- I decided I wanted a more mild flavor- but you can switch the ratios around, or use less, or add maple syrup instead of honey or molasses. Basically, you can’t really screw this up UNLESS, you don’t pay attention while its in the oven, and don’t use raw ingredients. So, here is my recipe. Enjoy!

Basic Granola

Yield: 2 Qts | Bake Time: 45 mins | Oven Temp: 300 degrees


  • 2 Cups rolled oats (Gluten Free if you have a gluten sensitivity)
  • 1/2 Cup shredded coconut, UNSWEETENED
  • 1/2 Cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 Cup sunflower seeds, raw
  • 1/3 Cup sliced almonds, raw
  • 1/3 Cup pumpkin seeds, raw
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 Cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 Cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl (everything up to the coconut oil) and toss them together with your hands. img_1722-1
  3. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the coconut oil, honey and molasses, and heat in microwave until the coconut oil has melted- do it in 15 second increments. If you don’t have a microwave, you can do this in a small saucepan on the stove- just be very careful that it doesn’t burn. You really are just melting the coconut oil and making the honey and molasses less sticky and easier to mix with the dry ingredients.
  4. Add the vanilla to the oil and honey mixture once it is out of the microwave, stir, and pour into the oat mixture.
  5. Mix with a spatula until all of the oats are coated.
  6. Spread out onto the lined baking sheet, and place in the center of your oven in the middle rack.
  7. Here is the most important step- STIR granola with spatula every 15-20 minutes. This is super important so the edges don’t burn. You don’t have to go crazy with this, just push the edges towards the middle with your spatula, and the middle towards the edges, and pop right back into the oven.
  8. You will know that it is done by the change in color, the raisins will puff up to the size of grapes, and the smell! Don’t neglect your sense of smell to tell you when something is ready to come out of the oven! Try to pay attention to that! Here’s a before and after shot of the granola:img_1734
  9. When it comes out, mix it one last time and let cool before putting it into a jar. It will last probably up to two weeks in a sealed container- but I’m sure you will eat it all way before then! Hence, why I’ve made it 3 times in less than a week… I have issues!



NOT Avocado Toast

Get ready, cause I’m about to blow your mind…I don’t like avocado! <GASP!!!> I know, what is wrong with me?! It’s a texture thing. But, I think even if I did like avocado, I would be a little sick of the avocado toast craze by now. So, I’d like to introduce you to farmer cheese. (Even Cyrus wants to try some!)


Farmer cheese is basically a very dry cottage cheese with most of the whey (liquid part) pressed out of it. Its texture is very similar to ricotta. I know that a lot of people HATE cottage cheese (even more than I dislike avocado), but again I think it’s a texture thing, and I urge you to try it! Friendship Dairies is probably the most common brand that you can find in most grocery stores. The cheese comes in a small block like cream cheese. But, if you live in NYC, you have to try Ben’s farmer cheese! You can buy it at Citarella’s, Murray’s Cheese, or Fairway. It comes in a pint container, and is just amazing! (Ben’s is also famous in NYC for their cream cheese.) Farmer cheese is low-fat, has low levels of lactose (so those who have difficulty digesting dairy would most likely have no problem with it), has descent levels of protein, and is super mild and versatile. It’s most common usage is for fillings in Eastern European dishes such as blintzes, but here I’ve used it as a spread on toasted bread that you can top with a wide array of vegetables, fruit, seeds, etc.


You can top this with anything you want, or eat it plain, with salt and pepper and olive oil, honey, whatever! But, I’m going to show you two options that I made with vegetables that I had in my kitchen- roasted fennel and acorn squash. I’ll start by explaining how to cook acorn squash- its super easy! Just cut it in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, slice it, toss it with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast it in a 375 degree oven with the skin on.


Roast the squash on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (easier cleanup) for about 20-25 minutes until the squash is soft. Let it cool and just peel off the skin with your fingers- it will come off very easily! Spread the farmer cheese on toasted bread (pumpernickel, whole grain, rye, sourdough), top with the slices of squash, and finish with salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) to add some crunch, extra protein, omega-3 fats, and magnesium! The second topping is roasted fennel.


To prep the fennel, cut the top of the fennel bulb off and save some of the fronds (green parts that look like dill) for garnish. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise, cut out the core, and slice into 1/4 inch slices. As with the acorn squash, toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper, 2 or 3 thyme sprigs if you have them, and a clove of crushed garlic. Spread the fennel out on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Roasted fennel has a much milder flavor than raw fennel- it is sweeter and the anise flavor is much less pronounced. After it cools, spread it on the toast and top with fresh cracked black pepper and fennel fronds.


And voila, NOT avocado toast! Eat this before or after a workout, for breakfast, or as a side with your favorite soup. Enjoy!


Gluten Free Banana Muffins


I LOVE GLUTEN! Seriously, a life without bread, pasta and cookies (made with wheat flour!) would be a very sad one for me. But, my sister is both gluten and dairy-intolerant, so I want to learn and explore gluten-free baking a bit more. Side note: Making something gluten-free doesn’t suddenly make it healthy! I see this misunderstanding a lot, so I just want to put that out there! I have a lot of thoughts on this topic, but I’ll save it for another time- this is about banana bread (muffins)!

Banana bread is delicious, easy to make, and you most likely have all of the ingredients in your pantry and fridge already. Traditional banana bread however, is not the most healthy option. It generally contains a lot of fat and sugar, that I’ve found is not necessary for it to taste delicious! So, I took this gluten-free challenge as a way to bake with whole grains, unrefined sugars and healthy fats (a little butter never hurt anyone) and turn traditional banana bread into a great pre-workout snack or something you could bring on a bike ride for mid-ride fuel.

I adapted this recipe from a few different ones that I found, and decided to use rolled oats, almond flour and millet flour for the dry ingredients. This is not a vegan recipe, so I used eggs, a little butter (my sister can tolerate butter, just not other dairy…who knows!?) and coconut oil for the fats. I used organic cane sugar and maple syrup as the sweet components, along with the bananas of course! And added coconut for flavor and texture along with golden raisins. Here are some of the ingredients/brands that I used:



The first time I tried this recipe, I made it as a loaf, and it was a little too crumbly. I adjusted a few things, so I think this recipe would work as a loaf too, but I like the muffins because they are easy to carry with you as a grab-and-go snack or like I mentioned before, to put in your jersey pocket for a bike ride. Also, its built-in portion control!

Gluten Free Banana Muffins

Yield: 24 muffins | Bake Time: 20-25 mins | Oven Temp: 350 degrees


  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup organic dark brown cane sugar, packed down
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (grind fresh if possible)
  • 1 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 1 1/4 cups millet flour
  • 1 1/4 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I use a convection oven on convection bake, so if you are using a standard oven, your bake time might be slightly longer.
  2. Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray. I didn’t use muffin liners, because I think they’re annoying, and not necessary if you grease the tin well, but you can use them if you’d like!  (My muffin tins make 12 muffins each, so you can use 2 tins or make this in two batches.)
  3. Mash bananas with a fork- should be chunky so you have big pieces in the muffins. Melt the butter and coconut oil on stove top or in a microwave. Do not let it simmer! Coconut oil has a low smoke point and will burn very quickly! Set aside and let cool.
  4. Add butter and coconut oil to bananas along with all of the other wet ingredients- everything through the almond milk. Stir with whisk.
  5. Add all remaining ingredients, and stir until combined.
  6. Use and ice cream scooper or 1/4 cup measuring cup to pour mixture into muffin tins. This guarantees even sizing and keeps the edges of the tin much neater.
  7. Place the tins on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden brown.
  8. Cool on baking rack, and enjoy!

**If you want to make a loaf- banana bread instead of muffins- this amount will fill one standard 9x5in loaf pan. Adjust cooking time to 45-50mins.

***Also, this is not a vegan recipe, but you could make it vegan by replacing the egg with flax egg, and using all coconut oil instead of butter.