Lightly Sweet Banana Muffins

Enjoy these naturally sweetened banana muffins with no added sugar!

Ingredientsbanana muffins

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
4 large overripe bananas, mashed
1 egg
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (opt)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, chopped (opt)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (opt)


1. Combine wet ingredients in one bowl.
2. Combine dry ingredients in another bowl.  banana muffin

3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir to combine.
4. Fold in optional chocolate chips, walnuts, blueberries, etc.
5. Transfer to a greased/lined muffin tin and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.


Sunshine Cake

My birthday was recently and so I made a cake.  We all agreed that it was the happiest tasting cake and that it reminded us of a bite of sunshine.  Treat your taste buds to a tart light, lemony cake with lemon curd filling.

sunshine-cake.jpegFor the cake
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3 eggs
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 Tbs fresh lemon zest
1 cup fresh blueberries
For the lemon curd
See Tangy Lemon Curd recipe

1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and whisk together.
2. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients.
3. Add wet ingredients and lemon zest to dry ingredients.
4. Fold in fresh blueberries and transfer to a greased and floured 9×13 or 2 8in rounds.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a couple moist crumbs.
6. Let cake cool completely before layering with lemon curd.

*recipe adapted from


Homemade falafel is easy and super delicious.  This makes about 25 falafel balls.

1 15oz can garbanzo beans (chick peas)*
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 1/2 Tbs chick pea flour
garlic flavor panko bread crumbs

*Dried garbanzo beans soaked for a few hours work better.

1. Place ingredients from chick peas to chick pea flour in food processor.  Pulse until slightly gritty texture.
2. Use a spoon to scoop into balls and roll in bread crumbs.
3. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.  Flip half way through baking time.

Serve in your  favorite pita wrap or rice bowl.  I chose a multigrain pita bread, a smear of roasted garlic hummus, fresh spinach, and steamed broccoli seasoned with curry powder, salt, and pepper.

(Chicken-less) Tortilla Soup

Imagine tacos but as soup that can be made in one pot.

tortilla-soup.jpg 1 small yellow onion, diced
3 carrots, cut into rounds
3 celery stalks, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 15oz can black beans
1 15oz can petite diced tomatoes or diced fresh tomatoes
1 15oz can corn kernels or frozen or fresh kernels cut off the cob
1 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cayenne pepper (or more to make it spicy)
salt to taste
4 cups vegetable broth

1. Heat oil in a pot over medium-high heat.
2. Add spices and cook for about 1 minute.
3. Add onions and cook for about 2 minutes.
4. Add carrots and cook for about 2 minutes.
5. Add celery and cook for about 3 minutes.
6. Add bell pepper, corn, lime juice, and garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes.
7. Add tomatoes, beans, and veggie broth.
8. Bring to a boil and cook until carrots are tender-crisp.

Serve hot.  Garnish with tortilla chip pieces, cheese, avocado slices, fresh cilantro, etc. as desired.

Pot Stickers

Try making your own pot stickers at home.  They really aren’t difficult, just take some time.  Grab a friend, turn on some music, and get cooking!  The amount the recipe yields depends on the amount of cabbage and other veggies you use.

Ingredientspot stickers.jpg
won ton wrappers
Chopped cabbage, I used green but you can try purple*
1 large grated carrot
1/3 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 onion, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced (optional)
1/2 lemon, juiced
Soy sauce to taste, I just added a few shakes
1 tsp honey
1/2 Tbs olive oil

*A good alternative to prepping your own veggies is to purchase a bag of pre-shredded slaw mix.  You will still want to add the ginger, garlic, and onion though.

1. Heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and cook until translucent.
2. Add ginger and garlic.  Cook ~60 seconds.
3. Add cabbage and carrots.  Cook about 4 minutes or until tender-crisp.
4. Mix lemon juice, honey, and soy sauce and pour over veggies.  Stir to combine.
5. Remove from heat.  Add filling to won ton wrappers.  About 1 1/2 tsp per wrapper.  Fold the wrapper point to point and seal edges with water.
6. Heat skillet to medium high.  Add pot stickers in a single layer.  Cover and cook about 1 minute.  Flip, cover, and cook the other side.  I lightly sprayed the pan with cooking spray and then cooked all of the pot stickers without respraying it.

Serve with veggie stir fry, veggie fried rice, or as an hors d’oeuvre at a party.

Taco Night!

I bring you all the recipes you need in one place for a successful taco night: Mexican style rice, sauteed veggies, and black beans.*  Serve over greens as a salad or wrapped in hot tortillas.  Complete the night with margaritas, chips and your favorite dip.  Also, it reheats great!

*Consider using leftover Black Bean Soup from which you drain excess liquid as the beans in the tacos.

Ingredientstaco night blog post.jpg
Tortillas or salad greens
Grated cheese, salsa, guacamole, etc. (optional)
For the Mexican Rice
1 cup brown rice
2 cups veggie stock
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 lime, juiced
1 handful frozen corn kernels (or 1 fresh ear cut off the cob)
3-4 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/3 orange bell pepper, diced
1/4 onion, diced
1/4 Serrano pepper, minced
1/4 tsp black pepper
Salt to taste
1/2 Tbs olive oil
For the Black Beans
1 28oz can black beans
1/2 Serrano pepper, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
Salt to taste
For the Sauteed Veggies
1 zucchini squash, cut into thin rounds
1 grey squash, cut into thin rounds
1-2 carrots, cut into thin rounds
1/4 onion, diced or cut into slivers
2/3 orange bell pepper, cut into slivers
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 Tbs olive oil

For the Mexican Rice
1. Saute onions and add other ingredients.  Cook according to rice package directions (even if that means changing the amount of liquid).  Start the rice first because brown rice takes a while to cook.
For the Black Beans
1. Drain extra liquid and reheat Black Bean Soup.  Other wise add all ingredients listed for black beans and simmer until hot, stirring occasionally.
For the Sauteed Veggies
1. Heat 1/2 Tbs olive oil over medium heat.
2. Add onions and cook until translucent.
3. Add remaining veggies, lime juice, and chili powder.  Cook until tender-crisp.
For the Tortillas
1. Heat tortillas in a skillet or a flat griddle.
Assembly Time
1.Add beans, rice, and veggies to your hot tortilla or salad greens.
2. Top with anything additional like grated cheese or salsa.

Tangy Lemon Curd

Making your own lemon curd sounds scary, but really is rather simple.  Make your own and impress your friends (and your taste buds) with this quick recipe.

Ingredientslemon curd
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbs fresh lemon zest*
slightly less than 1/2 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
4 Tbs unsalted butter

*Zest the lemons before juicing them

1. Combine ingredients in a heat safe mixing bowl.  Place on a simmering pot of water as a double boiler.  Be sure not to let the water touch the bowl.
2. Whisk the ingredients in the bowl over the heat until they have thickened and will coat the back of a spoon and have a smooth texture.
3. Do not let the egg mixture get too hot or the eggs will begin to scramble and your lemon curd will have lumps of scrambled eggs, weird…
4. Place in fridge to cool until it is thick and spreadable.

Serve as a filling for a cake, as a spread on toast, or however your creative mind wants.

Easy Macaroni and Cheese

Soups and comfort food has been my thing recently, so here’s a recipe for mac and cheese.

Ingredientsmacaroni and cheese
For the macaroni
1 lb bite size pasta of choice*
2 cups milk
3 Tbs butter
3 Tbs flour
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 clove garlic, minced
~0.5 lb grated cheddar cheese
For the delicious bread crumb toping
1/2-3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
pinch smoked paprika
pinch cayenne
~1 Tbs butter

*elbow pasta is traditional, but I chose to try Trottole because I love pasta

1. Boil noodles according to package directions.
2. While pasta cooks, melt butter for bread crumbs and add pinch of smoked paprika and pinch of cayenne.  Add bread crumbs and stir occasionally until toasty.
3. Drain noodles and set aside.
4. Melt butter and add spices and flour.  Stir butter and flour mixture until it is a light caramel color.
5. Add milk and stir until desired thickness is reached.  It should be the consistency of a sauce.
6. Slowly add cheese and stir to melt.  Do not add all of the cheese at once or it will stick to itself.
7. Add pasta to cheese sauce and mix.
8. Pour macaroni into baking dish.  I used an 8×8 but a 9×13 would also work.  Top with bread crumbs and extra cheese if desired.  Bake at 350 for about 7 minutes.

Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

Make elevated broccoli and cheese soup with more veggies than some recipes include.

Ingredientsbroccoli cheddar soup.jpg
~ 1 1/2 heads broccoli with stems or 2 heads of just florets*
2 stalks celery, diced
3 grated carrots
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups veggie stock
2 cups half and half
8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese, optional extra cheese for garnishing
3 1/2 Tbs butter
3 Tbs flour
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground tumeric
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp black pepper, or to taste
1 tsp coarse sea salt, or to taste

*I like to leave the broccoli in bite size pieces and cook it until its tender-crisp

1. Heat 1/1 Tbs butter in pot over medium heat.  Saute onions for about 1 minute before adding celery.  Cook until for about 2 minutes then add carrots.  Cook until onions are translucent.
2. Remove the veggies and about 1/3 cup veggie stock.  Place in blender and blend until smooth, adding liquid as necessary.
3. Melt 3 Tbs butter in pot.  Add flour and stir to create a roux.  Cook until caramel colored.
4. Add veggie puree to the roux.  Slowly add veggie broth while stirring.  Add the broccoli.  Add the half and half. Heat until right before boiling.*
5. Right before the soup boils remove it from the heat and add the cheese in portions and stir to melt it into the soup. **

*If you let the soup boil after adding the half and half, it will begin separating.
**If you add all the cheese at once you risk letting it form clumps.

Mushroom and Dumpling Soup

Warm up this winter with a bowl of slightly creamy mushroom and dumpling soup.

mushroom dumplingsFor the soup
1 small yellow onion, diced
5 stalks celery, diced
4 carrots, diced
8 oz baby portabella mushrooms, stems removed and finely diced
1/2 Tbs Italian seasoning (or to taste)
1/4 tsp dried thyme (or to taste)
1/4 tsp dried rosemary (or to taste)
1/2 tsp curry powder (or to taste)
1/4 tsp cayenne (or to taste)
1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
32 oz veggie broth
32 oz water
corn starch and water slurry
For the dumplings
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
dash cayenne
dash Italian seasoning
1/2 cup milk (I use non-dairy milk)
1 Tbs melted butter or olive oil
2 tsp baking powder

1. Heat 2 Tbs olive oil in a pot over medium heat.  Add herbs and spices and cook for about 90 seconds.
2. Add onions and cook until translucent.  Add carrots and celery; cook about 7 minutes.
3. Add mushrooms and cook until liquid releases and the mushrooms decrease in size some.  Add wine if using.
4. Add vegetable broth and water.
5. Simmer for at least 30 minutes.
6. Add corn starch and water slurry to reach desired thickness.  I left my soup only slightly thickened and it was perfect.
7. In a separate pot, boil water to cook dumplings.*
8. Mix dry dumpling ingredients before adding the wet ingredients.  The mixture should form a soft dough.
9. Use two wet spoons (wet so the dough doesn’t stick) to create about 1 inch pieces of dough, they won’t be perfectly round.  Drop them in the boiling water, but do not overcrowd the pot; you may need to cook them in more than one batch.
10. Cover and cook about 3 minutes.  Flip the dumplings and cover for about 2 minutes longer.  Transfer cooked dumplings to the soup and serve immediately.


*You are free to cook the dumplings in the soup itself, but be aware that they will absorb some of the liquid.