Skinny Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

20180309_182917Although we are well into the second week of March, I want to rewind for a moment to last month. February is traditionally dedicated to heart health and love and in honor of that theme I created this delicious, sweet treat that is healthier for your heart. I initially served these to my family for Valentine’s Day but have recently made them again as a high protein treat for post workouts. No matter if you add protein powder or just want a healthier treat, these cupcakes are perfect for serving yourself and your loved ones long after the 14th of February.

20180309_182958To make these cupcakes “skinny”, I replaced the traditional use of butter with mashed banana. To sneak in some whole-grains, I swapped whole-wheat flour for the typically used all-purpose. Before baking, each cupcake received a natural pop of red color from a few raspberries placed on top of the batter. This recipe makeover results in a delicious 88 calorie cupcake with no saturated fat, 2 grams of protein, and 1 gram of fiber. A sweet treat to share without any of the guilt!

20180309_182110Note: If you want to make these into protein cupcakes, add a scoop of your favorite chocolate or vanilla protein powder. This will result in each cupcake containing approximately 91 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 4 grams protein, and 2 grams fiber, depending on the brand of powder. This recipe will produce approximately 24 cupcakes.


Skinny Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes


  • 1 cup White Whole-Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup Cane Sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ¾ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¾ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 Large Egg
  • ½ cup Mashed Banana (about 1 Medium)
  • ½ cup Warm Water
  • ¼ cup Milk
  • ¼ cup Light Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 ¼ cups Raspberries (about 72)
  • 1 scoop Chocolate or Vanilla Protein Powder (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 24 regular size muffin cups with paper liners. Spray each paper liner with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and protein powder (if using). In a different bowl, whisk together the egg, mashed banana, water, milk, oil, and vanilla. Fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until combined.
  3. Scoop batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup ¾ full. Drop 3 raspberries in the batter of each cup. Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.






No-Bake Banana Cranberry Protein Bites

20180207_102046If you have been a regular follower of this website you probably already noticed some changes to my content as of late. Since the inception of this blog, I have made some rather drastic lifestyle changes, which has undoubtably impacted my ability to bring a continuous influx of content. Previously I would make all kinds of desserts because my family would eat them and nothing would ever go to waste. Over the past year and a half, I have been focused on eating healthier, exercising, and avoiding all the sweets I used to indulge in. Although I still prepare sweets for special occasions, I have found it difficult to prepare desserts that I know will go to waste. I am trying to find outlets to take the items I would prepare so I can continue bringing familiar content and making sure nothing goes to waste, but in the meantime I will be focusing on content that is still sweet but may be a bit healthier than your liking.

20180207_102125With that said, I recently developed this plant-based protein bite to satisfy my sweet tooth and fuel my active lifestyle. As many of you well know, I have Crohn’s, which is a digestive disease. Although I tested negative for lactose intolerance, I have noticed that I feel better when I avoid using too many dairy products. For athletes, fitness enthusiasts, or anyone like myself that has digestive issues and food sensitivities, you will come to love the power of plant-based protein. Researchers have found that plant-based protein appears to be a more tolerable source of protein, and causes fewer incidences of negative effects on the gut. In a study that followed athletes that do not tolerate dairy very well, plant-based protein caused less bloating and gastrointestinal problems than whey protein.

In addition to the digestive benefits of plant-based protein, it also offers variability to your nutritional regimen. This is especially important if you are a big meat-eater like myself! So if you ever become serious about considering the use of plant-based proteins, just be sure to always first analyze any product for its amino acid profile. This profile will ensure it is a complete protein!

20180207_102108Of course you can always make your own plant-based protein products. A great place to start would be these moist and delicious protein bites. They will satisfy your hunger, sweet tooth, energy, and nutritional needs. The balance of high-quality proteins, carbs, and fats, as well as blood sugar balancing ingredients make these bites so healthy. I love to have them as a quick breakfast or a post workout snack. Although I prefer to make them into bites, they can also be cut into small bars or fun shapes like triangles. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month or in the freezer for up to three months.

No-Bake Banana Cranberry Protein Bites


  • 2 Bananas; mashed
  • ½ cup Creamy Natural Peanut Butter
  • ½ cup Raw Coconut Nectar
  • 2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 ½ cups Oat Flour
  • 1 cup Old-Fashioned Oats; whole
  • 1 cup Buckwheat Flour
  • ½ cup Kasha
  • ¾ cup Dried Cranberries
  • ½ cup Shredded Coconut
  • 1/3 cup Chia Seeds
  • 2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Sea Salt


  1. In a food processor, place the bananas, peanut butter, coconut nectar, and vanilla. Pulse until mixture is well-combined and creamy.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, place the oat flour, oats, buckwheat flour, Kasha, dried cranberries, coconut, chia seeds, cinnamon, and salt. Mix together until just combined.
  3. Pour the mixture from the food processor into the large bowl. Use a rubber spatula or your hands to mix ingredients until they are combined together thoroughly.
  4. Line a 9-x-9 inch pan with parchment paper, allowing excess to hang over two of the sides so that the bars can easily be lifted from the pan once set. Using your hands, press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. You can use a rubber spatula to smooth out the surface.
  5. Place the pan in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour. This will allow the bars to firm up and hold their shape when cut. Once chilled, you can cut into squares, bars, triangles, or bites/nuggets.





Easy Chocolate Chia Pudding

20180201_145246Cold and flu season is in full force this year and it does not seem to be ending any time soon. Whether you turn on the news, go to social media, run into friends, or get a call from family, the topic of colds, flu, and feeling ill is going to be seen or heard. Luckily, I have yet to get sick this year (knock on wood). It is a great achievement considering I have Crohn’s Disease, which automatically puts me at a disadvantage in the fight against germs due to a weakened immune system. I attribute my ability to avoid illness to my healthy diet and lifestyle. I initially learned about nutrition in culinary school then again when I went back to school for my medical degree. Pair that with many years of research about my disease and I have learned a great deal about nutrition and how to naturally prevent illness and disease.

The first step is to understand the immune system/gut connection. A lot of people are unaware that about 70% of your immune system is in your gut. In your intestines there are hundreds of billions of bacteria living there. Most of the bacteria is good while some of it is bad. Once the bad bacteria begins to outnumber the good bacteria, that is when your immune system gets compromised and you are at more risk to get sick. The good news is you can have a lot of control over the ratio of bacteria by ensuring there is more good bacteria (aka probiotics) than bad bacteria. Now this does not mean I am recommending you run out and buy a probiotic supplement. You have many opportunities throughout the day to feed your gut immune-boosting foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, yogurt, spices, fresh herbs, and this easy and indulgent chocolate chia pudding.

20180201_145134Although a sweet and delicious dessert or snack, this pudding contains a quadruple threat of four specific ingredients (kefir, cinnamon, honey, cocoa) known to either feed the good bacteria or directly increase its quantity. Fermented foods like kefir are naturally rich in probiotics. Cinnamon, honey, and cocoa are all rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties. These properties help build up your immunity by lowering the release of arachidonic acid from the membranes that surround the cells. This process also helps lessen inflammation, which is the leading cause of many chronic health problems and diseases. If you want a sweet treat that will also benefit your health, give this easy pudding recipe a try!

Easy Chocolate Chia Pudding


  • 1 cup Plain 1% Kefir
  • ¼ cup Chia Seeds
  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. Unsweetened Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tbsp. Raw Honey
  • Dark Chocolate Chips; for topping


  1. In a medium bowl combine the kefir, chia seeds, vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and honey. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 12 hours).
  2. When ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator and spoon into small bowls. Top each bowl with a few dark chocolate chips and serve.




Gluten-Free Pomegranate Apple Protein Muffins

20171128_144623Mornings are not my friend. In fact, I don’t think there has ever been a day in my life where I have been a morning person. Since I am most definitely a night owl, it only makes sense that I do not want to spend time in the kitchen making breakfast.

20171128_144819To avoid skipping breakfast, which is the most important meal of the day, I whip up these amazing muffins on meal prep day. Then I have a quick and easy on-the-go treat that contains all the vital nutrients the body needs. On days that I do not have to be somewhere in the A.M., I will make a larger breakfast and enjoy these muffins as a post-workout snack.

20171128_144837I know it is easy for the brain to be fooled by the word “muffin” that these little gems are not healthy, but do not compare processed, overly sweet bakery muffins to these. Each of these muffins only contains 149 calories, 1 gram of saturated fat, 2 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein. Oat flour stands in for traditional wheat flour, making each muffin gluten-free and lower carb. There is no refined sugar added for sweetness, only raw, organic honey, which keeps the sugar content very low (only 10 grams). They are even vegetarian friendly! I like to make a large batch and store in the freezer, that way they do not spoil and you can pull one out as needed and warm it up quickly in the microwave. Quick, easy, satisfying, and made with flavors of the season. Enjoy!


Gluten-Free Pomegranate Apple Protein Muffins 


  • 2 cups Oat Flour
  • 2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/3 cup Chopped Walnuts; raw & unsalted
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • ¾ cup Milk
  • 5 tbsp. Raw Unfiltered Honey
  • ¼ cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple; peeled, cored, & diced
  • 1/3 cup Pomegranate Seeds



  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a 12-count muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the walnuts and whisk again. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, then stir in the milk, honey and yogurt. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in apple and pomegranate seeds. Do not overmix. The mixture will be lumpy.
  3. Fill each muffin cup liner three-quarters of the way full with batter. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center. Let cool in tin for 10 minutes, then transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.




Peanut Butter Banana Protein Muffins

20171113_142923Muffins are a tasty treat with so many flavor possibilities that almost anyone can find at least one type to enjoy. Muffins are also a great convenience food, especially for those looking for a healthy snack or quick on-the-go breakfast. Unfortunately, they tend to get a bad reputation, all thanks to the hordes of mass-produced, processed impostors sold in stores. When you make your own at home, however, you can enjoy all the tasty goodness with real, wholesome ingredients you should be eating, like mashed fruit, Greek yogurt, nuts, and healthy oils.

20171113_143004I initially developed these peanut butter banana protein muffins to make one of my favorite breakfast options, peanut butter banana toast, more portable for busy mornings. When I have to get my hubby to work or my oldest daughter to school and no one feels like getting out of bed, these become a breakfast savior. I just pull them from the refrigerator or freezer, heat them up in the microwave for 15 seconds, and before you know it breakfast is served and out the door we go. For mornings that I have time to make breakfast, these become a great snack. If you are health conscious, these muffins are a delicious, flourless pre- or post-workout snack, due to the high protein content (peanut butter & Greek yogurt) and healthy carbs (oat flour) needed to fuel, repair, and rebuild the body. These muffins can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for about 4 days. You can freeze any that you have not used within that time period for up to 3 months.

20171113_142937I know some of you may still be skeptical. How can enjoying a delicious, sweet little muffin for breakfast or a snack be healthy? Well if you are still not convinced maybe the following example will help you understand a little better. Let’s pretend you normally have two slices of whole-wheat peanut butter banana toast for breakfast (I usually only have one but many typically have two slices). Two slices of whole-wheat bread, 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter, one banana, and two teaspoons of honey will easily add up to almost 500 calories. One of these flourless muffins has less than 150 calories, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 5 grams of Protein, 2 grams of Fiber, 20 grams of carbs, and only 7 grams of sugar. I know it sounds too good to be true but it really is a healthier and super easy option. For those who are not concerned if they are healthy, I guarantee you will enjoy them just like you would any other sugar laden muffin!

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Muffins


  • 2 cups Oat Flour (process 2 cups Old Fashioned Oats in a food processor until fine)
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp. Sea Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs; divided
  • 2 tsp. Olive Oil
  • ½ cup plus 2 tbsp. Greek Yogurt; divided
  • ¼ cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Bananas; divided
  • 2 tbsp. Natural Unsalted Peanut Butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. To prepare batter, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg and oil. Stir in the ½ cup of yogurt, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  3. Mash 2 ½ bananas and fold into the mixture until just combined and no white streaks of banana remain. The mixture will still appear lumpy.
  4. To prepare the filling, mash the remaining ½ banana in a small bowl. Stir in the remaining 1 egg, 2 tbsp. yogurt, and peanut butter until well combined.
  5. Fill one-third of each muffin liner with batter. Dollop 1 tsp. of filling into each liner. Divide the remaining batter evenly among the liners to cover the filling. Bake muffins for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the muffin. Let muffins cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove muffins from the tin and finish cooling on a wire rack.




Skinny Frosted Pumpkin Spice Cake

pumpkin3Happy Halloween everyone! As today comes and goes Thanksgiving will approach soon thereafter, with pumpkin being the favorite flavor to represent the season. Pumpkin pie may be the go to classic but pumpkin cake is a close runner up. What is not to love about a moist, fluffy cake flavored with delicious pumpkin and warm, comforting spices??? I certainly can’t think of anything! Then you add the rich layer of cream cheese frosting that not only creates an adored classic combination but it also locks in the cake’s moisture for days. At this point it shouldn’t take much convincing to get any pumpkin lover to give this recipe a go.

pumpkincake1However, if flavor and texture are not enough to convince you to try this cake the ease itself should persuade you. A sheet cake is the easiest type of cake to make and it can feed a lot of people (both essential perks for the holiday baker). Simply prepare the batter, spread into the pan, and bake. Once the cake cools you spread a layer of cream cheese frosting on top and cut into squares to serve. There is no trimming or chilling layers or preparing huge batches of frosting, making this cake the perfect addition to the holiday table or as a quick treat to whip up for a work, school, or church function.

Pumpkincake2If having said all of that still wasn’t enough convincing, how about the fact that this cake is a much lighter version of all its competitors. Traditional pumpkin cakes with cream cheese frosting run well over 350 calories per slice and triple the amount of fat content found in this recipe. The cake is easily made lighter by swapping traditional all-purpose flour with whole-wheat while organic light brown sugar stands in for the typical refined version. The cream cheese frosting is lightened up with the use of 1/3 less fat cream cheese, minimal butter, and organic powdered sugar that again stands in for the refined alternative. This cake is a much lighter and welcoming change from the traditional pumpkin pie and will yield approximately 24 servings (1 square). If you are following Weight Watchers, one square of cake is equal to 3 Points or 5 Points Plus.

Skinny Frosted Pumpkin Spice Cake

Cake Ingredients:

  • 10 oz. Whole-Wheat Flour (approximately 2¼ cups)
  • 2 ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1 cup Organic Brown Sugar (such as Wholesome’s); packed
  • ¼ cup Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 (15 oz.) can Pumpkin Puree
  • Nonstick Cooking Spray (Olive Oil)

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. 1/3 less fat Cream Cheese (Neufchatel); softened
  • 2 cups Organic Powdered Sugar (such as Wholesome’s); sifted


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. To prepare the cake, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, pie spice, and salt in a small bowl. Stir with a whisk until just incorporated.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl) combine the brown sugar, butter, and vanilla. Beat with a mixer on medium speed until incorporated. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the pumpkin puree and mix well. Gently fold in the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture.
  4. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking pan, making sure to smooth out well as it will not smooth itself while baking. Bake the cake for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake on a wire rack.
  5. While the cake cools, prepare the frosting by combining the butter, vanilla, and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer (or medium bowl). Beat the mixture on medium speed until light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until mixture is smooth and well combined. Spread the frosting evenly over the cooled cake. Cut into squares and serve.


(1 Square)

PumpkinCakeCreamCheeseFrostingWeight Watchers: 3 Points or 5 Points Plus



Skinny Banana Nut Bread

4There is something about September that makes me crave Banana Bread. For me, I see it as a great transition from the light, berry desserts of summer to the heartier apple and pumpkin desserts of fall. The weather is just starting to show signs of changing here in Florida. The days are becoming shorter and the high temperatures are struggling to reach 90° anymore. These slight environmental changes are what trigger my changing taste buds each year.

In order to continue to enjoy banana bread like I have in the past, I needed to create a healthier alternative that would fit into my changing lifestyle. Banana bread may seem like a healthy dessert but it is often loaded with unnecessary sugar and can have upwards of 10 grams of fat per slice and over half being from saturated fat, which is no bueno!!! So with all of these bad numbers can banana bread actually become healthier? The answer is yes.

1There are many ways to shave calories and fat off of banana bread while adding in essential nutrients that make you feel a lot less guilty for indulging your cravings. Some swap wheat flour for coconut flour. Others add applesauce in place of butter or oil. I do not like these alternatives because I feel like the bread ends up tasting too much like coconut or apple when I want it to taste only of banana. In order to shave the bad and replace it with some good, I first cut out the eggs. Eggs are good but as the saying goes, too much of a good thing can be bad. Since I still want my eggs at breakfast I cut them out of the bread. Next, I replaced butter with olive oil, which also replaced a significant amount of saturated fat with healthier poly & monounsaturated fats. Another swap was allowing plain Greek yogurt to stand in for the typical sour cream called for in most conventional recipes. The addition of Greek yogurt not only helps shave down the bad qualities in traditional banana bread but it also adds beneficial protein, probiotics, vitamin B12, potassium, and calcium. Also by adding the yogurt I was able to cut down on the amount of olive oil needed. In order to cut down on the amount of white flour without changing the texture too much, I replaced half of the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour. If those changes weren’t enough I decided to sneak in some flaxseed to add heart healthy omega 3s and use only very ripe bananas to cut back on added sugar. Don’t be tempted to use those barely ripe bananas you just bought at the store no matter how much you may want to try this recipe. If the bananas are not overly ripe the bread will not taste as sweet and you will likely be disappointed. The reason this step is so important is because as the banana ripens, the natural sugars concentrate and the flavor matures. Many overlook this step and it is the most crucial. If you have to skip this step for whatever reason, you may have to bump up the sugar to 1 ½ cups to keep it as sweet, but keep in mind if you do the nutritional values will change.

3Although there have been many alterations to this recipe to make it more nutritious it still produces a tasty loaf. I enjoy a slice as a late night snack but it would also be great with coffee or tea at breakfast. The following recipe will produce 2 loaves of bread and approximately 24 servings. A serving size is one slice that weighs approximately 2 oz. Total preparation time for this recipe is approximately 1 ½ hours. If you are following Weight Watchers, one slice is 4 Points or 5 Points Plus.

Skinny Banana Nut Bread


  • 6.8 oz. (1 ½ cups) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 7.2 oz. (1 ½ cups) Whole-Wheat Flour
  • ½ cup Flaxseed Meal
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 2 cups Very Ripe Bananas; mashed (about 4 large)
  • 1 cup Walnuts; chopped
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • ½ cup Olive Oil
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Prepare two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans by coating all sides with cooking spray.
  2. Combine flours, flaxseed, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir with a whisk until mixed. In a medium bowl, combine banana, walnuts, sugar, vanilla, yogurt, and oil. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  3. Pour the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for approximately 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Gently run a knife around perimeter of bread to loosen from sides. Remove loafs from pans and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutritional Information

(One 2 oz. Slice)


Weight Watchers: 4 Points or 5 Points Plus