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Caramelized Banana with Coconut Sugar

As I’ve written before, I am a disaster with desserts—or at least anything that requires chem lab sorts of measuring and timing (I’m giving myself more gray hairs just thinking about it). However, I have found an exception. I freaking love simple recipes that make use of caramelization and/or the maillard reaction—aka “browning.” Browning things on purpose, I mean.

Without getting too nerdy, caramelization is a process that takes place when sugar is exposed to high heat—usually around 330 degrees F and up. Foods with a higher sugar content caramelize more (shocker)—this is why you often see sugar listed in ingredients for dishes like caramelized onions—it enhances the process.

The maillard reaction is a reaction that occurs between an amino acid and a reducing sugar. Foods that undergo the maillard reaction include: baked goods like bread and cookies, seared meat, french fries, black garlic, and caramel, among other things. Basically, it’s a reaction between a protein and a sugar that can occur at temperatures around 250 degrees F. You don’t need to add sugar, though, since there is naturally-occurring sugar present in almost all foods, even if to a very small degree. It’s possible for both reactions to take place in a single food—caramelization occurs after the maillard reaction has worked its magic.

Okay, tangent over. I just thought I’d share the science behind my current favorite dessert. Read More »

What I Ate Wednesday #280

Happy What I Ate Wednesday. Hope you’re having a great week! Lots going on over in my little corner of the internet, so I’m gonna side-step the chit-chat and get right into the weekly “what I ate” link-up stuff.

I spend last weekend working at the hospital. I was more than okay being in the cool AC than making ambitious face-melting “I’m going to get out and enjoy the city because it’s summer, damnit” plans. Here’s what I enjoyed on Saturday.  Read More »

Healthy Road Trip Snacks

Travel is an amazing way to experience the world and learn valuable life lessons. One thing that can require some troubleshooting, though: sticking to healthy eating on the road. I recently wrote an article for Fitness with a list of 30 healthy options that would be great for a road trip.

Scoping out restaurants, rest stops, grocery stores, and markets along the way can help you plan ahead, and packing some healthy stuff before you can help you start off on the right foot. hummus airport

I broke it down into food groups—I find this helps us keep balance in mind and makes the planning process less overwhelming.

  • For proteins look for stuff like Greek yogurt, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, nuts (or minimally processed nut-based bars like KIND bars), and jerky.
  • Fruits and veggies can be tricky, but simple sliced veggies with hummus or salsa can be a satisfying snack, and fresh fruit, especially varieties with a peel, can work out well. I love freeze-dried veggies and similar snacks.broccoli florets
  • Healthy fats are easy to overlook, but avocado (slice in half and eat right out of the skin with a spoon) and single-serve packs of olives are some of my favorites. I also love single-serve packs of flax and chia.avocado open
  • Complex carbs are almost too easy, but I like to call out oats (instant oats are easy to pack) and popcorn.

What do you like to eat when you travel? 

Disclosure: I’ve been recommending KIND bars for years, and my clients and patients love them—I finally decided to become a brand ambassador. Though I am compensated for my time, my thoughts and opinions are my own. Because transparency is really important to me, I recently made some updates to my blog “work with me” page and website so you can see the different brands I’ve worked with. You can check back for regular updates there. 

Slow Cooking in the Summer

We might think of it as a cold weather kitchen tool, but your slow cooker can be your healthy eating BFF in the summer. It allows you to enjoy delicious summer classics like baked beans, pulled pork, or even summer desserts like cobblers, all without having to so much as look at your oven or clock much hands-on time. Lately, I’ve been enjoying pulled chicken made in the crock pot in salads and veggies-and-grain bowls. I recently shared a few of my favorite summer slow cooker recipes on Fitness Magazine. Enjoy!Homemade SC BBQ

What are your favorite summer foods? 

Red, White & Blue Yogurt Parfait

berries with goat cheeseBecause it wouldn’t be a patriotic holiday without a stereotypical red, white & blue recipe, I’ve got some appropriately colorful stuff to share with you today. Like this.

This summer I’ve been all about strawberries, but more recently, I’ve been trying to work more blueberries into my diet. Watching a relative go through Alzheimer’s has had me thinking a lot about the brain and how diet might play in to long-term brain health. I’ve been reading up on the MIND diet, which sounds like it could have been sponsored by the Blueberry Council or something. I’m sort of kidding. It’s actually a Mediterranean-and-DASH-diet combo that emphasizes leafy greens and other vegetables, whole grains, beans, berries, lean protein like poultry and fish, olive oil over butter, and a daily glass of wine.

Read More »

Easy Summer Snack: Berries and Goat Cheese

Happy Monday! Let’s start this first official week of summer with something bright and flavorful, shall we? Today I’ve got another not-recipe recipe for you. I’ve been enjoying this almost every day for the past month as a lunch dessert or bedtime snack. The combo of sweet, savory, salty, and tangy hits all the right flavor notes. It’s also a great way to help you meet your vitamins C and fiber needs.

berries and goat cheese

Read More »

Shortcut Crisp

Happy Monday! For those of you in the States, hope you’re enjoying a wonderful Memorial Day, however you’re spending it. In the spirit of relaxing long weekends (I’m actually off for a change!), I’m sharing a simple, healthy dessert that will help any day feel like a vacation.

I’ve been really into fruit crisps this spring. Though these usually take some time to bake in the oven, you can totally make a shortcut version. I’ve been enjoying this as a quick & easy lunch dessert on some of my work-from-home days. You can use whatever fruit you have on hand. My current favorite involves a combo of peach and blueberry, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand.shortcut fruit crisp

Shortcut Fruit Crisp


  • 1 cup fruit, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger (optional)


Mix ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl.

Microwave on high in 1-minute increments until fruit is soft and oats are cooked.

What’s your favorite fruit? 

Strawberry Crisp

Happy Friday! Have you entered my Chia Warrior bar giveaway yet?

I’ve got another treat for you today: one of my new favorite healthy desserts. With Mother’s Day coming up, I thought it would be a fun time to share a seasonal dessert recipe. This is generally a very forgiving recipe, and you can use almost any kind of fruit. I made these in individual baking dishes, but you can make in one large dish if preferred.

So, backstory: While at lunch with a friend a few weeks ago, it came to light that I had never tasted strawberry pie. Weird, I know. Obviously, that had to be remedied. So that night, I decided to make an approximation just to get an idea. I officially understand what all the fuss is about.

So yeah, this strawberry crisp happened? Did you know there’s a difference between a crisp and a crumble? I’d always wondered about that—turns out that a crisp contains oats in the topping, whereas a crumble does not. The more you know…

This recipe happens to be fairly healthy. I like to top with plain Greek or Icelandic yogurt, but you can obviously do whipped cream (my mom’s 2-ingredient recipe is my all-time favorite) or vanilla ice cream instead.

strawberry crisp

Ingredients: Read More »

Paleo Snacks

Happy Friday! Today I’ve got some snacky stuff to share.

boiled eggs tomato fetaFeeling hangry on your Whole30 diet? Looking for some new snack ideas? Regardless of whether you’re doing the caveman diet-thing, my recent post on Azumio will satisfy your hunger with this list of healthy, delicious snacks that happen to be Paleo-friendly.

My personal favorite on this list might have to be the steamed sweet potato with nut butter. I eat this at least once a week—it may sound weird, but I promise it’s delicious!

I also love a hard-boiled egg as a snack. Half an avocado is another of my go-to “why don’t I eat this more often” healthy snack on the list.

What are your favorite snacks? 

Larabar Giveaway

A question I get frequently from clients is what sorts of protein and energy bars they should buy. There are so many on the market, it can be overwhelming. The main word I like to emphasize there is “Uncomplicated.” Look for short ingredients lists comprised of things you can actually pronounce and recognize.

I also like that word  because it gives me an excuse to link to an Elvis Costello song by the same name.

Larabars are one of my top picks. I love their minimally processed “food made from food” recipes consisting of just a few simple ingredients: mostly nuts and dried fruit with occasional extras like chocolate, sea salt, and vanilla extract thrown into a few of their products. Their products are non-GMO, vegan, Kosher, soy-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free. They source cocoa and coffee ingredients where possible as well. I also love that the company has teamed up with Feeding America to #ShareRealFood across the U.S.

They have lots of awesome flavors. As a peanut butter lover, of course the peanut butter cookie dough is my favorite. They recently started selling this adorable variety pack on Amazon featuring some of their most popular flavors. The packaging is super-cute. So many pretty colors!

Larabar variety box

One lucky reader will receive a box of their own. To win, just leave a comment below telling me your favorite snack. A randomly selected winner will be announced next Thursday.


This post has been part of another Running with Spoons Thinking Out Loud link party, where randomness is the name of the game. Thanks to Amanda for hosting.


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