whole wheat marbled banana bread

Sometimes I’ll purposely let bananas go brown just as an excuse to make some banana bread. I think the fruit flies enjoy my secret habit just as much as I do!

Though delicious, banana bread is typically full of added sugar and white flour. I wanted something I could feel a little better about eating for breakfasts or snacks this week, so I combined a few favorite recipes to give you this delicious marbled bread option. The good news is this cocoa-y, nutty flavored bread doesn’t taste as healthy as it truly is!

whole wheat banana bread

Whole Wheat Marbled Banana Bread

  • About 3 large, ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 &  3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×5 pan with coconut oil or grease with oil/butter and set aside.
  2. Mash bananas in a medium sized bowl. Add applesauce, maple syrup, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk until combined.
  3. In a small bowl, add cocoa powder. Scoop 1/4 cup of banana mixture into cocoa powder and whisk to combine.
  4. In a larger bowl, whisk flour, flaxseed, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  5. Pour remaining banana mixture into large bowl and whisk until just combined.
  6. Pour the large bowl of banana batter into greased 9×5 pan.
  7. Add cocoa batter to top of the banana batter. Use a knife to swirl the batters together.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes uncovered. Cover pan with foil and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out cleanly.

wwbananabread

A few recipe notes…
  • The riper your bananas, the sweeter the recipe will be! Overall, this bread is not very sweet – which leaves room for delicious toppings like honey or nut butter. If you’d like a sweeter bread, add 1/4 cup brown sugar to your wet ingredients.
  • Try layering the batters (1/2 banana, cocoa, 1/2 banana) for a pretty layered version.
  • Add-ins are always welcome! Try walnuts, shredded coconut, or (my personal favorite) mini chocolate chips. Add your add-ins to the dry mixture prior to combining.
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happy national dog day!

A busy few days and a bit of a stomach bug have kept the blog quiet lately, but I can’t help but stop in for National Dog Day! Below is a collection of links and images to celebrate man’s best friend. Extra kisses and treats to all the pups today!

Vicktory Dogs: Where Are They Now?

Here’s where Mike Vick’s fighting dogs have ended up. Because millionaire professional athletes are definitely not the only ones who “deserve” second chances in life.

Happy Birthday, DogTipper!

The blog is celebrating their 7th anniversary by offering a 30% discount at their PawZaar store! Check it out.

Are you guilty of forgetting this?

I definitely am! Good reminders, especially in these hot weather months.

5 reasons to wash your dog's bowl every day'

Let’s Celebrate!

What would you add to this list of ways to enjoy the day? Cooper’s celebration of choice would likely be a giant spoonful of peanut butter.

Inspiring Instadogs

I follow an embarrassing amount of “famous pets” on Instagram, and I don’t regret a single one!

Share Your Favorite Furballs!

Because who can resist, right? Comment with photos of your dogs and join the party!

Cooper


Enjoy your day, and I promise more adoptable pups + something delicious later this week. 🙂

no-bake chocolate peanut butter oat bites

You know how sometimes you’re trying to be a little healthier, but you just need chocolate to survive the day?

chocolatebites

That’s me right now… and pretty much every other day of my life.

chocobites

These little bites give a great chocolate-y boost with just a few ingredients you can feel good about. I cut them into tiny bites so I can have just a few to satisfy my cravings, but you can also give them a go as small no-bake cookies or even rolled up into little balls.

chocolatebites

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Bites

YIELDS: 32-36 Bites
  • 1 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  1. Heat peanut butter, oil, maple syrup, honey, and vanilla over low heat. Stir until completely smooth, remove from heat.
  2. Combine oats, chocolate chips, and chia seeds in a separate bowl.
  3. Once slightly cooled, pour peanut butter mixture over oats and stir to completely combine.
  4. Pour mixture into greased 9×5 loaf pan, cover, and refrigerate until set. Cut bars into 32-36 small pieces (cut in half lengthwise, cut each half in quarters, split each quarter into 4 pieces), store in fridge.

These are easily customizable! Add in some dried fruit, chopped nuts, or try a different nut butter or sweetener to adapt to your tastes. These gems taste fudge-y and dessert-like, but you can easily reduce the sweetener and chocolate to make it a healthier snack.

* Always double check your brands if you have any intolerances, but these bites are naturally gluten-free and can be made dairy-free with the correct chocolate chips. 

puppy bites: adoptables 8.16.15

It was a quiet morning at the shelter, but I got to play with these two sweeties!

Bambi1

Bambi2Bambi3

Dakota

Dakota2

Dakota3Bambi & Dakota are both new to the shelter and aren’t listed on the website yet, but there are plenty of other sweet pups looking for homes at PAWS Philadelphia.

In other wonderful news, #ClearTheShelters day was a huge success nationwide! More than 9,000 pets in the Philadelphia region alone found homes. PAWS set a new shelter record of over 60 adoptions (plus more awaiting approvals)! Congrats to all the adoptive families on your amazing new additions.

coffee talk 8.14.15

Is it just me, or does Friday coffee actually taste better?

Are you obsessed with Fixer Upper?

I’m obsessed to the point of re-watching episodes multiple times just in case I pick up something new. Do you think Chip & Jo would consider adopting me? Fixer Upper reminds me a bit of my pre-teen obsession with Trading Spaces. Though my apartment is nowhere near as cute as anything Joanna Gaines has ever encountered, I try. These photos make me want to book my flight to Waco so I can be momentarily closer to the perfect Gaines family farm.

22 Farm-Tastic Decorating Ideas Inspired by HGTV Host Joanna Gaines

What’s your favorite Pixar short?

Sometimes I see Pixar movies in the theater. Sometimes I like the animated “shorts” better than the film itself. Apparently the short shown before Inside Out sparked a lot of differing opinions, but I loved it. Oh, and, sometimes I cry in the theater before the real movie even begins.

‘Lava’ a Disney Pixar Musical Short

What did you play with while growing up?

Kudos to Target for realizing that this answer has nothing to do with gender. We struggle to understand that encouraging girls to play “like ladies” and choose pink and frilly toys over scientific or construction-based options leads to sad truths like the fact that there are far fewer females than males in STEM industries (Women in STEM). Boys can love Barbies, girls can love GI Joes, and we can all learn to love one another for who we are and not how well we conform to what society expects of us. Getting rid of gender-based toy signs is a very small step in the right direction of greater acceptance.

Target’s Decision to Remove Gender-Based Signs Is Just the Start

When is the last time you watched Bambi?

It’s definitely been a while, but this real-life footage of Bambi and Thumper just makes my day.

Someone Caught A Real-Life Bambi And Thumper Playing


Have an amazing weekend! Don’t forget to share the news about #ClearTheShelters day tomorrow!

clear the shelters day

Hey guys! First of all hi to all my Facebook friends, thank you for all your excitement over my new blog! I hope you guys will keep reading. If you’re looking for an easy way to keep up with this blog and others, I suggest setting up a Feedly account! It’s easy to add all of your news sources and blogs so you can read everything in one place. You can always bookmark the site on your browser and/or use the WordPress “Follow” button in the right column to keep up with new posts, as well.

Today I wanted to share a cool new promotion I heard about on the news recently.

Source: NBC Philadelphia
Source: NBC Philadelphia

NBC10 has partnered with local animal shelters to waive pet adoption fees for Clear the Shelters Day, this Saturday, August 15th.

Source: Animal Welfare Association; Voorhees, NJ
Source: Animal Welfare Association; Voorhees, NJ

According to the ASPCA, approximately 7.6 million animals (3.9 million dogs) enter shelters nationwide each year. While 2.7 million of those animals are adopted, the same amount are sadly euthanized.

Source: Pennsylvania SPCA; Philadelphia, PA
Source: Pennsylvania SPCA; Philadelphia, PA

Spread the word about Clear the Shelters Day using #ClearTheShelters on social media.

Source: Animal Rescue League; Berks County, PA
Source: Animal Rescue League; Berks County, PA

You can help save a life! Check out this list of local shelters participating in the day!

puppy bites: adoptables 8.10.15

Hey guys! Yesterday I spent some time at PAWS Philadelphia playing with some of the adoptable puppies. I wish I could take every single one home with me, but sadly that isn’t possible. Hopefully sharing some of my snaps of these pups will help to find them their forever homes!

IMG_4201[1] IMG_4220[1] IMG_4225[1] IMG_4235[1] IMG_4242[1] IMG_4243[1] IMG_4249[1] IMG_4250[1] IMG_4253[1]


These dogs (and more) are available for adoption at PAWS Philadelphia.

Not local? Check out www.adoptapet.com for adoptables near you!

pumpkin pup treats

Hi all! Hope you’re having an amazing and relaxing weekend. After baking my pumpkin chocolate chip muffins last week, I had a lot of leftover canned pumpkin in the fridge. I decided to share the pumpkin love and whip up some special treats for my main squeeze.

Did you know pumpkin is great for your furry pal? Regularly adding a tablespoon or two to your dog’s meals can help promote digestive health.


These healthy treats are made from only 4 pronounceable and healthful ingredients – even the healthy store-bought dog treats probably contain 3 or 4 times as many ingredients and artificial add-ins!

Only four easy ingredients!
Only four easy ingredients!

Be sure to choose natural peanut butter (the only ingredient should be peanuts) and canned pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie which contains sugar and spices). Checking the ingredients and food labels for your dog’s foods is just as important as checking for yourself!


pumpkin pup treats

Pumpkin Pup Treats

Yields: Approximately 3 dozen, depending on size
Ingredients
3/4 cup oat flour
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax)

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine 1 tbsp ground flax with 3 tbsp warm water. Stir and let sit for a few minutes.
  3. Combine all ingredients and stir until well mixed.
  4. Drop batter onto lined cookie sheet in small tablespoon sized spoonfuls. Flatten with the back of a fork. You can spray fork with a bit of coconut oil to avoid sticking.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Edges of biscuits will be slightly browned. Treats will stay soft as they cool, and can be stored in a air-tight container for a few days, or in the freezer for approximately 2 months.

A few recipe notes…

  • Make your own oat flour by grinding old fashioned oats in a food processor. You can also substitute brown rice flour or whole wheat flour.
  • If you don’t have ground flax or do not want to use the flax egg, you can use a regular egg in its place, or omit completely. Note that any changes will alter the texture of the finished treat.
  • Remember that there are no leavens in these treats, so biscuit shape will remain pretty much the same after baking! If you’d like to use a cookie cutter to shape the treats, I suggest omitting the flax egg and rolling dough out to 1/4-1/2 an inch thick.
  • You can adjust the size of the treats to better fit the size of your dog, but be sure to adjust bake time to accommodate.
  • Always check with your vet before giving your dog new foods, especially if he or she has any health concerns.
pumpkin treats
Hope your pups love them! ❤

pumpkin chocolate chip coconut flour muffins

Temperatures in Philadelphia have finally dipped below 90 degrees, so I’m jumping full-force into my favorite time of the year: pumpkin season.

... Just kidding.
… Just kidding.

Even though I’m obsessed with all things fall, I’ll slow my roll and allow summer to finish before I’m stomping through leaves in my boots and scarves. But just because pumpkin is a typically autumnal ingredient doesn’t mean it has no place in summer treats!

My baking assistant loves pumpkin as well.
My baking assistant loves pumpkin as well.

I was inspired by an old recipe from Empowered Sustenance and decided these healthy cuties would be the perfect way to enjoy the cooler weather.

Ready to bake!
Ready to bake!

Coconut flour can be tricky to bake with since it’s considered a “thirsty” flour that sucks the moisture out of the other ingredients. Combining oil, eggs, and a touch of almond milk keeps these muffins from feeling too dense.

Perfect for any time of the year!
Perfect for any time of the year!

I kept things fairly healthy with just a bit of maple syrup and some mini chocolate chips for sweetness. Isn’t everything better with chocolate chips?


pumpkinmuffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Coconut Flour Muffins

Yields: 6 Muffins
Adapted from Empowered Sustenance
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tbs. coconut oil, melted
1 tbs. pure maple syrup
2. tsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk
3/4 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
4 tsp. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 tsp. chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 6 muffin cups with cupcake liners.
  2. Stir together coconut flour and eggs until completely mixed.
  3. Stir in coconut oil, syrup, and almond milk.
  4. Add vinegar, baking soda, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips and chopped walnuts.
  6. Divide batter between muffin cups. Smooth out the tops of the muffins with the back of your spoon.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and slightly springy when pressed.

These gems taste best while warm so nuke them for a few seconds before devouring. Enjoy!

P.S. – This recipe is gluten free, but always double check the specific brands you are using (chocolate chips, maple syrup, baking soda, etc.) if you have an intolerance! The recipe can also be made dairy-free if using dairy-free chocolate chips.


What’s your favorite season? Have you baked anything good lately?