Category: Recipes

Recent Recipes

In my last post I promised to share with you some of the things I’ve been cooking up recently. Cooking at home serves many purposes for me. It is, first and foremost, educational, but it is also therapeutic and FUN. It gives me the opportunity to work on kitchen skills, try new things and photograph them all… the good, the bad and the ugly. Yes, some of it turns out ugly. It is what it is.

It also supplies me with blog material. It works out well. I get to play around in the kitchen, practice my creative eye with the help of my Canon and then share it all with you on my blog. I love it when passions naturally meld together and perhaps you’ll be inspired to try a new recipe or two yourself!

Basically Croque Monsieur

This classic French sandwich is SO cheesy and if you’re a cheese lover like me, this has your name all over it. This was the perfect compliment to my Saturday afternoon. You might, however, need a quick nap afterwards. You can find the recipe here: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/basically-croque-monsieur

Shepard’s Pie

While it’s nothing fancy, if you’re looking for a quick and easy weeknight meal for the family, shepard’s pie fits the bill. Someone mentioned it not long ago and I was curious, so I tried it myself.

You could easily prepare the ingredients for this dish the night before or the morning of and have it ready to pop into the oven when you get home from work. This is a highly customizable dish. You likely already have the ingredients and if you’re missing something, don’t sweat it. A quick google search will provide a plethora of recipes to choose from, but this is the one I used: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/shepherds-pie-recipe2-1942900

Paleo Gluten-Free Apple Cake

I love dessert. This shouldn’t and likely doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows me. I’ve been baking for as long as I can remember. My first memories in the kitchen involve more than one something sweet. These days when I’m baking for myself, I try to put a healthy spin on it. This cake is a good compromise, it’s delicious and it’s not too bad for you.
https://joyfoodsunshine.com/paleo-apple-cake/

Vanilla Funfetti Birthday Cake with Buttercream Frosting

This cake is sugar. Pure and simple. Sugar, eggs and butter. So many eggs. But it’s also delicious. I made this for a special little girl’s 4th birthday party, hence the overwhelming amount of pink. I was a bit ambitious but I was determined to get my pink four layer funfetti cake. I doubled the recipe and had plenty of extra batter for cupcakes as well. Most of a day and a few mishaps later… voila. https://sugarspunrun.com/funfetti-cake-scratch/

The sprinkles can easily be omitted from this recipe if you prefer. Either way, this cake is addicting and so is the frosting… you’ve been warned.

Carrot Cake Cheesecake Cake

I love cheesecake. It’s one of my favorite desserts. I also love finding ways to incorporate a cheesecake element into other desserts. This carrot cake cheesecake is incredibly rich and so good. https://www.shugarysweets.com/carrot-cake-cheesecake-cake/

Word of caution: there are multiple steps and the cheesecake needs to be made in advance so read over the recipe a few times and game plan accordingly. (Also, don’t forget to refrigerate your cheesecake layer if baking ahead of time… yes, I forgot. Well, I slept through my alarm. And I had to run to the store the next morning so I could bake another one. It happens!)

I’m always game to try something new; send me some of your favorite recipes!

Healthier Holiday Treats

Christmas is fast approaching! We are less than 2 weeks out and I’m about to buckle down on my holiday baking. This year my naturopath is hosting her first annual Christmas Cookie Exchange geared towards those with food allergies, sensitivities and dietary restrictions of every kind! How BRILLIANT is that. I think it’s awesome and a great way to include those who might otherwise feel left out around the holidays.

I just ran a couple of test batches of the cookies I will be making and gifting this year. I’ve selected Snickerdoodles and Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies. Snickerdoodles because Christmas and Mocha Chocolate Chip because we all need some chocolate in our lives (do you like how I made that all inclusive? Ok maybe I need some chocolate in my life, at all times…). YUM! The best part? They are both Gluten & Refined Sugar Free, Paleo and Vegan… and they taste awesome!! That’s right, no all purpose flour, butter, eggs, milk, OR white sugar but still delicious.

I use to be a baking machine but when I initially got sick, baking became the least of my worries and was the furthest thing from my mind. When I started feeling better and the urge to bake came back, it became much more challenging to do so because of my newfound dietary restrictions. At first, it was very discouraging. In reality, my experience with and exposure to baking with healthier, alternative ingredients was non-existent and I simply needed a little education on the matter (aka trial and error). 

I’ve tried a variety of recipes from various bloggers over the last year and I’ve struggled to find someone whose recipes could not only suit my ever changing dietary needs but also consistently tasted fantastic (I was a baker and come from a background of sugar and flour, winning combinations in the taste department… I have REALLY high standards with the things I create and refuse to let “healthy” translate to “less than stellar”). If you’re looking for healthier alternatives to your favorite holiday treats, I honestly think I’ve found the perfect girl for you. 

Enter Rachel Connors and her blog, Bakerita. I seriously encourage you to check out Bakerita and the story behind it. I made one of her recipes when I was in Georgia visiting my family over Thanksgiving and was pleasantly surprised to find that the recipe I choose was both delicious AND doable. By that I mean there weren’t any crazy, only going to use once a year ingredients (another pet peeve with health geared recipes… ugh!).

Since nixing refined sugar, I’ve stuck with using pure maple syrup and honey as sweeteners for dessert recipes. I’ve now expanded that to include organic maple sugar and coconut sugar and that opens up the door to things like COOKIES, which really rely on the granulated texture that sugar normally brings to the table. All of the new recipes on Bakerita are gluten, refined sugar and dairy free.

This is a great article on baking with sugar alternatives, if you’d like to learn more. 

Whether you have your own specific dietary restrictions this holiday season, are trying to cook or bake for someone with them or simply want to enjoy food that tastes good and incorporates more health conscious ingredients, you need to know that it is possible and it doesn’t have to be hard.

Last Christmas was an overwhelming one for me on the food front. I knew what I couldn’t eat but I really didn’t have any idea what foods I could eat. By that, I mean I just wasn’t aware of all of the options that are out there – 
in both the sweet and savory departments! – for someone trying to avoid some of the most common ingredients. This year will be a different story for me, and it can be for you too.

Check back soon for a post on pantry staples for health conscious baking!

How To: Homemade Vanilla Extract

We’re already almost through November. Can you believe that?! I realize we’re only a week post Thanksgiving and most people don’t want to start thinking about Christmas yet but it is less than 4 weeks away. If you haven’t already, many of you will soon be starting your Christmas shopping lists and trying to come up with something creative to get those special someones on your list.

I’m a giver by nature and I love Christmas shopping for my family and close friends. It brings me so much joy. I’m the kind of gift giver who may or may not ask for recommendations on things you want but always strives to find a gift that will be extra special and meaningful for everyone on my list. This brings me to last year’s gift which is the subject of today’s post.

Have you figured it out?? (The title is a bit of a giveaway…) That’s right! Last Christmas I decided to make homemade vanilla extract for my family and friends. Let me tell you, it was: So. Much. Fun. From researching and purchasing the vanilla beans to selecting and finding the perfect glass bottles to creating my own little gift bags, it was hands down the most fun I’ve ever had in preparing Christmas gifts. This is coming from a self proclaimed non crafty person.

From my grandmas to my aunts my family loves to bake so I knew this would not only be a meaningful gift because I was making it myself, it would also be a gift that would get used over and over and over again as it would last quite a long time. The coolest part was that I had enough beans to give away bottles of vanilla to a multitude of people.

I’ll outline the process I followed below:

First – the beans! This one requires a little bit of research. There are various types of vanilla beans that you can purchase, depending on the flavor profile you’re interested in creating. Here are the main types of vanilla beans, taken from beanilla.com:

    • Madagascar Vanilla – rich and creamy
    • Mexican Vanilla – bold, dark, smokey
    • Indian Vanilla – full, chocolate
    • Indonesian Vanilla – mild, well balanced
    • Tahitian Vanilla – floral, cherry-chocolate
  • Tonga Vanilla – earthy, fig, raisin

I personally wanted the classic creamy flavor typically found in vanilla (but 10 million times better when made yourself) so I opted for Madagascar Vanilla beans, the most commonly used. I purchased my beans on Ebay (50 count) because I found a good deal, but there are many bean suppliers out there. They can be expensive, so shop around.

Grade A, B or C? While I found that there are some differing opinions on this one, I ended up going with Grade B vanilla beans. Grade A beans are considered gourmet and are ideal for cooking purposes. Grade B beans are generally smaller and drier; some may even come cracked. Grade B beans have a lower moisture content and are considered “extract grade”.

Alcohol – This again is personal preference but I used Vodka for a more neutral flavor. Other options include bourbon, brandy and rum. I didn’t buy top shelf stuff either, the alcohol is simply a solvent used to extract the vanilla flavor from the beans.

Bottles – This is where you can start to get creative. There are many different bottle sizes and shapes that you can choose to store your vanilla extract. The color can be a factor as well. I debated between amber bottles, which are great for light sensitive liquids, and clear glass bottles. I eventually went the clear glass route as I wanted my family and friends to be able to watch the vanilla change colors – to me, that’s part of the fun. I simply recommended that the bottles be stored in a dark, cool place, away from direct sunlight.

I ordered my bottles off of SpecialtyBottles.com but Amazon has a good selection as well. I ended up using a couple of these 8 oz bottles because I had plenty of beans, and I gave those to the avid bakers in my life. For the rest of my giveaways, I went with these 4 oz bottles.

Instructions – There are many different vanilla extract recipes available online. They’re all very similar with slight variations here and there. This was the recipe I used to make my vanilla extract. It’s very straightforward and quite simple. There’s really not much to it; no need to over complicate the process!

I made my vanilla on December 10th, just a couple of weeks before Christmas. It’s recommended you let your vanilla brew (giving it a gentle shake every now and then) for at least 8 weeks. You can make it as far ahead of time as you’d like, but I wanted my family and friends to be able to see the progression as the beans slowly turned the alcohol into a deep amber color, even if it meant they had to wait a little longer to use it.

Labels, Tags & Bags – This is where you can really get creative. Maybe you don’t have a lot of extra time and decide to purchase pre-made gift packaging for your vanilla bottles or perhaps you’d rather not wrap them at all. It’s really personal preference. I ordered some cute labels from Etsy for my vanilla extract bottles. While the labels I ordered appear to no longer be available, Etsy offers many other variations (or if you’re feeling craftier than I was, perhaps you’ll be inspired to create your own!).

I used this online template for my bottle tags. (She’s also included a label template if you prefer to print your own rather than purchasing them.) I then went to my local craft store and purchased a couple of sheets of thick decorative paper which I used to print the tags on, as well as some shiny string to secure the tags around my bottles, with the help of a hole punch.

While I was at the craft store, I bought a roll of material and some ribbons for my gift bags. After I got home I measured my bottles, cut the material down accordingly, grabbed a glue gun and went to work! Once I had created the gift bags, I placed a bottle inside each of them and finished each gift bag off with a beautiful ribbon. Voila!

In conclusion, I’m so glad I decided to bite the bullet and learn how to make homemade vanilla extract and by making a large batch, I was able to gift a bottle to my closest family and friends.

Can you keep a secret? Before I decided to learn how to make vanilla myself, I’d never even given a thought to the fact that anything other than imitation existed… I know… I KNOW! Now that I’ve learned how to make the real stuff, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to use anything but. Store bought vanilla extract is also quite expensive. In the long run, it’s much more cost effective to make your own.

Aside from the heavenly smell of homemade vanilla extract, the flavor is impeccably pure. You’ll thank yourself and every time your family and friends use your thoughtful gift, they’ll thank you too.

My Chocolate Addiction

I’m a chocolate girl through and through. In my family, a dessert isn’t a dessert unless it incorporates some aspect of chocolate. I have learned to appreciate fruity pies and other things but when someone says “dessert” my mind automatically conjures up a piece of chocolate cake. Cheesecake. Chocolate cheesecake… if beggars can be choosers.

Growing up, my grandma would hand make beautiful themed cakes for all of the grand kids birthdays (there’s 12 of us). While she’d always incorporate some other flavor into a small section of her elaborate creations for those poor souls who didn’t know the joy of growing up in a chocolate addicted family, when it came to choosing a flavor for the bulk of the cake no questions were asked. It was going to be chocolate. Those cakes remain one of my dearest childhood memories.

When I cut out sugar 14 months ago and a few months later decided to continue with a diet that excluded refined sugar, I quickly realized I would need to get creative. We’re talking crisis mode. Chocolate and sugar often go hand in hand. You’re going to be hard pressed to find chocolate based desserts or even chocolate bars that do not contain added refined sugars unless you make your own. So what was a girl to do? Google! There are tons of recipes online that use refined sugar alternatives and having baked my entire life, a made from scratch solution was just what I was looking for. I was determined to find the perfect recipe before my birthday arrived.

That’s when I discovered Chocolate Covered Katie. She has created an extremely popular healthy baking blog. After a quick glance at her website I knew I had found my girl. Katie’s recipes include healthier alternatives to many of your standard baking ingredients, such as refined sugar. It did not take me long to settle on her Refined Sugar Free Chocolate Cake which features both gluten free and vegan options. I’ve made this cake 3 times now.

Once of the things I love about Katie’s recipes, is that she makes them as customizable as possible. In place of cows milk, I’ve used almond and coconut milk in the past and I opt for coconut oil and a gluten free flour blend. I also use equal parts Hershey’s Natural Unsweetened Cocoa and Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa for a richer chocolate taste.

My taste buds have changed over the last year with the reduction in my sugar consumption and I’ve found that the called for 1/2 cup of maple syrup makes the cake too sweet for me. I reduce it slightly to between 1/4 – 1/2 cup (depending on who will be joining me in consuming… I’m unashamed to admit that I have eaten the entire cake by myself… not in one sitting of course!). I usually double the recipe using (2) 8′ round baking pans and I also add in 1/2 cup dark chocolate baking chunks per layer (so a full cup when doubling the recipe). That’s probably not necessary but again, I love chocolate and, why not?

Katie has many frosting recipes and glazes on her website as well but when I originally made her cake recipe I did not have the correct ingredients for the frosting recipe I had selected, so I found and have continued to use this 5 Minute Vegan Chocolate Frosting instead. I’d love to find a delicious refined sugar free peanut butter frosting recipe. Katie has a slew of them on her website. Mmmmm… that would be a winning combo right there.

When I don’t want an entire cake taunting me from the kitchen, I opt for a single square from chocolate bars that are comprised of at least 88% dark chocolate to cure my cravings. These bars generally have 6 grams of sugar or less per serving. A serving is usually half of the bar. The bars are often broken down into 12 squares so when you reduce the serving size down to 1 square per serving, that’s less than 1 gram of sugar! Not bad and just enough chocolate to give me the fix I’m looking for. Here is one of my favorites. This is another. What’s your “go-to” chocolate?

Quinoa and Sausage Stuffed Portobellos

I was at the grocery store not long ago, in the vegetable section, selecting some mushrooms to use in dinners for the upcoming week. Sitting right next to the containers of whole and pre-sliced button mushrooms were these beautiful Portobellos and right next to those were some smaller, stuffed mushrooms. They caught my attention but as I bent over to grab some I hesitated. Honestly, they didn’t look all that appetizing in their commercially prepared form but I loved the concept! Generally, when given the option, I prefer to eat things as unprocessed as possible so I thought, why not make my own?

 

I love mushrooms but truth be told, the big Portobellos can be a bit intimidating… at least, they’ve always seemed that way to me. I was quite happy to discover that they’re very easy to work with. If you don’t like mushrooms to begin with, you may not be a fan no matter the size but those of you that do, whether you’ve worked with Portobellos before or not, will love this recipe. Not only are my Quinoa and Sausage Stuffed Portobellos super tasty, they make wonderful leftovers as well.

 

 

I realize sausage is not exactly a “health food” but you can easily substitute ground beef, ground turkey or even more vegetables in place of the ground sausage to opt for a more heart healthy version. I decided to stick with the sausage in my recipe because it’s so flavorful and alleviates any need to add additional seasoning, which may be a factor if you don’t have a lot of extra time.

 

Quinoa is another main competent of this dish and for those not familiar, quinoa is not only high in protein, it contains all nine essential amino acids! One of the few foods that can boast that fact. (What are amino acids? Great question! This article breaks it down in a detailed way that is very easy to understand.) I’m still at the experimental stage with quinoa. On it’s own it can be a bit plain and tasteless but combined with other things? It blends very well, adds a cool texture to the dish and is packed with nutrients, which is why I opted to use it in this recipe.

If you’ve never cooked Portobellos before and haven’t tried quinoa, consider today’s recipe a challenge and a stepping stone! I’m constantly trying to bridge the gap between what I know I’m capable of and the potential that’s just waiting to be tapped into. Cooking is a great way to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Most of the time you’ll be rewarded in the tastiest of ways and you’ll have fun doing it!

Have you made one of my recipes? I’d love to see your pictures!! Use hashtag #IncrediblyYou, tag me on social media (kayla_jarvinen / Instagram or Kayla Jarvinen / Facebook) or send me an email with a photo of your finished product! I’d be honored to get your feedback and I’d love to see your beautiful creations <3 

Quinoa and Sausage Stuffed Portobellos
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

Gluten Free / Dairy Free / Refined Sugar Free 

Course: Main Course
Servings: 6
Calories: 333 kcal
Author: Kayla Marie
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup Red Quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium Onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium Zucchini, cubed
  • 7 bunches Broccoli Florets, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Ghee (or your cooking butter/oil of choice)
  • 1 lb Ground Sausage
  • 6 large Portobello Mushrooms
  • 1 jar Ragu Simply Marinara
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil. 

  2. Add rinsed quinoa, cover and reduce to a simmer until all water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

  3. While the quinoa cooks, cut up your garlic, onion, zucchini and broccoli. 

  4. Heat 1 tbsp. ghee (or your cooking butter/oil of choice) in a large skillet on medium heat.

  5. Add your chopped garlic and onion to the skillet and brown.

  6. Once your garlic and onion are browned, add in your chopped zucchini and broccoli.

  7. While your vegetables are browning, prepare your portobello mushrooms. Cut off the stems and if desired, chop them up and toss inside pan with other vegetables. Scoop out gills with a spoon and discard. 

  8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  9. Push veggies to the side of the pan and add 1lb ground sausage. 

  10. Cook meat thoroughly, breaking up big chunks with a wooden spoon as it browns.

  11. Once meat is brown, remove from heat and add cooked quinoa to pan. Combine the veggies, browned meat and cooked quinoa.

  12. Spread a thin layer of the mixture onto the bottom of a 13 x 9 non stick baking dish. 

  13. Brush the outside of the portobello mushrooms with 1 tbsp ghee (or your cooking butter/oil of choice) and place inside the baking dish.

  14. Fill mushroom caps with remaining mixture.

  15. Top with desired amount of marinara sauce.

  16. Bake for 30 minutes until mushrooms caps are thoroughly cooked.

  17. Plate and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

-1 clove of garlic is equivalent to approximately 1 tsp bottled minced garlic

-I only used 4 Portobello Mushrooms when I made this recipe. There was a significant amount of stuffing left over, which I spread along the bottom of the baking dish. If using 6 Portobello Mushrooms like I recommend, you will have enough leftover stuffing to lightly layer the bottom of the baking dish but stuffing ingredients can be increased if more leftover stuffing is desired.

-If you don't have a large enough skillet or pan, you can cook the meat in a separate skillet and combine with the veggies and quinoa at the end.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

I love hummus. Love to the point that while I’m a total rule abiding date checker with most food items, I refuse to let a single drop of those container’s delectable contents go to waste (and at an average price of $5-$6 per container, really, who can afford to??). Hummus goes great with so many things. And it’s such a versatile snack.

I’ll even use hummus in place of salad dressings on my sandwiches or as a spread atop burgers. It’s also a handy sidekick when you’re trying to get more veggies in at snack time. A tablespoon of creamy hummus can transform any carrot stick, cucumber slice or pepper wedge like you wouldn’t believe… I’m not fooling anyone am I? Alright, well I suppose it’s helpful to like veggies to begin with. Corn chips and pita bread are two more standard hummus go-to’s.

Then we have all of the flavors hummus boasts – Roasted Garlic, Sun Dried Tomato, Mediterranean style, and of course, good old Classic. I even came across *gasp* AVOCADO hummus. Two of my favorite foods combined into one. You bet I’m going to try that one out. The list just keeps on going. There’s a flavor for just about everyone. One of my personal favorites is Roasted Red Pepper and, interested in learning how to make it myself, I set out to create my own hummus recipe.

When I began experimenting with hummus recipes this past spring, one thing I was surprised to learn was how easy it was to make hummus. To my relief, the ingredients were very easy to find. All the die-hard hummus makers are laughing at me now. But seriously, one of my pet peeves with healthy recipes is the amount of strange ingredients you come across that you either can’t find or will likely never use again and I just assumed hummus would be one of those recipes.

It’s not. And a lot of it comes down to personal taste preference. Aside from the Tahini (Sesame Seed Paste), an ingredient you may or may not be familiar with – which, by the way, is worth a Google to learn about the medley of other things it’s awesome with – hummus is very straightforward and the ingredients are easy to find.

The best part? Once you have the ingredients for your favorite hummus recipe, you are all set! Most hummus recipes have a similar base with an assortment of spices in varying amounts and many of those ingredients will last you a long time. If you want to change things up, you can easily experiment and switch up the flavor combo with a couple of tweaks or substitutions.

Aside from the yummy flavors and wide variety of snacks that can go along with hummus, it makes a wonderful side dish for a multitude of occasions, from a delicious after school snack for the kiddos to the perfect center piece for an appetizer party platter. Football season has just gotten underway here in the states and while I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a huge sports fan, I am a huge food fan and I’m looking forward to putting together another platter like the one pictured above, to share with some friends this coming weekend.

With that, I hope you enjoy my Roasted Red Pepper Hummus as much as I do!

What’s your favorite hummus recipe? Have you tried mine? I’d love to see your pictures!!! Use hashtag #IncrediblyYou, tag me on social media (kayla_jarvinen / Instagram or Kayla Jarvinen / Facebook) or send me an email with a photo of your finished product! I’d be honored to get your feedback and I’d love to see your beautiful creations <3 

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Prep Time
10 mins
 

Gluten Free / Dairy Free / Vegan

Course: Side Dish, Snack
Servings: 6
Calories: 54 kcal
Author: Kayla Marie
Ingredients
  • 1 15oz Can Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), drained, liquid reserved
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. Chickpea Juice
  • 3 tbsp. Tahini (Sesame Seed Paste)
  • 1 medium Lemon, freshly squeezed
  • 1 medium Clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Sweet Roasted Peppers, diced
  • 3/4 tsp. Cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. Paprika
  • 1/2-1 tsp. Salt
Garnishes (optional)
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic, minced
  • Sweet Roasted Peppers, diced
Instructions
  1. Drain chickpeas into a bowl, save and set aside drained liquid.

  2. Rinse chickpeas and remove skins, if desired.

  3. Add chickpeas, 1/4 cup chickpea juice, tahini, lemon juice and garlic to a food processor.

  4. Process on high until well blended. 

  5. Scrape the sides of the food processor and add the sweet roasted peppers, cumin, paprika and salt.

  6. Process on high until creamy. If more liquid is needed, add remaining 2 tbsp. chickpea liquid and process until incorporated.

  7. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish as desired with olive oil, garlic and diced sweet roasted peppers.

  8. Refrigerate until chilled and serve.

Recipe Notes

-If you're feeling ambitious, dried chickpeas can also be used. 

-While I did not do so, many people take a few extra minutes to remove the skins from the chickpeas to make a creamier hummus. If you peel your chickpeas, less liquid may be required. For more information, here is a great article with some tips for peeling chickpeas!

-1 medium lemon is the equivalent to approximately 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice.

-1 clove of garlic is equivalent to approximately 1 tsp bottled minced garlic.

 

 

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Smoothie Bowl

I’m SO excited to be at the point where I can finally start sharing recipes with you all!! When I first began seriously considering starting a blog I knew that no matter what, I wanted there to be a recipe section. Growing up I was an avid baker thanks in large part to the influence of my grandma’s, both of whom I spent many hours with in the kitchen whipping up delicious desserts. By the time I was diagnosed with mono I was struggling to gather the energy to simply shower, let alone spend any quality time in the kitchen and when I began experimenting with my diet not long after, finding things to bake that contained ingredients I could eat became a real challenge.

I did get back in the kitchen and I did eventually discover a whole world of really yummy gluten / sugar free desserts (some of which I’ll be sharing with you) but as I cleaned up my diet and discovered the power of real, nourishing foods, I was surprised at the amount of satisfaction I found in preparing them. I fell in love with the art of cooking. Baking is, in many ways, an exact science and while it will always be one of my first loves, in cooking I found the freedom to create.

I launched Incredibly You during my trip to Canada over the summer and due to time constraints and other things, I just wasn’t able to put the prep time and thought into properly launching the recipe section of my website. BUT I did have plenty of time to come up with lots of fun recipes ideas I’m now beginning to work on!!

It didn’t take long to decide what recipe to post first. It was a no brainer really. Every morning I start my day off with a protein shake. I LOVE protein shakes for so many reasons, the top 3 being:

1. They’re filling! and with a balanced combo of protein/fat/carbs, they carry me through the morning until lunch time without the urge to snack.

2. They’re quick and easy to make on the go.

3. They’re the perfect base for a smoothie bowl and SO MUCH FUN to customize!

I used Vivo Life Perform Protein Powder in today’s recipe but any protein powder and flavor will do. That’s totally up to you! Another reason I love this recipe is because I hate unnecessary messes and having to lug out my big old blender for single serving endeavors. If you have a magic bullet or something equivalent, that will do the job just fine!

If you like a thicker base or are looking for a more calorie dense meal replacement or snack option, a whole banana can be used and half of an avocado can be added. Avocado is a great way to up your healthy fats and it takes the delicious creamy factor of the base to another level. (Keep in mind you might need to increase your liquid content if you make these additions.)

Tip: When bananas have reached my desired level of ripeness (I don’t like them mushy!) I cut them into chunks and freeze them for my protein shakes and smoothies. I find this also reduces the amount of ice that is needed. Fresh banana can be used, but you may find more ice is necessary.

I’m sure you’ve heard the often repeated mantra that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Whoa, whoa, whoa. I can already hear my no breakfasters groaning 😉 Today’s recipe can be used in a variety of ways. If you’re like me and wake up starving, it’s a great way to begin your day. If you’re not, that’s ok too. It also makes a wonderful pre/post workout snack or (again, if you’re like me) a “just because you need a snack” snack. It’s highly customizable and can easily be used as a meal replacement if desired. For all of my fellow peanut butter / banana addicts, this one’s for you!

Have you made one of my recipes? I’d love to see your pictures!! Use hashtag #IncrediblyYou, tag me on social media (kayla_jarvinen / Instagram or Kayla Jarvinen / Facebook) or send me an email with a photo of your finished product! I’d be honored to get your feedback and I’d love to see your beautiful creations <3

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Smoothie Bowl
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 

Gluten Free / Dairy Free / Refined Sugar Free / Vegan

Course: Breakfast, Meal Replacement, Snack
Servings: 1
Author: Kayla Marie
Ingredients
Protein Smoothie Base
  • 2/3 cup Nut Milk*
  • 1/2 cup Crushed Ice
  • 1 scoop Protein Powder**
  • 1 tbsp. Peanut Butter
  • 1/2-1 Banana, frozen
Optional Toppings
  • Chopped Pecans
  • Chopped Walnuts
  • Sliced Banana
  • Cacao Nibs
  • Coconut Flakes
  • Flaxseed
  • Peanut Butter Drizzle
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the ingredients for the protein smoothie base in a blender and blend on high speed for 1 minute or until thoroughly combined.

  2. Transfer protein smoothie base to a bowl or mug.

  3. Add desired toppings.

  4. Enjoy!!!

Recipe Notes

*I used homemade cashew milk in this recipe but any store bought nut milk will do. I have not made this recipe with dairy milk. Nut milk is generally thicker and creamier than cow's milk so keep this in mind if you opt for the latter; you may need to reduce the liquid to 1/2 cup or less depending on the contents and desired thickness of your smoothie base.

**Protein Powder recommendations: I discovered Vivo Life’s Perform Protein Powder last spring and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. With a variety of flavors like Raw Cacao, Madagascan Vanilla (used in today’s recipe), Salted Maca Caramel and Acai & Blueberry the flavor combos are endless. Garden of Life Meal Replacement is another personal favorite and is a less expensive but still nutrient rich protein powder that you can find on Amazon. If you don’t already have a favorite, both of these are great, clean options!