healthy banana bread muffins

healthy banana bread muffins
healthy banana bread muffins

I just discovered why I have been spending more time in the kitchen: I spend less time "maintaining" our house.  I've been getting back into more baking, more exciting dinners, and finding my rejuvenation in the kitchen again. is a very satisfying feeling.  And the kids feel it too.  They've pulled their aprons out of the pantry (now they are hung on a hook instead of in a pile!) more in the past few weeks than they have in the past 9 months.

And as always, there is the ever-present ripening clump of bananas on the counter.  I was craving a little banana treat and so this recipe was born.  Unlike many banana bread recipes, this banana bread muffin recipe isn't loaded with sweet bananas AND sweeteners.  It is mildly sweetened with bananas (two to be exact) and a touch of blackstrap molasses + stevia.  Just the right sweetness without kicking the kids' (and my) blood sugar up three notches. ;)

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And as always, let the kids help pour, stir, and top with coconut + pecans or walnuts.  These muffins come together in just minutes.


These are quite substantial and very moist on their own but we love a little dab of butter spread over the warm muffin.  Quite heavenly.

Nutrition Facts:

170 calories per muffin

9.5 net carbs per muffin

4.5 grams of protein per muffin

12 grams of fat per muffin


How do you use up ripe bananas??

Happy Monday friends.

the sleepy time gal

parmesan garlic cream cheese spread + orange marmalade cream cheese spread

This may be our fourth week without a working dishwasher but new things are happening in the kitchen!  My ongoing mission as 1) mother and 2) healthy-food-generator is to come up with new exciting ways to serve up eggs for my kids.

Yesterday morning we made popovers for breakfast!  And since I have two kids that are tentative about eggy-consistency "baked goods" I knew I'de have to have something pretty awesome to slather over them.

So chef Annabelle and I tried to recreate some of the cream cheese spreads we sampled this week from our local farmers market.  The chef for the day refused using ANY herbs in the spreads so we came up with two spread everyone would enjoy.  They take just a few minutes to throw together and are an incredible, flavorful addition to eggs, toast, or even crackers.

Here are our two simple homemade flavored cream cheese spread recipes:

Parmesan + garlic cream cheese spread

8 oz softened cream cheese

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/2- 1 tsp minced garlic

Mix well and serve.  Chill first for more intense blending of flavors.

Low sugar orange marmalade cream cheese spread

8 oz. softened cream cheese

1/4 cup low sugar orange marmalade jam (this Smucker's Low Sugar Jam is what we used)

Mix well and serve.

 {We adapted this great coconut flour popover recipe a little. It's a great recipe.}

Give 'em a try and let me know what you think!  What flavors would you make?  I'd like to make a garden vegetable cream cheese to add to scrambled eggs or for savory crepes.

Happy weekend friends!


breakfast sausage biscuits

My mother used to make sausage biscuits for special occasions.  She'd make the dough and crumble the sausage, roll them up, and freeze the sausage biscuit roll.  Then when she'd need them she would simply pull them out of the freeze, slice, and bake.

I loved her sausage biscuits.  We all did.  They were always warm, buttery, and the combination of dough to salty sausage was heavenly.

Although dear mom's recipe called for Bisquick I've come up with an awesome, healthier alternative for the biscuit dough.  You'll be amazed at how yummy these taste being gluten-free, grain-free, high protein, low carbohydrate, and of so cheesy...

This inventive, flavorful dough recipe is not my own.  It was a recipe from a blog, Up Late Anyway, I was intrigued by some time ago and tried as the dough for her stromboli.  Then as the base for her cheese danishes.  Then for many other recipes that called for standard gluten dough and the results, every time, were amazingly soft like dough and more flavorful than dough because of one of the base ingredients.  Mozzarella cheese.  Trust me.

Now let's make some breakfast sausage biscuits!

Make dough and roll out.  Crumble sausage and roll up.


Bake.  These are absolutely awesome.  And all of my family love them.  I like making these to bake up in the early morning before we head out for an all day outing.  And they work great for car trips.  I pass out napkins and everyone grabs a handful of sausage biscuits.  These biscuits fill you up much better then a grain biscuit does and in a more more satisfying and healthy way.



creamy orangesicle frozen yogurt

{Wanna see Chef Johanna creating this recipe with me?  Check out yesterday's post.}

I've loved exploring making our own frozen yogurt.  It is nothing like the stuff you buy at the chains that are popping up left and right around town.  What I love about this frozen yogurt is the combination of the yogurt base.  I've learned that the best combination of creamy frozen yogurt is a mixture of plain whole milk yogurt, greek yogurt, and a little cottage cheese.

I know it may sound odd, but cottage cheese does amazing things when blended.  I always put some in my protein shakes because it thickens the shake while adding a deep creamy/tanginess.  Trust me in this one.

This recipe is great to make and keep in the freezer or make and just eat chilled.  The orange juice + zest compliment the creaminess of the yogurts so well.  And a sprinkle of coconut on top to mix-in just adds to the tropical flavors.

Seriously, you should try making your own frozen yogurts.  If you have a processor  (I bet a bender would work as well) you can whip up healthy, super-protein packed breakfasts, snacks, or dessert for your family in minutes.  (Just remember to give yourself enough time to let the yogurt freeze partially to process.)

*If you don't have the 3 varieties of dairy for the yogurt base, just use what you have on hand.  It will still make a great frozen yogurt whether you use all plain, greek, or even cottage cheese to reach the 3 cups the recipe calls for.


Here's another frozen yogurt favorite:

5 Minute Peach Frozen Yogurt


whipped pumpkin + spice cream cheese

I've been dabbling with making healthy bagels for my kids lately.  And I've been loving reworking this bagel recipe from Maria Mind Body Health a bit to make some savory bagels for bagel sandwiches  and cinnamon/raisin bagels for breakfast.

This recipe came about after the first batch of these beautiful protein-packed cinnamon raisin bagels came out of the oven.  This whipped pumpkin +spice cream cheese whips up in minutes and is so enjoyable to keep in the fridge throughout the week.

Here's how I like to eat it...

  • with baby carrots
  • slathered on coconut flour pancakes
  • in place of butter on muffins
  • dolloped in a protein shake
  • with sliced apples

We love to serve up this pumpkin cream cheese on a tray full of sliced apples.  The two pair together beautifully for healthy + kid friendly entertaining: it's our "treat" we brought to our recent Fall Carnival at church.  And I'm proud to say that among the treats and sweets at the activity, the apples + dip were snatched up the fastest.

See?  Kids really do crave nutritious foods! :)

 I'd love to be inspired... What are some of your favorite kinds of flavored cream cheese?


4 ingredient cheese sandwich buns

These cheese sandwich buns have been a revolution for our family.

These buns are light, airy, and hold up like a traditional bun for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.   Although Bobby and I don't need/miss carriers like bread and buns in our daily eating, these are fun to bake up for a change.  And boy, do the kids love them as well.

These cheese sandwich buns are great for:

  • breakfast sandwiches
  • buttered toast topped with your favorite spread
  • sandwiches for lunch
  • buns for burgers
  • bread for mini grilled cheese
  • grilled as a panini

The idea behind these cheese buns are a familiar bun concept in the low carb world.  You may see them labeled "cloud bread" or "oopsie bread" online but the recipe comes down to the same thing.  Equal part eggs to soft cheese.

They are less than 1 carb per bun which is pretty incredible when you compare it to a traditional hamburger bun with a whopping 21 net carbs per two-piece bun.

4 Ingredient Cheese Sandwich Buns

Makes 10 buns


3 eggs, separated

3 TBSP of cream cheese, cottage cheese, or ricotta cheese

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

a pinch of salt

pinch of stevia, natural sugar-free sweetener (optional)

Optional toppings:

fresh chives

sesame seeds

poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried minced onion for the "everything" bun

cinnamon + granulated sweetener

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Whisk the yolks, cheese, and sweetener in a mixer until light yellow in color.  In another clean mixer bowl, whisk the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on high to form stiff peaks, around 5 minutes based on your mixer.  (If you're using the bowl the yolks were in, make sure the bowl is completely washed out because the whites won't whisk just right if there are traces of yolk in the bowl.)  You should be able to turn the bowl with the egg whites upside down with the egg whites not moving a smidgen.

Carefully fold the yolk mixture into the egg whites trying not to break down the egg whites.

Scoop out 1/4 cup of the egg/cheese mixture onto parchment paper or buttered baking sheets.  This is simple to create a nice round mound.  (Or, you can use these perfect [amazon_link id="B003YKGRBY" target="_blank" ]muffin top pans[/amazon_link] that we bought specifically for this bread.  Just butter or spray each individual pan, scoop 1/4 cup of mixture, and you'll have even sandwich buns.)

Bake for 20-30 minutes based on your oven.  They should be lightly golden brown on the top.   Let buns cool before enjoying.

I like to make a ton of these buns and use some for lunch that day and store the rest in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.  They last up to a week in the fridge.

I think these are best eaten on the same day.  But for the buns that are saved in the fridge, I like to pop them in the toaster throughout the week before using them.  It firms them up a bit more.

{Another great way to eat these cheese buns is toasted, opened faced, and loaded with leftovers or any other favorite combination.

Above is fried eggs, leftover curried beef, and sour cream. Yum.}

Today I promised Johanna peanut butter and raspberry jelly sandwiches.  I think I'll try adding a little dusting of cinnamon to the tops of the cheese buns before baking them today for her lunch request.  I'll take a peanut butter, cream cheese, and shaved dark chocolate grilled sandwich for dessert tonight.  Sounds pretty amazing right about now...

I'd love to hear if you try making it!


cream cheese pancakes

I love it when I find a golden recipe that not only brings cheers around the table but is a healthier version of something our family loves to eat.

Yes we make grain-free pancakes from time to time (there are a million recipes out there that call for banana + egg, nut flours, protein powders, etc. that are outstanding) but I actually prefer the ease and low-carb goodness of simple cream cheese pancakes.

And they are pretty much two ingredients: double win.

They are a standard in the low carb world of eating thanks to the awesome blog, I Breathe I'm Hungry.  I love these because I always have the two base ingredients: cream cheese and eggs.  They are more like a yummy crepe in texture. And you can add a bit of sweetener, a flavoring extract (vanilla is my favorite) and doll them up as you please.

Our family enjoys these pancakes with butter, fresh vanilla whipped cream, and berries.  Other low carb variations we like are peanut butter, banana slices, and whipped cream.   I pull out the maple syrup for the kids from time to time as well.

cream cheese pancakes

Makes roughly 20 5 inch pancakes

8 eggs

8 oz. cream cheese (one whole pack)

pinch of sweetener (I use [amazon_link id="B0046IISFG" target="_blank" ]ZSweet[/amazon_link] but you could use coconut sugar, stevia, Splenda--your choice)

a few pinches of salt

1 tsp of your favorite flavoring: vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon

(Recipe slightly adapted from I Breathe I'm Hungry.)

Preheat griddle.  Add all of the ingredients to a blender.  Blend well.  Let mixture rest for a few minutes for bubbles to settle.  Pour mixture into a pourable container for easy batter pouring.  Spread butter or coconut oil onto the hot griddle.  Pour roughly 1/4 cup pancake mixture onto griddle for medium pancakes.  Cook for about 2 minutes before flipping pancake.  Cook for another minute or so until golden brown.

Cook remaining batter and serve!

Per Cream Cheese Pancake:

Carbs- .5 g  (If using a sugar free sweetener)

Calories- 86

Compared to one Buttermilk Pancake:

Carbs- 11 g

Calories- 86

A stack of these cream cheese pancakes will leave you feeling full and satisfied without calling you back into the kitchen in a few hours to eat again--like their fluffy, grainy counterparts might.  And without the hefty carb-brain fog.

If you don't go through these cream cheese pancakes like our family does (I actually double this recipe) then store the remaining pancakes in the fridge and reheat in the toaster to top with butter and toppings.

 Need lunch/dinner options?  Make savory pancakes!

Make a batch of cream cheese pancakes without the sweetener and flavorings.  Add fresh herbs and spices and cook as directed.

Use savory pancakes to wrap up:

  • chicken salad
  • leftover beef with shredded cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, and green onions
  • chopped salad with grilled chicken
  • sauteed vegetables and goat cheese
  • scrambled eggs and bacon strips
  • shredded pork and coleslaw

I hope this incredibly easy and delicious recipe makes it into your day this week!  I'd love to hear.


eggs two-ways: loaded frittata and scrambled

"leftovers" frittata
"leftovers" frittata

We definitely eat eggs, in some capacity, every single day.  I love eggs.  I love that they can be incorporated into breakfast (scrambled, fried, soft/hard boiled, omelets) lunch (egg salad, hard boiled eggs, deviled eggs) dinner (souffles, quiches, pancakes, waffles) and desserts (merengue cookies, cloud cakes, custards).

"leftovers" frittata
"leftovers" frittata

Sometimes I want something more from my eggs (like a loaded frittata) while I know my kids would throw a fit.  These are our eggs two-ways days.  The idea is both parties will end up happy and the leftover frittata is sliced, stored, and frozen for individual enjoying throughout the week.  And go-to meals for the next few weeks.

eggs two-ways: loaded frittata and scrambled

Base egg mixture: 

lots of eggs (we use about 2 dozen)

salt and pepper, to taste

For kids' scrambled eggs:

ham or bacon


sour cream

For loaded frittata:

taco or fajita leftovers or



seasoned meat

assortment of shredded cheese

cream cheese

Crackeggs and whisk.  (This recipe is a guideline--you'll have to adjust it to your size family.)

One third of the egg mixture is reserved for scrambled eggs for the kids.  The other two thirds of egg mixture is reserved for a large loaded frittata.

"leftovers" frittata
"leftovers" frittata

My favorite frittata uses up any leftovers in the fridge.  The best time to make a frittata is the night after fajita/taco night.

 If you don't already have leftover sauteed vegetables, sautee onion and peppers in one pan (for the frittata).  In another pan, sautee bacon or ham (for the scrambled eggs).

Add leftover fajita beef or chicken to the sauteed vegetables for the frittata.

"leftovers" frittata
"leftovers" frittata

Add egg mixture to the cooked ham or bacon pan.  Add cheese--make scramble eggs.  (We always add a little sour cream at the end of the cooking.)  Scrambled eggs are finished.  

Add remaining egg mixture to the sauteed vegetables and meat for the frittata.  And cheeses, whatever you have on hand.  Additionally adding pinches of cream cheese to the top of the frittata make it dreamy.

Bake frittata:

The temperature and duration all depends on what you're baking in.  Your temperature should be high, between 400-450 degrees.  We use a large cast iron skillet which takes anywhere between 20-30 minutes to bake, depending on how "loaded" our frittata is.  If you use a ovenproof nonstick pan it will take less time, around 10-15 minutes.

Just watch it.  You will know it is cooked when it is beginning to brown on top and the top springs back to the touch.  It is just fine if the very middle is a little undone when you pull it out.  It will keep cooking a bit once it is out to cool.

"leftovers" frittata
"leftovers" frittata

Pull out of oven.  Let cool for 5 minutes.  Flip it out onto a cutting board.

"leftovers" frittata
"leftovers" frittata

Slice up and eat!  Kids and parents should be pretty happy with their own eggs.

"leftovers" frittata
"leftovers" frittata

The best part of all is that your hard work will pay off when you individually wrap each cooled slice of leftover frittata.  Keep a few slices in the fridge to pull out during the week and the rest in the freezer for weeks to come.

I can't even begin to tell you how awesome it is to have very flavorful, tasty frittata slices in the freezer as weeks go by.  Bobby will grab one to heat up before heading out for business.  I'll pull a slice out for lunch with a dollop of sour cream, cut chives, and tomatillo sauce.

"leftovers" frittata
"leftovers" frittata

And that's our eggs two-way secret for pleasing a crowd.

Happy weekend friends.


strawberry banana yogurt & chocolate yogurt

low carb/paleo kids: strawberry banana yogurt & chocolate yogurt
low carb/paleo kids: strawberry banana yogurt & chocolate yogurt

So our last stop on the yogurt train this week is flavoring yogurt.  Not only does it literally take a few minutes to do, but the flavors are so much more real (with real ingredients) and tastier compared to store bought, long-ingredient-statement, flavored yogurts.  Yes, my kids enjoy plain yogurt and toppings but when I scoop some of their favorite flavored yogurt out of a jar that they helped mix, they are thrilled!

Here are two simple recipes to try in beginning to flavor your own yogurt.  And I bet you have all of the ingredients...

low carb/paleo kids: strawberry banana yogurt & chocolate yogurt
low carb/paleo kids: strawberry banana yogurt & chocolate yogurt

Since we make our own yogurt, I simply divide the 2 homemade quarts: 1 quart to be made into strawberry banana yogurt and 1 quart to be made into chocolate yogurt.  If you're using store bought, just use one quart of yogurt per flavor.

Just to compare: Yoplait's Original Strawberry Banana yogurt has 15 ingredients with the second ingredient being sugar.  Our strawberry banana yogurt has three: plain yogurt, strawberry preserves, and mashed banana.

strawberry banana yogurt

1 quart plain whole milk yogurt* (Here is how we make our own yogurt)

1.5-2 ripe bananas, depending on their size and ripeness

3-5 TBSP low sugar strawberry preserves

*These flavored yogurt recipes like all of my yogurt recipes on this blog call for whole milk yogurt.  Why? Because children, even more than adults, need the fat for their growth and brains.  Always use whole milk products for children.

low carb/paleo kids: strawberry banana yogurt & chocolate yogurt
low carb/paleo kids: strawberry banana yogurt & chocolate yogurt

Pour quart of yogurt into a bowl.  Set aside.

Have your kids help mash the bananas.

low carb/paleo kids: strawberry banana yogurt & chocolate yogurt
low carb/paleo kids: strawberry banana yogurt & chocolate yogurt

Add the mashed banana to the yogurt.  Add strawberry preserves by the tablespoon to the yogurt based on your liking.  Mix well.

If your family can wait, chill the yogurt for a few hours for the flavors to intensify.  If not, spoon it up and enjoy!

chocolate yogurt

1 quart plain whole milk yogurt*

2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa

2 tsp vanilla extract

a few TBSP of your choice of sweetener (honey, coconut sugar, or natural sugar free sweetener like stevia, ZSweet, etc.)

a pinch of salt

low carb/paleo kids: strawberry banana yogurt & chocolate yogurt
low carb/paleo kids: strawberry banana yogurt & chocolate yogurt

Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and mix well.  Chill for a few hours or serve.

low carb/paleo kids: strawberry banana yogurt & chocolate yogurt
low carb/paleo kids: strawberry banana yogurt & chocolate yogurt

Whether you are serving up these two new flavors of yogurt to the kiddos for breakfast or a snack, it is always fun to turn it into a Yogurt Bar.  Or simply offer some quick grain-free yogurt topper (see below) to top their choice of flavored yogurt.

low carb/paleo kids: strawberry banana yogurt & chocolate yogurt
low carb/paleo kids: strawberry banana yogurt & chocolate yogurt

Our standard quick grain-free yogurt topper is simple:

  • a variety of nuts, chopped
  • unsweetened coconut flakes
  • a variety of seeds

Throw on a baking sheet (tossed with a little melted coconut oil, cinnamon, and salt) and roast in the oven for 7-10 minutes, until you can begin to smell the nuts' roasted goodness.

Then simply throw in your kids' favorite chopped dried fruit and there you have it!  A quick and easy yogurt topper.  Store it in an air-tight container to always have on hand.

low carb/paleo kids: strawberry banana yogurt & chocolate yogurt
low carb/paleo kids: strawberry banana yogurt & chocolate yogurt

Could you guess that the daughters of this particular mother prefer the chocolate yogurt to any other flavor??  We definitely have happy snacking times around here when our flavored yogurts are around.

low carb/paleo kids: strawberry banana yogurt & chocolate yogurt
low carb/paleo kids: strawberry banana yogurt & chocolate yogurt

 I'd love to hear: What are your favorite flavors of yogurt?  What combinations would you combine to flavor yogurt??

Find more on my Low Carb/Paleo Kids series:

low carb/paleo kids: creating a yogurt bar and more

low carb/paleo kids: vegetable dip & sticks in a cup

low carb/paleo kids


creating a yogurt bar

low carb/paleo kids: 4 new ways to serve yogurt
low carb/paleo kids: 4 new ways to serve yogurt

{Low carb/paleo kids is an on-going series of grain-free, low sugar/carbohydrate snacks.}

Now that I've showed you how to make your own yogurt, today and tomorrow will be dedicated to showing you some of our favorite ways of eating it.

Yogurt is a wonderful snack option for families that are looking for alternatives to grainy snacks for their kids.  It offers probiotics, protein, and is a relatively low sugar/carbohydrate snack.

I love adding variety to things that we eat often by turning them into "a bar."  A yogurt bar is an excellent way to bring new life to yogurt.

Children love the freedom to choose their toppings, mixing things up a bit, coming back for seconds to try new combinations, and such.  Try creating a yogurt bar for breakfast, as an afternoon snack, or on-the-go.  (See directions below.)

low carb/paleo kids: creating a yogurt bar and more
low carb/paleo kids: creating a yogurt bar and more

Creating a Yogurt Bar


plain yogurt  (Here's the tutorial to our homemade yogurt) or store bought


mixed berries, fresh or frozen--slightly thawed

sliced bananas (or any other fruit you have on hand)

granola  (Here's a 5 seed almond grain-free granola to start)

toasted nuts

unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut

vanilla extract (optional)

ground cinnamon

Dessert yogurt bar options:

dark chocolate shavings or mini chocolate chips

chopped macadamia nuts or other nuts

warmed nut butter to drizzle

unsweetened coconut

drizzle of honey

low carb/paleo kids: 4 new ways to serve yogurt
low carb/paleo kids: 4 new ways to serve yogurt
  1. Decide how many you are serving.  Fill enough small bowls with plain yogurt and add a spoon to each.
  2. Dust the tops of the yogurt filled bowls with a little cinnamon and drop of vanilla (optional).
  3. Fill a long tray or shallow bowl with toppings, side by side (as seen above).  You can also use individual bowls for each topping.  (We like to serve up the toppings both ways for variety.)  Either way, serve up each yogurt topping with a spoon.
low carb/paleo kids: 4 new ways to serve yogurt
low carb/paleo kids: 4 new ways to serve yogurt

4.  Let kids line up to top their own yogurt!  

The more often you serve up a yogurt bar, the more ideas your children will have of toppings.  It becomes more fun while involving the kids more and more each time.

Ideas for Presentation:

  • Bring all of the parts of the yogurt bar out to your children or guests on a large, handled tray.  Bring unfilled bowls to be filled on site and handed out to each person for them to then top.  Be sure to bring napkins on the tray as well.  This is great served and brought out on a tray for family game night, possibly the dessert yogurt bar version.
  • For a kid's party or baby shower, use glass punch cups or clear disposable glasses for each individual yogurt.  Top each glass with a dash of cinnamon and offer a wide variety of fresh fruits, granola, and other toppings for kids or guests.

A Yogurt Bar On-the-Go:

  • Fill a reusable multi-compartment flat food container with plain yogurt in the largest compartment and a mixture of your favorite (or your child's favorite) toppings in another compartment.  Pack up the container with a spoon.  Once you're ready to eat, simple scoop the dry mix-ins into the plain yogurt and stir.

frozen mini berry cups

Some of you readers may remember this recipe I shared a while back: our frozen mini berry cups.  It has become a popular post on Pinterest and quite fitting for sharing one of our favorite ways to enjoy yogurt.

low carb/paleo kids: 4 new ways to serve yogurt
low carb/paleo kids: 4 new ways to serve yogurt
low carb/paleo kids: 4 new ways to serve yogurt
low carb/paleo kids: 4 new ways to serve yogurt

The basic idea is simply flavoring plain yogurt with a bit of your favorite fruit preserves, scooping the yogurt into a mini muffin baking pan, and topping each mini yogurt cup with a fresh raspberry.

Freeze, remove, and enjoy!  We keep them in the freezer for quick snacks.  These would be even better for kids' summertime snacks enjoyed in the backyard.

Check out the full tutorial for Frozen Mini Berry Cups.

low carb/paleo kids: create a yogurt bar
low carb/paleo kids: create a yogurt bar

 Be back tomorrow for flavoring your plain yogurt.  The sky is the limit and kids love the many different varieties to choose from.

Find more on my Low Carb/Paleo Kids series:

low carb/paleo kids: vegetable dip & sticks in a cup

low carb/paleo kids